Friday, 31 August 2007

Silver Rain

The above is a simple curly crochet necklace in silver wire, the only beads being the irridescent glass droplets on the points of the lace, which look like rain/tears, depending on how you are feeling! The photograph does not really pick up on how delicate this looks and feels - the wire is so fine that it really ends up like lace when crocheted. £20 + p&p
There may well be a bracelet to match this as I have a few of the beads left.
A simple necklace and bracelet set using blue/silver flower beads on silver wire. The necklace has clear glass seed beads as well. Necklace £12, Bracelet £5 + p&p

Tonight is the preview of the Best of Hampshire Artists Exhibition, so we will be putting on our best clothes and toddling down there for our free glass of wine and to see who has won the prizes. Fingers crossed, but I think my work is too 'diverse' to win traditional prizes - I'll just be glad to sell one or two!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Antidote to the 'Great British Summer'!

This is an acrylic painting of Pigeon Island, part of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. I started it during all that rain we had a couple of weeks ago - I thought if there was no sunshine outside, I could create my own! It did go a long way towards cheering me up and I have thoroughly enjoyed painting something that does not have any animals in it for a change! I find if I paint the same subject matter too often, I feel stale and bored and it starts to show in my work. Then I have to have a complete change in direction for a while to re-charge my creative batteries.

If you are interested in buying this, please get in touch but be prepared as it will cost you £100 - acrylics take a lot of time and effort and the price reflects the amount of work put in.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Doves, Cats & Butterflies...

I'm really getting back into the swing of making 'stuff' these days! Last night I produced the above:
-China doves and Fimo roses around a purple mother-of-pearl heart using gold coloured wire and hung on a baby pink suede thong £15 + p&p
-Earrings with tiny yellow glass butterflies and AB lilac flowers £5 + p&p
-Earrings with turquoise glass cat beads (kitsch or what!) £7.50 + p&p
-Bracelet with turquoise opaque glass beads with a delicate gold filagree pattern and gold glass seed beads on gold coloured wire £7.50 + p&p

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Antique Shell Pendant

I bought this lovely carved shell pendant in Covent Garden Market a few weeks ago from a very sweet, very old, lady who was selling off all her stock of antique/vintage jewellery at half price as she was retiring. Unfortunately at the time I was a little strapped for cash and could only afford a couple of items - this and a string of beautiful AB glass beads.

I have had the idea for this necklace in my mind since I bought it - finally got around to it! I removed the ugly wire finding from the pendant, gave it a really good clean, and have made a rope of several intertwined strands of co-ordinating turquoise, blue and clear glass beads, with a few vintage pearls added for accents. The pendant is just hung on the rope through it's hole, (it is not a whole shell, just the front section.) £22 + p&p

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Pebbles and Pears

Here is a little necklace I made yesterday, commissioned by a friend of mine, using pebbles collected on her holiday a while back. This was quite a tough one, as the pebbles are round and slippery - I lost count of the times they went shooting across the room as I tried to wrap the wire round them! We got there in the end - hope she likes it!

We have a glut of pears from our tree this year - and the problem is that my daughter is the only person in the house who will eat them 'raw'. I have given some away, thrown the rotting ones, stopped the dog from eating them, but still have so many left.

So yesterday, we cut up a couple of pounds of them, added some blueberries and cinnamon, boiled them with preserving sugar...

....cut up another couple of pounds of them, added pineapple and ginger, boiled these up with preserving sugar too.....

...and now we have lots of jam! I wonder how long it will last!

Friday, 24 August 2007

Two Little Bags...

Here are a couple of bags I have made since the weekend - the blue one should really be called the 'Waiting for the Repairman' bag as I managed the bulk of it while bored out of my skull waiting for someone to repair our hot water boiler yesterday!

The blue bag is knitted using a rag yarn, and trimmed with my home-made rag yarn in a pink flowery print, with a plaited handle and a little fabric rosette with a vintage mother-of pearl button in the centre. I'm very pleased with it - I don't normally do cute, but this is quite cute!
The black bag is crocheted in black raffia, and trimmed with a crochet flower, button in the centre, and stalk and leaves embroidered on. Very subtle decoration which shows up better in real life - the camera couldn't cope with the blackness! Both bags £10 each + p&p

It's lovely to be getting on with my own creations again - I even managed to sort out my mess of beads yesterday and prepare some pretty pebbles for a necklace I've been commissioned to make. I don't think I'll be taking on any further knitting for anyone else - the $*^%! skating dress cost me £6 to send yesterday - take that out of what they will pay me and there's not much left....

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

End of Knitting Project..

Well, I'd like to say this is finished, but I ran out of the other yarn five rows before the end of the whole thing - how frustrating is that? So after chatting to the people at the company, we agreed it would probably be quicker to send the dress to them to be finished rather than me sit here another couple of days waiting for the post to bring the extra yarn. (If only I had been sent the correct amount in the first place, this would have been finished a week ago......)

The red around the edge is a piece of thick yarn I put in there to hold the stitches - nothing to do with the design! As you can tell, it's quite a funky little number and obviously for some uber-slim model type as I don't think I could even get one leg into it! I am so relieved this is over - I can get back to my own projects which have been sadly neglected the past ten days or so. I am in the process of painting, but in the early stages - something sunny, cheerful and not relating to any animals for a change. I have another commission in the pipeline of a greyhound - sadly put down this week - belonging to a friend of mine and one of my best customers. This will be the third pet portrait I have done for her and I do so enjoy painting her dogs as I know she 100% appreciates my work and each painting means a great deal to her.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Giant Tortoise

I've been slightly busy with other things so far this week, as well as spending a lot of time still trying to finish the knitted skating dress. I got to the last 13 rows and ran out of yarn, so am sitting here waiting for supplies in the post - I'll be glad to see the back of it so that I can get back to doing what I want to do. In the meantime, I dashed this off last night at the request of my son (!). It's from a pattern by Alan Dart, part of a Noah's Ark. There will be more in production closer to the Christmas fair season!

Monday, 20 August 2007

Best of Hampshire Artists Exhibition

I spent most of yesterday down in Southampton as five of my paintings were up before the selection committee for the Best of Hampshire Artists Exhibition. We had to get there for before 10.30 and hang around until 4 p.m. to find out if we had any pictures selected. Luckily the rain held off for the morning and we were able to have a wander around Hillier Gardens (venue for the exhibition) which is a lovely place. They have many outside sculptures amongst the plants, including animals made from chicken wire, woven willow mad March hares leaping through a meadow, and even a faux iceberg floating in the pond with a few well placed penguins! Plenty to see but we did get incredibly wet feet! After lunch, we raided Hobbycraft and I came out with several assorted balls of fancy wool (49p for paper yarn! 99p for bobbly eyelash yarn!), some new Derwent Drawing pencils, needles, and a mosaic kit for my daughter - managed to walk through the bead section totally unmoved by anything.

We went back to Hillier Gardens to discover all five of my paintings had been accepted - wow! Not bad, considering the rules stated they would only choose 4 for hanging! So if any of you are in the Southampton/Romsey area between the 1st and 30th September, you might want to pop along and have a look - last year's had some lovely work in it, so I am assuming this year will be the same. And if you feel you need to buy some art work, look out for mine - that's Caroline Bletsis, B.L.E.T.S.I.S................!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Hahahah - I've done it all backwards!

Thus proving my point that I don't do technology very well, I have spent over an hour and just realised it's all back to front - I am sure you can work it out for yourselves because I think my brain will explode if I have to re-arrange this lot!
Just to re-iterate, I was tagged for 8 Random Things about me by Penny & Toby at Natural Attrill
- you'll have to scroll down to find Number One -at least I numbered them!

And Finally.....

This is a treasured possession - Bob made this candelabra for me and it hangs in our dining area for use at Christmas, Easter, and romantic meals! Bob actually restores classic racing cars for a living but I am sure he could also do very well making things like this if he had the time. It's rather nice, if I see something in an artsy shop that I like, he can generally make me one out of goodness knows what! Shame on me though, this is being used as a necklace hanger at the moment because I have been too busy (lazy?) to package them up and put them away.

So there you are, 8 random things about me - hope you could bother to read to the end!

I don't have 8 people to tag because Penny & Toby have tagged half the people I would have ! But I will tag Raggy Rat and Sparrow Fart (sounds like the makings of a retro Punk band...) Oh yes, and Laura Sparling (bead artist extraordinaire!) has agreed to play along too.
Please do not feel you have to take part - it's not some crumby chain letter!

Here are the "rules"
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

Number Seven - My Dogs

These are my other babies! The small brown one you have seen before, but here is the saluki in all his glory and then in his usual position of flat out. He is my second saluki - the first one was killed by eating some sort of drug while on the local recreation ground. It was devastating at the time, took him just 8 hours to die and we didn't know what was the matter. Poor old Jasper then went into a decline as he missed his friend so much, so after a month of him shuffling around at my ankles looking like he was going to be the next to pop his clogs, I cracked and bought another saluki puppy. As soon as we brought him into the house they were rolling around on the floor together playing and have been inseparable ever since. It's not easy being a saluki owner - you have to be very alert when out and about, as he could dash off at any moment after a cat, squirrel, rabbit, deer, and I certainly don't stand a chance of keeping up with him! Luckily, this one is unusual for a saluki in that he actually comes back when you call him, but I could tell many stories of his exploits......

Number Six - Where I Paint

Oh you can see what a messy person I really am. This is my corner of the living room, where I have my desk, easel and stereo. I try, I really try to keep it tidy but as you can see, it just doesn't happen. I blame the artistic temperament.......

Number Five - Greek Food!

I lived in Greece for 13 years and still keep up cooking the Greek way, because it is nutricious and delicious! Today we will be having 'Gigantes' - baked butter beans with celery, carrot, onion, various herbs in a tomato sauce - haven't finished yet, so these are the beans before they were boiled.
Yesterday we had Pasticcio - Rick Stein cooked this on his programme a couple of nights ago, but I have been cooking it for years, it is a family favourite. Glorified macaroni cheese really, but great with a Greek Salad and preferably a nice cold beer....

Number Four - Stacie

This is my daughter, Anastasia, Stacie to everyone. She is 19 and has Down's Syndrome. She was born in Athens, Greece, and we went through a very rocky time as the Greek doctors were very ignorant about it all and offered us some unimaginable choices. Luckily, we did not take them and although my ex husband fell by the wayside when she was five, I never regret having her. She is a little darling! She has been through mainstream schooling until the age of 15, had a few years at a special unit (not such a good choice!) and is off to technical college in September. Go Stacie!

Number Two and Three....Exotic Plants and Stephen King

This huge plant, a Bird of Paradise plant, I grew from seed. I have a knack of being able to grow exotic plants from seed, generally from some fruit or other we have eaten. I can kill a lupin or busy-lizzie from 50 paces with a mere look, but tropical fruit flourishes. Behind this plant is a small Durian tree, and around the base of the big pot are three Jack Fruit seedlings, all from fruit my son brought back from Chinatown. Outside in the garden.....
...we have a banana (from seed), Kiwi vine, Kumquat tree, another bigger banana tree which I rescued from the garden centre 'casualty corner' the other day for £7 which is now pushing out leaves at a rate of knots, a Cornish Palm which we bought about 12 years ago when it was 12 inches tall, a huge plantation of bamboo from a six inch cutting we pinched from a stately home about the same time ago.... can just about see the leaves of the fig tree on the right - we have eaten four big, yummy figs off it so far this year, a grape vine in it's infancy climbing up the right pillar of the pergola, and out of view are the olive tree and the avacado tree (from seed!) Elsewhere in the house are a couple of Dragon Fruit plants which are like a rambling cactus.

Going back to the first picture, I own every book written by Stephen King, except one which is one of the Dark Tower series which I can never remember the title of when I am in a book store or car boot sale - one day I'll complete the collection! Also, if you look really closely you can see a photo of me with my two brothers and sister - I'm the blonde one and yes it is my natural colour....

Eek! I've been Tagged!

Thank you Penny and Toby for tagging me in the 8 Random Things game - I will try my best but you know how hard I find this sort of thing! In fact that is my first Random Thing - technology hates me! I was going to take pictures of my morning dog walk - but the camera, despite having new batteries, refused to work. This pretty much sums up my relationship with all things technological - they can spot my fear and act upon it, choosing when they work or don't and taking it upon themselves to malfunction when I have spent hours trying to set something up. Some might say it goes back to my inability to read an instruction manual all the way through (but they are so dull.....) but I prefer to think machinery has it's own agenda where I am concerned......

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Puppy Love....

Just finished this little chap - I started off loving it, then got really, really bored! To explain, I enjoyed painting the puppy but I don't think I will ever choose to paint a boot again! This is done in a mixture of watercolour and Derwent Drawing pencils, with acrylic highlights. In reality, the colours are richer and redder but I had a lot of trouble photographing it and scanning it also made the colour fade, so this is the best I could do. Hope you like it!

Summer Time......

Yesterday I received a small package from the E-Bay shop LlamaLashes (well worth a visit if you like 'kitsch') containing some more little gold gulls and some tiny VW Beetle charms. I decided to make a charm bracelet using a mixture of turquoise and gold/yellow glass beads on a gold chain. The charms are: a gull, VW Beetle, a dolphin, a fish, a shell and a glass heart. The colours make it look very summery and reminds me of beach holidays.......aaahhhh....
Then I made a simple pair of matching VW earrings! I know these are for a certain type of person - but I think there are enough of us VW enthusiasts out there to find a home for these.
Bracelet £10, earrings £5 , + p&p

The packaging of these charms made me laugh - I have been in discussion with Emma of LlamaLashes about the gull charms as she had several which are badly marked, and I reckoned I could get my other half to clean them up. So she sent me the ones I ordered, plus some marked ones and they were labelled 'Good Birds' and 'Bad Birds' - this just tickled me, don't know why! What does it take to tip a seagull over the edge into the Dark Side...?

Finally, it has been very nice to have some new visitors to this blog - welcome and I hope you'll come again!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Deep Blue...

Here is a long necklace I made a couple of days ago using various assorted deep blue glass beads that I have gathered lately - some are from a bargain bag from the bead fair, some are from E-Bay, and some I already had, all hung on dark blue wire. I love this shade of blue glass - my parents collected various vases and ornaments in this colour, and when they died we split up the collection between the four of us siblings, so we all have a weakness for the colour! I have been known to hang on to simple water/wine bottles just because they are blue glass - the kitchen windowsill has a row of pretty and interesting blue glass bottles.
Anyway, I digress! This necklace is £15 + p&p. It is long enough to go over your head twice to make a double strand if you feel like a change.

I'm still knitting the *!^%$$*! skating dress, and completed half the skirt so the end is in sight (would be of anyone wearing it too, haha!) Very frustrating however, as I'd rather be beading....

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Who Won?

Last night we held the ceremony of the draw (!)...

I wrote everyone's name on a piece of paper, cut them out, folded them and put them in one of our nicest bowls.......

As it was Bob's birthday (thank you to those who wished him a happy one!) I asked him to perfom the honours....excuse my daughter's nose !

And the winner was...........can you make out the name from the very bad photo? It was the luckiest person I know in 'Blog-land', young Toby Attrill! So I shall pack up your little macaw today and he will be winging (haha!) his way to you shortly.

Sorry to the rest of you, I felt kind of bad that I couldn't send you all a prezzie! This was fun, I think I shall do it again in a few months' time, maybe a Christmas one.....

Actually, if you want to enter another draw, check out the 'Sparrow Fart' blog link to your left and Bronwen is holding a give-away for a rather nice pendant....

We had a lovely day yesterday for Bob's 50th - after the presents and cards bit, we went out for the day to Brooklands to see all the old cars, bikes and aeroplanes (it was Bob's birthday after all) and it was fascinating. We got to go inside several aeroplanes and Stacie even got to sit in the pilot's seat in a couple while someone showed her the controls. We then tootled home via Bob's home town (village?) which he hasn't seen for years so it was a real memory jerker and had a quiet evening at home with cake and wine. Unfortunately, Bob started to feel a bit poorly (even before the wine!) so it was just as well we hadn't gone out for a meal! Before we went to bed, we went outside and actually saw some of the meteor shower - first time in years that there has been an astral event and it hasn't been raining or thick cloud!

Friday, 10 August 2007

I Love E-Bay!!!!! And One-and-a-half more days for the Give-away.....

I'll keep reminding you about the draw, as every time I put a new post on, it sinks further down the pile! I shall be picking the 'winner' Sunday p.m., depending how sober I am as it is Bob's 50th birthday that day!

I received a magical parcel this morning, a veritable treasure trove of beads that I bought from a very nice lady called Alison on E-Bay. I am so looking forward to playing with these later (well, I can hardly call it work!) and obviously there will be a blue tone to quite a bit of future jewellery! There might be a delay in production however as I discovered the knitting job for Wear-Downey is a 'rush-job' - aaaggh! Why didn't they say that when they sent me the yarn?! So I spent 5 hours last night desperately trying to make some headway on this odd little skating dress, and think I may well have it done by next week - just the skirt to do now. I will post pictures when finished as I can't imagine who will be wearing this as it is tiny, clingy and revealing - Posh Spice??

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Three more days for the give-away - and some other work!

Just to keep it at the top of the page as it were, there are 3 more days to put your name down for the give-away as in the previous posts - I plan to have the draw at the weekend, Sunday-ish!!

Had a sudden burst of activity last night, after feeling thoroughly ashamed with myself for squandering the whole day and achieving nothing much. We had a tiring day out in London on Monday and yesterday after doing the chores and having lunch, I fell thing I know, it's time to walk dogs, cook, etc and that's the afternoon gone! So, later on I got the beads out and made this:-
I have had this necklace in mind ever since getting the little tree frog beads, but had originally intended it to be strung on hemp. But then the other night (sometimes I dream beads, knitting or painting and occasionally it produces a solution to a problem) this came to me. It is made up of four strands of monofilament with various tiny green and brown seed beads, interspersed with glass leaves and little pink glass flowers, winding round each other like vines. There are four ceramic tree frogs and in the centre, a large glass leaf. This is £25 + p&p - slightly more expensive as there are a lot of components to this one. SOLD

Then, while attempting to wind silver wire through a piece of fossilised shell picked up at the beach last week (didn't work, just made a mess!) I then used the wire to make another sea-glass pendant on a slightly different 'chain' - it is just gently curved silver wire with four slightly irridescent glass beads at the joins. This is one of those necklaces that is so simple and shiny it looks really lovely on - if no-one grabs this one, I might just keep it! £15 + p&p

Finally, having seen Sybille's versions of my curly scarves using cotton yarn, (I'd do a link but it's beyond me - check out her blog link to the left of this, under 'Sybille's Jewellery') I wanted to have a go too. I'd not thought of using cotton as I was a bit centred on using mohair and soft fluffy yarns, so this was something a bit new. I used blue and purple hemp together, and am very pleased with how it has turned out. It's too hot to wear it, but I am sure the cooler days will come around all too soon! See if you can spot where the blue hemp ran out and I had to improvise.........

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Gremlins at work....

I have noticed that three comments (that I know of) left on the 'Give-away' have not got through to be published over the last 24 hours. First, let me say that it has nothing to do with me!!!! I'm not censoring who goes through, everyone is welcome. Secondly, if you have submitted a comment and it isn't there, do please submit it again and if that fails, e-mail me and I'll put your name on myself. I can only apologise and blame Yahoo/Google/Gremlins - who knows! Ruddy technology, always falls apart when you don't want it to....

I have nothing to show at the moment - been busy going out and doing things for a change. It's all that sunshine! I know I whinged about it, but the rain was actually very good for creativity as there was nothing else to do. I'll try and knuckle down to some work tomorrow...maybe......

Friday, 3 August 2007

Pay it Forward Giveaway

Look what I got in the post yesterday! No, not the daft looking dog, I had that already - the little mouse! I won a 'pay it forward' draw on Cat's blog, Raggy Rat, and this is what I got - isn't it sweet? I promise he is no longer at risk from the dog, he's sitting on the shelf above my computer desk along with the knitted broccoli!

So in the spirit of the above draw, I want to hold my own on this blog - I think it is a nice idea plus I really want to see how many of you visit and never normally say hello! So, I am offering not one prezzie but a choice of three! You can have....
....a little knitted scarlet macaw on his own wire swing. He is about three inches long and brighter than in the picture. Or you can have.........
...this silver and mother-of-pearl necklace, made by my own fair hands. I have one and wear it most of the time! Or you can have..........
This picture as detailed in a previous post. As I said at the time, I can't use it commercially as it is from a newspaper photo, but it would be a shame for it to sit in my portfolio without a home.

So all you have to do is say hello, tell me which of the above you would like to have and at the end of about a week (depends how many visitors I get - the draw will be cancelled if there are only two!!!!) I will put the names into a metaphorical hat (probably a cereal bowl...) and pick a winner. Good luck!

My Very First Illustration Job!
I got home from a day at the beach yesterday to find this had been left on my doorstep - I did this job about two years ago and it is finally in print. However, I can't show you any more than the cover as all the stories I illustrated are on a CD and I haven't worked out how to transfer them from there to anywhere else yet - I'm a bit of a clod when it comes to computers! If I manage it, then I'll show some pictures, but in the meantime this is it!

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Toucan Play...........

Well, finally got around to making something using the gorgeous litle porcelain toucans - aren't they the sweetest thing! This necklace is made using various glass leaves and flowers, plus one toucan, all hung on leaf green wire. It took a long time to work out how to get the toucan looking like he was sitting among the leaves - I have a great many failed Fimo branches and brown beads which just didn't work... In the end it wasn't as complicated as I was trying to make it, which must go to prove something! I also made a pair of earrings, just for good measure.
Necklace £20 + p&p Earrings £7 + p&p

Off now to go and get ready to go to the beach - a whole week without rain now, wow, amazing!!