Thursday, 14 September 2017

Good Luck Jam!





My bezzie mate of over 30 years is moving to Edinburgh. 
We lived opposite each other all throughout our school years and shared a house in Brighton for a couple of years. We've laughed and cried and partied and danced and talked so much over the years - admittedly less and less since our boys came along but we've always had such a giggle!

I decided to send her a handmade silly fun pop-up card, as I'd been experimenting with pop-up card ideas lately. She's holding up a map of Scotland and a list of essential Edinburgh slang words - a very entertaining and educational bit of research! The card was cobbled together whilst wrangling 2 boys so there are plenty of mistakes and room for improvement, but it was really good fun putting it together and I felt like I learned a few things :)

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

BookFest 2017 poster!!




A little over a month to go until the fantastic children's book festival BookFest in Bedford! Last year I took my boys to see Julia Jarmanwhich they loved, and I ran a drop-in arty crafty workshop "Make your own poster book", which produced brilliant results, yay!

For this year's BookFest, I was asked alongside the Circus of Illustration by David Litchfield to illustrate a favourite children's book character for the poster. Ooooh decisions decisions! So many to choose from but I soon realised that some characters were really hard to re-imagine as their original image was so strong. 

In the end I decided to go with Cat in the Hat and Moonface from The Magic Faraway Tree. Although inimitable, I thought there was quite a bit of room for interpretation when reading Cat in the Hat and so I created a completely different version of him. Moonface, on the other hand was a fairly recent discovery for me so I had a blank slate, which made it a little bit easier.


The characters (from left to right) are:

Mr Toad by Andrew Foster
Moonface by me
Peter Pan by Kristina Bullen
Aslan by Katie Allen
Cat in the Hat by me
Gangsta Granny by Marisa Straccia
Alice by Emily Ross

The poster was put together by the wonderful David Litchfield, the type by super talented Katie Allen!




Thursday, 17 August 2017

!



Explaining to the toddler what an "!" (Exclamation mark) is in a game of "Dobble", and he came back with the excellent "Extra-bacon mark"!



I turn my back for 1 second...


...and find him playing with a bit of chewing gum he's peeled off the pavement. 



(This is what happened the last time.)

At Bromham Mill






You can now find some of my hand sewn toys for sale at Bromham Mill in Bedford.



Here they are in fine company :)



Dragons






We held a dragon-themed party for our No 1 dragon! It involved weeks of planning (well, just talking about it casually whilst watching telly) and about a crazy week of making! Here's what we did:

CAKE TOPPERS - it's surprisingly hard to find a cheap dragon toy last minute (because no matter how organised I think I am, the reality is I am and always will be last minute) but there are lots of dinosaur toys, so I made some silly wings and flames out of cardboard and stuck them on. I made the trees by gluing sushi grass onto skewers. It all looked pretty bad and hilarious. This is the look I was going for. 

HEADDRESSES - we made about 30 dragon headdress, with different coloured wings and tail tips. Despite the heavy rain the kids donned their dragon headdresses and ran wild, YAY!

PINATA - my partner Sam spent days paper mache-ing and glue-gunning and painting. By the end of it all his fingers were covered in blisters, all for the kids to bash the hell out of it and grab the loot!

And for afterwards...we made Thank You cards using the dragon print made during Daisy Hirst's printmaking workshop we attended a week earlier.

It chucked it down all afternoon on the day of the party, which goes to show that you can't plan everything but we had fun all the same :)






Monday, 17 July 2017

The most excellent fantastic Daisy Hirst!






On Saturday we went to a most excellent fantastic printmaking workshop run by author illustrator Daisy Hirst. It was my first visit to the House of Illustration where the workshop took place, and I felt excited and inspired the moment I stepped in, with it's shop full of beautiful cards and books as well as the gallery filled with beautiful original artwork.

I was a little worried about the length of the workshop (3 hours for a 5/6 year old could go either way!) but he loved it and we made it through without any tears or tantrums, phew! He got stuck in right away and created some lovely prints and we both came away inspired, wanting to carry on doing more at home :)

I loved how we were able to have a real printmaking experience using simple, familiar and safe materials. Daisy was brilliant at planting a seed for an idea which set off the children's imaginations! I loved the village scene she had drawn on huge black sheets of paper, which she then invited the children to print on. Soon the buildings were filled with a whole array of intriguing characters and narratives. 

She shared her sketchbook with us, which was absolutely fascinating! Crammed full of teeny tiny lovely drawings, with each character only measuring about 1-2cm!! 
Below is an A3 sheet of paper which our boy crammed full of dragon and alien sketches today. I imagine they were inspired after seeing Daisy's sketchbook.


We've been reading our (tinily) signed copy of "Alphonse, that is not ok to do!" throughout the day and it's been top pick for their bedtime story 2 nights in a row - the boys LOVE it as do I :)







Thursday, 13 July 2017

Carwash


SLEEP seems to be a recurring theme when it comes to illustrating motherhood, especially when you have 2 terrible sleepers :'(
These days we often end up with both of them in our bed, rotating and wriggling non-stop (with Daddy getting booted out) and so I name this new position "The Carwash".
You can find previous sleep positions here and here.

What are you doing H?


I found him casually leaning against the wall with his legs arranged like a no 4, so I asked him,

"What are you doing?" and he replied,
"Being a flamingo". 
Obviously.

I turn my back for 1 second...


...and find him drinking a puddle through a straw.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Wild Bats


I asked my boys what musical instrument they would play if they were in a band. Eldest answered electric guitar, youngest said electric rattle, haha :D

I asked who else was in the band and what's the band's name?

So here are WILD BATS, with Oki and Leon on guitar, Hoshi on electric rattle, Emma on drums and Tom on electric piano. With a name like that I feel like they should appear on stage like this:



Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Big Lunch






We are having a street party in our neighbourhood, as part of The Great Get-Together in honour of Jo Cox. It's all about celebrating "community, commonality and connections", and we are lucky to be part of a lovely, friendly neighbourhood with a strong sense of community.

A small group of us have been getting together regularly to plan The Big Lunch and it's been so much fun! I've loved having something to think about outside of motherhood (maybe a bit too much) and have been enjoying getting a little creative after a long absence. I've put together some placemats and have got a little carried away making some foody props for our Insta-wall. I'm looking forward to seeing all the photos after the event, but most of all I'm looking forward to sharing food and time with friends old and new :)  



"We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us" 
Jo Cox (1974-2016)


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Dragons dragons!










Our 5 year old is all about dragons at the moment, so my partner asked him to draw some dragon parts to turn into stickers. He's been having lots of fun putting together a whole variety of spiky winged creatures. Dragon No 4 is by his friend Tom :)

We might put together a new Make Your Own Poster Book pack soon, on the theme of - you guessed it - DRAGONS!





Saturday, 29 April 2017

Letters, Lettuce, Sailor and Chubs






I've been doing the tiniest bit of sewing a day whilst the little one naps, and have finally managed to complete 4 more squishy friends to join the Minty Bob Gang, yay! The round orange one reminds me of the lovely chubbiness of a baby and makes me smile each time I hold it, ahhhh :) 



Monday, 10 April 2017

Yikes Spikes!






Today was the warmest day of the year so far. Blue skies and glorious sunshine, beautiful! Shame I could only enjoy it from the confines of our very warm home with all the windows closed as my hayfever fully kicked in :'( I get it really badly every year and it's a messy itchy horrible NIGHTMARE!

Rather than be miserable and mope about, I decided I would take advantage of my partner being home to get the sewing machine out and sew whilst the little one napped and older one was entertained. 

The older one is obsessed with dragons at the moment. He draws them all the time and comes up with great names for them. I asked him to draw me one to make a while ago (I had to keep on reminding him to keep it SIMPLE!!!). It's probably taken me about 2 weeks but I have finally managed to finish it, hooray! There are lots of mistakes and it's a bit lumpy and bumpy and funny looking but he seems to like it and immediately held it in his arms and chewed on its tail so I think that's a thumbs up :)