Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Ohh... such a great book!

I really did like this book and just thought I'd share the love - read it if you are feeling philantropic but feel like directing some of the man-love towards the green stuff as well, as it's man doing good by man - through nature. Spurred me to get planting some apple trees on the allotment ...

Saturday, 23 August 2008

When it rains it pours

... on the allotment. I have to report a hiccup more the scale of a big bellowing belch. All is not too well in the good life of Gardnerville ... we've been attacked! We feel a bit like this owl I drew since we discovered that all our sturdy little seedlings have fallen to the jaws of ... what we are pretty sure be wabbits. Manu has decided we must've gone wrong not warning them about Manu's Frenchness. I'm sure they wouldn't have been so foolish had they known about his nationality's carnivorous tendencies: "Si'l bouge, on le mange." My mock (fish eating) vegetarianism clearly stops me condoning such behaviour, but I can't say vengeful thoughts have evaded me! So our befallen carrots, greens , oh and our tomatoes have succumbed to an unidentifiable sickness that might well be down to too much bloomin rain!!!! Dash these wet summers ...

Did have a real hoot at my parents though over the weekend. I met my little sister Libby (as previously seen sporting my wellies below ...!) in London and we went to see Taking Back Sunday who we're brill! I managed to arrive earlier that morning to trawl a few museums and galleries and still had the energy for some moshy pogoing! Saturday found Libby and I hama beading it up in bed before a brunchy garlic mushroom and veggie sos breakfast... (will stick on here for the pisces and swan I made later..!) and then we ate melon in the sun while they harvested the fields in the distance. Yes - the sun came out just long enough on sunday - was quite lovely weather in the end between the showers. Anyway. it's midnight so I'm going to take my elf off to bed now. More to come...
Rain rain go away!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Face painting fun!

Today was my forth week on the face painting circuit! Here's some pics of the face fun I persuaded my lovely fellow face painters to adorn me with ... and one of Grace in a Hawaiian style get up I bugged her into letting me do!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Latest bird drawings

As a continuation from previous bird installments - here's the latest doodles of feathered ones.

The diagrammatic style appeals to me but in fact it's for a purpose - these drawings are to inform my next brooch/necklaces.

The stuff of memories

Memories Chest in progress ...

The finished piece...

I've been to London again since my last post to celebrate Lovely Lioness Juliet's BIG (30th) birthday (it's actually today - Happy Birthday Missy!!) ... and boy did we find plenty of ways to make it a roaringly good and certainly memorable birthday weekend...more of that shortly!

As it was such a monumentus birthday for Juliet, I really wanted to give her something she could keep and use as an 'aide memoir' of all the happy times we've had together as friends since we met (nearly 20 years ago!!!) and so I decided to fashion a memories chest for all the photos an mementos of fun times past.

I actually got rather carried away by the process which was almost like putting together a jigsaw puzzle...I went back over all the old letters and stuff we had from college and gallery trips etc and created a collage on a lovely old chest, of which only the back remained free for me to write a little personal message!

So what of this memorable weekend, anyway?! Well it all started with a customary fancy meal at a great choice of restaurant: Moros in Exmouth Market and was followed by experiencing some pretty impressive belly dancing - at very close quarters!

Exotic (in the best possible taste ;-)) dancing!

Juliet laughing at my attempt at exotic dancing!

"She's my friend, she is!!"

As you can see everyone (well, Juliet and I especially!) got into the Moorish spirit at Darbucka (world music club) in Clerkenwell afterwards. We waited till the lights came on before ambling (slowly after all the hip wiggling!) to the Queen Boudicea and then topped the night off (actually it was well into the morning by then) with a rickshaw ride across Waterloo bridge. I have a vague recollection of saying: "awww - isn't this romantic?!" as I sat squeezed alongside Juliet and Henry and we all giggled at the notion that we were taking the noble way back to get on a night bus!

The next day we braved it out (worse for wear) to visit take in a bit of aquamarine life and some (not so lively) taxidermy at the Horniman museum in Forest Hill - which was actually a nice stroll from Juliet's pad in Gypsy Hill. There was also an amazing temporary exhibition about Chinese symbolism in silk which I got rather excited about - check out the amazingly radical head wear...!

Fetching Chinese day head wear - is it based on a pig I wonder?

I even got to get up close and personal with one of my favourite mammals - a real life goat - who got up on his hind legs to munch leaves from some seemingly unreachable branches and must also make mention of a dodo which was all smiley and charming - just a shame he wasn't as animated as the goat!

Like the friendly dodo, this kingfisher
looked so real I had to stand and
stare for a bit just in case!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Greens, sparrows and a sneaky squirrel!

I've been beavering away on the illustration front and above is one of the ones I did today. Direct observation all the way of course (have a rather scary red taxidermy squirrel called Gladys who willingly posed for me this afternoon!!!)

Promised some birds in my last post and so here are some that I did for Manu's mum - who reminds me of Edith Piaf. Moineau is the French name for a sparrow and is interchangeable with Piaf (although this is really slang!) The puffy sparrows brooch I made recently were also modelled on the sketches I did below ...

In allotment news, I planted some spring green seeds today ^^ ... in anticipation of some lovely bright green soup! The carrots and spinach are coming on nicely and will need thinning soon. We picked the first of the beans in the picture below (only at matter of a handful though so far!) The peppers are starting to turn orange too. The rain fell so heavily today that an inch fell in half an hour!! Needless to say didn't need to worry about watering anything - was actually surprised there weren't any puddles.

It really feels like we're starting to make a break through on the growing front, even though there's so much left to so on the clearing side of things. We've decided to get the right hand side sorted first as then tackle the dreaded brambles on the left. Here's some pictures to show the progress to date ...


Monday, 11 August 2008

Mmm - sweet!

This great illustration is from a very exciting website I signed up to be a member of today - daily candy which describes itself as being at the ..."front lines of fashion, food, and fun." Sounds (and looks) good to me! As far as remits go I thinks that is a pretty good combination of interests - especially the food and fun side of it!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Allotment therapy!

Our dwarf beans are growing nicely!

Have been feeling a bit worse for wear today as didn't get home till gone 4 this morning! Had a really fab night out with lovely lady friend Claire and her buddy Cathy who came up especially from East Dulwich to eat an absolutely delicious crab supper a la Claire's fair hands. We ended up in Mustard (in the club not the sauce!) and some pretty liberated dancing was had by all! ^^

In between trying to distract myself from a sore head and recuperating with my uke* (played it virtually all morning!) I took a clothed outdoor shower (in the rain!) followed by invigorating fresh air gulps down at the allotment. I've also been doodling birds this evening. Now have lots of bird drawings which I ought to scan in and stick on here tomorrow when I'm more compus mentus!

We had potatoes from the allotment for dinner with 'macedoine' (diced veg and mayonaise!) which has made me feel a whole lot better this evening!

Here's what we had for dinner!

Decided the allotment blog was a bit of a non-starter so going to keep you up to date with gardnerville on here from now on! You're free of the burden Manu!

*Motivated by last weekend's trip to the Innocent Smoothie fete to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, as you can see we got pretty up close and personal ...

The 'Karauke' group were an unexpected and hilarious diversion - this (fuzzy mob) pic was taken after we all voted to hear 'the final countdown' and were treated to kazoos and everything!!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Postie paranoia & brown paper

The Postie (is that how it's spelt?!) delivered me some exciting packages I ordered from (American) Etsy sellers today, but not before gauping at my feet for what seemed to be inappropriately long time! I'm already rather conscious of my feet and so this has just stoked the foot fire - much like walking on hot coals!! The strange thing is I was just wearing what I consider to be rather non-descript tai chi shoes - tell me, do my feet look weird in them...?!? I got them from a great shop in Norwich called Feet on the Ground! Maybe he's into tai chi and was wondering if I did too. Whichever, he was intrigued enough to take a second glance before he left! Funny long haired fellow...he's got me thinking about taking up tai chi again actually - i do miss it!

Anyway, I'd love to show you the exciting things that were delivered to me but they're for birthday presents and so I don't want to blow the surprises! At least there are some rather nice stamps for you to see - mmm stamps - maybe it's time I reignited that geeky philatelic thing I used to be so into. Heady days!!

It was my best bud's mum's birthday the other day and found out that's she's turned 70 (I was shocked - she really doesn't look it!!) ... so inspired as I was to by the exotic brown paper envelopes from USA (so different from dull Jiffy ones!!!) I made her this card today ... I love gypsy caravan art and so I thought I would try and sneak a bit of that in to a typographic number!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Fine and dandy

What - ho?! Here's the new banner I've designed for us crafty band of brothers: Fine City Friends!

Also, I've updated my website home page today with an illustration with a bit of a radical notion ... go see if you're at all feeling deviant! Otherwise lots of Etsy uploading etc. to do today so better get to it...

Friday, 1 August 2008

Summer break

Dress down for the allotment? Oh no!
My sister shows how to pull off allotment chic ...
pre-orangen-saft henna!

Decided to take a bit of a recess for summer on the old blogging. We so rarely have a reasonable run of good weather in Blighty that I've been trying to make the most of it down at the allotment and getting out and about on my trusty 'cheval de fer' (Rupert). I thought August 1st was as good a time as ever to get back on the blogging bandwagon!

As it's been a while I'd better just give you a quick roundup of what's been happening in Gardnerville of late, in no particular order ...

⇒ Spent a week in Nantes (France)
⇒ Stayed in Sam & Mark's flash new Cambridge pad
⇒ Had my littlest Sister to stay*
⇒ Sold handmade goodies at 'Clutter City'
⇒ Got a new job as an Arts Technician
⇒ Worked for 'Kidzone' as a face painter
⇒ Acquired a bike trailer + baby bongos!
⇒ Ukulele practice significantly up!

Also nearly worked as a steward at Latitude but was in France when training was on - *boohoo*! But France was actually better than ever this time round's some pics from Manu's mum's retirement celebrations ....

We were lucky enough to be in France for the Bastille Day celebrations. We were completely blown away by some great live music and fireworks, not to mention delicious crepes and cidre brut!

My sister Libby and I had a really fun week and this pic shows her admiring the new (perfectly working + completely wondrous!) typewriter she picked up from the car boot sale we went to mid-week. We talked about sharing it and so I'll get to use u it whenever I go home ....

At last Saturday's Clutter City (at Norwich Arts Centre) craft fair there was talk abound about Fine City Friends starting a house band!! I'm dead excited - suggested a bit of a skiffle affair as not many of us play 'poper' instruments. It was a scorching day so the turnout wasn't too great early on but picked up later on after lunch. There's lots more pictures of all the fun stuff on show at the Fine City Friends blog . I've got plenty of stuff which is wating to be uploaded to etsy and dawanda - best be getting onto it, I suppose!

*Made her turn orange - her hair that is ... she's now a carrot top like me and proud! We almost look like sisters!!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Last night I went to an Independence Day Party and a dressed up as a Native American


Also forgot to mention that we set up another blog last week...
When I say 'we' I mean: Manu and I, (Oxford Comma - love that song!!) and I'm hoping that Monsieur Frenchy will get stuck in as I will struggle with keeping three blogs going I think!
Go on Manu - don't be shy!!


Carnival & Music Festival Fun!

Had such a top weekend that I feel rather elated today! I've been working as a Steward at the Music Festival in Norwich's Chapelfield Gardens as part of the Lord Mayor Celebrations. The weekend long event went without a hitch or a punch up(!) and even though it rained a lot on the Sunday, everyone was completely determined to enjoy themselves - Dunkirk spirit lives on! Not that much determination was needed really - the music line up was so impressive that you couldn't fail
to have fun!

Here's a picture of the procession - the carnival festivities were in full swing by the time the headliner - incredible Rio (flown in from Brazil especially!) band Monobloco were joined by the samba group - the rammed stage was throbbing and we were completely entranced! The audience were enjoying it so much that buzz was electric! One of the best music experiences I've ever had and to think I'd been working as part of it - feel so privileged! ^^ I met so many lovely people (*gush!*) over the weekend and I'm now really looking forward to being a Face Painter at the up and coming KidZone events!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Wish I could do this right now...!

I discovered this great site the other day and got rather excited about designing an altogether different kind of bird - a nani! Anyone fancy joining me in making a geometric birdie too? It's got to be worth a go! Better than playing rubik's cube (darn that alluringly colourful yet infuriating cube of frustration!!!)

Here's where you can have more fun playing with paper an scissors instead:
This extra lovely one is called Mamy and is designed by Natascha S Rosenberg

I'll stick all the pics of the end results on here so just give me a shout if you're game!

I really have too much to do this week, so I'll have to wait till next till I get going on this
*big sigh* :-(

King Fisher crazy

Ok, so I may have gone a little King Fisher crazy of late but I put it down to mild desperation - it's been ages since I've seen one and I'm
getting withdrawals!

To remedy my predicament I made another plush bird brooch - of the king of bird's himself!
Guess he'll have to compensate for seeing the real thing for now. I look almost trance like in this picture (I wasn't actually meant to be in it!)- I think it's all the happiness of literally making a new friend ^^ Embarrassing as this picture is (zero make up, freckles and all) I like the way it captures my little elfin ear and contrasting honk - the latter being so big it didn't even fit in frame!!

This is the colour illustration for the card I think I mentioned in a previous post...

Monday, 30 June 2008

Bird zine has taken wing!

Finally got my batch of Zazar Zine's printed, folded, packaged and up on Etsy! Now alll my bird doodles that may never've seen the light of day have a fun outlet! Having said this the cover illustration is poised to become a full colour greetings card. So he'll be more than just the electric blue of the card cover!

We've got an allotment!!

Woopy dodah! Finally collected the key for our allotment on Friday and with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, Manu and I surveyed what will soon become our home from home (especially when we get a proper shed!) Our excitement was almost uncontainable when we thought we'd found our plot - with veg patches already planted. We knew it was too good to be true when we spotted some very contented looking chickens at the far end. No, ours was predictably wilder than wild with nettles towering above me and rampant to the point of covering most of the plot. This minor (hah!) blight aside we did discover some globe artichokes like thistles - some of them had already gone to seed, but we did cut a few heads off and will have try them for lunch today.

Yesterday, our first proper day on the allotment, we got a bit giddy at the fun of it all! First we got to meet our neighbours (two very lovely couples called Chris and Lou + Ellen and Nathan) and then we later made a very fortuitous discovery - a tayberry bush!!! Goes without saying that we had a good old munch to make sure they were in fact tayberries - cross between a raspberry and a blackberry! Never expected to be eating fruits from the allotment this early on - definitely given us a taste for it!

I'm now trying to persuade Manu to start a blog otherwise I fear I will have to change the name of this blog the the Gardener of Gardnerville! (And yes, that is me running through the wilds!)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

FCF Zine...

It was Norwich School of Art's Private View this evening and quite synchronistically, I finished the pseudo-stalker (!!) map I'd been working for the FCF Zine today which includes a sketch of the art school (top right). It was strange being back at the place that brought me to this *fine* city - it felt like a different life time that we were at the school, even though it was only a couple of years back. There seemed to be the very same throng of people packing out the street, except this time it's all been pedestrianised - which is darn great! The lovely weather all made it feel quite Mediterranean - everyone just standing chatting in the street - top evening!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Awww *blushing*

I got a really sweet message the other day from a lovely lass called Coki asking if she could post about my antics and here's what she said about me: -

Thanks Coki for such a lovely write up! ^^

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Exciting discovery...!

This morning I got really carried away with excitement having stumbled across this luscious crafty site: - - go there now for your instant crafty curiosity fix!

Otherwise will keep this short as have an allotment key to collect (wey hey) and a Fine City Friends meeting!! Before I dash off I suppose I could confess to breaking the emotional attachment I had to my wee moineaux (sparrow in French!) and finally got around to putting him on etsy - not before one last perch on my shoulder though...!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Tash tastic!

Managed to persuade my sister to don my 'tash and patch combo - I hardly recognise her!

Happy father's day to my owl fan of a Dad who would have received the wee brooch in this pic by now - hope you like it!?