Thursday, 31 March 2011


In the midst of all this destruction and rubble, I have been working. Here is a little peek at something I was doing for another car client earlier this week.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

a manifesto for life

Moving house and making a fresh start in a home that we hope to live in for many years (or certainly more than five :-)) gives us the opportunity to furnish, decorate and live in a way that I have been aspiring to for some years now. In our last house, we were a little restricted by space and we always knew that we would move away from it after a couple of years, so there were things that we didn't or couldn't do.

I thought I would set out here some principles and ideas by which I wish to make our home - ideas not only about how I want it to look and feel, but also about how I want to live.

I want to:
Live simply, without too many material possessions
Not be so sad that we have no money to buy expensive furniture (!)
Buy used or recycled where possible
Only buy things that I love or need, preferably both at the same time.
Make more of my own clothes and soft furnishings
Learn how to make pickles
Be better at admin
Keep up with the maintenance of the house
Recycle and compost everything that I can
Get a wormery
Keep chickens
Use fewer nasty chemicals (our septic tank will thank us)
Speak to the neighbours more
Grow more of my own food
Learn how to make sourdough bread
Not be a slave to fashion and trends (says she, talking about sourdough and wormeries...)

I believe that we could all do without mountains of gadgets and big televisions. We have too many cheap clothes, too many unwanted gifts (for the love of god, people, stop giving me idiotic, cheapo crap gifts - I just give them to charity or sell them at the car boot). I feel like I need to spend more time working with my hands, being outdoors, looking at things that aren't on my computer screen. This return to a more traditional way of life - a thrifty, humble life - is what I yearn for, even though I will still want the things that make my life better (uh... dishwasher, car, computer, books). I hope to keep these things to a minimum. I don't own an iPod, iPad, iPhone or any similar time-wasting gizmos - nor do I want one. Austere self-denial is probably a fitting description for the state I wish to live in. Sounds kinda rubbish now I've put it down, but that's just how I am.

It's a bit like this manifesto from The Idler, only less poetic and strident:

Or perhaps it's something like the Pedlars manifesto:

Hey, maybe I'll even edit mine and lay it out as a poster or something. One of these days when I get some time...

I hope you are all well. I will start drawing again soon, I promise.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

the little things

Things left behind, things forgotten and beautiful details, like these shutter catches, have been delighting me for a week now. I am besotted.

And of course the layers of paper and paint (whilst being a bitch to strip off) are quite charming too.

Monday, 28 March 2011

The first week

Goodness... it's hard to know where to start. We spent last week gutting the house, preparing it to be treated for damp and timber beetle. The weather, up until the weekend, was glorious - weather for alfresco picnic lunches, weather for digging new vegetable beds and making friends with the neighbour's hens (as well as our lovely neighbours!). It really has seemed, despite the hard physical work, like a week in heaven. We have been ripping up carpets, stripping wallpaper and struggling to remove ancient paint from the treads of our staircase. Here are some pictures to get us started:

The room that will be our master bedroom was covered in a patterned black wallpaper. The entire upstairs was carpeted, but the removal of the carpets revealed the most beautiful old floorboards throughout. We knew it probably had floorboards, but we had no idea what condition they would be in. I nearly died, they were so good. They are a bit patchy in colour here and there, and there are random spots of red and orange gloss paint all over, but we are not going to cover them up again with carpet, oh no!

This is a different view of the same room, with some of the paper stripped and a glimpse of the floor.

This is the somewhat cavernous sitting room. It's so big I am starting to have panic attacks about how to use the space, and the fact that we have hardly any furniture. We are going to rattle around in this place!

The stairs, we discovered, seem to have been used for some kind of painterly experiment in orange and yellow. They are going to need some work!

One of the local girls bothered the husband whilst he was digging out the turf. She must have eaten about fifty worms and grubs in one go, the fatty. That said, I've also eaten an enormous amount of food this week, including some delicious scones from one of our neighbours. They have all made us feel really welcome there and I can't wait to move in in three weeks' time.

More next time!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

exciting news

Remember this and this post, in which I said we had fallen a little bit in love?

And you know how I've been banging on for months about not having a house to play with? Well, on Monday, after nearly a year of wrangling, begging for mortgages, and a lot of harrowing near-collapses (hence my emotional meltdown last week), we finally completed our purchase of a new home - a beautiful, slightly dilapidated country Georgian farmhouse. Here is a picture of the front door key, and no, that's not a freakishly small banana:

We will be very busy doing things to the house over the next few weeks (despite its pretty appearance it needs a lot of work!), but I will be back here every now and then with updates and new pictures, so please keep on popping by to see how we are doing.

Right now, I am deliriously happy and SO excited to finally have a place that we can make into a proper home.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Some friends

Hello. Sorry it's been a rather quiet week here - I've been working and getting distracted by other things which I will tell you about next week. Here is a collection of badges that I painted just for fun - it's like a gallery of the creatures that live in my head! Maybe I will put some of these up for sale in my Etsy shop when I have a moment.

Have a marvellous weekend!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Drawn - First dates 05

You know, the boy with the overbearing mother. But he doesn't realise she's a psycho.
This was inspired by one of Jeannine's comments on an earlier drawing in this series - the family that's just a little bit too close.

Friday, 11 March 2011


This is a drawing of me last night. I'd say it was a fairly good representation, all in all. I'm a bit better now. A bit more pulled-together, as it were.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Here's a little snippet from another book spread I recently completed for Dorling Kindersley. Best not ask what it's about!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Excuse me while I go and hide in a corner

I'm a gibbering wreck this week. As I'm typing now, my hands are shaking. They have been shaking all day and I feel like I'm on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I don't really want to talk about it here, but right now I just feel like I want the whole world to go away, and to crawl into a corner and slowly turn into a puddle of sweat and tears. Please excuse me for a few days whilst I have a mini meltdown. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting! (Don't worry, it's nothing major)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

life drawing


Hope you had a good weekend. Mine was pretty lazy. We didn't even go for a walk in the end (but we did make and eat a lot of pastry)!

Friday, 4 March 2011

lost the plot

Thank the lord it's Friday. I have had enough of this week, have you? Here's part of a little something I've been working on for my lovely agents at Jelly:

Hope you have exciting plans for the weekend. I have no idea what we will be doing. Pastry making and maybe a walk somewhere, I think!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

life drawing

None of these portraits quite capture his likeness, but the central one is possibly the closest. He had an extraordinarily interesting head shape.