Some Happy Times

PicMonkey Collage

Half term has been and gone, and I took the opportunity to lay down the paint brushes and have some heavenly time out.  Above is a mosaic, capturing some snapshots of that delicious week.  First off, a trip the seaside with my sister and her family; we went to the Norfolk coast and took a long walk on the sea front breathing in the deep gulps of tangy salted air.  The sea was like a mill pond, as calm as you like and dark silhouettes were framed on the shore line as folks walked their dogs, stark against the milky blue sea.

In the park, the aconites were a bright carpet of yellow and a cheery sight for a winter weary soul…there was also time indoors, leisurely breakfasts, time spent baking with my little girl and the acquisition of some new, shiny tins to put our freshly iced fairy buns in.  There were lots of sofa moments too where we just collapsed in front of the telly, where I crocheted or sipped hot, frothy coffee in my pyjamas.

I think we all need time out like this, time away from the computer, from work, from our commitments.  It’s a chance to recharge, reflect and relax.  It was bliss.

Back to work though this week – paintings for the exhibition continue to emerge and I’m on with this one at the moment:

DSCN0224

And I’m also on with some of these…

PicMonkey Collage

These Easter hearts have been a nice little diversion for me, and I continue to sneak the odd one in here and there between my more Serious Paintings.  I am currently offering these through my Facebook Page, so if you are interested in acquiring one for yourself, you are welcome to message me although I must hasten to add that they are very Limited Edition due to time constraints and so only a very small number will be made.

I have some extra time on my hands today, my little girl is at an after school craft club so I’m away now to take advantage of this extra hour, and get busy with my paint brushes again.

See you soon x

Snow, yarn and other such ramblings

PicMonkey Collage2

There’s been a spot of colourful hooky going on in these parts.

After a bit of pootling on Pinterest and various and delightful craft blogs, I discovered a newish craze for granny square blankets emerging.  Aha! I thought; I could do with one of those very things for my own sweet bed!  However, Christmas was upon us, and I had neither the time nor inclination to contemplate a new blanket project, so I filed the idea away for future reference…fast forward to January, and I eventually caved in and bought a new stash of Stylecraft Special DK wool to set about making a granny square blanket of my very own.  My heart had been well and truly taken the moment I cast my eyes upon this beautiful blanket here although there are many fine specimens to be found upon the interweb as I’m sure you will discover.

I cannot lie to you, I was so smitten with Sandra’s colourway that I ordered pretty much the same shades of wool that she had used for her blanket.  And it’s coming on a treat; its a fine way to pass a happy hour on a winters eve, curled up on the sofa watching Miranda, gigglesnorting like billy-o and knocking up a few squares in deliciously vintage coloured yarn.

I’m using the join-as-you-go method, fiddly as heck, but saving me a lot of sewing at the end which can be a tad time consuming to say the least.

During the day, I’ve been working my little socks off on some new pieces of art for my solo exhibition…would you like a peek?  You would?  Here you are then:

DSCN0045

The Coastguard Cottages

DSCF4410

Beside the Waves

I also have a plan to create some coastal inspired characters on some small box canvases, with an element of collage and stamped text about them.  I’m mighty excited by this sudden flurry of inspiration and I’m making sure I write down lots of notes about these ideas in my book, should they happen to dissolve and disappear from my busy little head forever.

After a colourful week, our world suddenly turned very grey and white.  The snow finally came to our little corner of the world and we decided that we would go out and enjoy ourselves enormously.

DSCN0094

There was sledging and snowman girl making, the obligatory snowball fights and wanderings down the back garden to see the river which had turned into a magical winter wonderland…

DSCN0102

DSCN0101

I love the sculptural shapes of the branches and seed heads, and that glorious blue sky!

DSCN0104

As I work, I see my little feathered friends making more frequent visits to the feeder (which is hung a couple of feet away from my window).  I love to watch them, and wonder how something so small can survive such terribly cold nights…

DSCN0093

DSCN0028

Another feathered soul paid us a visit too…can you spot him?  He’s a regular visitor, and can often be seen stooping in the shallows, waiting to catch a plump trout for his lunch.

DSCN0069

Back inside after our snowy meanderings, hot chocolate of the best kind, topped with the squirtiest of cream and tiniest of marshmallows is consumed and jammies are put on.  It’s only 3 o’clock in the afternoon, but it’s a snow day from school and there’s no need to be going out again; may as well just cosy up indoors and do a spot of painting with C…

DSCN0088

…and on a whim, I dug out some papier mache style hearts and painted a whimsical little Valentine’s scene.  These hearts are secretly magnets, but would look rather dandy in a nice box frame I think.

So my week is only just begun, but already it is filled with the simplest and nicest of things.  And if it needed icing on the cake, it came in the form of an email from my lovely agent, who wrote to tell me that three pieces of my artwork have been accepted for licensing by a client, and therefore shall become cards or suchlike.  I am delirious with delight, because this is another one of my dreams come true.

And dreams do come true you know, if you believe they will.

I’ll see you again soon, have a wonderful week and thank you for coming to see me today.

Love J x

Sea Blue Hooky

Hello,

I was all cosy on the sofa the other evening, wrapped up in my ripple blanket with a nice cuppa and a copy of Country Living magazine.  I noticed that twilight was infusing the blue sky with it’s velvety darkness and I suddenly had an urge to start a new crochet project…darker nights make me want to dig out my hook and a stash of soft wool and get busy.  The next day, I took myself off to the local wool shop and browsed the shelves looking for the right shades for my new scarf.

Yes, another scarf.

I cannot help myself when it comes to making scarves – it’s because it’s such a portable project, and pretty quickly made up I think, so I enjoy making them.  Plus, it’s always nice to have a cosy and colourful collection to dip into come the colder weather.

But this time, I wasn’t after bold, bright splashes of colour.  This time, I was trying something very different ~ I was on the lookout for sea blues and greys, the colours that I associate with the coast in winter…I envisaged a smooth, round, charcoal coloured pebble encircled with an elipse of white sitting in my palm…I saw pale blue skies, with gulls wheeling high above on the thermals…I saw stormy grey blue seas, wind whipped into frothy white waves that crashed onto pale sandy shores…I felt the cool, bleak wonder of a beach walk in January, discovering bleached driftwood and tiny white shells sprinkled on the tide line amidst muddy brown fronds of seaweed.

I wanted to find these kinds of colours for my scarf.  And I discovered Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK and I was smitten.

The shades of this yarn are beautiful, and capture everything I was thinking of.  I also had a pattern in mind for this scarf, which is called the Starburst stitch.  You can probably get a free tutorial online for this stitch, but Im using the one that’s in Handbook of Crochet Stitches.

I like how the Starburst stitch looks a little bit like waves on the ocean…

I must admit, despite being landlocked and yearning for brisk Autumn walks on a beach, I do like this time of year in these parts.  The countryside is slowly fading, the carnival of Summer packs up it’s glamours and slowly moves on, replaced by that chill in the air, an undefinable feeling, a wistful sense of something passing…of log fires and hot chocolate, of walking in crunchy leaves down lanes where the air is tinged with the scent of a bonfire.  All of these things have me yearning to be in the kitchen making delicious things…

…like aromatic parsnip and apple soup…*recipe can be found in October Edition of Country Living Magazine*

There is something very comforting about home made soup, fresh off the hob and dished up with a warm baguette, generously buttered and served with a big mug of tea.  It is comforting, and reassuring and homely.

I do enjoy these small comforts, they help me to make the transition from Summer to the colder months ahead.  I know I’m one of those souls who, despite liking each season enormously, deeply laments the passing of the warmer days.

I’m currently tucked up indoors working on a commission painting; I’m also starting new sketches for the solo exhibition I am in next year, at Studio 61 Gallery, in Derbyshire.  This is my first ever solo exhibition and I’m thrilled to have been invited to show with the gallery.

Also, for the first time in many moons, I have agreed to do a Christmas fair – it’s hosted by the very talented Kate Brazier of Kate Creates, and I’ll be down in Newton Regis on the 8th December to sell some Christmas and Coastal wares!

I can feel a cup of tea coming on now, I’ll see you next time – thanks for bobbing by.