Seen through the artist's eyes - Turine Viet-Tu TRAN

30 August 2011

This week we are excited to begin the first series on our blog. Having been to the Edinburgh College of Art degree show, a couple of design markets and fayres, we discovered that there is a very vibrant artistic community in Edinburgh. That's why we'd love to feature some of the young designers and illustrators, and ask them a couple of questions about living in the city. 
The idea is that we will create a guide to Edinburgh as seen through the artist's eyes. 

First up is Turine Viet-Tu TRAN, an incredibly talented illustrator, originally from Vietnam. Her dreamy and imaginative illustrations brought me right back to my childhood. Here is what Turine said about her work and living in Edinburgh...


Maggie: Could you tell us about your work?
Turine: Through nostalgic, dreamy images, I let out the playfulness and creativity within myself. I draw in   order to see things once again the way I did as a child. Pre-occupied with books and illustration, I aim to bring people to a whimsical world where a tiny wild flower could become a fantastic wonder.

M: What inspires you?
Turine: Growing up in an old house full of dusty books, in a busy area of Saigon, Vietnam, I always have two main obsessions: picture books and nature. With illustration, I find myself in the balance of a wild world I am living in, a mixture of cultural inspirations, and the golden days of my childhood.

M: What do you find unique about Edinburgh?
Turine: People with humour, wit, and kindness are everywhere. You can easily find the vibrancy of the city, yet nature is always around. I feel as if Edinburgh has many angles and levels, and if you look from the right angles, you feel like you can capture the whole city. It's like watching a beautiful scene on a huge stage. You don't have to travel far to reach the countryside. Farms and cottages with goats, sheep, horses are just 15-20 minutes from the city's busiest area.

M: Where would you take a visitor for a walk in the city?
Turine: In the city centre: From Victoria Street to Grass Market, and continue towards Greyfriars. Out of city centre (my daily walk): a quiet road behind Tower Kennels, looking down over Braid Hill.

M: Favorite cafe?
Turine: Forest Cafe (map).

M: Where would yo go for lunch with friends?
Turine: I don't often go out for lunch with friends, just a sandwich from any coffee shop nearby the Art College, but if I do want to treat myself and 1 or 2 friends, definitely a late lunch at Maison Bleue on Victoria St (map).


Thank you so much Turine for taking part in our feautre. 
You can find more of Turine's artwork including book illustrations and sketches at her website.

* All illustrations © 2011 Turine TRAN - All Rights Reserved

Tiny landscape in a coffee cup

29 August 2011

If you're struggling to smile while having your Monday morning coffee, this cup could just do the trick. 

"When a product is created, it is as though new born, with no memory or understanding of the world around it. These relationships are formed through user interaction over time, the product "ages" and gains knowledge of it's purpose in the world.The stain's image is a representation of the products feelings, memory as the product ages through use." 
                                                            Yukihiro Kaneuchi (Japan)

Available here.

This weekend

27 August 2011

What are your weekend plans? 
We are planning to go on long walks even if it's drizzling, maybe pop in  to see the Edinburgh College of Art degree show , and on Sunday to the Edinburgh Printmakers Fayre. Also, my dear friend is coming back to Edinburgh this Sunday and I'm super excited to see her after a long summer break. 

Every weekend there is so much we'd like to do, but sometimes you just need to relax on the sofa with a glass of white wine, listening to new records, re-charging the batteries for the following week. Although I feel like we need to get the most out of those last days of summer, those long days with warm evenings. 

Have a happy weekend!

* picture sources:  1  - by Paul Octavious, 2 - by Youngna Park


24 August 2011

This poster cracks me up. 

This week my superpower would be to be able to survive and be energetic with NO sleep at all.
Although self-replication and super intelligence wouldn't be bad either. 

* Poster by awesome Pop Chart Lab .

Living room makeover board

23 August 2011

As I mentioned a couple of times before, we are planning to make our flat a little bit nicer to live in. Above is what we both came up with yesterday. We are just planning to order some large prints of our holiday pictures, buy a couple of prints and paint the back of our IKEA Billy bookcase shelves in Pale Duck Laura Ashley in eggshell finish. 

I think we also need a couple of nice throws. And there is our almost finished wooden desk, which is just waiting for the drawer handles to be attached before we can share a couple of pictures here. I considered buying some pretty fabrics from Marimekko to sew the cushion covers, but they are quite pricey and I found very similar patterns in IKEA for a fraction of a price. I can't wait to starts sewing! I'm still looking for an affordable felt basket for some additional storage for magazines and my knitting sticks, so if you know where I can get one, please let me know :). 

The lamp above is from IKEA, but we found an even nicer one in TK Maxx the other day. I will post some more pictures once everything is ready. I think we definitely need a contrasting piece in the living room,  to complement the greys and blues, but I'm not sure what it could be. Again, if you have any ideas, please share!

So that would be our take on the Scandinavian style on a small budget. Hope it will work out nicely in the end.  

Mr Wood's Fossils and Swedish cakes

Last Sunday the weather was glorious so we set off for a walk around the Old Town. We spotted this curious little shop selling fossils*. The Grassmarket was packed with tourists so we took a shortcut through the graveyard and went to the National Museum of Scotland. We've been there every weekend since it re-opened after refurbishment and are still in awe of the work that was put into all the different exhibitions.

did you know that whales (my favorite mammals) have fingers?

 This dress was worn by a lady who attended a ball in Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. I  love its color, but it must have been a nightmare to wear while dancing. 

There was a nice view over Edinburgh from the top floor of the museum. There is also a roof terrace, with some amazing views all the way to Calton Hill.

After browsing through the exhibitions we went to Peter's Yard for delicious Swedish cakes and juice. 

my sister had a blueberry cheesecake.

and I chose a chocolate sponge cake with pears. 

If you're visiting Edinburgh, I would definitely recommend the National Museum as one of the places to see. There are a lot of spaces designed for children to play and discover new things about our planet and even a small cinema with a movie about the Space and star dust,  

I learnt the following things during our latest visit:

- whales have fingers and we share 82.6% of our DNA with them
- malachite is a beautiful green gemstone
- whales used to have little legs but lost them in course of the evolution. 

Bonus: it's completely free.

*Apparently you can buy dinosaur's poo there.

Things that make me smile

20 August 2011


Do you know that even if you're having a rubbish day, if you force yourself to smile it can get you into a better mood? 

However weird that is, mustaches and whales as patterns make me smile. 



Hope you're having a very good day:)


18 August 2011

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, I think. I would wake up earlier than I have to, only to be able to celebrate my breakfast, enjoy my morning cappuccino, read a couple of blogs. Normally, I try to eat healthily, but sometimes it's good to have a treat. Such as a wholegrain toast, with a thick slice of Jarlsberg or a toast with Brie and red onion chutney. Delicious breakfast can make my day.  

What do you usually have for breakfast? Sometimes I run out of ideas, so I'd love to hear what your favorite breakfast food is:)

PS. J can make THE best omelettes with jam. It's our Saturday tradition. 

Pretty science

16 August 2011

No time for a proper post today, so here goes an amazing picture from Nature

It makes me happy for the following reasons: 
- it's pretty
- it's colorful
-it's a result of an ingenious experiment
- it looks as though it's something knitted

PS. Apologies for a geeky post. Since both me and J have a geeky side, you can expect a small dose of harmless geekiness on strolling about. Hope you don't mind. 

A few snapshots from my birthday

15 August 2011

This year I was lucky to have my birthday on a Saturday. J decided to plan a day full of surprises and I as we walked through the town I was trying to guess what is the next attraction of the day ( and I loved every single one). The weather was okay, there was even a rainbow. Below are a few snapshots from the day.

best. birthday. ever. xxx

Merchant Maiden

14 August 2011

Last Saturday we walked through the Grassmarket and it turned out there was a small antique fair happening. There weren't many stalls, but we browsed through some of them. We weren't looking for anything in particular and ended up buying two copies of the Merchant Maiden - the Edinburgh Ladies' College Magazine - one from 1927 and the other from 1930.

As we learnt later on, it was published by the pupils of the Edinburgh Ladies' College, which later became the Mary Erskine School. The school celebrated its tercentenary in 1994. It was such a curious read, full of old adverts (with very nice typography), funny stories and poems written by the young girls, pictures of hockey teams in old fashioned outfits. You can tell the girls had many extra-curricular activities and lots of clubs to get involved in. There were poems about exams, rugby matches, cherry cakes, Halloween, Autumn.  

It's almost like a little peek into the life of an independent school back in 1920s.  Also, we can now track down the addresses from the ads and see whether there are any signs of the old businesses there. This little bit of history was a bargain at £1, I'd say.

This weekend...

This weekend we're celebrating my birthday. It's no big deal really, but a great excuse to have an amazing day. And it was just that. We had a long walk around the town and a picnic in a park (with strawberries and croissants), drank margaritas at a local bistro and just got back from the The Axis of Awesome gig. Does it get any better?

Hope you're having a fun-filled weekend! 

Spotted in Stockbridge

12 August 2011

The other day we wandered to Stockbridge for an  evening walk. The church above is St Stephen's Church and was designed by WH Playfair and was built in the middle of the 19th century as part of the New Town. It's a very impressive building, and J said it looks a bit like a scary Victorian orphanage.

 Then we were just walking about and admiring the geometrical beauty of the street layouts and townhouses. We noticed this engraved stone plaque below, saying that a Polish composer lived here. There are lots of such engravings in Edinburgh. We need to go looking for them one day and report back on all the famous people who enjoyed the grandeur of New Town living. 

 There's also many of such ghost signs as below, which make it easier to imagine what life in Edinburgh was like a 100 or 200 years ago. Very curious indeed. I feel like there are so many mysteries that this city holds. Walking about and discovering them may well be one of our most favorite past times these days.