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!

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Out of the mouths of babes

There are many entries I’ve collected since my three children were small of amusing utterances escaping their innocent mouths. I realised that if I still laughed about it several months later, it must be funny and other people will find it funny too. I began adding them to a book we aptly name The Happy Book. There are even ones my kids have written in there that I’ve said, more often than not when I’m tired, or occasionally when someone in the house is annoyed, but everything comes out ‘wrong’. We all have creative licence. We’re all creative with our own language. It’s difficult therefore to pick the most amusing (as Myfanwy has suggested in her Summer Journal Prompt for today –, so I thought I’d share with you a few that hopefully will have you chuckling right up to bedtime and beyond! Maybe you can pick your favourites from this list of mine or even add some of your own?

1. One day, my then three-year-old son came outside of the house to see what was going on. The bonnet was up on my car and a mechanic had turned up. Beneath the car was a pool of green (anti-freeze). He frowned, as if I hadn’t noticed what he’d seen, pointed urgently at the floor and exclaiming, ‘Ooh look, Mummy. The car’s been sick.’

2. My husband was doing a spot of DIY (October 2010) when he ranted in frustration at not finding the exact tool he wanted, ‘If it was impossible it would be easier.’

3. My daughter queried, ‘Why don’t they have any cows?’ when we went to Build A Bear for her younger sister’s birthday. I replied, ‘Well they could have – they’ve got a monkey, and owl, a banana …’. Never seen a Build a Bear banana …


(Cow print)

4. My daughter via Skype while at university (October 2011): ‘I had a really healthy dinner. I had potatoes with their skins on and rubber beans.’

5. My son: ‘Mum can you buy me some smaller size clothes so that when I lose weight I can fit in them?’ My son isn’t on a diet…

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A pirate box inspired wall hanging

Evening everyone. Just a brief post today as the heat got to me … I fell asleep. However, I did manage to draw out the outline for a wall hanging in air-vanishing fabric marker when I returned from a city trip.
Frustrating. Why is it that half the shops are shut today and it’s not even a Bank Holiday? I ended up sketching a cardboard lunchbox, which had a skull and crossbones on it while I drank a cup of coffee!
I realise it’s Monday, but even the shops that we open were run by grumpy people. I approached one guy to have a look around his gallery and he had a huge pile of adverts on display about changing exhibitions. I enquired about his rates and he said they’d stopped doing that and to try another gallery. When I asked where the gallery was, he replied ‘next to the sweet shop’. I gave him a blank look. I don’t come here often enough to know where a sweet shop is and it is a city! He then referred to Subway. Majority of cities have more than one. I shrugged again. He mentioned another place I’d never heard of and offered no directions. I went for a walk and eventually found it next to a huge church (obviously not a pub man or a religious man). Guess what? It was closed!
The wall hanging (a commission) was a challenge as Nikon thought it was a great game to chase the nib of the pen across the fabric. Fortunately there are no claw marks! I checked.
I stitched the top and bottom tunnels on my machine for two long pieces of dowel to slide through. This is to make the hanging easier and give the fabric a bit of weight.
I’ve made a start on the stitching around each shape, which I’m trying to finish before the pen marks vanish, and will show you the next stage later.


Nikon, even at one point, launched herself at my legs as she saw a loose thread while I was sat at the sewing machine. When I moved her, she found my notebook and began playing wiith the attached ribbon!

Posted in accessories, art, Drawing and sketching, handmade, inspiration, life, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

illustrating a story from a photograph

I recently purchased a book called ‘Illustrating Children’s Books’ and there are a series of projects to follow. The first one involves taking a photograph and trying to imagine what happens next once the people have left. Where did they go and what did they get up to? Who did they meet?

Rather than choose a family photograph, I selected one of a derelict house on top of a hill. This is the first draft at this: a quick fifteen minute sketch which I hope illustrates a bit more about what happens.

The photograph just contained a house and a wooded area behind it and some blooms of wild flowers.

Obviously there is scope to develop this further and I only spent around fifteen minutes on it.

The doodle on the right hand page is a series of overlapping cats prowling around a mouse, who bravely stands up to all of them. Just having a bit of fun today while waiting for the ink to dry ;)


The tale would be very different had I used a different starting point – perhaps a scene at a fair or the harbour festival which has taken place this weekend (we didn’t go due to the stormy weather). My son took a picture of the bolt lightning in the early hours of Saturday morning, which lit up the entire street as if it were daylight.

I’ll have a go at project two tomorrow :)

Posted in art, Drawing and sketching, motivation, reflection, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

DIY: The Butterfly


Check this out! A wonderful tutorial on book binding :-). I love it!

Originally posted on THE WORLD OF A DINOSAUR:

Today I’ll let you in on a little secret. ;) I will show you how I make my butterfly notebooks. This is my first tutorial so I will ask you to be patient with me and hopefully all this will make sense. :D

The idea of this tutorial was sparked by Juni, my beautiful Australian fan. Juni is writing a book about writing and my tutorial will be part of it together with several other pictures from my already finished notebooks. I would like to take advantage of this occasion and thank Juni for the beautiful opportunity of being part of her book.

So let’s get started.


Paper: I like to use a lot of recycled materials, old notebooks, old books, paper for letters, basically anything that I find nice. I do of course also use regular print paper for the classic look so do not feel stressed if you can’t…

View original 1,022 more words

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I love donkeys and thought this would be a great subject for my next lino cut, so I thought I’d share with you the photograph and the sketch as I prepare the lino. Will show you the print in a later blog post :) If you have any suggestions of what I could make a print of, that would be great too. (I like a challenge!).

When I was 17, I sketched an etching from a book which was published during the 1800s, Don Quixote. There was one particular picture that I was inspired to draw and that was of a man with his arms wrapped around a donkey and sobbing.

Donkeys also remind me of the seaside when I was small enough to ride one across the sand. When my first child was about 18 months old, we took her to the seaside for a ride on one and she had to be seated facing away from the mane. No idea why, but she cried every time she was facing forwards! Anyway, I hope you like my ‘sketch-in-progress’, which I’ve done entirely in a ‘handwriting’ pen that children are expected to use at school nowadays in the UK!DSC04662
I’ll finish this another day – my hand is now aching, so I’m going to rest it for the remainder of the evening. Have a good weekend everyone :)

Posted in animals, art, Drawing and sketching, inspiration, photography, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Summer Journal Sketch Day 19

Today’s summer journal prompt is about school uniform. Love it or hate it? Want to change it? Did you wear one?

I don’t know about anyone else from my school days, but I hated my uniform. I’m glad I didn’t have to wear a tie. My son and eldest daughter did. My son had a couple of incidences where others ‘peanutted’ him by pulling the end of the tie. My youngest daughter goes to a different school and she was equally relieved she didn’t have to learn to tie a tie.

The blazer clashed with the peach blouse and the stripes didn’t match at the seams. Even though I detested wearing it, I still have it in the loft decorated with my badge collection. It’s now very heavy lol! We also carried canvas satchels covered in graffiti written using Tippex and permanent pens about our favourite bands or who we had a crush on at the time. Considering I went to an all girls school, boyfriends were the topic of most people’s conversations!

school uniform

I remember once being told off sternly for wearing a different coloured pair of socks to what was stated on the uniform list, yet I often saw others wearing far more extreme changes to the code such as piercings, jewellery and tightening those skirts!

It’s been really interesting reading about others’ experiences and what they wore. We never wore uniform at primary age, but it was statutory at Secondary school. It was quite an event to go into the city and go to an official uniform stockist and try on the various skirts, blazers, and P.E. kit. We had to embroider our names on the T-Shirts and my mum ensured I did this, not her. The same applied to the P.E. bag.

Did you like your school uniform? Would you have preferred not to have worn one and therefore wear what you liked? I often hear people say that the uniform was intended to stop discrimination and bullying; everyone dresses in the same, yet even now and having experienced observing uniform codes as a teacher, I see children trying to out-smart each other with more expensive shoes or rolling the waistband of their skirts up so that the length is shortened. Ever heard of the muffin top? Well, this emphasised their waists!

Posted in Drawing and sketching, inspiration, life, motivation | 5 Comments

New Blog announcement :-)

Hi all :-)

I have set up another blog, which I would love people to follow and visit. As you know, I’ve recently purchased a printing press through an auction. For those of you who love printing; are interested in printing and would like to see the sorts if things I will be printing on my press you are welcome to join me at

The blog will be specifically on and about printing and publishing. As previously mentioned, I am embarking on a bit of an adventure. A friend has offered me a stone outbuilding as an art studio and I’m in the process of illustrating a children’s book, so you lucky people will get some sneak previews! image I will also be showcasing some monoprints made on a Gelli plate; intaglio illustrations, card cutouts for printing, rubber stamping and so on.
I will continue adding something each day to this blog which as you are aware can vary every day from photography to haiku to crochet to baking. I have a lot of new things in store, including altering a book and some pictorial tutorials! Enjoy :-)

Posted in craft, life, motivation, Printing | 2 Comments

Daily Post Photo Challenge ‘Containers’ and First Impressions

The Daily Post Photo Challenge for this week is ‘Containers’

It’s been almost a week since I purchased my cast iron printing press at auction.  I’ve been playing with it and experimenting with different papers throughout the week and managed to cut two lino printing plates.  It’s a bit of an odd ‘container’ but my cast iron press this week has contained pieces of lino covered in ink and sheets of cartridge paper for just a few seconds; long enough to produce lasting impressions in black ink.

The size of the lino allowed me to sketch out a cat from a fellow blogger, Emma.  Emma kindly supplied several photographs of her cat, Bonaparte and I particularly liked the abstract appearance that the lino gave once I cut out the design.  It became a little too complicated adding the floral pattern alongside a tabby, but I did some sample prints from it before cutting away some more of the lino.  Using freshly brewed tea as paint, I began to add further markings to the cat’s coat and then applied watercolour pencils to the floral area.  Overall, I’m pleased with the outcome of my first prints from my printing press.  It allows me to add more pressure than I could possibly do by hand by turning the brass turning handle tighter and is large enough to do up to A3 prints.


Once I’d had a go with the cat, I packaged it up for Emma and sent it off in the post.  She’s already blogged about it and you can see her post here:


As you can see from the above picture, I initially had the floral pattern sketched in.

black and white Bonaparte

This is the reverse of the sketch I did a few days ago in my A5 notebook, again with a wash of tea:


This is how the print turned out, which I sent to Emma:

Bonapart impression

The second lino cut I produced was of a frog in a tree. When I took him out of the printing press I saw the textures left by the paper and wanted to give him a wash of tea.  So here is my ‘tea’ frog.

My black ink container is quite empty now with all this playing, but I’m having fun!

frog lino

I wanted to make some postcard prints and send them to people.  The great thing about printing is, you can get many impressions, but often the results change as the ink builds up between the cut marks.  I’m so excited by this adventure I’m on, because someone has now offered me a studio work place not far from where I live.  Currently, I’m squeezing all the printing equipment and tools into a side yard which means I have to stand while cutting the lino.  Partly, this is due to my husband being a qualified blacksmith and needing the space in the garden and his garage to make metal ‘things’.


Posted in 3D, animals, art, Drawing and sketching, handmade, photography, Printing | 10 Comments

Haiku – fire




Safety note on paint

Boiled and bubbled with the heat

Toxic flash point fumed.



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Giant Bourbon Commission

I had to take a break from my printing enterprise to finish a giant Bourbon biscuit cushion (as you do!), which was a commission and needed to be ready for tomorrow. I had quite a bit of fun doing this and it would make a good back rest, in my opinion.

You’re already familiar with the giant Jammy Dodger cushions I’ve made and added in previous blog posts. Just to remind you, here is another picture:


and a link back to the blogged post

As you can see, Nikon was showing an interest in the latest giant biscuit, just as I took the photograph :)



Posted in 3D, craft, handmade, inspiration, motivation, Sewing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments