Sunday, 17 March 2013

Redecorate, invigorate.

Evening dear reader, I'm at the end of a long day of DIY, admin, and taking my daughter to her first Urdd Gobaith Cymru poetry recital competition with her classmates. They performed so well, I was immensely proud of their efforts. They didn't get through to the next round, but they had a go.
On the drive home the sun came out to invigorate us, none of us really wanted to go back inside, so once home, the uniform was swapped for wellies and corduroys to build dens in the garden.

The kids and Tom worked hard outside, and I turned to my studio, where I could watch them ferry bits of wood back and forth between garage and hedgerow, whilst I redecorated my own den. My haven, my studio. I stripped the old straggles of paper remaining on the wall, and wallpapered a backing ready for painting tomorrow.

Exhausting work, mostly because I was intensely focused on the task in hand which allowed my thoughts to wander and mull over issues that have risen over the past few months. The work was indeed therapeutic,  only occasionally taking a little pit-stop for refreshments and evaluation of mine and the family's efforts.
We did good.

Sleep well dear reader.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Experience and development, it's how we roll

It's snowing. Outside, of course. Although inside could be just as cold (my feet certainly feel frozen). The weather is a temperamental thing, and I'm really ready for some warmer months seeing as the option of emigration isn't really viable...yet.

A couple of months have passed and I could say I'm someone different to the person I was back then. Not intentionally cryptic, I really have changed. It may be a step away, but that step is the result of experiential learning, so how could I not develop when that's precisely how we're built to function.
I'm scouring the internet for tutorials for adobe illustrator, I want to learn to use it to its full capability, at the moment I don't know how to use any of the buttons and it's more than a little irritating. Irritation aside, I'm using it to create a logo, the eden with pencils drawing girl is the original, it's Eden with her pencil, but as with all businesses, the logo has to draw the attention of the passers by. So I'm taking a chance on another of my drawings, this one is colourful and it's commonly found in the garden. The humble bumble bee.

The logo is on one of my lists, others included are:
 - sticking to and completing New Year's Resolutions (#1 done, see below)
 - networking and branching out
 - finding funding support
 - stock-piling
 - testing new ideas

All achievable, and yet they are all somewhat fuddled in my brain. I still have some issues to iron out.

On the topic of Resolutions, #1 on the check-list is to save money: we have become a one car family, with Tom riding to work two days a week so that I can get about. It means focusing travel agendas on what's needed and making use of public transport if an absolute must (like that impromptu dental check!). It doesn't help when too many things happen in one week and I feel a little stranded out here in the Vale. But that's life, and there are far more in a worse predicament. I just have to pass on my apologies and best wishes instead.

So this week I will be looking to strike off a few more notches on my list of things to do, and look forward to some warmth.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

Boreda folks! It's St David's Day today which means that Wales is celebrating its patronage with an abundance of red, white and green colours. It also means that we're already in March, Spring is here and the year is flying!

What is also flying is the speed at which this little venture has taken off. It has officially become a business, its roots firmly in Welsh soil. The past few weeks have been a haze of activity, all good, all positive, all exciting! Application forms have been sent in for Helfa Gelf Art Trail, Glasdir Spring Craft Fair, and Denbigh Eisteddfod, with sights set on more of these events to embrace the arts culture in Wales.
Networking, a new phenomenon for eden with pencils, began with a speed networking event at Patchwork Pate in Ruthin courtesy of Margaret Carter, mentor to the Goddesses, where I was able to present and listen to fifteen other creative and individually inspiring women who also run their own businesses. Part of my 2013 resolutions were to learn a new skill, so having met lovely Laura at the event, I signed up for her Bunting Workshop at her hidden gem of a studio in Mold. Laura runs other workshops too as part of her upholstery business Laura's Attic. Laura's sewing skills are incredible!
Check out the bunting I managed to make under the watchful guidance of Laura Capper!

Buzzing from the evening's impression on me, I ventured further to meet and kindle a kindred relationship with Rhewl's Hazel at Homewood Bound, Ruthin's Elle from Elle & Vintage, Lynne from Denbigh's very own handmade stockist Make the Most of  Dinbych, the delightfully delicious Denbigh Chocolate Shop's Mark (boss) and Nia (real boss) and superbly talented Holly Edwards Photography from Llanelidan. I am also really excited about meeting up at Patchwork for more networking and business mentorship.
I have quite a list of people and businesses with whom I would love to share my gifts, and if you spot my items on sale please let me know!
Recent commissions are slowly being posted on my facebook page, as they need to be delivered first. Here's a recent Nautical Bunting for a new 2013 baby boy, Woody. I just love these muted colours, and the simple nautical motifs on the back.

So as my first blog post of the new year (I know, it only took me two months!) I am pleased to be able to write with positivity, a warm glow around my heart (not just the coffee), and a change in perception about what it means to be capable, disciplined, and ready. Whilst developing my unique bunting tiles for all sorts of occasions, the plaque prints are coming along, the AlphaCubes are on show at the Sugar Plum Tea Room, and ideas are being whipped up for 2013's new adventures. It will surely make for an interesting year.

I hope to see many of you at my Craft Fair events or at my studio in September. I am  learning Welsh and will happily try it on some unsuspecting passers by...until then, Hwyl Fawr!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Rolling on...

Afternoon, dear readers! Here's a more upbeat post for you thanks to modern pharmaceuticals, and I suppose mindfulness. The past few months have crept by under a cloud and I appear to now spy glimmers of hope and future plans (that are still waiting to unfold from the last New Year). In our household, along with the usual Christmas nativities to prepare for, there is also the School Christmas Fair (do I, don't I hold a stall when social anxiety is a little prevalent), Christmas orders, Christmas presents to be bought and made, and a house move. That's right, we are deciding to up and re-clutter in another part of Denbigh just moments before the Christmas mayhem peaks. Why? Because that's the way we roll in our house, against the norm and when the time is right for us.
Lately, I have been able to moderately work on bits and pieces. I took to making some straight forward plaques as the repetitiveness was therapeutic. Whilst weeding (not your garden variety) and painting, I was able to get my thoughts going again about what my orders should look like, and how best to achieve them.
Here are some recent Christmas bits...

Now as I'm listening to Rhianna's glorious 'Diamonds' on BBC Radio 2 and it's starting to darken outside (3.46pm!), I am looking forward to already writing the next blog with more pieces to show you. The heating has had to come on early, we don't have snow yet, and the kids are safe home eating crackers and melon.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Bleak Mid-Winter

It's midday and I've done more since waking this morning than I seem to have managed in the past week. It's winter, and today the sun is out. The difference in my coping ability is striking. Yesterday winter was all about greys, blacks, dark thoughts and hopelessness. Today, it's about fresh faces, blue skies, crisp air, orange and red leaves, and icicles on the porch roof. Same me, different outlook. I'd really like to hold onto today's outlook for longer! Have not posted here for quite some time. Not because I had nothing to say, but because I couldn't bring myself to say what was going round and round in my head. Off with the old, awkward nonsense, here's what I came on here to show you...

Individual letter AlphaCubes painted with Annie Sloan, Craig&Rose or Farrow & Ball paints. These can be personalised if you would like a set made for you.

Hallowe'en - I sort of missed the date with these, but they'll be ready for next year!

SEASIDE - Examples of styles and patters used - the E went a bit squiffy, but with practise they'll be beautiful.

LOVE - another font and pattern that can be put together, as well as HOME below.

Little AlphaCubes I call them. They're 4x4x4cm and made of redwood. They're hand-cut, sanded, painted, re-sanded, varnished and decorated with a decal. I've made lots of different ones which go together to make a word, or individual letters with an image. Some are retro, some are vintage, some are bright and colourful. While I gather my creative armour for the orders I have on the go, these cubes give me that edge to do something different which is very in-keeping with the eden with pencils style. More Christmas delights on the way in the next post. Until then, stay safe everyone xx

Monday, 8 October 2012

Shifting horizons

Morning readers, today is a grim weather day, particularly so after the lovely blue sky of October's first weekend. I am scoffing chocolate, my soul food at the moment, it's going a long way to keeping me a little bit cheery while my nose is fresh and pink. It comforts the palette in any case.
It's been a while since my last post, mostly because life at home has taken some unexpected twists and turns, with reality being obscured and routine immensely disrupted. Commissions I painted over the summer are posted below, and perhaps I could churn out some non-commissioned pieces before Christmas, who knows. Whilst not wanting to deliver a blog memo that is unconvincingly vague about what's really going on,  I'm talking about depression and its ability to cling onto emotions and brain-thoughts like chewing gum. Days are passing by with small goals to achieve; getting up, dressed and eating being the main ones, so it's not so easy to concentrate on the larger goals of art pieces that I would love to have ready by Christmas and the chase for buyers of commissioned work.  Every now and then I might have a spurt of energy that eclipses the darker patches, but they don't last long, perhaps long enough for me to have the idea of doing some housework or starting a new plaque design. Inevitably, there are a few unfinished ideas hanging about the desk space, I'm sure they will come together eventually, but not today.

The Lily Pad is a nursery on Anglesey. One of their little ones graduated from there this summer and his family wanted to give a unique gift to the nursery as a thank you present. The plaque shows the different classes of the nursery - tadpoles, frogs and dragonflies. With this I also decided to start painting the edges of the plaques so that the story could be seen from all angles. It makes a more interesting piece and is a style that has delighted the receivers.

Kitty was also a summer project. Born in 2012, hers is inevitably related to the Jubilee, and that London City  style.

'Aiden' was a project I started over the summer, a present from a husband to his wife on her birthday. A door plaque for Aiden's room and a watercolour new baby painting depicting New York Central Park in the background and Aiden's baby statistics in the detail. I didn't get a final photo of Aiden's baby painting, so hopefully the new owner will be able to oblige...?

Since finishing Aiden's designs I took a rest from wanting to build ideas. My thoughts were tired. Last weekend I sat down and painted what came to me. Minimalism is appealing at the moment as I have little want or patience for longer projects. I managed to quickly mix up some new Christmas cards - solitude, peace, and simplicity are the reason for their 'lack' of whimsical, intricate and bold designs that I tend to go for. Perhaps next time I will be more cheery and even festive? Take a look at the pieces and let me know what you think xx

Monday, 27 August 2012

It's a little bit funny

Greetings reader, if you're in the UK you'll no doubt be wishing for better, drier weather before the summer has well and truly passed. I sit here in a roll neck polo jumper thinking just that.
Recently I have had a frenzy of business with orders to process according to a schedule in my diary, and gifts to make that weren't on the list but were made as any handmade product is, a stand-in for that children's party where both parents forgot to buy the little present and card. Step in 'creative mother' with a few spare letter blocks and voilà! The child has a gift for the birthday girl...of course, handmade card from mother's stock in accompaniment.

A new plaque for this week is a delightfully whimsical watery plaque for a nursery over on Anglesey. It's a little bit funny with each character playing a part in the aquatic display. The theme derives from the stages of this particular nursery that are tadpoles, dragonflies and frogs. So a few other bugs were thrown in for good measure.

This time I decided to paint all the edges as part of the image so that the story continues from all angles (except the back which retains its clean original wood). If you would like to see more creatures like these then drop me an email and what you have in mind. I think this is one of my favourites and will become part of the printed range which will be ready before Christmas...oooh, now there's a word which will crop up again soon!

Till then, tally ho! x