Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The tedious business of uploading, tagging, describing, categorising.....

I've been really busy putting age numbers on some of my birthday cards this week because I noticed that quite a few of my sales had been that type of card. It's boring work, especially all the uploading and writing descriptions and tags - though I seem to have got a bit quicker with the 'categorising' as time has gone on - and I've just had the first batch approved by GCU. I think the reviewers must have seen 100 new cards suddenly appearing and decided they'd better get stuck in!

With all that going on, it doesn't feel as if I've done much painting this week but in fact I've made four new designs, all 'creatures' of one sort or another, the last for a while I think as I seem to run out of steam with one 'range' of cards quite quickly - low boredom threshold perhaps? Just as well I have several 'styles' to fall back on!

First up my mouse and elephant again, in a birthday card or birthday button role this time -

- followed by a kangaroo for Mother's Day in the same style -

- also available on a T-shirt.

And today I've tried a collage again (and hoping for the best as far as my back is concerned!) for Father's Day - 

I was surprised how well it showed up on a dark T-shirt too - 
I still have about 80 of my new 'age' birthday cards to put on Zazzle but my enthusiasm has waned a bit because they seem to do so much better on GCU. They appear immediately in my 'store' though so if I do a few every day, they'll probably all be available on Zazzle at about the same time as on GCU!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Right-brain/left-brain quiz for artists

I'm sure it's a great oversimplication but I found this online quiz that is supposed to tell you whether you are predominantly using your right-brain or your left-brain.

I came out as 80% right-brain but I think that is probably quite a lot higher than it would have been if there hadn't been a number of questions where I wanted the sometimes/sometimes option instead of yes/no or maybe just an 'it depends' option!!!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Do you know what you're doing?

'Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things' - Edgar Degas.

When I happened upon this quotation recently, it resonated with me with such force that, in my excitement, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, put out the flags and declare an 'Edgar Degas' National Holiday! But of course, being English, I did none of those things but I did decide that when I had time, I would blog about it.

Why did this seemingly paradoxical pearl of wisdom from Degas excite me so much? The answer lies in the fact that, over the years I've had so many frustrating conversations with friends, when I've tried to express the same sentiment but never managed to do it convincingly. I knew what I meant - and I knew it from experience, not from having read about it, but I couldn't put it into words and probably ended up only convincing my friends that I'm some sort of inarticulate dreamer.

From time to time, I am asked to teach a 'Pastel Class' or to give a talk or, even worse, a demonstration of how I work! My reply has always been that there's no way I could even contemplate such a thing because I do not know how I work, I don't know what I'm doing when I paint - at which point I feel I must sound terribly pretentious and 'arty' or perhaps as if  I'm well on the way to needing to be carted off by 'the men in white coats'!

I'd better make it clear that I'm not referring to the kind of painting I do when I design greeting cards. That's a completely different kettle of fish and, except perhaps in the drawing stage, everything is done with a lot of thought and deliberation and I hope that I 'know what I'm doing'. By 'painting' I mean what I call 'proper painting' - pastel painting in particular.

Here are a few examples to clarify what I mean. In the 'Art and Design' class that I attended in Norwich, we were given very basic 'design' exercises, as far as I remember, from the Bauhaus, and one of them was to make a grid in charcoal and fill it with interlocking 'T' and 'L' shapes, which we could then smudge, obliterate, accentuate, make black, grey or white, according to what seemed needed. I didn't finish my exercise in the class so I took it home and carried on with it in the evening, sitting on the floor by the fire, watching television. When I went to bed, I left it propped up in an armchair and next morning, as soon as I went into the room, it hit me that what I'd done the night before expressed precisely how I'd been feeling at the time. I had been struggling with some very fickle builders and the disputes had become quite vicious; my design had turned into knife blades (I had felt that 'the knives were out') and the black, grey and white seemed so cold and bleak, expressing the feelings of isolation I was experiencing, having taken on, and called to account, a whole firm of builders, their quantity survey and their boss, single-handed! This was admittedly no great work of art, something more like 'Art Therapy' really but the point is that when I was working on it, I had no idea what I was doing!

And yet some part of me had known precisely what I was doing, probably more accurately than if I'd sat down with the intention of painting a picture of how I felt.

On a lighter note, we often had a life model in that same Art and Design class, to use or not as we wished. Another student in the class, whose pastel painting style was quite similar to mine, always seemed to want to pick the same position for her life drawing as I did. As we both worked fast, we overcame this potential problem by sharing the time we spent drawing from our favourite angle. We had been happily managing with this arrangement for some weeks when one of the other students commented that the two of us were very alike, in that we paced about, huffed and puffed, sighed noisily and generally caused quite a lot of distraction to the rest of the class when we were working. Until it was brought up, neither of us had the faintest idea that we we were doing any of these things! How embarrassing! We didn't know what we were doing!

What I'm referring to is almost an altered state of consciousness, pretentious as that sounds! From what I've read more recently, I think it may be a case of being 'in flow'.

Another class that I attended was taught, or more accurately, presided over, by Peter Baldwin. Peter would start the lesson by reading someting art-related to us, most of which I've forgotten, though I do remember him trying to explain cubism to us and reading an extract from Plato! This would occupy the first fifteen minutes or so of the lesson, at the end of which he would ask, 'Is that clear to everyone?' We would not our heads sagely - and then go off and do our own thing. Sometimes we were lucky enough to have models to paint, a nun on one occasion (she was a perfect model as she was so 'still'!), an old boy from out on the Broads, my 'model' for the gardener in my 'retirement' card', who amused us all by walking round the room in the break time, giving us his verdict on our efforts!

When we didn't have a model, Peter would bring in a collection of interesting objects, flowers and sometimes fruit and set up a 'Still life' for us to paint. At the end of the afternoon we were all encouraged to take a look at everyone else's work before it was packed away. One afternoon, the Still Life was set up on a wooden chair with lots of cross-bars and rails. I was quite happy with what I'd produced but one of the other students commented, 'Pity about the perspective of that cross -bar.' I looked again, and sure enough she was quite right - my perspective was completely 'out'! Now I do know quite a lot about perspective from the presentation drawings I had to do for a correspondence course in Interior Design I'd done some years previously. So I was puzzled and somewhat dismayed - until I heard Peter's voice from behind us saying, 'But surely, xxxx, you know that Judy's an expressionist? 'Looking again at the whole painting, rather than focussing on that one 'wrong' angle, I realised that, although I hadn't known what I was doing at the time, the picture actually 'needed' that cross-bar to be as I had drawn it! Somehow it wouldn't have been 'right' if I'd put my knowledge of perspective into practice!

I think it has something to do with switching off the part of my brain that says, 'this is a chair and that is an orange...' and just getting on with it instinctively, or maybe intuitively? Once I begin a painting, that logical thought process recedes into the background, especially if I accompany my painting with music, or even televison, and makes way for some kind of 'inner knowing' to take over! I approach my painting as a series of shapes that need to be recorded on paper, not distinguishing between a life drawing and a landscape or a building - they are all one to me.

Imagine my surprise when I painted an old fishing boat, tied up by the quayside in Broadstairs. I thought I was painting one quite large boat but when I finished it and stood back from it, I realised that it was in fact two, smaller boats! I hadn't had a clue what I was doing!

So how could I possibly teach others to do what I do, when I don't have the first idea of what I'm doing myself? I often say, when asked, that 'people have to find their own way', which may come across as if I don't want to share my 'trade secrets'; but I do sincerely believe that to be true. Can we help people to 'find their own way'? I would answer 'yes, we can'  because I was helped enormously by the exercises I did in the Monday morning Art and Design class all those years ago in Norwich. It helped to free me up from all preconceived ideas about what I 'should' be doing.

Also, a comment from an elderly, retired, Slade-trained Art Teacher, a neighbour in Norwich, has stayed with me over the years.  I had been pestering her for advice when finally, in exasperation, she put a stop to that with, 'What you've got to realise, gal, is that there ain't no knitting pattern'. Sound advice in relation to life in general, as well as to painting! More on that another day...

The picture at the top arrived in the form of a postcard from Sweden one morning. It's the work of my one and only grand-daughter, just turned four years old. I wonder if she knew what she was doing? 

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Shocking Statistics

First of all a big, HUGE -

- to all of the artists who contributed to 'All Creatures Great and Small' and especially to those who left such kind and encouraging comments! It's good to see that 'traditional' art is still alive and kicking and to hear that people are buying it, in spite of the competition from digital art and photography.

Earlier this month I was particularly thrilled and honoured that my handpainted sweet pea design was chosen by a US customer for her wedding invitations. You may remember that I was asked to help convert my sweet bookmark into invitations over the Easter weekend and the customer ordered just a pack of ten to begin with to check how they came out. She and I have been waiting for the invitations to arrive with baited breath, especially as I had come across a thread on the Zazzle forum that suggested that the finish might leave something to be desired! But yesterday I heard that they are fine and she has now gone ahead and ordered a lot more. Phew!

So that brings me nearer to the Zazzle threshold for actually receiving some money! I seem to work much harder on promoting my Zazzle stores (and stocking up my store with 'products') and yet I seem to sell far more through Greeting Card Universe. A bit of a puzzle as the statistics are showing a steady rise in the number of visits to my Zazzle store, whereas visits to my GCU store remain static - and low! So I did a small calculation and unearthed a statistic of my own that may be of interest to others who are using both of these online stores to sell their work.

In the four months that I've been with GCU and Zazzle, the visits to my Zazzle store have been nearly five times as frequent as to my GCU card store. But when I did the arithmetic, I discovered that I've had one sale through GCU for every 17 visits, whereas through Zazzle, it's taken 413 visits to achieve each sale. And that came as quite a shock!

A couple of possible reasons for this difference have occurred to me. Firstly, the range of products for sale through Zazzle means that, to make a sale, the customer will probably be spending a lot more money. For instance the keds shoes are £60 a pair in the UK! Secondly, I think it's quite likely that a great many of the 'visits' to my Zazzle stores are by other artists. There does seem to be more of that kind of interaction on Zazzle than on GCU. And maybe the fact that GCU actively promotes our greeting cards through its sister sites is another factor, though in fact the majority of my sales have come through Google searches.

I'd be interested to know whether anyone else is experiencing the same sort of discrepancy between store visits and sales and to hear any ideas about why this may be. I think it's important to know, as far as one can, what actually needs to be done to encourage sales. At the moment it doesn't look as if 'store visits' alone are a reliable indicator of sales opportunities, though of course, on the other hand, nothing will get sold if nobody comes to our stores!

In the past week I've made another discovery! At last I've solved the mystery of why I wasn't being offered all the options for creating products on Zazzle - I was starting from the wrong page! So much to learn! The one that was particularly bugging me was that I had no choice of style of keds shoes, just the ladies lace-up sneakers.  I was looking at the slip-ons and other styles that artists were creating with great envy - so this week I've been busy making pretty floral slip-ons -

I made the design as a repeating pattern - something I haven't done since my screenprinting days  - and it took me a while to get the hang of it again. But I persisted because I was also determined to make a design that would 'tile' properly on the men's ties.

I don't think I know a man who would wear such a flowery tie as this one - 
- but you never know! 

And at least the pattern joins up nicely so I feel encouraged to try again with something a little more masculine!

I've also used these primroses from the shelf in my front porch to make birthday and Mother's Day cards for my GCU store, but they will take a few days to be approved - hopefully they will be appearing shortly.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

'All Creatures Great and Small' continued....

I thought it would add a bit of variety to feature some of the wonderful handpainted designs from Greeting Card Universe and Zazzle artists once a month. We who paint by hand do seem to be in the minority so I think we need all the publicity we can get!

This month's topic is 'creatures' and here are a few from Greeting Card Universe artists that I like (click on the image for a larger view that will also take you to a link to the artist's GCU store) -

This black Lab wants to say Thank you to your dog lover friends. Labrador Retrievers always appreciate your kindness. Let this black dog help share your gratitude. Original Labrador painting by Amy Reges inspired by my own sweet Labs who put their paws in my hand.

A beautiful, close-up watercolour of a cat by Barbara Screiber

This one, by Mary Taylor, is an embroidered design.

Gorgeous bunnies by Judith Cheng

This bee is by UK illustrator, Kerry Morton.

This is a watercolor painting from the simple inspiration of cats next to me on the couch! Of course I couldn't move and spoil the moment. Luckily, nearby was a zen canvas (painted water disappears when it dries.) So I kept practicing and memorizing, holding my breath so they would keep sleeping! From

Belgians Waiting for the Sleigh Ride - From an original acrylic painting of draft horses waiting patiently for the Riders, at a B&B outside of Leavenworth, Washington at Christmas time.Designed by Harriett Masterton.

Patriotic dog - a bestseller for July 4th by animal artist, Tanya Amberson

And bringing up the rear of the Greeting Card Universe paintings, here is one of my few  animal paintings - a soft pastel painting from a photo I took at our local Shire Horse Rally.

And now for some products from talented Zazzlers who paint their designs 'the old fashioned way' -

'artbymar' says, 'This image if from one of my original color pencil drawings. This guy is a blue, yellow and green macaw parrot.'

Parrot Magnet magnet
Parrot Magnet by artbymar
Browse other Magnet Magnets

 These 'jungle babies' are painted in watercolour -

Jungle Babies, Boy Birth Announcement invitation
Jungle Babies, Boy Birth Announcement by AudreyJeanne
Create your own invitations online at

A 'fantastic' creature by Daniel Luciani

Mediaeval Wyvern mug
Mediaeval Wyvern by Daniel_Luciani
Design a custom stein at

This cheeky cat is in watercolour and ink -

Cat with Toy Mouse Mousepad mousepad
Cat with Toy Mouse Mousepad by ninjahijinx
Shop all other mousemats on

A fluffy, white, cartoon cat carries her toy mouse in her mouth, ready for more play! This cute design was created with watercolor and ink. 


Diane Ursin painted this Jersey Cow in oils -

This is customizable! You can add text, re-size, crop, etc. Hit the "customize it" button to edit. I love painting butterflies and I did this in acrylic paints. You can purchase this in many different product lines: t-shirts, bags, keychains, mousepads, greeting cards, mugs, buttons, apparel, magnet, postcard, sticker, bags, keychains, apron, shoes, skateboard, poster, tie, photo sculpture, postage stamps, etc. View more here:*
created by JUDERM (15/08/2009 06:10)

Parrot print
Parrot by aquarelle
Browse other Bird Posters

And finally, my favourite -

Who needs digital art when such a wonderful variety of designs can be created by traditional painting methods?


Saturday, 17 April 2010

Mucking around with masking fluid and salt again!

 The weather has been so gorgeous recently that it seems a real shame to stay indoors working and I took the opportunity this morning to go out and take photos of the flowers in my garden. This one is the pear blossom, just beginning to come out -

But I'm determined to use the time while I wait for people to respond to my advertising for 'card sellers' for my partyplan scheme, to stock up my GCU and Zazzle stores. It does seem that those with the greatest number of cards in their stores make the most sales - and in any case, painting and drawing are hardly 'work' as far as I'm concerned, although I often feel surprisingly tired at the end of a painting session!

A while back I bought a masking fluid pen but I hadn't got around to trying it out until I had a little bit of time to spare yesterday. I have an idea in mind for a series of designs that will be made much easier if the pen does what it's supposed to but the instructions suggested practising before embarking on something important. So that's what I did - and thank goodness I did! It was actually quite tricky to use. The instructions said 'do not squeeze' but nothing came out at all unless I squeezed the bottle slightly all the time!

I'ts going to take some practice to get the flow really even. But in fact this 'design' didn't really necessitate a lot of accuracy - it was more of a 'doodle' really!

However, with further experiments with various types of salt as well, I liked what happened enough to use it to create some keds shoes -

I'm not sure where the idea for this next little collage came from but it's been pestering me to let it out of my head and into the public domain for quite a time. I think it may have something to do with the way I felt like the proverbial fish out of water when, years ago, I lived in the 'commuterland' of the South East because nobody I knew seemed to understand my need to paint and draw and generally do things creative. I was a lot more comfortable when we moved to Norwich, where even the surveyor who helped us with the plans for our loft extension painted in watercolours and the cleaning lady painted mandalas - and told me she found cleaning the brasses a 'meditative' experience! A reassuringly different world!

This one didn't take long compared to most of my other collages but even so it was long enough for me to discover, without any room for doubt, that it's the cutting of the paper that has been causing my back to object rather vociferously in the past few months. Somehow I'm going to have to find a different way to cut the paper - or give up on collage, which I obviously don't want to do!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

More for Mother's Day!

Yesterday I decided to experiment. Whereas usually I design for greeting cards and then sometimes use a part of the design for other things, yesterday I made my first ever design specifically for a T-shirt-

and the more discreet version -

But then - and this is the experiment - I made greeting cards from the T-shirt design that I think are nearly off the scale of ghastliness and uploaded them to Greeting Card Universe and Zazzle.

This bizarre idea was prompted by a look at the 'What's New' pages on Greeting Card Universe to see if my latest designs were on there. They weren't (and they never seem to be) even though I waded through pages and pages of what, to me, were a great many cards that I wouldn't give houseroom to! I'm not going to publicise my 'experiments' here, though I can't stop them appearing in my Zazzle flash panel. But it'll be interesting to see whether anyone likes them. One thing I've learnt in the past year or so is that there's no accounting for taste! And maybe I'm just getting old.....

I didn't waste a lot of time on my experiment - the collage was already made and I used Photoshop to make the coloured backgrounds so each one only took a few minutes.

This one, on the other hand, took me so long that I was reluctant to give up on it when the lettering didn't show up and I've spent a bit more time rescuing it, painting the light flowers that were distracting from the lettering, in crimson gouache and lightening the darker blue forget-me-nots.
It was 'interesting' painting with gouache on top of acrylics, but the slightly 'veined' effect that resulted was just like real wallflower petals -  so a 'happy accident'! On both of my computers, at least, the message is now clearly visible; and, printed, it's the sort of card I'd love to receive! But, as I said, there's no accounting for taste!

Monday, 12 April 2010

All Creatures Great and Small

If you are one of those talented artists who paint wonderful pictures of animals, this is definitely the moment for you to look away!

I've never been very good at, or in fact particularly interested in, drawing or painting animals. As a little girl, I habitually drew ballet dancers (I wanted to be one for a while!!) or sailing boats - obviously the result of living by the sea. In later years, I went on to paint landscapes, people, flowers, interiors, still lifes - and, apart from once making my big brother a birthday card with an elephant wearing a mortar board, standing by a blackboard, when he had just started teaching, I seem to have largely avoided attempting to draw our four-footed friends!

Today my teaching was postponed till tomorrow so I got around to making cards from some sketches I'd been working on in the evenings whilst watching my regular ration of whodunnits - and these cards involved animals!

I'd been putting them off for a while because I couldn't decided which medium to use. I wonder whether anyone else ever comes up against the problem that whatever I plan to do, someone famous has already done something similar and I worry that I'll feel as if I'm plagiarising! Sometimes I wish I hadn't looked at so much art and illustration and could start from a completely clean slate. For instance, I wondered whether to use pen and wash for my 'animals' cards but then Quentin Blake has made a pretty good job of a pen and wash elephant on a thank you card! But if I went down the collage route for this 'range', one of Leo Lionni's first and perhaps most famous children's book illustrations involved a wonderfully simple but effective collage mouse! So thank goodness for my newly discovered 'watercolour pencil and watercolour' technique!

I like to have two of these on the go at once so that I can work on one while the other is drying. In the past, I've had a few disasters when I've tried to tidy up the outlining before the 'wash' is completely dry!

So from a couple of decidely large animals to some of the smallest -

I haven't used this method very much yet but there's something I've learned about it which I'd like to pass on to anyone who may be thinking of trying it after reading my step-by-step instructions for painting a leprechaun for St Patrick's Day. If you use a mixture of different brands of watercolour pencils, BE VERY CAREFUL about how much pressure you use. Some are softer and/or more crumbly than others and this can result in flakes - or even chunks! - of the 'lead' breaking off and staining the paper. And it's practically impossible to then remove the unwanted marks. I've found that it's OK if I stick to using those softer ones because I get used to the amount of pressure needed, but once I start to go from one type to the other, I'm on dangerous ground!

That apart, I'm beginning to really like this way of painting and think I learnt some useful lessons from my Hot Cross Bunnies - and rather importantly, I'm hoping I won't wake up tomorrow with a painfully stiff shoulder, like I did this morning, as a result of  yesterday's fiddly collage!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Wallflower and Forget-me-not Colours

I'm not very sure what to make of this one! It was intended for the American Mother's Day, May 9th.

It took a very long time to cut out and stick down all those tiny flowers and leaves, as you can imagine, and when it was finished, I was disappointed that the 'Happy Mother's Day' didn't stand out very well. I almost didn't bother to scan it but I quite liked it in a 'Flower Power' kind of way so I did. And I don't know whether all scanners are the same, but mine shows quite a dark image in the 'preview' when it's 'warming up' and all of a sudden the image looked fine, with the forget-me-not lettering standing out very nicely.

So when the scanner had finished scanning and come up with the usual wishy-washy image, I adjusted it to make it as near as possible to the 'preview' and was quite happy with it - until I transferred it to my laptop, where the forget-me-nots were suddenly  turquoise, instead of the slightly purplish blue that they had been on my PC - the exact opposite to the difficulties I've been having scanning my seaside collages! - and the lovely deep wallflower-red border was almost black! Whatever I tried to adjust to get them back to their velvety red colour just made everything else go haywire..

Which just goes to show that, just as 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder', 'colours are dependent on the computer on which they are being viewed!'

I'm not sure whether it's worth all the time it takes to upload it, tag it, describe it and post it for sale on the PODstores; but I'd be interested to hear how it looks to others.

It rather reminds me of those municipal gardens along the Esplanade of the seaside resort where I grew up, where  the 'tour de force' was a flower bed with a map of the island and its coat of arms set out in flowers!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Silkscreen Printing

Late yesterday afternoon my combi-boiler finally started to co-operate, not without a great deal of resistance right up to the end of the six days that I was without central heating and hot water. At about the same time, the weather changed dramatically for the better and today has been a beautiful, almost hot day. But with the clear skies, the evenings and nights are decidely chilly so I'm glad to have my heating system fully functional again, not to mention the instant hot water.

At the point on Friday morning when I was wondering what to do for the best about my boiler, I received my first ever request through Zazzle for some customisation - a lady in the US wanting me to make that sweet pea design that I used for my bookmark into invitations for her wedding. So in between the phonecalls to plumbers and visits from heating engineers, emails were flying back and forth as we gradually worked out between us how to fit the sweet pea image around the text of the invitation. We finally 'got there' on Tuesday afternoon and now I'm anxiously waiting to hear how the invitations turned out.

While I was about it, I decided to make some more general wedding invitations (see flash panel at the foot of this page) and other products, such as this ringer mug, which has space for the customer to add text around the top, just below the rim -

And I also managed to dig out and scan an old photo of the roller blind which I made from the fabric I'd screenprinted about 20 years ago, using the original design -
You can just about see that the sweet peas were either blue or pink, not both together as in the watercolour painting that I've been using recently. (and you can also just about see our long-deceased 'Dougal' dog trying to decide whether to go out into the garden - or not!) Fortunately after a lot of ferreting around, I discovered that I had kept the tracing of the sweet peas all that time!

I actually really enjoy screenprinting! I think what appeals to me is that you can change the colours and thereby change the whole look of the thing without having to go back to square one - and it's a medium that gives rise to a lot of 'happy accidents'.

The screenprinting class I joined at the Adult Education Centre in Norwich, Wensum Lodge, was known as the 'therapy class' because almost every week, someone would arrive with some sort of crisis going on and we would all talk it through whilst we were mixing our inks or to-ing and fro-ing with the squeegees and it invariably seemed to help.

But I discovered screenprinting somewhat accidentally! One winter half-term holiday when my two younger children were about 6 and 10 years old, I bought a small screenprinting kit to keep them amused as the weather was bad. They had a lot of fun with the kit for about a day and then moved on to something else. I, however, was hooked!

So I joined an Adult Education class in Sevenoaks, near where we were living at that time. But it was a mixed beginners and 'experienced' class and we found that the 'newbies' got very little attention. That first term we were supposed to produce a Christmas card but not until we had learnt to make a screen from scratch, which took up several weeks. That, by the way, introduced me to using a power jigsaw, something I've been grateful for in later years when I've bought old and decrepit houses to 'do up'!

Unfortunately, the lack of attention from the teacher meant that most of the new students didn't get a Christmas card finished by the end of the Autumn term. But as I had already picked up the basics through the children's kit and because I was very motivated to work at home in between classes, I just managed to complete mine. It was pretty awful as far as the colours were concerned but I've since used the basic design to print at home in other colours and more recently used it again for a gold and silver gouache Christmas Card design -

Which reminds me, I ought to start thinking about the bi-lingual Christmas cards for our local newsagent....

Monday, 5 April 2010

More bright colours!

Very little time to write as the various visits from heating engineers has taken up so much of my time that I'm way behind with everything! But I did manage to fit in another collage that I've been thinking about for ages -
I've made one for each of the ages from 3 - 7 yrs old by sticking on the numbers with blu-tac instead of gluing them down so that I could change them for scanning! I've also made one with a star instead of a number -

And I've made all sorts of 'clown' products on Zazzle - I think this is my favourite:

I'm amazed to find that, in between running around fetching buckets, torches, old cloths and various other things for the plumbers and heating engineers, I've actually 'created' thirty five new products this weekend!

I'm hoping that warm radiators and hot water are going to be finally restored on Wednesday afternoon - just as, according to the BBC, the temperature is forecast to rise! Actually, I'm beginning to get used to boiling kettles for hot water and dressing up as if I were going to the Arctic. (But I'm sure I'll quickly adapt back again!)

Saturday, 3 April 2010

'Life is what happens when you'd planned something else'

 I was so looking forward to a nice quiet long weekend with nothing 'fixed' to do but plenty of time to catch up with making more 'name' birthday cards and starting a series of specific 'age' cards for children. But 'the best laid plans...' and so on came upon me in the form of my Central Heating boiler going on strike, late on Thursday evening - why does it always happen on a Bank Holiday?! - and a really bad dose of backpain. (The two are not unrelated, I suspect.).

But I have somehow managed to do a few more of the most popular names - Daniel, Edward and Emma seemed to be a bit feeble for a 'series' of specific name cards! - in between waiting to hear back from plumbers and making hot drinks and hot water bottles to keep warm!

 This one also has a white background version.

This one also has a 'black background' version.

And I've made a few matching gifts on Zazzle, as well as uploading them to Greeting Card Universe -


'Sarah' girls' T-shirt shirt
'Sarah' girls' T-shirt by helikettle
View other Sarah T-Shirts

- and possibly the most positive thing to happen this weekend - I have at last learnt how to link to products in my Zazzle store on my blog - simples!!! And, all being well, by this time tomorrow, I should have hot radiators and hot water again!