Silver Crow Project

Scrapbook Zombies

Happy Halloween Freaksters!

What better way to celebrate than with my first scrapbook page in... ack, I ran out of fingers and that's including the ones in the jars... lets just say in a looooong time!

My darling little monsters looking all cute and zombified. Proud Mama Monster here :) If you'd like to know how the page came together then please shamble on over to Gauche Alchemy where I spill my guts. Bwaaahaaahaaahaaar!

Thanks for stopping by ghoulish ones!

Tool Tote Giveaway - Winner

Almost forgot - luckily Craig came in and asked who he was sending the tool tote to. So, without further delay and hesitation... I shall hand over to my random generator...

Mix, mix, mix...
Bit more mix, mix, mix...
Ooh, who could it be...
Blurry in your face...
Slightly less blurry but a lot more scary... tadaaa!
Congratulations Sam! Your tote will be in the post tomorrow.

Hard cheese everyone else :D But just a cheeky reminder that if you'd like one of these totes we can supply them (within the UK) for £23.95 which is the total amount including postage. If you're interested just give me a shout and I will get Craig to invoice you.

Thanks for stopping by everyone. Hope you are having a good weekend!

Rocking My World Friday...

Hi everyone :) I'm trying the "jot things down as they happen" approach to the post this week. We'll see what happens that I might usually have forgotten!

Entering The Artists and Illustrators competition to win this...

...and at the end being given a code to get the next three issues of the magazine for £3.00 Marketing ploy? Probably. Do I care? Not a jot - love that magazine and am chuffed at my bargainous booty!

Someone has pinned one of my posts! And it wasn't me! Yes I have pinned lots of my posts - mainly book reviews but... someone else, who I don't know, has pinned my Clicker Clacker tutorial! Chuffed much? It's the first time it's happened! Thank you random person for giving me a big smile when I was feeling miserable, bunged up and snotty!

The two bags of apples we bought in Tesco are really mank and everyone is refusing to eat them... but the oranges are really lush, juicy and sweet yet with a sour tang. Bellissimo! Mwah! I've just sat and scoffed one and am now delicately, most ladylike, picking the bits from my teeth.

We signed youngest little monster up to the local newspapers kids club. We enter the competitions for her every week. Got a phone call at the weekend - she's won a family ticket to Chatham Historic Dockyard! The ticket arrived today with a load of bumf about what's happening there at the moment...

Ooh! So we'll be trying to get along to that while it's still on. Not been to the dockyard in years - not since eldest not-so-little monster was a bubba! Must be over 12 years ago!

Talking of monsters - I love it when Big Cook and Little Cook get in the kitchen. They've been baking up a batch of Peppa Pig cakes today.

Big Cook wants to work in childcare eventually - I think she'll be brilliant!

Look what arrived in the post today! The fella on the right is Marvin, I won him from Amy's blog. I had been drooling over the one on the left when she blogged and she only went and popped that one in too! How amazing? We've decided that one is called Maude. So Maude and Marvin are going to be framed and put on the wall that faces my desk so I can see them when sat here. I love them both to bits and keep just looking at them! Thank you Amy!

Below is another win! I know - It's been a lovely week for snail mail this week. This book was one from the Dark Readers blog. It looks really good so will let you know how I get on with that one!

More bargainous loot! This time from Poundland. They are selling their Halloween bits at 6 items for £5.00 so I got this swag...

...and the girls got some dressing up bits too! That fabric is glittery, velvety fun - I may go back for some more - they are meant to be scarves but I shall be cutting up for makings. The skellies on twine just had to come home!

And my last positive of this week is... communication. Things have been getting on top of me and I've started to down scale what I'm doing. Instead of bottling things up I've gone to people and explained - the response and advice has been amazing. So. Communication. Definitely.

How has your week been? I must say I remembered a lot there by jotting down! Why not stop by Virginia's and play along!

Thanks for stopping by :)

p.s Big Cook has just joined the ranks of the Rockettes :) Her post is here if you'd like a peek.

Pinterestingly smART!

Betcha thought I hadn't been making anything didn't you?

Well, you'd be right there, serious case of someone sucking all my time away. Feels like no sooner do I get up than it is bed time again and I am shattered, with booger all done in-between! But the couple of things I have made have been for the Gauche Alchemy blog. So, I've been sitting on my hands so as not to blog them to soon.

This was for Virginia's birthday. She seemed to like it which I'm so pleased about as it has my blood, sweat and tears in that thing. Well, maybe not blood... but it came close!

Whoopidooings (Carmen Wing) MAKE smART choices in YOUR LIFE - Acrylic Mixed Media on canvas
Whoopidooings (Carmen Wing) MAKE smART choices in YOUR LIFE - Acrylic Mixed Media on canvas

If you'd like to know how I made it and how a certain t-shirt on Pinterest inspired it then click through to Gauche Alchemy for a gander. Leave some lurve... or throw spit balls, it's up to you. I'll just cry quietly into my tea... 

I'm thinking about maybe doing a monthly post, a project inspired by Pinterest. Been thinking about it for a while - since I did this canvas really - and then this post over at K's made me think others might as well. What do you reckon? Want to join me? Just once a month, pick one thing, any thing, no set theme, off Pinterest and use it to spark your inspiration. Then in your post show your creation and what sparked the idea.

I know my mojo needs some serious resuscitation at the moment! You can join me if you like.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Tool Tote Giveaway

Here I am as promised :D

Remember yesterday when I said about that "thing" I had been after for ages and ages and ages and ages after seeing them in Wickes and Homebase? Go ahead, click the links and check them out. I'll wait.

Back? Good.

I wanted one to store all my paints and brushes in. I am fed up of lugging my huge wooden box between the house, the garden and my painty area in Craig's office. As soon as I saw them I had a lightbulb moment. Plus I thought it would be great for going to those workshops when you have to take a basic kit with you.

Well here's mine:
(The pockets go all the way around, net pockets on the back and a few straps inside which I presume are to store hammers and other tool type junk but are perfect for paintbrushes and artistic stuff!)

Lovely Craig bought one for me and he bought one for you too. Well, one of you! Here's mine with some of my paint and things in...

My gorgeous model who has no business looking so grown up...

Off for a casual artistic stroll round the neighbourhood...

Of course Craig has a cunning plan up his sleeve and is hoping you all want one as much as I did. He wants me to let you know he can get hold of these for £23.95 which is inclusive of P&P for the UK people. Just email me if you are interested.

But back to the giveaway - UK only I'm afraid. Want a heavy duty Tool Tote? Let me know in the comments below and I'll draw a winner next Saturday (29th October)

You know what I like best about it? It ain't bliddy pink!

Thanks for stopping by :D

Am off to take stuff out and put stuff back in my tote!

Rocking My World Friday...

Click the piccie to play along :)

It's Fridaaaaaay! And I'm posting on the right day! Only because I spotted all the other Rocking posts in my sidebar and realised what day it was... but still!

First up this week - my lovely middle monster got a rave review at her parents evening. She's achieving above where she should be in all subjects and in one of them is a whole tier above where she should be. The teacher actually used the words "model pupil" and "mathematical brain" which was quickly followed up with "handwriting like a doctors" but we wont dwell on that bit! :D He did say he'd rather she scrawled and was brilliant than take her time over her writing and never finish anything. Just as well really as she gets progressively more illegible the more fast and frantically she writes!

Craig. This one makes me smile just typing it. For months I have been banging on and on that I want this certain something for my stash organisation. I've spotted this certain something in places like Homebase and Wickes (Hardware/D.I.Y stores for non-UK peeps) but priced at way above and beyond what I want to pay. But the time was coming where my WANT was nibbling away at my reluctance to fork over that much cash. Craig has been saying hold off, I'm sure I can find it cheaper through my suppliers. Just WAIT.

This afternoon, I came in from pottering around outside and this certain something... is sitting on my computer chair. Not only has he sourced it for me, and ordered it... he's ordered an extra one for me to do as a giveaway on my blog!!! Just "in case any of the other crafty peeps would like one too!" He says as long as I only promise to post in the UK, he can afford it. (Sorry everyone else!) Can you believe that? So hence my secrecy - it'll be a separate post probably tomorrow. I mean, you lot may not be wanting one as much as I did but I reckon a few of you might! Isn't he lovely?

Next up, we turned the heating on last night. For the first time. I am so grateful that we actually have heating to turn on - the old house was un-central heated so it was a case of how many layers you could wear before you could no longer move! And secondly that means that I've been able to wear my snuggly jumpers and sit all toasty toasty. I love this season but I love it even more when we get the proper weather with it. Some gorgeous colours around at the moment - there's a bush down by the school and the leaves have turned a proper fire red. So pretty.

I'm loving how everyone has embraced the Secret Santa swap - I see lots of stalking going on. This makes me happy!

LLJ - remember my peg bag from last week? Well, because Ruby monster was convinced it was a Mr Tumble bag (because of all the spots) LLJ made and sent her a little handbag from Mr Tumble! How wonderful is that? I haven't got a picture as she has hidden it away - think she thinks I am going to nick it - but you can see a picture here. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the people of Blogland never ever fail to surprise me with their kindness and generosity.

You lot. Again. Yeah - thank you for all your wonderful words a couple of weeks ago. It just occurred to me I didn't know if I said thank you. I'd said that bit about maybe packing up my blog to say why I appreciated Craig. I never for one moment expected the response I got and have been re-reading my comments this week. I'm still at a point where I'm thinking of cutting down the things I'm involved in, just because I'm finding it hard to keep up. But it's safe to say I doubt I'll ever get rid of my little blog. It's like a little virtual second home now. Thank you everyone - you sure know how to inflate a girls head.

How has your week been? Why not stop by Virginia's and play along.

Thank you as always for stopping by :)

Unfurling by Misty Mawn

The book says:
Unfurling is a workshop in book form, offering a unique mix of inspiration and technique exercises to get your creative juices flowing. This book is for any creative person who wishes to open up more to the process of making art.

The book begins with art exercise in drawing, backgrounds, layering and working with a still life, followed by collage and image transfer techniques.

The second section offers exercises and projects in stamp carving, paper pottery, sculpture, origami, paper doll making and surface design. These tactile explorations offer an enjoyment of the process as well as wonderful handmade projects.

The last section shares a variety of approaches to visual journaling. There are instructions for binding your own journal, prompts and ideas for working on your pages, and a variety of exercises using photography and poetry as ways to inspire and inform your journal keeping.

Also included are a set of gift book plates and a beautiful paper doll designed by the author and printed on perforated cardstock in the back of the book.

I say:

Although the author is very well known online, I have to admit that before laying hands on the book I had never heard of her. I will say this - this is another beautiful, beautiful book from the Quarry publishers. Every page is laden down with beautiful images overlaid on a background of texturey, painty goodness - no white pages here.

I love the idea of a workshop in book form. I have signed up to so many online classes and am yet to complete a single one. So to have a whole workshop residing within easy reach on my bookshelves, handy to snatch a quick read here and there - well that's enticing indeed.

However, because the book does encompass so much I think that many people who do art or craft are going to find at least one or two sections of the book a bit irrelevant to them - they will already know certain bits or be further ahead in experience. Most of the explanations are from a beginners perspective. For example, when I started reading, my heart sunk a bit because almost the entire first section; Art, which encompasses drawing, painting and collage... well, I already do most of the techniques set forward. If you've done any drawing for any period of time, or an online class you will already have had a more comprehensive tutorial than you will get from the opening section here. However - this is just one chapter, it can't hope to compete with a whole online workshop dedicated to one subject. It's meant to stimulate inspiration - which it does.

Moving onto sections two and three; Craft and Journal, it's a whole new ball game, at least for me. These sections talk about stamp carving, paper pottery, paper crafts and journal making, photography, poetry... well these things I've dabbled in but have no real knowledge. These sections blew my socks off. Each section comes in the form of exercises that you are encouraged to carry out from sketching to making paper cranes, modelling a clay doll to taking self portraits, writing your own poetry, creating awesome backgrounds, incorporating images into those backgrounds, carving your own stamps... all in a straightforward "you can do this, we can all do this" manner. No shmaltzy, shmaltzy.

So - all in all. If you come to this book realising that probably, a bit of it you are already going to know but embrace the rest, you'll love this book. I do.

I will put this book up as a giveaway... but not yet. I intend to work my way through it and treat it like it is - a workshop. I'll let you know how I get on.

Thank you to Quarry for sending the book for review.

Thanks as always for stopping by :)

Secret Santa Swap - Call for extra player

I've had an amazing UK blogger *just* miss the sign up. As we are in the early stages of the swap I thought I'd put a call out to see if anyone else wants to partner up. Either a new player or even if you are already playing and don't mind another person to stalk (and be stalked in return.) I wont put up the bloggers name so as to still try and keep it sort of secret.

Please click this link to check out the rules and regs of the swap and if you are interested, drop me a line. (Email button on my sidebar)

Thank you :)

Secret Santa Swap

Hi everyone :)

I've emailed you all with only a few hiccups! I forgot to send addresses to a few of you and Wendy - you nearly ended up with two Santa's! Whoops!

If any of you have not had an email yet then please check your spam/bulk folders. If still no joy, let me know and I'll email you again :) Remember if you have any questions for your stalkees, give me a shout and I'll ask them in confidence for you.

Please can we make sure to post our goodies to our recipients by the 1st of December, allowing good time for Santa's elves at the post office to do their stuff.

Have fun people! Let the stalking commence!

Secret Santa Swap

Look, I made a button and everything!

This was my very first ATC! Aww!

I'll pin this post to the top of my blog and I'll leave it there until Saturday the 15th October. That's over a week for you to decide if you want to play. (For newer posts please scroll down past this one.)

Grinch hat on.

I'm very sorry but this swap is only open to regular visitors to the blog. If I don't recognise your name then I'm afraid you can't play. This is purely because it's my first time hosting a swap and I want to find my feet. I also want to say thank you to the lovely people who have stood by me, put up with my ramblings and let me waffle on about nothing for two years. :) If it goes well, I'll definitely host future swaps in future - who knows this could be a new Christmas tradition!

Grinch hat off.

We've had some interest hence an official proper post! I will take a couple of days after the 15th to collate information and shuffle some paperwork whilst looking all official. I'll then email you all with who you will be stalking. You can then commence villainous laughter, rubbing hands with glee and sneaking along shady internet corridors... as if you didn't all do that already!

Please put together a fabulous Christmas gift for your recipient. Stalk well. Find out what they would swoon clear away over. It can be anything. ANYTHING. Handmade, stash, books, chocolate... just tailor it to your person and fill it with yuletide cheer. I'm imagining myself as Father Christmas in a dress here, whiskers and all LOL! OK, am making myself laugh at the mental images now - but I want you to all be skipping around sprinkling your festive glitter. Sing carols while you make something gorgeous - it's allowed. Drag Queen Santa says so!

So far the consensus I'm getting is that good quality second hand stuff - books, stamps, vintage/retro items - is all good and welcome. Means you'll get more pressie for your buck is what I'm hearing LOL! If you don't feel this way please let me know so I can pass it on to your Santa.

Shall we set the minimum spend at £10? (Roughly $15.48 according to if you wish to spend more on your recipient, feel free but be aware that your sender might not be in the position to do the same.

If you want to know something in particular about your recipients likes etc, email me and I will email them for you anonymously. Obviously I am the only one who will know who my Santa is. So that one wouldn't be anonymous.

Things I need from you -

1. Who you are.
2. Email address
3. Blog address (for stalkage)
4. Postal address
5. Some likes/dislikes. Do you have a wishlist online?

Please email the above to - whoopidoo at btinternet dot com (If you've already sent me the list - thank yooou!)

I'll probably think of more stuff.. I will try to get you posting within your own country to keep costs down. We so far have a few in the UK and a few in the US so these wont be a problem ;)

So to recap:

Will keep sign up open till the 15th
I'll then email you your victim
Stalk, stalk, stalk.
Make, spend, gather, rummage, eat chocolate and buy some more, wrap, wrap, wrap.
Posting date. Shall we say the 1st of December so it will arrive in good time?
Stalk postie
Shake, rattle and feel pressie
Try and resist till the 25th
Mad tearing frenzy with lots of whooping
Meet back after the big day to show off our gifts (if you want to, I always love nosing at what everyone else got!)

Be sure and tell me if I forgot anything?

Have you been naughty or nice this year? We're making a list, and checking it twice...

Me! - Received
Amy - On Santa's sleigh
Virginia - Received
Joanna - Received
Cameron - On Santa's sleigh
Carol - On Santa's sleigh
Susie - On Santa's sleigh
Sarah - Received
Sam - Received
Wendy - Received (1 of 2)
Brandy - Received
Paige - Received
Joyce - On Santa's sleigh
Andrea - On Santa's sleigh
Donna - On Santa's sleigh

HO HO HO! (I blame Virginia, my dad and my sis! They have totally got me in the spirit!)

On My Wishlist...

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where we list all the books we desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too - Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. Want to know more? Click here.

Zombies vs. Unicorns - various

Goodreads summary: It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths—for good and evil—of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?
I totally blame Amy for this being marked as high priority on my wishlist. Doesn't it look amazing? I've been a very good girl this year so am hoping this will materialise under my Christmas tree - am on a book buying ban till after Christmas - how unfair is that? *Sulk*

Undead by Kirsty McKay
Goodreads summary: Being new at school bites. But at least it doesn't kill you. Mostly.

Bobby thinks she might well be on the School Trip from Hell. Too bad she's a noob, too bad her classmates don't rate her weirdo accent and too bad that Scotland is having the worst blizzard since the Ice Age. Looks like she's going to be on this school bus for a quite a while; could things get much worse?

Yep. They could.

Inexplicably, her classmates start dying...and then they come back to life again...and what's more, they're very, very hungry.

With nowhere to run and no contact with the outside world, Bobby is thrown together with a raggle-taggle group of survivors at a roadside café. There's indie kid drop-out Smitty, the class beauty queen Alice, dweeby Pete and two near useless adults: a half-conscious bus driver and a volatile petrol station attendant.

The frenemies struggle to stay alive - through explosions, deadly battles and a breakneck chase through the snowbound wilderness. Somehow they have to make it to safety - and get some answers - no matter what the cost.

Can they survive the Undead? And each other?
Notice a theme yet? :)

Doesn't this sound amazing? And it's set in Scotland! SCOTLAND! Now you all know how I feel about my heartland!

Rot and Ruin by Jonathon Maberry

Goodreads summary: In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
This one has been on my list forever - well, it feels that way!

Outpost by Adam Baker

Goodreads summary:
They took the job to escape the world.
They didn't expect the world to end.

Kasker Rampart: a derelict refinery platform moored in the Arctic Ocean. A skeleton crew of fifteen fight boredom and despair as they wait for a relief ship to take them home. But the world beyond their frozen wasteland has gone to hell. Cities lie ravaged by a global pandemic. One by one TV channels die, replaced by silent wavebands. The Rampart crew are marooned. They must survive the long Arctic winter, then make their way home alone. They battle starvation and hypothermia, unaware that the deadly contagion that has devastated the world is heading their way..

I have a feeling this one will be very claustrophobic but amazing!

Drop Dead Gorgeous by Wayne Simmons

Goodreads summary: As tattoo artist Star begins to ink her first client on a spring Sunday morning, something goes horribly wrong with the world... Belfast's hungover lapse into a deeper sleep than normal, their sudden deaths causing an unholy mess of crashing cars, smoldering televisions and falling aircraft. In the chaotic aftermath a group of post-apocalyptic survivors search for purpose in a devastated city. Ageing DJ Sean Magee and shifty-eyed Barry Rogan find drunken solace in a hotel bar. Ex-IRA operative Mairead Burns and RIR soldier Roy Beggs form an uneasy alliance to rebuild community life. Elsewhere, a mysterious Preacher Man lures shivering survivors out of the shadows with a promise of redemption. Choked by the smell of death, Ireland’s remaining few begin the journey toward a new life, fear and desperation giving rise to new tensions and dark old habits. But a new threat--as gorgeous as it is deadly--creeps slowly out of life’s wreckage. Fueled by feral hunger and a thirst for chaos, the corpses of the beautiful are rising…

Ooooh! Ireland! And zombies! Does it get any better?


How do they sound to you? Obviously this is just a small sample of my wishlist. In fact most of the books on my wishlist are not on my actual on-line wishlist because it would just be pages and pages long and Craig already calls it my begging list (so what if it is? My sis has one too and we beg to each other at Christmas and birthdays - sounds like a plan to me!) Don't even get me started on all the art and craft books on there... well... maybe next week.

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Rocking My World Friday...

ON FRIDAY! Whatever next? A heat wave in October? Oh wait...

So, what's been happening this week then my lovelies? Well quite a lot of poopy stuff I can tell you but from reading all your lovely blogs I know I'm not alone. In a roundabout way that in itself makes me feel better. Not in an evil cackling "if I suffer you suffer" kind of way but in a "we're all in the same boat, different stream" kinda way. Did that make sense at all?  I'm glad, once again for you lot. For being there, being supportive and if I can be there for you in return... well I hope I can.

I didn't win the lottery this week - but I went one better. I won a fiver from the Wrigleys Tooth Fairy! Woohoo! Triple packet of chewing gum which cost £1 from Icelands. Not bad, not bad! I'll tell you now, it's always worth giving the Wrigley's competitions a go, especially if you chew a lot of gum anyway (I do, try and stop me scoffing so much!) Last time they ran a comp both myself and my sister won two tickets each to see Beyonce in concert at the O2. Craig very gallantly took our eldest to that. So kind of him. Talking of the lottery this week and reading the news of those massive winners who went public gave us lots of food for thought. Would you publicly "come out" if you won? I think my answer would be a definite and resounding no. Wouldn't it be nice to win a comfortable amount of cash? I think, and Craig agreed, we'd still be as penny pinching as we are now though. No twenty bed mansion for us, to much to clean. I'd love a house large enough for the girls to have their own room each, for Craig to have a large garden he could fill with aviary's and enough room for my Dad to have a Granny (should that be Grandad?) bungalow out back and I'd have a studio in the top floor of the house with the ceiling being all windows, lots of natural light. Our living room would be lined with bookshelves. And I could have ducks in the garden. I want a duck. And a tortoise. I've not thought about it much though as you can see!

Next positive this week was this glorious sunset espied through the small roof window when putting monster no.3 to bed. Isn't it gorgeous?

Love it when nature surprises you when you least expect it. Felt like a little reward after struggling up two flights of stairs with my dodgy swollen ankles. Don't ask - think I knackered them completely when I tried jogging a while back! That'll teach me to try something that is obviously completely and totally wrong!

Receiving lovely surprises in the post. Remember the P.I.F? Yes, well, I am still to complete mine - I've sent one off. Thankfully I gave myself to the end of the year. Look what arrived in the post from Wendy this week!
It's her first ever sewing project to include a zip... and she sent it to me! I love it! See Wendy, I told you it was the perfect size for a little sketchbook and pencils for my bag. Thank you again, love it!

I am so far in the Christmas spirit these days that I'm surprised I'm not pooping jingle bells! Really, it's like someone flicked a switch. I bought this gorgeous peg bag from the equally gorgeous LLJan this week. Isn't that fabric fabulous? Monster no.3 is convinced it's Mr Tumble's peg bag.
In the package was a lovely surprise Christmas bunting. Isn't it beautiful?

Love this gold holly leaf...
Look, look... I am going to make it my mission to slowly phase out all the cheap crappy decs that someone (Craig) bought last year and replace it with stuff like this!

This is going over our fireplace this year - just above the altered Christmas cabinet I made last year! Thank you Jan :) (Seriously go check out her blog, she does magic with a sewing machine. I have one of her totes and it's like the tardis inside! My favourite bag ever!)

And speaking of Christmas - I draw my Secret Santa names tomorrow! Yay! Yay! Yay! Still time to sign up if you want to play! I am really looking forward to this swap! Another reason to feel all Christmassy!

These two. How much do I complain about these two. I am a not a doggy person. I am a cat person through and through. So I'm not quite sure how it occurred that we ended up with two dogs and not a single cat... Hmm.

Enjoying the unseasonal heat today.

I love them to bits though. I think it helps that they both seem to think they are cats! Lucy, the old girl at the back. She's our rescue doggy, we don't know how old she is - we've had her 8 years and she's getting a bit doddery and deaf (though I'm sure it's selective!) She's been a bit poorly this week and we were worried for her, really worried, but she seems fine now. Cooper, the one in front, is the whipper-snapper at 2 years old. He is absolutely bonkers and a total man's dog. He adores us all but I think he actually would jump in front of a speeding car for Craig. He sits whining at the back door when he's working. They do make me smile for all my complaining about them (they both have the most awful wind I have ever had the displeasure to smell. Silent but deadly. You sometimes have the pleasure of feeling a pffffft when they are on your lap. That's all you know because you're unconscious for half an hour afterwards!) Cooper in particular was so hyper at our old house. Almost running round the walls and if anyone dared knock on the door he would bounce to head level all over them, slobbering and wanting to play until they left again.

Don't know what it is about this place but he's chilled right out. There's still some initial "look at me, fuss me, love me, let me stick my tongue in your ear" bouncing but it's done and dusted after about 5 minutes now. Mellowed right out has our Coop. So yes, these two muttleys make me smile daily. Even when they are being a pain in the bum!

So that's me for another week. Do you want to play along? Be sure and link up with Virginia so we can all find you.

Thank you as always for stopping by :)

Oh wait - just hit 'post' and thought of another! I gave up bread this week because Craig lost 7lbs last week when he did it. (Jammy git!) So far I've lost a measly 1lb... BUT my jeans keep falling down and I can pull them up and down without undoing the button. And. Some of my incentive clothes - dresses that I will use as long tops - all still got their labels on, suddenly fit this week! I mean I have been hoarding them for YEARS! How strange eh? But definitely Rocking!

OK, am gone again!

Dragon Art

Dragon Art - Graeme Aymer
Foreword by John Howe

The book says:

Welcome to a world of fearsome and majestic beasts, soaring through the skies or lurking in their fiery realms of epic. magical and wondrous adventure. The dragon is one of the most iconic and popular creatures in fantasy art. Now Dragon Art explores a whole range of stunning work depicting those winged wonders.

The book begins with a foreword from legendary illustrator, Lord of the Rings artist and dragon fan John Howe. Then feast your eyes on 'The Masters of Dragon Art', a section that includes samples of the work of John Howe, Don Maitz, Janny Wurts, Ciruelo, Bob Eggleton and Michael Whelan. Having whet your appetite, move on to the meat of the book in which Graeme Aymer discusses the origins, influences and attraction of dragon and fantasy art. Alongside this, discover artworks by a host of exciting artists, some well-established and some newly blazing a trail, but all with their own distinctive style - including Alan Lathwell, Scott Altmann, Kerem Beyit, Anne Stokes, Minna Sundberg and many more. The majority of the recent work that features in the book was created in digital media, reflecting the use of the most up-to-date methods.

Also included are feature spreads showcasing artists' step-by-step stages leading to final pieces, revealing invaluable tips on technique. Dragon Art is an essential title for anyone who is passionate about the skill and imagination of top-class fantasy artists and the awe-inspiring allure of dragons.

I say:

I was very lucky to win my copy of this book from the Flame Tree Publishing Facebook page a while back. I've been meaning to do a review for ages but what with the move and getting behind on everything... well, it's taken me to long. Time to rectify that.

I'll be honest, when I entered the competition I thought the book would be one of those flimsy A4 sized softback 'how to draw' books that you see around. I couldn't have been more wrong. Flame Tree call this a coffee table book and I can see why. It's HUGE! You could have knocked me down with a feather when I opened my package. The book itself is hard backed and roughly 11.5" by 11.5" with 203 pages. The pages are a lovely thick, glossy quality and the images inside are just stunning, quite a few fitting a whole page or larger.
This is in no way a 'how to' book. The front of the book calls it "Inspiration, Impact & Technique in Fantasy Art". Oodles and oodles of glorious full colour art work, both full pages and smaller images interspersed throughout the text fill this book. The text itself covers the origins of folklore and myth surrounding dragons, to Tolkien and Lovecraft, to the dragons of Africa and Wales... there is so much to read and soak up and be inspired by.

I find the comparisons between normal art and digital art really intriguing. I must admit to being someone who has in the past dismissed digital art as "the easy option" and not "proper" art. I hasten to add I don't think that now - a couple of tries on my sisters digital drawing pad showed me the error of my thinking there. But seeing all this beautiful artwork has me really tempted to dabble in that side of things myself, usually a traditional paper, paint, pencils... materials you can touch and feel all the way girl...well, this book combined with another I'm reading (How To Draw Zombies) about combining traditional and digital formats have got me really interested and eager to learn more. The sections where a few artists have gone into stages of the artwork are particularly interesting when it comes to this.
I find myself coming back to this book and reading through it often. Quite aside from just how beautiful it is, the history, techniques, folklore (love my folklore) residing alongside the art make it a must have if you are even remotely interested in dragons or fantasy art. I love that the art featured is not all one type - there are Celtic inspired dragons, quite scary and horrific looking dragons accompanied with some really very cute and endearing beasts. It's one that will be read and looked at again and again - at least in this house! Highly recommended.
Flame Tree Publishing

Thanks as always for stopping by :)