Monday, 20 December 2010

New notepads ready for selling

Here's a sneak preview of some magnetic notepads I created ready for the Christmas Craft Fair that I had to cancel! I have only taken a couple of shots of them in their cellophane wrappers just to give you an idea of what they look like. I will probably be posting them on Etsy in the New Year, or I may even just save them for the re-scheduled craft fair in March/April!

I have modified the design as I've made more of these - the paper I use is always upcycled sheets of paper from various sources - usually printed programmes that are no longer needed or rejected newsletters from BADS. I figured that you only ever write on one side of the paper anyway before throwing it away, so thought it was a good way of utilising the spare sheets we always have in the house. I have also ensured that each sheet of paper is perforated, using a hand held perforating roller - this makes the job of tearing your sheets off the pad much easier!

Some of the pads are deliberately not decorated on the rear side, since the paint can interfere with the sticking on of the magnetic strips, despite using high quality glue.
As you can see, I like to name these creations to give them a "personality" - the two above are named after two great aunts I remembered from my childhood. "Lucy" is a decoupage styled sheet of music which has been overpainted with  gold then yellow acrylic ink.

The daffodil pad is named after my paternal Grandma, Alice Greendale. I think she would have liked it. Phyllis is named after my Nanna, who loved to wear a mixture of black and pink clothing.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Sold on Etsy!

Geometric Green - trinket box on the left.
I have just sold another one of my decorated trinket boxes on Etsy - the above named "Geometric Green" . Most of the sales I make on Etsy seem to go to the United States - perhaps they are more keen to buy hand-made pieces  than the people in the UK are! I shall have to ensure I get to the Post Office today before the snow arrives again as promised!!!

You can see the rest of my Etsy items in my shop here at Arty Aitch. Most of my items would make ideal Christmas presents - but you will need to be quick in order to ensure delivery in time, especially with the current weather  predictions!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christmas Tree Festival

We finally managed to get our decorated tree down to the church in Bilton last weekend - it was very last minute but our tree is now up with the others in the display at St Peter's Church. I say our tree, mainly because Keith and I were the ones who decorated it on behalf of our group - Bilton Amateur Dramatic Society.

This is the first year the Church have held a Christmas Tree Festival  - and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of the entries had managed to get there considering the atrocious weather we've been having recently! It was touch and go whether we would even get off our drive-way onto our cul de sac to begin with, and that was after a lot of digging up of snow too!

We were asked to decorate the tree based on the theme of our organisation - so we built the base for the tree to stand on as a miniature stage, setting the scene with a 4 poster bed (made out of some mount-board and wooden dowelling) and chair to represent Scrooge's bedroom from "A Christmas Carol". Keith made the bed, I then painted and made the mattress, pillow and bed cover for it, and decorated it with a fringed valance and top piece. I made some red velvet stage curtains and used an old mini cross-stitch frame to create a "painting" on the back wall.

We then made some cardboard cut out figures (we didn't manage to get 3D figures in time - again due to the snow restricting us) to represent Scrooge and the ghost of Jacob Marley.

Keith mad some fimo tree hangings in the shape of various props - a goblet, a bowler hat, a sombrero, a book and a champagne bottle. I then painted them all and attached coloured string to hang them onto the tree with. We made some triangular paper bunting in alternating colours of red, green and white with the BADS logo written on each side - this covered the tree from top to bottom and served as our version of "tinsel". I made some 2D "baubles" using images from previous posters for plays, and several mini posters were used as little decorations too. We even managed to make a few miniature play copies. Now that we've decorated it, we are thinking of more ideas for next year!

We added an "Oscar" style trophy to the display at the side - we usually hand these out at our annual Junior & Youth "Oscars Night" and this particular one was a reject we had in.  We will be holding our Oscars Night on Wednesday 22nd December, weather permitting! It was originally planned for 15th (my birthday, coincidentally) but since we've had to miss two weeks of rehearsals, it's been postponed.

Here are some images of our tree at the church. The church is lovely and warm - thanks to the central heating they have installed there.

The Tree in position on the window sill
Close up view of the stage area
Close up of some of the decorations

Our "Dressing Room" styled star!
Other groups taking part are: Bilton Primary School, Bilton Brownies, St. Peter's Fund-raising team, St Peter's Music Group, St Peter's Pop In Group, St Peter's PCC (sorry, no idea what that stands for!!!), The Royal British Legion, Stay and Play, St Peter's Walking Group, The Woodwork Group and Mrs Jean Walker ( a resident of Bilton).

We managed to take a few photographs of some of the other trees, too. Where possible, I have included the name of the group taking part - at the bottom of the photograph.

Bilton Primary School
Bilton Brownies
St Peter's Music Group

St Peter's Pop In Group
I loved the way the Pop In members have decorated tea bags for the tree, and if you look closely you can see several different musical instruments on the tree from the Music Group.

St Peter's Walking Group
The Woodwork Group
The detail was fantastic in these hand carved decorations from the woodwork group:

Mrs Jean Walker
We visited the Christmas Tree Festival this afternoon, after which we popped along to see the rather larger display at All Saints Church in Preston, our village. I will be doing a separate post about that one, however! Too many images in one post, I think.

St Peter's Church has a web-site - at listing all the different events that take place there - it seems to be a thriving part of the community. The Christmas Tree display was originally only going to last until this afternoon, but I think it will now stay until Christmas, so presumably whenever the Church is open, the trees are available for viewing.

Friday, 10 December 2010

"Chocolate Inspiration" featured in TAS Treasury

I am pleased to say that I have just been added to a Treasury on Etsy curated by the founder of Total Art Soul, Cathy Savels. This particular Treasury focuses on members of the art site that Cathy created and is a great way of thanking us all for our continued support and input.

Total Art Soul is a free website set up to unite artists of any discipline across the globe and it started in January of this year. Already it has gained 1974 members (as of today - the number seems to increase almost daily!) and the forum is an active area of inspiration and helpful tips and advice to others. The site also has a blogging area for all members, as well as individual blogging facilities and a gallery where you can upload up to 2 images per day. Please have a wander across and see what you think to this global community at

I am therefore very proud to be part of that thriving community and honoured to be included in this Treasury. You can see all the items individually by clicking on the link here.
 My trinket box "Chocolate Inspiration" is shown on the bottom row of the Treasury.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Octavia - latest painting

I have just uploaded my latest creation, entitled "Octavia", to my personal website at and on my Facebook page and onto my gallery at Affordable British Art.

I painted the background in cadmium red acrylic and an acrylic interference medium in red, followed by an ultramarine section at the base of the two canvases. This was then decorated with 4 semi-abstract flower designs on each canvas, using some black electrical cable for the stems of each flower. The petals of the two larger flowers were individually cut from funky foam, shaped to fit around a couple of vintage buttons as the centre of the flower, and embellished with some metallic acrylic dots. The smaller of the flowers on each canvas was created using a small red button at the heart of each flower head, and the petals were painted using blue metallic acrylic paint. Each of these petals was then filled in with some 3D acrylic paint in red.

Measuring just 5x7 inches each canvas, they make a lovely Christmas gift! They would have been for sale at the Christmas Craft Fair, if it hadn't been cancelled!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Craft Fair Cancelled

Well, after much deliberation and discussion with the other participants, I've decided it's sensible to cancel the Craft fair I'd organised for this coming weekend. The weather is causing so much disruption that it would be hard enough just ensuring we all got there safely - never mind any potential customers!

I am fairly gutted about this, as I was really excited at the prospect of meeting all the other artisans, and I'd planned competitions and demonstrations of my work for the days, too. Plus I was confident that a lot of my smaller decorated items would have done well.

However, as I am by nature an optimist, there is at least some good to come out of it. Most of the artisans involved are happy to post-pone rather than cancel, even though it will now be held in the Spring of next year. This means I get more time to publicise, plan more competitions and hopefully encourage more of the artists to hold demonstrations of their work.

We would actually struggle to get our car into the village where we live at the moment - the snow is thickly laid on our street (we live in a cul de sac, so hardly any traffic at all comes down here apart from the residents' own cars) and up to the main street in the village even. Several cars have just been skidding along the street this morning and getting stuck. It's at times like this that I do think it would be good to own a 4wheel drive vehicle!

The snow looks lovely in the fields behind our back garden, but I am actually getting a bit fed up of it now!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Thanks to SAA!

I received a lovely surprise in the post this morning from the SAA (Society for All Artists). Earlier this week, having failed to get a response locally from craft suppliers, I emailed the SAA with a request for a couple of art related items as a donation. I didn't receive a reply, so assumed that they too had decided not to contribute. How wrong I was!

In the parcel was a black long brush case (seen on their web-site here) and a Derwent black A5 sized sketching journal. These will be used as prizes for a competition at the Christmas Craft Fair I'm running at the theatre in Bilton on 4th & 5th December. The competition is for children to design a Christmas card and already it has generated interest from the members of our Junior section at the theatre. I have also invited the children from the local primary school in Bilton to come along - they run an art club at the school so I'm sure there will be plenty of children interested in joining in.

I also received a lovely box full of items yesterday from fellow Rogue Gene Collective artist, Andrea Farmer. Her hand-made brooches, hair accessories, bib necklaces and some small paintings on canvas board are all coming with me to the craft fair. I'm sure a lot of these will sell - particularly to the teenage girls who I know will be attending. Andrea usually sells these crafts on her Etsy store here.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Christmas Craft Fair

The organisation is in its final stages now for the Christmas Craft Fair I am holding at the theatre in Bilton, Hull. The theatre itself has been home to the Bilton Amateur Dramatic Society for the past 60 plus years, 20 of which I have been involved with!

The craft fair started out as an idea to bring together all the local crafters on Etsy, Hull. I have since had to widen the net a tad to include a few more local artisans, but I'm sure it will create a varied fair with affordable yet quality gifts for all.

Excluding myself, there will be a photographer specialising in floral subject matter. Her name is Katie Railton and you can see more of her work on Etsy at or on her personal web-site here. As well as selling prints of her photographic images, Katie also supplies personalised or blank greetings cards. She exhibits regularly in the Yorkshire region and also has a blog page on her website. You can follow Katie on Twitter , too.

Jonathan Le Vine is a jewellery maker  who has a shop on Etsy, where he sells "Unique hand crafted jewellery.... Gifts for ALL occasions.... I sell hand crafted items worldwide from my Yorkshire workshop in the UK.... including.... Pendants, Cufflinks, Earrings, Brooches, Tie pins etc. Tactile Thuya Wood gift boxes & geology specimens." You can visit his shop by clicking here. I am particularly looking forward to seeing some of his ear-rings and cufflinks - I feel a Christmas gift for my Dad emerging there (that's the cufflinks, not the ear-rings). Jonathan also sells a lot of his work on ebay - I love the Thuya wood box he has for sale on there.

I will be writing more in the weeks to follow, promoting the fair and the people taking part as I do so. Please make a note in your diary for reference and if you know anyone else who may be interested in attending, pass the details on.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Forbidden Corner

Last week it was half term for most of the children here in the UK. As a birthday treat for our eldest grand-daughter, we'd arranged to take her and a friend to a place called The Forbidden Corner in North Yorkshire. You can read all about the history of the place here , but it is the sort of place that is hard to describe well enough without actually visiting it. I had heard about it via a friend on Facebook - I'd seen some photos that looked interesting and asked where they were taken. Once I'd been on the web-site, I thought it would make a great day out for Matheea's 9th Birthday.

So, last Tuesday we set off - leaving our house at 9.30am with Matheea, home-made flap-jack and a carton of juice for the two children nestling in a cool bag along with some fruit for snacking on too. We collected Daniel and left Hull shortly before 10am. I'd bought a small bag of Haribo sweets for them as a treat during the day, too. The two hour and 10 minute journey was mostly a happy one. Daniel and Matheea were playing noughts and crosses and hang-man in the back of the car, we chatted about all sorts of things and were all excited about exploring the venue. Matheea was guessing about the sorts of things we would see - she'd already heard from her Nan that there would be a surprise when you enter the place. Small monkeys were mentioned, I believe!

We were almost at the entrance to the driveway leading up to The Forbidden Corner when all went quiet in the back. I asked Daniel if he was OK, he said he felt a bit sick. I said "do you think you're going to actually be sick, or do you just feel sick?"  He said he just felt sick, so I just said to let us know if he thought he was actually going to be sick. We turned the corner into the driveway and then a gushing sound emanated from the rear of the car. Unfortunately, Daniel had not had the time to tell us he was going to be sick before it rushed out of his mouth and onto the seat between his legs. It all happened so quickly and there were several more outbursts before we had chance to pull over. I then realised that a full bag of Haribo sweets had been consumed by them on the way there, along with several pieces of flapjack and most of their cartons of juice. This was evident on the back seat of our car. My immediate thought was "How can such a small child hold such a large amount of liquid?" I managed to get Daniel out of the car and stand him at the verge, then Matheea climbed out of her side of the car and promptly threw up twice on the grass verge. I am usually quite an optimistic person, but even I struggled at this point to see the positive side! Matheea then said "Can we go home now?" which urged me to focus on making the best of the situation and trying to cheer her up into actually enjoying the rest of the day!

I may have been silly in giving the kids a bag of Haribo sweets - not thinking for a second that they would simply eat the whole bag in such a short time - but I was at least slightly prepared for a clean-up operation to some degree. I had taken a full pack of wet wipes with me in case Matheea or Daniel needed to wipe their hands or face during the day. The whole pack was used to mop up the mess on the car seat, from Daniel's coat (which had been on the floor in front of him at that point, so didn't get too badly spoiled) and from the trousers where he'd been sitting in it. All these wipes were then stored in a carrier bag I'd taken to put rubbish in. We couldn't quite get rid of the whole of the sick, and there was no way Daniel could sit back down on the seat of the car where he'd been previously, so we were grateful that we had a sheet of thick polythene in the boot of the car to place on the seat.  Once Daniel had put his coat on and Matheea was in a better state of mind, Keith drove up to the car park and us three took a walk in the fresh air to meet him there. First job was to try and get Daniel some more trousers - I'd hoped they would sell them in the gift shop, but no such luck! Tee-shirts, sweat-shirts and hats were the only clothing on offer. We had planned on having some lunch in the cafe before entering the Forbidden Corner itself, but after the sickness episode, nobody felt like it much so we just had a drink - water for the children! I sent Daniel's mum a text message to let her know what had happened, and so that she wasn't too shocked when he turned up at the end of the day with smelly clothes!

I felt sorry for Daniel as he had to spend the rest of the day wearing the trousers, but he was not at all perturbed by this and both him and Matheea thoroughly enjoyed the day. Here are a few photographs to give you an idea of the sort of things we saw.

Matheea & Daniel at the entrance

The whole area was like a treasure trove of sculptures, gateways and underground tunnels leading to even more doorways. We'd not been in for long when Keith went ahead of us along a path and got soaked with a sensor triggered water spray! As it was a cold day, he did not relish this very much - I'm afraid we all laughed, which didn't really help, much, either! We soon learned that there were many more of these hidden along the routes, and the only way to avoid them was to time your crossing in between the bursts of spray! Had it been a hot sunny day, we may well have enjoyed getting a good soaking, but we mainly avoided them!

The first thing we encountered was a huge "mouth" which we walked through, and which burped loudly as you walked through it - hilarious for the kids! Above are Daniel and Matheea in the mouth.

There was a maze, which we explored for what seemed like ages, and along one of the many paths in the gardens we saw a statue of a naked lady with a tattoo on her buttocks - again, the children thought this was extremely funny. I forgot to take a photo of that, but I'm sure we will be visiting again next year, so will try to get more photographs then. The views of the surrounding countryside and of the land at Tupgill Park were stunning. I especially liked looking down at the field of deer - we took a walk down a tree-lined path to get a closer view of them, too:

We were lucky that the rain held off for the time we spent in the grounds, as it had been raining constantly on the journey there. It was a bit cold, but not too bad, and as lots of the areas to explore were underground (with scenes reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland), we managed to stay dry and warm for the day.

I thought this glass sculpture was beautiful, and further along the adventure, we even got a view of it from inside and underneath. So much thought has gone into the planning of this place - it has such wide appeal, too. Even if you just wanted to go for an interesting stroll in the gardens, you would enjoy it, I'm sure.

Inside one of the tunnels, we entered a huge circular room through one of many gothic styled wooden doors, and there was a water pool in the centre. Daniel was eager to explore every other doorway that was around the room (there were at least 5 or 6) and the first one he opened actually started a water fountain and music in the centre of the room! Magical. Along some of the corridors there were recorded voices whispering to you as you went by and there was one door in a corridor that made a loud knocking sound, which prompted you to open the door and this is what you were greeted with:

Matheea & Daniel on a wooden black boar!

At almost every path, there were engraved notices with rhymes giving you clues as to which direction you should take - although even these were not to be taken seriously, as you often ended up in a dead end and then had to retrace your steps.

Once we'd thoroughly explored the place (apart from the tiniest tunnel which neither Keith or I wanted to attempt to crawl into) Daniel and Matheea wanted to go back to the mouth and have a go at punching the uvula of the mouth! The resulting burp pleased them enormously!

I would heartily recommend this place to anyone either with children or not - although I would imagine that it would appeal more to children over the age of 6 perhaps - some of the effects can be a bit scary for younger children, and toddlers could find it difficult to explore without stumbling, I would think. Adults will also enjoy it, as there really is so much to see - I would love to visit the herb garden in the summer, as even though I could still smell a lot of the herbs, it was past its best, really.

You need to book your tickets prior to visiting and you get allocated a time slot so that there are not too many people trying to get into all the different areas at once. Booking can be done online or by telephone - just visit their website for details.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Dress Rehearsal - Carousel

Well, I wasn't on top form last night for our dress rehearsal of Carousel, but it went remarkably well. I think there were several hitches, which is usually a good sign for a better opening night. From a personal point of view, I think the most ridiculous thing I did was to wear my corset upside down. Funnily enough, only one person actually noticed, and by that time we were all on stage for the opening scene anyway so it was too late to change! Fortunately, I only wear it for the first scene so it wasn't that ridiculous. My defence was that I don't often wear corsets, so I just slipped it over my head and asked someone to lace me up from behind!

There were 3 incidents that I know of where someone tripped over or crashed into one of the stage lights rigged up in the wings, which must have been slightly distracting for the people on stage at the time, and I know that the straw bales created a lot more mess than anticipated. Sally, who is with me in almost every scene, was elbowed in the face by our Chairman in the wings at one point as he gesticulated over-enthusiastically about something or other. A few lines were missed here and there, I started singing at a time when it was only a solo part (but soon shut up) and at the curtain call I noticed that the backdrop had the word HITACHI across it because the scenes that had previously been played out across it were finished!

As they say, however, it will be all right on the night. If not, we've certainly had a good laugh as a team and I will never forget the experience. I've also made another good friend, as Sarah was proving invaluable to me last night helping me with my costumes (all our dresses fasten up the back with hooks and eyes - impossible to do yourself) and generally looking out for me in my slightly washed out state.

The outfit I'm wearing in the opening scene is the one shown here worn by Jo in last year's show - it's the cerise outfit and the pointy bit of the corset was therefore sticking up at the top rather than pointing down at the bottom!

You live and learn, eh?

If you haven't booked your tickets yet and still want to come along to watch one of the performances, we do have some seats left so you could turn up and get them on the door. Alternatively, ring Bob Harrison on 01482 327007 to book. Prices are £10 for adults, £8 for seniors and £5 for children. Performance times are 7.30pm tonight, 29th October, 2pm and 7pm tomorrow, 20th October, at the Middleton Hall, University of Hull.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Christmas Craft Fair

I know it's early yet to start using the C word, but I just thought I'd share my plans for a craft event I'm planning this year, since it's the first one I've organised. It will be held in the auditorium of the Bilton Theatre, home to the Bilton Amateur Dramatic Society (of which I have been a member the past 20 years).

I have already contacted several of the sellers on Etsy who are in the list of "Shop Local" when I do a search in Hull, East Yorkshire. I'm hoping to have 6 or 7 various artisans present - either for one or two days, whichever they can manage. The idea is not only to create a unique selling event for local creative talent based on Etsy, but if it proves successful, it will also raise some funds for our Society as well as promoting the theatre at the same time.

Lowlander Dye - Trinket Box & Mini Painting with Easel

Decorated notebook
I will be selling my decorated notebooks, trinket boxes, magnetic shopping pads, mini paintings and hand-made cards. I have bought some more notebooks today for decorating, and Keith is planning to make some more notepad holders for me to paint.

I may even make some more fudge and tiffin to sell.
Cranberry & White Chocolate Fudge


Other artisans already interested include a photographer specialising in flowers, an illustrator who creates wonderful cat designs and a jewellery maker/handbag creator. More details will be divulged once I've confirmed all the sellers - with links to their Etsy shops. Next thing I will be designing is an application/entry form - no craft fair is complete without one!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Etsy Sale

I am pleased to report another sale via my Etsy Shop this morning. Another Etsy member contacted me last week after reading a comment I'd made in a Treasury, which led to her looking in my shop and picking this notebook to buy.
The nice thing about Etsy is that a lot of the members there also regularly buy items from each other, so the word of mouth reputation really does help to increase your presence and validate your shop. This particular book is called "Daydream" and it has been purchased as a gift from a mother to her daughter.

Friday, 15 October 2010


I can hardly believe it, but show-time is almost here again. I will be singing in the chorus with Hull Musical Society at the end of this month in a production of "Carousel" by Rodgers & Hammerstein. It's a musical that I would have hated when I was growing up. Come to think of it, I pretty much disliked most musicals as a teenager (apart from Grease, Sound of Music and Oliver, that is). I don't think I "got" them until I actually started to sing the songs myself - there's something really ridiculous (in my mind) about people doing their normal business, walking down the street or having a picnic, say, then suddenly bursting into song. Cheesy. Corny. I like music of all descriptions, and love singing, so you would think I'd have always been into musicals. I think the American films of musicals are the only experience I'd had - they put me off and I thought they were not at all cool when I was younger. I preferred acting to singing, too. I think the first musical I went to see live was "Les Miserables". I found it very emotional and just loved everything about it - the music, the story, the characters and the set. I remember my husband and I being two of the last people in the theatre at the end of the show, we were both still trying to recover from the tears we'd shed!

The only singing I had ever done prior to joining Hull Musical Society last year was in the school choir aged about 12. My involvement in amateur drama was purely drama and I never even thought about doing a musical show. However, I have come to enjoy singing as much as acting and am so glad I joined, even if it does mean I get less free time in the evenings and on a weekend leading up to the production.We have had our share of bad luck with this show - that's often part of the tale you tell once it's all over, but also had some great laughs along the way. A lot of the dialogue in Carousel is difficult to understand, as some of the words are not ones I'd heard of before. The funniest one is when we are in the "Clambake" scene (which is by far the cheesiest scene of all in this show, if you ask me) and one of the men are talking about Nettie having a "catnip" fit. Well, that in itself made us laugh, but what made it even funnier was when one of men said "Catnap" instead. Well, of course we then continued the theme with as many ridiculous cat related words as we could - as if a catnip fit wasn't ridiculous enough! We had a cat-flap, cat-crap, cat-clap cat-litter, etc. The problem with laughing at rehearsals, for me, is that once I start I find it incredibly difficult to stop. I start shaking and tears run down my face - it's that old situation of knowing that you really shouldn't be laughing, but you just can't help it. I think we have had so many things go wrong, we are all just waiting for the next disaster.

To give you an idea of what has happened - the man who would have been the main director was involved in an unfortunate accident in July when he tripped up outside his house and dislocated his kneecaps. He's had surgery and has been in leg braces since then, but is still not fully recovered. We therefore had to bring in a new director. One of our key committee members then announced he had to go to China for three weeks in October, so would not be available for the show. We had two more of our male members also opt out for various reasons, so were getting really low on men. We had the services of a professional choreographer to help us with the dance routines - but he had to leave after about 3 weeks in order to work elsewhere. One of our members, Corinne, was planning on taking charge in this area, but she damaged her knee and had to opt out of the rehearsals for a short time (it was her Dad who'd dislocated his patella, too!). We struggled to find anyone to play the part of Jigger for several weeks (although now we've found him, he's proving to be very capable) and then our Starkeeper was taken ill with an ear problem (which will take months to recover from) so Ian, our Chairman, has taken on that role. A week or so ago, another member dropped out for health reasons, so the character of Mrs Mullin has only just been replaced by someone from another society. Finally, the man playing Mr Bascombe has broken his knee by falling off his bicycle. We have managed to replace him with one of the members who'd originally planned on not being involved!

Frustrating, tiring and full of incidents - I don't think I've forgotten anything, but I do know that the old saying "The Show Must Go On" usually applies because we can't afford for it not to! Cancellation fees are enormous and besides which, it will be "All Right On The Night".

Fortunately, we have some stunning singers in the lead roles. I love listening to Andy Collinson, for instance - he is playing Billy opposite his real-life partner Roz Shallcross. This show is the first time I've heard Roz singing to her potential and she has got such a crystal clear voice, it's breath-taking - she's a first-rate actress, too and really brings out the emotion in the character of Julie. Jane Bradley is playing Carrie with great humour and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching her performing opposite Roz in the scenes they have together.

I have missed a rehearsal this week because I've been suffering with a bad head cold/sore throat/flu type illness. It started last Friday evening and I probably shouldn't have gone to the rehearsal on Sunday afternoon but I felt ok-ish at that point. I got worse instead of better, however, so really couldn't make it to the evening rehearsal on Tuesday, which was annoying but couldn't be helped. I think I am starting to feel better today at last, my voice is still a bit croaky but with drinks of honey, hot water and cider vinegar I will be singing about catnip again before too long!

Favourite song from this show has to be "You'll Never Walk Alone". I also like "If I Loved You" sung by Julie, it has such a strong emotional feel to it. I do find that actually being part of a musical show often changes my mind about music and songs I previously either disliked or had not interest in whatsoever. Familiarity with the music probably helps, and some songs are just really good to sing out loud!

Anyway, here's a copy of the poster for our production, which is to be performed on Friday 29th October at 7.30pm and Saturday 30th October at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are available from Bob Harrison on 01482 327007 and are priced at £10 for adults, £8 for seniors and £5 for children. You can also buy tickets on the door if you prefer.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Charity Concert in Selby

I have recently been sent details of this charity concert which some of you may be able to go and see - Demelza Stafford will be singing at Selby Abbey on Saturday 16th October 2010 at 7.30pm. Demelza has a beautiful soprano voice and has sung as a guest artiste for the Hull Ladies' Musical Union on several occasions, proving extremely popular each time. She will be joined by Yoko Huso on piano. Hull Male Voice Choir will also be perfoming at this event, which is being held to raise money for The Prostate Cancer Charity. Tickets are £10 and available by calling Elizabeth Stafford on 01757 702846 or by going online to

Please forward or share this with anyone you think may be interested. Many thanks!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Video Editing

Despite the fact that I don't particularly like cold, wet, windy and grey days here in East Yorkshire, I am actually quite pleased that the weather has been so for the past week. It has meant that I can continue (along with Keith, my husband) editing the video and still photography that we took on our cruise holiday earlier this year. We usually edit a combination of still and video photography for every holiday or special event soon afterwards. This time, however, we were busy preparing for a play as soon as we got back, so the editing process took a back seat. 

I just wanted to share this really short clip of the footage we managed to get inside the Papyrus making factory  - just a small shot, but it shows the style of artwork created . The final painting is the one we bought to have in our home, which is now framed (by Keith) and on our living room wall.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Rob Kirbyson's Blog

I'm pleased to report that another of my Rogue Gene Collective colleagues, Rob Kirbyson, has started to write a blog. Rob's talent for writing is equal to that of his artwork and I'm sure if you  take a look at his posts, you will find yourself literally "LOL" ing on numerous occasions!

My favourite to date is his latest post about fish, and seafood in general. As ever, Rob has managed to accompany his post with some of his own works of art -  I particularly like "Hostile Organism"  - it is so well rendered and has a beauty about it, yet at the same time it gives me the shivers. That's what Rob's work often does to me, however, and is one of the reasons I am such a fan.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

20/21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe

I have just discovered this short film about the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe, which I blogged about recently, so thought I'd share it with you as it gives a better view of the size of the place, and shows some of the works on display previously.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Cats and artists

I've noticed over time that many artists with whom I correspond regularly also happen to own cats - or rather, are owned by cats, as I'm sure they will agree! I wonder what it is about us that draws us to them so much? I realise that not all artists I know are cat lovers, in fact some actually have a dislike for them.

For me, it is the fact that they are such quiet creatures, they all have a beauty about them and I love the way they walk, look at you (quite often with disdain), talk to you (oh yes, they definitely have different noise according to what they actually want) and comfort you when you are ill or feeling down. I can't contemplate life without a cat to share it. I have two at the moment and I am very emotionally attached to both of them. One of them, Oscar, had to go the vets earlier this week and I'm afraid I just couldn't bring myself to take him this time. He's had infected bites from the local bully cat before, and the last time I took him he needed a couple of stitches as the skin was so badly damaged. At one point during the examination by the vet, I had to leave the room and sit on the steps outside for a while, or risk passing out! I felt silly and embarrassed, but I just got too upset to stay and watch. So this time, Keith said he would take him for me. When I got back home after collecting our grand-daughter from school, Oscar was asleep on his tower in the living room.

He'd been prescribed a week's course of antibiotics and some antiseptic wash to bathe the wound twice daily. Plus, the dreaded cat collar was sitting on the kitchen side ready to attach if necessary! What amazes me most of all about cats is their apparent lack of pain - Oscar was a model patient at the vets, letting him shave his fur off all around the wound without flinching, and he's not at all bothered when we bathe the wound with hibiscrub. Thankfully, the antibiotics are kicking in now and the wound is starting to heal up - but I still cringe when I look at it!

We haven't put the collar on him yet, that was mainly to avoid him constantly licking the affected area - which, contrary to popular belief, is NOT a good thing for cats to do! I'm glad we haven't had to make him wear it, as it apparently can make cats depressed. How the vets know this, I'm not sure, but I wouldn't want a depressed cat in the house!

I sometimes think I maybe should have just had female cats, but Oscar is such a delightful companion, and the only time he seems to get into scrapes is when other cats try to invade his territory - he's never gone far from our house so I don't think he's the perpetrator, more the defender in these attacks.

He doesn't even look like a fighter, does he?

On the other hand, this photograph of the cat we call "Pug-face" (aka Oliver) demonstrates a true bruiser of a cat, whose owners are even upset at how it shows no affection at all!! I'm sure it was either Pug-face or a new addition to the neighbourhood - both are built to fight and really look as though they mean business!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe

Last week I ventured south of the river Humber and visited the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe. Having entered an exhibition which was nearing the end of its run, I thought it was about time I took myself along to see where my creation was actually being displayed. I have been a fan of 20-21 on Facebook for a while now, but not known what the place was like really. Well, I can now safely say that it is a lovely venue. Easy to get to, very friendly staff and a well-stocked cafe as well as a gift shop (where I couldn't resist buying myself a lovely little brooch) - and on top of all that, the exhibition spaces are varied enough that several different exhibitions can run simultaneously with ease.

After a look at the Throwaway World exhibition, which I had entered (artists were asked to use a single paper cup as a starting point for a new artwork) with this creation of an African drum:

I was surprised and somewhat disappointed to see that there were only 19 entries in total for this exhibition - although the variety was wide, I'd expected many more creations! Here's the full display on the Facebook page dedicated to the 20-21 Centre: Throwaway World. The whole display was in a glass fronted display case set within one of the walls of the exhibition space.

On the opposite side to this was an exhibition of photographs by Alison Walker Smith - an arresting artist who creates some stunning images which are created using digital photography with different focal depths. They have to be seen to be appreciated, but if you click here you will find at least one example of her work. Having seen her work, my husband has been inspired to start a new project with his digital camera. I was particularly impressed with the exhibition by David Hancock - his portraits of young people playing computer games were very striking. I've seen David's work online before, here, but not seen anything in the flesh until I visited the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, so I was very pleasantly surprised to find some of his work there! You can see his work until November 6th, so still plenty of time to pop along.

In the largest exhibition space, which is the former St Johns Church building, was an exhibition entitled "Art With A Pulse II: Tattoo Exhibitionism". I am not a fan of tattoos, although I can see the artistic merits of them, when done well. however, this exhibition was really interesting and I could have spent longer - but we'd only got an hour on the car park so time was short! I was particularly impressed with the work of Paula Hardy Kangelos whose intricately detailed bead collages were fantastic. I also liked Jo Harrison's paintings here. I think the environment really helped to show off all these works of art and I have made a promise to myself that I shall be visiting again before too long. In the meantime, I plan to spread the word about the centre, as I believe it is a refreshingly friendly gallery with excellent facilities, plenty of activities throughout the year (and more during the holidays for children) and an obviously wide range of exhibitions and shows. The cafe sells freshly prepared baguettes, toasted sandwiches, paninis and jacket potatoes to name a few. I had a coffee and a piece of home-made date square, which took me back to my childhood when my Nanna used to make them regularly - although I'm sure my Nanna (who baked lots of delicious buns and scones, etc) didn't fill the squares she made with quite as many dates as I discovered each time I bit into my purchase at 20-21.

The centre operate the "Own Art" scheme, which is supported by Arts Council England, whereby interest free loans are available to anyone wishing to purchase artworks priced between £100 and £2000.

The centre is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Entrance is free.  Oh, and the gift shop is excellent. I bought myself a beautiful little hand-crafted brooch from Sky Moon Designs:

You can see more of her work on Facebook here.

If all this is not enough to tempt you to pay a visit to the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, then I have obviously failed in my attempt! I just like to spread the word whenever I experience some thing or place that has had an impact on me. So there you go.I've started spreading the word.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Holderness Art Show

I have decided to enter this, even though I've only recently received the entry form and the deadline is today - it's for an exhibition next weekend, two days only. As it's very nearby (a village or two away from mine) and doesn't cost much to enter (£1 per piece) I thought I'd better get my finger out and fill in the form. Obviously, there's no time now to post the entry form, but I am just going to pop out in the car and deliver it now. These are the two pieces I will be entering:

Violin - Dedicated to Daniel. Pastel on card, mounted & framed.
Cool Sticks - acrylic on board, mounted and framed.
Right, I'd better get the entry form and dash off before it's too late!!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

First Curated Treasury

Well, I've finally managed to create my first ever Treasury on Etsy. I'm pleased to say that it was easy to do and I'm not going to stop now! I think they must have changed the way in which Treasuries are created. ( A Treasury is basically a collection of items on Etsy selected by the person curating the treasury)

These are a small selection of the items I included in my Treasury, but you can see the full list here

This first item is a beautiful felt headband made by my friend and fellow Rogue Gene Collective artist, Andrea Farmer.
I absolutely love this chunky necklace in a gorgeous shade of blue, it's been on my favourites list ever since I first saw it:

I also love these cerise coloured knitted hand warmers, by an online friend and lovely creative soul, Karin SF. I am a big fan of her creations on Etsy, so I'm sure I will be featuring more of her creations in the future.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Latest Sale

I have just returned from a week or so away to find out that I have made a sale through the Affordable British Art website. Nice news after many days of miserable weather, I might add! The painting is a watercolour I created a few years ago - I only recently added it to the site, along with a few others in a similar style, this is the 3rd one to have sold. I may have to paint some more in different colours now. I will be uploading some holiday pics once I've sorted through them all - at the moment I'm still sorting through all the dirty laundry etc!!!

Cerise Abscape is pictured here: