Thursday, 30 December 2010

Books and stuff

I love books, all sorts of books, especially old ones. I have loads here that i've picked up from auctions and sales, some are to go in the shop for sale and some i just can't bear to part with so i keep them for myself. I found these gorgeous images of book artwork whilst browsing on Etsy and fell in love with them. The "EarthArt" prints were about $350 - I'd better start saving!
InspireSomebodyLLC EarthArt

This is what i've been so busy with leading up to Christmas! Gavin found this vintage (1960's) cocktail cabinet at the end of the summer and brought it home thinking Nicci would like it for Christmas. It hung around for a few weeks whilst i played around with ideas on how to make it look better, it was a horrible brown varnished piece and i originally planned to decoupage vintage cocktail adverts all over it, but when i started, it didn't seem to work very well, and i felt it was crying out for a massive change from it's drab, boring life!! So this is what i did, she loved it:
Starting from the bottom of the cupboard. The inside was painted in a lovely duck egg blue, as was the entire outside of the cabinet before the design went on.
Gavin fixed the light, and as you pull down the front of the cabinet the top automatically lifts up and a mirrored counter is displayed to prepare cocktails. Notice the original vintage cocktail skewers (quite lethal in my opinion), stirrers and fruit juicer attached to the lid so they stay in place when it's all closed up.
Doors shut
Top closed (notice the background vintage vodka image!)
Right side
Left side
Now...who's this naughty little girl? More to the point, what's she done on the rug???
Lizzie's had a great Christmas, she loves the shop, takes every possible opportunity to escape in there and run around like a mad thing! She's had a fab christmas, including a christmas dinner complete with sprouts!... much to Gavin and Nicci's disgust...(and mine actually when they started taking effect.....never again!!!) and a pretty new red collar with matching lead and a plastic squeaky apple core. She's been great fun, is growing like mad and is a pooing and weeing machine!!! This is our new victorian housekeepers cupboard we got from the Montgomery auction before Christmas £35, how amazing is that? it's in the shop for a while, but we bought it for our own kitchen when we get around to doing it, we have two now (both are currently in the shop), they're going to look stunning when we eventually get them in the house though.
St Nicholas in the snow from Arthur Street
Arthur Street in the snow. The Old Bell Museum on the left with Bunners in the distance
Four days off for Christmas (more to come) and i managed some more painting. I prepared about thirty of these smaller blocks of wood, to replenish the shop, and made a start on painting them. this is what i've done so far. None are finished yet.

I've learned over the years to de-stress and enjoy Christmas. It's so precious having Nicci spend so much time here with us, i'm so aware that she's growing and changing fast and will probably want to be elsewhere with friends, boyfriends perhaps on future Christmases. I treasure the time she chooses to be here, Gav and i both do. We play games, go for walks, enjoy lovely meals and have long, precious mother/daughter chats over cups of tea/coffee and wine.
Christmas should be a time for family, precious time spent together with people you love and care about, or even apart, but at least in contact and wishing each other love and happiness. It hasn't been like that for me this year unfortunately with most of my family.
I think even more now about how precious my time is spent with Nicole, how important it is to talk with her, listen to and encourage her, be there for her no matter what i hear from other people, to constantly learn from her, to understand how good the differences between us are, to understand how she reacts to upsets, and know what makes her happy, and never forgetting how much she's a better part of me.
"A Mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people promptly announces that she never did care for pie"
- Teneva Jordan

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Just one more before Christmas!! post that is....not a sherry! Hic!

I do love the Winter Solstice it always makes me feel philosophical about life, i don't know why particularly, it always seems so fresh to me, the wheel stopping and turning again, the return of the sun, seeds of life deep underground starting to stir again. I've never really been one for wishing the cold winter months away, i've always loved the different seasons, but this winter has been particularly difficult. I guess living in an old house with no modern central heating is asking for trouble in our current "arctic" climate, it feels like ice has penetrated to my bone marrow and i wonder if i'll ever feel warm again!

Having said that, i wouldn't change where and how i live for anything. Living here in Montgomery, for us, has been the icing on the cake so to speak, we couldn't have imagined getting things so perfectly right when we decided to settle here and open our shop. Having scoured the length and breadth of Britain, including the islands of scotland and even a windmill in Lincolnshire! we decided nowhere else had that "Montgomery" feel to it and it had to be here.

This new year we won't be making any new resolutions, but rather improving on old ones. 2010 has been an amazing life experience for us, with no end of learning curves.

All our long term friends and new friends, the lovely friends i've met through blogging, My gorgeous Nicci, Gavins family and my lovely sister, and her family, have been here with us throughout the year, all armed with masses of encouragement and help (and the occasional much needed cake, bottle of wine and bag of shopping) - Gav and I do know that we wouldn't have achieved any of what we have without their unconditional support and belief in what we thought we could achieve. Both of us, especially me are eternally grateful for the layers of protection these lovely people formed around us regarding the negative situations we came up against.

For me the new year holds much promise, first of all we have our wedding to think about and rearrange we'er so looking forward to it. My artwork will be featured/published in a fab magazine in March/April and i've been asked to contrubute to something else in the magazine too. Also having sold so much of my art over the last few months i'm thinking of hosting my own art exhibition, which i may do at Indigo Moon or hire the room at the museum here, but first i have much creating to do. I''ve also been asked by a few people to organise some teaching workshops, which i'm quite keen to do, so i have to put some thought into that. Both Gav and i are looking into doing some printing of my artwork onto greetings cards and also for framing as prints etc - so it's all exciting and very hectic.

We've also managed to sell our house in South Wales and now have the funds to furnish The Armoury as we want it, it's an old house and we have some fab ideas. We've already started collecting old furniture and bits and pieces, which will look stunning when we get around to decorating and placing everything.

Gav's been busy with Effigy Music, he's done a lot of filming this year with commissions from some renowned bands. He recently had to battle the weather to film at Shepherds Bush in London, but managed it admirably there and back and all went well,

Well, i'm just about to close up the shop and enjoy the Christmas break, as i hope you all do. First assignment is around to the neighbours for a drink!!!!

See you all in the new year


Sunday, 19 December 2010

I'd forgotten how much hard work having a puppy was, besides the toilet training problems now there's the constant biting - but she is sooooooo beautiful and we're so glad she's with us. I can't believe how good she is, she's barely cried since we've had her, and is so cute, playful and sociable. Awwwww....just look at her!!I had so many plans and ideas for spending time in my art room, but i just can't resist being with her, so it's all gone by the wayside. Anyway, these are some works in progress. This is detail of a larger piece.

I started this piece a few years ago it was a commission for a friend i worked with as her daughter was an ice skater. I never managed to finish it and the lady movd on... I think i may try and revive it.
I went through a phase of creating trees, lots of swirly branches.

And this one for my baby girl, Nicci, who loves books.
This, believe it or not, is actually a print of my very first collage, sold many years ago. I was so impressed with this giclee print, it still looked real.
Prepared blocks of wood ready for collages, i sold another three today in the shop, so am now down to just a few, better get on and finish them over the christmas holiday.

Must say i'm really looking forward to having some time off over Christmas, we're planning a week off at the end of January and heading off somewhere nice to relax before we prepare for, hopefully, another busy Spring.

Hope you all have a brilliant christmas and new year, an looking forward to spending some time looking at everyone's blogs.


Sunday, 12 December 2010


Our beautiful new Golden Retriever puppy
We picked her up yesterday evening from Shrewsbury, one of a litter of eleven, six girls and five boys. She's adorable. Nicci rushed up on the train to help us choose...and hasn't stopped cuddling and hugging her since. She's settled in really well, barely a cry from her all night, except she wanted to play this morning at 2am. We love her so much already. We miss our other beautiful pets, but Lizzie will help us through that, the house seemed so empty without a little pet around and
we have so much love to give her!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Apologies for my header at the moment...i'm playing around with a new picture!
Another of my collages i sold today!
"It is a wise thing if kept steadily in mind that the beauty of expression is essential to the artist"

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


We lost our beautiful pussycat, Alice, a few days ago and we're devastated. She had been poorly and Gavin found her on the sofa barely able to move and we suspected it was near the end. We took her to the vet and they put her on a drip but she died in the night, peacefully. She was nineteen years and four months, a good age, and healthy for nearly all of it. We miss her so much.
It's so hard losing a beloved pet and harder to lose two beloved pets in one year.
"A Meow massages the heart" ~ Stuart McMillan

Friday, 3 December 2010


It was late night shopping here at Indigo Moon last night and......yaaaaaayyyyy....i sold a few pieces of my art. I love having my own outlet for my art, for many years i created it and then left it leaning against a wall in the spare bedroom, i didn't know about etsy and folksy then, but there's something about people coming into the shop and looking and hearing their comments whether it's positive or negative, but to be honest there aren't many negative comments (except maybe regarding pricing) if people don't like it they just pass it by and look at something else.
The person that bought my art yesterday took ages to decide which piece he wanted, he said he liked it all, asked lots of questions and we talked about the narrative element of the art. He was buying for his wife and was really taken with the words that related to the piece, he also picked out another smaller piece to compliment it, again really interested in the words. He then returned to the shop today to buy another larger piece!

I love choosing the narrative element to go on my art, i usually create it and then scour my decrepit and dusty vintage book pages for words that might suit the piece, picking out a sentence here and there. I have story books, poetry books, reference books, although i really must stop buying them now as i have far too many, but i'm hopeless when i see the crumbly, dusty, old and stained pages, they're so perfect, it's like giving them new life! I always think when i pick out the words that they will appeal to someone and be relelvant to something going on in their llife and they'll be simply compelled to buy. Interestingly, having sold a lot of the smaller pieces recently, i have noticed that the ones that are left are the pieces without any words on, so i might have to re-do them.

Anyway, it's all really exciting for me and given me the confidence to at least think about doing an exhibition of my art. Montgomery's a great place for it, there's a room at the museum and there's the town hall and also the shop here, i think i could re-jig the kitchen area again to hold regular art exhibitions.

It's taken me a long time to get here, with a few sacrifices along the way but it was worth it. There were times when i didn't think i'd make it this far but i believe in possibilities, I am now a fully fledged full time artist and possibilitarian and i'm loving it.

It looks like Gav will be filming a band again next week in London, i hope the weather is better by then i worry about him travelling, especially in this weather. We thought we'd have a relaxing run up to Christmas now after the Steve Hackett concert, but needs must, and we have to take the work when it comes up.

Our poor little cat Alice is so very poorly at the moment bless her, the vet thinks she may have had a stroke and she's currently on a drip at the vets. She's nineteen and half poor little thing and so small and delicate, it's so upsetting seeing her like this.

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer..."
- Harriet Tubman

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow in Montgomery. Outside the Dragon Hotel, this is where we sat on summer evenings with Nicci, Cathy, Garth, Heather and Galen after our walks around the castle. Wouldn't want to be sat there now though!!CHRISTMAS BAUBLE COMPETITION
Some of the entries for our bauble competition, aren't they cute, the children did really well and it was really hard to pick out the winners.
A new jewellery stand in the shop, this small mannequin is made of wood and decorated with vintage lace around the waist so i could attach these corsages, it looks so pretty.

Jools' gorgeous felt brooches she sent me for the craft fair, she's now agreed i can put them in the shop. They're stunningly beautiful.
Nicci and i decided we're making cup cakes next week, i can't wait. There's a fab shop in Shrewsbury that sells lovely cases and decorations so gav and i are going over on monday to get a load of stuff. I'll take loads of photos, i only have half a kitchen at the moment!! I'm sure i'll be covered in cup cake mix having to work so close to nicci! Should be fun though.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Craft Fair

These are the photos of the NSPCC Craft Fair held here in the Town Hall on Saturday. Huge thanks to Jo and Annie, not only for contributing their gorgeous creations but for staying with me all day too, it was great fun and they were really good company. Thanks also to Hannah of Lonely Hearts for sending her fab jewellery and other things and to Julie for sending me her gorgeous felt brooches. I couldn't have managed without you all.

Unfortunately I've had a very emotional time lately with a few issues that have left me feeling completely drained and fairly shocked. And even though I've had to make a very difficult decision, it will, hopefully, make things easier and allow me to get on with things.
Having said that there have been some really nice things going on in our lives too. Gav and i drove up to Birkenhead after the Craft fair on Saturday to see Steve Hackett play at the Pacific Road Arts Centre. We booked into a B&B because neither of us felt like driving back late in the icy weather. The B&B was above an Italian Restaurant and we had a lovely meal before the concert. It's so nice to spend intimate, quality time together, we talk for ages, he's tremendously supportive and helpful in difficult situations. He's filming Steve Hackett at Shepherds Bush on Tuesday, so we went to have a look at the performance so he could get some idea of what he would need to do. We were invited backstage for a chat and to meet members of the band, it was so nice.
Also I've finally managed to get my artwork and editorial off to Cloth, Paper Scissors magazines for publication. I think they said it would be in the March issue next year, i can't wait to see it.
Not enjoying this cold weather at the moment, haven't even ventured out for our evening walks for a few days. Perhaps we'll manage it when Gav gets back from London this week. We've been invited to a book signing at the country works gallery on Friday and after that we've no committments leading up to christmas and i'm so looking forward to having time to prepare the house for that.
"If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape it would be the shape of a boomerang"
- Charley Reese