Keeping hold of ideas

29 Jun 2010

my desk

inspiration board

I've been in a bit of a panic over the last few days about my final project. Sometimes I make things a lot more complicated in my head than they are in reality. I'm designing a concept for a building. It's not going to be built so I don't need to obsess over the structural details. The narrative behind the design is much more important. I need to get a grip. Why am I making it so hard for myself?!

I decided to make a board of all the images that influence me (projects by Steven Holl, David Chipperfield, Curry Hyde, Benedek and Lakos) so when I draw a blank I can just look to my right and see a whole load of ideas jumping out at me. I hope it works!



I collected a batch of photos today and this is one from our trip to Brighton last weekend. I would love to live in one of those little houses one day - each with its own personality. The red house has a bricked up window above the door! I wonder why..

On a side note, I love how film makes me appreciate photos more. To see the end result you need to wait until the whole roll is used up, take it to the shop, then wait a couple more days.. It's so exciting opening the envelope and re-living the experiences in the photos! Not every photo comes out well, which makes me appreciate the good ones even more. I'd forgotten that feeling. I also love having a printed picture that I can prop up on a bookshelf or put in an album. Over the years I've been guilty of storing far too many photos on the PC and printing very few.


25 Jun 2010

Kodak Instamatic

I've been very busy finishing off my project at university... I'm in the last stages and I find this the hardest part. It's so tough keeping motivated and interested in what I'm doing for the last couple of months. As a little treat, I've taken a few trips around the Charity Shops.

Today I picked up a couple of Kodak Instamatic cameras but upon returning home with them, I was disappointed to find out that it's almost impossible to find 126 film. I did, however, find great instructions for transfering 35mm film into a 126 film cartridge, and one of the cameras I found has an old film inside so I may try it out at some point...

In the meantime I took some shots through the viewfinder of the Instamatic 50. The bag above is my new favourite bag. It's made of sturdy canvas and goes with just about everything. The photo wasn't staged: I was just about to press the button and Honey hopped on the bed to smell it. She's obsessed with it.

Kodak Instamatic

I found this blouse on Monday and have been altering it so it fits me perfectly. If it works out OK, I'll take some photos of it finished. I adore the scalloped hem.

Kodak Instamatic

Honey just loves the camera. She's such a poser! And when she thinks I'm not looking, she's playing with the camera wrist straps.

Kodak Instamatic

It's going to be hot this weekend. I can't wait to be in the sun!

Through the window

23 Jun 2010

Battersea Powerstation 1
Battersea Powerstation 2
Battersea Powerstation 3
Battersea Powerstation 4

I took these photos with my Agfa Optima over the past few weeks. I've had a fascination with Battersea Powerstation for a long time: ever since I can remember, I've passed it on the train going into London. I've never seen it up close, only through the train window. I often take photos out of train windows with my mobile, but the quality is poor, and I thought the Agfa would capture the Battersea Powerstation's beauty better.

I love how the chimneys are a pristine white against the blue and grey skies, but a murky cream against the white sky. It's a bit of a game taking these photos, as sometimes another train passes by which blocks my view, so I have to take the shot at just the right moment. And if I leave it too late, the train line curves round and it's no longer in view. People give me funny looks, but it makes my train journeys more enjoyable.

On my last roll of film, the last photo was my favourite. It's really moody and I like the tones of the red brick, green bushes and grey sky. Sadly a lot of the other photos on the roll came out poorly. There's a bit of a framing issue, and I think I'm the problem. It turns out that I haven't been looking through the view finder at the right angle, so when I think I have something centred, it is in fact a quarter of the way to the right. I'm so relieved there's nothing wrong with the camera!

Over the weekend

21 Jun 2010

royal academy - summer show 2010

On Saturday I visited the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. It's in it's 242nd year! (Couldn't believe it when I read it!) It seemed better that the exhibition last year, for some reason. The rooms are packed from floor to ceiling with paintings - it's quite overwhelming! It's exciting to see how many orange stickers each of the paintings have, which indicates how many have been sold. One picture had a good few rows of stickers and when I looked it up in the book, I found it was by Tracey Emin - no surprise then! Some people buy a piece from the Summer Exhibition each year. Maybe one day, when I'm a proper grown up with some money, I'll do this... I think it would be a lovely way to collect art.

My favourite room was the architecture. It was quite incredible seeing all the models and sketches lined up. This pieces were arranged by David Chipperfield. Sadly photos weren't allowed, but I made notes in the book next to the pieces I liked and was able to Google the architects to find out more.

royal academy - summer show 2010

[Photos 1 & 2 from The Telegraph]

Then I hopped on a tube and visited the BA Summer Show at my college - Chelsea. My favourite section was the textiles. The students each had a printed postcard of their work and I collected my favourite ones, which can be seen below. I think I can relate to design more than art. A lot of the fine art on display was conceptual art/installation. I can appreciate this kind of work when it's done well, but to be honest it's just overload and I left feeling quite disappointed. It must be so hard for the fine art students, though, as there's the constant feeling that the work has to be original. It was interesting to see the BA Interior & Spatial Design work, although I didn't always understand what I was looking at. It would have been great if the students were there to talk about their projects.

chelsea textileschelsea textiles

I found this top in a Charity Shop for £1.49. I was immediately attracted to the colour, although the shape wasn't quite right. So I gathered the shoulders and I really like it now. I've used safety pins for now, but need to get round to adding some stitches.

coral top

On Sunday, I travelled to Brighton for the day with my husband. It was a lovely, relaxing day. I took all film photos and haven't finished the roll yet, so I don't have anything to show for Sunday. It's quite an odd feeling taking photos on film, as it's a gamble whether the pictures will come out. Fingers crossed!


17 Jun 2010

Honey snuggling

This little girl has been so irresistible lately. She's all snuggles and purrs. When the alarm clock rings at 6:30 she sees it as her call to jump onto the bed and stretch out along side me. It doesn't really motivate me to get up!

Someone came to view our flat this afternoon. The estate agent is optimistic that the buyer will come forward with an offer, but from past experience, I know not to be hopeful. The elderly man passed a joke about a "miniscule" offer. I didn't laugh. It's probably the worst possible time for us to move now anyway: I finish university in 3 months and the work load is steadily increasing. Oh well, we just need to wait and see...


15 Jun 2010

addiced to tumblr

Oh my... I seem to have developed a new obsession, and I just can't stop! It's so easy to post on tumblr, that I've already posted 49 times since I opened my account last week. I love the way the pictures get arranged into a lovely tiled pattern. Why didn't I use tumblr before?!

*Images linked to original sources here.

Peeling back layers

14 Jun 2010

Bethnal Green January & June 2010

I've been searching for old writing on buildings around Bethnal Green for part of my university project. On Saturday I walked around the back streets of East London with my mum for a couple of hours, and snapped anything that looked interesting. It was only when I got home that I realised I'd already taken a photo of this building in January -- and look how it's changed! It's the perfect example for my project: the layer of pebble-dash has literally been peeled off the building to reveal an old sign: Page & Co. I can't wait to go back in a couple of months to see if there have been any further changes. Below are some more examples of writing that I found in the area.

Bethnal Green June 2010

I visited a local archive centre and looked through old street directories to discover what my site once was. In 1873 it was a bird dealer. There was an animal market in Club Row until the 1980s when it was closed down by animal activists! The more I find out about the area, the more I grow to like it and realise that it was the best decision I could have made.

Club Row, Bethnal Green, 1873


11 Jun 2010

tumblr faves 11 june 2010

I started this blog about 6 months ago and it has been such a wonderful way for me to keep track of all the inspiring things that I see on the Internet each day.

But I feel ready for change.

A couple of days ago I opened a tumblr account, and I plan to update this image bank whenever I see something that I really love. I think tumblr is better suited to this than blogger. Sometimes I don't have much to say about an image other than, "Look at this. I like it", and on my tumblr there will be images and no words. It's a lot quicker to upload a single photo on tumblr than it is to write a post on blogger.

From now on, Cubic Dreams will be home to my own creations/photos/thoughts and as a result it probably won't be updated as frequently as it was in the beginning. I might do summaries of my favourite images or write about a project I particularly like, but most of the material will be original (I hope!).

In the meantime, above are some of my recent favourites, and feel free to take a look at what else has made it's way onto my tumblr so far, here :)

*images via Milk from a Thistle, Wunderlust and Colour + Sound.

Magical Woods

10 Jun 2010

Beckenham Place Park

About a month ago I picked up an Agfa Optima Sensor film camera from a Charity Shop for £2.99. It was a bit of a gamble as I had no idea if it would even work... But it's perfect, and didn't even need a new battery.

Beckenham Place Park

Even though I got a new digital camera for Christmas (a Lumix point and shoot) that works perfectly well, I've been quite disappointed with my photos recently. Somehow the atmosphere is never captured, and they seem a bit lifeless. But with my Agfa, the photos seem to come out exactly how I picture the scene in my head. So when I look at these they make me happy, and remind me of a moment in time. These photos are of the same park that I posted about a couple of days ago. The colours have come out so much more naturally on film.

Beckenham Place Park

Because there are a limited number of shots per roll, I need to think carefully before taking each photo, which makes them more special to me.

Beckenham Place Park

The Agfa has an aperture setting which I've always dreamt of having, and I took the shot above with an f-number of 2.8. It's so much fun! But film is expensive to develop, so I will save this camera for special occasions :)

Handmade Blouse

9 Jun 2010


I made myself a blouse on Monday. I was very lucky to receive a sewing machine for my birthday and this was my first attempt at using it. It works like a dream - I'm not used to sewing being so quick. I really need to practice sewing in a straight line which seems to be my biggest problem so far!

I picked up this fabric in the form of a large ladies long-sleeved shirt in a Charity Shop a few weeks ago for a couple of pounds. The label stated "Elsie Whiteley" which I've since discovered produced clothes from the '30s - '70s. I was immediately drawn to the intricately printed fabric - it has so much detail and the colours are really vivid.


I simply drafted a pattern from a similar sleeveless blouse I already own and added on about an inch all over to make it slightly looser, then cut out the front and back. I added in bust darts and a couple of back darts which really helped give this loose top a feminine shape. I made my own bias binding out of some navy blue polycotton and sewed it around the neckline and arm holes. I used the original button holes and attached some mother of pearl buttons and a press snap right at the top. It has a few little problems, which were a result of altering the shape after I'd started sewing it together, but I'm actually really happy with the way it came out. It's incredibly comfortable and hangs nicely. It's the perfect thing to wear when it's t-shirt weather but it makes me feel a bit prettier than a standard t-shirt.


Wearing a piece of clothing made to my measurements is such a joy. I'm telling you, it's much better than the feeling I get after shopping! Now I want to make a whole pile of these tops in different prints for the summer. If only I had more time!!


This little person thought I made it especially for her. After steering her away from the blouse she settled on the bag. I don't usually mix patterns but the stripes look quite pretty with the floral.

Birthday week photos

7 Jun 2010

saatchi gallery richard wilson 20 50 - 1

On my birthday, I travelled into London with my mum to visit the Saatchi Gallery. Surprisingly, neither of us had visited before. Richard Wilson's 20:50 installation was, by far, the best exhibit. It was truly breathtaking. The room appears to have a polished floor, perfectly reflecting the ceiling, but it is in fact flooded in oil. It was such a disorientating experience, and if you couldn't smell the oil, then I don't think you'd believe it!

beckenham place park abandoned stable block

A couple of days later, we visited a local park that I can't believe I hadn't been to before! The photo above is of the abandoned stable block which I desperately wanted to explore. My mum remembers the building being used as a nature centre for children about 25 years ago.

beckenham place park field

The weather was beautiful so I went back to the park with my husband on Saturday. We ended up walking for miles and finally ended up in a field. It was lovely to sit on the grass and breathe fresh air. Over the years I've become much more of a country person. This park is certainly not countryside, as it's only 8 miles out of London, but it is very peaceful. I'm just not that keen on the stress of the city anymore.

beckenham place park

PS. Something really strange is happening with photos on Blogger. These photos just wouldn't upload from Photobucket, and when I tried with Flickr, the colours were too saturated. I used the Flickr photo editing tool to tone the colours a bit, but they still look a tad strange. Has anyone else had this experience?

Spring fresh

1 Jun 2010

inspiration 1st June 2010
inspiration 1st June 2010

Things that have caught my eye this week...

1. miamizeiss (via Bleubird), 2. Spring Globe, 3. Bee Hives, 4. B-Martin (via Design is Mine), 5. Lena Corwin, 6. "a small collection" dress, 7. Odette New York.