Sunday, 31 August 2008

Oh No........

..........there's plop on my biscuit!

I'm sorry, this still amuses's been a long summer! Just as a matter of interest, Plop is the Belgian name for the can even go and visit Plop Land, and get a t-shirt with plop on it too - the possibilities for juvenile fun are endless!

I've been working hard this week - more potato paintings and knitting the pineapple yarn shawl. Nothing I can show unfortunately, although the shawl should be finished by this evening. Yesterday I received in the post some banana silk (yes, really made from the banana plant) which I am looking forward to playing with. I've really got the taste for unusual yarns lately - I have also bought some baby camel wool - simply gorgeous, soft and fluffy but with a whiff of the farmyard about it - hopefully that will wash out!

I promise next time I will have something more interesting to display!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Pinky-Purply -Knitted Necklace!

I had a completely free day today - by that I mean no housework, no cooking, no shopping - doesn't happen often! So got LOTS of things done - including the above necklace which I have been planning ever since ordering the fantastic knitted tube from Habu over a month ago. I just haven't had the time to make it until today, and I am so pleased with how it's turned out. The tubing stretches considerably, so I have stuffed it with various wooden beads, alternating with beads on the outside too, each separated with a small coil of dark blue wire. It's gone straight into my Etsy shop - but I have lots more of the tubing left, so there will be variations on the theme coming up in the future.

Also re-framed one of the three paintings I have had accepted into the Best of Hampshire Artists Exhibition, being held from 1st September at Hillier Gardens in Romsey. Wish me luck and that all three sell!

And started potato painting No.5 - wish I could show them as I go, but don't think I should reveal any more until the book is published!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

This and That.....

For all that this is the summer holidays, I have been very busy - but with larger projects that take a while to complete. I've been doing some of this......

....a shrug knitted in Nepalese stinging nettle yarn......some of this........

....a shawl knitted in pineapple fibre yarn, some of it as thin as hair.............and a lot of that.....

...more potatoes, but I'm not going to show you any more full sized paintings, you'll have to buy the book. Be content with a little corner!

So yesterday, with no outstanding potato paintings, I gave myself the day off and went to London for a wander with my son and daughter. We walked from Waterloo up to Covent Garden, through Chinatown, and ended up in Piccadilly where we visited the Japan Centre. I finally found a copy of Cotton Time!

I've been trying to get my hands on this magazine for months, and it has finally reached these shores. Although it is all in Japanese, the pictures and instructions are so clear.... can get the general idea, as well as picking up lots of inspirational ideas......

......although when I will ever get the time is another matter......

So now, refreshed after a visit with the outside world, I'm off to prepare 6 more boards for painting.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Latest Etsy Commission - Complete!

The interesting thing about commissions of any sort is being made to think outside your comfort zone. Now potholders, let alone highly decorated ones, would not be something I would think of making normally, but I got the above commission from a lovely American lady (who I made the wedding corsage for) and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

I started using the same daisy motifs as for the corsage - because she liked them - grouped with a few leaves in a decorated pot, all crocheted and appliqued onto an ecru base.

Then I got a bit daring (got a new book on how to crochet flowers and fell in love with the pansy design!) and made some bright pansies with different leaves and attached them inthe same manner.

Finally, I tried a different way of making groups of leaves on a stalk which looked very effective, and put simple little five petalled flowers with French knots for centres scattered over the leaves.

All three are crocheted in cotton yarn, and have scalloped edges as requested with a corner loop for hanging - I believe these are for decoration rather than to be used to pick up hot pots!

If there is anything you'd like me to crochet for you, just let me know - I'm open to suggestions!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

I Can See Clearly Now....

I've been wearing glasses for a few years now, a combination of passing 40 and too much art & craft has caused my sight to deteriorate. But for the past year I have been really struggling with the glasses I was given last time I visited the optician. They worked OK for reading or doing anything while sitting still, but I needed something for wearing while shopping, cooking and the like. So off I toddle for another visit to the optician and we decided varifocals was the way to go - I got them two days ago, and while it's certainly a knack getting used to them, it's brilliant! I can see the items on the supermarket shelves clearly, I can read a recipe while chopping the vegetables.....and the frames, I am so in love with the frames! You can't see from the photo, but they are purple. I'm a happy bunny!

For years we have been saying we should visit a silk mill which is only a half hour's drive away. Yesterday on a whim, we went. How interesting it was! It worked using the original waterwheel and had a lot of the original Victorian equipment. I'm a bit of an 'anorak' ('geek' I guess the Americans would say) about how craft materials are made, just love seeing the process and even having a go myself. We saw the hanks of silk in bright rainbow colours being wound on to spools, and also the looms making the most gorgeous pieces of taffeta, organza and patterned silk. We had 'goes' on some hand operated looms - not as simple as I thought - which was fun.

And in the shop they had big baskets full of spools of silk thread ...I could only afford two, but aren't they pretty? Each spool is about 4 inches long, so there is a lot of silk there - wonder what I can make?

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Three Potato, Four........

Above is my latest offering, the first official illustration since being taken on as illustrator of the potato book. I don't think I will be showing every single one, but this one is kind of special! It's painted in acrylics, as they all will be, and shows two of the Ulster variety.
I was supposed to be tidying away my beads and general mess, got sidetracked and started the above necklace. I bought these beads last week at a street fair and thought they looked like sea glass. I've hung them on silver-plated wire with clear seed beads and turquoise glass cubes.

It has a pendant featuring the same beads, four silver fish and a silver turtle. I call this one Catch of the Day for obvious reasons! It will be on my Etsy shop as soon as I can raise the enthusiasm!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Keeping Promises....

With all the work coming in lately, I'm still very aware that I have not kept a promise made to my daughter many weeks ago. She loves a necklace I made for myself and asked if I would make her one similar...well, it got put to the back of everything else, and she never complains, bless her. So today, I actually had an hour spare before lunch and decided to honour my word and the above is the result. It's actually turned out really well - far prettier than the photo shows. It's made up of pink glass daisies on gold-plated wire, interspersed with small greenish glass AB coated faceted beads. Very sweet and feminine - I think I'll make another one for the Etsy shop. In honour of my daughter, this one is called Anastasia.

Also thought it about time I completed a commission for a pair of earrings that has been outstanding for a while - these will go with a bracelet & necklace set I made for a colleague.

So the time management is not as difficult as I far! Getting the craft orders done in the evenings and the potatoes in the afternoons while the light is still good. However, just received the Japanese yarn (the carbon footprint for it must be obscene as it has travelled from Japan to New York to Cambridge to Fleet!)....I now have stinging nettle yarn, pineapple fibre yarn, paper yarn and some rather lovely knitted tubing. So many crafts, so little time......

Monday, 11 August 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For!

I'm in a bit of a panic - a very nice panic, but a panic nonetheless. For years I have been banging on that I would like to make my living from my artwork - it's been my dream since I was a child I guess. Over the last few days, that dream looks like it might possibly become a reality - in a small way at least.

Remember those potato paintings? Well, I now have a commission to illustrate a book about potatoes, which should take a year or so with about 100 illustrations to be done. Funny thing to get your breakthrough with but I'm certainly not complaining!

I also have several craft commissions on the go, also a lot of fun. My panic is over time-management - I have to sit down and work out how to sensibly fit all this in while still being carer to my daughter, keeping the house running, and come September going back to the day job. I'm sure it is all feasible once I get a routine sorted - and very, very exciting!

In the meantime I have been frittering away my evenings making the above. You may recognise the yarn from the fan scarf - this is how it knits up and I think it is so cute! This little shrug is for me (wearing it now!) and was also an experiment to work out a pattern to be used on some rather exciting Japanese yarn that is currently winging it's way over from New York.

And previous to that, I was frittering away my time on the above shrug, made from soft grey mohair with deep pink knitted roses around the neckline. It hasn't photographed well unfortunately.

Here is another view showing the long sleeve with the flared ribbing around the wrist. I'm still not 100% happy with this, I feel it may need more roses or perhaps leaves but that will have to wait for a while as I really have to PRIORITISE!!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Fan Scarf...and EEEK!

So here I am, uploading the above photo quietly in front of the computer, when I notice something dangling from the middle of my fringe. Pull it off only to discover a very large green caterpillar! I wouldn't mind, but I have been home from dog-walking for an hour now...does this mean he's been nestling in my hair all this time? Brrrr!!!

Anyway, the above is a scarf I rustled up yesterday - yes, it really was that quick. I have been wanting to make something in this pattern for ages but needed varigated yarn and didn't really want to fork out for some Noro until I saw how the finished article looked. While pottering about in our local cheapy shop, home to those nice wooden boxes, I discovered this really quite pretty pink acrylic yarn and it worked a treat - I love how each fan turns out a different colour and looks like it has been made separately. Now, should it go on Etsy or should I keep it......

Also finished a shrug I have been making - pictures another time as it is currently being blocked and is wet. The summer holidays rock - getting so much done, it's great!!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Butterfly Meadow Painted Box

Here it is at last, the second of my painted trinket boxes. This one is slightly smaller than the toucan box, and painted in acrylics again. It has a soft blue sky with fluffy white clouds....

....a meadow full of wild flowers - daisies, poppies, buttercups, speedwell, dandelion and vetch.....

...all growing among the long grass. Fluttering and flying above are a handful of butterflies - a Red Admiral, White Skipper and Meadow Blue........

.... with a couple of bees visiting the flowers. These were painted with a ridiculously small brush!

The box has been lined in cotton daisy fabric, cunningly matching the colour of the sky and the daisies...I do plan these things y'know!

This will be on my Etsy shop shortly.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

What Colour is Your Parachute?

Apparently I am....

you are lightskyblue

Your dominant hues are cyan and blue. You like people and enjoy making friends. You're conservative and like to make sure things make sense before you step into them, especially in relationships. You are curious but respected for your opinions by people who you sometimes wouldn't even suspect.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

Not too far off the mark! What colour are you?

I should have something to show tomorrow - finished another box and just waiting for the varnish to dry......