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 😀


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


Help required in choosing a character name…would you like to help?


It’s nearing midnight and I’m suffering from a winter cold.  This evening I worked overtime, finishing at 7.30 and then had to wait around until 9pm for my daughter to arrive by train.  Yay!  She’s staying for the weekend 🙂

I’m in the middle of preparing something extra special for the weekend – a couple of step-by-step tutorials, so please be patient lovely people and forgive me for not posting a craft project, sketch or print today.  There are only so many hours in the day and today just wasn’t long enough!

I’ve managed my National Novel Writing Month word count today and I’m now on the 10,249 word mark at day 6.  With a minimum of 50,000 words to write in 30 days, I’m glad I’m keeping up.  So fellow bloggers, I have a question to ask you and hope you can help- for a bit of fun and to help me decide on a name.  Which would you pick out of the following as a futuristic character name? If you can provide me with a reason for your choice, that would be great 🙂  For example, Tyvek is waterproof (this could therefore provide my character with a special power if he/she had that name) My novel is Dystopian and set in the future (obviously ;))





Damascus Steel

Summer Journal … Day 5

Today’s prompt for July 5th by Myfanwy Hart was to respond to ‘What do you prefer?’ This was to make a statement about media preferences.  Now, if I was going to decide whether I prefer watching a film to reading a book, I would have to say the book comes tops every time.  Just like a book has to hook me within the first few pages or it lays discarded, a film has to grab my attention.  More often than not, I give up half way through, much to the annoyance of other family members, especially when weeks later, they may watch the same film and I will comment on a section and say, ‘I haven’t seen this before’! They will argue and say, ‘Yes, you have.’ What they really mean is, they’ve seen it and even spot the errors, the stray microphone, the skid marks in a desert from a previous shoot etc and therefore, I must have picked up on this too.

I do enjoy a bit of Sherlock drama (the movies and the TV series).  I also like books which have clear sections in them so that I can return to them several days or even weeks later and still find my place.  I prefer hard copies of books over ebooks too.  One thing I had to free myself on was underlining and adding notes in text books during my university days – harder to do this with ebooks – and I can still hear my dad shouting in my ear, ‘turn those pages from the corner and don’t crease the page!’  He taught me to protect books from a very young age.  Apparently there was a way to have your palm facing up and allowing it to glide against the back of the page before turning it over.

For my summer journal page, I decided to not only write on labels what I prefer in media ie newspaper over novel or film over Youtube and so on, but I also encouraged my OH, son and youngest daughter to take part too.  These were then attached to four bendy straws to make the appearance of a hat stand (of course), because as you may recall,  my perfect day would be heading out to a boat on the river armed with a sketchbook and some jazz music playing in the background.

summer journal project – day 3 and 4

I’ve been working on a ‘what’s my style’ prompt set by Myfanwy Hart’s Summer Journal project by adding things I’ve changed or in the process of changing as I discover what I really like or dislike (a bit like the main character in Runaway Bride where the bride-to-be is so determined to accommodate what other people like she doesn’t know what eggs she enjoys eating!).  I’ve compromised with holidays because two members of my family suffer from travel sickness, but won’t do anything about it!  I’ve compromised with jobs to fit in with my husband having three!   Now, in the words of another blogger I met via wordpress I am finally doing what I love and at last I am happy.  I set aside drawing for years.  I put my pens away, my paintbrushes got taken over by the kids and then ended up in the bin because they forgot to wash the discarded paint out.  I took a hard route and got stressed out.  So here is a snapshot of my journal entries I did today.  


The prompt provided this morning was to comment on what our perfect day would be.  I haven’t added much in the way of sketches yet, but I can say that it would be sitting on a boat meandering down the river or canal at a leisurely pace, with a sketchbook in hand observing the scurrying wildlife.  Pictures carry so much meaning, that only a few words are needed.  The sun will be shining enough to provide warmth that I wouldn’t need a coat and the boat is substantial enough to offer an area to store cool drinks – an icecream soda (something from my childhood) and ploughman’s lunch.  The deck would be large to sprawl out and completely relax and some jazz music playing in the background.  My favourite music at the moment – tracks by Parov Stelar



Summer Journal project

Yay! The grass has been cut and out come the animals and birds. While turning on my computer, I caught sight of a green woodpecker and two squirrels playing tag across the lawn, spiralling up the trunks and sidewinding while I watched. One stood on its hind legs as if to say ‘draw me!’ I took notice … real notice of how small their ears are and now thin and wirey their tails actually are. They danced and skittered, too far away to hear against the whirr of my computer cooling fan, but their twitches and jerky movements corresponded with the ticking clock above my desk and reminded me of the awkward gestures of a robot.

The window to the right of my desk was ajar. Wide enough to let in adequate breeze and enabled me to listen to the squawks of gulls overhead; cooing of wood pigeons and chugging diggers from a nearby building site.

A discussion with staff ensued. Everyone passing by wanted to comment on the different types of wildlife they’ve seen on site: a partridge, jays, pigeons, squirrels, green woodpeckers and of course the usual starlings and blackbirds. Once a month a hawk is brought onto the site and flies overhead to banish the gulls who like to nest in the huge grey mountain warehouses. The gulls make a racket, arguing for their right to be there and it quietens down for a bit … until the next day, when they seem to read that the hawk has gone away.

Journalling has begun. I filled a page and a bit in my summer journal as a participant in Myfanwy’s facebook group and on WordPress.

I added rapid sketches of the pirouetting squirrels and the odd bird or two happening to make an appearance then fly off at the sound a lorry.

The plan for this journal is to discover suitable illustrations for a children’s picture book and to become more accustomed to sketching quickly, from memory, direct observation – at speed, in order to capture that essence of freedom and movement. Life itself 🙂

Hats, hats and more hats!

More sketching and doodling in my notebook

This is a little hint at a larger project that I’m doing research for, which involves hats. A few of these remind me of certain family stories, such as a boater hat I wore to a barbeque many years ago at a place near a river and the men were hurled into the water for a laugh on a hot summer’s evening; the fez on the other hand reminds me of the impressions my grandfather made of the comedian, Tommy Cooper, ‘Just like that!’ and there was a white beret with a black rim, which I wore on a date. My ex-boyfriend took me on a date to a cricket event (even though my experience of cricket at the time consisted of sticking the stumps in the sand at the beach and being on the receiving end of my brother’s over arm lob! At the cricket venue, we were served steak. He gazed longingly at my plate for the entire meal hoping that I would give in and say I was full, but I was determined to eat the lot!
What else? The top hat! When I see this beauty, I think of Alice in Wonderland. On my recent trip to the Oxford Story Museum, we were handed free canisters of loose tea with images from Lewis Carrol’s tale, including the mad hatter.
The turban – I used to work in a school as a teaching assistant before becoming a teacher. I supported a year 8 class on a day when they had a visiting speaker who demonstrated how to put on a turban.
The british Bowler hat reminds me of my dad. He doesn’t own or wear one, but loves James Bond movies and will watch them every time they come back on the television even though he owns all the DVDs, VHS videos and books!
There aren’t stories to all of these hats, but I was trying to record as many different ones as I could by sketching them in my notebook. So, I’ll just mention a couple more that do have a story behind them! I own a blue graduation hat and a sombrero (I’ve been to Madrid and had such a fantastic time there and so many happy memories that I wanted to record this, although they are also associated with Mexico! And one last one… The cowboy hat. My uncle moved from the UK to live in America and my grandfather took a trip out there to visit him several times during his lifetime. I can recall a favourite photograph of my grandad sitting astride a horse wearing a cowboy hat and waving his arms about in true cowboy style.
I would have sketched a spaceman for my gran, if I were drawing characters instead of hats. While they were both in America, my uncle took them to Cape Kanaveral Space Centre and my gran sat down on a bench next to a spaceman. She jumped out of her skin when the spaceman turned and spoke to her; she thought he was made of plastic.
There are many more hats I could add to this little collection, but for now I thought I’d share these with you as hats can tell many stories 🙂


Yesterday I mentioned that I was going to be involved in a DMC project, which involves stitching a letter from the alphabet using only DMC thread 321!  The project was mentioned on:

where there are some other entries 🙂

A stipulation was the size of the cloth – 15cm x 15cm and that it needs to be received by 12th May in France.  Thought I’d better get my skates on and start it.  I chose my initial:





3-2-1 … Cross stitchers, embroiderers, sewing enthusiasts!

I bought my 321 DMC thread and some 14 count white aida today to take part in the project shared on the following blog link:  


Maybe you will also be inspired to have a go after reading about it 😀

To take part in a permanent exhibition in a textile museum in France, you need to stitch a letter of the alphabet using DMC 321 thread (that’s red embroidery thread)and send it to them before May 12th … So I’ve made a start by finding a cross stitch alphabet that I like.

Work in progress … Due to collapsed ceiling!

Embroidery – this was meant to be finished by this evening, Image


but I hope you will understand that for once, an unexpected event meant that my craft for the day wasn’t completed.  You will all have to wait until tomorrow to see the ‘reveal’.  Instead, I present to you a picture of my collapsed ceiling 😦