Saturday, July 30, 2011

Colour sketchbook

Yesterday, after spending five hours grumbling my way through the two biggest baskets of ironing in the world ever - thankfully aided by some good DVDs - I felt I deserved at least a little time to do 'me' things.

As luck would have it Gina had posted the next installment of the Colour Sketchbook project. I totally lost myself for over an hour. Who would have thought potato printing would be the perfect antedote to domestic drudgery?

I did seven pages of potato prints in my sketchbook! All still need to be worked into further but once I'd started I just couldn't stop.

I wasn't thrilled with the first prints as the paint was a bit thick and made the echinacea look a bit heavy - this may change once I work into them a bit more with watercolour washes.

However, after stamping all over some scrap paper to clean the paint off my potato stamps I realised I loved the softer, almost ghostlike images that were made once the stamp was less painty.

So, I found a big sketchbook and did a page with softer looking images.

I've even had to keep the scrap of kitchen paper that I cleaned my stamp on!

Just to finish off, and to get the very most out of my potato stamps, I hauled out some Scrapstore cotton for a bit of fabric printing. Not sure what I'll do with this yet but it's ready and waiting for inspiration to strike.

No post would be complete without a little Merlin Moog snapshot.

photo taken by Mr Moog when he discovered Merlin looking mournfully out of the front door wondering where his Mummy had gone - my boy loves me :o)

Now, I'm off to furtle about in the loft for holdalls - the Moogs are off for a little break and will be back very soon.

Happy stamping xxx

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

At last!

This has been a looooong term but finally the children have finished school and I've finished work and we have five and a half weeks (whatever happened to six weeks +??) to kick back, relax and get up in the morning when we're good and ready.

Yesterday was an emotional day for some (me) because my tiny baby boy left primary school for the last time, ready to go out into the big and scary (for me) world of secondary school, come 5th September.

My Monster didn't give into the overwhelming urge to blub and cry (unlike me) as you can see.

Earlier this week I picked this up in Sainsbury's, along with a more boyish version. The idea was that it will keep the children happily occupied during our relaxing break from school.

I sat down with a cuppa and had a browse. Oh my....

Ooh.....I want....

I suggested to Minx that she give me the book but she said a very firm 'No, buy your own!'. Charming!

By that time the shop was shut but the urge was strong - okay, the urge was more than a little overwhelming....

Suddenly no piece of paper is safe....

Most unlike me, I know, but I would appear to have become just a teeny bit obsessed.

So much so that I doodled in my diary all the way through a long work phonecall

and doodled while I waited for my overlengthy work computer log-in to happen

and stopped for a break for lunch and doodled my way through couscous and salad - and coloured in

This morning I was determined to have a bit of a lazy get-up but rather than waste time sleeping I doodled and doodled and doodled some more!

Might still have to buy me the book though - I need to do those doodled teacups!

I'll leave you with a very long-leggedy and suddenly un-puppy looking salty old sea dog - taken last Sunday at Hengistbury Head (yay Trashy - dog's allowed!!!).

Happy doodling :o)

Moogs xxx

Saturday, July 23, 2011


A few days ago Gina posted about her summer sketchbook project that she will be teaching and invited her blog readers to join in. I looked back over her posts from last summer and decided it might be just what I need to get my creativity going.

The first challenge was to choose a colour, which is to be used throughout the sketchbook. I chose blue so that I could indulge my love of turquoise. Gina then asked us to paint our first page with a wash of watercolour and cover it with clingfilm and leave it to dry.

I couldn't find my watercolours, so I dug out my acrylics instead and made up a juicy wash of paint. Once dry I had some great textured background to work with.

The theme of the sketchbook is 'close to home' and Gina suggested using something from the garden. My garden underwhelmed me completely and I struggled to find anything that I could develop into a good graphic image. Also, my drawing skills were most decidedly rusty so I cheated and photocopied a piece of bracken and blew it up by over 300%.

I then cut out the image to form a reverse stencil and once I discovered that no matter how hard I scribbled my white oil pastel just wasn't going to work, I switched to a darker blue which seemed to be much more promising. However, I wasn't very excited by the image so it was back to the drawing board.

After a good think I decided I'd love to do an echinacea flower....but I don't have one in my garden and cheated even more by using my very close to home computer and downloading some images off Google!

Echinacea #1 - outlined in orange oil pastel (still can't get the white to show up) on a background of Minx's cheapo watercolours.

Echinacea #2 - again on a background of Minx's cheapo watercolours, outlined in blue and worked into with black biro. Starting to look a little more promising.

I then decided to have a little play with some Markal paintstiks and my cut out images.

I coloured each image in with the paintstik and then using the image as a mask on white paper I scrubbed the 'paint' onto the white page with a toothbrush, as I'd seen Gina do on her 2010 posts.

After dinner I delegated the clearing up and got out Minx's crayons and watercolours for a quick play with some wax resist.

Earlier today I was doing some sewing - teachers' presents - and kind of mastered drawing (or rather writing) with the sewing machine and of course this got the cogs whirring so I sent Minx outside to bring in the washing while I tinkered with a bit of free-machine embroidery.

I'm already having so much fun with this and I'm really looking forward to seeing where it goes - thank you Gina for inspiring me :o)

As I mentioned earlier, there was present sewing today too. This year I opted for an apple for the teacher in the form of a pencil-case, for each of the children's teachers. Everyone loves to start the new school year with a brand new pencil-case, right?

Now for the knitting news.....I've recently been suffering a distinct lack of knitting mojo - most uncharacteristic for me. Even having four different socks on the needles wasn't inspiring me. Last night I decided enough was enough and got cracking with my beautiful bonkers Hexagon socks - this is my second pair of's a Ravelry link to the first pair,

I thought you might like to see my current bed-time reading - to round off this suddenly rather miscellaneous post!

I've wanted to do screen printing for a very long time but haven't yet managed to give it a go. I've been looking for local courses but having drawn a blank I did some Googling and came up with this lovely book.

Well worth a read if you feel the urge to print. Not just screen printing but block printing, stencilling, stamping and lots more. I love this book :o)

I'm hoping to squeeze in some more creative moments this summer, once we've broken up from school. We don't break up until Wednesday - far too late as far as we're concerned!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

fun with wallpaper

Last week I scored some rather fabulous rolls of wallpaper at the Scrapstore, to use with my school recycling groups at work. Obviously I needed to come up with some ideas, so I spent a happy hour on Sunday playing with scissors and glue.

This resulted in a revamped notebook, plus a gift bag...

...and a snazzy new look for my tatty old cardboard-box-clipboard.

I've been scouring the internet for fun and easy 'things to make with wallpaper' ideas that I can do with infant school children but most things seem a bit complicated. I usually work with 12 children plus a teacher and anything too involved usually ends up with me being surrounded by small people all saying 'Please can you do this for me?' Any ideas?

I came home from work yesterday to find an exciting looking parcel waiting for me. Inside it was even more exciting - a gorgeous bundle of goodies from my lovely friend Thimbleanna.

I was very lucky to win Anna's giveaway recently, for these fabulous Aurifil quilting threads.

I've never tried these threads and I can't wait to give them a go!

Anna also included these gorgeous little spools of baker's twine, complete with very pretty scissors.

As if that wasn't enough, all those goodies were wrapped in some beautiful Anna Maria Horner fabric....sigh....

Thank you so much Anna - you really made my day :o)


Saturday, July 16, 2011


Rainy day :oS

Mr Moog took kids to swimming lessons :o)

Sorted out laundry, kitchen and my wardrobe :o(

Finished reading this. :o)

Took puppers for a lovely walk :o)

Went to see this :o)

Now need to re-read this :o)

Mr Moog bought us dinner on the way home :o)

6 out of 8 = a good Saturday.

How was yours?


Monday, July 11, 2011

Floral Monday

Just because...

...I thought you deserved something pretty after my last post.


p.s. does anyone know why my gadgets have disappeared from the right hand side of my blog? They seem to have fallen down to the bottom of the page and I can't work out how to mend it!
It seems they're there if you just open up a single post but not if you open on my home page.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A rude awakening - read with caution...or a bucket

Maybe this will all be tooooo much information.

Maybe some things are best kept to oneself.

Or maybe I just need to blog it to offload. It's the virtual equivalent of brain bleach. It's my blog.

Maybe I should warn you not to read this first bit if you've just eaten dinner....or anything in the past twelve hours. If you are strong of stomach read on. If not, avert your eyes and scroll on down until you get to a photo of a manky old chair.

Merlie Moog was feeling a little bit squiffy yesterday but, nevertheless, did well at puppy training and enjoyed a run at the park and seemed very happy in himself. It didn't seem to be anything to worry about as he was drinking and eating and bouncing and playing. So, last night, we all went to bed as normal, until....

2.30a.m - Mrs Moog is awakened, thanks to her overly sensitive nose, by the most indescribably awful smell she has EVER smelled - and she's smelled some, believe you me.

2.30a.m and 1 second - Mr Moog is awakened by Mrs Moog announcing (rather hysterically, it should be noted) that a major sewer seemed to have burst all over the hall floor!

2.30a.m and 2 seconds - the now unexpectedly wide awake Mr & Mrs Moog realise that, in actual fact, Merlin Moog has burst all over the hall floor.

Suffice it to say, there was no chance of not stepping in it, as it was the consistency of thin chocolate milkshake and was EVERYWHERE (imagine floor, walls...)
with little by way of a dry route through, so a harsh decision was made. Shoes? None upstairs - they live downstairs, beyond the 'lake of euwww'. Barefeet? Yup (ugh).

I imagine by now you either have the picture or have your head down the toilet.

Then ensued a full forty minutes of mopping, gagging, scrubbing, heaving, more scrubbing, lots of rinsing, stomach churning, scrubbing of feet, more scrubbing of feet, thorough (and painful) hand scrubbing, and an ample bit of air-fresher-spraying all the while consoling a very sad and unhappy (and a shockingly suddenly skinny) little puppy, whose ears seemed to say something along the lines of:

OMG! WTF? WhatOnEarthJustHappened?Help!

Please be assured I DID NOT reach for my camera in the middle of the night - this was taken half an hour ago as those very ears are wondering where all the food has gone.

It transpired that £60 at the V.E.T. on anti-vomit drugs and anti-squitters drugs, plus £10 at the Co-op on best quality chicken breast should get this little (suddenly very skinny) puppy back to a more even eared state of being.

This evening he is much recovered but very confused. How do you tell a 19 week old starving (and suddenly very skinny) puppy that the only reason you're not feeding him more than a tiny spoonful of (best quality expensive) steamed chicken breast and rice, is because the lovely lady V.E.T. told your Mummy It.Is.The.Law.?

Hello! If you skipped the first bit I don't blame you. If you didn't skip the first bit, are you feeling okay now? (Don't say I didn't warn you!).



Much to the dismay of my dear M-I-L we have a motley collection of six old secondhand oak dining chairs. Most women ( I'm reliably told) would, after 16 years of slumming it with a load of tatty old furniture, have insisted on brand new sparkly super posh designer chairs by now.

Some people need to realise I will never be 'some women'.

I always had a plan for these chairs but never quite got round to it. They got new seat covers roughly every two to three years, once the old ones got too stained/torn/sticky.

A rather unexpected burst of homemakerly energy this weekend got me half way to achieving the dream. Much scrubbing, sanding, wiping, undercoating (twice) and overcoating (twice) has started to make a definite impression. They may still be old and mis-matched but half of the six are now of uniform brilliant white eggshell.

Only three more to go and then it's on to choosing some gorgeous new fabric for our bottoms to sit upon :o)

Next up - surprise gooseberries!

'Found' during a mooch around the garden on Monday.

Someone (probably me) has planted a gooseberry bush in the garden and then forgotten about it. I spotted a little green berry whilst playing 'please stop grabbing the ball and buggering off with it' fetch with Merlin and of course one berry led to another and then another. Just enough for an apple and gooseberry crumble. Yum.

I think that after the rather gruesome start to this post (DON'T go back and read it if you avoided it the first time!) I should end on a much prettier note.

Rainbow fruit kebabs - deemed 'just about the best pudding ever' even by Mr Moog (!!!) - courtesy of my new found interest in Pinterest.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Brightening up

I was beginning to feel that this house of ours was looking decidedly unloved and shabby. Things needed sprucing up a bit, so last night I got cracking with the sewing machine.

It's amazing how a simple thing like new cushions can breath new life into the living room.

Cushion number one - made with gorgeous fabrics gifted to me quite some time ago by my lovely friend Mrs Locket.

Look...look...I piped!! Feeling very grown up and important about that one :o)

Cushion number two - using gorgeous fabrics and handmade crochet trim that I received from Dragonfly, in Domesticali's Seven Day's of Happiness swap way back in February last year.

Doesn't my tatty sofa look pretty? :o)

Of course, by now I was on a roll and cushion the third was not long in the making. Again made with fabrics gifted by my lovely blog friends.


My timing was perfect, as Minx has rested her poorly earachey head on them for the past hour. Apparently they help the pain - love her :o)

Someone else had to get in on the cushiony goodness too....

Don't imagine they'll stay looking pristine for long!