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The bee suite

A couple of years ago I begun sketching characters for a book about a pig and a goose. The quandary was that the book would probably take years to write and the illustrations even longer. After a few jaunts to London to see traditional publishing  houses, I knew self- publishing was the new route to… Continue reading The bee suite

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Bee and bug time once more

This post is a little long but it contains a few thoughts about the insects world that I would really appreciate if you could read. It’s an important revelation to me and has changed my life…literally. Bees. I think most of us have a huge respect and soft spot for these busy guys, who work… Continue reading Bee and bug time once more

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Finding the flowers

Sometimes I forget why I started my blog way way back in London. I took a trip down memory lane and it was good to feel that I still had my love of all things natural and wild flowers and more than that, the tentative start with a camera, as before 2012, I didn’t own… Continue reading Finding the flowers

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Fables in France

I am am an absolute sucker for traditional illustration and the brocantes here in France provide an absolute treasure trove of pre-loved books for children. Fables are a favorite and books like this are filled with many classic tales and fine art illustrators who also painted as an aside, for childrens publishers. This volume is… Continue reading Fables in France

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

Egg song

I love my Cou-nous naked neck chickens. Sadly of my original six, only Doobie, Sweetie and Ruby remain but are a source of daily happiness. We have had a few moments of crisis with them too…Ruby suffered from respiratory issues and upto a year ago was constantly blue looking. Doobie had a nasty prolapse due… Continue reading Egg song

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Taking perspective

I studied One Point, Two Point and Three but never Multi or Curvilinear. Finally a book that really gets into how to do these. I remember I took technical drawing at 11 years old. I was top in my class and my teacher was really excited, as most people found draughting boring. But I was… Continue reading Taking perspective

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Shine brightly

My husband is fascinated by lighting design. It’s a project he has long wanted to work on but the French rules on health and safety will make this tricky for a while and ideas will need to be simply created from existing wired models. I too adore lighting. An interior with the lighting that brings… Continue reading Shine brightly

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Sketch Avergne

Back in 2006 I visited the volcanic area of the Avergne. Little did I know then that in just ten years I would be permanently settling just about hour North in Creuse. I always adored France and vacationers there every other year, with Scotland and the North of England as my walking holidays in between.… Continue reading Sketch Avergne

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Bumble Goose

As you may know from my previous posts, I am finally back to art. Hurrah. I completed my pintade portraits and a few on grumpy Bumble goose but hadn’t tackled a full illustration as practise for my future story book projects. Keeping with Bumble I hoped to achieve a colourful and friendly illustration. I am… Continue reading Bumble Goose

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Being a mug!

Not the best title for a post but had to put that pun in somewhere! Finally we hauled the extremely heavisome ceramic mug printing machine to the farmhouse. Our factory in nearby Gouzon was too cold and we still have a tonne of work to insulate the printing studio. Choosing what project to prioritize and… Continue reading Being a mug!

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Getting to grips with the goose

I started my new project last week, drawing a set of illustrations of my goose Bumble. About two years ago I started writing a book, a collection if stories with the hope that I would somehow illustrate it too. How I would do that was rather beyond me at the time. I hadn’t drawn much… Continue reading Getting to grips with the goose

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It’s an art start

A couple of weeks ago I posted about finding coloured pencils. A lightbulb moment after a very long time stressing about what medium and what subjects to paint, lit up. Paint. That was the problematic word. Actually the whole acrylic and watercolour thing had turned me off art and although I dabbled a little back… Continue reading It’s an art start

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · Geese · guinea fowl · Writing and Illustrating

Boys will be boys

Freezing today but luckily Penquin my Pekin duck had laid an egg. It was still warm and I held it in my pocket between feeding all the feathery family.  My girls are now three years old and egg laying is sporadic. With the winter chill all the hens have slowed and from twenty hens I… Continue reading Boys will be boys

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Finding my pencils

Note these are not my drawings, but come from a great book called The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornwell. For a long time I have struggled to find an art medium I love. Watercolour I find restricting with the layers and colour build up of washes and control. I… Continue reading Finding my pencils

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Mad about the birds

From previous posts you probably gather I am starting out on a new journey to get back into art that I abandoned as a teenager. Part of that journey over the past year has been sourcing inspirational art, studying art techniques and amassing what’s beginning to be quite an extensive library of books dedicated to… Continue reading Mad about the birds

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The art of birds

On my 7th birthday I asked my parents for Charles Tunnicliffe’s book of bird illustrations. I had at the time a mild obsession with painting owls, especially barn owls, along with Dutch windmills for some obscure reason. Maybe it was a flight thing, the sails rising up into the sky, the connection with the wind,… Continue reading The art of birds

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Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

La Grange has it’s tree and its Christmas jumper time for us. It seems Hippo and me shopped the same design! Our collection of stuffed friends in the background…Lob-i-ster, Alfred the pig, Chicken and La Loup. Don’t worry, forever a child at heart and writing stories. You should see the other shelves! In Paris I… Continue reading Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

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Bon Noel from France

My first Christmas in France and we finally got our tiny little tree up. Having only just finished the bedroom in the barn, the tree is perched on top of my yellow chest of drawers as the floor is still full of boxes to be unpacked. But it’s full of Christmas bling, bells and flashing… Continue reading Bon Noel from France

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Happy hedgehog

I am stuck in Barts hospital in London. Mum got dehydrated so drip in place..yes I have a 4 hour wait. I was due to meet a friend to celebrate diagnosis of her medical condition. A landmark after many years of frustration. I spotted hedggie on my arrival. Badly sewn eye. As soon as mum… Continue reading Happy hedgehog

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One acre and a dream

I am following Leigh Tate’ s great blog and just purchased her self published book “5 Acres and a dream- The book” as I am starting a new journey in France when I return. Homestead has a wide conitation of ideals and already we have our list that is priority to us: Simplification of life… Continue reading One acre and a dream

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Gruyere French

I evidentally have holes in my brain. Lots of them.  The French tester politely explained that I knew words that were advanced, but fundamental parts of the French language were missing.  God knows what I had been replying to his questions, but sometimes he looked confused and at other times plain shocked.  My neighbours back… Continue reading Gruyere French

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In the news – Tony Costin

With Brexit, President Macron and Trump all making the news so often, my other half was inspired to go political for a change.  Our French Euro having a spat with the English pound and Trump, well probably thinking about his next Tweet. Find many more characters at Chaps, Sods and Fellowettes.

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La Nourrice affinage

Our tiny little commune is known as La Nourrice, meaning wet-nurse. It is a strange name and I have yet to delve into its history, but in essence a wet-nurse breast feeds another woman’s baby. It was common practice in days gone by, but I am not so sure today, well not in this neck… Continue reading La Nourrice affinage

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Change and hope – past and present

This post. It is a little long, but the thoughts had to come out. I have been away for a month. Summer heat stroke and a visit to the hospital, along with some physically hard work pointing up the barns exterior walls had impinged on my health and being slightly presupposed to depressive moments, I… Continue reading Change and hope – past and present

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Pygmalion

Pygmalian fell in love with a sculpture and Aphrodite granted his wish of companionship and made this sculpture human. The famous Eliza Doolittle, of GB Shaws famous play, changed too, from Cockney street girl to refined Fair Lady. Changes manifest in many ways and forgive me for this strangulation of mythology to fit my prose,… Continue reading Pygmalion

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Cheese please

A while ago, longer than I dare to remember, I worked in a cheese factory. It was a yearlong contract to unfortunately close down a large specialized cheese importer – HT Webbs and transfer the most profitable cheese to the Danish dairy company Arla Foods. The job was fascinating mainly from the point that to… Continue reading Cheese please

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Paris – Good Life France

Spending a day in Paris: boats, books and baking Written by Judi Castille in Guest Blogs The anticipation of warm, thick, hot chocolate in little expresso sized cups was alluring. Indulgent pastries and a huge array of chocolate and candy to choose, persuaded me to rise from my slumberous bed and cross the river Seine… Continue reading Paris – Good Life France

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Which direction?

When I finally came here to France in March I came with a baggage of old business ventures, ideas, some creative like writing – eight stories in draft and a huge A4 file packed with notes and ideas to complete them – and illustrating the stories too – I hadn’t picked up a paint brush… Continue reading Which direction?

Writing and Illustrating

Chateau Du Rivau

  This articled appeared in The Good Life France website this Autumn. But here with photos I took on the day. Over twenty years ago I visited the Chateau du Rivau.  In its first stages of renovation by owner Patricia Laigneau, a Versailles trained garden designer with a passion to restore the chateau to its… Continue reading Chateau Du Rivau

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Picture papers

A few weeks ago I grabbed handfuls of saffron from very wet grass, took them home to dry, but ended with sogginess and to the compost they went. A lucky accident, the saffron dyed the papers they were draining on and after drying, they turned out to be great background papers for the herb photos.… Continue reading Picture papers

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Foraging Future

From 2013 to early this year I had invested a huge amount of time and finances on bringing to commerciality a conifer syrup that originated from a recipe my husband’s father made from the pine cones and fir tips he collected whilst walking the local mountains. He was a mountain man – both in his… Continue reading Foraging Future

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The Good Life France

I first came to France on my honeymoon – Paris, not very original, but it was the start of a life long love of the country.  I was 23 years old.  Over the years, I am now 50, I travelled to France many, many times and read her history and dreamed of settling down one… Continue reading The Good Life France

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Chaps, Sods and Fellowettes

My husband Tony carries a little black notebook wherever he goes, scribbling, jotting.  I think most of it is highly secret, but sometimes a character appears, there is a lot of paper flurries, ink pens on the move and a bit of cursing on photoshop. Dealing with all our company websites, logos and trade marks… Continue reading Chaps, Sods and Fellowettes

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Monochrome Madness

Leanne is a fine art photographer in Australia. Her niche is architecture, landscapes using long exposure, dramatic contrast and now infrared, a new exploration into the reverse world of light. Every month Leanne runs a post – Monochrome Madness – where we can post our photos based on the theme set. It’s nice to be… Continue reading Monochrome Madness

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At the bottom of our garden

June and July have been solid work, pushing to get our home and gardens clear of overgrown woodland, brambles, piles of unwanted packaging from our moves and painting all our buildings and new fences from a huge array of pots left by my father from his garage.  We are now left with an off assortment… Continue reading At the bottom of our garden

All Posts · Ion Syrup · My Company Projects · Writing and Illustrating

A voice – a journey.

The world is full of a cornucopia of blogs, lifestyle photographers, craft projects, entrepreneurs and travellers.  It is hard on the very best of days to promote your businesses, to show case your work and find a voice to say how great your products are, that you adore what you do and would move heaven… Continue reading A voice – a journey.

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Doodle and sketches

I love floral photography but my other huge enjoyment is sketching, painting and writing children’s stories. At the moment I have four on the go, very different subjects and very different types of illustration.  Two will be traditional watercolour, one collage and another more graphic, maybe via printing and stencil – not yet sure.  In… Continue reading Doodle and sketches