Silver Crow Project

Drawing Lab by Carla Sonheim

Drawing Lab For Mixed Media Artists by Carla Sonheim

The book says:
DRAWING LAB offers a year's worth of assignments, projects, ideas and techniques that will introduce more creativity and nonsense into your art and life! This inspiring book offers a fun way to learn and gain expertise in drawing through experimentation and play. There is no right or wrong result, yet, you will gain skills and confidence allowing you to take your work to a whole new level.

I say:
I'm going to be honest, when I first received this book I sat and read it till about half way through and put it down. I really wasn't inspired to try out the exercises. I thought they were daft.Then a blog friend, Cameron, decided to do a play along with the book. Doing an exercise every week or so and encouraging others to join in and link up. Well, I had the book so why not.

Now I have to eat my words a tad. This is one of those books you have to use to get the full benefit from, not just read. The very first exercise where you are encouraged to use your dominant and non-dominant hand completely surprised me. I actually preferred the images I came up with using my non-dominant hand. I never would have tried this technique before.

There are some exercises that I just know I wont bother with,  for example there is one where you are encouraged to go to a zoo. Honestly, with three kids I'm just not going to go to do that and get any peace to draw. But these exercises that you might not be comfortable with could easily be gotten round by maybe watching video footage on the Internet. It's assumed that you have pets and children in the book and some of the exercises involve drawing them or collaborating with them (that would be the children not the pets.) If you didn't have either of these to hand I'm sure you could again use the Internet for animal images or borrow a niece or nephew if you really wanted to do those exercises. Some of the other exercises are a bit to cute, I think they might fall into the whimsy style which for the most part just doesn't appeal to me. Other exercises I really love, like those based on famous artist styles.

Personally I think this is a book that, if you don't actually do the exercises and give it a chance, you are either going to love or hate at first read. A bit like Marmite. If you at least try you may well find your opinion changed. For me, having read and tried... I'm in the middle. I think I'll do half the exercises but the other half really just don't appeal. It's swings and roundabouts. I'm glad I read it because it did take me out of my comfort zone. Which was kind of the idea.

Many thanks to Quarry Books for sending the book to review.

Thank you for stopping by :)

Rocking My World Friday...

Click Virginia's gorgeous art work to play along

Greetings from a wet and windy Kent. I suppose my couple of  garden tubs are thankful for all this damp weather. My back however, is not. Grumble, grumble. 

Enough of that.

I had a lovely present arrive in the post this week from Carol. I would show you a photo of me wearing it... but far from blooming, I am a heaving mass of zits and overgrown hair which seems to be sprouting at an alarming rate. I shall strike a pose when I hit that 'blooming' stage ;) Thank you Carol, it was a lovely surprise.

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It's been a good week for snail mail. I'm in a one-to-one art swap with Cameron of Paint Myself Pretty and my art from her arrived this week.

I have to apologise for my photos today - it's so dark here with the rain. These are all taken under artificial light and do Cam's art no justice at all. Pop over to her blog when you can for a better look. I just love this and in real life it's so tactile. I had asked for my piece to include a crow and words to ponder. She done good didn't she?

Cam also included a little stash pile which included one of her greetings cards and some lovely vintage pages. The woman is psychic, I have been thinking about trying my hand at scrapbooking again, won't these be perfect for bubby pages? Thank you Cam. I now need to get bum in gear and try to do a worthy return piece! Which she has asked to be mermaid-y. Hmm.
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My last good bit of mail was this months issue of Artists and Illustrators magazine plopping through the door. I'm so glad I continued to sub when my introductory three issues for £3.00 ran out. Yes I know it's a ploy to reel you in. And it worked... but I so enjoy it, there is always at least one or two articles I bookmark to have a go at or follow up on online. 

I love to just disappear off for a loooong soak in the bath and have a good read of my magazine. So that's what I did last night.
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I haven't put any weight on. This might sound a bit of an bit odd thing to be happy about given I'm pregnant and the last couple of months have been a bit up and down food wise. When I was going through the dreaded morning sickness phase it was whatever I could eat without the urge to throw it back up... which was mainly junk food, carb type stuff. Bread and potatoes (as long as they were in chip form.) Even now when I am starting to be able to eat relatively normally again (still can't stomach onions and garlic strangely) it's mainly bread that I'm eating in abundance. I'm talking 5 or 6 slices a day. Sometimes more. I have really upped my veggie and fruit intake to try and combat whatever goodness bubby wasn't getting when I was in carb mode. But still I am like Pacman with the bread. I don't think it's a craving...

Craig is disgusted that I haven't put any weight on. I reckon it will start soon. It's weird because I have a really big hard bump already. Bigger than what I should have for how far along I am. But my backside is disappearing so I reckon it's going from there straight to my front. I'll have a concave bum by the end of this :D However - with Ruby I was lighter at 9 months and about to drop than I was when I first got pregnant. Here's hoping! And if it does happen (healthily) here's hoping I can keep it off this time!
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Craig has been a big boost to me this week. I've been mojo-less for ages. This week, as soon as the girls have been off to bed, he has been prodding me to get the paints out and set up at the dinner table. It's worked. I'm buzzing again. You know what? I think I was scared. It has literally been so long since I did anything what with not feeling well and just general life stuff happening... I was a bit scared to even try again. How silly? So thank you Craig for that... and also for letting me nap in the afternoons while you go fetch the girls from school. Big love!
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I think that's me for this week :) I'm going to go and link up with Virginia, if you fancy playing along just follow me over there to link up too :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Sisterhood Of The Travelling Sketchbook

Hi all. So far this week so good with the catching up. I've done two pages for the Travelling Sketchbook that I'm in and those books are in the post and zooming their way to Canada as I type. Hopefully. Well, they're in the post office anyway.

This one is a page for Kim's book, celebrating the Ruby Monster. She was always so very shy at school. Craig and I got used to turning up to plays and concerts and coming home with an empty camera, having watched everyone else's child except our own. The teachers have been brilliant and so encouraging. Last sports day we arrived, saw her waving and thought, hmm, maybe if the teachers hold her hand she might take part... Not only did she take part - she did it with gutso, on her own with a huge smile on her face. Now - well you wouldn't recognise her. She loves school, she's always talking about her friends and the teachers say what a friendly and helpful little girl she is. We're so proud of her. And so grateful to whatever the teachers did.

Whoopidooings - Carmen Wing - Art Journal Page 
This one is for Lisa's book. I wanted to celebrate Scotland and how I miss it. I really enjoyed this one but was a bit worried about including it - the rest of her book is full of gorgeous people paintings and I was worried that a landscape would be out of place... plus I am very, very rusty at my painting.
Carmen Wing - Purple Hills of Scotland - Watercolour Art Journal
In the end I included it because I had so much fun with it. It reminded me how much I enjoy watercolours and landscapes. There was a time in my teens when all I would paint was sunsets/sunrises and landscapes. I haven't done one in years... possibly since my late teens. I also hope it does show my love for those purple mountains.

Thanks for stopping by.

p.s Just realised it's Friday! oops. I'll be back later with another post then! Blimey - two in one day!

Talking Shop...

Some of you wanted to know if/when I was ever going to stop telling other people to start selling and take some of my own advice.

The short and sweet answer would have been probably not. Queen of procrastination. Do as I say not as I do. But have been so inspired by other people that I greatly admire taking the leap. This includes everyone from people that don't blog often anymore, people that are having doubts over their creations and people that are full of confidence. I love all of the things these people are doing and they have all inspired me to take the leap. So... without much more rambling...

Here you will find the...
This is a separate blog where I will list up bits and bobs for sale.

This is just a heads up really. There wont be much on there for a while. I need to catch up on commitments already made before I do anything else... this includes a canvas, some sketchbooks for a Round Robin, some art for a one-to-one swap and the remaining PIF's from last year! Eek. Told you I had got behind. I owe it to these very patient people to get their stuff to them first before I start doing anything else.

But, I was quite excited that I had actually took this first step finally and thought I'd share :) Whenever I actually do anything for the Whoopidooporium (am stupidly chuffed with the name!) I'll announce it here.

Thanks for all the encouragement lovely people... and for stopping by!

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 151

Ooer - I feel like a newbie again. It's been so long since I played. I'm slowly, slowly getting back to doing the things I enjoy in Blogland. I got so behind on everything for a while there.

Here we go. This is my little area of the house, as it was about half hour ago :) Excuse the feet in the bottom of the picture - literally had to sprawl on my back, across the dinner table to get this one.
Zoom in to my desk, I have to try and keep this area tidy because it's in our living room/dining room. (One of those knocked through jobs)
The paintings on the shelf are not my work. They are by Amy and I adore them. The box in the middle (standing on it's side) is one I did at a Pickleberry Crafts workshop. Love their workshops, wish I could afford to do more. The Marmite jars... I just can't seem to throw them out when they are empty so they accumulate on my shelves and I put pens and brushes in them, a pretence that they are not some weird collection but actually very useful items. Ahem.

All the books... some are for review, a couple are borrowed, some are just overspill where my two solitary allocated shelves are full. The ones on top of the printer are sketchbooks.

This was the dinner table last night, I'm desperately trying to get some sketchbooks finished this week from a Round Robin I'm in. Once I'm all caught up I'll hopefully start creating some more. It's been so long what with one thing and another. 
And so we head outside to my messy desk...
Aptly named and I can't actually get to it at the moment. The board in front is what I rest my canvasses on to paint (now starring in my banner up top of the blog  there.)  Craig's bird shed hoover is in the way as is Ruby Monster's bike. But I'll be out there this week. Getting painty and messy have no fear!

So that's me :) It's good to be back and I'd like to play more regularly. I might need a prod remembering the day is coming. I forget what hour it is so easily lately never mind what day. If you fancy playing along, share your work desk or rummage through others - be sure to head over to Julia's place, Desk Mistress extraordinaire, and link up.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Goth Baby Booties

I bought a pair of booties similar to these when Ruby monster was a bubba. They were bright pink and black. as soon as I knew my niece was having a baby I knew I wanted to get her a pair too, she definitely has goth tendencies. I couldn't remember who made mine I only knew I bought them on eBay. I never did find the original seller but I did find Polly_F. Polly is actually a midwife, for some reason this pleases me when buying booties off of her. She is actually setting up a website for her knitted midwifery items and I'll update my post when I hear it's running. But in the meantime you can check out her eBay shop for midwifery items and baby clothes here. She's very open to communication if you want certain colours etc. Just message her through eBay - I did.

Each creation is knitted to order. These are the booties I had made for my niece. They are gorgeous and the wool she's used is so soft.

Obviously we will be getting another pair for a certain little monster nearer the time.

Thanks for stopping by - Just so you know, I accept no responsibility for broodiness caused by this post ;)

Illustration 101 by Max Scratchmann

Illustration 101: Streetwise Tactics for Surviving as a Freelance Illustrator by Max Scratchmann

The book says:
 Do you yearn to illustrate? Do you dream of being the star of the commercial art world? Then this is the book for you!

In this fun-to-read manual you will quickly learn how to land Dream Commissions and wow Art Directors; get past the Scariest Secretaries; get loads of FREE publicity; speed up Slow Payers; create killer newsletters and do a hundred other cool things to put your freelance career straight into the fast-lane.

Yes, the classic is back! Fully revised and enlarged with new chapters on marketing and self-publishing and crammed with oodles of new tips and trade secrets.

I say:
If you pick up Illustration 101 thinking it will be chock full of gorgeous images and art, you'll be disappointed. There are virtually no images whatsoever in this book. What images there are, are small black and white, almost clip art type images. Don't order this book and then complain there are no pretty pictures. Because there aren't. Fact.

No what you do get from Illustration 101 is page after page after page of straight talking, no B.S, excellent advice on how to start selling your work. I honestly and truly love this book. I've sat and laughed, giggled and slapped my head all the way through this book. Laughed and giggled - the straight talking is just so to the point it's funny. But you feel like you are sitting listening to advice from a trusted friend - someone who's been there, done the hard work, done it well and is now telling you how to do it too. Why slapped my head?  Some of the advice is so downright obvious... you can't help but think "why am I not doing this already?"

Click the picture to read it. One of the sections that had me laugh out loud. I showed Craig, who is self-employed, he nodded, laughed and said "yep, he's right!"

I think this book would be so useful not just to Illustrators but any creative hoping to get into selling their work. I don't think I'll be phoning publishers anytime soon but you know what? After reading this, I'm not ruling it out totally. Why shouldn't I have just as much chance as anyone else? I like that you aren't made to feel that if you didn't go to an Art college or University then you might as well not bother. Max Scratchmann believes if you've got the passion, if it's all you think of, then you've got the drive to do it.

I honestly can't think of a base not covered in this book. From setting up your own website, marketing yourself, making a portfolio, making contacts, how to use social media, making sure you get your money... I could go on and on. 

Now, I have to mention a couple of bits. When you start reading the book there are some sections called "Insider Info" These are basically Top Tips. I was a bit confused when I started the book as these Insider Info's are on the left hand pages. So as I'm reading and I turn the page, my eye automatically starts on the left hand page. But you don't read the book like that. The main bulk that you are reading carries on over on the right hand page while the Insider Tips are scattered throughout on the left hand pages. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this clearly. I found that as I got used to turning the pages and mainly looking straight to the right hand page I was reading correctly. Then, when I had finished that section I would go back and read all the related Insider Info on the left hand pages. I think it's just where the book is so jam packed with information, they've tried to cram it into every available space.

To be honest, this initial confusion was so easy to adjust to and the information within these pages is just... it's everything I ever thought I needed to know. And then some.

I particularly like how this book is British. So all the contact info, recommended websites etc. are relevant to us in the UK. How refreshing.
I recommend this one. 100%.

Many thanks to Poison Pixie Publishing for sending the book to review.

Rocking My World Friday...

 To play along click on the piccie :)

I think this post may be mainly bubby related so bear with  :) My most Rocking news this week was that I could finally spill the beans about our little secret. I am so terrible when I have a secret of my own that I'm just bursting to tell. I'm sure Craig got fed up of my "please, please,please let me say something" every day. But I do get why he was cautious. I do. It was just hard!
The more I think on it, the more I think we are having a boy. They usually say at a first scan that you can't tell, so we never asked. However the scanner volunteered a 70% guess... which makes me think she saw something pretty definite. It never even occurred to me that I would have a boy. I just thought I was like my Mum who only had girls (6 times while she tried for a boy! Ahahaha!) However we aren't ruling anything out so are thinking on both boy and girl names. Am so excited for whatever happens!
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My niece has had her baby. A boy.  I am so pleased for this ray of happiness that baby Talon will bring her, my sister and my brother-in-law. I can't wait to meet him when they come to visit - even in the few pictures I have seen so far, he looks like he already knows he's boss of them all :)
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The girls went back to school. I think Pheeb Monster and Ruby Monster in particular were so ready to go back and see their friends. They love having time off but they love going back and getting into the thick of things even more.
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I've won a couple of blog giveaways. This gorgeous foodie book from the Octopus Facebook page, seriously gorgeous it is. Like a work of art just looking at it. And a Day of the Dead pincushion made by the lovely Nicole. Can't wait to get my grubby mitts on that :D
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I think that'll do me for now. I'd just love to say thank you for all the 'congratulations' messages we've received this week. It's been really lovely reading them all and really added to our excitement :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Batty Winner

Out came the Random Generator and the Smarties bowl of... randomness. In went all your names, both from the entries over at Typepad and here too.

No she absolutely could not put down her chocolate for 2 minutes...

Shake, shake...
Mix, mix, chomp, chomp...
And the (slightly sticky) winner is...
Claire! Congratulations Claire! Please email me your address and I'll get Batty in the post to you :) 

Sorry everyone else. Remember if you'd like a batty of your own, go check out Twistyfishies. She can be found on Facebook and Etsy :)

Thanks for stoppipng by - be back later with Rocking Friday!

Secret's Out...

 Hello World!

Yes, for ages we have been trying for another bubba. Didn't say anything in case, you know, it didn't happen.

My valentines gift was finding out that it had!

We had our first scan today. We went along with the due date of 22nd October but we were told while we were there, due to baby size, measurements, movement etc, it's more likely the 17th. However I was two weeks late with all my girls so it could still be later.

There is a 70% chance we are having a boy.  Scanner lady asked us if we'd like her to 'guess' and we said OK. With which she said "look, this is a definite protrusion". But it may yet still be a girl. It will be much loved either way.

So... Yay! I'm sorry I let you all think I was suffering with some lurgy, I felt really bad about that especially when I was getting lovely 'get well' messages. No, it was the dreaded morning (all day) sickness which has thankfully eased considerably now :)

And yeah... we know we are bonkers! 

Thanks for stopping by :)

The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

Goodreads says:
3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers. 

When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers. 

But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

I say:

I think, possibly... I'm going to have to stop reading Young Adult/Teenage books for my zombie type fixes.

The Other Life was quite a short read.  314 pages done and dusted in a day. I liked the idea of the book. I can't imagine how you would cope with the thought that the World was ending - how do you even begin to plan for that, to get your family safe, calculate your provisions. Seal yourself underground with them... not go INSANE!

For me the story really began when Sherry and her father had to leave the bunker in search of food, this is when the most interesting characters in the whole book came into play. The Weepers. Former humans infected with some mutated rabies disease turning them into.... what came across to me, as a kind of highly intelligent half zombie, half werewolf. Their name given because of the constant milky tears they weep. The scenes they were in were quite simply amazing. I loved them. Gruesome, scary and in one instance for me, heart in mouth... But they were so few and far between. As with most YA books I've read lately - the majority of the plot seemed to be over taken by a sappy romantic sub plot which kind of dwarfed the amazing, amazing Weepers. It all happened to soon, hey - maybe that's what happens in an end of the World as you know it scenario.But you know, when your Dad has been dragged off by monsters, you haven't eaten properly in goodness knows how long, the rest of your family is potentially starving to death or being eaten... is romance really the top of your agenda? Really?

Aaargh and pah!

Again it seems a story that could have been so, so good just stumbled short for me. This is the start of a series and to be honest, I'm not fussed either way to see if anyone survives or not.

If you like Young Adult fiction with the focus on the romance and the (so cool) beasties as a kind of afterthought, this might be a great book for you.

For me? A disappointment. 

Many thanks to Usborne for sending the book to review.

Susanne Winnacker

Thank you for stopping by :)

Blog Home Update.

I'm staying here. That is all.

OK, a bit more waffle... it is me after all. I've had a bit more of a play with the new Blogger interface and I'm really impressed. Yes, you can now resize photo's within the post while you are drafting up... very, very similar to Typepad. So, why pay for it? I haven't had any glitches since I upgraded to the new interface and I'm even able to draft posts in Chrome without having to switch to Firefox which is what I was doing before.

So.  I wont be carrying on with Typepad after the free trial runs out. I'm sure anyone who knows what they are doing with html would produce an amazing blog over there. Me, I want to be working on my art and craft or reading... or eating - not learning html. Thanks for bearing with me, I hope I didn't lose any of you along the way. Thank you also for all the help, tips, advice and just general good humoured but very honest opinions.
That's why I love you all :)

Batty Giveaway

Hi all, I'm copying this post over from the Typepad blog, just in case I decide to stick with Blogger - If you already entered the giveaway over there, don't worry, I have a note of it.

In the last 'Rocking Post' I mentioned that I would be highlighting whenever I buy handmade. This is one of those posts.

I discovered Kristie at Twistyfishies on Facebook and immediately fell in love with her little bats. Having just had my birthday and also sold some crafty magazines I decided to treat myself... and you. One of you anyway.

This little beauty is mine. All mine. I like to call him Batfink. Kristie includes a hand drawn original ACEO with each of her creature creations. I think this is a really lovely touch. He's so dinky and cute. Love my Batfink.

Would you like a bat of your own? I'm giving away one of Kristie's pink bats.

Want him? I feel he is a him even though he's pink. I may be wrong. Just leave me a message saying that you'll provide a warm and loving home for this little critter and I'll draw a winner on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. You don't have to follow me, jump through hoops or anything - I can't be doing with checking up on all that. I'm to lazy. Just a comment will do fine.

Thank you for stopping by. 

Blogger vs Typepad

Soooo.... hi everyone.

You might wonder why I'm posting here. On Blogger. Well, I'm still trying to decide whether to keep this blog or stick with Typepad. I have been doing a list of pro's and cons for each and both are pretty equal now. I started to really like the white space I had going on at Typepad so began to play around with Blogger last night. What do you think?

I know a couple of you wanted to know my thoughts between the two so here I am. Bear in mind it's only been a little under a week since my swap and I am not the most tech savvy person in the World. I just want an easy blogging experience.

Biggest con for Blogger. The glitches, oh Blogger how you have made me see red over the last couple of months with the glitches. Not being able to comment, not being able to post. Not being able to upload pictures... those of you that have had the same problems could probably add more to the list.

However - they are rolling out a new interface next month. Could this be why there are so many glitches? (even though they've been going on for months.) Maybe they are ironing out the wrinkles. (Pessimistic optimist.) I upgraded to the new interface early last night... I quite like it, it's like the Typepad one. Kind of. Everything is there, at a glance.

It turns out I can't import my blog over to Typepad. (Thanks for all the help and advice Donna and Luke) Regardless of all the sites that say you can. I can't. And neither could Donna and Luke who are very tech savvy, clever peeps. Something to do with conflicting codes. And I am loathe to just give it up, this is my second home, I put a lot of my heart and soul on here - that may sound over dramatic... but I do.

The biggest pro for Typepad - for me - was how easy it is to resize pictures once you've uploaded them to your post over there. They look so professional. So I tried out a few different Blogger templates last night and managed to get the pictures quite big over here, still not so many resizing options I don't think - saying that, I haven't tried out uploading a picture with the new interface yet. But it looks better than I had before.

I love how when I get an email notification that I have a comment on Typepad, each comment comes with the persons email. It means I can reply to each and every one. Quite a lot with Blogger just come in with a dead end 'no reply' Blogger address which means I either have to reply publicly on that persons blog, which, depending on the subject, you don't always want to do. Or you just don't reply.

Typepad is doing my head in with the html I need to know for the sidebar. Uploading pictures to the sidebar, adding links etc. I can do it... just... badly and very slowly. I like how Blogger automatically resizes pictures and adds them to the sidebar for me. Typepad doesn't do that - you have to manually resize, then upload to a folder, then add html code etc, etc. It's a fast 2 minute job with Blogger. I have been sat half a day scratching my head with Typepad. If you know your stuff it is probably very easy.

I still don't have a blogroll over there which is how I see when my favourite blogs have updated. I don't use Google reader, I use the blogroll on my sidebar. It's what I'm comfortable with, what I'm used to, what I do. I've tried following various step by step tutorials on Google which are all full of frustrated comments by people like me. Can't do it.

I implemented the recommended Typead settings for comments yesterday, Supposed to give my readers a more personal, richer experience where we can all chat in the comments box. I got quite a few messages in my email box saying people couldn't comment. At all. Hmm. Swapped it back to basic and it seems to be working now. But, another irritation.

You can't search for specific Typepad blogs within Typead. What I mean by that is - like in Blogger search you stick in keywords and you are recommended blogs that contain those subjects. This is not an option on Typepad. How bizarre? I know I have enough blogs to follow but am always looking out for more and I wanted to see how other craft/art/illustration/book review/rambly people had set their Typepad up. Not to copy - just to nosy at. Typepad recommend you open up Google advanced settings, type in Typepad as the main search criteria and then put your keywords into the 'keywords' box. What a kerfuffle and still not as many results show up as I suspect there MUST be blogs on there.

So - you see what I mean? Pro's and cons for both. I'm erring towards staying on Blogger at the moment - mainly because it's free and all my other posts are here. And the ease without html. I think if I knew my stuff with html I could do Typepad really well...

How many readers do you think I'm going to lose dragging you back and forth like this? We could all pretend it's just been a great big conga line :D

Thank goodness for free trials!

Thanks for reading and don't forget my giveaway - I may repost it here so don't get confused if you see it pop up, I'll make a note of everyone who already entered over on Typepad. My Rocking Friday post this week is over on Typepad for the moment.

Thank you as always for stopping by... and, you know, putting up with me.

New Home...

I've started a new blog - I'd love you to come find me. I'm here:

I'm doing the free trial to see how I go over there. I got fed up with all the glitches on Blogger, I know not everyone has been affected but I have more and more, regardless of what browser I use.

I'll be leaving this blog up - I've put to much work into it to just delete it - I haven't worked out if I can import it over.

Anyhoo - I'm holding a giveaway on my first post over there. No it's not to tempt you over... ok, maybe a little bit :)

So... adios for now amigo's... unless you're coming with me, in which case this way me hearties!

Rocking My World Friday...

Click Virginia's gorgeous art to play along :)
Late again but I have an excuse. I spent most of yesterday thinking it was Thursday so really, by my time zone at least, I'm posting on time!

... Ok it's now Sunday so I'm officially late!

How has your week been? Mine started with the two elder monsters going to their Nanna's for the week. I think it's lovely she has this time with them and we really appreciate it when she does. I just worry all week about whether one accident prone little monster in particular will have trashed her house completely by the time we get there to pick them up. Ooer.
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A couple of days of good weather. It's been a bit of an odd week weather wise. Summer one day, Winter the next. On one of the good days we took mini Monster to the beach with her bike and £7.70 in our (Craig's) pocket. We were out most of the afternoon walking, fast walking, slightly jogging to catch her up. Couple of stop offs at the parks we passed. 2 portions of hot chippies (heavily salted and vinegared of course) 2 large, warm, extremely delicious sausage rolls to share between the three of us and drinks all round. Followed by more walk, walk, jog, collapse on the grass while she played in the park. Topped off with Cornetto ice-cream for mini Monster and then home again jiggity jig, all of us completely shattered. Who says days out have to be expensive eh?
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My Copic pen collection. Started the week off like this. Not many, but used and used.

Thanks to the lovely Becky for thinking of me when she decided to sell her collection, for the bargaintastic price and to Craig for listening to my drooling gibberish and helping fund said collection. Now at the end of the week my pens look like...

WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Excuse me while I just gaze at them admiringly and smile my dreamy smile again.

Let me just repeat that.
From this...

Tra lal la la la!

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Oh... and remember my sister bought me a duplicate of The Walking Dead Compendium for my birthday? And she told me to resell it and buy something else? Well I did. I got £30 which she said was more than she paid herself. So this week also saw the arrival of a desktop easel...
...and an A4 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. I've had the easel on my wishlist a while. She had already given me Mum's old proper easel when I had the old stu-stu-studio but I just don't have room to keep it up here so this one seemed a good compromise. I've also been wanting to try a Moleskine for years but am to tight to pay the price to try one. However, seeing as she was paying, I finally got one. Thanks Melsie, muchos smooches.

It's felt like Christmas this week! Who needs chocolate eggs!
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Coming back to Blogger after being offline for a while has made me realise all it's glitches again. I may be trying out a new Blog host this week and seeing how I go with that. I'm quite excited to start afresh, I'm going to see if I can import this blog but if not I'll let you know where I've gone and if you want to toddle on over you can. Of course if this is the excuse you've needed to cut all ties and run... well, hurrumph!

I'm going to use it as the start of getting organised. I'll be setting up my Etsy/Folksy shop (she says having said this a bazillion times) and perhaps a Facebook page of moi the artist! (She said it! Without a hint of sarcasm and perhaps just a shmidge of a snort!)

Both Craig and I have decided we're both guilty of having our heads turned by various branches of our interests. (His birds and my arty, crafty) We've both agreed to try and just admire what other people do but accept we can't try and do EVERYTHING if we want to be really good at a particular something. Does that make sense? I know many people can be Jack of all trades. And quite frankly I hate you all and am jealous as Hell. Not really. (OK, really!)

So he is focusing on what really interests him and I am going to focus on getting better at my drawing and painting. A shmidge of crafting on the side and now and again wheel out the sewing machine to create a wibbly wobbly creation. EVERYTHING else is for me to admire, wish I could do and maybe buy and support that artist in whatever they are doing that I can't. Knitting and crochet springs immediately to mind.

I'm also going to totally steal Nicole and Ewa's idea. Whenever I buy something handmade I'll show and tell on my blog (wherever that might be) to support our community. Also whenever I can but only if I know it'll be appreciated, I'll be buying handmade presents (unless I'm making myself *g*)

I might not be putting this across as a positive but already I feel my mind clearing and getting much more focused. I find myself with a day on my own tomorrow. This never, ever, ever happens! So I'll be clearing up my spaces. Finish catching up on projects I'm behind on - clearing the decks so to speak and then it'll be full steam ahead. I will not even look at this infernal time suck of a machine until I am done. If you see me on here - banshee scream at me and tell me to get lost!

I predict a good Rocking post next Friday :)

I hope you've all had a good week. Thank you as always for stopping by.


Kelly over at My Gallery Of Worlds has tagged me in a Meme. (Ages ago - sorry for taking so long Kelly.) So here I am answering her questions. If you are interested... read on. If not... well, am slightly insulted but tatty bye for now.

1. If you could describe your life in colour, what would it be and why?
Purple. Firstly it's my favourite colour. But mostly because it can be a happy colour, it can be a sad colour, it can be depressing and it can be uplifting, it's often a misunderstood or confusing colour, it can be both over and under rated. It can be ugly and it can be glorious... all things which describe aspects of life I think.

2. Do you have any pets? If so, what are they/their names and why do they fit your personality?
We have a Jack Russell dog called Cooper. I am not a dog person at all. But was talked round by him being a cute puppy at the time and his name being my choice. He is mental, hyperactive and kinky (he has an ear fetish!) He doesn't like other dogs much, but he is the most lovable, cuddly, stupid, infuriating but downright likeable mutt you could ever meet. So... take from that what you will.

We also have lots and lots of birds but they are Craig's and I don't think of them as pets. And of course, we now have Bernie the bunny.

3. Where did you fit in in high school...jock, band geek, popular crowd...etc?
I was the painfully shy one - still am sometimes. If I was sent to knock on another classrooms door to give the teacher a message I would be stood outside for ages just trying to work up the guts to knock. I dreaded the days in English when you had to read aloud from books or stand at the front and give speeches. Yet English and Art were my favourite subjects. I would do anything not to draw attention to myself, but somehow managed to still become the focus for bullies. Because of this I left school at 15  I never went on to art college like I wanted to. One of my biggest regrets.

4.How do you react in an emergency...fight or flight, go get help, the calm one???
I'm tempted to say flight. But thinking on it I've had to face up to a few emergencies and there has been no choice but to fight. In my head I'm fleeing but am stood there all the same.

Can you be a pessimistic optimist? I think that's what I am. In my head all the worst possible scenarios play out over everything and yet I always, always try to look on the bright side and egg my girls on to do the same.

5. If they were making a movie of your life, who would you chose to play you... why?
Miranda Hart. No question! I adore her, she makes me laugh proper belly laughs and in her first series, when she said a lot of her sketches were based on her life... I related to a little too much! And she's tall. And my middle name is Miranda. Got to be her.

6. Why is your best friend your best friend, what makes them so special?
Craig is my best friend... but you knew I'd say that. Why is he my best friend? I suppose because he knows the best of me and the worst but loves me all the same. He likes me for me and actively encourages me to do more of the things I want to do. Doesn't make me feel daft for liking the things I do even though most of our interests are complete opposites. I think we have learnt a lot from each other. He just makes me a better person.

7. If money was no object, and you were going to buy yourself something completely frivolous, what would it be, and why?
I would have my bingo wings 'fixed'. How completely shallow is that? I can get over all my other physical faults, embrace some of them even. But oh how I hate my flabby upper arms and keep them covered no matter how hot a day it is. Three quarter length sleeves and shrugs are my clothes staples.

7. Three words that describe your personality?
Sarcastic, honest... creative.

8. Who was your favorite teacher and how did they influence you?
Ms. Gardner. My Primary 4 teacher (I would've been about 6 or 7) I just remember this really flamboyant punk/hippy of a woman. She was amazing, she seemed to make it her mission to take me under her wing. She was so creative and I remember one term she turned the whole class into a pirate ship. She often encouraged me to bring in drawings from home - I wish more teachers were like her. I often think about her when my own girls mention particular teachers that have inspired them.

9. What do you consider true strength?
Honesty and kindness. Anyone can be mean and spiteful.

10. What is your favorite game? (video, board, card...any kind)
Oh now. With video games it would be something like The Sims which I go through phases of being completely addicted to and then being completely bored with. Or the Monkey Island series - things like that. I can't be doing with 3D games they make me feel queasy. I prefer playing on the PC too.

Card games - I'm actually getting onto the various Top Trumps because of the girls.

11.What season do you love the most, why?
Autumn, I love the colours, I love that the temperature is just right, not to hot and not to cold. I love the good dramas that come on the TV. I love just the general atmosphere of Autumn.

So now I am supposed to think up 11 separate questions and tag 11 people. Honestly - I am claiming that my brain is still a bit mush from not feeling well. So I am going to ask anybody that would like to play along to answer Kelly's questions above. I can't pick from you all. If you do take part, please let me know as I love reading these posts on other people's blogs :)

Thanks for stopping by.