Welcome to the land of Clootielugs where squirrels, rabbits and their like rule the roost. I love to make and sew and find inspiration from many sources although nature in its many forms tends to be the thing that fires my imagination most often!

You can see and purchase many of my creations on Folksy:

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Painted surfaces

This week I decided to dust off some prints of my original acrylic paintings and start to list them for sale in Clootielugs at Folksy.
I love painting...it's messy, it's instant, it's bright and colourful (if you want it to be - and I usually do!)...it's just good fun! When I was small, my mum insisted that I painted outside if at all possible - as even then I was so...very expressive... with paint!
I recently painted my first cloth doll - I really enjoyed that! I've decoratively painted furniture, doors and even my children in the past!
I started to think about all the different surfaces that can be painted and so in this week's blog choices I wanted to show some of the more unusual surfaces and objects that the creative folk at Folksy have painted -all in their own individual style!

My first Folksy find of the week was this attention grabbing bag by fellow Fifer Anna Mellon. Anna is the designer behind Folksy shop; Mrs Sew More. This talented artist often creates her own fabric designs using painting, printing, stamping, and quilting techniques. This fab bag I have chosen to show has been entirely hand drawn and painted! It is fully lined and even features a mobile phone pocket!Amazing!

I spotted my next choice, this wonderfuly painted silk scarf, in Folksy shop Lucy Look. I really love the fluid movement of the artwork on this..it's very free and flowing echoing the lightness of the fine silk itself. Lucy Look designer, Huskova Lucia, says "working with silk and colours is my love", and I think this is evident in her beautiful work.

I started searching for painted ceramics...and found a real gem of a shop in artist James Ward's Folksy shop, Jimbob Art. James caters to my love of furry creatures..and uses them to great humourous effect! I love that he references the plate's use as a food bearer item in all his handpainted pictures and quotes. So he has painted a scarily hungry wolf, a laid back biscuit-loving badger, and a very strident bear....but I'm going to show his adorable performing mouse...who could resist saving a few crumbs for this little rodent?

Now I must confess, before showing my next choice of item that my own nails are a disgrace!! I really don't do much to look after them, other than clean them and cut them occassionally and they are pretty much left to their own devices! Perhaps then I really ought to consider some of the brilliantly fun hand-painted nail designs to be found in Folksy's Niche Nails! These are pac-man nails...'what fun!!'..

Nails are very tiny surfaces upon which to paint..so as a contrast I looked for something much larger.
"Hurrah" I thought when I found this chair, "that's much bigger!"
Well, although considerably larger than a nail, this adorable chair is in fact only little, which is why it is called a 'tinkerbell chair'! Designer Charlotte Duffy has hand-painted 'cascading' floral blooms down the length of this cute little seat. Her colour choice is life-enhancingly vibrant and joyful! The jewel-bright flowers make this sweet little chair extra special! Charlotte has several gorgeous pieces of furniture in her magical Folksy shop, CharlotteDuffyDesigns. Please take a look!

My next find is wonderfully cheerful, and conjures up happy thoughts of summer holidays past and yet to come! I feel my mother would be putting Folksy artist Laura Lee in the garden were she to visit as Laura is a girl after my own heart it would seem! Mugs, teapots, egg-cups, jugs...Laura paints them all in her gloriously bold and beautiful artwork! This delightful butter-dish from Laura Lee Designs would make a happy addition to any breakfast table!

I've really enjoyed choosing this week's selection, and it was so interesting to see the different surfaces that Folksy makers have painted! Due to the restrictions of space and time I have, of course, not been able to include them all. I found lots of marvellous examples of painted wood for example, oh - and glass, and clay, and even stones.. but I must go now...I'm off to see what needs painting!!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Soundtrack...what would yours be?

What would be the soundtrack to your life? I have an eclectic taste in music but I have managed to choose 6 of my favourite songs and taken them as inspiration for my Folksy Friday finds! I hope you like my choices...

First up is Van Morrison's 'Brown Eyed Girl'...I am more of a sludgy grey/green eyed girl but I still love this song! I laughed out loud when I found these hilarious cufflinks by Folksy talent Nicola Margai in her wonderful shop, Grafika Jewellery! The perfect accessory to this song!

Next, is a song by Lone Justice,'Ways to be Wicked'. This was a great band from the late 80s/90s, lead singer Maria McKee is best known for her chart hit 'Show Me Heaven' but this, in my opinion, is much better! I've found this bold and truly 'wicked' necklace, in Folksy shop 'Cherryloco Jewellery'! Designer, Lauren Ridley has created a fantastic range of fun and quirky jewellery that is not to be missed!

No songlist is complete without a Smiths song, with Johnny Marr's musical genius and Morrisey's unrivalled wit! Alarmingly they are now my daughter's favourite band - so glad she's got taste and style - must get it off her mother... I've chosen 'This Charming Man'...and lo and behold! I have indeed found this charming gentleman, Fred, in Diane Goldie's Folksy outlet, 'Crochet Bright and Beautiful'. Diane has many strings to her bow, puppeteer, painter, children's entertainer, crocheter..and her shop reflects these many talents! Why not pop in for a look around?

Anyone remember 'The Senators'? Totally unfair they never reached the giddy heights of chart success! Mind you, Mick did once get into a fight with Mike Yarwood (70s T.V impersonator - my apologies to anyone under the age of 37!) on a flight to Japan - now that's got to be a real mark of success! Ive chosen 'Ordinary Heartbreak' today - 'cause I love the video! I've chosen this gorgeous mosaic heart by Kirsty Whitrow of 'The Pixie Workshop'. Made from a broken (that's your 'break') plate and tiny pieces of glass and millefiori it is a thing of beauty and far from 'ordinary'! See what I did there? Kirsty's shop is absolutely stunning and well worth a visit, please go and see her work for yourself!

My next choice is a little more recent, 'The Ting Tings', 'That's Not My Name',...just a brilliant song and livens me up every time I hear it! I frequently need livening up! These crayons are pretty lively too - in a host of colours and letter they are made by the brilliant 'Colour Me Fun' who have a variety of fun shaped crayons perfect for little hands!

Lastly I've gone for the brilliant Dwight Yoakham, this particular song,'Bury Me', was co-written with Maria McKee from Lone Justice. Just shows what happens when two great talents collide. OK - country music is not to everyone's taste I know...but so many of my favourtie songs are sung by Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Steve Earl,Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and others, I have to 'fess up - I'm a hillbilly at heart!
I spotted this intricate and beautiful print 'And So I Buried My Heart' by artist and Folksy seller, Laura-Kate Chapman several week ago and thought how stunning it is. Visit her Folksy shop 'Laura-Kate Draws' and you step into a world of anthromorphic animals, fantatical pattern and glorious colour! Many of Laura-Kate's designs are applied to mugs and she has even has a complete coffee set embellished with her wondeful illustrative style!

I hope you have enjoyed my soundtrack choices, I've had great fun choosing!

Friday, 13 January 2012


is the thief of time...
How true that is! This week I finally completed my tax return and do you know, it wasn't half as bad as I'd built it up to be, and now it's done the relief is fantastic. Why didn't I get it out of the way earlier you might ask? It's a question I'm mulling over in my mind too - perhaps fear (but of what?), perhaps laziness (but I've been a hive of creative activity this week, as well as running around after the kids, and taking the dog for a twice daily walk/run!), perhaps a trace of my old anti-authority attitude took hold? Mmmm maybe, but I'm a married law-abiding house-owning mother in her early something or others (I'm not giving more away!), so not such a rebel after all! I've no idea what held me back but I've learned my lesson - and next time I'll be on it like a hungry hyena, I'll be done and dusted by May 1st!

Here's my Folksy selection this Friday. Inspired by theifs, vagabond and rogues...hope you like my choices!

First I have chosen this wonderful framed magpie,...theiving royalty! Cut from copper and beautifully enamelled by artist Fiona Cameron this makes for a unusual and eye-catching piece of art.

My next choice is this pretty heart - proving theives can be romantic too! Made by Folksy potter David Barber, this would make the sweetest Valentine gift. David has a wonderful collection of ceramics in his shop - why not stop by and see for yourself?

Don't tell my husband but I think I'm in love with another!! I've always been a sucker for the bad boys and this next chap as got me weak at the knees! I know he's a wrong 'un but with his swarthy looks and treasure bags of charm how can a girl resist? Created by the wonderfully inventive Abi Mullett, you can find 'Barnacle Bert' along with his colourful friends in Abi's shop Smonsters! I won't tell if you don't!

This next trickster made me laugh out loud! I love his description and the wicked glint in his eye! Tiny but deadly it would seem....Made by 'The Mouse', (who has a wonderful turn of phrase - please take time to read her profile!) this little ferret is to be found in Folksy shop Moss Mountain...despite, or perhaps because of, his cunning ways he seems to have lots of friends!...

My next item is made in a fabric I am familiar with. 17th century textile designer (amongt other things) William Morris designed this glorious pattern entitled 'The Strawberry Thief'. The thief is, of course, a blackbird, helping himself a juicy crop of the little red jewels! Folksy maker, Denise Gould, has used this fabric brilliantly to create this delightful covered notebook. Her shop Dottie Doodles is full of quality textile creations, her crayon rolls are fabulous!

Last today I will feature the latest addition to my own shop, Clootielugs. I have called her 'The Poacher's Daughter' and from the contents of her coat it looks like she's a chip off the old block!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Raggle -Taggle Dreaming!

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2012! It's been a funny start to the year
weatherwise, so mild and sooooooo windy! Now I either want it to snow, or for spring to come early please! I like weather to either be fun or allow me to have fun in it! Still, I suppose it's out of my hands and I'll just to see what we get!

Weather aside...I've been thinking lots of creative thoughts and designing plans for 2012! My husband's family ancestrally come from a long line of travellers... many were bargiemen who worked on the network of canals in central England, and others were Welsh travellers of Romani descent. For years I have held a candle in my heart for the decorative vardos and wagons lived in by these colourful nomads and have promised myself that one day I will have one of my own! Meantime, I have been inspired by the romance of travellers; their bold and beautiful art and the mythology of the Roma people. As I said, I have many creative ideas bubbling in my head at the moment and I'm sure I will be showing some of these as the year progresses! Meanwhile, I wanted to see what others have made that is either inspired by gypsy style or linked to the Roma way of life, and here are some of what I found after a quick browse on Folksy...

First I found this gorgeous and intriguing 'Romany Belle' necklace in Folksy shop Comedaygoday. This fantastic artwork charmingly references the mythology, working and daily lives of Romani travellers. As a piece of jewellery it is a storybook in itself, a real conversation piece too..and I love it!

As soon as I found this next shop I knew it would be included in this blog post! Horses alongside an open camp fire are surely the staples of gypsy life - well, for the purpose of my romantic notions anyway!
In his Folksy shop Rustic and Outdoor Cooking, maker Handmade Matt, has combined these elements of the traveller's life perfectly to make a range of outdoor cooking accessories. I have chosen to show today this camping trivet made from horseshoes! What a brilliant idea! Why not pop along to Handmade Matt's shop to see his other wares..

As many of you will know I LOOOOOOVE fabric! It's more often than not the fabric that is the basis and inspiration of my projects! I also like to include a supplies shop in my blog now and again, as without our supplies we would be stuck with heads full of plans and no way of bringing them to life! While browsing Folksy therefore, I was delighted to discover this fabric that I think really puts the Roma in roma-ntic! Vibrant, big and bold...colourful, clashing and charismatic - and perfect for my longed-for wagon! This piece in Eljo's Haberdashery would make a gorgeous cushion cover don't you think?

Whether true or not, I like to think of traditional travellers as being in tune with nature, respecting and appreciating it's diversity and changes. Therefore, I think true Roma people would not want to cause damage or harm to nature. I found these fire cone fire lighters in the shop of Rainbow Fairy Dust. They are a set of five and each cone is made from a fir-cone, eco-friendly soya wax and an eco-wick. They come prettily presented too, in a hessian gift bag with hand-drawn gift-tag. Pefect for us gypsies who are perhaps less adept (i.e. useless!) at fire-lighting!!

Since my children keep spending all my pennies (thanks kids!), it seems unlikely I will own my gypsy vardo anytime soon - everybody say "aaahhhh". However I have found the sweetest little picture of my ideal home to keep me happily dreaming for hours! It is this delightful digital illustration by Emma Barrett and can be found in her gorgeous shop Hello. Konichiwa which is full of colourful and contemporary digital prints bursting with imagination!
I particularly love the array of objects hanging from the wagon - the deer head is a wonderful addition!

Lastly, no self respecting Romani woman would be without her earrings - and most would put Pat Butcher/Harris/Evans/Wicks/Beale to shame (R.I.P)!! Here is my favourite pair I found on Folksy today. The combination of the coin and beading, and the rustic fabric with contrasting red thread makes them the perfect Romani accessory I think! Folksy maker, Elizabeth Lenore, makes these in a few different colour combos as well as other wonderful things from objects other people might think to throw away! I love this ethos and her creations, please take a look in her shop at Folksy;Reused