Thursday, 14 August 2014

Doodling & the Talents of Friends

I've been doodling again. I wasn't sure whether to post the result or not as it's rougher than a bear's backside. It was something I idled away at whilst curled up on the sofa at nights, normally in front of a TV show or film.

In real life, it's quite a small page and the imperfections don't show up as bad. The moment I scanned it and saw it on screen, it's like every error had a flashing red arrow pointing at it. And yes, I feel just as vulnerable as everyone else who shares their stuff online, especially when it's a crappy play project for fun.

But heck, I just wanted to scribble away and produce something colourful. I stumbled when I realised the black pen I was using wasn't a water resistant one which meant the best way to add colour was to use pencils.

I dug out my Spectrum Noirs and soon found out how easy it was to cripple the carpal tunnel in my wrist! They produced a lovely rich colour but boy did I have to press down hard and keep going over until I had as smooth a colour as I could. I think you can tell where I gave up.

Next time, I'll use the correct black marker and use ink or watercolour.

In the meantime, I have much better artwork to share with you. My lovely friend Richard Pettitt now has a website up - check it out here - and he's taking commissions for pet portraits.

(Taken from Richards Web Page)

I have to say I love this particular one. The evil glowing eyes are mesmerising.

Anyway, although I knew he could draw dogs, I commissioned him to do a portrait for Nick & I of our furry housemate, Basil. And this week we received it. It's something I never thought to have done. It always struck me as a bit too sentimental and nauseating to have a pet portrait. But you know what? I should slap myself hard for ever having that thought. There's something utterly soul-lifting about having an artist draw an animal you live, love and care for.

Now I don't have the finished piece to share, it's too precious to put under the scanner and I'm keeping it pristine until it is framed.


I can share the photo Richard sent over whilst he was in the middle of working on it.

When we saw this, we went batcrap crazy over it. Photos of pets bring you wonderful memories but the experience and emotion you feel over a piece of art is beyond my humble means of expression. I have no words to do it justice.

Nick & I have had quite a few adventures and firsts this year. This has to be one of the highlights. So, so very happy with it.

Ironically, the day it arrived was the same day as a trip, for sir, to the vets, to have his annual injections. Two days later, he is only just forgiving us. Ever seen a cat sulk? His majesty can out-diva both of us.

And that's saying something

Sunday, 10 August 2014

It's Time to Lipsynch....For....Your..............LIFE!

I am, of course, quoting the Queen of the Glamazons, Ru Paul for the title of this post. As I intimated in my last, I have been watching and obsessing with the fabulous Drag Race over which she presides.

As you may have noted, there has been an absence of crafting going on around here. I've been drawing and doing small household projects but I've largely left my craft room untouched. There is a reason and it's something I've talked about on here before. The ebb and flow around creativity. And I've been in the Ebb mode recently. I'm okay about that. There comes a point when it's good for me to take a break and go look for inspiration instead. And strangely enough, this time around, I've found it in Ru Paul.

But before I go on, here's a teaser...

Now when I find a source I love, I really go full out and dig deep into it. I've been reading Ru's books, including his autobiography. I've been listening to his fortnightly podcasts, "What's The Tee". I've been watching his shows. And I've been learning a heck of a lot about creativity, authenticity and determination.

The TV show is a competition starting with 14 drag queens who are whittled down episode by episode until three remain. There is a grande finale show and from the top three, a winner is crowned Drag Superstar.

Now bear with me, there's a reason I'm going into this. You see, to the mainstream, this is what drag looks like...

Roxxy Andrews from Season 5.

These are the Pageant Queens.

But in Season 4, right from start, I was bewitched by Sharon Needles (Geddit?), whose look was more like this...

And she was forever having to defend her unique aesthetic. Then, in Season 5, I routed for Jinkx Monsoon....

She was another who had an original look, creating characters of a vintage era and was given a difficult time because of her oeuvre.

SPOILER ALERT: Guess what....

They both won in their respective seasons.

The outsider, in a community of outsiders, walked away with the title and crown. They stayed true to themselves against some harsh bullying from the Pageant queens. They had their own style and authenticity and kept at it when the competing queens were constantly putting them down.

Are you beginning to see why I instantly loved them both and cried buckets when the underdog won? Add to that, the story of Ru Paul's life and all the other queens, winners or not and I've been swept away in the tide of resilience, irreverence and creativity.

Now everyone has their own different preferred places to go seek some inspiration. The courage and convictions of drag superstars has been mine this summer.

Okay you've got this far...shall I post a card to show that the ebb is giving way to flow?


It's my cliched homage to the world of drag

Now with that out of my system, it's time to grab my supplies and start crafting again

Sunday, 3 August 2014

TV, Rocking Chairs & Squashes

Hello my lovely darlings,

I haven't posted any craft projects on here I know. I've gone a bit quiet. Only because I haven't created anything of note to post about. Whether it's the summery days or the humid, muggy weather, I'm not sure but I just haven't felt like sitting down and creating.

I've been drawing, sketching and designing vectors for work but in my free time, nothing! I know that we're supposed to give the impression that when, as bloggers, we aren't blogging, it's because we're off doing worthy pursuits. But I haven't. Not this time. Instead, I've been enjoying pop culture. Which is a fancy way to say, I've been watching T.V. Programmes such as the devine, RuPaul's Drag Race.

I know, I know. I'm supposed to switch it off and do something better with my time but sometimes, just giving the old brain a rest and filling it with trashy pop culture is as good as it gets. Sometimes you need to stop and fill the well folks.

Anyway, I've not been completely lazy. I've been making progress on my goal to add more colour to our humble home. So be warned...this is going to be one of those before and after transformation posts.

A while back, Nick brought home a family heirloom. A rocking chair. I have to say, I wasn't overly impressed with it on first sight. But oh, when I sat in it, it was love. Only problem was that it was in need of some repair and a complete overhaul on the upholstery. In fact you may recall me mentioning it in a post a few weeks back.

So here we go...the before shot (after the seat & back had been ripped out).

I shredded my hands sanding the chair down, what with all those awkward curves. I gave it a couple of coats of undercoat and then the exciting part. I took it out into the garden and let loose with around three cans of spray paint.

The upholstery required a professional, so the painted chair was left in the capable hands of a chap whose shop is just across the road. I chose the fabric & trim and left him to it.

A few days later and looked what arrived back...

Isn't that so much better? I squealed and nearly wet myself when it was brought into the house. I'm still giddy with excitement at how fabulous it now looks. It's my pride and joy. It's now sitting proudly in the bedroom where it is perfectly positioned for me to sit and read in the evenings, rocking away like a modern day grandpa.

And finally, an update...

My little seeds are growing up. Yes, my Spaghetti Squashes are finally bearing fruit. In a month or two we should have a crop of fully grown, ready to eat veggies. I'm intrigued to see their resemblance to spaghetti strands once cooked. My carb-free spagbol is nearly here.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Happy Birthday Card

Good morning. I'm back with a quick birthday card. One to add to my stock pile for when my calendar flashes up a friend's birthday and it's too late to knock one up (why iCal is your default set at one day????? Dozy numpties like me need at least a week's warning)

Mind you, with the bright, cheerful colours going on here, I'd happily pop this card in the post and address it to myself just so that I can see it brighten up my own mantelpiece.

Right I'm off to go and enjoy some of that lovely, if somewhat rare, sunshine today

Monday, 14 July 2014

Digging It: Kohlrabi from Garden to Plate

We've had a lovely weekend entertaining a guest. One of Nick's closest and dearest friends. Whilst the pair of them went off on excursions together, I relaxed at home and made headway with a couple of DIY projects (which I will share when complete). Yes, my normally pristine hands have been sanding, priming and painting. On top of that, my nails have had further insult to injury by being plunged into dirt to harvest these lovelies

Our Kohlrabis were now all grown to the size of tennis balls and in need of harvesting. As you can see, we produced two varieties, purple and green. And because we planted the seedlings all at the same time rather than staggering them, we now have all twenty to eat up in the coming couple of weeks.

Good job I've found plenty of interesting recipes. The first of which we trialled on Saturday. Kohlrabi Fritters.

After peeling and grating them, they are drained of their moisture before adding to a mix of egg and breadcrumbs, plus a few chilli flakes. They are rolled into balls as you can see here

Flattened in a frying pan of hot oil, using a spatula

And voila, delicious, if ever so slightly naughty, fritters. And yes, it's like you've heard from everyone else who's grown their own produce. They do indeed taste better when you've gone from garden to plate. It's the smug self satisfaction that you've successfully grown and harvested organic vegetables and not killed them off or had them snacked upon by slugs and snails first.

Previous to these, my only other gardening success had been growing salad cress in an empty egg shell, decorated and filled with cotton wool. I was about six or seven. Is this a sign that I'm now well into my middle age? :D

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Love You Card

I'm back with another card. Told you the muse was upon me. I'm not even supposed to be making cards at the moment. I have another project or two I should be finishing off first. Oh well, I go where the muse takes me.

It's mainly a die job. I used Lil Inkers stitched rectangles to cut out the multi colour cards. I stuck these down onto a scrap of card and ran the whole thing through a large square Lil Inker's die. I backed onto black card which was run through the largest stitched square die and backed the whole lot onto red cardstock using foam mount. I stamped the sentiment and backed onto more black card which I die cut using Spellbinders scalloped square.

Now if this doesn't brighten up someone's shelf and add a touch of fabulousness, I don't know what will!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Happy Birthday Card

I have a card to share today. I'm still exploring a graphic lead style which incorporates plenty of colour. I can't begin to tell you how joyful crafting has suddenly become.  I even started to introduce colour into my art at the last few classes I attended. The positive emotional effects of colour has really opened my eyes.

Anyway, enough musings. Here's my card

I die cut the triangles out of a rainbow pad of dotted paper and adhered to a piece of card. I trimmed it down and stuck onto the card's base. I added a couple of strips of washi tape to the top and bottom. I then die cut the banner and stamped the sentiment onto it.

Can't wait to sit in my craft room again and make something else. If your mojo has flatlined recently, I encourage you to try lots of bold colour! It may work for you too. I now have a sketchbook full of ideas at the moment lol.