I don't know if anyone still gets my updates anymore, but here's to the few that do...

I am, as per title, off to China!  Needless to say I've had to set up my own site to get around the Wall, so if you're still interested in me and what I do, please pop along and say hello!  

The content of the site will mostly be about my life out there, as it's also a portal for keeping my family and friends back home in the loop with my goings-on.  But a few of you have said that you like the way I write, so what I can promise you is lots of pictures, anecdotes, and my style of writing.  Knicker-wetting humour is indeed one of my aims.

See you soon and zaijian!
Claire xxxx

The Magical Disappearing Blogger

Hello everyone, it's been a while eh?  I am sorry that I have not continued to regale you with tales of granny squares crocheted, faces painted and dolls' house stories.  I've missed the distraction myself really...

I've been meaning to post a message on here for quite a while but I've not managed to get round to it until now.  Needless to say, this is me saying goodbye.  There are a couple of reasons why this is so, the first being the continued lack of mobility in my right hand, which has now been properly diagnosed and has turned out to be a permanent condition.  Although I could theoretically continue crafting, it would cause me more pain than usual and I do still want to have an operational right hand when I'm fifty!  

The second, rather more exciting, reason, is that pastures new await, but I cannot say anything more as it involves letting down people who have no choice in the matter, and I haven't decided how to tell them yet.

So, dear fellow bloggers, here is my farewell.  Thank you for visiting me and leaving all your lovely comments, good luck with your blogs and thank you for making the world a slightly more beautiful place.  Perhaps, in a few weeks, and before this blog disappears, I will let you know where I'm off to.

C x



K-Pop and androgyny rock my world.  G Dragon of BIGBANG - a guy, by the way, in case you weren't sure - encompasses the awesomeness of both like a boss.  Vogue Korea, I love you.

I tried to recreate his 'Genie' photoshoot using only water-soluble face paints, which is no mean feat when it comes to getting the depth and quality of colour that oil-based and professional makeup gives.  It turned out ok, shame about the model...


Doctor Doctor

Doctor Doctor, please fix my flipping arm.  I'll pay you!  Yes, I am still a bit crippley at the moment, and a new university term has started.  I am already having dissertation supervisions even though my last two essays have not been handed in; as you can imagine, my mind is a bit full.

Some pictures of my beloved rocking house and dolls house instead, as my most recent painting is yuckypoo and I need to start a new one before I stop painting altogether!  The mischievous little miss eying up the gramophone is Camilla.  I'm always imagining scenarios for her - knocking Mummy's hats off the top of the wardrobe, having a teddy bears picnic in the bath, that sort of thing.  Yup.  Sad.

Painter's block

I have reached something of a wall with my current painting, mostly because I am not entirely pleased with the composition.  As I cannot post a piece of my work yet, here are some beautiful pieces by iiiis, which I have scanned from my book.  I'm feeling very much like the girl with the birds flying around her head at the moment...

計白當黑, ji bai dang hei, is the Mandarin term for the Chinese technique of leaving blanks of white paper in a watercolour painting.  The blank paper is part of the finished painting, an idea I personally like very much because I am very much of the 'unfinished' school; I cannot bear to, as it were, 'finish things' and cover a whole page with paint.  I remember my art teacher constantly chiding me for never completing a painting, so imagine how delighted I was to find out that not finishing things was actually an ancient and viable technique!


Lovely Blogger, Stylish Blog

Stylish Lovely

Blog Blogger 


Enough of the word play Claire, we have important business to attend to!  I was, a while ago, nominated by the lovely Alex of miceandminutae for a Stylish Blogger Award,  and only last night she awarded me again with a Lovely Blog Award.  How chuffed am I?!  So I thought I'd best get off my backside and do my own nominations, as I have managed to forget for so long now that Alex must be growing old waiting for me to pull my socks up and get on with it. 

一    Sushi and olives are the only two things I crave more than chocolate.
二    My birthmark is shaped like an eye and is on the sole of my right foot.
三    My first car was a 1994 Italian Job original Mini.  I called her Honey.  She was racing green with a black roof and Italian Job trimmings, complete with flags on the seats.
四    I am not Italian.
五    My Mum taught me how to knit, my Nana taught me how to increase and decrease stitches.  Thrilling stuff.
六    I went to a private Masonic school.  Yes, they do exist and yes, it was posh and wierd.  I loved it.
七   When I was 13 I concussed myself falling over on an ice rink.  Before the accident I wasn't very good at school, after it I was a straight A student.  I think this is significant...
八    Put me near an ice rink and I'll cry.
九    My biggest fears are large ships and submarines.  My Dad thinks this is hilarious.
十    This is fact number ten.

Stylish Blogger Awards

If you like you can link back to me, write 8 facts about yourself, nominate 8 blogs and tell them.

Lovely Blog Awards

If you so desire you can link back to me, write 7 facts about yourself, nominate 15 blogs (if you can!) and tell them.

And just to tickle your taste-buds, if eyes have taste-buds of course, here is a wee glimpse of the beginnings of my next painting.


A Painting Story


She is melting into that on which she lies, and yet marked out from it.  We look through to her and yet she is part of the frame.  She is in a dream-scape that could not exist and yet we recognise it...

SO this is my day's work, and the first painting I have finished for a long time.  The materials are F pencil and watercolour on Langton watercolour paper by Daler Rowney.  I wanted to echo natural and artificial shapes throughout, hence the petal shape of her breast, the flower-like structure in the top left of the painting, and the window frame shapes to the right.  She is taken from a May 2008 Vogue shoot of Natalia Vodianova in Russia, of which I loved the pose, the colours and style of her clothes, the beautiful balance of her face and the helmet-like hat that covers her hair.  I have tried to hint at something of the Art Deco and Nouveau, two movements decades apart but unusually complimentary.  I suppose you will think, as I do, that she was stunningly beautiful before I made the colours stronger and put down the paynes-grey outlines, but I couldn't leave her like this because the orange of the koi was so strong that she became a little washed out.  I also wanted to make primary the area around her face and the outlines of the birds, creating a vertical sweep made from bird to bird.  I was heavily influenced by iiiis' work here, and the fish and birds are taken from his book.


Hand will paint!

I can do some gentle painting today, the hand is a little less stiff.  I haven't used watercolours for a long time, so I felt the need to copy something in order to get back into the swing of things.  This illustration hasn't come from my own imagination I'm afraid, but from the beautiful ideas of a Chinese 'manhua' artist called 'iiiis'.  I picked up the book in a little manga shop in the old quarter of Jiangmen whilst I was living there.  I can never get tired of it and I constantly find new interest in every page, maybe I'll post some scans up soon.


The Bored One

If there were a competition for being bored, I would win the thing hands-down.  Or, at least, left hand down, with my right one being out of action and all.  I can't crochet, I can't knit, I can't sew, I can't draw, in fact I can't do anything that I would normally do in my free time except gaze endlessly at social networking sites waiting for updates.  In fact, I shouldn't really be on Blogger because it does involve some right-hand-age, but guess what?  I don't care!  And why?  Because I'm bored!!

As you can see I have been fiddling with my layout and such.  You will notice that Blogger has been an arse and deleted all my pictures from previous posts.  Lord knows what I pressed but there you have it, the mouldy cherry on top of a rotten week.  

Please excuse me for a moment, I'm going to sob into a gratuitously large hanky and eat Golden Syrup from a tablespoon.



... I was supposed to be writing essays for the next couple of weeks, I know.  But yesterday while I was typing away in the library my right wrist started to tingle and before I knew it my veins were bulging and my lower fingers were slightly blue.  'Oh dear', I thought, and popped off to see the nurse.  Well, I have been signed off of writing essays for at least a week, or indeed from using my right hand at all.  Fun.  

So here I am, typing a blog post with my left hand like a pre-schooler, because I can't do nothing at all and in fact I'm very bad at doing nothing at all because I'm always doing something even when I say I'm doing nothing and... yeah, you get the idea.

To change the subject slightly, I have noticed of late that, more often than not, I smell like an old lady.  Not my fault.  It's my room - old Birmingham terraces with a window that leaks = musty.  Musty musty musty musty.  So I attacked my wardrobe, shoved all my clothes on rinse and set about making some new wardrobe smellies with an old dress and a smashed up bath bomb.  Voila!  I now smell like an old lady's knicker drawer.  Slight improvement.


Small World Big Fish

For the next two weeks my life is going to be a massive slice of stress on a plate, with cream.  I won't be posting during this time because I'm half-way through a re-vamp of the blog and I want to give it my full attention.  So in the meantime let me leave you with this little glimpse inside my miniature world...



I stayed away from lace knitting for many years, mostly because I assumed it would be too complicated to really do well.  But a few months ago, during one of my regular forays into the John Lewis haberdashery department, I found myself lusting over Rowan's beautiful kidsilk haze selection and before I knew it a ball of 'Blushes' was in my basket.  

Upon taking it home and knitting a few rows of simple blanket stitch, I realised that it would be the perfect candidate for my lace-knitting initiation and set about teaching myself the stitches from Debbie Bliss' seminal guide on all things knitterly, How To Knit.  Within the hour I had finished the first two rows of her 'oriental parasol' pattern, and within a month I'd reached the end of the ball.  As I made it so wide it will need another couple of balls to really finish it off, and although it's a bit of a muddled ugly duckling in places [I was obviously oogling James Franco at the time.. obviously], I am very proud of my efforts so far.  


Oh Mother Dear...

... Sorry I forgot to post your Mothers' Day card on time.  Ooops.  Well, just in case you have a gander at my blog before tomorrow morning, you saw it here first!  Actually, I had a rather good excuse for posting it on Friday morning, namely, that the glue hadn't dried.  Daughter uselessness justified!

Well, it's a lazy Sunday here in now sunny (previously extremely wet) Brum and I am still a-musing over who to nominate for my Stylish Blogger Awards.  Watch this space because I'll probably do it on Monday or Tuesday now, while I'm in the library "writing" a paper.  In the meantime I hope you find my pentagonal granny squares as fantabulously satisfying as I do.  I'm off to town tomorrow to grab some big wool and a fat crochet thread to make a centre circle to attach them all to; it will most probably end up as a cushion.   I have another 8000 words due for the beginning of May but hey, you know, they can wait...


Brain Crush. Yum.

Phew what a week!  One essay and two boxes of Tunnocks Tea Cakes down, two to go... (essays, that is, and at least three boxes of Tunnocks for each of them)

I can't wait to blog lots of lovely things this week, but it will have to wait until the end of the weekend when I've done sufficient reading to merit a couple of hours of procrastination time.  

Most wonderspiffely I have been 'Stylish Blogger'-ed by the marvellous Alex at Of Mice and Minutiae, whose blog I've been a-gandering for a couple of weeks and whose hair and tomboy style I quite frankly WANT.  I'm looking forward to choosing my own nominations and I shall do so on Sunday morning after my weekly house-wifery has been seen to and I've got a massive brunch spread out in front of me and my computer..


A Scholar's Reward

When one has successfully completed a twenty-page appendix, one is entitled to a little Her Time...  

Et voila, some little drawings and whimsical potential badge designs.  Alas I wish I could claim the 1940s inspired ladies as my own creations, but they are not, they are taken from the opening credits of the very marvellous film, Mrs. Henderson Presents.  I tried to make a Tweedle Dum-Tweedle Dee felt badge but as of yet I haven't quite cracked it.  My little coiffured madam in the first picture too, failed to make the transition to badge form as I just cannot render that eccentric facial expression again.  Don't you just hate/love the moments where you draw something to such perfection that it can only exist once in this world?