Friday, 30 September 2011

The last week of September - I will remember

The start of the heat wave..I've been determined to leave the shed more this week. On Tuesday dh and I set of for a short walk as soon as the children left for school, it took longer than usual because I kept seeing things and views that I just had to take a picture of with my mobile phone. Not quite the right "in the moment" attitude but I am glad I had it with me.

These dried seed heads caught my eye high up above my head as we walked deep into a heavily shaded single track road before we climbed up onto a field to walk back into North Walsham

I don't remember the skies being this blue throughout the summer.

On Thursday evening after school we gathered swimsuits and supplies to drive the 10 minutes to Bacton beach for a family BBQ. We forgot plates and cups but it didn't matter. A special week.

 My daughter and son making the most of the warm pools the tide had left behind
 I love the shape of my shadow now that I look at it here: it reminds me of my wooden angels!

I made an effort to plan my workload properly this week so that I could begin to change my  "I must work at all times" default position. It's been an eventful week in many ways. The trauma of being asked a very difficult question about the Tooth Fairy by my newly 7 yr old daughter, our escaped rabbit (who later came back to be caught!!) mixed with the uplifting effects of a walk, two beach visits and my yoga class this morning and the heat has made it a memorable week. How can it be October tomorrow!?

This is a small proportion of the commissions I had to finish this week. Even though like everyone else I dislike seeing Christmas products in the shops from August I am really happy to have these orders now. With the way I work...asking my superman Les to cut out my shapes, send them to me,  paint them with gesso, sand, then up to 4 layers of painted wood sanding in between coats :- it's inevitable that I will have to "go out of stock" of some items the nearer we get to the end of November.

How are you coping with Christmas orders?

I am thinking ahead more this year and aiming to prepare far more in advance. It's so tempting to have evenings off though... My excuse is that the bulb has blown in the kitchen and no one has remembered to buy a new one. It does seem to get dark almost instantly at 7pm which is rather odd with the giant sun this week. A strange mixture of Autumn and Summer. Memorable :)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Using my illustrative skills....

I once used to illustrate children's books; my first commission was from Ladybird books which was a great start! I went on to illustrate several more books, and contribute to others but after we moved to Norfolk and had two children fairly close together it became increasingly tricky to find time for the concentrated blocked work that book illustration requires. I did manage to paint a few books with my daughter asleep on top of my table.  But I've never attempted to write and illustrate a book. Like many people I imagine I could do it...

Today I went to Lauren Reeves today to have my hair cut - Fye Bridge Street, Norwich - (I highly recommend her. She has to be the most welcoming, confident and swift cutter!) Anyway...shortly before my appointment I popped into a very appealing looking book shop a few doors down. It was filled with intriguing art and photography books and a publication I'd never seen before:

 I took this image of the issue I bought from their website . I was particularly attracted to the magazine once I saw that there was an article in it about Oliver Jeffers... off to read that shortly!

And no doubt I will hunt down more copies in the future.

"We wanted a general magazine about illustration - the artists, the collectors, the collections, the exhibitions, the history, the philosophy and the key events relating to this subject. We wanted to discuss the work of great artists from the past as well as new graduates currently coming out of college. We wanted to explore children’s book illustrators alongside those who work on adult novels and classics - or even political manifestos and train timetables. We wanted to consider the humorous, the serious, the sinister and the surreal.

And we believe we share these wishes with a wide range of people from book collectors and dealers, to lecturers, professional illustrators, book publishers, fine press printers, bookbinders and current students." Illustration magazine - (part of their statement on their home page)

Sounds great!

This last week I have had quite a lot of orders for my own stationery - both the Birthday invitations

and the Christmas Thank you postcards I designed for Moobaacluck.........

it reminds me that I want to start developing this aspect of my work again.

Thank you if you were one of those lovely customers who've ordered ;)  - Gabs x

Friday, 9 September 2011

Some recent creations

A customer asked me to paint one of my small stars last week for her pantry. She specified everything and I think it worked well and funnily enough went very well with my kitchen plates!

Talking of stars I finished these off for another customer too; if anyone knows of a red emulsion that is bright but not too bright - similar to this which doesn't take 4 coats to look finished please tell me what its called!

This is a garland I quickly snapped this morning before wrapping in tissue and boxing up to post.

and finally a card which has been around for a while taken from my boat star and decorated with a red star border. I've only ever sold it at craft fairs and I will be putting it and a few others on as soon as possible. I like the idea of doing a multipack of a few designs too, don't hold your breath though - you know what I am like. Flurry and then not a sign ...

I fully intend to alter the blog banner too so that its in keeping with

watch this space! ( from time to time)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Two good reads

Well here we are almost in Autumn and although I will be sad to see the children go back to school it also will mark a new phase in my creative life. I need to make some changes to function better at work in my shed and in the office inside where I pack all my orders. The chaos will end. My husband will probably die of shock. He will eat his oft quoted " I love what you've done with the place!" words.

In the last couple of weeks I have bought three books related to business - two of them craft specific and one Personal MBA book recommended by my Twitter friend Jane Lindsey designer owner of Snapdragon who I am very grateful to as she also sent me a book to get me thinking positively. Thanks Jane x I haven't yet begun the MBA book as there are only so many books you can actually read at one time  - aren't there?

On saturday we went to Pleasurewood Hills in Suffolk where Tony and I felt a good part of the day feeling queasy but in quiet moments where we were able to dispatch both children on the  "Snake in the Grass" I pulled out this book: "Craft Inc." by Meg Mateo Ilasco

I find its perfect for the way my life is as I can dip in and read nuggets that get me thinking or resonate with me, the same is true of the second book actually... but its larger!
Both are similar in treatment in that there are interviews with makers and this gets you thinking about where you fit in. I personally found it very comforting to read about one maker whose aim is simply to sell 100 dollars worth of her craft a day and she was very happy with that and this enables her to live the life she wants. This isn't her  - but just a snippet of one of the very interesting interviews from the Craft Inc. book

and this is one from The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin
There is a lot of interesting discussion about blogging from key bloggers too - I would thoroughly recommend both books to those about to embark on crafting for business or for those who want to be re-fired and inspired. Importantly - both these books are by American authors and deal with USA law as far as the tax /business sides are concerned; but all other topics are universal. I wonder if anyone has written something similar for the UK market?

Please recommend books in the comments section that you have found useful too - I'd love that and anyone having a quick look here would be grateful I am sure!  Thank you - Gabs x