Saturday, 8 January 2011

Trudging home through snow

We've been away for a couple of days.  Last year, we decided that whenever we saw a hotel bargain, we would snaffle anything within reasonable driving distance of home, and take the opportunity to have a mini holiday.  And this year we started early, with two days in...

...can you guess where it is yet?...

...Ewloe, near Chester.

The signpost is actually in Cheshire Oaks discount shopping village, where we spent a happy couple of hours hunting down some bargains on the first day.  (Yes, more stash, but practical stuff like files and pens...and a brief venture into East, over which I shall draw a veil made up of two cardis, trousers, two necklaces and earrings - oops!)  The hotel was lovely, and our room particularly snuggly and warm, which was important the next morning when we awoke to this:

The view from the car, taken while the lovely OH was doing his man against the elements routine and removing the snow.

We took the long way home down a beautifully snowy A41, stopping off in Newport (the Shropshire one!) for a great lunch at the Lutine Bell, and the sad discovery that the "Man of Cheese" as he is known in our house has closed his deli.

January's calendar seems to have shaken off its wrinkles and is looking much better.  I love the pearlescent inks, but need to remember that you can't actually write over them.  Not so helpful in a calendar.

I finally plucked up the courage to draw February's date boxes by hand.  You probably can't quite see in this picture, but the hearts work outwards in a spiral from the centre, and are all outlined with different patterns.  They are connected by a penned chain.  The illustrations are from an old story book  - the Firebird - coloured in Promarkers.

Finally, you may recall that I mentioned OH's enormous box of chocolate, which he received from the godchildren for Christmas.  This is what was left as at Wednesday night.  The blue you can see is tissue paper at the bottom of the box.  Time to suggest he opens those Minstrels, I think...or I might be forced to eat another of those yummy chocolate coins.  

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

WOYWW: Work!

What's On Your Workspace Wednesday is where the crafty of the blogosphere go hopping to glance in admiration, envy and sheer pleasure at other workspaces.  The practitioners of tidiness and the "pile it high, push it back" brigade (no prizes for guessing my own school of working practice) can find plenty to marvel at under the supervision of Head Desk Meister, Julia at Stamping Ground.  Try the link to the left to explore further.

In a rare departure for this blog, this WOYWW post contains......drumroll......wait for it......WORK!

Below is the second page of the 2011 calendar.  Get ready for a red hot and pulsating February.  Now I'm not normally a girl for hearts (flowers are another matter entirely), but I thought that OH's birthday, which falls mid-month, deserved a big juicy red heart.  So I broke out the pigment inks again and swirled away vigorously with the kitchen towel.  The squared border is made of two overlapping ink pads, and there's a bit of pearlescent rocket red in the heart.  I've decided that I'll draw the date boxes freehand this month - which will be a bit traumatic, but I'm willing to give it a go - so for now, consider this a work in progress.

If you're interested in seeing an icy blue January 2011 page, you'll find it in the previous post.

And I do need to share some of my lovely sales stash from Hobbycraft: stamps, stickers, journal blanks, elegant dress form toppers, stamps from the sea and a twizzly wire worker that makes interesting beads.

Apologies in advance if I don't manage to get around all the WOYWW desks quickly this week.  I'll be away for a couple of days (house is occupied, so no harm in posting that here), and I don't know yet if we have WiFi access.  I did manage to do the rounds last week, and enjoyed a peek at lots of celebrations.  To the many of you afflicted by foul pestilences (pesteli?), I hope you are now on the mend.  

Monday, 3 January 2011

Time for something a little different: 2011 challenges

Since becoming self-employed, I've realised that training and development is completely in my own hands.

That sounds a bit corporate doesn't it?  But on chatting a while back to the OH, who has been self-employed for more years than either of us care to contemplate, he couldn't remember the last time he did anything of the sort.  So we signed ourselves up with Business Link, and have been to some seminars for small businesses (at least now we have something in common about work apart from the fact that we are now both in the "creative industries").   I've also been to HMRC's workshop on tax, which was both surprisingly interesting and seriously helpful.

As someone who used to be responsible for making sure all our office got their targeted 9 days or more of training a year, I thought it was time I exercised my corporate muscle on a little personal development.  So here are my 2011 personal challenges:

Drawing Every Day
Inspired by Rachel at katzelbows, I've made a resolution to draw something every day.  Efforts thus far have ranged from the frankly piteous (Ernest the lovely bear transformed into a beast of spindly legs and a wonky neck) to the almost passable (the metal heron that stands on our hearth).  I'm laying bets with myself as to when you might get around to seeing anything I've produced...

2011 Playing Cards
Again led astray by Rachel, I've signed up for this challenge.  The aim is to create a playing card each week, using a medium of your choice.  So far, I've decided on my suits, - the elements of earth, fire, air and water - sent off for sufficient ATCs, and planned a theme for each card.  My first card will be the Ace of Earth, and I've chosen a theme of Hearts of Oak.  

For more details, see the linky to the left.

2011 Calendar Challenge

I saw this on a couple of blogs, was intrigued, and next thing you know, I'm sucked in and playing along.  Linky to the right - via the Kathryn Wheel - if you fancy joining in.

I love journals.  I've been keeping a personal journal incorporating a little bit of art for many years, and I also keep a series of travel journals (travel being my biggest personal vice, or maybe virtue).  So when I saw this challenge, I was almost salivating, and immediately started rummaging in my stash of pristine journalling books.  Having located an A4 plain paged number, I was immediately inking away at January 2011.  Here's the story so far:

Think we may need a bit of an iron there...or at least some pressing with a heavy book or two.

The background is a selection of inks: little pigment pads from the sale at Hobbycraft, and Brilliance pearlescents.  The inks have been pressed and rubbed onto the surface with scrunched up kitchen roll.  The tree stamps are in the same inks, with a bit of Promarker to fill in any gaps (oops).  I would like to tell you where I got the tree stamps, but after a bit of surfing, I can only conclude that they are no longer in business.  Which is a real shame, as the stamps are beautiful clear clings, and I love using them.

February is going to be a riot of reds; the inks are already lined up and ready to go!