Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Fi & Me and Sarah Sunshine Parties

Fi & Me
handmade. illustrated. vintage

Excitingly, we have a brand spanking new design for our online shop at Fi & Me! You can visit to see our products.

Summer seems to have revitalised our passion for all things handmade and illustrated, helped along by the beautiful weather and our involvement in a new market Romiley Artisan Market, Stockport.

I am due to have baby number 2 in the next few weeks so have been busy alternating between nesting, making puppets (more on the in another post) and sewing owls! I will be taking a break for maternity leave so Fi & Me will be in the very capable hands of my sister Lu. I will hopefully still get time to do the odd drawing over the next 9 months before I return to work.

Sarah Sunshine Parties

Another exciting piece of news is that some of my illustrated characters are now featured on the gorgeous Sarah Sunshine Parties website.

For parties to remember, visit the website here and meet the wonderful Sarah Sunshine!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Crafty Pets #BEDM 7

First there was Sharky and George, a couple of gold fish. Then came Baldrick a little hamster with a penchant for sleep. Somewhere along the way I think we had some stick insects and the odd colony of sea monkeys. Now we share our house with the very beautiful Zeta (aka Cat Face!) or rather she allows us to live here with her.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our ups and downs; she’s bought many a mouse in, in various states of aliveness, the odd frog and occasional mole (eek!)
Anyway, I thought I would search for some other crafters and illustrators who are featuring pets in their art practices. Hope you enjoy having a look as much as I did finding them.
Wow! Spot the difference
By TimeTravelersWares on etsy

Wooden wedding topper with pet cat
By iislands on etsy
Boston Terrier earrings by Pooch Tags on etsy

Custom couple portraits by Rose Hudson on etsy

Project Cherrywell (Bank Holiday) BEDM #6

Blue skies over the UK!
Last Monday was one of the most memorable Bank Holidays I have had for a while. I took my daughter to Mayday in The Meadow, a wonderful event near the town that I live in. Attractions included traditional Maypole dancing, worm charming, a huge bubble machine, pancake stall and to top it off the weather was unusually hot. Here in the North West of England we are used to the odd cloudy, rainy day to say the least!
Yum yum!
I am involved with a local community organisation called Project Cherrywell, consisting of 6 ladies who call ourselves the Cherrywell Cherries! We tend to meet on Thursdays with a wonderful community organiser called Laura, who is highly motivated, supportive and positive and together we plan events to raise money to refurbish a community space with the intention to turn it into a vibrant community café.

On Monday we ran the pancake stall and held consultations with the attending public in order to gage and idea of what people feel is needed in their community.  

You can follow Project Cherrywell on Twitter and Facebook!

Community Organiser Laura interviewing the public.

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or visit our Facebook page

Fit and Healthy BEDM #5

I'm really behind with my BEDM challenge but I'm determined to complete it! Here goes...

I've not had a particularly healthy tea this evening, but when I am in ’getting fit’ mode, there is no better way for me than Pilates. I get a lot of my ideas for illustrations and off-shoot projects when I take part in a class and that must be down to the meditative nature of it. Plus, I have a great, motivational teacher.

If you’re interested you can read about Joseph Pilates, the founder at the link below.

Joseph Pilates

Saturday, 4 May 2013

My Five Favourite Blogs #BEDM Day 4

Today's challenge is to write about my five favourite blogs. Each blog provides something slightly different along the lines of illustration, the first two I mention, Lynne Chapman's and Holli Conger's are the staple blogs I always refer to. A good blog should obviously resonate with your interests. My favourites offer that glimmer of hope that becoming an illustrator (with a lot of hard work and determination, and obviously very good work) IS possible.

Never Give Up on Your Dreams!

An Illustrator's Life For Me

I began following Lynne Chapman's blog after she visited our local library during a summer festival that our town holds. Lynne's passion and enthusiasm for illustrating, sketching, sketch crawling and anything creative is completely infectious. She visits a lot of schools and library and talks animatedly and entertainingly about her work. She even drew a Koala character in front of the children's very eyes which astonished them! She is a testament to how much hard work you have to put in if you want to make it as an illustrator or author, she never seems to stop – even sketching on train journeys across the country with very beautiful results. The way she captures character is extraordinary.

Holli Conger

Finding Holli Conger's blog was a revelation for me and marked the beginning of my journey.
Here is someone who is living the dream! Holli's wonderful work extends into licensing, character design, typography and I find her style really appealing. She also talks really honestly about taking that step from a regular day job into the scary world of freelancing; in fact she documented a whole year of her life when she made that decision which you can see here.

The Owl Club

Now, I lurve a good owl! In fact I am currently designing an owl puppet for a new children's theatre production. This opportunity arose from making my small squidgy owls so it just shows you where crafting can lead you.
The Owl Club is aptly dedicated to all things owl so bob over if like me you're into anything ornithological!

Twit Twoo!

Illustrated Jam -Jam Grantham Illustration

Ooh, I kind of came across Jam Grantham's blog by accident but I'm really glad I did. I think I blogged about making some damson jam and how I planned to give it away as gifts, thinking that a nice addition would be to illustrate labels or lids for said jam. Anyway, I must have Google 'Illustrated Jam,' and Jam's blog page is exactly what I found! Jam has an incredibly friendly style, absolutely perfect for illustrating children's books. I particularly like his Monster and Me illustration. I definitely recommend checking his work out.

Water Colour Wednesdays

If you like a challenge (and if you're here from BEDM you probably do!) you will like this concept. I found it through Illustration Friday and although I haven't submitted to WW yet, I really like seeing what everyone comes up with each week.

So, these are my top 5 blogs! I'd like to say a big thank you to them all for providing such entertainment and inspiration.

Day in The Life #BEDM 3

Well, today's blog should have been yesterday's but my day was jam packed (it mostly involved making chocolate brownies. From a packet I may add!) and was nicely topped off with an evening wedding reception so I'll do two blog entries today instead...BEDM 4 to follow a bit later!

A usual Friday morning involves me getting my little girl over to pre-school for the morning and I have 3 hours to get 'stuff ' done! Now, 'stuff ' can involve a number of things. It should involve me knuckling down and getting on with art work, designs or the next stage of business planning for fi&me but invariably there is a MASSIVE piles of laundry or washing up to do. If I ignore it, it calls to me, it taunts me until I crumble!

I wonder how many of us fight this battle? How do you manage your time?

In an ideal world I would have a studio space in an alternative location. I have toyed with the idea of a shed but it gets pretty cold here in the winter. Something to mull over though, and for now, I'm very happy with my room and count myself very lucky to actually have a separate space to work in.

On a sensible day I ignore the chores, shut the door and head up into my tiny little drawing space.

Any parents or carers out there will know just how much you can get done even in just one hour!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Spring Is Here! #BEDM

My favourite thing about spring…

Well, spring has certainly made an appearance today and what a wonderful day it has been. Spring is my number one season! What I love about it is its optimism. There is a promise that the days are getting longer; flowers are appearing and people are immerging from hibernation.  Blossom is one of my favourite things, and also the fact that my birthday in spring makes me rate spring particularly highly.

Whilst on the topic of birthdays I have to mention that my Grandma is 98 tomorrow, here she is, sunning herself in my parent’s garden on a visit last year. I think it may technically be a summer photo but I couldn’t find one that had my Grandma and cherry blossom on! Anyway, she is amazing.
My second favourite thing about spring is County Cricket. I haven't got a clue what is happening but I love watching and listening to the game ticking away. Maybe one day I'll join a ladies' team, although Rounders is much more up my street!
My sister Lu is also taking part in the BEDM challenge and you can read her posts at our Fi&Me page.
For more information about Blogging Every Day in May by Rosalilium click on the link, or search #BEDM on Twitter

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Five Is The Magic Number

As many of you know, I run a little handmade business with my younger sister Lu. Lucy told me about a brilliant idea called Blog Every Day in May and I have decided to give it a go, in order to keep my creative/blogging juices flowing. Lately, I seem to have neglected my blog but I really don't want to let it slide so, rising to the challenge seems like the perfect remedy.

Here goes!

Five Lines #BEDM
The Psammead

Five things about me...that all, conveniently, include the number 5! 

1. My favourite story (and TV show - see above) as a child was 'Five Children And It,' by E. Nesbit. I REALLY wanted it to be true!

2.I have worked in my current role as a Teaching Assistant for 5 years. That's my day job - (as soon as night falls I turn into an illustrator and designer and begin howling at the moon. Shhh! No body knows!) ;-)

3. This blog is 5 years old.

4. I was expecting my first child this time 5 years ago (time flies!)
She inspired me to start seriously following my passion for design and illustration.

5.I'm a fan of a 5 year plan! Even if you divert along the way,  it's good to have a general idea of where you want to go and how you are going to get there.

I look forward to reading everyone's posts.

Twitter @fionameakin
FionaIllustrates on Facebook

Friday, 8 March 2013

Hand Sewn Illustrations now available!


It has been ages since I posted on my little blog. Roll on Spring time is what I say! I can feel myself slowly coming out of  creative hybernation.

In the run up to Christmas and planning the stock I would concentrate on making, I found myself inspired to do some applique, and created lots of little one-off pieces with a focus on babushka characters. These proved very popular at the various fairs we attended as Fi & Me, especially at the Altrincham Twilight and at Stockport CP market which proved to be our all time favourite fairs (despite the chilly temperatures!) and I have a few left.

These whimsical designs are suitable for a variety of ages and the frames I use a plastic, which would be ideal for a child's bedroom.

They are available on etsy in my little fionaillustrates store, where I will be stocking original illustrations, prints and these appliques.