Sunday, 27 December 2015


Now that Christmas is over, I want to get back to normal but we have another week of everyone home and being without routine.  I don't do very well without routine.  I have been knitting a complicated lace scarf but have made a serious error somewhere due to knitting under the influence of alcohol.  I can't face sorting it out just yet, so am knitting a simple triangular scarf using some self-patterning wool I bought a couple of months back.  It's only cheap & cheerful, but I do like the effect - Mr.B says it makes me look clever.  I didn't hit him.
There were some terrific books for me under the Christmas tree, I can't wait to get stuck in.  I've already read Steal Like An Artist in one sitting - inspirational stuff.
When I was a child, we always had a new jigsaw puzzle at Christmas - it used to be set up on a fold-up card table with a felt top that was basically only ever used for jigsaws.  This year I got given a jigsaw puzzle for the first time in years.  I'm having a spot of bother - look at the next photo to see why.
And the picture of the picture is about 2 inches long and in black & white.  This could take a while!

I'm longing for things to get back to normal so that I can get back to the easel.  Or even get near the easel.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Tis The Season To Be Jolly....

 Not that I'm feeling all that jolly at the moment - weary I think is the word!  Not much crafting going on this week due to Christmas preparations and the new addition to our family.  I did knit the 'Christmas tree' neckwarmer in a different yarn, Jester, which has integral bobbles.  Not sure I am quite so keen on it - I think the yarn has to be quite thick for this pattern to really work.
Yesterday was spent doing a bit of baking - mince pies to last us over the next few days and some stollen muffins using a recipe in December's Simple Things magazine.  I can highly recommend the muffins, absolutely delicious, although I wouldn't like to think of how many calories are in them...

The Christmas cake has been iced as well, but not fully decorated as yet - thinking the decorations need replacing, so yes, the day before Christmas Eve is the day to look in the shops for cake decorations, isn't it!
Thankfully I managed to complete all Christmas commissions in plenty of time, and now just have the one to work on over the next few weeks.  I'm having to make up this composition from many photos, age the children, add the dogs and hope to goodness it all pans out in the end.  I have the finished picture in my head, so that always helps, I'm not working totally without a clue!
In the meantime, Daisy, our new dog is settling in well.  Apart from an incident on the second day concerning the postman - which I don't want to talk about just yet - she is a cracking little dog.  It took a few days for her to calm down, but that's understandable when you have been brought up in a home then suddenly put into boarding kennels and then into an RSPCA rehoming centre with all the big scary dogs.  She's clean around the house, very friendly and loving, had absolutely no manners at all but in the space of a week has learned to sit quietly while her harness is put on, stop pestering for food at mealtimes (well, almost) and that no-one will play with her unless she drops the toy nicely.  Pretty good going so far!  Our resident hound, Clovis, has been remarkably tolerant - he tried ignoring her in the hope she would go away and that didn't work, so now he is allowing her to sit next to him on the sofa, sniff his sniffs on walks, and hasn't shown any signs of jealousy.  Well done old man!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Been A Bit Busy....

The week before Christmas is probably not the most sensible time to adopt a rescue dog, but when the right one comes along you can't hang about.  It's been an eventful week to say the least, but it's going well - Clovis is sulking a bit but coming around slowly!

More when I have the time!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Needs A Fairy...

 As a last minute gift idea, I thought I'd knit the Christmas tree neck warmer that features in the latest Knitty.com   It is a brilliant pattern, very effective indeed.  I didn't put the bead decorations on this one as the recipient is a big burly bloke, but would like to make another with the beads on it.
I did have a couple of false starts - couldn't find the aran wool I was sure I had, so used some ordinary DK which was too thin & had to be doubled up - but despite this I would dispute the sentence on the pattern saying this can be knitted in a day.  Yes it could if you did nothing else all day!  It took me three evenings of about 4 hours work each.  However, that's a minor gripe - I love this and think it is very clever.

Excuse the rubbish photos - it's early in the morning and I have to wrap the neck warmer up for posting very shortly!

Not getting much else done at the moment - we've just adopted a second dog so the house is in a bit of an uproar as we all settle in to a new routine.

Monday, 14 December 2015


I've just finished this portrait of Enzo, a magnificent looking cat who is sadly no longer with us.  As he had such a wealth of fluffy fur and brilliant aquamarine coloured eyes, it required a slightly different technique this time.  I've used a combination of various coloured pencils, softer than Derwent Drawing pencils, together with watercolour paint and a touch of acrylic for the white highlights.  It was quite tricky, but immensely satisfying!

One more commission to do, this time for the middle of January - an interesting one requiring quite a bit of thought.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Oh Christmas Tree...

Usually I hold off until my birthday (Dec 15th, presents welcome....) to put the Christmas tree up, but this year we found the perfect one a week earlier and bought it rather than wait. 
I'm not in the colour-coordinated professional looking decorations camp - it's chuck everything on there, fill all the spaces, who cares if it matches.  Most of the decorations hold memories - there are a few clay & glitter ones made by my daughter over the years, an angel made from mother of pearl that was on a gift when we lived in Greece, a knitted Santa made by my late mother, some fancy ones given to me by children I have taught over the years, and glass baubles that have lasted over 30 years.
Each year I do add to the collection - this year I found glass flamingoes in Paperchase.  These are not going back into the box when Christmas is over however!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Cats For Christmas...

 It's been a very busy week, lots of knitting, mainly for Nudinits so those pieces will be seen in their run up to Christmas pictures.  Worth taking a look if you'd like a chuckle! 

I've also been working on a portrait of a cat, as well as his knitted replica.  The portrait is still in progress and I'm keeping this one under wraps until it is finished.  The replica however, was finished last night.
 He's small, grey and fluffy, with wool jointed legs.  Luckily I had some green cats' eyes left in my collection.
He has a replica bed too - I think the bed was trickier to make than the cat!

If you'd like your pet knitted, do get in touch, although I can't guarantee it to be ready for Christmas unless you live in the UK and even that is pushing it a bit!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Cat On A Wall...

I've been working solidly for the past few months, mainly on dog portraits.  Whilst they are great fun to do and I never get bored with them, it doesn't do to paint the same thing over and over again without a change as there is a very real chance of your work getting stale and formulaic.  So when I get a couple of days 'spare', I like to paint something else, just to keep my hand in.

This magnificent fellow lives over the road from me, and his favourite perch is up on a garden wall where he can survey his domain!  I've been wanting to paint him for months (and his ginger friend) but never remembered to get a photo or two - luckily the other day my partner had his phone to hand and I was able to get a few reference pics.

This is a watercolour, kept quite simple - had to be as I only had a day or so in which to do it.  The bricks were fun - lots of wet in wet colours sprinkled with salt to get the rough textured look.  Now I have got that out of my system, it's on to the next commission....which is actually a cat.  Oh well!

On the needles: Nativity bits!