Monday, 30 June 2008

Slowly shaping up

The studio.... not me! I have been away for the weekend with group of friends to the wonderful Combermere Abbey in Shropshire/Cheshire so the only thing I have been shaping up is my wine pouring skills. It's a fantastic private estate with a converted courtyard of holiday cottages, a walled garden, tennis court, lake, and woodland, and we spent it with a big group of friends to celebrate a 40th birthday! We had such a great time, although I think I drank my whole years alcohol allowance in three days!

Back to work tomorrow, boo, and don't know when I will get time to spend in the studio, which we have actually done some more moving things in today. the first pic is our cottage for the weekend, just to show you what it looked like.

And here are the latest of the studio! It's lookin, and sounding, a lot cosier, as the more stuff we put in the less 'echoey' it gets, I just can't wait to get a sofa, comfy desk chair and lamp. WE did brave IKEA today on our way home, and I must day I just find going there so stressful. It's a nightmare and you always seem to spend ten times more money than you had planned, and coming home with loads of stuff you don't really need! Well, I survived to live another day, have spent the afternoon poddling around doing jobs, and had an even more stressful evening watching the Andy Murray match at Wimbledon on the telly! And he won!!!! Yey!!

Here below is my lovely LuSummers picture I won last week. It's taken pride of place between two 'sooziebee's, but I do think I may have to contact Lu and ask her to make me some more, I just love her original style! Ummmm, love it!!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Weddings galore

A little look at the wedding stationery I have just designed and sent off. Thirty Save the Date cards, invitations and inserts, a first for me, and hopefully not the last.
Today I've just had my hair cut and am set for an afternoon of studio work, feeling all nice and girly, it's amazing what a difference a new hair cut makes!
While I was in town I popped into Waterstones for a browse in the Art section. While I was in there I went up to the top floor where they sometimes have exhibitions, and to my delight there was a textile and print exhibition, Print One, Stitch One. Lovely work, such a great variety, and a nice way to pass some time before my hair do!! All the Notts people out there can check out exhibtions and what is coming up at the following blog

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

lower case

Finally out paint to paper in the studio, just messing about and playing with watercolour with some delphiniums from the garden, a gorgeous pinky purpley blue. I like it on the floor as no comfy seat to sit on yet and can spread all my paints everywhere. I'm a bit out of practice but jus wanted to go and pay tonight.

Just wanted to share with you my Lu Summers prize I was telling you about, which arrived in the post yesterday. I love it Lu, thanks so much. I need to go 'frame shopping' to get a suitable frame and then when Steve has got some suitable nail-thingys for plasterboard walls, it can go uo, pride of place in the studio. I thought I would call and get some on the way home from work tonight but the selection was shockingly bad and I came home empty handed, boo! Which also means I can't get on with my next commission of two pictures for my friends kitchen, double boo! And here's me thinking I was being organised!

Talking of the studio, which now looks a bit more homely and lived-in, here are a few pics of how all my stuff did fit in! I'm LOVING the humungous cupboard, and who says size doesn't matter?

My first happy new studio card, from Gillian from The Fading Rose perched on my desk. Ok I'm off up there to admire it and hopefully think about doing some work!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Very happy

Even though I have been at work and only got to stand in my studio for 2 mins today!

But I have had some feedback from my 'wedding staionery' clients, all positive and good, which has given me that lovely feeling that this IS what I want to be doing. There are days when I wonder whether my stuff is any good at all, whether I will ever find my 'style' that I see in so many other peoples work I admire, whether I will ever design a range of something that will sell, and whether people who I know just say they like my work to keep me sweet. But chatting to the happy couple tonight made me realise that they really do like their invitations, and it has made me v v pleased! Happy clients = happy me!!

I will post a picture once they have had the chance to send them out to their guests! And you never know, if I'm lucky I may get to do some more wedding invitations at some point.

Other 'happy' stuff, as well as the studio being done, and winning the Lu Summers prize, I also sold two items on Etsy last week, on the same day, which made me smile. I was giving up on my shop as I hadn't made anything new for ages, but now sky's the limit, I have a beautiful space in which to work, what more could a girl want?

Sunday, 22 June 2008


It's finished (well apart from some fiddly bits of painting and varnishing) but I'm moving in today.

The only problem is.... well you know that bit in Jaws when they say 'I think we're gonna need a bigger boat'? Well I never thought I would say this but 'I think I'm gonna need a bigger cupboard!' I'm hoping it is a magic cupboard (a bit along the lines of Mary Poppins bag) and all of my stuff will fit into it!
Ok, back to work!
Ooh, and I have some exciting news, I posted on Lu Summers blog on a post she did to enter a draw for a piece of her lovely work, and she contacted me yesterday to say I had won! I can't wait to receive my prize and will put in on the wall in my studio along with my gorgeous print from Gillian from FadingRose and also my amazing sugarloop gocco. I will be visiting Etsy soon to buy some more from my favourite artists.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Busy bee

Today I have finished my first ever wedding stationery commission, so i feel like getting out the champers to celebrate. The commission, which I would love to show you but can't as I want my clients to see it first, is for friends of my sister and they are getting married in September. I was delighted to be asked to do their invitations after they received one of my cards as an engagement card. It just shows how word gets around! Here is a sneaky preview of what they all looked like lined up for the production line this afternoon.

And here are some wee doodles I have been doing to get my hand back in the swing of sketching. I am trying to design some repeat patterns which I can then translate into other things such as gift wrap, cards etc. Still in the early stages as you can see but it is fun to doodle. I picked up a little handmade sketchbook a while back on Etsy, from operationpapercut and I have decided that is going to be my little book of patterns, and I'm going to try and do one a day (i don't think i will ever keep that up, but where would we be without goals?)

This is a design that I used on some Xmas cards last year, just trying it out another way!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Been shopping

for stamping ink for backs of the wedding invitations and look what jumped into my hands!!

The Big Book of Fashion Illustration had a flick thru and just HAD to buy it. Here are a few snaps. Kettle's on now, just going for a read....

Hey look at that, a whole post with no studio photo!

Monday, 16 June 2008

More studio blurb

And the first piece of furniture is in place, the massive cupboard is finally upright and in one piece, after the inital nightmare of 'oh blimey it won't fit!' It has been lying in a pitiful state on its back for the last week or so, waiting to be wedged into place, and be filled with my sketchbooks, paints, fabrics etc etc etc

And this is what it looks like from outside now, all warm and cosy and new, I'm moving in this weekend.
As for other stuff as I do actually have a life which involves more than gazing up the garden longingly... I had my first day back at work today, which I enjoyed. Quite busy but it makes the time go faster until I can rush home and gaze up the garden longingly... Oh bugger I did it again! I promise this will end soon!

Sunday, 15 June 2008


This is the final colour, almost oyster, a beautiful subtle neutral, which matches the tiles perfectamundo! It looks really light in the day time and you can hardly tell the difference between the white and the oyster, but in the evening it really seems to warm the place up.
This blog used to be about my work, but hols and studio transformations have been keeping me busy of late! As of next week I will be finished with my wedding invitation commission and will hopefully be in the studio and once I have moved all of my stuff in I will be posting lots of new work I promise, and also updating my neglected Etsy Shop . For those of you who haven't been bored rigid with my constant rantings about the studio, thanks for putting up with my excitement and commenting on how its all coming together.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

While I was gone

Now I'm back home I just HAVE to show you what's been happening while I was away on holiday. The studio floor was finished and grouted and looks just AMAZING, thanks to Paul for all his hard work. We are definitely in the home stretch now. I have painted today, after a tester-pot extravaganza, which I am pleased to say my husband didn't see! They are all now covered up with Almost Oyster, a colour I would never have gone for in the colour booklet but it just looked great against the tiles. You will have to wait until tomorrow to see the finished article as I am just about ready for bed!

Wood burning stove in situ but as you can see not connected up yet. Don't think we will be doing that for a few weeks. It's hardly essential at the mo, being summer and warmish.

And before I go I just had to share this photo of my garden, which seems to have come on tremendously with all this warm weather. The foxgloves just look ready for sketching and the delphiniums are a beautiful light blue colour. I love my ickle garden, it's not huge but it's perfect fo us!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Well chilled out!

Hi there peeps, anyone miss me?

I have been away to The Lake District (Cumbria), where I spent many a childhood holiday and have lots of happy memories, land of Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit, Kendal Mint Cake and Grasmere Gingerbread, of as well as stunning scenery that would take your breath away. This time though it was for a holiday with a difference, it was a big family do, to celebrate my mum's birthday. I won't give away which it was, because no-one believes it anyway! We have had a fantastic time, with, surprisingly, no rain for the whole week. Most of the clan made it for most of the week and it was a truly excellent holiday. I have come back home with my batteries recharged and am raring to go.

Here are just a few pics from the week. This below is the house where we stayed, near Grasmere. And can you see Bambi in the forefront of the picture? Our resident little dear who kept popping up to see us every now and again! The house was a Victorian 'mansion' set in the stunning Easdale valley which we explored over the course of the week.

Jack, posing near Grasmere lake, not the usual energetic mad thing we all know and love, he has had lots of walks this week and has come back VERY tired. One of the best walks was up Helm Crag which I dragged my hubby up yesterday morning before he dashed off home and I must say the views were worth the effort of the 1 in 3 slope!!

So back to reality now and back to work next week. But after such a great week it makes me thankful I have such a fab family to share special times with. We need to do it again soon.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Am I going about about this???

I know, but I can't help it. This is the latest photo of the studio, taken this evening, with both doors installed. I'm out in the sunshine tomorrow varnishing my lovely doors with a big smile on my face.

And just a little 'Springwatch' type picture of a addition to the neighbourhood, is this little fella, with three tiny siblings in a nest on our wall. We think they are blackbirds or thrushes. They are tiny and I think they must have hatched this week.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Come on baby light my fire.....

That was a clue.... The Doors?

The doors, oh yes, the doors! Another step nearer completion and one I was really looking forward to. Paul started fitting my lovely oak doors to the studio yesterday and they are nearly finished. The view from the one that you see here is ideal, straight down the garden and out onto the hills and fields in the distance. Looking through glass onto the outside just gives the room such a different feel.

I'm waiting until I get in there for my next burst of creativity, I can't wait to move all of my stuff in and fill up that huge cupbaord with my sketch books, magazines, paper and paints. Bring it on!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

And back at the ranch....

We had a lovely Sunday Lunch out with Steves family, which was great, but then had to come home to do lots of jobs!! One of which was varnishing the doors for the studio. It was a really relaxing job though, and only took us two hours to do. The grain of the oak has come up really nice with the clear stain and this time tomorrow the doors will hopefully be fitted. Then the studio will finally be weather proof, which will be ideal for keeping out all of this rain, and nearly finished!!!! Yippeeee!

Busy weekend in Dublin

I have been away for a few days to Dublin with my mum, to celebrate her 60th birthday. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel in the centre of the city and had a really hectic but very enjoyable two days. On our second day we discovered the Bloom Festival (Dublins version of Chelsea) and managed to book some tickets for the first day. There were no crowds and we had a great day looking round at the amazing show gardens, flowers, food hall etc, whilst managing to have a couple of glasses of free wine to help us on our way.

Here are some of the snaps, of my fave gardens. I think I have plenty of inspiration to get me kick started again!!

This was my fave fower stand, the alliums looked divine! Just made me want to get out my paints!