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Monday, 10 November 2014

Armistice Day 2014!

 "Lest We Forget"

Bonfire Night!

I love this time of year when the leaves begin to turn, there is a chill in the air, and you can begin to wrap up warm for the winter ahead. I also love the tradition of Bonfire Night that comes with November, which then leads us into the start of Christmas season.

This year as always the hubby and I attended the local village fireworks display, which took place on an un-seasonably warm, clear evening last weekend. Then afterwards we headed back after to my parents for hot dogs, onion rings, and tomato soup as we usual do!

Once again I took my camera with me to see what shots I could get following my discovery of the firework mode on my camera last year, and the images below are just some of what I came away with:

It's a little photo heavy I know! I may have got a little carried away! But these are just a few of the some 200 pics that I took!

       I also had fun experimenting making shapes with sparklers back at my parents.
 As well as hearts I also tried to write my name with a semi-successful outcome.


I hope that those of you that celebrated Bonfire Night to also enjoyed any displays that you may have seen, and that the weather was kind for you displays too!

We may have been lucky with the weather for our display but since then our weather seems to have started to turn somewhat, having gone from unseasonably warm days to those that are rather wet! We have also had the odd crisp day though, which meant that I was able to get out my first jumper of the year, and it was a bunny one of course!

Thanks as always for hopping by it really does mean a lot, and enjoy the week ahead! x

Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Very Stressful Month!

So once again I have been absent from Blogland much longer than I was intending, which has mainly been down to our property searching! Things have moved on rather since my last post in which I mentioned that we were struggling to find a property.

Since then we have viewed two other properties one of which we were out bid on and the other which we almost ended up getting into a bidding war for, but which we finally had an offer accepted on!

We had to pay a little over the odds to get it, but it was well under budget so we were not too fussed by this. It's a two bed flat rather than the maisonette or house that we originally wanted, but it is in the perfect location for us, it's ground floor, bigger than what we have at the moment, and only has one set of neighbours above and non either side. The building is also a bit newer than where we are currently so hopefully the sound proofing will be better, and I might be able to have a washing machine that I don't have to manually fill up!

So we are nearly a month into the sale of the property now, and what a month it has been! I can safely say that this has to be the most stressful experience that I have ever been through! It's the being in limbo and just waiting that has been the worst thing, as even though the offer was accepted we have had to wait until the beginning of this week to see if the mortgage would be accepted. It's been so horrible just being able to do nothing after all this time saving, and now having our future in someone else's hands. So needless to say being the naturally born worrier that I am, I haven't really been able to focus on much lately let alone illustrating.

But the good news is that we have now jumped that big hurdle by getting the mortgage approved, which is a big weight off of our shoulders! There are still a few more to jump but fingers crossed it will go ok.

The sale also has to go through relatively quickly as it is under a repossession order, so being all being well we should hopefully have the keys by the middle to end of November. However I am not going to get to excited just yet!

On another note just to let you all know my Bobby Bunny and Friends Christmas cards are now available on my Etsy shop again. Unfortunately so far I haven't had the chance to be able to do any new designs on top of last years, but I hope that you will like them nether the less.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/bobbybunnyandfriends

I hope that you are all keeping well and that the weather has been kind to you wherever you are. Autumn is definitely beginning to hit here, with it having been wet but unseasonably warm as of late.

I also hope that you have a lovely Halloween tomorrow, and that if you are in the UK you enjoy any firework displays that you may be going to see over the bonfire weekend.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Nice To Be Back!

Finally I am back in Blogland after a very hectic month or so with my retail job, along with other things that have been going on. All in all I am very pleased that things have calmed down now, that the schools have gone back, and that I can finally return to some normality. It has taken me since then just to catch up on everything, which has mainly consisted of all the generally mundane jobs that haven't been getting done around the flat where I have been working so much.

So where to start with filling you in on the recent goings on around here.....
Well I think that the August Bank Holiday weekend would be a good place to start!

Ordinarily being that the August Bank Holiday is the busiest weekend in the calendar with my retail job I usually have to work right through it, but this year for the first time ever I managed to swap my days off around and get it off so that I could go to Reading Festival.

You may remember from previous posts that I love going to my music festivals and try to go to at least one per year. Normally we go to Download Festival but since the line up was similar to previous years and a band that we wanted to see was headlining at Reading, we thought that we would give it a go for a change.

My friends all went down and camped from the Wednesday to the Monday like we usually do for Download Festival, but due to work commitments I went down on the train after work on the Friday evening. We all had an amazing weekend and it was lovely to try a different festival experience, but I still think that Download will always be my festival. The weather was also pretty kind to us until we got back to camp on the last night when it didn't stop raining for the next 24 hours, so we got drenched walking back to the station on Bank Holiday Monday but by that point it didn't really matter.


Reading was a welcome few days of rest but I was thrown back to reality with a bump when I got back as I was straight back to work, plus we had all of the mortgage stuff going through which at the time we didn't know the outcome of.

As it turned out we got out mortgage in principle approved which was a relief, and then had a property that we loved come up vey quickly after. Unfortunately it went but then came up again a few days later, so we swiftly went and viewed it.

We both loved it and put in a offer straight away, but there were already three-four other offers in all at the same price as no one was allowed to go above this. We had to wait until after the weekend to find out if we had got it or not, as it was then just down to the vendor to decide.

Unfortunately despite our good position as first time buyers we didn't get it, which was a big blow for us and we were both pretty disappointed about it. I think that deep down though I knew that we wouldn't get it, as it would have been far to simple for us to have seen the first property that we liked, which also happened to have been chain free and got it.

Since then we have viewed another property but it just wasn't right for us. I think that it is going to be very difficult now though for us not to compare other property's to the one that we lost, as it was such a good price and one of the better examples of a Maisonette around here. It also had it's own private garden which would have been perfect as our budget won't quite stretch to a house.

So now we just need to keep looking and hope that something will come up soon, as there is very little on the market around here at the moment. I thought that looking for property's would be fun but I am discovering that it in many cases it really is not, but at least we have got to the point that we can now look.

We have until the beginning of December to find somewhere and until Feb to move as we really don't want to be renewing our flat lease again. It's not the greatest of places and we have had numerous problems with neighbours, the lack of soundproofing due to the ago of the building, and issues within the flat such as the washing machine which I am still having to fill up manually.

Plus this is currently the view outside of our front door as they are redeveloping the land opposite the flats at the moment.

The only reason that we have put up with it for so long is because the rent has been relatively cheap for us to save, but we are definitely ready to move on now so hopefully something will crop up sooner rather than later. So all in all that was a pretty stressful and emotional week.

The schools also went back that week so things began to calm down at work, and that weekend we had the wedding reception of one of my hubby's friends in Brighton.

They had a lovely low key day with just close family at the ceremony in the Brighton Pavilion, and then an evening reception with friends in a music bar. It was a beautiful evening which was so very them, as they both live in Brighton and are really into their music.
On returning from the wedding reception I turned on the light to find this life sized monstrosity in the bath!
I mean I don't generally have a problem with spiders and we often find big ones around work, but I don't think that I have ever found one quite as big or hairy as this one before! As much as I didn't want him in the flat I wasn't going to hurt him, so I caught him in a glass and carefully placed him in the gardens downstairs.

Then a week or so later I was greeted by round two of the massive spiders, when I found the one below down my side of the bed just as I was about to get in it! I did wonder at first if it was the same spider, but I think that he would have been pretty hard pressed to get back up to our flat again but who knows! I just hope that I don't find anymore any time soon!


So after the events of the spiders and the wedding reception, we then had my hubby's uncles 70th birthday which we attended last weekend and was held at the hotel where we has our wedding reception. This was a bit weird but lovely for both of us, as it was the first time that we had been back to the hotel since. Once again the weather was pretty good and we were able to spend most of the day out in the grounds of the hotel. We also had a sit down meal of curry, as his uncle was bought up in India and there was a live band playing throughout.

So I think that this almost brings you up to speed with the goings on around here. The only other thing to report is my random trip to minor injuries which took place not long after Reading. I came back from work one day and suddenly had pins and needles running down my arm, and then realised that the tip of me index finger had turned purple and swelled up for no apparent reason.


A bit concerned I went to the chemist to see if they could shed any light on the issue, but I had no luck. So I phoned 111 the non emergency NHS hotline and they didn't really have much of a clue to what it may have been either, and advised that I went to the out of hours minor injury unit. On going there the only thing that doctor thought that it could be was severe bruising, from where I had wacked the two fingers next to it on a door frame at work. This in turn caused some kind of delayed reaction that had caused displaced bruising onto the finger that I hadn't actually hit! Which in turn caused the pins and needles through the swelling pushing on my nerves. Very odd I know but that just about sums me up! It took a couple of days for it to get back to normal in which time I couldn't bend it properly, and with it usefully being my left hand it also meant that I couldn't write either.     

So that is everything that has been going on, and sorry that it has been a bit of a long winded post! I hope that everything has been well with you all over the last month and that the weather has been kind to you. We have been very lucky to have had a lovely warm summer with very little rain and even though the chillier autominal mornings are beginning to creep in which I love, we are still having a bit of an indian summer with temperatures still up in the mid 20's.

I also hope that you have all been enjoying your weekend! I have been out for a meal with my parents, sister, and hubby today as it is my mum and dads Wedding Anniversary today, and they have been married for 29 years! x

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Blog Hop!

Hello everyone I hope that you are all well! Today I have been lucky enough nominated by the lovely Vivienne over at Green Rabbit Designs to take part in a Blog hop!

A Blog hop is a fun way to network in order to introduce your audience to new creative blogs that you love, but that they may have not discovered themselves and if they have to find out a little more about the people behind them. So if you haven't discovered Vivienne's lovely little blog yet please hop over and take a look, as she makes the most gorgeous crochet bunnies! Thank you so much for the nomination Vivienne!


So as part of the Blog hop there are four questions for each Blogger to answer and they are as follows:

What am I working on?

I am trained as an Illustrator and have a card range named Bobby Bunny & Friends! At the moment I have lots of prints and designs in the pipeline in order to expand my range but I am not currently working on anything specific, as August is peak trading time at my retail day job it doesn't leave much spare time. But I will be able to show you all something new within the next few weeks when things have calmed down a bit! For now though I will give you a taste of the sort of work that I do.

 
My work always involves my character Bobby Bunny who I originally created on my HND Illustration course, or his best friend Bella Bunny. At the moment my range consists only of cards which I have been selling on Etsy since the end of last year, but in time I am hoping to expand into other Bobby Bunny related products and would love to eventually illustrate some Bobby Bunny and friends books.

How does my work differ from others?

This is quite a hard question to answer as it is difficult to view your own work objectively, but due to the fact that Bobby Bunny is my own character and that all of my work revolves around him, I imagine that this consistency would make him quite easily recognisable. I also work using coloured pencils amongst other things, which is an unusual medium to be found within the greetings card industry.
My work is designed to be cute and childish in a sense, but in a way that it would appeal to adults. I also try to keep my card designs relatively simple in order for the image to stand out, and to give the cards a more modern look. The designs contain a lot of me and my personality and are a little nostalgic, evoking childhood memories. I love to just pick up a pencil and be transported into my little Bobby Bunny and Friends world!

Why do I write/create what I do?

Predominantly I write/create what I do because I like doing it, but I would love to be able to do it as a full-time job one day. I find it a bit of an escape and love working on new projects and ideas from start to finish. I get such a buzz from finishing a project, and there is something very satisfying about putting pen to paper and making nothing into something. Equally it can be frustrating if I can't get something to look the way that I want it to, for example if the pose is difficult. But I think that the fact that I still stick with it even when things don't go right, shows how my creative side is ingrained within me and is part of who I am.
How does my writing/creative process work?

Sometimes I write/create depending on my mood, for example if I feel like creating a Christmas card illustration then I will I will do a Christmas card illustration. But other times I will create a card idea especially for an event i.e. a family birthday or Wedding, which will then eventually be put on line in order to be sold to others.
When coming up with ideas I usually gradually put a multitude of inspiration together in my head to eventually come up with the image that I would like to create, which can take weeks. I find this easier than using sketchbooks, as my inspiration usually comes from all over and can involve anything from an advert that I see in the street, a pose, or a pattern etc. The only time that I tend to use sketchbooks for gaining ideas is when I think of a card design that I want to make, which I will then jot down so that I can come back to it at a later date in order to jog my memory.

 
Once I have the idea of my card design together in my head I will then set about researching the subject matter, and finding reference picture for things such as clothes, poses, objects and colours to use within my images of Bobby and Bella. I usually use such as Google, Pinterest, and iStock photo to do this, as well as magazines and again sometimes this process can take weeks to get right.

From here I then set about sketching out my image which I usually do within an A5 sized sketchbook, as for some reason my Bobby Bunny images only every seem to come out right when I drawn them small. It can take me anywhere from a couple of hours plus in order to get the sketch right. I will then scan my sketchbook image and enlarge it, before printing it off and transferring it onto cartridge paper.

 
From here I will then begin to work in the colour, always starting with the ears and ending with the eyes by using a mixture of watercolours, colouring pencils, pastels and acrylics. I also work into the image from the background to the foreground until I achieve the finished piece, which usually takes another few hours or so depending on the complexity of the image.

 
After this I then scan my image into Photoshop and touch up the colour so that they look like the original piece, as the scan never looks the same without doing this. This probably take me about an hour to do.

  
The final stage of the process is to then mock my images up onto cards. I do this by adding the image onto my card template within Photoshop, putting in the relevant sentiment and then printing it off onto Linen effect card which I score, fold, trim, and add a pretty little button by hand. The process is then finished by printing off the envelops with my logo, and packaging them up with a handwritten note ready to go off to their new homes. In all this process usually takes around fifteen minutes to half an hour per card.

 
The last part of the Blog hop is to nominate someone who's blog that you  enjoy for others to find, if they haven't already. I would love to nominate Julie from Little Cotton Rabbits, as if you haven't already come across her she creates the most beautiful knitted little bunnies! Julie is also the one who inspired me to start blogging about my own craft, after I stumbled across her blog quite by accident. I enjoyed reading about her Little Cotton Rabbits and how she used her knitting as an escape from caring for her autistic son, and liked the idea of making creative friends whist blogging about my craft. So if you haven't already please pop over and see what you think.

Likewise if you want to take part in your own Blog hop then please do, as like I said it is a fab way to network and meet new friends!

Thanks for visiting my little blog! x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sunshine & Storms!

We have been having some beautiful weather around here lately, with weeks of sunshine and temperatures up to the 30's. Which for those of you who do not live in the UK probably doesn't sound that hot, but for us it is quite something! Truth be told it has been a little too warm for my liking, but still I can't complain as it's definitely better than rain!

So on my day off last Friday I thought that I would make the most of the lovely weather by going down to Brighton with my best friend who was down from University, along with some of her Uni friends who had never been to Brighton before.
 
We had a lovely day shopping down the Lanes, walking through the grounds of the Pavilion, playing in the Amusements, and eating Fish and Chips on the Pier. We then went to a few bars as one of the many summer storms that we had towards the end of the week, and over last weekend began to roll in.

The evening was then finished off by us spontaneously going clubbing, then watching a spectacular lighting storm out at sea on the beach in the early hours. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get any pictures of the lighting storm as the battery on my camera had run out by this point, but it really was amazing like nothing I had seen before. There was no rain, no thunder, just this spectacular light show out at sea. It was quite something considering we very rarely ever get thunder storms, spring or summer!

I did however manage to get pictures of the rest of our day, as you can see below:
  The Brighton Pavillion & grounds
   Pretty fountain in the grounds
 Beautiful flowers
 More pretty flowers
  The Brighton Wheel and the storm clouds rolling in
The storm clouds rolling in on one side of the beach & the sun setting on the other
  A beautiful sunset over the beach
The sun setting over the West Pier
 
Besides going to Brighton there is not a lot more to report from the last few weeks really. Project sort out the flat is still slowly taking place, and work is beginning to get much busier as we come into our peak trading time of the year. So all in all I am not getting much time to blog or to get much illustrating done at the moment, but please do bare with me as I do have many Bobby Bunny projects that are waiting to be created.
 
My Naming Day cards are also proving to be selling well this week, with two of them being for Evie's for Naming Ceremony's taking place this weekend. Which I found to be bit of a strange coincidence since they were both for events in different areas of the country, plus I am also going to the Christening of an Evie this weekend too!
 
As always I really do appreciate you popping by, it means a lot.
I also hope that you are all having a fab week and that the weather is treating you all as well as it is treating us! x


Monday, 30 June 2014

Time Off & Back To Reality!

I mentioned in my last post that I was midway through my first of two weeks off of work, and what a lovely chilled out two weeks they were. But it's been back to work and back to reality again this week!

I did manage to get a lot of what I wanted to get done in my weeks off though! During my first week I mainly chilled out as my hubby was off too so it was nice to spend some together, as with me working Saturdays we usually only get one full day together.

Luckily we had some lovely weather that so I took my hubby for a walk down to my usual bunny spotting place. We ended up going further than I usually do and took a route past my usual place, which took us out the other side of the fields and through a housing estate where we then came across a farm who's land was open to the public.

We walked through the fields for hours and then along the river walk on the way back, we saw a few Pony's but it was mainly just open countryside with amazing views over the town. It's crazy to think that I have lived here all of my life and never even knew that the place existed. That's on of the things the I love about where I live, we are so close to town and everything that we need but equally we are surrounded by such beautiful countryside that you can feel like you are in the middle of nowhere within minutes. I have put together some of the photos from our little outing below:

The beautiful view over the fields
 The beautiful view over the fields towards town
     Another beautiful view from the top of the hill
   
 A Magpie with it's baby & a Shire Horse that we met along the way
   Along with it's pony friend
Shetland Pony Friend & it's fellow Shire Horse friend 
Along the river walk we spotted dome Dragon Flies  
 and a very hairy and elaborate caterpillar, I am not sure what type he is though
  Some pretty flowers
The heavy erosion on the roots of the trees along the river walk was quite apparent and not helped by the bad weather we had last winter. As it turned out they are about to close off and regenerate the river walk within the next free months due to the excessive erosion caused over the winter. 
A Painted Lady Butterfly basking in the sunshine
 
The second week of my time off I mainly spent tidying and de-cluttering the flat! I think that I have mentioned before that I am a bit of a hoarder, and the flat has been in need of a sort out for sometime but prior to now I have not had the time to get my teeth stuck into it. I have still got the bedroom and my studio to go, but the living room and kitchen are looking much fresher now and are much nicer places to spend time in!
The only other thing that I have to report is that we have kind of found a temporary solution to the washing machine issue! We had the plumber round and it seems that the problem with the pressure is in the wall between us and our neighbour as their water pressure is fine, which means that it is an issue that the managing agents of the flat will need to sort. It’s going to be a bit expensive job for them though so it may not be happening anytime soon, so until then I am having to fill the washing machine up manually which isn’t ideal but is still quicker and more convenient that having to go to my parents to do it!
I hope that you have all had a good weekend and that you have a good week ahead. I am currently writing this whilst watching the end of the Glastonbury Festival, which I have watched a lot of over the weekend and it is really making me long to go to a festival again! Usually I have the same two weeks that I have just had off each year to go to Download Festival, which I have mentioned before but this year is the first in five years that I have not gone and I have really missed not going. The reason that my friends and I decided not to go this year was because we had seen a lot of the bands before, and a band that we really want to see are playing Reading Festival in August so we have decided to give that a go instead. I really hope that it is as good as Download is as typically the weather was really good for Download this year. For me there really is no other experience like going to a music festival! Unfortunately I can’t do the whole five days of Reading like my friends due to it being our peak trading week at work, but I shall be joining them during the weekend instead which is better than nothing!
Thanks as always for popping by! x