Silver Crow Project

Artful Readers Club - My Monster Burrufu

Hi everyone.This is my review of the book I chose and the art it inspired for the March meeting of the Artful Readers Club. This might seem an odd choice... but bear with me.

Whoopidooings: My Monster Burrufu by Alberto Corral - Book Review
My Monster Burrufu by Alberto Corral

Goodreads says: 

Seven-year-old Olivia has just moved to a new house—the same house where a lonely monster named Burrufu lives hidden in a secret attic. One night, unable to resist the smell of delicious cookies, Burrufu sneaks out and is discovered by Olivia. The two soon learn that you can find friendship in the most unexpected places.

My Monster Burrufu is a story of overcoming fear, a curse, and a most unusual monster who learns from a little girl how to trust his heart.

I bought my kindle version of this book purely because of a review where the reader was drooling over the illustrations. The book, according to Amazon,  is aimed at readers aged 9 years and above (Yeah - I know, just my age then!)  The illustrations, by Alessandra Sorrentino, are gorgeous. They remind me of Disney or Pixar style illustration. The story also reads like it would translate into a film really well - it goes from gentle story about a young girl and her Dad moving to the country to epic chase scenes quite seamlessly. 

I did really enjoy the book. The plentiful  illustrations are grey and white - I wondered if this was just because I was reading on my Kindle but when I checked my Kindle reader via the app on my tablet, they were still grey and white. On further checking it does look like the 'proper' book is the same. Reading is no less enjoyable through the kindle than, I am guessing, it would be via traditional format. I would like to get hold of this in book form to read to my youngest daughter who at 5 years old, I think would also enjoy this too.. and I do try to get hold of books that I have bought solely for the pictures in traditional book form.

Having said all that - the story itself is a good one. Lots of intrigue, secrecy, drama - a good moral tale about prejudice and what it can do entwined within. The only thing I didn't like... and it's something I have noticed with other children's novels, is the way that Olivia was left completely on her own in the house while Dad went to work. That didn't sit well with me - but I've had the same conversation about Charlie and Lola so it must just be a thing that is 'OK' in children's books.

Really recommend the book... Suitable for little kids and grown ups too in my opinion. This 36 year old loved it.

There's a lovely website for the book. Click here if you fancy a peep.
On to the art. There is a lovely scene where Burrufu kind of flies Olivia away and they are able to be themselves, not scared about anyone or anything else. This is one of the scenes that sticks in my mind the most and so what I used to inspire the art piece. I roughly drew a monster and child holding hands. The monster is not strictly true to Burrufu himself - I just drew whatever monster-ish but cuddly form came to mind. I cut out the image to use as a mask...

Whoopidooings - Monster and Friend Mask for Gelli Plate printing

...and then had lots of fun with acrylic paint and the Gelli Arts printing plate. It is so colourful and shimmery in real life - there are layers and layers of gold, bronze and silver paint in that sunset. 

The aforementioned 5 year old has declared that is her and the Gruffalo. No prizes for guessing what they read at school this week! The 'Big Love' in the background is because that's the last thing I say to my girls at night before they go to bed. It seemed appropriate.

Am not ashamed to say, this is my favourite arty thing I have done in a long time :)

Whoopidooings - (Carmen Wing) Acrylic Gelli Print - Monster & Friend "Big Love"

The book I've chosen for April is:

Thank you, as always, for stopping by :)

I've now linked up to Carolyn Dube's Gelli Print Party. Links are open all month if you'd like to play along :)

Rocking My World Friday...

Happy Rocking Friday peoples. Three years young! As good an excuse for cake as any.

So, what has made me smile this week? Well, Cooper. Who is Super Cooper at the moment. He has never been allowed upstairs, ever. But he slunk up to tell us our carbon monoxide alarm was bibbing the other night. It was just low on batteries but such a good feeling to know that he would alert us in an emergency. Many doggy choccy drops were rewarded, let me tell you!


After my spice draw getting jammed again, I tidied it. Took me 10 minutes if that, has needed doing for... months probably. I wrote the herb and spice names on the lids too, so no excuse for anyone rummaging around me drawers! Ooer missus! Small thing. Makes me happy. 

Pheeb's and Ruby both having an excellent parents evening. Both doing really well. Both happy, helpful children who work hard. I also asked Ruby's teacher if she knew what had happened to the scrapbooks (Learning Journeys) that had been filled in while she was at nursery. These are books that are filled with snippets and photos of the child's day along with codes as to how they are progressing (PD = Personal Development. CD = Creative Development etc.) She said she had them and did I want Ruby's. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. So this is a huge positive for me this week. I don't know about you but I would much rather pay for one of these at the end of the year than one of those stiff formal photos - wish you could do that. Such an insight into her days. So glad I asked now. Teacher had a whole pile of other children's books in her cupboard that just hadn't been claimed/asked for.
Getting  two hours with just Logan and me at home today. Can't remember the last time I had a block of time like that. By the time I fed him,  made a cuppa, cut a mask - I had half hour to splash some paint about. Gelli Plate fun was had aplenty!

Plus 10 minutes last night - having so much fun with this. Doesn't look like who it's supposed to but fun none the less. Been watching Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Gelli Plate class this week and it's been a great kick start. Really enjoyed it. So another huge thank you to the WW girls for my Gelli-tastic birthday present! I never actually realised how much you could do with it in such a little time.

Lost 2lbs this week. That's battling full on wind and trying to stop a pram taking off on the way to school that is. Full body work out!
  • Getting organised, making use of my calendar whiteboard (thanks Irene) and so, getting some arty time. 
  • Rye Ryvita with blue cheese. Nom nom nom.
  • Hot sweet tea.
  • Craig. Always.
Thank you for stopping by everyone :) If you fancy counting your positives, why not join in with the 4th year of Rocking Your World Friday and link up with Virginia here.


Reading last months issue of Artists & Illustrators magazine, I really liked the article about framing works together. (March 2013 issue - page 52- 53) 

Whoopidooings: Framing Multiple Works - Jayne Stokes article in Artists & Illustrators

These are postcard sized paintings by Jayne Stokes which she has framed together as a collection.

Whoopidooings: Framing Multiple Works - Jayne Stokes article in Artists & Illustrators

Then, blow me down, the same week - on a weekend trip to Hastings, we spotted this framed work by Alvaro Petritoli in the window of the First Sight Gallery (in the Old Town) this time the works looked to be roughly ATC/ACEO size. 

Whoopidooings: Framing Multiple Works - ATC's/ACEO's - Alvaro Petritoli
Oh how I would love to own this!

Whoopidooings: Framing Multiple Works - ATC's/ACEO's - Alvaro Petritoli

It got me to thinking - wouldn't this be a great way to display all those gorgeous pieces of mail art we collect? Or the ATC/ACEO's we swap or buy? Most of mine are filed away in folders until I can get individual frames for them, meaning the majority never get displayed. I'm worried they'll be ruined if I just bluetack or pin them up. 

What do you think -  do you do this already? How do you display your collected smaller artworks? Funny isn't it how you see variations of things at the same time. 

Thanks for stopping by today :)

Budgie Love

This is a post I've been meaning to write since Christmas.

When Craig and I decided to do token gifts (don't get me started on his deviousness) I knew exactly what I wanted to get him. I had recently discovered Jenny Blair through Facebook - someone else had 'shared' one of her stitched collages and I was blown away. 

I'd had a good snoop through her blog on first discovery and seen her budgies. Craig keeps budgies - amongst other birdies but budgies are one of his true loves. So I asked Jenny if she had any for sale.

This little beauty is 3.5" by 3.5" - I think Jenny was a bit worried about all the pink but she needn't be. Craig loves her. So do I actually and have managed to keep her in the house instead of his bird room by saying I needed her to do this post! I suspect she will be disappearing shortly!

Budgie Textile Art by Jenny Blair -

Her work is so tactile and really something to see up close. So detailed - so perfectly scaled. It's like she literally paints with a sewing machine. 

Budgie Textile Art by Jenny Blair -

The framed piece is actually a print of 'Gloria' one of Jenny's other budgies. That too is beautifully detailed and the next best thing to owning an original I reckon. 

Budgie Textile Art by Jenny Blair -

If you haven't discovered Jenny and her textile art before  I really recommend a visit to her blog or Facebook page. You'll see not only fantastically detailed animal collages but people too. She leaves me in awe and wonder and a smidge of green eyed jealousy. On the blog she also does a lovely post called Treasuring You where she celebrates the little things that make her smile - it's very similar to Rocking Your World Friday - well worth a read :) 

I have a whole list of her work that I want to own - a highland coo, one of her people... I keep hinting that she should do a crow... or raven.  Go see her... then come back and thank me!

Thanks for stopping by today :)

p.s Ooh. Ooh.  Stitched zombies! She should so do stitched zombies!

Rocking My World Friday...

I'm late, I'm late... by about a week or two. I've still been counting those positives though. Here goes...

I almost deleted my blog - don't ask me why. I couldn't tell you. I love my blog. Just one of those moods where I felt rubbish at everything. What I did do was go back to the beginning and started reading. I came across a certain post where I joined in with a little idea Virginia had. She was listing all the things she had found positive in her week. I decided to play along... 3 years later (yes - 3 years tomorrow Virginia!) and I totally credit Virginia and her Rocking Friday posts with changing the way I think. Reprogramming my brain to think (for the most part) positively instead of jumping straight on that oh so easy negative. Big huge hugs Virginia and Happy Birthday RYWF! Hip Hip Hooray!

You know what else I realised when reading back on my blog? I spend an awful lot of time saying what I can't do, what I'm behind on, what I haven't done... instead of celebrating what I can do, what I have done and just getting bum in gear and doing stuff. So thank you to the people who have been helping me organise myself - Craig, the Wednesday Whine girls - Craig's Mum for picking me up a white board calendar. If anyone sees any hint of negativity from here on in, you all have permission to get in line and conga slap. 

Next up - we had one day last week where the sun shone. We were able to put washing on the line, and leave the back door open - it felt like Spring had finally sprung. Cooper spent the day working hard, catching some rays...

Then the next day it went back to normal and it's been alternating between rain and snow ever since.
The fishing club quiz night. We didn't come last for once. The man on the table next to us gave the girls a big tub of chocolates that he won on the raffle. It was our first proper social night out with Logan too. He seemed to enjoy it - when he'd had enough he just went to sleep on Craig. 

The girls are working their way through the recipes in my kitchen binder or on my Pinterest board. Over the past couple of weekends Pheebs and Ruby have made chocolate chip muffins and chocolate chip cookies. Devvie did both cheese scones and fruit ones last weekend and made this cinnamon loaf this weekend. 

Picture source and recipe.

If you make anything this week - make this! It is divine! A new family favourite, definitely. Yum. 

Oh and another positive - with all this baking they're doing,I haven't put any weight on. Haven't lost any, mind you... but none gone on. Craig however, says I have to tell you all he's lost 6lb over 3 weeks and is catching me up!

We went to one of those soft play playground places at the weekend. Thought Pheebs might think she was to old for all that. Needn't have worried. In fact, Devvie, who'd gone out shopping with friends felt like she'd missed out I think. Nice to know they're still my babies sometimes!

Never to old to play in a ball pit eh?
Funky coloured gelli-fied jiffy bags arriving in the post. Look at this - now if that doesn't brighten your day like it did mine... I don't know what would! It came from Jo bearing bubba goodies for Logan. I've kept the jiffy - isn't it fun?

Gelli Plated Jiffy Bag by Jo (Fiddlesnips)

I really need to start writing stuff down for these posts don't I? but I reckon that's a pretty good list for a scatterbrain like me :)

How have you been?  Why not join us in this little feel good exercise - it doesn't have to be a Friday for you to play along. Just link up at Virginia's any-time throughout the week.Thank you for stopping by today! 

Artful Readers Club - Brave Intuitive Painting

Hi everyone.This is my (slightly late) review of the book I chose and the art it inspired for the February meeting of the Artful Readers Club. Here we go...

A bit of pre-review waffle. I'm going to say firstly that I'm a huge fan of Flora Bowley's painting style. I discovered her a year or so ago when I got an email about a workshop she was part of. I have thought for ages that I would absolutely love to take one of her workshops... but they don't come cheap. Even the online ones run into three figures so, at the moment, it's something I just can't do. Imagine my excitement when I heard she was bringing out a book. I couldn't wait - I thought it would be like a condensed version of one of her workshops. When it came out, on to my wishlist it went and I started reading through the reviews (I always do.) The majority were hugely complimentary - but I don't always trust the 5 star reviews. I find some can come across a bit blinkered - especially if the writers are very obviously fans of the person who wrote the book. This goes for fiction as well as technique books. (Sorry if that offends anyone but I can't afford to buy the amount of books I'd like so this is how I sift through the reviews and decide where to spend my hard saved pennies.) So I always start with the 1 and 2 star reviews - sometimes these even convince me that actually, what you disagree with, makes me want to read the book. However - these reviews this time were saying this wasn't a technique book, it wasn't a condensed workshop, and that it was peppered with lifestyle photographs and loads of blethering about yoga... with a few tiny pictures of Flora's art thrown in. Hands up now - I hate this sort of thing. Lifestyle yapping and banging on about releasing your inner wotsits are the quickest turn offs for me in a technique book. I hate it! I hate it! I hate it! Why can't I just be a person that wants to paint? Why does there have to be all this soul searching crap with it? Why? Why dammit?

So I stropped a bit. And huffed a bit. And didn't buy the book.

But I kept going back and reading the reviews. Then a friend bought the book and said - you know what? There is a bit of blether (or words to that effect) but it's still inspiring... so I huffed a bit more. And after a few months of huffing and stropping... I bought the book. And this is what I thought...

There is A LOT of blether and waffle about yoga and dancing around with loaded paint brushes and singing and dancing some more... and being brave and dancing is being brave and blah de blah... really skin crawly, teeth on edge stuff for me personally. BUT. The technique bits were actually pretty OK... even if they didn't really start till page 40... but I found that I do most of them already.  I did like seeing how Flora paints, there's a couple of pages at the back that I wish she had dedicated larger photos to and spread over more pages, where she goes from blank canvas to finished piece and I found that fascinating. The book is peppered with beautiful, beautiful art work. I have to disagree with other low star reviewers on that - it's a stunning looking book and there are some gorgeous large images of paintings I hadn't previously seen.  Which I enjoyed poring over. I just found it really hard going with the flowery reading. Hence my late review - I kept putting it down and walking away.

Thing is - I think this actually probably is a condensed version of what you might expect at a Flora Workshop. I was wrong about that. I think she specialises in teaching you to not just let go as an artist but also techniques to free yourself up better as well - you can expect yoga position tips and stretching exercises in the book. Unfortunately, that's all wasted on me. However in that respect I don't feel I wasted my money in spending just over a tenner on this book. It has stopped me from saving up the three figures for a workshop that I just don't think would be my cup of tea. 

Still a huge fan of Flora Bowley's work... but I think my Being Bold, Letting Go and Unfolding... is just done a different way is all.

Sarah shared this link with me when she knew I was reading this book. Like her, I just love watching others paint and I thought I'd share with you :)

Flora Bowley * Brave Intuitive Painting from Zipporah on Vimeo.

You'll be pleased to know the book wont sit gathering dust on my shelf. My 12 year old is a new Flora Bowley fan and I have been trying to drill into her - after a few nasty comments at school from kids who said her art wasn't art because it wasn't realistic - that what she creates is art. So she has snagged this book to drool over the pictures :)

So what did I do arty wise? The one thing I did take away from this book was to walk away. I have a temper and many, many started bits of art end up ripped up in a rage. I walked away from this many, many times - didn't do most of the exercises Flora recommends but did step back, move it around the house to look at it in different lights, turned it upside down etc. I think I like it now. Not totally convinced it's finished but - it's in my journal so I can come back to it at some point if I want to. It's going to have a quote or just words on it I think... not sure what yet. 

The pages I started off with already had some ripped up paper and excess ink on them
Then I used some of my little one's left over paint - waste not want not. Just that stuff you get in the big squidgy bottles that the schools use.
Started randomly slathering that all over
Bit worried when it got to this stage... let it dry and left for a few days
Starting piling on my acrylic paints...
...and a bit more...
Finished (for now) pages. 
Right side

Left side
My March book will be:

I've gone with a short one this time to allow me to play catch up - Jez, I'll do the collage book in April. I promise :)

Thank you for stopping by :)

Rocking My World Friday...

Well - this week has gone in a blur again I can tell you. I've very much enjoyed being able to upload some arty crafty posts. Seems like forever since I have (posts below this one) So that has been a major positive for me this week.

Fitting into my normal jeans. For the past 4 months I've still been slouching around in my maternity jeans so it's lovely to pull up a pair of normal jeans, didn't even have to undo them to get them on, and for them to comfortably - nay - loosely fit! Yay!

As I sit typing this, Logan is asleep on the sofa cuddling his favourite toy in the world. Devvie is revising and the other two monsters are outside roller skating in the SUN! It's lovely, it's quiet, there's no bickering. Heaven. It may only last 5 minutes but am loving it.

It was my birthday this week. I hit the grand old age of 36 which Craig informs me is really old. (He's only 4 years younger! Cheek!) I was really, really spoilt. Devvie baked a lemon drizzle cake for the day - always a hit.  Then at the weekend she baked a Petersburger Streuselkuchen cake which was a recipe we found on Pinterest. We loved it but all agreed it could have done with maybe some berries in it or a berry sauce to cut through it as it was quite heavy - the middle is just like egg custard. She said while cooking it that she'd had the urge to add vanilla but stuck with the recipe... and I reckon she was right. I think my Devvie has good baking instincts and have told her she should go with them in future. Whereas to me baking and cooking is just another chore - I like the end results but not the faffing in-between.  She says she enjoys cooking, baking in particular and it relaxes her - especially at the moment where she is revising all the time... plus she is really good at it.

Back to my birthday... I was surprised completely and totally by my lovely Wednesday Whine friends who, in cahoots with Devvie and Craig surprised me with a Gelli Plate starter kit they had compiled. Devvie and Craig's job was to make sure I didn't go buying it - fat chance, I was saving to buy the plate at Ally Pally! 

Their present included the 8"x10" plate, a brayer, masks, paints (including some metallic ones I had been drooling over for ages) texture tools, a sketchbook AND Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Gelli class. I mean - what do you say? I'm still, now, days later, bowled over and in shock at their thoughtfulness, generosity and just plain deviousness. I really don't feel like I deserve it but will have a damn good time covering my guilt in all that lovely paint :)

Also in the picture, two fabulous books I received too. You might have seen the artist who wrote Acrylics Unleashed on the Cornwall program on BBC1, Glyn Macey. I've wanted that book for a while, my friend Caroline surprised me with it. It's beautiful I have to say. My friend Sue surprised me with the Hairy Bikers diet recipe book - some yummy sounding recipes in there that will help me stay on the wagon. I also got some beautiful handmade skully bracelets from my friend Gail, I was sure I took piccies but they're not on my camera. Then my sister stopped by last night with  the first 3 volumes of Grimm Fairy Tales graphic novels and the Afterlife box set. Mmmm. Andrew Lincoln. Suffice to say I have been thoroughly spoilt and really enjoyed my day. Thank you to everyone who made it so special.

And now - you know that peace and quiet I mentioned? Yeah that's pretty much shattered and it's taken hours since I said that to write this post! So I'll sign off with a thank you for stopping by and big virtual hugs. :)