Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!

So, it was the beginnings of a carrot!  The next day I went and bought a large ball of orange yarn and knitted one properly - it's the one on the right.  They don't look that different from the front, but the lefthand carrot has a very obvious seam at the back and a bit of a mis-shapen head.  I felt too sorry for him to throw him away, so gave him a face and leafy hair anyway.  If you can give me a good enough reason as to why you need a knitted carrot in your life, you can have him - it's a spur-of-the-moment giveaway!

I also made a pod full of peas - look at their little faces!  If you are interested in the peas, get in touch - I am thinking to put them on a keychain.

My daughter has been banging on about Halloween for a couple of weeks now - I think we have visited every shop within a five mile vicinity that has Halloween merchandise on display!  So to indulge her this weekend, we have had Halloween cupcakes, have watched the scariest film in our collection (Stephen King's The Mist), she is wearing her Salem t-shirt as well as a necklace of flashing ghosts, and we carved the pumpkin together this morning and made soup out of the scrapings.  The soup will be eaten tonight along with some tasty hotdogs.  I learnt a neat trick in decorating a pumpkin this year - poke holes in the side (we used a screwdriver) and gently press in some coloured plastic beads - instant sparkle!

I also learned something else this year - when putting pumpkin soup into a blender, next time wait for it to cool down.  The lid flew up from the heat and I managed to pumpkin-spackle the toaster, the wall, a rack of kitchen utensils, myself and the dog's bed.  Possibly the dog as well but he was travelling too fast for me to see.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Friday, 29 October 2010

What The...?

I'm surrounded by WIP's at the moment.  This is a prototype......I ran out of yarn before the end so had to sew it up with a different darker orange and as this is a commission, I can't let it go out like that.  Can you guess what it might be?

I've been working on this shawl for a while now - the photo makes it very pink looking, while the yarn has more orange to it and the darks are green, very autumnal. 

This one is just for me using some of the bargain Rico yarn purchased a couple of weeks ago.  I thought I'd bought shades of greeny-grey from the website photo, but was quite pleased to see dark blues, greens & the pinky-purple.

The horse is finished but as it is a gift, I can't show it yet.......

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside.......

It is wet, dark and horrible outside so I thought I'd cheer things up with a few past paintings from sunnier times.

This is one of my favourite places in the world, Alderney in the Channel Islands.   You can walk around the island in a day pretty much, and a lot of the coast looks like this....

...or this.  This is the view from a place called the Giffoin.  On one side you can look out to sea and this view, on the other side are old German bunkers from WWII when Alderney was a prisoner of war camp.  The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain to be occupied by the Germans and there are so many interesting bunkers, pill boxes and forts to be explored.

Further afield now, and a view of Rome from a holiday we went on a few years ago. Such an amazing place and we only had one day in which to explore - we managed to cram in as many sights as we could!

Lemurs.......I'd like to say we went to Madagascar to see these, but it was only as far as Marwell Zoo.  I loved the way these guys were cuddled up together and took reference photographs for this painting - it was exhibited at Patchings Art Festival and later sold at a local exhibition.

I have nothing recent to post about - I'm still working on a detailed horse portrait (I'd have finished days ago if it wasn't for the compicated bridle!) and am knitting various things, none of which are close to being finished.
And it being half-term, it is once again for a cleaning binge around the house - carpets shampooed, tops of kitchen cabinets scrubbed, garden tidied...can you see my halo shining too?

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Ready To Go....

Now the little pug has a comfy bed, a bowl and some food to keep him going....he'll be on Etsy shortly.

I've re-vamped my blog - it keeps confusing me when I see it as I think I've gone on to someone else's! What do you think? Wish I could remember how to change the colour of the font......

The little pug has sold...and his brother too!  If you would like one of these dear little felt dogs, please contact me - I will be making more, but can 'reserve' one for you if necessary.  I'm having difficulty sourcing the tiny safety eyes for these mascots, but am expecting some in the mail soon.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

I Just Can't Stand It!

Sometimes when you make something, you just don't realise how cute it will be until it starts to form in your hands. I thought this pattern was fairly sweet and figured I would try it out as it looked simpler than the last couple of felt animals I have made.

I started with the head, wrestling with the fact that the two pieces didn't quite match for some reason, but was determined to go through with it. Then when I had sewn the facial wrinkles, placed the eyes and the tiny, tiny muzzle, it all came together and I couldn't quite believe how like a pug it looked and that it had come from my fingers!

This little dog is just so small it is impossible to photograph properly in all it's detail - not with my camera anyway! It is only 2 inches (5 cm) tall and 2.5 inches (6 cm) from nose to tail.

Tonight I shall endeavour to make him a suitable bed and accessories - at least that won't use up much fabric!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A Quick Knit!

This cute little mini-shawl/scarf was such a pleasure to knit up - it took one and a half evenings and was very simple despite looking fairly complicated. I've used Lang Mille Colori yarn that was lurking in my stash begging to be used - it is in shades of pale blue, pink and green and is a softly warm yarn.

There are 'bobbles' on the end of each point, and the curved shaping is achieved by short row knitting. I have added a tassel on the centre point for interest and to use up the last couple of yards of yarn - two balls exactly!

It can be worn either as a little shawl or this way round, which I prefer - keeps the draughts out on these cold Autumn mornings. The pattern can be found in this month's edition of Yarn Forward.

I just noticed that the last post on here was my 600th! Good grief! What a lot of arts & crafts over the past few years. I've been toying with the idea of changing the background to freshen up the look of my blog..maybe next week when I have some spare time during half term. What do you think?

Monday, 18 October 2010


This shawl has been knitted in some wonderful yarn from the Artist's Palette website, in a soft blue with greeny-ochre overtones. It's one of those shawls that start with a few stitches and then just get bigger and bigger until your final rows are over 350 stitches! This took me an hour to cast off!

It is fairly large now that it has been blocked and the yarn is soft with a subtle sheen to it - I can thoroughly recommend it for this type of work. I am tempted to get some more as the colour choices are lovely, but really ought to work through my stash for a bit longer!

Painting-wise - I'm working on a horse of course!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

I Really Should Be Getting On With Some Work.....

....instead of messing around decorating a gazillion gingerbread cookies......

........heehee, dog biscuits....

Friday, 15 October 2010

Here's a Bargain!

In case you are interested, the yarn I used for the previous wristwarmers is today available on the Black Sheep website for a mere £1.99 a ball.

Yes, I have bought some.............

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Knitting a Rainbow....

One of my favourite yarns of all time is Noro Kureyon - the waves of colour and the texture of the yarn make me want to buy every variation and just knit. However, I have discovered a cheaper alternative which has almost knocked Noro off it's throne - Rico Creative Poems. A 50g ball is about half the price of Noro and there is not a lot to choose between them colour-wise. The texture of the Rico yarn is in fact smoother, which for items like these wristwarmers is an advantage.

I knitted this little pair up in a couple of evenings (it would have been one evening but I fell asleep...). They are my own 'pattern', such as it is, just a simple tube with rib either end and a split for the thumb hole. I had originally planned to sew some wooden flower beads on the backs, but while searching through my stash I discovered that these tiny beads matched the colours of the yarn perfectly so were the obvious choice.

These are going into my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Inbetween painting horses I have been having some fun with a little drawing exercise. Using very sharp pencils and working true to life with the objects blu-tacked to my drawing board, I have been trying to make some highly detailed drawings of found objects. The feather was good, the shell was quick, and the sea-urchin? The phrase 'never again' comes to mind although I am glad to have attempted it. It's always useful to challenge yourself with your drawing once in a while, keeps it all fresh and makes you glad to get back to what you are comfortable with!

- 0 -

This was in today's paper......

.... a quiz to find out if your dog is an optimist or a pessimist. I had to do it for him as he can't hold a pencil...or read (to my knowledge!)

Despite appearances, he is an optimist...........yeah, OK.....

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Bet & Gambler

Here is the double horse portrait completed - a pair of carriage horses apparently. This has been painted/drawn using Derwent Drawing Pencils and acrylic bodypaint. Although enjoyable, this picture required a lot of preparation as it involved several photographs of various sizes and clarity which had to be made into one composition as well as correcting the 'wobbly lip' on the left hand horse.

It has now gone on it's way with a happy customer, so I must have pulled it off!

So I can enjoy a day off before starting on the next horse - a slightly unusual looking fellow which should be a lot of fun to do.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Teeny-Tiny Kangaroo & Joey

Here it is, the cutest kangaroo you will see today! It is just 4 inches tall, hand sewn out of felt and even has a baby joey peeking out of the pouch.

This was terrific fun to make, although it was another 5 hour project, one hour spent cutting out the pattern alone. I've adapted it as usual - no wire in the legs and they are jointed instead of fixed for added fun - thank goodness I had invested in a 3 inch needle recently! I'm sorry to say, the joey is fixed - wouldn't it have been fun to have been able to take him out? But he is just a head and neck and glued into the pouch.

This is going straight on to Etsy now!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Those Bears Get Everywhere!

Yesterday we had a couple of only stopped for a few minutes, the other is here for good. Midge from Soggibottom Cottage in Devon popped by on her way to visit her daughter and brought us a lovely hand-made bear as well as some other goodies.

The visitor that stayed quickly found a friend and they shared a cream tea with some delicious clotted cream all the way from Devon.

Unfortunately, the new bear's first day was not without it's perils.....don't be fooled by the innocent expression here. While we went out for lunch, he thought he would get to know the bear a little better.....when we got home, the bear really did have a 'soggibottom'! But that was all, thank goodness, and we have decided that this bear will have to live up in Stacie's room away from curious dogs - I think Midge must have stuffed this one with kibble, he just won't leave it alone!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Mini Flamingo!

Well, you all know my weakness for flamingoes - I've painted them many times and named my Etsy shop after them - so when I came across a Japanese pattern book that included a tiny felt flamingo, it just had to be mine.

I thought this would be fairly easy to make as it didn't have too many pattern pieces, but in actual fact it took me roughly five hours as it was extremely fiddly. It only stands 5 inches tall, so you can imagine the thickness (thinness!!) of the legs, neck and beak. I also preferred to add a few of my own touches - the black end to the beak, embroidered 'toes', and I have omitted the wire from the legs as I always like my little creatures to be as child friendly as possible.

This will be going on to Etsy within the next couple of days after I have decided whether or not to attach a chain or ribbon in order for the mascot to hang...perhaps I will allow the customer to choose.

Next on the agenda is a kangaroo.....with a pouch....with a baby joey inside....eeeeeee!!!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Pink Mitts & a Chutney Glut

My daughter always looks enviously at the things I knit, and although I do make things for her, they are few and far between. She has been spoilt the last couple of weeks though, as she has acquired a pair of knitted socks that had been languishing in a cupboard waiting for the final toe to be completed, I'm knitting her a sweater and last night I whizzed up these cute little wristwarmers out of some sweet pink yarn that has been knocking about for a very long time. They were a surprise, so it was terrific today as she stroked them covetously, saying pointedly how nice they were, to be able to tell her they were hers.

We have one small apple tree in our garden which usually produces a few sad shrivelled fruit each year. This year it has for some reason produced a bumper crop. We have had apple pies, apple crumbles, given them away, and there is still half a tree's worth out there. Today I used up a large bagful together with the last kilo of homegrown tomatoes to make chutney. A lot of chutney. I've not made this before.....who knew you had to boil it for over three hours? Now the whole house reeks of vinegar, as do I!

It has been a lot of fun this year making jams, jellies and preserves in such abundance - even my son has caught the bug and has made pickles, chutney and is currently brewing his own rice wine. We'll be able to have a taste of summer throughout the long British winter...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Have I Shown You This?

I'm not sure if I have blogged this painting before.....I did it quite a while ago, before I had a blog...before I had a computer perhaps. It has been painted in watercolour, with a few touches of coloured pencil to add texture here and there. It's not for sale, as I used a photo from a book or a magazine as reference and really don't want to fall foul of copyright. Instead, it graces the wall of my living room - I really like how the watercolour has worked on this and it was a huge pleasure to paint at the time.

In the meantime, I have nothing current to show at the moment - the double horse portrait is ongoing, quite near completion. I am knitting a shawl, which is painstaking and only half way there. I am awaiting a new Japanese pattern book for felt animals.....if it is half as good as it looked on the computer screen, I'm going to be having fun over the next few weeks!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Hephaistos, The Magician's Cat

With Halloween approaching, what better time to make another black cat, this time with his own accessories and to be for sale in my Etsy shop.

Hephaistos is a smooth haired black cat, knitted in simple acrylic yarn but with the same demonic red eyes as my last witch's cat. He has wool jointed legs which mean he is poseable, a set of black whiskers and a crystal hanging from his red collar.

He has his own book of spells, an orange bowl with a picture of a bat on it, and a tasty fishy for dinner. His bed is black felt lined with red & white starry fabric. If you look closely at the spell book, not only is the cover hand embroidered, but there are paper pages inside with actual spells written in - they might not work though, bear in mind they were written by a cat.

This was a fun little project, although with the fish being less than an inch long and having embroidered scales, I think I need to get out more......

I'm just about to put him on Etsy - I'm willing to make more of these if necessary!