Thursday, 24 July 2014

Jewellery Making

Yesterday I went to a jewellery making workshop at Edinburgh's Number One Bead Shop. I've made a lot of beaded bookmarks but wanted to learn how to do the fiddly bits - necklace fastenings and attaching together the different parts of an earring.

In the two hour workshop I made this bracelet and earring set for myself

and this necklace, which is for Mum, if she wants it (she specifically wants a pink necklace, but I'm not sure this is exactly what she's looking for!).

I enjoyed the workshop and I've now got lots of ideas for making jewellery for myself, as gifts and to sell in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop.

I would have liked a bit more time in the workshop to perfect those fiddly little techniques and also to spend longer on choosing beads and designing. But overall it was a very inspiring workshop and the shop is a treasure trove of jewellery making supplies (though a lot of their beads are a bit garish for my tastes). They also have branches in Glasgow and Nottingham.

So now I'll need to put my weaving aside for a while and make some jewellery before I forget all those fiddly techniques!



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Of Horses and Men

Of Horses and Men is a beautiful, eccentric, sometimes disturbing and sometimes very funny film about the relationship between people and their horses in a rural part of Iceland.

The film is made up of several interweaving stories following individual people. Everyone in the community is very close to their horses, but like all close relationships things can be marred by misunderstandings, stubbornness and anger. So things don't always go well for humans or horses. (Warning for animal lovers, there are a couple of scenes in this film which aren't easy to watch.)

The horses are beautiful and they are the real stars of the show - the most enjoyable parts of the film are where herds of horses are running through the stunning Icelandic scenery. And really I came out of the cinema wanting to find a horse and go riding into the hills.

Of Horses and Men is showing at Edinburgh's Filmhouse Cinema until Thursday 24 July




Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Small tortoiseshell in disguise

At first I was annoyed that this small toirtoiseshell butterfly waspartly hidden by the grass, but then I realised that the grass is almost perfectly lying along the butterfly's body and it's really quite a cute effect!

If you're interested in butterflies andhow they're faring in the UK, why not take part in the Big Butterfly Count, which is happening from now until 10 August.

I also love how the thistle seed head in this photo is just at the stage of looking like a paintbrush! You can see the same effect better in this photo, which also shows how the thistle heads on one plant are at different stages of development.

Meanwhile I'm continuing to add more photos to the downloadable photos section of the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Tree Following - guest larch

These photos for Tree Following are of a larch in the Pentlands, seen on our weekend walk.



The young cone on the right is almost mature now! I don't know why this cone has a spike of green needles sticking out of the top - anyone have any ideas?

***

Meanwhile, I've been adding more photos to the digital photo download section of the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop and will continue to add more in the next week or so. 

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Pentland Hills in mist

We had a lovely walk in the Pentland hills today. It was very atmospheric with mist everywhere.
 

The scenery here is lovely and the mist only made it more so

The route we took was the "City View Path" which shows how close to Edinburgh this lovely areas is, though of course the mist obscured Edinburgh too!







We made friends with a small herd of Highland Cows, who are I think part of a grazing experiment on the hills, though I couldn't find any more out about that. They're very handsome animals though.....

I've just put another photo of one of the Highland Cows in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop.

And on a sunnier day earlier in the week I took some photos which are now over on my Shapeshifting Green blog for Shadow Shot Sunday.

As ever, red text in this post includes hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Harvest by Amanya Maloba

Harvest is the debut collection of vignettes from Amanya Maloba. Each piece in this collection focuses on a different aspect of our relationship with food and drink.

Harvest, the title vignette of the collection looks at how the whole concept of harvest has been poisoned by both slavery and by Monsanto:

"Is it the duty of the ex-slaves to defend the land we were brought here to cultivate, systematize, bleed and die on? Even now the stolen land is controlling us. Master Monsanto is poisoning our breast milk."

Taking us back to a simpler relationship with the land and the food it produces is Dirty Roots (Angst):

"when I buy vegetables and get home to find dirt hiding in the crevices of sweet potatoes or clinging to dark, leafy greens, that makes sense to me. Then I feel perhaps I have an iota of a clue about things that happen every day"

I was certainly nodding to myself as I read that passage and the vignette ends wonderfully:

"...a dirty potato to admire, stretched out in front of me in my palms, ceremoniously, welcoming it into the world to be forever cherished".

Of course, some foods may be simple for some people and not so for others. In Termites, Maloba visits Kenya and finds it difficult to eat this local dish:

"my father eats one last critter, still giggling at my self induced horror."

On a much more wide reaching level, Perfect White Rice explores our relationship with rice. Rich white people just enjoy their dish of white, but in this powerful pieve Maloba teases out how rice production is intertwined with the history of slavery.

Slavery and the stereotypes often placed on slaves are explored in The Watermelon Man, a piece that immediately appealed to me as I too, like the narrator, cannot stand to eat watermelon!

Not that all these pieces are weighed down with serious issues. There are pieces about people drinking coffee and wine, eating chappattis, the comfort of food, how some books make you feel hungry and comparing people to fruits.

There's also some beautiful writing here. In Beignets and Trumpets, which weaves food and music together, Maloba describes an ear-worm thus:  

"The music is pond water you cannot shake out of your ears"

And this is a collection that you can't shake out of your head, and yes, some of the vignettes may make you feel hungry.

Harvest by Amanya Maloba is available in paperback or as an e-book from Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Walk on the Wild Side

I'm delighted to be on the panel for Walk on the Wild Side, a literary salon at 6.30, Friday 25 July at the Golden Hare bookshop in Edinburgh.

The main speaker for the evening will be the brilliant Scottish environmentalist Clifton Bain, Director at IUCN UK Peatland Programme and author of The Ancient Pinewoods of Scotland - a travellers guide (available from Sandstone Press).

I will be talking briefly about nature and inspiration and probably reading a couple of poems too. 

The event is free, but places are limited so reserve a spot in store or on Eventbrite to avoid disappointment!