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!

  

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Doodling bunnies

Today, I glanced out of the window at work to a field that usually has three horses nibbling the grass.  By mid-afternoon, the horses had vanished and ten wild rabbits ‘binkied’, hopped and sniffed around.  Every one of them was a character that I could bring into a story.  However, having just got a baby bunny rabbit two weeks ago, I can’t stop drawing her!  She hops up and down from the sofa, scoots around my rainbow rug and loves having the run of the lounge!  

She is going to be a character in my children’s story I’m writing, so I guess, the more I sketch her, the better!  Can’t wait to do the proper illustrations, but first I’m jotting down the bones of the story.  Maybe I should start a new blog dedicated to the adventures of Willow.

   
     

Sneak a peak at my next project: a children’s picture book

Morning everyone. I’ve finally got round to making a start on a long term project – my children’s book and thought you guys might want a sneak preview of the cover as a WIP 😀

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Still a long way to finishing this and need to add a splash of colour, but I thought it an apt time to share. The story is based on a nickname my children gave me when they were little 😉

Best wishes 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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Happy Mother’s Day

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Hi everyone.  I’ve been awake since 3am on what is Mother’s Day in the UK, so I’m going to do a shout out to all mothers, mothers-to-be and those who just need a virtual (((hug))), perhaps because they miss their mums or fell out with their mums or have been separated for whatever reason.

My aunt, an American, married my uncle, a Brit many years ago.  My uncle lived in the US for more than two decades … could have been three earning a living with his Geology qualifications.  He vowed he’d return to the UK when his elderly parents became frail, and that’s exactly what he did.  He brought his wife to England; she thought our houses were ‘quaint’ and laughed at the disastrous ways we deal with a dusting of snow and the whole country grinds to a halt.  But, like most in the UK we Brits like to drink tea and are renowned for our trailing teahouses and cafes snuggled in narrow lanes and along cobbled side streets.

When I was very young, my uncle’s parents (aka my grandparents) were invited over to what we call ‘tea’ (sandwiches, cake and beverages of squash or hot drinks) – which was usually on a weekend because my parents worked and we children were at school in the week – and they turned up in their Triumph, which I then thought was a Mini.  My brother, a bit older than me, was prompted by my mother to make them a cup of tea on their arrival.  Assuming he knew how to do this task, he was allowed to set to work.  Minutes later, with the kettle boiling, there was a moment similar to: ‘You didn’t put diesel in petrol car, did you?’ moment as my mother stood, mouth agape gazing into the kettle.  Her son and my brother had added loose tea leaves to kettle instead of spooning them into the teapot.  She watched as the brown soggy leaves danced and pirouetted in the bubbling water, wondering how she was going to clean up the mishap.

Similarly, well maybe differently, my own son offered to make me a cup of hot chocolate when he was little.  I felt proud of this moment as I waited patiently for him to bring me a mug of steaming chocolate.  I took a tentative sip and found it weak and watery rather than thick and creamy or indeed chocolatey!  ‘How did you make this?’ I asked.

My little boy described how he had one MINI rolo left and wanted to give it to me … so he boiled the kettle, placed the mini rolo in a mug and added hot water to it.  Endearing.  I haven’t tasted anything quite like it!

Tea, on the other hand, is drunk black in our house.  I sometimes drink fruit tea at work.  My mother-in-law, however loves her tea from a teapot and then adds milk.  She likes Earl Grey and is content to receive a box of teabags for any occasion be it a birthday or Christmas.  I hope she likes her Mother’s Day present.  It’s not tea, but a bouquet of flowers will sit nicely on her table while we sip our drinks 🙂image

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?

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 🙂

Drawing and story a day #3

Ever forgotten something on a really important day? How about forgetting to put a 35mm film in the camera for your engagement party? We did. Many years ago my father gave me a Fujica camera for my birthday while studying for my ‘A’ Level art and design. He’s an avid photographer who likes to do nature shots of flowers and he’s got a multitude of boat pictures in his collection of slides and displayed in photo albums.
When it came to the momentous occasion of doing a studio photo shoot for my future husband, one of the 35mm reels of film jammed in the camera and without a darkroom, my future father-in-law thought he was being helpful by opening up the back (big no-no as the light destroys the film). Both my boyfriend and I stood mouth agape at the unravelled roll dangling from the back of the camera like the intestines of a cadaver during autopsy.
Later, during our engagement party, we snapped away photo after photo of the cake and the riotous game of skittles only to find that we’d forgotten to include a camera film when it was too late. The drawing of the Fujica camera was an attempt at creating a picture without removing the fineliner pen from the page. There were occasions when I did have to lift the pen though, such as for the lettering to be readable! It was tricky gauging the right dimensions and trying to keep to scale (reason for wonky lens).

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My son, now also an avid photographer, enjoys using the Canon and I’ve watched him create and delete photos he’s not happy with and I’ve observed the glee on his face when he’s captured that perfect moment: sunsets and portraits, deer feeding while surrounded by ground frost. I wonder how he’d get on with a 35mm film in a camera where you can’t check the shot and then have to wait a fortnight for it to be developed and printed like back in the 80s? I hope he likes the rubber stamp I cut this evening for him. He can use it over and over again on letter heads or business cards … Or he can use the eraser and gradually the camera will fade away! Lol!
Meanwhile camera fans who read this blog might appreciate a photograph of my son’s kitten he named Nikon, after another camera. Here she is playing around with the dismantled Christmas tree …

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Facts and Evidence

My first drawing was of a pair of shoes … They’re made of velvet and I bought them just before Christmas (in the sale) for £4!

The drawing reminded me of a couple of real stories – hope you can read them on the journal page. As a kid, I watched a programme called Indelible Evidence. It showed how a criminal was brought to justice just because he had an unusual bite. He’d taken a bite out of an apple and tossed it away. The partially eaten apple became the evidence. As children, part of growing up is testing boundaries and seeing what you can or cannot get away with. Children worry about getting told off or having items confiscated due to their behaviour. Being a teacher has shown me the many excuses children try out when they fail to bring their homework in: one told me his house burnt down. Have you ever used an excuse as a child why you didn’t do your homework? I confess, I often left mine to the last minute. I remember being asked to make a 3D junk clock. Reluctantly, I scrabbled around the house and selected a few items such as a cereal box and the lid of of the toothpaste. Randomly, I glued the pieces on and created something that vaguely could be called a clock. Feeling sheepish, I handed it over to my tutor and looked at the floor so he couldn’t see my expression. Odd that something I rushed together was praises. All I wanted to do was chuck it in the trash!
One of the stories in my new journal tells about the time my daughter did do her homework only for her sister to sabotage it! I’ve witnessed pranks being made by adults for adults and enjoyed playing the game Balderdash. My youngest played this game over the festive break and invented a whole new currency: stirfry!
One is about a man my mum worked with many years ago who had very large feet and was the only male worker in a catering department. He liked playing with flour and generally made very clumsy attempts at cooking. The other tales are about my youngest – she loves drawing. Enjoy! I’ll leave the Kitkat story to your imagination!

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Wristies – made in an evening

OK, hi everyone! Yesterday was my birthday and what better way to spend it than my DH and daughter taking me to my favourite craft store (with its very own cafe) for breakfast with my son home from uni)?
While we ate, I glanced at the rainbow selection of wool stacked from floor to ceiling and racks of ribbons in every colour under the sun :-). There were yarn bombs decorating the indoor pillars and a delicious variety of books to suit beginners and experts alike. So, what did I buy?
My youngest child wanted me to crochet her some wristies (she’d seen the ones I made earlier in the week). She chose some wool – blue flecked with silver and a grey for the stripe. While she browsed, I flicked through the books. One caught my eye and made me giggle: a book on pipe cleaner pets! Not seen one on that before! I resisted buying the book – for now – but for anyone interested in trying a new craft … It’s also available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Pipe-Cleaner-Design-Originals/dp/1574215108/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419136495&sr=8-1&keywords=pipe+cleaner+pets
Maybe this is something to try next year on Squarebird?
I then found some pretty pink and grey yarn which was perfect for my friend. This evening, after watching the indoor sparklers flicker on my birthday cake (bought for me by the colleague I’d made the red wristies for earlier), I crocheted another pair of wristies for my friend.

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Now onto making some for my daughter!

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