Tuesday, 27 December 2011

First attempt at pastel

I have been challenged to put each day's artwork right here on my blog! Dont worry, I have NOT taken up that challenge, but do intend to keep a record here in the hope we will all one day say some improvement. Today was not a good day at the easel.

Somebody thought it would be a good idea for me to try pastel, might have been an idea if I had learnt how first, not straight in then think... 'this is not going well, maybe I should find out how' Of course drawing is not my strong point, so I did a quick frog sketch then went for it (feel free to laugh here)

Its meant to be frogs in a tree hollow surrounded by flowers and trees, at least that was in my head. On a quick spot of research I found you can also add water to pastels, so I tried a bouquet from my head (yes, it is supposed to be a bouquet, LOL)

Disovering that a wee bit more research was quite obviously needed for the pastel thing, I got out the new brushes and had a quick practice, in case you were wondering I have been studying chinese art - I have the theory, but not quite the practice yet, but still I did enjoy it.

During today's research and study I have reached the decision it is highly unlikely the SimJaTa Art shop will be opening on Etsy next year - just now I am planning around 2017, so make yourself comfy for the wait.

One of my jobs before the end of the year is to work out a schedule so I can fit in the sewing to keep the Etsy shop fresh, and pleny of art time and study, this inbetween life in general - there must be a way, after all I only sleep for around 7 hours, so that leaves 17 hours in theory, 3 hours a day dog walking, cooking, washing, parent sitting, dog club, shopping..... well maybe the sleep will have to go? sure there is a way, just needs some thought....

Off to do some sketching..

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Monday, 26 December 2011

Duncan the Retired Donkey

Duncan the retired Donkey, lives life to the full. With so many hobbies he never has time to be bored!

Well, I thought he was good LOL, Duncan is my very first character. Having been lucky enough to received a ton of art books, pens, pencils and paints.. I have been in my element all day, studying and drawing. So, Duncan is who I came up with. Unfortunatly when I showed the OH he said he looks nothing like a Donkey.. so yet again I am back to the drawing board on whether to adapt Duncan to be more donkey like, or to change Duncan into another creature... though if he is not a donkey I am not quite sure what he could be?? any ideas?

I should really be working too, I also received a huge amount of embroidery silks, ribbon and trimmings to create new brooches for my Etsy shop... but hey its still bank holiday. I hope everyone in blogland got some super pressies and are having lots of fun like I am.

Meanwhile, here is Duncan again....

..and Duncan goes bowling.

Enjoy the holidays!!

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Merry Christmas from SimJaTa

A Merry Christmas to all in blogland. A week early I know but I plan to be busy practicing my drawing and painting over the Christmas season, and unless I think I have anything good enough to show you will probably be pretty quiet. Today, with the help of Shoo Rayner
I drew and painted this Christmas wreath, going to laminate and put it on the front door, again it is NOT my design but Shoo's. This is the first real picture I have used watercolour paints, and must say I did enjoy it I found it far easier than my time spent attempting to learn pencil shading, just not getting my head around that one at all. I only have a small set of waterpaints, so hoping Santa might be reading this and be kind enough to provide some more.

It is also the time of year when my dogs have been subjected to wearing the Christmas hats, see just how much they enjoy it? Anyway they too wanted (as I told them they did!) to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Hope all the crafters out there enjoy a break from awaiting the sales fairy visit, and she too comes back nice and refreshed ready to visit Etsy in the new year.

All the best to you all.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Sunday, 4 December 2011

SimJaTa Scarves arrive on Etsy

Here are a couple of my new scarves that will find their way to my Etsy shop this week, I think I have about ten in total. Certainly becoming the weather for them with snow on the way very soon, we felt a definate chill in the air this morning. I didnt even pick up a pencil yesterday but took the time to photograph and edit some of the scarves ready for the shop, quite happy with the results. I added this one today, so we have one for sale already, the picture will magically transport you to the shop for further details.

Now dont go away, I also wish to introduce you to a very special man and very talented illustrator I have been lucky enough to chat with on Etsy, Eric Kincaid
this link will take you to his Etsy shop.

His showcase of work extends from illustrating comics such as 'Dan Dare' to a collectors edition of 'Wind in the Willows' plates. After being a freelance illustrator and working with companies such as WALT DISNEY he was employed long term by Brimax publishing house. He has illustrated over 100 books ..

I was lucky enough to discover his shop whilst preparing a treasury of Art, then ordered some of his fabulous Christmas Cards, you can find these by clicking on the picture of one of the works of art I purchased.

There are also prints of his work for sale in his shop, not just a spectacular talent but also a true gentleman.

Thats all for today, lots to do for a Sunday I have had a good sales weekend so far so parcels to pack up and hopefully more time to get out my pencils and work on some more of my own Christmas cards.

Stay warm..

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa ~

Saturday, 26 November 2011

This years Christmas Cards, handmade of course!

Now be gentle, remember I have only been learning to draw for a few weeks now, previously it has been over 30 years since I held a pencil, and I have only just learnt there is actually more than an HB! I have spent all my free time drawing and I love it! I had no idea you could actually 'learn' to draw. Therefore, like it or not this year everyone will be receiving a hand drawn Christmas card (or at least I hope so, as I have only done 12 so far and time is ticking on). Before you look I must point out these are NOT my own design, but the design of Shoo Rayner
a very talented illustrator, if you follow the link it will take you to his website for further information, and were you can purchase his books. He is also a fantastic teacher, and by following his direction these are what I have done so far, along with some other basic sketches I am learning. Thank you very much Shoo.

First are my angels, this one I did today - my very first attempt.

I confess I have done about six of these, this was the first thing I learnt and they are now in all kinds of colour schemes, OH says this one is his favourite.

This was last nights, and my very first reindeer - plenty to improve yet, but not bad for a first attempt I thought.

This was my second robin, the first one had a bit of a hump back problem. A bit more research needed on the colour scheme yet, but plenty of fun learning.

My third lot of snowmen, I like these - if Shoo is reading, sorry about the hat - I did this one at my desk without direction, so improvement needed on the hat and perhaps a few more brush bristles wouldnt have gone a miss.

If you like these (and are not just being polite LOL) dont forget they are NOT my desings but that of Shoo Rayner
childrens book illustrator, and great teacher!

You may well get to see some of my own art soon, one of my best friends is a retired art teacher, and now she is convinced I 'am' serious she is givng me my first art lesson this week, I think it might be shells. I have been told to bring my pencils, easel and paper. Hope to show you that later in the week.

Dont forget, life is too short not to try what you want to do - and its never too late. Everyone can draw, just takes a bit of guidence and plenty of PRACTICE!!!!

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Sunday, 20 November 2011

..and then I painted them

Ok I threatened you with this last time, and promised I did actually get around to painting the clay works and the papier mache, but all did not go so well. My shop does not contain any of this - even my sense of humour is not that bad. Here is some of the jewellery I tried.

These are the decorations I 'attempted' my poor parents are being 'forced' to add these to their Christmas tree.

Finally, my first attempts at papier mache.. now I have seen real masterpieces done in this, alas not mine. I think I may well need a few months or even years of practice here.

I am however really enjoying learning to draw, after all these years - and the OH assures me my artworks are coming on well, of course they could ONLY get better, here is the first elephant I have ever attempted. He does at least look like an elephant, he is now on Auntie's fridge as I made him into a thank you card for her for some help she had given us of late.

I have spent today doing some new listings for my Etsy shop, I made a Frosty the Snowman treasury on Etsy, and now its time to do some more sketching which is my favourite pasttime, I just love drawing, not that good yet of course - but I love it, wish I had taken it up years ago, hope to do more painting this week too. My idea is to make my own Christmas cards to send, once I have mastered my Christmas tree I will show you that, I am getting help though so not strictly my own work so certainly not for sale - but all in aid of learning how to draw and in time develop my own style (so I am told).

Hope you have had a good weekend.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Monday, 14 November 2011

Every Picture Tells a Story

Apologies I have become a very bad blogger again, I cant even use the excuse of too much work, family or any other commitments. I had the idea I wanted to learn to paint. I did manage to finish the clay and mache creations, but OH has run off with my camera so cant enthrall you with those disasters yet, but I will! No, for today you can laugh at my 'art'. It was going very badly and I 'almost' gave up at weekend until I read a fabulous blog post from "CaroleeCrafts" about inspiration and not waiting to do what you wish, so I have carried on, thank you Carol. Also one of my team members from Etsy spurs me on (probably as she wants a good laugh) so here you go Jen, this is what I have been up too.

Before this one, my angels did resemble something from the Rocky Horror show. I have finished this one today and I am going to frame it for my Mum's birthday. Ever the optomist she wanted a piece of my new artwork for her birthday (no pressure). I would like to say I created her all by myself but no, I have purchased some books to help me learn to draw so this is adapted from one of those, but she is all my own work - no tracing.

I quite liked this one too, also done today and a vast improvement on the Rocky Horror show ones, I know I still have rather a long way to go - and plenty of work yet on features, but as OH said "at least you can tell what it is" so thats a start.

This was my weekend effort, I wanted to paint a bouquet for my Mum, as you can see I do need an awful lot of practice, and for starters learning how to draw a vase might be an idea, this one looks like a pint pot! But I enjoyed painting and the colours, again you can just about make out what it is meant to be LOL (Janice from Wellydog, I really hope you are NOT reading this!)

This was my very first attempt with coloured pencils, bare in mind I hadnt actually picked one up in over 30 years.

Spurred on by my angels I thought I would adapt the same principle to a self portrait, not done that for about 40 years - dont worry I dont really look like an odd shaped stick with a dog that looks absolutely nothing like any of mine, or any I know.

So, there you go - finished laughing yet? now how many of you have looked at this and thought they could do better? (aside from Wellydog who we 'know' can) so what are you waiting for? I'm not much good yet, but can certainly only get better and I am having a great time trying.
I do also have my very own art teacher at hand, one of my good friends used to teach art and has asked me to bring my work to her this week, she probably needs a good laugh too, but sure she will give me some valuable pointers. One day when you see my name in lights you might remember this blog post....... (..and I might wake up!)

Follow your dreams, life is too short.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Thursday, 3 November 2011

More Crafting fun

I have learnt some great lessons with my new experiments, one of the first ones was just why artists wear cover alls! after spilling all kinds of things on my clothes. I also learnt which varnish does NOT work, will come to that bit later. Also on Etsy this week I had my first sale to the USA were I learnt all my postage was way out and lost a few quid on that one so then had to spend an hour or so changing all my postal rates.

This week I had a go at papier mache, I had a lot of fun and made more mess than you can imagine, are you ready for this?? cant see me making my fortune here just yet, but here are my first efforts ready to paint.

Finished laughing yet? I felt I had made some great progress with my other clay work, till I varnished and first took off the gold paint, and then had the wrong brush so you may be able to see were the bristles fell off too! not my most succesful of days.

I will treat you to my clay christmas decorations in my next blog, I took before photo's to show them raw. Despite my enjoyment of their creation I do feel they will end up on Mum's Christmas tree this year. After painting those today I created my very first artwork, I then stuck it to the fridge for OH to see, he is threatening to frame it, saying it will be worth a fortune when I am rich and famous... not so sure about that one, but cant tell you how much I enjoy painting - cant wait to do some more, but dont worry I may well keep the future ones to myself or inflict them on the family as Christmas pressies. Without further adue here is SimJaTa's very first piece of artwork........

LOL, sure I made at least one of you smile - or perhaps choke on your coffee, sorry about that!

Too many hours crafting today has resulted in severe neck ache, so I am now off to heat up another wheat bag, I have had requests for those for Christmas so may well be better off making some more of those, if nothing else I have plenty of use for them myself. Good excuse for a glass or two of the red stuff too.

Have a lovely evening

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Friday, 28 October 2011

New Crafting Experience

Seen here are my very first atempts at trying to put down what is in my head to then transfer to the clay work, now be gentle with me its a very long time since I held a pen, and an artist I am not. But with great enthusiasm I started to paint them onto ACEO size with the idea they might be absract ACEO's, LOL maybe not.. I wanted to create some keyrings and brooches, but seem to be creating (as well as a mess) pendants and earrings too.

I'm afraid even I was not brave enough to show off my first two attempts at clay work, seen here is attempt number '3' I am currently working with different clay forms even papier mache all of which are taking an age to dry out, so no painting has started on the next lot yet, so not too sure how they will turn out. Believe me I am gettting better each time. Luckily I do live by the motto 'if you cannot laugh at yourself what can you do' so here we go, you better sit down...........

This one is 'meant' to be a flower pendant.

I would like to say this was my first attempt at lettering, but it was infact my third and still not quite got the hang of it.

Happy Flowers, I think they would be more effective multi coloured really.

Here they are together, with the complete disasters taken away. You see I do still need a bit more practice, not to mention some more hours in the day to do so. But I am really enjoying this, highly recommended if you were to need a relaxing craft. Even the ever suffering husband has commented how happy I am in my little world of clay and paint.

Please do let me know what you think, even if you are still laughing (I can take it).

Dont forget if you ever fancied a go at another craft what is stopping you? you may find you enjoy it as much as me.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


If you have been reading this blog you will know I have been trying to get to grips with clay, still nothing worth showing off (trust me) but I am loving trying, and determined to get there soon. Last few days I have been doing an awful lot of research to try get to grips with exactly what I am trying to achieve - when suddenly I came across a link from Gelert Design which summed it up exactly, more hours spent on research and I think I have it.
I contacted Dave to thank him and he was very kind and supportive, so I thought today only appropriate to show off what he can do.

Gelert Design was one of my very first purchases when I joined Folksy, I bought one of these pendants for my daughter the Christmas before last, she still wears it.

Not just pendants and brooches, but you can also find tea-light holders like this, very original and great work.

I think this is amazing, the beginning of the description says..

A beautiful piece of celtic sculpture for your wall.

Based on a drawing by renowned celtic artist Courtney Davis (used with permission), this plaque depicts two entwined figures, their knotwork hair becoming the heads of hounds - symbols of fidelity in celtic lore.

You can also find artwork, I selected this one as I am a fan of art cards, but you can also find the art itself.

As usual if you click on the picture you will be taken to the Etsy shop for further information and the chance to look around the rest of the shop.

Not just a superb talent but also a thoroughly nice, helpful chap. Thank you Dave for your help and inspiration.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Monday, 17 October 2011

100 SALES!!!

That made you look didnt it? wish I could say it was me, but alas no. (or at least not yet) This afternoon my team on Etsy 'Crafty Folk' clocked up 100 sales for their daily listing club for October, and its only the 17th. As a team we are very proud of this, as we are quite new and many of us have only been on Etsy for a month or so. Its a great team to be part of and we are growing daily, plenty of support for each other and the important promotion, infact again today I was added to a superb treasury which all helps to be noticed on such a vast selling platform.

Speaking of which I do find myself in a dilema about whether or not to stay on Folksy at all, I am so disheatened with it. More talented shops are closing each day due to the new rules which keep appearing at random, with the exception of some of the remaining sellers the forum isnt a very nice place to be, so much confusion of what is allowed and what is not? I know it doesn't affect me (so far) but the treatment of so many hard working crafters so close to the best selling time of the year cant help but make one think...

Must stop waffling and get to the point, whilst trying to think of who to feature from the team I decided to show off the most recent new members, so are some of them. I have chosen my favourite item from each shop, but if you would like to look at the item in more detail and the rest of the shop simply click on the picture and it will take you there.

Here are our latest Crafty Folk members from Etsy.

'Bluebell & Rosie' have this lovely patchwork cushion.

'Esme Dodsworth Design' with these simply gorgeous porcelain earrings

'Little Red Robin' with a Panda Bear Bracelet

'Garden Shed Silver' with one of her own creations, Silver Eucalyptus Leaf Earrings

'madebyclifford' new to the team, but I have 'chatted' with on Etsy, lovely person and what a great shop, here is one of her bugs - but there are other great ones too

'Vintage Jewellery Box' with a Bird of Paradise Ring

'CatsCeramics' with this lovely Wild Meadow Necklace

Lastly, me SimJaTa - I'm not as new as the others but still new to Etsy and still need some promo, so here is my latest addition to my shop.

I think I may have mentioned the clay making in my last blog entry, not as easy as it looked so taking a bit more time, even I am not brave enough to show those disasters on here. I am really enjoying 'trying' to create, but not quite managed anything worthwhile so far, but keep at it this week I might improve, sure cant get much worse!

Hope you are all staying warm, hands up all those with the heating on? we are holding out so far, but probably wont be much longer..

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~