Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Jammin...

Might have gone a little over the top with the raspberry picking on Sunday...  Nine jars of jam made yesterday and another large punnet of raspberries still in the fridge....

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Fergie

Derwent Drawing Pencils and Coloursoft pencils on pastel paper.  Private commission.
Sweet little dog, fun to draw!  Next up - more bears!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Paintings & Picking...

 A lady that bought one of my paintings and two prints sent me a photo of them framed and on her wall - I love it when people do that!  Don't they look great?
I have one white currant bush in a pot in the garden - yesterday I picked 3lbs of currants off it!  This must be a record yield - time to make currant jelly!

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Rascal

'Rascal', watercolour on paper, private commission.

Monday, 25 June 2018

"Helping..."

Put this down for a photo and Daisy thought I'd made it just for her...

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Work In Progress - Rascal

Nearly finished this one - a bear nick-named Rascal, seen in Katmai, Alaska. Watercolour on paper, private commission.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Progress...

 Still cutting and pinning....notice I am also watching bears on the tablet whilst I work!
Yesterday's little haul from the garden - sweetpeas filling the house with their scent, broad beans were delicious!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

It's Chaos I Tell You!

The state of my kitchen floor yesterday.  I need to get rid of some of the mess...

Monday, 18 June 2018

I'm Working Really Hard....

...and the kitchen looks like a bomb's hit it.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Sew Busy....

 Part of what I'm making at the moment - this took half a day.....
When I have a few spare minutes, I am working on a commission.  Another Alaskan bear, watercolour on paper.  I'm painting the background first and saving the bear for last, a trick I usually do wwhen the background is boring but I'm actually really enjoying painting these vivid green leaves.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Monday, 4 June 2018

Beagle...

I completed this yesterday - Derwent Drawing Pencils & Coloursoft pencils on pastel paper.  Yet another commission - this year has been my busiest so far since quitting the day job and going solo.  I have four more commissions waiting in the wings, two of dogs and two of bears so at least I can ring the changes and not get bored!

In other news, somehow I have to make a bus out of bits and pieces and fabric.  Could be a bit of a challenge...

Garden Drama...

We have had a family of bluetits nesting in one of our boxes in the garden this spring.  The baby birds finally fledged last week but on the day we had heavy rain and a thunderstorm in the afternoon. I could hear them cheeping at various points in the garden and had to keep the dog inside or on a lead to make sure she did not inadvertantly kill any of them.  By the evening the baby birds were waterlogged and still fluttering about in the flower beds.  We managed to get a few photos quickly without stressing them out too much.

Happily, the following day they were still alive (despite neighbourhood cats and marauding magpies) and were drying out.  By lunchtime they had gone - another little success story!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Some Fiddly Work...


Boy, this was time consuming!
I am super busy at the moment, the rest of June looks like I will be working all day every day - lots of painting commissions plus some other work that is a bit of a secret for now.  In the meantime, the garden is starting to produce some lovely things...

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Day I Fed A Wolf...

 My birthday is in December, a rubbish time to have a birthday as it can get swallowed up by Christmas.  Plus people have to think about getting you two presents, which can prove difficult.  But last birthday Mr.B managed to give me one of the best presents ever - a day behind the scenes at the UK Wolf Conservancy.  The only trouble was, I had to wait until May!  But it was so worth it! 
 We got a tour of the place, all round the perimeter of the enclosures whilst having a very interesting talk by one of the volunteers.  The Arctic wolves were shedding - I got given a clump of this wolf's hair which is now a prized possession.
We got to have a go at telemetry, finding a radio collar in a large field.  We made enrichment 'toys' from scented straw & hessian sacks and gave them to the wolves.  We got to take photos through special holes in the wire that the general public do not have access to.  And we got to hand feed the wolves!  I volunteered to feed Nuka, the wolf I spent many hours painting a portrait of earlier this year.
It was a very special moment for me.

Sadly, this was probably the last time we will be visiting the wolves.  Since the escape of Torak, one of the older wolves, in the winter, the place has become too popular for it's own good and cannot handle the amount of visitors that turn up.  That, combined with the fact that the wolves are now getting quite old, they have decided to shut the doors to the public and give the wolves a peaceful retirement.  They will still continue their very worthy work towards conservation of wolves in the wild.

I'm just so happy we managed to get to see them close up and personal while we could.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby....

Hot off the drawing board, Derwent Drawing Pencils & Derwent Coloursoft Pencils on pastel paper.  Private commission.

Grandfather Clock..

I've been a bit quiet the past week - this is one of the reasons why!  This is a grandfather clock, about 18 inches tall, made from all sorts of bits and pieces covered in felt.
It took me quite a while to figure out how to make this.  Initially I thought to use card board boxes for the structure, but when it came down to it, I could not find any the right size plus they would be a bit flimsy if I cut them down.  However, i rarelythrow anything away that might come in handy in the future and stashed away I had a large piece of firm foam that had been the internal part of a tool box which was already semi-cut into small squares.  I also had some pieces of even firmer foam that had come as the packaging for something - can't remember what - which were ideal to use for the central section.  So I made three parts, the base, the hollow middle and the clock.
I appliqued some rather nice tweed and soome felt, embroidered with gold crochet thread.
I made the fancy bit for the top and the little piece for above the pendulum from foamboard and covered them in felt.  All the sections are held together with toothpicks in strategic places and then sewn firmly into place.
The pendulum is made from felt and stuffed, then embroidered with gold crochet thread.  It is suspended with a wire - the little scrolled piece hides where it is attached to the underside of the clock face.

The clock face is made from two pieces of card covered in felt.  I used some bought fake watch cogs and gears for the back part and embroidered the numbers on the face. The clock hands are made from an old ice cream carton and held in place with a tiny nut and bolt.  I sliced my finger open while making the hands - thank goodness I did not drip any blood onto a fortnight's work!  If there are any typos in this post, that is why as I have a large plaster on it!

You will have to wait and see what this is going to be used for...

 In the meantime, the garden is starting to look rather lovely.  Since the weather perked up, I have done an awful lot of work out there.
I re-turfed the 'lawn' - now it really is a lawn, not just a mud patch - and cut down/dug out a lot of old and unruly shrubs and the dying damson tree.  I replaced the tree with a young greengage tree I discovered going for a song at Lidls.  The old shrubs have been replaced by a vegetable patch.  Fingers crossed it all survives!



Friday, 4 May 2018

Velcro & 273

Just completed a lovely commission, the bear 273 with her cub Velcro who live in Katmai National Park, Alaska.  Velcro is now on his own and a lot larger than when this photo was taken!

Watercolour on paper, reference photo by kind permission of Carla Farris.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Maltese Terrier...

 Just a little something I crocheted the other evening.  I have quite a few Japanese pattern books, including one with Amigurumi dogs.  I can't read Japanese but the diagrams are pretty clear as the symbols are universal.
 I did have a spot of bother with this one as it was a combined pattern with a beagle and I didn't know which bit was what for the muzzle - I'm not entirely sure I don't have an ear for his nose!
Fun to do though, haven't made one of these for a very long time.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Stencilled Bears...

About a month ago in Ikea, I saw a set of wooden plaques with simple prints of a bear, a moose and some other animal that I can't recall right now.  I really liked the bear one but wasn't so keen on the other two, not enough to buy the set anyway.  I knew that with a bit of effort I could make my own version...so I did. 

I bought some wooden flooring samples from B&Q, and Mr. B kindly smoothed off the edges of them for me.  I found some side view photos of bears that I liked and used them to sketch out my stencil onto some thick watercolour paper the same size as the wood.  When I was happy with the outline, I carefully cut out the stencil using a scalpel.  This was slow and painstaking as I did not want to make a mess of those spikes of fur!

I then tried out the stencil on some paper using black acrylic paint.  This also serves the purpose of sealing the edges of the stencil as it dries.  After checking that all was how I wanted it, I then stencilled the bears onto the wooden plaques.  Once the stencilling was dry, I then painted the back and sides of the plaque with the black acrylic, smudging the edges around the front with my finger to create a slightly 'aged' look.  I rummaged around in my various supply boxes and found a couple of brass hanging thingies, nailed them on and ta-dah!  I'm very pleased with these - one is for me, the other will go in my Etsy shop once I have taken some better photos.

Little Dogs...

Here is the completed double dog portrait - the Shi Tzu was a delight to draw, the Papillon a nightmare, only because the reference photos for him were so bad.  However, with a little computer jiggerypokery enhancing the contrast, I managed to make out what was going on with his ears and was able to make a decent drawing of him.  The clients are happy, which is the main thing.  Derwent Drawing Pencils on pastel paper.

Next up, bears...followed by numerous dog portraits.  I'm booked solid for the next month or so!
Meanwhile, Spring has sprung and everything is sprouting and blooming - this is the view from my bedroom window at the moment and is usually populated with bluetits.  I have done all the gardening I can for the time being, now I just have to sit back and wait for it all to grow.



Thursday, 19 April 2018

Bees...

I've been working on some flower & bee brooches - here are a couple of the completed ones.  The flowers are made from felt, the bees are knitted.  When they are all ready, they will be for sale in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

It's Dirty Work...

I have spent the past week transforming this....
...into this.  The grass after the winter (I won't even deign to call it a lawn) was sparse, waterlogged and full of moss.  Usually I re-seed it in the Spring, but that never seems to last, so I thought I'd try re-turfing.  First I had to dig up all the old grass & earth, break up the clods and level it out.  This took about five days as I did a little at a time - I know my limitations!  By Sunday it was ready for the turf.  Turf was delivered yesterday - the lorry driver and I discovered that the passage that leads to our garden was too narrow for the pallet with the turf on it...so we unloaded it all and the driver very kindly helped me take the rolls of turf into the garden.   Then after lunch I set to laying the turf - wow, that was very hard work!  At one point I thought I might very well throw up my lunch...
But it is done now - let's hope it lasts because I'm not doing this again!
Apaert from grubbing around in the dirt, I have been making some felt flower brooches as I have a request for a couple.  Now they just need the addition of bees...



Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Pretty Polly...



I've had this parrot's head on my unfinished heap for over a year - finally turned it into the intended scarf.  It has a clip inside the beak to attach it to the tail when worn. 
Also completed this wide crochet cowl/scarf/wrap using up the yarn cake I had left from the previous shawl.  It's very versatile because I've sewn buttons on it!

Both items can be bought from my Etsy shop now.

It's A Little Shi Tzu...

I'm having fun with this commission so far - Derwent Drawing Pencils & Coloursoft pencils on pastel paper.  The second dog might not be so easy as the reference photos are very poor indeed.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

We Plough The Fields...

I put the finishing touches to this yesterday, just a purple wash over the soil to knock it back and bring out the horses' legs.

This is based on a photo I took at the Wealde & Downland Open Air Museum last year during a ploughing exhibition.  The giant horses in their full regalia are so beautiful and this painting has been at the back of my mind all winter.  This is not how I envisaged it at all - somehow attention to detail took over and this was the result - but I'm very happy with it nonetheless.

Currently for sale in my Etsy shop.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Getting There Slowly...

...very slowly indeed!  Far more detail than I had planned, but I'm liking how this one is turning out.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Heavy Horses...

In my head my paintings look very different to how they actually turn out.  I wanted this one to be loose, minimal detail, an impression if you will...
Instead it is tightly painted, every chain link & piece of tack painstakingly worked...and as for that plough...
Never mind, I'm liking it anyway!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Another Snow Day...

 Well, after a week of almost Spring-like weather, the snow came back with a vengeance over the weekend.  Being the weekend, it didn't affect us too badly - we had been for supplies early Saturday morning so could afford to take it easy and stay home as the snow fell.
 We awoke to this yesterday - a bit more than predicted!
 Some of us liked it more than others...
...especially to eat!  I'm surprised Daisy didn't spend most of the day asking to go outside for a wee, she ate so much snow during her walks.

The snow bear was made from the sweepings off the front path and off the top of my car - had to find some way to burn off a little energy!

Hopefully it will all melt away today - it's back to business as usual, places to go, things to do...