Friday, 28 March 2008

Doves, Dogs & Disappointment..

I had a couple of bracelets to make as a commission (not shown) and then as all my lovely boxes of beads were there in front of me, got carried away using some adorable little vintage brass dove charms from My Vintage Charms. I have made a necklace with gold-plated wire and purple glass beads together with small faceted AB glass beads. The charm on the necklace is a pair of doves holding a tiny heart. For the matching earrings, I have used separate doves with purple glass hearts. Very pleased with how these turned out - very delicate and sparkly! Necklace £15, earrings £5 both + p&p

I have been making these little chaps this week. The first one is in a grey chenille yarn and he is quite small having been knitted on size 14 needles (those of you who knit will be sucking in your breath - yes it was very fiddly!) He has a blue leather collar with shiny ID disc. The second dog is made with an incredibly soft eyelash yarn which feels like down. He does have the jointed legs somewhere under all that fur! I trimmed the face carefully in order to sew on the features and was pleasantly surprised to find that some very authentic looking doggy eyebrows appeared! He also has the leather collar and ID disc, and both of them will be sold for £15 when they have their baskets, blankets, coats, bowls and toys as usual.

Finally found out today about the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition - my painting didn't get accepted. Very disappointed, and wishing the lady on the phone hadn't raised my hopes irresponsibly!! Never mind, keep plugging away....let's hope one of my other 'hopefuls' is successful.

This is the 199th post on this blog - the next one will announce a giveaway. Only one of you has suggested a 'prize' - it would be nice to hear some other ideas! Come out of the shadows and leave a suggestion, go on, I dare you!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Daisy Bear & Tiny Mouse, plus latest commission

I've been dipping into the free mohair again and made another pink bear, fuzzy this time. She has turned out a bit bigger than previously, and I have dressed her in a pink gingham dress trimmed with rosy ribbon, and she has a hand-stitched felt daisy in her hand and one by her ear.
As you can see by the detailed photo, there is also a little ladybird visiting the daisy. This one is £12 + p&p

After finishing the bear, I decided (as the bag of felt was beside me...) to make another of the little Japanese mascots - a mouse this time. I don't know if you can judge the size by the picture, but his head is about the size of a 50p coin. More felt mascots to come as I am finally getting towards the end of various commissions and really must make up some stock for all the craft fairs I've blythely signed up for in the coming months!

Finally, here is the completed portrait I have been working on over the past couple of weeks. These lads belong to a lady I work with and she was very specific as to how she wanted this done - I hope I have achieved it! It has been drawn in sanguine pencil, which would have been a lot easier of the children weren't both really blonde and fair-skinned! Had to add a bit of black in the darker places to give it some 'oomph' or the whole thing would have been very insipid. Now I have to wait until after the Easter break to find out if she likes it....

P.S. Coming up to my 200th post - good grief, already?? Considering a giveaway - let me know what you think it should be this time........

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to you all...

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Frog & Flamingo

No, not some new yuppy pub but my new necklaces. First is a wonderful hand-made glass bead with a little tree-frog from Clearly Glass hung on an antique-look chain with some green lampwork glass beads and antique-look leaves. I've had this bead for a long time but never known how to utilise it to it's best advantage - hopefully this has done the trick! £20 + p&p

Second is a little set involving pink glass flowers, AB coated green glass beads and some vintage brass charms - a flamingo and palm trees - on an antique-look chain. The bracelet is simple with the flowers and chain. Has a 'Florida' feel to it - that's my theory anyway! Necklace £16 + p&p, bracelet £7 + p&p

Monday, 17 March 2008

Completed Commissions

Here are the two sets I have had on the go lately - I really like the green glass set and it has given me food for thought with regard to the other massive glass beads I bought in Athens. Sometimes it is really nice to be asked to make something specific as it gives you new ideas and a fresh way of looking at things. I have quite a few new bits and pieces which have been languishing at the back of the kitchen for the past month - time to get back to the beading methinks!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Pink Knitted Teddy

Although I have been working as much as ever, I don't seem to have much to show on here lately. I have been making a bed for the previous knitted dog, as well as continuing the pencil portrait commission. There has also been a fair amount of turmoil going on behind the scenes at home but I don't need to go into that here.

Friday I came home from work with another two large carrier bags full of yarn from the same source as before. Not just mohair this time, but some lovely baby wool and some cotton look yarn too. So I set about making the above as I had found the pattern in amongst my stash the other day and fancied a change from crochet teddies.

She was finished last night and I had obviously concentrated on it far too much as I dreamt I was still making her and also making her a dress. So when I got up this morning I decided to actually make the dress - having a free day today, as we were under virtual house-arrest due to a half-marathon which is run annually in our town closing most of the roads and making it impossible for us to go anywhere as our house is 100 yards from the start/finish. It is all hand-stitched and ties in a bow with the ribbon at the back. You can see the scale from the 50p coin in her lap. She has fully jointed limbs and an overload of cuteness! £10 + p&p

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Tiger, Tiger.....

Had some scans done of past work to send to various places and replace the rubbish ones on my website. The above is a painting I did a few years ago and I am very proud of it - unfortunately it never sold, but I'm quite glad to still have it. I had real trouble photographing it as the black paint reflected all light, so I am dead chuffed at how well it has come out with the scan. This is acrylics on mountboard.

One disappointment - my pictures got rejected by the Boston exhibition today. Ho hum, never mind - I was wondering how I was going to afford to get them there! So now I have two things left I am waiting for...fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Saggy Baggy Elephant

A week's work and this is the result...I'm in two minds about this. It does NOT resemble the photo with the pattern, the pattern was wrong in places so there are a few minor errors, and the sewing instructions were appalling which meant I pretty much improvised. On the other hand, he does have an attractively pathetic air about him so anyone with a compassionate streak may well fall in love with him. Should you be that person, this elephant goes for £15. He is about 12 inches from trunk to tail, very squishily stuffed with kapok, and knitted in a chenille type yarn which ends up feeling like soft towelling. He has plastic clip-in eyes and the flower in his trunk is removable.

Still waiting for news on the painting situation - I may not last the distance as every time the phone goes or there is a new e-mail in my account my heart skips a beat!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Sitting on Tenterhooks....

....whatever tenterhooks are, I'm on them. A while back I submitted paintings to 'Going to the Dogs' exhibition in Boston, a painting to the David Shepherd Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year competition, and last week sent my website details to the Artist & Illustrators magazine for consideration to be included in their Portfolio pages. The results of the judging for the Boston exhibition will be issued any day I got a cryptic phone call from the David Shepherd Foundation people asking for more info about my picture and when I asked if that meant anything promising, the lady laughed and said 'could be...' One hour after sending my site details to A&I I got a reply saying my work was 'just fantastic' and she would speak to her editor about maybe featuring me in more than the Portfolio. I feel I am on the brink of something - either something brilliant or major disappointment. Whichever it is, I wish I knew NOW!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Blue-Tit in Curly Hazel

Here is the latest bird picture in Chinese watercolour paints. It was quite enjoyable to do, but I'm glad this one is finished for some reason! Can you tell where I managed to drop three neat blobs of Burnt Sienna? No? Thank goodness for that - I did that just as I was putting the finishing touches on the catkins and could have cried!!

Next on the agenda is a double portrait of two little boys in monochrome - I haven't used the pencils for quite a while now and am looking forward to it. I also have a jewellery commission and still ploughing on with the knitted elephant - hope it's worth the effort!!

Oh, and having complained to Kwikfit Customer Services, they agreed I had been messed about and will be sending a £50 voucher for tyres - whoopee.....but it is a darn sight better than nothing!!

Monday, 3 March 2008

A Couple of Very Bright Scarves....

This is part of what I have been working on over the weekend - not for sale, gifts to a couple of ladies I work with to say thank you for allowing me to take the previously mentioned mountain of mohair home! We get given all sorts of things by parents for use by the children, but sometimes they are either unsuitable or in such huge amounts that we wouldn't get through them in a decade - the mohair fell into both categories. So after sorting out enough to keep the class going for a very long time, I was left with two large carriers bags full....I then offered some to two other knitters on our staff, who accepted with pleasure, and I was still left with a vast amount! Not too sure what to make with it next - too much choice! While I decide, there is still the matter of the knitted blue elephant that needs to be addressed - half way through and although I am already very bored with it, it needs to be finished.

On the painting front, I am in the middle of a picture of a blue-tit sitting on some curly hazel - should be done very soon, just the branches and catkins to complete. All depends on how long Kwikfit keep me waiting this afternoon for my new is now day three in my Kwikfit saga. They have had the wrong part twice now and after sitting in their waiting room for two separate hours on Saturday before they got around to telling me, my sense of humour has left the building. Should I mention that they are erroneously named when I go in there or would that just make matters worse.....

P.S. Kwikfit - not quick, Kwik or even fit. Bearing in mind I was promised the new correct part would be waiting for me lunchtime today....and was then told the second part sent was also incorrect, it took them until 4.30 (when reminded on the phone by me) to tell me to take my car in for 5 p.m. and have my new (correct!) exhaust system fitted. 5.30 my car was put on the ramp. Chap looked at it a bit, wandered off, came back, poked at the underneath and wandered off again. 5.45, chap decided to pick up a tool and attempt to remove the old exhaust system. Obviously having a bit of trouble... put down tool, wandered off. Came back 15 minutes later, had another go.........another chappie came along and helped. 6.00 p.m. Kwikfit officially closed. At 6.15, second chappie came and told me they'd only be another 10 minutes. By 6.30 p.m., I had given cooking instructions over the phone to my son and promised I'd be home really soon. 6.45, I saw them lower the ramp and start my excited...then they switched it off and raised the ramp again...heart sank. Tried to call home, no credit left on mobile......despair set in, dark outside and car in pieces.........finally left at 7.p.m., barely mumbling a thank you as I was homicidal by this time. Drove home
behind a moron at 28 m.p.h..........swore a lot in a VERY loud voice and vowed NEVER to use Kwikfit again. To add insult to injury this whole debacle cost me £369, can you say Customer Service Hotline......