Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Outside My Window... it's only just getting light, all I can see in the dim light is the workshop wall because this window does not have a view to the outside world!
I am thinking... it's getting chilly in the morning and I wish I was still at home curled up in the arms of my husband.
I am thankful for... my children
From the kitchen... someone has began to emulsion the walls of the bathroom. It's very cold in the kitchen.
I am pinstriped trousers,a black jumper, and I forgot to change my footwear so I still have blue converse on. 
I am going... to try and get to life drawing class as much as possible.
I am creating... panda hats which need finished off, 30 little owls for wedding favours, rabbits and a bear which need limbs etc attached, a series of self portrait drawings.
I am reading... Fern Britton, New Beginnings which I bought so I had something to read at work when it's quiet. I have read the cover so far and nothing else!

I am hoping... that my son is going to be okay and at the end of the day love will conquer all.
I am hearing... the hum of computers and the fridge with an underlying current of distant traffic.
Around the house... there are a million jobs needing done, I keep hoping I will come home and someone else will have done at least one of them.
One of my favorite things... is seeing someone else smile.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: at some point, I need to get the house in order, do the messages, tidy the studio and take photos for my Folksy shop.

This month's picture thought I am sharing...
:) Jogging Memories
Earlier in the month I received an email from one of the yarn companies advertising their new patterns for this season. When I clicked through to the website I checked out the free patterns first and there was this guy.
Almost 13 years ago, I knitted this dinosaur as a present for my daughters from their, still to be born, baby brother. 
He was a much loved dinosaur, cuddled so much that his stuffing had been flattened and he was decidedly floppy in comparison to the one in this picture. Ours also had a tshirt knitted into the pattern but it is the same pattern and instantly recognisable to my teenage daughters. It brought a smile to everyone's face and it's lovely when unexpected things turn up and do that.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Original 52 Projects - Yamaguchi

I can't remember when or how I first came across these but last week something made me look them up again.

Thus far I have completed
  • No.52 - List projects and begin doing
  • No.1 - Write an old friend a letter.
  • No.36 - Stay up all night
  • No.17 - Wake up at 5am and take advantage of the hour.
Okay so four in a week may look like significant progress given there are 52; one for every week of the year. However No.52 is cheating, No.36 was completed because I was nightshift and No.36 because I get up before 5am EVERY morning for that very reason. It's the only time I can justify having to myself because it isn't eating into the hours others are awake, and it always feels special because no matter what I do, it's just me. I might take forever in the shower just because I can, I might go for a walk and see things no-one else is up to see, or most often I go to the studio and work until the rest of the world wakes up.
Today I drove to the studio and there was a rather large dead animal in the middle of the road, so it's not always good. :(

No.1 - Rather than a hand written letter, I looked up a pen-pal on Facebook, found her and sent a quick message.
This is no ordinary pen-friend though.
My grandmother, long since gone, had a French pen-pal when she was at school. They wrote to each other regularly and established a true friendship which lasted until the 2nd World War got in the way.
At some point after the war, my granny's pen-pal decided to try and find her and sent a letter to the last address she had.
By some miracle it found it's way to my grandmother, now married and living elsewhere and the friendship grew from strength to strength. They wrote regularly, and on special occasions I remember there being family phone calls.
That was back in the time when not everyone had a house phone let alone a mobile.
There were visits with each family driving from the middle of France or Scotland to the middle of the other and then obviously back again. A journey that I can vaguely recall taking days.
One day it would be nice to take my own kids on this journey, be it driving, flying or simply sharing a little bit of someone else's life. We all get too caught up in the here and now and forget how important read friendships are.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


It's raining. Heavy. Again.

It was also dark when I left for the studio this morning (in an anorak and wellington boots) and I had to take the long way around because the road was flooded (again).

Something feels different. It feels like Autumn is creeping upon us, it doesn't feel like a wet summer's day.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Life Drawing


Wednesday was life drawing. I could easily have spent another 3 hours. :)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Filofax Anyone?

I have purchased my first filofax.

Now what do I do with it...?

I'm sitting here looking at it, and it's kind of intimidating. I think it's mocking my disorganisation!

I do need to be more organised, without a doubt. I jot 'important things' down on scraps of paper, the backs of envelopes, on odd receipts and then later  can't find those bits of paper. I will doodle, draw and write down ideas that should be in a sketchbook in the same manner with the intention of saving the scrap paper somewhere safe until it can be transferred into a sketchbook.
Instead I end up with copious amounts of crumpled paper taking up space in my bag, in pockets, in the car door and invariably they end up in the bin.

The purchase of the filofax was not a spontaneous thing. Oh no, this is supposed to be an investment. Someone (own up whoever you are) suggested it would be a good idea and managed to convince me that it was going to be the answer to everything.
I shall be able to  organise my art life so that it merges seamlessly with family, work and life outside of my head.

What am I talking about?

Any talk of studio time, forthcoming exhibitions, organising deliveries for masses of mdf, running to the 24 hour asda at 5am in paint covered overalls appears to prompt people to ask, "What sort of thing do you do?"

It's much easier to show someone plus a visual can engage them much more, however lugging around piles of 4ft square MDF isn't exactly practical. Therefore the aim is to have a mini portfolio that looks professional in all situations, hence the filofax, that universally accepted professional must have.

So, I looked at them in WHSmith. Felt a bit queasy at the pricetags and wondered why there was nothing that seemed more 'me'. The leather ones looked way too professional, the vinyl ones looked nice and friendly but much less appropriate. There was a nice patterned fabric one but it seemed to detract from what was to go inside.
I figured a filofax just wasn't for me.

However, I was milling around TK Maxx with no purpose and there it was nestled among half a dozen boxed, leather filofaxes. It's called 'Urban'; understated waxed grey/green canvas with a leather (or very good fake leather) spine. £10.
Someone else's Urban

Woohoo! :) I'm a big fan of grey/green canvasy things and the fact it isn't screaming look at me I'm brand new and shiny!
It's got several pockets (good) and is quite tactile (also good) but what excited me most  is the polypocket inside (yes I am that sad). I can keep bits of random 'stuff' in there! Those unexplainable bits of tickets, found objects etc. that I keep for incorporating into art whenever. Plus I could add more and maybe have ACEO's in.
There's a bit for business cards, bank cards etc, and a pocket that looks secure enough to hold some money so perhaps I can finally dispense with having a purse (I hate purses, they are so clumsy and never the right size for your bag/pocket/glove compartment etc).

I think I'll try having a section to write down my amigurumi patterns, and a mini folio with pictures of those too, and another section with good quality photos of finished artwork, which may or may not get
divided up into things like drawing/mixed media/sculpture as time goes on.

It might even be nice to have some drawing paper in it, and I'm surprised no-one on etsy or any of the similar sites offers drawing or watercolour paper etc for filofax use. (Feel free to steal this idea cos I won't do anything with it!)

Hopefully, filofax will be my new best friend (and thus needs a more aimable name than the filofax).
Although, there is always a chance it will end up discarded and lie forgotten about under a car seat or at the back of a drawer somewhere....

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Rabbit's Rebirth

I pulled out my amigurumi rabbit pattern the other day. Now, it was just a list of numbers typed into a sticky note on the computer. Nothing to say what list of numbers refered to which individual body parts, no pictures, nothing, so it was really nice watching him/her emerge on my crochet hook.

I've changed it a little, but it's the same rabbit, it's just evolved a little bit.
This one has a loop stitch tail, basically because I didn't have anyway of making pompoms at work and didn't want to wait. I think it works okay, but could be better with maybe smaller loops or something. Definitely worth experimenting with.

Now she just needs some friends and then maybe a new home... anybody looking to adopt a little bunny?


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

PIF Pay it Forward

I'd never heard of PIF before, but it's most definitely my kind of thing so when I came across the forum post on Folksy I just had to join in. I'm waiting on a lovely felt ipod case arriving so I can show it off on here.
In return I put up one of my new Little Owls for 20p, went and had a coffee and when I came back he had found a new home!!!
He's very quick to leave the nest because I only just made him while I was at work today. So, say hello and goodbye and hopefully his new owner will love him.

Inspiration Avenue - Wings

Ohh, love this theme as birds seem to be featuring heavily in my life right now.
I've just finished an amigurumi parrot (albeit she only has tiny little wings), a bunch of (wingless) little owls, and a paper bird for daughters birthday birdcage.
However in the true spirit of wings rather than birds, my entry is the photos below. 
These were taken at South Queensferry, looking out between the Forth Bridges and taken quickly through the car windscreen. My son and I bribed the seagulls with sandwich crusts.

Friday, 15 July 2011


Forgot to say, my Folksy shop is open once more albeit a tad sparsely stocked for now.

Strawberry Rose

Little Amigurumi Owl

My eldest daughter is leaving home for university next week. She's all packed and looking for bits and bobs to make her flat her own. She'd seen some keyrings in a store somewhere and phoned to tell me that I could have made them so much better (aww, it's nice when your kids are proud of you). 
Of course she then asked for me to do just that, a wee owl, a wee bird or something. So here she is, my first 'Little Owl'.
She's only about 4cm high and dead quick to make. I already have a bunch of blind friends for her, they are just awaiting their eyes arriving from U.S.
I thought I might write up the pattern for other folk to make their own, so if anyone wants it just let me know so that I don't forget.

Little Owl

Lucy 8

I found a prototype amigurumi bat amongst my wool stash, so I thought I'd try for a Little Miss Muffet (not really scary) spider.
Lucy turned out to be more like an octopus though....
Maybe it's the yellow, if I'd used black fluffy wool would she have been a spider afer all?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Life Drawing Class

There's a life drawing class every other Wednesday, which I really ought to go to much more often because I always thouroughly enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who will stop and listen long enough.
The twenty minute poses suit my way of working and every time I go I get a little closer to drawing the way I should be, it's just a pity the class is only three hours long.
There will be an exhibition of work this September so hopefully by then I'll have something I'm truly happy with.
It feels close if that makes sense. Last night's drawings were just about what I want but I ran out of large sticks of charcoal and desperately wanted a paint brush and even bigger paper!
Check out Delta's website for details of the next class.
Pictures coming when my batteries have charged! :)

(it took a while, they were very flat).
15 minute pose

Out of Date

I've been busy crocheting again! :)
Having already moved all my wool stash etc to the studio I impulsively set out a table with some toys at the Open Studios event. Toys that had been languishing in a box from long ago. They all sold and I had a special request for some more which I couldn't refuse.
I decided to get organised and sorted through the wool stash and got a few pleasant surprises when I found wool I'd totally forgotten about or what indeed it had possibly been purchased for.
I also found a pile of snail shells that had never been given life, so I had absolutely had to finish them.
So, I'm sitting here at work (prime crocheting time!) with a row of snails staring at me wondering what to do with them. My Folksy shop has been empty for ages so I might just get round to restocking...
In the meantime I did a search for my snails on Google (why not?) and stumbled across this page this page with one of my snails on!
What a lovely surprise, even if it is almost two years later!!!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Come On In...

We are here,
come on in,
it's early sunday morning,
up the stairs,
a big empty space (I love it)
it's like having an extension if you need it,
My (our) door
post open studios mess
the gallery space is messy right now too,

studio essentials,
the tidy corner

a little pig with binoculars!
The piggy? I don't know. My daughter bought him from a charity shop for me. She can't even explain why. He obviously has vision, perhaps his binoculars can see into the future, perhaps they see all those things that don't exist, perhaps they see the amazing in the mundane.... but most importantly he makes me smile simply because my daughter can't explain why she HAD to buy him for me. :) What better place to be than here where I do things I HAVE to do.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Had Enough!

8am: the roofers have arrived. 12 weeks they said and only two have gone by. The constant banging and pounding that only has a half hour break for lunch. Can't hear myself think. The noise is truly exhausting.

Inspiration Avenue - Summer Sun

Ha, ha. I stopped by Inspiration Avenue since it's been ages. What is this weeks challenge - summer sun.
I don't know what amused me most, that or the little disclaimer that friends in the southern hemisphere were obviously experiencing a different season.
I'm well and truly in the northern hemisphere and it's the middle of 'summer'. I had to bring the 4x4 out yesterday morning because the weather was so bad (roads flooded and cars abandoned everywhere!) :)
I've heard talk of this summer sun. It comes out while I am asleep or at work in the back of a garage with no view of the outdoors. It's rained for days and days now though...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

I love this!

Birds on the Wires

More from before.

We went on holiday at Easter and obviously the camera came along. Why I was so fascinated with the mud I couldn't really say, but I was. I wanted to get down from the harbour wall and touch it. Get up close and take pictures of all the patterns in it.
I couldn't though, apart from anything else I'd have got stuck in it.
I did take a couple of photos though, despite the strange looks.
I'm sharing now because in this new world where everything has started fitting together I was priveleged enough to get a peek inside someone else's studio and she has great big slices of mud on display and they look amazing.
So, just for a minute, enjoy the mud!

Gone, but not forgotten.

I don't know why I did it. It wasn't planned.
Because I had no finished work for the openstudios, I suddenly decided to put some toys out on display outside my studio door.
It's been a few months since I even made any, they were all languishing inside boxes and carrier bags, almost forgotten about. Poor wee things shoved away into the back of the studio simply so they weren't taking up space at home.

They've all gone! All sold. I almost feel like I've let them down cos it was a total after thought and they all sold while I was elsewhere so I didn't even get to say goodbye!

Hope they are happy in their new homes.
I didn't even have a photo of them. I took pictures of my studio, my artwork, the ATC's on the same table, but this picture of my toys I had to steal from the openstudios facebook page! That's bad.

I need to make more.

Starting Over, and opening the door.

Crickey, it's been four months!

So, back in February, we took the plunge and moved into our studio. Home from home. I have found somewhere I feel like I belong, somewhere where I am me.

With the door closed anyway.

Just the other day my boss said to me that I was a hard person to get to know, that he couldn't figure me out. What did he mean?
I've worked in the same place for almost two years now, it's a very small workplace, how after all this time could he be implying he didn't really know me? I guess I surprised him with snippets of information regarding life beyond work. Things I'd never even hinted at before, or more accurately, things I'd kept private.
My other half says similar things every now and again, that I don't talk.
So, it made me think about how much of ourselves we share with the people we spend our lives with, those we live with and those that are just passing through.

When I don't talk at home it's simply trying not to burden anyone with additional worries, nothing more. We all do that.
At work, I am generally in employee mode. I share very little about my home life and even less about me as an individual. Why? I've no idea, really.
Perhaps I was scared no-one would understand the artistic side of me, wouldn't get that burning need to create. Would berate me, write me off as weird.Dismiss my art.

My other half openly admits he doesn't get it, but that has been a surprising relief. He's been amazingly supportive, can see what it means to me, but can't get his head around the art I make. But for the first time ever it's allowed me to create what I want to create without wondering what anyone else thinks, without feeling stifled or needing approval. I've no creative counterpart to supress, stifle or influence me. I can breathe.
Four months and I've travelled further than I have ever dared before.

One life drawing class  to now being asked if I'd be interested in a joint exhibition with just a few others.

Artists across Forth Valley opened up their studios this past week. I took part although due to events at home I did not get round to producing any finished pieces for the exhibition.
It was hard to just open the door and let people in, but most definitely worth it. The feedback was invaluable.
I only had a handful of pictures that I'd thrown together on paper. Things I'd worked on just for myself.
Things that meant something though. Personal things and I suddenly realised that I was frightened to share.

I'm glad I did. I'm glad I can stand up and now say that one emerged from how I felt when we had sat an hour in a hospital waiting room terrified of what news was about to be broken, and that other one is simply how I reacted to the stunning view from the top of Ocean Terminal.

How much anyone else can see, I don't know. Maybe they see nothing. Maybe they see things that aren't even there. It still scares me but the door will be staying well and truly open.
An Hour Early

Out Over Leith

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

We Did It!

Studio 14a is all ours. :)
An empty space with just four white walls, and a large mirror. Then the furniture and stuff moved in, yet it needed something to kick it from room to studio.
There's nothing quite as instantling inspiring as a child, inhibition free. Son loved the idea of the entire wall beign covered in lining paper so he could doodle EVERYWHERE so off he went with his marker. Next day he got out the paint and created his own uninhibited Jackson Pollock style paintings.
Meanwhile eldest daughter got drawing in her sketchbook, and realised that sometimes things take on a life of their own. Then she spilt dirty water all over her paper, a disaster one minute but 30 minutes later  it dried to look like leather, so she was more than happy.
I made a whole pile of small collages, just because I could. :)
Pictures coming later.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Excited (just a bit)

I cannot wait until tomorrow...... Eldest daughter and I are going to look at some studio space.
Well, that's a bit of a misleading statement actually. We've already looked at the facilities, decided we really, really, really want to be there (how can a mother resist those eyes lighting up, it was like watching a toddler at Christmas).
Tomorrow we're going to see which studios are actually available, sort out the money bit and hopefully come home happy (or maybe not come home if keys are available!).
I'm probably more excited than she is in reality. I've had access to all of this before so know exactly how wonderful it can all be, how being in that sort of environment can really boost your creativity. I've dreamt of having my own studio for as long as I remember, and while there's loft space or the possibility of a workshop at the bottom of the garden, just set aside for me, this has to be better. This is the real thing with exhibition facilities and infectious enthusiasm.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Sunshine on Leith

Just a little memory jogged by yesterday's shiny Leith photo and the cup of tea I have this morning. :)


This was going to be my entry for Inspiration Avenue but I was too late. By the time I got round to uploading the photos out of my camera the rest of the submissions were online.
Next week!
It's Leith harbour taken from floor E of the red multistorey car park.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Busy, Busy

It's been quite a productive month especially considering all the other demands on time and energy. Still, there are many works in progress compared to finished articles and even more 'things in my head' bidding for a chance to become reality.

This month's finished toys. Plus Erwin and some Owl and the Pussycat amigurumi which I've left in my filing cabinet at work (don't ask, there are a lot of strange things in there!).
However, still in my bag is one elephant with half a head, a swan with no beak or feet, and a 'donkey' which needs frogged and the pattern altered.

More doodled on blocks and eggs. These are still to be varnished or waxed.

A little bird. He has a non-identical twin who has a head in one bag and a body in another....

My cards and other bits and bobs for packaging/craft fairs etc arrived, so now all I need is a set of new batteries for my camera so that I can take decent pictures instead of using my mobile phone, and some sort of time machine so I can stop the hours ticking by and actually fit everything in.

Monthly Make

My monthly make, two spotty nameless bears almost identical so just showing one. They need names. :(

Look What I Got!

All the way from Japan. :) Happy bunny!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Dark Light

Inspiration isn't confined to the girls of course. My invisible son, in the dark, on his BMX, voila ~ some odd photos on my mobile. :)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Bird of Light

My daughters continue to surprise and inspire me. The younger forever feeling in the shadow of her sister, yet keeping her poetic talent hidden away. It reads as if it was effortless. I'd share, but although her blog is open it still feels like I'd be invading her privacy. Ones that made me cry, ones that made me want to break out my camera and pens and illustrate them.
The eldest, she's en route to art college, she's got me to sign us up for a life drawing class next month and I can't wait to see what she produces.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

What Inspires You? Weekly Challenge

Random doodles. Nearly everyone doodles while they are on the phone and given I spend so much of my day on the phone who says those doodles can't become 'art' instead of something that gets tossed in the shredder at the end of the day.
See everyone else's inspiration along at Inspiration Avenue.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Toy Society Drop

Once the cleaner had departed, I left this little guy on the back of the toilet doors at Evans Business Space in Grangemouth.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Office Boar Update/Weekly Challenge -Colour Pink

Maplins don't stock USB cables the size I need!!! Contact Fujifilm they said. :(

So, until I either find the cable or locate a new one and the postman delivers it, I'll need to make do with the camera on my mobile.
This is Erwin (he has a name now). He has the obligatory curly tail and smells good enough to eat (vanilla not bacon!).

Pink is my colour of the moment.It must be something about this time of year, pink was on the agenda this time last year as well. I think it's happiness leaking out of someone who isn't used to showing it!
The fact my pinkness has appeared in the shape of a pig.... well that isn't significant, there's a pink elephant in my bag as well, and had I been able to access anything else while working 60 hours this week there would be pink everywhere.x

Office Boar

The pink piggie is done. He's a boy but I can't think of a name for him, someone suggested Jamie, but given that's the name of two ex-colleagues and nearly the name of one I still work with, it would seem a tad inappropriate (it wasn't someone at work's suggestion though).
I thought I was being all organised; he got finished along with some other little amigurumi and then I got all my photos taken and thought I had nothing left to do but upload them.
I guess when you pack things away for safe keeping and go to get them a year later, they aren't always so easy to find........... I've no idea where the USB cable is for my camera, so it looks like a trip to Maplin tomorrow. I know guys get excited about that shop but..............
I could always go to Currys or somewhere instead but I have a horrid feeling a little pink (or any other colour) iPod nano might make me adopt him if I do that. :)
So use your imagination: there is a picture of a pink pig below!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Truffles (Cheating)

Made another batch today, well I made them myself this time. Last time Panda made them and never even managed to get one :(

Here's the recipe:

1 packet of digestive biscuits crushed into crumbs
1 tin of condensed milk
cocoa powder
dessicated coconut

Easy peasy, just crush your biscuits until they can't get any smaller, mix through a liberal helping of cocoa powder and then pour in the condensed milk and mix really well. It should form a sticky 'dough'.
Just make into balls and roll in the coconut and then leave in the fridge for 10 minutes or so.


No nigthshift to blame the hour on, just a bout of insomnia which probably isn't being helped by surfing the net and finding other folks' lovely blogs and wonderful creations. They are just getting my mind working overtime!
I just stumbled upon the Sketchy Project
Now, that's a good idea and the sort of thing I would love to do myself, only it's also the sort of thing I'll start tomorrow and tomorrow never quite arrives. Either that or I'd find myself a word generator, do my sketch, take a photo and then never get round to uploading the images anywhere eventually leading to a mass delete.
A nice hard backed sketchbook could be the answer but I suspect that is maybe just an excuse to go window shopping on Folksy......... How gorgeous is this one?
Handbound Notebook by Katie Bowles
Too nice to draw in maybe?!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Inspiration Avenue - What Colour?

I look at Inspiration Avenue every week, (usually jealous of the talent on display). My intentions are always good.... I have lots of ideas, but so very few of them materialise!
Well, this week it's what colour is doing it for you right now, which is perfect since I've just revamped everything online for that very reason.
I'm not the girliest girl in the world but right now, it's pink that's doing it every time.
So.......... one little piggy is emerging from under my desk at work, watch this space!

Monthly Make Pledge

The FeltFairy is hosting a new challenge. Read all about it here - Monthy Make. I've signed up, seems like a lovely idea and just the thing to get all those little unfinished projects actually completed. :)

Monday, 3 January 2011

Two Thousand and What?!?!

Err, I'm almost embarrassed to be posting it's so long.........

Life got in the way, good and bad and although I've missed making this and doing that, sometimes an enforced break just renews inspiration so that has to be positive, even if the resulting art is release from a tortured soul.

I was invited to submit for a craft fair before Christmas, and I regret not getting involved with that, but it's spurred me on if nothing else, although everyone around me seems to think I'm completely crazy running around with crochet hook and needles everywhere I go. The weather has required a constant supply of those cute panda hats though!
Someone's deleted my photos ........... :)