Sunday, 23 September 2012

Car Boot!

I haven't been to a car boot sale for some time, and have visions of finding that fabulous vintage bargain that sells on ebay for ten times what you paid for it! I have found crinoline lady pin cushions, 1950's sewing baskets, bits of vintage linen and the like and I thought I had found a winner today! An orange tupperware box had a stack of cigarette cards inside which I got for a quid. Rushed home checked ebay to see how much they go for a wow! Some fetch hundreds! I was getting really excited and could see that some were sold as reproductions. And then, glasses on, I read the small print on my quirky little cards and discovered they are reproductions ! Probably next to worthless but I do have a full set of caricatures of famous golfers from the 1920's! This week I have been rethinking what I am doing - have been inspired by Yorkshire Sculpture Park, not by the sculpture but the delicious items of jewelery in the shop. Like a gorgeous tiny pendant made out of china with a single quick drawing of a daisy. Cute. I have also been to see my new grand daughter Marianne who is also very cute. See pic. I am knitting from my stash too. I was going to make one of those turtle back jackets but the cat there first and now it has become his cushion. And I am determined not to buy any more wool having been given a wonderful three bags full (baa baa black sheep I am) of assorted bits and pieces in unpromising dull blues and browns. Hey ho. Mustn't look a gift horse in the mouth.
I am also struggling slightly with this new blogger dashboard and all since I have been so infrequent in my updates I really must try harder.
Here is the wonderful work of Andy Goldsworthy - I walked miles to see this. Tree in wall. Amazing.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Giant lions and insipid lunch

Well here is the story that made me say 'ooh let's go to Chatsworth this weekend!' so we set out ignoring the fact it is Bank Holiday weekend and there was a massive jam at Bakewell (talking of jam I made the strawberry variety this weekend having tried the weightwatcher's version and decided, never again..), and arrived. Chatsworth is the most wonderful place set in stunning scenery and is the epitome of elegance, and yet caters for massive crowds and a huge influx of people at all times of the year, and yet there is space to wander off and enjoy some peace and quiet. There is no tat and the depressingly hideous gift shop items you come across occasionally. In fact it is all sumptuous and covetable, home made jam of course, produce from the estate, exquisite jewellery, nice scarves and fresh herbs to get you into that life style heaven which is a million miles away from cheap, cut price, credit crunch and just plain horrible. So we were a little disappointed to go the posh restaurant in the courtyard and ordered what was on the menu 'grilled halloumi cheese open sandwich garnished with salad and hand cut crisps, dressing and a balsamic vinegar chutney..etc etc.' What arrived was a chunk of nice bread, with a small piece of cold halloumi, a whole bag of crisps to fill up the plate and a pile of lettuce barely sprinkled with a tiny bit of dressing and some horrible grey stuff under the halloumi. How disappointing, but instead of creating a fuss we ate what was there and beat a hasty retreat. My OH, when paying the bill,
was advised that the chef has only been there for three weeks, and hadn't anticipated how BUSY it gets over a Bank Holiday and had run out of so many things that you simply shouldn't run out of hence our spartan lunch. I have no doubt that other customers would be so much more forthcoming than me in their complaints and hope this is a just a tiny glitch in an otherwise glorious visit. I think in future I will take a picnic. Took some nice flower pics see above. Next door neighbours are having a party playing Michael Buble. I have done some more paintings now at my etsy shop as my folksy shop is slowly becoming empty... And here are pictures of them

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


I have been inspired to pick up my paintbrushes again. This should be easier than it is, but it's not as painting a picture relies on taking tiny risks all the time, and asking questions constantly, and keep this altogether to create something worth doing. hence for many people their art work gets chucked in the bin. If mine turns out to be disappointing, I have been known to stick the whole thing under the tap, and wash off the paint (using water based paints of course!) and then rework it again which is how my roses aceo turned out.

But I have been using some amazon packaging to paint on too as I like the idea of using discarded materials and have been inspired by Hundertwasser. This guy does some amazing work and pretty much broke the rules every which way to produce something fresh, colourful and fantastically timeless.

I wanted to work with a limited palette and I have been slaved to the idea of painting direct from nature (this goes back many years ago!) and while this is great I wanted to work with memories and imagination.

So I produced these two - quite small, and one is an aceo. I used gouache, household emulsion, pencil and a bit of ink.

Painting also teaches you how to look. Just watching the sunlight play over the cherry tree next door - a few weeks time and it will be covered with barbie pink blossoms like a massive tutu.

I have spent the Easter weekend opening another online shop. I put so much effort and energy into making things, I am also wondering about my other passion. I have a weakness for vintage knitting patterns, having discovered a small suitcase full at a car boot sale a few years ago. I went and sold them all on ebay whereas I should have been a bit smarter and sold copies! Wah! I just don't have the space to hang on to things but enjoy a few moments as they pass from me to somewhere else. This weekend I did pick up some old linen half embroidered and put away, never to be touched again, probably about 50 years ago. Someone after my own heart!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

garter stitch

Okay so this is the first thing you learn when you start knitting. Probably when you are around 7 with a pair of little plastic knitting needles and a ball of wool that nobody wants. You knit way too loose and your stitches fall off, or too tight and you cannot get the end of the blasted needle to go where it is supposed to go. Maybe this is the stage you simply give up and go and find something else to do.

Or you persist, and make your first scarf for your Barbie, Sindy, Tiny tears or teddy. You are so proud! And then in time you progress to something a little bit more complicated, only you have to get Granny to do the neckline as you don't quite know how you are supposed to pick up stitches. And so it goes on. I am not an expert knitter, as I don't knit and do nothing but knit. I am having a conversation, watching telly, listening to the radio or something else. The fact is, there is a little bit of guilt around just sitting and simply knitting and there just aren't the hours in the day to tackle something too complicated. At least that is my excuse. So having made jumpers, (one of which I wear when I come home at the end of the day and it means I don't have to turn up the heating too high as it is SO WARM and not even made of wool), I have now made SOCKS! and scarves of course and always have something on the go.

So this is back to basics - a garter stitch scarf which I am very pleased with. It will be on its way to Glasgow soon as a belated birthday present for my step daughter who is kindly grateful for everything I make for her.

Today I picked up a copy of the latest Country Living which has a feature on a divine old farmhouse, chintzy with bits of vintage and unmatched patterns and stone. I made a 1940's style fair isle slip over not long ago and sold it on ebay last year, as it was just too small (or time for me to lose weight) and I AM CERTAIN that the very same 40's style fair isle slip over is in the picture of this lovely farmhouse. Maybe these stylists trawl through ebay for bargains such as this. Anyway, it looks the same! What are the chances of that! How cool!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

colourful world on a grey day

I realise I dream in colour. I realised this a long time ago. I also dream things that are quite weird. last night I dreamt I was watching a demonstration of Buddhist monks singing the Everley Brothers 'Cathy's clown' (for those who are not decrepit and ancient check it out on itunes)...The colour red predominated, plus I was looking at rolls of fabulously coloured wallpaper and an Indian market with ready made upholstered chair covers, made from sari silks (now there's a thought..). I think this must be down to the half a lager and a packet of crisps I ate last night on our infamous Saturday nights in. this involves watching something involving on the telly (so sad that Borgen has finished) with the added attraction of reading sub titles while knitting/crocheting. Perhaps it's all too much for my addled brain.

Anyway, I have mounted the latest little pic of my adorable charming ladies of a certain age with Shopping Spree. See above since I cannot figure out how to get my pictures where I want them. Plus here is a picture of our house guest Mr Darcey who takes up so much room on the sofa that I am relegated to the draughty arm chair. We cannot sit together while I knit as he attacks my wool with as much zeal as if he it was his last supper.

Also yesterday afternoon, in the gloomy murk of a winter gone on far too long I continued with my little floral embroidered shabby cards. I love the fact that this takes me back to the days when my friend and I used to sit for hours embroidering our jeans. I forget who taught me to do this but I suspect it was my Granny. I still have a tin of hers full of tiny poppers on cards (or press studs I think they are called now, and hooks and eyes and a label for genuine Manx Tweed (with the 3 legs of course). How I love the random quality of all this. It is a metaphor for my life. Sometimes it's like living on the edge of insanity - I quite like this state actually.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

little things

I have been inspired by the small, humble and far less than perfect. But sort of amusing. I have taken one of my doodly drawings and turned it into an aceo for folksy. I think when you don't think about trying too hard, then what you are supposed to achieve happens more naturally. Hence I am much happier working with scraps and bits and pieces that are recycled, chucked out etc.

I am also doing a little bit of patchwork too...

Today I was ironing a cotton shirt of my OH's. Well it was old, but the iron ripped straight through the collar and that was that. He says it's his best shirt. I think not. Now it is in my stash bag and I used it to make a little floral card with daisies. It's the softest cotton (after years of washing and my not too delicate ironing).

I have received a small cheque today for the final royalties on a book I illustrated called the Cosmic Egg timer . It is now going to be reprinted without my illustrations! Ah well. It was never going to make me rich.

Now back to the cards. I am using silk pieces and muslin snipped from a scarf from the charity shop and am embroidering. Trying to wish the little flowers into being, since this must be the greyest day ever. Roll on Green Days.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

the joys of winter

Yesterday I went for a walk and everywhere was glazed with ice, not frost, but ice and icicles. The ground was crunchy, not with snow but grainy ice. Quite weird. I love the misty colours and the dankness but am also glad that it stayed light until nearly 5.30.

I knitted a scarf, for some reason I am trying to use up my stash and I have this beautiful burnt orange funky chunky wool which is now a thick but not too long scarf. Simple stocking stitch, so it is quite sculptural.

I also got on with some cards on a more summery theme.

This is a most excellent blog by illustrator Vanessa Caban she makes the most delightful sculptures as above, and jewelery and I love the freshness of her colours, but then I like Kaffe Fasset colours too.

I think I need to study paintings again as this is what excites me - not so much the image but the colours and how they work together. The stripey baby blanket is getting bigger and this will be for the new grandchild, God willing that all is well here, but I am aware and cautious that nothing can be taken for granted. Meanwhile, I need to look up a suitable crocheted edging, perhaps in bright red.