Thursday, July 23, 2009

UK Handmade Summer 2009

Well we are a teeny bit behind schedule but the Summer Issue is now out! Just go to the UK Handmade website and click the image on the front page. (But don't forget to make a cuppa first!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Going wild

I may have mentioned I am not the keenest of gardeners, nor do I have the greenest fingers but since moving here one of the things I have always wanted to do is grow a butterfly garden. Wild flowers offer a much more attractive proposition than the usual neatly trimmed surburban gardens (picture Barbara, not Margot lol) plus knowing I am doing something to maintain the local wildlife gives me all the motivation I need to get the gardening gloves on. (And yes mum that means I will not be hunting down the grass snake just to hit it with a brick. Shame on you.)

Anyway looks like I have already started without even trying. I must confess to having let our garden go a little wild already while we sort the house out - the garden we have set aside to deal with next year - so imagine my delight when this splendid chap shot past me while I was putting out the washing.

I dashed to get the camera and found it merrily feeding on the buddleja that is currently hiding our grubby and neglected greenhouse.

*waits for brain to kick in* A peacock! And a huge one at that. Haven't seen one of these for years! We get the occasional red admiral and plenty of whites, brimstones and skippers and a walk up the local downs will bring you the chalk hill blue I named my site after. But this was something else. And it wasn't bothered by my whirring camera as I tried to get as close as I could to get a half decent picture. Shame about the greenhouse in the background but I'm sure you'll forgive me that.

Then all of a sudden something else fluttered past my head, landed on my arm, realised it's mistake and crash landed on the roof of the greenhouse.

Thankfully it stayed there long enough for me to get a shot before flying off again.......bear with me while I look this one up....a Comma.

(Just one thing, I promise NEVER to wear dungarees. Ever.)

Diary Project 2010

It's that time of year again, Fantazya's Diary Project 2010. If you've not seen it before it's well worth checking out; the resulting diaries are pretty neat and of course its free publicity! The deadline is very soon but there are still pages free if you have time

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Remember this? Plans to rebuild my studio have been put on hold while we deal with bigger things in the house such as new windows and french doors in the living room.

The fun bit - when the wall came down :D

We found ourselves out in the garden while the builders worked on all 14 windows seemingly at the same time but we were suitably amused by the grass snake found hiding under the bin.

Anya was very careful not to scare it or touch it and she made this wonderful drawing complete with black stripes.

Unfortunately grandma didn't share our enthusiasm and vowed never to visit us every again!

Wasn't long before all the house was transformed (and not a builder's bum in sight!)

Now we can start painting the studio and start to move everything back out of the bedroom which has become a temporary dumping ground. Feels like moving in all over again but without the stress and exhaustion :D

Friday, July 10, 2009

The trouble with...

...bright ideas is that they have a canny knack of turning into bigger and bigger jobs. These innocent little notebooks have meant I have spent the last 2 days (when of course I should have been ploughing through a huge list of tasks) re-designing the whole look of Chalk Hill.

I thought these little notebooks deserved a nice little paper band to hold them together and work as a set but of course my current logo didn't really work, especially as I wanted to use a pattern. It calls for a cleaner typeface and white background so this is the result. Nice eh?

So then I started thinking of new business cards, pretty labels and so on and so forth. A whole new fresh look! Starting of course with the website.

I may be gone a while.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Watercolour books

2 new sketchbooks for the shop. It was suggested I make books that are not as flowery for male customers so the top one is covered in a vintage mag design paper and the bottom one of my own geometric patterns. I'm also in the middle of making notebooks rather than sketchbooks which will be a little bit cheaper if you want a book for more general use.

(Weather update: breezy and showery and a little bit cooler, just the way I like it!)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I am not a sun person. Some would say it's because I'm British (you know who you are) but being red headed and fair skinned (ie. devoid of any kind of pigment expect for a few freckles) this current heatwave is making me want to emigrate to Antarctica.

Anyway, British complaining about the weather aside I've been a busy bee, spent a week preparing all the articles for the summer issue of UK Handmade, completing a few commissions and thinkng about new products for Chalk Hill and new artwork for me. Evenings normally spent doing computer work are now spent relaxed in front of the tv, sewing books and watching art programmes (my favourite one this week is this one about David Hockney) and making mental notes of what I need to do and when. With the little one starting school full time in September these next two months are going to be spent preparing for my return to full time work. I am very excited. But I am also very hot. I hate to be a party pooper but I don't do sun.