Monday, 31 May 2010

Lost in Translation

 Nothing to do with art but good for a laugh - especially the one about cyclists further down the page!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Celebrating the book as contemporary art...'

Yesterday evening I risked missing Eastenders in favour of going to a Private View at our local Art Shop Gallery. What drew me towards taking this unprecedented step was that the theme of the exhibition, 'Unfolding', was described in the invitation as 'Celebrating the book as contemporary art...' and I knew that the work of children's book illustrator, Petr Horacek, was somehow involved.

The exhibition was a decidely eclectic mix of examples of 'the book as contemporary art...' with some of the exhibits in shiny glass display cabinets, a few hung on the walls and various oversized pieces heavily guarded by their creators against wine splashes and olive-sticky fingers.

I stood and watched for quite a while as the pages of a feet-wide, inches-high 'book' were turned, because the title had given the impression that it was about birds in North Wales. But after nearly ten minutes, my back began to object to the standing still and I hadn't seen a single bird; so I moved on to another exhibit which I can only say reminded me of one of those numerous sample books in wallpaper showrooms that are full of porridgy-looking embossed beige wallpapers, with the occasional scribble of handwriting and drawing. I think I must be very much behind the times because I'm afraid all I could think about was what a waste of good paper it was!

The gallery was quite crowded and there was always the danger of being jostled and one's elbow smashing through a glass cabinet! And there was a definite whiff of overstuffed wallets about the gallery rooms so I wasn't too surprised to witness the purchase for £6 of a photocopy of a little book made by the offspring of one of the artists! It was quite an amusing little story but there was no particular sign of talent in the illustrations. It was just the sort of thing that my own children (and now, their children) used to make...maybe I'm in the wrong business?

One of the more interesting exhibits was of several quite attractive concertina-type books - but at prices starting at £500! I was beginning to feel quite flummoxed by it all, and wondering whether I'd get home in time for Eastenders, when I finally came across Petr Horacek's work!

There was a table laid out with a selection of the children's books he has illustrated, which I had previously looked at on his website and on amazon. But the exciting thing for me, that made the exhibition worthwhile, was that two of his original paintings were hung on the wall nearby. And, even more exciting, it was clear from the originals, in a way that is difficult to see in the books, that he is yet another children's book illustrator who uses collage! There was a painting of Suzy Goose cut out and stuck on to a background in much the same way as in some of John Burningham's illustrations - and just like I had intended for my 'Frog who Cried', if I'd ever got around to finishing my illustrations!

As it is, Greeting Card Universe took over from working on my book and my frog ended up as a Valentine's card -
 - and on Zazzle he appears in his sorry state!

On Tuesday Petr Horacek is giving workshops in 'Picture Book Making' at The Art Shop. I'd love to go along but am not sure whether the '7 yrs and upward' would include an almost 67 yr old? As 'juice and cookies' are included in the price, I'm rather doubtful. Especially when in mid-conversation with the gallery owner about the explosion of exciting new children's book illustrators in the Sixties, I completely forgot the name of my all time favourite, Ezra Jack Keats! It happens quite a lot these days....!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Magic of Confidence!

Last month I wrote about the wonderful quote from Edgar Degas,'Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things' and how that applied to me a propos my art as well as sometimes also in relation to other aspects of my life. But to be able to tap into that other, 'inner' knowing, which is far removed from our usual, logcial, rational way of processing, requires a certain amount of confidence. Confidence to follow where the painting is leading, confidence to switch off our normal 'thinking' approach, confidence to ignore what we have been taught and the criticism or advice of others, confidence to plough on when everything seems to be turning into an unholy mess and just go with the flow.

I do believe that we are all born with this confidence but that we lose it at some point during later childhood, due to 'helpful' advice and sometimes self-criticism, and my daughter's recent blog includes a spontaneous illustration of this. My granddaughter, Hafsah, (aka Biriani), has just turned four, and, like her grandmother at that age, is 'showing some promise in art'. And she still has enough of that precious confidence to put her work on display for all to see - after all, what is art about if nobody gets to see it?

Last autumn I suffered a severe blow to my confidence; I had been led to believe that a publisher was intending to take up some of my greeting card designs but it fell through due to the 'economic downturn' and a well-meaning friend tried to 'help' by telling me in great detail where I was going wrong, identifiying all the flaws in my drawings as the problem. In spite of the fact that my drawing has been praised by several people who know what they're talking about, my confidence plummeted with the result that, suddenly, I was completely unable to draw! I had plenty of ideas and I would begin work on them but I simply couldn't get the criticisms and advice out of my head and I felt myself become paralysingly self-conscious with the result that every attempt to draw just made things worse. I began at last to understand how others feel when they say, 'I can't draw'!

Devastated, I wondered whether I actually needed to work on improving my drawing and decided to use magazine photos as models for some practice. Most evenings I take a break to watch a TV drama or Murder Mystery so I drew while half-watching re-runs of Sherlock or Poirot. Having watched most of them before, they didn't require my full attention but as I can never remember who actually dunnit, they occupied just enough of my mind to allow me to forget my inhibiting worries and I began to be quite pleased with what I'd sketched. So I moved on to drawing from my imagination, creating the characters from the little decodable stories that I'd written to go with my synthetic phonics reading program.

One of the stories was about a king who was intolerably bored as his mininsters and advisors were really in charge of the land and all that was required of him was to put his signature on the documents they presented to him - in between which he sat on his throne doing crossword puzzles. Frustrated to distraction by feelings of powerlessness, he eventually called his Court Magician and begged him to teach him a magic spell that would enable him to solve the problems of the ordinary people of his land, at the same time making him invisible so that he could carry out his missions anonymously. The Magician gave the King the requisite spells but warned him that he must never use them for his own gain. So the king travelled the length and breadth of his kingdom, righting wrongs wherever he found them, which wasn't at all difficult with his new magic powers!

But, human nature being what it is, the King eventually gave in to the temptation to use his magic spell to his own advantage, with disastrous results. Meanwhile the Magician has found his way onto Birthday Card...

...and, of course, the story ends happily ever after!

Another of my rather moralising stories is about a Knight who relies on a Magic Scarf for his confidence until he discovers that the scarf isn't magic at all, it's just a kind of 'placebo' that enables him to tap into the confidence that was within him all along. I don't as yet have any ideas about how to incorporate Sir Kenneth, the Know-all Knight into a greeting card. But the story does illustrate the Degas quotation in that, when we can let go of our self-consciousness, then truly magical things can happen!

Here's Hafsah in action; and as you scroll down to her gallery, you'll discover a new use for Weetabix!

PS I just found this quote from Howard Ikemoto: “When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college - that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?"”

Monday, 24 May 2010

Gardening on a Shoestring

Two major printer jams later, one of them very scary, I'm relieved to say that the latest batch of greeting cards is packed up and on its way to Norfolk. It's really been far too hot to be working so hard!

But, yesterday, on my way to fetch some packaging from my garage at the end of my garden, I surprised to notice that my 'Dreaming Spires' rose had begun to bloom -

It's always one of the first rose to come out but even so it seemed a bit sudden! This evening it's covered in buds and blooms -

I'm very fond of this rose, partly for the obvious reasons - the rich buttery golden colour of its blooms, its fragrance and even its name - but also because it was such a bargain! I bought it for less than £2 in the garden department of our local equivalent of Woolworths and it's particularly good value because it flowers twice a year!

It set me thinking about how a garden can so easily eat into - or should I say 'devour', one's income, especially for those of us who are gardening enthusiasts! But it doesn't have to be that way so I thought I'd mention a few little tips and ideas which have helped me to create a frequently admired little garden without breaking the bank!

The first and perhaps most obvious tip is to grow your own plants from seed, rather than buy plants. It does require a bit more patience and care and you have watch out not to rack up the cost by spending on expensive composts and containers. But the cost can be kept really low if you save the seeds from year to year and sow them either straight into the ground or in tubs of soil. I do this successfully with annuals such as Sweet Peas, Pot Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Californian Poppies, Love-in-a-Mist amongst others and mostly avoid the expense of 'bedding plants'. They self-seed as well so are a really cost-effective way of providing colour in the garden - especially as they've provided me with the inspiration for so many of my greeting cards!




So whether you are looking for something like nasturtiums or marigolds to brighten up your garden or whether you prefer the more delicate colours and wonderful fragrance of sweet peas, you don't need to spend much beyond the original packets of seeds! There are plenty of websites such as this one if you need advice on how to go about harvesting seeds from your garden. 

Sometimes you can end up with far more seeds than you need and then you may be able to exchange them with friends or through the Cottage Garden Society website -  though, be warned! A friend of mine regularly exchanges her seeds through this website each Autumn and has been known to discover in the fullness of time that she has carefully tended and lovingly nurtured a pot of grass! (I've sometimes popped a little packet of seeds from my garden in with Christmas presents for friends and nobody has told me yet that I've sent them weeds!)

My second piece of advice is that if you are on a tight budget, Garden Centres are best avoided as much as possible. If you love flowers and are anything like me, you are likely to come home overspent and overloaded with plants you won't know where to put! It horrifies me to see pots of annuals that grow more or less wild in my garden for £4 and upwards! If there's a plant that your garden really seems to need that isn't available 'on the cheap' then dropping heavy hints about garden centre vouchers, or even plants, in advance of your birthday is one little trick I'd recommend! That's how I came by my fabulous 'Alchemist' rose, pictured here in an oil pastel painting -
My mother never went to a garden centre in her whole life; I'm not even sure that they existed while she was still alive. There were 'nurseries' but even they were few and far between and not much frequented by the general public.I don't know if she had particularly green fingers but my mother spent as much time as her seven children and later, other committments, allowed, 'doing the garden' and it always looked lovely. I think she must have found it therapeutic as she always seemed to be in her best moods when gardening. She had very little spare cash but she knew how to divide up perennials to make new plants for any spot that was looking bare and this is something I've always done when moving house. 

As soon as I know that I'm definitely going to move, and weather permitting, I divide my favourite flowers, making sure that I leave plenty behind for the new occupant, and plant up what I want to take with me in large plastic flower pots or tubs. That way they can stay put after the move until I have time to plant them in the garden. Quite a few of the plants in my present garden, such as these Mountain Cornflowers and Snow in Summer -

have moved with me at least twice! As has the blue plant, which I think is a type of geranium - I'm hopeless with names! - which gave rise to this waterdolour card design:

I put it on a Zazzle mug and it's been much admired -

- though I actually much prefer its 'Nasturtium' cousin:

Finally I'll share with you another of my mother's little money-saving tricks, though I don't recommend that you follow it in its entirety! She had a knack of seemlessly 'tidying up' the flowering shrubs in the public gardens along the Esplanade of the seaside town where we lived and transplanting her 'tidyings' to our garden, where they invariably thrived! The nearest I've come to this is my splendid Mock Orange which originated in my garden in Hereford!

Its Abergavenny offspring is  on the point of coming out today -

- but it started life as about half a dozen small shoots around the base of the parent tree. I 'tidied them up' and planted them in a large plastic tub, where they stayed for almost five years waiting for the retaining wall to be built around the flower bed in which it now resides! It didn't wait the usual seven years to flower but began to bloom in its third year after the move. 

Maybe I have inheritied green fingers but I'll pass on my very simple method of replanting, which always seems to be successful, learnt from my mother. You simply dig a shallow hole or put some soil into the bottom of a large pot, water it till you make a pool of water and then lay the cuttings all around the edge, leaning outwards. Cover the centre of the hole (and the roots) with soil and firm it down as 'robustly' as you can. Hold the cuttings up in a more or less upright position and place more soil around the outside of them, again treading it down, or in the case of a tub or pot, pressing it down really firmly. Then talk to it nicely (very important!) and before long you will have a nice healthy plant to fill a space in your garden and provide subject matter for photos and paintings! 

Mock Orange, or Philadelphus is traditionally associated with weddings because the scent of Orange Blossom is said to be an aphrodisiac -

Just one last little tip - don't waste money on garden tools that you'll rarely need. Either improvise (cut the bottoms off large lemonade or mineral water bottles for great little cloches for individual plants!) or borrow tools that are not likely to get much use. For instance, a rake seems like an obvious 'must' in a garden, but I haven't used one since I first laid out the garden 8 years ago because my garden is now so full of plants that there's simply nowhere to rake! 

And now I'm off to water my garden - a big downside of the hot weather, especially when the water is metered and the water butt is running dry! We could really do with a few heavy downpours - as long as they're at night! 

Happy gardening!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Definition of 'handpainted'?

In the space of not much more than a week, we seem to have gone from scarf and gloves weather to the nearest we've had to 'proper' summer for a long time! But I've been indoors making more handpainted paper collage greeting cards, with only a few excursions into the sunshine to the washing line and a quick trip to the shops to stock up on printer cartridges!

The reason is that I've just had another even more sizeable order from Norfolk - thank goodness I tracked down some good cardstock last week!

This time I've just had to make two completely new name-specific cards similar to these two -

- but I'm not complaining about not being out 'enjoying the weather'. I'm not particularly keen on very hot weather unless I'm by the sea, probably the result of having grown up on the coast, and when it's hot, I really appreciate the fact that I have ceramic tiled floors in my hallway and kitchen, which keeps it lovely and cool!

Not so my attic studio though! When I went up to scan the collages earlier this evening, the temperature had hit 30C so I spent as little time up there as possible! However, in my haste, I forgot to change the resolution from the default 150 dpi to 300 and had to start again from scratch, so I was up there rather longer than I had intended and practically expired!  But it seems that my bolshie scanner actually thrives in the heat. It didn't send me its usual silly 'please turn on the scanner' or 'a communication error has occurred' messages but worked first time - maybe when it says it's 'warming up' it means it literally?

I've started to wonder whether these name-specific birthday cards could just as easily have been made digitally, especially since artberry questioned the distinction between 'handpainted' and 'otherwise' on the Zazzle forum and posted the link to this YouTube video -

Friday, 21 May 2010

A Whole Bunch of Flowers!

This month I asked GCU and Zazzle artists who paint by hand for floral offerings and here are a dozen of them - clicking on the images will take you to the artists' online stores:

Carrie is new to GCU but if the rest of her designs are as attractive as this one, 'Spring Things', she should be set to do well!

This lovely design is by Tanya - acrylics on gallery wrapped canvas.

Barbara Schreiber has painted these gorgeous white flowers in watercolour on Arches Not Paper.

This is one of my own best selling watercolours (with different ages on!).

'Waiting for Spring to Arrive' was the inspiration for this cheerful flower design in acrylics on canvas.

Hollyhocks are Joyart's favourite and led to this oil pastel design for a mousepad.

delphinium Garden -print print
delphinium Garden -print by ursinart
View more artwork available on zazzle
What a wonderful print, by ursinart, of a flower garden with the delphiniums stealing the show!

Animotaxis painted this watercolour of the play of the sunlight on kiwi leaves.

Rose magnet
Rose by JKcoder
See more Art Magnets
JKcoder's lovely 'Rose' magnet is in watercolour pencils and pastels.

Audreyjeanne's handpainted flower combines with a photograph to make a beautiful Baby Girl Announcement card.

Michele Webber used watercolours to create a sunny feel to these 'wall flowers'.

This watercolour painting of some Icelandic Poppies that grew in a pot outside my back door seems to be very popular!

Thank you to all who contributed and as summer begins at last (here in the UK, at least!), may we all find lots more inspiration for handpainted flower paintings!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Early Works on Paper

UK watercolour artist and tutor, Michele Webber writes in her latest blog, 'Not Getting a Real Job...' that she drew nothing but pop stars and animals in her teens (in biro). And I think I've mentioned at some point that, unlike Suffolk child prodigy  Peggy Somerville, I used to fill pages of notebooks with boats and ballerinas pretty compulsively - also in biro, which was very new at the time!

What were your favourite subjects in your earlier years?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Boxes, Card and Shoebox Cards

On Friday afternoon I took the plunge and ordered some matte card online, a bold move as I've wasted money in the past on cardstock that wasn't really up to the standard of colour printing that I need for my greeting cards. At the same time, I ordered envelopes from a supplier I've never used before as they were out of stock with my usual supplier. A brave move and it was unfortunate that I placed the orders on a Friday afternoon as that meant spending the weekend worrying about whether I'd wasted more money!

The card arrived on Monday morning - from the Isle of Wight, the island where I was born and grew up! Apart from the lightning speed with which it arrived, it was very well packaged and it's just what I needed. So for anyone else who may be printing their own greeting cards, I'd highly recommend that you have a look at the ConsumableMad website. I also got an immediate response to my query about satin finish card, which seems to bring out the depth of colour better than the matte in my original pastel and oil pastel paintings; a couple of sample sheets arrived in the post by return. So one very satisfied customer!

(On the subject of 'satisfied' customers, both of the recipients of the cards I spent last week making and sending have said the my cards look much better 'in the flesh' than on the website. Not much I can do about that but at least it's better than the other way around!)

 The envelopes took a little longer to arrive and when they did, I was surprised at the size and the weight of the box!
 The minimum order was 1,000 and the most I'd ever ordered previously was 300  - but even so!!!

When I'd removed the mountain of shredded paper, the box of envelopes was tiny by comparison -

The envelopes were the cheapest I've found so far and better quality than some of the more expensive ones I've used in the past. So, again, I would recommend Regent Envelopes   if you are in the UK and in need of large quantities of 5" x 7" envelopes  - but be prepared for the arrival of a very large box!

And just for fun, on the subject of boxes, Tom, one of the very helpful Greeting Card Universe artists, posted this YouTube clip on the forum -


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Twenty Minute Challenge

At the weekend, I had a lot to catch up with after all the printing and posting I'd done during the week; things like my Tax Return, people I needed to get in touch with, the ever-present ironing, the lawn needing mowing and the batteries in my doorbell urgently needing changing - the usual list of tedious tasks that seems to get longer rather than shorter. But I was determined to fit in some painting as well so I decided to see what I could achieve in a very short time in the way that artists on the 'Twenty Minute Challenge' website do.

My wallflowers are coming to an end so I, naturally, wanted to paint them before it's too late and I picked a bunch of assorted colours for my subject, set my timer and got stuck in! By the end of 20 mins I had easily finished the painting part of the exercise and my wet paper was decidely less wet. Unfortunately, I didn't think what I'd produced was worth photographing and it was still too wet to scan; so I can't post the result of the first stage. But after I'd had a quick lunch and done a few more 'odd jobs', I went back to look at what I'd done and decided that, now it was completely dry, there might be something worth salvaging if I defined the shapes of the flowers with a brown fineliner pen.

Not that it would ever be likely to become a greeting card design, but it might have some future on a white mug or even some more shoes! (These are obviously becoming my favourites when it comes to 'creating' products for my Zazzle store!)

I'm not sure that I learnt anything from limiting myself to 20 minutes as it is normal for me to work very fast and I never spend much time thinking about what I'm doing. In fact I'd probably have stopped painting sooner if I hadn't set the timer. But I did feel frustrated by the fact that I wasn't able to produce a really transparent but vibrant yellow. I tried several but they all seemed to turn murky and more like yellow ochre when they came up against the reds and merged with them.

My Keds shoes with a photographic image of wallflowers won a Today's Best Award but I actually prefer the slightly riotous look of my watercolour wallflowers -

On the election front, I was beginning to feel a bit better about it when I read that Charles Kennedy had stood by his principles and felt unable to back the LibCon Coalition. But then I was disheartened again last night when it became clear that the women members of the BBC Newsnight's focus group had voted according to the 'fanciability' - they actually used the word! - of TweedleCam and TweedleClegg! And the men had almost all voted for them because they were more 'young and modern'! If this is what the election came down to, obviously Gordon didn't stand a chance!

Fortunately a spell of catching up with The Artistic Curmudgeon's blog, that I had neglected lately, went some way to restore my sense of proportion, as did happening upon these -

And the jug of wallflowers, even though they are starting to droop, are still giving off a delicious fragrance - pity I have developed some sort of allergic reaction over the years that causes me to lose my voice around my favourite flowers!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Is this cheating?

Elizabeth White's book about Starting and Running a Greeting Card Business  cautions against selling at Craft Markets, advising the artist to seek out instead Craft Fairs, where the price of admission is quite high, as there will be more likehood of finding customers who are willing to pay a good price for a greeting card. So last weekend I visited our local monthly craft market to see if this was in fact true. I had explored the market when I first moved to Abergavenny some years ago and thought it seemed a very dreary affair, with nothing very interesting for sale and very few customers and had never been back since. This time was a little different. There were several stalls offering products I liked, such as this one, and there were a lot more people browsing. However, I didn't get the impression that much money was changing hands and wondered whether at least some people had come inside to get out of the cold wind and heavy, sleety showers! I didn't stay long.

Yesterday I was chatting about this with a friend from Norwich, who told me that she had just visited a craft fair in Norwich, where she had found stalls offering goods that she would have liked to buy if she had been able to afford them, but also a great many 'products' ranging from the repetitive to the downright awful. One stall that fell into the 'awful' bracket offered photographs on canvas blocks or framed behind glass and, although the stall-holder insisted they were photos, they looked more like really bad oil paintings! My friend does not use a computer and deduced that he had 'touched up' his photos with oil paints. That may be what he'd done but it's also possible that  he had used the 'artisitic' menu in Photoshop (or one of its free equivalents), something I had noticed but never really explored. But last night, when I'd finished editing some of my recent photos of the last of the wallflowers in my garden, I decided to have a little 'play on my computer' and was astonished by what could be achieved with the click of the mouse!

This is the original photograph on a mug - I like the fine detail of the veins in wallflowers' petals in close-up when you hover over them in the 'store' -

- so I went on to make a mousepad and some slip-on Keds shoes.

But in some ways I prefer the 'oil painting' effect - it somehow bears more likeness to the way I see the world, even though my eyesight is near perfect - except sometimes, when it comes to reading the microwave instructions on the backs of frozen ready-meals! It seems to highlight the lights and darks (is this what people mean by 'tonal balance', a phrase I keep coming across recently?) and, in my view, there's a vibrancy that a sharply defined photograph often lacks.

So, with some misgivings about whether I was 'cheating', I went on to make a set of notecards and uploaded them to the online stores -

I suppose it's the finished work that counts, not necessarily how it came about, and I like the way these turned out - but I still feel a bit as if I've cheated. It was an interesting experiment but I don't think I'll be doing it often!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Good News and Bad News...

 The little bit of good news is that at the beginning of the week, I achieved a minor milestone - my 100th sale on Greeting Card Universe. And it was followed shortly afterwards by my 101st....then nothing, but that seems to be the way it goes at the moment, like a switch being turned on and off.

The bad news is the outcome of last week's General Election and I've been surprised at how much Tuesday's announcement of a Coalition of the Tories and the LibDems got me down.

Leaving aside the policies and the personalities involved, it's the sense of well-justified betrayal and outrage in the country that I share. Many people were persuaded to vote Libdem who would otherwise have voted Labour, 'To keep the Tories out' and now the two parties have formed a Coalition, with the Libdems trying to deny that they have given  ground on some of their sacred core policies and that what they have done is  'in the national interest'!

To add insult to injury, some politicians are trying to claim that this is what we, the electorate voted for, which is, of course, rubbish. There have been various assaults on the electorate's 'trust' of their politicians, most recently the expenses scandal, and all the party leaders recognised this and promised a 'new politics' to rebuild trust. Instead, the word 'betrayal' is coming up again and again in the media, amongst Tories as well as Libdems and Labour voters who voted tactically for the Libdems. Apparently the Labour Party's website is groaning under the numbers of people defecting to Labour so maybe in the long run this will work in Labour's favour and the Libdems will have shot themselves in the foot. Only time will tell.

And for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, here are a couple of blogs that explain our situation better than I can. First, the BBC's Nick Robinson, - note the way he writes about the two men agreeing with one another. In some of the televised leaders' debates, Gordon Brown used the phrase 'I agree with Nick' so often that someone on Zazzle made T-shirts with those words as the slogan!

And here is Mehdi Hasan of the New Statesman's blog

And if you find all this too depressing, watch this -

It made me laugh in spite of everything!

Enough of politics - they say that a country gets the government it deserves! I've had an even busier week than I expected! Just as I was getting started on printing the catalogue and card order for my Norfolk friend, another call came from Norfolk (through another of my old friends there), a lady wanting to order 10 cards.

Both orders involved quite a lot of customisation, which in itself took up time, but also, the two orders between them included seven new collage name-specific cards. I've sometimes managed to make two of the male name cards in a day, but the female ones take longer...all those leaves to cut out and stick down! But this week I ended up making all seven in two days and both packets had been posted by yesterday lunchtime.

I had intended to make more of these cards gradually, whenever I ran out of ideas for new cards (as if!) so it was all to the good that I've now been able to post them on Greeting Card Universe and Zazzle as well, where I made some matching mugs. Here are just a few of the many combinations -

So today I'm spending some time catching up with other things - like the ironing! But my Norfolk friend received her parcel of cards this morning and is so delighted that she rang up first thing to tell me that she's going to order 30 more before she goes to Germany on Monday! At least I can take my time with that order as she'll be away for at least couple of weeks but I do have to spend some time sourcing matte card to print on as my supplier can't get my usual card any longer. So if anyone reading this knows of a good source of coated matte inkjet paper, preferably 260gsm or heavier, PLEASE let me know!