Floating away in a Red Bubble!

Just a quick post this time, to make sure you have heard of Red Bubble.

It’s a relatively new site to me, as I posted my first work there just about a month ago, but I really am enjoying it.

Regular readers will know that I have been relishing the extra time available to me since I moved to Clevedon and I have been busy making things.  I still knit, for my own entertainment and pleasure, I write (as you can see from this blog) but mostly I paint and take photographs.  Original paintings are sold through our new website www.alecarte.com, where I also blog on things artistic.  I also use Picassa to manage my photographs and scanned paintings and to edit them as I wish.

However – Red Bubble is a revelation to me.  This company has international reach, and they manage the manfacture, and admin including shipping for the artist.  They produce many more products than a small team can manage, and can supply prints in a variety of formats, greetings cards, smartphone cases, tablet cases, printed t-shirts and hoodies and calendars.  I have great plans for my first calendar.  Guess what the family will be getting next Christmas!

All the artist has to do is upload their files, and say what percentage markup they want added to the basic costs.  This means that although I’ll earn less per item I have no head-aches about managing the selling and shipping items when I am on holiday, and more time to enjoy creating.

If you aren’t keen on my work, there is a huge variety of other styles at www.redbubble.com so do have a look.  And tell your friends!

Branching out



Happy New Year!  I hope 2014 treats you well.

I have been busy since Christmas and am pleased to announce the opening of my new Etsy shop, ArtyMag.  I am selling my own paintings and photographs as limited edition prints, some digitised as in the Blue Feet picture above.  I’m pleased with the selection of photos and paintings I have uploaded over the last few days but I have plenty more work to do and material to add.  Please have a look and tell me what you think – I would appreciate all feedback!

As I am selling unframed prints and paintings, it is realistic to sell internationally, and although I am not selling worldwide yet, I aim to increase the availability in the coming months.

The picture above is from our Australian holiday.  We were just back from the beach, and Al (my husband) stretched out on the coach, presenting his very photogenic feet to the lens.  I like the way the blue and yellow mirror the colour and shape of the beach.  It would look like a sunbathing picture – except that the feet are blue!

We are still selling framed original paintings within the UK, through our ebay shop.




The Hogs Back Brewery

What a great brewery and, for those lucky enough to book onto a tour, what a great day out.

We visited family the other weekend in Surrey, and they surprised us with a tour of the Hogs Back brewery in Tongham. Named after the nearby Hogs Back, a long ridge in the North Downs, the brewery was established in 1992, and from what we saw (and tasted) will be brewing for many years to come.

They were generous in the time they gave for the tour – an hour an a half for quite a small establishment – and were happy to take questions, well informed or not.  They were also generous with the samples, from their Traditional English Ale (TEA) to their Hogs Back Bitter.  What is always good about brewery tours is that the beer is served at the perfect temperature, and for Hogs Back bitter that’s about 12 C.  The tour included tips on pouring bottle conditioned ale – pour recklessly from a height to develop the head.  Sliding down the side of the glass leaves the drink a little flat.  Doesn’t affect the taste, but it looks nice with a head.

All the beers were delicious and extremely easy to drink. I’d like to tell you about the hoppiness, and the character of each beer, but really I’d only show myself to be a complete amateur.  You will just have to look out for the beers yourself, and learn the truth!

Thanks, Hogs Back Brewery, for a tremendously enjoyable afternoon. You have a loyal new customer! http://www.hogsback.co.uk

Back at home, I’ve been painting.  I know – creativity has struck in North Somerset and I can’t help myself. I suppose you’d call my art naive, but I do seem to have a good eye for colour and shape.  I wouldn’t call myself an artist just yet, but my pictures are selling.  Here’s one I finished this weekend.  It’s been beautifully framed by my other half, and is now for sale  in our ebay shop.  Have a look!


Watercolour sunsets and Winter swimming

So winter has arrived, and the UK has had the first snow of the season!  None near us yet.

We were down in Cornwall this week visiting Belinda and Jack, and had a very four-seasons-in-one-day time with hail storms, ferocious winds, sunshine and balmy warmth. Very nice to see them both and we are hoping for news of a house purchase soon.

Back in Clevedon the all or nothing weather continues.  Yesterday Nature was catering for the artist in us, with displays that anyone would want to photograph, paint or turn into a multi-media extravaganza.

First, the water on the Marine lakes had a marvellous texture.


It looked like tweed with many crossing diagonals – but you have to look closely to see the effect in the photo.

And a little later we had a real water-colour sunset.


Wales was a very attractive variety of blues, setting off the pastel sky beautifully.

On Saturday it was freezing and a strong wind was coming straight off the Bristol Channel.  However that did not deter one brave swimmer, who we saw tackling the waves.


He didn’t get far before heading back in – we snapped him as he emerged from the tempest.  To be fair, I think the waves would have defeated all but the strongest swimmers, even if the temperature hadn’t been just over freezing.  It reminded me of the scene in Cast Away where Tom Hanks just couldn’t get over the breakers into the open sea until he built the super-raft.

I guess he’s in training for the traditional winter swim that takes place every News Year’s Day by the pier. (The swimmer, that is, and not Tom Hanks.  Although he might be there too, of course!)

I was thinking the other day how a few years ago my daughter was bemoaning the warm winters, and the fact she hadn’t seen more than a grey dusting of snow since she was tiny. That same year there was a television documentary considering whether, due to global warming, we in South of England had seen our last local snow and would need to become snow tourists to enjoy a white Christmas.  Well, things have changed since then with snow every winter and, for the last couple of years, snow before Christmas.

How is your Christmas shopping going? I think I have got everything I need, but it helps that I have family and friends well used to having low expectations. We are fine tuning arrangements now, with family booking train tickets and food shopping being planned.  I’m going to make some Christmas Chelsea buns, filled with dried cranberries, golden sultanas, butter, ground almonds and cinnamon, and drizzled with orange icing.  The plan is to arrange them into a Christmas tree shape on the baking tray.  If they turn out well I’ll post a photo!

Good luck with the shopping, everyone, and don’t forget to have fun!