Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Giveaway on lovelylittledeer!

Have a look here for a great interview with Applenoggin, and get a chance to win goodies!

I love Becky's interviews with crafty ladies - so far she's interviewed most of my heroes anyway! Can't wait to see who's next!

Scarab sketch


Preparation for part 3 of my tattoo

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Today's Etsy picks - Paper Patchwork

I've been making my Paper Patchwork pictures all day today, and more or less finished five. It's my obsessional personality. I searched on Etsy to see if anyone was selling anything similar, without thinking 'I'll search for collage', as any normal person would. I searched for 'paper patchwork' and didn't find anything - I did find some other nice stuff instead though, so I decided to choose some for this week's picks.

Patchwork Washing

This is mine, obviously. I could see this in my head for days, but couldn't find any small pegs. Once I finally found some, I just did it straight away.

Life Is Like a Patchwork Quilt by Design4u

I think this is really lovely, and she ships internationally! Not enough Etsy sellers let you know they do this, and I'm often scouring the pages to see if they do. I'd love to see lots of different quotes on similar canvases.

Miss Kekoshi by mapetitepapeterie

It was hard to choose between this and The Patchwork Millipede. All of these delicate prints are really beautiful.

Patchwork Journal by brookiellen

I think these journals are perfect for gifts, and I really like the mixture of fabrics used. You can't beat cherries.

Sweet Patchwork Doll by pinkytoast

I chose this one because it's something I had in my head, and I would never do it as well as this. I really love the style of these prints which are available on mirrors and keyrings as well.

Patchwork cat Greeting Card by dailypaper

I chose this one as I love the mixture of red, black and white, and the really simple shapes used to create the cat. It's obvious what it is, and yet there's almost no features. It also gave me the idea that I might scan in my collages and use them to create cards myself!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Paper Patchwork

Yesterday was productive - I got a few canvases and cards I'd been planning in my head finally finished. I'm really enjoying the slightly retro nature of these paper patchwork items. Somehow they remind me of old cartoons. I'm thinking of doing more involved pieces using vintage paraphenalia, but for now, I'm making stock for the 2 craft fairs which are coming up. I know that doesn't sound like a lot of fairs, but
it really is for me!

All photos can be clicked on and viewed bigger.

My favourite is this washing line. I used silver thread for the line, corrugated card for the poles, and real miniature pegs.

Washing Line

Beach scenes - one of these is for my nephew, but I enjoyed making it so much I made one to sell as well

Beach Scene 2 Beach Scene 1

Four small canvases I found, which were screaming out for cupcakes in different colours - Ian loves these

patchwork 063

Two cupcakes

Patchwork Cakes

And while I'm here, a small painting I did from the flamingo photos


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Psychedelic jacket

Psychedelic jacket - complete
Originally uploaded by designbyclaire

It's karma baby
Send someone a whole big bunch of psychedelic material, and you get amazing clothes made for you in return.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Busy card making day!

I made a different sort of teabag card yesterday with these adorable teapot shaped cards I found!




I also got a card which gave me this idea on how to use the coffee we always take from hotel rooms - upcycled indeed!



Sachet popping out


Back of sachet and poem


Friday, 15 May 2009

Get It Off Your Chest! week - raffle to raise funds for MIND

I've decided to run an online raffle to raise some funds for MIND.

MIND is a charity in the UK which aims to bring about better mental health, and better understanding of mental health. They're currently running 'Get it off your Chest!' week, which is being supported by the marvellous Stephen Fry.

Until the end of May, I'm going to be running this raffle. To donate, click the button below. The donation amount is empty, but as long as you donate at least £1 I'll put your name in the hat. If you're drawn out, you can choose ANY painting from my art currently for sale! Anything!

Almost everything will be donated to MIND - the only thing I will be keeping will be the cost of posting it to you (and this is only because I currently don't have a job myself due to my mental health)

For my art currently available to see what you could win see here. If you win, and there's nothing you like, I'll do a commission!


I'll be pimping this on live journal, facebook, twitter and anywhere else I think of for the next two weeks. Please repost the link if possible!

Five Types of Teabags

I've been listing my new cards today, and whilst doing so, I thought about what else might be on Etsy with similar tags. I've been using the type of tea as a tag, so I tried each teabag type I'm planning on listing, and picked my favourite thing which came up under each one!

Here is my card. It has a poem on the front called 'Friendship Brew'. I stopped listing after I put 4 on, as I had some feedback on the forums suggesting I take photos before I put them in the bags. I hadn't even thought of this!

Here's one of my cards


Luckily for me, searching for Assam brings up lots of tea, my card and this item!

1898 Historical Map of Bengal and Assam from BananaStrudel

Old maps are fascinating. I've always loved the look of contour lines, and regularly use something like them in my paintings (such as the Orangutan). The only thing is I always want to cut them up, and it would be such a shame to destroy a map like this. I hope someone will find it, and cherish it in a frame.

English Breakfast

Breakfast Necklace by Chinachichi

Two of my favourite things are knitted food and huge necklaces, so as soon as I saw this, I knew it needed a wider audience. So far this lady hasn't made any sales, and I don't really understand why! They're like nothing I've ever seen before.


Glass Tile Pendant - Vintage Foreign Stamp by OutOfTheAshes

I'd really like to try making these glass tile pendants. However, they always look as if they must be fiddly, so I think I'll carry on looking at beautiful items like this one.

Earl Grey

earl grey tea petite wall hanging by CakeEaters

You might be surprised to see this from me. Usually I pick hideously bright, or ridiculous things. What really appeals to me about this tiny wall hanging is the mixture of textures and media. Anything miniature or with buttons added will usually get a second look from me too.

Lady Grey

1920s fashion, flapper - Lady in Grey Coat print by Gint99are

Since seeing The Changeling, I can't get cloche hats out of my mind! I've asked my friend Gemma to crochet one for me, but in the meantime I'll have to make do with admiring this print from a series on 'Ladies of the roaring 20s'. I love her severe yet beautiful face.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

New greeting cards

This weekend I've been playing around with scraps of the lovely paper I got the other week, and enjoying making these collage type things. What do you think?

stuffz 088 stuffz 083

stuffz 087 stuffz 092

(you can click on any photo to go to my photostream and see the others I made)

I also finally came up with a way to use the lovely vintage photos Claudia let me have from her 'hoarding' box.

stuffz 097 stuffz 094

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Octopus Picks on Etsy

I'm thinking of having an octopus tattooed on my other arm, so of course I'm searching around online for designs I like. There's a cornucopia of octopi on Etsy, so here's a rundown of the best ones I found.

So, let's not beat around the bush. This one is mine. It's the first thing I painted with interference colours, and I'm still proud of it. I'd love to see it go to a good home.

Deluxe Socktopus

by BlackbirdFashion

This take on the sock monkey is adorable. The colours in the stripes, and the expression on his face, compliment each other perfectly to make a very desirable toy or collectible.

Octopus - water Art card

by blauerelefant

This art card with 3D elements is a beautifully abstract representation of tentacles. The artist has stripped down the main features of an octopus to make the subject recognisable, whilst not figurative.


by EveryEskimo

Another plush, but in a totally different style. There's something cute about this nesting octopus, and yet slightly threatening in her face. When I look at her, I can't decide if she's benevolent or dangerous. Whichever it is she's beautifully made, with perfect detailing.

Octpus Suction Cup Ring

by OctopusMe

This jewellery made from real octopus tentacles is something you either love or hate. Personally, I love the texture of the silver, and the way the suckers are used to hold the turquoise. If I could have one thing from Etsy, it would be one of these rings.

Giant Tentacle Necklace

by RobotGhost

To finish with, here's an extremely gaudy necklace I nearly bought, until Ian saw it over my shoulder and decided he wouldn't go anywhere with me if I wore it. The mixture of colours used in all their jewellery are exactly the sort of clash I enjoy, whilst the use of tentacles is eye catching and bizarre.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Tattoo art

I had the second part of my tattoo done yesterday. Finding someone to put permanent art on your body is a tough job, especially when you've never had one before, and are a perfectionist. Everyone in Leeds told me to go to Physical Poetry. I was skeptical as it's in Hyde Park, close to where I used to work, and I have to admit going back to that area scares me.

After my first visit, I knew I'd found the right place. Dave Bewick is an amazingly talented artist, as well as being a really pleasant bloke to chat to. I didn't want just any tattoo, as an artist I needed it to be a perfect work of art, and Dave's gallery showed he could deliver.

Some people can have a negative view of tattoos. To me, they've always been beautiful, but I've always been terrified of the permanent nature of them. My recent breakdown made me revel in the impermanence of things; yes a tattoo is permanently on your skin, but it's only as permanent as the person itself, and we are not made to live forever.

So since getting my tattoo my life has changed in a few ways. I found links to The Wet Spot on Dave's website, a burlesque evening in Leeds, and got tickets for myself and Ian. Chatting to the organiser led me to Dr Sketchy's, which I took Claudia to, and we both loved. I worked up some of the sketches I did there into paintings, which I sold to fund the next part of my tattoo! It set off an amazing chain of events in my artistic life.

In my personal life, it gave me extra confidence. I managed to do something which had frightened me, so every time I didn't think I could do something, I'd look at my arm and remember that I was able to get my ink done, and feel a boost. It boosted my body confidence, and I wore a sleeveless dress to the reunion, which I never would have done in a million years before.

tattoo 1

My first tattoo, a butterfly for my mum - she told me she's always wanted a black butterfly tattoo, but Dad hadn't liked the idea, and it was her one big regret. When she died, I vowed I would get one as a tribute to her. The sakura blossoms are a symbol of impermanence, and a butterfly also represents change. I saw the tattoo as a symbol of me getting over my mental health difficulties, and beginning a new life.


Last night's dragonfly, fresh from the needle. I wanted a dragonfly as last year a good friend sent me some dragonfly earrings, and told me they were a symbol of freedom, and she hoped I would find some peace. Since then, dragonflies have been 'our thing'. The first thing I painted after years of not painting was for her 40th birthday, and was a dragonfly. That painting got me back into painting, and was my salvation from my mania-induced scratching by giving me something else to do with my hands. Without painting, I don't know where I'd be today. So the dragonfly symbolises how art has given me freedom.

Katie and me

Here I am wearing the sleeveless dress at the reunion.

The piece of work which Dave did that piqued my interest in visiting the studio and meeting him. I took a painting I'd done to try and explain what I was seeing in my head, and he just seemed to know what I wanted. The first time I went back and saw the incredible butterfly transfer for the first time, I felt like crying it was so perfect.

So, of course, I am now interested in the design qualities of tattoos. I've been looking at vintage flash, other tattoo art, artists who paint on canvas as well as skin, and the possibilities of computer aided tattoo flash during my art course.

It's going to be a great 34th year.

Cupcakes - the nation's favourite

Cupcakes are the perfect food design. I've discussed it before with my friend Cakey, who originally made me see the light. Cherries are beautiful, but atop a cupcake, they are divine.

Cupcakes abound all over Etsy, and I don't just mean in my shop. Here are my favourite picks of Etsy finds which I wish I had the money and space for.

Obviously I'm starting with my own, or there would be little point in having this promotional blog really. Also it's the only one which is part sea creature.

Octopus Cupcake

Cupcake Quilt by QuiltingDiva

This adorable quilt hanging reminds me of something my Mum would make. It has cupcakes, cherries and sweets, the best designed food you can hope to draw.

Cupcake Card by Modernradar

I really love the way this cupcake is drawn, with the retro style simple black lines. It's kooky and nothing like I've seen elsewhere.

Cupcake Scarf by Twinkiechan

I talked about this the other day, but I just can't talk about cupcakes on Etsy without drooling over this again.

Cupcake Kitty shirt by JesterFunnyBooks

Whilst I don't really want this t-shirt, I love the design. Anyone who mixes animals/people with cakes is ok by me.

Keep Calm and have a Cupcake plaque by JennysBakeShop

Retro, red, cupcakes. I want this for my kitchen.