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 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 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

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….

Did I Blink And Miss January?

Hello kittens! And we are off to a flying start at WDS HQ! And we kicked off with a brand new design for a Friends obsessed munchkin..

He’s her lobster ❤️

I also made a where’s Wally or Waldo but I cannot find a picture? Which seems appropriate lol!

I then started a big order from one of my lovely returning customers, the first one is a larger version of the very popular sleeping unicorn …

We used all the pinks!!!!

And then to something a little sad, this little criceratops is for a a newborn whose mamma was taken from him way too soon. I personalised him with a rose that was her favourite flower and entwined their initials on the other side. I hope that he will get comfort from this in the years to come.

I made a bunny in a different style, designed by a very talented little girl….

Look at the cheeky thing in my lettuce bowl

I’ve also done something way outside my comfort zone and submitted this painting to Grayson Perry’s art club , this is my piece …

This is called Madness

Why have I called the piece madness? Because these woods have been a way of controlling my panic disorder, because they smell sooo good during bluebell seasons, the dogs and I become intoxicated and when I couldn’t see the bluebells during the first lockdown I was heartbroken!

And while we are on the subject of the woods, I took this picture on one of the coldest days recently -look at the frozen pond!

Such a cold morning

Finally, I am so happy to have a portrait commission that has turned into two this morning,! Here’s a progress pic….

This is handsome Freddie

Just to say I am closed until the 15th of March, in order to finish some orders and to get some Easter stock into my shop! There is one lonely bunny in there if you want to pay him a visit http://www.folksy.com/shops/whiledarceysleeps

The last thing I want to tell you is I have been vaccinated! I’m so very grateful for the way the NHS a has taken care of me and my family during this pandemic – I have no words for how much that little injection means to me.

Stay safe and I’ll see you soon

Kisses

Karen

Oh Baby! We Have Been Busy!

Good morning kitty cats! I am so very sorry I haven’t blogged I forever but oh my goodness I have been busy! I have not had my traditionally quiet start to the year and a lot of this has been down to one little boy – more of that later.

So, grab a coffee and a seat, you are definitely going to need a seat, there are some pictures of such cuteness, your legs are going to give way! Here’s what’s happened …

I finished my Ezo Momonga! the cutest flying squirrel became a superhero squirrel with flower powers as her name is Aiko….

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She soon flew off to her new home!

There was an a Easter fair which I have lost all  the photos from but unicorn chicks were a big hit!

I have made a heap of things for this bundle of scruminess! His name is Tate and his mum and nana are huge fans of my stuff and apart from the elephant ( and Tate!) I made everything in this photo…..

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I told you to sit down didn’t I? so, because Tate’s family are such great customers and now good friends it seemed a no brainer to crown him our brand representative!

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In this photo he is wearing a handmade crown crafted by the super talented Andi, you can visit her at http://www.facebook.com/kwirkyknits. His blanket was also made by me, with a new style Oakley bunny that ties in with the fabulous Jody Pyott blanket design …

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Tate will also now help me test baby specific makes, I need his teeny fingers to test holes for me!!

In between all this I opened an Etsy shop!

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This is our cover picture and I will be stocking it as I go along.

I also read a very interesting article on branding so I spent some time with an app called Color Harmony which extracts colours from your photos, and made a pallet unique to While Darcey Sleeps….

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You can expect all my social media to feature these colours and I will be redoing the blog to match our new identity.

Finally, in a spare few minutes I painted this commission ……

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Such a privilege to paint the beautiful Molly for her owner who was missing her terribly. The commission came from a good friend and customer who has commissioned me twice before, for gifts for her friends, isn’t she a sweetie?

And breathe! so now you are all caught up I promise to be back more regularly and keep you up to date on some new products!

Kisses

Karen xxx

 

 

Coming To A Mailbox Near You!!

Good Morning! its Me! in the middle of the month! who’s excited? I think you know I am!

Lets start with some good news! I have upgraded the blog so that soon you will be able to order and pay me on here! I will be clumping products into simple categories, for example CE tested (child safe) toys like these ……

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Will be one category with a flat rate price of £8 and then I will put them into postage bands – Uk, Europe and the rest of the world. As a guide shipping will be about £5 from anywhere in this lovely world. Thats right we are shipping everywhere!!!

It also allows me to place videos! so expect see more of this….

Now, lets have a look at whats happened in the last couple of weeks! this commission was gifted, so now I can share with you…..

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I loved doing this, I have painted for this client before and she always supplies such amazing photos! this is her friends dog sitting in his going out chair!

My competition winners were announced, the over 10 winners mum ordered her a Battenburg unicorn, so with the under 10 and the runner up prizes this made a lovely queue for the post office!

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Now, Andreja who won the under 10s prize chose the colours for her blue maned unicorn and that, together with some input from Mr Darcey Sleeps inspired this…

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A mercorn! This design is well on its way, so you will have a finished picture soon.

I shall be spending the next couple of weeks on a mountain of gingerbread men, oh, and i’m just going to leave this here……

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Confused? all will become clear! lol!

See you in a couple of weeks- with a video!!

UPDATE: I have added a couple of pages, by the time you come back in a couple of weeks they will be up and running!
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<a href=”https://www.awin1.com/cread.php?s=406653&v=1866&q=191089&r=524345″&gt;
<img src=”https://www.awin1.com/cshow.php?s=406653&v=1866&q=191089&r=524345&#8243; border=”0″>
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<!– END ADVERTISER: Buysubscriptions.com – Immediate & BBC magazines from awin.com –>

 

Kisses

Karen

The One In Which Harry Left And Meghan Got Tested!

Hello Darceyettes! It certainly has been a busy month at WDS HQ! the Unicorn Bakery unicorns were very well received and the two that were all ready made were sold on the night and I got orders for two more – for me with my limited capabilities that constitutes a sell out! you have seen Victoria sponge and Baroness Bertha Von Battenburg but here is Harry……..

As you can see Harry is a carrot cake unicorn, he has sparkly blue eyes and wears the colours of the Blues and Royals on his wings, as this Harry is a military unicorn! He smells beautifully of cinnamon and wears a slice of carrot cake round his neck.

This Harry has gone to live in Scotland and didn’t wait long enough to see his Meghan

( see what I did there ). So here she is ……

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Meghan is a lovely sponge cake unicorn with a lemon and elderflower cream mane, have you noticed that she looks a bit different? this is because she is going to be CE tested! this means she will be certified safe for children over 3. I have had to change my design a little bit, like embroidering her signature flowers instead of making them separately.  It does however mean that she will be pushed and pulled this week – don’t worry I will spare you the pictures!

I have definitely decided to do some more polymer clay, my Pinterest boards are filled with images like this……..

 

I hope that gives you an idea where this is headed. Sign up for the newsletter to find out more!

I have also received a commission for a new dog portrait but I am sworn to secrecy for quite a few weeks! so, heres an oldie but goldie to prove that I can paint!

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Finally I have booked a fair for November, not a Christmas fair but for our local Bonfire society, we have lots of these in Sussex the most famous being the Lewes celebrations staged by several societies. It is very popular and can get a crowd of 90 000! Here is a typical picture….

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That has been my month and I have even more lovely things to do in the weeks ahead, to be honest I have the best job ever!!

Kisses

Karen

 

The One In Which It Was Really Cold!

Good morning cupcakes! well winter has well and truly come to my little corner of Sussex! we have had actual snow – which is a big deal for the south of England, look at my silly poodle pretending to be Scott of the Antarctic…..

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Fortunately snow doesn’t stop work as I only have to commute to my armchair 🙂 I painted this commission ……….

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It really was such a great exercise as I haven’t done monochrome for ages, I had to buy a lot more shades of black and grey (yes there are different ones!) and found out that Chinese Ink is a lovely warm black which makes for great depth.

I crocheted a herd of these bunnies with their creme egg backpacks…..

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These two thought it was a bit too cold to hop to their new homes!

I have lots to make for this great event………

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But I am not helping myself by being distracted by things like this……..

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This past fashion week Gucci sent their models down the runway with these dragons, it really got me thinking about some pet dragons I could make – maybe pastel, maybe linked to your birthstone? I am going to try and resist the temptation to make some until after my fair.

I had made this Easter Bunny girl for my fair…..

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But one of my amazing customers snapped it up! along with this mermaid…..

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I have found the only way to keep myself organised with my work schedule is to plan and plan again! and the only way you can keep me interested in planning is if I have amazing stationery! so in the picture you can see my unicorn latte bookmark from my mate Shell at http://www.shellsccc.com, beautiful stickers from What The Fox Designs (you can find her on Etsy.com) and peeking out is my lovely planner from http://www.kikki-k.com

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So enough of this chit chat kittens, you need to go to bed or work or school or whatever awesomeness you are doing and  I had best crack on and make some stuff!

kisses

Karen xxx

 

I Have Become Comfortably Numb!

I hope you understand that the body of this blog was written before the events in London and it is humorous in tone, therefore I have inserted my thoughts on those events  above it.

Here we are again, back in the middle of a senseless act of terrorism. This time on the streets of the city that I worked in for many years and still like to visit. I had to contact my husband who frequently works near by to seek reassurance that he and his colleagues were safe.

I have no words that will make any sense of the murder of both civilians and one brave police officer that literally stood in the path of a mad man.

What can we do? nothing except carry on and refuse to let those that are filled with hate change our minds on anything.

We must support our police officers and those of the ambulance and fire service who have to walk into scenes such as those.

We must continue to demonstrate that only love wins.

Morning my little pains au chocolat! it has been a bit of a week here at WDS towers, I have had two visits to  the medical profession in the last two weeks and they were equally challenging! Visit one confirmed that the numbness that I have been experiencing is as a result of damage in my neck and has limited treatment options…….

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Visit two confirmed a laundry list of diagnoses also with- yes you’ve guessed it – limited treatment options….

So whats a girl to do? I tell you what girls do – we go and run the world thats what! or if you are me you did this…….

I ate a considerable amount of chocolate……

I designed and made this…..

I have a craft fair booked with the amazing Paper Daisy Events who do marvellous publicity for their artists , so I went and looked at my entry……

I walked these morons…….

They really are morons Milo won’t climb the stairs at my mums and uses the stair lift!

( check out my Facebook page for the video)

And I did all the grown up things like taxing the car and networking and just flipping got on with it because thats what girls do!

Kisses

Karen

xxx