Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I have been finding a little time for painting too, even if its between running of to India, manically DIY-ing and packing up orders and painting window frames in white primer.... which is nothing like painting pictures pretty colours.

The Westie hall of fame, fit for the great hall of the Westie family depicting several generations of brave little dogs. Great Uncle Westie whose portrait was painted just before running away to sea, where he developed a taste for piratically fancy biscuits so found himself a place as a first officers on a cruise liner. A second cousin twice removed who was was a merry old soul and had been awarded the highland cross for great service, and bravery in the great war. Great Grandma Westie whose pastry was the lightest and tastiest and made her famous pies and a young rascal who was so ran and ran and ran as fast as the wind...........

Friday, December 12, 2008

And now for something a little different............

We went on a TIGER hunt.....
all three of us......
No, no..... not captain rupert he stayed with great aunt velvet....... he thought India would be too hot for his fine fur coat, even though it was their winter and he off course has no particular desire to eat curry.
Three of us went on a tiger hunt.......Past some palaces........pretty patterns.....and fine carving......
three of us????.......... you might be asking.................

Three of us went on a tiger hunt.....Past some fine sights........ and some not such fine sights.....
Third member of our party Kicked.

We went on a tiger hunt, what a lovely time we had.....past Indian animals great and small.....
The third member of our group kicked some more....
And then we saw the Tiger big and golden.....
just as well Captain Rupert stayed with Great Aunt Velvet.
What big paws, what big feet, what big Teeth ........
and what a handsome fur coat of strips, Captain Rupert might get ideas.
Kick went that third member of our party.

All three made it back past more forts and places and crowded streets of India back through the smog in Delhi.....Back to the the aeroplane and back in time for Christmas and to finish off the building work, we have a deadline now!!!!!

Kick, kick went the third member of our party.......glad to be back by the fireside.... glad to be back to a diet other than curry morning, noon and night.

Back in time too that I could still fly on an aeroplane.

The third member of our party has become known as the bump......

K had a mad idea to go to India, not that India is maybe the best place for pregnant ladies to go.

K had his reasons, he had always wanted to go to Rajasthan but most of our holidays involve taking his boat or climbing a mountain, there has never been a reason to go, there are no mountains in Rajasthan.

The travel nurse did suggest Blackpool, but there are no Tigers in Blackpool as far as I'm a where.

Since I'm not really able to follow him up any mountains at the moment (we did that in September when I was 12 weeks pregnant) and he has no sailing events until next year, he rather liked the idea of Rajasthan and spending some together before the bump arrived.

We left it to the very last moment to decide if I was up to it and took lots of advice, it was lovely to spend some time together, before the bump arrives in March.

It was very bad timing with getting orders off for cards and I'm sorry there has been a little delay with orders that arrived after we left and there has been some problems with paypal on the website which I'm looking into. As for the etsy shop I'm planning a grand reopening in the new year with new items, it would of been nice before christmas but with everything going on and being away it has been mad.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Well keeping warm is not something that is bothering these dogs. The sun is shining and what better time to head out for a drive down country lanes and find a suitable spot for a picnic. I think they might be by a meadow, next to a river, with the reeds gently swaying in the wind and the water racing past. They might dip their hot little paws in too cool of after their game of cricket and then make it back to the car for one last cup of tea before heading home.

This seems a distance summer memory in more ways than one, for all its busyness and eventfulness. I started the 'minivan picnic' painting in June when I found myself sitting next to K's boat in the middle of a concrete jungle. But sitting beside me was the most perfect Minivan. It was such a helpful little car, I had no camera with me and it posed for me just the way I wanted it too, opening and shutting its doors trying to find its most flattering view.

Time and the season has moved on and the nights are drawing in, I love the warm days of summer (although they seemed a little far and few). I remember now all the lovely things about the Autumn. The colours on the trees have been amazing this year. An endless supply of apples has meant ample apple crumbles

We have built a new wood store and with some much appreciated help all our wood is chopped up ready and waiting. With any luck it should be enough to last the winter out. I tend to rely on the wood burner to keep the house warm and cosy in the evenings, its amazing how the warm air rises filling the house.

There is something so very satisfying about stacking logs and something very compforting about seeing a stacked pile of logs.

The chimney has had its yearly sweeping and the wood burner is all ready and waiting to be lit.

I am very lucky to have the luxury of the rayburn. We have brought in the winters supply of oil. This time because of the price we only brought in 500 litres, I find it very funny with oil waiting for the price to be ok but if you run out and then you are just forced into buying at a high price. I have found a lovely new oil engineer who will look at my rayburn when it misbehaves, (like blowing the hotplate up...that sounds more dramatic than it was!!!). If anyone needs a rayburn engineer in sussex I would love to recommend him and pass on his details.

We have been trying to think of ways of making it work more efficiently. Which meant a weekend with all the floor boards up. K put his plumbers hat on and replaced all the pipe work from the rayburn to the hot water tank to the radiators with larger pipes to pump the water quicker into the system. He did a fantastic job and when we refilled the system there was not one leak.
K also fitted me a radiator in my work room. Last winter I managed with out, as I said the wood burner does a good job of heating the house and I'm all for putting more jumpers and hats on. The winter before, my work room was lovely and warm, as I had the chimney from the solid fuel rayburn, which warmed up and made the room all cosy. The oil rayburn required a chimney liner and so no longer does the chimney warm up.

We have also been lagging any pipes in the airing cupboard, which has made more difference than I could possible imagine. The only problem is the airing cupboard is not so warm, not really a problem as it was never big enough to do any airing in.
Captain Rupert is rather amused with all these going on. He says whats wrong with a good old fur coat, is has grown silky soft and thick for the winter. He shakes his ears and twists his tail of he hops down the garden path, out in the wind, out in the rain and out in the cold. As the cold does not bother a brave little rabbit with his handsome fur coat.

And fallen leaves are so crunchy to play in and soo very tasty to eat.

Well I'm not too sure if thats true as in the evening before rabbit bed times, There are some little ears waiting by the door, I let him in and wipes his muddy paws on the door mat, leaving little rabbit paw prints. And off he hops to the fire and enjoys his toast and evening tipple, dreaming of dry grass under paw and long days stretched out under the hedge enjoying the sunshine.

.......................................................................Keep warm................................................................

Jo and Captain Rupert

(PS Note to oneself.... still need to must relearn the art of shorter and more frequent blog posts!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Grand Tour of the Building Site

Over the summer we have been very busy with DIY and I thought it was time I should put some pics up. Before it was just holes in the ground and mud. This weekend was a long weekend but a turning point as we got the new roof on the new utility room. There is still a huge way to go but progress is being made slowly.

Warning these pictures are how it is.... a mess, I can't wait to make the garden and house look more organised and not have mud and dirt everywhere.

One little grey rabbit thinks when he grows up he might want to be a building inspector. I'm a little worried he blends in too well withe thermolite blocks!

He thinks we have used very strange building materials the only thing you can have a good chew on is the insulation.

We will knock through the kitchen window into the new space.

At the moment you can only get there through the french doors in the sitting room.

Or the new utility room that has a roof!

The grass in the front garden has had a little bit of a hard time with all the building materials stacked up, Only two bags of sand left which is wonderful, I have stacked the last few bricks on the path to give the grass a chance.

Now into the back garden....

The Bricks are waiting for the builder to come back and finish off, hopefully this week. The builder has done the foundations and the bricks we are doing the rest and the nights are drawing in so there is not so much DIY time.

The bigger window in the middle is the kitchen one, the one we will knock through and have french doors opening into the new space.

Our nice new drive way we finish a few months ago is now covered in all the mud, waiting to be collected. Our builder did try and off load some more bricks from his house onto the pile. I think he was most amused when I said no wait I need those.........

I have just enough to finish the edging on the raised beds. All of which have been doing well over the summer, keeping us in runner beans, carrots, lettuce, courgette's beetroot potatoes and fennel. Sadly the tomatoes got the blight, will have them on the patio next year as the building work should be finished.

I have leeks, cabbages, sprouting broccoli in for the winter, I must order some broad bean seeds as I will be planting them out in November again.

I think we are nearly back in action with the internet even if its painfully slow. Its been very difficult looking for building materials when it kept going down.

Next post, a painting.........

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pieces of Paper

The trees are slowly turning their wonderful colours of autumn, the nights are drawing in and the first fires of the winter have warmed us in the chilly evenings.

Its been a funny summer, lots going on, lots of mud, rain and building work and loads of problems with the phone line Internet. The later is still not fixed but a little better. I still only have the broadband on K's laptop and I have wires trailing all over the house. For all the wires everywhere, I need to use a memory chip to get anything from to and from the scanner or printer. Its been very frustrating. The BT openreach engineer has been working really hard for us trying to find us new wires for us to be on all the way to the exchange.

With this change in season and other things slowly changing. I feel a new lease of inspiration. Which is totally wonderful and refreshing, I have a pile of rough ideas ready to be developed.

These are literally piles of ideas, piles of paper. That sit around my desk and on my notice board reminding me they would like a little of my attention.

I have never been a sketch book person, rather I prefer random sheets of paper.

I love books, I love sketch books, I love to know I have one at hand just in case, I love the feel of it in my hands leafing through the pages, sketch books really appeal as a object, its just never works in reality.

I don't like all my drawings shut away not being able to escape from between the pages, sitting on the shelf, sitting in my bag and not being able to look back at me unless I opened the book at the exact page.

So I have folders, piles and sheets of paper,

Pieces of paper can be anything, they do not even have to be blank a receipt a paper napkin.

I can cover my desk with pieces of paper, all with my scribblings on and yes sometimes they are not much better than scribbles, but it does not matter its just one piece of paper. I can see all the drawings at once on my desk, and not one is hiding behind the next page. Maybe its for this reason I only ever use one side of a piece of paper.

I can group them together into projects, there are never any pages looming up waiting to be filled with scribbles but just the right number. I can fold them up have them in my bag tuck them in a book, make neat piles, stick them in a sketch book hang on a notice board.

I do have some recent scribbles to show you.

A Westie Hall of Fame, I'm working on a new westie picture but wanted to practice getting the faces right. It turned into this hall of fame. I would like to paint these up.

Great Aunt velvet really loves sewing, she likes to keep busy sewing while keeping one eye on all the Hurley burly life of the younger rabbits. Recently she has just finished a patch work quilt, just in time for the colder winter days when the rabbits will curl up in front of the fire and tell tales and dream of the warmer months to come. Great aunt velvet has used some wonderful pieces of material, some are so treasured, and hold great memories from her younger days. If only the pieces of material could tell their story.

p.s Captain Rupert is enjoying this autumn too with bountiful windfall animals for him to eat. His had plenty of visitors, a slow worm he bumped into around the back of the wood pile. A racing pigeon who took lodgings for a few nights and the robin who spends his evenings singing from the apple tree.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh dear....

I have been having huge problems with our broadband, which has mainly not been working at all. I have even had to resort to using the Dial up to run a few Internet type errands. Its been very frustrating with trying to speak to the broadband people and going round in circles and time consuming. I think it might nearly be sorted with some help from the engineer looking at our line yesterday. We live in the middle of nowhere and its a very long line so we are lucky to get any connection at all. I thought it might of fixed its self while we have been on holiday in France the last two weeks.

Any way I have paintings and photos and ideas to share but I'm on the laptop at the moment and can't get to them at the moment as I have rearranged all the wires in the house.

I'm sorry to post with out any pictures, it somehow seems a little bare and not right. I just wanted to let you know I am still here after my rather sporadic blogging over the last few months.

Back soon with pictures.

Joanna and Captain Rupert


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Puppy Dog Tales!

Captain Rupert bounced back from yet another holiday, with tales of new puppy dog friends. What fun and games he told me about as he shared his holiday snaps.

Sorry for another brief interlude, K has been sailing again, (that's it for a while). We drove off to north Germany for a windy week on a lovely sandy beach. It was a long and tiring drive towing a boat. Great sailing for K and I got some painting done. I did not take any holiday photos, which was a shame, but you can only take so many pictures sitting on the beach at a sailing regatta. Its nice to be home and find lots of tasty veg in the garden, and some sunshine!

Captain Rupert is of course enjoying being back in the garden. He has a new friend in the garden two, the resident Robin from the vegetable patch. I'm sure they are hatching a scheme for Captain Rupert have a grand vegetable feast!!

Ps... the lovely blue paint colour is light teal in dulux heritage range.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Beware lots of photos!

Not only has the blog been sadly deglected for the longest period ever, so has the garden. I need to get out and sort out all the weeds, cut the grass and hedges and generally make it look pretty again.

The area around the front door still looks ok. I'm really pleased with the colour of the lupins and the front door.

The problem with leaving the blog for so long, is feeling all of a muddle of what to say. Its much better to do shorter posts more often (mental note to ones self). Its not that there has not been lots going on, but then maybe that was the problem there has been lots going on.

Just thought I would add a photo of the inside of K's shed its been a hive of activity with all the DIY.

K also whipped up a great new card display for the garden show which I had a stall at the beginning of June. (sadly forgot the camera for photos). It was a wonderful show full of lovely things, in a great setting. I felt really encourage by peoples lovely coments about my work - a big thank you. It filled me full of confidence. I have to admit I lack a little in the confidence department, I must over come it.

Just before the show I spent ages agonising over how I could get full size prints (A3) done of captain Ruperts party picture. At the very last minute I invested in a new A3 printer, with ultrachrome inks with a 200 year life. I can now do lovely big prints.

It was the only way really to do justice to Captain Ruperts Midsummers Eve party picture. I had the original and the print together and showed K he could not tell the differance so I'm delighted with the quality. I had the prints just in time to take to the show, which was fantastic.

I'm saying a fond fare well to the little Westies. They are all framed and and can't wait to settle into their new home with some more Westie friends.

I have also been doing a little sewing, I'm not best at sewing. When I was little, I would make dolls and glue their clothes as I had no patients for sewing. I'm finding it more enjoyable now and sewed pelmets by hand as my sewing machine is always misbehaves. They still need finishing, with ribbons and bells and sparkly bits, but they work at keeping the morning light out without all the fancy extras. I still need to make the one for the other bedroom window in total its going to be 40 panels! I have some nice felt too for sewing more captain ruperts.

I have told you Captain Rupert has been for his summer holidays, we have been away too. K has been sailing down at Weymouth, and I love the time he is sailing to sit on his boat cover and concentrate on painting. So we packed the car jam packed full of sailing things camping things, paints and paper for a windy week by the seaside. I can't beleave I forgot my camera, but that made me use my sketch book which was a very good thing. I will save my paintings and drawings for another post.

The days went so quickly and soon it was time to return, for a few days manual labour on our new driveway. We had always planned to have of street parking, we are not allowed to have it in the front garden and in the back garden we needed planning permission, so it took time. We finally sorted all that out which was great as although its a quiet country lane you get tractors and combines and grain lorries and the gritter in winter not somewhere you want to leave your car.

A digger dug it out the other week leaving us to find some railway sleepers and build the little retaining wall and put up a new fence for Captain Rupert to disaproove. It took 3 days, of K and I hauling sleepers around and shifting earth, at least 2 tons. I was shattered. Other casualties involved a bent and blunt chainsaw a cracked socket set and some broken drill bits and screwdriver.

We are pleased with the end result even though it has eaten into the garden a little. I can't wait to get some more plants in to soften the look abit too. Just need to sort out the scalpings and gravel.

And see this view as we pull out of the drive.

I am slowly going to be catching up on everyones lovely blogs. I worked out I can subscribe to the rss feed in yahoo mail and hopefully keep up to date much easier on all the blogs I read with out getting in a muddle and giving up on blog land.

Do remind me if you would like a link in the side bar and are not there, I still need to update it.

Its feeling good to be back in the world of blogs, thank you to everyone who is still here. Had better go and catch up in the garden while the sun is out.

Just sorting through the photos of all we have been up too, its been soo very busy with one thing or another.

I thought in such a long absence I would try taking some video of Captain Rupert. He has just returned from a wonderful holiday with Great Aunt Velvet and his illegitimate daughter, who rather confusingly has turned out to be his son, he is growing into a fine handsome rabbit indeed, much like his father. I will try and get some pictures next time we visit.

It was a very much deserved holiday, first he was not well with an upset stomach. I think because he had been confined to concrete barracks while the fence was down. I felt sorry for him and gave him lots of extra dry rabbit food. He got better quickly thanks to a visit to the vets. Then the next week Captain Rupert woke me up at 3 in the morning. Making such a commotion, thumping his feet. I looked out of the window and there was a rather handsome but wily Mr fox. Poor captain Rupert was so worried. Not surprising really I said to K it would be like us having a huge T REX windows. I brought Captain Rupert into the kitchen for half an hour until he felt a little better and then tucked him up.

The next night I could not sleep a wink for worry that Mr Fox would return, I tossed and turned and then had to check out of the window to see if Mr Fox would return. I am hoping Captain Ruperts holiday will throw Mr Fox of the scent.

I have no idea if this video will work, fingers crossed, the file seems rather big and is taking a long time to load. Captain Rupert is checking out the new fence around our new driveway. Its made his garden a little smaller and his not too sure if he approves.

Back to a full service soon!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Captain Rupert's Garden Roundup

Firstly though many apologies, for disappearing for a bit, its not that I have forgotten you. I have heard it said before, but its so true, the blog feels like a conversation and once left a little too long its so heard to pick up the reins again or get back into the flow of the conversation. There is no other excuse really it has been busy, I have been helping K alot and I'm trying to plan for some shows coming up in the next month which really always worry me far more than they need to. I will be looking forward to catching up and I must update my links in the side bar.

Right on with Captain Rupert's garden round up. He has much to report apart from saying there are lots of tasty green things to nibble on at the moment. I love this time of year in the garden, seeing things come back to life, sowing seeds and seeing all the colours again.

The sheds have turned from a dark brown to white and blue, we can't decide if they should all go blue or not yet. It really brightens up the patio area. I'm looking forward to doing up the summer house side of the shed, my aim is to hold a open studio in the summer house. The other side is K's domain full of tools, its a his and her shed.

Well Captain Rupert did not want to be left out of all this painting and we painted his house blue too! He does not spend much time here as everyday he runs around the garden and house as he wishes. He would rather not be tucked up in his house at night but I'm worried about nasty Mr Fox and have to tell him its for his own safety. I'm not sure what he thinks about the blue as he would rather go and eat my flowers than admire his blue house.

Gardening with a rabbit is tricky. I'm so pleased Captain Rupert does not like daffodils so we had a good display. I am slowly introducing plants from the front garden that he will only have a nibble on, sometimes I think a little nibble here and there will do the plants some good.

Oh who is that who has sneaked up on my nearly painted table (also going blue), thats my cabbage seedlings.

The veg patch is out of bounds to Captain Rupert, but he sits by the gate guarding it or maybe waiting for a chance to break in and have a feast of radishes. I have made a little scarecrow (I'm looking out for some little shoes for the scarecrow), and maybe it will remind captain Rupert of Peter Rabbit and his dad, just as a little warning that bunnies should stay out of some parts of the garden.

The veg patch is has been giving us salad leaves, spinach and sprouting broccoli. The broad beans are attracting loads of bees and all my seedling carrots and beetroot are doing well in this hot weather. K has been watching his potatoes and is looking forward to trying the 12 different varieties he planted. Also attracting lots of bees is the really yummy honey made by the beas in the village. I had no idea if I did not wash the plate and spoon up straight away, I would get a more than normall bee visitors looking for their honey!

Mrs Blackbird has made a wonderful nest by the veg patch. She had been sitting on it for ages but has left now and sadly no baby blackbirds. which was sad as I was so looking forward to having baby blackbirds eating all the grubs in the veg patch.

This was another nest rather less hidden than Mrs Blackbirds, but right next door. I'm not sure who built it. Its becoming a prime piece of real estate, in the hedge by the veg patch, which is lovely, I do hope they have some baby birds.

The nice weather has let me get the final coats of blue on the front door. I have planted my sweet peas, on old dried out hazel sticks and we have put up wires for the climbers to break up some of the bricks.

K has started sailing again which is great as I can get more painting and I have loads of making projects that I want to do. Keep an eye out for more Captain Rupert dolls!!


Joanna and Captain Rupert