31 December 2012

Books of 2012

I started using Goodreads this year to keep track of my reading. Here's my list of books. It looks like a lot, but over a year it's only just over 1 a week, which isn't that good going, seeing as I'm a fast reader (more visual than auditory).

1) Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell- Susanna Clarke (re-read)
2) The Ladies of Grace Adieu- Susanna Clarke (re-read)
I really hope Susanna Clarke comes up with the sequel she's promised soon.
3) Problem at Pollensa Bay- Agatha Christie
4) Crooked House- Agatha Christie
5) Puffin by Design- Phil Baines
6) How to Make Jewellery with Tatty Devine
7) Love- Angela Carter

Year survey

I've been doing this same survey every year for years and years

1. Was 2012 a good year for you?
In retrospect, no. I thought it was going to be, then it went horribly wrong about halfway through

2. What were your New Year's Resolutions and did you keep them?
Finish my MA, and find a cheap osteopath to sort out my spine. Both of those accomplished.

3. Do you have any New Year's Resolutions for 2013?
Yes, see the previous entry.

4. Where will you be when 2012 ends?
Here. Right at this spot.

5. Who will you be with when 2012 ends?
Myself. Maybe the cat.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Stability and a regular income. Exciting reading, I know.

7. Where did most of your money go?
Train tickets, art materials and food. Very little on fun.

8. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Not much. I'm not very excitable.

9. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Much much sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? about the same
iii. richer or poorer? difficult to say. I don't have any more money than last year, but I suppose if you take normal inflation/the rapidly increasing cost of living recently into account, and the fact that my ex had money, then poorer.

10. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Have fun.

11. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Bother to do any of about the 10 million helpful things I did for the ex-boyfriend.

12. How will you be spending Christmas?
The day with my family, the evening with friends at a party.

13. How many one-night stands?

Nil. Not on the cards.

14. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Haha. Oh yes.

15. What was the best book you read?

Goodbye to Berlin/Mr Norris Changes Trains- Christopher Isherwood

16. What was your greatest musical discovery?


17. What did you want and get?
A completed MA.  A new printer for Christmas. Most of the other things I wanted in 2011 I got for a brief time, and then had them snatched away. I don't know if I'd have preferred not to have had them at all, or not.

18. What did you want and not get?
Happiness, loyalty or honesty.

19. Favourite film of this year?
Moonrise Kingdom

20. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 27. I went to see a comedy show with the ex boyfriend (I booked the tickets). He forgot to get me a present or a card.

21. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Magic powers.

22. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Not naked.

23. What kept you sane?
I'm not entirely sure.

24. Who do you miss?
People who live too far away who I don't get to see often enough.

25. Did you make any new friends?
Not really. I got to know some people who I had already met much better.

26. Quote a song that sums up your year:
"What a shame we spent so little time living."

27. Where were you when 2012 began?
At home.

28. Who were you with?

29. Did you fall in love in 2012?
No, the opposite direction.

30. If yes, with who?

31. Are you still in love with them?
The opposite

32. Did you break up with anyone in 2012?

33. What was your favourite month of 2012?
I can't think of one.

34. What was your favourite record from 2012?
The Grimes album

35. How many concerts did you see in 2012?
Only a couple. Beach Fossils, Do Make Say Think, my friends Irina and Nic.

36. Did you have a favourite concert in 2012?
Do Make Say Think

37. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2012?
Not really, I discovered how much I like whiskey macs though.

40. What was your most embarrassing moment of 2012?
The whole summer was an exercise in humiliation

41. If you could go back in time to any moment of 2012 and change something, what would it be?
Nearly all of it

42. What are your plans for 2013?
I don't know yet. I think I've become too superstitious/paranoid to rely on plans.

Good riddance 2012

I had a look at last year's entries, and I don't seem to have written down any New Year's Resolutions. I know though that my main aim was to finish my Master's, come hell or high water. Last December I moved in with my boyfriend. Here I am one year later, plus one MA, minus one shitty ex.

I'm not celebrating tonight. Until Wednesday I'm in my hometown where nothing happens, and I didn't feel like travelling anywhere. My nan also died last night, and although it was expected as she was in her 80s and had been seriously ill for most of the year, it doesn't make you feel festive. I've never been big on NYE anyway.  A quiet drink with friends or a gig or something keeps me happy. I don't like it when there is a scheduled time that you're supposed to have enormous amounts of fun. I guess I'm just awkward.

Here are the resolutions for 2013.

1) Get a long term job
Doing temp work becomes very annoying after a while. I can't move anywhere or commit to anything much, because I never know what I'm doing or where I am more than a couple of weeks ahead. Signing on the dole for only one week or 10 days or whatever is incredibly tedious.

2) Try to get some steady illustration work
I have a certificate that says I'm officially allowed to draw now.

3) Sew more clothes
Use the patterns from my Burda style & Golden Hands magazines

4) Read an average of 2-3 books per week
I only managed an average of 1.3 this year

5) Catch up on some classic films and books I've never got round to

6) Do more musical things
That's ground to a halt for the past 2 years, for various reasons.

7) Draw for at least 30 minutes every day

8) Get better at making pastry

9) Keep more money in my savings account for a rainy day
Current total £20. That's not going to cover much of a rainy day. It's not because I'm profligate, it's just that I've been so broke for so long.

10) Write letters more regularly
And when I get a permanent address, get a PO Box.

11) Go to life drawing class regularly
The gym for the eye and the pencil

12) Make a zine every month
This was one of my aims for 2009, and I managed it.

13) Travel
Also, travel with nice people, not whiners

14) Get a new laptop
The circa 2004 Powermac just isn't cutting it any more

15) Keep better track of what new music, books, tv shows etc are around
Things tend to pass me by

16) Get my bike fixed and use it again

For the past 2-3 years I've ended up writing things like "worry less", "have more fun" every year. I don't know if resolving to do something so vague really works.

30 December 2012


I've had the bug that's been going around over Christmas, albeit not badly, but I haven't really done as much work/creative stuff as I'd like. Here's some sketches I did this afternoon. I didn't really plan what I was drawing, I just started making some lines and went from there. Mostly I just wanted to try out the white marker.

Using an amphora is a good way to catch squid. They're curious beasts.

I think I liked the trees more as a line drawing before I coloured them in.

20 December 2012

Smooth down the avenue glitters the bicycle


I've always had a soft spot for 30s suburbia. These two pictures are a place called Twydall, near where my mum lives. I went along there to buy some wool, and I wasn't disappointed, the area is full of old ladies. Also, the fact that the wool shop is called World of Woolcraft and is run by what could be the brother of the Comic Book Store Guy made me laugh.


 John Betjeman did this documentary in the early 70s exploring the suburbs of NW London along the old Metropolitan Railway (now part of the Metropolitan tube line and the Overground). It's worth a watch just for his voice and way of phrasing things. I also like the bird-watcher straight out of Look Around You and the man with a Wurlitzer organ in his living room.

I'm very familiar with the London areas he shows, and I love archive footage of places I know. I've never been to the places further out along the line in Hertfordshire, but I feel like maybe I should, just to see what they're like. I like poking around unexciting places.

19 December 2012

Geffrye Museum

Here are some pictures from the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. It used to be an almshouse, and is now a museum of furniture and interiors. They have rooms set up showing typical London living rooms in various time periods from the 1600s onwards for families with a medium income, with information about all the objects in the room. They also have a hsitorical garden and restored 18th century almshouse interior, but I didn't get a chance to see them this time. In the run up to Christmas, they'd arranged each room to show how different winter festivals were celebrated in each era (until the 1800s New Year and Twelfth Night were much bigger than Christmas). The 17th Century sweets were really impressive.

I'd never got round to going there before, but I wish I'd gone sooner. I'll definitely be returning. I'm a sucker for social history, and museums showing how ordinary people lived. I also like the Six Poor Travelers House in Rochester, and the Mackintosh House at Glasgow University.


Hand-printed wallpaper in the Georgian room.

Mid Victorian

Mid-Victorian toys.

Fin de siecle

Aesthetic styled room for the 1890s.



Interwar entertaining. I do love a good drinks trolley.


Post-war open plan.


1950s Christmas.

16 December 2012

Death and the Penguin

I set myself a project recently of doing mock book covers. First up is Death and the Penguin, by Andrey Kurkov. I did both English and Russian versions of the cover. I'm not sure how successful it is, though. The map I used in the collage is of Kiev. 
Death and the penguin 
 Smert' postoronnego 
The original Russian title means "death of an outsider" which is a bit generic sounding. It seems the book is far more popular in the UK than in Ukraine or Russia, I suppose because the English translator chose a much more eye-catching title

Fake fur collar

Fake fur collar 
I recently made this fake fur collar from a free pattern on the Colletterie blog. It's easy enough to draft something like this yourself, but having a pdf to print is far more convenient. I used some fake fur fabric and white satiny coat-lining. I cut out the pom-poms, but they looked scraggy with the wispy fur fabric, so I used a satin ribbon instead, and turned the ends in.
When you sew with fake fur, it pays to snip all the hairs off the seams once you've sewn them, because it makes the fabric lie flatter than slashing the curves alone. With denser fur you can tease the ends out of the seams, but it made the edges look too messy with this fabric. The collar was very easy and quick to make. If you can't sew, my friend Kaitlin Kostus often has some very nice ones similar for sale. 
Fake fur collar 
The decoration is a cheap brooch I had which broke. I kept hold of it, because I liked it, but the pin had snapped off, and you couldn't glue a standard brooch back onto it, because the holes in the design would show it. I sewed in onto one side as a finishing touch.

04 December 2012

Coffee Pot Cafe

jug cafe 
Losely based on a picture I'd clipped out of this place
The photo I have is from a different angle though.


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