Welcome to my blog. I am 'The Bunny Maker' - aka Anna, confuzzled mother of three boys, maker of sock bunnies for Widget and Friends, owner of The Warren Bunny Boarding and artist behind Half an Acre. Come on in and join the madness!

Friday, 26 September 2008

I'm going to say the word - but very quietly .......

Now its getting a little colder at nights and we've started having fires - the earliest we've EVER started, I might add - I'm feeling a little bit excited about ....... oh no! she's gonna say it ....... Christmas. See? I wrote it very small so you weren't too appauled at the mention of it! I was getting a bit desperate I have to say. Searching through the tags on Etsy it seems that everyone's products would make good 'christmas' presents. BAH! Tag properly will ya! So, this week I'm combining my Christmas Quest with Shopping List Saturday. Two birds with one stone .... fantastic!
This week I'm featuring Makalewakan. A mixed media artist and ex-interior designer living in a remote part of France. She uses natural, found materials to make her decorative home accessories. Maka Le Wakan is Sioux for 'the earth is sacred' a name that perfectly reflects the nature of her gorgeous things.

As I search for people to feature by images alone I'm aware that this is the second person that I have featured who lives somewhere where nature creates an enormous impact on their lives and what they create. A while back I featured Willywaw who lives close to the elements on Rhode Island. MakaLeWaken lives in a remote area surrounded by old volcanoes, lakes and forests. Perhaps these environments are so embodied in their work that I'm subconsciously picking up on them. Interesting, eh? But I digress! Living an hour from the nearest shops as she does, MakaLeWakan has had to learn to be imaginative to say the least. No popping out for a pint of milk! Her evenings are often spent infront of the fire creating her gorgeous, gorgeous things. Using wood, twine, blackeyed beans, pulses, beans and other imaginative, tactile and visually pleasing ingredients she produces curtain ties, hanging decorations, buttons and more. I am thrilled to have found some Christmas things with no glitter, no reindeers, no teddys with Santa hats *shudder* -we should all get back to a more natural way to live. How fabulous to take your children into the woods to search for things to make your decorations with! Right now the garden centre up the road from me is part-way though it's four month long assembly and presentation of 'The Christmas Display'. It is a vile collection of glittery imported baubles and freakish jiggling battery-operated Santas. Terrifying. What a waste of money when there is so much beauty right under our noses. You will learn that I have a lot to say about children and how they are not being taught to play without gizmos and gadgets! Watch out readers! (Read an earlier post). At my sons' (I have three) school they have a 'Forest Classroom' where once a week they pull on wellies and squelch off into the woods. They do all sorts of 'non-p.c' things with saws, sticks and matches. I have a necklace made from the roughest purple wool EVER and a slice of bark with feltpen christmas tree drawn onto it. My son was 5 when he brought that home for me. He was so proud to give it to me and I wore it too (itching quite a bit in the neck area I might add). Well, you have to, don't you?!

I hope this post has given you a few things to think about, lots of read and a fantastic shop to investigate. Also do visit the other Saturday Shopping Lists - either using my sidebar list or by popping into the originator of this project Fancypicnic where she lists them also. Happy thinking, reading and investigating!


Jump on the Merry go round .....

Once a month a group of eight fantastic artists and craftsmen (or do I have to say 'crafts women' these days?) are getting together to post at the same time - all answering the same question. We are all linked to each other so you can go from blog to blog (a la carousel) and have some interesting reading.

The first question is "What was your journey to your art/craft?".

This is a hard one for me as I don't think it was a journey at all. Typical! I've always made stuff, I think. I've always drawn little pictures of people hair, eyes and mouths but no head bits. They had knobbly knees and big boots and were generally quite cute. I drew them as cards for friends as at the time the shop bought ones were sorely lacking in something. Everyone loved them. "You should do something with them" was something I've heard over and over again over the last 20 yrs! But I never did! And I haven't! I still draw them every so often. They are simply part of me and I don't think I intend to every 'do anything' with them!
Beyond that .... nothing really! School reports said I 'could do so well' if only I tried - but I didn't. So that was that! I went to art college to study photography because there wasn't much else for me to do. There I met my greatest pal ever, Ruth. We promised we'd 'do something' creative one day and live next door to each other with interconnecting garden gates. During my rambling years straight from college I ended up in North Carolina (Ruth came too, for a bit) where I randomly painted flowers onto plant pots and bicycle frames. I did a fabulous flower mural on someones bed & breakfast room doors too! I always yearned for a studio but what for? I didn't really know. To draw more people with no heads? Years passed. I was a researcher for an author, I worked at the Daily Mail, I became a gardener, I had three children. Then Ruth started to make wooden things and sell them along with a friend of hers. It worked but then they moved counties and Ruth asked me to do it with her. So I did. Now I paint the wooden stuff and Ruth does everything else! Silversmithing, knitting, painting, sewing, felting and all manner of fantastic skills that I can only marvel at. I am half an acre, she is the other half and one day we will be a whole acre, with those interconnecting garden gates. We will have a studio of which the doors will be flung open, the coffee on, the hammocks in the apple tree and we will gossip and paint and laugh like we always have done.
And now I am content! I don't have a studio - I have a gloomy north facing room! But I love it. It is my studio and it is full of paint and mess, wood and bits. I have never been so happy as when I am sitting there, radio on, spotting and painting, sanding and varnishing. Everything I make is in my Etsy shop. I do a lot of fish. I don't have an affinity with fish but I love to paint them. I don't know why! So, that is that. I don't understand how I ended up here but I did and I know that I have found the right thing for me to be doing. I find it easy - so easy - the colours, the patterns, they just come out. I don't even plan then. They just arrive and as time goes on I discover more ideas that are dormant inside somewhere. I'm thrilled to see what is in there! Now - of you go and read everyone elses journeys! They are all listed right here ......


Friday, 19 September 2008

Astronaut Andy and a very cute bunny.....

For my Shopping List Saturday (er, Sunday) feature this week I'm switching my attentions from Etsy to Folksy - or from Folsky to Etsy - not sure which way around! Basically I found Tiny Island Books on Folksy and then discovered that there was a Tiny Island Books on Etsy too! So take your pick depending on which land mass you live on!
Ron Stewart trained as a graphic designer and now makes printing plates. He started writing these little books in between doing up various houses to stave off the boredom. The characters came from doodles and some reflect the people he knows. There are thirty available at the moment with more in the pipeline. Ron reckons he has over a hundred of these doodled characters. As each book can take up to a month to write and illustrate. The illustrations are hand-drawn and then digitally coloured by Ron. Due to many requests he is now compiling a mailing list to announce the arrival of new titles.
Alongside the books are fabulous party invitations, greetings cards and my very favourite - bookplates.How cute are they? Not to be out done Ron's wife also has her own Etsy shop Delectabledenim selling one of a kind, individually made skirts, corsets and bags as well as her other shop Tinyisland sells other lovelies such as the cards picture below - which I find alarmingly pleasing ..
PHEW! That's a whole lotta shops! I can say for certain that I might have to have a book or two for a certain festive occasion arriving sooner than I'd like (damn! my Crimbo Quest is sorely neglected) and I love the cards picture above! Especially the bunny!
For more Saturday Shopping Lists there is a list in my sidebar or you can visit Fancypicnics blog for more - 'tis she who invented this brilliant idea!
NOW listen up! I have some subscribers ... yes I do, indeed! How cool is that?! BUT if you look in my sidebar you can 'follow' this blog too. Could you do that for me? Pretty please? I've even moved it around so its level with this post! Then I can see who you are and I can visit your blog and write nice comments about you!
One more thing! The Ukhandmade blog is getting fantastic reviews so do check it out and leave a comment or two. It's full of fantastic British craftsmen, artists and makers. The website will be ready in time for Christmas - very, very exciting! - so I'll be giving regular updates as we head for the launch. Thanks for stopping in!


Monday, 15 September 2008

An award, a monster, beady heaven and a very sticky gecko.....

This week I'm behind. Yup. I've been organising a charity event for my friend and neighbour and haven't had time to research my usual new Etsy seller. BUT - I still have some interesting things for you .. well, I think they are anyway ....... teehee

Look what I've been given! YAY! Marian of Florcita thought I should have it ....... Awww.. thankyou! and now I have to list 6 other fab blogs for the award - which is not that hard to do...... pay attention now! ......

If you have been nominated here simply click on the 'award' and save it somewhere, insert into your next post and list 6 of your favourites. Then let them know!

I'm also going to do a little bit about some of the things I've bought lately ..... I'm thrilled with them! A Cotton Monster has come into my life this week ... they are really hard to get hold of! Basically maker Jennifer Strunge creates a whole load, puts them in her Etsy shop, sends out a newsletter to tell everyone and "WOOF!" the whole lot are gone within 24 hours!!!! Cripes you need to be alert! I wanted a big one with a 'belly pocket' - maybe next time - and a 'Bottom Feeder" too - I can see a collection coming on which is what everyone else seems to be doing too! My youngest has stolen him - he likes to kiss his teeth .........Okaaaaaaaaaaay ...er, whatever you like, dear!
In the post today I also got some of the most divine beads EVER.......EVER...I collect them. Not just any old quite interesting ones but fab ones .... I have them on strings hanging around .....
These were from Flamekeeper.The fabulous wall sticker gecko was from SingleStoneStudios. I ordered one to start with and it was so lovely that i've ordered 4 more!! I got a teal one and have now chosen orange, red, light blue and another that i've forgotten now! There is a great colour choice and some gorgeous designs. I'm buying more than I'm selling...... hmmmm....that's the wrong way round isn't it?


Saturday, 6 September 2008

It's all a bit wibbly wobbly here .....

Continuing the pirate theme ................ here is the item I left out of the last post! So below is my little skull & crossbones. I made him with a boys bedroom in mind but as you can see he's a'hangin' on my front door! He looks great there ..... and there he might just stay (i'll make another!). He's a great little stocking filler too. Being a bit slack I haven't measured him yet (tsk, she's so unprofessional!) but he's made of 12mm birch ply and is roughly 15cm from one bone end to another. UPDATE: he's 22cm!

Do you like him? His bottom jaw is separate and is wired on so you can do a little wiggling and waggling (or wibbling and wobbling) if you feel so inclined! The beauty of this is that each one will have a slightly different expression. He almost got a nose - I cut out a paper one and there was much discussion about the merits of said feature - in the end noseless one through! He looked less original with one - more 'Half an Acre' without. Right now he's in my Etsy shop - looking sad and ......er..... noseless .... do pay him a visit!


Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum....I've found Johnny Depp...YUM!

To celebrate my latest piece I'm having a pirate theme for this weeks Shopping List Saturday! I was searching for pirate stuff and found what I was looking for right away - only it was better than I expected! I've found Johnny! Oh that he were real! Etsy seller Narayanworld has a shopful of these gorgeous dolls. She learned to crochet during a trip to India and has been going ever since. She says "Narayanworld is an expression of the images and worlds I see in my mind and imagination, combined with my ideal to make these beautiful worlds a living reality." I can honestly say that she has accomplished just that in these beautiful, beautiful dolls.

Her dolls are beautiful, original and inspiring. Perfect gifts for girls. Think about all the girls you know, then think about Christmas! Wouldn't one of these be so much better than something mainstream and plastic. In fact - get one for yourself! They are the best, loveliest, non-tackiest, best conceived, nicest, cutest, most desirable dolls that I have come across to date........... off you go! Shoo! Go see her shop!
P.S i've forgotten to put a pic of my pirate related item! YIKES! i'll add it later! And don't forget that you can see all the other "lists" either by visiting Fancypicnics blog here or checking the links in my sidebar...


Monday, 1 September 2008

A crab called Eddie, one christmas effort and a quest!

This is Eddie. Eddie the edible crab. As caught and named by my middle son, aged 6. That is not him in the picture - that is my eldest, aged 9. Aged 6 did not want to pick it up. Chicken!
Crabbing is a bit of an obsession/passion in our family. Check out this earlier post of mine - its my favourite! - all about catching the buggers. Getting a bit carried away I made a 'Crab Score' record book last year - couldn't resist illustrating it - it did look a bit blank and sad so I had to 'spot' it! This year our Grand Total is ...drum roll .... onethousandfourhundredandsixteen ... Yes, you said it right! 1416 of the little nippy suckers landed right in our buckets ... not all at once, that would be freekish. This year I am going to start writing my guide to crabbing in Seaview .... a publication of great authority, by me .... 30 years of crabbing off the same bloomin' rocks and i'm an expert I can tell you! People ask us what bait to use, how to do it etc so I thought I'd write a little guide and try to sell it in the local gift shop there. I've always wanted to write a book! I'll keep you updated as it progresses.
Onto more artistic things .... continuing with the beachy theme though .... I've made up four more Hag Stone Rounds. Stones all collected by me in between crabbing and dashing between raindrops. Two of them are similar to my original ones, all of which I have now sold. They are in my Etsy shop so you can check them out.
My latest one is a nod towards Christmas - GAH! Yes, I know, having to think about it sends shiver down me too! Tragic thing in that the garden centre nearest to me starts to put up its decorations on the 1st September - a disgrace - total disgrace - by the time it actually arrives I'm sick to the back teeth of it all and don't have any enthusiasm what-so-ever. So this is my only concession to Christmas! One hagstone round with whitish stones and a red star - that's it - just the one - that's all your getting this year from me! Hmm - that's very bah-humbuggish - I'm wondering - aha! a quest! yes - a quest! I'm going in search of refreshing christmas stuff! Hopefully all that Etsy talent out there will produce something to stir some festive spirit in me - I'll start early - ie now. So ......... I HEREBY ANNOUNCE THE START OF MY QUEST FOR NON-TACKY CHRISTMAS STUFF .... now I need a coffee!
P.S In case you are wondering... we do put all the crabs back and Eddie lived to see another day!