Thursday, 9 February 2023

I do like pigeons!

I like pigeons a lot. We sometimes hand feed the ones near the RSPB reserve here in Weymouth. Look at those feathers. That sheen. Could I make one? 

So I gathered together an old (clean) sock, toy filling, string and wool, duct tape and pipe cleaners, and cobbled together this maquette. It’s a bit of a mess. But my daughter Mary adopted it after I’d finished using it to make patterns. 

Made my first pigeon using felted woollens cut without a seam allowance and oversewed with wool thread. Wings are added after the body is complete. The legs are wire covered in small pink woollen pieces and over stitched. I used beads from my stash for the eyes. 

Pigeon number 2 is made using dyed wool cloth, and embroidered thread to hint at those shimmers of magenta and green. 

I feel like their shape is better than the maquette form, and also surprisingly slightly larger. I was really pleased with them. 

This lead to a commission, to make Angus. A bit of a character by all accounts …

The wing markings were created using small fabric shapes and needle felting them. Needle Felting is like magic. 

And just so you know, here is the real Angus. 

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Plush from Books …

In 2022 I entered a season of making larger plush, to help authors promote their books. I sort of lived that author life a little bit, sharing their excitement as a plush WIP was shared on social media and even hearing about new characters before everyone else gets to! 

Sometimes I would stumble upon the perfect fabric in my stash, and sometimes go on a hunt for just the right shade of blue. This long shaggy white fur was perfect for Gertie. have it on good authority that sharing her progress along with my copy resulted in some purchases of The Littlest Yak for little ones to enjoy. 

Gertie was a delight to make, as she’s deliciously cute and her strong character shines through every page. For her photoshoot I took her to tout quarry and found sweet, little rocks that only the smallest of Yaks could balance on! 

Next, the Pooka demanded to be made. Shortly before he demanded lots of tea and chocolate biscuits. Luckily I’m part Irish so know all about a decent cup of tea. I always read the books when I make characters and really enjoyed this adventure, I couldn’t put it down. Both Gertie and the Pooka have covered buttons for eyes, and do he ears remind you of anyone? I make Edward Tulane’s the same way. 

Who doesn’t love an old teddy bear? In The Witchlings Wish he helps the main character with her quest, so he’s super important. He only has one eye so I made a dent where his left one would be. Other touches the illustrator used where repair stitches, stains and sparse threads for the nose. I really enjoyed adding those but was a little nervous of the staining. I used pastels for that. 

Finally there was One Camel Called Doug! He was really challenging because his legs are so slender. I made his leg warmers from football socks and I used chalks to tint his fur and face. Oh, and fixative for that hair do! 

Most of these large toys incorporate coated wire or they would never stand. And there’s a jaunty wire in Doug’s tail to give it some bounce. I love him. 

If you are an author looking for a plush, look for @raggyrat on social media and let’s talk! 

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Two drawings and a chunky rat

An ink and pencil sketch I made recently from a photograph seen on Facebook. I doodled this spontaneously and gifted it, this lovely girl was saved from the meat trade. 

This detailed pencil drawing became a Christmas present, to the now grown up girl sitting with her beloved dog. Sadly in 2022 he crossed the rainbow bridge. 

And a rat made from a chunky cardigan and some denim off cuts that I gifted to a friend who is a self confessed lab rat, taking part in medical research. I think the rats face turned out well, his body is rather rotund. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

40 Days with Labyrinths ...


When author and friend Fay Rowland asked me to join her blog tour, I said yes please, just so I could look at all the lovely colouring in her new book. She wont know until she reads this, but I actually have a proposition for her. A proposal. A collaboration ... 

Devotionals are often very grown up things to read, but this one (did I say there's colouring?) also feels like a sit down and a chat with Fay. 

The useful Blurb from the back of the book goes like this ... 

"Labyrinths have been a treasured part of Christian spirituality for centuries. The journey along a winding path, with twists and turns, unexpected obstacles, and the satisfaction of reaching journey’s end, creates an ideal opportunity for mindful and prayerful reflection upon our lives and God’s plan for us.
In this book, Fay Rowland presents a brilliant modern take on Bible study and labyrinth-walking. She offers forty short, biblical meditations on the challenges and blessings of daily life, each accompanied by a labyrinth illustration which you can ‘walk’ – just with your finger, or perhaps with colouring pens or pencils – as you reflect on the reading.

As in life, some of the labyrinth journeys are simple, while others present a more complicated path!

40 Days with Labyrinths is ideal for personal reflection during Lent or at any other time of year."

So you could save this for Lent, or get going now to celebrate the chinese new year?

Grab a copy here and find out more about Fay Rowland on her website x

Monday, 26 December 2022

Memory Bears, Memory Mouse

Here are three lovely big bears, who were gifted yesterday…

One pair of skinny size 8 jeans made one bear. As you can see, I also made 2 bears which are the reverse of each other. 

My mothers house-coat became three tiny mice. One can be found nestled in among my youngest child’s plush. I don’t know if they have a name yet, but one of my twins called her mouse Jenny, almost immediately! I was reminded of my 50 for 50 last year. I hadn’t made a mouse since then … well not one like these! 

Monday, 12 December 2022

Memory Bears

A bear made from T-shirts lined with white fleece, gifted on a wedding day this summer. 

This year, rather sadly, I’ve slipped into making a few memory bears. It’s not completely sad, because it’s also about remembering, and being able to keep clothing of a loved one in a special way. Many years ago I wore my Dad’s jumper for as long as I was able, and then made a set of Christmas stockings for the family which are brought out every year and filled with bits and bobs. And earlier this year, my sister made a bear for my Mother’s widow and gave it to him for his birthday. 

These two bears will be gifted to little girls this Christmas, and are made from shirts worn by a beloved Gramps. If you look you will see that I’ve carefully set the fabrics to mirror each other in the teddies. 

Finally, and just in time for Christmas, I am creating a small number of bears from jeans, inspired by the families love of Charlie bears. 

All the bears shared here are about size of Charlie bears, lovely, big and cuddly. Quite a task to stuff too. But all very important and it’s a great honour to work on them. And my sister has given me a little of my Mother’s house coat, so watch this space. I’m going to make something very, very small. 

Friday, 7 October 2022

Illustrator again!

Happy to see my name in lights today, in the Publishers brochure. I’m a published illustrator for the second time. 

Meanwhile I’m an agented author with picture books out on submission. People think my talent is endless. Well it’s not. I really can’t knit 🧶