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What better way to welcome the new year than with a brand new favourite shade?

Years ago, Pantone Inc. established the first standardised colour matching system that led to reliable printing as well as funky Pantone branded stationery and fashion. For the last few years they have predicted a Pantone ‘Colour of the Year’ with great fanfare and certainty. While critics may denounce this as a marketing ploy, it’s got to be said their colour selection is usually bang on trend.

Pantone colours of the year

Last year’s colour Pantone 17-1463, the deliciously named Tangerine Tango, was definitely still en vogue as the year drew to a close. In fact at some point in autumn I pulled together this little assortment of items available on the British high street that were a vibrant shade of Tangerine. Why I didn’t publish this then I’m not sure, but since I hate to waste good Photoshopping time, here is the collection now! My favourite has to be the beautiful bird dress, which was on sale in Dorothy Perkins for £15 but is sadly no longer in stock – boo!

tangerine tango uk products

So, as 2012 and the Tangerine Tango era is now officially ended, it’s time to embrace a new shade for the new year – which according to Pantone is Emerald 17-5641. Described by the company as a lively, radiant, lush green, to me Pantone’s Emerald is a surprisingly blue-ish tone, closer to jade than the bright Wizard of Oz green I would imagine being described as ’emerald’. But, I like it nonetheless!

Pantone Emerald 2013 colour of the year

I’ve been pinning an entire board of Emerald items recently, and here are a few of my faves:

Emerald fashion Pantone colour of the year

Find these items online: ASOS Gem Drop Earrings £8; Louche Zaza Crayon Print Dress from JOY £45; Dorothy Perkins Green cityscape dress £28; Green Pieces Green Funky Jeggings from New Look £21.99; Dazzle Dust in Parrot Green by Barry M £4.59; Hoxton Satchel from Accessorize £25; Women’s Green Toms Classic Seasonal Cord from Schuh £24.99; Thread Wrapped Ethnic Teardrop earrings from Accessorize £8

On a whim I bought the Hoxton Satchel a month or two ago and absolutely love it. It’s the perfect size, I love the way it looks, and now according to Pantone it’s also uber fashionable. Hooray for accidental trendiness!

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Continuing in the ‘all about me’ vein, I return from a week taken up by a weekend away and evenings of German markets and mulled wine with rum to share something totally me-focussed… and you thought this blog was about creativity, and life in Edinburgh, and other interesting things? Oh, you. Now, back to me…

I Saw You Dancing’s Kat recently shared a lovely photo of her lovely self for #reverb12 with a prompt asking bloggers to select their favourite photo of themselves from 2012. Right now, that choice is easy. Here I am, less than a week ago, admiring a sunset over Tenerife with my great friend Sam. Life post-break-up is still not exactly back to normal (and won’t be until I am living in my new place at the beginning of next month, which I am OH SO excited about), but for now it is totally do-able. I had the best long weekend away; I read three and a half books in four days, got a vague hint of tan that could at first glance have been mistaken for just a thin layer of dirt, ate some (= too much) great paella and tapas and drank jugs of cold sangria.

Doing nothing in Tenerife

Here is what I have discovered in the last week of adventures, home and away:

  • Spanish playing cards only consist of 48 cards. There’s no queen, and the suits are clubs, coins, cups and swords. Patience and Rummy work just as well, but Hide the Queen would be never ending.
  • A drunk and easily led Debbie will ignore all warnings otherwise and happily take the coastal path back to the remote hotel resort in the dark in a foreign country, with only a camera’s flash to ward off the ‘ass banditos’ sure to be prowling.
  • A drunk and easily led Debbie will find that nicknaming potential attackers ‘ass banditos’ makes them infinitely more endearing.
  • In the south part of Tenerife, the sand is black. But hard. And will leave little marks all over your face if you fall asleep on it.
  • ‘No Diggity’ is probably the most addictive song in the world and therefore is sure to make a well deserved comeback just as soon as everyone watches Pitch Perfect and starts their own battling a cappella groups.
  • Mulled wine with rum is nicknamed ‘Heisse Liebe’ in German which translates to ‘hot love’. Which totally works, because it’s hot, and I love it.
  • ‘cz’ in Polish is pronounced like the ‘ch’ in ‘cheese’
  • Nobody knows where the Basque language came from.
  • One day in the distant future, we may replace food with New Hair, and that would be a shame.
  • There is a real life reindeer in St Andrew’s square right now, which I intend to visit tomorrow.

Fellow Blogtoberfester little white dove posts Saturday night Bloggers Boogies over on her site every week. I’m sure the boogie feeling will hit me later tonight when I’m listening to brilliant tunes and find myself on the dance floor, but for this afternoon, I’m feeling in more of a happy, easy listening guitar-filled tunes kind of a mood.

Bright Eyes – At the Bottom of Everything

One of my favourite song openings ever. Cheerfully bleak, if that’s possible.

“We’re going to a party. It’s a birthday party. It’s your birthday party. Happy birthday darling. We love you very, very, very, very, very, very, very much.” = The words I’d like to hear if I ever fall to an inevitable death surrounded by strangers having a plane crash party.

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins – Your Young Voice

I know a few people in Edinburgh who go nuts for King Creosote, but only discovered why a few months ago when I first listened to the album Diamond Mine by King Creosite and Jon Hopkins. The melody, the lyrics, the voice, are all so hauntingly beautiful.

Dan Auerbach – Goin’ Home

I love love love the entire Keep It Hid album, it is my favourite music to accompany a wander or for listening on a train. I am definitely a Black Keys fan, but actually probably listen to Dan Auerbach’s solo stuff more often.

Plastic Animals – Yellowcraig

I am totally biased in this selection, but I love the band and this is my favourite ever video. It also doesn’t hurt that I’ll be seeing them tonight at the Tidal Wave of Indifference gig in the Wee Red Bar at Edinburgh’s College of Art.

The Postal Service – Recycled Air (acoustic)

It only just hit me that this too is a song about flying in a plane. Perhaps this tale will end better than the first. “Calm down, release your cares”

>>> This is post 27 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

debbiedoesdoodles zombies fancy dress

I LOVE dressing up. Seriously. Fancy dress opportunities make me all giddy inside. And it’s Halloween soon! While I am tempted to revisit the zombie look (maybe not so much cleavage this time though) I have a huge collection of costumes and outfits all begging to be dusted off. So now I must choose… Is it to be a zombie clown, Scotland, the 80s (check out that crimping), Miss Scarlett, Space, a hoard of firemen, the 70s, Supergirl, Where’s Wally, Peter Pan, mimes, a Dutch girl (Laura, representing Israel for a Eurovision night, was Jesus), a stamp, or a collection of builders, complete with builders’ bums? Only time will tell.

debbiedoesdoodles so many fancy dress costumes

I’m looking forward to seeing what other people create for this year’s Halloween extravaganza! Link up below if you’ve got anything ingenious in the works…

>>> This is post 24 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

wearing wellies in the rain

Winter is coming.

The rain has started. Torrential rain in Edinburgh tends to arrive hand in hand with wind so strong you fight against it looking like Michael Jackson doing Earthsong. Which means umbrellas are completely futile – they turn inside out before you’ve even had to chance to hold them upright.

This week I got totally drenched walking home from work because I was unprepared for the season. SO the next day I got myself kitted out in full waterproof gear, a super thick raincoat and big bold wellington boots. I walked to work feeling sensible and defiant. And it didn’t rain one drop. BUT the wellies made me feel like a little kid and it was all the more fun because of it. I even splashed in some puddles (when nobody was looking).

My trusty black and pink polka dot wellies have seen me through a few music festivals, walks in the countryside and many a snowy winter. More than one pair of wellington boots seems a bit excessive, but if I were looking out for some practical booty bargains, there are some extremely funky wellies out there at the moment – check out the below selection, which are all under £40!

Wellies

Top row from Asos: Cath Kidston Shooting Star Rainboot, £30; Fulton Micro Scotty Rainboots, £16; Paul’s Boutique Wellies, £35

Middle row from New Look: Rampant Sporting Green and Pink Stripe Wellies, £38.99; Cream and Pink Owl Print Wellies, £19.99; JuJu Turquoise Cow Print Wellies, £23.99

Bottom row from Very: Joules Striped Ladies Wellies, £37; Joules Spot Print Ladies Wellies, £37; Gola Sunshine Splash Wellies, £35

>>> This is post 14 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

to keyjazzle

Today I have coined a word. That word is keyjazzle. I Googled it – it doesn’t exist. But it should. Because how else can you describe the beautiful transformation that my laptop has recently gone through? I keyjazzled my keyboard, and I liked it.

I use two laptops, Matt and Tony Jr. Technically Matt doesn’t belong to me as he’s a work laptop, but I temporarily left work for a couple of months last summer and was told I could keep him. When I came back ownership of Matt reverted back to my employers, but I have lots of photos and personal junk on him. He’s still quite new and I take good care of him – he’s very organised and tidy and has lots of useful software installed.

debbiedoesdoodles | Two laptops

Tony Jr., on the other hand, has not been taken care of. He’s about three and a half years old but has been dropped many many times, had biscuits eaten over him (by me, I have no children to blame those crumbs on) and developed the odd virus or two (and been nursed back to health again). He’s messy outside and in – the desktop is cluttered, the files are disorganised, and there’s an urgent need for a systematic backup. In the past I’ve used Tony Jr. mostly for entertainment, and then I moved in with James and his massive TV and Tony was neglected. But since I started blogging he’s seeing more action than ever before.

And so, messy Tony Jr. was desperately in need of a clean-up.

laptop before makeover

First off, I set about creating a logical filing structure from scratch. This also allowed me to clear out old downloads and sort out my Desktop to include just shortcuts to those applications I use regularly. I also ensured my virus software was up to date and ran a full scan.

I backed up photographs and documents onto some (clearly labelled) rewritable DVDs – in future I’m intending to use a proper external hard-drive to backup, but that may have to be an item for the Christmas present list. I use Dropbox to back up ongoing projects (mostly blog related) as well as photos and documents that I access regularly. It’s free up to 2GB (and will be 2.5GB if you follow this link to sign up!) and is the perfect way to share files between multiple PCs or even your iPhone/Android/Blackberry/iPad/Kindle.

debbiedoesdoodles colourful patterned keyboard stickers

And next: the fun part. First I gave Tony a thorough cleaning using all purpose screen and keyboard wipes. I removed all the branding and technical stickers and gave him a gentle upside down shake to dislodge any large crumbs. Then I had to clean him again, DUH. Next I applied colourful keyboard stickers to most of the keys of the keyboard. I struggled to find any stickers that would accurately fit my keys, but decided that since the cost is quite low it was worth a go. They look great and are super sticky (so feel like they’ll stay in place obediently), as well as being quite nice to type on.

The major disadvantage of buying keyboard stickers that aren’t geographically specific is that the British irregularities don’t match – there is no £ sign, the @ and the ” are swapped, and some keys just don’t exist at all. Other stickers, such as the space bar or enter, aren’t quite the right shape or length. Some could be cut down, but after some consideration I just focussed on the central keys and arrow buttons.

laptop skin

Since I loved the colourful keys so much I couldn’t resist getting a laptop skin – I bought a colourful 17″ skin for less than £10 on eBay. As a final touch I downloaded one of the free Designer Desktops from Design Milk. My favourite was from October 2011, by designer H. Michael Karshis and includes a quotation “Everything is an experiment” from graphic designer Tibor Kalman. I love the graphics and the way turquoise and orange accents are used with grey.

And that’s it – Tony Jr. is now beautiful and organised outside and in. I love love love the new keys, they make me want to type playfully, writing happy words and creating fun and bright things.

laptop after makeover

I used to be a lexicographer, I know how this works. People think words are only officially words when they enter the dictionary, but that’s the wrong way around – words only enter the dictionary once they’re used as words by people. Dictionaries reflect language use, rather than determining it – in linguistic terms they’re descriptive, not prescriptive (elements of prescriptivism exist, but that’s a whole Masters thesis and more there). So if people started to use a new word a lot, for example, keyjazzle, one day it might just make it into a dictionary. And then everyone will want to do it. Which they should, because IT IS GREAT.

“Will you keyjazzle today?” “Oh, I just keyjazzled my keyboard!” “Hey Debbie, are you keyjazzling?”

See, all the uses.

>>> This is post 12 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

I’ve been having fun over at Polyvore taking some iconic male heroes from legend, literature, film and TV and restyling them with female fashion. Why should the men have all the fun eh?

Click through to visit Polyvore and see details of each item included in the sets – most available on the UK high street. Personally I wish I could buy everything in the Robin Hood collection – I love that green Fern by Heart Dress on Modcloth and £4 Cupid Drop earrings from Accessorize – both sold out since I originally saw them, totally gutted!

Sherlock

Robin Hood
Doctor Who - the eleventh doctor

Female Rambo

>>> This is post 3 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

Photography is fashionable. Quality cameras are becoming more affordable, and the internet and free to use platforms for sharing amateur photography mean there’s both more photographs being taken and shared every day, and an increasing appreciation of the art of photography.

The fashion of photography has resulted in an increased love of the camera itself, and the visual image of the camera as an object – it all seems very meta. So here are some photographs of some items that have been created to imitate the means to create a photograph. In order words – cameras can be beautiful, and here are some very cool things that depict cameras in unusual ways.

Polaroid One Step Camera Cushion by Nic on Luulla; Camera Stamp on Japanese Gift Market;  Pink camera washi tape by Lovely Tape; Leica painting by James Butcher; Vintage Camera Pencil Sharpener on Fred Flare; Camera Cookie Cutter Set on Photojojo; Camera necklaces by: Sour Cherry; Bow and Crossbones; Punky Pins; Sookie

The weather just can’t make up it’s mind at the moment. It’s bleak and grey one moment, and then sunshine bursts through and it feels like summer isn’t quite over yet.

This yellow and grey moodboard is something of an homage to the changeable British weather that we all know and love.

debbiedoesdoodles | Yellow and grey inspiration board

Ferm Living Gracewood wallpaper; yellow chiffon dress, Dorothy Perkins; modern blocks cushion, BHS; grey cut out bow clutch New Look; coolway yellow broderie bow pumps from New Look; A5 Pantone Process Yellow C notebook; grey snowflake/starry pattern washi tapeyellow dazzle dust, Barry M; grey day nail varnish from Model’s Own

debbiedoesdoodles | female superheroes

Inspired by the updated wardrobes for Disney Princesses by Sidney Emerson on Polyvore, I’ve created some outfit ideas to emulate superheros in every day life. Every item below is currently available on the British high street, and most of the time at reasonable prices too. So now, you can be Wonder Woman at work, She-Ra at the supermarket, or Rogue at the railway station.

debbiedoesdoodles | Supergirl

debbiedoesdoodles | Catwoman

debbiedoesdoodles | Wonder Woman

debbiedoesdoodles | Silk Spectre

debbiedoesdoodles | She Ra Princess of Power

debbiedoesdoodles | Rogue

Click through to visit the outfits on Polyvore for details of each individual item and where they’re stocked in the UK.

Polyvore is a super handy tool for creating mock-ups like this – this was my first time using it but it’s so intuitive and the range of items already in the catalogue is pretty vast. You can also add to this range using a handy bookmarklet to save products to your profile, and there are a whole range of additional embellishments for creating a set including backgrounds and frames. Maybe see you over there!

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