Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mini Interview

I've been tagged by Belinda at gretchenmist for this game of tag which entails a mini-interview of myself. I've put Rose up because Rose kind of reminds me of me and I always like to have an illustration to go with my posts. So now, are you ready to be knocked off your feet by some tintilating information?

What is your current obsession?
uhm..... I have a few, but hubby would probably tell you flour and cucumbers and coconut for some odd reason. I would probably say buying lighting for the house or a carpet for our bedroom or curing my rose bush of its ailment or playing with photoshop or ...

What are you wearing today?
White blouse, black wrap-around Chinese silk trousers, jean jacket

What's for dinner?
Prawn and coconut soup, which I realise would be fuel for hubby's argument about my coconut obsession but honestly, if it is an obsession, it's only minor.

What would you eat for your last meal?
Oh dear, it would probably have to be a big one. There would be mussels and lobster and prawns in there somewhere, definitely some endives (I know that's odd, but I do adore endives), wine, cheese, hot fudge sundae with chocolate ice cream and whipped cream and jimmies (for those of you who don't know what jimmies are, you'll just have to do your homework to find out). Strawberries and blueberries as well. It would have to be my last meal as I would surely explode after all this.

What's the last thing you bought?
Shoes for my daughter, a tablecloth for myself, Soon to be exciting new prescription sunglasses. I told you this would be tintilating, didn't I?

What are you listening to right now?
Daughter 1 singing, Daughter 2 talking and Son 1 announcing the colours of Uno cards.

What is your favorite ice-cream flavour?
Chocolate, Double Fudge Chocolate Chunk, Mint Chocolate Chip... are we sensing a theme?

What do you think of the person who tagged you?
Belinda seems like someone I would enjoy meeting IRL to sit and chat and have a lovely cuppa with. Of course, I was a bit disappointed when I found our her name isn't Gretchen, but I did get over that and still really enjoy her blog and work. Want to come over for tea? I'll make cucumber sandwiches.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
I think I may be atypical in this sense. Probably northern europe, in the countryside, a farm surrounded by sheep and cows would be lovely and if I could have the forest, the ocean and a river and hills that would be grand!

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
St. Petersburg as I've never been but have long wanted to go, Rome or Venice as it's been a long time since I've been. Or Bruges because it's lovely.

Which language do you want to learn?
Probably all of them, but Dutch is on my agenda at the moment.

What's your favorite quote (for now)?
I have no idea who said it but I do know who said it to me... Vivere e la cosa la piu dificile, molto sanno solo essistere. (To live is the hardest thing. Most only know how to exist).

What is your favorite colour?
Spring green

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
The trousers I'm wearing today or one of my summer skirts. Or my wraps. Or my comfy jammies. Or.....

What is your dream job?
Idem what Belinda said - successful artist

If you could invent any useful invention, what would it be?
A machine to alert me just before food begins to burn

If you had £100 now, what would you spend it on?
Shoes or lingerie

Do you admire any one's style?
Certainly! But far too many to cite and I'm terrible at remembering things like this.

Describe your personal style?
Simple, fun, understated, somewhat bohemian

What are you going to do after this?

I was going to start making that prawn and coconut soup, but now I've got to scrub a pot that I've just burnt the cheese sauce to because I was sitting here interviewing myself instead of working on that above mentioned invention.

What are your favourite movies?
Pride & Prejudice (BBC version only), Music and Lyrics, The Holiday, The Usual Subjects, Zwartboek, Das Leben der Anderen

What's your favourite fruit?
Strawberries and blueberries

What inspires you?

My children, nature, music, photos

Your favorite book ?

I hate questions like these because I read far too many classics throughout my schooling and now live in defiance of intellect and just love a good mystery novel, the kind you can read in one sitting because you can't put it down to the point that it annoys everyone else around you.

Do you collect something ?
tea cups, fabric, flower pots, flour, cucumbers....

Are you a home body or do you prefer to be out?
Both - I don't mind being home as it's my creative space and I love my house, but when I'm out I'm very happy as well, as long as crowds aren't involved.

Polka Dots or checks? Polka Dots

I tag: Anne, Traci, Shannon, Vicki, Candy, Renate, Shannon, Estella

The rules :
1. Respond and rework; answer the question on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add more one question of your own.
2. Tag eight other people.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blog Perfect World

I'm sure I'm not the only one to have noticed this. That overwhelming serenity that just kind of calls out to you when reading some blogs. The photos are meticulous, the houses immaculate, cosy and ever so welcoming. They make you just want to move in, pull up an adorably upholstered comfy chair and pour yourself a hot cup of tea that is surely brewing to perfection to go with your just-out-of-the-oven, freshly baked double chocolate cream scones from Auntie Mae's secret family recipe handed down over 10 generations and never divulged.

I love those blogs, I truly do. But I'm a bit cautious of them. Why? Probably because it is out of my realm of comprehension that anyone could possibly have a life so well ordered and calm and cosy. Could it be true that they really live like that?

Try as I may, it just doesn't happen around here, much to my dismay at times. I can spend hours cleaning up the house. Hours mainly because as soon as I've left one room to move on to another, those little creatures that live here with me follow behind to recreate what I've just undone: the mess.

But it's not just the mess that gets me. It's simply that life doesn't run that smoothly around here. I will admit to trying to pull it off at times through some of my blog posts, but I'm sure the great majority of you reading aren't dupe. You know it's all facade and no substance. You're on to me.

And so today I've decided to drop the charade and show you real life à la Chichiboulie. Starting with the entire batch of cookies I made for my daughter's bake sale at school. Made. And burnt. Every batch. Why? Because I just kept forgetting I had put them in the oven. I know, after the first batch I should have been a bit more vigilent. But somehow after 5 attempts, the result was amazingly the same. 1 point for consistency I guess, but -10 for lack of participation at the bake sale and the very disappointed daughter.

I suppose I could have attempted another batch of cookies given that I currently have 5 sacs of flour in my house, but I lost my motivation. But "5 sacs of flour!" you say? Well, yes. 5. Because I keep ordering it with my groceries. Hubby is convinced that it's on automatic reorder and that I simply forget to cancel it. But I know the truth. Deep down I'm sure we don't have any flour in our cupboard so I order more. On purpose. And now I've been put on flour probation. I'm not allowed to purchase any more until the reserves have gone down. It's a good thing he hasn't discovered the coordinating cucumbers in the fridge...

Sadly, it's not just in the kitchen where things aren't always storybook worthy. My studio is one place that will never be featured in House and Home or even Horse and Hound for that matter. Oh I've seen blog posts of other artists' studios and I drool. I truly do. Unfortunately, those studios aren't my reality. And my reality is a messy studio. This mess has nothing to do with the children I'm ashamed to say. It's all me. 100%. I have an overhelming need to have everything at hand's reach just in case I need it in the next 5 seconds that follow my thought process. This, as you can imagine, can sometimes lead to things not getting put away as they should. I will say in my defense that the photos you're about to see aren't completely recent photos and the mess has changed slightly. Today it doesn't seem too bad, but maybe it's just because I'm used to it.












I hope you've enjoyed your tour of the behind the scenes Chichiboulie that you rarely get to see. Surely I can't be alone in this lack of blissfully idyllic living. There must be more of us out there. I would look around for others in the same predicament, but I've got things to do.

I've got to clean.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blog Hopping

I've been blog hopping again and found this one called Working Title by Sayo. It was her most recent post on a pile of discarded or donated old plaques that caught my eye. Sayo is wondering what to do with them so I thought we call all help her out.

Now for all of us creative types out there, finding something like old plaques and in what seems to be such good shape is the basic equivalent of finding the buried treasure under the big black X. What to do, what to do?

The first thing that came to my mind given their shape was a set of decoupaged and handpainted placemats (though I'm not really sure how big they actually are). But then I also thought they could be very cute decorated with some images and hung on a wall in a kid's room. Then I started doing a litte research and came up with these fabulous ideas from other artists...


1. robinsegg bird, 2. rose plaque #1, 3. School of fish, 4. coconut cupcakes art squared collage plaque

Really, the possibilities are endless. I'd love to hear what you come up with and I'm sure Sayo would too. Feel free to post your thoughts here or there or both!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Cards


I've finally gotten around to creating some new cards for my shop and today I'm going to show them off! It's been a while and I honestly have no excuse for it except distraction possibly - far too many things going on at one time and nothing getting done as it should.

But never mind that and onto the good stuff...

I've taken a few of my new prints and transformed them into fabulous greeting cards. These are BIG cards. Well, I think they are big. Over 6 inches wide and high (they are square if you haven't guessed) so bigger than your average card. They make fantastic additions to gifts for little ones or (and don't tell anyone I told you think) you could even buy them to frame as inexpensive decorations for kids' rooms.

So come have a peek and tell me what you think!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Seven Strawberries

Or how to make a 7 year old birthday girl happy...

Step 1 - Chop up some strawberries








Step 2 - Make up a strawberry mousse









Step 3 - Line your tin with lots of yummy biscuits









Step 4 - Put it all together










Step 5 - Say a little prayer

Step 6 - Flip your creation onto your cake stand (and let out a sigh of relief!)












If you're curious about the inside of this cake, click here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Procrastinating...


Or thinking. Really I am thinking as I have a project I'm working on and so far, it doesn't seem to be coming out in any way that satisfies me. So while I'm thinking, I'm also doodling... digital doodling that is.

Doodling has always helped me to think and my notebooks from school and university are covered with drawings and doodles and dodads galore.

Hopefully I'll figure out the bug in my project soon enough. In the meantime, there's always doodling....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Can't Wait!

I was having a browse through some blogs today and came across this one called Creature of Craft. What a happy find as Jenny's most recent post is about Boston, my home town, though some of you may not know that.

I grew up south of Boston and return there every summer for a pilgrammage of sorts (well, to soak up the sunshine, fried clams, baseball games and ice cream). I was so happy to see this post and the photo as it was a little reminder of what's to come in a couple of months.

I just wish I was going to be around for these shows. They look fabulous!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Busy Work.

Not that I really need busy work and honestly that's not really what this is. To be completely truthful, it's probably not 100% necessary at the moment as I do have a ton of other things to get done. But then again, one of the other things I have to get done does require some of this in order to reach the completion point. So you tell me, busy work or not?

What ever it is, I've been reworking some of my images in a newer style, one I feel is more reflective of me and the style I want to convey. So whenever I have a few minutes (okay, maybe a few more than a few) and a bit of inspiration, I drag out another old illustration to bring new life to it.

This weekend it was for the boys with my African Safari paintings. While I love the paintings and the characters, I know that an original painting isn't in the budget for everyone. So I've reworked Zelda, Leopold and Hippolyte to make them into prints for the little men in our lives. Of course, there's nothing stopping them from hanging in a little girl's room as well... Something to think about...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Illustration Friday - Contagious

When I got the email with this week's topic, this image almost immediately came to mind. Well, okay, it was second. The first thought was swine flu, but I quickly chased that one as it's not such a pleasant image to illustrate.

So here is my second thought on the topic. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I was lost....

But now I'm found!

I've been having a bit of an identity crisis over the past few months. As many of you may know, I'm a self-taught artist. My professional training is in the ever so handy field of political science and history as well as a smattering of a few languages thrown in. Okay, well, the languages are very handy and it is good to know history what with its repeating itself and all, but ultimately, in my current situation, it's true that my diplomas aren't exactly pulling their weight.

Nevermind that though. I love what I do and have always wanted to be able to make a living through art. So I realise that I'm very lucky.

However, given that I have no formal training in the field, it can sometimes be a long haul to get to where I want to be. There is so much I want to learn and so many experiments I want to do. I try to do it as much as I can while raising 3 children and running a business and trying to keep a somewhat organised house.

It's not always easy and over the past few months though I have been trying out new techniques, I was being to feel a bit like I had lost myself. I don't know if any of you reading this has ever had that experience, but losing oneself is not fun. Not at all. I was worried.

But... suddenly, I believe a lightbulb has gone on and I feel like I may be back! As always, I know this isn't the end of my journey, but I do believe I've found a balance between where I began and where I want to do. It's such a relief!

So here is a post to show off a bit of my playing around over the past few days. Now if I could only stop myself from wanting to redo all of my images...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Celebrate!

A quick peek at my second daughter's birthday invite.

This is, in fact, invitation number three and has yet to pass inspection by the very demanding almost-7-year-old eyes and opinions. Only time will tell if this makes the cut with her.

As for me, I like it.

**UPDATE**

We have passed the test and can go to print! Phew!

Oh and I thought it was such a happy illustration that I decided to offer it as a print in my Etsy shop here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Wait is Over...

I guess I've made you wait long enough. You'll have to believe me that it wasn't my plan to drag things out and build up the expectations. Certainly not build up the expectations!!

We had unexpected guests this weekend and so projects got pushed to the side and replaced by food and wine and conversation and lots of it. Oh and a little visit to Bruges (my favourite) squeezed in there as well.

So today is catch up (and dry out) day while I try to work on some of the projects that I had planned for this weekend. My garden needs tending, I have a mirror that needs painting, possibly a trunk too as well as a few orders to work on over all. It will all get some attention today at some point, but first I wanted to show off my newest creation and get your opinions on it.

So with no further ado.... Here is the project I was so excited about. I have some new illustrations in my shops and while they look lovely printed on the Fine Art paper (honestly they do), I kept thinking that they would look so wonderful on canvases as well. But I just don't have the means of investing in a large stock of pre-printed canvases without first doing a bit of leg-work which I plan on doing in September when I should have a bit more free time. In the meantime, it's not something I can fathom.

But after a bit of thought and a few tries and some printing and sticking and wrapping in sealing, I think I may have sussed it out.

And so I present to you my first printed Chichiboulie canvases. What do you think?

They are printed using an archival printer for excellent colour and longevity. They are sealed for protection and then finished off with a cute bow, for that little Boulie touch. As with my prints and originals, each one is made up to order so personalisation is still possible. I love this idea! I'm quite happy with the result and think they would make wonderful little new baby, birthday and christening gifts.

I hope to make up a few more and some for the little boys as well. Wouldn't William look fabulous on canvas?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shhh.....

I have something new coming up and I can't wait to show it to you all and see what you think.

I'm so excited about it and have spent the better part of the day working on this project to figure out just what is the best way to go about it.

With a bit of luck, I'll have something to show to you tomorrow.... Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, this is just something to get you a bit curious. I hope you are!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

William's World

I had so much fun sketching William and his Trike that I decided to keep going. And now I have a very small sampling of William's World.

I'm often told that I don't have enough out there for the little boys in our lives. I won't argue with this. But what is my excuse? I don't actually think I have one other than lack of requests. I find that I get so many more requests for artwork for little girls (or big girls even) and few requests for the wee men. And yet, they are really so much fun!

So here's to you, my wee little man, and all the other wee men out there! I hope you enjoy William's adventures. I'll be posting these prints in my shop throughout the day. Come and have a peek!

Monday, May 4, 2009

William and his Trike

Time for a little something for the boys...

I don't know about all little boys, but I do know mine. And my wee man just adores his trike. He's yet to figure out how to peddle it, or rather his tiny little legs don't have the force yet to peddle it, but that doesn't keep him from moving along. And quite quickly at that! Watch out for the day he figures out the pedals.

This little image was drawn with him in mind. You can find a 4x6 download of it over in the Freebies section.

Please remember, these images are for your personal use and are not to be sold. If you are interested in using them for professional reasons, please do contact me so we can discuss!