Thursday, 26 February 2009

Socks, Beads & Zebras....

This week I've been making a few things for myself for a change. I've had this yarn for months - it's been a failed scarf, a failed pair of gloves, but finally found it's calling as a pair of socks. I'm not usually very good at socks, but these turned out pretty well - they fit and they match each other which is all one can ask for! And they are nice and warm too..

Also hanging around for months was a necklace I bought at a car boot sale last summer with the intention of taking it to pieces and making it into a long necklace. The beads are a dark greeny-blue with AB coating, and the necklace had a fabulous AB clasp that reminds me of the 'shiny beetles' we used to find in our garden when we lived in Greece - if you've ever read 'My Family and Other Animals' by Gerald Durrell, he used to see an old man in Corfu with these beetles tied to strings for sale as playthings. We just used to marvel at their irridescent wing cases and leave them about their business! Anyway, I finally got around to making the long necklace and had enough beads left over to make a matching bracelet with the clasp as a focal point.

Finally, I've been making slow but steady progress with my zebras and enjoying every brushstroke! I did wonder if this was too ambitious, but it's going well - looks a bit strange with them floating in mid-air, but the water will go in last of all.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Loki & Taryq

Here it is at last, the painting that caused me such trouble! It has now been given to it's new owners (and gone down well apparently) so I am free to show the rest of the world the finished article. I even had a bit of trouble photographing this because of the amount of black - the dog on the left is relecting the light quite a bit - in real life he does match his mate in colour.

In the end, this was painted using not only Derwent Drawing Pencils but also a Chinese brush pen with black ink, dark watercolour washes and white acrylic for the highlights and whiskers. Whatever gets the job done!!

I received a parcel from America yesterday with some felt I ordered through Etsy - giraffe and zebra print! So I am currently sewing a giraffe head with a view to making a purse - again, I worked out this pattern myself so it's been a bit hit and miss although I did have the foresight to try it out with some plain cotton first to see that everything fit together and if it needed any tinkering. So far so good....

Also busy painting many zebras and many, many stripes......but it's FUN!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Turning Turtle.....

SOLD - but I will be making another to go on Etsy
A few weeks ago a (very good) customer of mine asked if I had a pattern to make a crochet turtle. After looking through my books and trawling the web for a bit, I had to admit that the only crochet turtle patterns I had/could find were rather overly cute and cartoony - not my 'thing' if you know what I mean.

But it set me to thinking about making a turtle......and I couldn't let it go. I've always liked turtles myself - in the past I have painted a huge one as part of a marine mural on my son's wall, and have quite a few pieces of jewellery in the shape of turtles as well as numerous stuffed turtle toys around the house.

So a couple of nights ago I started playing around with some green yarn, and after a few false starts, had a decorative shell made...which then needed an under layer to stop stuffing spilling through the decorative holes!

Last night I completed him and I'm pleasantly surprised by what is my first attempt at 'sculpting' my own design out of crochet. I may well try to do some more of this, it's fun! Although next time I will write down the pattern as I go instead of suddenly remembering half way through that it might be an idea to keep a record just in case I need to make more.......doh!

The zebras are progressing quite nicely - all sketching out is complete and one head is painted. I know a lot of mums dread the school holidays because they have to shelve their own plans while the children are home. Working in a school, it's the other way round for me - I love the holidays as I have plenty of spare time to get on with all these creative projects and my children are grown and able to entertain themselves!

Lacy Throw and an Ambitious Project......

A few weeks ago when I was going through my black dog stage (!), the creativity mojo was on vacation in the craft department as well, so I started a simple throw which didn't require any deep thought or effort, just nice repetative soothing knitting! It knitted up really fast and I've completed it as well as getting on with other projects around it.

It's knitted in a rather nice cotton mix yarn which is slightly slubby and has flecks of colour throughout. The lacy pattern combined with the size of needles used has produced a lovely stretchy throw, just right for either arranging prettily on your sofa or pulling around your shoulders to keep warm on a cold winter evening. It is currently for sale in my Etsy shop.

Never one to do anything the easy way, I have embarked on a new painting using a fantastic photo given to me by a very kind client of mine who went to Namibia last year. This is the second attempt at sketching it out - first was abandoned due to choosing a rubbish paper which left smudge marks when pencil was rubbed out. I'm about a third of the way through sketching - still more zebras to put in and as for the stripes........well, wish me luck! This will be a watercolour painting eventually.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Flying Swans

A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I went to feed the ducks at the local big pond. As well as the ducks, a whole family of swans came flying in to join the feast - they were just spectacular. Luckily, I had my camera with me and got some 'action' shots, albeit a bit shaky. They were good enough to be used as reference for the above painting, which is a composition combining the three poses I liked the best.

The above is painted in simple watercolour, in fact using a very limited palette of only 4 colours - Ultramarine, Viridian, Burnt Umber and an orange for the beaks. It was a real treat to paint something that hadn't been someone else's choice of subject. I felt a bit creaky and out of practice initially, but it soon came back and I've had a lot of fun with it.

This will be for sale - I'm hoping to have enough paintings to enter various exhibitions coming up, but if you feel you can't live without a swan painting, please get in touch - this would be £100 unframed.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Who's Been Eating My Porridge?

I really like this little bear pattern, so decided to make another one but in a light brown. This time, I thought he deserved a few home comforts, so he has a cosy green chair with a tiny yellow flower button on the seat.

He also has a nice bowl of porridge with a red-handled spoon and of course couldn't be without his cuddly bunny.

The bear is 10 cm high (4 inches) with fully poseable button-jointed limbs. He will go on to Etsy later in the day.

It has been a strange week, not having any commissions on the go for the first time in over 6 months. I have been working on a water-colour painting of some swans and it has felt good to get back to my own choice of subject. I've also been given some fantastic photographs of African animals in the wild which I am dying to get started on too - look out for more zebras!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

There are Fairies at the Bottom of my Garden...Part 2

Meet Rosy, the second fairy this week. She's once again made in felt, but this time is blonde and has pink wings edged in vintage silk silver thread bought from a local silk mill. She has a rose bud in her hair and a thin embroidered silver circlet keeping her hair in place. As it is nearly Valentine's Day, she's holding a red felt heart, also edged in silver - the heart is removeable!

Rosy will be on Etsy tomorrow.

Monday, 9 February 2009

There are Fairies at the Bottom of my Garden........

....well, there is one at least flitting about! I received an enquiry about felt fairies yesterday and thought I had better make one or two for sale. This little lady was last night's handiwork and she'll be going on to Etsy later in the day.

The black dog portrait is now finished and ready for despatch - pictures later in the week as I don't like to show the world a painting before it reaches it's destination. It turned out pretty well in the end, despite my whining about how difficult it was. So now I am free for a while to get on with some of my own work - it's been a good six months or more since I was able to do this. Of course, if anyone would like a commission, I shan't turn it down....

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Tiny Oatmeal Bear

I thought it time I tried out some of the many and varied Nuigurumi patterns in the books I was given at Christmas. After sitting for a couple of hours gazing at the choices indecisively, I finally opted for a very small bear.

You can see from the comparison with a 50p coin how very tiny she is! She's made in oatmeal coloured felt, with button jointed limbs, so is fully poseable. I didn't like the patterns for felt clothes, so knitted her a little dress from some 'Harry Potter' sock yarn and decorated it with some minute pink flower buttons.

This was a lot of fun to do - I loved how the stuffing made the bear compact and brought out the lovely shaping of the pattern.

So now she's looking for a home - she'll be on Etsy later in the day.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Been Busy....

Here are the faux suede horse and charcoal felt cat completed, ready to go up on Etsy later on in the day. I've made a bridle and saddlecloth for the horse - a saddle was beyond me I'm afraid! Both are embellished with tiny yellow flower buttons and a touch of embroidery.

The kitten has the usual a litter tray, trowel and a little extra just to make it authentic!

Snow is slowly melting, so it's back to work and reality today........sigh!

Monday, 2 February 2009

To Think I Said I Didn't Like Snow........

We woke up this morning to this.........

....but I still got ready for work and took the dogs for a walk in it......

..which was a bit of a struggle, as it is about 8 inches deep which comes up to the chest of my poor little mongrel! The saluki went mad, racing up and down at about a hundred miles an hour, and when we got home, I had to carefully peel a mass of snowballs off his hairy feet!

My daughter thought she'd been transported to Narnia!

As a result (because us British just cannot deal with extremes of weather even though it happens to us on a fairly regular basis) I didn't have to go to work today, it was shut. So we built a snowman instead, which I haven't done for years!

And now I have a totally free day in which to do whatever I please - it's like an unexpected present! So no excuses, there is half a pair of gloves, half a pair of socks, two scarves and a painting, all needing completion. Wonderful snow!