This week is National Storytelling Week here in the UK. To celebrate my book “Down the Lane” has been made one of the featured stories of the week within StoriesAlive. This is a free to download app, which enables you to try out several free stories for children. If you and your children like this way of reading and sharing you can choose to subscribe. I am told that “Down the Lane” will be available free for the month of February.
I wrote and illustrated this book many years ago. Happy Cat Books first published it as a hardback and a paperback here in the UK and I have plans to add it to my Acornmoon book list. Speaking of which, the files for “White is the Moon” have just gone off to the printers so we should be able to offer both print and digital forms of the book in the next couple of months.
The weather here in Cheshire has been very wet and windy but not nearly as bad as other parts of the country. Today has been bright and breezy; I decided to see if I could find any celandines in flower. My February illustration in “Down the Lane” features these delightful shiny yellow wild flowers with blackbirds and a sleeping dormouse. There are blackbirds a plenty in the fields and here in my garden, no flowers yet on the celandines but plenty of glossy green leaves. I also found a beautiful skeleton leaf, which has survived the winter intact.
I have spent the long winter evenings finishing my crochet baby blanket. The photograph makes it look very out of shape; I don’t think it was so out of kilter in reality. By the way, I found out how to make these crochet squares on Little Tin Bird.
My hyacinth finally flowered and its perfume is a welcome reminder of spring days to come.
Ted has been feeling the cold and has taken to wearing his coat on long wet and windy walks. Now he is getting older (fourteen this July) he enjoys finding a sunny spot, preferably with a view. Isn’t it strange the way Jack Russell’s like a window seat. I wonder what tales he would tell?
Hi, it has been a while! I have had good intentions to update my blog but time has been against me. I hope there is somebody still out there?
Christmas was a very busy time for us, we had lots of visitors and with all the extra domestic duties I also had a very heavy workload, anyway, enough of my excuses, I hope this year has been good to you so far.
Earlier this month I had a watercolour painting exhibited in Mayfair, London by “Art of the Imagination”. The painting was a new work, inspired by “The Night before Christmas”. As you can see I got a little carried away with the border.
I have been experimenting printing onto canvas; so far I have tried out some images for stretched canvases and handmade books. I plan to do some more when time allows. The little origami book was made with a printed canvas cover and the insides where decorative marbled papers.
The book below was a special find in my local Oxfam shop, it was published by The Golden Cockerel Press in 1937 with original wood engravings by Gwenda Morgan, isn’t it a treasure? I thought you might like it too.
When I have not been at my desk I have been walking Ted, who is in the doghouse yet again. This time for chasing and cornering a squirrel who promptly bit him on the nose. He was so humiliated, in front to his girlfriend too! As you can see from my photograph, the weather has been mild, very wet and windy but so far no extreme cold spells. Some of the leaves remain on the trees; the birds are singing and nesting as if it were spring. I wonder if they are right to be so optimistic, I do hope so.
We are in the grip of winter now and my garden has been visited with many different species of birds, feasting on windfall apples and berries. With Christmas looming ever closer, despite my love for this season, it has the habit of filling me with mild panic. I have done hardly any shopping, have no tree or decoration in place and have been stricken with a horrible allergic skin condition which is driving me slowly crazy.
So instead of focusing on the negative I thought I would share with you some things that I have noticed and that you might enjoy. In my last few posts I have told you about my plans to publish my children’s books and over on the website of Martin West, my former publisher and now my mentor, I came across this charming book. You know how it is when you see something so simple and yet so clever and you say to yourself “I wish I had thought of that”? Here is a lovely picture book about a pair of socks; it is the brainchild of Japanese artist Noriko Matsubara. Bocchi and Pocchi are no ordinary pair of socks. They are the best of friends; then one night Pocchi disappears!
Now I know that many of my friends in the blogosphere are keen knitters, Noriko has a free pattern to knit these charming character socks. Would that not make a very special Christmas gift, a book and sock combo?
Whilst on the subject of gifts and knitting, my friend Frances has opened her Etsy shop. I am the proud owner of a pair of her wrist warmers, shown on a previous post. I also looked on as she knit the most beautiful scarf whilst in her stay in the UK.
Meanwhile, I have been busy with my granny squares, to date 30 pink and 30 white, for me something of a record. I hope to update you all on that soon.
We enjoyed a little break in a country cottage in Cumbria, taking the dog for some long and invigorating lakeshore walks and taking lots of photographs for future reference. Whilst taking a little R and R I bought myself a copy of Country Living December issue, and who should be featured there but none other than Celia Hart who came to a virtual tea party not so long ago!
The cottage had an Aga cooker in a rather small kitchen; the effect was a little overpowering. Anybody who has tried to cook a full English breakfast on an Aga will understand the phrase “slaving over a hot stove”, so when life gets you all hot and bothered, what better image than an expanse of tranquil water. And now, I shall take my leave, bye for now. x
I have been doing a lot of counting recently, brought about the recent celebration of my 60th birthday. There, I have owned up to being in my sixties. If I say it often enough the fact may actually sink in.
I have been counting my blessings, of which there are many. Counting the many places on my “to visit” list with the aid of my Senior Railcard, a third off discounts, hooray!
Counting the days to the arrival of a very special baby in the spring…..
and counting the days till the publication of Acornmoon’s first title- “White is the Moon”.
The advance title information has been prepared here and the publication date set for 24th April 2014.
Apart from that, my time has been taken by caring for an elderly family member who had a very nasty fall. We are all counting ourselves very lucky to have had excellent care from our wonderful NHS.
It’s been an exciting week for many reasons, where do I start?
Well, for ages now I have been deliberating as to the wisdom of publishing my own books. I did have a foray down that path and tried out print on demand. It was an education if nothing else. I learned many new things but felt that the overall quality of the books fell short of expectation. I have been too worried about all the practicalities of warehousing, sales and distribution to go it entirely on my own but now, I see a way forward. Like everything in life, this new venture of mine will be a gamble but I feel confident enough to have taken the first steps. Not entirely alone, I will be guided by an old and trusted friend whose company will handle all the tricky bits like storage, distribution etc. more of this later…
For now, I am the proud owner of Acornmoon Books complete with ten ISBN’s, a new logo and, fingers crossed, will see the first children’s picture book in the spring next year. I am hoping that given the right conditions, this tiny acorn sized venture will grow and thrive and if it falls at the first hurdle, well at least I will have tried.
I have also started to illustrate another book for a well known publisher, this time for an established writer who I admire enormously who also sometimes publishes her own titles. I dare not say too much about this as so much is still to be sorted and as they say, “There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip.” Hopefully I will be able to tell you more soon.
On the theme of acorns, I met up with two friends from the blog world -
Gretel from “Middle of Nowhere” and Frances from "City Views Country Dreams".
We met in Ludlow and had lunch and explored the town. Gretel, who makes the most wonderful needle felted creations gave me this exquisite acorn. The gorgeous stripy knitted gloves are the work of Frances from New York who was playing her very own version of “Miss Marple” whilst staying in a very old and quirky hotel in Ludlow. I have never met Frances before so it was an extra treat for me, and lovely to share some time with two very creative and interesting ladies.
Ludlow has much to offer, it has the most marvelous position but the inclement weather stopped us walking far. Amongst its many interesting shops we found a bindery shop and of course we had to venture inside for a spot of retail therapy. Well, could you resist hand-marbled paper? No, nor could I. We admired the many old black and white buildings, had a stroll around the castle, decided that the fallen leaves looked exactly like a Japanese Kimono pattern until all too soon, we had to say our goodbyes before heading home.
I am an illustrator and designer of textiles and surface pattern. This blog is a place to share inspiration and ideas. I have a special interest in book arts, including illustration, decoration and binding.