*** Shoreditch ***

Recently (and at last), I have been relatively successful in my job-endeavour and have landed myself a placement at a mobile design agency in Shoreditch- this is primarily the reason I have been such a neglectful blogger.  I am not used to getting up at 7h00 and getting back home at 19h00.  12 hours straight out of the house has only happened on very rare occasions in the last month.

I do, however really like it. I will not ramble on endlessly about my new "job", it will suffice to say that besides being productive everyday in a lovely environment, I can also get away with being barefoot at work and partaking in the weekly office ritual of "beer fridays".

Anyhoo, as this agency is situated in Shoreditch, I spend most of my days there and have found two very, for lack of better word, "cool" web features related to this area in London:

Firstly, the Überlin music video by R.E.M- which is just some dude jumping around a stretch of street. The fascinating part of this music video is that it is right around the corner from my work- more specifically at 0:31 of the video you see a metal doorstep.  To anyone else I suppose this is just a standard set of steps, but I noticed that last Friday I was sitting on those stairs drinking a pint. Admittedly this isn't the most fascinating piece of blog-information, but I thought it was damn cool- coming from a country that has virtually no international exposure to sitting in the middle of East London where it is literally "happening".

Also, this area is very close to Brick Lane, an area of East London once associated with jack the Ripper (apparently), but now popular with the "edgy and artistic crowd".  Although it is a bit hipster and trendy, it still is a great place to spend a day (or night, depending on what you are in the mood for), filled with pubs, restaurants, graffiti, festivals and markets.

[Instagram: Cool Pug on the "famous" doorway]

[Instagram: Graffiti & "famous doorway"]

 [Instagram: Sunny day and beerday at work]

Sometimes though, this area can be a bit much, as many things are often overpriced and crowded.  So, for my second find, I stumbled across a website called "normal Shoreditch", which is a website dedicated to the more "normal" things in Shoreditch. You can choose from a list of "normal things you want in Shoreditch", for example "An old man pint. £4 for a jar of hipster beer. I don't think so.  Get a proper pint down you" with recommendations of places you would find such a beer. Pretty clever.

 [Normal in Shoreditch screencap]

[Normal in Shoreditch screencap2]

These people have also made a remake of the R.E.M Überlin Video, stating that they "don't want a nepotistic, ironic pose down Redchurch Street.  They just want to listen to a bit of lovely R.E.M and be Normal in Shoreditch".  It is of a very regular looking dude strolling down the same stretch of street as that in the R.E.M video- doing more regular things- like tying his shoelace, looking both ways when he crosses the street and just walking with his hands in his pockets. I thought this was quite amusing...


*** the simpsons ***

The Simpsons is one of my favourite shows- I'm not much of a TV watcher, but I often get sucked into a spiral of series watching. They are addictive. The last couple of months it has been The Simpsons (amongst others).  One thing I really love about this show is its title sequence. I'm sure those of you who have watched more than 3 episodes have noticed that the title sequence changes in the bit where the Simpsons sit down on their couch.  I absolutely love this little detail. I wait eagerly during the titles for this part to see "what it is this time"...

Anyhoo.  Today when I came home I was pleasantly surprised when I was shown Season 17 Episode 15's titles, which have been recreated using real people and places (**find it!).  It's astounding how accurately it's done.  Unfortunately I couldn't find a video link online to embed, so I took screenshots galore to have a fair idea and good comparison.

Yet again, superbly cool


*** comic sans retaliation ***

I think this is close to the fifth time I blog about Comic Sans... It is a truly awful font, but as this video observes, it also is equally famous - "a sans serif superman and [its] only kryptonite is pretentious buzzkills like you [or me, haha]...".

Maybe I should cut Comic Sans some slack.

Or maybe not...

Video by Joe Hollier.


*** someone with a mutual comic sans hatred ***

Yet again I've stumbled across a very [very] amusing piece of bloggery with regards to, dare I say it, Comic Sans. Have a look and be as entertained on Swissmiss's blog.


*** coca cola [yes, really] ***

Admittedly, I am a fan of Coca Cola- I'm not the biggest Coke drinker, with all the talk of sugar content and rumour of teeth being dissolved overnight in a glass of Coke.  I do, however appreciate an ice cold coke every now and again. Some work endeavours have had me do some research on Coca Cola recently and I have discovered some pretty nifty adverts they have come up with. I remember many years ago [the days of huge PC towers, slow internet and ancient CD rom drives], a friend of mine directed me to a webpage thanking all the loyal Coca Cola customers for their support over the years- this message was accompanied by a link directing the viewers to a promotional gift, stating "click for a free cupholder" On clicking this particular message the computer's CD rom opened. I don't know if any of you came across this all those years ago...? I'm pretty certain this bit of advertising won't cause everyone to jump around in excitement as it made me do, but each to his own, I'm a sucker for this type of thing.

These days too, Coca Cola has come up with some pretty neat advertising ideas like these:

I've also come to realise that Coke puts up little riddles on their facebook page, which upon solving lead you to a URL with a little animation of sort to "bring a little happiness to your day".  The current riddle is as follows:

This sitelet is special,
and will require all your attention.
And if you're doing it right,
it will relieve all your tension.
You will need to be totally still,
You're using meditation as a skill.
Your camera will be used for proving
That while you relax, there's No_ _ _ _ _ _.com

To read more about past riddles, have a look here.


*** instabread ***

As my days, so is my blog: bread after bread after bread. It is pretty apparent that I like baking bread. I'd love to get back to doing some cakes and cupcakes- unfortunately all my baking attire is STILL in Glasgow, so for the time being majority of my time is spent on breadbaking.

After the acquisition of a smartphone not too long ago, the wonders of instagram have been made apparent to me and I too now have the instabug.  If you so desire, follow me (username maxine_scarf). You will probably be flooded by images of bread such as these ones:

Yummy!  I usually am far too stagnant to put up the recipes, this time though, here it is. Enjoy munching.


*** to infinity and baguette ***

Since writing the last post, I baked that baguette. It is looking pretty good for a first.

*** endless bread ***

I'm very much in a bread-baking phase, I cannot stop making bread. In the last month or so I must have baked a minimum of 7 loaves of bread- that isn't a huge amount in quantity, but when you compare it to the usual zero loaves per month it seems like quite a lot. As we speak I have another loaf rising on the windowsill (baguette attempt no. 1)...

I uploaded a very spectacular image of a bread I baked a while ago on facebook and was meet with a shameful amount of scepticism from a very particular friend of mine (you know who you are..!), commenting "Lovely store bought produce placed on a baking tray to create the illusion of baking. You're a sly one".  To which I am cheesily retaliating with this post.

[500g white bread flour, 2 sachets yeast, milk, water, sugar and olive oil- and hey presto- you have bread]


*** The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore ***

The last hour or so I've been looking for something blogworthy for a quick post for today- just as I was ready to give up, I came across "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore iPad App Trailer".  It is essentially a bedtime story made for the reader to interact with it through little animations. I thought it was too cute- and so beautifully executed... Lovely.  Made by the wonderful people of Moonbot Studios.


*** chalk ***

After seeing Dana's lovely chalk signs and having quite a lot of time to kill (and trying to make this killed time more productive)- I got fixated on making my own chalkboard... My hand-lettering skills are pretty miserable though. At least I have a chalkboard to practice on now, so watch this space, my newest party-trick-learning-attempt is to write in fonts freehand... (the scenario in which I could literally switch fonts in my handwriting appeals to me- although, knowing myself, I will soon tire of this idea in pursuit of an even more silly one. Who knows?)


*** watching myself draw ***

As many of you may have previously read here, I love watching how illustrations are made. It fascinates me. Time lapses attract me like a fly to poo, I don't think I could get sick of them. That and stop motion. Charming techniques they are.

Anyhoo, yesterday (or by the time I upload it, it will be "the other day" as I have been almost internetless) I was busy with an illustration and just after sketching a basic outline I thought 'hey, why not make one of those videos you like so much of your own work..?' Thank you Quicktime for developing the 'screen record' function… 

Be warned: the video is long, I had my concerns about its lengthiness; but after watching it myself- and thoroughly enjoying its therapeutic value- I figured it is ok.  If you are too impatient to watch the whole thing, I've uploaded the still final image too. 

PS. My graphics tablet is my best purchase of the last decade (second to my shiny shiny macbook...)


*** Greg's calligraphic typography ***

Dear Greg,

I have never met you, but I have heard a significant amount about you.  So I am writing you a very short blog-letter: I like your work. It is lovely. I am slightly envious and sometimes would like to stomp on your foot because jealousy makes you nasty, but most of the time I am happy that you are doing well and making beautiful typographic art pieces in the sunshine of Greece.


Dear other readers,

Have a look at more of Greg's work on his Flicker. It is lovely.



*** chalk art ***

I remember back in the day, approximately around my 15th life year, I was a chalk-board "artist" for some local pubs- drawing the signs for the drink-specials on a weekly basis.  It was a fantastic 'profession', I'd love to get back into it these days- especially since my style has most definitely matured from my childish scribbles back then.  But with the advances of technology, do people even still use chalk board advertising? I sure hope so...

I recently stumbled upon the work of Dana Tanamachi (a graphic designer and chalk letterer from New York).  This gem of a chalkboard artist is most definitely nothing short of an inspiration. So lovely.

[Images via KoiKoiKoi]

[Video from Dana's Vimeo]


*** workedy work work ***

I've been a 'neglective' [is there such a word?] blogger again lately... After having absolutely nothing to do for ages, I suddenly received a bout of freelance work (yay). It feels great to be productive again.

I promised myself that I would upload more of my work on 'me blog' (read in poorly imitated london accent), so here goes: a poster and flyer (front side) for Creative Scotland/ La Chunky Studio...


*** blogs ***

Although I am not a gifted writer, I have the irrepressible urge to digress (my apologies in advance for the sentimental dribble I am about to share with you- the links are good at least).

I am currently lying belly-down on my friend’s bed; which I have been occupying for the last couple of days, as he is on holiday and I am suffering from a chronic onset of homelessness as direct result of unemployment.  Either the recession is hitting hard, or I am ‘terminally unemployable’*.  Let’s hope not the latter.

Currently I am indulging in a, let’s call it ‘pensive, state of being’.  I have discovered the music of Laura Marling, which is fuelling this mentality.  Every hour or so I proceed to shovel in excessive amounts of Ovomaltine powder [I have blogged about this beast of a beverage here].


Besides being sprawled out on a meadow of duvets, stuffing my ever-expanding face with powdered chocolate, I am on a thoroughly enjoyable blog-reading streak, which I feel I should share- in case you too feel like reading some captivating pieces of the English language.

The highlights of my evening, however menial you may find them (I don’t, I can assure you) included:

Discovering an acquaintance’s blog [it is far more intelligible than mine, not hard to believe considering I describe my current state of vegetation as ‘pensive’].

I read about the death of her dog and cried. Literally.

I found another blog about my old hometown, which made me nostalgic and a bit homesick.

I managed to get chewing gum all over my jacket and googled how to make this blunder reversible***

And I discovered the Thought Catalogue, a place for relevant and relatable non-fiction and thought and particularly enjoyed these entries [I envy people with the ability to write so comprehensively]:

You should date an illiterate girl [by Charles Warnke]
I collect homes [by Talia Ralph]
You guys, I am so old [by Chelsea Fagan]

Also, I particularly enjoyed The Dumb Day [by Brad Pike].  I have dumb days all the time. And I mean all the time…

* I am sure this phrase has been patented by one of my friends, who takes particular pleasure in making fun of me for not having a job.
** Modern  typography is in serious need of a sarcasm font.
*** Apparently you freeze the garment and scrape off the gum


*** the lost thing ***

Upon recommendation of a friend I watched the animated shortfilm "The Lost Thing" (2010).  It is a truly beautiful piece of animation, with a touching little story.  I've added some still images for you to get a feel of the film's 'magic'.  When you have spare 15 minutes, do yourself a favour and watch the full version (which is also added right underneath all the images). It is like an illustration coming to life.