Don’t you just love clouds? I could spend hours watching them. On a few occasions I’ve got my husband to pull the car over so I could nip out and take a photo of some strange cloud formation in the sky. I always feel so reassured when I’m in a plane and there’s total cloud cover beneath me; it makes it seem as though there’s a large silver eiderdown spread out to soften and comfort. However, here are a few of my favourites taken from terra firma:

Reflected Sun

Cloud Halo



August 31, 2007. Environment, Photography. 4 comments.

Orkney Italian Chapel

A couple of years ago, my family and I went camping to Orkney, and while we were there we went to the Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm. The chapel was built by some 550 Italian prisoners of war, who were captured in 1942 in North Africa and brought to Orkney to build the Churchill Barriers (the causeways which join some of the small islands up to the mainland). I am so impressed by what these men achieved while they were in Orkney. If you ever get a chance to go there, you really must go in for a look. I took quite a lot of photos while I was there, but really their attention to detail, their loving craftsmanship, their perseverance, their resourcefulness can only be truly appreciated in person. The photos will give you an idea though…

Churchill Barrier

This is one of the Churchill Barriers that they were sent to build

St George

This is the statue of St George that Domenico Chiocchetti, the prisoner who later led the work on the chapel, built out of barbed wire and concrete.

Italian Chapel (outside)

This is the chapel from the outside…

Italian Chapel (inside)

…and from the inside.

Italian Chapel Ceiling

It is beautifully painted right up to the ceiling!

Italian Chapel Lantern

They used whatever materials they could find; this lantern was fashioned out of tin cans.

For more on the history of the chapel, The Orcadian has a feature on it (parts 1 and 2).

August 31, 2007. Inspiration. Leave a comment.

Blog Identity

I mentioned in my recent post A Moment of Synchronicity that I would post later on the idea of blog identity, so here are some of my thoughts and a request.

  • Some blogs, such as Cream Puffs in Venice, Futuregirl Craft, and my other blog Textual Tangents fit very neatly into a niche. A lot of blogs, including those just mentioned, do this extremely well; they focus on the one topic, they provide information relevant to that topic, and they participate within a community of blogs with a similar focus.
  • Other blogs, such as Icing, Jo(e) and Heroes Not Zombies, thrive on creating a community through their author’s individual focus. They blog about their world and the way they perceive the elements of that world, and, ultimately, a community of those who view the world in a similar vein generates around the blog. They blog about many topics with their own unique style.
  • All the blogs that I have mentioned here have very strong blog identities; from their themes, to their content, to their writing styles, their identities are original and fully-formed.

This blog which has been running for a bit over a week now (although it already has 30 posts!) is still very much in its infancy, and whilst it is still at this point of early development, I would like to ask you for some feedback on what you think of its identity. This is partly out of curiosity and partly through a desire to make this blog the best blog I can. So, do you see this blog as having a specific identity, and if so what? What posts have you most enjoyed? What would you like to see more of? What do you think makes this blog different from others?

I think, like with so many things in life, those that see the clearest are those with a little distance, so any and all thoughts/ opinions/ comments would be greatly appreciated.

August 30, 2007. Inspiration. 2 comments.

Through the Viewfinder

I came across the most wonderful Flickr group yesterday. It’s called Through the Viewfinder and it’s for photography defined ‘as [the] taking a picture of any subject through the viewfinder of any camera with another camera’. People have come up with some truly spectacular contraptions to take these photographs, most using a combination of a digital camera and an old box camera. This photograph of the red trike is just one of the many beautiful images on this group. I love the atmosphere that these photos have; they have a texture that a lot of digital images lack. What do you think?

Trike ttv2


Originally uploaded by shannoncharlize

August 30, 2007. Creativity. Leave a comment.

Vintage Surprise


I spotted this old organ hiding behind a large garish plastic cartoon character at a furniture store.  It’s surprising what you find, isn’t it!

August 30, 2007. Environment. Leave a comment.

New Look Blog

Well, you may have noticed that I’ve given the blog a bit of a face-lift. I like to be an individual, and a generic wordpress theme was fine for starters but it was never a keeper. I’ve used one (Ocean Mist) with a customisable (is that even a word?) header, and I’ve uploaded one of the photos I took in Grandad’s garden. I’m really happy with it!

What do you think?

August 29, 2007. Creativity. Leave a comment.

A Moment of Synchronicity

Do you ever get one of those moments which sees a strange kind of confluence of the seemingly disparate? I frequently have these moments of synchronicity, and I truly believe that they indicate that I am following the right path in life. Today I have had a moment of synchronicity that I would like to share with you, because I think that it affirms the identity my blog is beginning to develop (I’ll post more on this later).

The first post, after the introductory post, that is, I blogged about some beautiful vintage buttons I had found over at my grandma’s house. I put a call out to any readers for any help/advice/ideas for using these buttons to customise my rainbow-coloured, but very plain, clothes. I was slightly disappointed that I received no comments to that post whatsoever, but it seems that just putting the request out there into the universe was enough. Now, I’m not convinced by this whole cosmic ordering thing, but it would appear that by articulating my need for help, answers are supplying themselves! Here are some of the posts which I have discovered in my feedreader and through links:

Maitreya over at Craftlog is posting a whole series of button projects.

Ms Julianne at This Second’s Obsession has a great post called Guilt is So Not a Good Look all about buying vintage or refashioning clothes instead of buying new.

Craft Magazine’s blog led me to a post on a sweater revamp over at Sommer Designs, which includes a tutorial.

Sommer Designs then led me onto discover the Flickr groups Wardrobe Refashion and Wardrobe Remix.

I also want to say thank you to the fabulous Gala who emailed me some great suggestions, and to my mum who came up with a lovely idea for my t-shirt sleeves.

With all this help I should come up with some wonderful results (fingers crossed!). Oh, and just to let you know, that I am still open to any and all ideas. See my Buttons post for images of the buttons and my original cry for help!

August 29, 2007. Creativity. 3 comments.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I’ve just received word that my two eldest kids have an audition for the Edinburgh Lyceum’s Christmas production of Wizard of Oz. They are both so excited! Last year, instead of the traditional pantomime, our special Christmas outing was to see the digitally remastered edition of Wizard of Oz, and this year they get the opportunity to be in a performance of it. Although I’ve seen the film more times than I can remember, there’s something about that it makes it seem new every time. That part in the film when it moves from black and white to glorious technicolor is still breathtaking, the poppy field is still intoxicatingly beautiful, the flying monkeys still terrifying, the homecoming still moving. I don’t think that I’ve ever watched that film without dissolving into tears at the end! Anyway, to wish my kids luck for the upcoming audition, here’s Judy Garland singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

Keep your fingers crossed for them, and I’ll let you know how they get on!

August 29, 2007. Inspiration. 3 comments.

Flowers Up Close

I was reading a great post over at Heroes Not Zombies the other day there about texture, at the end of which Bob asks “What catches your attention on an everyday basis?” For me the answer is colour; I love just love bright colours, especially when I find them in nature. Yesterday, I was around at my grandparents’ house, and spent a lovely afternoon taking photographs of some of the spectacular jewel-coloured flowers. In Grandad’s garden the begonias are really quite spectacular, the chrysanthemums are just beginning to unfurl their peachy petals and the gazanias’ amber and saffron petals are reflecting back the sun’s rays . Here’s a collection of some of the photos I took:

Orange Begonia 2

Pink Begonia 2

Yellow Begonia

White Begonia

Pale Orange Chrysanthemum

Gazania 3

I have a few more up on my flickr site if you want to check them out!

August 29, 2007. Environment, Photography. 3 comments.

Dove Campaign

I don’t know if you’ve seen these clips before, but I really wanted to put up a post about them.  They’re both part of Dove’s campaign for real beauty, which I think is not only extremely admirably, but also an extremely clever bit of marketing!  Anyway, here’s the first clip:

I just found this whole process absolutely fascinating.  I was, of course, aware that the images used in magazines, and for advertising, were touched up, but I don’t think I had any real concept of just how much these images are altered.  I showed this clip to my daughter, who has just turned 9, and her response was so interesting.  She said that she thought the lady must be really upset that they changed her picture so much.  I must admit that, when I watched it, all I was thinking was how we’ve all been duped, but my daughter, rather than thinking of the mass deception, thought of the individual.  Now, of course, as a little girl, she is not necessarily aware that the model is complicitly involved in the deception and is paid well (sometimes!) for it, but still, her response alerted me to my own lack of empathy.

Whilst the first video fascinated me, the second made me cry:

My daughter asked me recently if I thought she was fat, which just made me so sad.  She’s not in the slightest bit overweight; she has a little girl’s figure, which, at 9, you would expect!  I think because we home educate, our kids are a bit more sheltered than they may be otherwise, but still, at the age of 9, culture’s idealisation of the exceptionally thin body has penetrated my daughter’s consciousness.  And that makes me, not only sad, but also angry.  Why are we sending these messages to our daughters?  Who does it benefit?

August 28, 2007. Inspiration. Leave a comment.

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