9 Dec 2010

Cute as a Pudding

Just a quick post today to show you my new Christmas Pudding decorations. They are not quite a quick any easy to make as I had thought, but if I must say so myself I think they are darned cute! I must go away now back up to my sweat shop (or should I say rather chilly shop) to make some more.

8 Dec 2010

Granny Ruth's Cold Cure

I've been rather under the weather lately, last week for 3 days I swayed between having no voice at all to sounding light a nervous teenage boy, then like a 40 a-day-habit jazz singer. I'm feeling a bit better now but still not 100%. I did want to share with you my miracle cure hot lemon drink. Everyone has their own individual concoction of this, and my own has a few incarnations. But this one here is the one I brewed up the other night to help me get through the cold market the next day.
You will need
1 Lemon
Fresh Ginger
Hot Water
Green Tea (optional)

While your kettle boils, chop half a lemon and squeeze into a hug, then cut 2 thick slices from the other half. Push your cloves into the white part of the rind, this stops them from floating around in your drink. Put in 2 tablespoons of honey. With a fine grater grate a small amount of fresh ginger. Then here comes the weird bit also put in a tablespoon full of vinegar, you can't really taste it but it acts as an antibacterial for your raw throat. Pour in your hot water an stir well. If you want you can add green tea, but I only sometimes have that in the house and it's not essential to the drink. Drink this 2 or 3 of these a day while you're sick and you'll feel better pretty soon...a little paracetamol might help for headaches etc though.

7 Dec 2010

The Paint Brush Has Come Out Again

People often call my stall the Christmas gift stall because I sell loads of bits and bobs that are a affordable that would be great for Christmas presents. The problem with this is that most things are priced under a tenner, which means I've to sell an awful lot of stuff to make it worth my while. Lately I've been working on some higher priced items, like my ABC set and some Christmas stockings. They still won't break the bank at €20 but it's easier for me to earn more money at the stall with a wider price range.

So with this in mind I wanted to put some of my artwork on the stall, but I don't have a huge amount of space, which means having small pieces in the €15-€35-€80 price range. I bought some small clothes drying racks to use as display units, and I'll let you know how that pans out for me tomorrow when I try them out. As for the art itself, I went digging through the studio to root out some of my older work to see what I could do with it. I found these plain monoprints in square gold frames which I did years ago. I thought they looked a bit bland, so I took them out and pepped them up with some water colours. I'll see how they go these weekend, if they turn out to be a success I might just put aside a painting a drawing day to make some more.

Any suggestions on prices for these?

PS: Sorry for the poor picture quality these were taken last night on my phone

4 Dec 2010

Lino Printed Xmas Cards

At long last I finished my Christmas card sets, it feels like it's been a long upward climb getting them done. I used the same lino blocks that I carved last year, but I used oil based ink this year instead of water based. It gives a much richer colour and shinier finish. It's a lot more work with printing and cleaning, and a longer drying time too, but now seeing the end result I think it was definitely worth it. I'm not a member of the Limerick Printmakers so I had to print them at home, using a large sheet of ascetate as an inking table. Then a lot of sweat and elbow grease was involved in hand printing the cards using the back of a spoon to instead of a press. If you are curious about the method check out this youtube video.

After printing each of them in one colour, and waiting for a week or so for them to dry, I added an embellishment to each of the cards. You can see that the robin, angel, and teddy all have a small bit of extra water colour on them. The Rudolf has a red button nose and the parcel has a printed tag. I wasn't necessary to add these extras but they really finish off the cards nicely.
The cards are 12.5 square cards, there is 5 in the set for €10, which I think is good value at €2 per card. I'll mostly be selling them at the market, but I've listed them in my shop too in case I get any lat minute online sales. I printed 250 cards to make 50 sets. I have another 250 blank cards but seeing as how long it takes them to dry I'm not sure if I'll have time to make them.

3 Dec 2010

Messy Studio

I'm always reading blogs that show pristine studios, with great colour schemes and wonderful light, and they make me envious. I'm lucky enough to have a good bit of space to work in a room that I love, but I've discovered over the years that I like working in chaos. So I've posted these picture for those of you who are also messy pups. This is currently what my desk looks like, I've been making loads of cards and this is the madness that grew around me. I'll finish my card making stint and have to tidy it all away. Then I'll probably start some sewing and mounds of felt and thread will evolve over a few days. Certainly around Christmas my propensity for messiness goes into over drive due to more and more constraints on my time. In the New Year I'll do a large scale clean of the studio, and make sure everything goes back in it's place...but until then I'll continue to squirrel away in the madness.

Ps: I also wanted to show you pictures of my two new favourite toys, my glue gun and also my heat gun for embossing. Marian from Made Marian was very kind this week to drop in some extra craft supplies that she declutered recently. She gave me the heat gun and a host of other great card making goodies. Then yesterday in Silkes when I was about to spend €10 on lots of glue I thought maybe it's time to invest in a glue gun. It took a while to get used to how fast it dries, but now I'm loving it. I've been toying with the idea of doing a card making video for the blog, and I might just have to now that I have such posh tools!

2 Dec 2010

Christmas Cards

For once I remembered to take photos of something I've made before it's packaged and ready to sell at the market. I've been frantically making Christmas cards over the past few days. I like to have two ranges of cards at the stall; the hand printed lino print cards and also the collaged paper ones, so there two different price ranges for people to choose from. It's getting harder to compete against large chain stores selling 'handmade' cards at crazy low prices, it really galls me when I see them, as they are certainly not handmade. I sell mine at €4 each or 3 cards for €10.

Every year I swear it will be my last year making cards because of the amount of time I spend on them compared to the return I get, but I still love it and can't make myself stop! Here are just a few photos, but if you would like to see more you can look at them in this facebook album.
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