Oblique Strategy of the Day

I didn’t use the Lettera 22 to make these cards, it would be ridiculously cool to have this typeface on this machine… and Yikes I need to clean the fluff from under the key levers!
text, Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, Oblique Strategies

This is a set of 100 cards I made for my partner who is a musician. I used my Adler Tippa for the texts and my Smith Corona 6cpi for the sleeve and box text. I used 130 gsm Fabriano paper, from Shepherd’s Bookbinding supplies in London, UK . For the box I upcycled one of those stiff card envelopes you often get books through the post delivered in.

Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt created Oblique Strategies as a card- based inspirational tool in the early 1970s. Most of the suggestions on the cards can be used to think creatively about any dilemma or situation, though some are music specific. The originals are still around, though prohibitively expensive if you can find them on eBay.  I couldn’t work out how to get a new set. I got frustrated and just started typing, gathering the prompts from various different places on the interwebs.

Wonderful Bacteria!

I started out with 10g of kefir grains. It made one small glass of kefir. In two days it had doubled in size…
Cultured kefir ready to have its grains scooped out to start a new batch. The grains thrive on the lactose in the milk, and their activity creates the fizziness in the finished kefir.
How it looks from the top when it’s ready. It can take anywhere between 12 – 36 hours to culture depending on ambient temperature and the happiness of the grains. They like consistency and get a bit grumpy if you change their regular milk for something new. So if you swap from cow to goat milk for instance, mix a bit of cows milk with the goat milk at first to ease the grains into their new food environment.
Monster blob. Do not be afraid or grossed out.
The new kefir and the separated grains ready for fresh whole milk. I never bother measuring the blobs to ratio of milk. This is a lot of kefir grains for 500 ml of milk, and you could use half the amount I have here.
The kefir itself. This batch was semi set like Greek yogurt.
Banana and Necatarine kefir smoothie in the morning sun.

Balancing stones

When it happens, it feels like magic 🙂

This is one of those satisfying activities that you do for no reason other than the moment of satisfaction. The stone will tumble, and a photograph doesn’t really capture what it feels like in real life. Your mind emptied of everything you are at one with this stone until you let it go and see it balanced. I could get addicted to balancing pebbles on the beach. If you can, give it a try, you might surprise yourself.

creative procrastination

©martha lea 2016

I love the 30 days 30 covers project that has been a part of NaNoWriMo for the past few years. I’ve been messing about making covers for novels this month too. Novels that don’t exist. Apart from the title, of course. The majority of covers being produced for the 30 days 30 covers project seem to be coming into existence via the wonders of computer aided design, and that’s fine. But I like and prefer cover art that has some kind of relationship to the real and physical world. This particular real fake cover is brought to you with the aid of tracing paper and typewriter – a 6cpi SCM Classic 12.

Words of actual novel written today so far: zero

the path is made by walking


Finished cover for the notebook. The text was taken from one of the NaNoWriMo pep talks, it’s a line by the poet Antonio Machado: Caminante no hay camino/ se hace camino al andar. I’ve typed it in 6 cpi, 11 cpi and a rather special 14 cpi on parchment paper; the spine is a scrap of goatskin that was just the right size for this A6 book. I’m pleased with the way this has turned out. Now I need to actually write something. November 1st is here and I am already procrastinating.

fly leaf


An A6 notebook/sketchbook waiting for its cover. I’ll be mixing up some paste soon. Just deciding on whether to go for a cloth, paper or leather finish. Decisions! This needs to be done before NaNoWrimo begins.