Sunday, 24 August 2014

Handmade Monday 182

Welcome to Handmade Monday!

I'm aware I've been neglecting my magazine work recently and I don't seem to have made anything for magazines for a couple of months now.  In fact, the last thing I made might have been these coin purses, which are now in this month's Sewing World...


...and I did promise to send them more ideas soon.  I suspect soon has been and gone already *hangs head in shame*

In the meantime I've been busy with images for art licensing.  I'm becoming obsessed with the process, especially the digital part.  Maybe it's the learning of new skills, maybe it's the combination of colour and pattern - or maybe it's just the fact that it's a lot of fun building up a collection of images!


In Quentin news, his paws were looked at and it was decided he was a little flat-footed; there were some technical words that apparently meant his lower legs slope a bit more forward than they should do. I was told it probably will be OK (but goes some way to explain why he trips up quite frequently) but he will be seen by Guide Dogs' own vet later this week.

It didn't stop him enjoying a good long walk at Delamere Forest today!


When you visit a forest, you don't expect views like this...


at the top of the hill you can see no less than seven counties.  It was worth the trek up - there are benches to enjoy the views and rocks telling you which counties you can see and how far away they are!


The benches were great opportunities for Quentin to practise waiting - working guide dogs spend quite a bit of their time waiting around, so this is a great skill to develop...


but it can be quite hard when you are only seven months and just want to play!


What has your week been like?  Join in with Handmade Monday and we can visit you...


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Handmade Monday 181

Welcome to Handmade Monday!

The weeks seem to tumble by in a blur at the moment - time is being eaten up by elderly parents, tiny grandchildren, Guide Dog puppy walking, elderly parents' old flat clearing, painting plaques and - when I can carve out the time! - making art using a mixture of old-fashioned pen/paper and new-fangled digital techniques...


I've started photographing some of the stuff from the flat clearance and the plan is to eBay it, with profits possibly going towards a family holiday for several generations of us.  I hope this works out (it sounds a lovely plan!).  We have no real idea if it will actually work that way, but there's loads of stuff, much of it vintage and collectable.  Mum and Dad ran a pub in the sixties and seventies and collected quite an assortment!


I thought the white deer figures on these babycham glasses were faded until I discovered these are the rarer older Babycham glasses which were designed with a white deer!


Clearing out someone else's home is really hard work and I can fully understand why some people get a house clearance company in!  But when it's your parents' home,  it's hard work interleaved with many memories, and it can be fun too - there's definitely a bit of sisterly bonding to go along with the roughly equal measures of dust, grease and memories!


My artwork for licensing has now started to be listed on the art agency website, which is an exciting step forward.  Every time their home page refreshes, a new assortment of artwork comes up on the right hand side, some of which is mine (there may be one, two or none of mine - it seems like a random selection each time).


In Quentin news, you may (or may not) remember this photo of him aged 8 weeks, looking completely adorable next to his bag of food!

There are now three photos, each one showing him growing bigger.  The last photo was taken this week - you can see how much taller he's got by the background (it's the back of a sofa in the background) as well as the food bag!

Quentin aged 4 months

Quentin aged 7 months

His paws are huge...


and it's clear he's going to be quite a big dog (he's already bigger than some adult labradors) and we think possibly his extra-big paws might be what's causing him to trip quite frequently when he's walking.  We're planning to go to Guide Dog puppy class tomorrow (Monday) when someone will have a look at him.

I do hope he grows out of this tripping up problem, because he won't be able to be a guide dog if he trips up when he's walking.  Most of the time, the trip is just a slight stumble (bad enough in a guide dog) but very occasionally he does actually fall over (definitely not a good thing in a guide dog).  It never bothers him though, just in case you were wondering!  He loves his walks.

Anyway, I think I've prattled on for long enough!  It's over to you for Handmade Monday!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Handmade Monday 180

Hello!  Welcome to Handmade Monday.

I'm acutely aware that apart from making images for potential art licensing (oh! and making for my handmade gifts business, nearly forgot that!) I've not done much on the handmade front recently.  So the images in this post are some of my images available for licensing.


Hopefully I'll get a bit more time soon!

My sister and I have been trying to sort out Mum and Dad's old flat.  They moved into a retirement village a few months ago and their old flat was full to the rafters with a mix of collected junk, assorted memories, a lifetime of personal belongings and a huge surplus of everyday stuff (some of which should have been thrown away a long while ago - I mean, who needs three broken kettles?  And we haven't even started on the kitchen yet!).



It's a massive job, but we made massive progress this week when we realised we had completely cleared two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a glory hole of a utility cupboard (the cupboard is now full of stuff for eBay or car booting). Despite it being a flat, there's also a huge attic space, full to the brim with more...well, stuff.  And a garage, which is also home to more stuff (less so, as the hoarder in the partnership is Mum, not Dad, and the garage was his domain).


The progress on the flat comes at the expense of other things - and not just crafting.  Guide Dog puppy Quentin hasn't visited any big shops this week (he's been in the local corner shop twice but there's not very much to see) and I feel a little guilty.  Sometimes his second walk of the day has been so late the sun has been setting - although I can console myself with views like this while out walking late...


and the fact Quentin gets to see a different perspective when car headlights and street lamps are switched on, which is good for him.

I also worked out why we keep missing buses!  For most of the day, there's only one bus an hour, which should leave at 25 past every hour.  It actually leaves at 20 past - which I discovered when I watched the bus pull away while I was bagging up Quentin's call of nature opposite the bus stop!

On that note, I think it's probably time I handed over this week's Handmade Monday baton to you...

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Handmade Monday 179

Apologies if this week's Handmade Monday is a little later than usual - but welcome anyway!

My only excuse is that I've been out today (and I didn't write a post in advance).  We were here...


at the VW Show at Tatton Park



admiring campervans inside


and out!

You may already know I'm a big fan of the campervan and the photos I took on this trip may well inspire more pictures like this...


In other news, it seems to have been a week of missing buses.  Guide Dog puppy Quentin now needs to be going on a bus about once a week.  But this week I managed to have missed no less then three buses!!  I keep underestimating how long it takes to get from our house to the bus stop (especially when Quentin has to be walked to the corner and back first, just to see if we can trigger a toilet need before going out!).


Quentin, of course, isn't the slightest bit bothered about missing a bus!

It's over to you for your Handmade Monday now...

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Handmade Monday 178

Welcome to another Handmade Monday!  These weeks are just flying by for me at the moment - how about you?

I've been keeping busy with creating new images for the art agency, although I am waiting to get feedback on the direction the agency thinks will be best for sales.  It's still all very new and exciting.

Most of the work I'm doing now starts off as a line drawing on plain old paper...


which I then scan and complete with colour digitally. I like how I can create a pattern to fill an area of the drawing and how I can change things so easily.

I'm enjoying the challenge of learning new digital techniques, but I think there may come a point where I feel the need to get my paints out and just get messy!  At the moment, my personalised gifts fulfil that need to a degree - but there are so many ideas buzzing around in my head and messy paint techniques are at the heart of many of them!

Speaking of getting messy, that's exactly what Guide Dog puppy Quentin did this week.  Alongside all the training, people often forget that Guide Dog puppies are just like all other puppies and they still need to play.  He had lots of fun with my daughters' two dogs this week at Carr Mill Dam.  The water is irresistible to Molly and Max...


and it didn't take Quentin long to join them!  I only have one photo of him actually in the water, and he's obscured by greenery


but he did thoroughly enjoy himself!


It was a lot of fun, but a great opportunity to practise his recall too - distractions like playing with other dogs make it harder to call him back but he did pretty well.  He does keep checking where I am when he's off lead, which I'm sure is a good sign.

That's it from me this week - it's your turn now.  Leave your link to join in with Handmade Monday and enjoy visiting the other blogs.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Handmade Monday 177

Hello and welcome!  It's time for Handmade Monday again.

This week I've had a welcome break - my daughter has a small caravan she keeps on a quiet farm site in Aberdaron (on the north Wales coast) and I've been there for a few wonderfully relaxing days.  The weather was mostly superb and we didn't do much except walk, eat and relax.  The caravan was probably about the size of this one...but with an awning it was plenty big enough for two people and a dog!


This was the morning walk for me and guide dog puppy Quentin


which led down here (you can just make out his rear end and tail here!)


and then here - miles of empty beach to enjoy.  We were the first ones on the beach each morning and it was such an amazing way to start the day.


It was Quentin's first ever visit to a beach and he couldn't believe his luck when he was let off the lead to enjoy himself!  It was such a joy to watch him having fun.


He was wary of the waves at first, jumping away from them as they crashed on the shore


but he soon got used to them and enjoyed a paddle!  He only went for a swim once, when he was playing with another dog, and we think that may have been accidental!


There were lots of opportunities for training as well as playing for Quentin - he got to do a lot of lying down under tables when we were eating out, and even lying on the beach while we had a picnic was good practice for him.  He found himself all the shady spots...


Back home, I'm still putting together images for the art agency, who will then provide me with some advice and direction, which I am sure will be valuable.  The caravan image (above) was one of the images they liked in the sample batch I sent!

Anyway, it's over to you now for Handmade Monday...what's been going on in your world?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Handmade Monday 176

Hello and welcome to Handmade Monday!

A celebration is in order this week...the art licensing agency I sent some images to last week is definitely interested in working with me!!  As you may be able to imagine, I'm completely thrilled about this, BUT they need a full portfolio from me so I have to get quite a lot of images together in the next few weeks - but that feels really exciting rather than a task.  I can't wait!


This week also included my birthday (I've stopped counting though!) and a lovely visit from my daughter and granddaughter who live in London.  This is a video my daughter took - it includes a two-year-old, a puppy and some bubbles.  And a lot of cute toddler giggles!  I've never uploaded a video before so I hope it works!  It's only 49 seconds and I'm sure it will make you smile!

video

What has your week been like?  Let us know...