keep right on till the end of the road....

Working on this children’s book project (The Bird with the Rainbow Tail) has been a little bit like climbing a steep hill, I started off nice and lickety split but the nearer I get to the end the harder I have to climb and the slower the progress. Do you ever feel like that? I have to be very strict with myself as it is so easy to give into diversions.

This is page twelve out of fourteen, which started life as a black and white pen and ink drawing. The colour and pattern details have been added digitally with the aid of my newest toy, the Wacom tablet. I have been having fun using some of my fabric patterns where appropriate.

James has been working hard on the music, which is nearly complete. Tony has finished the narration in English and the story has also been translated into German and recorded in Germany and although I don’t speak a word of German I can make out some of the words. I say "English" but in actual fact the text has been changed to have an American spelling as our publisher requested. We now have gray instead of grey and color instead of colour. A case of you say "tomado" and I say "tomato" but let's not call the whole thing off.

It has been a joy to work together on this project and I can’t wait to see and hear the finished thing on an iPod or even better an iPad if only I possessed such a thing! (hint hint)


Miniature gardens

I recently read “Jane in Winter” by Elizabeth Wix who many of you may already know from “About New York” Elizabeth grew up in England in the fifties but now resides in New York. Although the book was originally written for the 8-12 age group I found it fascinating, a sort of escape into a slightly disconcerting fantasy world with fifties nostalgia. It is both cosy and scary in equal measure and I know that I would have devoured such a story when I was young. It reminded me very much of Edith Nesbit.

There are many things to love about this book but for me it was being reminded of childhood pastimes, some of which I still have not entirely grown out of; that of making gardens in miniature. When I was a girl this was “all the rage”, in fact most of my childhood pastimes involved lots of imagination and no expenditure! We used mirror pieces for lakes, stones and rocks to create paths and mountains, mosses and small plants became gardens, fir cones became forests. I dare say many of you will have done much the same thing?

Today my miniature gardens are in shallow bowls rather than trays, I still make use of pebbles, shells, and pieces of ceramic, whatever takes my fancy. One of my favourite plants for such environments is a clover -Trifolium Repens “Purpurascens Quadriphyllum” which was given to me by a gardening neighbour. It has reddish/purple leaves edged with peppermint green and white flowers. It can be invasive so living in a dish suits it fine! Interestingly Judith Glover has a similar plant featured in her garden notebook, see post below.


An artist's garden

click for a close up.

I would very much like to pretend that the beautiful, well kept garden above belongs to me but I am sure you know better, having already confessed to a multitude of gardening tasks to attend to. It actually belongs to the artist and gardener Judith Glover.

Judith opens her garden for charity and this year raised an amazing £1,100 as part of the NGS Open Garden scheme. Her garden is the source of inspiration for the many delicate, detailed watercolours she produces, many of which are reproduced onto greeting cards and stationery. You can see more of her work and read about her inspirational garden on her website.

And now, if you will allow me to indulge in a bit of maternal pride… our son James has written the music for her latest e-card called “Toy Box” and I have to say that it is my all time favourite. The music and images are a perfect match, please have a listen and see if you agree by following this link. I have watched it umpteen times and it makes me smile on each occasion. He has written music for some of her other cards on the site including Little Angel and Little Snowman but I think I like this one the most.


Working from home.

Never having ever had a “proper job” I have always been fortunate to work from my home studio – ok, my dining room/studio! This has been something of a mixed blessing, ideal when my children were little as I was always at home with them and was able to work around school times, bed times etc. However there have been times when I have thought how nice it would be to go out of the house and shut the door on the domestic chaos that so often prevails.

This week has been no exception, I have so many jobs that need my attention and life seems like one long juggling act, which I am sure a great deal of you will identify with. The weekend was spent visiting my elderly parents, supermarket shopping, catching up with my family and bargain hunting in the big city so all the jobs which were earmarked for the weekend are still undone. I sit at my desk and look out at the garden, the hedge needs trimming, the flowerbeds need weeding, the roses dead heading. I venture into the garden and decide that, as the weather is good maybe I should get the laundry done and have the luxury of hanging the sheets out in the fresh air. I go upstairs to sort the laundry, ignoring the fact that the stairs could do with a good hoovering and remember that I need to dash to the shops to catch them before they close and whilst I am in the village I might as well post the Etsy shop order at the same time, so maybe I should finish packing that first? All the time feeling that I really should be getting on with some illustration work, not to mention updating my blog and reading yours and now if you will excuse me I have to dash, there is someone at the door…. and the phone is ringing….and the dog is barking….. and where the heck did I leave my glasses?