Archive for October, 2009

Things that go Bump in the Night (not including me falling over)

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , on October 31, 2009 by echostains

Try carving this using a hard turnip, it kills your fingers!

Oooh it’s nearly that time again.  The time where ghouls, ghosties and long legged beasties and things that go bump in the night  shall soon be out in force!   It’s just a shame that I will miss it because I have to work.  A ghost can turn up anywhere though…….

this 'ghost' was spotted at Hampton Court Palace a while ago

I came across this interesting website, dedicated to ghost stories, urban legends and sightings.  There are postings about ghostly experiences and even short films to watch.  The website is HERE

October 2009 Fortean Times magazine. a jolly good read!

We’ve been reading Fortean Times for years, it’s recommended reading at any time of the year.  There are always interesting strange stories, sightings, book reviews and all sorts of Paranormal phenomena.  Have a look online HERE

'Her neck is tolerable..I suppose...but not enough to tempt me!'

Meanwhile, back at Waterstones the other day, I spotted this book! Yes Mr Darcy (who everyone didn’t praise to the sky) has now morphed into a vampyre in this book ‘Mr Darcy Vampyre’ by Amanda Grange. This explains the dark moods apparently. Lizzie should have kept her promise never to dance with Mr Darcy….   There’s a line in it that says “Her neck is tolerable I suppose…but not enough to tempt me!”  (now I AM kidding, lol! though it wouldn’t surprise me).  Seriously, whatever will they think of next? and No, I won’t be reading it.


I couldn’t resist these ice-cube makers, they’re called ‘Bone Chillers’ and they’re available HERE, just the thing for Halloween drinks! And what about these so cute little cupcake pans? You could bake these all the year round.

skull cupcake pan to make the evening go with a shreik



Skull cupcake pan available HERE 


Creepy Halloween Cakes!

Posted in HOME with tags , , on October 30, 2009 by echostains

wonder if you could use ice cream  for the body?

It’s Halloween soon, but unfortunately I shall be working so I will miss out.  The other night I went out.  Two pubs had been given the same decorations, including those cobwebs that you shred.  One pub shredded and draped their cobwebs, and the other, just opened the sheets up and stuck them over glass cases!  I wished I’d had my camera so I could show what I mean.  Talk about, couldn’t be bothered….perhaps they are going to put the undisturbed cobwebs away for next year….

I came across this unusual site the other day (or should I say Stumbleupon)  I couldn’t resist these cakes, they are so cute and just the thing for Halloween!  Please check out this site HERE for instructions about how to make them.

make all these variations

I’m sure that you can find equivalents for some of the ingredients (like Pocky).  Perhaps joining a pair of ‘Matchmakers‘  by melting the chocolate a bit to join them, would work for the legs. Or, what about a Tunnocks Tea cake for the body?  Children would love these wouldn’t they!

Tunnocks Tea cakes, the legs would be a bit of a challenge

The website has lots of ‘unusual’ things to make……..   HERE

Pots of Flavour!

Posted in HOME, OUT AND ABOUT MANCHESTER with tags , , , on October 29, 2009 by echostains

vindaloo curry

It’s been a hectic evening, hence a very short post.  Just been for a curry at ‘The Edge’ in Swinton.  It was good too! nice service nice food and excellent prices, what more could you want eh!  I had my usual Lamb Vindaloo, well actually it’s that or Lamb Rogan Josh, lol!  Not quite as hot as I like it, but delicious none the less.  The Naan bread in there is so freshly fluffy, you can tell it’s just been baked.  I love a curry, I do, and have to make one at least once a week.

Tagine from Lakeland

I also am a sucker for gadgets and cookware.  Last year I bought a Tagine.  It’s still going strong, I use it at least twice a week.  I love one pot cooking (there’s less washing up) and loads of flavour.  The only criticism I have about my Tagine is that the  top of it is a bit awkward to lift off owing to the design.  LOVE it though!

Watched: Hollywood Diva’s; Tamara de Lempicka, BBC 4

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, WATCHED with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by echostains

Tamara de Lempicka, like a film star

I watched this programme the other nights, wrote about it, then ‘lost’ the post! Art Deco artist, as she is often referred to, Tamara de Lempicka has always been a bit of a favourite of mine since I was at Uni. She has many fans, amongst them the artiste Madonna, a keen collector of her work. ‘The Baroness with a brush’ was born in Warsaw Poland (1898 – 1980) and enjoyed a privileged life as part of the St Petersburg Literati as a girl before she fled to Paris France with her first husband Tadeusz Lempicki to escape the Bolshevics.


Lempicka’s art was defined as being a kind of soft or synthetic cubism. Her images were glossy, elegant and emotionlessly chic like fashion photography in the magazines of the time; Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.

Beautiful rafaela, I love this painting!

 Lempicka’s peak as a fashionable artist came roughly between 1922 – 35. After that, she seems to have lost her way a bit, embracing a new unconvincing sentimental style that just didn’t seem to work for her. She also flirted with abstraction, which also failed. Towards the end of her life though, there was a resurgence of interest in her art.

self portrait with Bugatti car

 There has been much written about the artist’s personal life. She was a free spirit and notorious for her exploits. But she also supported herself with her art and was a very single minded independent woman too.

Kizette sleeping (the artist's daughter)

 It is not my intention to retell the artist’s life story here, though it does make interesting reading. Amongst the many books written about her, I think Stefanie Pencks’ and ‘Tamara de Lempicka’ (Pegasus) and Gilles Neret ‘Lempicka’ (Taschen) are good books.

portrait de madame Alan Bott

 Lempicka’s paintings have been featured on Madonna’s music videos ‘Open your Heart’ 1987, ‘Vogue’ 1990 and ‘Express yourself’ 1989

See my other post about Lempicka HERE

 For more Lempicka images, see HERE

 More Watched stuff ;

‘Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky’

Absolutely Fuming!

Posted in WRITING AND BLOGGING with tags , , , , on October 27, 2009 by echostains

de lempicka, not tonight mate

I can feel the smoke rising as I type!!! SO angry and frustrated!  Once again I was typing (this time about Hollywood Diva Lempicka).  I had added the pics and links, went to save to draft – then LOST it!  Really sick and tired of this happening, it’s not the first time either!  I think I’m going to have to revert to what I used to do, which is type it out in Word and paste it.  It really is disheartening when you’ve done a load of work….grrrrrrrrrrr!

Weird and Wacky Design: Crusty Bread Rolls with It!

Posted in DESIGN, SCULPTURE, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , on October 26, 2009 by echostains
mighty strange bread

mighty strange bread


Just a quick one tonight.  I came across this silly bread roll the other day which I thought was rather fun.  Also this bread hand.  The question is why?  the answer must be  ‘why not! because they can, that’s why!

very strange bread hand



very strange bread hand

And what about this weird foot?  I wonder how difficult it is to sculpt this bread?  Surely the bread would have to be of the right  consistancy – not too soft and not to hard.  I wonder if it has to be freeze-dried first?  I actually wouldn’t mind having a bit of a go at this!

crusty foot

crusty foot

There’s  a whole gallery of them HERE

Read my earlier post about Bread and Butter sculpture HERE

Happy Birthday Dear Pablo Picasso!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , on October 25, 2009 by echostains

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso

Today is the birthday of probably one of the most famous  modern  artists, Pablo Picasso (or to give him his real name – Pablo Diego JoseFrancisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso).  Most people called him Picasso…… and no wonder!

La Celestina from Blue period

La Celestina from Blue period

Picasso born in Spain 1881 – 1973 founded the Cubist movement.  This painter, sculptor and draughtsman was the most innovative artist of his time.  His paintings were always talking points and controversial.  The artist is also known for his different coloured ‘periods’ e.g.  Blue period, (1901 – 1904)  in which the artist’s depicted beggars, prostitutes and mournful subjects.  Whereas the Rose period is more cheerful period, with circus’s, Harlequins’ and comedy (1904 – 1906)

Les Damoiselles d;Avignon

Les Damoiselles d;Avignon

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is probably (along with the Weeping Woman and Guernica) one of Picasso’s famous works.  This painting was based on the artist’s fascination with African masks and Primitive art. Picasso developed Cubism (1909 1912)  with fellow artist Georges Braque.  By analising shapes, dissecting them then re assembling them, Picasso was able to create new compositions and perspectives.  Picasso’s preoccupation with Cubism was not met with enthusiasm by most critics at the time.  Undaunted, he carried on exploring this new art form. This period was to last from 1907 to 1917, quite a long time for Picasso.

Guernica Picasso

Guernica Picasso

  Picasso remained neutral regarding the first and second World Wars  and also the Spanish Civil War, refusing to fight or support either side on principle.  Guernica however depicts the German bombing of this Basque city  in the Spanish Civil War and is one of Picasso’s famous works.  ‘The Weeping Woman’ adds a poignant farewell to this period.

picasso-weeping-woman-1937 based on Dora Maar

picasso-weeping-woman-1937 based on Dora Maar

Picasso’ famous symbol ‘The Dove of Peace’ was produced for the World Peace Congress in 1949.  There are many versions of this symbol and it is still used internationally. Picasso’s personal life has been much documented.  He had two wives, four children by three women and many mistresses.  Each of these relationships inspired paintings and periods.  There’s an interesting website HERE  that shows the paintings with their muses.

Fantastic amount of his paintings and life story HERE

Other artist’s birthdays I have wrote about;



Leonardo da Vinci

Hart Benton


Van Gogh













What I’m Reading at the moment; ‘Branwell Bronte’s Barber’s Tale’ by Chris Firth

Posted in BOOKS! DEAR READER I READ IT, BRONTE BITES with tags , , , , on October 24, 2009 by echostains

Branwell Brontes Barbers Tale by Chris Firth

Branwell Brontes Barbers Tale by Chris Firth

I am  in that inbetweeny period where I have no new books to read (sob) so I’m having to rely on old ones: ones I have read years ago, like ‘Samuel Pepys’ Diary’.  Occasionally I come across a book I’ve bought and for some reason or other, haven’t got round to reading.  Well, such an occurence happened today!  I found a bag I’d forgotten about containing reading matter!  The bag contained stuff we had bought on our recent visit to Haworth including a book called ‘Branwell Bronte’s Barbers Tale’ by Chris Firth, where apparently ‘Fiction collides with history…’ and it is a ‘literary thriller that will explode the Bronte myth’ according to the Bradford Observer June 12th 1867 (yes, that’s what it says on the back).  So great stuff, looking forward to reading this!  By the way, the book was entered for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2005.

The other reading material is in the form of an old ‘Everybody’s Weekly’ from the 1950s.  I thought it would be interesting to see the sort of fashion and advertisements that were going in the period I was born, and see exactly what has changed (me, obviously, lol!) and how much.  So plenty to be getting on with.  I will report my findings of the book an magazine when after I have read them.