I quite like the week after Christmas. It's very relaxed is it not? That is, assuming you are lucky enough to be housed and fed! A friend of mine always does Crisis (link) at Christmas and I think it must be a great place to be, I would enjoy talking to people there. Maybe one year I will do that instead, it is what Christmas should really be about - but then if you have a family - it is a time to appreciate them - however stressful may be the change of routine and all the work that goes into making it a festival.
My niece was hiding under the table when we arrived at my brother's house on Christmas day, and I can remember that feeling quite well: its later than usual to eat and everyone is so busy and anticipating something while you aren't really sure why it is such a big deal. She was being a bit naughty but I can sympathise too. Anyway once the cooking and waiting is over everyone relaxes, and when we got round to presents she quite liked her rose-purse. My nephew bless him was understandably more interested in his remote controlled car than a lavender elephant but I enjoyed making it and maybe one day when he's older if he finds it down the back of somewhere and he'll enjoy it then. It's natural to be overwhelmed by it all when you are little.
Of all the things I made, the most-enjoyed on the day were these German Star biscuits called Zimsterne (recipe through link, my photo above) they are like macaroony-cinamoney-merangues and yes I did stay up till 3am on Christmas Eve making them, ensuring my moodiness in the morning (but I am moody in the morning anyway so what's the difference)? If you like cooking and eating (like I do) then I recommend them as a christmasy treat.
More of the family are coming over around New Year and I just made a simple quilted pencil case for another niece's present - some crayons. It's very easy, just two pieces of fabric lined with an old soft jersey for the padding, folded and sewn into a case. Looks nice though, I am a sucker for stripes. I am hoping she'll used them instead of felt tips, +crayons are better+!
I bought some new paint and I love it. It's very thick and to use needs to be diluted with linseed oil (which is what oil paint is made with). The blue is amazing though. It is an amazing colour - you can see a little of it on the neck of the vase there. I made this composition a while back and painted the background, but didn't get round to painting the flowers till now. Obviously in the couple of months passing they'd dried. Fortunately I'd used photos so I could complete this just over the past couple of days (first free time in a while!). I like it.
Christmas is upon us, and not YET being a world famous artist with oodles of cash, I decided to make my christmas presents this year (actually I made a deal with some tiny elves who did the work while I lay around mooning. In exchange I told them they could live in my sewing box rent free, they're quite happy). In my search for ideas and patterns I found a great website called Craft Passion I love her taste in materials and her whole site is just a nice place to look around! Its where I found the happy elephant and the macaroon purse tutorials. The macaroon purses will be great on car keys for the parking meter! They are also almost edible. I made the flowerpot purse design up, but was inspired by her idea to use jeans to make roses! The bunny is a funny creature. I sort of copied a bunny toy I have but of course it came out quite differently from the original! I actually got quite into playing with it, and I kind of adore its deranged expression. I made another bunny for my God-daughter - but hers was an original too (I called it tibbar) It was patchwork, white wool and blue grey checked material (from some old pyjamas!)and was suitably whimsical, it had to get sent quite quickly so never met its cousin who we see here - red rabbit. I absolutely love making little toys, they really quickly take on a character. As soon as you lay out their little skins fronts and backs its like you have a creature in your hands, so I could get very distracted sewing. Suffice to say, its really fun.
Just a reminder that today is the last day you can order a tshirt from my spreadshirt shop and be guaranteed to receive it in time for the 25th. So have a look - you might see the perfect thing for someone special!
This is a cartoon tribute to one of my favourite artists, Quentin Blake (crossword spoiler oops) and all those happy Christmases that included the gift of a book illustrated by him. When I look at all the different illustrated books I read or was read as a child (I kept them all and begrudgingly occasionally share them with my youngest family members) it is no wonder at all that I wanted to be an artist. I think Christmas is a particularly visual time of year; its dark and cold outside but everywhere, thanks to people's amazing respect for tradition, glimmers of light and colour remind you of the potential in things, even apparently gloomy things, like the empty night sky only concealing the moon which will shine again another day. It is a season for warm greetings to remind you of the love, so I hope you are cosying up wherever you are.
There was a 'Love Coleshill' Christmas Fair this weekend in the Market Hall so I went along as part of the Coleshill Post team and sold some lavender products I have been making. The bottles at the back are Lavender Water made from infusing cut Lavender (from the garden) in boiling water. It's a natural relaxant and also an antibacterial agent. It's good in your bath or dabbed on your pillow to help you sleep. I also sewed a few small pillows which are filled with lavender, and then got quite into the sewing, so I found a platypus pattern online and made one, and then some mushroom pin cushions too! They sold quite well in the short time I was there and I met lots of lovely people. The main attraction however seemed to be my portrait drawing. I had five requests in three hours and seemed to spend the whole time doing that. I had only ten minutes or so to sketch people on the spot but the customers were happy so that's what counts!