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10 things Category

10 Things :: March 2012

10 Things :: March 2012
pumpkin cupcakes
On the tenth of the month, a bunch of us share ten things. Any ten things. All different kinds of ten things. And you’re welcome to join us.

For March, I’m discovering just how cold an old building can be, even when it doesn’t feel old on the inside. (Our new flat is a modern conversion of a school opened in the early 1800s.) All that cold is making me turn on the oven more and more, so about a ten things devoted to things I like to bake!

1. Pumpkin pie. Preferably from an actual pumpkin. I actually stick pretty close to Martha’s Recipe, but using fresh pumpkin always needs more spices, I find.

2. Pumpkin cupcakes. Let’s just get my pumpkin obsession out in the open from the start, okay? I could eat pumpkin every day and never get bored. Pumpkin-filled pasta is also one of my favourite things, but I don’t really tend to bake that, so it doesn’t make this list. Though a pumpkin lasagna could be baked and that sounds amazing. But I’ll leave it at just pie and cupcakes for this list.

3. Things that are exceedingly chocolatey. Like these cupcakes. And “this really simple cake”: , which I make whenever we stay with strangers (in a hostel or a shared house/chalet, etc) because it takes few ingredients and no equipment but always disappears in moments.

4. Rhubarb crumble. Seriously, rhubarb is fabulous, and I love how it makes the house smell when it’s in the oven. I don’t use a recipe for crumble because rhubarb really varies in sweetness so I taste as I go (which is half the fun) but this recipe is a good starting point if you need one.

5. Long Winters Cupcakes. Spiced apple cake and named after a favourite band, then baked for the band when they came to town, a story I never tire of telling. But seriously, music fandom aside, spiced apple cake is such a great mid-afternoon food in a cold house. If I’m just making it for home, I bake it in a loaf tin.

6. Alicia’s bread. Which she calls ‘Ann’s bread’ and I wonder if Ann attributes it to someone else? Speaking of a loaf tin – this is an actual bread that I bake as a loaf just for us or as gifts, or as rolls (in a cupcake tin) for a meal with company. It’s a yeast bread but it’s easy and fast and the end result is crazily rich and a bit sweet. If you manage to leave it a day without eating it, it makes a French toast that will blow your mind. You know… if you like fancy French toast, anyway.

7. Things involving Oreos. Like these. Because though I go through long stages of eating exceptionally healthy food, Oreos are the one weakness that bring me back. I cannot resist an Oreo. It’s ridiculous really. One day there will be an Oreo intervention. And it will fail.

8. Root Vegetable Pizza. Because it is made of pretty much all of my favourite things. Like sometimes I even add wedges of pumpkin. (Okay, maybe there will be a pumpkin intervention. IT TOO WILL FAIL.)

9. Crazy omelettes-turned-frittatas-or-something. Not quite quiche, but not made in a frying pan. The sort of thing you make from the random things in your fridge that somehow will work together, plus eggs and a pie dish. In our house, this often involves Jarlsberg, not unlike this.

10. Lately, a million things with mushrooms. I fall in and out of love with mushrooms, so I shall not have an impending intervention. But lately, mushrooms are on my good list, and pretty much any dish. Well… not cupcakes. But everything else.

So! What ten things will you share this month?

PS: I haven’t figured out the new oven enough to make macarons. Need to get brave soon though! I have promised someone I will.

10 Things :: February 2012

10 Things on the Tenth :: February 2012
On the tenth of the month, a bunch of us share ten things. Any ten things. All different kinds of ten things. And you’re welcome to join us.

For February, I’m running late. I have a sort of megadeadline for a big project staring at me right now and I’m still trying to wrap up all the CHA posts (look for the rest of those through the weekend – I really want to be all done with that by Sunday and get back to other posts on Monday!) and I’m also wanting to get those boxes from earlier today out the door and into the post as soon as possible. So we can do basic things like… walk to the kitchen. It will be awesome.

I also wanted to write a sort of wrap-up post with my overall notes from CHA so in terms of efficiency, it’s time for two birds and one stone. Except I don’t want to throw stones at birds. Not ever. But I do want to tell you ten things that struck me at CHA this year.

chevron paper
1. Everybody loves a chevron.
This was the most obvious trend and it appeared at almost every booth, and it cracked me up that it was unanimously termed the ‘chevron’ and never the ‘zig-zag’, though if someone said ‘what’s a chevron?’ the answer was invariably ‘you know, a zig-zag’. Love it. And clearly I’m loving this trend as I really didn’t see a single chevron paper that I didn’t want to add to my shopping list. Look for 2012 to be the year of the zig-zag layouts.

2. Tape and twine must have an awesome profit margin.
I only say that because nearly every manufacturer added washi tape and coloured twine to their collections this year. (Trust me, nothing really has an ‘awesome’ profit margin in scrapbooking. But it did make me giggle that so many companies must have looked at those two products and thought they made good business sense.) And when I was working for Jenni Bowlin, who didn’t add tape and twine to her collections? Buyers specifically said ‘and where is the tape and twine?’. In a serious tone. Not sarcasm. And this happened multiple times throughout the day. That’s just how much tape and twine was scattered around the show floor.

3. Hype marketing is gone.
The show takes up physically less space now than a few years ago. I think the non-paper craft manufacturers have really decreased in exhibitors – I’m sure two years ago we were still seeing a lot of cake decorating and wood blanks and more yarn companies on the floor, and of course we’ve lost many companies in the scrapbook world too. The show used to include the basement, but everyone is on the same floor these days. There used to be so many exhibitors that it was difficult to see the full show in three or four days, so companies really tried to hype their booth so you would seek it out. They would give away t-shirts and badges and bags and hats and all sorts of things with their name and booth number so you would see it and be reminded that you needed to get there and check out their new stuff. To encourage people to wear all that branding, there were lots of on-the-spot prizes given to random people wearing the free stuff. Sometimes enough companies would do this sort of thing that it seemed like people were walking billboards! And really, there wasn’t much of that this year at all. Just an observation. My guess is that if the show is small enough to see everything, the expense of the hype marketing goods and giveaways just isn’t worthwhile. (But that’s my guess, of course.)

clever handmade
4. We like a good comeback.
There was a lot of good discussion about the return of Heidi Grace Kress and Heidi Swapp. Literally every single comment I heard about both designers and their respective lines was positive. There was good buzz about some other things that made a return after a bit of an absence too – like the new Dear Lizzy line (which just hit Two Peas here by the way!), the return of BasicGrey after their decision to skip the summer show and Margie Romney-Aslett now happily designing at Bazzill.

5. Some companies are sorely missed.
We all have our favourites who aren’t in this game any more. Mine is Sassafras. I’m sure I’ll get over it some day, but it’s not now. KI Memories were missing from the floor but haven’t closed their doors – they recently launched a new digital set-up and shipped the Hot Date paper line to stores. Let’s hope this is a successful regrouping and we see them back very soon.

6. This isn’t the time for new exhibitors.
Newer names in scrapbooking, like Ormolu and Elle’s Studio, are following a very different business model these days. Is it possible to become a major player and never sell at CHA? Possibly – if the company is happy to grow at a steadier pace rather than go to the show in hopes of becoming a major player straight away. But really, there were very few new exhibitors and many that were technically ‘new’ were comebacks of some sort. So we can still have new in the industry without new at the show… which is a shift.

patterned paper display
7. Things are simpler.
This show is expensive enough when it comes to paying for the booth space and fixtures, shipping everything in giant crates, employees, travel and so on and so forth. It appears that manufacturers have chosen to reserve the extra expense that comes in commissioning huge booth endeavours with custom carpentry and so forth. Instead, we see companies using displays they can use at multiple shows, with simple branding and products and project samples easy to see. Not so many layouts blown up to four feet square, not so many walls in crazy accent colours or anything like that. That said, in general there were fewer sample projects and in talking to store owners (and sometimes just listening to store owners as they shopped), I think there are certain products that would have been better sold with examples that effectively showed a product in use. Simple booths can be great, but not at the expense of letting buyers see just how awesome it would be to have this amazing piece of paper that will let you make this fabulous project. I do wonder how many manufacturers are aware of which projects on their booth did and didn’t sell product. (I know, if I didn’t have things like that on my mind, combined with a lifetime of random song lyrics, I could totally find the cure for the common cold or something. But sadly, this is what plays on my mind.)

Of course, we’re also seeing simpler innovations rather than big risk products. In almost every case, I think that’s a good thing for this point in the market. There were a few things out there that confused me a little, but by and large the floor was filled with products that will be attractive to the scrapping masses rather than something totally oddball that will only appear to a select few.

hexagon paper
8. Hexagons are cool.
They are. They aren’t circles. Nor rectangles. Nor squares. So we can throw them into layering as something new. Simple, but different. Hexagons were big with Jenni Bowlin Studios and Rhonna’s line for My Mind’s Eye and a few bits and pieces elsewhere too.

9. If my normal life were like CHA, I would be exhausted and not fit into any of my clothes.
I am never prepared for the crazy hours that happen at CHA. It seems like you can get so much done in four days, but it’s almost every hour of those four days. At the end, no one has slept properly for at least a week, as the last few days of preparation are usually a bit mad too. And all the big meetings happen over food. CHA is basically the only time in my life when I schedule every single meal for several days. I love the energy and the ideas and the getting to talk to people I don’t see the rest of the year, but oh my goodness, at the end my body is seriously asking me to lay off the cheesecake and go to bed. (In fact, after the show closed, I meant to just sit and veg for a couple minutes while I went through my notebook, at about 6:30pm. I still needed to book my ride to the airport the next day. Next thing I knew it was 6:30am and I still had my notebook on my lap. Oh wow, that was not the plan.)

10. I never get tired of looking at paper.
A few of you have commented on things like ‘doesn’t it all blur into one?’ and I’m sure it does for some, because there really is a lot of stuff entering the brain at once. But I really do have a childlike love of paper and every new line that I like still makes me exclaim. I talk to paper at trade shows. Not like an actual conversation, I hope. I assure the paper doesn’t usually talk back. But all those words I overuse in life? Lovely, amazing, cute, lush, brilliant, fab? I find myself saying them time and time again. So every year when I decide if this trip will be worthwhile, I finish the show thinking it has been more worthwhile than ever. Looking at paper is almost as awesome as making things from paper.

And if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s about time I go do that now.

10 Things :: January 2012

10 Things on the Tenth
scrapbook page
On the tenth of the month, a bunch of us share ten things. Any ten things. All different kinds of ten things. And you’re welcome to join us.

For January, I’m sharing my ten favourite scrapbook pages from 2011. At the bottom of this post, link up your own ten things on absolutely any topic you fancy, and click around to see other lists of ten!

And my ten pages… in order of when they were made, I do believe.
1. He is only somewhat mad, designed for Jenni Bowlin Studio and Ella Publishing. When we arrived home, the first few pages I made felt completely strange, like paper and glue was a foreign concept. This was the page that marked my turning point. Making this made me think happy things about crafting again. (See full page here.)

scrapbook page
2. Overnight Train, with a giant photo that still makes me nervous, having later found out The Boy snapped it by hanging out the side of the train. Designed for the garden at Two Peas, and one of my most popular pages there this year, but I like it more than the most popular. Go figure.

scrapbook page
3. San Telmo, one of just two scrapbook pages I’ve completed about the South American part of our trip. Designed for Kelly Purkey’s Sketchbook class, and based on one of her sketches.

scrapbook page
4. Travel Well, a page designed for the garden at Two Peas, which ended up naming an episode of the Paperclipping Roundtable, when we got to talk about scrapbooking travel. Orange and turquoise: who knew?

scrapbook page
5. Seaside Hike, a scrapbook page with a bunch of mists and my favourite product from 2011: Foldies! Designed for Two Peas as a community challenge.

scrapbook page
6. Siem Reap, based on the sketch challenge I set the participants in the ScrapFactor competition, and one of the very first videos I posted here. Love the layers and circles and just the sheer number of ways you can use this sort of design with different supplies. Plus Cambodia. Sigh.

scrapbook page
7. On Stage, a layout and a half, with a rather special photo and lots of writing. Pages with that combination make me very happy indeed. (More details here.)

scrapbook page
8. Rock & Roll Romance, a funny little layout in that I really like it but no one else seems to think much of it. Maybe it’s because it’s a double page. Maybe it’s because no one but us thinks it’s funny that we crashed a concert to get a wedding picture. That’s okay. It has a special place in my heart even if no one else loves this layout.

scrapbook page
9. Inspiration Found, from a day of crafting with an absolute mess of stuff on my desk and just layering until I couldn’t layer any more. I love it, and in the end it was one of the pages I sent to American Crafts for consideration and they must have liked it too. Good times. (Full page here).

scrapbook page
10. Goodbye Australia, a page to close one volume of our travel albums, and featured in a prompt of Pretty Paper Party, an online class. (Though the class has finished its live run, it is available to be taken at your own pace at any time.)

Runner-up layouts include this project (my most-viewed project ever at Two Peas), any of the pages made for the scrapbooking with girl power post and the giant rose layout tutorial I made for the JBS newsletter.

10 Things :: December 2011

10 things :: christmas craft projects
advent calendar
It’s the tenth of December? How can that be? But however that happened, it means it is time for 10 Things on the Tenth. For December, I’m going with ten different Christmas crafting projects you can find here in the archives. You’re welcome to join in the 10 Things fun with a list of absolutely anything you fancy – as long it is a list of ten. Link us up at the bottom of this post.

1. This Hollyday Advent Calendar is what houses our countdown treats this year.

christmas recipe box
2. The Christmas recipe box is an older project but so easy to update with your favourite papers and such. That post includes the recipe card printable too.

3. Ornaments made from tiny canvases and digital elements printed onto photo paper make it easy to create a really unique tree.

fabric scrap advent calendar
4. For some simple upcycling, try the fabric scrap advent calendar which is a quick crafty make.

vintage suitcase christmas decorations
5. Last year we moved our Christmas decorating to a suitcase.

five ideas for punched decorations
6. SJ shares 5 ideas for punched Christmas decorations in a guest post that is definitely worth a read.

7. Christmas garland to hang around the tree or from a shelf.

coffee cup book
8. This particular coffee cup book isn’t Christmas themed but there is a special Christmas themed kit for that here, perfect if you have a love of the red cups this time of year!

9. Speaking of other ideas that could easily be adapted to Christmas, I would love to make a cake with Christmas bunting soon!

10. And to save me from picking just one, find all this year’s Christmas guest posts here. Love those ideas for layouts, cards and decorating with paper crafting.

10 Things :: November 2011

10 things :: my favourite Christmas journal entries
Christmas scrapbook page
It’s the tenth of the month – and that means a bunch of us share ten things. Any things, as long as there are ten of them! (You’re welcome to join in!) This month, I’ve picked ten of my favourite Christmas journal entries from all my books over the years. I hope you enjoy!

First up: a reflective entry from Christmas 2010, with a photo from a very 1980s Christmas. (By the way, if you have eighties photos to scrapbook, have a listen to the most recent Paperclipping Roundtable, wherein Noell, Nancy and I talk about those photos and Noell and I are banned from singing the Jem theme tune for copyright reasons. But you know, we really are truly, truly, truly outrageous, even if we’re not allowed to sing on the air.)

journal your christmas scrapbook page
My 2006 album doesn’t include many photographs at all, mostly because I didn’t have a very useful printer at the time! This photo was cut from the Christmas issue of Martha Stewart magazine that year, and somehow it inspired the rest of the design (really simple, yet I still really like it) and the thoughts about how Christmas is best enjoyed when embracing the same ideas that made it magical as a child.

journal your christmas scrapbook page
From 2010, the chance to include a ‘first Christmas’ page with photos of our now-toddler nephew. Babies in Santa suits can melt even the hardest of hearts, surely? I love these page protectors (from the Pink Paislee portfolio album released last year) for not having to pick just one or two favourite images.

journal your christmas scrapbook
For my 2009-2010 album, I followed the same format throughout the book: one full size 8×8 photo and an 8×8 page with journaling and embellishment on each double-page spread. There is a bit of a delayed finish with this process, as once I had settled on the idea and printed a few example photos to make sure it would work, I decided I would wait until the journal was finished and order all the 8×8 prints at once so I could have the quality and the affordability of actual photos rather than home-printed images. So the book looked quite bare with every other page missing, until the very end of the project when I opened this amazing parcel of forty 8×8 prints from the Christmas just gone, and in the end this is my absolute favourite format for all the journals I have done. (ETA: The 8×8 prints came from Photobox – they have that in their list of sizes so they didn’t need trimming.)

I continue my Christmas journal through to the sixth of January, so it includes the new year. On the first day of 2010, we took an early morning walk to the river and this photo became quite important to my clarity through all that would come of a rather more-dramatic-than-usual year on the calendar.

journal your christmas scrapbook page
I loved the full page 8×8 photos from 2009 so much that I tried to find ways to include them in 2010 too without using the exact same treatment. So instead of the plain photo on a facing page, I added the embellishment and journaling right on top of the 8×8 photo of a Christmas train display. The trains came from all different enthusiasts in my hometown, and they staged them together in this giant Christmas-themed train world and you could go see it at the big train station. Even to someone who doesn’t really imagine ever having a train set in her home, the finished product was very cool. Documenting community efforts like that – even if it’s just with a photo – is something that really makes me happy to have these albums.

journal your christmas scrapbook page
From 2009, one of my favourite entries in terms of embellishments. Viewmaster still says Christmas or sight-seeing to me, as I would look forward to new reels as a Christmas present and my favourites were tourist reels from different cities of the world. I had quite a few reels of amazing natural places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, but London and Paris were my most cherished and I would click through them hundreds of times, by the light of a bedside lamp and huddled under a pink electric blanket. When I found someone selling off an old Viewmaster collection a few years ago, I used the duplicates as fair game to scrapbook, and turning to this page brings me back to such a specific memory.

journal your christmas scrapbook page
This page from 2006 makes me giggle to see how my perspective has changed in just a few years. Not that I don’t still extol the virtues of the occasional eggnog latte and indulge in any excuse to bake gingerbread latte cupcakes, but that I make a page with this same thought most every year, and its tone has changed from tangible luxuries to things that are far more grand and important in the world. Together, they would read a little like comparing red cups to world peace, and that makes these journals a true documentation of my own changes over the years.

journal your christmas scrapbook page
From 2007, a page I love purely because it felt luxurious to use my favourite transparency as a full page. I love that the repetitive nature of this project has made me brave enough to try things that may or may not work. This particular album is not my most polished (and I have Christmas journals that I don’t feel work visually at all and have not a single page represented here), but I learned a great deal from making it (and the writing in those less-than-great visual journals is still valuable to me).

journal your christmas scrapbook page
I love pages that are more than what they seem. This looks like just embellishment, and while it does use a combination I adore (woodgrain letters on Christmas green paper), its real meaning is completely hidden, as the back of each of those flashcards is folded with an accordion of paper, filled with handwritten memories of Christmases past. But you wouldn’t know that unless I told you or you were being a little more nosy inquisitive than the average bear. This is from my 2009 album.

journal your christmas scrapbook page
An extra page I created for my 2006 album when I realised we had participants from thirty different countries. There are even more now and every new country makes me so excited! The simplistic journaling came from a conversation in one my English classes earlier that day, when we were discussing how poets use colour and how sometimes the symbolic meaning of a colour is more obvious than others, and there had been a lovely bit of student debate wondering if green or blue was more appropriate for poetic imagery of the planet, and someone had made a beautiful point that while percentage-wise, there may be more blue sea than green land, our viewpoint is that of the land, and unless the poet wanted to make a specific point about the sea, then green would be more relevant to both reader and writer. It was a beautifully organic moment that I can’t really recreate, but this reminds me of the wholeness of that very good day.

Journal your Christmas starts again on the first of December and you can join us at any time. Or see other Ten Things posts from throughout 2011.

10 Things :: October 2011

10 things on the 10th
10 things on the 10th :: birthday themed
I was born in October, a long, long time ago. Or maybe not so long ago. Maybe like the perfect number of years ago. October is the tenth month of the year. So if today is your birthday, you could share ten birthday things on the tenth of the tenth month. That would be cool.

But I was born on the eighth. The eighth of the tenth. And I’m going to call that close enough and share ten things on the tenth – ten things that happened on my birthday this year. It would be cooler if today was my birthday but it also wouldn’t have given me time to write the post in advance. And also eight is my favourite number. So I’m okay with this ten things on the tenth of the tenth about the…. eighth. Did ya catch all that?

You are very welcome to join in with ten of your own things today – this tenth day of the month. On any theme you like. We do this every month, and it’s a great way to come up with topics that work for both your blog and potential scrapbook pages!

So I bring you: 10 things that made my birthday awesome this year.

10 things
1. I accidentally opened one present early and had to wrap it up again with a bunch of packing tape so I could open it again for real. I say accidentally. I mean I received an unexpected parcel with a return address. I emailed the person who lives at that return address and said ‘oooh, surprise parcel!’ and she replied with OPEN IT OPEN IT OPEN IT. Okay, maybe not all in capital letters. Maybe not three times. But she definitely told me to open it. So I did, and I found this amazing present inside. But it was a joint present and the other gift giver was not impressed. So I promised to wrap it back up and open it again and STILL BE SURPRISED. And I love it so very much that I did just that and it was just as exciting to open the second time. Oh happy day, indeed.

2. The Boy made me pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. And they were amazing. (He says if you want a fine gentleman in your homestead to treat you with such things, you will want to suggest to them that Martha Stewart’s website is not just for girls and also find the pumpkin in the store because not all boys understand where this is located. The rest is easy, he reports. And totally yum, I report.)

10 things :: ork posters london neighbourhoods
3. We hit up Renegade, the first London event from the hippest of craft fairs. Yes, The Boy went to a craft fair. He bought me the new London Neighbourhoods print from Ork Posters, which I love because it has our neighbourhood on it and I am a bit sappy like that.

10 things :: milkbar, pineapple studios
4. It was a day of many flat whites. This was the second of the day, at MilkBar in Soho. When it comes to good coffee, there is no such thing as too much of a good thing. (Which is easier for me to say because I drink decaf. The Boy may have been a bit jittery.)

5. If I don’t have to work, Saturday is dancing day. Or more specifically, dance-till-you-can-barely-stand day, because I stay for an extra class on Saturdays and usually find I pay for this on a very weary Sunday morning. And since we had plans in the morning and plans in the evening Saturday afternoon could still be dance-till-you-can-barely-stand day and this made me very happy indeed.

10 things :: cupcakes from ella's bakehouse
6. In the break between classes, we had cupcakes. With sparkles.

7. And when I could barely stand, I tried to change back into clothes that did not make me look like I just ran a marathon in a rainstorm so we could go out for food that is fun to say. Seriously, food tastes better if it is fun to say, right? So okonomiyaki has to be pretty awesome just by that rule. The first time I ever had okonomiyaki was from a street vendor in a park in Tokyo and it was horrible. It was actually our first meal in Japan and I was instantly terrified that this would be true for all the rest of our food in Japan and I instantly had flashes of YOU ONLY LOVE FAKE JAPANESE FOOD AND YOU WILL NOT ACTUALLY WANT TO EAT ANYTHING HERE. I imagined going home looking like I’d been on the most amazing two week diet. Instead, I found it was just one oddity and I spent the rest of my time in Japan mostly ordering mystery foods and marvelling at how fabulous they were. Not so much the diet country for me. So anyway, okonomiyaki is not horrible. It is completely lush and they cook it for you on the table, which means it’s not only fun to say, but it’s fun to watch. Love it. Also there was a dessert that involved brandy-soaked biscuits, cinnamon ice cream, coffee jelly and whipped cream. Oh coffee jelly, how I miss your combination of what is at once completely wrong and completely right. But you can get coffee jelly and okonomiyaki at Abeno. So we did.

10 things :: notes & coffee
8. Notes Music and Coffee opened while we were away and we’ve been meaning to go there properly and hadn’t. So we went there for our final round of flat whites. And we shall return. This place used to be a classical music store, basically, and when that closed, instead of just opening it as something entirely different, the new owners have kept the music and films but added coffee plus food, wine, the whole shebang. I want to go back in the daylight and take some real pictures because the refit of the space is gorgeous. I can’t believe such a lovely space was there all along. Anyway, highly recommended.

10 things :: old rotary phone
9. Eventually we headed home and hooked up one of my presents: an old rotary phone. I am very excited about this and hope people other than random sales robots phone it. Also we have realised we have a printing press, a typewriter, plenty of vintage cameras and now a rotary phone as working items in our home… so now I’m wondering what other obsolete appliances we need to collect and put to work. Suggestions on a postcard, please.

10. Throughout all this and all the other good things that didn’t fit in this list of ten, I was thoroughly spoilt and reminded that life is good and people are sweet and kind and inspiring. And sweet messages from near and far helped me put aside a few things that have been occupying too much of my head lately and for twenty-four hours, I didn’t think of them at all. Like the best present of all was this collective energy from everybody else putting my thoughts in order. And that may have left my brain clear enough to going around singing It’s my biiiiiirthdaaaaaay! with much excitement.

And these ten things made this day very good for my soul.

Now… what ten things are you going to share today? It can be absolutely anything as long as it’s ten!! When you’ve posted, leave a link below and have a very fabulous tenth of October!

10 Things (September 2011)

10 Things on the tenth
ten things i love to photograph
On the tenth of the month, we write lists of ten things. Ten of any types of things you would like to share! This month, in celebration of Camera School, I wanted to share ten things I love to photograph. Simple!

sigur ros - wolverhampton




family portrait

wedding portrait
Friends in fancy footwear.


Snow days.

blue sky
Blue skies.

And blue seas.

Now it’s your turn – blog ten things or scrapbook ten things and upload your page to an online gallery, and share a link here:

May the tenth of September treat you very well indeed!


10 Things (July 2011)

10 things
portland oregon white stag sign
This month, I’m dedicating my ten things post to a list of ten things I loved in Portland, Oregon, where I spent a week working, wandering and generally trying to keep my eyes open to everything I passed.

1. Seriously amazing breakfast made straight from the garden by Jean, a bnb hostess who is better known as the Measure-Free Hippie Cook. She is seriously cool, her food is seriously fab and her guest room is a fabulous place to stay. (You can find her here on Airbnb.)

vintage lunch boxes
2. Vintage everything, pretty much everywhere. I’m not sure there is anywhere else in the world that has embraced the reuse of older items on such a grand scale. There’s an Ikea in this town but I’m kinda wondering how it stays in business, as it seems like much less of this community is about all things new.

3. On a related note, the estate sales here are pretty fabulous and I may have picked up some treasures for pennies and then struggled to carry them around all day with all my work gear (camera, laptop, notebooks) while wearing flip-flops (fail).

rhubarb danish + stumptown coffee
4. All things rhubarb and coffee. Rhubarb muffins. Rhubarb pie. And the very best idea ever: rhubarb danishes. And lovely coffee via Stumptown and other Portland roasteries. (I have a real love of trying small local roasters when I go somewhere new, but so far my personal world champion medal goes to Sensory Lab in Melbourne, which I really wish was my local. Aside from the fact I would spend approximately 97.2 percent of my annual earnings on their coffee. So maybe it’s a safe distance.)

5. Gourmet food carts. Street food at an entirely different level. I know this is also taking off in New York and a few other cities where the rent makes it ridiculous to open a restaurant, and I would love to see it here in London. I ate at six different carts and every single meal was fabulous, and all six focused on making dishes from fresh and mostly local ingredients. The kitchens are open so you can see exactly what’s going on (which is something I love about street food in general and I always prefer street kitchens to carts that just sell something that was made elsewhere… though I do bend the rules for baked goods, as it’s pretty tough to bake a cake on a bicycle).

6. Bicycles in general. Lots of people on bicycles in Portland. Little bicycles, big bicycles and adorably customised bicycles. Except I am the wobbliest bicycle rider perhaps anywhere so I just walked. But I still like towns where bicycles are part of the scenery. Just don’t make me turn a corner on one.

photo booth @ ace hotel, portland
7. Real photo booths that produce photo strips that smell like a darkroom.

8. Meeting some of the loveliest people who volunteered to show me around their happy city. I am trying to do this more and more in my own town because it breaks my heart when people say they don’t like London. I love this place and there truly is something for everyone if you know where to look. Meeting locals who are excited to show you their favourite places? It says a lot about a place. And Portlanders seem to be Portland’s biggest fans. That is pretty cool.

9. The crazily awesome book store, specifically the children’s section where I could happily live for at least a week. I found myself half in awe of their fabulous collection of books and half wanting to write lesson plans to go along with titles I wish more people would read.

sitting on the sidewalk in the sun
10. Beautiful weather with sunshine but not ridiculous heat. Which was rather polite of a city known for rain. Perfect for sitting on the pavement and making plans for taking over the world in best possible ways. (Though actually most of my favourite cities in the entire world? Known for rain. I’m cool with that.)

There are other people blogging Ten Things today too, and you’re welcome to join us if you like! Blog your ten things on the tenth and add your link – easy! Then click through to visit other participating blogs to meet some new friends and revisit old favourites. We’ll be doing this every month, always on the tenth! See last month’s posts here.