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Juliana De’Vine – Fortune Teller

19 Mar

Another new addition to the sideshow arrived today. Introducing Ms Juliana De’vine.

Juliana De'VineJuliana had a very successful career as a stockbroker, until she was a little TOO good at predicting the next big money-maker, leading her to be investigated for insider trading. No one would believe that it was her ‘gift’ which was her secret to success and so she was forced to leave the profession. After the circus came to town one fateful day, she realised that with the sideshow she could make her fortune by telling punters their own. And so the rest is history.

Juliana De'Vine

Juliana De'Vine

A Tale of Two Fairies – Part 2, A Guest Post.

30 Dec

Keen followers might remember a post a few weeks ago entitled ‘A Tale of Two Fairies’, in which I told the story of my mum’s 25-year-old Christmas fairy, and the new one I commissioned for her from Curious Pip to allow the old fairy to retire. Mum was thrilled with her new fairy and put her straight up in pride of place on the tree, while the old one was lovingly taken down and wrapped up in her box to be cherished. 

My mum works in a primary school and told some of the kids all about the fairies. They were amazed at how old the original one was, (25 years is an absolute age to an eight-year old!), and that £4.95 was such a lot of money back in the 80′s when we bought her from our local John Lewis. They were so inspired by the tale that she decided to take both the fairies in to school for the kids to see, which sparked off some project work for them to do. Allow me to share with you, my mum’s own account of the kids encounter with our festive, family fairies!

Now that the festive season is over for another year, I just had to let everyone know about my joy at receiving a new fairy for the tree.

My lovely daughter, Jennifer (aka Mistress of Monsters) delighted me with a home crafted, personally commissioned, brand new fairy courtesy of Curious Pip. You have probably already read about it in the blog and have seen the pictures but so much more has happened since then.

I work in a primary school and recounted the story of the fairies to a small group of year 5 children that I work with every day. In order to inspire them, I took the old and new fairies in to school.

They handled the fairies with due reverence and such care for children of that age. I think they really believed the fairies had genuine feelings (which of course they do).

We spent  a long time discussing the fairies and they had lots of things to say about them. They sympathised with the old fairy and suggested other jobs for her to do, so she would not feel neglected. The final decision was that the old fairy could be ‘Official Present Protector’.

I wish I‘d had a camera with me, because they all sat open-mouthed when I produced the new fairy from a tissue lined box.  Curious Pip has a new group of very young fans.

I am sure this will not be the last time that I use the fairies to inspire something in the children.

A Big thank you to Jennifer and of course, a BIG THANK YOU to Curious Pip.

The kids even wrote a poem about the pretty pair, and did some drawings too, fabulous!

She used to be the one on top

And now she’s down the bottom.

Someone else has muscled in

Don’t you think that’s rotten?

But if you think, she is quite old,

She needed to retire.

The bottom of the tree is best for her

‘cause it’s nearer to the fire.

The new fairy looks resplendent

Atop the Christmas tree,

But we’ll never forget the old one

She was very special you see.

Santa will think it very strange

But we’ll make it understood

That he’ll just have to get used to it

‘cause she’s here to stay for good.

 

Felt Ahoy!

29 Dec

I’ve so much to share with you from the festive period but to start with, I wanted to unveil a quick little project which I’ve just completed.

I’ve been dying to further explore the world of needle-felting after having learnt the basics in a workshop a month or so ago. I incorporated the skills into one of my recent commissions, and have begun to see so many possible applications for felting in my work. I’ve always had a love of illustration, and a hefty collection of children’s picture books, but have never had the drawing skills to match what I see in my head. I’ve realised that needle-felting can be used as a medium for illustration, so this evening I decided to have a go. Within half an hour I’d managed to create a little image that I’m actually quite proud of.

Felted Illustration

Lots of potential for improvement and for broadening my scope, but for now, I’m happy with this little chap!

Lino Loveliness

3 Dec

I’ve been spending a few days in the bosom of the Monster family as we enjoy an early Christmas. My brother and his girlfriend will be in Oz over Christmas so we decided to bring it all forward by a few weeks, more on that another time…

Today my Dad and I had the day to ourselves as everyone else headed home last night, so I took the opportunity to pick his arty brain and learn a bit about lino-printing. He’s been print-making for many years but recently started getting serious and has been creating some fabulous images.

I love to learn new things, so over a mince-pie and a cup of tea he showed me the basics. One minor injury and some dramatic bleeding later, I had produced my first lino-printed image. Drawing has never been my strong point, but I managed to sketch a design I was reasonably happy with onto the lino as a starting point.

Lino printThe process of carving out the design was both totally confusing and thoroughly absorbing. I found it pretty tricky to work out what I should leave and what I should take away, but once I got going I started to get the hang of it.

Lino printThe time slipped by un-noticed and three hours later I was ready to get inky.

Lino printExciting! I find that so much in the world now is instant, that I enjoy the anticipation of waiting to see how something will turn out. Carefully placing the paper, giving it a good old rub with a wooden spoon, and then the reveal…

Lino printYay! For a first attempt I’m pretty happy with that. Any new skill is a learning curve and were I to do it again I would have left some fur detail in on the fox. All in all though, I enjoyed the process and am being packed off home with some basic supplies to do some more when I get home, so watch this space!

 

The Future’s Bright

13 Oct

A funny little coincidence happened on the wedding day.

While I was out trying on wedding dresses with mothers of the bride and groom way back in February, we took a shortcut through a bookshop. I have a bit of a thing for children’s picture books and am a sucker for a good title or a cute cover illustration. I was struck by both when I spotted this little gem by Rachel Bright

The story is about a little monster who above all things just wants to find someone to love. He searches high and low, and just as he is giving up hope and things are starting to get dark, he finds a lovely lady monster to be his partner. It really struck a chord with me and felt that it told the story of Mr Monster and I to a tee, so I bought a copy to give to him as a gift on the morning of the wedding, and also made reference to the story during my vows. I am reliably informed that he had a bit of a ‘moment’ whilst reading it (although he’ll hate me for telling you that!)

Unbeknownst to me, that morning one of the lady ushers had given Mr Monster a card in which she had written a poem by the same author. He liked it so much that he had it written into our ceremony and it was read by the friend we had roped in to officiating the blessing for us. It was just perfect and I really wanted to share it with you here. As part of our ceremony it made me laugh, and touched my heart in ways that only great poetry can. It would seem that Rachel Bright is on our wavelength!

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