Tuesday 22 October 2019

How I made my very own Book from Hocus Pocus

Hello my lovelies! I know it's been ages since I've shown you any of my art. I apologise. I've been doing so many events this year that I'm constantly playing catch up it seems. However, I hope this will make up for some of that! As you know, I love Halloween month, and it's fortuitous that Brian has his birthday in October, so we get to have early Halloween parties to celebrate.

This year we decided to do a Hocus Pocus/Salem theme, thanks to my friend Melissa, who came up with it at our party LAST year! (She also came up with next year's theme already, but we'll keep that a secret for now.) Now, since my last name is Sanderson, and I'm a big fan of the movie, I was more than happy to finally become one of the Sanderson Sisters! And since I do have that last name, and was prepared (Obsessive? Compulsive?) enough to shop for my costume by November 1st 2018, I got dibs on being Winifred, haha!

Well, I had the costume for almost a year, but only got around to making Winnie's spell Book recently, as well as practicing my makeup. (I'll do another post about the makeup soon, promise.) Still, I had so much fun with it, and was really proud with how it all came out. 
So, here are a few pics of my step-by-step process, and a video link if you want to see me talking more about it. Happy Halloween everyone!

I was lucky enough to have this awesome fake leather-bound wooden book/box to start from.

The first step was adding layers of paper towel to the front cover, gluing them down with Mod Podge, and then using my fingers to smoosh the layers to make it look more realistic and less flat. I tore the pieces into shapes that approximated the different pieces of skin from the original Book in the film.  

I used a cheap foam eyeball, cut it in half and glued on top of the paper towel, then added small pieces of the paper towel to create eyelids.       

I used Black, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre acrylic paints to paint the "skin".

I used Fimo modeling clay to create the metal embellishments, and added small jeweled eyes.
I used two full square packs for this project.

After the clay was baked, I superglued the pieces to the Book cover.

I then painted the clay pieces in Black acrylic. (Pro tip, buy the correct colour of clay in the first place and you won't have to paint it! I'm an idiot.)I continued to paint the "skin" to make it look more realistic.


I used gold glass paint outliner to create all the stitches,
and I used a silver metallic wax on the clay embellishments to make them look more realistic.

Ta dah!   

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Handmake My Christmas 2019

That’s right my lovelies - the Instagram Challenge #HandmakeMyChristmas is back! Or at least, will be, one month from today. Many, many thanks to Clare of Surf And Scout for organising this fun event for a second year. This year, we've teamed up with seven other super talented creatives to bring back the photo challenge that focuses on all sorts of different handmade items. It's the perfect way to showcase some of your work, and get started on your Christmas shopping. I know I found so many amazing artists last year, and some very lucky friends and family members were given some beautiful gifts because of this! 

AND, like last year, we will be having a fantastic Giveaway. Each of the nine artists involved will be giving away a handmade item to one overall winner. We are all very excited and hope you are too! And we’d really love you to join in. It's easier than it sounds, just follow the prompts, post a new photo each day, and don't forget to tag that day's host so we can find you! At the end of each day, hosts will pick and post their favourite. An overall winner will then be randomly selected and announced on 10th November.  

Each artist's prize will be announced on 14th October, so stay tuned to see what you could win. In the meantime, you can check out all their work on their respective art pages:

Surf And Scout

Twinkle Designs Scotland

One Little Pug 

Tiny Acorn Mighty Oak

Woolly Wonderland 

Tink And Reu 

Baked And Gilded

Love DnA

Thursday 22 August 2019

Short Story Anthology

Hello my lovelies, I apologise that I have not written in a while. Does anyone else feel like this year has just flown by? It seems like I'm always busy, but never getting anything done. All the art shows and events I've been doing are definitely taking their toll on me, but by the end of the year, I should have a better understanding of how I need to market my work, and where!
Anyway, amidst all my mixed media and jewelry creating, earlier this year I had the opportunity to enter a short story contest held by my friends over at HCS Publishing. They are putting together an anthology of short stories based on the old trope, "It was a dark and stormy night..." to come up with some new ways to take that overused beginning. I decided to enter, as I had always enjoyed creative writing at school, though it's been well over twenty years since I attempted to write a story.

And, as you might have guessed, since I'm writing about it, my story was selected to be in their collection! You can't imagine how thrilled I was, and how excited I am to see my name in print. I have had two poems published, and I wrote a chapter in a motivational book a few years ago, but this is my first story, and I am so happy to have been chosen.
(Photo credit to Brian Tomayko of @bts_grayaccord)
I don't want to give out any spoilers just yet, but my story was set in a Steampunk alternate history of the Wild West, and I had a lot of fun writing it. In fact, I now have so many other ideas running through my head, that I want to expand this story and write more about my central character. If I ever have time!
So, many, many thanks to all the wonderful editors over at HCS Publishing, (You can follow their work on Facebook HERE and purchase other books from local authors HERE.) and if you are interested in reading my story, as well as the other fifteen authors selected, the book will be officially launched in January next year!

Saturday 27 July 2019

Shoutout to Tiny Acorn Mighty Oak

Please do yourself a favour a go visit my lovely friend Louise of Tiny Acorn Might Oak.
 She is an incredible artist that works with mixed media, painted pebbles, wool and more. I especially love her motivational mixed media pieces, and recently treated myself to some of her work. 
You can check out my video below to see them, and you should definitely check out her website: tinyacornmightyoak.co.uk to see what she has available to buy right now!

Thursday 27 June 2019

Flying Home

  Hello my lovelies, I am so excited to tell you that I will be flying home next week to spend some time with my family! It is my great aunt and godmother's 90th birthday, so I will be traveling up to Durham for a small gathering to celebrate that, but mostly spending time in Shrewsbury with my immediate family and friends. I can't wait! As usual, every day is already booked up with seeing different people, there will also be a fun hen do in there, and inbetween all that I will just be soaking up the ambiance and recharging my soul.

I thought I'd share with you a photo that I took on the plane last year when we were leaving Ireland. You can tell I'm not happy about it, haha! I'm also sharing a video that I took a few years ago, of a thunderstorm. I have always loved storms, and it was so awesome to be able to watch this one from above the clouds!

I am the only person that I know that loves to fly, but I have to have the window seat. I just love watching the ground fall away, and being able to see the whole countryside spread out below. I love seeing how different places look from above, and trying to guess where I am judging by the lights. One flight I just happened to look out at the right time, and saw New York City twinkling below, with the dark rectangle that was Central Park in the middle!

As you can tell, I'm pretty excited for this trip. I hope that you all have a good couple of weeks, and I will catch up with you when I get back!

Thursday 20 June 2019

New Wheels and Some Ranting.

So if you've been following my Instagram, you will know that we recently bought a new car. She is a lovely Honda Pilot, and now I have the space to pack all of my art show supplies and equipment into one vehicle, which will make a huge difference. Previously, we had to either take two vehicles, or downsize the amount of stock that I bring, and run the risk of everything getting wet in the back of the truck. Add in the cost of both vehicles' gas, and sometimes tolls and parking, and I was spending far too much money just to get to an event. These are things that you have to think about when trying to sell your own work and somehow make a little money. The Pilot (her name is Trixie, short for the Aviatrix!) allows me to tote everything that I need in one vehicle, and we could potentially sleep in the back too if needed!

And, fair warning: I need to go on a little rant here, so feel free not to read any further!

As you know, this year I committed to doing a lot more fairs and events as a way to try to sell more of my work. Some of those fairs have gone very well, others I have not sold a single thing. That's the nature of things, and not what I want to rant about, however, I'm just trying to give you a background. What most people don't think about, is how expensive it is to do these shows, and how little money we actually make. When you factor in the cost of renting a space, (I've seen anything from $10 to $800 just locally, depending on the event!) as well as the gas, the parking, the toll fees, the wear and tear on your vehicles, etc, you're out a lot of money before you even set up. Then, you are dependent on the vagaries of the weather as to whether any potential customers show up or not. At outdoor events, if it is too hot, too cold, rainy, or even just has a chance of rain, people won't come out. Even indoor events are affected by the weather, as many people don't like to leave their house and drive anywhere if it's raining. Most outdoor events do not have a rain date. Some events don't even give you a refund if the event is cancelled. So, picture weeks of prepping, making new things, pricing and displaying your work, packing everything up, loading up your vehicles, traveling sometimes hundreds of miles, and then having no customers.

After all that, if people do actually show up and look at your work, there are a surprising amount of people who feel the need to haggle over your prices. This isn't a flea market or yard sale, people! This isn't a bazaar or a souk. You don't go into a brick and mortar art shop or gallery and say, "Can you do any better on the price?",  so why do some people feel like it is acceptable to say this to an artist's face? My prices are more than reasonable. I actually struggle to price things at the level that my work deserves, due to the overwhelming anxiety, lack of confidence and imposter syndrome that I, and so many other artists, suffer from. 

Recently, I had a man argue over the price of one of my mixed media pieces. I had put many, many hours of work and effort into it, over the course of several weeks, and I was selling it at $30.00. THIRTY! DOLLARS! For an original mixed media painting! The supplies alone probably cost me at least $10.00, so clearly, I am not charging enough for the work that I put into these things. Yet this man wants to haggle. I explained to him that everything I sell is handmade, that literally, my blood, sweat and tears go into my work, that I am already charging too little for this, that $30.00 is a very small amount to pay for an original painting, and that I am, quite definitely, firm on my price. He walked away, but came back again asking if I'd reconsider. By this time, he was looking at two different pieces. I told him, if he bought BOTH, I *might* consider a deal. He walked away again. Eventually, he came back, and bought the original piece. He paid cash, and when he opened his wallet, I could see hundreds of dollars stuffed in there, so I was very happy that I stayed true to my price!

At another event, I had a woman nastily say that I was advertising falsely because my prices were higher than my sign said. I do have a sign, that clearly says: "THIS BOARD ONLY, $10 and under, 3 for 2" on some of my cheaper earrings. I pointed out that that sign was for that board only. She said she wanted to spend less than $5.00. I told her that my prices start at $5.00, but that I do have some earrings that are 3 for 2. She literally stuck her hand in my face and said "I'm not interested!" Lovely. No-one forced you to come see me lady. My sign was clear. And good luck finding handmade jewelry for less than $5.00!
And, I shouldn't have to point this out, but I guess it's not obvious to some people: If I sell a pair of earrings for $5.00, I AM NOT MAKING $5.00!! The supplies aren't free! My time isn't free! And if I am selling at a local store or gallery, you can expect them to take anywhere from 10-50% off the top for their cut! Just because I love to create, and enjoy making things, does not mean that I should not get paid for my time. I am not getting rich off this. I do this because it is my passion, because I can't NOT create, because this is my dream, and because it makes me happy to think that my work can brighten someone's day.

I know that I am preaching to the choir for most people on this. Most people I come across are lovely, and I have gotten so much great feedback on my work. It's just that, the mean ones can really ruin your day, and make you question everything that you do. It's so easy to say that you shouldn't dwell on things, but most artists struggle with these issues. When you put your soul into your art, it can crush you to have such negative people put you down. It can be scary to put your work out there, knowing that you can't please everybody, but knowing that people will say cruel things to you, straight to your face, is terrifying. But, I am trying to focus on the good feedback and the lovely people that become repeat customers that come back again and again. You brighten my life. Remember, shop small, support your local artists, and don't be a dick!

Sunday 16 June 2019

Short Update and Flying Proms 2019

 Hello my lovelies, I apologise that I haven't written in a while. Honestly, I have probably put too much on my plate this year, and I am struggling to fit it all in. Thankfully though, all my hard work paid off for the Steampunk Expo, and I truly believe that this year's Steampunk: Visions Of Futures Past was a huge success. We are already discussing how to make it even bigger and better next year, so I will keep you posted on that!
I decided not to do the Riverview Village Days fair on the 9th June, as I was still recovering from the previous weekend, and since the weather was supposed to be horrible, I decided that was the universe's way of telling me to take a break. I am definitely planning on being at the Vegan Market at Riverview next Sunday though, so fingers crossed the weather will be good on the 23rd.

Yesterday, we were with some good friends at the Flying Proms, and I've shared some videos below. This was our third year going, and it was a blast, as always. I really needed a day off, and this was a great way to spend it.
If you ever get the chance to go to the Flying Proms, I highly recommend it! Held at the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo, Virginia Beach, they put on a fantastic show. Local orchestras play music from old movies, and original WWI and WWII planes fly overhead. You get to sit on the lawn and have a picnic while watching the show, and they end the night with an epic firework display! 

My Grandad flew a Hawker Hurricane in WWII, and they have a Hurricane on display at the museum. It's crazy to see these planes up close. Many of them are only made from wood and canvas, and I can't imagine what it must have been like to fly in one over enemy territory. Since this month was the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, it brings home more than ever the sacrifices that those people made. We honour all those that served, and those that continue to serve today. Thank you.

Friday 24 May 2019

Steampunk: Visions Of Future Past on WVEC/Channel 13 News!

So, I was on the news today! Here's a behind-the-scenes view of what we got up to:

And if you missed our local Channel 13's News at Noon earlier today, check out the link HERE to see the official version of Msesippi McQuown of Tornado Bait, and yours truly, talking a little about the upcoming Steampunk: Visions Of Future Past event at the Hampton History Museum on June 1st and 2nd 2019.

Please note, entry to the event and the museum is FREE both days, Saturday June 1st, 10am - 5pm, and Sunday June 2nd, 1pm - 5pm. 
The Geared Up Gala, our evening event on Saturday, June 1st from 6-9pm is $10 in advance, and $12 on the door. You can purchase tickets by calling the museum at 757-727-6824.

Saturday 4 May 2019

A Short Update!

Hello my lovelies, here's a quick update from me. As you can tell from my last post, I have been super busy making things and getting ready for all these shows, and of course, working my day job and trying to have some kind of social life in between. Some weeks I balance things better than others! When I filmed this yesterday I was out and about running errands, (or "messages" as my Irish Granny used to call them) and doing as much as possible in the one afternoon that I left the house this week.

Tuesday 30 April 2019


Hello my lovelies, I'm sorry I haven't written of late. With all my events, plus birthday shenanigans and a wedding trip, I have not had a chance to give you all an update. However, since I do have a LOT of events coming up, I thought I should give you a list, so you know where to find me if you happen to be in the area. Maybe I'll see you at one or more of these events!

Sunday 5th May 2019, 12:00 - 16:00.
Deadline Brewing Project Craft Squared Event.
2272 W. Great Neck Rd,  Suite 2268, Virginia Beach, VA, 23451.
Friday 10th May 2019, 16:00 - 20:00.
Olde Towne Portsmouth Spring Market.
High Street Corridor, Downtown Portsmouth VA, 23704.
(More HERE.)

Saturday 11th May 2019, 10:00 - 16:00.
Vintage Trixie's Curiosity Faire.
469 Battlefield Blvd N, Chesapeake, VA, 23320. 

Saturday 18th May 2019,  17:00 - 21:00.
Rock The Block for Lupus and Fibro Event.
Peninsula Town Center, 1620 Merchant Ln, Hampton, VA, 23666.

Saturday 1st June 2019, 10:00 - 17:00, and Sunday 2nd June 2019, 13:00 - 17:00.
Steampunk: Visions Of Future Past Expo.
Saturday 1st June 2019, 18:00 - 21:00.
Steampunk: Visions of Future Past Geared Up Gala.
Hampton History Museum, 120 Old Hampton Ln, Hampton, VA, 23669.
(More HERE.)

Sunday 9th June 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market.
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508.
(More HERE.)
Sunday 23rd June 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market. VEGAN MARKET EVENT!
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508. 
 Sunday 14th July 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market.
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508. 
 Sunday 14th July 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market.
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508.

Sunday 28th July 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market.
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508. 
(Yes I know that's the wrong year, they haven't updated the site yet.)
Saturday 10th August 2019, 10:00 - 14:00.
Gloucester County Public Library Comix Con.
6920 Main Street, Gloucester, VA, 23061.
(More info to come)

 Sunday 25th August 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market. VEGAN MARKET EVENT!
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508.

Sunday 8th September 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market.
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508.

Sunday 22nd September, 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market.
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508.

Sunday 13th October, 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market. VEGAN MARKET EVENT!
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508.

Sunday 27th October, 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market.
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508.

Sunday 10th November, 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market.
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508.

Sunday 24th November, 2019, 11:00 - 16:00.
Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers Market.
Lafayette Park, Norfolk, VA, 23508.

Sunday 7 April 2019

Riverview Village Days 2019

I am so excited to announce that I will be selling at this years Riverview Village Days Artisan and Farmers' Market! This awesome event is held at Lafayette Park in Norfolk, VA, starting next Sunday, 14th April 2019, and continuing twice a month, on the 2nd & 4th Sundays, (Apart from a couple of months, due to scheduling conflicts) from April through to November.

This is the area’s largest open-air farmers' market, and draws quite the crowd. There are over 65 different artists, crafters, farmers, antique & food vendors plus food trucks to enjoy! 

The dates this year are:
April 14th and 28th.
May 12th. 
June 9th, and 23rd.
July 14th, and 28th.
August 25th.
September 8th and 22nd.
October 13th and 27th.
November 10th and 24th.

I will not be able to make the May event, as I will be out of town on that day, but I hope to make all the others dates. Depending on the month, I plan on doing different themes, so I'm especially looking forward to Halloween month, of course, and November will be all about Thanksgiving and Christmas! Please consider stopping by and supporting local farmers, artists and vendors, we look forward to seeing you there.

Saturday 9 March 2019

I am now selling at two new locations in Hampton Roads!

Oh my goodness, it has been an eventful week for me, art-wise! On Tuesday I was back up in Surry, VA to see the lovely Paige at her A Steampunked Life store, where I have been selling some of my mixed media pieces. I have been having a lot of luck there, and she took five more steampunk-themed pieces from me to sell. If you are ever in that area, I highly recommend you go to check it out, it is truly a hidden gem of epic proportions! You can find out more about A Steampunked Life HERE.

Then, on Thursday, I was hanging out with Dana, at her fabulous gallery/store, Quixotic Arts, in Norfolk, VA. I wish I had found her store when it first opened two years ago! It is full to the brim with all kinds of fantastical, Gothic, creepy, and eclectic art from many local and national artists. And she took 52 pieces from me to sell, including lots of mixed media pieces, jewelry, and bookmarks. I am thrilled beyond words that she likes my work so much. You can find out more about Quixotic Arts HERE.

And THEN, on Dana's recommendation, I popped over the street to visit Tom at The Village Mermaid, an awesome antiques and decor store. So now I am also selling some of my mermaid bookmarks there, which seems very fitting! You can find out more about The Village Mermaid HERE.  

Phew! As you can imagine, I am so, so happy to have the chance to sell more of my work in these local shops and galleries. It means the world to me that these successful, discerning, gallery owners like my work enough to want to sell it! And, since my last Flea Market event did not go well, (I only sold three items, which, after the cost of renting the space, plus transaction fees, were just barely over being a loss,) it was a huge boost to me. I still of course, have lots for sale in my Etsy Shop, and I will be having a big St Patrick's Day sale next weekend, so keep an eye out for special deals then!

Saturday 16 February 2019

A Note On Valentine's Day.

Listen, Valentine's Day day isn’t just about tacky gifts and overpriced roses. Whether you are in a relationship or not, it's all about love! Share the love with yourself first, treat yourself to your favourite things, and why not spread a little extra joy wherever you go? Think of others who may be hurting, for whatever reason, and share some love with them. Try paying things forward and watch the smiles that light up people’s faces when they realise someone has noticed them.

On Valentine's Day, Brian and I went to a cheap and cheerful lunch at Cracker Barrel, and then went bowling together, (we went to a much fancier dinner in the evening.) and while at lunch, I noticed an older gentleman dining by himself. The whole restaurant was full of older couples, all dressed in their best pink and red clothes in honour of the day, and this guy looked sad and lonely. I paid for his meal anonymously, and just asked the server to tell him it was taken care of, and to say Happy Valentine's Day. As you can imagine, he looked confused, but his face lit up too. I hope I made his day, and that he in turn, might do something for someone else down the line. I am a great believer in karma, and paying things forward.

And, as a side note, please, never, ever, settle for anything less than you deserve. I have known far too many people put up with terrible relationships, because they think the important thing is just to be with someone - anyone - to validate their lives. It is better to be single than with someone who treats you badly. I was lucky enough to find my perfect partner, who is willing to embrace ALL of me, (including my penchant for crazy costumes!) but I had to cross an ocean, kiss a lot of frogs, and go to hell and back before I found him. It took me a very long time to realise that I deserved more. That I deserved someone who loves me, that isn’t cruel or abusive. Someone who supports me and challenges me to achieve more. That’s the kind of love we all deserve, so please, don’t ever settle.

We are all worth love! We are all amazing, beautiful, crazy, fabulously flawed humans that deserve to be happy. Be brave, seek your happiness, and do whatever makes your soul sing!

Sunday 27 January 2019

Olde Towne Portsmouth Antiques and Flea Market.

Hello my lovelies, how have you been? Sorry I have been absent for a little while, sadly I lost a family member and flew home to England for the funeral. It is times like these that make it so very hard for me to live so far away from all my loved ones back home. It is wonderful that modern technology means I can Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp them all at the touch of a button, but it is not the same as being able to spend time with them in person. 

However, I am back in Virginia now, and I only have a few days to get ready for my next event! I have signed up to sell at the Olde Towne Portsmouth Antiques and Flea Market next Saturday, 2nd February. The event is from 10:00 - 14:00, rain or shine, but it is under cover, so even if it is raining, we won't get wet! And since it is so close to Valentine's day, this is the perfect time to come and find something unique for your loved ones. There are so many different vendors, of all kinds, so you are bound to find something perfect for someone you know. Or why not treat yourself?! I often do. ;-) 

For more info about this event, follow the link HERE to their Facebook page. Oh, and by the way, this Flea Market is held on the first Saturday of every month, so if this one goes well, I hope to make this a regular thing. The location is very close to me, and I would love to do more fairs locally, as well as support the Olde Towne business association. 

Thursday 17 January 2019

New Year's Resolutions.

Okay, so I'm a little late posting this, which is not a good start. I must do better! This year I am committed to doing so much more in my art, that I really need to be clear about what I will be doing, what my goals are, etc. One of my goals is to take more videos, one, to share on social media, and two, to get more comfortable in front of the camera, so that I am able to do tutorials, interviews and suchlike in the future, without working myself into a severe panic attack about being on film.

So, here's the first video of the year, giving you a quick peek at my current studio space. Let me know what other videos you would like to see... Perhaps some time lapses of my work? Some tutorials of how I create things? The stories behind each thing I make? Maybe a how-to Halloween makeup video? Let me know! And let me know how you're getting on with your resolutions too! Maybe we can all help to hold eachother accountable to help reach our dreams.