Christmas Olga card

Clare Nicholson is a Glasgow-based designer specialising in vintage patterns and textiles. I like her matryoshka Christmas cards. She also does cushions, tea towels and lavender birdies. Available from her online shop, Miso Funky markets around Glasgow (there's one on Sunday in Sloan's) and soon, from Paperchase's Tottenham Court Road store.

George Square, Glasgow

More postcards, more George Square. Nothing To Write Home About is a collection of John Hinde postcards, put together by Susan Beale and Michelle Abadie. The messages on the back are included, so it's like dawdlr from 40 years ago. Designed as "a photographic album, a social record, an historical document, humorous tourism, a celebration of Britain, a trip down memory lane, it celebrates the exquistness of the everyday". Part of the proceeds go to Carers UK and there's a celebrity postcard auction at the start of December. Available from Amazon and other good bookshops.

George Square helter skelter

Glasgow's George Square is looking great for Christmas. We were out last night for the Radiance Festival, (widely Flickrd) where there are lots of light installations around the city centre and finished with a trip to George Square which was full of lights of a non-artistic kind. I like them best. Even better than the Helter Skelter is the Old Tyme Brooklyn Cakewalk, a big shoogly walkway that pumps out organ music while you wobble about. It's here for Winterfest, a series of festivals covering Radiance, St Andrew's Day (on Friday), Christmas and Hogmanay. Happy holidays.

Belle & Sebastian 2008 Glasgow calendar

Belle & Sebastian have made a great 2008 calendar featuring all their favourite places in Glasgow. They've chosen well - some of my favourite places are in there too, like the Queen's Cafe on Victoria Rd with its wonderful ice cream cone window display and that great little 1930s street in the Transport Museum. It's a picture of the real Glasgow, not the tourist version and brings together a great city and a great band. Yours for £10 from the B&S Shop.

Ukranian POW Chapel, Hallmuir

Nothing To See Here's latest feature is about the Ukranian Prisoner of War Chapel in Hallmuir (near Lockerbie in the Scottish Borders). It's a truly amazing place, built in 1947 by POWs who were shipped to Scotland from Rimini because it wasn't safe for them to go home. The chapel is a little shrine of handmade treasures - the chandelier is made from tinsel and coathangers; the candlesticks from shell-casings. It's still in use as so many of the men married into the local community. Open all year round, it's well worth a visit.

A lovely John Hinde dawdlr
Breathing the sea air

Hooray, dawdlr has cranked into action. Russell proposed this a while ago as "a twitter for the long now". The idea is you write what you're up to, y'know, more generally, on a postcard and mail it to the dawdlr address. Very high tech. The results go up in a leisurely fashion every 6 months. What appears is a dreamy little slice of life. The physical aspect of different cards coming from all directions with their handwriting and fancy stamps makes it very rich. And the serendipity of all the thoughts is wonderful. It's 6 months to the next update so there's plenty of time if you fancy joining in. In this digital age it's good to see the postal service getting a bit of business.

Pete Fowler's little monsters

Pete Fowler, he of much sterling work for the Super Furry Animals, has made some lovely little pets. There are 8 different ones with an owner to look after them. Hard to tell who's the cutest. They're a very reasonable £8 per pair (in a pet food-style can) or £60 for the set. Order from Playbeast.

Bugs and fishes handmade cake and tea brooches

There's a bit of a tea/cake theme emerging with the Christmas shopping list. Bugs and fishes from Gloucerstershire makes wonderful felt brooches. Many are cake/biscuit-related but there are others like acorns and conkers for autumn and a fine array of felt moustaches. She also makes recycled stationery from old magazines and maps. All available on Etsy.

K8 phone box tea towels

More stylish gifts - K8 Telephone Box tea towels from The Twentieth Century Society. £12 the pair, plus a brief history of the phone box by Gavin Stamp. Order today! (PDF).

Bruce Martin’s K8 was the last red, cast iron telephone box ever to be constructed in the UK. As such it represents the final stage in the lineage of a design that has become nothing short of a global icon, a symbol of Britain. In the same manner that Gilbert Scott modernised his K2 for his 1936 K6 kiosk, so Bruce Martin reworked Scott’s classic K6 ‘Jubilee’ kiosk for a new era – responding to the most complex brief ever issued for a piece of street furniture.

Vandal-proof, weather-proof and easy to maintain– the K8 should have been the modern equivalent of the 1930’s K6. But when BT began de-commissioning boxes in 1984 – K8’s were the first in the firing line and at the time, were too young to be protected by English Heritage’s 30 year listing rule. - 60's icon faces extinction.

Proceeds help the K8 campaign to preserve the phone boxes, and develop the Twentieth Century Society's website. I was their web administrator for a while and can confirm that they're doing a difficult job on a shoestring. Phone box fiends may also enjoy Kiosk Korner.

Princeton Architectural Press sent me a lovely pile of books. I get asked to write about things now and then, but not many freebies. It was nice in this case to get the goods, and feel like the batch was tailor made. So I'm happy to give them a plug:

They didn't send this but it looks good:

Knitted paper chain

Every year, I peak too soon for Christmas. I get really excited around now (or October, usually), feel guilty because everyone's moaning about it coming earlier every year, don't do any shopping for fear of social stigma and then when it's a respectable (last minute) time to shop I don't feel like it. So I thought I'd start thinking at least, and tagging anything that catches my eye (with the word Shopping). This year I'd like to support small traders and independent shops, particularly British ones. If you can buy online, even better. I've got a few to mention but would like tips. Something lovely and unique please, and not too pricey.

So following on from Present & Correct and We Live Here comes All The Fun of The Fair based in London's Kingly Court. They make brilliant hand-knitted creations like the festive paper chain above, or supercute knitted cupcakes. The Knit Your Own Bunting kit is an all-year round festive must have.

Gateshead Get Carter car park

We Live Here from Sheffield make wonderful art prints, t-shirts and accoutrements featuring risky modern buildings. The prints feature Owen Luder's Get Carter car park in Gateshead, soon to be demolished apparently, Sheffield's Egg Box, New Roxy Disco and Cooling Towers, remaindered from a long gone power station. If you like these, wait 'til you see the memorial Sheffield Castle Market Greasy Spoon Mug.

Sheffield Castle Market greasy spoon mug

Deep joy. Thanks Simon James for the tip (via Creative Review blog).

Mablethorpe chalet

The first run of I like postcards is almost sold out so order now if you want to catch them. They're going on sale in Manchester next week at CUP/Vox Pop on Thomas St. They're also for sale in Glasgow's fab Hitherto and Edinburgh's equally fine Red Door Gallery. I'm thinking about doing a new set of 8 so will probably spend my money on that rather than reprinting the first lot. Hence the reminder for anyone who wants to stock up.

Update: Paypal problem should be fixed now.

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