Monday, 29 April 2013

Phase Two. The One Where Reality Bites Me In The Bum And I Get Carried Away.

Now comes the hard part.  With all the will in the world I can not make plants out of nothing.  I have split some existing plants up, and been surprised at the stuff that just won't die, but there is still a lot of empty space to fill.  I have sat for weeks looking at the dim and depressing place that is my back garden, desperately trying to come up with ideas that cost nothing.  I scoured pinterest for ideas and have some great ones.  Although I can up-cycle with the best of them, having nothing to put plant does hinder things somewhat.  These are some of my fav's and I can hear my husband now;  "that tool box is gonna rust like hell",  "are those boxes treated?, they're going to rot and fall apart",  "how are those wellies held on the fence, they will rip", it goes on.  My Mr Practical. I love you honey but I fully intend to ignore you.



I have to fork out some hard earned cash.  I've resigned myself that a shoestring is still going to cost money so I had better make it work.  I gave myself a budget of €150 and am praying that it will be enough.  Next stop the garden centre.

Garden centre's are the Ikea for the over 30's.  You go there repeating to yourself a mantra that you will only buy a bag of compost that your roses are craving, but you become hypnotized by the instant gratification of blooming flowers, lush bedding plants and sexily glazed pots.  It doesn't seem like much, a fiver here and there, those bargain 10 plants for 30 bucks etc etc... when bloody hell if you don't have to sell a kidney at the check out for a few geraniums and a bag of potting soil and that oh so needed fangled irrigation system that will save you in the long run.  You act cool, like it ain't no thing, portraying confidence and purpose to those around you.  A manic grin is stuck to your face as you start to sweat as the acned teenager behind the register is scanning your wares.  "Where did that pampas grass come from"? and "who the bloody hell put those bloody twinkle lights there"?  You are screaming on the inside "oh shit shit shit shit", but pride and the judgemental hag behind you won't let you put anything back.  You are stuck with it.
Oh, but I had a plan.  Instead of going for the instant gratification of plants, I was going to buy seeds.  Gosh I was good.  I walked away having spent €55 of my hard earned cash on 4 x 40l bags of potting soil (€10) a load of packs of seeds (more on that later), some dahlia tubers (because they are so pretty) and yes I caved and bought a few plants.  Some Hosta's for the shady parts of my garden, a succulent of some description for the sunny end, a small rhododendron and two types of lavender.  Later that day, in a fit of gardening excitement and because they were a bargain I also bought 4 small geraniums and some other plants who's name escapes me for €3 a piece.  My total is now up to €60.  Whoop whoop.  I then managed to score a fantastic garden coffee table type affair for €30 on the internet.  Bargain.  Not bad going I say.

This little fella had a hole drilled and is not
mounted on the fence.
Drilled a hole in this metal bucket and stuck
in a geranium.  Cute huh?
Spray painting the bed
post and a picture frame.
Who doesn't love chimps
in head phones? 
Now a visual partition and
eventual sweet pea frame.
One of the tea light holders,
I drilled a small hole to drain
rain water, and to please my
Stags heads.
The tile and stone picture has been
up for a while but the yellow
frame was added today.  The
lantern has been on my mantle for
ages, but is now outside where it

But I still had more work to do before the serious business of planting sewing seeds began.  The next day I cracked on.  The other fence post was painted, as were some picture frames, some pots and some tee light holders.  Holes were drilled in inside pots, tins and the fence.  I hung up some existing brackets and stencilled some more stuff.  Lastly, I drew a big ass picture on the back fence, and I have to say I am stoked.

The big picture, and some more stags heads.  The flag stones are killing me, and I would love to cover them.  Suggestions anyone?  It has also not escaped my notice that the stags heads look like they're bleeding.  Macabre huh? 

I still have some more projects to do, and today the serious business of planting commences.  More on that as I go but for now, I am super happy with the progress.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Garden On A Shoestring. Phase One, The Clean Up And Some Spray Paint.

The weather this past few days has been glorious, and I was finally able to get out and get stuck in.  Sadly, a bit of a wake up call was had though.  You must understand that I have saved the most unbelievable amount of crap for this project.  Ok, so that is not entirely true, I just happen to have all sorts of crap lying around my garden.  Half finished projects, random containers, broken step ladders, cans of paint and the such like.  All kept with one thing in mind.


So on Wednesday, my daughter decided to be the self sufficient awesomeness that she is and I got stuck in.  First up was a tidy up and take stock of what I had.  Pots and furniture were cleaned, and raw materials were stacked up.  I have had mixed results over the years with various projects but the ones that have worked were a raised bed I made from... well a bed and some plastic storage containers that had holes drilled in and were painted.  I won't go into the failures, but there were a few.   So what did I have?

A small broken(ish) step ladder,
A soup pan,
A plastic bin from Ikea, 
A number of inside and outside plant pots of varying sizes,
Two window boxes,
A shit load of logs,
An even bigger shit load of random pieces of wood in varying sizes,
A third of a piece of fence, (obviously)
Some butt ugly paving slabs, (not much I can do about those)
A bag full of random cans of paint and some spray paint,
A length of drain pipe,
Two old bed frames, and that was about it.  Slim pickings.

I needed a plan, but instead I got to work.  The spray paint was calling, and I wanted results.  The soup pan, random plant pots, the picture frame, the step ladder, one of the bed frames, a log and a snail were all given the treatment.  I turned our existing stepping stones over and they looked like new again.

Poor little snail.

Stones turned over, and back fence painted.
A small bench/shelf affair bodged together.

One of the bed frames painted ready for climbing plants.
Third of a fence, hiding a multitude of sins.  Also sprayed a log.  Why not I say.
Next up was the eyesore that is my back fence.  This thing is ROTTEN.  The only thing holding it together is hope.  Replacing it is not an option, so I had a dig in our crap cupboard (don't raise your eyebrows at me, you all have one) and dug out a tin of paint.  Did I wash and treat it before hand?  Hell no.  A quick brush off and on I slapped it with wild and giddy abandon.  Frankly I was scared the damn thing would fall apart, (especially at the bottom where the neighbours garden is falling through) but it held together like a trooper.  I am happy to report it looks a damn sight better and is ready for the next phase of my plan.  I used a few logs from the pile to fortify it at the bottom and parked the chairs in front.  I stacked up the random bits lengths of wood, pipes and the such like and hid it behind the now painted third of a fence.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Job done.  At the end of the day things were looking slightly more cheerful and I had a better idea of what I needed to do.  Money spent at the end of phase one... Nada!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Secret Singer Songwriter Society. Artists by Artists

Just a quicky today.  I have honoured to have been asked to do something rather special by a foundation called The Secret Singer Songwriter Society (S4 for expedience).  Sounds all very clandestine doesn't it.

To give you a quick idea of what they (and by they I mean the lovely Richard Morris) do.  It is a private foundation that promotes and helps singer/songwriters and humanitarian causes help each other.  In a nut shell, you donate money by buying the song (so you get some damn good music for your donation) a portion goes to the artist and a portion goes to the charity and a portion goes back to the foundation to continue on their great work.  Win, win, win.  For a more rounded idea and to listen (and buy you cheap skates) to some great music please check out his website. S4

So, where do I fit in?  They are now trying to tie in visual artists, and their interpretations of certain songs.  Hence Artists by Artist.   This is a new aspect to the whole S4 thing so I will let you know more when I know more.  Basically I was given three amazing songs to listen to but only one really spoke to me.  I loved it.  It is by an amazing artist called Luke Brindley and his song Our Year will be available to down load soon via the S4 website.  I will draw (and hopefully not eff up) what this song means to me.  This picture will then be reproduced on various merchandise and available to buy.  I am fairly sure this is how it works,

Anyway, I am blown away to be asked to do this (and to be called and artist, you have no idea how hilarious I find that) and I have no idea how my style of drawing will interpret this lovely song and not trivialize it, but damn I want to try. I hope Luke likes it too.

Monday, 8 April 2013

A close up, sort of.

As I said before, I would try to take some close ups of the large commission that was completed a few weeks ago, and also a shot of the forgotten mouse.

So with out further ado, here they are.  

The whole enchilada. A2, which btw is massive.

Cat on the left

Cat on the right

Just to state the obvious, the owls.

..and the wee forgotten mouse.  This is a separate picture off to the right hand side.

And lastly, nothing what so ever to do with it at all.  

This is the latest row of buildings.  These are slightly different in style as they are from Amsterdam.

In final news I have another commission.  This is of a building in New Zealand (and no the payment doesn't include a ticket out there) that was sadly destroyed due to earth quake damage.  This is more than a little exciting for me and the building was stunning.  More on this as I go.  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  I know I did.  Goofyness (this is now a word), feeding the five thousand and finally a bit of Spring and a walk on the beach with my family.  Life is good, and I hope it is with you too.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Peter Mulvey, my new BFF. Oh and other stuff from this week.

I was treated to what was a great day out yesterday.  Hubby and I out sourced the Monkey to Grandma and scooted off to Amsterdam for an afternoon of great music, beer, abject humiliation, beer, more great music and so on.  I am not used to drinking during the day especially on Sunday, so combine that, and the fact we were going to see one of my favourite singers and I was positively giddy.

So imagine my surprise when I go out to the hall to rest my weary back and hips to find Peter Mulvey hanging out there.  Just hanging out, ain't no thing. "Be cool Zoe, there is no way you can not say hello but be cool, think before you open your mouth.  Do not word vomit all over the poor man".  And so I say hello and have a wee chat.  In true nerd/groupy/stalker style I even managed to get a photo taken.

Now that I look at said photo, I see that I am a little bit of crazy around the eyes and have a more than slightly pervy grin.  Oh well.

Somewhat high from my brush with celebrity and the fact that he is a really nice guy, I decided to try to friend him on facebook.  Oh what the hell I say (to my surprise he accepted).  I also managed to score myself a cheeky spot in the sound booth and even blagged a stool.  Score! The following bands blew me away and I went for the trifecta of humiliation and managed to talk to them all.  They were all lovely, friendly and down to earth.  I was truly blown away by the talent that is Birds of Chicago, I highly recommend you check them out.

In our now moderately drunken state, we headed home to Den Haag and saw Mick Jagger on the train.  Fancy that.  We had an amazing dinner filled with laughs and great food.

A perfect end to a great day.  Thanks babe.

Now on to the other stuff.  I finally handed off the commission I was working on and am relieved to say she loved it.  It is enormous.  Slightly larger than A2.  There is also a small side drawing that goes off to the side of the right hand tree.  It is of a small mouse on a branch.  Obviously I forgot to take a photo, but I will soon.  The details on each animal is teeny tiny, and because of the size of the piece you can't see it too clearly. I will post better photos soon, but this piece will be available to buy in A3.  There will only be 25 prints so get 'em while they are hot.

This original of this chap will be heading off to a very special little lady.  My niece Milly.  To watch over her while she sleeps.  Again prints are available in post card size and larger, with the original being drawn on A4.

I finally managed to draw some my local buildings.  Its been a while but I am pleased with how it turned out. I even managed to get all the floors in this time.  This was drawn on 24 x 32 cm paper.  It says A4 on the front of the pad, it lies.

Finally here are a few snaps of the last week or so and thanks for reading.