Sunday, 28 November 2010

Someone Call a Vet!

Poor little dogs, they have been in the wars!

The whippet has his cut paw and tail, but never fear, help is on hand with a tub of bandages, a large plaster and a bottle of tonic.......

....that's better!  Now he's on the mend, nice and warm with a bone to chew.

This poor chap needs his eye bathing with the gauze from the tub, his leg bandaging and some of the little pink pills from the medicine cabinet............
....not only is he on the road to recovery, he also quite likes the jaunty eye-patch and warm coat with the skull and crossbones motif - just call him Long John Silver!

If you think you or someone you know would like a set like this, complete with vet accessories, do get in touch.  If it's for Christmas, get in touch very quickly!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sleep Is For Wimps.......

With the onset of Christmas, life is getting pretty hectic.  I always try very hard to get myself organised but it never works.  Let's face it, I have known for weeks that I have stalls booked at a couple of Christmas fairs, but even so still left it until the week beforehand to re-organise ALL my jewellery stocks/displays.  I have managed to build up a reasonable stock of knitted and sewn items, but not as much as I had hoped - at least this year that was not down to laziness or procrastination but because I have had a steady stream of private commissions, one of which is above.  This poor hound has a bad gash on his back leg and if you look closely, a rather nasty case of conjunctivitis in his left eye.  He's going to need an eye-patch....

Unfortunately, there hasn't been the time to get on with the scarf  I started last week - I picked up some Bergere de France Coton Fifty yarn in a soft sage green a while back in a sale and it looks fantastic used in this rhythmic stitch pattern - it's also nice and repetetive to knit, very soothing.  But that will have to go on the back-burner for a while longer.

If you live in the general Fleet area, I have a stall at the Elvetham Heath Primary School Christmas Fair today, and at Tavistock Infant School on Friday afternoon, 3rd December.  Come & say hello!

My Etsy shop will be closed for the day to avoid any double-sales, re-opening this evening.

Thursday, 25 November 2010


So this was a bit of a challenge....a whippet with an injured foot and tail. 

I felt quite sorry for him as I inflicted his wounds on him - the temptation to sew them up was very strong!  So to make up for it, I gave him an extra special gold decorated leather collar and a very nice fitted coat...and a jazzy blanket.

He'll have a bed and some accessories - food, bowl, toys and of course bandages and medicine.  Needless to say, I never get bored with my commissions!

Talking of which, I'm not going to say too much as I am a bit superstitious about blowing my own trumpet too loud, but I have been contacted by a very large pencil company and asked to produce some artwork for them.  To say I am excited is an understatement!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Just Monkeying Around.......

With no commissioned art work at the moment, I have been occupying myself with this pencil drawing of a gorilla.  It is based on a photograph taken at a zoo by a friend of mine, and I loved the contemplative look on his face. 

First I stained a sheet of The Langton Extra Smooth watercolour paper with a  few coats of strong tea, which makes for a lovely sepia tone.  The gorilla has been simply drawn using an HB pencil, an Aquarelle water soluble pencil, a white pencil for highlights and a 6B for a few final darks.  He had to be looking at something, so I have drawn in a small fluffy feather floating above his head.

Due to the overcast winter daylight conditions and the reflectiveness of the darker pencil shading, it has been a nightmare trying to get a decent photograph of this.  This is the best I can do, but you get the general idea.

Whilst it is always good to have paid work coming in, sometimes it is even better to have the spare time to draw or paint what I really want to get down on paper.  I've not had much chance to do that this past year,so this opportunity has been very welcome.

On the knitted front.....look out for a whippet with a badly cut tail and an injured paw coming shortly!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Quick Shop Update

Just to let you know that there are now two pug sets for sale in my Etsy shop.  These seem to be popular - don't leave it too late if you want one!  I shan't be making any more for the moment as I have to get on with a commission for some poorly knitted dogs...I mean knitted dogs that are not well, not that I am letting my standards slip!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Faery Beary

Did you ever have a project that started off as something quite simple and then just took it's own direction during construction into something far more complicated?  My original intention was a simple mini teddy that might be suitable for a Christmas ornament. 

 Then, after playing around with ribbons, lace and felt, it seemed a good idea to put her in a tutu........

 ....with leg-warmers (hand-knitted of course!)....and a scarf............

Then I thought I'd finished...but what little girl who is dressing up in a tutu doesn't want wings as well?  And if you have wings, you have got to have a halo too......and if you look closely, she has a teeny-tiny silver bracelet.

This bear is just under 4 inches tall (10 cm) and sewn out of felt.  Her limbs are thread jointed with tiny buttons at each joint.  The leg-warmers and scarf are knitted from pure Shetland wool, and the tutu is sewn from felt and Chilean lace.  Her wings and halo are felt embroidered with silver silk thread made at Whitchurch Silk Mill - so all in all, she's a pretty special young lady. 

She will be going into my Etsy shop later today, along with the latest knitted dog set and the turaco painting.

Just a quick reminder,  if any of you have been thinking about commissioning me for a toy/painting/knitted item as a Christmas present, please get in touch fairly quickly -  time is moving at a fast pace and during December I am generally pretty busy with my own Christmas preparations/craft fairs/day job so better grab me while I am still relatively free!

Monday, 15 November 2010


Turacos have to be one of my favourite birds.  Whenever I visit places like Birdworld, I have to be forcibly removed from the turacos cage as I could spend forever playing with them - they are just such friendly and comical little fellows!

This painting is based on photographs I  took a couple of  years ago at a place on the way to Oxford called The Living Rainforest.  It's not big and consists of one large glasshouse packed to the gills with tropical plants, free-flying butterflies, cappuchin monkeys and....turacos on the loose!  Needless to say, I was in seventh heaven having these brilliant little birds sit on my hand and clamber around - they don't bite like parrots either.

The painting is a watercolour - now that made it hard to obtain the jewel-like colours and irridescence of these birds!  I'm not sure I pulled it off successfully, but this was the best I could do.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Are You All Right?

I'm still trying to build up a stock of knitted pet sets for Christmas fairs, but instead they keep emigrating to the USA - lucky dogs!  This little pup was knitted recently to replace one of his globe-trotting friends, using a very interesting boucle/eyelash yarn.

I've had the yarn in my stash for quite a while - not too sure what the original plan was, maybe a boring scarf?  Anyway, I thought it might make a nice effect on a knitted dog, a bit like one of those cute Portugese waterdogs.
However, the closer he came to completion, the more he looked to me like he had some kind of exotic skin complaint.  Now I just can't get that idea out of my head!

But I think that adds to his appeal - he does have a very endearing little face, despite incipient mange.....
Once I have completed his accessories, he'll be in my Etsy shop - I wonder who will adopt this one!

One of our little Sunday pleasures is to go and feed the swans, geese, ducks and gulls on Fleet Pond.  Sometimes it is a quiet affair, sometimes there are punch-ups.

A couple of swans having a punch-up is always spectacular!  The victim here was fine - he had to have a bit of a flap to rearrange his feathers, and then kept a healthy distance from the posturing male that didn't want any other bird near 'his' bread.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Fluffy and Feathery......

After having a success with the first experimental fluffy guinea pig, I have made another one, ginger this time with a white blaze on his forehead and little white feet.  He has the squeaker inside and wool jointed legs and comes with a cosy bed, carrot and food bowl.  This one will be going on Etsy shortly.  I'm liking the fluffy ones, they almost look real!

I'm hopelessly out of practice when it comes to making jewellery at the moment - over the past year or so the knitted commissions have kind of taken over.  So it has taken me a while to finish this necklace, whereas a couple of years ago it would have been finished in an afternoon. 

This consists of a little hand-made black wire nest lined with soft black feathers and ribbons and sprinkled with shiny black beads, containing one speckled egg.  Hanging from beneath the nest on a small chain are a couple of matching black feathers, and the main chain features black faceted glass beads and black star-shaped plastic beads. When worn, the nest kind of rests on one's cleavage!  I am not planning on putting this on Etsy as I have craft fairs coming up, but if you are interested in buying it before then, it will be £15 plus postage - just drop me a line.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

That's Enough of That!'s a tomato.  I thought it would be a quick and easy wasn't.  I think I'll give the vegetables a rest and get on with more little animals - Christmas is a-coming.....

It is such a pain trying to get photographs of shawls and scarves for my Etsy shop - when you take pictures of yourself, nine times out of ten you end up looking like you are suffering from constipation due to the contortions of holding the camera at arms length in front of a mirror and concentration with all your might. For once, this one came out all right and even my new haircut looks quite smart.  Make the most of's rare you get a glimpse of me!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Autumn Fire

Just completed this mini-shawl/scarf which has been on the needles for a couple of weeks or so.  This took three hours to cast off believe it or not!

As it has been knitted in sock yarn, this mini-shawl doesn't block as well as lace-weight yarn, but on the plus side, it is more robust and could definitely be thrown in the washing machine without anything bad happening to it and can be ironed safely - three pretty good pros which outweigh the one con I think!

The colours are richer in real life - very hard to photograph in the cloudy overcast conditions outside at the moment, but the first picture isn't a bad match.  This shawl will be in my Etsy shop tomorrow - no time to do that today, I'm just about to have a haircut which hopefully will stop me looking like some crazed bag lady......maybe!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others....

I love painting and drawing horses, it never gets boring, but this one was a lot more fun than usual.   It would seem that horses are mostly brown...I can hear the intake of breath from purists who are muttering things about 'bay.. chestnut...dun...' and I'm sorry, but to us laymen, it's 'brown'!  However, this gorgeous chap is not only an interesting black and white (I know, piebald, I'm not quite that dim!) but he has one blue eye, which made for a very different commission.  Add to that the tricky bridle, this kept my brain well and truly occupied throughout.

This was executed in Derwent Drawing pencils on Murano pastel paper, with touches of white acrylic paint for highlights.  If you would like your horse (brown or otherwise!) or any other pet painted or drawn, do get in touch - if it is a Christmas present you are after, get in touch quickly!

With regard to the carrot  - obviously not a popular choice of freebie - I got my daughter to make a random choice last night, and I'm sorry Midge from Soggibottom, it was you!  So you will have a knitted carrot - give it to the cats to play with!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

33 RPM

Here is the top-down t-shirt sweater knitted in Rico Poems yarn - what lovely stuff that is!  This was a really quick knit - probably less time to knit than it is taking me to iron the thing! 

It's been a long time since I knitted a guinea pig.....I seem to remember there was a mad rush on them at the last Christmas fairs I did and then a hiatus until now.  This one already has a home - he really is very cute with his tufty long hair and beady brown eyes.  He has a squeaker and fully jointed legs and likes to eat peas.  If you would like a guinea pig, short or long-haired, any  colour, do get in touch - I'm temporarily between commissions so get your order in while you can!

I have quite an extensive collection of vinyl albums which haven't been touched for years now - my stereo broke and with the advent of CD's and MP3 players, I just never got around to replacing it.  But today I received a pre-Christmas present from me to me of a record and tape player - it looks vaguely similar to one I used to have in my teens!  The difference is that using this one I can transfer all my neglected albums on to the MP3 player - yay!  In the meantime I am listening to albums by Dr. Hook, and Manhatten Transfer - hands up if you remember either of them!  The sound seems so tinny but wonderfully nostalgic...I'm fifteen again....haha!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Here We Are Again.....

As I don't seem to be able to keep a jellyfish painting for more than a couple of months, (which is wonderful, I don't mind selling my work!!) here is another one.  So far I have managed to keep the 'poses' different, but I am running out of reference photos and really don't want to duplicate paintings.  As my daughter told me, we'll just have to go back to Boston Aquarium and take some more pictures....

Luckily, these never get boring - it is fun to work in such a limited palette and I love the flowing lines and waves in the fronds of these creatures.  There is plenty of leeway for a bit of artisitic license too.

This has been painted in watercolour and will be in my Etsy shop soon.

Don't forget to leave a comment if you want to get the knitted carrot from the previous post - I'll pick one at random on Friday.  Go on, give him a home, I can't sell him,the boy's not right....