Saturday, 30 May 2009

Selvedge makes my heart beat faster!

Not that long ago a lovely friend in America, Katie, offered to give away some of her fabric stash. Over here in Scotland I immediately thought of all the amazing selvedges attached to the bits and emailed straight away - my heart beating faster.....

Until I remembered that postage costs a lot to cross the big pond! Deary me, my desire for selvedge scraps and bits of fabrics had shown no bounds! ...but I had a few thoughts about how I could show my appreciation...

A fat padded enveloped arrived shortly (with LOTS of postage stamps!), and inside were gorgeously patterned and beautiful fabrics. Check out the superb magpie above, the blue cherry blossoms and the amazing pink and yellow sunflowers! Baby hares galore!

..... and then I pulled out the selvedges! Masses and masses of wonderfully coloured 'spots'! Aaah - selvedge spots - just like a printers test page but on fabric! So many spots, so many creative opportunities ....

My favourite bits are the brown one near the top and the blue one below that. Can I ever dare to use them? Perhaps I shall just keep them on display!
Katie has a blog which stars her three cats, Franklin, Tasha and Dobby. I stop by every day to have a look at what they have (or haven't, they are cats after all!) been up to. Dobby the ginger one loves to sleep. Franklin the blue loves attention and Tasha the tortie likes to doze Under her quilts!

Franklin and Dobby both looking Very regal!

Tasha with her one good eye and one not-so-good. Very striking markings on her! I have learnt that 'torties' (tortoiseshells) have lots of 'tortitude'!

So as a thank you to Katie, I knew that she loves watercolours and adores her cats, I decided to paint the trio and make them their very own soft sculptures for their personal collections.
Watercolour painting is quite an art and some times it works, other times it really reminds you that it is the boss! This is my second attempt after the first one failed dismally and has been recycled!
I have used watercolour pencils with watercolour on top for definition and depth. On the right hand side is my 'printers selvedge' of colours that I used and this painting is called 'Cats and Selvedge'. It is definitely not your typical 'portrait' but this is how it came together and I know that Katie likes it.
So now for the cats! Well I managed to rustle up a small Baby Feline Sculpture for each kitty. At the back is Franklin playing with bugs, on the left is ginger striped Dobby and on the right is Tasha with her one good, one not-so-good eye. Each feline has individual selvedge spots sewn onto their fur! (Katie has banned them from her sewing room)
... read on ...
Baby Feline Francheski – Soft Sculpture

Please meet baby feline Francheski. Francheski is a Russian Blue, but he doesn’t make a big thing about it, and most people think that it is some type of cheese anyway. He just loves being the centre of attention and will spend hours plotting up ways to steal the limelight. However, on the rare occasion that he manages to sneak into the sewing room he likes to be as quiet as a mouse so that he can do some plastic bag kneading and selvedge strip chewing. He usually has bits of selvedge stuck onto his fur after an exhilarating session, but he likes to pretend that they are insects and he was no-where near ‘that’ room!
He prefers to perch on a stool waiting for an opportunity to shine, but when everyone is out for the count he will have a doze on his very own blue cat and insect quilt.
Baby Feline Dobshzhe – Soft Sculpture

Please meet baby feline Dobshzhe. Dobshzhe is a very handsome ginger and he likes nothing better than to nap after a big meal. He prefers to nap anywhere, on any thing, at any time. However when he is awake he likes to peruse the fabrics in the sewing room. He has kept this a secret and pretends to ‘play’ with his feline toys and whack them high into the air but he is really practicing for grabbing selvedge strips. He has a small secret collection of selvedge spot scraps that he likes to stick on his fur (a thing he has from when he was furless in parts), but what he really wants is a small scrapbook to be able to stick them all in and look at them.
He prefers to lie snugly on a small quilt, irrespective of the finishing of the miters, and to take many deep naps.
Baby Feline Tashenka – Soft Sculpture (one big green eye, one small clear eye)

Please meet baby feline Tashenka. Tashenka just loves to chew plasic bags, especially the ones in the sewing room. The other day she sneaked in there and spent hours chewing and sucking on the plastic – so much so, that before she knew it, she was gnawing on the selvedge strips, making small squeaks and chirps. And being covered in foamy saliva they stuck onto her fur good and fast. When she was finally ‘discovered’ she was fast asleep amid the crinkly, tooth-marked mis-shapen bags with selvedge spots clinging all over her tortie fur.
She prefers to sit comfortably on a small cushion (pillow for the big pond cousins) amid the glorious materials, and bags, in the sewing room.

Katie also likes my Priceless ACEOs and not that long ago won a competition and chose this ACEO above - Learn Something New
Eunice, his dear blackbird friend had lent him a bird book so that he may familiarize himself with the other winged chaps. Priceless was stunned by the resplendent colours of the Hawfinch, Redpoll and Goldfinch…. Learn something new Eunice had said to him, knowledge gives strength. Priceless even learnt their Latin names.

and this one is very appropriate for Katie and has joined her collection - Writing is Forever
Priceless liked to think of himself as a short story writer and he would pen away in the still of the night . He wanted his stories to cross cultures and knew that writing is forever. He always used an ink pen and a huge pad of blotting paper. Infact there was more ink on the blotting paper than on the page! There were also noughts and crosses, words written down to see if they were spelt correctly and ….
(not a single apple in sight!)
I want to thank Katie very much for sending the fabric and the selvedge - it will go a long way and many little personalities will be created from it all. Not a single selvedge spot will be wasted!
Very shortly some Baby Felines will be making their way to my etsy shop and Baby Feline Handmade Cards (just after I finish some hare watercolours first!).

Thursday, 28 May 2009

A Mother's Love

I just finished a commission for a giraffe painting.

It was commissioned by a good friend for her daughter's birthday. Her daughter is a few years younger than me, but we won't go into numbers here! We grew up in Zambia together.

I had only 6 days to produce a painting but I knew within 24hours if it was 'going to happen' or not. My first few sketches were eye openers! I know giraffes are majestic animals but very angular and many of their stances translate rather awkwardly to paper. The recylcle bin was getting full !!

So desperately I scoured thru my scrap books and finally at 4am I found just the right image! A mother gently touching her calf's muzzle.

(My scrap books are large A3 pads that have images from mags, adverts, old packaging labels, stamps etc pasted into them - not a single family photo in them unlike the scrapbooks of recent that are so popular). I have had these scrap collections for over 30 years (let's not talk about any more numbers!!)

As with all my recent watercolours I try to snap the progress and update my fine art website with the developments. Hopefully this will enlighten the owner of the work and offer some inspiration for other artists aswell. I explain in detail what is happening. The pic above has just had the under-coat colourations put on, as nothing is ever 'black and white' in the world of animals.

Here is the painting on my work table nearly completed - the calf and mother both need their manes, and the baby needs the fly-swisher.
Usually I work in a constant state of chaos. My paint pallettes haven't been cleaned for months and I have at least 3 'projects' developing, ...over time.... , on my table.
This is the completed painting. It will be on my fine art website soon. I am busily painting some hares for an exhibition I am taking part in next week The 3 Harbours just East of Edinburgh.

I want to remind any people living in the UK who stop by here that The Little Hen Rescue is looking to secure forever homes for thousands of soon to be ex battery hens. Can you help? Please see my post below, thank you.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Non-Fur Babies - 1 of each

To celebrate the arrival of 2 non-fur babies I made a special card and 2 baby hares, Zak and Avabella (one of each kind).

The baby hares on the Congratulations card both have diapers on, one blue and one pink , each with a safety pin and a dummy (toot, pacifier, noise-dissipator).
As there is one of each kind and after a month of intensive new baby upbringing I have made Zac the pink baby hare and Avabella the blue one, as no doubt the boy will by now be wearing pink and the girl will probably be in blues and yellows..... (there will be missing socks, tights that have become knotted in the wash, hats that have turned into nothing more than nose warmers..)
Please meet baby hare Zak. Zak is an unusual hare in that he has one bright blue eye bigger than the other. His mother told him not to worry about this and said that his big eye can be used for far distance observations. Zak is very proud of this and spends a lot of time looking into the distance. He is very surprised just how much activity goes on there and has his sights set on becoming an animal spotter for conservation organizations worldwide. He has not let the fact that his coat is a light pink put him off as it compliments his eyes perfectly.
He prefers to watch everything that is going on and would love to sit on a shelf with a view to outside. He also has his book on Worldwide Mammal, Reptile and Aavian Identification with him. Zak is looking forward to spending his life happily with non-fur baby Isaac.
Please meet baby hare Avabella. Avabella is a very shy little hare and she just loves to play amongst the grasses and leaves by herself. She has dreams of having her own wildlife garden filled with plants and weeds of every sort. She also loves the colour blue and will have a small stream running through filled with fish, frogs, eels and dragonflies. Avabella has already started to prepare for her dream garden and has been collecting small seedlings and clippings from her playtime which she pots up at home. They are all growing well.
She prefers to play in the grasses every day and will appreciate an open door to the garden, she would also like her little potting collection placed around her on a shelf. Avabella is looking forward to spending her life happily with non-fur baby Ava.
Remember to read the post below - and if you are in the UK and can give a fine lady a forever home, or know of someone who can, please contact Little Hen Rescue asap.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

11,000 British ex-Battery Hens Needing Forever Homes

Homes needed for 11,000 battery hens by 29th June.
Can you give a featherless, hard-working girl a forever home with love, food and shelter?

Ex-battery hen Lily is now safey living at Little Hen Rescue as a Sponsor Chicken as she is extremely thin and nervous.
If you can't give a chicken a home could you consider sponsoring Lily or one of the other ladies?

but... if you Can - please get in touch with Little Hen Rescue in Norwich. They will be working hard to rescue and rehome every single chicken from the battery farm. They also have some collection points in the UK to get these deserving little beings to their forever homes.

Every chicken that is rescued is bald in places, sometimes nearly all over, and underweight! Some have probems trying to stand, and walk, and they all feel the cold!
Little Hen Rescue will greatly accept jumpers made for their special ladies, to get them thru this transition period.
Every hen will be delighted with their own personal and individual jumper!
What better way to start their new life?

If you are not able to give a hen a loving forever home, but would still like to care for a hen or two and have the facilities and room, then please consider Fostering a hen until a forever home can be found for her.
Some hens have physical and psychological problems and will need constant care and monitoring. Once they have recovered they can then be rehomed for good or they may become resident hens needing sponsorship like Lily above.

If you would like to make a jumper or two, (hens love all the colours under the sun!) then the pattern is below and some more info is to be found on the Hen's Groovy Designer Jacket page

If you can offer a forever home, then hens need a safe and secure hutch and run, proper feed and fresh water. Plus a few medical supplies.

Hens need to be monitored and watched closely to make sure that they are making a full recovery. Many little problems can befall a hen and make hen owners worried to bits, but Little Hen Rescue will gladly give advice and help. The health and safety of their charges is paramount at all times.

Please contact them if you are able to -
help with the actual rescue, or future rescues of the hens,
or if you can offer a home to a girl or two, or three, or ....
or if you can foster a little lady,
or if you can sponsor one of the chickens,
or donate a jumper, or two, or three, or ....
or make a donation

Many thanks for reading and lets hope that every single hen has a long lasting life filled with love, earth to scratch and skies to gaze at.

Monday, 18 May 2009

A Rabbit's Revenge!

Wesley could hear strange noises coming from the kitchen - Arabella too!
Hmmm, so could I!
When I went in to investigate everything appeared normal.

But as I got closer to the apple dish I could hear tearing and chomping noises and see something moving amongst them.

Good grief - there was Priceless in the middle attacking the apples!
I asked him what he was doing and he replied he was feeling peckish and saw the tasty apples so he came in for a nibble.
Nibble!!! - there were lumps of apple on the counter-top, apple skin bits on the dish edge, chunks of apple flesh on the apples!

I looked at him and asked if this had anything to do with the Etsy Teacher's Pet Voting Contest and the fact that 3 apples beat him to the post?
... and he said in a quiet little voice, turning his slightly flushed face away 'not at all - how silly!'
Priceless and I would like to say a Big Thank You to everyone who voted for him! xxx

Friday, 15 May 2009

When the Snack is Bigger than the Snacker

Priceless is getting nervous about The Storque Teacher's Pet Voting round.

He always thought 'pet' meant 'cute fluffy animal' - so he is wondering why he is still way below the inanimate objects - such as the apples and the chocolate.

He just wants to show everyone what he will do to those inanimate objects when he gets close enough to sink his tiny but long and sharp incisors into them.

Here he is helping Arabella to devour a tasty snack nearly twice her size and, oh, about 50 times bigger than Priceless.

and Wesley wants to give Priceless some chomping practise too.
(mind you, after devouring 2/50ths of Arabella's greens Priceless is rather full and a little, .....yawn!.... oohhh ....nummmm, numm...... sleepy!)

Don't forget to vote for the cutesy fluffy lagomorph, help spread the word :)
and remember 50% is pledged to the horse rescue Epic Farms.
Priceless says thanssszzzzzzzzz ..zzzz...

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Believe in Yourself

Priceless the little King rabbit star of my mixed media collage ACEOs is in a Storque Vote round.

He was delighted that Wesley had made it in, followed by Ekaterina the tiny hare and he reckoned that is was by time he made an appearance!

However, unlike pensive Ekaterina, and shy Wesley, Priceless is more of a philosophiser and he likes to mull over situations as they come about.

Here he is pondering the ethic for success.

He is going to have a think about the importance of the votes and his stance on being a small, opinionated rabbit amidst apples and chocolates - and whether folks will go for the cutesy lagomorph and forgo their taste buds.

Priceless was having some thoughts, the words flitted effortlessly thru his head – Believe in yourself, The more effort you put in, the more successful you will be. He could hear them being spoken to him and knew that he had to start, do something, do it now! Fascinating, he thought, as he lay there on his back, snuggling into his little golden cushion some more.

Yup - he's had a wee think - and he would LOVE your VOTE !

He will be glad to Thank You by imparting small snippets of pertinent advice to your conundrums :)

~ and ~

he also wants to mention that 50% from the sale of this ACEO will be going to help some very deserving Equines over at EPIC FARMS - a horse charity run by Jen, who has an etsy shop Epic Farms raising funds for the flock there.

(He loves horses actually and a while ago had some bareback lessons - scary but fun, whew!)

Saturday, 9 May 2009

The Secret Licker Reminder

Arabella doesn't like to have her photo taken even though she is very photogenic (unlike me).

So, when I catch her unawares I usually end up missing 'the moment' but the 'after the moment' can sometimes be just as good. Especially since all the 'moments' are rather funnyish. I know that Arabella knows that I know this, and that is most probably why she doesn't like to be photographed doing her funnyish things. Rabbits are very dignified beings.

When Arabella first came to live with us we gave her her first toy, a small kitten (baby rabbit). It had rather long fishing line plastic whiskers. Arabella thought these were great and she would grab and toss the toy around with them (obviously Arabella is not very maternal!). Not long after that they were promptly snipped off at different lengths.

The little toy usually spends a lot of time by itself, and it seems rather happy amidst the curly kale and turnip chunks and occasional droppings.

However, the other week as I sat at my desk working I glanced over to see Arabella sitting beside the little no-name bunny and she was grooming it vigorously!

I grabbed my camera - But - they both ran over to see why I was crawling towards them on the carpet!

Anyway - the Secret Licker would like to remind you to kindly vote for her little friend Baby Hare Ekaterina (who has no whiskers), you will receive lots of small hare kisses for this
last day to enter the Free Giveaway to Win one of my Grey Hare Cards over at Nathalie's blog. Worldwide shipping so it doesn't matter if you are from Spitzbergen or Easter Island - the card will reach you.

Here is Arabella when she first came home with us. As you can see no-name is exhausted too, after being thrown around all day.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Baby Hare Ekaterina kindly requests...

that you consider voting for her in the Etsy Storque baby Voting Round.

She was really happy to see Wesley in the last Storque voting round - and she is hoping to maybe garner a few more votes than him!

Being so cutesy, smaller, pinkier... and with the sweetest albino eyes ever!
(Here she is with Natashenka, one of her friends).

But I told her that it is not about the numbers at all - it is all about the love she receives...
...and so she looked at me funnily with her big, big eyes - and asked - how could she count the love?

and I said that she would feel the warm waves of love come her way.
Ekaterina thought that this was a lovely answer and sent some warm waves towards me to test it first!

She wants everyone to know that she will return your voting kindness with some love (and small baby hare kisses xxx).

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Show Some LOVE - 18 Hours and Counting

Wesley wants to say Thank You to all the warm hearted and generous peoples who have so kindly voted for him (his likeness as a bag), in the Storque Voting Round

He asked that I put the picture here of what 'his' bag looks like. (He also calls this bag a BunMan Bag - for those men whose ego is stable enough to carry a real bag).

There are 18 hours left to vote - and Wesley would appreciate any last minute switherers or those who keep putting off tomorrow what they can do next week - but should instead be doing today - voters.

....and because he has a big heart - he would LOVE your index digit to touch it gently.
Wesley sends small furry-mouthed thank you rabbit kisses xxx
and ps - only a few days left to Win a Grey Hare Birthday Card