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Sunday, September 30, 2012


Last week Gayle from Garden of Daisies left a comment letting me know that my paper dolls were beginning to appear on Pinterest.  She had quite correctly noticed that I don't have a Pinterest button and was concerned I did not know they were there.  Thank you Gayle - I was completely unaware anyone had pinned them.

I've always been slightly uncomfortable about the concept of Pinterest.  To see if I could find my own dolls I created a profile (apologies if I confused anyone by doing this as I'm unlikely to use it) but none of my searches turned up anything.

I then started searching in general and was amazed to discover some of my dolls on Tumblr.  Don't get me wrong - it is extremely flattering to think that anyone liked my work enough to include them.  It was also all done above board with a link back to my blog - and I was quite taken aback by the comments that were left by people saying they wanted to print them but felt sheepish as adults by admitting to doing so.

What was a bit disconcerting is that I had no idea this was happening.  I have had a tremendous response (for a such small insignificant blog) to my Morgana and Guinevere paper dolls.  The original Morgana doll  (purple, green and blue dresses) currently has 1551 page views.  The Guinevere doll is split over more posts but combined page views for her is already around the 1000 mark as well

Traffic for these dolls appears in my stats every day and the last thing I wanted to do was spoil anyone's enjoyment of them by defacing the images with a watermark.  But I've come to realise I probably don't have much choice.  (I've avoided watermarks before because I'm worried they may make me appear pretentious - and also it has to be admitted because I am lazy!)  

Today I've started adding watermarks to the Morgana, Guinevere and Princess Kate dolls.  (I've also temporarily restricted access to them in my Picasa Web albums.)  I've tried not to make the watermark too intrusive but I also had to make sure it had some impact.  This is how they appear:

Its possibly a bit of a 'cart before the horse' situation in the case of the existing dolls but it is a policy I will be continuing with.  As you can see in some cases the watermarks are more visible than others.  Its a pity I've had to do this but like any mother I am concerned about my children when they stray away from home!

I've also added an email button on my sidebar underneath my profile.  I know its a nuisance but for followers of my blog I'd be happy to email the original scans on the assumption/assurance it is for personal use only.

I'd also like to thank everyone again for the wonderful feedback I've had on these dolls.  As per some of the suggestions I am seriously considering joining The Original Paper Doll Artist Guild. Two of their upcoming themes - children and queens are both categories I'd thoroughly enjoy.  At the moment I'm assessing which of my hobbies I have time for (unfortunately my 'real job' takes up more hours and energy than I have to spare!)  Some of the things I do for fun have to go - I just can't make up my mind at the moment which I should keep and which to discard! 

What do you think?  Am I overreacting?  Should I put the original images back as they were before or am I right to be concerned?


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hilda Boswell

Earlier this week Diane from Always Crave Cute posted the wonderful poem 'A Fairy Went A-Marketing'.  (I'm not going to reproduce the poem here as Diane did it so beautifully).  Diane's version was one I had not seen before but it immediately made me think of the illustrations for the poem I was familiar with as a child.  I've mentioned before how sometimes I see something online and it triggers an almost overwhelming memory from childhood (Carlotta Edwards is a good example.)  This is another instance of this happening.  

When I was a child I had at least three books illustrated by Hilda Boswell that I can remember.  Unfortunately I only seem to have one left in my possession and it is not the book that contained this particular poem.

The book I still have is called Nursery Rhyme-Land and it was given to my sister Melanie and me in 1966 by our grandparents.  (My granny always wrote an inscription inside the front cover and included the date.)

For me Hilda Boswell is synonymous with nursery rhymes.  I can't think of a nursery rhyme without picturing her illustrations.  This one (One, Two, Buckle My Shoe) is a perfect example of how wonderfully she depicted fairies.  These small dainty creatures are perfect because they are shown in miniature.  The fairy I can remember from 'A Fairy Went A-Marketing' was very similar to the detail show here.

This illustration of 'Hush-a-Bye Baby' has always been one of my favourites.

These two wonderfully ethereal fairies are exquisite.  I've always thought of them as angels.  

There are so many beautiful examples from this book it is difficult to chose a handful to include here. . .

And this is the one that always broke my heart when I was small . . .

The cover of the book:

Hilda Boswell (1903-1976) was the daughter of an architect.  Besides her wonderful nursery illustrations (1940's-60's) she also contributed to British comic papers and a number of children's annuals such as Robin (1958) and Swift (1960).  Her preferred medium was watercolour.  She is also very well known for her dust jackets for Enid Blyton novels.

Some of you may remember I previously posted illustrations from a book called  'My Book of Fairy Stories' (1959) which did not acknowledge the artist.  (Marvellous Mermaids and Birthday Thoughts are the two posts that contain these lovely pictures).  I'm starting to wonder now if they are not the work of Hilda Boswell - the watercolour technique and artistic style is very evocative of her art.

Foraging for Lunch!

Although the days are getting noticeably shorter this morning was glorious and we had some marvellous sunshine.  For the past few weekends I've thoroughly enjoyed picking my own fresh produce from the garden and greenhouses.  There is nothing nicer than taking just what you need when you need it!  I've gone mad about home-grown tomatoes and salad leaves eaten on crispy rolls with blocks of Mediterranean goat's cheese.  My husband is baffled why I don't want to add cold meat or anything else but that would spoil the wonderfully pure simplicity of my meal .  There is also something richly harmonious about the colour combination of green, red and white!

The only thing I don't have this year is home grown basil.  I've never been able to keep the plants alive for very long.  (Any tips greatly appreciated!)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

October Sunbeam (2012)

I can't believe another month has passed already.  Where do the days go!  Its time to say farewell to Kylie at Lucy Violet Vintage and Retha at Paper Dolls and Other Paper Toys.  I hope you both enjoyed your month in the little sunbeam's glow.

This month I've chosen two blogs that have not received my Little Sunbeam award before:

Sally at Anything to Do With Me


Tammy at Tammy's in Love

Both are lovely ladies.  If you don't already know them please pop in for a visit!

Sally and Tammy - my Little Sunbeam is yours to bask in for the next month.

Sharon's Little Sunbeam is my own personal 'no strings attached' award.  It is my way of thanking the people who enrich my blogging experience.  After the recipient has been introduced a link to their blog remains on my sidebar for a month.  There are no conditions attached to the award.  The recipient does not need to answer any questions, pass the award on or even acknowledge that they have received it.  All they need to do is bask in my little sunbeam and enjoy it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Story - The Fairy Child

The Fairy Child - Jose Ortiz

For September's Sunday Story I've chosen 'The Fairy Child', beautifully illustrated by the wonderfully talented artist Jose Ortiz.

Two of the illustrations contained in the story were included in one of my earlier posts called Fabulous Fairies.

This story appeared in 'Once Upon a Time' children's magazine.
Issue #55 published 28 February 1970.

A card I bought this week to send to a friend.  I love the poem (Yeats was born in Dublin):

The Stolen Child by William Butler Yeats

At the beginning of last week I was ill in bed for a couple of days.  The first day it rained from morning to night - which was good as I slept the whole time!  The second morning was glorious with wonderful sunshine.  I lay in bed and looked at the garden through the window - this is what I saw.  It was lovely and I could lie and watch all the little birds darting about!   (I'm quite fine now.)

Even when I was very small I liked to stop and smell the roses. . .

Monday, September 17, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

Last week Joleene from Amaranthine Night awarded me with the One Lovely Blog Award!

Thank you Joleene!!  I'm thrilled you included me in your list.

Joleene is an author and a successful one at that!  If you have not yet visited her blog please pay Joleene a visit - she is one of the most creative and original people out there!

Here are the rules of the award:

Include the blog award logo in your post
Thank the person who nominated you
Provide 7 random facts about yourself
Nominate 7 other blogs and let them know you have done so

I'm going to do all of the above except for the last rule.  More and more blogs are becoming 'award free' zones and many I would think of choosing fall into this category.  Now that I'm continuing with 'Sharon's Little Sunbeam' again I'll be using it instead to shine the spotlight on some of the great blogs I enjoy visiting.

Joleene included a marvellous list of facts in her post on the award.  I enjoyed reading them so much I decided I would try to be a bit inventive with my response as well.

So my 7 random facts are:

1.  When I was very small I desperately wanted to be a fairy.  Every morning I would examine my shoulder blades to see whether my wings were beginning to sprout.

Aged about 4
2.  Because I am left handed I tend to do a lot of things back to front.  I can only tie a bow if I hold the object upside down.

3.  I learned the Alphabet by repeatedly paging through this book.  From an early age I could recite it both forwards and backwards.  To do the latter I just mentally turned the pages of the book from back to front.  To this day I still visualise this book whenever I do anything Alphabet related.

4.  I do something similar with numbers.  My 2nd class teacher taught us to count and add with story cards.  I still think of the digits 0 - 9 as being the colours she used.  When I add, subtract, multiply etc I do it with these colours and not abstract numbers.

I'm the glum looking one - 3 from left, 2nd row

5.  I was born in 1959.  The only way I have ever been able to remember my age is to take the last digit of the current year and add one.  I need to know what decade I'm in but other than that I've never been able to keep track.  But because it is 2012 I know I'm 53  (2+1 = 3).

6. I very rarely go to see a movie in a cinema because I cry for almost any reason.  Last night I watched the first episode of the new Downton Abbey season and felt the tears start when Lady Mary came down the stairs in her wedding gown.  My husband and son tease me mercilessly!

7.  I love music but have never been able to successfully play a musical instrument.  I was, however, once told (with great authority by the person concerned) that I was a brilliant clarinet player in a previous life!  (Obviously these skills are not transferable.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Princess Kate in Malaysia - A Paper Doll

I've been wanting to make a paper doll of Princess Kate for ages - when I saw photos of her taken recently in Malaysia I could not resist any longer.  These dresses combine two of my favourite combinations of fabric - white organza or lace over a sky blue background and a shimmering ballgown fit for any princess.

Princess Kate Paper Doll

My son was unimpressed when he saw the finished version of my doll.  I'm afraid portraiture is not one of my strong points.  I'm also usually in too much of a hurry to get on to the actual dresses as they are what I am primarily interested in!

Princess Kate Paper Doll Sketch

I don't know what started my love affair of sheer white on blue, but every time I see something made with this combination of colours and fabrics I get a little thrill of recognition.  I think this blue dress is one of the nicest I have seen for a long time.  I love the soft feminine material and the lovely floaty hemline.  These dresses look beautiful on Princess Kate - she has a wonderful slim figure, gorgeous legs and a tanned healthy glow that sets a dress like this off to perfection. 

Princess Kate in Malaysia - Blue Dress

Princess Kate in Malaysia - Blue Dress Sketch

Blue Dress - Detail of Sleeve

The ballgown also caught my eye because it is an updated version of a dress that captured my imagination many years ago when I was a child.  Once again the material and the floaty style are absolutely perfect.    

Princess Kate in Malaysia - Ballgown

Princess Kate in Malaysia - Ballgown Sketch

When I saw this dress I thought immediately of this wonderful opulent creation worn by Elizabeth of Bavaria in 1865.  I can remember that when I saw this painting for the first time couldn't take my eyes off it - I had never seen such a magnificent fairytale princess.  Kate achieves a similar result in a gown that has been cleverly updated for the current generation.

Other paper dolls I have made:

A Paper Doll of My Own

A Paper Doll of My Own - Homage to Embleton

Morgana - From the BBC's Merlin

Guinevere - Seasons 1 to 4

Guinevere - Season 5

 All Copyright Sharon Souter - not to be used for commercial purposes 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In the Morning

Early Morning - Wicklow Mountains

In the morning when the moon is at it's rest,
You will find me at the time I love the best.
Watching rainbows play on sunlight;
Pools of water iced from cold night.
In the morning.
Tis the morning of my life.

In the daytime I will meet you as before.
You will find me waiting by the ocean floor.
Building castles in the shifting sands;
In a world that no one understands.
In the morning.
Tis the morning of my life.  

In the morning of my life
The minutes take so long to drift away.
Please be patient with your life.
It's only morning and you've still to live your day.

In the evening I will fly you to the moon.
To the top right hand corner of
The ceiling in my room.
Where we'll stay until the sun shines;
Another day to swing on clothes lines.
May I be yawning.
Tis the morning of my life. 

                                                                   Bee Gees - 1970
                                                   Featured in the film 'Melody'

                                                          Early morning in my garden


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