Making Macrame Plant Hanger with Craft Lab at La Biblioteka

Thursday, 30 November 2017

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Craft lab, sheffield, craftlab, la biblioteka, macrame, macrame plant hanger, typewriter teeth, typewriterteeth 

So a while back after a few baileys I randomly booked myself and my boss onto one of Craftlab's sessions at La Biblioteka for a wee cheer up. 

We got our spaces on the Macrame Plant Hanger session for £30 each including materials, tutorial, plant, prosecco and snacks all booked via the Craft Lab website

We were welcomed on a cold Tuesday evening into the cosey workspace on the second floor of La Biblioteka to welcoming faces and a glass of prosecco. 

Julie who hosted the class made us feel right at home and we started learning how to do the two knots we'd be using that evening. We then picked our cord colours for the plant hangers and cut them to the right length.

Craft lab, sheffield, craftlab, la biblioteka, macrame, macrame plant hanger, typewriter teeth, typewriterteeth


After getting the hang of the knots (won't say i've quite mastered it yet) we started work on our plant hangers using beautiful hoops and a gathering bond to work down from.

Craft lab, sheffield, craftlab, la biblioteka, macrame, macrame plant hanger, typewriter teeth, typewriterteethCraft lab, sheffield, craftlab, la biblioteka, macrame, macrame plant hanger, typewriter teeth, typewriterteeth

From this Julie guided us through creating the shape of the plant hanger using a twisted bar knot. As a beginner it was fantastic having Julie to hand, she's fantastic teacher and made everything so clear to follow. It was such a relaxing process I could make knots all night with Julie's assistance!

Craft lab, sheffield, craftlab, la biblioteka, macrame, macrame plant hanger, typewriter teeth, typewriterteeth
Craft lab, sheffield, craftlab, la biblioteka, macrame, macrame plant hanger, typewriter teeth, typewriterteeth
At the beginning it was hard to see how these cords were going support a plant pot but as we finished each set of knots it began to shape and to say I got a little excited is an understatement. 

Craft lab, sheffield, craftlab, la biblioteka, macrame, macrame plant hanger, typewriter teeth, typewriterteeth
Craft lab, sheffield, craftlab, la biblioteka, macrame, macrame plant hanger, typewriter teeth, typewriterteeth

Craft lab, sheffield, craftlab, la biblioteka, macrame, macrame plant hanger, typewriter teeth, typewriterteeth

The finished product looks amazing in my wee house and was so simple to do with Julie's help! I even had a little time to pick up a few goodies from La Biblioteka after.




Find out about Craft Lab's upcoming workshops here or follow them on instagram for beautiful updates.
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Pages: 'Everything Everything' by Nicola Yoon

Thursday, 2 November 2017

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“Just because you can’t experience everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything.” 

‘Everything Everything’ was given to me as a birthday present from a dear friend. I had assumed that it was another young adult novel centred around an illness, accident or misfortune so I had never picked it up before but there was a little more to the novel than I was expecting. 

Madeline Whittier has SCID, severe combined immunodeficiency which basically means she is allergic to the world.  Because of this Madeline lives a quiet, calm life centred around learning and losing herself in books until a new family moves in next door. The new neighbour Olly becomes her new focus as she watches the family unfold. 

When the pair finally connect Madeline becomes desperate to see the world through Olly. Yoon replicates digital relations, using excessive text messages and instant messenger as the pair fall for each other quickly, finding and supporting each other through their unfortunate circumstances. This unconventional narrative makes their relationship develop quicker and with this they push the limits of Madeline’s illness close to death. 

Everything Everything Nicola Yoon


Outside of the plot I was intrigued by Madeline, it is easy to mistake her for someone a lot younger due to her lack of life experience. Yet when interacting with Olly she plays it cool, so what initially comes across as maturity is a reminder that Madeline is much older than she is treated by her mother and her nurse. Throughout ‘Everything Everything’ there were hints like this, of things that were not quite right. Where did she learn how to behave like that. Is it from books and films? The internet?  

It niggled at the back of my mind that Madeline already had a connection to the outside world via the internet. There are numerous references to Madeline’s popular tumblr and I couldn’t grasp that in her isolated world that she wouldn’t have reached out before Olly. A coming of age whirl wind romance is clearly a force worth risking your life for. 

This driving force made me feel like I was waiting for recovery or death but what Yoon delivered was a fantastic twist and refreshing change compared to novels on a similar par. Although I was disappointed that the twist is barely explored and almost washed over. Have you read ‘Everything, Everything’? What did you think of this or hints of internet popularity but personal isolation? 

Also I haven’t watched the film yet, is it worth it? 


Not read it, grab a copy here: Everything, Everything
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Interview: The Ghost With The Most - Talking to Lauren for Things & Ink

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When I have a free bit of time in life I love to do pieces for the Things & Ink blog: www.th-ink.co.uk 

For Halloween I saw the opportunity to interview a spooky babe who kept popping up on my Instagram feed. 


[Harriet Heath]


I talked to Lauren aka BabyRockets about her love of Halloween, her incredible tattoo collection and her fantastic home. Check it out over on the Things & Ink blog here. 

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Counting down to Northern Craft

Saturday, 7 October 2017

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With Northern Craft a week today I thought i'd get excited with a look back at all the goodies I got from their Summer Fair.

typewriter teeth, northern craft, leeds

In August my friend Jessica and I paid a visit to the Northern Monk Refectory in Leeds for Northern Craft after missing the April event.  A brewery with a tap room full of great beers, amazing food trucks and a room of incredible independent crafters, what more could you want?

With it being the weekend before my birthday I treated myself to a few bits after a number of loops around the room.

typewriter teeth, northern craft, leeds typewriter teeth, northern craft, leeds

Autumn Wild, Winter Wild & Pages On A Theme Zines from Kristyna Baczynski 
Garden Bird Notebook from Kate Broughton 
'It'll Be Reet' Pin by Kim Lawler, Finest Imagery from Northern Craft's Pin Drop
Mother's Ruin Patch from Hord Co

Mug and 'More Letters of Note' are from Homesense and we picked up the Cloudwater Wit Loral and The Kernel Porter from Little Leeds Beerhouse in the Corn Exchange.

typewriter teeth, northern craft, leeds typewriter teeth, northern craft, leeds

Northern Craft was held in the top floor of Northern Monk's grade II listed home and after treating ourselves we headed down one floor to their tap room to attempt to pick from their sixteen keg lines, 2 cask lines and incredible can and bottle selection.

After a couple of beers we headed down to check out Awesome Merchandise, Leeds merch experts who were screen printing tote bags in the entrance.

Regretfully, we skipped it on the way in thinking oh, it will be fine to do it on the way out. Well, we we're wrong and there was a queue out of the door. So next weekend you will be mine AM x Northern Craft tote!

typewriter teeth, northern craft, leeds

A week later I caught up with Jessica to find out she'd treated me to the incredible HÔRD hip flask that I had fallen in love with, including my initials on the back. So not only do I have amazing friends but the gin obsession continues and it definitely has my name on it. 

typewriter teeth, northern craft, leeds


Northern Craft was such a refreshing day full of creativity, craft, talent and passion. I cannot wait for next weekend to see what the talented independents and makers bring to Northern Craft and what comes of the worships. 

typewriter teeth, northern craft, leeds

Showcasing 35 makers and workshops, who can you not wait to see? 



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Pages: 'The Girl On The Train' by Paula Hawkins

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

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“There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.” 

I finally picked up ‘The Girl On The Train’ after a a long run of hype and constantly seeing the film adaptation advertised everywhere. The novel centres around Rachel taking the same commuter train everyday, focusing on a signal stop and the suburban homes behind the tracks. At this stop she idealises a couple whose home she can see into and reflects on her previous ‘perfect’ life. 

As we follow this daily pattern, gin and tonics fall in with hints of alcoholism and it soon becomes clear that Rachel is trying to cover something up. What isn’t clear at this point is that Rachel is using alcohol to mask harder times. Her unreliability and memory loss increasing as she loses herself in the fictions she creates around the couple she can see from the tracks. 

With all this building the story kickstarts the moment she witnesses something out of the ordinary in the perfect life she loves watching and desperately goes to the police.  As Rachel’s unreliability develops as readers we are desperate to fill in the blanks but also to find out what drove her into her disparity. 

From this point on I was waiting for the twist, or at least hints of it. So rather than finding myself wrapped up in ‘The Girl On The Train’ I felt like I was just waiting for it to happen. 


The Girl On The Train Paula Hawkins



Rachel isn’t the only narrator in the novel. Hawkins creates three distinct female voices whose narration she switches between. The style creates a desperation between chapters that leaves us the reader over reliant on not putting the book down, a fantastic ploy and technique to keep you reading.  

As much as these voices were distinct I found each narrator was defined by the men in their lives, even the ones who were a mystery to them. This dictated our perception as the reader, feeling as those the male characters had more control over our perception of the three narrators and their unreliabilities than the characters themselves, purely because we were not met with their flaws yet. 

Although this agitated it me thinking back it reflected on how much time we spend as voyeurs now. We often work on assumptions made with the little knowledge we have about people or focusing on their issues rather than the situation that led them there.  Exactly the situation Rachel found herself in. 

The Girl On The Train Paula Hawkins


After finishing the novel I was eager to watch the film but it lacked something I loved about the novel, the elements and closeness of London. 

The location in the novel commented on how little attention we pay to those who we commute with on a close daily basis and the mysteries of what happens behind closed doors. By changing to an American landscape the closeness was lost and everything I loved about the book. 


The Girl On The Train Paula Hawkins

What did you think? Buy it here: The Girl on the Train
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Pages: 'Damned' by Chuck Palahniuk

Monday, 7 August 2017

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“Are you there Satan? It’s me Madison.” 

With ‘Damned’ Chuck has literally put his characters through hell as he throws thirteen year old Madison into the underworld. A teenager who is so emotionally desperate that she even seeks attention from the devil with the beginning of every chapter.

'Damned' by Chuck Palahniuk


Palanhuink is known for his unusual characters that you somehow still end up caring about or loving but I just could not connect with Madison in this novel. Madison’s narration forms a constant stream of jokes and witty remarks in between teenage fretting of body image, intelligence and even how dead she is. This paired with The Breakfast Club esque group of friends she makes in Hell sets up for a a much more light hearted theme than then name and setting suggests.

Palanhuink’s Hell is built on traditional elements, eternal demons and bizarre landmarks with a strange familiarness. It’s a place built on bureaucracy and endless waiting that reminded me of Beetlejuice but with those damned to Hell working in telemarketing to the living. Madison uses this channel to spread the word that Hell isn’t so bad and how easy it is to end up there.

 

What is lost is the Palanhuink twist, when I look at my dogeared copies of his other work I remember those moments, the shocking, transgressive kind when you stop and look up from your book to see if anyone else has witnessed the same shock as you. Maybe it comes in the second book? Palahniuk has definitely taken me to darker places than Hell before.

The second half of ‘Damned’ seemed to blitz through a speedy personality change and growth of confidence for Madison, a burst of changes that confused and overwhelmed things late in the story. All the development of the friendship group throughout seems to be quickly dropped as Madison escalates her power through Hell. As it escalates ‘Damned’ begins to get messy with repeated moments in candy bar currency and descriptions of places in half hearted torment.

  'Damned' by Chuck Palahniuk

I feel like this has been pessimistic but someone may connect much more with ‘Damned’ and Madison than I could. I will always be curious about Chuck Palahniuk’s work, I just won’t be buying this one for everyone’s birthday as ‘the best book i’ve read this year’.

 Give it a try yourself, buy it here: Damned
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Pages: 'Norwegian Wood' by Haruki Murakami

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

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"Those were strange days, now that I look back at them. In the midst of life, everything revolved around death.”
Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood

If it wasn’t for the babes in my book club ‘Norwegian Wood’ would have probably remained in my ‘to read’ pile for a long time. It’s the first Murakami novel I have read but it will not be my last. Initially I found it incredibly difficult to get into but I don’t like to give up on a book and I am so glad I didn’t.

Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood


‘Norwegian Wood’ was stirring, emotional and sometimes unbearable to read but that overwhelming feeling whilst reading was almost ethereal. Reading as if there was a film or a bubble around the characters with the sense of instability in their world, like it could all disappear. 

Murakami guides readers through some of life’s darkest moments and with ‘Norwegian Wood’ it is the themes death, loss and grief, but with insights not of solutions or grieving. The novel is a reflection of parts of Watanabe’s life but reflecting on the book it feels as if he and other characters are ignorant of the effect death had on him.

Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood

With this emotional inability to move on the novel falls into a perpetual state of winter, despite ‘Norwegian Wood’ ranging across all the seasons. As if death, loss and grief traps them in it because the characters fail to realise the impact that the bereavements have had on their lives, ignorant of death and the natural grieving process. Winter forms a natural metaphor for death, key in showing that death is natural in a novel where the culture denies death and keeps the dying out of site.  Snowy landscapes form the first pages of the novel and are replicated in Naoko’s frozen suicide. So as part of Watanabe leaves with death, it is as if winter has taken it.


‘Norwegian Wood’ is a novel of wandering characters searching for something to fill an emptiness as they fail to find the natural process of grief. An emptiness where they fail to recognise their pain as loss as they continually push themselves away from any chance of rebirth. What Watanabe finds with Naoko and Midori is misted by their own issues with loss as ‘Norwegian Wood’ reflects of just how many people wonder through life in a suspended state of grief. I could discuss ‘Norwegian Wood’ for pages as i’ve barely touched on one theme in this small space. But I guess that is what book clubs are for right? The slow and stirring nature of this novel pulls you into its delicate bubble looking for the light and I feel like I could keep unraveling it.


Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood

Get it here: Norwegian Wood 

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Pages: 'The First Bad Man' by Miranda July

Monday, 15 May 2017

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I purchased 'The First Bad Man' before i’d even read a word about it. After reading July’s ‘No One Belongs Here More Than You’ (post here) I couldn’t wait to see how Miranda July’s short stories could develop and take on the format of a novel.


A book review of Miranda July'sThe First Bad Man


Cheryl Glickman, the unreliable narrator is aware of her own null existence, keeping her own life to minimum and rarely making a mark with a penchant of her cleaning system.  Cheryl opens up her home to the daughter of the founders of the company she works for. And as their daughter Clee upheaves Cheryl’s life, Cheryl becomes obsessed with Clee and everything about her.  

I aimed to write this without falling into the plot too much but what I loved about ‘The First Bad Man’ is its inner focus in the workings of life. The plot is all consuming as if it were your own and I when I finished the novel I was left to process that it was no longer that. It became stuck inside my mind, in patterns Cheryl had created.


A book review of Miranda July'sThe First Bad Man

Clee may have interrupted Cheryl’s life but it is her narration that interrupts and unravels, revealing her obsessive behaviour in herself and others. But without a bad man, the title fills a sweeping reference or what it seems to the aggressive role playing that takes up Cheryl and Clee’s relationship.

There is not a single character in the book that appeared ‘normal’ which I loved, July captured that there actually isn’t a truly ‘normal’ person.  A hyper take on a reality that we all have flaws in us. The way Miranda July brought all these observations together became so familiar but disturbing in transparency.   


A book review of Miranda July'sThe First Bad Man


'The First Bad Man' brought together all the sad emptiness of mediocre life and by no means have I even begun to touch on the surface of this book or its subplots. But if you are a fan of July’s other work i’d love to know what you think of the transition to novel. 

“If you were wise enough to know that this life would consist mostly of letting go of things you wanted, then why not get good at the letting go, rather than the trying to have?” 


A book review of Miranda July'sThe First Bad Man


Buy it here:The First Bad Man 

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