Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pretty Paper Pictures

As I was browsing Helen Musselwhite’s delightful gallery tonight I started to realise I recognised a few of her folky forest images even though it was my fist visit to her site. That’s because they've popped up on a few other blogs before. She’s got hundreds of images, though, and I don’t think I’d seen any of these ones here. Even if any of you have already seen them they’re so charming I’m sure you won’t mind a second viewing.

You know, these have literally inspired me. I can’t draw anything more than stick figures and I’ve never ‘done art’ in my life. (By that I mean I gave it up at the start of secondary school because I had a choice between it and music. I played the guitar, you see, and thought it was really cool. Worst decision ever considering I‘m clinically tone deaf. Who thinks it’s a good idea to let 13-year-olds make these choices?)

That said, when it comes to sitting cutting up bits of paper for hours on end I’m as happy as a pig in the proverbial. And so I briefly delved into the whole paper collage thing a few months ago. Unsurprisingly, my stuff ending up looking like what a four-year-old takes home to their mammy. Seriously, ‘shabby’ doesn’t quite cover it. However, I’ve about three unfinished ‘things’ lying around that I’m now toying with trying to salvage. Practice makes perfect, as they say, though I’d happily settle for anything almost half decent.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Whimsical Watercolours

More wonderful art today, found via my daily trip to A Fairytale of Inspiration. I know this is the second time I’ve borrowed from that most beautiful blog but, as the title suggests, it certainly does inspire!

Anyway, these magical pieces are by a Scottish girl who goes by the name of Autumn Alchemy, aka Red Squirrel. (Even her aliases conjure up images of enchanted forests and dusty old tomes.) Needless to say, I adore them. Thanks for sharing her with the world Ruthie!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Inishowen in Colour

When it comes to art I think my favourite medium has to be ink and acrylic. That makes me sound like I know what I’m talking about, which I don’t. Anytime I ever picked up a paint brush the only thing I made was a mess. But as the man says, I know what I like and I like these.

Maybe I’m a bit biased, though, because they are by another local artist and yet again most of his paintings are of the little peninsula where I live. The one above is of An Grianan of Aileach, for example, a place which I thought I’d talk a lot of on this blog when I first started, but which seems to have fallen by the wayside. Maybe I’ll do a Grianan post someday soon.

Anyway, they’re by a man named John Quigley. If his work reminds you of Jim Fitzpatrick then you’ve a good eye; the two men worked together for over a decade. Mr Quigley has also had art commissioned by Paramount Studios, Riverdance and Guinness, among others, while Seamus Heaney and the late Senator Edward Kennedy are just some of the notable names to have given his work a home. A local boy done good, from the way I see it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stupid Fuzzy Brain = Fairy Free Zone

So I think I have man flu, or at least whatever the female version of it is. It’s really just a nasty cold, passed on from my dad who seems rather proud of the fact, but I’ve been having a rather male-like huff about it all week. If the truth be told, though, I usually quite enjoy having a cold. I especially like it when it’s lashing the rain outside and you get to lie in front of the fire all sniffly and cosy with a blanket and a crappy film. It is also the perfect excuse to enjoy one of the only other hot drinks to give tea a run for its money, the hot toddy.

But it’s not raining, the weather’s actually been quite pleasant the past few days. And I haven’t had the luxury of being able to just lie in the house either. To top it off, despite dreaming about it how good it was going to be when I got home this evening, I forgot to buy the bloody whiskey for my toddy. So now I’m sitting here moaning about it. Worst cold ever.

You know, I really do think I have a man’s personality when it comes to illness. By that I mean that I whinge much more about minor ailments than I do about those that are a bit more hardcore. Take this post for example. I’m sitting complaining about a stupid cold when I’ve actually had real trouble with my health over the past year and never once mentioned it on this blog. I’m not going to get into it now either but I’ll probably explain at a later date. A couple of weeks ago I found out I have to go to hospital for another operation and whenever I do I’ll be out of blogging action for a while, so I’ll post about it when the time comes.

Anyway, I’m not really in the mood to post about fairies or other pretty things today, so instead here’s my not-so-technical recipe for the perfect hot toddy. I know everybody’s had one before but I’ve heard of people putting all sorts of silly things into theirs (like rum, I mean what the hell!). Believe me, this is the original and best.

You will need:
A shot and a half of good whiskey (or whisky for you Scots);
Four or five cloves;
Half a mug of boiling water;
Two lemon slices;
A big dollop of honey.

Stick the cloves into the lemon slices, add to the whisk(e)y, pour in the water, then add the honey. Tres difficile, as you can see, but super tasty. I wish I had one now. Oh, and just a wee note, the hot water should evaporate most of the alcohol but if you’re tolerance is as low as mine has become in recent years then I wouldn’t recommend operating heavy machinery afterwards.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fairy Photography, Part II

I was about to apologise for not having posted here in a while, but then I noticed that it’s only been a few days. God, it feels like so much longer. Anyway, I don’t know if anyone remembers but about a month or so ago I posted some Alice pictures by pareeerica. At the time I mentioned that she had so, so many more amazing images in her Flickr account that I was going to post some non-Wonderland related ones. As usual I proceeded to forget all about them. Also, even further back I put up a post called ‘fairy photography part I’. There’s so much fairy and fantasy related ‘photography’ out there that I had intended making posts of that ilk a regular feature here. Well I forgot all about that too. So today I’m killing two birds with one stone (what a cruel figure of speech…) and amending both mind slips with these fae inspired images.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Day These Will All Be Mine

So here are those Etsy wishes I meant to post a few days back. Some are cheap and certainly cheerful but if you seen the price tag on a couple of these you’d understand why I call them wishes.

louisa gallery
Sarah Hood Jewelry
Dragon Oak

Monday, April 19, 2010

Magic In Every Bite!

Just came across this via lostateminor. As they explain it:
"As greater focus has turned to sustainable, ethical meat, unicorns are starting to make sense as a protein source for humans. Unlike other meats, unicorns become more tender as they reach the end of their natural lifespan, so the meat is harvested only after they’ve died of natural causes. Guilt free meat full of sparkles, giggles, rainbows."
It brightened up my night :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fly Me To The Moon

Continuing the film theme here’s one that really should be on that list somewhere- Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902). Over 100 years old, this little French masterpiece is as whimsical and wonderful as anything that’s come since. You’ve probably all seen it before, but it’s always worth another wee watch. Go on, take ten minutes out to take in one of the greatest films in cinematic history.

Oh, and I especially hope my two newest followers, Megan and Bethan, enjoy it. You ladies seem like you’d be rather lunar inclined ;)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Love Lists

I haven’t done one of these in a while, a big super long post of pointless ramblings (my favourite kind). Today I’m nattering on about films, of the fantasy/sci-fi genre to be precise. I’ve had to update my favourites list following last night’s viewing, you see. Having missed out on it at the cinema, which I now very much regret, I rented Terry Gillingham’s The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. And, oh, but it was excellent.

Granted, it could’ve been so much better if Heath Ledger’s death hadn’t forced a script rewrite towards the end. This prior knowledge combined with the fact that I’d heard only mediocre reviews of the movie, and that I find Gillingham’s stuff to be a bit hit or miss, meant that I wasn’t expecting too much. But considering the circumstances I think they did an admirable job. I was both awed and entertained in equal measure.

So I suppose maybe the pleasantly surprised factor may be playing a wee part in it’s ranking, but my Top 10 which had already grown to a Top 17 is now a Top 18. Still with me? Well you can find said list below.

I want to point out that this is only a tally of my fantasy/sci-fi faves and in no way covers my top films of all time. That is one list that can never be finished because I can never decide what goes at the top. Kind of the opposite to the novel I’ll never write because I can’t settle on an ending. At least that’s the excuse I tell myself.

There are notable absences on it too; some flicks I simply didn’t find worthy, some I haven’t seen yet. Others aren’t there because I feel the fantasy/sci-fi tag doesn’t quite cover them. Like The Shining or Dr Strangelove, both of which would make my top 10 films of all time (although I have deliberately omitted A Space Odyssey- me thinks the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes). Night of the Living Dead, Hero, X-Men, Harvey, Superman, Sleepy Hollow, Pi- all of these and more I toyed with but decided to leave out in the end.

Anyway, here you go. My top fantasy/sci-fi films as of April 2010.

1- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Obvious but worthy.

2- Star Wars
Originally trilogy only, naturally.

3-Pan’s Labyrinth
I always find it interesting to hear how the ending of this amazing film made people feel. I watched it with my fiance and at the end I was almost moved to tears while he found it quite uplifting. Still, beautiful either way.

4- Princess Mononoke
It’s tough choosing between Hayao Miyasaki and Studio Ghibli’s many wonderful animations, but I think this is my favourite.

5- Alien
My pick of the only two good films in the franchise.

**New Entry** 6- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Such a pity that Mr Ledger passed on towards the end of production, it could’ve been a masterpiece.

7- Sunshine
Surprisingly brilliant sci-fi from Danny Boyle. Almost as good as Alien and so much better than 2001.

8- Howl’s Moving Castle
More Miyasaki mastery.

9- Big Fish
Burton’s best, in my insignificant opinion.

10- Delicatessen
This may shock a lot of people, but I wasn’t a big fan of Amelie. The ending gave me a toothache. I rather enjoyed this though. And The City of Lost Children, although I watched that after the pub one night and my memories of it are rather dreamlike.

11- First Contact
I had to include a Trek film here somewhere and, while most of such a persuasion would opt for The Wrath of Khan, I grew up with The Next Generation and have to swing in that direction.

12- Edward Scissorhands
I really will watch absolutely anything with good ole Mr Depp in the lead but this proves that it’s not just for that pretty little face of his.

13- The Brothers Grimm
Gillingham again. I can’t believe it, a film with Matt Damon I actually love!

14- Stardust
British fantasy action for the whole family (god, I sound like one of their publicity blurbs).

15- The Fall
Lesser known fantasy flick from 2008 set in 1920s LA.

16- The Fisher King
More Gillingham, this time with The Dude and Mrs Doubtfire searching for the Holy Grail- in New York City. How could it not be great?

17- Total Recall
More than muscles and action, this is actually a really decent sci-fi movie. As are the TWO Terminators, but I’m a girl who likes fairies and could hardly put three Arnie films in the one list!

18- Labyrinth
Yes, I am a child of the 80s and this is just a random pick of the cheesy fantasy films that shaped my childhood. Other options included Willow, The Never Ending Story, Bill and Ted, or The Last Unicorn.

p.s Just a thought, wouldn’t the latest Alice movie have been so much better if Gillingham had directed it? Don’t get me wrong, I love Tim Burton, but I think the former Python could’ve given it that darkly absurd quality it was lacking.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fae Music and Elfin Thrones

Today I planned to post some more random Etsy lovelies. I’m putting those on standby, though, for while browsing that wonder-filled place of a thousand wishes I came across the most amazing little shop. The seller goes by the name of Pandora Jane and, even if she doesn’t have the longest list of items, what she lacks in quantity she makes up for in charm. Take the one below, for example, which is described as a scientific device to view fairies and essence, or that little bench which is a “fae loveseat”. I don’t think I need to tell you how much I love these little works of art.

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