Saturday, 16 March 2013

Birthdays in Berlin

Loved exploring Berlin. 

Full of textures, colour, art & illustration.

Creativity & skill.

Day 1: Arriving in Berlin and exploring our Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood

[Unfortunately many of my photos are on my camera and I've left my usb connector about 260miles North in Newcastle..]

Day 2: East Side Gallery & Kreuzberg

Here are a few sites from walking the streets of Kreuzberg on an extremely chilly March day..

After much walking we finally found Hard Wax record store...

to be continued...


Thursday, 6 December 2012

First Snows in Newcastle

Oo it was an exciting morning yesterday as the first flakes of snow fell over Newcastle and surrounding areas.  It was the buzz of Twitter throughout the day, and mounted with raising concerns over public transport disruptions and road safety.
I'm lucky enough to be working from home at the moment which leaves me free to enjoy the crunch of snow beneath my booted feet..

 The view from my bay window work desk

And for a distracting pastime, the snow brings with it many fun games, like who can pick out which houses in your area have loft insulation and which don't..

 The view from my bay window work desk 

I notice that my opposite neighbours all have their curtains drawn.  I hope that's due to the cold dark mornings and not because I spend too much time at this desk.. sorry neighbours I'm not a peeping Tom, honest.
Or, another game you can play is a round of 'Where did all the pigeons go?'

 View into our back alley and 'backside opposite neighbours' - not sure that's the right term. 

The back alley rooftop pictured is normally a great hangout spot for the local pigeons.  Sometimes they'll be visited by a pretty white dove and all the boys try and flirt with her. She doesn't stay long.

What are your snow stories? 


Monday, 26 November 2012

Vallum Farm

As the festive season approaches, Christmas Fayres are popping up all over the place.  You know the sort, enticing smells, loads of colour and that distinctive buzz in the air..  The weekends have become gift shoppers delight with such new choice and variety - whether it's the continental cheese, venison burgers, handmade soaps or arts & crafts that draws you, there's something for everyone.
I recently spent a pleasant afternoon at the Christmas Fayre at Vallum Farm in Northumberland.  

 Vallum Farm - surrounding views

 Wildflower Florist Christmas Fayre Stall

  Wildflower Florist Workshop - Outdoor potted plants

Clockwise from top left:
Riley's Fish Shack - I had a monkfish wrap, yum
  Wildflower Florist - I bought a Purple Ornamental Cabbage
The French Oven Bakery - Double Chocolate muffin
Working With Nature - Rosehip & Beespit Gardener's Salve

  Where have you been lately?


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas market at Settle Down Cafe this Sunday 11th 12-4, another chance to pick up some Covet goodies!

 Venus in Furs

The Settle Down Cafe serves lovely homemade food in a friendly atmosphere!  Now host to a lovely Christmas Market for folks looking for that something a little bit different.

The Settle Down Cafe, Newcastle

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Ouseburn Open Studios Nov 2011

  The Biscuit Tin presents...
To all you North East art, design, craft and culture fans the Ouseburn Open Studios 2011 is imminent..Sat26-Sun 27th November, 10-5. There's a bus that shuttles between all the Ouseburn venues taking part and my jewellery line Covet Bespoke Accessories will be waiting eagerly for your visit to Studio 36 at The Biscuit Tin Studios..!!

 The warehouse-chic side view of The Biscuit Tin Studios - a cunning veil masking the creative gems within 

I shall also be displaying some lovely framed prints from the Deer Series in the Gallery Area. And if you're lucky I may also do one or two brand new work for the event!

Looking forward to meeting some new people and catching up with familiar faces!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Littl Grrey Cellz..

Bubble & Squeak

We went to visit my friend on Saturday; she had recently aquired a couple of kittens from a local shelter.  Been dying to see them, although at this time they aren't so much fluffy kitten balls as they are curious toddlers, running around exploring and getting into mischief!

Trying to catch a decent picture of them without a sport mode on iphone proved to be rather trickier than I had anticipated.  However after several tries, (and several hours of playing later) they were comfortable enough in our human company to actually stay still.  The unexpected bonus was actually holding their eye-contact..

Squeak: The one with the tash.

Bubble: The one with the beard.

I think I have it the right way around! Squeak is braver than bubble who is more nervous of humans plodding around him.  They're both getting used to having visitors but they were playing with us in the front room a couple of hours later.  Crazy cats.


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Deer Series Mini Print Trio

From My Personal Collection

I found a really cute old wooden frame with a dark cork mount insert in a second hand shop a while back which I instantly fell in love with(apologies for lack of detail in this shot but trust me it's very endearing).  I made some small print editions from my Deer Series to fit in the three windows and fell in love with it even more.  I had planned to sell it on but after I moved flat I found a perfect wee spot for it above our cute little stripped-wood door store cupboard on our landing and it fit so nicely I couldn't bring myself to let it go!
I get to look at it (a little above head height) as I walk out of my bedroom door in the morning and it makes me smile.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Antique India Necklace

Antique India Necklace

 Dancing figure in prayer charm

This is a lovely necklace that I made.  The cut out metalwork is encrusted with beads and jewels like something from a coral reef. It is attached with fine chain to a vintage black and gold central button.  From the button, there is a dancing figure in prayer charm which adds to the er, charm of this one off necklace.

(See more at Etsy Shop and CovetAccessories Blog)


Monday, 12 September 2011

Vintage Jewel Floral Fascinator

Sleep has come once more..

After a few somewhat restless nights, sleep has come to me once more.
I have fully moved into Studio 36 (but have yet to make it lovely enough to reveal) AND I have completed the wedding event commission ahead of schedule, hurrah!

Vintage Jewel Floral Fascinator

The lucky lady will have worn this jewelled delight this weekend gone..

I rub my hands in anticipation of some beautiful hair shots!


Studio 36


Oopsie, it's been an exciting week.  I've been trying to deal with the excitement of moving into a new studio space while finishing an important wedding commission piece for Covet Accessories.  My nervous excitement has been encroaching into my normally sound and peaceful sleep.  If I manage the initial step of dropping off,  I undoubtedly wake up at 4am and my brain switches on like a light: the chatter begins.  Unsolved questions, logistical dilemmas.. they all come bouncing happily into my mind and have a party.  My eyes say - go away! I need sleep!  Frontal lobe says, no no! we have problems to solve, hurray!

 Studio 36, before.

I don't want to get out from under my cosy fluffy cloud duvet and get my sketchbook in order to doodle myself to sleep.  Nor do I want to gear up to a game of Patience on my phone; once a calm, while-away the time friend has become a competitive speed game once I discovered that I was being timed, scored and ranked.  No thanks.  
What is a girl to do?  My sanity saviour has been a new addition to my online bag of tricks..

Yes.  A virtual pin board space for all those inspirational images we like to surround ourselves with.  Things you like, things you want, things that make you smile, things that - that..well please, and ease the soul.

So thank you Pinterest for this platform of delights.  You can see what I've been doing between 0400-0600 hrs this week by following my Pinterest link.  

Here is a photograph from my board titled "In a Land Far Far Away.." to give you a taste:
Fall, somewhere.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Female Portraiture

Female Portraits

 Some pencil sketches I've been drawing.  I like the simplicity of black and white. But will likely bring them into Illustrator and Photoshop to work into colour illustrations.


Monday, 22 August 2011

The London Eye

On The London Eye

I was in London earlier this year for a hen weekend and we went on the London Eye.  It's the first time I've been on it and it was nice to be up that high.  Here is a photo I took.  I thought it was pretty cool.


Friday, 19 August 2011

Doodles: Love Think Give

 "Love More, Think More, Give More"

World of Journals

Or so says my newest favourite notebook-slash-doodlebook.  
I possibly need to love more. And I can always do with giving more.  
I definitely do not need to think more. I'm an over-think-aholic and my mind needs a bit less chatter if anything. 

I actually bought the pad a few months ago in Spring and I add to it whenever I need to lull my brainwaves into a more calm state.  That is usually sometime at night after a particularly heavy day of interacting with excited children, stressed out adults, slow computers or internet overload.  To relieve the buzz in my brain I have to go back to basics. 

[Note of Interest: I've always found drawing repetitive patterns and lines quite relaxing.  My dad used to keep a pad of squared paper by the telephone in his office (he worked in design&engineering and had loads of cool layout pads & weird pens).  I would use the phone in his office when my friends rang as I knew the conversation would be a long one and the chair was comfy. It was padded and it swivelled. An hour or two later, I'd put the phone down and look at the pad and it would be covered with detailed repetitive doodles, key words from the various conversation topics & just a general mass of organised lines.  I've kept all these scribblings and it's fun to look back at them now and then and remember the school-girl crushes, topics of study and grievances - all revealed through these doodlings. See April 2010 Entry]

I digress. Back to Dotted Pad De-stress

  The exercise here was to simply draw some nice clean lines from one dot to another.  Aimless dot-to-dot. No '1,2,3, find the picture': no rules, no pressure. Just the ticket.  I normally have my lenses out when I do this and as I'm blind as a bat I have to have my nose almost touching the page to see what I'm doing(!). 

I was delighted to find, at the end of my first de-stress session that even giving no pre-conceived thought as to where my next line was going to go I'd look back at the page to find little characters and scenes jumping out through the lines.  I've shared some here.

A de-stress exercise with surprising results.

[N.B. I added the bull-face and cat whiskers after the characters revealed themselves.]


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Bouquet of Delights

For any of you who balk at the sight of fake-flower overload in your mum, aunty or nanna's house, here is a spot in the corner of the world where the abundance of bouquets-a-la-plastic actually look good.
A colourful sight in the streets of Old Rethymno Town in Crete.

Even the religious art push looked cool. 
[I don't say that a lot.]


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Way to a Man's Heart...

The Bride-to-Be's specially chosen paragraph.
(if you can read it!)

Ah yes, classic Mills & Boon. 

So, at this hen weekend (see previous post), every hen was given a goodie bag full of Love & Romance themed pressies.  For added fun, the plain gift bags were customised by decorating them with cut out passages and tag lines from a couple of rather on-point Mills and Boon novels. I had the job of selecting the juicy bits, the cringey bits and the plain funny bits. Paragraphs, one liners and phrases.  I sat with my chosen novels, a glass of wine and a pair of scissors.  I'm not sure if if was the wine or the sheer nature of the writing but I found myself shaking with laughter everytime I caught a glimpse of my favourite chosen phrases. It has been years since I last read a Mills & Boon (not since I was a teenager, and struggling to find something to read while on holiday, discovered my Nanna's specialist fiction novel collection..).  I had to take regular time outs so that I didn't become 'numbed' to the evocative language and heady metaphors.  I didn't want any of these  lines losing their special magic.
The next day I decided on a simple bag customisation design involving a heart-shaped passage for the centre of each bag, and a tag line positioned on the lower back.  The Bride To Be (TBTB) had an amusing time reading each customised bag and felt that each one, with its own theme & level of humour, lent itself very nicely to being matched with a particular hen, for full amusement impact.
 After noting TBTB's giggles & 'euw' reaction on reading all these worded gems, I couldn't very well leave her out.  I secretly made her her own Mills & Boon customised gift bag and matching card.  There were just too many juicy bits to ignore, to be left on the cutting room floor.  No. That would not do.

The Bride-to-Be's Card & envelope design. Was prettier than it looks in photos!

As TBTB enjoys baking (shelves are full of Nigella et all cook books) and is a great hostess,  I thought she would enjoy the dessert-themed snippet I chose to grace the front of her card. (See picture)
It's a shame I didn't take pictures of each of the bags for the passages and tag lines, but I remember them fondly, and I know they have done their job, worked their magic.  The bags received a good mix of reactions from the hens and that is enough for me.  Anyway, there are plenty more where they came from...


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Wedding Belles

LOVE was definitely in the air this last week.  Not only was it the Gloriously Romantic Royal Wedding in London, it was also the weekend (and the city) we'd chosen to host my friend's hen do. This was an unintentional coincidence and we thought we might have made a royal mistake but it worked out in our favour in the end I think.
The nationwide excitement and countdown to William and Katherine's big day created a nice momentum to our more modest and intimate affair.
As we all arrived on Saturday in London, we narrowly missed the potential crowds and chaos of the Friday celebrations.  Instead we enjoyed our pink fizz and games whilst basking in the sun and soaking up the general feeling of Good Will Among Men in the now relatively quiet and peaceful parks of London.

Graffiti art by 'Don' along the Pier at South Bank.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Welcome Note

I would like to say an official hello to all the bloggers out there.  Although I've had my blog for a long time, I've tended to use it for more of a gallery than anything else.  Recently however, I've felt the urge to splurge.  To splurge my thoughts across the ether.  To comment, join in, socialise and perhaps write a few ramblings of my own.  I'm making a fresh start, on a new leg of my Blog journey and would love you to join me.  And please bear with me.

I've visited some lovely blogs and websites in the last couple of years and appreciated the inspiration that they have given me.  I think its about time I passed on some of the lovely things I have seen and not keep them all for myself.

But not right now.  Right now I'm a bit hungers and need to make some food for my tea before my stomach turns on itself.



Thursday, 15 April 2010

Tree Symmetry

This is one of those repetitive pattern drawings you do when you're in a spaced out zone.  I go there when my brain needs to switch to a different frequency.  Often happens around the midnight hour, at the desk with dim lighting or in bed when I'm kinda sleepy and have my contacts out.  Music in the background helps send you to that place.  (My embarrassing choice is often my mix tape of Guns 'n' Rose and 80s soft rock songs - In the Burning Heart - that sorta thing.  I know it so well it just trances me out sometimes). 

Bird Skullduggery


This is a page from one of my sketchbooks. I've just been scanning through them for inspiration (funny to think that I'm inspiring myself with my own work?).  Looking at past work helps bring me back to that First Point of inspiration; I can revisit anything I didn't have time to explore.  Sometimes the work is a bit bleurgh, but with this particular sketchbook I really enjoyed making my marks onto the paper with my biro pen.  Normally set aside in favour of using a "superior" ink fine-liner, I felt compelled to put it to the test.  After all; it saw me through many many years of elaborately graffiti-ing my notebooks and folders in the classroom and lecture halls.  I like these scratchy studies of bird skulls and bones.  They are super delicate subjects to study.