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Happy Monday

May 10, 2010

Three relics of the weekend are cheering me up on this unseasonably cold Monday.

First, a box of stamps (as in inking) and another of stickers which I bought online, in a fit of hormone-related retail extravagance (anyone else have these?) last week. They are from those peddlers of priceless ephemera, Cavallini & Co. Oh, I love them.

I used them in a burst of hormone-related creativity (anyone else have those?) to decorate a plain white photo frame, plus one or two other things which I won’t show because they are presents.

I shall put a photo of my boys in the frame: a photo from our French Alpine holiday, since the frame is decorated with French stamps. This makes me happy out of all proportion to the modest amount of time and effort spent on it.

Second, a vase of spring flowers and leaves from a peaceful sunlit walk (see previous post).

This morning I noticed that the dangling flowers (if that is what they are) of the beech stems have powdered the table with pollen – and it is bright green. For some reason, this makes me feel very cheerful. I suppose I should dust the table later, but for the moment I am enjoying my gift of green pollen.

Third, some goodies from a family trip to an international market in Dundee yesterday afternoon. The market itself was a bit of a disappointment: much of the food was more fairground quality than farmers’ market and to call it international was perhaps pushing it a bit. Yes, there were Chinese, African and Indian stallholders in addition to the usual Poles, Germans, Dutch and French who regularly pop across to Scotland. Having discovered, however, that the Toulousain boulanger was from Manchester and that the Breton patisserie was run by Yorkshiremen, I have my doubts as to whether the other stallholders actually voyaged especially to Dundee from Cathay and farthest Inde. Nonetheless, we all enjoyed ourselves. Everyone was friendly,  and the boys were excited to discover exotic delights such as Baltic amber from Gdansk (‘it looks like treasure!’ gasped the four-year old), wild boar sausage from Savoy and toy giraffes and lions made from recycled tin cans in Zimbabwe (so much work for what return, one wonders). We adults enjoyed choosing olives, bread and saucisson for next week’s lunches. But the best stall as far as the children were concerned was the sweet stall, a Willy Wonka dream of sugary excess.

The equivalent for me was the Yorkshire-Breton patisserie stall.  Carbohydrates being my comfort food of choice, the sight of tray after tray of sugared palmiers, chocolate waffles, madeleines and I know not what put me into a fever of greed. Common sense prevailed as I told myself firmly that the idea of them was bound to be tastier than the reality, seeing as they had probably been sitting out in their open boxes for three days. But you must see how alluring they looked to a hungry and cold passer-by:

Incidentally, I wondered idly what Proust would have made of these, so disparagingly labelled:

Perhaps he would have preferred a prettier one?

It was in a stall from Finland that we all finally found satisfaction. Even the hard men of northern England confessed to being frozen in Dundee’s bitter wind, but the Fins looked as if they were enjoying their visit to the balmy south, being perfectly relaxed and warm in their thick jumpers. Having eyed their reindeer hides, furry hats and snowflake-patterned jumpers, the boys settled for blowing their pocket money on cuddly toy huskies, while mum and dad blew ours on some fabulous, rainbow-hued, thick woolly socks. It may be May, but with sleet forecast for us this week, we are still feeling more attuned to our Nordic neighbours than any of the more southerly ones. And yes, that is a fire burning in the stove back home!

I hope that you, too, have some happy memories from the weekend to keep you warm this week.

See also: Prehistoric Encounters on Cairn Gorm

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2010 5:06 pm

    Ah a kindred spirit when it comes to rubber stamps. I have a box full of them including a set of Cavallini animal stamps, which make me smile just to look at them, and a variety of different coloured inkpads. I use them for all manner of things – letters, postcards, gift tags, wrapping paper. (Love your idea of using them on a photo frame.) For years, all my Christmas card envelopes have been sent bearing a small dark green stamp with a mediaeval design of a dog and a sprig of holly.

    Sadly, I am of an age where I can no longer blame hormonal surges . . .

    Shame about the lack of national authenticity at the market but I think you did very well with socks.

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      May 10, 2010 7:45 pm

      How gratifying to find another person who loves good rubber stamps! Your Christmas one sounds perfectly delightful. Cavallini is my great love, but the English Stamp Company also do lovely ones, and I was very pleased to find some beautiful calligraphic ones of Scots Gaelic phrases once – ‘thank you’ and other useful words for cards – but can’t remember where they came from. Stamps make for a happy form of procrastination, as one can always justify it by giving away the end product.

  2. Jane permalink
    May 10, 2010 8:17 pm

    Having just found the art of stamping I can share your joy although I must be one of the last crafters on earth to discover it and here I am now a demonstrator! Check out the ‘En Francais’ stamp, I guarantee you will adore it! Delighted to see your creative buzz is back.

  3. May 10, 2010 8:58 pm

    Love the stickers and they look fab on the frame! Had a wee look at the website and they have lots of lovely goodies. Like the sound of what’s on your menu for lunch next week – didn’t know there was a market on, nevermind!

  4. Wendy permalink
    May 11, 2010 12:02 am

    What a lovely post about your day! The stamping I can relate to definitely – and the hormonal surges … hmmm… that would be a big yes also. Interesting market, one that I would like to go to even if it wasn’t totally authentic international. Loving your frame and the socks.
    Had to smile about the cold day and the rugged up Fins. Here in balmy Brisbane, we are being warned about the sudden cold snap expected on Thursday. Wait for it … a predicted minimum 10deg.C – max. 23deg.C (that’s 50degF to 73degF). I’m sure that would be absolutely toasty for you there. We’re having a bit of a late start to winter here, this is the first hint of it. I say bring it on.

  5. May 11, 2010 12:12 am

    I think I see a kindred spirit here!
    It was pointed out a few times over my weekend of visiting with two other bloggers that it didn’t take much to please me. And usually, the simpler, the better!

  6. dancingbeastie permalink
    May 11, 2010 11:22 am

    Thank you, everyone, for comments about the frame. I’m now looking about the house with new eyes, figuring out what else I can stamp…if the children stand still for too long they might find themselves decorated…

    Wendy, 23 C is a hot summer’s day for us! 10 sounds respectably cool for Brissie, though. I can imagine you would welcome it after a muggy summer.

    Violet Sky, I am choosing to take your comments as complimentary…! 😉 In my twenties I wanted very much to be thought sophisticated. The older I get, the more comfortable I am in admitting that simple pleasures have always given me the greatest happiness.

  7. May 11, 2010 12:00 pm

    Oh, yes, it was totally meant as a compliment! So many people are too serious and don’t see the beauty in the little things.
    I’m off to look up this Cavallini & Co.

  8. May 11, 2010 1:46 pm

    As a textile artist, everything visual is grist for my mill. Thank you for providing so many beautiful images in the last several posts. I have been procrastinating starting work over coffe for an hour or so and if I don’t get to it soon, the day will slip away. Thanks again – I have my daily fix of colour and beauty now!
    Janet in cold and drizzly Nova Scotia (new Scotland) where at least it is above freezing

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      May 11, 2010 2:09 pm

      It’s a pleasure to share with an appreciative audience, Janet. Thanks for visiting.

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