Monday, 30 November 2009

.....I'm Going Slightly Mad......

Having not done any craft fairs since the summer and been otherwise occupied for the past few months, I didn't realise quite how much work would be involved preparing for a couple of Christmas fairs! Not only have I been replenishing my stock at a very fast rate, but I have also had to sort out and re-display all my jewllery for ease of transport, as I have foolishly put myself down for two fairs that run consecutively on Friday afternoon/evening at two different venues.

Above are two more little purses, finished and ready for sale. The doggie one comes with a felt brooch (all my own design) and the ant one has the mascot sewn on to the front of the purse.

I have spent two days sewing necklaces to boards so that I can whisk them from home to car to venue to car to venue to home.

Not the prettiest way of showing off my work, but it sure saves time and energy when setting up and packing away!

The two Christmas fairs are at Tavistock Infant School, Fleet 3 - 4.30 p.m. and Elvetham Heath School, Fleet, 6 - 8 p.m. Come and say hello if you are in the area, and you might also find some original Christmas gifts.

Still to do........price mascots, sew up four disembowelled guinea pigs - if the squeakers ever arrive from the USA - make 3 guinea pig beds & carrots, have a minor breakdown, paint a picture, make some more phone charms, make a necklace, have a little cry, pack it all up ready to go, and on Saturday....fall over!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Hmmmm, Tricky.....

For a while there I thought there was a bit of a 12 Days of Christmas thing going on with the felt mascots, but no way could I have produced four of the above lemurs last night! This one was surprisingly difficult, particularly sewing the head together with the plastic backed eyes in and keeping the folded double thickness ears in place at the same time - much pinning, tacking and swearing went on!

But we got there in the end, and he even has his own banana for a quick snack. He has a ribbon loop on top of his head through which the ball-chain loop is attached so he can be hung from your bag/knapsack or used as a keychain.

Three Blind Mice......

...well no, actually they are hamsters! These tiny pets are about an inch tall with the tiniest of glass eyes. I have as yet to decide whether they will be phone charms, mascots on a chain, or just sold as they are.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

You Cheeky Little Devil!

I'm very tired, my fingers are sore, but goodness I've been prolific lately! The latest felt mascots are a little cute devil, dressed in red and looking very surprised with himself......

...and a little blue angel who looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth!

Look at his teeny wings!

They have both been made with the intention of being for sale at the two (and only) Christmas fairs I will be setting up shop at this year. However, if you don't live in the vicinity and would like to snap these up beforehand, just e-mail me at the above address. They cost £6 ($10) plus p&p. I can also make more for you in different colours and different poses - don't be afraid to ask!

On the art front, still slogging away at the potato painting.....down to single digits now, three more if I am not mistaken. Can you imagine how much champagne will be consumed when the final brushstroke on the final potato picture is made?

Drop Dead Gorgeous....

Whilst in Salem on holiday, I bought 2 cute little Day of the Dead ceramic beads from a tiny pot on a shop counter, one for me and one for Sybille over on Magpie Magic. I made mine into a bracelet which I wear all the time and the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to make more jewellery with these beads. But where to find them......

Well, it took me over a fortnight of trawling through various sites that Google threw up, and poring through every 'skull bead' listing on Etsy and e-Bay and being thoroughly disappointed by what was on offer, before I finally found a new listing on e-Bay with the exact same beads. So I ordered a selection which arrived today. I know I get obsessive about certain themes, and Day of the Dead is the current fixation, but aren't these just the cutest things? Just the thing for phone charms, dangles, earrings, bracelets........can't wait to get started!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

And Some More......

Three more little fabric purses with their mascots/charms. The Jack Russell at the front is actually a brooch, and the little left-hand dog is awaiting a key-chain....come on Royal Mail, I'm awaiting lots of supplies that I need NOW!

Long-term readers will remember this time last year I was killing myself with trying to finish 24 puppy & kitten paintings for a pair of calendars. I discovered them on sale yesterday here and here. So that's my relatives' Christmas presents sorted then....

Monday, 23 November 2009


Two little felt mascots to go with two little panda purses.
I'm a bit concerned about the left-hand one, he looks so worried.....

Sunday, 22 November 2009


Poor Sofia, it's taken so many weeks to complete her, but at last she is done. Painted in watercolour, Derwent Drawing Pencils and a touch of acrylic.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Saturday Sewing Marathon

For the first time in I don't know how long, a Saturday devoid of potatoes to paint! So I put the time to good use and got some sewing and finishing off done. This little bear has been cold and naked for months - now he has a smart hand-knitted jumper with felt heart applique.

This little Jack Russell pup has been homeless and hungry for months - now he has a bed and a good supply of food to keep him going.

Eight purses, lined in felt and sewn together awaiting their zipper charms or buttons.

All in all, a very productive day!

By the way, the bear and puppy will be on Etsy later on in the day.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Cupcake Update

So far so good..........

.....and they popped out of the silicone cases a treat and were iced & sampled.


Had a go with my camera - not as scary as it looks, although I have as yet to go through the CD Users Manual. My old camera is also a Fuji Finepix & virtually just right for me!


I don't cope well with change, but sometimes it's time to try new these silicone cup-cake moulds. I've been eyeing up silicone cake moulds in the shops for months now, but have held off buying any as they were expensive and I might not like them. However, last week at work The Book Man (a company, not an actual book man!) had these at £3 per pack - how could I balk at that price? So this afternoon I am going to see what happens when they are put to use....let's hope they don't end up a gelatinous blob in the bottom of the baking tray....

Likewise it was time to admit that my faithful old digital camera has seen better days, especially when it kept shutting down just when I wanted to take decent pictures in Boston.
So thanks to Boots & their better-than-half-price offer, I now have a spanking new Fuji Finepix....which may stay in it's box for a few days until I can figure out how to use it from the instruction manual. Instruction manuals make me want to cry a little bit. They make things look so complicated - all I really need is a nice person to actually show me how things work and I'd pick it up straight away.

Monday, 16 November 2009


All too quickly Christmas is almost upon us, and with it the usual round of school fairs. Having signed up for a few, I realised that with all the potato painting and various other commissions this year, I haven't got very much new stock. Time to start sewing.....five little purses done so far, fully lined with matching felt and just awaiting some zipper charms to complete them.

Here are the two little pets finished and ready to be sent off, together with their food bowls, carrots and lettuce. Excuse the bad picture - light just reflects off the white wool and it's far too windy to go outside for a photo session. I am planning more guinea pigs....but with squeakers this time.

Finally about an afternoon's work from completion is the dog portrait I have had on the go for weeks now when I had spare time from potatoes. It is for the mother of a child I help at work, and he firmly put me in my place last week when I dropped into the conversation that the picture of his dog was nearly finished.

"Well, you've had enough time to do it!"

I would point out that when I was given this commission there was no time limit attached and the lady was well aware that the potato illustrations came first, and I have done 91 potatoes.....but to argue this point with a 6 year old? Best not!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Don't You Love It When That Happens?

I've often said that it is an excellent creative nudge when you get asked to make something you wouldn't normally do. This is a mini-me of a late guinea-pig (it has ceased to be...) which I gaily agreed to take on without the slightest idea of how I was going to do it. However, with a bit of pattern cannibalism once again, with some initiative thrown in, here he his and I love him! I think there should be more, a whole herd of guinea you think they would be good sellers?

Monday, 9 November 2009


How to construct a knitted rabbit hutch....that has been the conundrum on my mind the past few days. In the end I used a cardboard box, whittled down to sized with some cunning scissorwork and masking tape, which was then lined with Ingres pastel paper in a nice woody brown. I spent an inordinate amount of time knitting a box cover for it - first a rectangle, then picking up stitches on each edge separately and knitting the sides, which were then sewn together. This had to be then slipped over the box and stitched all round with about half an inch of the knitwork folded over into the box - ouch, my fingers!

The hutch door caused me more problems - I had cut the right shape out of card and then cut out the central hole. How then to cover the remaining shape...... in the end I resorted to winding yarn around it as tight as I could, using tacky glue to keep it in place, with a bit of jiggerypokery around the corners. The mesh was sewn and woven with grey wool, with a bit of fabric stiffener applied overnight. I still have to work out a nice child-friendly catch to keep that rabbit in! Oh, and he has a knitted boucle straw-coloured mat inside to represent...well, straw!

Next on the agenda, how to knit a lettuce leaf.......

I finally finished the complicated chunky lace pullover for myself - there is no way I could have completed it before going on holiday, the sewing together alone took me a whole evening. It is knitted in pure alpaca yarn, called Peru I think, in the shade 'blanket'. I didn't notice until blocking it that the yarn formed quite distinctive stripes even though it was all from the same batch. Whether or not this fades with washing, I don't mind as it is a quite nice effect.

I love the way the extra long sleeves with their 'U' shaped finish go almost right over my hands - a definite plus in the cold weather, expecially for someone like me who suffers from cold fingers at the best of times. No photo of me modelling it - far too cold today to be taking clothes off and on!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Blue Jellyfish Two

Another watercolour painting, this time on some Cotman paper but I still managed to end up with a streaky wash, probably due to trying to add another layer of paint to an already perfect wash - grr! However, I quite like this one, it has a watery feel to it.

I think that's enough jellyfish for the time being, before it gets boring. I have some paying work to get on with anyway - yup, a couple more potatoes and that poor neglected pet portrait started too many weeks ago.

If anyone would like to take these jellyfish paintings off my hands, please get in touch as they are for sale.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


Here he is, a mini-me based on an actual rabbit. I have been wondering for a couple of weeks how I was going to achieve this, and in the end it has been with the use of three different patterns for three different animals, selecting the bits that looked rabbit-like and adapting them accordingly. I embroidered on the distinctive markings and gave him button jointed legs so he is fully poseable.

Now the conundrum is how to knit a hutch that is going to keep it's shape - will need a little cardboard inside I feel.....

I also have to knit a mini-me guinea-pig which should be fairly easy...famous last words. If any of you out there would like your pet miniaturised in yarn, feel free to contact me but if it is for a special occasion, give me plenty of notice as I am one busy lady!

Yawn.....more holiday snaps....

I'm afraid due to one of my dogs vomiting copiously several times yesterday on just about every rug in the house and having to be rushed to the vet, any idea of painting had to be shelved. (The dog is fine today by the way, just old and rickety....)

Also, as my holiday snaps were ready yesterday, I spent the evening putting them into an album so only spent an hour or so fashioning a rabbit's head with knitting - I have been commissioned to make a miniature of someone's pet. Who'd have thought I'd ever make money immortalising pets in wool.......

So I am sorry, but here are a few more picturess of Boston. Our choice of subject matter is sometimes a little obscure, but I hope you can appreciate what appealed to us in these photographs.

This is the West India Goods Store in Salem - the original building, and just like something out of Little House on the Prairie!

I spent a great deal of time hand-feeding sparrows! I love all birds and the novelty of these little guys being so tame never got old.

Instead of walking round the Freedom Trail, you could go on a Segway tour - how mad is that?

This was just beautiful.

Macy's - we eventually had a look inside and were a little disappointed to see it was just another department store, albeit very plush and lovely. I think I had visions of it being like a movie set inside or something!

One of those pictures that just seem to work, the clock tower in Boston at night.

We got a little lost while hiking the Freedom Trail and stumbled upon a busy fruit and vegetable market. When I looked at the road, I discovered this amazing brass rubbish set into the tarmac - brilliant!

As no dog has been ill today and there are no outstanding potatoes to be painted, I'm off to try another jellyfish picture....

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Indigo Jellyfish...

This is my first attempt at painting one of the deep blue jellyfish we saw at the New England Aquarium last week. This is in watercolour - I started out by making a very faint pencil sketch of the jellyfish's position. Very faint as I definitely didn't want any pencil marks showing through at the end of the painting.

I then painted a turquoise wash, followed by an ultramarine wash with some salt sprinkled over the central fronds to give the frilled effect. I had to leave this to dry overnight, and today painted a further deep turquoise wash over the whole paper. The jellyfish body was painted with indigo paint, as thick as I could get it and brushed over a pre-wetted area. I pushed and pulled the paint with a damp brush while it was still wet to get the rippled effect around the base of the body.

The central fronds were painted with a lighter wash of indigo mixed with a touch of crimson. The legs/tentacles (?) were painted with pure indigo using a rigger brush to get the thin and flowing lines.

Finally, I lifted some of the paint off the centre fronds with a wet brush and dabbing with tissue in order to add a bit of texture.

I want to paint a series of these, so hopefully will improve technique as I go - I would prefer the blue background to be smoother. I used Canson extra smooth paper which is lovely for detail but does tend to hang on to pigment and leave brushstrokes on drying when you think you have done a perfect wash!