Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Sock Owls

Hello again! I've managed to finish quite a few projects off this week - maybe for once I've managed to work through stressful times instead of drown in them!

Over the last few days I've made 4 little sock owls based on this pattern here.

Adorable right?!

One is for me to keep, Mr Bob Owley (seriously, no intention for it to sound like Bob Marley!), at the back right.

And three for presents for Christmas!

They are about 5" high, made form socks and felt, and carefully handstitched.
Hopefully something similar will soon be on my Folksy store, too... Watch this space!

Oh, and I discovered one my teddies (yes, I still have teddies, and I'm proud!) rather likes Bob too!

Anyway, it may be quiet here for a week or so. Hopefully I'll be back with more finished projects soon! Especially since I erm... "acquired" a rather large bag of wool from my parent's loft today, all with projects in mind!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Pink Granny Square Cube Toy

Granny Squares are lovely to look at, aren't they? I'm not a very girly girl, but there's something very happy about a range of pink!

I used a pattern from my Nan's collection (I can share if anyone would like me to) - this is just the first 4 rounds from a huge design intended to be a rug. It is worked in 2 strands of DK, and I alternated with bright pink, baby pink and white :)

Like most people, I hate tying in ends. However, I do love stitching things together! I stitched the 6 squares into a cube. Although, I used the word "cube" loosely... Initially it was more of a sphere with a few straight edges! So I made up a fabric cube to go inside to help hold the shape, and it's certainly better. (Although I hope the fabric cube stays together... My sewing machine is truly dead, and my hands were rather too tired to behave!) I have also put a jingle ball inside with the stuffing to add interest!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Peacock painting!

My word, I haven't finished a painting since last December. That's... a while. It's been one of those years! Yesterday I woke up feeling inspired. I was going to just get stuck into Christmas cards, but my husband told me to paint instead. So I did...

This painting I started June/July 2010, when I discovered masking fluid. It is of a peacock we met on honeymoon, who rather enjoyed exploring our boat!

The background was created using masking fluid (to create the white relief) and a thin acrylic wash. I then painted the peacock in all his feathery glory, and added the 3 other peacock feathers to add more interest to the piece.

I am really pleased with it! And I love the contrast with both strength of colour and detail between the peacock and the feathers.

And the rainbow colours of the feathers brings back memories of our rainbow wedding too, so a very special painting for me and my husband. We were laughing yesterday if I'll ever be ready to sell something I paint!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Work in Progess.

Well, that's how life is, isn't it? We're all just work in progress.

I'm one of those people who always has multiple projects, books, and who knows what else on the go. Some of them getting abandoned for years between starting and finishing (my large Winne the Pooh cross stitch stares knowingly at me from the corner).

I've had a bit of energy recently, but I haven't really been able to sit up at my art desk and paint, so I've made the sofa where I have to spend my days into a little craft centre. It's quite an old sofa which has been through the wars, so I'm free to attack it with craft ;) It's sort of "WIP Central".

The crochet baby blanket is sat on the top of the sofa, begging for the next row to be done, tho it has progressed since the previous post!

Sat on the blanket is my latest sock monkey, wondering when he'll get his 2nd ear attached, and when the pins will be replaced with real eyes! I feel so guilty making sock monkies... Sticking needles and pins into them; leaving them without ears, eyes and mouth... It's horrible! I will do a full post on my sock monkey family at some point (I think I've made 7 now), but here's a little taste of two of them!

Pinned into the sofa beyond him are 8 felt flowers waiting to be finished so my Folksy shop can be truly launched. My launch date for my shop was originally February 2011, so I'm not that late, am I? Anyway, they're the only thing left to make, so we might get there before February 2012 :) Here's a sneak peek of my previous 8 felt flower badges, waiting to go to craft fairs with Pretty Little Things...

And then there is a small pile of crocheted granny squares in pink and white, for a very special Christmas present I'm working on! I can't wait to fully share that :)

Anyway, that's just the projects on the sofa :) If I look to my left, I see crochet Sea Pennies for my Fabric Journal (mentioned in the last few posts!) And scoobies (the child in me rediscovered them the other day!) And crochet bunny toys. And drawings of a dragon... And a sketchbook I'm making out of an old book. And a teddy I'm making for AYME.

*sigh* And that's without entering my art room or looking at my art/craft to do list...

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Neil Buchanan's Hope Street Launch

I was brought up in an era of good quality children's television. Shows such as ZZZap! and Art Attack spring to mind. You know, if there's one Art Attack I'll never forget, it was a tree, of course made out of papier mache, which had secret storage compartments in the trunk, in a little tree house… Hidden through out! Now, I had papier mache skills. I've been an artist all my life. But could I master this particular one?! Could I heck! It always seemed to end up looking a mess… *sigh*

Anyway, I'm past those days now (I say, trying to convince myself), and when I heard that the presenter of that very programme, Neil Buchanan, was launching his own fine art exhibition in Liverpool? Well, I just had to be there.

The launch was located in Rennie's Art Gallery, a lovely gallery with a wonderful art shop attached. There were balloons outside inviting people in, and the atmosphere in there was one of the warmest I've experienced. At the entrance was a wonderful display of cakes (ok, you didn't need to know that, but I'm sugar free at the moment, and man, were they tempting!) and everyone was so welcoming and attentive.

It was, as you may expect, bustling with people, and a real variety of people at that. Neil was being interviewed, and was answering a steady flow of questions. (Apologies for the mid-shrug moment!)

Then you stand still, and look in front of you, and… just wow. This series of paintings are loosely based on him and his sister as children. The atmosphere captured in each painting is touching, and the skill is obvious.

There are a few things about the paintings which really stood out to me.
• The striking blue backgrounds, which somehow work in every single painting.
• The two children always wear the same outfits, painted with so much texture and movement.
• The older girl always looks likes she's taking care of the younger boy.
• You never see their faces.

The last point is probably what intrigues me most, and I would love to know why. I think why these paintings are so wonderful, and call out to me so much, is that everyone can identify with them. It's childhood, lovingly captured.

I can't leave without sharing a single image, I hope noone minds.

To see the images in the exhibition, and you really must, check out Neil's website.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Crochet Rabbit Toys

We have two bunnies in our little family, Toffee and Flopsy. and we're always looking for new ideas to entertain them. They have a plastic ball with a bell inside, which Flopsy can pick up with his teeth and throw around, and which Toffee can hold between her paws, and practically dribble with! However, we wanted something which Toffee would also be able to pick up and throw. After a Google search, I came across this pattern, Tiny Crochet Balls, and picked up my nearest crochet hook and a ball of string. A little while and some sawdust later, I had a new bunny toy, which dare I say, they love! (Note: I turned it inside out before stuffing it, as I felt the texture was better for them to grip.)

Having successfully made my first crochet ball, I plucked up the confidence to set about making my own pattern. It was successful, and a short while later, I stuffed it with the pellets they eat for supper, to see if they could fathom it out.

We suspected them to just chew through the string, throw it about, and try to empty it…

Instead, Toffee took it in her front paws, and using her mouth, removed each pellet one by one from between the stitches! It was amazing to watch, and she seemed to get so much enjoyment from it. Flopsy on the other hand… Well. He wasn't quite so keen on working for his supper, and took the throw-it-around-and-hope-for-the-best approach! Between them, they emptied it. Completely. And kindly left it in one piece to be used again! I think Flopsy even eventually learnt Toffee's approach, and had a bit more success!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Being Creative September: Autumn

Let me start by apologising for my lack of posting lately. Crazy things have been going on healthwise, I've cut out sugar and my husband is currently completely bedbound and unable to move. Before that happened, we'd had the busiest month in a long time, with visits to the local Heritage Market in an old tobacco warehouse; Chambre Hardman's house, and Ellesmere Port Boat Museum to name a few! And that's not to mention the constant benefit battles, and Royal Mail compensating us for losing my engagement ring... Life has been insane. Which is why my Being Creative is a bit later than normal!!

This month's theme over at Julia Crossland's Being Creative is Autumn.

My first thought was leaves. Crunchy, crispy, colourful - you can't get more Autumnal! I'm really excited about my fabric journal at the moment, so decided the perfect thing to do was to create another page for it.

Each of the leaves are either fabric with a thin layer of wadding, or just felt. It is 2 sided, and all hand stitched. Each leaf either has handsewn veins, a simple outline, chain stitch, or blanket stitch edges. I think it's really effective, and was fun to create!

Here you can see more details:

 I also have to mention YoungCaptive for an extra bit of inspiration with the construction of this :)
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