Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mermaids, lovely mermaids everywhere

To start the ball rolling, here is a lovely Mermaid illustration from my Etsy Dark Team fellow member, Illustrated Ink.


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Send me home!

Thought I'd repost this from the EGADS Blog, imagine spending hours altering a barbie doll into a work of art only to have someone steal her from your exhibition? If you see her hanging about in dodgy company send her home. If YOU nicked her - shame on you... but you've got good taste!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mermaids & Pirates promotional giveaway event

This is the start of week one for my 6 week long Mermaids & Pirates theme for this summer. There will be a chance to win a prize at the end (more about that later in the week) and the subscribers to my Newsletter also have a chance to win an exclusive second giveaway, details of how to enter are in the latest email.

For the next 6 weeks I'll be posting occasional Pirate titbits and mermaid related trivia. I'll also post pics and links to lots of lovely related items I find on the internet, in Etsy shops or from my fellow Art Doll makers... so keep checking back :o)


Circe Invidiosa by John William Waterhouse

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The return of Spookbot

Spookbot, one of my favourite doll artists, is back on Etsy after an absence and I for one have really missed her quirky looney dollies. OK, so the picture is from her "SOLD" pages but that's only because I'm gearing up for my whole Pirates and Mermaids thingy at the weekend! Seeing that she's making them again has really cheered me up after the whole who wants to play "spooky Tag" disaster, like throwing a birthday party and no one turns up...

...actually, in THAT scenario you at least get to eat a whole cake to yourself, so this was way worse! Harrumph!!!!

Check out her shop anyway, her new dolls are more colourful/cute but still have her unmistakable style.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wanna Play Spooky tag?

Ok, so here's the rules:

Name check and post a link back to whoever "tagged" you. Then answer the questions below and post them on you blog. Then it's your turn to tag at least 4 spooky minded bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog/my space/etc. Remember to include the image and the list of questions!

Here are my questions and answers-

Q: Bat, Wolf or Owl:which are you?
A: definitely a bat, they spend most of the time sleeping somewhere warm and move erratically

Q: Name your fave spooky movie
A: The original 60's version of The Haunting, still gives me the creeps!

Q: When did you last have the chills and why?
A: A few years nights ago when something was walking around on my roof at 3am and my cat got spooked and started yowling! Hope it was an Owl?

Q: Have you ever seen a ghost?
A: Hmmmn, well I saw several as a child but wonder now if that was just my overactive imagination


Ok so if you want to play but really don't have the patience to wait until someone tags you, just leave me a comment and I'll send you the spooky tag pic and the list of question!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Summer of Mermaids and Pirates

Avast there me hearties, I'm getting into the mood now, been thinking about this sea side summer idea and I'm definitely going for a Mermaids & Pirates theme! Getting started this weekend but look out for more fishy tales and sea shanties in the week to come... Shiver me timbers :o)

A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse


New shop on a GB site!

Hi, just thought I'd mention to you Brits out there that I have just opened a shop on a GB craft market place called "Folksy", I will put a link in the left sidebar. Ok, so I hate the name, conjures images of people who knit their own sandals sat round the camp fire singing about how Jesus wants them for a sunbeam... and it sounds a bit too close to ETSY to my mind, but the good thing is it's UK based and the prices are in good old £ sterling.

There's nothing in the shop just yet and for the first few weeks it's likely to be repeats of what's on etsy, but after that I intend to rotate stock between the 2 sites and see if any buyers come my way. Always worth a try? :o)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hhhhmmm... is this a new competition brewing?

Lordy I'm tired, been doing freelance all week (non stop since last Friday night). I'm so not complaining because only the week before I was worrying about how quiet it has been on the design front this year. While I'm welded to the mac my tiny mind has been formulating an evil plan... it's raining non stop outside the window but It's summer almost, time to head for the beach...the sea, the sea!!!

I feel another competition coming on and I'm itching to get cracking on the ideas that are starting to brew. All the dolls for the summer will be of a theme and that will go hand in hand with new artwork too. I will be putting together a new newsletter at the weekend and will let you know my plans some time next week.

Now... off to bed with the kitties, we need our sleep!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

self taught artist rant!

Ok, this may be contentious, but, just hear me out...

As someone who went to Art College and has a degree to prove it, I get a bit hot under the collar when I see the phrase "self taught artist". Whether the phrase is used as self-depreciation (most often) or as a badge of honour (as in "University of Life) it implies that those of us who scrimped and starved to get through Art School were just the passive receptors of some great "Master" teaching us the ancient wisdom of the arts. A bit like Yoda and his Padowans... or whatever they were called! An art degree doesn't imply I know any more than the next person because it's all subjective. Why bring up the fact that you didn't go to Art College? Who cares, it makes no difference, creativity is in the genes, it can't be learnt if you aren't that way inclined.

I know what you are thinking, but creativity CAN BE nurtured! That is what the "self-taught" artist has missed out on, that chance to be valued and guided and formed among equals. Consider this: When I was at High School I was miserable, I had good grades but felt out of place and lonely and couldn't wait for the torture to end, to go to Art School where I half-seriously believed that someone of Picasso-like stature would be waiting to usher us into the hallowed world of ART. Imagine my disappointment on my Foundation course to be confronted by some pretty average painters who had been battered by life and retreated to the quieter waters of academia and a regular pay check - I know that was their motivation because I did it myself years later, AT THE SAME COLLEGE, only difference being that I willed my students to succeed. They were jaded and lacking in enthusiasm and if they had any secrets to pass on they guarded them jealously and treated their students with thinly veiled contempt. It was as though we were constant reminders that their own dreams had fallen by the wayside.

The one bright spark? We had a History of Art lecturer who was thankfully unaffected by the general malaise, he still lived and breathed Art with a capital A. In his mind he was wandering the streets of Montemartre just behind Toulouse-Lautrec and co and he would take you along for the ride if you actually cared to follow. This was back at a time when Life Class (my favourite) was compulsory and art students were still expected to be able to draw reasonably well. Not that you got any more guidance than the whole use your thumb as a ruler, young Jedi ... all said with a yawn of boredom and hardly a sideways glance at the students work. Those of us who had already TAUGHT OURSELVES to draw in childhood (anyone who gets very good at a particular skill has spent years practicing) enjoyed the chance to indulge our concentration but those who struggled rarely improved. I enjoyed it more than school but it wasn't the "education" I had dreamed of.

The real joy was being among like-minded people for the first time, not being the class freak, (you may have guessed, I don't go on Friends Reunited much) or feeling able to speak my mind. That was the real value of my time at Art School, feeling like I fitted in at last. OK so I didn't go to a great college, maybe my fellow students and I were short changed by some particularly pedestrian lecturers (possibly that isn't the case for most art students) but the point I'm trying to make is that ALL artists are self-taught, nature of the beast. Watch a small child with some crayons, they are teaching themselves to draw. Most will continue to do so even if someone laughs at their efforts, because they love it. I drew no better after Art School than when I was 12 and spent all my time engrossed in a Prado Museum catalogue trying to figure out how to paint light like Valasquez. I still haven't figured that out and the Great Masters are no longer here to tell us.

Do I regret that time? No. Not at all, it helped make me who I am (God help us all), and I met some life-long friends there. So, on behalf of all those Art Students who variously battled parents angry that we were wasting our time, survived in damp and scarey accomodation that gave us a permanent limp and a weird cough we still can't shake 20 years later, starved and went without sleep alternately as we juggled several dead-end jobs to pay our way, or struggled with child care and guilt to pursue our dreams, please stop suggesting that the sacrifices we made to get that degree make us somehow less. That we were handed the title "Artist" on a silver platter. We are ALL self taught, there is no other way.

Feel free to take issue with everything I've just said, I'm not trying to belittle anyone, just trying to point out that we are all in the same boat. :o)

Monday, May 11, 2009

May's Gone Batty

Who doesn't love bats? They skeet around our gardens at night chomping up all those nasty creepy crawlies and emitting tiny squeaks to guide them round, how cute is that? And they are covered in fur!!!

Still not convinced, well shame on you - even if you haven't fallen for the flittery charms of those teeny winged meeces yet, hop on over to the Dark Side May exhibition, you are bound to find something here to make you change your mind!


Here's a pic of Britains commonest bat, the Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus Pipistrellus - so good they named them twice!).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Phil gets published!

Just a quick celebration of the fact that my old friend Phil, tall person, composer and artist extraordinaire, is having his first novel published on May the 30th. It sounds really glib put like that, but all of his friends know just how much work and years of effort have gone into this momentous event. It's called The History Of Us and is published by Legend Press, you can read about it here:
and also pre-order it, although I really want to walk into a book shop and buy it the traditional way. How cool will that be?

Best of luck with the book, Phil, always knew you'd get there x


Friday, May 8, 2009

The SLOW red fox and Twitter fatigue

OK, so I'm probably not in the best mood right now as I've been working really long hours and also trying to catch up on almost a years neglected book keeping (what, so putting all your receipts in a box doesn't cut it with the Taxman?) but when I do get an odd moment I try to QUICKLY catch up on other stuff. Fun stuff... like I joined ADO - Art Dolls Only this week, really chuffed as there are so many amazing dollmakers in this group and challenges to be a part of and general activity to get involved with... yay!

So what's the problem, well ruddy Firefox is going sooooooooooooooo slow, it's become virtually unusable since the last update, don't know what they've done to it. Have techno bods never heard that phrase "it ain't broke so don't fix it"? One to live by I think. I totally deleted it from my Mac but it has somehow become the default for opening things like URLs sent to me in emails, by rights that should be Safari, Mac's inbuilt browser. So I had to re-install it and now it's even worse!

My second gripe is that I spent 48 hours as a Twitterer... and frankly, I'm just not twitty enough so have deleted my account... again. I deleted it the first time because it allowed me to type in FreakyLittleThings as my user name then went on to abbreviate it to "FreakyLitteThi" which sounds kind of kinky... then every time I uploaded a photo for my icon it would announce (rather patronizingly, I thought) "That's a nice photo!" then would let me save it and then a few seconds later tell me that there was an error and my photo was not a suitable size. Eventually it accepted my teeny microscoping Freaky Girl pic, then later when I logged on again it had lost the pic!!! And all the details I'd entered on the profile page.... gaaaarrrrr. Apart from saying that I hate Twitter I couldn't think of anything else to say, so I left :o)

Ok, I'm a grump and I know loads of you have fun on Twitter/My Space/Facebook etc... and I try, I really do... but for me I just feel life is too damn short to keep updating all these damn sites, it's all seems kind of fatuous at times, like those round-robin emails from people who never actually call you or send you a few words they've written with you specifically in mind... oh, and bloody angels... and things that will bring you good luck if you send them to your 75 closest friends in the next 10 minutes. I think I just might go back to talking to people...

Oooohhh, and ranting on my blog of course!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spooky house inspiration

OK, so I'm working right through the May Day weekend, no rest for the wicked or Bank Holidays it seems. The Haunted House project is in bits on the mantlepeice and I'm itching to get back to it. Whenever I have a spare moment lately I scour t'internet looking for inspiration and this is definitely the best Haunted House exterior I've seen:


This is the link to the creators Flickr site so you can see more:
The best interior though, by a mile had to be a Tudor Dollhouse up for sale on Ebay last night. I was quite tired when I saw it and forgot to take some screen grabs, when I went back today it's either been sold or retracted. It was amazing with stone floors strewn with straw and heavy carved fruniture. Very authentic looking and creepy. All the most atmospheric places I've lived have dated back to the Tudor period.

As a student I shared the servants quarters of an old elizabethan manor house, it had been updated and added to over the centuries but still had lots of dark panelled walls, hidden passageways and heavy black carved furniture with weird faces carved into it. Very creepy... we loved it! The next place was over a shop in the tiny chocolate box village of Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, one of the nicest places I've ever lived, about 10 years ago, there was an ancient churchyard out the back with a lych gate. The cottages up the road all had alcoves next to the front door with little glass jars for posies of wild flowers. According to my neighbour they dated back to plague days when people thought the disease was carried by smell, they though the sweet scent of flowers and fruit would protect them.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

leafy surroundings

Looking at photos of a beautiful garden on another blog earlier made me think how our garden has totally transformed in the last 2/3 weeks. Not long ago the trees were bare with only snowdrops and the odd crocus for colour.





My Grandad always said we should put the birdhouse on a slant so "The rain runs off"... so do the birds!



Thought I'd end on some cat pics, what's a garden without a Kitty? That's Stoofin laughing at one of my jokes and displaying his singular fang, and Tix-pickle looking regally red, don't know where Matilda was hiding. I'm working this weekend, so taking the odd break here and there, really don't feel like working when it's the weekend and the sun is out!

Alice again

...and here they are again!