Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Someday Soon

Dunno if anyone’s noticed, but I’ve got in a bit of a habit of tinkering with the background and buttons and stuff on this blog. I decided one day that I wanted a new background and couldn’t find one I liked online so decided to make my own using bits and pieces of digiscrap kits I have on my computer. It’s not been going well. I’m not exactly adept when it comes to the whole digital designing carryon (plus I don’t even have Photoshop anymore since my laptop packed in) and as a result I’m having trouble creating something that’s just right. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep trying.

Anyway, I just thought I should point out that things may keep changing round here for the next wee while. Hopefully someday soon I’ll have this place looking exactly as I want it and then I can tell my friends and fiancé about it. I feel kinda bad sometimes about not telling them but, at the same time, it’s fun having a secret!

For now though I want to show my appreciation to my newest follower. Greetings to Steam Spectre! Ms Spectre has two blogs that I love, and I’m not just saying that. Both are packed to the brim with loveliness, like the image below. Check them out here and here.

I know I’ve been filling a lot of space of late giving shout outs to my new blogger friends, but I’m always just so impressed with their blogs that I feel I have to. In fact, in my wanderings 'round blogland I’m constantly awed by the quality of the personal spaces people have carved out for themselves. I would put a blogroll in my sidebar, only it'd be so long you’d probably have to take a day off work to scroll through it. It seems that everyday I find a new blog I love. And I couldn’t just put up the ones I think are the best 'cause I’d feel too guilty leaving anyone out. Maybe that’s something I’ll sort out someday soon too.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Double Trouble

How lovely! I was just about to post my appreciation to my newest follower when I noticed I have to give double thanks today. First of all, a big hello to Gerreiro das Emoções. Gerreiro has two poem packed blogs that are both in Portuguese but that are filled with pretty visuals and, as ever, can be translated in a couple of clicks.

Secondly, thank you to Lori! I found her page- The Pixie Knoll- the other day and fell in love with her little creations. Lori makes art dolls and figures of fairies and the like which you can find on her blog along with illustrative stories to accompany them. She also posts pictures of the creative process and I find the images of the WIPs, as she calls them, just as beautiful in their striking simplicity. Here’s a couple of her latest characters:

Gypsy Spirit


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Not Another Alice Post

So just about everyone has seen Alice by now and the jury’s still out. Personally I enjoyed it, but I can also understand why so many people were disappointed. There’s great deal of expectation when it comes to reworking such a well loved story.  The only thing that surprises me is that there’s all this fuss now even though there’s been countless film versions of Alice over the years that have past by without comment. What’s so different about this one? Oh yea, a certain actor/director combo and a box-office opening. That’d do it.

Anyway, this isn’t a post about the film (god knows, there’s already no shortage of them out in blogland). I’m actually only mentioning it because it’s recent enough and it’s something to say as an introduction to these enchanting images by pareeerica. I’ve just spent the evening browsing through her Flickr account and I love her pictures so much I’m going to have to remember to share some more. Enjoy!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sshh! Or She’ll Get You

Oh ho, another follower! Thanks KY Warrior Librarian. (What a great name, ‘warrior librarian’.) KY lives over at Reader’s Corner where she shares her literary lookout on life. Put the kettle on and call in for a wee visit.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yet More Japanese Animation

Another couple of videos from Digital Stadium on NHK. The first one takes a little while to buffer but it is truly, truly worth it. I don’t want to even begin to describe it, just trust me- if you love fairytales and children’s stories you’ll adore it. I recommend watching the second one just before bedtime, it’s really rather relaxing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pots, For Tea

I really want to start collecting something but it occurred to me that I’ve neither the space nor the cash to make a decent go of it. No doubt my fiancé would claim I already do collect something- rubbish. He wouldn’t be half wrong either.

It doesn’t matter, however, because I’m going to win the lotto and when I do I’m buying a big period cottage in the West Country and starting a teapot collection. It’ll live at the back of the kitchen with the black and white checked floor.

I don’t mean the kind of teapots that real collectors collect, though. I like teapots to look more or less like teapots, not a country stove or Charles and Diana. Just some simple, some not so simple, but all together lovely vessels created to brew the most precious plant on god’s green earth. Like these:



And here are some links for anyone as geeky as me: 

(Subtitled ‘The Need for Teapots’, opened with the line “The story of teapots begins…”. Great Stuff.)

(A blog about teapots.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

'Neath the Starred and Leafy Sky

One of the most well loved poems of all time and my absolute favourite. It works to best effect when you keep in mind that it is The Traveller who is the spirit, not The Listeners.

"Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest's ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
"Is there anybody there?" he said.

But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.

But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.

And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:--
"Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word," he said.

Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

"The Listeners," by Walter de la Mare (1912)
Image by MaxD-Art

Monday, March 22, 2010

Buttons and Sea Monsters

Some more lovely things shared at First up today is this cute (as a) button wallpaper by Dutch company Studio Ditte.

Followed by these multimedia 3D artworks by J Shea.

You Are Now Free to Comment

Ruthie from A Fairy Tale of Inspiration has informed me that my comments aren’t working. Or rather that they weren’t working, I think I’ve fixed them now. I’m not sure if they were ever working and if it wasn’t for Ruthie I would’ve never known. So thank you! Oh, and I would just like state that I think you have one of the most beautiful blogs on the web.

I would also like to thank Antonio Alvarez Gordillo for becoming my fifth follower! Antonio is a painter and illustrator and although his site is in Spanish the images speak for themselves (and, of course, the page is easily translated). Here's a wee sample from his gallery:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Probably the Most Wonderful House in All the World

Just came across this via A Fairy Tale of Inspiration. I’ve spent many an hour pondering my dream home but my imagination has failed to deliver anything quite so wonderful as this stone cottage in the hills of Portugal.

Images by Jsome1

Fairy ‘Photography', Part I

Some otherworldly images by Maggie Barra via Fairies World. She also has a wonderful website, well worth a wee nosey:

I Spy...

Much appreciation to Emma JR for becoming my latest follower. Check out Emma's blog where she's documenting everyday of 2010 with a photograph.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pretty Things

I’ve been rambling too much here lately so today I’m just going to put up some random bits and pieces with as few words as possible. Enjoy it while it lasts!



Eyvinds Alchemy







Bettys Kitschen

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Magonus Saccatus Patricius- The Renegade Roman Celt

As usual I’m working this St Patrick’s day, as I have been every year since I was old enough to help out in my dad’s betting shop (i.e. 14). The powers that be seem to think that it makes some sort of sense to organise major racing festivals alongside public holidays. Who cares about the entertainment of the general population, what about my social life?! Well there was that one year I managed to get off. I was a member of the samba band in a local carnival group (cowbell number two). We were invited to join the main parade in Dublin and for our awesome amazingness we won best in show. Better days.

I suppose I shouldn’t be sniffing at the extra work during These Troubled Times. But I’m still miffed at missing all the fun. So to distract myself from my huff I’ve been thinking more about the man Patrick than all the craic I’ll not be having.

The way I see it, there are roughly three generally held views of our pointy-hatted patron. You can take the official line which paints him as the herald of Christianity in Ireland, banisher of snaky godless druids and bringer of holy light. Or, if your not that way inclined, you may see him as the big, bad persecutor of those poor native pagans, who were just minding their own business, living their simple spiritually fulfilling lives when he came and drove them out of their peaceful forest homes. Or- and this, I suspect, is the most generally held of the three- you know nor care little about Magonus Saccatus Patricius but you’re happy to raise a glass or two him anyway in thanks for the day off work (lucky sods).

I was brought up, like all good Irish Catholic schoolchildren, with view one and I remember always having to go to mass to get our shamrocks blessed before we could go to the parade. Later, when I was going through my half hearted teenage I-wanna-be-a-witch phase, I was quite adamant about view two.

But today I have another much more rock’n’roll view of Patrick. It’s the one that sees a working-class hero who risked his life to challenge the status-quo. Of an ex-slave who threw off his shackles and incited revolution. Yes, he drove out the druids. But these weren’t the nature loving wise men of mythology, these were the corrupt dictators of pre-medieval Europe. They were the ruling elite, subjugators and manipulators of the masses.

The ordinary pagans were serfs who had about as much respect for their leaders as the French did for Louis XVI. The only reason they hadn’t risen up before Patrick came along was that they were tied to Druid rule through their gods and religion. Like any decent despot the druid elder was a man of great spiritual gravitas. But then came the bearded man from Wales (or Brittany, or England, or wherever happens to be claiming him these days) who offered them a way out. They really didn’t care that he was peddling a new god, just as long as this one answered their prayers for a good harvest and a mild winter like the last ones did.

It was mostly thanks to Patrick that today we still celebrate the main pagan festivals only with Christian titles. He was a savvy one, young Pat, and realised all the people really wanted was a little love and reassurance, with the odd party thrown in.

Of course, there are many who would compare the above description of the druidic regime to that of the Catholic church in the proceeding centuries and question what Patrick really achieved. But you could say the very same about Jesus, and that is too tired and convoluted an argument to start here at the end of a post that’s way too long as it is. I've already probably bored to tears anyone who’s been unfortunate enough to read this far. Sorry about that.

Vintage images via The Graphics Fairy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Magical Macedonia

Those photos I put up yesterday look so drab, I do realise that. But it was a drab sort of day! Anyway, as an antidote take a look at these images of crystal clear perfection. I can feel the cool air fill my lungs just looking at them.

They belong to my little brother. He packed his bags and moved to Macedonia last month and as far as I know these pics were taken near the capital Struga. I’m so happy ‘cause he’s having a wonderful time. And that country looks stunning.

I think John’s planning on starting his own blog to share his photos and happenings and whenever he does I’ll post a link to it here.

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