Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Amigurumi Kappaxile...

Suffering from too much choice as I now have about 8 various Japanese craft books, I chose to make the above little fella as it looked easy and my son wanted one.

It is a Kappaxile, and if I remember correctly this is a water spirit that eats children and has to be fed cucumbers to pacify him and protect the children. I can't find a link with the full legend unfortunately. He has a little bow and arrow made from toothpicks...heehee! I need to get out more!

Here he is menacing the paper dachshund I made last week from a Japanese kit.

Happy New Year everybody - hope 2009 is full of health, wealth & happiness for you.

Monday, 29 December 2008

More Amigurumi....

This little hare was less complicated to make than the crocodile, but still took all evening. I'm going to have to find a way of translating the instructions better...poor thing had an arm stitched on instead of a tail at one point!

Hey!! What's that interloper doing in my area??

Meanwhile, the crocodile appears to have gone on the rampage! That's all that is left of his latest victim........and look, he's deliberately made a complete mess of my desk!

I'm currently working on a double horse portrait - there are pencils and bits of paper everywhere. Just as well all finished art work is not that messy!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Back to Normality.....

Well, that's another Christmas over and done with successfully. We had a really good day, with everyone liking all their presents (now that doesn't always happen!) and the duck I cooked turning out delicious - first time of attempting that. I was given some lovely stuff, including the above Japanese craft books and fabric from my son and his girlfriend. I now have enough Amigurumi and Nuigurumi projects to last the rest of my life!

My lovely SO gave me the necklace I have been drooling over in a shop window for months - it is very delicate and the photo doesn't really show it to it's best, but you get the idea. I have been wondering ever since I first saw it how I could replicate it - now I don't have to!

The first thing I attempted from my new books had to be the most complicated of course - a crocheted crocodile. He is quite large, about 18 inches long from nose to tail and deciphering the instructions took a while too, with a couple of false starts that had to be unravelled.

I changed the way the eyes were done to try and make them a bit less cartoony, and crocheted raised nostrils rather than embroidering them on.

I liked the way the legs turned out with the correct joint placement and little crochet toes. It was a fun project and one I'll definitely make again, perhaps in green next time.

Other than that, I have been .....taking it easy! A couple of potato pictures have been painted but there have actually been two days where no paintbrush was touched and it felt very strange, a kind of guilty pleasure! I have to get back to work this week though as there are a couple of horses need painting before the weekend but they are fun to do.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Peace at Last....

After the most manic few weeks I think I have ever had, things have finally quietened down for Christmas. The 24 (TWENTY-FOUR...I can't believe it) calendar pictures were finished within the deadline, which was brought forward by ten days, and have been sent off. I have never worked so hard on painting in my life, with most evenings taken up with it until 11 p.m. Combine that with the day job and trying to get ready for Christmas, as well as having a stinking cold at one point, it's been a blur!
But I'm back to quietly painting the potatoes, which are in fact very therapeutic after such madness. I have two weeks at home for the school holidays and three potato pictures and a pet portrait to do....sounds manageable!

Not much crafting been going on - when? But I'm looking forward to getting back to that too. And I think my family are very glad that scary wild-eyed, paint-stained lady seems to have left the building......

Monday, 15 December 2008

Kidsilk Night - best yarn ever!

It's been a long time in the making as I've had to do other things lately, but I finally finished a scarf using Rowan Kidsilk Night in a soft blue-grey. I've knitted a kind of honeycomb lacy pattern and strung the odd AB grey-blue seed bead here and there along the way. It has turned
out beautifully, light as air and with that slight sparkle incorporated in the wool.

Not too sure where this is going yet - maybe a Christmas present, maybe on my shop. If you'd like it, e-mail me and it will cost you £15 plus p&p.

My son ordered some books from Amazon JP for presents and I thought it a golden opportunity to go halves on postage and get yet more craft books. Can't wait to have a proper look inside! With any luck after today I will have finished my calendar work and actually have some free time to myself!!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Too Much?

I've been doing a bit of Christmas baking, because I don't have enough to do.....

Greek Melomacarona, swimming in honey syrup & walnuts.......

Greek Kourambiethes, rolled in icing sugar...

Traditional Mince Pies...because I made some yesterday and they are already gone.

Gratuitous picture of my dog in his new bed, 'cos he looks so cute and I love him!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Two Little Dogs....

After having a stall at the Christmas Fair at work a fortnight ago, I was commissioned to make a couple of my little knitted dog sets...for Christmas. I must be a glutton for punishment, because I said 'sure'....but here they are, finished and ready in plenty of time to be put in a couple of little girls' stockings.

Each one of these always turned out different to any previous ones - they seem to develop their own personality somewhere during the creative process.

They are also terrific stash-busters! All those scraps of wool that you accumulate along the way and jam in a large bag down the side of the sofa (or is that just me?) can be used up productively.

I have just ordered from Amazon JP a book on how to crochet lots of different breeds of miniature Amigurumi dogs...watch this space!

I always love to see what Toby at Natural Attrill comes up with when he makes his quirky and original jewellery. Lately he has been venturing into the melting and smelting side of things and made a bangle I just had to have...except he'd sold it. So, lovely lad that he is, he made another one just for me - isn't it fun?

I've been set back by a horrible cold this week - it's hard to be creative when you can't stop sneezing and your sinuses feel like there is a small pneumatic drill in there somewhere. I still have 4 calendar paintings to come up with in a very short time...luckily it's puppies and they are fun to do. Thankfully I woke up feeling marginally better this morning, so it's back to work with a vengeance!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Christmas Commission Complete

Amongst all the other work I have going on at the moment, I have been working on the above which is a private commission. I must admit, out of everything I've been painting over the last couple of months, Cody here has been my favourite. It's all very well earning the 'bread and butter' money with commercial work, but my first love is still animal portraiture. Cody has been painted (drawn?) using Derwent Drawing pencils on mid-blue Daler-Rowney 'Murano' paper. Hopefully in the New Year I will have more time for this type of work.

The kitten calendar work is now finished - I cannot believe I have produced 12 themed kitten pictures as well as 8 for the puppy calendar over the past few months....and 27 potato paintings...and the above! Just four more puppies to do and I can finally have a break over Christmas with nothing to paint except potatoes.........

Monday, 8 December 2008

Look What I Found!

While tootling back to my car after nipping to the town today, I glanced in the window of a charity shop and saw something I just had to have! Isn't it cute - a wooden nativity candle-powered roundabouty thing! It cost me the princely sum of £6 and worth every penny. We had great fun watching the propeller spinning round and making the little painted shepherds, kings and angels circle the baby Jesus. Not too sure where we'll keep it after Christmas though......

Really notched it up a few gears with the calendar illustrations - attempting to paint one per day this week to finish by next Monday, then I can relax for the first time in months. I'll be drawing kittens in my sleep soon!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Yet more work...

I have just finished the above, which makes me two thirds of the way through my calendar work - yay! I think when it is all done I won't want to see another kitten for a while...
On top of everything else, I have been asked to make two more little knitted dog sets before Christmas. One dog down, one to go...

Very, very tired.......

P.S. This was my three-hundred-and-oneth post......blimey!