Sunday, 27 February 2011

painted pebbles

sleepy fox pebble
I got a bit fed up with the dust from engraving pebbles recently and decided to try painting them for a change. So much easier to clean up afterwards! The beautiful piece of wood underneath is a piece of yew branch that my friend cut and sanded for me. It’s so lovely that I’m struggling to take my pyrography pen anywhere near it, although my friend is insisting that’s why he gave it to me. I am ecstatic to have some local wood that has come from a tree surgeon who is very passionate about trees. He always tries to find the best use for every part of the trees he works with (if he can’t save them) and does his best to make sure the wood won’t end up in a landfill in 30 years time by becoming cheap veneered furniture.
painted pebbles collection

Anyway, back to the pebbles… birds and foxes, I think my favourite is the owl. I’ve come to realise that if I draw them straight out onto the pebble without using my sketchbook they have more spontaneity and better lines. All these pebbles are quite tiny and I had to use a very fine brush.
painted pebbles collection 2
Did you hear the good news about the forests?!!! I was so relieved to hear the announcement that after the immense public response our government have decided to drop their plans to sell our public woodland!!!!! How brilliant is that?!!! Thank you so much to everyone who signed the petition or wrote an email. People power really does work!!
old beech tree trunk

Wednesday, 16 February 2011



Yes, I’ve been at it again and I’m still lost in the woods but with the mushrooms this time. I enjoyed trying out some more pen and ink type hatching on this woodburning. Although I wish that I’d made the toadstool a bit more jaunty looking. Maybe I’ll do another one. I’ve been using Danish oil on the previous woodburnings to finish them off although I’d like a more environmentally friendly oil finish if there is one. Any ideas?

poisonous toadstool 3

poisonous toadstool 2

If I’m not burning bits of wood with my pyrography machine or out walking Floss I’m to be found curled up somewhere with my new kindle, a present from Mr P. I downloaded Jane Eyre as my first book to read, never read it before and really loving it. Although it seems paradoxical to be reading a book written in the 19th century on an electronic device and I am feeling a bit sentimentally lost without the feel of paper and the smell of a real book, I also love the fact that I never lose my page, my arm never aches and it’s just so easy to turn the page or look up a word that I don’t understand, I can read in bed without waking Mr P up too. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl. Also, I love the random pictures of authors which appear when you turn the device off. Has anyone else got one?

Right, must go and walk Floss in the forest before it goes dark. Bye for now.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

green deep woods

deep woods woodburning 1

Here is my latest offering… a piece of sycamore burned with a bird in the rain. I changed the wire ‘nib’ on the wood burning machine for this one. It has a sort of spoon shape and is good for shading.

The woods are on my mind a lot at the moment. On Wednesday the government, after a heated debate followed by a divided vote and then a further vote behind locked doors, finally opted to go ahead and sell our public forests and woodland. This isn’t the end of the road though, as the Save Our Woods campaign journey will carry on to the House of Lords and the House of Commons. You can still sign the petition here… it will make a difference. Over 450,000 people have now added their names! During the debate a number of conservative MPs also expressed concern about the amount of letters they were receiving from their constituents… write to your MP here. It’s made very easy for you and only takes a few minutes depending on how much you want to add.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

on not knowing when to stop

nut tea woodburning 1

So this is how it is now.

squirrel nut tea before

And this is how it was when I should have probably stopped.

I don’t know, what do you think?

I just can’t seem to stop tweaking things sometimes and then eventually I forget where I started from.

nut tea woodburning 2

I think I just wanted it to look older and a bit worn and not so pristine. Not sure if I succeeded or not without ruining it.

nut tea woodburning 3

Anyway, these two squirrels are enjoying a cup of nut tea on a huge fly agaric mushroom! I used another piece of English sycamore for the wood burning, it’s a large key ring.

I got a bit het up before when I was reading the news. The pope’s visit last year cost the taxpayer £10m, this was for just a few days. Apparently that is around about the same amount it costs the government (after timber sales) to look after the forests for a whole year. No disrespect, but I know which I would rather have.

If you haven’t already signed the petition to stop the government selling our public forests, please sign it here. You can also email your MP. The website makes it really easy to do and call me sad but it’s quite exciting to get a fancy letter through your door with ‘House of Commons’ embossed on the envelope (not cutting the stationery budget then?).

Right, feeling much calmer now, which is good considering I’m about to get hold of that pyrography machine again!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

a magical place

llandwyn lighthouse
On Sunday we spent a few tranquil but freezing cold hours on Llanddwyn Island (also known as lover’s island) on Anglesey. It’s a really special place and when you’re there you feel like you’re a million miles away from civilisation.
llandwyn pilot houses

These tiny cottages used to be where the lighthouse keeper lived, I can’t imagine what that must have been like. Now they are all empty and one houses an exhibition of the island.
llandwyn cross
This is a very ancient, spiritual place. The view across the sea to the mountains of Snowdonia is really beautiful and the light is ever changing.
llandwyn pony 1
The only residents are the ponies who keep the grass down.
lesley & floss on llandwyn

A really lovely place to be.
Strangely, I turned the TV on last night and there was a film on called Half Light with Demi Moore in it. She was standing in a red and white lighthouse and I said to Mr P that looks just like Llanddwyn but with a red and white lighthouse superimposed on it, and sure enough it was.