Monday 30 April 2012


 I went out on my walk today with a spring in my step - for the first time in about 2 weeks it wasn't grey, cold and wet, the sun was actually shining and by 2 thirds of the way around. it was actually feeling quite warm!

But what weather we have had - yesterday in particular was very stormy, so much so that a number of trees have come down along the back of our house and in Collette Park. Fingers crossed, better weather is now just around the corner. Workwise, I am still very much involved with my dear swan. I thought the 2nd layer would whizz on but how wrong was I! It's taking much longer than I thought. I have 12 days to get it finished, varnished and returned - looks like I have another busy week/end ahead of me.

Friday 27 April 2012


No prizes for guessing what inspired this design today!

I think the weekends due to be a wet one but hoping there will be sunshine returning soon!
Have a lovely weekend - I have another date with my swan!

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Fed up of the rain!

 If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know just how much I hate the rain and I must confess this recent spell of cold, wet weather is beginning to annoy me now. I know we need the rain but it's been cold and miserable for 2 weeks now and is set to continue - it just makes me crave the sunshine.

 I want to be wearing my flip flops not my big thick winter boots as we approach the month of May! This is the view from my studio window earlier but I took the opportunity of a very small break in the showers, to get out for my daily walk around the park - yes I am still doing it!

 I have been walking with Jeff every day as he has been on holiday, sometimes very reluctantly I must confess. So I thought I would take my camera with me today, to prove I had been, as he is now back at work.

 I'm glad I did, as the bottom stream had completely burst it's banks and all the rain water we've endured had formed it's own stream

 down along the grassy bank.

So walk complete, I am now at home in the dry alone for the first time in nearly a month. I have so many bits to catch up on before the school run rears it's head but first coffee, crumpets and a banana await.

Monday 23 April 2012

National Stationery Day

Tomorrow is National Stationery Day

 I, as you can guess, LOVE stationery. 
I have cupboards full of notebooks too nice to use!

 So to mark the occasion, we are giving away a free A6 notebook with every order of £10.00 or more, placed over on our website between now and the end of the April.

Go on treat yourself and get a super, notebook *FREE*

Saturday 21 April 2012

My date with a swan!

 For the past 2 days, I have spent ALL my time over at the premises with my swan. I left you last time, with the above image of her all prepped ready to be collaged.

 This was the end of day one - significant progress - I'm not allowed to reveal the final design until the official launch happens at the end of May, so these are just a few 'teaser' shots to let you in on what I'm doing.

 I must confess I have loved it. When I was teaching I always planned 'BIG' projects and I've missed working on this sort of scale. I have had to spend half my time up a ladder to reach the inner sides of the swan and as a result ache all over but I'm happy with what I've done so far.

 These colours represent the colours used by St Andrews Press, not my normal colour palette but it does work with the whole design.

So today I completed the first layer. She now has to dry and then next weekend using special blue back poster paper, I do it all again! I'm not sure whether it will be easier or harder - the design is all marked out but I have to make sure it's perfect! I then have a week of daily varnish layers to paint on - a minimum of 6, before it heads back to the Swans Nest for photographing, before the grand launch and it's Summer home in the Market Place in Wells, Somerset. 

I now have to come up with a catchy 'Wow' name!?! 
Any suggestions?

Think - the Queen, Jubilee, 60 years, 60 swans, Union Jack
Think - spots, dots, paper, collage, polka dots
Think - Wells, Somerset

I will put any suggestions to the other Swan sponsors and if a name is suitable and chosen by the other sponsors, I will send a little dots and spots thank you.

My mind is blank - dots and spots is too obvious, it has to be reflective of the occasion, materials/design used or the place.


Thursday 19 April 2012


YIPPEE! At last, progress is being made on my beautiful swan. She has been with me now a few weeks and has done nothing more than just sit serenely over at the premises but today was prep day, in readiness for tomorrow - collaging day.

The challenge has been all about the paper! Cue my poor printers behind the scenes tearing their hair out to find me what I need. I needed paper that wouldn't fade in the sun, get damaged in the rain, would be thin enough to work with but durable outside in the sun and the rain for 3 months! This paper above is to represent St Andrews Press my Printers

and this paper above is to represent dots and spots.

As you can see, there are 3 sizes of dots and spots in all the above colours. This is just the first layer, next week I get the 'super stuff' - blue backed poster paper and very expensive it is too, hence this first layer to work out just how much I need.

Luckily today I had the lovely Rachel and Ashley to help me

tear all the paper into workable pieces.

I managed to reduce the above selection of papers to

this smaller collection which will ease the purse strings when I collage the final layer.

So to you it probably doesn't look like very much progress has been made but this afternoon I managed to sketch out and plan the whole design.

At the moment she just looks like a few patches of paper stuck on with blue-tac and I guess you wouldn't be far wrong , except for the fact that each square of paper, marks out how each section is to be collaged.

I have managed to combine all the sizes of spots and worked in all the colours too - I hope!

So tomorrow is collage day - when the fun starts.

We also found ourselves in the local paper - a good day!

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Super Speedy Lorraine

I had to pop over to the printers today to get the papers for the swan, collect some packet tops, all nicely folded and punched and to collect the first set of Christmas cards.

When I arrived Lorraine was speedily folding and packing them into bundles.

Quite something, the speed at which works.

So here we are in April, a very soggy April to boot and I'm talking Christmas. Panic not, I'm just making up sample packs to send off to my agents in the next day or so but I really should start thinking about my ranges for 2013 pretty soon.

Monday 16 April 2012

A bit of a catch up!

The Easter holidays are over, the children have gone back to school so it's time to take stock of how little I managed to do over the holidays and what needs doing in the coming weeks.

The new home, Ikea 'PAX' storage is complete - I just need to bring some more dots and spots goodies over from the unit and then it will be full and ready for orders.

So today it was time to head over to the unit, child free, to take stock of the chaos I left 2 weeks ago. I have been dipping in and out to make up orders but have tried to have a complete break. We have now taken over the premises next door too, a doorway has been knocked through but there is too much in the way at the moment. So today we moved the swan

along the corridor and
into next door.

Where it is now ready to work on.

I have been experimenting with different papers - if truth be told it's proving to be a bit of a nightmare finding a paper that won't fade in the sun, get damaged in the rain, will be thin enough to be workable at the design stage and durable for 3 months outside in all weathers and no doubt a lot of human touch. We are advised on a varnish - up to 7 coats needed but it has yet to arrive.

It's a little frustrating as I'm itching to get started and had given myself this week to really get stuck in but there is no point racing ahead when things aren't totally right so I'm being patient and waiting for further instruction from my fabulous Printers.

Instead today, I started to move some of my clutter into the extra bit of the unit and left Jeff putting up a curtain across the new opening in an attempt to limit the draughts. I'm not moving everything completely until July when Jeff next breaks up for the Summer - there is far too much to do before then.

I predict a busy few months ahead of me!

Saturday 14 April 2012

The finished bunting

First of all can I say a lovely big thank you to all of you who commented on my post about Sophie and her sewing endeavors, be it on here, twitter or facebook - Sophie had the biggest smile on her face and was chuffed to bits, so thank you.

Well that said bunting was still in progress when I last left you.....

But once we had got the binding there was no stopping her.

And here she is proudly showing off her first string of bunting and first sewing project on her sewing machine. She has come to the conclusion that it's the sewing bit she likes the best so we're looking for a project that involves a little less preparation and a little more actual sewing - a cushion maybe!