Thursday, 31 December 2009

Plans and Schemes

Hello. Hope you all had good Christmases and all that.

So tonight is New Year's Eve. Time for reminiscing, taking stock, and planning for the year ahead. Hmm. I'm generally not that bothered about New Year. I think of September and the new school year being my fresh start. No one wants to turn over a new leaf when it's 2 degrees outside and there's still two tins of Quality Street to polish off, right?

However, I do tend to make the odd resolution, if only because I feel I should. Looking back over my blog, I didn't realise that I made no resolutions last year. I think I was just too busy finishing off all the books I was doing at the time! If I had made some, I would've put moving in with Boyfriend at the top of my list, followed by have a good rest come March, and then buy a new computer when the funds come in. Happily, I did all of those! Yay! Hehehe.

I'm quite pleased at the amount of reading I've done this year, though. Hopefully I can continue with that in the coming year. I've discovered some great authors like Stella Gibbons, Winifred Watson and Angela Carter, and rediscovered all-round genius-types like Oscar Wilde and Neil Gaiman.

So, more reading is down there. As is take better care of my teeth and get a dentist (not been for three years or so. Ouch). Experiment more with the evening meals is there, too. I have loads of awesome cookery books but tend to stick to tried-and-tested recipes, so I should read through those again for inspiration. I'd also like to go on a proper holiday this year. Not necessarily abroad or somewhere flash, but I want to take a full week/10 days off and go away for a goodish length of time.

Wow, actually, that's quite a list already!

Work wise, I obviously want to get more illustration work in. Since April I've been concentrating more on getting my bread-and-butter, part time work sorted into something more stable so at least I know the bills are paid, and living with Boyfriend now has taken the pressure off quite a bit. So now I'm going to re-jig my websites and do much more promo. A card every six weeks at least. I also want to go back to the print studio and get a few more screenprints done. Wolfie has been very popular so I'd like to do another print run of those.

I've found TeuxDeux has been very useful in getting organised, if only for providing somewhere I can just jot down what needs to be done and not lose the bit of paper afterwards, so I'm sure I'll continue to use that.

Plan, plans, plans. I'm sure I'll think of more things to do, but they'll do for now. Right, who's for a Quality Street?

Happy New Year, peeps.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Musical Score

Boyfriend and I went into town this morning to pick up our beef and chipolatas for tomorrow. Surprisingly, Brighton wasn't all that busy. Western Road was a bit chaotic around the general Primark area, but then it always is. Anyhoo, while we were in town, we popped into the Oxfam bookshop and I picked up this fab book from 1957:





Educational and awesomely illustrated.

And my free Moo stickers turned up in today's post. Two excellent early presents for me!



All the presents are wrapped and the food is begging to be eaten. Boyfriend and I are spending our first Xmas and Boxing Days together in our own place, then we're off ice skating with my peeps on Sunday. I got that illustration job, so I'd better do a little bit of scribbling on Monday!

Merry Christmas everyone! Back soon.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Entertainment This Evening




4.17pm. I love that little weird blob of cloud in the bottom left there.

We're not cut out for extremes of weather in this country. Not down south, anyway. It reaches the heady heights of 26 degrees in July and we just melt into a big pool of rubbishness, complete with sandals and socks; and then with just two days of snow and temperatures bearly above 0 the entire transport system comes grinding to a halt. I had to help a friend dig her car out of the ice this afternoon. Half an hour using a hoe, a rake and a walking stick! Crazy.

Anyway, the sunset was nice.

Friday, 18 December 2009

A Snow Day!

So, you know that snow I was saying might fall last night? Well, here it is. No buses out on the roads, so can't get to work. There's sewing and crochet to be done and lots of tea and chocolate to be consumed. What more could you want?








(Check out my cheaty-Photoshop-created lens flare! Awesome!)



Thursday, 17 December 2009

Oh Yeah, I Wrote These...

These are the books that turned up last week which I had forgotten about. I wrote them back in the early summer for Korea Hemmingway, who I worked with last year. It's a bit odd just to do half my normal job! Once you've sent off your text that's it. No drawing. Very weird.

Sam Books Mosaic

They look pretty good, don't they? They're illustrated by Stephen Lewis, who I'm ashamed to say I'd not heard of before these babies turned up.

Well, Christmas is approaching at a cracking pace. I've finished most of my Christmas crafting. All other pressies have been bought and some of them have even been wrapped. Boyfriend and I took over two hours to put the tree up on Saturday, and the Xmas food supplies are building up in the kitchen cupboard (that's the high cupboard over the extractor fan that's hard for me to reach. There's a reason for that and it's name is chocolate). Apparently it's going to snow like the clappers tonight, so I may get an unexpected day off if they cancel the buses up to Mile Oak tomorrow. Oo! Going to make beef stew tonight to warm our cockles.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Folksy Festive Sampler

I got this through t'other day:


The Folksy Festive Sampler. Really good idea. A kind of crafty Christmas catalogue. Lupin has blogged about it here much better than I can, or you can go over to Folksy and read all out it on their blog. You can also download a PDF copy here.

There I am on page 5!


Monday, 14 December 2009


... I have eaten one of these* from CyberCandy:


And taken several pictures of this:




And thought it was high time I got around to sharing these:




I made these two bunny boys from a couple of felted jumpers a few weekends ago when I made the little tissue cosies. I finally got to give them to their intended owners (the lovely Penny who should be dropping her twin sproglets any moment now) last week, so here they are at last. I kinda just made them up off the top of my head. I wasn't entirely sure what they were going to be when I began cutting them out; monsters maybe. Anyway, they soon turned into bunnies and, judging by peoples' reactions when Penny unwrapped them, I think they'd be quite popular in the shop. I just need some more jumpers!

*It was OK, nothing all that special. Not quite as sweet as a regular Snickers, although you would think the fudge would make it more so, but a nice, natural peanut taste. 6 out of 10.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Image Stealer!

So, as I mentioned in my last post, someone stole one of my images. I received a very helpful email last Monday evening asking me if I was aware that someone was using one of my images on an Etsy/Folksy-type craft site called Zazzle. No, I blummin' well wasn't! Not only that, but the person who had taken my image had stolen the idea for their item from Etsy seller boygirlparty, too. With a lot of Twittering, emailing, and flagging it up on forums and the like, the two of us, along with lots of other people who complained to Zazzle about the blatant copyright infringement, managed to get the shop shut down. Hurrah!

Here is my original Octopus image:


And here is a screenshot of the shop before it got pulled down:


You can see the Octopus on my blog waaaay back in 2006 when I first came up with it here and boygirlparty's original To Do List here.

The bloody cheek of it! We both sent the shop owner emails explaining why what they did was wrong. They're only 14, but they should know better. They do now, anyway. Mwah ha ha!

The sad thing is that the person who alerted me to it in the first place told me that there's a lot of that kind of thing going on on Zazzle. It seems to be somewhere where sellers think they can get away with anything, really. Avoid it if you can, but I must add that I was very impressed with their prompt responses to our complaints and that they removed the offending items within three hours. The power of the internet!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

This Week I Have....

1. Been offered a new illustration job.

2. Had the BEST restaurant Xmas dinner EVER.

3. Received an AWESOME Secret Santa present...

4....and gave one, too.

5. Been the victim of an Image Stealer, but managed to get said Stealer's shop shut down within three hours.

6. Had my family round to see the new place.

7. Been in a bus accident.

8. Worked a multitude of extra hours.

9. Simultaneously sang carols, made coffee and checked out books.

10. Missed several deliveries.

11. Received a surprise delivery of books I'd almost forgotten I'd written!

12. Bought fake Xmas tree to go up this weekend.

13. Been rained on far too much.

14. Drunk far too much hot chocolate. (But how much is too much, exactly?)

15. Hardly seen Boyfriend at all even though we share a bed these days.

16. Sold a fair bit o'stuff in the online shops.

17. Written all the rest of my Xmas cards and posted them.

18. Discovered TeuxDeux, which is simple, yet brilliant.

19. Not blogged at all.

20. Washed all the underwear I own in one go.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Sunsets, 3.48pm and 3.49pm Today



These were taken this afternoon in the rather salubrious surroundings of Hollingbury Asda car park. Hollingbury is on the edge of the downs and so is much higher up than my part of the city. Fantastic yellow there. You know the winter Solstice is coming when it's nearly dark at 3.50pm!

Then I had some fun making them into planets:



I'm glad to see the pink clouds; hopefully it will be a nice day tomorrow. I'm on the Mobile Library tomorrow morning so I'd like it to be dry!

This Video ROCKS

OK Go - WTF? from OK Go on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

I Gotz Me Some Art (And Some Biccies)

You may have noticed in my Gouache paints post last week the fab tin I'm now housing them in. The tin, and the biscuits within, were a little gift from Boyfriend because he knows I love tins (and biscuits, let's be honest) and "I thought you'd think that pattern was awesome." He weren't wrong. Well, lo and behold, checking Print & Pattern's blog yesterday I discovered that, without realising it, I now have a piece of the fantastic Sanna Annukka's artwork! She did Keane's Under The Iron Sea CD cover, amongst other cool, Finnish-inspired things. Her website is here.


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

And So It Begins...

December is now upon us and it seems like barely a few weeks have passed since Boyfriend and I were in York in the summer. Crazy. The weather this morning was of my very favourite kind (frosty and sunny, rock on), I've nearly played my Xmas playlist through in its entirety, and spent yesterday evening writing out my Christmas cards to send out as promos. I posted them off today, so hopefully my work will be winging its way around the publishing houses of Lahhdahhn Tahhn later this week.

So, after all that faffing about in October (!!) here are the finished cards:



A much simpler idea, as you can see. Inside, there's the letter RoboDog is holding in his mouth. It reads: "Dear Santa. Thank you for my ROBODOG. He is SUPA ORSUM. Love from Jake xxx". Hehehe. I'm so glad I got them done and dusted before we moved. It's just been crazy ever since and I have no idea when I would've got the chance to do them otherwise.

Right, (professional, not personal) cards written and sent. Check.

Crimbo shopping started. Check.

Crimbo present crafting well on its way. Check.

Thousand things to do in three and a half weeks. Check.


PS On this day last year, I tasted my first - and last - Watermelon KitKat.  Who'd have thunk it?

Monday, 30 November 2009

Sunset, 4.23pm Today


Bit of an odd one, today. I felt totally down over the weekend due to the incessant wind and rain - all three weeks of it - and it didn't help when it looked like much the same again this morning when I woke up. I wasn't particularly looking forward to going out in it all to meet Steph and Jan in Temptation, but I'm very glad I went. While we were stitching, bitching, gulping hot chocolate and munching the best toast ever, the rain stopped and the sun made a rare appearance. Shocking! I managed to get a fair bit of Crimbo shopping done afterwards - which I was beginning to worry about - without any hassle and without the heavens opening on my head. Once home, I did a bit more shopping online and tackled most things on my enornous to-do list. So a day that started off looking rubbish actually turned into something really rather enjoyable.

Something else that has brightened my mood is having one of my knitted monsters mentioned on Cuteable today. Thanks, Lynsey!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Brighton Line Socks

Back in August, I visited The Wool Bar in Worthing, a lovely new(ish) yarn shop. I bought this yarn there and cast on for a pair of socks the very same day. And I've only just finished them. Tsk.




Friday, 27 November 2009

Aprons! Lovely Aprons!

I had the idea to make half-aprons out of teatowels AGES ago, and bought some to make them with about 18 months ago when I moved back to Brighton. They've been sitting in bag ever since, awaiting their moment of glory, but, finally, I made some! I used that lovely French, vintage ribbon for the waist ties. These two lovelies (which really could've done with an iron before I took photos but hey-ho) are up in my Yellow House Etsy shop now.





Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Tin of Gouache

Today, in a spare five minutes, I decanted all my gouache paints from the old Flora tub I've kept them in for about a thousand years, into a newly-emptied biscuit tin. The colours just look AWESOME all lined up together. It ticks all my anally-retentive boxes.







Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Photos from My Phone




With just a lil' bit of colour-tweaking, but otherwise just as they came out. I'm constantly surprised how good phone cameras are. I don't know why I should be - my phone has a 5 megapixel camera where as my Proper Camera has a mere 6.3! I think it's just crazy that even basic point-and-shoots for sale this Crimbo in Boots have 10, or even 12, megapixels! Bizarrio beanz. And my Proper Camera is only just over two years old. Technology is moving at the speed of light at the moment. Exciting, and just a little bit scary.