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Summer painting update

Over the last few months I haven’t been painting very much due to a mixture of working hard and lack of inspiration. But now that the sun is out and I’m managing to sneak more days at home, I’m trying to track down some inspiration and rediscover my pencils and paints.

So here are a few things that I’ve been painting recently:

bakery dog

This is based on an instagram pic of a cheeky little labrador at a bakery window. I’m still going through a painting cute animals phase, so this popped onto my feed at just the right time! I update my instagram more often than the blog or Facebook, so follow me on instagram for more frequent updates!

Talking of cute animals, I went to see Jurassic World at the cinema last weekend, which inspired a little birthday card that I did for my cousin’s little boy.

dino cardPersonally, I think little dinosaurs are adorable, but that might just be me! I’m thinking of doing a few more of these to make a cute little group as my go to for young age cards.

Another card I did this month was for my friend who recently moved in with her boyfriend:

congrats card

I’ve only met her boyfriend once so far (I know, I’m a terrible friend), but they seem very happy together, so I’m really excited for them!

The final painting I’m going to share is a quick sneak peak…

sneak peek

I’ve been working on a name illustration for a different cousin’s little boy (I have a lot of cousins), with a riverside theme, so this is a little snippet of the final thing.

This is the fifth name illustration I’ve done (I’ve previously shared Hattie’s on my Facebook page and Ella’s here) and it is definitely my favourite thing to paint! I’ll share them all in my next post, once I’ve given this one to it’s new owner.

I’m always open to requests, so if you know anyone who’s nursery or child’s room is missing that something special, please get in touch!

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Happy Egg Hunting Day!

Happy Easter everyone!

happy easter

We had an early Easter gift yesterday when my mum and step-dad came over wielding an arsenal of garden tools to help us tackle our jungle of a garden!

The boyf pointed out we should have taken a before picture, as it was truly a huge mess, but now we have proper borders, healthy plants, a tidy little lawn and cute hedge ball things! Weeds have been scared away, wild honeysuckle has been tamed and we actually used our outdoors tap for the first time (turns out it wasn’t covered in as many spider webs as we thought)!

garden

So although it isn’t quite egg-hunt ready yet, by summer it will be the perfect sunbathing and barbecuing spot!

I hope you all have a day filled with egg hunting, chocolate and bunnies :) and I’ll leave you with this little close up as he’s just so cute!

x

happy easter crop

Summer of change

Yesterday I met with a friend that I haven’t seen in far too long and she said she felt this was a summer of change, and I couldn’t agree more.

To be honest, it’s been a bit of a year of change, with everything from moving closer to home to starting this blog, but this summer it’s really upped a gear.

Things are changing at work, with hopefully more opportunities on the horizon and more time to focus on and improve upon my little blog in the future.

Things have been changing for us as a family, and by that I mean the wider family not just our little home! These changes, especially, have been more difficult than easy, but I’d like to think we’re all that little bit closer as a result.

Things are changing for friends, with many moving house, starting new relationships and changing jobs. It reminds me I should make an effort to see them more as there is so much of their lives that I’m missing.

One of the things that can be hard to tell at the time, is whether it’s a change for the good or a change for the bad, I’m going to hope that even some of the changes that look not so great at the moment are going to eventually show their silver lining and turn out for the best.

(This is how I’d like to see myself handling change: effortlessly glamorous with fabulous accessories)

However, there is one change that has definitely been for the good: the four fluffy additions to the household – crazy cat lady transformation can only be weeks away!

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diy song lyric wall art

Today I’m sharing a little diy project that I did last summer that was super quick and easy to do: song lyric wall art.

I was inspired by this post on A Beautiful Mess, a blog you should definitely check out if you are into crafts, diy or cooking. They share some great ideas on how to make simple home improvements and personalise your home.

This diy in particular, really stuck with me. I spent ages thinking of what songs I could do, how I could make it look a little more me and how I could do it.

Last summer I had a lot of weekend mornings to myself as the boyf was at work, so this was one that I completed on a sunny Saturday morning, done and dusted before he got home.

canvas

(photo taken this morning on a non-sunny weekend morning!)

Materials used:

  • Medium sized canvas
  • Pencils
  • Masking fluid
  • Small paint brush with a pointed tip (that got wrecked!)
  • Watercolour paints
  • Large paint brush
  • Rubber

1. First I chose my song and wrote the lyrics in pencil onto my canvas. It took me a while to figure out how large to write the letters, but I wanted it to look a bit abstract from afar and only legible when close up, so I kept the writing quite small. (It also meant I could fit more of the song onto it!)

2. Once I was happy with the pencilled lyrics, I used the small brush to go over the writing with masking fluid. I started from the bottom and worked my way up to try to avoid smudging the pencil with my wrists, but it meant I had to be doubly sure the fluid was dry before I went onto the line above. As it took a while to mask out all of the lyrics, it completely ruined my brush, as too many layers of the fluid had built up on the bristles, leaving it coated in rubber – so make sure its a brush you are willing to sacrifice if you go this route. If anyone has any suggestions for a better tool to use with masking fluid, please let me know!

3. After all the lyrics were masked out and the fluid was dry, it was time to paint. I wanted a loose rainbow pattern, so used a few watercolour paints and swooshed it over the canvas with my large brush. Watercolours and canvas don’t really go well, the paints sit on top and don’t really sink in, which I knew, but thought that it would be fine as it wasn’t a detailed or precise pattern… it took me four or five layers and lots of paint to get a strong colour on the canvas!

4. As soon as your paints are dry, its time to peel off the masking fluid. I find the easiest way to remove the fluid is to roll over it with the pad of your finger or with a putty rubber, to create little gunky balls that can help pull up the rest of the fluid.

5. Once all the fluid has been removed and you’ve basked a little in the glory of your fabulous canvas, the last task is to rub out the pencil marks left visible by the removed masking fluid. Then it’s ready to go up on display.

canvas on wall

(how adorable is my penguin?!)

For the next canvas I’d definitely use a different medium, acrylic paints work best, but I’m not very familiar with them. I’ve been experimenting with gouache this weekend, so I will probably try these, but I think I might come across the same problem of it sitting on top of the canvas rather than sinking in!

What do you think? Is it something you would try?

x

Week 14 – Jungle garden

We’re now at the start of April and we’ve been in our new little house for two whole months now. Time has gone so quickly!

It feels like so long has passed since we were in the little flat. I can’t imagine trying to squeeze all our things in that living room, or not having our little garden for the cat to explore.

Although, neither me nor the boyf are particularly green fingered… which inspired this weeks illustration:

garden kitten

Kitten has really enjoyed trekking through our jungle-like garden, tracking down bugs and bees and pouncing on blossom and leaves that roll along the grass. She’s also discovered a few gaps in the fence to try to squeeze through, but any people or cars passing by quickly sends her darting back into the garden!

Fingers crossed we get another warm, sunny day to tackle the garden before we lose her completely in the grass!

x

Homemade calendar

I’m happy to welcome back the return of the midweek post! Now that I’ve got the internet back, I can continue sharing a few art projects I’ve been working on, starting with our homemade calendar.

We are so bad at remembering peoples’ birthdays on time and as I love to do handmade cards, I like a little bit of warning so I can spend that bit more time creating something a little personal, or at least pretty to look at.

We spent the whole of January intending to buy a calendar, but couldn’t make the decision between cute kittens or cars, so in the end I decided to make our own, so every month could be different and by doing it one month at a time, I would know of any birthdays, anniversaries or other plans well in advance.

I did the March calendar yesterday, using the February calendar as a template, and I have a list of all the family birthdays to make sure I don’t miss anyone out. I kept it quite simple, but it took me about an hour to do by the time I’d painted the flowers, although admittedly I was watching tv at the same time!

calendar

Bonus points if you can spot our sneaky photobomber!

As you can see, I have some travel plans this month – a quick 3 day trip to Geneva, a couple of birthdays and two days with hammers… (the hammer represents an event set up and derig!).

I’m looking forward to having a full set by the end of the year and thinking of a new design or style for each month. Fingers crossed this makes sure my cards are all on time this year!

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Week 6 – Family times

The reason we moved to Ely was because of the boyf’s new job (woop to him!), but one of the main reasons we were so excited about the move was because we would be so much closer to home.

We both like to be quite close to our families, but living around 2hours away and the boyf only having two weekends off every 8 weeks meant we couldn’t get home much over the last two years. Now we’re less than an hour away, we’re looking forward to actually seeing people on/around their birthdays rather than just sending a card (late, inevitably, due to our lack of calendar – more on this once our internet is up and running!) and being able to pop in just to say hi.

So the sixth week of 2014 was meant to be all about getting settled in, exploring the town and then having the first few days of the commute with the weekend to recover, but it ended up giving me a little glimpse of what life might be like living a little closer to home!

I managed to see not just the full set of my parents, but also the boyfs parents plus my brother, sister-in-law and niece and nephew all in one week – definitely worth the move!

I got to see my dad for the second time in as many weeks when he popped in for a cup of coffee and some lunch as he was in the area. On Wednesday evening me and the boyf nipped down the a11 for my step-dad’s bday with my mum, brother and his family (with a handmade card obvs). It was so great to be able to celebrate with them rather than a quick call before they went out.

Then at the weekend we zipped up the a14 to the boyf’s parents to say hi and bring our lovely degus home following their extended stay for the move. It’s great to have our little family complete again, but I had forgotten quite how much mess they make! In honour of their return, I’ve done a little sketch, but I could only do one as they move around too much!

degu

So after our first full week we’ve explored the town, seen family and got our degus back but we still have an unassembled wardrobe waiting in the conservatory… oops

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You can see an illustration of our new house here and read about the move here

Week 5 – The move

Week 5 of 2014 was all about the move!

We may have slightly underestimated a few key elements of the move, such as how long it takes to pack, how long it takes to load the van, how much cleaning we had to do and how much stuff we needed to fit in the van… but apart from that, it went swimmingly :)

The boyf’s parents came down to help pack, load, clean and unpack, and with the slowest lift in the world doing its best to hold us up, it took a mere 5 hours to get everything in the van, rather than the 2-3hours I’d anticipated!

We then trundled down the motorway in our hired van with the boyf at the wheel and finally collected our keys at 4:30pm to start the unload.

bow keys

(apologies for the blurriness and lack of colour, I’m still internetless, so have limited resources! ps. our actual keys did not have a bow)

It was amazing to see the amount of stuff we’d squished into that van, loading it must have been like an epic game of Tetris, and the conservatory made for a great holding pen for all our bits and pieces and muddy shoes (it rained non-stop all day).

As an aside, both me and kitten were super excited about finally having our own set of stairs! She can run up and down chasing toy balls and mice and I have the most convenient cupboard-under-the-stairs ever and can no longer see my bed from the kitchen sink – yeay!

stairs

(this is how exciting I am about my stairs, look at the size of that cupboard – brilliant)

So after unloading the van and diligently unpacking almost nothing, we had our first night in our new little house; me, the boyf and kitten. Then we were up first thing to drive back down to the flat for the final (crazy thorough) clean and checkout!

So after a final farewell to our first little home together, our view over the Thames and our high speed rail link it was time to head to our new home, complete with kitten, boxes and our own front door.

x

Week 4 – 5 days of boxes

This week started with the best bit of news – we’ve got our little house!

As strange as it seems, we have ended up with the first house that we looked at, which I illustrated a few weeks ago (post here); it was one of 4 houses that we applied for (and got turned down for). Obviously the rental gods took pity on our soon to be homeless state and worked their magic to get us that first little house we set our hearts on!

So now the packing begins in earnest… except I can’t quite decide where to start.

OK, I have made a small start, we have 7 crates filled with DVDs and books, but the book case is still full of art materials. Then there’s just the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, airing cupboard and the rest of the living room to go. Looks like the boyf has enough to keep him busy while I’m at work this week!

So in 5 days we’ll say goodbye to our great view over the thames, our 5min journey to Bluewater, the super quick and comfy high speed train and our first home together, and in the meantime, we’ll be surrounded by boxes.

boxes

x

 

 

Week 1 – a little house hunting

Week 1 of 2014 was rather more stressful than I was expecting – I’m hoping this isn’t a sign of the year to come!

After roughy 6 months of checking rightmove religiously and waiting for the start date for the boyf’s new job, yesterday we started our house hunt in earnest.

We went to have a look at one of the cutest little houses, but despite having been through this process before, we appeared to forget how competitive the rental market is! We were one of 6 couples to view in the last two days and half had already put in their application forms before we’d even set foot inside. So although this little house is in the perfect location and ticks almost all of our must-haves, we are now at the mercy of of the rental gods.

On top of this, we got a call Friday afternoon to let us know that viewings for our flat had been booked in for yesterday, which meant that kitten had to join us on our little house hunt. So at 3pm yesterday, me, the boyf, kitten and her litter tray bundled into the car and headed to the motorway. It was a 90min drive in endless rain and drizzle and at the other end, I spent 10minutes trying to convince the kitten to use said litter tray. She however, decided she would much rather snuggle up with the boyf’s work coat in the boot.

Following the viewing and another attempt with the litter tray, we headed back on the return journey, where kitten meowed until I let her onto my lap. When we finally got back home, we realised that the litter tray was the wrong provision to bring – turns out kitten had the munchies.

All in all, house hunting day 1 was a long day with a hungry kitten and we still have no where to live after January! Time to send the boyf out on his own to hunt us down a little house to call home. Wish him luck!

So for week 1 of my 52 week project, here is my illustration of our possible little house.

little house

Click here for the start of my 52 week project!

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