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!