Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Watery Watercolour...

Despite a day of disruption and noise due to the builders finally moving in to the plot next door yesterday with their diggers and heavy plant, I did manage to get a couple hours painting time in the late afternoon and complete this little watercolour.

I think it is a place called Emsbury Cove - I got the reference photo from Midge at Soggibottom blog and I am sure she will correct me if I have the name wrong!*  I like the sense of looking down into the water and the light on the ripples.  It's a simple painting but it has broken my 'block' and hopefully I can paint more during the summer holidays...if the noise does not drive me over the edge!

The knitted aeroplane is going surprisingly well - I had to do the shaping while it was on the needles so complete guesswork.  When I sewed it over the foam base structure last night, it fit almost perfectly - wow!  Either the knitting gods are smiling down on me or I am quite good at my job these days!

*Elberry Cove - see, I knew Midge would put me straight!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Recovering The Status Quo...

It's been a hectic few days, with the end of the day job plus a super-quick rush job for the animation. The heat didn't help, but we are back to normal temperatures now and after a large parcel was put in the post yesterday, I can relax a little.  Yesterday I managed a couple of hours painting and this picture is starting to take shape.  I was a little concerned with that dark branch going across the centre, but with the addition of the leaves (not complete as yet) it has been knocked back and I am happy it does not overpower the rest of the painting.  There is a fair bit more to do - I'm looking forward to it!

That is if I can resist the pull of this...
The garden is looking so pretty at the moment, I just like to wander around and see what's growing.  There has also been a fair bit of watering needed, particularly the vegetables.
Worth it though - we have picked two lots of carrots and runner beans, a few courgettes and still await our first red tomato. 

On the needles next - an aeroplane.....

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Normal Service To Be Resumed.....

...after the weekend. I'm working on a rush job so no time at present for anything else, but if all goes well I should have it done and out the door on Monday and then will have a chance to get back to that painting.

In the meantime, the garden has had some rather pretty visitors since I planted buddleia, although the poor bush now needs staking upright after a very squally thunderstorm yesterday.  It's been a funny old summer so far, weatherwise.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Phew, It's A Scorcher!

We've had what the press have been referring to as a heatwave here in the UK the past few days - yes, it's been quite hot, but I am sure those of you living in sunnier climes would laugh at us calling 32C hot.  It was rather muggy, especially after a few spectacular thunderstorms and torrential rain, but that didn't stop me getting on with things.

I finally got over a bad case of artist's block and have started this little watercolour.  It's the view down through trees to the water below, using a photo sent to me by Midge from Soggibottom blog in Devon.  I'm not sure how it will turn out or if it will be worth it, but I am very happy to be using a brush again.  
On the other hand, my daughter has been painting like a maniac the past week - we've gone back to using the 'Paint Your Own Masterpiece' book and she has churned out another version of this Cezanne.  All I do for her is make a light sketch of the main objects, the rest she does by herself. (For those of you who are new here and are thinking 'so what?', my daughter has Down's Syndrome, so this is really quite an achievement!)  I think this one might deserve framing!
As well as knitting a grizzly bear (hot work!) I have been teaching myself how to make loom band bracelets.  It was getting embarrassing at work (infant school) being shown up by six year olds who have mastered this and I hadn't the first idea.  So when I got a bag of the bands free with a magazine, I took the bull by the horns and had a go - turns out it is not that hard after all, and I can see the attraction, they are strangely addictive!  I want to try one of the very intricate designs and then I can file this under 'done it'!

Despite the heat, we have managed some lovely leisurely walks with the dog in the fields behind our house.
They are sown with a crop of beans this year but in amongst them are millions of daisies.
It is so pretty - shame they want to plough it all up and build 450 houses on it.  We are praying that this doesn't come to pass as long as we are living here.
I don't know what Clovis would do without his daily canters through the countryside - he's never been a dog for road walking, it has to be running through the grass and bushes or it just isn't a walk.
Some sunflowers have snuck into the mix as well!

Monday, 14 July 2014


The end of the school year always brings on terrible lethargy - you know it's ending, the routine is gone, the weather is nice, the temptation is to laze about in the garden.  I'm having that problem right now! However, I am working on a couple of things - this is a simple rectangular top in pink cotton yarn, based on a favourite jumper of mine.  I love to layer clothing and wanted a summer 'throwover' - it's a simple knit, I just hope the yarn I bought in a sale lasts the distance.
Another project which depends on the yarn holding out is this one, a bear.  Stylecraft Gypsy yarn is fantastic for this type of thing but is sadly discontinued - keep your fingers crossed for me!
I've been enjoying some lovely walks with the dog - the bean fields behind our house are not just full of beans (unlike me!) but a sea of white and yellow daisies.  I pick a bunch every few days - at least ones I can reach without trampling over any crops.
The garden is another distraction at the moment - things are reaching their peak and looking pretty...
..the tomato plants have yet to fruit but are now very high considering the bad start they had.  There are flowers at least.
And it looks like work will be starting on the building next door very soon - obviously the builders have some objection to us ever leaving our garden because they've barricaded us in yet again.  Are they terminally stupid?

While checking out the new Derwent website, I found the page with two of my illustrated tins on it - yay!  It never ceases to give me a little frisson of excitement to see my work out there!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Beetle, Budgie & Brand New Stock

I had a bit of a rush job yesterday - a beetle to be made inthe space of 36 hours. Yikes! After looking up the only pattern I had, I rejected that as being pretty rubbish and got out the big book of Insects that I inherited from my mother to use as reference.  So this is based on a cockchafer of some sort - I can't replicate the irridescence unfortunately!
I also finished the final budgie -I think that's got them out of my system for the time being!
There will be three knitted dog sets in my shop later today - this brindle lurcher,
The teeny-tiny one,
and this little girl. There will also be this purse:
It's good to be able to add some new stock - my shop has been a bit neglected of late!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Budgies, Birthdays & Butterflies...

It's been a long time since I had some fun with felt - I bought the new Made in Felt magazine last week and was instantly taken with the pattern for a budgie.  Their version only had the face and wing on one side of the bird -well, you know me, I always have to go the extra mile, so mine have them on both sides in order to look like a real bird not half a one.  There is a pale purple one nearly complete as well - after that I think I will have exhausted my enthusiasm for this pattern for the time being!
Yesterday I had a small stall at the local dog show.  I didn't sell much, but it was a great opportunity to show my work to a wider audience locally and lots of people took cards and chatted about pet portraits.  Hopefully it will lead to some future commissions.  I also had fun watching all the varieties of dogs being entered in the show - who knew so many lived in the area, I never see them when I am out walking!
And speaking of dogs, someone has a birthday today - Clovis is 12!  He had a venison sausage with his breakfast, which went down well, and I think we'll treat him to a small birthday cake later on.  He's classed as an elderly dog, but still keeps charging around - yesterday he was crashing through a bean field after some small creature. I could see the plants moving ahead of him but whatever it was got away when Clovis became hemmed in by the tall, dense bean plants.  Silly old thing!
It seems to be a good year for butterflies - in our garden at least.  This Painted Lady was fluttering around the mombretia and buddleia the other day.  I think that's what it is - do correct me if I'm wrong!

Next on the needles - champagne!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Lacy Lights

I knitted these little jam-jar covers from a pattern in this month's Simply Knitting Magazine - very cute and quite simple to make.  The idea is to put a tealight in the jar and have that lacy prettiness shine through. I've used delicate 3 ply baby yarn for these which meant adapting the pattern a little to make it fit my jars, but it worked OK.  I miss knitting lace - maybe soon I will get to knit a shawl using some of the great yarn I have accumulated in my stash this year!
Putting a spray of roses in a bottle that used to hold rose syrup makes me smile every year - I think I'm a fairly simple thing too....