Friday, 11 September 2009

Why is that all baby shoes are cute?

I don't tend to coo over babies the way lots of women do. I'm just not that terribly interested in them. Cats are far more entertaining.

However, what I am interested in is that my lovely friend and former workmate is pregnant with a healthy baby after many complications and several miscarriages and I am very very happy about that. So happy, in fact, that I knitted him or her some booties from leftover sock yarn.

Sorry for the bad photos, I snapped them quickly as I was leaving the house, before giving them away.

I don't know what it is about baby booties and shoes (especially those tiny little Nike trainers) but they are all incredibly cute. I can't resist them.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Odosketch, and how not to do perspective

Odosketch is a very fun little online sketching program. You have to sign up (which takes about fifteen seconds) and then you can save your sketches and publish them on your blog or wherever. (It embeds it as a Flash thingy though so I've just taken a screenshot instead.)

I can't find the pen for my graphics tablet so I had a little doodle with my mouse. Have you ever tried drawing with a mouse? It's VERY difficult! Here's our beloved car, a 14 year old Fiat Punto. It's covered in scratches, but I think it gives it character :) In real life it's bright green.

Now I want to go out and draw it properly, with a pen/pencil/crayon/whatever that I can actually control! And when I find the pen for my Bamboo tablet I'll have another go at Odosketch and see what I can come up with.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The first thing I ever felted.

While hunting in some drawers for a necklace today, I found the first felted object I ever made a few years ago. It's a little corsage made from some mohair I bought in Paris, with a pretty vintage button. I had no idea how to felt, so I threw it in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry and hoped for the best! I loved how it turned out.

The necklace in the photo is the one I was searching for in the drawers. Do you like it? I do, but I've never worn it because I just can't figure out what to wear it with. It's rose quartz and lavender jade. If you have any ideas what it would match, let me know!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Bee's Brilliant Beads

Last Sunday I went to a workshop with the fabulous Bee of Chain Creative. The topic of the day was bead crochet and we learned how to thread the beads into a pattern and crochet them up into a rope-type affair that we could then turn into a bracelet. I have to admit it took me a while to get the hang of it. Then when I did, I realised I'd threaded the beads wrong, and I hadn't time to finish my bracelet. Oh and when I got home I realised I'd left my only 1.5mm hook at Bee's so I had to order another one (good excuse to buy some nice new Clover hooks!). But last night I finally got time to sit down and finish it, and here it is.

Here it is on my arm.

I love it! I have lots of spare beads from when I ordered the wrong size and they're just lying around, so now I have a good use for them. I think everyone will be getting one of these for Christmas :-)

Agnes from MrsG Knits was at the workshop too and she's posted her finished bracelet on her blog, go and have a look. Hers is very professional-looking!

Oh and here's a little toadstool brooch I needle felted, just because I felt like it.

Friday, 14 August 2009

A digital drawing (abandoned)

I have been dabbling with this for ages. It's a tutorial from Corel Painter magazine. It looks nothing like the version in the magazine. And now I'm bored of it. It's not exactly the most interesting subject matter. So now I'm posting it here, and that means I don't have to work on it anymore and can do something else instead.

(If only I had time to sit down and learn it properly... I have such a long list of arty stuff to do when our house move is finally over.)

Sunday, 2 August 2009

A very nice Saturday!

Yesterday I took a break from ebaying and headed out to the Kent countryside, home of Bee from Chain Creative, who taught me to crochet a few years ago. Bee has a lovely house with a fabulous garden, and in the summer she holds workshops there. Yesterday was a felting day, and five us (plus Bee) got stuck in and did some messy wet felting, crocheted a pear doorstop to felt in the washing machine, and best of all, we learned needle felting. I've been wanting do learn this for ages and ages and I wasn't disappointed!

Unfortunately most of the things I made aren't finished yet (I have to finish crocheting the pear, and the felted fabric I made is still drying) but I'll post some photos when it's all done. However I did manage to make two little brooches with the needle felting, and here they are!

I'm so addicted to this, it appeals to my love of all things cute and quick to make! It's so cool that by taking bits of unspun wool, like in the photo, and stabbing them repeatedly with a sharp needle you can turn them into 3D objects. I think I'll do a Moomin next...

Thanks Bee for a fab day, a yummy lunch and for introducing me to yet another crafty hobby!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Do I really have to get rid of these?

We are moving house soon. It's a BIG move, as we are leaving the big smoke and heading out to the countryside, and we are leaving our jobs in the hope that we'll be able to find new jobs when we get there. So partly because we need the money and partly because we desperately need to get rid of lots of stuff to make moving easier, we're having a massive ebay clearout and listing all the stuff we don't want in batches. So far we've sold lots of books, and I have about ten million handbags listed which will end this afternoon. So far so good.

Except now it's time to ebay the cameras.

Not all of them, obviously, some will never ever be sold. Like my Trip and Holga and Richard's Werra.

But some. Like these.

It's hard to get rid of cameras! I don't know why I get so attached to them, when most of them I don't even use. But they have to go. Sigh.

However the little blue Instamatic in the main photo is not going anywhere. Richard bought it years ago, I think from a charity shop, but it's too pretty to ebay. Look at it. It's blue! And it has some brand new flash cubes!

So I'm keeping it - who can blame me?

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Little crochet friends

Here's some little crochet friends I made for a Craftster swap recently. My partner received today so I can post a photo without worrying about ruining the surprise :) This is William the pig and his friend Margaret the bear. William is made from some Phildar mohair yarn I got in Paris, and Margaret is made from something fluffy and nice by Sirdar that I can't remember the name of. The little things in front are bottlecap pincushions I popped in the package.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Another one!

Two postcards in one day, lucky me :) This one is from Juan in Cordoba. I wish I was in Cordoba and this was my little courtyard (and the library below with the staircase would be inside this pretty little house of course).

I want a room like this in my house.

This is a postcard I received from the US. I would kill for a library like this in my house. The staircase reminds me of Harry Potter.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Me, age 29

Here's the little doodle I did yesterday. I don't really look like this, but some days (particularly on birthdays and after a rotten day at work) this is definitely how I feel.

I'm not quite sure what I was doing with the arms, I've just realised they make absolutely no sense and the poor old lady would have to be some sort of contortionist or have fingers growing out of her forearm or something.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

A postcard from China

This arrived today, all the way from China via Postcrossing. The sender says it's traditional folk line drawings, and in olden days, girls had to learn to copy established designs before they started needlework. I think this is so interesting - think I will have to do a bit of googling to find out more! And I think the card is really pretty. If you haven't signed up to Postcrossing yet, you should. It's fun to get postcards from strangers!

Oh and today is my birthday. I'm 29, which is ridiculously close to 30 and very scary. I drew a little doodle of how old I really feel, but left it at work - I'll try and remember to post it tomorrow. But I did get some nice presents, including some Maimeri Blu watercolour paints, and this book which is full of gorgeous examples of calligraphy (mostly copperplate) from the 18th century. That should keep me busy for a while. I'll be trying out the new paints tomorrow, but tonight I'm having a slap up birthday meal cooked by my lovely husband :)

Saturday, 20 June 2009

A big pink mess.

I bought some black drawing paper today and had the bright idea to mix up some pink gouache and see if it looked nice against the black.

Well... it probably would have, had I mixed it properly, but I just can't ever seem to get the consistency right, and I ended up with a big pink mess.

This side is bad.

But this side is worse.

Incidentally, I promise my calligraphy is better than that when (a) I've ruled some slant guidelines (it SHOULD be 5º for italic, 55º for copperplate), (b) I'm using ink/paint that is a bit thicker than slightly chalky pink water, and (c) I'm using my left hand to actually hold the paper down and stop it running away from me, instead of using it to hold a little bowl of gouache because it's too messy to sit it on the table :)

Oh and the orangey looking stuff is actually gold ink, but it's pretty much useless. It doesn't even come in a pretty bottle.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sparkly is always good

Ages ago, I bought a bottle of Winsor & Newton iridescent medium. Like so many of my art supplies, it lay around unused till last night I finally dug it out to have a play around.

I was using pans, so rather than mix it with the paint, I waited till the washes had dried and then brushed the iridescent medium over the top, before painting the outline.

Here's some autumn leaves. (No idea why I got the idea to paint autumn leaves in June, but anyway...) if you click on the image to make it bigger, you can kind of see the glittery bits.

I did some butterflies too, but they didn't come out very well due to me not being able to remember what butterflies looked like. And it didn't even occur to me to look for butterfly pictures on the internet! I think the iridescent medium works really well for butterfly wings so I'm going to do more of these, and hopefully the next lot might look a bit more like butterflies!

Oh and I'm having scanner trouble again. The colours of the butterflies are a lot more muted in real life, somehow the scanner has done the opposite to what it usually does and saturated everything rather than washing it out. The colours of the leaves are pretty much spot-on though.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Postcard from a stranger

I joined Postcrossing a while ago. I love receiving postcards, but nobody ever bothers to send them anymore when they go on holiday. Today I received my first ever Postcrossing postcard, from Chris in Kansas City, USA. I like the cute horse. I hope he gets his phone call eventually!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Welcome Harvey!

See the little gnome in the sidebar over to the right? >>

That's Harvey. Normally he lives with Michelle but he's doing a tour of blogs at the moment and for now he's staying with me :) Isn't he cute? He's so excited to be in London that he's started looking for a job, and he's hoping he might get to meet the Queen.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Honest scrap!

I was tagged by Michelle from My Life on the XYZ List. The rules are as follows:

  • Link back to the person that sent you the award. See above :)
  • Display the picture
  • Tell 10 things about myself
  • Pass the award on to 7 more lovely people!

So here are ten things you might not know about me!

  1. I'm fighting a coke addiction. Diet coke, actually. I thought I had beaten it, but it's caught up on me again.
  2. I don't normally read much chick lit, but I have read Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy about fifteen times and am slightly obsessed with it.
  3. I am incapable of drawing with charcoal without somehow getting it ALL over my face.
  4. I learned to knit when I was about 8, but after a gap of about 17 years I had to teach myself again from scratch when I decided to knit Richard a scarf for his birthday. The scarf was too long, too wide and full of holes, but he loved it and to this day still wears it all through the winter.
  5. I wish I lived in Spain. Probably Andalucía. When (not if) I win the lottery, I'm moving there immediately.
  6. For years I thought I hated pineapple, parsnips and turnip. I was wrong about all of them. I'm trying to change my mind about olives next.
  7. I have three sewing machines and one serger. One of the sewing machines was bought purely because it was pretty.
  8. I want to be a calligrapher. Like as a job. But first I have to get much better at it.
  9. I'm a complete grammar nazi. I just can't cope with stray apostrophes and misplaced commas. I'm notorious for it at work.
  10. I cycle to and from work and class every day (unless it's raining very heavily) and every single day I shout abuse at the idiots who walk straight out into the road without looking and almost cause an accident. Grrr!
I'm supposed to pass this on to seven people but I'm thinking I'm too nosy to limit it to only seven, so if you're reading this consider yourself tagged! And if you post ten things about you, be sure and leave me a comment so I can read them.

Oh and here's a bonus thing about me that I didn't add to the list: It's 5:50am and I've been awake for ages. I'm not happy about this and will probably sulk for the rest of the day. Insomnia is not nice.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Some actual drawing - finally

(This one got accidentally trod on!)

I was having a complete drawing block. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to draw. So last night, despite being exhausted from a sleepless Sunday night (thanks Richard, and if you ever snore like that again I'm divorcing you) I dragged myself along to life drawing class. I was glad I went - I enjoyed it as much as I always do - but I can see that in the five weeks or so since I've been I've really taken a step backwards and I found it very difficult.

What made things harder was that the previous group to use the studio, a theatre group, had left a huge weird steel structure in the middle of the room. We couldn't move it so we had to work around it, and it obstructed the view of the model which was annoying.

This was a warmup sketch - we did lots of one minute poses but this was different because you had to use your "wrong" hand. So I drew this with my left hand in about a minute. I never tried to draw with my left hand before.

Some more drawings. I have to be honest and say I don't actually like any of them, but the important thing is I actually did some drawing and feel like the mental block has gone.

Friday, 5 June 2009

The reason I haven't done any drawing for a while

My dad will be 74 next Friday and here's his birthday present. Even though they're very simple, they took quite a while to make! But I think they turned out well and I hope he likes them.

The yarn was a Kaffe Fassett design for Regia and was lovely to work with. Best thing was that I bought three balls and only used one and a half, so I still have enough left to make some for Richard :)

Wallpapering my iMac

I was looking at a wallpaper site this morning, because I wish I could wallpaper the bedroom. Unfortunately I can't, because we're renting, but I saw some wallpaper I really liked that would match the bedroom and decided to wallpaper the iMac with it instead.

Here's the wallpaper:

Five minutes later and after some Photoshoppery, here's what my desktop looks like now:

I love it! Is it sad that I'm wallpapering my iMac to match my bedroom?

If you'd like to use this wallpaper to decorate your own screen, click on the image of my desktop above, it'll take you to my Flickr where you can download it.

Oh and the reason I haven't been drawing is because it's my dad's birthday next week and I've been spending all my time frantically knitting socks. I'll post a photo of them later.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Unsuccessful photography

You might remember this post from a while ago, where I did a digital drawing of one of the old cameras, an Agfa Silette L, that we've had lying around the house for years. Well I finally got a roll of film back from the lab today from that camera and oh dear. What a massive disappointment. It looks like the focus is off, and I don't think it's just my bad photography skills that are to blame. What a shame, I really like that camera but I don't think I'll be using it again.

This pink VW Beetle is one of the only shots that was (nearly) in focus.

The good news is that my exams are OVER! So I finally have time for other things, like drawing. And painting. I'm hoping to get back to life drawing classes next week. I've missed them terribly.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Walking the dog

(Or possibly the cat, we still haven't decided what he is.)

Saturday, 23 May 2009


Taking photos of the sunrise at about 5am is something to do when you can't sleep.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Stamps - lots of stamps.

I have lots and lots of stamps, and I have some empty frames. I'm going to fill the empty frames with stamps and hang them on the wall, because stamps are awesome. So many different, pretty, interesting designs, so many different countries and so much history. I love them.

I took this photo for my Unravelling course, as this week is about "favourite things". It's currently the desktop background on my iMac :)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Felting is fun

I picked up my needles recently and knitted this little bag, and finally got around to felting it and sewing the flower together.

The yarn is Twilley's Freedom Wool, Crystal Palace Little Flowers, and something else I can't remember, also by Twilley's, and it was a very quick and very easy knit. The pattern is here.

I'm so pleased with it! Isn't it pretty! The only problem is that it's quite small and I tend to carry a huge bag around with me everywhere, but I like it too much not to use it so I'll just have to cut down on all the stuff I carry! Oh and the flower is removeable so I can pin it on my jacket :)

Here's what it looked like before I felted it.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A shot from the Werra

Update from yesterday's post: Richard got a roll of film back today that he shot with the Werra. Most of the photos weren't great but here's one we both like. Unphotoshopped in any way.

Monday, 18 May 2009

I like old cameras

We have an abundance of film cameras. They're somewhat addictive. They can be picked up for next to nothing nowadays and they somehow have more personality than your generic DSLR! Here's a couple of sketches of two of my favourites.

This is my Olympus Trip 35. It's rather an iconic little camera - it's fully automatic apart from setting the film speed, and was launched in 1967 and made famous by David Bailey in a 1970s ad campaign. My particular one is from 1979 and is in almost mint condition. I paid hardly anything for it on eBay, but it's my favourite of all my cameras. (Apologies to my D80, but it's true.)

This is a Werra 1. It's a bit of an oddity. It was made by Carl Zeiss, the lens manufacturer, somewhere around 1950 to 1960. It takes 35mm film and to advance the film and cock the shutter, you twist a ring at the base of the lens. I've never seen anything similar on any other camera. The lens hood turns backwards and screws back into the body, and the lens cap screws onto the lens as if it were a filter, rather than just clicking on like normal lens caps do (I imagine this would be a bit annoying after a while!). This is Richard's newish toy. He found it in a charity shop in Stoke Newington a couple of weeks ago for £10 - bargain. He just shot a roll of film with it and left it in today to be processed - if any of the shots are particularly nice I'll update this post tomorrow.

Both drawn with Faber Castell Pitt pen, Caran d'Ache water soluble graphite pencils and a water brush.

Do you still have a film camera?

Unravelling week 2: reflections

This was a hard week for me because I hate hate hate being photographed. There are hardly any photos of me after the age of 14 or so, when I finally got sick of my dad constantly brandishing a camera and started to hide from it. I didn't take many photos this week, and I cheated a bit by not even being in all the photos I did take. (The above is one of the Unravelling writing exercises, reflected in my makeup mirror.)

I have had a kind of nothing weekend. No drawing at all. No painting. And I can't scan anything right now anyway as I rearranged my desk and now my printer lead doesn't reach my computer (did I mention I bought a new iMac? I love it) so I ordered a new one and will have to wait till it arrives. But I'm thinking I might do a doggy version of the "lots of cats" drawing tonight.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

My husband is a hero too.

I made Richard into a hero too!

When he grows up, his ambition is to be a mech pilot. (He has watched too many anime films.) I think this might be as close as he gets.

Should be a nice surprise for him when he gets up this morning, as stalking my blog is one of the first things he does every day!

Super Me!

I spotted a link on MyGurumi this morning (a blog I've recently discovered that managed to make me pick up my knitting needles again): The Hero Factory. If I was a superhero, this would be me (after going on a diet, obviously):

Try it out, it's fun :-)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

100 posts! Let's celebrate with lots of cats!

Well I never thought I would have stuck with my blog long enough to make a hundred posts, but here I am! And I still love my little blog. It keeps me motivated to draw and paint and make stuff, and all your comments make me very happy and even more motivated, so hopefully there'll be another hundred posts to come.

(Click to make bigger.)

There is no better way to celebrate something than to draw lots and lots of different coloured cats. So here's lots of cats. (It was too big for my scanner so I had to stitch the pieces together in Photoshop, so if you can see any joins, just pretend you can't.) Faber Castell pen and watercolour.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Work in progress

Not much time for arty stuff or crafty stuff as I've been busy panicking over tonight's exam, but I did decide I wanted some Fashion Wheel art for my walls, and that a pop art style might be quite cool. Here's what I worked on for a while last night while watching Ashes to Ashes (series 2 is much better than series 1, by the way).

Click to enlarge.

There's still quite a bit to do, and I also can't decide if I prefer a white or a coloured background. Any thoughts?

PS: This is compressed to make it load quickly - the 'real' one is better quality.

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