Beowulf and The Pied Piper

Craft Day 1/365
Hubby’s just made me a prop for school where I will be teaching Beowulf along with other myths and legends. He drew out the shape on some ply after a bit of research on the shape, then cut it out. He left the decorating for me to do!
I have painted the Viking broadsword using metallic paint for the font to add a bit of shine to it in the light and outlined some of the lettering with ink. I particularly like celtic patterns or those which interlock. One day I hope to have a go at silver jewellery making. The first piece of jewellery I designed was when my first baby was born and I wanted her to have a keepsake for when she grew up. Although I designed it, I commissioned a jewellery maker from famous Glastonbury in the UK to make it.
Regarding my class, all about the age of 12/13, they were thrilled that we were going to create a wall display of our work on myths and legends. After the focus on Beowulf, we moved onto The Pied Piper and the children’s task was to then write their own epic poem. My youngest daughter is always inspired by the ideas I plan for my lessons and wanted to take part even though she’s younger and attends a different school. She drew me a picture for a slide on The Pied Piper, having already studied it at school!

And it’s over to Amber Marie!

Ever drank a coffee, a latte, an espresso or cappuccino at
Costa? Well, my daughter Amber Marie has tried and tested every kind of coffee as a painting medium!
Right from a very young age (she’s only 21 now) she has shown a talent for art and had drawings of her cat published in magazines when she was just 3 1/2 years old. Later, she won an art competition for Mother’s Day and came out of school carrying a bouquet larger than she was! Then, when she had just completed her A level art, her teacher selected a canvas by her for an exhibition in Bath. He loved it because she’s painted it in coffee and it had that lovely aromatic scent of coffee beans. At the exhibition, he encouraged the visitors to stand right up to the canvas and breathe in!
Her art has gone from strength to strength. She’s taken a shine to drawing dogs … in biro … large drawings and most recently held her own exhibition of coffee giraffes and biro dogs for the month of September. Following on from this, she was invited to tutor a class of amateur artists and taught them how to paint in coffee and how to sketch dogs from memory.
Although a fourth year languages student, she draws to relax and fundraise. Many of you may be aware of the World’s Largest Coffee morning run by Macmillan. She decided to donate one of her coffee giraffes to be auctioned off at Hartley’s Bistro in September. The owner, Paul Hartley is the guy who writes food/recipe books using Marmite and Vimto (that’s another story).
Anyway, back to Costa. From 1 Nov -1 Dec 2014 there is going to be a silent auction of two different coffee giraffes at the Portsmouth branch of Waterstones 115 Commercial Road, Portsmouth – why not go and see them in store and add your own bid? :

Need I say the obvious? I’m very proud of my daughter (and equally proud of my other two children and their endeavours).

Hamsters, Fairies and Angels

I’ve posted this tonight as it’s half term holiday and tomorrow we’re taking our daughter on a special morning out – I’ll hopefully be able to share some photographs of our adventure (weather dependent), but as she has to have some teeth out at the dentist to prepare her for braces, she may need a bit of TLC on our return. I hope the arts and crafts event at an outdoors National Trust park will take her mind off things and stop her getting anxious (so I’m praying for lovely weather).
In the meantime, here is a quick sketch to illustrate our hamster stirring things up in the household …now of course, we have Nikon – the kitten who loves to nick my paintbrushes, pens, clothes pegs, tights, drinking straws and likes to sleep in the most awkward places!



Doodling clowns

During my lunchbreak I managed a quick clown sketch, which I then turned into a monoprint.

I found the underside of a lemonade bottle produced flower-like stamp patterns, so started with this as a basis for my print.

Then I added strips of torn paper to give a layering effect like this feather print

And even tried out a trail of cotton in the paint

Now I have several backing papers for journal covers and for a future craft project.
The clowns were sketched onto one of the Gelliprinted backing papers using a calligraphy pen and some Indian ink.

Instead of water colours or acrylics, I picked up some basic kiddy paints from the supermarket and as a cheaper alternative to the tubes I’ve been using, I was quite pleased with the results :-)

Pear and Strawberry Crumble

5oz plain flour
2 oz margarine
2 oz Special K cereal
Dried strawberries
Three skinned and chopped pears
2-3 tbl spoons of water
1oz sugar

Rub the margarine into the flour and add the sugar.
Sprinkle on top of the chopped pears. Add a layer of Special K and then top with the rest of the crumble.
Bake for 30 mins or until light brown.


Hare today …

It’s been a busy day buying paint pot number three for my son’s bedroom. As you may remember, the first 5 litres of pancake mix coloured paint ended up in the footwell of my car and took more than three hours to clear up. The second pot we purchased was doubly wrapped by DH in plastic (witnessed by myself and my daughter). We bought this time andgrey. It went on as if I were painting a chalk board and I can only imagine my son’s comments. I hated it. Not only was the colour too dark, it was also too matt. Can you get too matt? I tried the grey. It went on like pancake mix … Too thin. I moved out from my son’s room and looked at the landing and stairs. Hmmm. Could work as undercoat! That’s where the grey went. He did tell me he didn’t want grey walls anyway. Nor blue actually (but he is getting one blue wall behind his desk).
So today, we headed over to yet another DIY store and found rectangular paint tubs which stack neatly together. We opted for a blue called … Sky and a cream. Better. Thicker. Silk. One wall is now painted, the rest will have to wait until the morning.

Hare today … I did a quick ten minute sketch in biro of a hare in my journal then had a go at the autumn journal prompt.


Today’s word prompt was ‘GUM’. There are loads of connotations for that. I considered taking a photo of the pavements in town littered with chewed gum marks. I could have considered the gummed edge of envelopes as I prepare the envelope book tutorial. I could even have tried to write around the subject of gum trees. Instead, I thought about our family favourite movie, The Night at the Museum. The late Robin Williams was an amazing actor and we were saddened when he passes away not that long ago. I also saw in the news this week that his daughter had just had a tattoo done – a tiny humming bird along the edge of her thumb. So, I’m not sure whether it was those things that drew me back to the movie when I saw the word
GUM this morning or because we’ve watched it so many times. Anyway, the stone statue who asks for gum from the security guard when everything comes to life at night provided me with the inspiration to create a print. Here is my result for gum:


Sticky Dot Dog – an attempt at pixel art!

Pixel art is all around us so I thought I’d try sticking sticky dots to create some pixel art! There are a few areas that don’t look quite dog-like, but for a first attempt at least I can see it’s a dog! I thought a packet of 850 dots would be enough, but I ran out of one blue and had to substitute it for dark blue on the outline. Maybe squared or gridded paper would help me position the dots more accurately? What does everyone else think?


Cork celebration

We were so chuffed at reading our daughter’s school achievements yesterday that I bought her her own bottle of bubbly. There’s a special celebration Schloer which was wrapped in gold and was corked. She opened the bottle and it made a loud pop noise as the cork came out! She giggled and handed me the cork for my printing!

The cork pressed into the gelli then onto paper

The paint applied to the gelli with cork impressions

A bit of both!


The cork was great as it’s shaped well to grip and creates fun textures – I now have some backing papers ready for embellishing :-)
By the way … There’s still time to enter my free giveaway – check out my other blog at
There’s a chance to win an original gelliprint of a lion or turtle plus a mystery prize! Good luck :-)

Envelope book

This evening I had a go at making an envelope book using standard envelopes which interlock (you stick the tab at the top of one envelope inside another and build up your pages). Over the weekend I’ll show you more explicitly what I mean – as I need to practise. The first time I did it I used PVA glue and the envelopes stuck together where they shouldn’t and the smaller version also had issues with glue. I’ll share with you the link to where I saw how to do it originally when I share my attempt at it. As it’s late, I’m just going to show you the prints I did this evening in the book, including a go at printing on felt using the gelli and some silver lino paint.

The white felt reacted quite well with the process – it picked up the impressions I made with a lid (for the circles) and the layers of silver and red. I only used a small piece of felt to try out the material, but was pleased with the results.

The book used eight small envelopes, so a double page spread is about A5 in size.

Then I returned to my drying leaves and did a couple of postcard prints ready for a postcard swap – these just need some embellishing before I post them off :-)

As you can see, my leaf collection is becoming multicoloured and rather fragile!


Wolf Brooch #1

My daughter decided to wear the fox badge I made yesterday and her friend asked if I’d make her a wolf one, so like before, I did a quick plan of the style I wanted and came up with this. My daughter was really please; hope her friend is too.



More rose cakes … Fresh strawberry this time :)

Ok, this is not a repeat post of my baking! Tonight I attempted what Mary Berry did on the Great British Bake Off and made my own piping bag and added a stripe of colour down the inside in the hope that my cake mix would have a swirl of pink in it. I made a few lemon roses (small and large this time) and added a stripe of red. I think there would have been more definition of colour if I’d used white refined sugar rather than soft brown, but I prefer the golden glow of these.

The swirl can just been seen beginning in the centre of the bottom rose, but I won’t be able to tell unless I cut through them. As these are for a colleague’s mother’s birthday, I hope she likes them.

The second batch I made included crushed up fresh strawberries. I had plenty of mixture to divide again between the cake moulds and these turned out a golden brown with a tinge of pink (I sampled a couple of the little ones, just to make sure the were OK!). Then my twelve year old and I had a go at shaping some leaves to help bring out the colour of the sponges and the shapes of the roses.

I think my daughter enjoyed the painting experience but disappeared rapidly at the sight of the washing up!


We have quite a batch now – I wonder of the guys at work will sneak into the kitchen and ‘rob’ a few!?