Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Merry Christmas

Just to say Merry Christmas to you all, hope you have a wonderful time and I will see you in the New Year. Thanks for all the comments, well wishes and kind words throughout 2008 and long may the blog continue!!!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Gone all textiley


Well, finally I have spent some time in the studio. I have been busy making a stew for my friends from work, who are all coming over to mine tonight, and while that was cooking away in the oven I went up to the studio to dig out some of my college work. I was feeling like I needed a bit of a change of direction and fancied getting the sewing machine out for a bit of stitching. ABove are the Christmas canvasses I have finally completed, they will all be getting wrapped up and given for Xmas. I'm pleased with them.

Below, are the results of a college project I did a couple of years ago. They were all based on my garden, as inspiration, and used a variety of new techniques I hadn't tried before.

Fabric paint and beading, and handstitching for this one above and below, couching, which is where you use a variety of fibres and fix them onto a fabric backing, embellishing them with a few sparklies if the fancy takes you.





This one above, was a bit of an experiment with Tyvek, a weird material that goes all warped when heated. It was overlaid onto voile and that was overlaid onto a painted background, using the same signature colours from the first piece. Also beaded and stitched to give it a bit more interest. Below is my fave, I think because it is softer and more tactile, this was based on a knitted background of different wools and fibres, stitched onto with buttons and ribbons etc.



So thats my project. I had to go and have a look at them as its nice tor efresh the memory and get some ideas for new work. While I was at it, I revamped one of my mood boards in the studio, and thought it looked so nice that I thought I would share it with you!! Backing paper, courtesy of IKEA.


ANd while all this activity was going on, Jack grabbed the best seat in the house (yes, I know, the new sofa-bed, which he was never going to be allowed on). Usually when he is with me in the studio, he is really restless and won't chill out, I now know why, it's because the floor is too hard and he is too spoiled! He seemes quite happy to while away the afternoon, listening to radio2, and didn't move at all.


And I was busy, beavering away at my sewing machine, trying out a new idea that I've had in my head for a while. This is how it started...... I know it looks crap, but bear with me, I HOPE it will end up looking a lot better....






And this is how it's progressing, its a landscape of sorts, which will eventually be cropped and mounted in a thin strip (quite abstract for me) onto a backing canvas. There is a long way to go with it, but I will post end results when done, if I'm happy with it.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Beckys reindeer



A friends daughter drew this for me at the weekend. I just love how children draw. I have made all of my gift tags for Christmas pressies using this cute little reindeer. Do you think she will mind? I hope not.

Have had another busy day off work, goodness me I really don't know where the time goes. I think I need to start planning my day out in half hour slots or something in order to actually get some studio time in. The day started well with a 7.30am swim, which is great for waking you up (and also for making you feel a little smug and self-satisfied!), I have organised a trip to London with my sister in January (which will include a Christmas-present-to-each-other visit to the Sanctuary Spa for lots of pampering and girly stuff), taken the dog for a walk, wrapped all the presents up, posted the cards, made tea, bought my final Christmas pressies and a birthday present for my god-son, as well as spending a bit of time making a canvas in the studio. I suppose when its all written down in a list like that it makes me realise I haven't actually wasted the day at all, but have gots lots of useful things done, which does make me feel good. What have you been up to today?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Party Girl



Cor blimey Mrs, what a weekend. Party, Party, Party! In fact I partied until I could party no more, and was in my pjs, by 2pm on Sunday and on the sofa for the day, bar of choc in hand, seriously contemplating giving up alcohol for the rest of my life!!
I have spent the grand total of zero time in the studio, so I'm going to make up for that and do a little bit of sketching tonight, in my pjs! And that is why I have added a picture of some wrapping paper that my sister wrapped up my b'day pressie in (I have no new work to tell you about). I love the paper, I think it's from IKEA??


Thursday, 11 December 2008

morning walk





My husband has a few days off work this week and we are spending them together, Day 1 involving a lie-in and then a lovely brisk walk along the river in the cold crisp winter air.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

feeling good

Even though I have no pics to post, I thought I would post just to say, thank goodness for ace hairdressers. When you find a good one, make sure you keep them!

Now as most of you know, I'm not really a girly-girl. I was a bit of a tom boy when I was growing up, more into trainsets, horses, remote control cars, racing my cousins on our bikes, catching tadpoles, riding on tractors, and generally getting my hands dirty, than Cindy-dolls, push chairs and pink things!! And unfortunately this has carried on into my adult life. I hardly ever wear a dress and high heels, and would rather slob around the house in jeans, a baggy jumper and fave pair of slippers than get dressed up in my glad-rags, do my hair and put a bit of slap on for a night out on the town.

BUT, every now and again, I go and splurge on a lovely new haircut and colour by my fab hairdresser Mary (who just KNOWS my hair and always does an ace job) and I come home feeling all girly and nice. I have my works Xmas do this weekend, which I 'kind of' organised (bad planning as this Sat is the X-factor grande finale.... doh!!) but now my hair is all bright and blonded and cut I feel the need to go out and buy a new dress, put on my best high heels and go out for a good old boogie with my gals. We will probably drink FAR too much wine and make complete fool of ourselves on the dance floor, but I have a feeling we are going to have lots of fun. Bring on the hangover Sunday morning..............

Sunday, 7 December 2008

End of a fab weekend...



I hope everyone has had as good a weekend as I have, spent lots of time with my family, and just had a lovely, lovely time. Saw Dad on his birthday and he liked his card (thought it was a professionally done one, which was quite a compliment!). I got my beautiful birthday pressies from my sister, a gorgeous antique wooden carrying box, which will hold all of my art stuff, magazine subscription and a very glittery sparkly sketchbook (which looks too nice to use!), lucky old me eh? I love going back up North, but I just feel so homesick when I come back to our little cottage in Notts. You would think that after 15 years of living away I wouldn't still feel homesick, but there you go, I'm just a big sentimental softie. Hopefully one day soon I will live nearer to my family..... sigh! My mam wasn't well this weekend, which was a huge shame as we didn't get to spend much time with my parents, that just made me want to stay even more!
On the drve back down we stopped off at an amazing gallery fifiefofum which is set on the north side of the Tyne Valley in amazingly beautiful surroundings. There was such a welcoming, friendly atmosphere, and some fab art, ceramics and jewellery to look at. We met local artist Sue Moffitt (who I think owns the gallery), and it was great to see her at work and have a chat and cup of coffee. I you are ever passing through, the gallery isn't far from the A69, and is well worth a stop-off.


Since we got back home this afternoon we have been busy, busy busy. We put our Christmas tree up, and lots of fairy lights, Steve made some Xmas cakes and I also finished (AT LAST!!!) some of my canvasses, courtesy of my sis, little-hb, who has loaned me her staple-gun. I am obviously not meant to own one, after all the things that have gone wrong with mine, so have borrowed hers instead. And it works just fine! And I managed not to injure anyone/thing in the process. See finished results above!! Yey!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Happy Birthday Dad

Today its my dads birthday. I had this idea of a 'jigsaw' woodcutter cutting out some letters out of wood (my dad is really good at all things practical, he once built a motorhome/RV for us all to go on holiday in, rebuilt two vintage cars my me and my sisters first cars, for me a VW beetle, which was just sooooo cool, I loved it, and also a British-Racing Green Mini for my next sister, and also had a huge part in building the house that we all grew up in and where my parents still live). Anyway, he's just the best Dad in the world so the least I could do was design him his very own birthday card. I wasn't quite happy with the lettering on the top card, couldn't get it to work quite as I had imagined so I decided to make the letters out of the flex, I think that works better.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

New home

Available in my Etsy shop now.........


Does anyone know anyone who is moving house?? Ha, I know that's a bit of a joke in the current economic climate, but I have been playing with ideas this morning and have come up with this from my house series from my jollies. Probably not the most commercially successful idea I have ever had... but I'm sure one day it might come in useful!!

Ok, off to design my dads birthday card!!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Ahhh

I was sorting out my pictures the other day on the computer and found some of Barney. We miss him.


How quickly this weekend has gone. We went to a Salsa Birthday Party last night and even though neither of us have done salsa dancing ever we really enjoyed it. Have spent today at a Craft Fair, but it was blooming freezing, got very cold toes, and didn't buy anything although I did see a beautiful porcelain lamp by a company called Sassan Ceramics in Nottingham. Very tempting....

Friday, 28 November 2008

Thanks



Some pics from the sketchbook to show you, while developing some background flowers for my girly stuff range (i always seem to get back to flowers!), but I enjoyed doing them! We have a real cold snap over here in the UK, freezing fog and ice, very wintry, but it was lovely and warm in the studio yesterday. Been at work though today, which was warm, but I'd rather have been in the studio.
It has been Thanksgiving in the States this week (Happy Thanksgiving to those over the pond!)and I was listening to an interview on the radio yesterday about Thanksgiving. It really hit home that we should all be thankful for the all the good things we have in life and having an 'attitude for gratitude', even if there are some things we aren't happy with, there are still lots of things we should say 'Thankyou' for. You never know, I think I may be tempted to celebrate thanksgiving myself next year. And as well as the sentiment and tradition behind it, it sounds like there is lots of good food involved too (even more reason!!).
Thanks for reading my humble little blog and sharing your comments, and also thanks for providing me with some funny, and inspiring blogs to read too xx


Thursday, 27 November 2008

Stitching away



Today I have been a good girl and have spent my time in the studio wisely, ie. I have actually made something rather than sitting thinking about it. I have stitched some canvasses, five in fact, and if my staple gun ever arrives back from the awful company I ordered it from, well firstly I will be amazed, (as I have tried emailing them about 10 times to find out where my package is and have had no reply), and secondly I will actually be able to get some canvasses finished. Grrr, I'm getting really p***ed off with them now! Things like this get me soooo mad, I knew I should have just gone to the shop to buy one. But doing things online, I thought I would save myself a trip out in the car, and my new staple gun and staples that fit would be delivered straight to the door.


Anyway, back to work. Looking forward to a relaxing yoga class tonight.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Pink house

Nuther one to add to the ever growing collection

Monday, 24 November 2008

Houses

New print for sale in my Etsy shop soon. House Series 1. Soon to be more than... when I get time. I have twelve houses in all and they are in various states of being finished. I have big plans for them so get one now before its too late!!!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Lovely cosy Sunday

We woke up to snow this morning, but by the time we eventually got out of bed it had all gone, boo! But it has been very cold and wintry, we took the dog for a walk and froze, went out for Sunday lunch to a local pub (which is becoming a weekly event, less washing up) and have spent the afternoon being very lazy, chatting to my sisters on the phone, making soup and lying on the sofa in front of the fire. A perfect day for me at this time of the year.

This is what I have concocted today in the studio, which I did tidy before I started my work. I'm not sure I'm very happy with it.... are the letters too small? Any comments welcome...

Still haven't found the camera charger hence no photos today. Had to order a new one, it will probably turn up now.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Relief

I've been doing some monoprinting today of the images I have been developing for my girly range. The monoprints turned out ok, I love the quality of line you get with monoprinting and the imprecise undetailed sketchy look of them. But, even better is the relief images left in the ink.... ummmm, think I could do something with this concept.


Another day in the studio where I just couldn't seem to get my head together. Have too much going thru my head about what I want to do. First of all, I was thinking maybe the studio needed a tidy up


but if I do that I'm wasting valuable time, but if I leave it, its just gonna bug me! No win situation! I have stuff all over the place, and have decided that even though we bought the biggest cupboard in the whole wide world, I'm still short of storage space. I'm loving those big wide artists drawers, which would make a great surface for the printer and scanner and loadsa room for all my sketchbooks and paper.... so yes, I'm a bit distracted... and then I go and lose my camera charger, have looked everywhere for it, and cannot find. Should I waste even more time turning the house upside down ot just order a new one from Canon? Maybe I should knock it on the 'ead and call it a day, crack open some wine and watch the X factor!!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Introducing the Stephanie Levy Print Collection








I just have to tell you about Stephanie Levy, an American artist living in Germany, whose work I JUST ADORE. I have been following her blog for a while now and I noticed that she has started seling giclee prints of her gorgeous mixed media collages (see above). They are selling in her Etsy shop for the bargain price of $28 and she has produced a fantastic range of 24 pieces of work in this print format.
All of her prints are made using museum quality pigment inks that will last a lifetime without fading. She uses heavy weight (310 gsm), acid-free 100% cotton rag fine art printing papers from the Hahnemuhle William Turner series. This paper has a beautiful texture which looks and feels handmade, and lends itself perfectly to reproducing her stunning collages. If you are into mixed media/collage/painting please check out her shop and treat someone special (or yourself) for Christmas.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Birthday Girl

My latest Etsy shop addition, printed off today on my lovely Epson printer (which has had an easy summer, its gonna start to earn its living now!).

Today 'procrastination' has been my middle name. I spend the first half of the week looking forward to my two days off in the studio, and then when it gets to Thursday, I seem to spend all my time farting around, doing mundane stuff, thinking 'I must get up to the studio'. Today when I got there I didn't know what to do..... how annoying!!! Feeling a bit distracted I suppose, oh well, you can't be firing on all cylinders all of the time can you? Can you???

Monday, 17 November 2008

To-do lists and business plans

More developments from my new project, which I'm just loving working on, think pink and girly and thats pretty much where it's at at the mo! The sketch book is filling out nicely with research and doodles. It's really good to try something completely different to the usual. I'm thinking gift wrap and cards for this design, it just needs a bit more tweaking.

So I can add that to my list of things to do for whats left of this year and then into 2009. At least I don't have the mad Xmas Craft Fair rush to contend with. I decided not to do any, and try and concentrate on getting a bit of a portfolio together. The thing I really wanted to do this year was to get my goods into some shops locally, which I must admit, I hadn't really spent much time on 'doing' due to working extra thru the summer and also our big holiday. Thanks to Nottingham Craft Mafia, my goods are now in a shop, which ticks that box for 2008.

My aspirations for 2009 are to sell some of my designs and patterns and produce more cards and canvasses and also try to boost my online sales. I feel like I need to revisit my 'business plan' and beef it up a bit for this coming year and get a bit more focussed. I look around online at the amazing work being produced and the inspiring people that are getting out there and making it happen, and that's what I want to do!! I haven't got a clue where to start really but at least I feel now that I'm starting to gather enough work to be able to show people and not feel like I'm just 'pretending'. And I do feel this year, even though I haven't had masses of work to do that I've been able to take my time discovering a bit more about my work, not putting myself under too much pressure, enjoying my lovely new studio (although time in there never seems long enough) and kind of firming up the ideas of what I want to do. I feel more confident that I can do it (just don't really feel I know exactly 'how' just yet!), but plenty of people out there are doing it, so why can't I?

What are everyone elses plans for 2009??? Please tell....

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Girly stuff



For my latest project, I have really enjoyed doing this research and trying out a new style of simple illustration. I will be incorporating my stitch and some collage too and will show you the results when I'm done.
Hope everyone's having a lovely weekend



Friday, 14 November 2008

Crappy week rant




Yes, its been a crappy old week, with the puss-cat and all, I had loads of other minor things to moan about which I have now deleted, as I'm sitting watching Childen In Need on the good ole BBC, and realise how pathetic I was being....
Above are two designs for new range I'm working on, the rest of the 'range' isn't worth talking about....boo, what a crock! Never mind though, I'm about to eat Fish and Chips for tea (which is a bit of a treat, got a real craving on the drive home from work and sent psychic vibes to hubby). Yum!! Life isn't really that bad, just ignore me, I'll snap out of it!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Goodbye Barney


Had to have our cat put down today, it was the right thing to do, but still not very nice at all. Rest in peace Barns.

Monday, 10 November 2008

How sweet!!

Just a little picture of my surprise that was waiting for me tonight when I got in from work, a lovely and unexpected present from Natasha, the lady who won my 200th post blog-giveaway. Thankyou so much Natasha, you really shouldn't have, but it was a very kind gesture and I really hope you loved the package.

You know, it's good to spread the blog-love!!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

It's warm under foot!

In the studio.... under floor heating is the way to go! Haven't any pics to post as you can't really photograph warmth.... or can you?? I didn't anyway.

Needless to say, I have spent a glorious afternoon up in the studio. We are having an officially lazy weekend. I was sketching (on some new work to be revealed soon, but had to go and buy a new sketchbook for the occasion of new project) and Steve was reading/snoring on the sofa-bed, Jack (our dog) was asleep on the roasty-toasty floor. We were at peace with the world...

But one thing I need to ask you, how many of you have to have a new sketchbook for new projects? Is it just me? I just feel the need to have fresh new pages for fresh new thoughts and ideas, I have loads of half-full sketch pads, (which will be full one day, I like to keep going back to them and adding things as and when). It just totally seems wrong to fill my holiday book (latest green sqaure skethcbook, half-full of stuff )with new girly ideas for my latest 'girly' project..... am I just weird? I know there are some of you who will agree, please someone say I'm not!

Anyway, just to keep in the vein of 'spendaholic' which I seem to have unusually morphed into this week (the boots, another new stapler gun, a fleece for winter-hibernation-mode, coloured tights to go with boots and fleece etc etc) I didn't just buy one sketchbook, I bought 3! Yes three, they were on special offer......honest... I couldn't resist..... bugger the credit crunch!!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Nottingham Craft Mafia Shop 'Get Made'








Nottingham Craft Mafia
opened the doors to their shop 'Get Made' yesterday and today I did my first shift there from 11-2pm. I must say the founder members have done a great job whipping the room into shape, it really looks fantastic, packed to the brim with handmade goodies. It has a great atmosphere and the fact it is attached to the Malt Cross gives it a buzz. I'm really excited to be a part of the Craft Mafia, it sounds as though there will be some good things in pipe-line in the near future. Will be posting more about it soon.

As for sooziebee, there has been nothing going on today as the studio has been out of action due to underfloor-heating-connection-electrician-y kind of stuff and I ended up in town for most of the day, shopping for outfits to go with my new boots (they had better bloody fit me!!)