Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm in print! Ok, digitally, but it still counts

I was recently interviewed by a lovely blogger and artist, Lyubka to be included in her artist interview series alongside some amazingly talented people. It's such an honour to be included and a massive boost to see my interview on screen.

Check out the interview and read all about Lyubka too, she's a talented artist and great blogger.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's birthday crafting all round!

My absence can be explained with two words, Extraordinarily Busy!

By far my biggest (both in time and physical size) project so far this month has been my Mother-in-law's Birthday quilt. I had originally umm'd and ahh'd over whether I should do it for Christmas but I was terribly afraid of working with stretchy fabrics on a large scale again. I gave myself a mental shake instead and decided I would try the blasted thing and if it sucked, so what? But if it was good then great!

Originally she had described this quilt to me as something she had seen many years ago and had always wanted. I searched the internet for panne velvet checkerboard quilts and came up with absolutely nothing. There were heaps of quilts, some patchy velvet ones, but none in a simple checkerboard with vibrant, jewel colours. Happily, she loved the gift which is fantastic given the hours of arranging, cutting and re-placing my husband and I had to do, not to mention the sewing. This was all completed on a basic sewing machine with no special foot.

Please note, the colours are quite off in the pictures. They are ruby, emerald, sapphire, gold and violet in reality :) backed with plain chocolate brown. 2.5m x 3m of velvety goodness.

Then our contribution to the party was a strawberry and cream filled chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream. Yum!

Time flies, allow me to recap...

In attempting to find where the time has gone, I felt compelled to make a list. I have had 2 months free of study and swore to myself that after Christmas I would devote plenty of time to my own artwork and build a nice little library of work. While I did manage to complete 3 new pen drawings and an inked drawing, I didn't manage anywhere near what I planned. My wall is still full of post-its with ideas, plans and random names for artwork :(

In no particular order:
  • Hosted Christmas dinner
  • Prepared my son for his first year of school including all prerequisite uniform, stationery, backpack, lunchbox, textbook and accessory shopping. That quite frankly deserved a month all to itself
  • Hosted and promoted my first blog giveaway on two blogs
  • Opened an Etsy store
  • Sewed a panne velvet quilt
  • Baked a three tier chocolate cake, shortbread, sugar cookies, marshmallow slice, chocolate coated marshmallows and pretzels for dozens
  • Sewed 7 baby dresses, 5 headbands and made a dozen hairclips
  • Sewed a dinosaur pillow, wrist cuffs and made a customised dinosaur dig
  • Painted 5 shirts, a golf towel and made tulle pom poms for decorations
  • Put together 8 baby and child gift hampers for donation
  • Did the Christmas shopping!
  • Took the kids for a photo with Santa, attended a Christmas concert and a graduation
  • Made a flogger and tickler
  • Had a short holiday - the first as a family of four
  • Painted a swan portrait
  • Played with a DSLR camera for the first time
  • Had a Christmas party and organised a Secret Santa
  • Kept blogging AND Facebooking :)
  • Participated in various Etsy treasury-making and promotion
  • Watched my son ride his first big-boy bike and scooter, saw my daughter stand for the first time, cut new teeth and do a handstand
  • Got my hair done, woot!
  • Read at least six new books - that's right, start to finish, I feel your envy :)
  • Lost weight, not quite as much as I would have liked but I haven't regained any. Don't let the door hit you in the ass, weight!
  • Drew pictures, played Search and Find, built transformers and read stories with my son
  • Cuddled, sang to and played with my daughter
  • Spent time with my husband, we even saw at least one good dvd (though the rest were crap, thanks Hollywood)
  • Took on extra page-layout work, voluntary work and I-don't-get-paid-for-this extensive promoting, networking and random business crap that's supposed to make people notice me
  • Laughed, cried, was amazed and schocked
  • Spent too much time anxious or depressed, but got over it
  • Did all the regular stuff that helps keep the home and family going
None of this was done alone, were it not for my husband taking kid-duty while I worked or my kids being so well behaved and quiet while I converse with clients or finish artwork I never would have made a quarter of this list. I still wish I could find more time to work on my own stuff but perhaps that's something I have to work on this year.

How has your summer (or winter) been so far? Have you achieved what you wanted?

Don't forget you can always fit in those missed projects in the future!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Going black

Today I'm going black to support the anti SPOA and PIPA movement.

Do you want your internet censored? Do you want your web page under scrutiny by the government? Do you want to risk being closed down because some big business thinks you are impinging on their copyright? Don't risk the amazing and free-spirited voice of the internet that has been creating and supporting individual voices for years.

Piracy is the worst type of theft, stealing other's hard-earned ideas and creations is the most despicable form of flattery. But these laws are not the way to protect us.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Someone link me a quest helper!

Holy crap, who knew shopping for school supplies was so hard?! Spare me some sympathy though, it's my first year of school-supply shopping so I'm completely out of my depth.

The brave soul that I am, I figured 'to hell with the pre-packed school list, I can get a better deal if I shop on my own'. Famous. Last. Words. Do you know how hard it is to find Clag paste in the right size? And scrapbooks, seriously. Finding a scrapbook ANYWHERE is like making the first manned mission to Mars and getting one for a decent price is nigh fucking impossible.

I finally gathered together my little jewels, I swear it's harder than a level 85 end-game WoW quest to hunt down and hoard all those little beauties but gather I did! And the best part? Now I get to name every single piece. Oh joy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

More new pen work

In addition to my tentacled lady and octopus love, I have also been working on my mermaid.

I still have to name these pieces and put some ink to them but I like the way the black and white pen artworks speak for themselves.

I love the idea of human-animal hybrids and sea creatures have the most amazing organic lines and flowing shapes.

I would like to add a third piece to match my tentacled lady and mermaid, what do you think? What should the next animal be?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Universal Craft Blog Directory

Have you heard about the Universal Craft Blog Directory? It's an amazing list of crafty blogs from all over the web, you can read them or you can join them!

Universal Craft Blog Directory

I'm in there, come have a look and link up with other amazing bloggers too :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Absence makes the pen work harder


I've been absent, I know. But in my defense I've been getting my photography on and just couldn't tear myself away! I borrowed my brother's kick-ass DSLR and shot 325 photos over 3 days, lol.

My main aim was to attempt to photograph my pen drawings to see if I can wring some sense of quality from the shots. My point and shoot is good but I always have a bunch of work to do to the pictures afterward. I still had to edit the shots but it wasn't so bad and I could maintain the feeling of hand-drawn.

I've been working on some animal-woman hybrids and in the spirit of Valentine's Day that is assaulting my senses from all directions, an octopus embrace. Those ones are still un-inked but the raven is finished.

So after experimenting with focus, depth of field and macros I'm off to do some real work!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Got time for an email?

Do you have a spare five minutes today? How about writing a quick email to wish Cole a happy birthday?

Jen over at jenbshaw is asking for nothing more than an email or posted card to make her nephew's fifth birthday special. Why is his birthday so special you might ask, it's a massive celebration because his doctor's didn't think he would make it to Christmas and here he is, on the verge of his next birthday.

Spare a moment to say hi to this brave fighter and make his day special.

Thanks to my friend Clare over at Blogginess for linking this story.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crafty gift roundup Part 2

Here are the rest of the crafty Christmas ideas!

 Spinosaurus shirt for Poppy. Using Xavier's own artwork I created a freezer paper stencil and decorated the pocket with fabric paint.

 T-shirts for Xavier's uncle and Daddy, made using the freezer paper stencils also

 Gift hamper for donation, more about the project here.

Golf shirt and golf towel for Grandad. Once again using Xavier's art and freezer paper stencils.

 Customised dino dig game, tutorial coming.

 Tulle pom poms, for tree decoration or home decoration, tutorial coming.

 Plush stegosaurus pillow cover, tutorial coming.

Fabric wrist cuffs - perfect for covering wrist tattoos, tutorial coming.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year! Crafty gift roundup Part 1- ideas and instructions

Happy 2012!

I'm starting off the new year by wrapping up the old one :) I wanted to share our crafty Christmas gifts with you and hopefully lend a little inspiration for the coming holidays/birthday/any time at all.

My husband made anklets for my daughter and myself. I just love that he made these with his own hands and picked the colours for us!

 Hairclips for my daughter and niece. These were so simple and look beautiful.

 Headbands for the babies too. I got to use my new ruffler foot for these :D

 Action shot!

 Christmas day outfits for both kids. Tutorial for shirred baby dresses over here.

Here is a good tutorial for the knotting technique. My anklet is 6 strands, 2 white, 2 forest green, 1 sage green, 1 grass green. Alexis has 2 dark purple, 2 medium purple and 2 blue. These can be as big or small as you want and you can use any amount of colours.

Here's a good visual tutorial for how to cover your alligator clips with ribbon. Remember you are ONLY covering the top part of the clip and the hinge part. The bottom must be left bare so it slides into the hair. NOTE: I used a lighter to singe my ribbon ends and a hot clue gun to attach the ribbon. It was really easy. I got my clips from here, great product and great prices.

And a note on the new year stuff, I'm really not one for New Year's resolutions. You don't need a new year to start something or change something, every day, hour and minute gives you the chance to embark on a new path. You are never a failure for not keeping resolutions, just keep on in the right direction and give yourself a pat on the back for trying again.