Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Shop Update

Suddenly realised this week that the little pug sets on Etsy had sold out - time to re-stock.  So this little guy has just been uploaded - give a dog a home!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Commissions Are Like Buses.........

........none for ages, then three come along at once.  I'm very pleased to say that as well as this very enjoyable double portrait of a pair of handsome retrievers, I have two horses to paint as well.  Phew - I was beginning to panic as the weeks since Christmas kept passing with no paid work coming in!

It's very hard to take a photograph inside a tiny plastic greenhouse, as I have just discovered!  You can see that the tomatoes are at last growing well and catching up with the ones at Soggibottom - this may be a closer run race than I thought at first.  Place your bets please.......

Saturday, 26 March 2011

....Bearing an Olive Branch.....

A sweet little project I've been working on this week - a knit dove with an olive branch in his beak.
It's such a pretty pattern and the soft slightly fluffy yarn accentuates his frothy wings and tail.
He's about five inches long and cute as a button!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Dogs & Spring....

The little Airedale is now kitted out with a smart green coat and a bed and blanket to sleep on.  As soon as he has a bowl and ball, he will be going on Etsy to look for a new home.

Of course, on days like today, some dogs don't bother with beds - a warm place in the sun on the carpet does just fine!

I've spent the past 4 days sorting out the mess that was my garden - some hard work involved there!  Yesterday I visited the garden centre and bought a few plants including this rather pretty anemone.

Finally, after all this Spring sunshine my tomatoes have started pulling up their little socks and growing properly.  These are the yellow hanging basket variety which seem to be doing the best so far.  The larger varieties are still quite straggly.  We may be catching up with Soggibottom's plants yet!  Of course, the real test is to see which one of us gets a tomato first, so it's still up for grabs....

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

*Double Trouble!

Good Lord, now he's brought a friend along to decimate the garden!

The second blue-tit has been knitted with more muted colours, which has worked out nicely - he looks far more realistic.  He just needs a pair of feet now.  If you'd like a blue-tit, do get in touch.

*I was going to title this post 'A Pair of Tits' but thought better of it.....

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Pink Habu And A Perigee Moon

This delicate triangular scarf is knitted from the wonderful Habu Cotton Gima yarn in a pretty sugar pink.  The yarn is flat and papery but washes and softens like cotton - it's terrific stuff!  The scarf has been knitted in stocking stitch into a long triangle with an eyelet and picot edging, with simple pink flower shaped beads at intervals along it.  The top edge has been crocheted for stability and also has picots. 

This will be on Etsy for sale today. 

Last night was the 'perigee moon' - a full moon at it's closest to Earth.  We went outside to marvel at it several times throughout the evening, but getting a decent photograph of it was a different matter.  This was the best my camera could manage unfortunately - take my word for it, it was very big and very bright!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Back In The Groove...

A few weeks ago I had the most awful case of painter's block - no inspiration or enthusiasm whatsoever.  So I made myself paint this zebra - it was something I knew I could do without much risk of failure and also got me back into the discipline of working on a daily basis again.  That's the trouble of not having commissions, you get lazy!

This is a watercolour, with a few touches of coloured ink at the end.  The zebra is one photographed at Marwell Zoo a couple of years ago - I have many reference photographs from Marwell saved up!  Now this is complete, I have a commission on the horizon and also a couple of ideas for my own work, so all is back on track once more - phew!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Woolly Warbler

About this time of year, when everything in the garden is starting to bud and bloom, along come some little vandals who peck holes in the daffodils, shred the primulas and pick at the pear tree.  Look, here's one of them now...

What's he got his eye on this time?
No, not the pansies as well - beaks off, mate!

This little knitted blue-tit is from a pattern in a brilliant book I bought recently called 75 birds, butterflies and beautiful beasties to knit & crochet .  I can thoroughly recommend this book if you want to knit a slug, caterpillars, get the picture!  The instructions are clear and easy to follow despite the intricacy of the patterns - I had ends of yarn all over the place and as this little chap is life-size, it was a fiddly project, but it was very clever how everything went together to create the final bird. It was all knitted in one piece apart from the beak, so someone really worked this out well.  Not too sure what to do with him now........maybe he can scare off those real life birds that plunder my plants!

N.B. My father's favourite joke was to go into a greengrocer's and ask the man behind the counter 'Can I have a coconut for my wife's tits?'  He used to fall about laughing....we died of embarrassment!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Artists Help Japan

 Seeing what has been going on in Japan has moved us all and we want to do everything we can to help.

My son has put up an original painting for sale on his blog, all proceeds to go to the Artists Help Japan fund.
Take a look and see if it something you might like to own.

I think I might go through my own portfolio and see what could be sold to add to the donation.

So That's Where It Went......

Several weeks ago I was bemoaning the loss of one of my beloved Noro wristwarmers that I've had for several years now.  I searched everywhere for it - at work, round the house, on the route of my daily dog walk, but no joy.  Yesterday I found it.  In the middle of the field I walk in every single morning with my dog.  I think something with sharp teeth had been hiding it though - look what they did to it!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Dr.Who Experience!

I have had great trouble keeping this secret over the past couple of weeks - I was so looking forward to seeing my daughter's face when I told her where we were going for her birthday.  This morning when she opened her cards and presents, she could finally be told...I don't think she had any idea just what was in store for her!  We travelled up to London to see the Dr.Who Experience at Olympia in Kensington.  For once, everything went like clockwork - we got up in time, we left the house on time, caught the right train, managed to negotiate the various tube stations and escalators without mishap (a big hurdle for Stacie) and got there to find we could get tickets for the next tour which started in five minutes.  I even got in free as her carer - bonus!
Seeing the Dalek and some other props and costumes was exciting enough, but then we got to go inside the interactive bit.  Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in there, but we got to see more Daleks, some Weeping Angels & Cybermen, Stacie got to drive the Tardis (which moved underfoot) and lots of other exciting things to see and do.  My son and I kept nudging each other to look at Stacie's open-mouthed expression of wonder.
After that, there was a big exhibition of costumes from the last few series - lots of monsters!
Kylie Minogue's costume - it was tiny!
We saw how they made one of these masks, right from the original clay model up to the animatronics that go inside.
The Tardis from the 1980's Dr. Who - I like this one better.

Davros and his Daleks!

We then took Stacie to the shop and said 'buy whatever you like, it's your birthday'.  After much consideration she chose a t-shirt and a sonic screwdriver that actually is a screwdriver - not too sure how much DIY will get done using that, but it's a lot of fun.

Lunch was in Chinatown - we managed to come out of the tube straight into a St.Patrick's Day parade, with a pipe band and a whole street full of people dressed in green.  Who knew it was today?

So someone will be going to bed tonight tired but very, very happy. Let's hope she doesn't have nightmares!

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Who would have thought knitting could give you blisters!  I've been struggling to make this little chap for a couple of days, using a weird boucle yarn that's been hiding in my cupboard for a while - now I know why!  It is very stiff and has a peculiar waxy feel to it, but was perfect for the curly rough hair of an Airdale pup.

Not only was the yarn hard on the hands, but I used two shades of brown to get the brindled look, together with some thin black acrylic yarn, so it was stiff to knit on the small needles used for toy making.  We got there in the end however, despite a false start which had to be unpicked.
He's got a smart green suede collar and is now awaiting either a bed or a chair to complete his set - he's a bit larger than the usual knitted dogs due to the thickness of yarn, so a dog bed is probably the choice to make.

Today is Stacie's birthday - I cannot believe it is 23 years since she crashed into the world with such a kerfuffle. She has a big surprise in store for her today involving a certain time travelling Doctor...more on that later!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Tomato Catch-up

Haha, did you see what I did there?  It's been a few weeks since the tomato challenge with Soggibottom blog began, so let's see how mine are getting on.
Nope, these aren't tomatoes, they are cucumbers and aren't they coming along nicely?  How about these....

Wrong again, these are sweetpeas, also growing well and ready to be re-potted (and watered by the look of the soil!)
Here we are, baby tomato plants - I don't think they are trying as hard as they could be, to be honest.  It wasn't helped by the weather turning cold and dull shortly after they'd poked their heads above ground.
Oh dear....these are also tomatoes, the Yellow Stuffer variety.  I think I had better do some potting on very quickly to try and get them back on the straight and narrow.  This is usually the stage my seedlings perish as I am not very good at 'pricking out' - a bit clumsy and impatient.  Let's hope they survive!
I don't have much in the way of completed arts and crafts at the moment.  I have been working on this triangular scarf in the fabulous Habu cotton gima yarn in a mouthwatering sugar pink shade.  The yarn is flat and has a paper-like feel to it, so even when knitted in stocking stitch it looks quite fancy.  I've trimmed the picots with little pink wooden flower beads.  I've just reached the middle point, so it's all decreases from now on.

There is also a white fox stole on the needles but the yarn I have chosen is quite bulky and hurts my hands after a while, so it is slow going.

As Mr. Fuzzy from the previous post has already been sold on Etsy, I'm going to have to get moving and make some more knitted dogs.  Having seen an Airdale puppy recently, I'm wondering how I could knit one....

And on the drawing board is a detailed painting of a zebra, nearly finished - should be ready for viewing in a couple of days.

Sunday, 6 March 2011


I really should have been keeping count of all the little knitted dogs I have made over the years - it must be well over fifty.  This is the latest little chap, a very fluffy Tibetan Terrier type pup who will be on Etsy together with his armchair and blankie when I can get some better photographs later today.

With regard to the prawn draw, the winner is......fanfare.....Angela!  If you could get in touch with me Angela  with your address, I can pop the prawn in the post - now there's a sentence I never thought I'd say!

My poor little car is almost back to normal - it helps having a professional car restorer in the family!  He did his best under the circumstances (cold car park, few tools) and most of the dent has gone, as well as the black scrape marks.  It will never be perfect, but at least it doesn't look like I drive with my eyes shut. I would put a picture up, but it's cold out there and I'm still in PJ's.....

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Immortalised In Clay...

Now I rarely buy other people's art - not because I don't want to, but generally because I can't afford it, being a struggling artist myself.  However, before Christmas we went to a ceramics show and I saw the work of a very talented young lady who makes the most wonderful dog sculptures.  As you know from reading this blog, I adore my dog and think he is utterly beautiful.  I am also always looking for art containing images of salukis - a very rare thing indeed.  So I asked if she could make me a commission of Clovis.  It's been a couple of months as we were about third in the queue, but these are the first images sent to me for approval before finishing.

I think you will agree she has captured his likeness incredibly well - I'm being very picky indeed when I say the ears should be a bit longer, which hopefully can be rectified before the sculpture is fired.  I'm so pleased with it and so very excited that this wonderful piece of art will soon be adorning my living room.

If you are interested in contacting the artist, Felicity Lloyd-Coombes, get in touch with me and I can give you her details.

Don't forget, there are a couple of days left to enter the draw for a free knitted prawn - it's no fine art sculpture but it is cute!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Prawn Addict.......

...somebody stop me! These little knitted prawns are so quick to make and so very cute, they have taken over! If you would like a knitted prawn (you know you do!) leave a comment and I'll have a draw at the end of the week.  Then I have an excuse to make another one...or three!

It's that time again when my daughter brings home what she's been making at college.  This time it's the prettiest mosaic mirror.  I'm so proud of her when she accomplishes something like this as I know just how difficult fiddly tasks are for her.  Tomorrow this will be fitted with some picture wire and hung where it can be admired!
I know you've seen this painting before, but I've just had it framed professionally rather than making a bodge of it myself and it has turned out so well.  I went in the frame shop with an idea of how I wanted it done, but after discussion with the lady in there who really knows what she is talking about, it ended up totally different - and far better.  We also had a chat about how you'd think artists would be able to choose the right mount and frame for their work but that they are often quite wrong in their choices. It's certainly true in my case!