Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Not sure if I picked this painting because of how I was feeling at the time or not!  Last year we had an unplanned trip to Birdworld and as usual I took lots of reference photos, most of which turned out not that great.  There were a few very good ones, and this was one of them.  I have a soft spot for parrots, would love to own one again, but just have to make do with painting them.  This is in Derwent Inktense pencils, very time consuming and slow but I think it will be worth it.  Lots and lots of fluffed up wing feathers to do!
A while back I had to buy a job lot of hair clips when all I needed was a couple.  I have been wondering what on earth I was going to do with them, but the other day had a bit of an epiphany.  While making some scenery for a new animation, I needed something to keep the edges of the fabric touching the card while the glue dried - ta-dah, hair clips!
After the pain of the last few weeks, crocheting with stuff that should never be crocheted, I gave myself a night off and started a pair of I don't have a very good track record with socks, suffering every time from second-sock syndrome, but hopefully the novelty of making these not only in tiger striped yarn but also using the toe-up method for the first time will keep my interest until the end.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


This is my last completed commission.  It was crocheted in scratchy, stiff gold gimp yarn and a thick shiny pink piping.  Whilst it looks like an instrument of torture laid out like this, I am sure when it is seen in context with straps attached and worn over something else it will actually look me here, I am scrabbling for the appropriate word...impressive!

You haven't lived until you have blocked something over a pair of  bowls - makes for some interesting conversations in the kitchen!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Taking Over The Newsagents!

This week sees the name Bletsis in a couple of publications.  First up is a lovely article in the new Simply Knitting magazine all about Nudinits, the all knitted animation I worked on for two years.  We've had mentions in other magazines since the film came out, but this is the first full page proper article.  If you haven't seen the film and are not easily shocked, here's the link:

Second is another Adventure Time cover done by my very talented son.  He was asked to submit thumbnails with the idea they would choose the one they liked for publication - in the end, they chose two!  I'm running out of room in the file I have for copies of his work.

Not in a magazine, but for sale over in my Etsy shop, another blast from the past discovered in my portfolio. This is a watercolour painting of Castries Market in St. Lucia. I remember enjoying painting this one so much with the various colours, textures and light.

Currently on the needles: a gold crocheted bra.  Hmm. It's giving me blisters, the yarn is so rough so I pity the model who has to wear it!

On the easel: nothing.  Oh dear, time to pull myself together and start something.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Dare You Wear This?

 No, I haven't lost my mind and started a new range of clothing!  This is a commission I have been working on for a university student as part of her collection.  It is crocheted from cut up tights using a 1960's dress pattern.  I would not recommend crocheting with cut up tights - it has to be the hardest material ever for wear and tear to the thumbs and wrists - not sure why, perhaps due to trying to keep the tension right with a very stretchy and sometimes lumpy strand.
I have a feeling that whoever has to model this will get very warm - I kept wondering why I was experiencing hot flushes whilst working on this and then realised it was due to the half inch layer of nylon covering my lap!

Next up, a gold crocheted bra for the same client - could be interesting...

Sunday, 19 April 2015

This Week I Have Been Mostly...

...knitting this waistcoat in a gorgeous yarn made from recycled jeans.  It may take a while as it is very compicated and that's before I attempt the lace back! 

I'm also still crocheting the mini dress from cut up tights and massaging Volterol into my thumbs and wrists every night before bed whichseems to keep the aches and pains at bay. 

I am also making some very interesting things for the next animation - a spider was the last item.
We went to see Seasick Steve in concert on Tuesday.  I began to feel my age during the warm-up act when I found myself thinking it was 'too loud' and wishing it was over.  However, as soon as Seasick Steve came on stage, all that was forgotten and the next couple of hours were simply brilliant.  Unfortunately we had to leave during the second encore (!) otherwise we'd miss our train.  Turns out we might as well have stayed as one of our tube links was delayed by ten minutes and we missed our train anyway, which resulted in having to take a train to the nearest town and then pay for a taxi home - ouch!  But we'd had so much fun, it really didn't matter.
With the warm weather we've been experiencing, everything has burst into bloom within a few days.  This is the cherry tree just outside out kitchen window - I'm hoping we get to eat some of the fruit this year instead of feeding all the local birds.  Time to get the plastic hawk on duty once again!
 Walking the dog has been fun too - the sloes are fully in bloom, looking like snow from a distance.
 Hoping to see some fruit here too - the trees were bare last year.
 Wild violets are in abundance, first time I have seen so many in the lanes.
 There are so many butterflies - making more butterflies half the time it seems!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Definitely WIP's!

 This week I have been crocheting a mini-dress from strips of tights. This is for a univeristy student's collection and I was relieved to find out that it is supposed to be ugly.  Vaguely resembles some kind of surgical appliance to my eyes...

Crocheting with tights is very painful - not sure why it hurts the thumbs so much, but it does, going right up the forearms.  I fear my arms will look like Popeye's by the time I finish this!
I'm sewing a kind of blew my mind that I was first making a box, then sewing fabric on it to make it look like wood.  This has got a long way to go yet before it is ready for use in a new animation.

Also on the needles, a complex knitted waistcoat in recycled denim jeans yarn, which is starting to look very nice indeed.

Friday, 10 April 2015


In amongst everything else I've beenmaking, I have been knitting this rather lovely shawl.  It's a pattern I have used on many occasion with various different yarns and it has come up a treat each and every time.
This has been knitted in a mohair blend with a thin strip of irridescent sparkle running through it.  Very pretty indeed.
It is also a dream to knit this pattern as it is so easy to memorise with no fear of forgetting where you are if you put it down overnight.  Currently for sale in my Etsy shop.
Also for sale in my Etsy shop is this handsome fellow.  I'm still working through my portfolio and listing all these hidden paintings for sale - I can't keep hoarding them!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Trawling Through The Archives...

 This week I have finally done something I had in mind for months, since giving up the day job.  I've gone through my two portfolios and sorted our various paintings that have been hidden away for far too long and I am slowly loading them up into my Etsy shop.  Perhaps there they can find homes where they will be loved and looked at!  The above is an acrylic of a coastal walk in Alderney - my friends and I hiked miles and miles along these paths as teenagers.
 A little watercolour of the apple blossom on our tree - it's nearly that time of year again, so no doubt another blossom painting will ensue.
 I love painting horses and it shows in this one - surely someone would like this on their wall?
 A lot of my paintings are a travelog - this is a watercolour of Rome after we spent a day there during a trip to Italy.
 This is a watercolour of Victorian ruins on Pigeon Island, St. Lucia - another favourite thing to paint, old stonework!
 My one and only foray into oil painting - love the effect, hate the drying time.
 A watercolour of the rainforest in St. Lucia - I used a very limited palette for this if I remember, possible only two colours, no more than three.
 A coloured pencil sketch of a saluki - you will know my soft spot for these dogs, just so beautiful.
A watercolour painting of a pair of sparrows I saw on Boston Common a few years ago.  I love to paint sparrows too - they initially look drab but once you study them, they are such pretty birds.  I love their cheeky personalities too.

So if you look in my shop, these and a few more will be making an appearance and hopefully going off leaving some room in my portfolios for more work.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


It was with a tinge of regret that I completed this yesterday - when a painting is going well and I'm totally involved in it, it is always sad to add that final brushstroke.  However, I am pleased with the result.  It's been a very long time since I attempted something this challenging and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

This was painted on smooth watercolour paper, using White Knights watercolour paints - these are very intensely pigmented watercolours.  I found them a bit intimidating initially, but once I had got used to not picking up lots of paint on my brush to begin with, I really like them.  I have used a very limited palette - Payne's grey, cerulean, and a terracotta.  I used a touch of black here and there, to darken the eyes or add a bit of depth to a forelock.
The top photograph is taken indoors with a flash, the bottom photo taken outside in the sun.  If you can mentally combine the two you will get an idea of the true colours - my camera just fails me sometimes!

This painting is now for sale in my Etsy shop.


 Now Easter is behind us, I can show you the bunny I knitted for Nudinits.  This has to be one of the cutest things I ever made. He's only just under three inches from nose to tail and knitted in softest angora.
I want to make more...if and when I have the time!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Stripes & Tights...

 A long time ago, I told someone I only paint when I am happy.  I guess that is quite true judging by the scarcity of artwork produced over the past year and the fact that this week I want to spend all my time on the above! I am enjoying this one so much, combining the strict structure of the zebras' stripes with the splashes and drips of paint.  I'm using watercolours and a very limited palette - Payne's Grey, Cerulean blue, and a kind of terracotta hue.  Funnily enough, no black other than for the eyes! I think I'm back in the game....
Other (paid) work on the go - I have to crochet a sixties mini dress from old tights....not the most practical of 'yarns', it hurts my hands to crochet with and the resulting fabric is stiff and will surely be uncomfortable to wear.  It is for a university student, so I am assuming it will just be making an appearance as part of her coursework.

I've also been sewing a plush tree for a future animation which has been quite an undertaking and I hate to have to say the most boring words ever used in a blog - I can't show it yet.  Argh!  I'm really proud of it and find keeping things under wraps very frustrating!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Easter Baking...

 I really should not allow any programme from the British Bake Off stable to be shown in our house.  It always results in lots of lip smacking and subtle and not so subtle hints that I should be making some of that...  Last week was the Easter special, and even I was tempted by a couple of the recipes.  Perhaps if I had known just how long they took I would not have bothered!  The hot cross buns - don't they look delicious? - took about five hours in total.  Three sessions of proving for an hour each time, interspersed with kneading, adding fruit, kneading some more, cutting and shaping.  Yes they are indeed delicious, but were they worth the effort?  The jury is still out on that one...
The Simnel cake - quicker to mix, but two hours in the oven.  Quick trip round the garden to pick primroses and violets for some ham-fisted crystallization.  We don't know what this one tastes like yet - it can sit and look pretty for a couple of days!

So I feel very virtuous but also that I could have spent yesterday afternoon a little more productively!

Have a Happy Easter!

Drips & Dribbles...

Over the past few months I seem to have lost my impetus for painting.  I'm not sure why, maybe due to the relentless noise and disruption caused by the builders throughout the winter, maybe because I have had so much other work with yarn and fabric to be getting on with.  Whatever the reason, I've missed it, but it is far too easy to let each day slide by without picking up a brush. 

So with that in mind, I picked a tricky one to get back into the groove with!  I'm trying to re-train my brain with the discipline it takes to draw zebras completely by eye, plus getting each and every stripe in and in the right place.  Initially it was quite worrying - the zebras looked like circus ponies and I had a lot of self-doubt over my abilities (as usual!)  However, as the drawing and painting progress, I feel my confidence slowly returning.  It may not turn out to be the best thing I have ever done, but it is certainly getting me back on track.