Friday, 15 July 2011

Crayon Creative

Carved Crayons

Pootleing about on facebook, I came accross these amazing crayon creations by Pete Goldlust.  I wanted to share them as I think they are amazing.  Take some time to admire the details...

More info featured in this blog:

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Cradle to Cradle Design

My Studio!
Recently, Blockart have been trying to address it's environmental policy.  This is what we have come up with:

Blockart started business using MDF blocks to mount our art work on.  However we have sourced a new and environmentally friendy wood fibre board.  The wood is sourced from forest waste, residue from timber mills and recycled pine. The production site has zero carbon emissions. During manufacture, organic dyes are added.  The fibre board is classified E1 (very low formaldehyde) and has been approved by the British Standards Association for the safe use in the manufacture of children's toys.

Blockart packs all it's products in recycled brown gift boxes and these are wrapped in recycled brown paper.  All the blocks are packed in recycled crinkley paper to keep the block safe through the post.

In our studio, Blockart recycles all paper, plastic, tin and glass.  We even compost our tea bags and fruit peelings and cores!

We still have some areas to make improvement to, and are always looking for the most environmentally sound alternative for our processes.

Recently we were introduced to the concept of Cradle-to-Cradle design, which essentially asks how the product 'becomes' and then how the product 'ends', and can we reduce the waste produced by the product at any point.

This is a lengthy process and we will be updating this blog with more information on our Cradle to Cradle initiatives.

If you have any ideas about how we can become more 'green', please let us know!

Thanks to Dotty hearts community for their guidance.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Get rid of the fluff - navel art is here!

A navel contour jigsaw

Digital pictures

As you know, I love to find local crafters and artists to mention on this blog.  Here I am in complete awe of artist Julie Read, who graduated from Fine Art and who's works have been displayed in group and solo exhibitions around the world, and public and corporate bodies; such as the National Library of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, International Portrait Gallery in Tuzia, Bosnia, and Karelian State Museum Permanent Collection, Russia.   Julie has now decided to turn her attention to portraits, but unusual ones! 
How to get the images!

Using casting methods to capture the gradients of your tummy button, Julie then creates digital images, and also 3D jigsaws.

I love the final images and the fact that the pictures are very personal but can be displayed anywhere.  A lovely gift for your mum or from children.  Definately on my wish list.

Find Julie here:

Monday, 20 June 2011

Frightened Rabbit

Grant and Scott
Frightened Rabbit.  Weird name, brilliant band, amazing sound, stupendous live.  And also my cousins.  Which kind of makes me cool...

Monday, 13 June 2011

Are you green with envy yet?

When you finish reading this you will be green with envy.  Fir tree green!  I have bought my advent caleder - but not just any old calender.  This is an heirloom, a tradition in the making, mornings by the fire, fights at breakfast over who gets to look in the pocket...
Hand made to last a lifetime

These advent calenders are hand sewn by Sasha McMillan who designs and makes felt and fabric decorations, bunting, garlands and patchwork quilts.  Infact, Sasha recently won a prize for her quilting, which you can see on her blog, Cold Comfort Crafts.
Incredibly detailed decorations

Mine has the red numbers

Last years

Excited!  Yes I am!
 Each pocket houses a decoration and every day you pick one from the appropriate pocket and the tree becomes more and more decorated!  Sasha also mentions that the pockets are large enough to accomodate a sweetie too, so it will suit everyone in my house!
What detail....

I know Christmas is far away, but if you take a look at Sasha's great blog, then you will notice that she does all kinds of amazing quilts, personalised ones for new babies, groovy toddler ones - and of course, if you are suffering from Advent Calender Envy (and I know you are!) then get your order in quick!!!

You can contact Sasha through her brilliant blog:

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Competition Winner

Random photo of two ragamuffins

And the winner is.......Northern Mum!

"Daddy I cant believe my brain."

with love from Monkey Molly age 5

I wimped out from choosing the winner as they were all so cute/funny/and just plain bizarro!  So, picked at random out of a sock...

For those of you who entered the competition, thank you so much, it was a privilege to read your lovely quotes and comments.

If you do want a block made with your quote I will give all entrants a whopping 25% off  and free postage, (spend £15 instead of £22.49)....I know, I will never win the apprentice, but I wanted to make you all a block!! Just drop me a mail.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Competition Time! Win a Quote for Father's day.

Win a 'Child's Quote' from Blockart in time for Father's Day!
 Father's day is looming, and Tesco's is stocking up it's sock/hanky/beer isle.  This year, give him something different - and something which you will like too.  Celebrate the madness that is childhood by immortalising one of their funny little sayings on a block.

It's competition time!

In time for Father's day, I am giving away a child's quote block.  All you have to do to win the block is follow my blog, and Blockarts facebook page and then leave a comment below telling me the quote that you would put on your block.  The winner will be chosen by me, and will be based on the most appealing quote!

Get your thinking caps on, I am looking forwards to having a chuckle at the funny children's sayings...

(If you already follow both, please feel free to enter!)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Summertime Inspiration

At the beginning of summer, the weather lifts my mood and makes me hopeful for sunshine and days of heat and yellow silence.

My husband took this photo of a dandelion, which I think is so beautiful.  Soft, floaty and full of hope...make a wish, shut your eyes...

This will be appearing on soon.  Until then, visit my web site for art for babies, Birth Date Prints, children's wall art, and art for the home.  It's not on the high street, but online!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Favourite colours

Stuck in my shed today, designing and colouring and have noticed that my palette seems stuck on these selected colours.  They all have such evocative names:  faded green; chalk, dusty pink...summer colours.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

I'm turning Japanese, I really think so!

Make someone's day!
When I was at the SECC Glasgow Baby and Toddler fair, a few customers bought some of my Japanese doll pictures.  Two ladies mentioned that Marks and Spencer had a design which would match my children's wall art.  So, after a nose about, I have found a few little thing to mix and match if you are looking for girls room design inspiration!

Geisha Cushion and matching duvet set -
Japanese doll wall art -
Vintage doll lamp base -

Hanging Japanese doll lights -

If you know of any other items which might help make this 'room', let me know!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Glasgow Smiles Better!

Blockart - Best in Show!
Over the long weekend we had superb sunshine and everyone was in holiday mode.  Everyone including the Glasgow Baby and Toddler Fair customers, who stayed away in droves, allowing us stall holders to feel slightly dispirited, but mostly depressed as we all knew that this was the hottest weekend yet, and we were missing it!

I never set the Glasgow art world on fire, but as the fair was so quiet I was able to nose about and I did speak to lots of stall holders, and can share some of them with you today.

The first mention must go to my neighbour, Louise, who stocks Pregnancy wear in her online shop, Global Maternity.  Her stock is so pretty I saw people who were not pregnant making purchases!

Scallywags stocks bright, funky items.

The second mention is to the most bright and funky shop, called Scallywags.  On show were the most beautiful quality childrens toys and practical items, like this owl back pack.  I had to restrain myself, but they are online my will power may not make it!

Lastly is a company called Connell and Hart Glass.  Their crystal hand and foot imprints are divine beyond belief.  Superbly detailed prints of little hands and feet, I am desperate to get some...but I will have to sell some more blockart first!

For inspiring maternity wear visit:

For bright and funky childrens presents visit:

For gorgeous crystal imprints :

For super and amazing personalised art for babies and children:

Sunday, 24 April 2011

A Wedding Tale

As we are approaching Wedding frenzy, I thought I'd share my wedding day with you guys!  Well, to be exact - my first wedding day!!!

Here is the story of a wedding.  Just a normal wedding, where the bride wore white and the groom had a top hat.  The guests were happy and the bubbles flowed.  Where at the end of the wedding the bride and groom were not really married....but everyone at the event thought they were...!!

It all started when I remembered that the registrar needed my birth certificate.  I had three weeks before the big day, but called him to let him know I was on the case. 

'I am getting my husband's mum to look out his birth certificate, but it might be a few days as she is sending it from NZ'  I said.

Silence.  'Cough...umm is your fiancee from NZ?' asked the tentative registrar.

Me, laughing 'Yes!...did I not tell you?'

Registrar, not laughing 'Do you have the correct visa to marry him?'

Me, not laughing either.  Stomach dropping.  White knuckles tight on the phone. 'No - what visa?  What do you mean?' Nervous laugh.  Ha ha.

Registrar, realising the consequenses.'Umm, you need a visa to get married to someone from NZ.  It usually takes approximately three months to get one issued'

Me, not wanting to hear.  Thinking of solutions, any solution.  Breezily,'Oh, I'm sure there'll be a fast track.  I'll call you back.'

Me, on the phone to the home office.  'Oh.  There is no fast track'.  Silence.  Silent.

But I have a huge dress which is so beautiful!  I have the shoes, the bridesmaids outfits, the location, the booze, the place settings, visitors from NZ.... all the stuff that too me so long to plan.

Boyfriend 'We'll just have to have a party and not a wedding' 

Imagining myself dancing in my wedding dress, not married.  Tragic.  No. No. NO.

Me, calling a humanist.  Not having cried yet, holding it together..  Asking, casully, laughing, explaining.  Can you do a wedding, a non legal wedding, for me, in three weeks time?. ..

The humanist.  Soft voiced, grasping the situation staright away.  'No,' says she 'No.  But I will find someone.  Don't worry.  I'll make sure you get married'.  Me, crying for the first time to a lady I didn't know, but who said she would help and wouldn't stop until everything was ok.  My relief came out in big gulps.

I was found a humanist.  Duncan.  The lovliest and most gentle man who made such an effort and put my mind at ease.

On the day of my wedding only the parents and the official 'witnesses' knew the story.  Duncan did a beautiful wedding and everyone was moved.  We left to sign the registry book.  Except we didn't.  As we were not married.

We were toasted, husband and wife.  Except we weren't.

We got legally married by Duncan, in our living room, approximately one year later.

Still not everyone knows that they attended a wedding which was not real.  It was one of the best days of our lives, and one of the oddest and funniest too.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Easter - Put a sock in it!

Buttons the Rabbit
This little guy is made from socks!  He's an odd easter bunny, but in these days of healthy eating, assuage your guilt as the children's BMI creep higher due to granny and get Buttons the Rabbit to hop on over.

When I first realised what you could achieve with socks, I tried myself.  Three mutant scary monster animals later, I needed something to calm my nerves....Hand made chocolate egg filled with hand made truffles anyone??  These organic eggs are made in Edinburgh and had me floating on a coco cloud, where I could look down and see my odd sock animals from afar...and that was close enough!  I'll leave sock animals to the experts...

For the most divine hand made chocolate:

For funky sock animals visit Peekaboo:

Monday, 11 April 2011

Butterflies, Lavender, and Bears...Picnic time!

If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise!  Have a teddy bear picnic with some of the gorgeous crafts I discovered in Midlothian.


The first discovery is a lady called Margaret, who makes Bears out of old blankets.  They are all jointed and beautifully made.  Sadly I can't show any pictures as Mage is not computer savvy.  However she will be at Midlothian Crafters next few fairs so keep your eyes peeled.

The second is Stable Cottage Glass.  Who knew so many mums at my primary school were so talented?  Fiona makes the most divine, retro and funky stained glass.  Prints of butterflies and spots with ribbons galore makes the end result very moreish.  I have already bought one piece, and have my eye on other bits already!  Fiona has a fast turn around too, so one to keep in mind for last minute pressies.

Last but not least, I found the most heavenly scented soap and lotions, made in the incongrious old mining town of Bonnyrigg, (which is where I grew up!). It is not a place I associate with hand made, naturally sourced ingredients, or with classy, modern packaging, but here it is!  The soap looks like slices of tablet, the lotions looked like whisked cream, and the smells transported me to a spa...

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

New Babies Galore!

 Spring has definately sprung, and my friends are all having babies.  Along with the all new bairns comes new Baby Birth Print ideas.  I have immortalised one of my sons favourite teddies and Ted is now available by himself, as a Baby Birth Print, as a christening gift block - and in any colour at all, (but predictabley in pink and blue).

I also had a dedication request, which is similar to a christening or a naming ceremony.  I asked for some information from the Pastor and ended up with lots of highly relevant material - aargh.. almost too much.  After many hours in the shed, I finally emerged with a dedication block which I think is gorgeous!'s what you need!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Unique and unusual Mother's day gifts

Child's Personal Quote
Mother's Day Gift
Mother's day gifts are funny.  On a quest to find my mum a great mother's day gift, and looking for myself too, I have whittled down my wants to a top five:

  1. GraceInk design - Anything from Grace is on my top 5 list.  I managed to get my hands on one of GraceInk designs tea towels.  Too lovely to dry dishes on but a great piece of art. 
  2. Organic Anti Ageing Beauty Serum - I need all the help I can get, and the thought of sleeping and wakening to a smooth(er) face sounds pretty good. 
  3. Blockart Childrens Quote - Not on the high street but online.  (OK, I can guarantee I'll receive one of these really...!)
  4. A pen.  Not just any pen.  Rotring 0.12, which is about £25.  Bah.
  5. Slippers from M&S.  Yes, rock and Roll.  Keeps my feet warm in the shed.
What's on your list?

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Shabby Chic - or just Shabby?

Shabby Chic - or just shabby?
This chair is old...but not quite old enough.  Bought in the late '60's it is not quite retro enough to have found its second coming.  My parents hung on to these chairs for years, re-upholstering them to match their various room themes.  As you can see, the last colour scheme was pink...and grey.  This was around twenty years ago.  Since then, the stuffing has been flattened to mm thick.  The varnish is peeling off and the upholstery has holes.  I thought I'd fling them out.  Buy some new chairs, which match and look great.  Not too new looking though.  Maybe the kind of chair which has been distressed, which has paint rubbed off to give them that pre-loved lived in look.  Hang on...

My trendy friend previously told me that these chairs were cool and had potential.  She also mentioned casually that if I didn't want them, then she did.  Never one to give away something which someone else wants; I am going to save them.  Sand down, paint up, and re-upholster.  Sounds like lots of work.   

So today is the fist day in my rescue operation.  But the question is: am I wasting my time - or have these chairs got life in them yet?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The dinosaurs are coming!

Yes, the dinosaurs are coming, but not to worry, they are certainly not scary!  Designed for the little guys who know their stegosaurus from their brontosaurus, these nursery art pictures help encourage their imagination and education.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Leaflets Leaflets Leaflets

Sent off 100 leaflets to Little Pickles Market which happened over the weekend.  Tomorrow I'm sending 200 leaflets to Harrogate Baby Fair.....but will all the hard work pay off??  Hard to tell...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

First Post

First post from the Creative Shed - not written in the shed though, but in my kitchen.  A little short post for myself to read.

Main aims of this blog are to:
  • Help develop and increase awareness of
  • Show new ideas for Blockart  nursery art.
  • Develop links with designers of textures and patterns for use in photoshop
  • Develop links with shops and designers who may be interested in art for babies, children and home
  • Offers, free samples and review opportunities to followers!