Sunday, 26 February 2012

Handmade Monday 55

Another productive week has come and gone and what a lovely sunny week it has been.
I'm trying to be a bit more organised this year!!!! so I've been busy adding items to my 'available stock' ready for the Craft Fairs that I am due to take part in. No more last minute scramble to stock my table????
Sock Monkeys are often a favourite and I like to have a few available.

o O 0 ˚ * • .. o O º '* º o . o O 0 ˚ * • .. o O º

These cheeky chappies are made lovely soft fluffy socks and are sure to be popular.

The colours are brilliant too.

 o O 0 ˚ * • .. o O º '* º o . o O 0 ˚ * • .. o O º

Ideas for new items are always buzzing around in my tiny little brain cell, the last couple of weeks I have been busy sketching, painting, cutting and sewing, pulling stitches out, starting again, re-cutting, re-stitching and starting again. I doff my hat to all you pattern makers out there, it's not easy, especially as I don't know what I'm doing!  I've managed to make a couple of prototypes and I am still tweaking with the patterns but I am excited about these new items and I know it will be worth it in the end, here is a sneak preview of a few of my initial sketches. More about these in a future post.

Meanwhile, over the next couple of days I have a few Name Plaques to personalise and some Art Hangers to finish off and of course some Mothers day plaques and hearts that I will be adding to my Folksy Shop and my Facebook Albums
A commissioned Heart
I've also been asked to paint a heart so it looks like fabric patchwork, another thing to peg onto My to do List. I love my work.

o O 0 ˚ * • .. o O º '* º o . o O 0 ˚ * • .. o O º

I'm linking this post to  Handmade Monday which is proving to being more and more popular, I didn't manage to get around to making comments on everyone's post last week but I did visit you all. Hopefully I'll get lots more done this week.

Wishing you all a good week

Jan x

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Cute cows and Handmade Monday

Hello all, I hope you are all keeping well. I thought I'd start off with a photograph I took yesterday. These Highland Cattle are so cute and don't you just love their warm coats. They are such inquisitive creatures, I didn't have to wait long before they came wandering over to have a nosey.

Highland Cattle

 On the crafting front I have been busy doing Art Hangers, these always make popular gifts and are a great way to show off a child's precious works of art.

Purple and Pink Art Hanger for Lola

A Blue & Green Art Hanger for Ethan

A Red & Yellow Art Hanger for Ellie

A Baby Pink Art Hanger for Faye

I thought I'd finish where I started by showing you another photograph taken yesterday. 
These are a breed known as British White, aren't they adorable?

British White

I'm linking this post to Handmade Monday 

Wishing you all a good week

Jan x

Friday, 17 February 2012

Pictures from my Sketchbook

I keep a copy of these body measurements close by when I'm sketching at home, I jotted these down quite some time ago and are used as a rough guide only. They act as a reminder as to the dimensions of  an average body!!
You can get a lot more detailed charts by searching online for 'drawing body proportions'

A rough guide to Body Proportion
Here are a few sketches from my  'People' folder.

I used this position for my Summer Fairy. In the second sketch you can just see where I altered the arm position and a slight tilt in the head. The sketch starts off as a scribble and when I see the line that is right I keep that and erase most of what I don't need.
Summer Fairy

A lot of my scribbles and sketches are done on loose paper and I keep them in a folder, this makes it easy for me to keep the same or similar subjects together. I often refer back to old sketches as well as keep adding new ones.


Here are a few more, some more successful than others. I like to keep some of my 'not so good' sketches so I can see where I went wrong and what I need to correct.

I love the stance in the centre sketch.



Jan x

Monday, 13 February 2012

Thank you, Thank you

Do you remember a while back when I won a  Giveaway from Jo at Pickle-Lily ? Well that was way back to November last year, the items were duly posted to me and were happily received.

What a great prize

The magazine has been well thumbed, the chocolates lasted all of maybe, possibly, erm.. probably 15 minutes (or less) and they were yummy.
The knot necklace I have plans for, but will wait until the spring, I haven't yet decided what to make with the wool, I'm not a big knitter and I don't can't crochet so I was thinking of making a row of pom pom bunting?

The lovely bag has been put to good use and is used to keep my socks in, not any old socks but lovely soft fluffy socks that will be used to make Sock Monkeys, Bunnies and maybe a Sock Horse or two.

A great place to keep my socks
The last item was the beautiful Japanese fabric, I spent a long time deciding what to use it for, it's such a lovely fabric I wanted to do it justice, then a few days ago while reading the Ros made me Blog,  I looked at my trusty phone book and thought that the cover leaves a lot to be desired

It's stained, scratched and not very pleasant to look at, I don't want to get another book, I've had this one for years and it's full of little notes and information that would be really difficult to replicate in a new book.

Ros had given me the idea but I decided that I wanted it a bit different. I've made covers before, for make up, note books, sketch books and the like but I needed pockets to keep all the bits of paper that always get 'stuffed' into my phonebook and the fabric from Jo was perfect. Thank you Jo. This is what I came up with.

Phone Book Cover

The pockets on the inside flap are perfect for storing business cards and little notes that would otherwise go missing.

A Diary Cover
Matching covers

But why stop at a phone book cover?

I have a slim handbag diary that looked good after a bit of treatment.

I love the colours in this fabric and the design is lovely, I think the red ribbon for the bookmark and the fastening looks really good. The button is one that I already had in my button tin.

I also have enough fabric left to cover my doodle pad that I usually carry around with me.
These covers can be be removed so as soon as my pad is filled I can put the cover on my next one.

My second big thank you this week goes to Caroline at Caroleecrafts for the beautiful Initial Sachet that arrived wrapped in her lovely dotty tissue paper.

A Gift from Caroline
The colours in the photograph really don't do it justice, the embroidery is done using beautiful jewel coloured silks. Thank you Caroline.

I'm linking this post along with other great blogs over at 1st Unique Gifts, why not join me.....

Jan x

Sunday, 5 February 2012

I is for Ink & Initials

I haven't done an alphabet post for a while so I thought it's about time I got one done..... I'm up to the letter I and the subjects I've chosen for this post are Ink and Initials.

I use ink quite often in my paintings, as for any particular make or brand, I don't have a preference. I have used Daler & Rowney, Windsor & Newton, WH Smiths own, it all depends where I'm shopping and what is on offer at the time. I'm a great believer that you should buy the best you can afford but I also like a bargain. Good quality drawing inks are light fast and fade resistant so I tend to use el cheapo for sketches and experiments and  save the expensive inks for a 'proper' piece of art work.  

Buddha in Ink

This sketch was done by drawing with candle wax then brushing over with Parker Quink Ink using a large brush. This was done on A2 paper (approx 23.5 x 16.5inches).


Toadstools in Ink

This small ink drawing was done using Windsor & Newton Ink on 5 x 8 inch 140 lb paper.


Tree on a Hill

 This is one of a pair of Ink drawings I done a while back, this was done using very wet paper, ink, salt and bleach. I previously posted about this HERE


This week I was asked to do a pen drawing of a couple of initials, I drew these using a fade resistant, waterproof gel pen. The pen is more precise and gives me more control over the lines and is very easy to use. To finish them off I will be putting them in a mount and frames.


I really enjoyed doing these so plan to do more and possibly put them in my Folksy shop. What do you think? 
Well that's my 'I is for.....' post completed, if you want to see my previous alphabet posts then click on the 'Alphabet' link in the right hand bar.

This post is linked to 1st Unique Gifts blog I hope you can pop along especially as it's Wendy's 52nd week of hosting Handmade Mondays linky party.

Jan X

Friday, 3 February 2012

Bird sketches in the garden

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to do a lot more sketching. Sketching means many things to many people, it can be a quick thumb sketch to serve as a record of something you have seen or thought, it can be a way of keeping a record or a reminder of something you may want to use or do at a later date.

 These are some quick workings out for a set of canvases most of you have seen before, for those who haven't or if you want to see them again you can see the pictures here and here

Most of us use this type of thumbnail sketch, usually on any old scrap of paper, notebook or even an envelope, whatever is at hand at the time. It is a good way of working out composition and size. Most of these sketches have been done using pencil with a couple done in ink (el cheapo biro).

Some sketches can be more involved or more intricate and look like finished studies. There are no rules about sketching, there are as many styles as there are people.
You can sketch from books, photographs or real life and you can use any medium, most people use pencil as it is clean and readily available but you can use charcoal, pastels, watercolour or oil paint. Or how about mixed media, tissue paper, glue and even clay. There is no time restraint on a sketch, it can be a quick 2 minutes to a goodly few hours, there are no rules about detail, you can do as little or as much as you want.  The only boundaries are those we put in place ourselves.

To me sketching is a good way of practising some subjects that challenge me and by golly, I need some practise. The beach sketches above were done from memory and imagination, these next lot are done from life. This week has been a bit on the cold side to say the least and I'm certainly not going to freeze my fingers off sitting out in the cold so I started doing a few bits just from looking out of my windows.
Here are some of the results....

Birds in the Garden

There is no real detail in these sketches, I just wanted to capture the positions of the birds in the shrubs. 
The Great Tit eating out of the coconut shell was the most difficult because it was fluttering it's wings continually, the 3 birds sitting together was the easiest to sketch as these little cuties didn't move for long periods, the other 2 are juvenile blackbirds and were not to bad because they repeat the same stance quite often. 
These are 5 minute sketches done in pencil then afterwards I quickly went over the main lines with a pen.

I'm going to try and do a few sketches each week and possibly do a regularish post using both new and old sketches.

 Wishing you all a good week-end

Jan x