Sunday, 31 May 2009

My goodness an award!

Well I never, I was just reading through yesterday's comments and lo and behold my little blog has been given an award!

Courtney of has given my blog an award.  She says:  'You've been awarded the Lovely Blog Award because I love that you take the time to discover and feature items from Etsy. Your posts are also engaging! Congratulations! :)' 
Many thanks Courtney, this is a very special thing for you to do for me and gives me a lot of encouragement with my new venture.

I now have the responsibility of giving this award to some other blogs but as I'm very new to the world of blogging I think I will need to take a bit of time selecting some very lovely blogs and I'll keep you all updated as to when I choose them.

I will start off by passing the award onto:

Kind Over Matter because Amanda and Gen's blog always makes me smile.  I especially like the hearts in the woods photograph they posted yesterday.

Creative With Clay because Charan has created a well written and presented blog that not only provides readers with an insight into his creative process but promotes other artists and contains useful articles such as yesterday's post on space saving.

Some sad news and a sketch

Should we have the sad news first?  I think we maybe should.  Yesterday I found one of my little baby crested geckos dead, I called it (for I don't know if it was a boy or a girl) 'Lemon' and it was one of my first clutch to hatch and one of the three babies from May.  There's a nice little story that goes with Lemon's hatching that I'll tell you now.   I incubate my crestie eggs in a polybox at room temperature without any additional heating but due to an unfortunate series of events, the three eggs in my incubator in November got soft boiled (when I went to check them one morning I found the temperature in the polybox read nearly 55 degrees Celsius) and I naturally assumed they had been kill but I never threw the eggs out because it would have really upset my mother (who initiated the chain of events leading to the soft boiling) so they just sat there for months.  Then on Christmas Eve I received a phone call from my mother, who was gecko sitting whilst I was away for Christmas, saying she had found them hatched but not looking too alive due to nobody really bothering to check on them because we assumed they were dead.  I advised her to spray them immediately and they started to come round, apparently one had some shed stuck to it, which she removed and they both went on to do surprisingly well.  Lemon always had a few shedding problems but I didn't think too much of it.  All my geckos are pretty slow growing on account of them being fed mostly Crested Gecko Diet, which is perfectly fine.  I really don't know why Lemon died, he dropped his tail on Monday for no apparent reason so maybe he was sick or possibly the incident during incubation means he always had something wrong with him, it is just very sad to have had him hatch and live nearly six months only to die suddenly.  RIP little Lemon, you will be missed.

In less depressing news, my feature yesterday of Teal Stripes' work has inspired me to do a little bit of sketching.  Now you'll remember I said it's something I'm not good at so please excuse the quality but I thought I'd share this little cat drawing with you.  I might even do some painting later if I'm feeling brave.

I've got more features lined up for next week.  I'd also like to share a little of my photography with you so that's to come as well.  If you have a preference or there's something in particular you'd like to see let me know.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

An earlier update today as I have some time after going to the post office with a big pile of packages, mostly books from my degree that I'm selling on amazon at the moment because I'm seriously snowed under with stuff.  Has anybody else had an success selling on Amazon?  I'm moving books, albeit slower than I'd like but the commission they take is terrible; far more than ebay.  My accounts show that They're taking almost 50% of what the buyer is charged and I then have to pay postage, I'm just not sure where else to list them and I guess some money is better than a box of books I keep falling over.

I'm planning to get on with some more clay sculptures at some point but I've got a commission for a very large termite hill hide, from a leopard gecko keeper to get done.  I'm not sure how exactly I'm going to make it as it needs to have a base circumference of 26" and although I'd love to make it out of clay it's going to weigh a tonne if I do.

Onto an undiscovered artist since you didn't get one yesterday:

Courtney of Teal Stripes sells beautiful handmade books and pins.  
I've chosen to feature her because I love her unique, vibrant style.  Her books make me want to write and draw, it's all so exciting!  I'm the sort of person who likes nothing more than a clean sheet of paper or better still a brand new sketch book.  The problem is I'm pretty bad at drawing so that feeling of ecstasy at the slight of a new page all full of possibilities normally ends in frustration for me. 

The Butterfly Sketch Book was the item that first caught my attention.  The idea is very simple but the result is a perfectly executed, stylish design that I think appeals to female artists of all ages or just those who like to doodle.

It would be negligent of me to feature Courtney's work without making a point of showing you all the beautiful detail she puts into her work.  As you can see from the photograph above, each page of this book (and many others) is hand decorated with beautiful designs that fir the cover theme.  I can only imagine how much time and creativity goes into creating works like this, yet her prices are really affordable; this book is just $20 + p&p.  

Well I couldn't ignore the cute little cat could I?  This design is adorable whilst offering a stylish contemporary simplicity.  The cat reminds me of my cat 'Dotty' who has spent much of this spring chasing blossoms as they fall from our cherry tree.

I love the way Courtney is able to connect with her buyers through these sketch books, creating something so personal to her that will go onto the buyer to make personally theirs with their art or writing.  There is something very poignant about the connection she is able to make with her buyers through this sharing and passing on of art.

Finally I wanted to show you some of the beautiful pins that Courtney also makes.  As you can see they mostly fall into two categories, little colourful animals (which also feature on some of her books) and world stamps, which I think is a really cool idea.  The animals are acrylic on canvas creating fun little characters with an unusual finish for a pin.

If you want to know a bit more about Courtney and her artwork she has an excellent blog:

Friday, 29 May 2009

Friday Feature

I've spent quite a lot of today asleep, not sure if it's the antihistamines or the terrible headache I've had but either way I haven't got as much done as I'd planned after helping my father with his paper round this morning.  I really hate the paper round;
 I'm sure letter boxes are an evil invention designed to amputate fingers and the newspaper ink makes my skin go nasty so I have to wear gloves but my father can't do it by himself yet refuses to give it up because he thinks it keeps him fit.

I did a bit of work on some boxes for a couple of orders that were placed this week.  I've also got one for a steam punk dragon but I'm not quite sure what I want to do now I've painted the box silver.

As promised two artist features, not particularly undiscovered ones I'm afraid but I fell in love with some of these artists' items: Gillian Rising of NaturalatHeartToo and her sister Ashlee Rising of NaturalatHeart

I really love some of the pieces Gillian and Ashlee have in their stores, in fact I love so many of them it is really hard to decided which bits to show you here, which means you will just have to go and have a good look at their stores.  Gillian is just 10 years old but her work far exceeds that of artists many times her age.  Her sister, Ashlee is 17 and is equally stunning.  Both of them provide an artistic, caring yet professional service that make them 

Not only is her product range innovative, stylish and interesting but her designs range from beautifully arty to amazingly cute!  They are superb value for money and there's free domestic and international shipping at the moment!

So onto a small selection of my favourite pieces from Gillian's store:

I love this little gecko, partly because I like geckos generally but also because he has the cutest little 'love me' face.

I'm quite into this 60's? kitsch stuff, particularly the little deer. The colours and shapes along with the frolicking animals really make this pendant something special.

So many pretty swirls and flowers, just look at them all!  One of the things I love about this artist is how varied her work is, there really is a design to suit everybody.

Should we have just one more?  Oh go on then, let's have one more.

This is such a beautiful idea, I've toyed with doing something similar with my photography but I've never found the right tree and we don't get a lot of snow.

Onto Ashlee's store.  Her designs are not dissimilar to Gillian's but they each have their own special uniqueness. She mostly works with Maple Wood but there are gemstone based designs such as this one:

I like the way the curves of the shape are echoed and emphasised by the flowers.  It's the sort of piece that I want to pick up and feel.

I'm really into red at the moment after years of being far too scared of wearing bright colours.  I've recently redecorated my bedroom red and ivory, much like this beautiful pendant.  Go on be brave and wear something bold yet beautiful!

Ashlee also has a lot of beautiful little owl pendants in her store, this is just one example and who doesn't love a cute little owl with sparkly eyes.

I hope you enjoy their work as much as I do, go to their Etsy stores and show them some love.  If you are or know of an artist who would like to be featured please get in touch.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Today seems rather to have been one of those days but then I find any days where I have to contact the DWP are a bit like that.  I'm just  finishing off a commission, which is rather nice.  The gentleman ordered another dragon from me a week ago and has come back for another so I must be doing something right!  It is a design to fit a LoveLinks necklace based on this dragon.  It is still sticky with glaze at the moment so unfortunately I can't provide you with a photograph of the finished thing.

My mother and I watch 'Stargate' most evenings after my father has gone to bed as it falls under his ban on sci-fi so I shall have to love you and leave you all now to get my nightly dose in. 

I'm going to feature some 'undiscovered' artists in my next post as I empathise with the struggle to get started selling online and it seems like a fun way to make some new friends whilst promoting the work of other artists.  If you know of anybody who is just starting out please get in touch with a link to their/your gallery or store and if I like what you're creating I'll feature you.

Umm . . . Hi

So this is a really new thing for me.  After years of saying 'blogging is for scary people who spend too much time on the internet' I feel it is something I should give a go, partly because I'm a bit of a scary person who spends too much time on the internet.

I guess a good place to start is a bit about me (this is where I normally start complaining that blogging
 is for self indulgent people).  I'm 20 and I live in Norfolk in England at the moment.  I'm in a bit of a complicated place in my life right now because I withdrew from my English degree at Cambridge University in October 2008 because I really hated it as it wasn't what I wanted to be doing and after spending a year sat in the dark seriously depressed I finally decided it was time to make some bold decisions about where my life was headed.  I've spent my whole life wanting to be a vet and I've worked really hard to get there but I had some problems during my A Levels that I didn't really deal with too well and I wound up doing a degree in English so I could leave home.  The great thing about leaving university before I finished my degree is I will still be able to apply for some government loan towards a veterinary degree.  The many rubbish things about it include not being able to get a job because there aren't any at the moment, having parents who can't understand and think I've thrown my life away and not quite being able to work out what the next step is.  It's a little bit like that saying about out of the frying pan and into the fire.

So onto something less depressing now: I have a great passion for animals (sort of obvious really), I'm 
particularly keen on reptiles, specifically geckos and even more specifically the Rhacodactylus genus of which I am breeding crested geckos; or at least I would be if my only adult female
 hadn't died a few months ago.  I also have two cats, a rabbit, fish and I occasionally babysit a hamster for my sister and her boyfriend.  I enjoy photography, I've even won some awards for it - if you're interested some of photography can be found here and here. I would love to do more natural history photography but it is a difficult art to master and requires the ability to get to remote places (I can't drive yet) and knowledge and equipment that I don't have at the moment.  Another great hobby of mine is crafting.  I guess I'm pretty lucky in that my mother is an amazing lacemaker (she's been teaching for 25+ years, has won competitions, designed patterns for publication etc.) but she's also into lots of o
ther crafts (and teaches some of those too) so I've always had this empathy of creativity and the support and materials to do things others might not have had the chance to try, at least not all at once.  I'm a pretty average lacemaker but I'm a reasonable everything from dressmaking to tamari balls, card making to glass engraving with a special liking for polymer clay sculpting and cute things from textiles.  I have an etsy shop for my polymer clay bits and occasional other items.

That's probably enough rambling about me for now.  I'm sure those of you still reading are extremely bored!  

I'm not quite sure what I want to do with this blog but I'm considering showing off some handmade items I like and interspersing it with some updates about the geckos.  I guess I'll play it by ear and see who ends up reading it and what they like reading about.  So, those of you still reading (and it's no good skipping to the end without reading the middle bit you know!) please feel free to let me know what you'd like to know more about.


Cat x x x