Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Got this today - isn't it scrummy!

Having some computer problems this week - things may go quiet for a while........

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Socks Appeal

Another pair of socks finished - these are mine, knitted in trekking yarn, 'Tonga' is the colourway. Now my daughter wants a pair......sigh!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

A Zillion Zebras

Yesterday I completed the zebra painting at last. Considering the amount of stripes, it hasn't actually taken that long to paint, particularly as I had to take a break in the middle to fulfill a commission. A few days ago I thought I had completely ruined this by messing up the water, but after a couple of days away from it (and a stressful situation at home being alleviated) I could see that all that needed to be done was to calm down the colours I had used with a wash of Indanthrene Blue to bring it all together. I'm now champing at the bit to start a cheetah in acrylics.....

Yesterday also saw the above scarf/wrap completed successfully. It is knitted using Japanese Habu mohair yarn in a beautiful slightly varigated violet blue. This yarn has to be seen to be believed, it is incredibly light and soft with a slight sheen to it. I have used a simple wavy lace pattern, and the whole thing looks like an undulating stream, with the lights and darks accentuating the ripples. This will be for sale on Etsy later on in the day - if you'd like to grab it first, it will be £30 plus p&p.

Finally, yesterday the post delivered to me the above fabric from The African Fabric Shop. It is actually from Africa and printed on a soft cotton. I will eventually be making a zebra, but this project is on hold until the Easter break when I will be less stressed and have the time to devote to it - it would be a disaster to waste such a special fabric!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Socks Galore!

Knitting socks appears to be like buses - none for ages then several at once! These were made a couple of weeks ago but I had to keep them under wraps as one pair was made as a birthday gift for Toby at Natural Attrill. His are in Dayglo colours and I got a bit carried away with the patterning as they were very much designed as I went along. There is even a little cat with his back arched on each heel flap. Those colours nearly blinded me!!

The other pair were for his mum, Penny, and she gave me the interesting 'brief' that they must be thick, soft, fluffy.........and perhaps in my cat's colours....' which sounded difficult but in actual fact was really interesting to do. I combined a tweedy cotton yarn with some super-soft beige eyelash yarn, and added random black stripes with simple black acrylic. Whilst you couldn't wear these together with shoes, for padding round the house they will be terrific and very warm!

Time to Re-Stock!

Having just sold the absolutely last felt puppy set I had, it is now time to make some more as people do seem to like these. I have made a little pup in buff coloured felt, with the usual button-jointed poseable legs and little felt collar with its MOP ID disc. He comes with a cerise padded bed lined with fabulous Japanese cotton printed with miscroscopic pictures of dogs. For the time being the accessories are a bowl (with a button bone inside) a tin of dog chow and a toy - I had to give up and go to bed without making the packet of dog biscuits last night!

As soon as I have completed the last accessory, he will be going on Etsy for re-homing.

Monday, 23 March 2009


I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed in the Stitch & Creative Craft Show last Saturday. Once again the predominant theme seemed to be kits rather than supplies for those of us who make our projects from scratch. If you were into cross-stitch or making cards/scrap-booking, it would have been a paradise, but actual supplies were...well, in short supply! I did manage to pick up a few bargains - the above yarn, with the exception of the purple/blue Habu mohair, was all on offer and I look forward to finding projects for it all.

The Habu yarn was bought at Iknit, a shop just down from Waterloo station and worth a visit if you are into unusual yarns. I'm knitting a wide scarf in a wavy lace pattern and with the slight variations in colour it looks like ripples on water. The yarn is incredibly soft and very high quality. The scarf will be for sale upon completion although it may break my heart to part with it!

I've been knitting a fair few socks lately - some for other people, but the above pair will be for me. They are in a Trekking yarn in the exotic shade of 'Tonga'. I hate slippers but get very cold feet and have discovered hand-knitted socks are the answer.

Finally, the zebras are still ongoing - I worked two hours on the water yesterday and still have a lot of work to go. I'd forgotten just how long these paintings take...

Friday, 20 March 2009

There Should Have Been a Fanfare....

So my daughter and I are sitting watching the tv last night as well as knitting/drawing, when Stacie suddenly says 'Look!' and points at the Bird of Paradise plant. I wish I'd seen it happen, the final petals must have pinged out at speed because half an hour previously it still looked like the photo in the last post. This has been a fascinating week, watching the bud slowly unfurl and worth the past seven years of cursing this plant in it's enormous pot with it's stubborn refusal to flower until now. It's such an exotic bloom, it looks very incongruous in my little English sitting room with the daffodils and the primulas outside the window, like a macaw in amongst a flock of pigeons!

I'm off to the Stitch & Craft Show at Olympia today - very exciting, all those craft materials in one building. Got my pennies at the ready......

Half-way There!

Came downstairs this morning to find this! Nearly there now........

Thursday, 19 March 2009


I have been incredibly busy lately but there is not much I can show for it just yet. Three things pending are gifts so I can't put up pictures until after they are given, plus I have several other WIP's at the moment. However, I can show you the latest picture of the Bird of Paradise bud which is taking it's own sweet time....

...but is getting there slowly.

I can show you the zebra picture which is nearing completion - a few more touches to the zebras in the foreground and then on to the water and finishing off the rocks behind.

It's been terrific getting back to painting what I love and I already have another wildllife painting lined up to start when this is finished.

Talking of wildlife, Giselle the Giraffe has found a new home all the way across the Atlantic in Georgia and will be on her way within the next 24 hours. So I have now started her cousin, Gina, who is currently just a disembodied head....

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Fit to Burst!

I don't know if the title describes my Bird of Paradise bud or me waiting for it.......

Friday, 13 March 2009

Portraits, Presents & Painting...

I can show the latest portrait as the recipient is not a blogger! This is done in pencil - some soft fleshtone pencils (no idea who makes them!) as well as a selection of Derwent watercolour/drawing pencils. The end result is a lot softer and more delicate than my animal paintings, but as the subjects are tiny tots, I think it had to be so!

I received a lovely surprise through the post this week - Sybille over on Magpie Magic sent me and my daughter a couple of her fabulous organza flower hairslides, as well as two cute silver zebra charms. I found the perfect beads at out local art shop and whipped up a pair of earrings yesterday. It comes to something when even the proprieter of a shop says to me 'You've got a bit of a thing going about zebras, haven't you....'

...which leads me nicely into a picture of how far I have got so far with my zebra painting. Most of the hard graft is done, and it has been such fun! I've missed doing this over the past week, and was glad to get back to it today - something very soothing about all those orderly stripes!

Happy 21st Birthday Stacie!

I know this is a crafting blog, but I just have to say a big Happy Birthday to my gorgeous daughter, Anastasia. She's 21 today and I am so proud of her. She was born with Down's Syndrome, which caused all sorts of turbulence at the time as we were living in Greece and even the doctors were ignorant and stupid about about this condition. She's proved them all wrong - she has attended mainstream school here in Britain and is now at college. She's such a happy, loving and charming young woman and she has been a huge source of inspiration to me over the years, changing my life in all sorts of ways and teaching me about the real priorities in this world.

Have a terrific day Stacie!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

With a Chick-chick here.....

Despite knitting like mad to complete a commission, I have had time to make a couple of fun things inbetween.

These little chickens and their chicks are so tiny and sweet - just right for Easter decorations. The plan is to have quite a few done and up on Etsy before Easter......well, I've done two at least! If you fancy a knitted chicken, they will be £3 plus p&p.

I've also made a luminous Amigurumi octopus keyring this was my own 'design' - very simple really. There will be more of these in different colours shortly. They will be £4 plus p&p.

There are more projects but still secret......

Friday, 6 March 2009

....Three Months Later.....

If you remember, before Christmas I was very excited about my Bird of Paradise plant finally putting out a flower bud after seven years of nurturing it from seed. Well, three months on and I'm still excited but more than a little impatient! The bud has grown and is now about 4 feet tall and has to be supported by a cane and the head of it is getting fatter and slowly turning orange but I still have no idea how long it is going to take before it opens. In the meantime, it is getting more and more difficult not to bash it in passing or when covering and uncovering the canary whose cage is hanging directly above it. I just hope after all this anticipation the resulting flower will be worth it and last as long as the bud has!

I have been working hard this week on various projects but unfortunately cannot show them as yet as they are commissions for birthdays and need to remain secret.

It feels like time for a giveaway soon......once the commissions are complete, watch this space....

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Well, Hello Giselle!

On a whim a few weeks ago I bought some giraffe and zebra felt from HippyChic on Etsy, but I only bought three sheets of each in case I didn't like it......
I had the idea to make giraffe and zebra head purses, so I started out with the giraffe, struggling to make my own pattern using scraps of an old shirt and tracing paper. As usual with me, once the main shape was made, it turned into a bit of an epic. The eyes became stuffed to look bulbous like a real giraffe's and have a pupil, light shine, eyelid and long curly eyelashes. The horns, ears and mane had to be realistic as well, and when the head was finished it didn't want to be just a purse, it was crying out for a body.

I'm new to this design-your-own-toy lark and it's all a bit scary. So I added a neck.....then wondered how on earth to make a body and legs out of the one and a half sheets of felt I had left. This took two days of pondering and walking off to do something else. Eventually I bit the bullet and cut out some pieces and hoped for the best. The legs are a bit spindly and she can't stand up, but she does look remarkably like a new-born giraffe. There are things I would do better next time (next time???) but on the whole she's a little character and is going up for adoption on Etsy very shortly.

Just a note, if anyone would like to buy anything they see here but are intimidated by the Etsy system, do please e-mail me - I do sell a lot of my work privately, it's just that Etsy are so brilliant at taking the hassle out of it all.

The zebras are progressing nicely - I think it's 12 down, three to go, but I will have to take a break from them for a few days to do a portrait commission. I also have a couple of pairs of very interesting socks commissioned.......more on that another day.