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!

  

Black and white

Copyrighted images.  Please do not copy or share without my express written permission.  Thanks 🙂

Trees have always fascinated me.  My DH and I had a discussion about what makes a perfect tree.  Does it have to have evenly spread branches, be covered in snow or blossom, or should it be standing solo, tall and magestic?

Some of the most magical trees I’ve seen have been deep in forests covered in moss.  I love also how in the saddest places such as abandoned cemeteries, among crumbling tombstones, life returns in the form of meandering branches, tree trunks and wild plants.

I took several black and white images the other day and loved the eeriness of them; so what do you think?

   
           

Elephants Never …

Good morning everyone!  Have you ever had to do something in secret?  Have you ever had to go ‘undercover’?

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the UK and sadly I didn’t get to see my own mother.  But it got me thinking this morning about the time i helped a neighbour secretly arrange a surprise birthday party for her.  In the week leading up to my mum’s birthday, I made my excuses and popped around to my neighbour, Sheila’s (who incidentally told me she’d always wanted a little girl, but couldn’t), to bake.  In previous posts, I’ve revealed that I dislike cooking, mainly because my mum was a qualified chef and a perfectionist.  Anything I did had to be perfect, so I didn’t like baking cakes with her …

in the space of a week, Sheila and I prepared trifles, traybakes (flapjack), a birthday cake and savouries so colourful that there was no need for a table cloth!  I faced the complaints by my mum as I kept asking to go over to Sheila’s.  We fell out over it, but I couldn’t tell her what we were really up to.  That’s a hard thing to do when you’re ten years old!

On the day itself, my mum had to eat her words (she’d said some spiteful things in that week) and I watched as her mouth fell open in amazement when she saw the spread of food.  It was a good celebration, but I still hate baking!

Hurtful words linger and dig deep; they create invisible scars.

One person posted a quote and image on Facebook (the social networking site is usually littered with them).  I’m not sure where it originated, but on a search, it informs me that it was written by ‘Anonymous’

“One day someone is going to hug you so tight that all your broken pieces will stick back together.”

I wish I could have hugged my mum yesterday, especially after the weekend I’ve just had.  I hope she’s enjoying her holiday.

Next stage of project

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After scoring the square shape inside each circle, you can fold the sections back and glue the base to a glorious background of colour …

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Then start decorating with fun gel pens and fine liners 🙂

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Next stage of new project

After cutting out 32 circles from the Gelliprints I glued two different prints together to end up with 16 double-sides circles.

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I then drew out a 3cm square from card and scored around the edge on each circle (so there’s a square in the centre)

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Then, using a 3×2 Gelliplate, I decorated my journal page, finding textures and inspiration from a fizzy drink lid, bubble wrap and an empty chocolate box

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Watch this space for the next stage of the project … 🙂

The ties arrived in time :-)

How about a handprinted tie for Christmas? My dad always had to wear a suit and tie to work and I can remember as a kid going into a tailors many years ago while he was measured up for a tailor-made jacket. He also used to traipse across town in search of leather-soled shoes so they lasted. To him, that was money well spent. My mum would also painstakingly iron his shirts and fold them as if they’d just been bought so that they could neatly sit inside the wardrobe piled up on the shelves rather than be hung up on a hanger. Likewise, I seldom saw my grandfather out of a proper shirt; he always dressed for dinner.
So, I thought long and hard what I could buy my dad for Christmas this year. He, of course, dresses up in shirt and tie for restaurant meals, but when I saw him yesterday he was wearing a thread-bare sweater and jogging bottoms – his garage clothing. Hmm, should I fork out for something he’s unlikely to wear? Should I invest the next two weeks into trying to knit a new sweater for him (impossible) or handprint him a unique tie that he could wear on special occasions, such as my daughter’s forthcoming birhday?
I chose the latter and ordered five plain white silk ties (well, some might not turn out quite right). Then I added some fabric paints to the list began considering designs for it.
This is what I came up with – a handprinted silk tie – this is one I sold today at an orchid and craft fair :-). The other is off public view as it needs to remain a surprise!

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opening and shutting doors

We had a guest a few years ago who travelled all the way from Europe to spend five weeks with us while she studied English.  Her fascination with the range of cakes and biscuits available at the supermarkets meant we were able to sample something new every night.

While exploring the avenues in Somerset, she commented on the ‘quaint’ or cute little houses , the meandering roads and door knockers!  She wanted to take one back as a souvenir and asked us where she could buy one.  My DH disappeared into the garden and removed the door knocker from the spare door propped up along the side of our house and presented her with the brass accessory.  It wasn’t elaborate, ornate or really that decorative, but she danced around on the balls of her feet as if she’d been given the best gift in the world!

Another visitor who came to stay with us from Italy decided he wanted to ram a full size cricket set, Christmas crackers and a fancy dress policeman’s helmet in his suitcase.  It took a while to explain to him that he couldn’t have cricket stumps sticking out of his backpack on the plane.  He wore the fancy dress helmet and somehow got the cricket bat lying across the inside of his case.

I do like old doors like the one in the picture, but unlike my youngest child, I struggle with keys (she can look at a bunch of keys and select the one we need, while I would have to try all of them!).  She also liked to shut doors while my OH likes opening them – and leaving them open!

I recently saw a post on Facebook about doors of opportunity closing and wondered how many times people are prepared to try going for something, for example, how many times would you be prepared to apply for the same job at the same place if it came up again?  Sometimes it feels as if someone is trying to tell you something: try a different route; a different road; a different pathway to get there.  Have there been any places you’ve really wanted to work and so you’ve applied for everything going?  My sister-in-law did just this: she kept on applying to the same company; she kept knocking on their door.  Nothing stopped her enthusiasm and eventually she did get offered a job at that company.

While writing this, I think back to the times I sent off letter after letter to publishing companies and duly received thank you letters with various reasons why they couldn’t publish my short story or reader’s letter.  Through perseverance and probably a lot of gutsy determination, I started getting pieces of my creative writing published.  I began to receive phone calls from editors and prizes.  The buzz began to happen and I began to believe.

Years later, I look back on the doors that slammed shut and the doors that creaked open.  Occasionally, there were doors of opportunity open to me, but I was the one who shut the door.  Have you ever done that?  It can be scary; you start to doubt yourself and that’s when you decide to shut the door and stay on the path that you know.

This evening, I attempted to make an origami rose. I got as far as this and was stumped! I will return to this another day when I’m less tired.

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Digital image

Yesterday was one of those days where the doors decided to shut. The plan was to take my daughter somewhere special to take her mind off the dentist appointment. Considering there is a minor link between fairies, doors and teeth (the tooth fairy), I’m going to share with you what we’d planned. We were going fairy hunting. Yes, after a discussion at work, I found out there was a woodland fairy trail that contains fifteen wooden fairy doors hidden in the trunks of the trees.

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Now, a twelve year old might be a bit old in some people’s eyes to believe in fairies, but when it comes to having teeth out, there is the expectation that the tooth fairy will pay a visit 😉
We will endeavour to explore the fairy trail on a less drizzly day and I will share with you some of the dainty little fairy doors that we find. In the meantime, this was a ten minute sketch I did of one of the door knockers as we are going to keep knocking on those doors of opportunity!

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Hamsters, Fairies and Angels

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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!

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Fog

This evening we spent three and a half hours to get to our hotel, which according to the map was only forty minutes away…diversions and roadworks – what a nightmare! Thick fog also meant wrong turns and difficulty finding our route in a place we’d never been to before. I don’t know if people’s minds were also foggy on giving us directions because we asked five different people and they all gave us different directions.
One consolation, my twelve-year-old is enjoying a mug of hot chocolate in our hotel room now and it’s 10:50pm and the hotel room is bliss, but then, I think even the floor would have felt appealing after sitting in the car for so long on a wild goose chase.

The decor is lovely and calming in a mix of purples and brown…and at least we can have a lie in in the morning. So all you lovely people, a blog craft, photo or drawing will have to wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime

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Here is a picture of my Sherlock hat as we had to do a bit of detective work today and tomorrow we will somehow have to find our way back! Have a great evening everyone 🙂

Gelli kettle and a flame inspired piece

Two more gelli prints today. Shortly I will be returning to some sewing as j get ready for Christmas stock for a craft stall to raise funs for Children’s Hospice and presents for friends and family – I’m considering combining printing with sewing next as part of mixed media goodies. What do you lovely people think? Should I create some printed tote bags for the sale? If so, any ideas what Images to have a go at? Would love to hear your suggestions and input 🙂
Also, don’t forget to check out my facebook page – there’s a button for the link at the bottom of this blog feed. I’m planning a few exciting things over the next couple of weeks and some you will only see on my facebook page and some you’ll only see on here! How exciting is that?!
Here is my Gelli kettle print (these types of kettles rely on heat from a fire rather than electric) which is leading onto something really special and that has to remain secret for now 😉

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And my flame-inspired print using textured fabric made from plastic mesh (I thought it resembled snake skin, but let’s keep with the fire theme at the moment!).

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