Saturday, 5 July 2014

As easy as folding paper!

With the school holidays quickly creeping up on us we're often left searching for alternative ways to keeping the younger members of the family entertained and engaged. If you'd rather have your kids learning a craft skill instead of sitting in front of an iPad or TV screen then this might be the book for you!
Not only is "Origami 365" perfect for your kiddos but it's also pretty fab for adults too. Believe me it's got tons of stuff that both I and my partner will be making. I'm already treating some fabric with wallpaper glue to make flowers for a festival headpiece. That project I will be posting very soon on the blog so keep an eye out for that!

In this book, Taro Yaguchi, founder of Taro's Origami Studio and master of the fold, shares his unique "Kyu" System with us.
Not dissimilar to the the colour coded levels often associated with mastery in the field of martial arts you'll successfully learn the basic folds and bases where you'll be rewarded with passage to the next level. You'll be an Origami Black Belt in no time... or actually according to the "Kyu" System you'll be an Origami Red Belt in no time!

Origami can be used as a way to reward your little ones too... complete a task, make an origami piece and get a star on the behavioural wall chart which is good news all round!
Now I'm no expert on child rearing but having 7 nieces and nephews I have had lots of experience when it comes to finding interesting ways to keep them engaged and off the naughty step!
Having so much free time and not always the best summer weather can prove a chore when it comes to keeping the younger individuals in the family happy and content. So what better way is there to keep them entertained then by making something both you and they will enjoy?
But it's not necessarily something you might want to use just as a "treat" it's also a really amazing thing to learn as Origami can help explore creativity, problem solving and promote patience. But lets move away from the kids' angle and look at the book as a whole...

This book contains a brief history of the ancient art of paper folding as well as 12 projects which are clearly illustrated and are easy to achieve without the use of complicated jargon, fiddly tools or expensive materials.
You'll also find a selection of specific key folds and base forms that provide a foundation for the development of origami skills ranging from "the book fold" to the "outside reverse fold". If that means nothing to you... fear not, it's all explained and you'll be talking like an Origami master by the end of that chapter.

The book itself comes in a lovely presentation box set which also includes 365 pieces of beautifully designed origami papers in three different sizes, hence the title... yup, you'll have enough paper to last a whole year. Though I'm not sure I'd keep to the daily quota it's definitely a book I'll revisit time and time again.
If you too would like to get your crafty mittens on this book then please order via us to get a very special offer:
To order your copy of Origami 365  (9781937994525) for £14. including p&p** telephone 01903 828503 and quote offer code APG171.   

**Please note that orders from outside the UK will incur an different p&p charge. 

And hey presto, lovely flowers!!!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Here comes the sewing revolution!

Last Thursday Craft Guerrilla were invited to a very special sneaky preview at "Drink Shop Do" to check out the all new Oekaki Renaissance Toyota domestic sewing machine.
It's not often that I gush about a particular piece of crafting kit but last week I fell in love with a sewing machine.
Yes, a gorgeous, well designed, intuitive, new -not quite on the market yet!- Toyota sewing machine has stolen my heart.
Though its' main target audience is the free hand embroiderer it also performs as a normal sewing machine... so you can stitch up a dress and then add some embellishments too!
An added bonus is that you can also tack stitch a garment before committing to the stitch so your projects will be finished quicker and more accurately.
For me this is a very handy and welcome feature as normally I pretty much bypass the tack stitching and go straight onto the sewing bit. I know, I'm an inherently lazy positive person when it comes to sewing and though I do it time and time again I still fall into the trap of thinking it'll be fine which in reality means I end up unpicking everything anyway because cutting corners never works!

The new Oekaki sewing machine!

And so what's the fuss and what's so different about this sewing machine you ask?
Well after an initial run through by the experts we sat at the machine and... woosh, we were off!
I was pretty hesitant about the pedal issue but that quickly became second nature.
The difference and main advantage of this machine is that rather then using the foot pedal for speed you are actually using that same pedal for stitch width! This allows you to embroider in different widths on one section without having to fiddle with settings. It takes time to master but it can be super accurate and liberating. Just needs a little bit of patience and practice!
I know, sounds weird using the pedal in a totally different way from usual but far from it. It's not all haphazard as you can set the stitch width on the control panel.

I think Sanna fell in love too... could hardly get her off the machine, not even with the promise of cocktails!

After a few tentative tries we quickly got the hang of it though I think I would need more then a quick 5 minutes to get to the point of actually embroidering monograms and designs like those made and demoed by the amazing experts. Sanna did an amazing job... embroidered, stitched, appliquéd and even managed to make her childhood monogram. But she was pretty much born on a sewing machine!

A few examples by Anne which she made using the Oekaki machine...

and here's Anne Griffiths, the lady herself showing her amazing stitched panel!

One of those talented experts was Anne Griffiths a textile designer who was there showcasing her amazing work. Unfortunately we arrived too late to hear her talk about her work but we were totally blown away by what she achieved with this machine.
It looked like it had been embroidered by hand but it wasn't as she assured us. On closer inspection it had the telltale signs of a machine made piece but it also still had the hand made look about it. I guess it's a sympathetic marriage of both but it did look effectively and realistically hand made... and in a way it is. A bit like the difference between an adobe© illustrator drawing and a pencil drawing. Look at it as a tool which gives the same results -or very close!- in a fraction of the time!
If it helps manage my already busy time then I'm all for it. The possibilities are endless and I'm already thinking how this amazing sewing machine could make my toy making more efficient and less time consuming.

For a first go I think we did quite well though Sanna did much better then me but then again...she is a clever panda!

What this machine does is allow people to become stitch artists. One thing I always found "unlikable" about the preset embroidery machines was the actual fact that the hand made element was lost. It always looks so sterile and machine made. Almost too perfect!
BUT... The Oekaki machine takes that all back. It's pretty much just like drawing with thread... and that makes me very happy!!! Actually Oekaki means to draw. I love drawing and sewing so I'm very happy to see that this technology is being spear headed by some very clever people. So it's a big thumbs up from me as it includes three of my favourite things rolled into one: Tech, sewing and drawing!

A fellow guest made the most amazing piece...and it was her first go ever at free hand machine embroidery! Wow, lady...that's awesome!!!

The actual product design is nice too... perfectly modern, minimalist, light -it's so easy to carry which makes it super portable!-and also with a selection of colours to chose from. I think were I to purchase one that I'd be stuck as all three colours would suit my craft room decor. Choices are red, black and a beautiful green teal. Maybe when we get our studios again we can get one of each?! It also includes a starter pack so you can get immediate inspiration and tuition via a DVD. The on line resources are pretty good too as the website is packed with filmed tutorials, project ideas and templates.

Erm, for a first attempt it's not too bad!
The Oekaki does all the normal things a sewing machine does and more like having the super self threading feature. So easy... especially if like me you always forget to wear your glasses!
The other positive it has is a self adjusting glide foot so if you were stitching a pair of jeans for example -ah yes it also sews up to 12 layers of fabric so denim is a doddle!!!- the foot effortlessly drives over the chunky seems without stopping, clogging or getting stuck on the thick fabric.
I was very impressed and can't wait to see what else Toyota come up with in the future. This my friends is the beginning of a sewing revolution and I for one am ready to wave the Oekaki free hand machine embroidered flag!

Easy and versatile... a perfect piece of kit for any stitcher!

If you'd like to see more about this machine then head over to the web site. There are lots of tutorials, tips and previews plus a lot more techical info:

The R.R.P. for the Oekaki Renaissance is £599/€649.
However anyone reserving the machine before the release in July will receive the greatly discounted price of £349/€399! Visit the Toyota website for more info and to reserve your machine!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Picture perfect social media!

We can't all be Henri Cartier-Bresson but we can but try! For those bloggers that rely on images to tell their stories then this fantastic little book can help make the difference between having a blog that has a few dozen readers and a blog that becomes essential reading for hundreds of followers!
You see there are a ton of blogs out there and it's pretty hard keeping readers engaged and interested.

Picture Perfect Social Media gives you the confidence to stand out in an ever evolving, competitive blogosphere. The Internet is a vast and fickle thing as you know, so listen up people... the reality is that you need to up your game and what better way to do so then by making your blog a lifestyle destination!
A Handbook for Styling Perfect Photos for Posting, Blogging and all your social media needs!

Whether you're blogging about your home made cakes or documenting your globe trotting adventures having great complementary photos can increase your web traffic flow as well as reach as many new readers as possible and keep those returning coming back for more.

What the author and photographer Jennifer Young manages to do is prove that you don't need to be a professional stylist to add beautiful, captivating and unique visuals to your blog.
Tapping in on years of experience we're offered simple and direct instruction on how to achieve brilliant compositions, stunning images and even let in on a few trade secrets too. This book has plenty of great examples and easy to follow tutorials including practical things like d.i.y. light boxes to help you achieve the best products shots to retouching and recalibrating images on photoshop (other photo editing programs available!) .


I know I'm not the worlds' best photographer but I'm neither the worst though I'd like to improve my skills!
You see, I know what I should be doing but I also know that I'm far too lazy to sit and read through a huge camera instruction booklet so I tend to just point, snap and hope for the best!

This is the manual I'm yet to read... and why I usually reach for my phone to snap photos!
But this book has simplified it all as it neither blinds you with science nor confuses you with hard to understand tech jargon plus it's less taxing to read then a bulky manual.
However it's far from basic... it's absolutely packed with amazing and useful information. It leaves you with the feeling that you needn't hire a photographer to achieve such great results and that you can do it yourself. Result!
Another bonus is that the actual book size is small enough to take with you on your outings should you need to refer to it... slips straight in to a hand bag, tote or camera bag!

One of the pages from the book...

edited with a smart phone app...

While Section One covers key photography issues relevant to blogs and offers a guide to understanding your camera the chapters in Section Two focus on  a few popular subjects like food, travel, fashion and home interiors plus it has a section including styling tips and advice from other prolific bloggers. Oh yes, and how could I forget, it also features one of my favourite subjects... pets!

Another page from the book... and I'm playing around with filters!

The third and final chapter looks at the technical side which I can happily say is not overly complicated but actually very simple and put into layman's terms which suits me fine!

One of the subjects: Travel photography! 
So if you thought "DPI" and "PDF" were acronyms the kids were using on text messages then fear not as it's all neatly explained!
You'll come away with a better understanding of certain technical terms without feeling completely  overwhelmed. Photographic editing programs aren't done in a secret code nor are they purposely put into mysterious languages but it helps knowing what certain things mean and learning to use them is a doddle with this book!
Believe me, even though I have a good knowledge of acronyms I actually used to think "LOL" meant "Lots Of Love" so not judging you one little bit on whether you speak the program lingo or not

Playing around with apps to get a better looking image can add interest to the photo...

...though the original is amazing and not even my phone with or without filters/apps will do it justice!

Whether you're using a mobile phone camera or a fancy DSLR this book focuses on stylistic and compositional tricks that can help you get the best shots with your existing equipment.
No need to spend a fortune on a new camera... besides Cartier-Bresson had a very basic Leica (and his photos were awesome!) and with a guide like Jennifer you won't fail in adding a certain beauty to your social media projects... she is after all a very accomplished and talented artist in her own right.

A photo from one of the pages of the book... please note that I've played around with filters to illustrate what you can do with a phone camera... and not saying it's great but it's fun trying!

If you'd like to take advantage of the special offer for our readers then order your copy of Picture Perfect Social Media (9781845435509) for £10.00* only then call 01903828503 and quote offer code APG170.

*including postage and packaging

Thursday, 12 June 2014

5 minute tutorial...

I love a good charity shop find and this little egg cup was just too sweet to resist!
As it looked back at me from the charity shop shelves I thought to myself  "Really, do I need you?" but in fact it prompted me into a challenge. What could I make which would be useful, pretty, yet super quick to make? Besides for 30p I couldn't walk away. And my purchase goes to help a charity so a huge "win" all round.

As I took it to the till in my head I was already thinking about how I could make it into something else... I mean I don't normally eat boiled eggs but I couldn't resist it's unusual mix of ceramic and wood.
Well egg cup you made me think outside the egg box and I came up with a very quick but handy tutorial which can be used on other bits of crockery too. The principal is the same. Tea cups, jam jars, coffee cups, little terracotta pots. All can be made into useful pincushions!
Yes, it's safe to say that I have a huge soft spot for pincushions. As you'll find this is not the first tutorial for making pincushions but hey... It's just one of those things that I can't get enough of! It's something so common yet not everyone will have one -and if they do they definitely will need another!- plus it's a great way to start you on your merry way into up-cycling not to mention that it also makes a great gift for anyone. I've said that before, haven't I? Ah yes, gift giving is a blast though I think I might keep mine for now but I'm sure I can find someone who'll absolutely love pincushions as much as I do!

In 5 minutes this is what you can make!!!

To make this egg-celent pincushion...this is what you'll need:
• An egg cup
• Cotton fabric- we used the smallest piece from our off cut bag
• Sewing needle & thread
• Card board
• Ric-rac or any ribbon- be as fancy as you like! Another great alternative is a pom pom trim which takes this to a whole new level of kitsch!
• Stuffing

Here's the making bit...

Step one - cut a small card board circle. This should be smaller then the circumference of your egg cup so it fits neatly inside. You don't want it to sit too close to the base nor the top but somewhere half way in...

Step two - cut a large circle of your fabric (about the size of a tumbler glass) and use a running stitch around the edge of your circle -about 2 cm in- to form a puff which will make your pin cushion.

Step three - when you reach the end pull the thread to form a puff but leave enough of an opening to add the stuffing...
Your fabric circle should now resemble a pouch...

Step four - Fill with enough stuffing to form a plump puff, add the card board circle over the stuffing and pull tightly so to form a tight puff and to keep the card in place. It also serves as a barrier so the needles//pins don't get lost in the puff nor come out the other side! Knot the thread securely into place.

Don't over stuff but make sure it's plump!

Pull and knot firmly!

You should have something like this...



Step five - Check the puff// pin cushion fits your egg cup!

Next form a loop with the ric-rac and stitch onto the edge of the puff. Stitch the remaining ric-rac around the edge to make it look pretty! *p.s. you can add extra details like a little button, a bow etc. Totally up to you! Also I realise I haven't done it but cut a smaller circle from your fabric and tack stitch to the back of the puff so it's super neat! I shall be adding this to mine later...

tabtastic... this will make it easier to pull off the pincushion top!

I used ric-rac but you can use lace, ribbon or leave it plain!

Step six - Add a few bits to the inside like spare buttons, safety pins, thimble, a tape measure etc.

Choose bits you use like buttons, pins and a tape measure... you can also fit a pair of folding mini scissors...

Note: The little loop tab is to help remove your pin cushion away from the egg cup!

And there you have it! That's it. It's very easy and super cute. Plus it can be done in no time though if you take a little longer don't worry... it probably just means that you're enjoying the making process so relax and give in to the craft!!!

© 2014

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Travel Diary: Paris. On the hunt for a certain crafty "je nes sais quois"!

I can't quite believe that it's taken me this long to visit Paris! Sure, I've been there over the past 18 years on several occasions but it's always been transitional and brief.
Because my partner and I visit his family in Northern France we often change trains in Paris yet never really stopped to look around. It's been a case of arriving in one Gare, taking the metro and leaving via the other Gare. But this really had to change as the city above was calling me... I swear I could hear it whispering my name!!!

Paris had been for me up until now a place o fabled rudeness, intense architectural beauty and a few out of date film stills from "An American in Paris".

Not quite sure what I had envisaged in my mind exactly but I guessed that it wasn't all about street dancing, romance, pavement cafés that spill onto the cobbled roads, pretty little markets, patisseries filled with sweet shapely cakes and crisp fresh bread, rude locals and lots of beautifully dressed people. I can happily report that most of those misconceptions were not as far removed from reality as I had suspected they might be. You see...
actually I'm pretty happy it was a lot like that and though I say I wasn't expecting the dancing... well I lie, I kind of was hoping people would brake out in a shimmy... sadly that didn't happen but so much more did!
More chaos, more rudeness, more cafés and more beauty then I had seen on any screen! It's pretty much a love hate relationship but what I hated about Paris probably says more about me then the place itself.
It's a big city and though I am a big city gal I'm far too spoilt in London as the chaos has a rhythm and a purpose that I can deal with. Paris on the other hand has its own beat set at a different tempo. But hey I wasn't there to dance... though I did click my heels around a lamp post after a few glasses of vin rouge!

pretty yummy but was an undercover shot... to see more of this beautiful bakery check out the website- link above!

Beautiful ceiling... swallows are a favourite so this place had me straight away plus the bread is renown for being the best in Paris!

And after hearing so much about the new wave of designer makers moving into the rejuvenated city centre and hearing all about the new "it" neighbourhoods I decide that this time Paris needed a little bit more of my attention then the usual trying to catch a train race through the under belly of Paris in a ridiculous short time frame and in inappropriate footwear. Believe me it isn't easy! BUT on this occasion I had a mission, a plan and some time. And the right shoes.

all it needed was the addition of "Guerrilla"...

OK, you knew these were going to feature heavily on this post didn't you?

Shadow play and pretty hand made shades in "Nanashi"

"Nanashi, Le bento Parisien" gets pretty busy but they have 2 other canteens so probably no need to book but... check out their website for details:

Though I started off with the best intentions of smart time management with the aid of a list of places to visit, a map, wore comfy clothing, comfy shoes and had the expectation that I would get through my Patisserie list in one afternoon. It was a case of thinking to myself "Ha, easy no problemo, this is no where as big as London!"... but it wasn't as easy as that! Well... Is anything ever easy I ask you?
Oh no, of course not, it was far too big (well big enough!) to check out everything on my list -and the patisseries were dotted around Paris, sometimes at opposite ends of the city so no chance!What was I thinking?- plus I really wasn't prepared for the amazing weather so a lot of walking was done instead of the planned indoor pursuits which included using public transport. Who wants to be underground when there's perfect walking weather?

The sun was blazing and the city felt way too vast to accommodate all my whims in only 4 days. But I did find a few unexpected gems from what is reputed to be the best bakery in Paris to the best button shop with the rudest owner, a brilliant haberdashers which was packed to the brim with lovely things and lots of cute independent shops!

Sadly lots of the designer shops I had planned on visiting weren't open during our outings plus they were not too keen on having photos taken of their stock or their premises. But I find that understandable to a degree... and besides they have no idea of my intentions so even though I told them it was for a blog feature mostly smiled but firmly answered with a shrug and a swift "non".

"Montmartre" is also the fabric and haberdashery area...
Marche Saint Pierre... nice fabric shop but though not my favourite it was still impressive.
Tissus Reine was amazing! No pics though but you have to go just to see the scaled down vintage shop dummies with meticulously accurate clothing which showcases their fabrics!

This whole area is filled with fabric shops and haberdashers...

OK so it wasn't entirely possibly to document my craft hunt but I still found lots of great suppliers and fabric shops especially around the Montmartre area.
Plus we found a cracking restaurant (le petit Cambodge), a city centre oasis on the river, lots of beautiful painted typography/signs on shop fronts, the place where all the cool kids hang out, quirky galleries and that most Parisians have French bull dogs. I know... sounds like a joke but apart from one Chihuahua, hand on heart, every other dog was a Frenchie!

Unfortunately as I have mentioned  I found out that most shops -including patisseries!- didn't allow for photography so lots of the images will be of the outside rather then of the interiors which is a shame... but you'll just have to go and see for yourselves!
The initial plan of taking amazing photos to add to our page won't be as expected but regardless it was a very enjoyable craft expedition filled with pretty images that I'll keep in my memory for a long while! Plus I may add a second part with a few photos that my partner took as he is a much better photographer then me.

A cute gallery which just sold paintings of... cats! My kind of place!!!
And here's one!

Bread, love and fantasy!

More type delights!

Taking away the "no photos please" issue I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of designer maker shops, the variety of indie boutiques and just how friendly the new generation of Parisian shopkeepers are.
There are many interesting shops dotted around the city and not isolated to an area though the Republique area does have a higher concentration.
There you'll find an amazing little street were you can visit art galleries, bars, record shops, boutiques and a beautiful square with a selection of eateries. It's not dissimilar to Red Church Street in East London but nicer and less grimy.
Though do you think I can remember the street name?! I can easily find my way back there from the metro station but on a map I can't seem to pin point it! Sorry but I'll add it as soon as I can find it.

Like in London lots of Parisian designer owned businesses are multi functioning which means they aren't just run of the mill boutiques but also trade as bars and cafés.
I guess that trend is one we see in other cities too as it's almost impossible to solely make a living from selling hand made stock or any stock to be honest.

But one of my favourite spaces had to be Milk (mum in her little kitchen)... a café, deli and gift shop entirely kitted out in vintage furniture and crockery. Serving nice, rustic french brunch by the owner who is charming and super friendly Parisian. The stock is varied selling anything from jams, enamel ware to plastic cupie dolls and vintage post cards. The food's not expensive though as it is Paris it's not cheap either... but it's fairly priced and very delicious. But if you're less of a snack-er and fancy a bigger meal then head down to Lucky Luciano's in the Château D'eau area. It's a fantastic pizza place with gorgeous food, good wine and a buzzing atmosphere. You'll probably end up sitting in a communal table with locals like we did and I'm so glad we did as we met some awesome people. It's definitely a "locals" place so expect to exercise your French!

It was quiet but come 1 o'clock is was full of hungry lunch time workers!

Nice selection of savoury and sweet food!

Coffee was strong and sweet and served in vintage cups which were given to drivers who traded points from buying petrol at Mobil Gas stations... they are now very collectable! I quite like them...

Enamel jugs, vintage toys, hand made gifts and all sorts including...

...jams and preserves!

So if you do have a few days you need to take off or fancy a break and possess enough self control - Believe me Paris is very expensive so haberdasheries and fabric shops aren't cheap. Expect to pay a premium though in general all items are top quality so you're not being ripped off as such but prepare to cry a little every time you open your purse!-  then please do visit but go with time, a list of places to check out, some cash, an open heart and an idea of things you want to do. *Note: Eating cakes can be classed as "something to do", non?!

Cake-o-rama in the oldest patisserie in Paris: Stohrer!

I love the ornate ceiling and the chandelier... I gotta say the French are really not ones for understating and I think in this case it's pretty fantastic!

By this point my stealth photo taking was starting to bore me... but you can see more on the website:

La Droguerie... a must! Lots of beads, buttons, yarns, patterns and tons of amazing inspiration! Not the cheapest but you can basically spend the whole day in there just browsing and not even notice. Though my partner did notice and I could see his pained face staring at me from outside as he sat on the church steps glaring at me trying to catch my attention to beg me to leave the shop. I bet he wished he hadn't told me to take my time!

And another cake related photo, this time Patisserie Angelina. It has the best macaroon I have ever tasted and the tea rooms aren't shabby either... next time we're going in for afternoon tea!

A floating nature reserve which includes a glass house which welcome birds and insects. Great little place on the river Seine but I didn't have enough time to visit it properly! Oh well, next time!!!

Lovely and stylish granny... women of all ages check her out, this is how you do it!

And the obligatory shot of the Eiffel tower. 
But it wasn't all about eating or crafting. An unexpected bonus which we did find thanks to a suggestion from some friends was the weekend flea market. 
Situated in the trendy Republique this massive market is packed with lots of great finds including mid century furniture, vintage home wares and Victoriana curios amongst other things including clothing and even a child run fair where nippers sell their unwanted toys, clothing etc. to other little ones.
Though it was bursting with gorgeous things it was expensive(darn, there's that word again!!!). As I've come to notice in Paris there's a lot of "top end" stuff and not much of the tat which is kinda good and bad in equal measures. My top tips for bagging a bargain is to visit anytime apart from Spring and Summer. Go further a field (outside of Paris) too to find better value and visit during the colder wetter weather as this will allow for bartering. As I experienced with the beautiful sunny weather there was no room for that so maybe next time I'll try again closer to winter.
The marché on every weekend in the Republique quarter...

Too many stalls and not enough time... nor money!

it's a great place to find vintage furniture. It's not cheap but you'll find lots of amazing industrial pieces like this cabinet!

All in all I did enjoy my time there... it was a feast for the eyes. Too many beautiful things to see and too many cakes to drool over. Ha, I can promise you that I didn't even try as many as I had thought I would have. Which kind of leaves me sad but my hips and belly are not.

However a massive bug bear was the over use of English. I was surprised that many indie shops had their names in English and even resorted to the use of puns which I'm sure was lost on most French people.
I can't remember what it was but it made me chuckle at first, then it left a shallow feeling of sadness in my heart. I love languages and I hate the fact that they are being swallowed up and replaced by catchy English tag lines. It's a homogenisation I'm not really comfortable with but it seems inevitable. And you can see that happening in the trendy bars and shops too... there's a certain universal look which implies "modernity" and "cool" but all it really does is make everything look the same where ever in the world you happen to visit...

And Paris is part of this crazy world where there is still lots of great places to discover, amazing food to be eaten, friendly people to meet, opportunities to practice my broken French and lots of creativity bursting out from behind the beautifully shuttered windows.
But it's a part of the planet you can't simply just rush through.
It takes time - there's so much to find at eye level, up above, underneath your feet... argh I could have done with the eyes of a spider!- and possibly it also takes a bit of acclimatising but you'll love it. Or hate it. Or like me... a bit of both! It's an enjoyable experience to say the least and now that I've seen a bit of it I can go back with the notion that Gene Kelly isn't skipping down an artist filled street but instead I will hopping along with a big fat macaroon in one hand and a bottle of rouge in the other... and if the moment takes me I might also do a little soft shoe shuffle along to this city's mesmerising beat! Ah Mr. Kelly, you'd be proud!

*Here are a few random photos of things I found and that inspired me... enjoy!*

Old fashioned loo with amazing kitsch wall paper...

Our Paris home for a few days had the most amazing stairs...though our eyes loved it our legs didn't!

The Louvre gardens... beautiful spring blooms and sexy marble statues! OOH la la!!!

OK maybe I was slightly obsessed but I love sign writing/shop fronts, it's a fantastic art form!

More type...

Stumbing on to an organic market just off Pigalle.

Another fine example of shop fronts and beautiful type!

Gallery LaFayette... has the most amazing interior. Well worth a visit.

The Louvre has the best lawn mowers and completely environmentally friendly!

The "doll hospital" in Republique...the bobo quarter or Paris' Shoreditch!

Art Deco beauty!

An interior door in a pretty French Church...

Stained glass casting shadows...

Awesome door knocker...

Lace and reflections of a Parisian Street...

Love the whole look to this shop front!
An old advertising sign on the exterior wall of Café Blanc.

French Kitty, soft Kitty, Little ball of know the rest!

Beautifully painted shop front...

...And in some closer detail!
Nice bike for hire but I really wouldn't cycle in Paris. Scarier then cycling in London... mental drivers!!!

Shamefully this huge Art Nouveau department store has been left to die... I really hope it's not turned into flats like they tend to do in London.
The new city hang out can be found at the canal St.Martin in Republique and...

It's a hipsters paradise!
And more cakey goodness... giant raspberry macaroon from Angelina!

Our flat had a private entrance to a bakery... need I say more?

Adding a bit of craftivism to Paris! Hopefully the tin flower will be found...

Tired feet on cute cement tiles.

Gorgeous advert on the side of a bakery...

The lovers bridge. Apparently it's in danger of collapse due to the weight of the locks... YIKES that "love stuff" is heavy business!

Tins, glorious vintage tins!

Thanks for reading!