Monday, 27 August 2012

A Right Old Hoot

I don't very often blog about the stuff I make, but I thought I would share some pictures of the latest additions to my Etsy shop ~ a Rainbow of Owls.
I adore vintage fabrics, especially these bold kitschy florals, and as I was lucky enough to find most of these in one fabulous carboot sale I figured they ought to all stay together somehow.

I already had blue and green owl cuddle cushions in my Etsy shop, but with such a great array of colours I realised I could make a whole Rainbow of owls to join them.

Here we have two complete owls watching as I finish off their brothers and sisters.

Posing for a family photo together in the sunshine.

The owls are all available in my Etsy shop. Feel free to contact me for combined postage offers.

(if any colours have sold since posting this, please contact me as I may be able to remake in the same fabric)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Queen and Garden

Yesterday a friend and I took the kids to London to see a special exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery ~ The Queen: Art and Image. This exhibition has been put together to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and contains photographs and paintings of Her Majesty from the 50's through to the present day.

Dorothy Wilding's portrait is one of my favourites. Seeing it up close you can even see the brush strokes on the image.

Pietro Annigoni's Renaissance style protrait was inspired by an observation the Queen made while he was making preparatory sketches "When I was a little child, it always delighted me to look out of the window and see the people and traffic going by." To me, this painting is a poignant reminder of how a young woman was held seperate from the rest of us, and became a symbol for our nation.
In sharp contrast, Eve Arnold's portrait is one of sheer unselfconscious joy. Who says rain can't be a delight?!
I love this image of the Queen cradling Prince Andrew. Partly because it shows Her Majesty as a woman and mother, but I also adore the loving yet protective embrace she holds him in.
The final portrait in the exhibition is this one by Annie Liebovitz. Similar to the Annigoni portrait it shows the Queen cloaked against a natural background. But in this photograph the Queen is facing us, making a connection with the viewer.

There are many more portraits at the exhibition, and even more in the catalogue which also features a timeline chronicling the course of the Royal Family during Queen Elizabeth's reign so far. The exhibition is on until 21st October.

After lunch we walked up to Covent Garden for a wander around the markets. My son really enjoyed his first taste of Covent Garden and we had to stop and watch every street performer, from a balloon-swallowing magician to a knife-juggling heavy metal fan. We browsed the shops, my favourites being the Moomins Shop, and the oh-so shabby chic Sass & Belle, and the Apple Market, where we found this awesome t-shirt stall:

 Martin Eden is from Norfolk, and sells these airbrushed t-shirts exclusively at Covent Garden. My son loves his Pee and Poo shirt!

 And here I am with Flower Seller Mandeville, one of the many decorative Olympic Mascot sculptures that have been placed around the city.

There are 83 of these sculptures around London, each decorated to fit their location and placed on trails designed to encourage tourists to walk around the city and discover hidden gems and landmarks.

Hmm, I think I may have a plan for our next visit . . .

Monday, 13 August 2012

Inspirational Artists ~ Daphne Padden

I am a huge fan of vintage travel posters, from the pre-war deco style, to the kitschy post-war delights of the 50's and 60's. One of my favourite designers is Daphne Padden, who designed some beautiful posters in the 50's and 60's before turning her hand to miniature wildlife watercolours.

A portrait of Daphne Padden painted by her father, Percy Padden, himself a fine artist and poster designer.

There's not a great deal of official info about her online (not in my feeble attempts to research her anyway), she's not even been Wiki'd! Luckily for me there are other people who adore her work, but are much more skilled (and dedicated) in their research. Quad Royal have an abundance of images and information, and most of what I have learned has come from them so I will just summarise here, you shall have to visit their fabulous site once I've whet your appetite.

Daphne was born in 1927 and attended Epsom and Ewell School of Art. She began designing posters in the mid 50's and is probably best known for her British Transport Commission and Royal Blue Coach Services travel posters.

 That cat knows who to make friends with.

Even Poseidon holidays in Southend!

and these lovely Welsh ladies are just waiting for your visit!

But apart from a plethora of posters, Daphne also designed posters and packaging for M&S, the Post Office Savings Bank, the British Diabetic Society, ROSPA, P&O, Trust House Forte and British European Airways.

This telegram is an example of her work for the Post Office. Who wouldn't want to receive a bouquet of pink roses from a unicorn?!

I wonder how many of us remember signs like these?
I could happily share hundreds more of her designs, but I will let you discover them for yourselves. I'll just leave you with one of my favourite of her watercolours, Evening Flight of the Barn Owl.

I love the crispness of the owl flying over the misty softness of the landscape.

Daphne was elected a member of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers in 1984. You can find more of her watercolours on the Lincoln Joyce website. She died in 2009.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Tangerine Dreams

After a brief spell of dazzling sunshine, we seem to be back to grey and gloom here in Portsmouth.

Sadface :(

I found myself yearning for a little zesty brightness to cheer me up, so I put together this zingy Etsy treasury

I chose a variety of items different shades, different textures and a mixture of supplies, finished items and vintage goodies. I hope you'll see something to inspire you!

I love the texture of these ceramic beads, the touch of turqouise around the edge sets them off beautifully.

This cuff would go perfectly with the lovely maxi dress I just made (to be blogged about at a later date!)

I might get these soaps to put in homemade Christmas Crackers this year, I bet they smell as good as they look!

I hope this fruity treasury has inspired you. For more Orange inspiration, check out How About Orange ~ a brilliant blog jam-packed with funky fabrics, free downloads and fab tutorials.