Thursday, 21 October 2010

Create a Castle!

I've been quite obsessed with anything palace or castle related recently.  There's something so regal and magic about a building that is adorned with turrets, twirly gates or stone gargoyles.

I've been going around Cambridge lately looking at all the fancy college buildings, (which are breathtaking and I can't believe they are student residences!) taking out the castle-y elements and drawing them.  I thought I'd post a few of my sketchings here.
This^ is a doorway inside one of the Cambridge colleges.  I think it was St Johns.

And a photo (I can't remember the name of this college):
 It must be so nice to live in a place like this at university!  It reminds me almost of a stately home kind of place. It's so decadent!

I've found buildings such as churches and cathedrals are also useful.  The stone archways and heavy wooden doors could easily be mistaken for palace architecture if put in a different context.

I'm not very used to drawing in pencil actually.  I usually favour thin pen line drawings but I've been trying to get more depth into my pictures lately. Working on location I think that sometimes pencil can be easier to use anyway.
And finally for today, my favourite swirly twirly gate that I have seen in Cambridge so far...

I think/hope that if I put all these elements together then I could use them to create a huge and intricate palace of my own!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Cats, Cakes and Candy Castles

Here is a selection of the paintings I will be selling at the craft fair in December...

 Black Cats... (I love drawing these)
Pink Rabbit...
...And of course a portrait of Victoria Stitch herself!
Again I am planning to start an etsy shop in the nearish future where my paintings will also be available!

On a completely different note now, quite a few years ago for Christmas I got this amazing castle dollshouse, that for various reasons I never actually got around to building.  Anyway today me and Henry got it down from the attic and started the long job of putting it together.  I thought I would record the process on this blog.  This is how far we got today...
I feel really excited about it now.  I want to make it into a gothic/fairy castle!  Have you ever heard of Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle?  It is most extraordinarily lavish and extravagant and on show at some museum is Chicago.  I would love to visit it one day!  It's full of real jewels and pearls and gold and has miniature paintings and pictures by famous artists inside.
...So yeah this is what I aspire to with my castle! haha.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Ottoline at Sea

I'm sure that by now you will have heard of the 'Ottoline' books by Chris Riddell.  If not then you should definitely investigate.  They're brilliant!

I've just finished reading 'Ottoline at Sea,' and everything about it from the way the book feels and looks, down to the pair of 'bog goggles' tucked inside the front cover, was just fantastic!  It's quirky and funny and eccentric.

The story revolves around Ottoline and her best friend Mr Munroe who mysteriously goes missing one day.  Ottoline, with the help of the bear from the laundry room go on an expedition to Norway to find him.  On the way they meet a whole host of extraordinary characters including a tall thin woman with green hair called Minty Woodvine. (she was my favourite)

These books are aimed at early readers but really I think anyone could enjoy them! And of course the illustrations are spellbinding.  Definitely books to treasure.
P.S Talking of books, if you have a taste for something more grown up then my boyfriend has just self published a collection of short stories which are brilliant too! 
She plucked a tangle of hair from the brush's plastic spines and nonchalantly let it fall from outstretched fingers into the bin. The previous night's nail-varnish, chipped in places, still clung to her nails. She was beautiful; he was her audience.”
This is the first collection of short, short-short and long-short stories by H. Benjamin Petrie, looking at what happens when two people come together. Boy meets girl? Something like that. Try them for yourself. Sit back. Sit motionlessly. Read. Let the world become very far away. (Read some of the stories at The content of some of these stories is not recommended for people under the age of 15.)

Friday, 15 October 2010


In December I'm going to be at a craft fair in Flitick selling, among other things, these fairies:

Here are a few of them.  Meet:

The Sugar Plum Fairy


Araminta the garden fairy


Snowflake the Christmas tree fairy

The Snow Queen

Cinder the little gothling fairy

I'm very excited and addicted to making them! They stand at about 5 inches tall and are totally handmade by yours truly! I will also be selling copies of my book 'Victoria Stitch', original water colour paintings and (hopefully) Christmas cards by my friend Sian

I will post details about the event nearer the time just in case any one who reads this lives nearby and might like to come along...

P.S. Also, soon I will start an etsy shop where all these things will be available too!

Saturday, 9 October 2010


This summer I visited Istanbul with my family and I thought I'd share some of my tip top favourite things about it with you!

1.  Firstly and most importantly (to me) was Topkapi Palace.
It was so enormously inspiring.  Every wall was an intricate mosaic pattern.

There were arches and a courtyard and a very fancy looking old fashioned bathroom.  There were chandeliers and extravagant gold mirrors and a room of crown jewels. 

(The Crown Jewels were my favourite part)

Among them was an eighty six carat diamond,
an intricate gold and jewelled knife,

and a box of massive emeralds.  It was quite breathtaking!
2.  Another thing I liked about Istanbul were the shops and the bazaar.  There was so much to buy!  A lot of pottery decorated with whirling dirvishes and little blue eyes embedded in everything which is known to be Turkey's good luck charm.

There were teas of every flavour imaginable,  multicoloured hanging lamps and piles of turkish delight round every corner.  There were shops full of shoes and shops full of silverware, shops full of bags, clothes, hats, spices... It went on forever!

3.  My favourite shops though were the ones which had trays of jewels in the windows.  Amethysts and imitation rubies, green, blue, yellow, orange.  Obviously they are intended for putting in rings and bracelets or necklaces.  But they looked so pretty all laid out in the trays. 

^some stunning jewellery I saw.

If you ever get a chance to go to Istanbul I would definitely recommend it!  There's so much to see and do and it's such a lively and inspiring place.

Where's your favourite holiday destination?