Saturday, 31 July 2010

It. Is. DONE.

It's only taken me 14 months, but the Cardigan of Joy/Doom (delete as applicable) is DONE.

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The pattern is from Men's Knits by Erica Knight, but in the book it's knit plain in bamboo yarn. I made the stripes up and, after some shaky and hurried maths, just crossed my fingers that they would work out OK. I think they do. The yarn is my fave, King Cole Merino DK, in Mauve and Bottle. As Boyfriend is still a raver dude of the 90s at heart, I left part of the cuffs unsewn so he could put his thumbs through and keep his ickle hands warm. He chose those colours, the width of the stripes and the buttons, which came from The Eternal Maker in Chichester when we went back in April. For a guy who mainly wears khaki green and various shades of sludge, he ain't afraid of colour.

I'm pretty chuffed with it. The only other jumper I ever knitted came out waaayy too big, but then, in my defence, I had only been knitting for a couple of months at the time and had no idea about gauge or making a swatch or any of that. I am glad this one is finally finished, though. I'm back to knitting socks and small, portable, quick items for the forseeable future!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

My New Dress a Day

I mentioned in the last post that I got an awesome 70s tray from Oxfam's Vintage Day last Saturday. I also found this fab 80s skirt that had made its way over here all the way from Australia. ('Tis true; label says so.) I like the colour and the pattern and the buttons (squee!!) very much, but the length was a little dowdy. Check it:

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So I decided to take a leaf out of the amazing Marissa at New Dress a Day's book and get busy with the scissors and the sewing machine to tweak it to my liking.

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I cut off a good three (rather wobbly) inches off the bottom and hemmed it up just underneath the two buttons at the bottom there. Et voila! Really, really easy.

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Eric and Ernie think it's fab, see? I just twizzled it around a bit so the buttons are on the side rather than the middle. I may remove the bottom two buttons - they're only decorative - to make it balance out a little better but I'm pretty happy as is. Yellow happy skirt! Woo! And it twirls very nicely too, in that little-girl-in-a-too-big-skirt kinda way.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Uncluttering

Over the past week I had a few days off, so, in between scribbling roughs, sewing, and rearranging the pictures in the house, I went out and about and got supplies to make something I'd been hankering after for aaaaages: A bobbin rack.

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Boyfriend helped me put it together. It's a little rough and ready, but it does the job nicely. The spokes are half-sized pencils, just from Tesco. I got the idea from the internet SOMEWHERE, but I have no idea where now. The reels sitting on the top are ones that don't fit on the pencils, but that looks kinda cool, too, I think.

I also moved the picture that was at the left-hand end to the bedroom and replaced it with a few of my favourite blue and orange quilting fabrics from my stash.

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The frames are just cheap, wooden embroidery hoops from good, old Fabric Land. I think it cost me less than a tenner to make them up; awesome. I also moved a load of stuff from off my desk and into boxes and out of sight so I have much more working room now. Anything that needs to stay on my desk now lives on this awesome tray I picked up on Saturday when our local Oxfam had a Vintage Day. You can't really see the pattern here, but suffice to say it is bright, floral and very 70s.

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I do like it when everything is uncluttered; it makes my brain work much better.

Monday, 26 July 2010

End of Week 30

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I like this one a lot. The pink tights are rocking. Plus, I know Jessie Ford a bit (another Brighton illustrator) and she's very nice.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

New Yarn (Even Though I Promised Myself I'd Use My Stash First)

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Flusi no 1803. This series of Regia yarn is accompanied by a little illustrated storybook with instructions on how to knit a sock. Very cute.

Friday, 23 July 2010

I Got the Jug, Too.

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I found this in the same charity shop a couple of days later. Awesome.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

An Upgrade

I upgraded my phone this week and it arrived late yesterday. Of course, that meant that instead of doing the ironing and all the other stuff I was supposed to do last night, I played about with my new bit of technology for hours instead. Ahem. (Apologies to my mother if she is reading this.) The camera is 8.1MP. 8.1!!!! Even my "proper" camera is only 6.3MP. So I tried it out in Ethel's this afternoon:

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The quality is pretty fab; I'm definitely impressed. It also means a new "proper" camera is on my wishlist for sometime when I have enough money to get one. I am astounded by the new phone, though. I last upgraded in January 2009, and since then phones seem to have jumped some sort of humongous hyperspace-type-gap and become basically little tiny computers that are able to make calls, too. It totally flummoxed me, and it's not exactly one of those top-of-the-range iPhone-type devices. Duh. I can faff about in Photoshop and understand that, but a new phone totally throws me. Whatevs. I think I have the hang of it now, but the difference is just amazing. I can't stop marvelling at it. Sad, I know. I'm not bothered by apps and the like; I just want something to make calls, send a few texts and take a nice picture when I'm out. I think I've got that.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Another Charity Shop Treasure

I came across this little chappy yesterday in the same charity shop we found the "Fireglow" china:

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He's a little pot made by Avon, so he must've held some kind of lotion or potion at one point. The body is ceramic but the head is plastic. I love him; he's so retro and a 3D personification of all those popular owl illustrations that are around in Paperchase and the like at the moment. Plus, he was the bargain price of £1. Love it.

Monday, 19 July 2010

End of Week 29

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Not entirely sure what this one is all about, other than vampires, obv...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Charity Shop Treasures

Ooops. Appear to have been away from here for a bit too long. Well, in my defence there has been a lot going on. My meeting at the publishers last Monday went very well. They liked my portfolio and, although there's no contract as yet, they gave me two texts to look over and make a few character sketches for. Hopefully, if the Art Directors, and the dudes in sales, and the tea boy like my sketches then it'll go to contract and I'll be doing a new picture book or two! Woo! Exciting.

The other illo job I was moaning about a couple of weeks ago has sorted itself out and I'm working on the roughs for that at the moment. Add to that usual, plus extra, library work, knitting, housework, walks on the seafront, gardening, agreeing to man stalls at school fetes and the like, then the last 10 days or so have been rather hectic!

Anyhoo, I've been meaning to share this little lot for a week or two:

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Lovely Boyfriend bought me this set of two casserole dishes, a gravy boat with saucer and a large plate/charger by Royal Doulton from our local Mind charity shop, one of the better ones on George Street.

And lo and behold, today they had cups and saucers to match, so, natch, I had to get those, too:

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I love charidee shops.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

New Moo

I ordered some new Moo business cards last week and they were delivered yesterday:

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I have a portfolio meeting coming up on Monday and to say I'm nervous about it would be an understatement! I haven't actually taken a physical portfolio to a real meeting for about four years; everyone just looks at your website these days. I'm trying not to get too excited, but I think the fact that this publisher would like to meet me in person to go through my work and see what I'm like is a good sign; often ADs just don't get the time. So, I have new business cards to take and I've been printing out all my newer work to update my portfolio. It's always a bit of a struggle to decide what to take, but as long as I'm happy with the finished book and feel it's the work that best represents what I do, then I think it'll all be OK.

I've also just started working on another project, but already I'm beginning to regret it. It's for a foreign publisher that I've worked for before and swore I'd never illustrate for again (even though I've written a few books for them since). Sigh. Why do I do these things to myself? I shall, of course, stick it out, but it's just all so bloody awkward and doesn't put me in the best creative mood. I shall concentrate on Monday instead....