Featured Artist!

Do you ever do anything on the spur of the moment?  Is there ever a time you’ve woken up and decided ‘yep, I’m going to do this today!’? 

Well, I did just that on Saturday.  I woke up and announced to my youngest that we were going on a train.  She didn’t react with the same kind of enthusiasm: ‘But, I’m busy!’ she groaned, not even bothering to ask where the train was heading. With a little … OK a lot of persuasion … we caught the train with five minutes to spare and she finally cheered up when we arrived at our destination two and a half hours later in Portsmouthnd I managed to squeeze a drawing in, using my 6″ x 6″ sketchbook on the return journey.

  
 We were met with glorious weather and a bear hug from her big sister.  She bounced out of the station and took you straight to a massive ice cream parlour.

   
 It’s been an exciting week.  Not only was I featured in an eco e-magazine sharing about my art and creativity using natural products for painting and my passion for recycling, upcycling and using items found around my home to create, but I am this week the featured artist over on an amazing Facebook group site called DoodleArt 😀

How did this happen?  Well, I posted one of my forty-five minute doodles of my OH and the cat, Nikon onto the page challenge: portraits.  It was selected as receiving being among the top three with the most ‘likes’.  The group runs a different challenge a month, so there’ll be a new challenge set on June 1st.

The irony of the icecream parlour visit and eating in a restaurant, aptly named Giraffe, was that my latest doodle depicted both icecreams and a giraffe all painted using naturally made inks from coffee, tea and strawberries!

  

A Boat?  In the woods?  

A boat in the woods?

Yeah!  

On the outskirts of a busy city lies an area of National Trust woodland.  Yesterday, it would appear that half the city had decided on visiting the woods.  Was it the burst of sunshine?  Was it the draw of an unusual, quirky art installation?  Was it because parents were at a loss of what to do with their children that didn’t involve spending money?  I saw one irate lady trying to stop her two children bickering in the back of her car while she awkwardly reattached the bicycle rack and her son’s push bike to the rear of her car after a day out!

The art installation was bang in the centre of the woodland and, despite wearing white plimsoles and it being muddy, I got away with keeping my footwear remarkable clean as I dodged the crowds to get photographs of the boats without people obstructing the view.  I tried my best!

    

  

  

  

  

  

  
      

Win a copy of my book and enjoy a spot of colouring at the same time!

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Hi everyone :-). I’m running a little competition over on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/doodle2ink and thought you guys might be interested in having a go too. Kids might even like to join in (you’re welcome to enter on their behalf)!

instructions can be found via the above link, but basically it’s a free giveaway.  I did a quick doodle of a kingfisher,o which I’m giving people permission to print off and colour :-).image

It would be fab to see lots of colour combinations and perhaps added doodles, so I’ve asked if people could share their colored pieces.  This has no reflection on who will win as I will enter people and use a random name generator to pick the winner.  Just thought how lovely it would be for colour to be splashed across facebook and WordPress :). If you’d like to take part via WordPress and be in with a chance of winning a copy of my limited edition paperback pocketbook of doodles and Zentangles, please link back to this page and comment that you’re joining in.

You have until Sunday April 19th to enter and I’ll announce the winner the following week 🙂

Have a super time colouring.  Can’t wait to see your pictures

Jacques xx

3D paper flowers made in under 30 minutes – mother and daughter challenge :-)

imageGood evening from my sunny Somerset town 🙂  Hope everyone is well and enjoying the spring flowers, like I am!

Tonight, I’m going to pass over this blog to my 13-year-old, because she taught me how to make this 3D flower.

So in a photo diary style, here is a step by step on how to make one.  Anyone got any remnants of wrapping paper they want to use up?  Maybe you’re a Gelliprint enthusiast and have loads of prints that you could use?  Perhaps, you even like collecting patterned envelopes for iris folding or enjoy making teabag origami cards.  Whatever your passion for papers and prints, here’s how.

step 1

imageCut out three squares.  The flower I made at the top of this blog post was from using 15x15cm squares, but my daughter uses much smaller squares you can see that you can use even card offcuts.

step 2

fold each square diagonally corner to corner to form three triangles

step 3, step 4 and 5
Fold each triangle in half again and in half again so you end up with three small folded triangles.
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Snip off a small piece where the centre of all the folds are (the centre of your original square sheets). The hole will be where you insert the stem of your flower 🙂
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step 6

Two ways of doing this: open out each folded sheet (back to original square).  There will be a small hole at the centre.  Use the creases as a guide and draw 8 petals to create a flower – each crease being the centre of a petal.  Or if you’re brave, you can draw one petal on the folded triangles and cut out.  Try both methods and find one that you feel comfortable with.

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Step 7
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when you’ve cut one flower out, you can draw around this for the other two flowers (makes it quicker to do and the flowers will be the same size).

step 8

hopefully this won’t sound two complicated! I did mention to my daughter afterwards that it would be less fiddly to start with four squares … but this is her blog post!

Take the first flower and cut away 1 petal

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take the second flower and cut away 2 petals

imageand take the third flower and cut away 3 petals

step 9

Join the loose petals together with tape to form fourth flower OR cut a fourth flower out of another print, piece of paper or card

Step 10

Join the section of each flower to form whole ones again

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step 11

insert one flower inside another then using either a pencil or even a crochet hook/ knitting needle, roll each petal clockwise direction to give it a curl
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step 12

to make the stem, roll a printed sheet the length you want the stem to be in the same way you rolled the petals.  We used a crochet hook to get the desired thickness and height
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Step 13
Insert the stem through the centre of each flower layer and pull through just enough (about 1-2cm) to make the middle section or stamen of your 3D flower. Attach the lower flower to the stem using tape or glue.

Step 14

Use a pair of scissors to ‘shred’ the 1-2cm piece for the stamen and separate slightly.
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Step 15
Check out your flower, admire it, adjust it, doodle on it or present it to someone you love 🙂
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Ok, it’s been a while!

I’ve been away on holiday you see, soaking up some much needed sunshine in Cornwall. We had limited access to wi-fi and so I made the most of the break away from technology and drew, doodled

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and watched my youngest paint a picture of a labrador puppy.
Then of course, like all holidays, they eventually come to an end :-(. I had to play catch-up at work and still slot in some me and family time. So what have all you lovely people been up to? Have you been glancing across the road for the first buds of spring? I spotted snowdrops this week and suddenly daffodils are shooting up on the verges. My favourite season: spring! Excited! Not only do I wait in anticipation of the appearance of flowers and blossoms, but some gorgeous leaves that I will be able to print from.
Anyway, for today’s WordPress post, I’m going to share with you some photographs of my little getaway trip to Cornwall to accompany one of my drawings from my time away – hope you like them.

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This was a hidden underground pool found in a disused slate mine – isn’t it wonderful?

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For literature fans – we visited Jamaica Inn, the setting for one of Daphne du Maunier’s novel of the same name. According to some people, there are parts of the inn which are haunted and when we toured the adjoining museum we were treated to memorabilia by the author and details of smuggling that took place over the centuries across Cornwall.
As well as taking a sip of a cool drink, we were able to watch a fifteen minute video about the history of the inn and surrounding areas.

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One of many smugglers’ caves … This one was found at Polperro. When we weren’t exploring caves, we played around with our shadows. Even though it was February half term, the weather was glorious 🙂

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Interesting then that we returned home to snow, sleet and rain making it feel all the more real that we’ve been away on holiday 🙂

Random Craft Swap

How much do you love receiving gifts in the mail? Do you clutch the unopened envelope for ages and try and guess what’s inside? What about receiving something handcrafted? The person sending has taken a lot of thought into creating something special and unique. They’ve considered what the other person might like. When I started on a craft to swap I went over to Gladeridercrafts blogger’s page – check it out as there’s some gorgeous stitching on there! We did a random craft swap this week and I was so excited when my craft packet arrived.

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Isn’t it lovely? Thank you so much Gladeridercrafts 🙂

Also this week, I opened the post at work to find my OH had sent me a large padded envelope with the word fragile written on it! I would never have guessed what was inside…a box of Matchmakers – I love these chocolates!

It made me giggle just like a few years ago when I had a postie calling card to collect a packet from the depot. When I arrived with my ID, the postman looked at me apologetically as he handed over the mail.
‘Should it feel like that?’ He asked.
I admit it did feel as though the contents had smashed. Also, as I hadn’t ordered or been expecting anything, I had no idea what it was. The contents shifted and chinked beneath the padded envelope. I gulped.
Finally, As I sat in the car, I opened the packet to find 200 buttons of all different colours (nothing broken or smashed) inside. Lovely!

So, what have I posted out this week? Well two lucky people received handprinted fabric goodies: an ATC

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and an expanding notebook

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That was fun 😀

Pepper foam stamps

This was interesting: carve into a foam cube and hope it looks like something once ink has been applied!
I chose to do a set of peppers. One whole one; one cut in half plus some chilli peppers. On another side I also sketched out some peppers growing among leaves, but for now this seems a bit complicated to cut out with the tool I have available.

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Will share some more pictures tomorrow, but before I say goodnight, how about this for making prints

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My daughter didn’t seem all that impressed when I asked if I could borrow her shoes to do some prints of the sole!

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This imprint was spotted this morning on my driveway after a frosty start. I think it would be a bit excessive to remove a car tyre just to make a Gelli print. What do you think?

Some more stamps … How about barbed wire and Celtic knots?

Trying out carving tiny motifs into household erasers proved a little challenging this evening (but then my daughter had fun colouring in the unprinted sections afterwards!).

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These erasers were even smaller than the tree I shared in the previous blog post. The barbed wire stretches across 1.5 inches! Sorry metric fans!!!

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2015/01/img_4245.jpgThe border’s all ready to colour in 🙂

Tiny trees and tiny silhouette people

Anyone else like trees? I drive past them in winter and try and imagine their branches being limbs and the trunks being the body. I love the fact that they look so magically different during each season and how beautiful they seem when cloaked in a fresh layer of snow. Autumn colours of fallen leaves surround the trunks and carpet the ground like rainbow snow from a distance and blooms from spring blossom always make a great photographic opportunity.

So this evening I had fun carving out a rubber stamp tree using an everyday eraser, then doodling silhouettes of people sitting in them, lying under them reading or painting by an easel. Can you spot them?

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I might try this handmade stamp on a sheet for wrapping paper next – it’s my mother’s birthday in a couple of weeks. I thought I’d make her a pair of gloves. I’ve also just crocheted my seventh pair of gloves since Christmas Eve! They’ve become a bit more elaborate since my first pair, using my own pattern, so I hope she will like the pair I plan to give her 🙂
This is my latest pair – complete with a ruffle …

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Do you like to receive handmade gifts? What’s the best one you’ve received/or the most special? My mother-in-law (much to my DH’s embarrassment) has a handmade snowman using cotton wool balls and a cardboard tube which makes an appearance every year. Obviously it’s very dear to her. For me, it’s the early drawings of my children, such as a cat my eldest drew when she was 3 1/2 years old. She’d captured our tabby, Samson with giant claws and drew him dressed in rainbow stripes. Delightful 🙂

Happenstance

This past week has been difficult and a mix of both excitement and sadness.
I’ll start with the sad part and end on the happy part.

On Wednesday evening my youngest child and I snuggled down to watch an episode of ‘six Puppies and Us’. We don’t own a dog, but my eldest has taken up drawing them … lots of dogs. She recently ran a competition called the twelve dogs of Christmas where people posted photos of their dogs and then others voted which should be the top thirteen (twelve dogs – one for each month + one for the cover of a calender). The dogs were voted for and the close of the competition was 6th January.
The programme, as the title suggests is about owners and their puppies. We hadn’t watched the first two programmes and just happened to come across one … The adolescent episode. What transpired was a lot of giggling from my daughter as each dog reached adolescence. However, there was one comment made by one owner that riled me. She said that she decided to buy a dog so that her children could understand death through a dog before having to cope with a person dying. I felt that that was a rather strange reason to take on the responsibility of bringing up a puppy. Anyway, it made my daughter and I have an interesting conversation about the validity of the woman’s comment and whether or not she was doing the right thing for her children.
Later, I went on to watch a film and death seemed to feature in this too. This time, a lad’s pet turtle passed away and was found by his step mother. Urgently, she ran out of the house to find a replacement – one that looked as identical as possible so the child wouldn’t discover the turtle’s sad demise.
It was nearing 11pm and I switched the movie off before it finished. Jobs beckoned me: the dishwasher needed to be filled and I had to go to work the next morning.
With the washing up sorted, I went to say goodnight, as I usually do, to our house rabbit Pom Pom. At that time of night I’m normally greeted with an excited bouncing rabbit eager to say hello and have her head smoothed and her ears rubbed. Not this time. I knew something was up. She was still. She was, well you know. I cried of course. Maybe the film and the programme were preparing me. Happenstance, coincidence. Whatever. Grief struck and I didn’t know how to tell my kid. We all were extremely fond of her. I will say though that despite how difficult this week has been, I have been moved by the outpouring of kind comments and thoughts from friends and family but also people I have met in creative groups and not actually met face-to-face. It’s certainly been appreciated and I know I am among some wonderful, thoughtful people who care very much and hurt too when they know you’re hurting or sad.
The rabbit’s life flashed before me: we went to see her as a tiny bundle of fluff and brought her back as a surprise on Christmas Eve seven years ago. My husband and I were like excited school kids as we hid the hutch in the boot of the car and then presented three squealing children with the bunny who looked like a pom pom ball. She was the most placid and delightful pet and now she’s gone … But Pom Pom won’t be forgotten.

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Now to some fun news … My first printed book arrived on Wednesday: I’d spent ages planning out the pages and checked out various outlets for the best offers. I wanted something that would showcase my printmaking – the best prints from lino cuts and using the Gelli. Of course, when choosing the style and shape, I had to go for a square book. My portfolio of prints, now contained in a printed book, fit perfectly in my handbag and has arrived in time for workshops I’m starting to run in February. People taking part in my tutorials will now be able to flick through the glossy pages and find something that will hopefully inspire them in their own journey of creating 🙂
Best wishes everyone … And apologies for being away.

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