Tuesday, 30 April 2013

An Unexpected Cold

I wobbled around for the bulk of the day, slightly confused but trying desperately not to be until I finally submitted to my weakened state: I have a cold! :(

So this is what I managed to do today:

This is me, trying to relax. A book about cake, and a cup of Ribena in the sun. At this point, I was still trying to work out why I felt so off. Not even sunshine could fix this one!

119/365 - Zan cheers herself up with a visit to the scrapstore.
It worked for about 10 minutes :)

I'm not sure where the rest of the day went. My bin, however, is full of tissues, so I know why I'm completely dehydrated! Gah! I'm very tired. I think my bed is calling me. Goodnight! :)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Olive Bread

After the madness of yesterday, my mind was still mostly asleep today so I haven't really managed to do very much. I did get it together enough to go and collect a remarkable freebie though, ready for Friday! I also made a loaf of bread to go with the tea I prepared for my parents. Here's my bread:

118/365 - Zan makes a loaf of olive bread.

I also had the presence of mind to continue with a long term project that I'd started, and you've seen once before. I plan to make loads of them, and have all the materials prepared, but, alas, I have only just completed box number 2.

Still as amazing as the first, I'd like to add! :)

Anyway, there will be many more of these wonderful miniature play boxes in the future. But right now, I have to try and rest my wary head and resume normal service tomorrow! Hoorah! :)

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Zan-Made Postcards

My alarm went off at 6 this morning and I stumbled out of bed, confused briefly because I'd forgotten why I was up so early, and why I was so tired. When I came to, I remembered that I had packed the car up for a car boot sale, so I fumbled my way into many layers of clothing and bumbled downstairs for much needed caffeine.

We had a good day, I think. It was dry (which for Manchester is a near miracle), so it was almost nice being up so early. The venue wasn't completely packed with cars, but footfall was good so it was ideal conditions for selling really. The wind picked up throughout the morning though and before we knew it, my mum and I were trying to hold down threateningly wobbly things onto the table, until out hands got too cold, we packed up and then went home to the warm.

What I didn't realise had happened was that standing outside for 4 hours in the wind could give you wind burn. Now my cheeks are prickling with heat and no amount of moisturiser is making a difference! :(

Anyway, I realised that I was unable to concentrate on anything useful for the rest of the day, so I settled down to complete some forgotten projects. Here is one I'm particularly chuffed about:

118/365 - Zan makes her own line of postcards using re-purposed materials.
From left to right we have - "Hello" themed doodles, Robot doodles and Umbrella doodles.

Even the back is exciting and hand drawn :) Yay! :)

Regular blog readers will know that I've been a little fixated with drawing robots recently. And also drawing on pages of an old book. And I've also been making books out of postcards! So this kinda combines three projects into one and has made me rather proud. Especially because of the re-purposing of materials! The postcard is composed of 3 layers all stuck together. One layer is the artwork, the middle one is a page of a magazine to stiffen the structure of the postcard, and then the last layer is plain white leftovers from another project. If you look carefully at the second photo, you will be able to see the old magazine through the whiteness of the paper. Hoorah! Recycled, re-used, re-purposed! Go me! :)

Okay, now I'm tired. Time to watch some TV in bed. Hoorah! :)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Just Another Day?

My days are never ordinary. I'm pretty sure you all know that already. Today, however, was kinda exceptional for three main reasons:

1) I ate a whole roasted turkey leg:
It was delicious. The sauce was even more delicious-er.

2) I dressed up like a video game character that has been mauled by a zombie to celebrate the release of a new game...
Look at me, all scared and in character. Haha. I never wear white shirts normally!
There is a photo of me in situ here.

I had a minor panic when the weird red goo wouldn't come off. The mum suggested toothpaste, and it worked very well apart from having a very minty face.


 3) I sewed my first ever zip! And completed the project in a day too! :)
116/365 - Zan does some very important sewing. 
This is a really sweet little handmade lined pouch with a zip! I was dead chuffed! :)

I also managed to read and reply to all my emails, pack the car for a boot sale tomorrow, make lunch, make tomorrow's lunch and go to work. So I reckon it's been quite a productive day! :) Hoorah! :)

Friday, 26 April 2013

Freebie Fridays - tea, cream, SD cards, seeds, perfume

It's that time of the week where I show off my acquisitions from a week of freebie hunting. I didn't get round to this blogpost last week because I was too busy pretending to be BatZan and travelling down to London, but it only means that this week's hoard looks all the more impressive. Cue photo:

115/365 - Zan enjoys a double week of freebies.
We have:
3 x 4gb SD memory cards
1 packet of red onion seeds with pot label
one perfume sample
3 sachets of moisturiser
2 herbal teabags
2 thingies of what I suspect is foundation? That probably claims to be magical.

Now, many of you, my lovely friends, ask me where I get my freebies from. I've carefully thought about this  and think my answer is 4-fold:
  • I am fortunate to work somewhere that offers me (very unique) freebies quite regularly (usually t-shirts actually, but I never post those up cos they end up being uniform) and I often get first dibs on stuff that's going for almost free. 
  • I get regular updates from websites like this and this which I basically investigate on a daily basis in case I miss anything. They give you heads up on like where to get free fries or how to get coupons for free stuff.
  • Get yourself to fairs and conferences because there are always free things there, even if it's just a selection of pens. 
  • Lastly, and this one's kinda hilarious, sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time, and not be afraid to queue. That's how I've ended up with ice cream, butter and VoIP credit.

So there you go, a little insight to my freebie world. Maybe you could also get your hands on some free stuff yourself. You'll have to send me a pic if you do. Hoorah for freebies, and hoorah for sharing the joy of freebies to everyone! :)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The DIY Postcard Book Returns!

Around this time last year, I made a postcard book using leftover sticky ribbons. That particular blogpost was very very popular, and I was really chuffed about it, but I did still lament slightly about not having any of this washi tape stuff that everyone's been talking about. So I got some! And today, I've finally got round to making a postcard book with washi tape! Hoorah! Here it is:

Here are the things you need for this project. Not that complicated really.

Here are some interesting patterns you can use for sticking the pages together. It was fun coming up with new designs!

Preparing for the outer spine of the project - all of the colours!

114/365 - Zan makes another postcard book!

I'm pretty chuffed with the outcome of this actually. The washi tape is cool and flexible (doesn't instantly stick down cos it's basically masking tape) but it's also fiddly cos it's tape and it has a mind of it's own. But it's colourful and cool and it has made me really happy! :)

Of course, I was supposed to be doing something else when I was making this. I think procrastination is pretty much one of the greatest and worst excuse known to mankind. And apparently, when you're doing your PhD, it's quite easy to do something else when you're not supposed to. Haha. Ah well. I had fun, and that's important! :)

Hoorah for making stuff, and hoorah for another postcard book! :)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Thoughts. Kinda.

I was encouraged recently to type more about my thoughts on my blog. This was a nice encouragement, and on reflection, it does appear that I've been showing everyone what I've been up to, but not particularly what I've been thinking about. So I thought about what I've been thinking about. And this is what happened:

114/365 - Zan draws her thoughts.

Oopsie. Cake on the brain! Hahaha! Cake with sparklers! Hoorah! :)

My thoughts have been full of very practical things. When best to go to the bank, what route will allow me to collect the optimum amount of boxes for the next Pop-Up, where on earth I can get enough money together to pay my next year's tuition fees, and how best to use the time that is given to me. Very practical, not super deep, but all-consuming. Gets stuff done.

And of course, sometimes I think about cake. :)

Hoorah for thoughts :) And hoorah for people who actually read my blog :)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Dusty Stickmen

There as been much activity at my house. Suddenly and quite inexplicably one morning, the contents of the house seemingly exploded everywhere! This is what happens when my mum is tidying up - there's a lot more untidiness before tidiness starts. But it's been interesting. Dad found a photo that had been long forgotten and we kids are tiny and he almost didn't recognise his wife (she didn't know who she was either). Mum found a variety of tools she once used for the super fashionable perm. In amongst the books I used to be fond of as a child, and the odd cassette tape, I found one of my stick men drawings that I absolutely love, but I'd basically forgotten about:

113/365 - Zan rediscovers lost artwork.

I remember the moment when I came up with the idea for this piece. It was quite an immediate thing. I had the idea then I had an immediate urge to comply with my thoughts and put pen to paper. This drawing was a new idea for me - it's layered and interesting, and the first time I'd tried anything vaguely 3D. I remember cutting out the holes and lining them up, making sure you could see interesting things throughout the picture. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction when I'd finished. I was well chuffed :)

To see it today, sitting in a dusty box brought back a lot of creative thoughts and eureka moments. It made me very happy, and all the more determined to be more playful in the future :) Hoorah for stickmen! :)

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Play Library

No London trip of mine is complete without a visit to the Play Library. It's actually called the the Children's Play Information Service, and it's part of the National Children's Bureau. It's a place dedicated to children, their rights and how to make their lives more awesome. Of course, the lives of children are greatly enriched by play, which is why it has it's very own section. And a librarian! Anna is wonderful, and knows about all the books in the play library.

So my journey home today, I met up with my friend Ricky, and then took him to the play library. It was only a short visit so I didn't take many photos, but here are a few:

111/365 - Zan surrounds herself with reading materials on play.
I want this set of encyclopaedias.. Who has a spare $200?

Look at all the books you can get on adventure playgrounds!

The CPIS notice board. It made me happy because the whole place is themed on purple.


Hoorah for the NCB!

There are sooo many things to read in the play library. There's the standard fiction/non-fiction textbooks on play, but there is also a complete collection of play journals and papers from many moons ago to current. And there is a fun selection of academic dissertations and thesis'! I'm slightly happy (and shy) to announce that my visit to the play library this time involved delivering 2 dissertations to the library: mine and Andy's. It was kinda cool, but I'm a bit scared because people are gonna read it now. Eeeek!

Oh wow, it's been a long day and it's only just hit me. Done lots of fun things and had fun hanging out with Ricky. I think it's time to watch some BBC cooking programme and then get myself off to bed. 

I had fun down in London. It was good to see my sister and James, Janina, Jun and Ricky. Oh and Morgan, Grant and Meynell too! I will be back soon! Hoorah! :)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

In London...

I've been in London for the past three days on business, and to see friends and family. Here are some highlights from my trip so far:

108/365 - Zan goes on an adventure.

I found blue skies. 

I went to a symposium.

109/365 - Zan visits the Shop of Possibilities. (More on this another day)

I had my first falafel.

I met my friend Janina.

I saw some super cute ducks and baby ducks.

110/365 - Zan hangs out with Chris, James and Nancy!

I stole into the Royal Albert Hall. (Wow)

I've been really busy and really tired so I won't say much more for now. Having fun, and will be going home tomorrow via the play library. Hoorah! So many London things! :)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Coupla Meetings and a Wander

As part of my PhD, I meet with my PhD supervisory team about once every 6 weeks in Leeds. Today was meeting day and I thought I'd take full advantage of being in Yorkshire by meeting up with my uni friend Saffia as well. You might remember her. We had a lovely wander, and saw some cool things:

Saffia gave me a bee card! I love bees! They are the only creature I can draw! This card is amazing.

We found a new shopping center. It had a giant horse in it.

We went to the new Lego store and I immediately got lost in a pile of Lego.

The shopping center's got a lovely roof. Very stylish.

107/365 - Zan enjoys Leeds with Saffia.

The relaxed fun I had with Saffia was a marked contrast to the meeting I had with my PhD supervisory team.  Both Fraser Brown and Sue Palmer are wonderful but they ask me lots of very hard questions! They made my brain work very hard, and I felt pretty exhausted by the time I headed off home. But it was a good meeting though, and I'm really glad that I have so many people around me to genuinely care about my work. Lots of useful thoughts and updates to follow.

Hoorah for a short trip to Leeds, and hoorah for genuinely good people.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

In Progress

Haven't had much time to do much today apart from start things or finish stuff off. I have a few busy days coming up so everything's in a weird form of limbo. On request of my friend Valerie though, I have started a little something... :)

107/365 - Zan allows her robot steampunking to carry on.

A few things to look out for in the next couple of days: a) travelling photos, b) crazy smiles in fun new locations, c) Morgan photos, d) play library photos. Oh, and e) maybe a photo of my as Batgirl/Batwoman?

Hoorah for craziness, and hoorah for robots! :)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Robot Returns

Remember I went through a robot drawing phase? Well, I started thinking about the steampunk look recently too, and got super inspired by Mattias Adolfsson who does some really cool ink drawings. I especially like this one. When Morgan was visiting, we bought some old Readers Digest books that I had every intention of doing a project with, but haven't. So with these elements in mind, I decided to have a little go at some art:

105/365 - Zan tries her hand at robot steampunk art.

I enjoyed this mini project quite a lot, but the words on the page sometimes made my eyes go a bit funny sometimes, haha. I love the colours and the finished product, but I reckon next time it'll be even better. I won't be so nervous about doodling on the page of a book anyway! Hehehe. Til next time, robots! :)

Monday, 15 April 2013

Eating My Own Weight in Food

Today I met up to eat with some good friends that I've been meaning to eat with for some time and have never had the chance.  Our choice of food: a delicious buffet. Oh yes. Needless to say, I was too busy eating, laughing, chatting and selecting to take many photos. But there are three!

104/365 - Zan nurtures her food baby with style!

This is the front door to the biscuit house.

And here is my initial selection of desserts. I had about 3 more loaded platefuls after this! :)

I had so much fun today, I'd forgotten how much joy can be gained from a simple meal. Okay, it wasn't simple food, but just having the chance to relax and enjoy the company of good people is rare nowadays. I really enjoyed myself tonight, and hope to do it again soon! :) Hoorah for good friends! :)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Antique Me!

My mum and dad took me to an antique fair today. I haven't been antiquing for a while so I was really itching to having my senses inundated by vintage, historical and collectable goodness. There were 700 stalls of glorious antiquities to browse and I really enjoyed the time connecting to the past that defined our future. Here are some photos!

Pick and mix sterling silver - sold by the weight! I spent so long rummaging through here!

Everything you could possibly imagine in a tiny box.

The super inaccurate measuring tool that I used to use for my first degree - the conical flask!

If you could work your way through this box of jewellery, it was £1 a piece!

Plates for every occasion, but of course, mostly if you like dogs. And cats. And the Queen.

Of course, I can't go to any antique place without scouting out my favourite piece of antiquery ever - the Sylvac bunny! I found 6 of them today! Here are three little beauties in size order:

A tiny little beige one. Made me squeal a little with pure joy. And cuteness overload.

A medium-ish blue one. I've never seen a blue one before and it's very striking! Made me love it even more!

103/365 - Zan enjoys searching and finding antique bunnies!
Here's a huge green one - they make me so happy!

I love love LOVE antiquing. So much fun! I didn't really buy much, but I didn't really go with that in mind! I just like being inspired by all the crazy things around me. It's awesome! Hoorah for antiques, and hoorah for bunnies! :)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Eye Eye

I woke up to a beautiful sunny morning so I decided to take my googley eyes out for a wander around the garden. 

102/365 - Zan personifies her garden.
I really like this one.

This reminds me of the cookie monster.

My traffic cones aren't posing very well.

You look like a robot.

Argh, what's in my head?

A perfect nose.

Our green monster bin.

Very startled potted plants!

Hehehee, this has made me very happy! I didn't make more eyes, but I think I will have to so I can take them for a real adventure! Yay! :)