Monday, 30 June 2008

Yarn Woman

the un-knit woman
Having yarn for hair might bit a bit high maintanence, jsut imagine the needle expense, and stitch markers are not cheap these days.
My inspiration for this piece was the box of yarn that I have been staunchly ignoring in favour of painting, playing with beads, and baking up a small storm. Sorry the image quality is a little poor the light was bad.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

The Button Thief

the button thief
Here is the work in progress form of my little button thief... her name is Martha but that's a secret so shhhhh... She should be finding worms in the garden, and storing seeds but she has a button addictions. So best mind your buttons ladies, because Martha is very good at being a very bad little birdy.. Buttons are her currency and she means to steal them.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Friday, 27 June 2008

The Button Thief

the button thief (a sketch)

For some reason, unknown to myself, the words "Button Thief" popped into my brain and have plagued me at odd times over the last week or two. It all started when I was playing with some buttons displayed in a basket in a charity shop, and again later I picked up a button on the ground near the park, and I wondered who would want a little lost button? Why a button thief of course.

I imagined a little mouse or squirrel but while sketching in my notebook today a little birdy decided she is the button thief, and a pretty little one at that. She may just need a little black mask, after all she is a criminal, and as such she must keep her identity a secret.

If I get the chance over the weekend I will try and paint the button thief, on vintage book paper, but for now she is just a little doodle in one of my many note/sketch books. H has a cold today so has stayed home from preschool which means the house is a tip and he has been like a poorly little leach stuck to my side all day. So aside from ten minutes frantically sketching ideas in my notebook I have nothing to show for myself today... maybe tomorrow... or the day after.

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Postal Candy

vintage fabric canvas and pouch

I have been meaning to post pictures of what I got from the lovely Mel from the Vintage Swap that I organized many moons ago. First I must apologize to Mel because I kept forgetting to blog the gorgeous little canvas she made for me with its own matching vintage fabric bag. Its lovely Mel thank you so much once again, I can't wait to put it up when we move house. Please visit her blog Sky Rocket Sews and her etsy shop too.

kitchen swap goodies

These beautiful goodies arrived last week from Karen for the Kitchen Swap organized by Pink Petal Designs. I'm in love with the beautiful tea towels with lovely little butterflies cross stitched (?) on, and the sweet little knitted heart, and the knit pot holders. Lovely! they are all hidden away in the kitchen I can't bear to use them just yet but I keep looking at them. Thank you so much Karen!

tea time painted page

Here are the things that I sent to Karen for my part of the Kitchen Swap. Along with a few other bits and bobs that I forgot to photograph in my rush to get the package in the post. Karen said her kitchen is blue and pink so I painted this little cup of tea in said colors. I know that the painting may not be a useful kitchen item but I thought it would look lovely in a little frame. I was at a loss for what to make her after that so I made this simple, and I think quite elegant black and white key chain. Which I hope defines a useful kitchen item. I hope you like them Karen, I had a lot of fun making them for you.

onyx, and white jade keychain

Vintage Book Treasures

vintage book finds
Last Tuesday M took me and H to my favourite book store in the world, or at least in Derbyshire. Scarthin Books in Cromford, Derbyshire is a fantastic book shop, it was at one time a house, but the collections of books grew and grew so that it is now a labyrinth of written words. Books are crammed in every corner, including the bathroom, yes a bathroom not a toilet, because an old bath sits hulking in the corner, and there is an alcove where vintage, and damaged books are kept. I sat myself down in a corner of the room and delved into a huge stack of musty books. The smell of old books has got to be among the best smells, better than bread baking in the oven, and almost as good as freshly brewed coffee in my opinion.

great thoughts from 1885
I spent over 40 minutes all to myself, as M took H off for a wander around Cromford digging through crumbling books. A few of which were too precious to tear apart for future art work. The treasures I brought home with me included the Great Thoughts book from a periodical dated from 1885 for £2, it have some lovely fonts and pages that will look fantastic paired with my illustrations. And the beautiful Rhetorical Dictionary that has a note scribbled on the front page saying that it dates roughly from 1755 or 1780, it is beautiful and heavily damaged with missing pages but I fell in love with its tattered cover less pages and for only £3. M said its too nice to tear up for my art as he leafed through it, and then the back cover fell off in his hands and he stared at it quietly for a moment.

music sheets
As I was about to leave the shop I had a quick look at the shelves just outside the door, with a note saying all books on the outside shelves are 50p and to place the money through the mail slot when the shop is closed! I mean how fantastic is that? I rifled through a few books and found Brahms sheet music, some sheet music for children's songs which I have neglected to picture. And a School Friend Annual from 1955 that M and M's mother both want to read before I'm allowed to use for any art work. The Requiem title page from the Brahms music sheets I have stained with black tea and M says he wants it framed as is for when we move house.

school friend from 1955

Did you catch that bit about moving house? We are in the process of getting things sorted out to move to a nicer slightly larger house on a beautiful street on the other side of town. Its all in the hands of the lawyers/solicitors at the moment so none of it seems real at the moment. I will let you know more when we know more. The house is lovely, it needs work, but the best ones do, the kitchen and kitchen floor need ripping out right away, and the garden is an absolute jungle. Where is Indian Jones with a machete when you need him? The best part is there is a third bedroom so that means space for an office/crafts room!

dictionary circa 1755 or 1780

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Purple Jade

dream agate

I have some beading mojo back! Apparently I just had to order some more beads and some toggle clasps and I'm a happy bunny. I'm totally in love with the purple jade beads in the purple jade bracelet.... I have a thing for purple but they are such a lovely mottled mauve-y purple colour how could I have not ordered them, they look fantastic paired with my favourite rounded square silver beads.

The fantasy dream agate beads are very funky too, its a shame that the sun is hidden today because they would look great with a little sun shining through them. They will be going up for sale in the Etsy shop on Friday. And speaking of shops did I mention that I have a small display of my jewellery in a framing gallery in town? Well I do and I'm so proud of it I hope they sell but this town is a bit hit and miss with things like that, all I can do is wait and see and keep making things. Happy Crafting!

purple jade

p.s. am I the only one with "Purple Rain" on my internal radio?

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

pages and pages

sorry I don't know how to straigten these out in blogger, I should have made a template and one image instead of 8 diffrent ones. This is just a preview of what I have been up to over the weekend, a few need a bit more work and tweeking. My favourite is the little pug Percival, though he turned out a bit more portly than I inteneded. Oh and M says the black and white flapper looks like Kelly Osbourn, not sure about that or if its a compliment or not.

I have beads and toggles that jsut came in the post and we are off to my favourite book store in the world in a minute. Scarthin Books.

Monday, 23 June 2008

The Poison Apple Tree- Print

The Poison Apple Tree

The poison Apple Tree is now in print form. I have added 5 prints to the Etsy shop and I'm considering having cards made. More posts soon and more will be added to the shop on Friday. Thank you.

Friday, 20 June 2008


Little Owl ’s been watching CSI again.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Chocolate Chunk Muffins

chocolate chunk muffins

1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 cup caster (white) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (a pinch)
2 cups good quality chocolate (around 70% cocoa) roughly chopped (or use chocolate chips)*
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup milk

Heat oven to 375° F.
Grease 18 regular-size muffin cups (or 12 large size muffins) or line muffin tins with paper cases.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, melted butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract, and melted butter. Mix until just combined.

Fold in the chopped chocolate.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and springs to the touch.

Then can be served warm or let them cool completely.
Once cooled they can be frozen to be consumed another day.

* about 2 ½ bars (250g )of chocolate roughly chopped. Use 3 bars if you want it very chocolately

Cook’s notes: I used green and blacks cooking chocolate, its 72% cocoa so is very dark, you can use any good quality chocolate you prefer, 55% cocoa, milk, or even white chocolate. H grumped at how dark the chocolate was, but at the same time still managed to eat a huge muffin, and didn’t actually complain about the darkness of the chocolate until he was nearly finished eating it. I thought they turned out pretty good but next time I may use a lesser percentage of cocoa. I only used the 72% because it was the only chocolate in the house that M and H hadn’t devoured.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Drawing Straws at Ikea

Katy's pendant

Yesterday I met up with the effortlessly cool Katy at that place of all things flat packed and Swedish. We had a good natter over a vaguely black substance labled coffee, but tasting of no such thing. I gave Katy's this pendant I made from a square cut focal jade bead, and some fire opal beads I had kicking about my bead box. I found the focal bead at SpellBound Beads in Lichfield on Saturday and Thought it would make a lovely gift for Katy, with her love of the colour green, and paired with the vibrant orange fire opal, it makes a bright pendant in orange and green 70's colours, Katy's favourite.

M forbid me to buy anything as we had a walk around Ikea, my only purchase was a little bag of straws to replace all the straws that H has chewed up. Oh and I bought some chocolates for M for the shop at the end. Thats my lot for now H is throwing tantrums and the kitchen is a pig sty.

jade and fire opal pendant

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Where the Wild Roses Grow

wild roses



fairy sketch

This mornings crafting, I love how the roses turned out, they are actually on my rose bush in the front yard, if you can call it a yard. I think they might be called dog roses, but I really don't know, they are pretty though. Yesterday we went to Lichfield and I got to potter around the charity shops, where I found absoloutly nothing that I was interested in for my crafts, but I did get to spend a very happy 15 minutes alone in the Spellbound Beads shop, I didn't buy much two focal beads, one green one orange, and a few silver beads too... hopefully I will get a bit of beading done later and see what I can make with them.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Follow the White Rabbit Neo!

Neo the rabbit
I first drew Neo a few months ago and have kept him on his little pice of scrap paper in one of my many notebooks. Today in my crafting time I serched through my notebook for inspiration and I found Neo, so here he is in painted page form.

Etsy Shop Update

Hi everyone I have just finished updating the Meridian Ariel shop on Etsy so please take a peep. There are a few bracelets, and some of the painted pages I have been doing. The next up date will be next Friday. Thank you for having a look...

I'm hoping that I will be able to sell enough Items soon to invest in buying a little gocco printer of my very own, what I will do with it once I have saved up I have no idea but I desperately covet one to make prints of my art work, and I would really love to print some tea towels and kids t-shirts with my designs, maybe even adult shirts inf anyone would be interested aside from H wanting a shirt with "mummy's art" on it, and my wanting to send out tea towels with my art on them. Why tea towels? I don't know its fun and useful, everyone has tea towels right? I like mine anyway.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Chicken Gyros

Chicken Gyros

1 lemon (juice and zest)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic (or squeezy kind)
1 medium sized onion sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch strips
Salt and pepper
Feta cheese
1 package pita bread
Crème fraiche or tzatsiki sauce

In a large non-stick skillet heat the oil then add the onion, and garlic, sauté the onion until it begins to brown.

Add the chicken, oregano, lemon zest, salt and pepper. sauté the chicken until it is cooked through then add the lemon juice and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Spoon the chicken and onion mixture onto each pita and top with crème fraiche or cucumber tzatsiki sauce, and feta cheese.

Lettuce and tomato may be added.

Fold in half (if possible) and enjoy.

tzatsiki sauce:

1 cup Greek yogurt
½ cup lemon juice
1 medium cucumber
½ teaspoon garlic minced
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup fresh mint leaves (or dill if you prefer)

Peel and deseed the cucumber and dice. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with salt (to help draw excess water out). Cover with a plate and sit something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minute Drain well and wipe dry with a paper towel. Otherwise your sauce will end up very watery.

Purée cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender until almost smooth, about 1 minute.

Stir in mint and chill, covered, until serving. The sauce will keep for a few days in the fridge but will need stirring before you serve it.

cook's notes: I didn't make the tzatsiki sauce this time, but have made it in the past, M hate cucumber and as this was meant to be a very quick and easy meal I just used creame fraiche, and everyone was happy. Greek food normally has alot of dill in it, and I have never really been that big a fan of dill so omit it from my recipes.

The Sorrowing Tree

the sorrowing tree

I have gone back to drawing willow trees again, well just the one so far but she is a very pretty tree on her painted page. I drew the tree the other night while shamefully watching Jack and the Beanstalk on the sci fi channel, it was cheesy but good fun.

I am caffeine deprived today and find myself feeling very un-crafty, there is a pile of bead carnage on the floor, the beads are beautiful but today they don't want to play with me so I have given up and got a glass of coca cola over some ice. They beads might not be working because I on;y have about two toggles left, and they just wont sit happily with any of the beads I have. Maybe Friday then, my next big crafting day when H is at pre-school all day instead of just a scant few hours this morning. Hopefully the crafting fairy will vist me and give me some much needed beading inspiration.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Isle of Apples and Owls


little brown owl in his tree


sorry the image quality is lacking, there is no decent light. I'm quite taken with the little brown owl in his tree, and how the apples turn out. I'm off to help M design a buisness card for my little crafts and things.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Illustrator at large


I am so proud this morning H and I picked the first two strawberries of the year from the little strawberry plant in its little pot in the green house! I'm so pleased becuse the ones we tried last year didn't grow very well and seemed to go rotten before they ever got ripe. I didn't get to taste them as H dissapeared with the strawberries in a bowl with a tiny sprinkle of sugar and then re-appeared with an empty bowl 2 minutes later. I have been assured that they were very nice.

This morning after seeing M and H off to work and pre-school, I has a quick tidy and dragged my little paint box out and some book pages. Armed with a cup of very strong black tea, with the bar still in I stained about a dozen pages then proceeded to paint a few that were dry and a few that were still damp with tea. I really can seem to tear myself away from painting these little pages. There is something so romantic and bookish about painting on stained book pages, I love the effect. The only painting that didn't turn out the way I wanted is the tree one, it didn't turn out even vaguely similar to what my intentions were when I set out to paint it. I''m not sure about it yet, I will let in grow on me a bit and see what happens.


Little White School House


Defiance Tree

And to prove that I am not all together a coward I have added 4 painted page originals to my etsy shop we shall see if anyone out there likes them as much as I do. Oh and apparently I'm now an Illustrator, thats what Etsy says these paintings are called, Mixed Media Illustrations, very nice.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Blueberry Muffins

Best Blueberry Muffins

1/2 cup butter at room temp
1 cup caster/white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt(a pinch)
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups self- raising (or all purpose) flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons porridge oats

Pre-Heat oven to 375°.

Grease 18 regular-size muffin cups (or 12 large size muffins) or line muffin tins with paper cases.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.

Beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt. With spoon, fold in half of flour then half of milk into batter.

Fold in the remainder of the flour, and then the remainder of the milk.

Gently fold blueberries into the batter and spoon into muffin cups.

Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle onto each muffin.

Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown and springy to touch.

cook's notes: These muffins are more cupcake with fruit in than pure muffin, though I have never properly understood the dividing line between cupcake and muffin. I like to mess around with my basic muffin recipe and seek inspiration from other recipes and then go my own way. The inspiration for the recipe is H wanting to make cupcakes and needed to use up some blueberries that were on offer in the supermarket. I trolled through some recipes in my recipe folder, and had a browse through recipezaar to see what other recipes people use. I find it quite facinating that there can be hundreds of diffrent recipes for simple blueberry muffins... or rather hundreds of diffrent variations on a theme. M and H very happy, so I must have done something right.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Amanita muscaria

Amanita muscaria- toadstool

Yes I have been painting again, I just love painting on books pages, there is something romantic and pretty about it and don't forget that element of recycling. I Have parceled all my storybook pages off with M to the studio to be scanned for future prints, and to sort out some mounts and then with a bit of luck I want to put them in my Etsy shop. I'm not sure how to price them yet, originals or prints, but I'm really proud of them, I look at them and think that they are something that I wouldn't mind in a frame on the wall and I think that's about the best compliment I can give them. I'm not the most confident of people, I'm not very popular I'm not cool, and I have never been one to have much self belief, but I actually think these are pretty good. Would you want? would you buy them even?

M says he likes the Toadstools at the top the best, and wants to keep it, or at least a copy, I do to because of the Tolkien quote about Faerie, all of these paintings were made on the pages from a Tolkien book that I got from a library sale last week, I love Tolkien's writing and because the book was so badly damaged I thought it would be a great way to mix my love of books with my love of painting. There is something so magical about the written word, I have often dreamed of being a writer, but I have always lacked the discipline to get the stories, and characters that swim about in that dark and cluttered recesses of my mind. I do write things, little drabbles, little bits of stories, and dream, and very rarely the odd poem, no body ever reads the poems though, I am a terrible poet, the rest though I sometimes share with the world, or at least the 2 people that have ever visited my drabble blog. And one of those is probably my dad. I don't often add things as I have been so obsessed with jewellery making and painting the last few months. Perhaps sometime soon I will swing back into writing mode, there are a few things that have been swirling around my thoughts for awhile.

But for today I'll stick with painting pictures on words.T hanks for taking the time to read my blog, to look at my art, and jewellery, and cakes too. And thank you to those of you who take the time to leave a comment, they really do me the world to me. Thank you.

Grizelda the Goose

Rapunzel's Tower

Little White House

Butterfly Blue