Monday, 6 July 2015

Fresh Start...

 I finally completed this baby blanket last night and now it is drying outside inthe sunshine after having a bit of a wash.  That was a very hot job with the summer temperatures we had last week!  That was the last of the commissions from June - new things to make this week, some characters to design for prospective animations and a Clanger to knit.  I think I also managed to get a pet portrait commission yesterday while strolling around the local dog show!
This bloomed in our living room over the weekend - the hibiscus is cerainly enjoying the hot temperatures we have had!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Cats!

All done, completed today in Derwent Drawing Pencils on pastel paper. 

I'm now free for commission!

Ready To Go!

Finished these at 11 last night, just making the deadline for postage today.  So relieved and I know which yarn supplier I won't rely on in a pinch next time.  Love Knitting saved my bacon by delivering in under 24 hours - this is the kind of thing that gets remembered for future orders.

Funny how I'm crocheting the things that terrify me - real geckos have me screaming and running for the hills.  I discovered that when living in Greece - I'm not usually a girly screamer at anything but they had me petrified, who knows why.  At least the crochet ones won't scamper around the bedroom celing or shed their tails when confronted....*shudder*...

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Nearly There....


Despite the pretty bad reference photographs I was given (people never take pictures of their pets from their level, it's always from above!) this double portrait has gone surprisingly well.  I think I have done so many pet portraits using Derwent Drawing Pencils that they come very naturally now.  I'm having to use a fair bit of white acrylic on the cat in the foreground though - white pencil is always too insipid for this kind of work.  I think one more session will see this one finished.
Despite the heat, I have been manfully ploughing on with this commission - let's face it, you don't do the work, you don't get paid!  It is a chunky baby blanket knitted in a reversible cable pattern using washable pure new wool.  A beautiful yarn, very soft and great stitch definition.  I only have another few inches to go - thank goodness today is cooler, I had to give up last night before expiring of heatstroke!
I'm also crocheting a set of geckos but have come to a grinding halt due to being let down by a large yarn supplier.  Under normal circumstances, a couple of days delay would not be a problem but I need to have these done by the weekend - fingers crossed the other supplier I went to will come through as their parcel has already been despatched.
And when I get a minute or two spare, I'm working on this summer top for myself in a luscious deep teal cotton yarn.  It has an asymmetrical hemline with a lace border, but for the time being I am knitting the main part of the body in the round.  Thankfully it seems to be a fairly quick knit, unlike the other summer top I have on the go which has been put on the back burner due to commissioned work and the fact I felt the will to live slowly slipping away!  I will get back to it, honest.
Meanwhile, everything in the garden is on the verge of producing.  We've had a few bits and pieces - strawberries, new potatoes, chard, but there is plenty more to come.  Getting impatient now!
Finally, a few months ago I bought some coloured tin planters similar to the above for what now appears to be a vastly inflated price.  I found these little beauties in a shop called Tiger yesterday for £2 a piece.  I'm sure I can find something to fill them....





Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cat And Garden...

I'm still working on this cat portrait in Derwent Drawing Pencils - not going as fast as it should, as I keep getting distracted, but making good progress nonetheless.  Luckily there is not a tight deadline for this, so I can afford to go at my own pace.
It would help if the garden was not such a pull!  We went to the Unusual Plant Fair in Selbourne at the weekend and came home with this - it has a name, but I can't remember it.  There was bloodshed when re-potting it, it is lethally spiky.  We left it in the plant creche at the fair and came back to find it had been put into solitary confinement - with good reason!
Also brought this home - just could not resist him, plus he was within my budget unlike the bird I really did want...
This was life-size!  We took photos in the hope that Bob might one day make me one....
Big excitement at the weekend when we discovered a (singular) flower on our kiwi vine.  The kiwi has been in place for about 15years and never produced anything and lives under constant threat of being cut down.  I'm hoping there were other flowers hidden amongst it otherwise one kiwi fruit is not going to go far among three of us.

Also been fruit picking - gooseberries & strawberries, so jam making on the agenda today.

On the needles: still the baby blanket plus got an order for 4 crochet geckos (?)




Thursday, 18 June 2015

Fruit...

I've been teaching a couple of talented boys how to paint and draw for quite a few years now, since they first went to junior school.  They are now reaching the stage where everything they have learnt is starting to pay off, and it is wonderful to see them begin to master certain mediums and develop their own styles.  Yesterday I had a lesson with one of them and he has discovered lately that watercolours are the medium for him.  We've been working on washes, wet into wet, and other fairly basic techniques that give good almost immediate results - a real boost to his self-confidence to have something worth looking at after an hour's work!  He suggested we get some fruit this time - he's sketched fruit in pencil on numerous occasions, also used watercolour pencils to good effect.  Unfortunately, I did not think to photograph his painting before he left, but here is mine that I painted alongside him in order to show him what techniques and colours to use.  It was very good to have the exercise mentally, to have to observe carefully and work fast and loose!  I forget how much I enjoy little spontaneous watercolours - should do more.
However, I am currently working on a double cat portrait in Derwent Drawing Pencils, something which is definitely not loose - tight and detailed.  Considering I have pretty bad photos to work from, for this cat at least, it has made a very good start and I am happy with the way it is going...for now.

On the needles: still plugging away at the baby blanket; trying out a knitted dog on those tiny needles - it's going to be ridiculously small!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

In A Right Pickle....

I seem to have spent an awful lot of my time this week chopping up vegetables and clearing up the resulting mess.  The house reeks, so do I, but it was all worth it.  Today's result was three jars of picalilli - my first time making it.  We won't know what it tastes like for a few weeks, but it looks all right!
Yesterday's result was five jars of apple & tomato chutney - since making this, I can no longer eat Branston as homemade is so much better.  It should be left for a month to mature but often I can't wait that long!

And in the garden, it's all looking lovely...

...when the weather is fine I find it hard to stay away.
There is so much to look at - I've jammed in so many plants in such a tiny space.
Some are well ahead, others are on their way - the Cosmos I grew from seed are still growing. This year I made bamboo support grids for them as they always seem to collapse if it rains.
There should be a lot of produce this year as well - fingers crossed!