Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Rose Painting

This painting is another one based on a photo from my America trip last year.

Portland's International Rose Garden has approximately 550 varieties of rose plant so there were plenty to take photos of during our vist. It's free to look around and you can get there on the shuttle bus that takes you all around Washington Park, which we were visiting for the zoo but the rose garden was an added bonus.

This painting is a small one and I decided to use acrylic paints as a change from my usual oils.

Thanks Portland for your inspiration and photo posing opportunities!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Felt Dogs

I recently had a free Sunday and felt like just watching tv all day so I put together a sewing project that would justify me doing so.

I decided on making felt dog faces, which is an idea that had been going round in my head for a while. With a ribbon hanger I thought they would be perfect gifts for dog-lovers and might do quite well when Christmas craft fair season comes around.
I made paper patterns for each dog, which will allow me to make multiples if I want to. For some of these dogs I was going for a particular breed, like this pug, but then what I thought would be a chihuahua ended up looking more like a french bulldog. Still cute either way!

One I had all the felt pieces cut out I just had to sew the features on to the main piece of felt and then sewing the two main pieces together, attaching the ears and the ribbon loop at the same time and adding some stuffing to give the faces a little more dimension.

I ended up watching almost the whole first season of UnReal on Amazon. That show is a bit ridiculous but pretty entertaining, and made for the perfect lazy Sunday.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

New Painting

My latest painting is a 30 x 80 cm oil on canvas. I have a preferance for long narrow canvases as they make for interesting compositions and, as someone who works primarily from photographs, I have to think carefully about how to crop the original image.

I was looking through my photos from my trip to America last summer, looking for something to paint, and came across this one which I don't even remember taking. I zoomed in on the image and knew straight away which canvas I was going to use.

The beach is Golden Gardens Park and my boyfriend and I took a trip there on our last full day in Seattle. We took the bus and asked the bus driver to let us know when it was our stop which he did by shouting back to us, "I am officially kicking you off the bus." Good guy.

I'm now on Instagram! @lisagharrold
This is the first large painting I've done since moving in to my boyfriend's tiny flat. Thank goodness for my table easel. That, combined with my old computer table, made for a pretty good workspace that didn't take over the whole living area.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Toot Fairy Book

 A little before Christmas my boyfriend Andrew decided he wanted to write a children's book (inspired by my previous literary endeavours I'm sure!) and I agreed to do the illustrations.
He played around with a few different ideas but knew he'd struck gold when he suddenly came out with, "How about 'the toot fairy'?"

 With the help of a couple of friends he wrote the book and then it was my turn to do the hard work and get the illustrations done.

With my previous two books I did all the artwork by hand. I drew the images and then coloured them using water colour paints. But for this book we knew we wanted a bolder, brighter look so I coloured the images on photoshop.

 I put the pages together in photoshop, adding the lines of text.

Then we sent it off to be printed! We're self-publishing the book using Create Space and it's available to buy on Amazon.

 So if you have a little kid in your life, or even a big kid, that likes fart jokes check it out!

And have a look at my previous books If I Lived There and Louisiana Ludgate and the Lollipops

Sunday, 5 March 2017

This Week I... my hair cut!
Since my last hair cut was three years ago this was kind of a big deal. During those 3 years I finally moved out of my parents house which meant I had to find somewhere to get my hair cut in my new town. I did thorough research and was happy with the place I decided on. A small, independent salon whose owner came with great reviews. She did a great job and discussed with me at the start which style would work best, although, word to all hairdressers; don't carry on the conversation whilst you're using the hair dryer. That can just be our quiet time, ok?

Like my last few hair cuts I will again be donating my hair to the Little Princess Trust. When I get around to posting it that is, for now it's just in a plastic bag on my kitchen table, creeping out my boyfriend.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Adventures in Modern Calligraphy #2

After being pretty pleased with my attempts at modern calligraphy using a felt tip pen I decided to try using a nib pen and ink.

From what I read on the internet I thought using this kind of pen would be difficult for me as a left-hander, but I was suprised to find that wasn't the case. Perhaps because I learnt a long time ago how to hold my pen so I don't smudge the ink. (I was taught by the guy in the Left Handed Shop in London which I'm not even sure exists anymore. It's where I bought my favourite left-handed scissors and a left-handed ruler).

Like my first attempts, I practised by copying calligraphy alphabets. I drew out guidelines in pencil to help me with the sizing of the letters. I love how these joined up ones looks.

To apply what I'd learnt I wrote a simple phrase and then painted a watercolour wreath around it because the internet is all about these at the moment, right? I can see why though; it looks so cool!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Owl Doorstop

This is my my latest craft project; an owl doorstop!

The idea for this project has a little story behind it. When I moved in with my boyfriend I brought a few pieces of furniture with me as his place needed some extra storage. One piece was a pink ottoman that'd be great for storing my shoes in. The only problem was that it wouldn't fit in in his monochrome bedroom. So I set about finding a grey blanket that I could use to cover it so it would be accepted. This was harder than I thought it would be, but eventually I settled on this fleece one from IKEA (which I bought via Ebay because IKEA's postage prices for cheap items is ridiculous).

My Mum helped me cover the ottoman and there was still quite a lot of blanket left over, as well as the scalloped edges which I immediatly looked at and thought 'owl!'

To make the owl I cut the front and back pieces from left over blanket and some spare white fabric, using a hand drawn paper pattern.

Before sewing the scallops I dabbed a little PVA glue to hold them in place. Then I could machine straight across a whole line of them.

 Just as I'd imagined it when I first saw the blanket!

I found some matching patterned fabric in my stash, which is actually from an old dress of my sister's, and used it to make the eyes along with some white felt.

When raiding my button box I found a wooden toggle which would be perfect for the owl's beak. I drilled a hole in the middle so I could sew through it.

I used zig-zag stitch to attach the eyes - something I'd never done before, especially on a curve - and added buttons for the pupils.

The main characteristic of a doorstop is that it's got to be weighty so I bought a 1kg bag of Tesco value rice to fill the bottom of the owl. I sewed a fabric pouch for the rice by sewing around the edge of a fabric circle and then pulling the thread like a drawstring bag.

The wings are blanket material on one side and patterned on the other with a layer of wadding inside. I hand sewed the top of the wings to the body of the owl.

The base of the owl was the most difficult. Once I'd figured out what shape it would be I cut the piece of patterned fabric and machine sewed half of it to the body, then I put polyester stuffing and the rice pouch inside, and a hand sewed the rest of the base.

I'm so please with how this turned out and because it's made from a fleece blanket it's so soft! Not that I've cuddled with it....