The On In Which I Got The (Pencil) Point!

Wow, what a month May was! I finally got started on Bonny Snowdon Academy course and mind blown!

I feel like I’ve been given the keys to a very special door, techniques I’ve never heard of and colour theory that I didn’t fully understand have all been beautifully explained – let’s start with the art I’ve done in the past….

The gorgeous Teddy!

As you can see it’s a watercolour pencil, with a sketchy feel, now let’s have a look at the more realistic studies I’ve been doing with coloured pencil…

A study of short fur..
A study of long fur…
And the little mouse we did in art club!

I hope you can see that this is going to lead to more realistic portraits! But what’s been happening with the crochet Karen, I hear you ask!

Well for the first time in recorded history there’s stock in the shop!!

All these cuties are waiting for you!

I’ve also been working on lots of monsters, these two sold in the Folksy Spring Market…..

The new mini monsters are proving very popular!

There’s a brand new monster on the block, this is Nox..

Nox is ready to lull you off to sleep, with his moonlit star face and special satchel for you wishes (or worries) and fluffy slippers too!

I’m now open for orders, I have a few orders to process -mainly monster!

Oh and my new rose came out, behold…

Eyes for you from http://www.Sarahraven.co.uk

What’s the coming month got in store? More of everything including a Black Forest themed bear!

Have a super June!

Kisses

Karen xxx

The One Where I Actually Did The Things

Happy April everyone! March was a funny old month here at WDS HQ, COVID found my husband, but not me – yet, and I’ve managed to make progress on some things that mean a lot to me.

First, we need to welcome this little dachshund puppy, a lovely commission piece for a birthday girl….

I call her Emmy after my husbands german aunt.
It was a challenging piece to make but I’m super happy with it!

Then I managed to get one piece of Easter stock made and into my Etsy shop🎉 this is a Beau the bunny…

I can’t tell you how soft this yarn is!

The next piece is inspired by Christine Cherry from The Great Pottery Throwdown,

I was so sad to hear her story of not being able to find brown skinned fairy dolls. I hope it goes without saying that I would make darker skinned unicorn dolls if I’d been asked ….. but is that enough? No!

I want everyone to see makes that resonate with them when they look at my shops – so I needed to make this girl….

This is Teraji – a name that means hope or faith, we could all do with a bit of that!

Finally, I’ve managed to progress my learn to crochet course! It’s going to be called 5 days to crochet hero, here’s a taste….

If you join me for this challenge you will receive an e book straight to your inbox, and there will be a private Facebook group for you to watch video tutorials and ask questions!

I’ll pop on here with the links just as soon as it’s ready, so keep your eyes peeled!

Kisses

Karen

2021 Is Dead – Long Live 2022,

Hello kitties! Well that was a fun year 😬 I have never had so many vaccinations, but more of that later!

I have been incredibly fortunate this year to keep my little business afloat but many others have not. I shall be trying to do all my gift shopping from small businesses this coming year and I hope you will be supporting them too.

Small business is able to deliver your exact wishes better than anyone, just take a look at this lobster….

A new year is a time for new goals and my key one for next year is to make my toys more ecologically sustainable.

I started this journey last year with Gaia the Ethicorn…

I would like to transform these bunnies next, and try an embroidered eye for them too..

I will also need to retest these designs in line with the new CA mark for childrens toys.

This little one will be making a comeback and with a matching hat for the perfect newborn gift…

There will also be a sheep and a tiger version (it will be the year of the tiger soon!)

What about me? Well, it’s best summed up with this…

I shall be braver in my work and braver in what I wear! See the closing paragraph for my brave new hat!

Before go I need to say this, it’s been a horrible year and it hasn’t be helped by the “discussion “ that has happened around vaccines.

Let me be clear I am vaccinated as much as I can be, and if they offer me more I shall take more.

I want everyone to be safe but just because someone chooses not to take the jab, doesn’t mean I get the right to call them a covidiot- and similarly I don’t want to be called a sheep!

Let’s try and take the emotive language out of this and other debates and try and respect each other’s position, because one thing is for certain, we are and always will be better together, and we will need that unity to face this New Year.

So, I send you all my love and gratitude for your support this year, and I hope we all have a more peaceful 2022.

Kisses

Karen ( in my cupcake kitten hat – pattern by Tiny Owl Knits)

Always Be Proud

Blimey! It’s July! How’s that happened? And July means that Pride month is over – except it isn’t, because for LGBTQ this is their lives 24/7 and 365 days of the year. Because of this I tell this story every year…if you’ve heard it before feel free to skip 😊

Let me tell you the story of Martin, a colleague of my grandmothers and the most fun human being you could meet, fond of riding his motorcycle to Fortnum and Masons and buying a big box of rose and violet creams.

When I was 14 I was taken to visit him in hospital – he’d been “queer bashed” a disgusting term for nearly being kicked to death for being gay.

He proudly showed me his hip where his attackers had kicked him so hard that a piece of his pelvis had come off – but he wanted me to see the print of the DM that his attacker had worn – “such an ugly shoe” he said. We gave him his violet creams and went outside to cry. It was that hospital room that changed my life for ever and makes me speak up and out for this community.

Years past and Martin left for his native Wales to open a wine bar, but the next time I saw him he was on the breakfast news. You see by then he had AIDS and he wanted to be able to swim in his local pool- but they had banned him, society wasn’t finished with kicking him.

Now, you’re thinking but that was years ago- and it was but it was only 2 or 3 years ago that a gay couple were beaten in Brighton, so for us not in the community June is Pride month but for them it’s everyday and they deserve to live those days in peace.

If Martin was alive he’d be saying enough of this lovey show them what you made! so let’s go… here’s the latest tutorial I’ve done for my coloured pencil course….

Leopard eye tutorial

I’m not ashamed to say I’m dead proud of this! I’m loving learning these tips and tricks that are elevating my art further than I thought I could go! It’s Labrador eye next 😬

I’ve been designing for Christmas- I know it’s early but I have several things that I realllly want to make before I get too busy, like this Christmas train…

The gingerbread express

And this Christmas monster …..

We all know one! They’ve had the decorations up since November and have been wearing their festive shorts since March

To be honest that is me 😂 this lovely order went out this week..

A mini Nox monster to see you off to sleep
And the teeniest of octopuses 🐙

We also had the first trip into London for 2 years and tripped gleefully around the Victoria and Albert museum, this is just some of the gorgeousness we saw….

It was bliss! And lunch in the dining rooms where these tiles line the walls…

Is the biggest treat!

Finally, I have to get a tiny surgery on my left hand at the end of the year so if you need a crochet something in your life – now’s the time!

Kisses

Karen

The One In Which The Things Got Done!

Hello kitty cats! Well I spoke too soon! COVID found me at the beginning of April – I’m glad it was the milder version and that I had 3 vaccines on board, it still managed to give me a horrendous cough, headache and shattering fatigue. The good news is I’m back to normal whatever that means lol!

Let’s have a look at what’s been happening, to do that we need to dial back to January- to when I started looking at goals for this year.

I read this book and followed Gemma James on Facebook ,Instagram you name it…

https://www.gemmajamescoaching.com

The key thing that resonated with me was Gemma’s use of the word upgrade – so I set about doing just that, first I wanted to upgrade my pet portraits so I have joined this ….

I’m working through the tutorials as we speak!

I did I live draw with Bonny a few weeks ago and this happened…..

A little Easter lamb

I have finally finished my crochet course, with an Ebook and a Facebook Group of tutorials ….

You can jump on this course by signing up here..

https://mailchi.mp/a59881afcc02/karenscrochetheroes

Once you’ve signed up I’ll send you a payment link and then the Ebook and FB group link will fly to your inbox – and did I mention that it’s only £5?

While all this excitement has been happening I’ve been working on getting some stock into my shop, including this cutie…

https://etsy.me/3s4mWBX

I’ve also started another order for my friends at Epic Bizzi Box – a shoal of angel fish….

My design

Finally there’s a new range coming! The teeny sweeties, here’s the lemon meringue lamb…

My Facebook group really helped me with this concept, are you in Darcey’s pack? Join here…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/darceyscrochetpack/

I think that’s enough for today – oh I forgot I shall be taking part in the Folksy spring Fair – I’ll pop the links and the discount code on soon!

Kisses

Karen

Spring has Sprung!

Hey kittens! Is it just me or is this year flying past! This is what happened in February!

I made 15 little starfish for my lovely friends at Epic Bizzi Box!

They really looked like a box of sunshine when they were packed!

After watching The Great Pottery Throwdown, and listening to Christine explain that she had difficulty finding brown skinned fairy dolls, I decided to make one of the unicorn dolls with a beautiful darker skin tone – here’s a work in progress pic…..

This beauty will be finished soon!

I also got to make a sleepy tiger for Leona Burton of Mums In Business International – if you are a mum or a woman in business, check them out, it’s an amazing, supportive organisation! https://mib.international/

Obviously the tiger had to be in MIBint colours …

This is Toko – it means hope

New commissions have also been flying in and I’m super excited to make a dachshund puppy ….

This is Emmy – named after my husbands aunt ❤️

In other news we had a storm, this tree in the wood near us, managed to crumple the steel fence separating the wood from the railway….

And while we are on the subject of the wood…..

The bluebells are here!!!! I can’t wait for their perfume

And finally, I can’t write without mentioning the situation in Ukraine, I hope that the conflict can be resolved without further loss and as I type there are negotiations happening.

It was appropriate that these came out over the weekend, flying the blue and yellow for Ukraine…

Look after yourselves and if you are in a position to donate, please try and support the various charities in the area.

Kisses

Karen xx

The Eye Of The Tiger!

Good morning kitty cats and don’t worry, the title does not mean I’ve taken up boxing!

This lunar New Year ushers in the year of the tiger, so it seemed the perfect time to add a little striped person to my range!

Let me introduce Tai Shan (named after the wonderful Tai Shan Scherenberg from Landscape/portrait artist of the year)….

This one has gone to his forever home❤️

What a perfect design to show the switch from plastics, Tai Shan features an organic cotton yarn, recycled plastic bottle stuffing and these new eyes…

Embroidered eyes replacing the plastic ❤️

The embroidered eyes take a little longer but I love the freedom they will bring to colour choice and of course no plastic!

Little Tai Shan needed a playmate so this is the design for his sister…

Tai Shans sister Toko which means hope

I’m excited to say that I have a custom order for Toko, and that’s about all I can say as it’s a surprise gift…….

I managed to finish a personal project before orders started coming in, this gorgeous Christmas stocking from a pattern published in Mollie Makes by the super talented Sewing The Seeds Of Love…

It really is huge!

It’s going to be our St Nicholas day stocking, it will save me wedging pressies into shoes 😂

I’ve been taking a course to finalise my book idea, so Welcome to Darcey’s Wood is definitely happening, and the wood remains our happy place!

It really is a slice of heaven

Finally, im looking to upgrade my art skills!

The lovely Freddy from last year!

Freddy is my usual style but I’d like to try a more detailed style and to that end,I’ve put myself on the waitlist for Bonnie Snowdons art academy – I’m so excited!

First on the list for the new style is my lovely Jasper cat….

Please ignore the washing!

I think that’s enough to keep me busy for this month!

Kisses

Karen xxx

And Just Like That…..It Was Christmas!

Crikey that has been a year! But no musings from me just yet, let’s just enjoy the last few makes and some fun pics 😊

These reindeer were the last things out the door…..

I think they look so cute walking along 😉

I had a couple of surprise orders for shark ornaments!

I think it came out really well!

I’ve also been beavering away on an epic scarf for my daughter, using West Yorkshire Spinners yarn and a pattern by Zandra Rhodes…

She couldn’t be persuaded to model, so here’s Mr WDS!

I liked it so much I made myself some gloves from the same book…

That signature pink is very Zandra!

I’ve been busy decorating the house, even the bathrooms get their own…

And of course Buddha gets his own tree!

I think he looks pleased with Douglas Firbank!

All that remains is to wish you a very happy Christmas- it may not be the one you wanted or planned for but joy can be found if you look hard enough.

Stay well and I’ll see you on January 1st!

I may have used a filter 😂

Kisses

Karen xxx

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like ……you know the rest!

I’m not going to lie peeps, it’s chaos at WDS HQ! It’s been my busiest year yet and I’m still beavering away!

First of all, I was invited to apply for Kirsties Homemade Christmas- I didn’t get on but it made me design new Christmas decorations like this retrotastic snowball,

Who remembers these as a kid? Gateway alcohol lol

Shall we have a look at what else I’ve been up to this year, I think you will agree my customers have the best ideas!

These hugs and kisses monsters have been one of my faves…

A Manchester United and a Trans Pride monster

A very special make for a little one heading into surgery this week…

This crazy wig was requested by his mum as he is not so good visually and needs a sensory experience

And of course, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a slice of cheese!

Made for customer who has a cheese obsessed friend

And so many more, including a festive sloth..

I found the cheeky thing swinging around my easel

But perhaps one of the most important things I made was this unicorn …

Gaia the ethicorn!

This unicorn was made with organic and recycled yarns with a recycled plastic bottle stuffing. Plastic eyes were substituted with embroidered eyes and I think you will agree she’s beautiful.

Sustainability is going to be a big push for me this coming year, and I hope that I can offer all of my core designs in a sustainable version by mid 2022.

When I’ve not being crocheting I have been writing a book! This year has brought me some wonderful connections to some talented women I’m going to put their links at the end) – who have taught me you can do anything! So, I wrote a free E book for children called Darcey and the Big Treat!

This is where Darcey finds out that being kind is the best thing we can be

If you would like a free copy simply click the link and fill in the form

https://linktr.ee/whiledarceysleeps

Finally, I want to thank all my customers and everyone that interacts with my social media and reads this blog!

I’ll be back on Christmas Eve with some pics and on the first of January with plans for the New Year!

Look after yourselves

Kisses

Karen

Ps there is an awesome sale in my Etsy shop, 20% off cuties like this one.

Www.Etsy.com/uk/

Links:

https://www.gemmajamescoaching.com/ for the most practical advice you can get around manifestation

https://theloabox.com/ for their fantastic boxes filled with all your law of attraction needs

https://claire.simplero.com/ the original and best marketing coach and even though you are too late for the hard copy planner, there is now an awesome digital version! I will earn a commission if you purchase one but to be honest I’ve been recommending Claire for years!

The One In Which It All Changed – And Got So Much Better

Hello again my lovelies! And here I am as advertised! It’s time to get a cuppa and find out all the excitement that’s coming your way in 2022!

But first the serious bit! Over the last few years I have got busier and busier, you have commissioned me to make – well everything! Here’s some of my faves….

Beautiful lizards
Chair bunnies of a rabbit charity( wearing his top hat to look more in charge)
And the coolest bats in town!

This has been fantastic but my poor arthritic hands and elbows have taken a hit, and I’ve been having steroid injections into joints to keep going .

Which is fine ( I have a lovely dr who does them) but not a situation that can continue forever.

So, from January I shall be limiting my commission orders to two per month and I’ll let you know when those spaces have been filled .

What happens if they don’t get filled?

For a start I shall be making stock for the shop and I shall be bringing you some of the designs that I keep promising, like this one….

Yes it’s a Christmas doll but I’ll be starting this in January 😉

And maybe more things you or your little ones can wear, like this ….

A little bunny hat – the new ones will be crocheted

Plus of course making things for Epic Bizzi Box like these …….

A box of turtles and crabs!

Let’s talk about paintings now, I have loved the commissions I’ve done this year, like these…….

What a cutie
How dapper is this guy?

I want to extend this part of my business this year, because it’s not quite as stressful on my joints, I shall taking more commissions and testing out whether I can paint some landscapes and flowers😊

While we are on the subject of testing, I have started doing some digital illustration …….

Miss Darcey in a very cartoon style

I’d like to try some portraits digitally and I will be looking for testers for these 😊

Finally, I am going to write a book! Welcome to Darcey’s Wood will come out next year, to be followed by Milo’s magical forest, both centring around the wood near our house!

I’ve actually got a free ebook coming out at the end of this month, here’s a sneak peek …….

It’s called Darcey and the Big Treat!

Follow me on Instagram to sign up for a free copy!

Thanks for reading and I hope you are as excited as me for the New Year!

Kisses

Karen xx

Oh wait! There’s one more thing, there might just be a couple of ideas for subscription boxes on the boil, here’s the vision board so far….