Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Tall - Illustration Friday

The topic for Illustration Friday this week is 'Tall'. Timmy the mouse sure wishes that he was a bit taller, he really wants that jar of blackcurrant jam. 

Rabbits, More Rabbits & A Banker

Day 236 of the Doodle Olympics - I have no idea why I doodled a clown, maybe that is what happens when you watch retro 'Home & Away'.

Day 237 of the Doodle Olympics - I don't always watch TV while I doodle, however, I may have been watching Babe when I decided to draw singing mice.

Day 238 of the Doodle Olympics - I've started to pay attention to nutritional information on packaging and some of it, in terms of being unhealthy, is shocking. I mean just general goods here, we aren't talking obvious things like chocolate and cakes. It also takes a ridiculous amount of time to work out your calorie intake. Although I think we should take responsibility for our own health, I do also have a problem with marketing materials and special offers pushing unnecessary unhealthy products on you once you are in the shop. Also, I'm curious about the addiction of unhealthy, fatty foods. I think my generation are possibly the first to experience complete freedom of convenience foods, and I wonder if this has had an affect on our willpower and the choices we make when eating. Here Mrs. Rabbit is being bamboozled by supermarket manipulation.

Day 239 of the Doodle Olympics - Mrs. Rabbit, having escaped the supermarket without ice cream and crisps, is working in the allotment so that she doesn't have to rely on convenience foods, but she is also having to deal with her demanding job and children.

Day 240 of the Doodle Olympics - In the end, Mrs Rabbit made a carrot pie. Eddie Rabbit can't wait to get stuck in.

Day 241 of the Doodle Olympics - Do bankers own the world? I was listening to something where someone said that banks should have never been free. This made me think. I do believe that if you are using a service, you should pay for it, but how would that work considering we are forced to have accounts. You need an account to get paid by an employer, to pay for bills etc, but what about the people that don't earn very much? What about those that lose their job and have to watch their pennies? £5 for example, may go unnoticed by most people, but to some it is still a crucial amount of money.

Day 242 of the Doodle Olympics - No thoughts or questions for day 242, just a bird bath.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Book Review - Antique To Heirloom Jelly Roll Quilts

I know very little about quilting, and certainly had no idea what a jelly roll quilt was when I first received this book. So for those of you feeling lost already, a jelly roll is a roll of forty different fabrics strips that are 2.5 inches wide that were introduced by Moda to showcase their latest range of fabrics. The idea behind jelly roll quilts is that all you need to make the decorative top of a quilt is one jelly roll and some background fabric. 
The concept behind Antique To Heirloom Jelly Roll Quilts is to showcase genuine antique quilt designs, many dating back to 1930s America, (with a few British designs dated even earlier), and then create a contemporary alternative that can be made by the reader. 
All the quilts appear to be detailed and complicated but the first pattern is a simple design, and the complexity only gradually increases as you move through the book. There are twelve modern quilt patterns to follow. Each pattern begins by introducing you to its antique predecessor with a full page image of the quilt in a lifestyle situation, and an introductory paragraph on the history of the item. 
The patterns are written step-by-step and make use of easy to follow, accurate, colour diagrams. You are told exactly what size the strips need to be cut to before you begin (as well as how many), then the diagrams help you to understand how blocks are gradually built up and put together. I was surprised by how easy it was to follow. It felt a little like it was bending my brain, but only because I think in rather an erratic fashion, and this is very structured and logical. 
The instructions make quilt making seem very achievable, but my wary side, that has witnessed me being hugely optimistic about many a challenging craft project, kept reminding me that this must be quite labour intensive. You only have to look at the sheer number of triangles that need cutting for some of the projects, to realise that it requires a certain amount of commitment. If you are someone with experience in cutting and sewing however, I'm sure this isn't so daunting. 
I could appreciate how beautiful all of the designs were, even if I would have chosen some alternative colour palettes, but my favourite designs were the dramatic blue and white Ocean Waves, and the simple yet effective block pattern of Sweet Sixteen.
It's worth noting that this book focuses on taking you through the creation of the decorative top, of a quilt, and only mentions the actual quilting process very briefly. If you are also wanting to learn about quilting there are many books available. 

I had no interest in any kind of quilting, it had always sounded stuffy and old, but the quilts in this book are absolutely stunning, and I have a new found respect for the craftmanship that has gone into these textile works of art. I can't honestly say that I have the patience myself to make something so staggeringly beautiful, but hopefully I can find somebody that can do it for me.  

Antique to Heirloom Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam & Nicky Lintott is available from all of the usual book retailers including (£11.99)

RRP- £15.99
David and Charles 
ISBN-10: 1446301826

Please note that I wasn't paid to write this review, although I was given a copy of the book. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Teacher - Illustration Friday

Here is this weeks submission for Illustration Friday. The topic this week is 'Teacher' so I thought I would show a mother bear trying to teach baby bear to fish... baby bear needs a little more practice. 

Dancing, Stripes & Teepees

Day 222 of the Doodle Olympics - I was struggling with what to doodle but the circus suddenly popped into my head. I wonder if I'd recently seen a meerkat advert?

Day 223 of the Doodle Olympics - I wanted to try and draw some people dancing but wasn't sure how. I tried to simplify their bodies.

Day 224 of the Doodle Olympics - Another dancing doodle. 

Day 225 of the Doodle Olympics - I'm not sure where this came from... I was watching Point Break at the time.

Day 226 of the Doodle Olympics - The stripes in the tree on the previous doodle got me thinking about Dr Seuss, so here is my own strange cat.

Day 227 of the Doodle Olympics - Carrying on with the Dr Seuss theme, here is a Dr Seuss inspired character.

Day 228 of the Doodle Olympics - If struggling with what to doodle, you can always rely on woodland animals.

Day 229 of the Doodle Olympics - You can also rely on penguins. Here is a sad little penguin.

Day 230 of the Doodle Olympics - I had Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the brain so attempted to draw my own Veruca Salt.

Day 231 of the Doodle Olympics - Following on from Veruca, I attempted Augustus Gloop.

Day 232 of the Doodle Olympics - After creating an illustration for 'Bounce' for Illustration Friday, I keep having other space hopper related pictures pop into my head.

Day 233 of the Doodle Olympics - After what has been a fairly odd summer, I've been thinking about what we expect our typical seasons to look like. This little chap is enjoying a hot sunny day on the beach in Summer - whatever that is! :)

Day 234 of the Doodle Olympics - Winter :)

Day 235 of the Doodle Olympics - A little teepee town, for no other reason than I wanted to decorate some teepees :) 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Freezing Free Post!!

I missed the deadline for Illustration Friday last Friday as I've been distracted by all things family, wedding and baking over the last week, but I had started so I thought I would finish it and post it here instead. The illustration topic was 'Freeze'.

I thought I'd also let you know that Society6 have free worldwide shipping until Sunday, on the off chance you fancy a print or an iphone case or skin, or some greetings cards. 

Monday, 13 August 2012

Book Review: Sweet Bitesize Bakes

As I desperately try to start preparing myself for a year long healthy eating (ish) stint on the run up to my wedding, it felt a bit like a test of willpower when this cute little book landed in my lap. I should probably pop it into a drawer and not allow myself to look at it until I'm allowed to bake again, but it is all too tempting for my eyeballs and I'm already 'window eating' and drooling (just a little bit). 

There is no denying that this title is aimed at us lady bakers, featuring lots of pretty pastel shades and girly decorative trims. It's quite small, a 17.5 cm square, but the compact nature is useful if, like me, kitchen work top space is a challenge. 
Don't let the cute design mislead you into thinking that the content is fluffy and basic, it covers a wide range of recipes and techniques. Following an initial introduction and a list of baking and decorating equipment that you might need, the book is divided into four main sections, 'Recipes', 'Fillings and Toppings', 'Techniques' and 'Projects'. 
A selection of recipes are provided that can be used for a variety of projects including a basic vanilla sponge, red velvet cake and cookies, as well as slightly more adventurous recipes like banana whoopi pies, french macarons and choux pastry. 

The following section 'Fillings and Toppings' offers another wide selection of choices, starting with vanilla buttercream and ending with marshmallow fluff, creme pattisiere and lemon curd.
All of the instructions are written clearly in short, numbered paragraphs and the 'Techniques' chapter also makes use of supporting demonstrative photographs. They direct you with tasks such as piping, flooding cookies with royal icing, covering cakes and making fondant flowers. 
The final chapter 'Projects' is where all the previous instructions pull together, you are shown full page colour photographs for each dinky finished treat, alongside the final instructions for construction. It is worth pointing out that this really isn't just a recipe book as decoration features just as highly. Edible delights to feast your eyes upon include fondant fancies, cupcakes, cookies, filled french macarons, green tea madeleines and mini eclairs. 
The structure of the book can seem a little frustrating if you simply want to read through a recipe in its entirety, as you jump to different sections for different stages of the bake. This however is also quite efficient, as none of the instructions are unnecessarily repeated for every single project. In fact each project, as a result, is broken down into manageable, less intimidating parts, just as baking is broken down into parts, after all you don't bake and decorate all at the same time. 
After some page flicking and 'window eating' I'd love to make some Sweet Bitesize Bakes, the only question is when will I allow myself to to whip out the apron and the wooden spoon? 

If you are interested in 'Sweet Bitesize Bakes', it is written by Sarah Trivuncic and is part of the "Bake Me I'm Yours...' series published by F&W Media, available from as well as most other book retailers.

RRP £9.99

Please note that I wasn't paid to write this review but I was given a copy of the book. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Illustration Friday - Bounce

This is the first time I've taken part in Illustration Friday after first stumbling across the site about two years ago - oopsy! As you can see I need a bit more practice, but hopefully if I try and get involved more often, it will turn into a handy exercise and I'll improve. 

A Monster, A Waffle House & Precarious Teacups

Day 215 of the Doodle Olympics - A little hairy jealousy monster. I wasn't feeling jealous myself, I just heard the word on a podcast. Phew! Feeling jealous is the worst!

Day 216 of the Doodle Olympics - The same podcast also mentioned a waffle house... tada!!!
Day 217 of the Doodle Olympics - I quite like those walls you see with collections of frames on them. I want one but so far I have some images but not the frames!

Day 218 of the Doodle Olympics - I was watching the finals of the gymnastics, so I've no idea why I decided to draw a spaceship, maybe it was to do with their shiny leotards!

Day 219 of the Doodle Olympics - A circle, bubble tree...

Day 220 of the Doodle Olympics - This is a bit big for a fairy house, so I decided it should be a 5* fairy hotel!

Day 221 of the Doodle Olympics - I was looking back over some showjumping footage as I doodled this, so I can only assume I was a little inspired by poles falling off and things being a little precarious.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Found - Little Nore

Well that isn't entirely true, I haven't just 'found' Little Nore, I've been singing Heidi M's praises for a little while, but I wanted to tell you that her Etsy Shop has now officially opened. Please go and take a little look at her wonderful Cute and Creepy Mixed Media Art.