Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Anonymous Travelling Market at the Larmer Tree Gardens

So, yesterday was my first ATM, and I had a great day. It certainly lived up to expectations. When I got there in the morning, there was even more of a buzz in the air, everyone setting up their stall, beautiful treats for your eyes all over the place.

I was really pleased I had been on Friday to take most of my things, it meant I had a pretty calm set up and everything was in place in time for me to go and get myself a hot chocolate before the market was open. It was very cold, so a hot chocolate was just the ticket. I have to say I was so pleased I had opted for a stall inside!

Pete, Claudia and Henry turned up soon after, and soon after that the children's music session started too, they loved it! In fact they loved it so much they stayed for the whole day, there were so many lovely things for them to see and do. Music, a disco from a wheelbarrow, face painting, story telling, and stalls with cupcakes!!

The arctic weather had not put off the punters and the market was bustling. I was really pleased with how it went for my first one, the prints and cards were popular, and the ribbons went OK too. Here are the best selling prints...

The next stop for the ATM is at Dorset Day at Clayesmore School in beautiful Iwerne Minster on the 28th April. I am hoping to do this one too, and also hoping the weather is a bit kinder, as there's no indoor spaces there! It looks like it will be a great day for the whole family again though, so looking forward to it already.

Friday, 22 March 2013

One More Sleep and The Lumineers

This week, I have been mostly getting ready for my first Anonymous Travelling Market, well my first one as a 'seller'. There is one more sleep to go, and I am very excited!

It was open today for people to set up their stalls in advance. I decided to do this, to save a rush in the morning, knowing me I probably will still be in a rush, but still at least most of my stuff is there now. I went out in the car, by myself, this does not happen very often at all (having 2 small children means they are usually in the back) so going out by myself in the car is a rare treat.

Living in Dorset, we are very lucky, as most drives are very pretty, even if it is pouring with rain, as it was today (of course it is going to stop by tomorrow). So I was driving through beautiful rainy Dorset with the stereo on loud, not with Cbeebies or Tumble tots, but the Lumineers, my new favourite album since my little brother gave it to me for Christmas, I can not get enough of this album, if you haven't got it, get it, it's fantastic!

As I got closer to the Larmer Tree Gardens, my favourite track came on 'Big Parade' which made the drive up to the gardens along a long drive lined with trees even more enjoyable.

I found my way round to the right part and went into the beautiful Pavilion (where my stall is), a few people were there already, and there was a kind of buzz in the air. Everyone putting out their beautiful products, I felt very honoured to be part of such a talented lot!

I set up my paintings, cards, ribbons, cushions, prints, and bunting. Fish Ticklers and more prints to join them tomorrow morning! Just one more sleep to go....Hope to see you there, it's going to be brilliant!

You may even see a peacock or two...

Thursday, 21 March 2013


The other evening, Pete and I went for dinner together, a rare night out, as my mum was visiting and stayed in to look after our children. Good timing as it was also Pete's birthday. I had booked a table at a lovely new restaurant in Wimborne called 'The Rock' (there is also one in Westbourne). It had been recommended by a few friends, so thought we would give it  a go, and it didn't disappoint, we had a really delicious meal.

The Rock Wimborne

We also got talking to the manager, Dan, who is really keen to use the lovely space inside for more than just dining. We got talking about art shows, which led onto designs for their children's menu. Light bulb moment! So I have been busy thinking of some ideas for them. In the restaurant  there is a variety of different art and old animal antlers mounted on the walls. So that gave me the idea of including a deer, and that led onto including a selection of wildlife pictures for children to colour in over dinner or lunch.

I also looked up a few fun facts about each animal to print on each menu too, thought it may spark off some interesting family conversations about the different animals.

So the children get their menu with one picture on the back to colour, and they can collect the whole set, getting a new one each time they go back! And at the same time learning a little bit about each one.

So if you're in the area and fancy a spot of lunch, why not drop into the Rock and get colouring!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Playing the Game

I recently had a PR meeting, very grown up, and very exciting! It was over the phone with Helen Dean, who is great, and who has really inspired me and made me believe that my little art and craft business (I am now getting more used to calling it that!) could really go places.

She gave me lots of advice, tips, contacts and so on. A lot to be getting on with, so much so I have been up until 1130 or midnight most nights working on stuff lately. This was completely unheard of a few months ago, I would be fast asleep by that kind of time.

One of the first things she said was 'Get your Estsy and Folksy shops up to date!'. I have had shops on both these sites for a while, but once I launched I have not really been keeping them fully stocked. My thoughts were that there were so many people trying to sell stuff on there that no one would ever find me, let alone buy something from me via either of these websites. (although I have had a few sales through Etsy). Well, I thought wrong.

There is a whole game to be played, treasures to find, people to follow, favourites to mark. It has got me a bit addicted, and also made me feel part of a bigger wider community of artists and crafters the world over. There are sooooo many talented people out there, and it's made me never want to go to a big high street shop again. I would much rather buy from one of the people I have found on Etsy or Folksy, because I know how wonderful it feels when you get a beep on your phone, and a message to say you have had an order. Some one has found you, and liked something you have made so much they have decided to buy it, awesome!

I sold some thankyou cards to some one in Australia recently, so my little animal thankyou cards are floating around down under, hopefully being admired by the people who received them. It's a lovely thought.

So I will be splitting my time between all 3 websites now, and let's see what happens. Either way, I get to look at and find some beautiful things every day. What have you found lately? Today I think my favourite is this.....

Her shop is lovely

Please comment and join the game! 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Sewing Machines are Great

Two years ago my mum bought me a sewing machine for my birthday, to begin with I just did bits and bobs on it, not really knowing what I was doing. If I needed to do sewing I normally did it by hand, a little bit scared of the machine in case it went wrong in some way or other.

But then I thought, what am I so worried about a sewing machine for? I was so pleased when I got it and I have hardly used it. So I booked onto a lesson at Hanson's in Sturminster Newton (a very pretty little Dorset town with a great big fabric warehouse) Apparently people come from miles around to go to this shop. They were very helpful and gave me a half hour crash course on how to use my sewing machine, then \it was up to me.

And guess what? It really wasn't so scary after all. With the instructions by my side, I was off, and now I have taught myself to make cushion covers and everything! And I've even sold one recently.

I started to do the ribbons to tie them together, not only because I love ribbons, but because I haven't learnt how to do a zip yet, but I don't think I am really bothered about zips now, because I really love the way they look with the ribbons, so pretty! And it is a good excuse to go and buy ribbon. My house is steadily being taken over by ribbon, what with cushions and bike and scooter ribbons.

My husband normally makes sure we walk very quickly past any areas in shops where there are cushions, but now there is no escape, because I can make them myself! Maybe some day, we won't need any chairs as our house will be full of cushions and ribbons, you could just open the door and throw yourself into the cosiness of it all (I'm sure Pete would love that).

So if any of you who are reading this have a sewing machine and it's in it's box gathering dust, then just get sewing, it's so great, and you can make beautiful things with it. My next project is bunting, as I now have lots of off cuts of material.

If you still don't fancy giving it a go yourself, then you can always treat yourself to one of my cushions instead!

What have you made on your sewing machine? Would love to hear....

Friday, 8 March 2013

I Love Stationery

I have always loved buying new stationery, especially new packs of coloured pens or pencils. I think it's something about all the bright colours in just the right order looking beautiful.

I remember at primary school, quite vividly, (i must have been about 7) one of my friends having an amazing set of coloured pencils, they were in a wooden box, and there were loads of them, all in colour order. I was very envious, I have never had a set like that, maybe one day.....

Nowadays, now I'm all grown up, with my own money, I can't seem to resist a new pack of pens or crayons. And now I even have children of my own, what better excuse to buy more lovely sets of coloured pens, chalks, crayons, glitter pens, paints, our collection is ever on the increase. Well it is very good for them to have access to a wide range of media to experiment with (that's what I tell myself!).

My latest purchase were these twist up crayons from Staples, so lovely, an practical too. Crayons so often snap or aren't very bright, these ones are very nice and bright and can't snap easily as they wind up, brilliant! All for under a fiver.

From today, I do have another good excuse to go shopping in an art and craft shop as I have used up most of my daughter's silver glitter finishing this 'Pegasus'.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Horses are amazing, and they make up a large part of my life. I spent most of my childhood around them, learnt to ride when I was 6 and sat on the pony and cried the whole way through my riding lessons, I was very addament that I would continue with them, and ignored my Mum's suggestions that maybe we should leave riding for a while.

I got there in the end, and that was the beginning of a long love affair with those beautiful creatures. I used to spend all of my spare time at the riding stables, helping to groom, muck out and feed the horses in return for a  free riding lesson a week. I loved every minute of it.

At the age of 15, my dreams came true and my parents bought me my own horse, Clarissa. She was amazing, the very best horse in the world as far as I was concerned, and a great friend. Horses are such gentle, generous creatures. They give and give in return for not too much. Clarrie and I spent many years together and competed a lot to quite a high level. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of riding around a cross country course against the clock!

Most nights I still dream about horses.

I have always loved to draw horses, when I was little I would get very upset that I couldn't draw them very well, but I practised and practised and now I am not too bad. Nowadays, If you have had a look at my art work, unicorns crop up quite often, and I am working on a pegasus collage too. I am inspired by my love of horses, and also love of magic and fairytales, mostly from films and children's books.

I love 'The Last Unicorn' , haven't seen it for years, but remember loving it. Looking forward to watching it again with my children. I remember being so relieved at the end of 'A Neverending Story' when the horse Artax comes back to life from the swamp of sadness, while watching that film at my cousin's house, completely transfixed! My favourite bit of all of the 'Lord of the Rings' films is when Gandalf meets Shadowfax 'The lord of all the horses, and we have been friends for many years' - amazing. What I wouldn't give to ride a horse across where ever they were in New Zealand. Won't bore yo with all my favourite bits, of all the horse films I have seen in my life, there's quite a few!                                                              


Horses will always inspire me, and always feature in my art. They are truly amazing and beautiful animals.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Ribbons are for Boys and Girls

My 'Ribbons' come in colours for boys too, check out 'Classic' and 'Summertime' here:

My little boy loves his, still getting the hang of his scooter though!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Phantom Scooter Rider Caught on Video


The Beach, Ribbons and Cupcakes

Today actually felt like spring was in the air, so we headed to the beach. It made me think, as it always does when we go to the beach, that we really should go a lot more often. It is so beautiful, and today the sky was blue and the sun was shining. It really was idyllic.

We took the scooters, addorned with ribbons, of course, and the camera and had a bit of a ribbons photo shoot! Claudia and Henry had  fun riding them up and down the promenade before and after playing in the sand and running away from breaking waves (Henry and Pete did get their shoes a bit wet much to Claudia's delight!). The beach was bustling with smiling people and happy dogs, it's wonderful what a sunny day can do.



After a play at the beach, we climbed the hill again, up to have a cupcake and cup of tea (and hot chocolate) up at 'Lulubelles' a very pink (right up Claudia's street) and very lovely new cafe next door to 'Lulubelles' cake shop in Canford Cliffs. If you haven't been yet, you should go. It's delicious. I have been meaning to go since it opened a few weeks ago, as my 'Ribbons' are for sale in there amongst some other lovely locally made products.

It has a very warm atmosphere as soon as you walk in, and the mini cupcake menus are a great touch. The cakes taste as good as they look, the tea is served in pretty bone china cups with a saucer, and the hot chocolate is yummy. My children had one each too, which came in their own little cup and saucer, perfect for making it all a little bit special for them.

The icing on the cake was that I noticed some of my 'Ribbons' had gone, so hopefully some little people out there are riding or scooting about with my 'Ribbons' on their handlebars, a very nice thought.

A fantastic Saturday, which felt quite Sundayish, which makes it even better as we still have Sunday to go! Will definitely be back at Lulubelles for another treat soon.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Commission (video)

I have been asked to do this commission for a black and white bathroom, thought I would make a little video of how it went.

Oil on canvas.