Sunday, 30 September 2012

Celestine takes a walk

Yesterday Henry, Barney and I went walking in one of our favourite places.  Celestine came too. It was a beautiful day.

Here's Celestine standing on top of the hill. She wore her new shiny yellow coat.
View of the valley.  There's a stream at the bottom.
Henry and I raced wooden boats down the stream.  We wrote our initials in the bottom of them. Henry's boat won.
I love shallow, pebbly streams like this. They inspire me. This one comes from a spring just a bit further up.
Celestine at the bottom of the hills in the valley, just before we walked our way up to the top.
Pattern for Celestine's yellow coat. Very simple.
Yellow coat in all its glory.
 Hopefully we will go back there soon!

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, 28 September 2012

Ferdie and the Falling Leaves

I did promise in my 'Leaves' post that I would review two autumn themed books. So here's the second one!

I first discovered Ferdie and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson whilst I was at uni in Norwich.  I used to spend a lot of time in the book shops in Norwich poring over the children's books. It was a bit of an escape for me to be honest- uni wasn't all that great. I remember seeing Ferdie and the falling Leaves for the first time and immediately loving Tiphanie Beeke's warm soft illustrations.  I had not seen illustrations like them before. I remember thinking her style was quite unusual and fresh at the time. I am guessing they are done using pastel (a medium I can never master) but I'm not entirely sure.

The story is about a young fox called Ferdie who gets terribly worried when the leaves start falling off his favourite tree.  He gets even more concerned when other animals begin to take the fallen leaves away. The squirrel takes them for his nest, the hedgehog takes them to keep warm.  Poor Ferdie does not understand about Autumn- That is, until he wakes up one morning to find his tree covered in a beautiful coating of glittery ice.
'You are more beautiful than ever,' whispered Ferdie to the tree made of ice. 'Can the Squirrel and the hedgehog keep your leaves for the cold winter nights?'

A tiny breeze shivered the branches, making a sound like laughter, and in the light of the rising sun the sparkling branches nodded.'



I just think this is a beautiful book (especially for this time of year.) And the cherry on the cake is that the last page which has the picture of the icy tree on it is actually embossed with glitter! So it really does sparkle.  I can never resist a bit of sparkle.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Meet Celestine!


This is Celestine.  She is 4 inches high.  She likes (in no particular order):

dressing up, exploring, eating chocolate, reading her tiny books (especially 'Ernest et Celestine' as Celestine is her namesake), being transported about in pockets, making mischief, stargazing, drawing, boating down little streams, making magic, writing letters, visiting the seaside, cinnamon, searching for crystals, making perfume from flowers, Christmas-time, pumpkin houses, baking, Halloween, witch's hats, cheese, toadstools, pointy boots.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Miniature Jeweller

As you probably know by now, I am a great fan of anything tiny. I don't know what it is about minitaure things but they absolutely fascinate me. I think this is part of the reason why I like to create my illustration work the way I do. 

Anyway, on Saturday I went to Miniatura in Birmingham.  Miniatura is a huge international dollshouse fair held twice a year.  There are stalls upon stalls of amazing miniature things- anything you can think of! It's actually quite overwhelming to walk round because there is just so much stuff!

This year the stall that really caught my eye was one owned by a German Lady who was a miniature jeweller! I have never before seen a miniature jeweller at a miniatures fair and with my love of sparkles I was completely captivated!  She was mainly selling necklaces and tiaras and they were the most exquisite, glittery, delicate things i have ever seen! She said they were all made from swarovski crystals. (the most teeny tiny swarovski crystals mind!) She was also a really lovely lady and said that she made this jewellery as a hobby rather than to make a business out of it.  It was clear to see that it was a labour of love.

Another thing that really attracted me to this jewellery was that the necklaces had real little clasps! So it is possible to actually put them on a doll or character if you wish.  I have a special love for anything miniature that actually works.

I have to admit that I could not walk past this stall without buying a piece of her jewellery (even though I am supposed to be saving money after Turkey.)  The pieces were all priced at about 20 to 40 pounds from what I can remember.  Considering the amount of care, talent and craftmanship that has gone into them though I was very happy to pay it.  I see it as the same as buying a piece of someones art work. 

I tried desperately to try and capture the sparkle of the necklace in photos but to not much avail! In real life it twinkles like anything!
The necklace I bought is based on the necklace the Queen of Persia wore (below) and I am absolutely besotted with it! I can't stop looking at it and making it sparkle in the light.


Unfortunately Ursula Sturmer doesn't have a website but just in case you are interested in purchasing one of her beautiful creations you can email her at stuermerelz(at)web.de
 
I wish I could have bought more of Ursula Sturmer's miniature jewellery. There was a dazzling ruby tiara I reeeally wanted but I had to reign myself in! I wasn't really supposed to buy anything at all. 

So yes that was the highlight of Miniatura for me!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Leaves

I can't believe how autumny it's suddenly become! I only went to Turkey for a week and when I got back I discovered it wasn't summer anymore. I'm not too sad though as I really love the turn of the seasons.  The days are getting shorter, there's a nip in the air and all the leaves are beginning to turn brown.  It's making me feel a bit Christmassy although I probably shouldn't mention the C word just yet!

Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite Autumnal picture books with you!


First up is 'Leaves' by David Ezra Stein.  I was lucky enough to be sent this book a few months ago and it is really beautiful and expressive.  I just love the way the drawings are so loose- you really get a feel for the movement of the leaves being blown about in the gusty wind. 


The story follows a little bear who is in his first year.  He has never seen autumn before and when the leaves start falling off the trees he wonders if they are ok.  He tries to put them back on the tree but it is not the same.  Then he starts to feel sleepy and so finds a hole, fills it with leaves and goes to sleep. He sleeps snugly all winter and then wakes up in the springtime. 'Welcome!' he cries to the spring.  'And, he thought, the leaves welcomed him.'


It's a simple story but works very well as a charming introduction to the seasons. 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Stuart Little

I just wanted to write a short post about the book Sturt Little, I recently spotted it whilst at the library and realised that whilst i had seen the film I had never actually read the book.  If you read my blog regularly you will be aware that I love miniature things of any kind so Stuart Little is the ideal kind of book for me!


I was not really surprised to learn once i had read it, that the book is quite different from the film. it has a different ending, some different characters and Stuart Little has a much more shall we say moody personality in places.  There was one part which I thought was quite funny and unusual where Stuart meets another tiny person (called Harriet!!!) and takes her on a date.  Things don't go to plan and the canoe which he was planning to take her out boating on breaks. She's all like 'don't worry it will still be fun!' but Stuart gets disheartened and says everything is ruined. Harriet then asks him if he would like to escot her to a dance instead and Stuart says no! What a silly mouse! It was rather unexpected- especially as he was so nervous and looking forward to his date with Harriet.  This is the part of the book that stuck with me the most for some reason. I think I found it a bit surprising.


Anyway, I very much enjoyed reading 'Stuart Little' and it goes without saying that the illustrations are also beautiful!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Turkey!

Henry and I took a trip to Turkey last week. Henry's mum is a great fan of Turkey and goes out there often so we thought it would be fun to join her there for a while.  I have to say I have never been on a holiday quite like it before but I enjoyed it very much none the less! I wish I was still there!

Here are some of the things we saw and did:

turkish delight
we ate out A LOT!
Henry, me and his mother
ate chocolate gateau from a patisserie
Henry drinking iced tea
bought some tzatziki spice
ate turkish ice cream
more turkish delight
went on a crazy sofa ride in the sea
visited Icmeler- a quieter and more beautiful version of Marmaris
Did lots of swimming in the sea
posed on the mermaid fountain

It was such a good holiday! It was really hot there so we spent a lot of time dipping in and out of the sea and lying on sunbeds. We also had a turkish bath where we got loofah'ed down and them covered in foam and then had an all over body oil massage.  We ate out at so many restaurants.  Henry and I were keen to hunt down the more traditional local places rather than the touristy ones on the beach front.  We ate a lot of lentil soup and mezze.

One day we took a trip to the neighbouring town of Icmeler where we visited the marketplace and then went down to the beach.  It turned out the the beach at Icmeler was a lot nicer than the one in Marmaris so we ended up staying there for the whole day.  The sea was clear and bluey green, the sand was much nicer and it was a lot less touristy and crowded.  We ate pizza and greek salad for lunch.


Another day we went on a boat trip which was really fun. We were given breakfast, lunch and free drinks all day.  The boat kept stopping in coves where we were allowed to jump off and go swimming in the sea.  Henry brought his goggles and snorkel. A little speedboat came whizzing up beside us at one point selling ice cream.  It was an ice cream boat!


We had a really nice meal one night at a restaurant called Ali Baba's. It was traditional Turkish cuisine. Chickpeas, rice, aubergine, lentil soup etc.. Afterwards we watched the dancing fountains and then got Turkish ice cream.  Turkish ice cream is different to English ice cream. It stretches like chewing gum or mozzarella. It's also not quite as sweet. We got a tub of chocolate and blackcurrant together. It was a SUCH a good combination. We ate it on the seafront looking out to sea.


Ah looking at these photos just makes me want to be back there! In the sunshine. It's back to reality now...

Have you been anywhere nice this summer?

xox