Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Getting Back The Feeling....

It's been a stressful year what with one thing and another (can I mention the porch?  Still not finished, we are entering month 5...) and I have not felt much like painting unless I have to.  This is most unlike me, I live to paint and having it taken away just adds to the stress really. However, with the summer holidays upon us and at least the strain of the day job suspended for a few weeks, I have felt the urge to wield a paintbrush again!

This painting I started some weeks ago,and is of the grounds surrounding Old Basing House.  I am using acrylics and aiming for a real chocolate box feel to it as the scene was so quintessentially English.  Lots more to do, but I am very happy with it so far.
I'm finding the time to squeeze in a little personal knitting as well - I love this simple scarf pattern and how it can be adapted for any yarn.  I was really happy to find the perfect matching wooden beads to use for the edging.  The way the yarn is knitting up, it reminds me of the ripples formed in the sand at the sea's edge, with the water trapped between.  Not sure if I will be keeping or selling this, but I have ample yarn to make another!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

What A Load Of Rubbish!

I've had to knit some pretty pedestrian things over the past couple of years for the animated film - this is the latest.  However, sometimes the most ordinary of objects prove to be some of the trickiest to replicate in yarn. The lid for this 'galvanised' bin took a whole evening to work out, especially as it had to be working.
I'm starting to see clips of animation now as it is slowly getting made, and it is fascinating to see all my hard work in motion.  The attention to detail with such things as bins, magazines, ornaments and even litter, is what makes the whole thing even more watchable.  I guarantee any enthusiastic knitter will watch the completed film and be exclaiming 'They didn't! They did! Wow!' as they notice not just the action but the scenery too. I've been knitting the fiddly bits, but the mammoth work of houses, trees, scenery and the incredible puppets has all been knitted by Sarah, the animator.  No wonder we've been at this for over two years now!

The most exciting part so far for me has been seeing animals that I knitted come alive on the screen - a couple of woolly dogs doing what dogs do when they meet each other had me yelping with joy the other day.
Hopefully it won't be too long before everyone gets a chance to see them too!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Just Can't Stop Painting Jellyfish!

Having painted one jellyfish tie, I thought to myself  'I can do better than that' and decided to paint another. I don't know if the second one is any better than the first, but I do know that I had a great time painting both. Now the bride-to-be has two to choose from for her groom to wear, the other will then go on sale in my Etsy shop.

If you fancy having something weird and wonderful painted on a silk tie, just get in touch.  If I can paint a water-flea on silk, I can paint anything! (Please don't take that as a challenge...I can paint anything within reason!) Don't let your loved ones influence you - I had an enquiry from a gentleman  recently for a jellyfish tie, but after I agreed and sent details, I got the sad little cancellation because 'my girlfriend doesn't like jellyfish'.  If you want to wear a tie with a sea-creature on it, just do it and don't worry about what anyone else thinks!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Jellyfish - Here We Are Again!

Who knew four years ago when I thought the jellyfish at Boston aquarium would make an interesting painting that they would be such a success?  Certainly not me!  I'm glad they have been though, as I still enjoy painting them in their various forms.  This is a hand-painted silk tie which is for the groom at a wedding to be held at an aquarium.  I had a bit of a crisis of confidence at the thought of my work being centre stage on someone's big day, but soon got over myself!

This has been painted using Inktense pencils and colour blocks - wonderful to use on fabric, the colours remain bright and as long as you are careful, no blotches or runs.

There will be another tie similar for sale soon in my Etsy shop.
Bizarrely, considering how tired I was at the end of term two days ago, I am being quite prolific this week!  The little hat with the pompoms was finished last night and is now up for sale in my Etsy shop.  It was a quick knit though, and the fun of wondering where the next pompom would appear sort of spurred me on.

Also on the needles....knitted topiary! 


I bought this yarn a little while ago - just couldn't resist the cuteness!  Finally got around to trying it out - this will eventually be a child's hat for sale in my Etsy shop.  I can't wait to see how it turns out and where the pompoms will finally end up.  The yarn is called Jester, for good reason!
Yesterday was my last day at the day job until September - yay!  I spent Monday and Tuesday clearing out my desk, helping to re-organise classrooms and generally cleaning, lifting and carrying - not much fun while the weather was so hot and humid.  I did come away yesterday with a few thrifted items - one of which is this book box which was going to be thrown away.  I had a flash of inspiration and thought it would be great as a raised vegetable planter!  So I have washed it down, drilled holes in the base, deliberated on whether or not to paint it (I don't think so) and will be filling it later on this week.

I also liberated a fab treasure chest made of sturdy cardboard which had come with some promotional material, and one of the teachers who is leaving and clearing out all her stuff gave me three massive balls of brand new cream aran yarn.  Result!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Among the Rushes...

The little frog required some scenery, so he now has a lily pad and some bullrushes.  You might also notice that he has managed to catch himself some lunch - that is a 'knitted' fly. It's just a few stitches sewn together with wings cut from a plastic bag, then legs of thread.  It would look convincing if left on your dinner...
I know I lost the tomato race with Soggibottom this year - she has been eating her tomatoes for about a week now, so it was quite close run.  However, my plants have been battling the elements outside whilst hers are mollycoddled in a greeenhouse!  However, this is my first picking, two more tomatoes than I managed throughout the whole of last summer.  Jolly nice they were too!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

One Little Speckled Frog......

I've not been able to blog much that I have been making for the animated film lately, but I asked nicely and I can show you this little frog. And I do mean little - he's no more than and inch or so long when sitting.  I knitted him on tiny needles using laceweight yarn.
Despite his size, he is still animateable - his legs are wired and jointed.
He can catch a fly if he wants - plenty in my garden he can eat!
He even has his own lily pad to relax on.

Having done that, I may need to book an appointment at the opticians...

Busy Bees

For the past year I have worked in 'Bumblebee' class - tomorrow is my last day.  As a thank you to the teacher who has been terrific to work with, I have made her a bee-mobile to hang in the class.  I used the patterns from that good old book, 75 Birds, Butterflies & Beautiful Beasties - where would I be without it!
I strung three bees and three daisies onto clear fishing line, and attached them to a ring of garden wire which I then covered with white florist tape.
A very cute result - I'm thinking to make another one incorporating butterflies.  It's the summer holidays as from next week, so perhaps I will get the time to actually make all these projects lining up in my head!

p.s. shhh, I can barely believe it, but after me throwing a major wobbly a couple of weeks ago, we actually have some bricks being affixed to our more blue tarpaulin that has been gracing our frontage for 4 months!  Could this be nearly the end?

Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Bit Of Steam Punk

As you might be aware, we are having a new porch has taken a bit of a long time (four months and still counting.....)  However, when and if it is ever finsihed, we have a brand new house number to put on it.  I am very lucky that my partner is such a skilled craftsman, not only does he rebuild classic racing cars, he can turn his hand to pretty much anything else involving metal and wood. 

His next project is a matching door bell - I can't wait!

Oh yes, I was told to mention that he will definitely consider taking orders!!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Is This Why I Am Losing The Tomato Race?

My garden appears to have an infestation of giant bugs.  Bees I dont mind - they do a job.
Butterflies also do a job and they are pretty to look at.
But when it comes to these guys, I draw the line!
Go eat your lunch in next-door's garden and leave mine alone!

These knitted and crocheted mini beasts are for various projects.  It was great fun spending the last two days making bugs - thank goodness for the wonderful book, 75 Birds, Butterflies & Beautiful Beasties to Knit & Crochet for the inspiration!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Shave And A Haircut.....

There was a point last week (just after I posted the previous photo of this dog as a WIP) where I was seriously panicking.  Half way through, the dog looked like nothing more than an electrocuted guinea pig and I had no idea whether or not he would end up being a replica of someone's beloved pet or a candidate for the bin.

However, after having all his bits sewn in place, a serious haircut - there was more fluff cut off than is now on his body - he suddenly turned into this cute little Tibetan Terrier.
Phew...I should have more faith in myself sometimes!

All he is needing now is his coat to be finished and then he will be flying across the Atlantic to his new home.

If you would like your dog replicated in yarn, do get in touch - I promise I won't send you any electrocuted guinea pigs!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

When Things Don't Quite Go To Plan...

Believe it or not, this is eventually going to be a small Tibetan terrier.  It has been knitted with lovely soft eyelash yarn, but the eyelash part is very long.  I have already trimmed it quite considerably but need to wait until the whole dog is complete before giving it a final haircut.  Not as easy as first imagined!

Had a bit of a disaster as far as the knitted car is concerned - I have knitted two wheel arches and a wing....then discovered I'd used the wrong yarn!  It is very similar to the yarn I had chosen, almost identical in colour but the problem is that I only have one ball of it!  That's what comes of being over-tired and not checking!  Never mind, at least it is straight knitting, nothing complicated, and easily rectified if a little time consuming.
This is my poor dog on watch yet again.  After 7 months of having builders encamped next to our house and nearly four months of having them in and out of our house (must be the longest time in creation it has ever taken to build a small porch...), he is very nervous and barks at the slightest sound outside.  We try to keep him calm as he was never like this before - I feel sorry for him and hope that when they eventually leave he will return to the laid-back couch potato he used to be.
Interestingly, I discovered the whole renovations project on our estate should actually have been finished at the end of March.  As it is now July, I'm not impressed!  No wonder we are all feeling incredibly tetchy.
We saw the first couple of wasps yesterday on our patio.  Time to get the crochet wasp[inator out and see if it works.  I must say that even if it doesn't work, I am rather liking how it looks hanging from our pergola!