Friday, 29 April 2011

Grassmarket Festival

Hey folks don't forget The Grassmarket Festival is here this weekend. Ok, so blogger has trimmed the poster squint but look there are my little egg cups! Saturday and Sunday this little NIGHT OWL shall be in attendance, 12 o'clock to 8pm in the cities Grassmarket. It's my first out door do' with the full shebang - so I really hope no little raindrops come visiting!

It would be lovely to see you there - rain, hail or shine!

on the weekend...

I had a lovely time last weekend selling my stuff and generally blethering my head off to any passer by. I was at the Out of the Blue Arts Market last Saturday. The night before I grabbed a couple of stems of cherry blossom or 'sakura' to decorate my stall and ended up trailing a stream of blossom confetti all the way there.

I think the rain on the day may have put a few folk off but it certainly didn't deter the punters for the food stalls which started ahead of the arts market. Once the first rush had died down things were quite relaxed which meant that I had lots of time to get chatting and enjoy some interesting, informative and entertaining conversations:

• A lady who works at the Drill Hall Café came by to say that the shower cap she'd bought from me at Christmas went down very well with her friend. "She wears it all the time!" she said. "I mean - not just in the shower!!" Now that's what I like to hear.

• A wee boy came past, asking how much of my merchandise I'd actually made myself: 
HIM: "Did you make that? And that?!"
ME: "Yes, yes I made it all!"
HIME: "And those? Did you make them?" (pointing at my jug a pheasant-eye lilies)
ME: "Well no, you've got me there." 
HIM: "Hmm. Do you do anything without flowers on?"
ME: "Eh... well, um, not really."
HIM: "Could you make me one of them without flowers on?" (pointing at my Dotty Miss Daisy tablecloth)
ME: "Yeah, I could do that. What would you want on it instead?"
HIM: "H.F.C."
ME: "Is that Hearts?"
HIM: (with steely glare) "No, HIBS!"

• A lady picked up one of my wildwood flower brooches. I told her I thought it was a primrose. "No it's a cowslip which is why I'm going to buy it!". Apparently, (I did not know this) a primrose is a cultivated cowslip so of course I have now re-titled my brooch. She went on to tell me a lovely story about her Grandmother, who used to post a biscuit tin of cowslips to her mother each spring. She said the place where her Grandmother picked them has no cowslip left in it anymore. I loved her story and told her my own similar one as my Aunty used to post a posy of snowdrops to my Mum in an empty Silk Cut packet. The snowdrops wrapped in damp tissue would come out a little bedraggled but would soon perk up after a wee drink and possibly some fresh air. 

On Sunday I was at the Collective for the Craft Sunday Market with A Wooden Tree and Annabel Bartle. I've known Kirsty since I've been doing craft fairs and Annabel and I worked together on this project, four years ago. It was great to see them both and have a right good natter. Although I did so much nattering I forgot to take more photos of their lovely wares!

We were asked to give a poster to advertise our stalls in the lead up to the market. That's my effort at the back there. I couldn't get any pegboard so I drilled my own. Yes I'm mad.

You can see I grabbed a couple of stray narcissi from the park on my way by too.

I loved our tables which were assembled from plastic drinks crates on loan from Barrs. They were quite tall and just the perfect height for getting a good eyeball at everything! 

Course I also got the chance to try out The Feral Trade Café. Oh yeah! I'm gonna have to tell you abut that later but I'll be ticking off all the items on the menu over the next few weeks let me tell you!

If you are interested in getting involved with the markets over the next few weeks contact: 

The dates are:

 Sunday 1 May - Artist's Multiples 
Sunday 8 May - Illustration 
Sunday 15 May - Publications 
Sunday 22 May -  Anything goes

How to turn the world by hand runs until 29th May at Collective, 22-28 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

marketing mix...

It's good to get oot 'n' aboot in the springtime and a busy bunny I shall be!

This Saturday I'll be taking my NIGHT OWL wares to The Out of The Blue Arts Market. I'll have new egg cups, shower caps, tablecloths and Easter bows to show off!

On Sunday, I'll be at the Collective's Sunday Market, from 11am - 4pm on Cockburn Street. Looking forward to catching up with Annabel and Kirsty 'Wooden Tree' and trying out the Feral Trade Café

But if you are busy this week end coming fear not! I'm also taking a stall at on Saturday 30th and Sunday 1st May at The Grassmarket Festival. This is a bit of an experiment - I've never taken my wares out of doors - eek! Let's hope the drip-drip-drop of April showers have left us by then tho' a few dew-drops might be nice!

Monday, 18 April 2011

stay blue, blue sky

I've learned another Japanese word: 'sakura' meaning cherry blossom.

"I heart sakura in the springtime."

Friday, 15 April 2011

how to turn the world by hand...

There's an exciting opportunity coming up for you arty-crafty-maker-shaker's out there so keep reading...

'New shop and café take over Collective - this hiatus is out of our control and will be in place for 6 weeks from April 16 - May 29. Apologies for the inconvenience.'

Collective's next exhibition, an off-site DIY Fountain by Rania Ho launches in The Scottish Book Trust Garden tonight.

Meanwhile, the gallery on Cockburn Street is being turned into a café and shop, (but not just any café and shop).

Mobile Bazaar, a travelling Turkish Bazaar selling a range of goods exported from China, will be setting up shop in the gallery spaces. Whilst in the reception area the Feral Trade Café, will be trading food and drink sourced through a range of social networks, with documentation by the artist Kate Rich. (Have a look at to see the shipments en route to Collective now...)

On Sundays there will be a series of themed markets at Cockburn Street, which Collective are looking for makers to get involved with. The markets are FREE to take part in, all that you are asked to do is supply an A1 poster advertising your wares a week in advance. The dates are...

Sunday 17 April - Bake off 
Sunday 24 April - Craft 
Sunday 1 May - Artist's Multiples 
Sunday 8 May - Illustration 
Sunday 15 May - Publications 
Sunday 22 May -  Anything goes

If you are interested in taking part contact: 

And maybe I'll see you on the 24th?

Thursday, 14 April 2011

fly little tsuru-san...

I was wondering how the Cakes for Japan Edinburgh fundraiser went the other week. When I'd got there with my bakes I was in such a hot-and-bothered rush I hadn't anytime to snoop around or even say a proper hello before I legged it down the hill to work.

Well I got a quite a shock when I checked back on the event page. The Edinburgh event raised £2330 for Japanese Red Cross - in just a few hours! 

These were a couple of leftovers from my baked offerings which I managed to snap on the day. At no loss to the fundraising I might add as this cupcake was distinctly smaller than the rest and the 'crispy flag' needed to be manhandled into a flag shape. 

I made fatless fairy cakes, or rather 'gnome cakes' from my newest baking book River Cottage Handbook No.8: Cakes by Pam Corbin. The mix uses a hefty grating of pumpkin, carrot or courgette with a little zest, which I suppose cuts down on the sugar as well as adding moisture. I chose carrot and orange for mine and used the Philly cheese topping which Mrs Corbin makes with butter. As I mixed up the topping the night before, my too-tired eyes failed to spot that the topping was dotted with flecks of butter - but you couldn't taste it! The gnome cakes were good, a little chewy but hey, that's fat-less for you. 

To decorate I topped them off with origami tsuru (crane) which I still have to check out instructions for, even though I once folded a thousand to make a sembazuru. That's another story but you would think I could remember - no? I chopped a cocktail stick in half and wiggled the pointy end into the little gap underneath the cranes - BINGO instant cake topper! 

For the flags I used this recipe for Crispy Treats, substituting the marshmallows for a jar of Marshmallow Fluff (which I do believe is végétarien), scattered desiccated coconut over the top (to make them a little more white) and added halved glacé cherries. Whilst we are on the subject the Fluff website has this very cute jingle from The Flufferettes - ooh! I didn't get round to popping in cocktail sticks in them all (I forgot the darned box!) but the Fluff worked a treat.

Here's a little photo of my cakes at the sale, taken by Donna McGory of I Cook Vegan Food - have a looksee at her blog to check out some more beautiful photos of the sale

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

you shall have a little fishy...

This little dishy, from the free Waitrose Weekend newspaper, was quick simple and so tasty. We had it with fresh whiting fillets. I even think I could whip up the whole thing in an advert break! Well, maybe don't hold me to that. But I did feel like a domestic diva for all of fifteen minutes. 

Monday, 11 April 2011

lazy monday afternoon...

As I'm always working weekends, I try to give myself Mondays off. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't but somehow, no Monday-off is ever quite like a Sunday-off; a lazy-day to do just as I please.

Today I was supposed to be catching up with the paperwork. We didn't. I'd forgotten to set my alarm and slept for a whole twelve hours. I assume I must have needed it. When I did wake up I had tea in bed and a read of: Answered Prayers. It's rather rude (about everything and everyone) and makes me cackle. The only part I'm not looking forward to is finding out why it's 'unfinished'. 

Eventually I made lunch. A bargain-basement composition from last night's swag-bag of Waitrose reductions (I got tender-stem broccoli, french beans, helda beans and British asparagus: all for 10p a pack. ha.) I lightly burned my reduced muffin, slathered it with butter and topped it with a slice of leftover Milano salami. Steamed some reduced asparagus over my perfectly poached eggs. Slathered the asparagus with more butter (I'm not that fussed by asparagus but being 10p improves it). Took a bite. Took a photo. Le nom

Then we watched the next instalment of Battlestar Galactica which is becoming a nightly obsession. Although last night I conked out before the opening credits were done. Then I got round to packing up a couple of orders and made a dash to the Post Office where I was greeted at the door with a smile and a hello. (They must have missed me).

When I got back to the ranch the sun was splitting the sky and I had to stop and take a few photos. The camera on my new-ish phone is no great shakes but the Vignette app has transformed it. I love the toy camera setting, particularly as I miss my old toy camera. 

And I love the pheasant-eye lilies which are nodding demurely at the end of our street. 

And I love lazy days off.

Monday, 4 April 2011

drip-drip-drop little april showers

Ah - spring is here and how it has tickled my fancy and generally got me all staring-out-the-windae, smiling at the flowers and saying a cheery "hello" to every chirping birdie. How I love it so, almost as much as a 39p bunch of Waitrose tulips - bliss indeed!!

Well, I'm no Heather-the-Weather (nor Seán Batty for that matter) but I do predict a little April shower or two to be heading your way. So why not have your heid stylishly prepared for the inevitable with a fetchingly fresh shower cap soon to be drip-drip-dropping into a little tuwhittuwhoo near you! Yes indeedy, the much anticipated Japanese-y fabrics are getting stitched-up and be-photographed and into the shop toot suite. And I have heard it said, they are too cute to keep to your salle de bains!!

In honour of the seasons scattered-showers, I thought I should leave you with one of my favourite little springtime ditties (after that is, the effusive Mr Blackbird and the knock-knock-knocking of my local woodpecker). But not for you just the run-o'-the-mill version of this dear chanson: no, no. I took it upon myself to conduct a gruelling research project and compile a best-version-of-Little-April-Shower-in-a-Foreign-Language chart. (That's more than what the Oscars would give you... but less than Eurovision, perhaps) So without further a-do:

in at number THREE: They won't let me embed-it but it's ICELANDIC:

running-away towards number TWO: say "yay" for GERMAN:

pipped-to-the post by NUMBER ONE: it's SWEEDISH!