Thursday, 9 August 2012

Holiday Reading.

I go on holiday tomorrow, and the thing that I am most looking forward to is finally getting a good bit of reading in. I thought I'd show you  guys which books I'll be taking with me. 

After a lot (2 hours) of deliberation, I finally settled on the following 7 books. The bottom row are books I'll be taking on the overnight ferry with me, as the chances of me sleeping are exceptionally slim. 

From top to bottom, left to right, the books are as follows: 

  • Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales
  • The Book of Air and Shadows - Michael Gruber
  • Magpies, Squirrels & Thieves; How the Victorians Collected the World - Jacqueline Yallop
  • 1984 - George Orwell
  • The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  • The Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defense; The Manly Art of Bartitsu as used against Professor Moriarty - E.W. Barton-Wright
  • A Journey of the Plague Year - Daniel Defoe 
I know that to some of you this may seem like a lot of books to take for a ten day holiday, but in my mind certain books are for certain things. 

The 'reading' books are The Book Thief, which I've already started, and The Book of Air and Shadows which I picked up from the Oxfam bookstore in Belper the other day. These are the books which I (hopefully) just fall into and don't come out of until I've finished. I'm always exceptionally picky over this kind of book. 

The 'I'm doing A level Literature, I need to read sensible books' books are A Journal of the Plague Year and 1984. I picked the Daniel Defoe up from the Oxfam store as well.

Then I have the 'maybe slightly boring or not particularly gripping' books which are the Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defense book and Magpies, Squirrels and Thieves. I normally read a few pages from books like this before I go to bed at night. As you can see, I'm about halfway through the Sherlock book already, I found it in a charity shop and it's actually kind of interesting. 

The last book doesn't really fit into a section as I was bought it as a present after I fell in love with the illustrations in a bookstore. Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales is an absolutely beautiful book, and I can't wait to finally get the time to see what the actual stories are like. (You see my background on this blog? It's a photo I took of the little cafe in Scarthin Books which is the bookstore where I saw this book.) 

The books which I wanted to take but couldn't quite justify are The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Keep Calm and Carry On which is a really cute book of quotations. I may or may not be quietly planning a way of sneaking them in without my brain noticing. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Art Project: Pages 4,5,6,7,8 & 9

I'm gonna have to think of a better way to title these posts. What if I do a fourteen page long project? :| 

So this page started as a kind of 2am-oh-look-let's-do-something kinda thing. And then I did the first part, at which point I realised that I had no idea how to carry on with it... 

To start off with I drew the profile of a woman's face on the outer sides of the two central pages. I then cut around the edges of this outline. 

I then cut out pieces of various patterned paper into squares (mostly origami paper) and glued them onto the outer sides of this shape. The photos from this were blurred because apparently at 2am I am fully capable of doing art but not of taking photographs of it. 

I then had a minor tantrum, moaned about not knowing what to do, and then continued with this project about two weeks later, at which point I started on the central ... area... 

Firstly I put down a layer of red tissue paper using watered down PVA. 

I then swirled some short pieces of string onto the red tissue paper (it was still slightly sticky, meaning the string would sort of stick down). If I was to do this again I would have used some thinner bits of string and had a more complex kind of pattern, but never mind... 

After that I did a layer of black tissue paper around the edges and then coated the whole thing again with red tissue paper, using copious amounts of watered down PVA. 

As you can see, it looked kinda strange... 

I finished this by trimming off the edges and gluing down a printed off background photo for each outer page (I used old holiday pics).




This is a pretty odd one, but I much prefer it to the oil one on pages 2 & 3 so I consider it to be an achievement. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

RedRock Fashion Challenge

Before strays who know me appear and begin laughing out loud at the 'F' word in the title of this post, I feel I should let you all know that fashion really isn't something that people relate me to. I tend to stick to what I feel comfortable in and, to be honest, if I was wearing what I put together for this blogging fashion challenge I would definitely not feel comfortable. However, I have always wanted to be the kind of person who could wander into my local Tesco's in a pair of Litas and feel completely normal, so putting together this kind of outfit has kind of always been a way of playing make-believe. I can dream can't I?! 

Anyhow, I put this together for the RedRock Fashion Blogger Challenge because it looked fun to do and I love playing around with stuff like this. 
I used two items of clothing from the RedRock website (also available on Asos) and then the rest of the items are all from Asos as I wanted to keep it all to as few places as possible. 
I have no idea how this would look on, but I was aiming to kind of clash some cutesy items with something a little more 'leather and studs'. At first I was going to go for a red, blue and white look, but after all of the Jubilee and London Olympics stuff that colour scheme was really beginning to make me a little queasy. 

RedRock- Pia Blouse £28.99,
RedRock-Tina Shorts £52.99,
ASOS- Ribbed Over The Knee Socks £4.00,
ASOS- Limited Edition Leather Stud Wrap Bracelet £15,
ASOS- Shard Articulated Necklace £10,
ASOS- Cambridge Satchel Company Black Leather 11" Satchel £90,
ASOS- ABEL Leather Lace Up Ankle Boot £80

If I'm honest, I'm really not sure about the boots or the necklace, but I just went with my gut instinct. I'd love to see how this would actually look like on a human, as oppose to a computer screen. Then again, I'd probably just cringe at how dreadful it would turn out... 
Also, apologies for how small these picture sets are (see also the July Wishlist post), the extra large size goes over the edges of my theme, but this one seems to small... I may have to re-vamp my theme... 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Wishlist: July 2012

I've been aiming to do one of these for a while, and almost did. However, literally just as I'd finished my laptop overheated and the entire thing was lost. My screams could probably be heard in Narnia. 

Yumi- City Print Dress £40,
Warehouse- Floral Jacket £30,
Zara TRF- Ripped Skinny Jeans £12.99,
Rock 'N Rose- Tahani Vintage Snake Wrap Ring £11,
Superdrug- Essie Nail Polish Mint Candy Apple £7.99,
Topshop- Lips In Infrared £8,
Kukee- Skull Bangle Bracelet £3.50

I've wanted this dress ever since I first visited the Yumi website, but having recently thrifted a NewLook dress in a very similar print for just £6, I don't think I could really justify it.

This floral jacket for Warehouse is definitely not something many people would think I'd want, but I actually think that this would look pretty cool paired with just a white vest top and some skinny jeans.

Talking of skinny jeans, the only pair that I even own at the moment are my Jack Wills super skinny jeans, which are fabulous, but sometimes feel a little dark to wear in hot weather. Hence why I love these ripped style skinnies in Zara, and for only £13, why not?!

I've actually been looking for a bangle exactly like this ring in Rock 'N Rose, but failing to find one cheap enough/simple enough, I've now set my heart on it in ring form instead.

Having started to grow my nails a little longer and beginning to paint them again, I discovered that my all time favourite nail polish from Rimmel London Lycra Pro (shade 500/Peppermint) has become completely impossible to apply. After spending ages trying to find it once more I instead saw this Essie polish in a similar tone. WANT.

This lipstick is entirely Zoella's fault. I've fallen into the never ending tunnel of orange. Help, someone, please. (I've actually been looking for this since sometime around May, but none of the Topshops that I visit regularly have a makeup section.)

Finally, I for some unknown reason desperately want the gold tone version of this little skull bangle from Kukee. I instantly fell in love with this website (I'll give you three guesses as to why...) and this is definitely my favourite item.

I may actually do a Charity Shop haul at some point in the near future, but I'm not entirely sure if it's worth it.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Art Project: Pages 2&3

So I'm not entirely sure what the hell happened here. I promised to blog each page, I definitely did not promise that each page would be worth blogging about.
I always wanted to try oil painting and, although I will actually be taught it next year with proper equipment and actually knowing what I'll be doing, I figured I might as well give it a shot now. So, equipped with a £5 pack of Impressions oil paints from a charity shop and my Great Grandfather's old, digustingly sticky bottle of Windsor and Newton medium, I set about creating Mr. Woozle. 

Cheap and cheerful (or not so cheerful, but definitely cheap...) Impressions oil paints. 

80+ year old medium (I think from the way it looks you can probably guess how bad it stank). 

(I know, it looks absolutely disgusting.) 

Before starting, I glued down the background. For this I used some blue, home made paper. I thought this would look cool because it was so textured, but I later discovered that it went extremely fluffy, which was not conducive to painting.

(Obviously at some point I actually stuck this down, but I clearly forgot to photograph that part.)

Apologies, but during painting I got so frustrated and confused with the paints, and the smell of the medium was so dreadful that I wanted to vomit, that I completely forgot to take any photos. Basically, I applied a thinned down layer of lemon yellow, then into that blended a thicker layer of yellow ochre from the outside in. 
To add shadow and definition, I used burnt sienna and very tiny amounts of black. On the teeth I used white and a mixture of the aforementioned colours. 
To finish this off I used some soft pastels to add a little more definition, but this was only for a couple of highlights and shadows. 

As you can see, Mr. Woozel is not particularly fantastic, but at least I tried, right? 


I may have to edit this later on... 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Art Project: Page 1

I'm going to be blogging each page I do (hopefully) in my Art A Level sketchbook which is our summer project. I got my dad to go out and snaffle the last A6 ringbound sketchbook in our entire city in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and then decided to kick start it before I forget about it. 

I was inspired by the lyrics of Christina Perri's 'Bang Bang Bang  ('scuse the video, WMC keeps blocking it) and decided to do a kind of visual-lyrics kinda thing...
I started by drawing out a sketch of the layout (photo's unfortunately not in focus) and then tracing the shape of the speech bubbles and copying that onto some card:

I then cut the shapes out and covered the pieces which would go in the middle with origami paper (because it's pretty).

I then painted the other four pieces in red and blue acrylic paint and then did a thin layer of newspaper Papier-mâché on the page that I would be using in my sketchbook. 

I am fully aware that these are probably the worst quality photos you have ever seen; they were taken on my phone. 

After the newspaper had dried I put a piece of Japanese calligraphy paper over the top and covered it in a layer of water and PVA, and then once that had dried just a thick layer of plain PVA (for shininess).

On the speech bubbles I painted the shape of the words on in white acrylic using a pointed chopstick and then when that had dried wrote the necessary lyrics on top using a biro and a Sharpie. 
Finally, I coated each speech bubble in clear nail varnish (glossiness) and glued them onto the background. To finish, I wrote the remaining lyrics in what seemed like a sensible place with Sharpie and splattered some watered down red paint over the top. 

Overall this took me about 5ish hours, excluding sleeping, eating, and messing around on YouTube. I probably won't explain every page in as much detail, but I will definitely make a post about each page I do!