Ready To Go!

ready to go

Here it is, my first assignment ready to go. It’s taken me ages to actually finish it even though there was nothing complicated or difficult about any of the exercises; it was making the time that was the tricky part. Setting time for coursework and sticking to it is easy in theory but sometimes in practice…

Anyway, I enjoyed each part of the assignment (when I did allow myself the time) and it felt great to make marks and admire the black lines on white paper purely for their own sake.

Mark Making

mark making pencil

Starting with pencils, each round of scribbles, dashes, swirls and doodles became slightly addictive. Reminds me of doodling while on the telephone.

brush with indian ink

I used Indian Ink instead of gouache with a brush and loved the smoothness of the application. Very therapeutic to watch the tone change.

fat sharpie and masking fluid

I had never use masking fluid before and I enjoyed the anticipation of waiting for it to dry. You never know quite what your going to get as you peel it off. I used it here with a fat sharpie marker and quite like the result. A sort of ‘cartoonish’ repeat pattern. Bold and blocky.

charcoal and maskig fluid

This time I used the masking fluid with charcoal. Kind of zebra-like result. I also learned about the paper peeling off with the fluid if your not careful.

stick and gouache

This is one of my unconventional tools, a stick with gouache. I love the little random circles.

grass stems and indian ink

This time I used cut grass stems and indian ink again. I like the pattern these little circles make with the edge of each one slightly darker.

gull feather

A gull feather was probably my favourite of the unconventional tools. It felt languorous and smooth across the paper. It even sounded peaceful with a slight swish. Very pleasing lines.

grass seed heads and indian ink

These marks are the opposite of the languid gull feather. Grass seed-heads with indian ink, all bunched together and swirled around the paper. Lively and unpredictable. It makes for exciting, jittery marks; just like seed-heads in the wind. A tip for the next time: don’t wear your new white t-shirt when doing this exercise…

My favourite aspect of the mark making exercise was using the unconventional tools. I really liked their unpredictable nature and this helps in ‘letting go’ and just relishing the act of making marks on the page.


fork first drawing

I put this off for ages. I don’t feel that drawing is my strongpoint but, as is usually the way, once I started I found myself relaxing and becoming quite absorbed. Having said that I hated my drawings of the fork. They’re so fat and dumpy whereas the fork is actually a lovely long, elegant object. Something to work on…

nutcracker first drawing

My other kitchen utensil, a nutcracker. A little happier with this drawing but I know I’m not paying enough attention to detail.

Left-hand Drawing

fork left hand

Drawing using my left hand actually helped me loosen up. It helps when you haven’t as much control over your lines and the results were pleasing. Interestingly, I found myself paying more attention to the actual object.

nutcracker fine sharpie

I had always steered clear of using felt pens but after the mark making exercise I enjoyed the quality of the lines the sharpie made.

left hand fork gouache

Again, drawing with paint would have been something I avoided but using my left hand it didn’t seem to matter as much if I went ‘wrong’.

fork with gull feather

For my final, large drawing of this exercise I chose the gull feather with gouache to paint the fork. I got closer to the look of the object. Nice long, clean lines.

Continuous Line

continuous drawing fork

I chose the felt-tip for this, the fine sharpie. I really enjoy the boldness of its mark, the very definite black lines even though you can be quick and light in using it.

Blind Drawing

nutcracker blind drawing

Using pencil to draw the nutcracker blind gave the drawings a light feel in contrast to the heavy, definite look of the object. You really get to know your subject using this method, staring while being unconcerned about the look of the finished drawing. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Final Selection

blind drawing final selection

Blind drawing was the method I chose for my final selection. I used the fine felt-tip to draw the fork, the more simple object but also the one which I had the most difficulty representing.

blind drawing final selection 2

It was a treat to allow the pen roam as my eye followed the lines of the fork.

blind drawing finla selection 3

I’d love to see these repeated on a table cloth or something else on a large scale.  definitely my favourite exercise.


Bui Crafts Bunting


Today I’m happy to post about my other self: Bui Crafts. Bui (pronounced bwee) is the Irish for yellow, so I’m sure you can see the connection between Yellow Dog and Bui Crafts… It’s all about colour! Actually it’s all about the dog but never mind : ) 


One thing I love to do in Bui Crafts is make bunting. Whatever the occasion, a bunting is sure to please. This pirate fabric is great for all those little Captains out there, whether Jack Sparrow or Hook.


It also looks great with orange letters. A great vibrant bunting that will really stand out in any bedroom or playroom.



I love these classic blues too. Great for new babies and, with a slight vintage feel, this bunting will add a nice touch to Noah’s nursery.


Little pink elephants are teamed with polkadot purple for Líle’s bunting. The soft pink felt letters are hand-stitched with a bright pink for a little girl who loves everything pink!


More pink!!  This time for a new baby so softer and this time with little daisies for a really cute touch.


So Bui Crafts just loves bunting!  If you’d like to see more pop over to my facebook page:  I’d be happy to make a beautiful bunting for someone you love. 


Back on Track

Well I guess I fell right off Planet Blog for a while there.  I kept putting obstacles in the way of sitting down and sharing: too busy, too tired, no nice photos, nothing much to say… The list of excuses goes on.  And on.  But I’m back!  And this time with no excuses.

YellowDogDays New York

I’m typing this sitting in an airport waiting to board my flight home.  We have been in the U.S for the last week, our first visit, and I have a feeling it won’t be our last.

YellowDogDays TopoftheRock

Our first stop was New York and it’s no exaggeration to say that this city is overwhelming.  The energy, the noise, the buildings, the non-stop pulse of life.  Fantastic!  There’s so much to see that we barely scratched the surface.  It’s just not possible to do it all in one short trip and it’s easy to become stressed and frantic trying to squeeze everything in.  Better to do less and remain sane!

YellowDogDays Florida

Our next stop was Florida, Fort Lauderdale to be exact.  What a difference!  The sea air, the palm trees swaying, the laid-back beat… The perfect antidote to frantic.

Some great things happened here and we met some incredible people.  My ideas book is bursting at the seams and I can’t wait to get back home to me desk and start creating.  I also can’t wait to see my smiley Yellow Dog…. I guess I’m back on track.


Baby Booming!!


Lots of babies arriving lately giving me a great opportunity to enjoy even more crafting than usual. Between knitting, sewing and card making I’ve been having busy coming up with cute baby gifts that are relatively quick and easy to make.


My last post closed with a picture of the button love-heart which I had sewn onto a fabric background.  Here it is now made into a cute card to welcome a new girl into the world.


Along with a super-soft bunny and stripy beanie hat, it makes a nice little gift.


Both the bunny and beanie are knit following Debbie Bliss patterns.  The beanie is an old favourite of mine, I love knitting them and think the stripes look great on babies.


Another card I’ve made using fabric squares and hand-stitched felt lettering.  This time for a little boy!


He also gets a stripy beanie, this time in cool blues and white.  Great for keeping little heads nice and warm! There are a couple more babies on the way, we don’t know yet if they’re boys or girls but I’m looking forward to making some more welcome gifts either way.  Hope this baby boom continues!!

Attic Antics


Don’t you just love attics?  You never know what’s up there, hidden away under a layer of dust and usually long forgotten.  My most recent expedition up into the memory laden loft of my family home proved particularly fruitful.


Meet my mother.  That’s her holding hands with her mother sometime in the early fifties.  What I found in the attic concerns her.  In a broken, flattened suitcase I came across a whole bunch of papers, photos and greeting cards from her and my Dad’s early life together.


Also in the suitcase were patterns.  Gorgeous old sewing patterns with chic, wasp-waisted women showing off the smart late fifties/early sixties dresses.


I like the “7 Day Ensemble” in particular.  It’s a Simplicity pattern, sold for 4/6 in old money, suitable for size 16, bust 36.  These were the days of pounds, shillings and pence; before my time but familiar enough to invoke a certain nostalgia, for what I’m not quite sure.  It says simple to make on the front so I suppose we have to believe what we read!


I know that my mother would have found it simple enough.  She was great at making clothes and would often buy a pattern and material in the morning and have her new dress made by tea time.  This was as well as raising her family and doing the housework.  I’m afraid my sewing skills are far behind hers.  These patterns are way beyond me at the moment, bunting is about as complicated as it gets!


I love the accessories of the women on the McCall’s pattern.  Yes, I know they’re only drawings but they’re so stylish!  Gloves, bangles, pearl necklaces and killer handbags.  You couldn’t fail to impress with this look.


Perhaps I should have a go at bringing one of these patterns to life.  It would be nice to think I’d be making and wearing something that my mother had when she was younger than I am now.  Threads across time…

Sweet Charity.



The weather is still fine here in Ireland, even if it is very cold.  There are as many hats and scarfs being worn as in the winter months but the sun is shining so nobody is complaining much.  These clear, crisp days are perfect for dog-walking and the beach is a favourite spot for my four-legged friend.  She gets to chase ‘red ball’ and I get to breath some fresh sea air and clear my head.  Perfect.

In a previous post I mentioned my fondness for browsing around second-hand/charity shops. I love looking for hidden gems while knowing that my money is being put to good use helping a charity which needs my couple of euro more than I do.  My latest find is from Ballina, in a shop raising funds for abandoned and neglected horses, where I came across these gorgeous earrings.


It was the green stones that caught my eye, plus they’re dangly.  I love dangly earrings!


They have a kind of ethnic chic about them and are very striking when worn.  But what really interested me was the fact that they have screw backs.


As far as I know this type of screw back for non-pierced ears started to wane in the fifties. This would make my new earrings a little older than I had first thought.  There was another pair in the case alongside them.


These are a very sweet pair of conventional clip-ons with a lovely light green stone.  They’re much more understated than the first pair, more elegant than ethnic, and they have a certain old-world charm about them.


The woman in the shop told me that it was a French woman who donated both pairs and that they had been her grandmother’s.  She obviously had no sentimental attachment and so did the right thing by passing them on to a good cause where somebody else could find and appreciate them.  I’m looking forward to giving them a new lease of life and adding another chapter on to their story.  Sometimes charity really does pay.

Soft On The Head!


It’s still Spring but somebody forgot to inform the weather! The time for our Winter-woolies hasn’t quite passed yet, especially for wee ones.  I love this cold, clear weather, it’s great for brisk walks and it’s even better for knitting!  My trusty wool basket is always on standby so when a friend asked me to knit a hat for her soon-to-be-born baby it was just a matter of choosing the colours.


I love this Debbie Bliss cashmerino blend wool and use it for all my baby projects.  It’s so silky soft and knits up beautifully, making it perfect for precious baby skin.  I chose light blue, lilac and white for this hat because my friend likes blues and we both thought that these colours would suit either a boy or a girl.  The pattern I follow is also Debbie Bliss, from the book ‘baby cashmerino 2‘; it’s a really sweet little roll-brim beanie that never fails to please.


The colours come together nicely in stripey stocking stitch.  Only 83 stitches in width, it knits up nice and fast.



Then the bit I sometimes put off for ages… sewing it all together!


I use mattress stitch to sew the edges, creating an invisible seam and giving a great finish.  Thinking about doing it is always harder than the fact and once you start it gets easier and easier.


And finally… it’s finished!



A gorgeous little beanie, soft and snuggly, for a precious little somebody…