In which I talk about the joys of painting, drawing, knitting, cats, music, living in London, and whatever else takes my fancy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

advent: Parcels day 13

A weekend of making presents : ) Mr Reindeer seems happy about this!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent: Parcels day 10

This is the "Secret Santa" present I received last night. I had a sneak peek, or to be precise, full look, modelling and posing for photos!

advent: Parcels day 9

Ooops - a day late! So busy this week, and yesterday was not anywhere suitable to paint. Here is the wrapped "Secret Santa" pressie I knitted for Stitch and Bitch London's Festive party last night.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Advent: Parcels day 8

I love tying red bows on presents! Today I have also been tweaking photos in my etsy shop, with some help from from lovely friends Red Flannel Elephant and Treacle Toffee .

Also found time to check out Moo's advent calendar .

Monday, December 07, 2009

Advent: Parcels day 7

Something hand-made for a sister! The Christmas tree has come indoors ready for decorating, too.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Advent: Parcels day 5

Another oddly shaped package: maybe all will be revealed on December 25th!

Advent: Parcels day 4

Whoops! Yesterday's parcel got painted but not posted..

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Advent: Parcels day 2

Another unusual package shape!

Fifteen knitting kit

This painting is of the fab Fifteen knitting kit that I was delighted to win in a competition run by Stitch and Bitch London! It is a limited edition kit, containing lovely pink and grey wool from the sheep that supply lamb to Fifteen's restaurant. Naturally, I had to start knitting straight away, then paused to set up the kit as a still life to paint. The kit is very well thought out: as well as the three balls of yarn, there is a pair of gorgeous wooden knitting needles, and a choice of five knitting patterns for items that the wool could be used to make. I'm making the lacey scarf, and very much enjoying the knitting of it, so can recommend the kit as a fab special present for someone who loves knitting, or wants to learn.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Advent: Parcels day 1

The first day of advent and I am painting my advent calendar again this year! This year I am making a lot of presents for people, which is resulting in some unusual parcel shapes and which I think will be fun to paint : ) There is a clue on a previous blog post about the contents of this package!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Percy The Pigeon

Another little creature: I have had fun making Percy the Pigeon from a knitting pattern I found on the anti-bullying campaign's website The delightful knitted Percy was designed by Alan Dart, and is based on an illustration by my lovely friend Sarah Miskelly for Anita Hunt's book "Matty-boy and The Secret Pigeon Racket" . A very worthy cause: bullying wherever it takes place makes life so miserable.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Cat

Crochet is not something I do often, and then I came across an amigurumi pattern on Lion Brand's website for this little black cat, and could not resist!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Twelve days of Christmas 1

This year's Christmas card design will be based on the traditional rhyme of The Twelve Days of Christmas, in part because I keep receiving requests to print the entire set up for sale! I've been working on the series for a few years, and this is the only colour version of designs I have drawn originally in black and white pen and ink. So far, the designs have been very classic and not connected with any particular period in history because the ones I have completed have been birds and the five gold rings. This year I fancy tackling some of the people, so will need to choose what historical setting to use!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First studio

Second thing in the morning, after I have done my "morning pages" (from Julia Cameron's excellent The Artist's Way) I do some random drawing. This is me, aged about four, I guess: I used to sit between the sofa and upright piano with all the pencils I could find, and draw for hours! The lovely striped cardigan was knitted for me by my granny: there is a family tradition of crafts, which I have followed.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thinking about Christmas already

This year I am excited to have two Christmas cards for sale for the first time. You can buy them from my etsy shop - see shiny new button on the right!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bonfire night

Happy Guy Fawkes night! This drawing is the result of twenty minutes scribbling first thing starting out with no particular idea in mind, other than that today is November 5th. Simple and rough, and I think evocative. (It is brilliant having the scanner easily accessible again)

Don't forget to keep animals indoors, and turn up the tv/music to drown out the loud bangs that frighten them.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Pumpkin Advenutre

This halloween was my first time ever making a pumpkin lantern, and pumpkin soup! It was great fun - doing the research for recipes, then finding out how to carve out the pumpkin; and then realising I could toast the pumpkin seeds, too, to make a yummy snack.

Naturally, all of this activity found it's way into my sketchbook!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It has been a while! Restoring my home and studio to a useable state post-builders is taking far longer than I had anticipated because I am using the enforced movement of my possessions to reconsider where to put them. This is probably a good thing.

Today, I made the scanner accessible again, so can show you the water colour "ravatar" I painted to use on Ravelry*: a dragonfly shape cunningly fashioned out of a circular knitting needle and yarn!

* - an on-line community of knitters, crocheters, etc

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Hooray and a peacock

Hooray and hurrah! The scaffolding shroud cutting out the day light from my flat has been removed after seven gloomy weeks. So now I am in the midst of finding everything I need to get on with painting/life, having put it all "in a safe place" for the duration of the building works.
I was not entirely idle, though: I drew this knitting peacock for Creature magazine's special "End of The Road Festival" edition - the brief was perfect for me, so I had lots of fun doing the drawing : )

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gardening August 2009

My flat is in a state of chaos (hence the lack of paintings!) due to the cyclical decoration of the outside of the building: the scaffolding all has to be taken through my flat! Plus takes up a lot of the side area where the pots shown here usually live. So this August is a lost cause for gardening in itself, but I do like the colours and textures in this photo of the disarray : )

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Innocent smoothie hats 2009

I've knitted little hats for Innocent's big knit for the last few years, and had company making this years first three in the form of my knit pals in Stitch and Bitch London and Innocent's own staff. We all had a fabulous evening of knitting, cake and smoothies at Fruit Towers for the launch of this year's campaign : )

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Womad

Here are a couple of pen and ink sketches from Womad:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Womad and builders

Hello again : ) Painting is somewhat difficult at the moment due to omni-present builders and scaffolding making everywhere gloomy and with dark shadows across painting desk. The good news is that they have almost finished their work, and it will look great when complete!
In the meantime, here is a watercolour sketch I made at Womad this year:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

dragonfly sky

My blog has been languishing neglected recently while I focussed on learning how to use etsy's software to set up my new etsy shop , for which this painting is the banner! So much to learn, and very exciting.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Organising Knitting day 3

This is a cute cropped cardigan, using some fabulous Noro wool yarn. So far I have knitted the back, and cast on the left front side. 'Not bad progress, since the yarn was only given to me about ten days ago! Oh yes, and I am knitting this project on a circular needle - less possibility of dropping stitches making it this way.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

gardening project 2009 day 8

I bought these lush-looking petunia plants at the farmers market : ) It will be a surpise when they flower, because I do not know their colour! They are destined to be added to the window box alongside the pink and red perlagoniums.

Organising knitting day 2

This pretty bag was knitted from cotton ribbon last year. Then I lined it with some vibrant cotton fabric printed with dolphins, etc. The project got stalled when I decided that the natural colour wooden plaited handles I had purchased with the yarn simply did not go with the bag! Last week I bought some clear acrylic ones, which will look great : )

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Elderflower tea

Inspired by the hermitage's wonderful description of elderflower fritters, here is my recipe for elderflower tea: Take a couple of huge heads of elderflowers from a Gloucestershire garden. Remove insects. Put into a paper bag, preferably brown, and hang in an airing cupboard until the flowers have completely dried out, and begun to fall from their stalks. Store in a pretty tin or glass jar. Boil some fresh water. Put a few of the dried flowers into a much loved china cup. Pour the boiling water over the flowers. Watch the flowers gradually unfold, and the brew turn bright yellow. Sip slowly and enjoy! I love the memories of early summer this evokes in the depth of winter.

Monday, June 01, 2009

June - Organising my knitting day 1

Joining the wonderful on-line resource that is ravelry has encouraged me to finally sort out and organise all my half-knitted projects! I thought it would be fun to do this by identifying one a day, and painting a tiny illustration of it for my blog, so here is the first. 
In fact, this is a new project: I realised at the Stitch and Bitch London meeting last week, that I need to have a simple project on the go for when I am chatting and knitting! I am making a gorgeous raspberry pink bolero cardigan from a Marion Foale pattern that I had saved from years ago: )

gardening project 2009 day 7

The long cold winter killed off some of my perlagoniums, so it was easy to be tempted by these beauties at the farmers market yesterday: )

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Animals and ankles

I painted this bat and dog for a children's illustration competition recently: there were nearly 1,000 entries apparently, so odds of being short-listed are very tiny, but I did have all the fun of painting the three pages for my entry, and they are good additions to my portfolio : ).

The connection with ankles is that I am recovering from spraining my left ankle very badly, so am envious of the bat's ability to fly, and the dog's confident ready to play stance! It continues to be interesting to note the healing progress, and move through life at a slower pace, paying careful attention to how much movement my ankle can bear at any one time. Ice packs and arnica have proved very helpful, too.  The key this weekend seems to be to do a little involving standing/walking, then rest again with my ankle propped up. Thank goodness for the football cup final on tv yesterday, and knitting! This afternoon I am off out to watch the London Roller Girls being filmed for Blue Peter : )

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

CPSIA petition

I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:
"Re-Think the CPSIA"
I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes less than a minute of your time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blue gloves update

The lovely blue angora gloves were languishing half-made, but thanks to joining the wonderful Stitch n Bitch London last week, needles are being wielded again. It is brilliant knitting with other knitters : )

Gardening project 2009 days 5 and 6

The promised paintings : )

Sadly neglected blog

Hello again! Life has been extremely hectic for the past almost four weeks: a couple of illustration deadlines which required a lot of time spent painting. Me and my home are showing the signs of neglect now, so it is great to have a day to catch up! The good news is that I found some empty paint containers : ) The seeds have yet to be sown, so the vegetables will be late summer varieties. Paintings to be posted later.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gardening project 2009 day 4

I'm hoping to find some trade-size empty emulsion paint containers: they would be perfect for growing salad leaves!
My plan is to paint the outside of the containers with left over emulsion paint;  pierce drainage holes in the bottoms, and spray the outside with WD40. Apparently, this works to deter slugs and snails!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gardening project 2009 day 3

I will be buying some small bags of potting compost (peat free, of course), to start the seeds off. It will be small bags because that's all I can carry on foot and the bus! Hopefully, I will be posting here regularly again from now on: I am still amazed at how having a nasty cold affected my ability to paint last week. It would appear that I do technical things when I am painting that I am no longer conscious of - assessing whether the painting is dry enough for the next layer, etc ; )

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gardening project 2009 day 2

I need some large tubs/pots for the lettuce growing, and funds are tight, so I am keeping a weather eye on skips!  Today I am puzzling over why the cold which ambushed me on Monday afternoon has affected my ability to paint: in fact, I have been working on this picture for three days, and the paint, brushes, etc have not been behaving themselves properly. Mysterious.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Gardening project 2009

This is the first painting from my new blog project: gardening 2009! Over the Easter weekend I began tidying my tiny garden, with a particular eye to growing some vegetables and tomatoes this year. I eat vast quantities of salad leaves all year round, but have been previously deterred from growing my own by the way slugs demolish tasty plants in my garden, and my dislike of using poisons to control them because of the effect on the wildlife.  A friend passed on a tip she was given at the allotments: grow salad leaves in a tub which has had the sides sprayed with WD40! So, I am going to give this a try. 

Monday, March 30, 2009


This morning I went back to the park to see the daffodils which have now replaced the crocuses under the trees : ) I do love spring.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Still spring cleaning!

Work life took an unexpectedly busy turn, so I am still spring cleaning! The good news is that builders next door have completed their work, so I am now enjoying being at home again : ) 'Looking forward to getting back to some serious painting, too.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Spring has arrived in London, as evidenced by my photo of beautiful crocuses under the trees in Waterlow Park : ) I love spring, and how days are growing lighter, and plants are waking up, plus the intermittent sunshine. The latter has prompted me to embark on much-needed spring cleaning! The plus side of cleaning and tidying is finding again things I'd mislaid like Ladysnail's delightful green lion postcard print : )