Saturday, 17 September 2011

Pet cat, Mavis

Just found this photo of one of our cats, Mavis, on the PC. It was taken 4 years ago when she was 11. Just thought I'd randomly share it on here as I like the image so much!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

New small acrylic painting

I have recently painted a couple of small acrylic and ink paintings - one on canvas board and this one on a canvas sized 7 x 5 inches.

The idea came about when I was looking through some old photographs I'd taken of flowers, gardens, walks etc. I really liked the shape of the sunflowers that are past their best - I took a photo at Burton Agnes Hall a few years ago, always intending to create a painting or sketch of some description based on my image. Here is the end result - I will probably do a few more with different numbers of flower heads on and on different supports/in different media.
Burton Agnes Sunflower
You can purchase this directly from my website at

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

New logo/label/banner

After much deliberation and playing around with ideas, I have finally come up with a new logo for my Facebook Page, based on some of my most popular creations. This will be something I intend to print onto labels and stick to the plain paper carrier bags I use at craft fairs when people buy anything from me, and therefore needed to show off my wares as well as have a link to my personal website. I didn't want a bold coloured image like the previous one I had (which was the "3 Wise Men and an Interloper" painting) as I think a softer colour is more attractive to potential customers. Here is the finished design:

I have customised the design slightly to use it on my Etsy shop front too, as a banner. I have tried to incorporate the image into my blog, but obviously need more lessons on how to do such a thing first as I have not yet managed it!

My twitter account will hopefully also be displaying this new design at some point soon. I think that, due to the upturn of sales in the smaller items that I create, this "re-branding" is something that I've needed to do.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Paull Holme Tower

Today we visited the Paull Holme Tower as part of the annual Heritage Open Days that have become increasingly popular, and which began in England in 1994 to celebrate the community surrounding many different buildings and places that you may never have heard of. Many places are open to the public on other days of the year also, but this is the only time that admission is free.

Paull Holme Tower is a relic of a building, hidden from view of the main road and probably not even known to that many local residents. Certainly, I would not have known about it if it had not been for the Heritage Open Days. It is a 30ft high, 3 storey structure (although the 3rd storey is not much more than a crumbling walkway of about 10feet long, with nothing to support you as you tread precariously along in the howling wind!)

I took my camera, and as we entered from the rather small hole at the rear of the tower, I could see just how much of a ruin this place has become. The brickwork in the ceiling on the ground floor is sagging so much that you can almost hear the bricks slowly working their way free. Interestingly, a crate of hard hats was placed outside the tower for visitors to wear - but us hardy Brits obviously ignored that, as I saw not one person with a plastic dome adorning their crown!

The "crouch to enter" doorway into the Tower.
Once inside, the ground floor wasn't very inspiring, especially since it was extremely dark in there - despite the fact that a lamp had been fixed into position on the floor via a generator. I made my way up the very steep stone steps to the 2nd floor - where there was a tree growing through the floor, causing even more problems with conservation of the building. I liked the look of this chinese/japanese styled tile which seemed to be a remnant of the original floor:

Originally part of a 15th Century fortified manor house, Paull Holme Tower once had two towers, a moat, crenellations and belonged to the Holme family until 1928. They lived in the manor house until approximately 1700 when it passed through various tenants. A Grade 1 listed monument, the building is now owned by a local resident, Simon Taylor, who is hoping to raise funds by forming a trust to help preserve the building. This would seem to be an almost impossible task, especially since it has been described by English Heritage as being in "very bad" condition, and its priority status has been classified as A(A) which signifies that it is at "immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric; no solution agreed."  I can see what they mean - everywhere you look, there are crumbling walls, floors, archways. Yet still I can see the beauty of such a place. Ruins have always held a fascination for me, even more so when I was a child and my imagination would run riot. I'd sometimes get a very strange feeling in the pit of my stomach, imagining who'd lived there (wherever I was, however old the building) and what had taken place prior to my visit. I got a similar feeling today, and was very glad we made the effort to go there.

You can see a video clip of the tower, taken by Seaside Radio who are based in Withernsea - which also includes an interview with the owner, Simon Taylor - by clicking on this link.

Looking up to the 3rd floor from the 2nd floor.

On the 2nd floor
Looking down to the 2nd floor from the top.

One of the view across the landscape from the top of the tower.
I really hope this tower gets restored, it would be nice to have something like this so close to home.

To finish our Heritage Open Day, we visited an exhibition in the village of Sutton-on-Hull, and Keith was delighted when we spotted an identity book in one of the display cabinets belonging to an old friend of his Mother's - he remembers walking to the village of Sutton when he was a child and visiting the house she lived in. The exhibition was a history of the village, and took place in the Old School in Church Street, which is open every Friday, so we shall now make another trip to see even more history in the future!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

New range of greetings cards...

Here is a preview of my newly created batch of cards aimed at children aged 1 to 9. I took inspiration from my notebook designs when my sister asked me a while ago if I did birthday cards with numbers on. I've created a few with numbers on them previously, but these take advantage of all the space possible on the front of the card, and I am pleased with the overall design.

They take about 20 minutes to do each one, as I sketch the outline of the number first in pencil, rubbing out any marks that I don't want seen, if possible. You will still see some of the pencil marks in the finished card, but in my view, that adds to the originality and unique aspect of hand-made cards. I then decide which two colours I'm going to use for the outline, as they need to be painted on very precisely in alternating dots of colour. Finally, making sure I don't smudge the outline (as I very nearly have done on occasions) I fill the centre of the number in using 3 or 4 colours - usually the 2 already used in the outline and one more. I love the textural nature of these and I'm sure they will appeal to children because of that, too. I plan on creating lots of these for the next Craft Fair I attend, which will be at the beginning of November. I am also planning on increasing the range to include older ages (but probably by using the card in a landscape position instead) and then possibly names or perhaps titles such as "Mum", "Dad" etc. I have deliberately avoided using a stencil or template to create the numbers, as I rather like the fact that they are not perfect in shape - it adds that bit more character and individuality to each card. These will only be for sale at craft fairs at the moment, but I will quite happily take orders for specific cards by post if you wish!