Friday, 17 November 2017


I found these wooden disc pendants hidden  in the mess at the back of my desk and thought I'd do a little painting of Otis the bear.  This will be for sale in my Etsy shop as soon as I can figure out how to photograph it without the varnish reflecting!

 It helps when the sun comes out!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Jabba The Hut...and we're done!

 Completed the last in the series, Jabba the Hut.  This one took ages as it is considerably bigger than the other dolls, as you can see.
All these dolls were from a kit by Lucy Collin, called Star Wars Crochet - I can highly recommend it.  You don't get enough wool in the box to make more than about three of the dolls, but it is easily possible to find the oddments you need in your stash.  The patterns were clear and easy to follow, plus very cleverly designed.  I'm not being paid to promote this, I just really liked the patterns!

Next up, a knitted lurcher.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Sleeping Beauty...

A portrait of my favourite bear on the web cam at Katmai National Park, Alaska.  This is the sub adult bear known as 503 - he has a pretty amazing story.  He was abandoned by his mother at only one and a half years old, a year too soon, because she came into estrus and was being pursued by a large boar.  It seems harsh, but it was for his own safety - male bears will kill a cub that gets in the way of their pursuit of a female.  He wandered around lost for a while then started following another female bear that already had a small spring cub a year younger than him.  Somehow he managed to worm his way into the mother bear's affections and was adopted and brought up as her own, even suckling at her teats.  This is almost unheard of in the bear world.

When it was time for his adopted mother known as Holly, to emancipate her own cub, 503 had had an extra year of being with a mother, something that has stood him in good stead.  Since then he has proved to be a very confident and healthy sub adult, fishing at the falls with the large boars, playing with various bears both large and small, and still keeping good company with his adopted sister.  This year he was such a proficient fisher that he ended up sharing his catches with a group of newly emancipated sub adults - another event that is pretty much unheard of, but then he is rather an unusal bear.

He is also rather a handsome chap - I have painted him a few times before.  This is watercolour on Bockingford paper.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Boba Fett

This was a complicated little fella!  All these Amigurumi figures are only about 10 cm tall, so crocheting intarsia is a fiddly business.  Just Jabba the Hut left to make before these can go off to their new home - he's going to take a while as he is five times the size of the others.

On the easel - surprise, surprise, another bear!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Darth Vader

I like this one, but it was incredibly hard to crochet black wool under electric light!  I'm sure there must be a few errors in there along the way but with the black wool, hopefully they don't show!

Two left to make...

Monday, 6 November 2017

Han Solo

Not the most interesting of the characters to crochet, but still cute.  Next up is Chewbacca, the one I have been waiting for!  I've been very good, working through the pattern book systematically, not cherry-picking the best designs first...which makes a change for me!


Private commission, watercolour on watercolour paper.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

"Luke, I Am Your Father..."

 Well it made me laugh anyway!  Here is Luke...
...and R2D2.  Seven down, five to go.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Seasonal Problems...

This is the latest commission I am working on but it is slow progress.  Not only are the markings on the horse very complicated and full of subtle colours, I am struggling with the lack of daylight November brings.  Usually I can get by during dull days using a daylight lamp, but once the main electric light in the room has been turned on, the colours in my palette and on the paper are distorted with a yellowish hue.  Most of the time I can allow for this and keep on working, but I daren't with this one for fear of wrecking it totally.  So working hours are mainly in the morning  up until lunchtime, with possibly an hour after lunch if I am lucky.  Very frustrating indeed!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Wicket the Ewok & Pumpkins

 Number 5 of these little Star Wars characters - they really are fun to do.  Only eight more to go...
Spent the morning hollowing out a couple of pumpkins and carving mine - not doing anything fancy this year, but I do like Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas.
Mr.B went for something a tad grosser...

Also made a nice big batch of pumpkin soup, now simmering away on the stove - smells delicious!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Princess Leia

Whizzing through these great little patterns - looking forward to the next one, Wicket the Ewok.

A new Hobbycraft opened in the neighbouring town this morning - we decided to go and have a look.  It was chaotic, the queue at the checkout snaked around the shop.  Did pick up a few things I yarn, bag of feathers, two fillable lightbulbs, a ruler, sparkly felt...OK, the only thing I actually needed was the ruler!

Thursday, 26 October 2017


Working my way through the pattern book...

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Snow Day...

I'm supposed to be painting a horse, but after I had drawn it out I took a little break to paint this scene that I saw on the webcam on Sunday when it snowed in Katmai.  Wonderful scenery, looked like something out of Narnia...but with bears!  Unfortunately my cameras will not register the true colour of this, it's turned out a little washed out in photographing.
Watercolour on paper & going into my Etsy shop.

Back to paid work...

Sunday, 22 October 2017


 This has to be one of the best commissions I have had for a long time!  This is a portrait of a brown bear cub that I watch on the Explore.Org webcams in Katmai National Park, Alaska - she is the runt of the litter, so very tiny last year, so tiny that it was amazing and wonderful to see her return alive and well from hibernation with her siblings this Spring.  She has the nickname Peanut, which seems to suit at the moment - not sure if it will when she is a full grown sow!  Last seen a couple of weeks ago, looking quite big and fat, definitely ready for hibernation this year.

Painted in watercolour on paper.
Apart from various bits and pieces I am knitting for Nudinits, I'm quietly working my way through a book of Star Wars amigurumi  - they are great little patterns, quick and relatively easy and a lot of fun.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Work Very Hard You Will...

 Crochet Yoda...helping someone out who couldn't get their fingers round these patterns...
Current commission - I'm enjoying this so much that it's all I want to be doing.  Unfortunately, life has a habit of getting in the way!  Watercolour on paper.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Ellie & Isaac

Just completed, double dog portrait in Derwent Drawing Pencils/Coloursoft pencils.  A lot of work went into this - lots of hair & dark colours!  Private commission.

Next up...a bear.  Dream commission!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A Day Out At The Country Show...

 Yesterday we went to the Autumn Country Show held at the Wealde & Downland Open Air Museum. We'd had the day planned for weeks but were keeping our fingers crossed the weather would be kind - luckily the sun shone for us.  We saw sheepdogs herding ducks...
 Indian runner ducks - they didn't seem perturbed by being chased round the arena, in fact I think they knew the routine very well!
We saw many heavy horses competing in a ploughing competition.
 They were magnificent!
There was a huge threshing machine worked by a traction engine - it did the whole job, threshing, sorting and baling hay.
Very interesting to watch, although a bit dusty!

As well as the above there were many demonstrations of old country crafts, food stalls, plus hawks and gun dogs.  A good time had by all!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Mr. Tumnus...and some other stuff!

 I've been working on knitting Mr. Tumnus over the whole summer - it hasn't taken that long, I've just had other things with tighter deadlines to do.  It was, however, a very tricky pattern to execute - I really wish when people write their patterns they would not assume that everyone knows what they are talking about!  The knitting instructions were not written in the usual way, but I managed to follow them OK.  The making up instructions were..well, pretty much non-existent!  If I was a complete novice, I would have struggled with this pattern and probably have given up.  When I write a knitting pattern I always try and make it "idiot-proof" - which means that I describe every step of the process clearly and (hopefully) understandably, so that even a complete newbie to knitting should be able to make the item successfully. I wish others would do the same - there's nothing worse than wanting to make something but being thwarted because of unintelligible instructions!
 Busy day yesterday - we went to an open morning at Mr.B's work in aid of Macmillan Nurses.  It was very interesting and lots of fascinating old cars.  Don't ask me to name them, not my thing!
Some of these cars are worth as much as a house...or two.  Crazy!

We also went to Thread, the sewing & fabric show held at The Maltings in Farnham.  We nearly didn't make it - we went just after lunch and could not find a single parking space in the whole of Farnham. Tried again a couple of hours later and managed to squeeze in and spend an hour at the show.  For some reason it was only on for one day this year, and a Saturday, so no wonder it was busy.  Got my fix of fabric though, and came home with a few bits and pieces.  Now to find the time to do something with them...

Monday, 25 September 2017

Thursday, 21 September 2017

I'm Painting As Fast As I Can...

Whilst I am really enjoying this commission - I always love to draw and paint dogs - I am also champing at the bit to get on to the next one as it is something that excites me.  The trouble is, you just can't hurry a painting like this, it has to be done with as much care and attention as ever.  Black dogs take twice as much time as other coloured dogs as it takes a lot of effort to get the depth of colour required.  Thankfully the other dog in the painting is a tan coloured German Shepherd, so might be a tad quicker to do.

Currently on the needles: working out patterns for small things...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

What Have You Been Up To?

 Although I've been quiet here, it's been a busy week at home.  The grape vine in the garden has once again produced a bumper crop, so I picked about half of the grapes and made some grape jelly.  I wasn't too sure of what to do with the rest - I don't think we can eat any more grape jelly, so I though I would boil them down to syrup in the Greek fashion and try to make some mustakouloura (must flavoured biscuits.) Got to do something with them as the dog keeps eating the ones that fall.
 We've paid another visit to the UK Wolf Trust, this time with decent cameras.  I was very pleased to have got some great shots with no wire fencing showing up.
 It was a bit of a blustery day with the odd rain shower, but we stayed for an hour or so and notched up over 300 photos between us.
So I have plenty of reference material for the winter months should the paid work dry up!

I've been knitting & stitching a couple of things...for the little animation that goes with this year's Knitting & Stitching Show.  Watch it here and see if you can spot my sewing machine and poodle!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bear Cub

I completed this today - I could have done more to it but was beginning to get bored and very conscious that I have commissions lining up as from tomorrow.  I started this as a study more than anything - when I draw or paint an animal I learn so much about the way eyes are, the way the hairs grow, the structure of the skull, etc.  This one is not perfect by a long way, but it was valuable for future reference.  Watercolour on paper.
We've also been away on holiday - Alderney in the Channel Islands.  It was idyllic...

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Bearly There...

Here is a little watercolour study of a bear cub that I started this week, thinking it would be a quick & easy way to de-stress.  Turns out it was a bit more difficult than I thought!  Still a great way to escape the daily trials and tribulations though.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Pair Of Pink Painted Peonies...

 This was a rather nice commission, a pair of small watercolour paintings.  I have to admit I struggled a bit - peonies have an awful lot of petals!
They turned out OK however, and it was quite a learning experience although I'll wait a while before tackling such flowers again!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Busy Summer...

 At the beginning of the summer I received a very sweet commission - to knit replicas of a couple and their rescue collie, Brogan.  I thought it would not take wrong I was!  Work suddenly took a busy turn and I had to squeeze knitting these in to any spare time I had...which was not much.
 However, we got there in the end and the family is now complete, ready to go to their real counterparts.
Another commission, one of a pair of small watercolour flower paintings.

Work has really stacked up this year - not complaining, but I need to either give up sleep or take on an assistant!

Saturday, 5 August 2017


Just completed this portrait of a Chinese Crested Powderpuff dog, one of the sweetest commissions I have ever had!  This was a painting that flowed, I enjoyed it so much.  Derwent drawing pencils and Coloursoft pencils, with acrylic highlights, on pastel paper.

Next up - a pair of flower watercolours.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Otis At The Falls...

A little watercolour done inbetween commissions - Otis at Brooks Falls, watercolour on paper.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Polite Notice

I recently had someone (anonymously) comment on a post here three times, asking for a free pattern of the item I was writing about.  I was a little annoyed.  Firstly, if they had bothered to read the post, the item was made from a pattern in a book - I will always credit a book when I use a pattern.  If you like what I have made, then go buy the book as I am not about to give away for free someone else's hard work.

Secondly, if the item I am writing about was designed and made by me, then unless it specifically has a link to a free pattern, then no, there is no free pattern.  I work very hard when it comes to designing and writing patterns - would you ask your plumber or electrician to work for free?  I don't think so...

Thirdly, on many occasions the items I design are not for me but for someone else and therefore I am not at liberty to give away/sell the pattern.

And finally, it really rubs me up the wrong way if someone cannot be bothered to use a name or write more than a one line terse request "how can I get the free pattern please". I generally don't respond well to rudeness.  If someone comes to me asking politely for help or where they can find a pattern, I will always take the time to respond as best I can. Often the people I respond to don't bother to say thank you or even acknowledge my reply.  You get kind of jaded after a no, no you can't have the pattern for free.

Rant over...normal service will be resumed shortly.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Otis, Golden Bear - Prints!

Well it finally stopped raining long enough for me to get the decent camera out and get a clear photo of this in order to set up prints on Society6.  This has been executed using Derwent Drawing Pencils on pastel paper. 

Prints available here.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Otis, Golden Bear

 I completed this yesterday - needs a quick check over today to make sure I haven't missed anything, then it is good to go as it was sold before it was even finished.  This is a portrait of Otis, one of the main bears that people want to view on the live cams from Brooks Falls, in Katmai Park, Alaska.  He's an old but wise bear, reaching his age by keeping out of trouble and concentrating on eating plenty of salmon before going into hibernation.  His floppy right ear gives him a cuddly air - but I wouldn't want to try it!

Derwent drawing pencils & Coloursoft pencils on pastel paper.
In the meantime, the garden is really going great guns this year - best crop of sweetpeas I've had for a few years, I'm picking them every day.  Also picking courgettes, a few tomatoes & lettuce, with more on the way.