Posts Tagged ‘diy’

Featured Magazines #17: The Bugle

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The Bugle

Most of the work I do is with “reluctant readers,” and I am used to having to warm up my audience, convincing them that poetry is not a scary thing and actually, anyone can write it. However, the Bugle team were way ahead of me – several of them regularly write poems for inclusion in the magazine, and reading the creative writing pieces intended for the Bugle’s pages is an important part of the editorial process. In a world where arts columnists are mourning poetry as a supposedly “dead” artform – while poets themselves bemoan the lack of dedicated readers – The Bugle is wonderful. Its editorial team are not only reading and writing poems – they’re also helping to keep this supposedly-dying breed of writing alive, by putting it into their publication and sending that publication out into the world for free.

I wrote a blogpost for the great social action blog Common Good Edinburgh last week, all about the amazing work being done by the team of The Bugle, Bethany Christian Trust’s Edinburgh-based zine-style magazine. It’s made entirely by homeless and vulnerably houses BCT service users and it’s brilliant. Click here to find out more!


Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday (OK, Friday) #81: NEW HOUSE EDITION

Friday, July 5th, 2013

I’m loving lots of stuff this week as always, but just lately, one thing has been occupying my mind rather a lot.
About two weeks ago, Lovely Boyfriend and I took delivery of the keys to our first house!


We’ve been in there pretty much every available moment of every single day since.

When we got it, the house was a bit of a wreck. It needed new wiring, all the carpets had to be ripped out, and every room was covered in what can only be described as the most hideous textured wallpaper the world has ever seen. The colour pink abounded. Check out these pics for a peek at the hideousness:

House flippin'!
Believe it or not, people fought for these wall lights when I put them on Freegle.

House flippin'!
Day of key handover: get keys, run to house, immediately begin tearing off awful wallpaper like rabid beasts.

House flippin'!
Such tasteful carpeting.

House flippin'!
I’m told everyone in Scotland had these bathroom tiles at one point. Can you see the budgie in the pattern?

House flippin'!
This was the least offensive of the various wallpapers.

House flippin'!
Lovely sunset light… cast by the terrible tulip glass in the back door.

House flippin'!
No touchie.

Happily, we’re now two weeks in, and almost all the wallpaper is gone. The carpets are gone. Those floor tiles in the penultimate photo? They’ve been clawed up, leaving a gross sticky residue behind, as they were apparently laid using wallpaper paste, or ogre splittle, or something. We’re almost ready to start sanding floors, to start painting (!), and to get techie drawings for the building work we want to do.

I know these photos make it look pretty gross… but you guys, I love it so much. Partly because it’s a mega project and you all know I love a mega project. Also because it’s ours. And of course because it means I can start growing vegetables and herbs in our wee garden, we can get a puppy, and I’ll finally have space for all my typewriters (well, almost all of them).

Prepare yourselves for lots of excitable progress updates, posts about DIY projects (I’m planning to make my own sofa) and pictures of meals I’ve made using food from my own garden (!). You’ve been warned.

What are YOU loving this week?


Budding writer? Creative person in need of a fun job? Check out the various resources and services at Bookworm Tutors. Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

30 mostly-serious ways to get warm this winter by spending (nearly) nothing

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Chevron Scarf knit with Socks That Rock

My last post was kind of a heavy one, and I am DETERMINED not to end up with another massive gas bill next spring. Therefore…

Make your own draught-excluders. I just made one this weekend out of bits and pieces of fabric I had floating around the house. You can even just make one with one leg from a pair of old tights, knotted at both ends.

Dance wildly in your living room. If you’re too embarrassed to dance wildly, get on Youtube and find a tutorial for actual dance steps. Charleston is a nice easy one.

Support your local library. They need you! They (hopefully) also have central heating! That you don’t have to pay for! Some even have coffee shops in them!

Ditch your car. It too is expensive. Go for a brisk walk / run / cycle.

Sorry to get all Gala Darling on your ass, but… go through your clothing. Dig out all your thick socks, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, scarves. Practice putting together pratical outfits that make good use of layering! My current fav: layer one is leggings, thin skirt, long-sleeved top. layer two is a frock, layer three is a cardigan and a wooly scarf…

…you could totally take this concept to the extreme. Make a video of you trying on every t shirt you own.

Volunteer. Charity shops always need more folk in the run-up to Christmas, as do The Samaritans, homeless shelters, animal shelters and most other charitable organisations. You get to be in a warm place, give back a little something to society and it looks fantastic on your CV.

Hug more.

Have a campfire. Why do people think this is a summer-only thing?

Quit chucking things away. Paper, envelopes, magazines, cardboard, wood, and even some food waste can be burned on your aforementioned campfire. If campfires aren’t your thing, get this stuff put on Freecycle — other people are trying to heat their houses, and anyone with a multifuel stove would probably be happy with the free kindling! Anything made of fabric can be used to sew curtains or a quilt, or stuff a DIY draught excluder. You should also take up mending things. There really is no excuse to chuck away a jumper that has a hole in it when you can learn how to darn in minutes. The internet can help you fix pretty much anything.

Go vegetarian, or even better, vegan. Your carbon footprint will shrink dramatically, and I bet you any money the amount of energy you use to prepare food will also decrease.

Do as much of your daily work as you can in bed. This is your excuse. Take it! Grasp it with both hands!

Did you know that November is not only Movember (keeping your upper lip warm while raising money for charity!), but also No Shave November. If, for you, No Shave November is not just ‘business as usual, then,’ November, consider it! Cultivate your own cosy fur!

Move your furniture around. If you’ve got stuff in front of your radiators, the stuff will soak up the heat they give off.

Drink water. Hydrating yourself helps circulation which keeps you warm. True.

Build a blanket fort. I just Googled this and it actually does appear on some energy-saving websites as a genuine way to save on heating bills! It’s also lots and lots of fun to do. I am a veteran blanket-fort maker and always try and out-do my last effort.

Adopt a kitty. They’re like tiny cute hot water bottles.

According to this website, “turning your thermostat down just one degree can cut your energy consumption (and your bills) by 10%.”

Buy some ugly-but-thick curtains from your local thrift shop… if they’re too ugly you can always use them to line your existing curtains (NB: as long as they’re long enough, curtains beat blinds hands down for keeping out draughts).

Find a coffee shop that does free refills. Grab a book. Go there.

My gran used to swear by shrink-wrap window insulating film

…you can also insulate your windows with bubble wrap! I plan to do this in my spare room, where barely anyone ever goes anyway.

Take a long bus-ride. If Lothian Buses are anything to go by, buses are always toasty warm, and there are plenty of good people-watching opportunities to be seized!

Candles. Seriously. When I lived in a one-room, totally-unheated studio I used to light a ton of candles and they’d actually heat the place.

Did you know you lose the most body heat from your head and feet? Therefore you need: a) good slippers and b) a wooly hat. I hear your local thrift shop calling.

Take inspiration from Cat and learn to crochet.

Apparently, this stuff really works.

Get a hula hoop. Choose carefully. Now challenge yourself. Learning tricks and improving is addictive and it most definitely keeps you warm!

I recently discovered that leggings are magical. I have always loathed and cursed tights with their terrible rip/ladder/hole tendencies and their stupid uncomfortableness. I also, until recently, shunned leggings because people say mean shit about those who wear them. However, I have finally got hip to the legging groove and oh my goodness: they are super thick, warm, comfy and you can get ones that make your legs look like Marc Bolan. Everyone should get on this: menz included.

Door sweeps are pretty bargainous.

& finally, I’ve heard that putting chili powder or cayenne pepper in your socks makes your feet warm. Anyone want to try and report back?!


You can also visit Read This Press for poetry and typewriter paraphernalia! Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

this collection zine-making workshop: the results

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any amount of time will know that I am a huge fangirl of zines. From late 2007 to early 2010 I ran my own, Read This Magazine (currently in the process of being dismantled in order to make way for something new, by the way); I am a follower/subscriber of many other small independent literary zines (including The Letter Killeth — see work by Chris Lindores in their latest! — and Words Dance) and will always encourage others to follow my lead. About eighteen months ago I was gifted a huge stack of vintage music fanzines by local Edinburgh zinester and blogger, Nine. All of this somehow led to me leading a zine-making workshop at Tollcross Community Centre on behalf of this collection on Tuesday night.

I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who came along — not least my sister and Lovely Boyfriend who didn’t have a great deal of choice in the matter. Thanks also to Sean Cartwright, Sue Steele, Julie Logan and Dave Forbes for your attendance and enthusiasm, and thanks of course to Stefanie Tan and everyone at TCC for the inspiration/organisation side of things.

Overall, the workshop was a massive success. I introduced six total zine virgins to a brand new artform, and we created seven beautiful Xeroxed and hand-bound creations to promote poetry, crafting, recycling and counter culture. It was such a success I might even run more! Give me a shout — — if you’d be interested in such a thing. Some photos and a fab timelapse from the evening below…

Assembled zinesters: Steve, Dave, Sue, Julie, Sean, Stefa, Helen and myself.

Organ: Issue 42
Sean checks out some old 90s music fanzines for inspiration.

The cutting and sticking begins!

Steve's zine
Steve, aka Lovely Boyfriend, working on some (rather fabulous) blackout poems

My zine
My zine coming together — this collection needs you!

Dave's zine
Dave’s finished zine — complete with glitter!

Print media is dead: long live zines!

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this collection poetry/film showcase: the write-up!

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

this collection day one

So unless this is your first visit to this blog, you’ll know that last Thursday marked the first half of my side-project this collection’s two-day March film and poetry showcase at Edinburgh’s magnificent McEwan Hall

…and what a first day it was! We flung open the doors at 10am and greeted the good people of Edinburgh as they came in to escape the swirling haar. Our DIY flags, posters and flyers drew a crowd made up of all sorts of people — some told us they’d had the date marked in their diary for weeks, while others just wandered in for a look and seemed to like what they saw! The film screenings were spread across four screens within the main hall space, with each screen housing around five or six films. These were subtly grouped by theme — warm, cold, stop-motion, palimpsest — and accompanied by their respective poems either on-screen or in DIY pamphlets for viewers to pick up and read. Sound engineer Simon Herron provided a spectacular non-stop city soundscape which played throughout the hall, and Glasgow-based experimental orchestra CRA:CC provided an improvised musical soundtrack in response to the films as they played out. Visitors were also able to congregate around our free press merchandise table: a source of books, pamphlets, magazines, journals, promotional materials and all manner of other poetry- and film-related paraphernalia, all of it completely free!

Through the afternoon we saw a steady stream of visitors, all of whom responded positively to the installation and the project as a whole. Documenting their reactions to the films was almost as enjoyable as the films themselves — watch this space for photos, video and stop-motion footage of the event in due course! We were particularly happy to see people who’d never heard of this collection, but who left raving about it and asking how they could come on board and get involved!

this collection McEwan Hall showcase

The next day, following the success of Thursday, expectations were high for our poetry-film finale on Friday 26th…

The evening kicked off at 6.30pm when we flung open the doors of the McEwan Hall, and were delighted to find an already-sizeable gaggle of keen poets, filmmakers and enthusiasts waiting on the doorstep. We quickly uncorked the first of many bottles of free wine and sat back to watch the influx of visitors. Once the crowd had gathered, I kicked off with a speech welcoming everyone to the event, giving a potted history of this collection and explaining what the evening had in store. Stefa then gave a brief round of thanks to all the wonderful people who’d helped make the event happen, and then without further ado, the party got under way!

The first four poets to read were Dan Mussett (a late addition, stepping in to replace Morgan Downie who sadly couldn’t be with us), Russell Jones, Anita John and McGuire. Russell was spotted brandishing copies of his pamphlet, The Last Refuge (Forest Publications), which would suggest his reading went down very well with those who gravitated towards Poet Station #1. At Station #2 Dan Mussett gave a beautiful reading in spite of his late addition to the bill, and Anita John gathered a sizeable audience in the upper gallery at Station #4. Meanwhile at gallery Station #3 McGuire was a total triumph — even gathering a crowd in the main hall below! These four poets were followed by Tom Bristow, Juliet Wilson, Simon Jackson and Andrew C Ferguson respectively — Juliet brought along copies of her hot-off-the-press pamphlet ‘Unthinkable Skies’ (Calder Wood Press) and read a particularly lovely poem about a sycamore tree, among others. Simon Jackson was multi-tasking, as two of his films were also showing in the hall below, and Andrew and Tom both received rapturous rounds of applause from their respective audiences.
The third sets were provided by Rob A Mackenzie, my good self (standing in for Aileen Ballantyne who also sadly couldn’t make it in the end), Christine de Luca and Chris Lindores. Rob and Christine both read excellently and Chris Lindores was a tour de force, gathering the largest crowd of the evening — and the most glowing feedback! — and shifting a fair few copies of his pamphlet, You Old Soak (Read This Press) over the course of the evening! The poetry was wrapped up by Andrew Philip, who read from his critically-acclaimed book The Ambulance Box (Salt); Jane McKie, whose film adaptation of La Plage (courtesy of Alastair Cook of DISSIMILAR) played in the background as she read; Hayley Shields, who entranced a small but attentive audience with her ghostly tales and accounts of Edinburgh’s darker side; and Mairi Sharratt, whose audience were asked to pick her set themselves, by shouting a series of numbers which each corresponded to a poem.

this collection McEwan Hall showcase

All the poetry readings were accompanied by a continuous stream of beautiful, dark, inspiring and moving images courtesy of our many talented filmmakers. Adaptations by Helen Askew, Sean Gallen, Abhinaya Muralidharan, Alastair Cook, Ginnetta Correli, Diana Lindbjerg Jorgense, Dominique De Groen, Hans Peter, Heather Bowry, James Mildred and Francesca Sobanje, Laura Witz, Lewis Bennett, Rawan Mohammed, Rose Creasy, Simon Jackson, Stefanie Tan and ThatCollective all graced our projector screens as the evening progressed. Although some of the films included audio (piped through headphones at each station), the McEwan Hall had its own soundtrack for the evening. This took the form of a mercurial city soundscape, put together by the super-talented Simon Herron of ThatCollective; as well as improvised music and ethereal sounds from the CRA:CC experimental ensemble.

this collection McEwan Hall showcase

The evening rounded up just before 9pm, but the festivities continued well into the night at various alternative venues around the city! Altogether, the this collection team worked out that over 200 people had come along to be a part of our showcase, and so far we’ve received glowing feedback from poets, filmmakers, musicians and visitors alike. Thanks so much to everyone who came along, everyone who helped us organise, set up, take down, fund, promote or otherwise realise the event, and of course to all the brilliant artists who lent their creativity to us for the evening!

Here’s to the next…
Claire and Stefa

this collection showcase photos by Tom Bishop and Marzieh Jarrahi.

Don’t forget to visit The Read This Store, and its sister store, Edinburgh Vintage!

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