Sunday, 4 December 2016

Pretty Plush Polar Bear...

 Sometimes it is fun to do something completely different.  I've been knitting for so long this year that my hands are very stiff and painful, and while I still enjoy knitting, I felt it was time to have a little change.  I saw this pattern in the latest edition of Simply Sewing magazine and thought I'd like to give it a go.
 I used a couple of pieces of vintage wool blanket that has been felted, bought at a craft fair a couple of years ago.  I also decided to completely hand sew this - I can use a sewing machine but find it hard to control when making smaller items.  Just as well I did as some layers (ears & tail) were almost 2cm thick!
 The pattern had the bear embroidered with snowflakes - well, I didn't want to do that, I like a bit of realism.  So I looked up some pictures of polar bears feet and gave him some little pads instead, plus embroidered claws on his front paws.
 I like him a lot - he's very firmly stuffed, making him quite a substantial toy.
 Now all I need to do is find him a good home - any volunteers?

Made the first mince pies of the season last week - delicious!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Knitting & Stuff...

Well, Christmas is rolling towards us at a rate of knots and while I am busy with various commissions for presents, it has not been too manic this year.  The above is not a present but a scarf I took on to knit for a designer to be used in the photograph illustrating her pattern in an upcoming book.  The knitting was easy if a little tedious as it is a hell of a long scarf, but the blocking was incredibly hard.  The main body of the scarf is in garter stitch, which when wet stretches to twice it's normal length, and the leaf edging - 92 leaves in total - had to be carefully shaped.  Not easy when you are on your knees for best part of an hour!

However, it is done and once dry will go off to do it's job.  I calculated that I probably got paid about 50p an hour for this - not really worth the effort although it was enjoyable to make something someone else had designed for a change!

I have been painting, a portrait of two children, but I am loath to show it as it is a Christmas present for someone I know and there is the faintest chance they might see it and spoil the surprise.  Frustrating, as I am really pleased with this one but I guess it will have to wait a few weeks!
In the meantime, Daisy has a new anorak.  This was taken before she went for a muddy walk - the coat no longer looks like this and probably never will again!

On the needles: a pig's head....
On the easel: a bear with a hummingbird

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Backpack's Rock...

I had an hour or so free yesterday afternoon so grabbed the opportunity to paint his little pen and wash picture of a bear sitting on a rock at Brook's Falls.  I don't know which bear it is - I took the photo using the snap function on the's live cam at Katmai National Park in the summer.  I do know the rock in the river has the pet name of 'Backpack's Rock' as a bear with the nickname Backpack likes to sit there, but I am pretty sure this is not him.

Much as I would like to continue producing bear paintings, I have to get on with some paid work next week!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Hope & A Bear...

 As always happens, I think I have so much to do on a painting and then suddenly it is finished.  I completed this yesterday morning, so it is now ready to be packed up and sent to Greece.  This was done in a mixture of watercolour and coloured pencils - I started off with Derwent Drawing Pencils, but ended up using a selection of all the coloured pencils I have in order to get the depth of colour I needed.
So in the afternoon I spent an hour or so on this little watercolour of a polar bear.  I used a photo I'd taken from the polar bear cams for inspiration.  This is now for sale in my Etsy shop, cheaper than my usual work - might make a nice Christmas present?

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Hope 2

 This one is taking a long time - the horse is very dark and it is difficult to get the richness and depth of colour with just pencils.  I'm getting there - the paper is starting to feel like worked leather with the amount of pigment and hammering it is taking!  Another couple of days should do it.

We have a very small pond at the bottom of our garden - I mean it is tiny, no more than a metre across.  When we cleaned it out earlier this year, we removed 17 frogs!  (We kept them in a bucket and put them all back when we were done.)  While feeding the birds yesterday, I noticed one of them popping up to say hello.  Hello.

Currently on the needles - leafy green scarf

Saturday, 12 November 2016


Yesterday I felt very tired and as a result, quite down and unable to concentrate properly on my commissioned horse portrait.  Instead, I took my mind off the blues by painting this bear from one of the snaps I took through the web cams at Katmai National Park.  This photo was taken early one morning in the summer, when there was just one lone bear fishing in the water.  The colour had not yet come on the cameras as it was just dawn.  So I painted this using only Payne's Grey watercolour on paper.  It took several hours and I didn't feel any more cheerful after I'd finished but I did have a satisfactory painting at least!

Thursday, 10 November 2016


I've been incredibly busy the past week or so, but unfortunately it was mainly knitting things that I can't show yet.  However, I have been painting - this is a horse called Hope, being worked in mixed media (watercolour and coloured pencil)  She is very dark so it is taking quite a bit of effort to get the colour right.  It needs a good few days yet, but progressing nicely.