Tuesday, 6 November 2012


Wow! It's November already!

Think I'm suffering from that age thing that apparently happens to the ageing...the years are flying in.

If I follow that statement by saying "I'm nearly 80 you know..."
please feel free to slap me. The fact that I might feel like I'm 80 some days is neither here nor there!

But I digress - in an attempt to lure you away from my real age.....

Here at Elle & Pea we have been run off our little size 4s! We've had Craft Fairs, we've booked Craft Fairs, we've had exhibitions, we've had invitations to exhibitions and we've wangled our way into new galleries!

And, if I thought October was busy....michty me....November will be just a blur!

So, in an attempt to get it all done I will leave you with a small sample of what's going on in Elle & Pea land and with a promise to put up nice photos of all the Christmassy stuff I've been involved with once it's all happened...........

My little Apprentice Gracie has turned into a postcard (the amazing changing dog trick....)

The beautiful Cove Harbour in East Lothian has turned into a piece of wall art.......

And some bits of boring old aluminium have been transformed into amazing cuffs to adorn the wrist of someone you love (or someone you think needs to wear advice on a daily basis....we all know one)

All this and more can be found in various locations around Scotland but it's probably easier to check out the website first - Elle & Pea

Cheers Chaps

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Trunk Call!

A chance remark to my brother today reminded me of an amazing artist I came across recently.

However, first things first. The conversation concerned the fact that my brother doesn't own a pair of trunks and I very kindly offered to knit him a pair.

Coming from an era where practically everything we owned was re-knitted from an old ripped down jumper or made up of leftover ends from balls of usually nylon and for some obscure reason neon orange wool to make up THE most hideous colour combinations ever known to man (a poncho c1968 springs to mind) along with a family of Dundonian Aunties who could knit Aran from memory whilst sitting in the pictures in the dark, I really didn't think the concept was all that strange....

I got quite into the idea, thinking of ways I could line them, maybe with some kind of neoprene to keep the heat in and the wet out and minimise the drag factor of the water thereby ensuring modesty at all times, or even knit them from strips of plastic bag giving them a recycled element. Colour combinations, stitch mixing, cable, stripes, bobbles.....the possibilities were endless!

I'm a very experienced knitter and I thought, given the fact that I'm an extremely busy woman and this could be a time consuming project, he would jump at the chance - but no. I don't think even my alternative offer of crochet as a faster solution would have swayed him. All my hopes and dreams were dashed and I've had to resurrect my cushion cover project instead....

Anyway, back to the artist in hand, that being the amazing Shauna Richardson who has taken the concept of a wool based life to another level completely.

Having mastered the rare art of Crochetdermy, she hand crochets these amazing sculptures from wool and has created the largest crochet sculpture in the world - Lionheart Project - which I would give my last crochet hook to see!

I can't help wondering if she simply misunderstood her brother when he said he wanted trunks?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Pure Dead Brilliant!

Having been brought up in a fairly 'arty' family, it's more or less always been my experience that if you're artistic you're considered 'eccentric' or 'a bit weird', which, it has to be said my mother probably was. Not in a bad way obviously, but she did take cutlery into the cupboard during a thunder storm.....but that's another story.

I've always been accused of having a weird sense of humour or liking things that other people might consider odd - like graveyards (which are FASCINATING by the way...), or my little collection of death certificates which I really want to frame and hang on the wall but have faced family opposition to.

Really old graveyards are the best with amazing sculptures and creepy old cloches which really are works of art. A game I used to play with my children was to try and find a gravestone with the name of somebody they knew on it. I don't think they were damaged in any way by this.....ahem!

However, it is always refreshing to find other people with similar tastes and that was how I came across Elaine Allison

I absolutely totally LOVE her work and she has so many strings to her bow but one of my favourites incorporates two of the things I love best - cloches and things found on beaches - I just wish I'd thought of this first dammit!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

By Yon Bonnie Banks...

I may be a wee bit biased but really, Scotland has to be one of the most special places in the World. Amazing scenery, humungous talent in all areas, inventors galore, world class athletes and comfort food to die for. So, combining a first puppy holiday with a photography opportunity we headed off to midgie land for a few days.

The potential for disaster was huge - full of beans puppy + somebody else's house = potential mayhem.
Our fears were unfounded however thanks to Gracie's almost impeccable behaviour combined with a great welcome from Lesley and John at the Tom-na-creige B&B.

Not only were the breakfasts great, but the view was pretty spectacular! So, a big thank you to Lesley and John for making Gracie so welcome - the daily bribery sausage went a long way to modifying her behaviour!

Scotland isn't just famous for it's mountains though! Our cities are pretty gorgeous too with many iconic landmarks and buildings to ooh and aah over.

One talented man I have met along the way is Stephen O'Neil

So,if you thought Scotland was all about 'tartan tat', 'See You Jimmy' hats and extremely dodgy £20 kilts - think again!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

We're Not Flagging Any More!!

There's something nice about living in the same place your whole life. I can't imagine living anywhere other than where I am now. I tried it once briefly for a year but I came back because I was seasick - ie sick of not living by the sea!

So, it wasn't difficult to persuade me to become involved in the first of what we hope will be several community ventures - that of the Portobello Big Beach Bunting Project, the aim of which was to make 100m of bunting in less than three months, each separate flag being made by different members of the community. The rules were very strict. To be eligible to make a flag you had to have walked along Portobello Promenade at least once in your life......yep, that was it.....ONCE - in your life....We were guaranteed thousands.

We started off well. Enthusiasm in the Community was riding high and by July we had the grand sum of...em....10. Panic set in round about the 17th of August. We needed 100 by the 25th and we still had....em...10. But as the 21st dawned and we scurried around the drop off points, fired up the sewing machines, spent three and a half hours sewing and then counted.......we had a massive 140!!!!

In true Scottish Summertime style, the day for unveiling was wet and windy but, undeterred, the stalwarts of Creative Porty proudly climbed their stepladders to hang a grand total of 155 bunting flags from lampposts on the Promenade!

I am so amazed...sorry, I mean proud (!)...that our little crafting group, along with many members of our Community have pulled together and made this happen - group hug guys (okay...maybe not - group wine??).

Bet you can't WAIT for our next plan........are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.....

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Party's Over........

.......and I was so sorry to call it a day!

Had a FANTASTIC time in my cosy little booth at the West End Fair!

After four days of (almost) sunshine and endless hours of fun with the general public I've decided people watching is absolutely the best pastime ever! A big thanks to the man who enquired whether I photographed a lot of groynes....ooo er missus!

Almost as good as my fellow stallholder Little Sister Lucy who was giving out sweets to entice people to look at her silk knickers - I was beginning to wonder what kind of tent I had stumbled into!

However, the real star of the show turned out to be my shelf unit....cobbled together by my talented hubby from a bit of an old pallet and some driftwood we found the night before (true!) on our local beach.

If times get hard in Elle & Pea land at least I know I can send him off down the road to beachcomb his way to keeping me in the style to which I could become accustomed!

You have to keep your options open in this game!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

It's Cool To Be Vintage.........

I've always been a fan of vintage paraphernalia. I put that down to the fact that I was what my mother termed 'a late baby' - or, what my sister termed 'a mistake'. Anyhow whatever the reason for my conception I did have a lot of older relatives in comparison to my friends whose parents were in their 20s or 30s when they had children as opposed to my parents who fought in the War!

Vintage for me was gas masks, cast iron ranges, enamel soup pots and wally dugs. Things my Nana actually had in her house.

Imagine my dismay then to discover that vintage now includes things I used in MY day to day life! How did that happen? When did I become vintage?? Things crop up on Facebook all the time - AND I RECOGNISE THEM! I'm distraught.

However, sometimes things turn up which make me happy to be part of the vintage scene. One of these is the very talented Mentalembellisher who makes amazing, vintage inspired jewellery combining all sorts of bits and pieces, sometimes put together in a rather disturbing, but always eyecatching and tongue in cheek, way.

Famous for her Gourmet Killer Bees and rather raunchy photographs, embracing your vintage side always seems a bit more fun when you can wear a pair of acrobats in your ears!

She's not called Mental for nothing.........

Monday, 30 July 2012

Sticks and Stones.......

Now that I have just over two weeks to go until my stint at The West End Fair and I am running out of creative steam (not to mention pottery!), my thoughts are turning to the design of the stall.

This has caused me to panic....if not totally freak (I am prone to a bit of freaking when under pressure). So jumbled were my thoughts that my table was in grave danger of looking not unlike what I feed Gracie - ie a dog's breakfast.

Taking myself in hand, and thinking logically (after all, my pottery is borne of the sea and most of the images I photograph are of the sea....can you see where this is going?) I decided on a seascape theme - driftwood, pebbles, shells, netting, that kind of thing.

It was about the same time that I stumbled across this amazing lady Heather Jansch and her out of this world sculptures.

Obviously, I now feel totally inadequate as I gather together my pathetic little sticks and bits of other people's rubbish, but totally safe in the knowledge that, once I've disinfected and washed the smelly bit of netting I found on the beach it WILL look like this - and not a scabby piece of black string......

I wish..........!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Mmmmm - Mannequins!

It was whilst drooling over these gorgeous mannequins - which I confess I do quite frequently and one day I WILL have one.....

Corset Laced Mannequins

... that I remembered this little story which made me laugh again....

In my previous life pre blissful crafting I worked for nine years in a school. One of the many hats I had the dubious privilege of wearing was that of "Procurement Officer". Well, when I say "Procurement Officer" I confess that it was a title made up sarcastically by a colleague to sit alongside "Resources Replenishment Officer" which was the title I used when filling up the paper drawer in the Art Department.

Anyway, in my role as Procurement Officer I ordered stuff and, being an Art Department sometimes it was a bit different to the ordinary pencils, paper, jotters kind of stuff you would expect a PO in a school to order.

Mannequins were the order of the day and to a normal person in a normal job with a normal take on the best way to save money in a cash strapped school run by a cash strapped Council, that would probably have been the end of it. Order the mannequins, get excited when they arrive, pay for them.....

Unfortunately normal people didn't deal with our orders...Oh no...having sourced the mannequins online at a very reasonable cost I was told by a very irate girl from the Mother Ship that we HAD to get them from an official supplier at a very reasonable DOUBLE the price.

Just as I was losing the will to live and imploding with frustration she saved the day by indignantly informing me that "anyone can go on the internet and get things cheaper....we can't allow that!".............

So, as long as you don't work for the Council check out these gorgeous mannequins and order as many as you like!

I shall not let the enthusiasm wain.......

Did I tell you I'm doing an important Craft Fair? No, well I wouldn't have because I've only been here five minutes.....!

Anyway, I am!

I will be at the West End Fair - Venue 27 - St. John's Church, bottom of Lothian Road, Edinburgh (along with at least 100 other stalls!)


I'm really excited to be PART of the Edinburgh Festival this year instead of just a casual bystander and I have been working flat out to build up my stock.

For the uninitiated I make these little pieces of art by dragging my husband and dog all over Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife in Scotland to take photographs, collect pieces of broken seapottery (ie old broken bits of crockery which have at some point been tossed into the sea, battered about for years and spat out by the tide.....)and then do magical things with the ingredients to give you THE most unique little piece of Scottish history ever! Easy!

Anyway, it is now ALL over the house in various stages of gorgeousness and even the puppy is starting to ignore it (yes....result!). But the end is in sight and I hope to see you at the West End Fair from Thursday 9th August - Sunday 12th August!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

It's a start.......

.......and it will be a slow one!

Despite finally persuading my other half that I would make a great housewife, giving virtual birth to a tri-coloured collie puppy and slashing my personal income by half....I still can't find enough hours in a week to blog...but...I'm here.

Be gentle with me, I'm a quick learner and before long will have you mesmerised by my totally inane, mundane, ordinary accounts of the day to day life of a frustrated artiste...brace yourselves..

PS - you can find me on Facebook