Saturday, 30 March 2013

If You Have An Aversion To Chocolate.... get given a nuigurumi dung beetle!  In our house we have one who can't eat chocolate, one who doesn't want chocolate and two who really shouldn't eat chocolate, so whilst there are a few Easter treats lurking, we don't have a mountain of chocolate eggs this year.  This beetle is for my son who is on a major keep fit kick at the moment and is trying to stay away from unhealthy food.  I need to point out here that he is also very into bugs - the choice of a beetle wasn't totally random on my part!

This is sewn out of felt from a Japanese pattern and is just about life size.  The legs are made from black jewellery wire and caused no end of problems while being sewn in!
I have totally fallen in love with this clever little brooch pattern and have made several of the things for anyone I think might appreciate one - I am fascinated to watch the perfect shape of a rabbit emerge every time I knit one, and the little hidden pocket just makes me smile.  This one is just for me!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Logging On

This is what I have been working on for the past couple of days.  Yup, a log.  It's a piece of scenery and was a bit more complicated than it looks as I have knitted the bark with various cables and ribbing to get the texture.  I can just imagine a little bird popping his head out of that hole to say hello!
I spent a couple of hours yesterday knitting this fun little pattern as a couple of Easter gifts.  It makes a brooch but the surprise is that it has a secret pocket in the back of the bunny (he's double layered) to pop a tiny egg in.  You can find the pattern here on the Loop website.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Easter Egg You Can't Eat!

They are having a little Easter egg decorating competition at work - it started just for the children, but now the staff have been asked to join in. This is my offering - it's hardboiled but to eat it you'd have to sacrifice the rabbit. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Moorhen 2

I think I am going to have to learn when to say no to a commission!  Sometimes something is so far out of your comfort zone it becomes scary - this was one of those occasions.  The initial order was for a stuffed toy, which was fine.
Then the gentleman wanted a second moorhen that would be more of an art piece, with wire legs.  I have made freestanding birds in the past, but none with such loooong legs!  First was the problem of finding the wire that would be long enough and strong enough to support the weight of a life-size moorhen.  Then once I had made the legs and put them in place, the matter of balance came into play. Ah......not only are moorhens very long-legged, they also carry all their weight at the front of their bodies.  There followed a couple of days of bending, stuffing, sewing, wrapping, painting and praying.  I think he will be OK if he lives on a shelf away from strong winds or vibrating floors!
It was fascinating making such a realistic bird though and trying to combine the artistic side with real markings and feathers.  Not something I would want to do on a regular basis perhaps, as it was very time consuming.

Of course this is where all of you decide you cannot live without a stuffed moorhen and pester me to make lots and lots of'll cost you!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Och Aye....

I've been having an absolutely rubbish week on the whole, which really affects creativity.  Hard to make something lovely when all you want to do is bash your head slowly and repeatedly against a wall!  However, I have been making some headway through my 'to do' list.  This little set is finished and ready to go.  I'm quite pleased with the check pattern on the blanket - a Scottish feel was asked for, I think I achieved it.
It tickles me that no matter how hard I try, using the same needles and yarn combinations, these little dogs always turn out different with their own personalities.  This one is bigger for some reason, but just as cute.
Once again, my son and I are sharing the shelves of newsagents this week.  He has an illustration in this month's Jamie Oliver magazine.  I'm going to have to get a bigger file to keep copies of his work in - more like a box I think!

Today sees the annual Fleet Half Marathon.  Whilst I have no objection to people having fun and running their little hearts out, I must admit to thoroughly resenting the fact that as our house is two roads down from  the start/finish line, once again we are under house arrest for most of the day as they shut the roads completely for five hours or so.  I had to dash around yesterday and make sure any jobs requiring the use of a car were done as I am unable to go anywhere between 10 and 3. After 17 years of it, you tend to get just a little fed up.  Oh well, no excuse not to get on with some work!  I'm labouring over that last'll see why when it is finished!

Thursday, 14 March 2013


Bonnie is now complete and ready to go off to her new home.  I have used Derwent Drawing pencils for this on Canson pastel paper, using the reverse side of the paper to minimise texture.  This time I used gouache for the white highlights of the chest fur rather than my usual acrylic - a bit of an experiment.  I found that gouache gave a softer effect which suited this painting, but was not great for using pencil over. Swings and roundabouts - luckily I didn't need to go over with pencil very much on this occasion.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Happy Birthday!

Hard to believe it's been 25 years since my world was turned upside down and took a very different path! I wouldn't change her for the world - Happy Birthday Stacie!

Things have been a bit tricky for her over the past few weeks - not her fault, down to other people.  You can read about it on my other blog if you are interested.  However, her birthday has been pretty darn good - it was up early for a lovely dog walk in the Spring sunshine, then back home for her favourite breakfast of pancakes and strawberries.

She's spent the morning happily painting some Easter eggs that we will hang from a tree branch to make a pretty decoration, while I have been tearing my hair out making this...
I do not profess to have any talent in cake decorating, I'm just glad it looks like what it is supposed to!  I tried making blue icing at home, but after pouring in over a quarter of a bottle of blue colouring and still not achieving the right  colour, I made a mercy dash to the local cake store and bought some ready-made icing.  Just as well - it's the right colour, and tastes a whole lot better!  The main thing is that Stacie loves it and is happy.  And her favourite present today?  Woolly David tennant of course!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Object Of My Affections...

I may possibly be in love...with a pencil sharpener.  For years I have been buying my battery operated sharpeners from the local stationers and while they were good enough, they never seemed to last.  They were also very greedy, chewing up my expensive pencils like they were licorice sticks.  My last sharpener barely made it through a year before getting a piece of pigment stuck and then never working right again. 

Yesterday I got the new sharpener in the post - I promise I am not getting commission from Derwent, but it is one of theirs and I am completely emtranced.  It has four pencil widths, two sharpness settings, and - get this - a setting for an extra long, sharp point.  It even sharpens at the optimum angle for minimum pencil wastage. As I sat there re-sharpening the pencils I have been using for the current dog portrait, I just kept exclaiming 'wow!'.
So I can now continue this picture secure in the knowledge that there will be no more innaccurate lines due to blunt pencil points, no inadvertently spoiling work already done by using a woefully clumsy drawing tool.

But first I have to bake a tardis cake - shame there isn't a machine to do that for me!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

It's A Timey-Wimey Sort Of Thing....

Someone has a birthday next week, and Someone asked for a crocheted Dr. Who...
I used a pattern from Snuffykins Journal as I didn't have the time to invent my own.  I changed it slightly, making the torso and legs a bit longer - David Tennant is a tall skinny chap after all.  I also gave it a bit more detail, such as the buttons, shoelaces, etc.  I had to make him fairly robust too as I have a feeling he may end up being cuddled quite a bit.  I want to make a tardis for him to go in, but I fear there may not be enough time to do this before Wednesday.

It's Mother's Day here in the UK - I worked my socks off yesterday getting all the boring household jobs done so that even if my children don't pamper me, I will have a completely free day in which to get on with as much arts and crafts as I can possibly stuff into it!  Now I am off back to bed with a cup of tea and a book - enjoy your day, ladies!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Week So Far...

The weekend is already drawing nigh and I just haven't achieved all I set out to this week - but I've made a good attempt at least.  This portrait of Bonnie is progressing nicely, although still a long way to go as the muzzle is only half done and there is an awful lot of fluffy red hair to still put in around her ruff.  I'm having a bit of bother with my pencils as I seem to have broken yet another battery-operated sharpener and I just can't get the points I need with a hand held one.  So I am awaiting the delivery of a shiny new sharpener from Derwent which hopefully should get me back on track.  Sharpeners don't seem to last long with the punishment they get in my house.

Still cannot get my head round being on the front page of the Artists & Illustrators website this month - it's something I have dreamed of but never thought to achieve.  Next stop to be featured properly in the magazine?  Please?

I received confirmation in the post of a workshop and demonstration I shall be giving at Bramshott & Liphook Arts & Crafts Society in the summer.  More details of that closer to the time.  I'm a bit nervous, this will be my first time in front of an audience and I am hoping not to choke!

On the needles, a knitted dog set, various items for the animated film that I am not allowed to talk about, and I really must get on with that Dr.Who as someone's birthday is next week.

The tomato seedlings have finally poked their heads above the soil.  I discovered that it really helps if you actually water them....whoops!  I have a feeling I may be losing the race this year!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Wake Up!

Last month I entered the Artist & Illustrators portfolio exhibition and got a painting accepted into the online exhibition which was great.  This month I entered again, and actually (finally!) got my painting published in the magazine!  You will probably recognise it as the last one I painted, of the sunrise over the snow.  I'm so pleased!

I nearly missed seeing it though - the magazine arrived in the post on Thursday, and as I have had a very busy week with work both at the day job and at home, I just glanced through it briefly.  While chatting yesterday I mentioned that I had entered the exhibition but didn't know how I'd got on and then realised I hadn't searched the magazine yet.  There it was, large as life -what a terrific surprise!  They are also making me their featured artist on the Portfolio website - I suppose I really ought to have a look and see if that's up yet too.....oh yes, here it is!