Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Granny Fi's Toy Cupboard now on Facebook

Granny Fi's Toy Cupboard now on Facebook

We have now registered the business name Granny Fi's Toy Cupboard and set up a facebook page just for the shop. Follow the link and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's happening! I am going to open a toy shop called Granny Fi's Toy Cupboard. It will begin as a Facebook shop and then next year it will have a real, geographical location in Uralla, a small town 15 minutes south of Armidale, NSW, Australia.
I will be taking over the running of my aunt's gallery, Chaucer on Bridge Street and adding my toy shop/gift shop. I'm hoping it will be a family business as there are lots of talented people I'm related to: painters, potters, writers, storytellers, textile artists and toy makers for example.
We, because I do want to include the family, will sell: handmade dolls and other toys, quirky toys, handmade gifts, jewellery, cards and prints and baby gifts. We'd also like to have a book nook, a snug corner in which to read books, surrounded by shelves with books by local writers,  my own books and glorious picture books. On Saturday mornings and throughout school holidays we will have story readings for children. At night, accompanied by wine and nibbles, we'd like to have book readings for adults. We shall host musical soirees and puppet shows, have regular exhibition openings and offer a range of workshops.
However, that part won't happen until February next year. Stay posted for the next exciting episode of Granny Fi's Toy Cupboard.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Truth About Comets
This is the title of my upcoming exhibition of new work. I have taken the title from a painting by the artist Dorothea Tanning who is one of three women artists associated with the Surrealist Movement. The other two artists are Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington.
I recently learnt that Dorothea died early this year aged 101. This exhibition is a homage to the three of them.
I will be exhibiting alongside David Allan and his gorgeous 'Flights of Fantasy' exhibition

Time: 6 pm Saturday 15th September

Place: The New England Art Society Gallery, upstairs near the nesagent in the Mall, Armidale

The exhibition will be showing for almost a month

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Charlotte and Granny

Just had to share this picture with everyone of Charlotte, now just over three months doing the computer with her granny.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Travel Doll -new free pattern

The lovely knitters on my fan page at (that always sounds so funny- my fans- but I'm so flattered) are running a travel doll project. I have designed a special pattern for the project. If you are interested in either the pattern or participating go to the webiste:

I think you will have to be a Ravelry member but that is free too. She doesn't have any clothes patterns as that is part of the project.

Have fun!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Work, work, work and lovin' it

I have been so busy this month I haven't had time to think properly. Everything is out of kilter. I have finished my children's novel Ghost Doll and Jasper with its illustrations.

I've also got my non-fiction title, The Other Woman: Mistresses to finish off with more illustrations.

Am I compalinging? Hardly. This is the kind of work I want to do full time. Perhaps in the near future I will get there.

One of my publishers is starting a new social history imprint and have asked if I have any new ideas for books- well I sure will soon.

Don't have anything new to share in the way of pictures (all under wraps for publication) but thought I'd post this one I did for my History of Textiles book.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My family's latest masterpiece

This is Charlotte Eleanor Rosemary Allan born on the 13th May 2012. She is my second gorgeous grandaughter.

Here is Charlotte with her big sister Isabelle.

Less exciting news will follow soon, I promise. The Babes' Little Sister will be available very shortly on Ravelry and Etsy.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Babes' Little Sister

Waiting for her clothes, this is a little sister for the Babes in the Wool Dolls. When this young lady is dresssed I will be offering the pattern for sale . Stay tuned...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ghost Doll and Jasper

I've just received this, the cover for my first work of published fiction. Ghost Doll and Jasper is a graphic/illustrated novel for children aged 8-12 years. I prefer to think of it as an illustrated novel rather than a graphic novel because it will have blocks of text rather than the normal comic book style of many graphic novels.

I think the design team at SkyPony Press have done a wonderful job and I can't wait to buy this lovely book and have it on my shelf (even though I did write and draw it myself).

Of course I would never have got to this point in my writing career if I had not stumbled across my lovely, brilliant (not to mention beautiful) literary agent, Isabel Atherton of Creative Authors, UK.

I found her agency listed in the UK Writers' and Illustratotrs' Year Book (2009?) and have never looked back. We began with a knitted doll book and quickly got signed up for three more as well as four history books. I have been so busy at times I have trouble thinking (except about books). It has been a wonderful time in my life and am hoping it will just keep expanding.

Well done Isabel, Julie and the team from SkyPony and well done me.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Novel Programme

This is my first  contribution to a blog on novel writing.

Here are two of my latest cloth dolls. I'm trying to distill the essence of a classic rag doll: simplicity, friendliness and personality. Next week a couple of them are going to the shop at NERAM (New England Regional Art Museum) to see whether anyone wants to buy them. I'm also sending a knitted goth doll and a knitted fairy doll and one lonely little Doiley Bird.

I would still dearly love my own toy shop with rooms out the back for giving workshops. Unfortunately commercial rent in Armidale is not affordable. Little shops open up and fold within 6 months because the rent is so high and they can never get ahead. It seems ridiculous in a town as small as ours to have so many empty shops.

Perhaps I will still get my virtual shop up and running in the near future.

I'm half way through my Babes in the Wool little sister, stayed tuned.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Doll

Two views of a newly commissioned doll. She is a fairy made for a little girl going into hospital to have her tonsils out. She is a different pattern to those in my Knitted Fairies book, she is taller for a start and perhaps more regal.

Stay tuned for the appearance of a little sister for the Babes in the Wool fashion dolls, she is on her way.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Time for some pictures

I thought it was time for some visuals. These are seven miniatures I did in about 2006 for a project at TAFE where I was doing a graphic arts course. I've always been very happy with them. They sold at the end of year exhibition. Think I should do some more.

I've got some cloth dolls I must photograph and post as well, I've either been too busy or too lazy.
I must say it is so easy to get hooked on browsing other people's blogs and seeing all the marvelous things they are making.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The third instalment is posted
The third instalment of the Diary of the Last Person on Earth is ready for viewing

Sunday, February 26, 2012

second instalment of the diary of the last person on earth

Here is the second episode in my serial. Comments are welcome as well as ideas on how the story should go.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Diary of the last person on earth

Here it is, the beginning of my story. It will be told in serial form so keep coming back to read more.
I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thinking about writing

This is a picture I did a couple of years ago now and I thought it reflected my current mood. I'm heavily into thinking. Thinking about stories. I have an idea that I am itching to try but if I start it I might not be able to continue it.

I'd like to start a story and post it as a blog. I'm wondering if because everything is going so well in the book writing field at the moment whether or not I should begin this new blog soon...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A year of drawing

This year looks as though it is hotting up to be one of drawing, painting and writing. I can't tell you how exciting that is. I have my graphic novel to do with its intricate pen illustrations and I am also working on a proposal for another graphic/illustrated novel with a well known Australian novelist and it already has some interest from a publisher. I'm not sure whether these will be pen or pencil illustrations or some other drawing medium but it is a fantastic project.

On Thursday I start and online novel writing course. I signed up for this before I knew what else was happening. It is not the best timing but I intend to make the most of it.

In September I have booked myself an exhibition at the New England Art Society Gallery. I think I shall show small acrylic paintings and some drawings in a style that is influenced by certain women surrealist painters. The drawing above is an unfinished work that will hopefully end up in the show.

As a result of all my new projects I have decided to suspend my PhD until everything has quietened down. The novel part of it will be worked on in the online novel development programme though so it will be buzzing along in the background.

I love this kind of year but am sometimes so excited I can hardly breathe which doesn't help the work to get done.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Breaking News

I've just signed a contract with Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Sky Horse Publishing, New York, for my very first work of fiction, a graphic novel to be published in the Amercian Fall, so probably November this year. Needless to say I am very excited about this project where I get to write and illustrate my own story.  Sky Pony have said I can show the cover when it is designed (in the process right now). So stay tuned...

Until I can give a sneek peak of the cover you'll have to make do with a drawing I did late last year inspired by a book I bought on the works of Leonora Carrington. Leonora became linked with the Surrealists before the Second World War. She and Max Ernst shacked up together for a while. Leonora got separated from Max in the turmoil of the beginning of the war and she fled to Mexico.

In Mexico Leonora met Remedios Varo, a Spanish woman painter and together they experimented with their art. More can be read about both these women in a book called Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Year's Resolution

I do not believe my last blog post was so long ago. My New Year's Resolution will be to keep up to date with my blog.

And I didn't even blog about my new book: Gothic Knits published by the ever wonderful Search Press UK.

I'm so thrilled with the way it looks. It is available on or Amazon UK or Search Press UK. I can't wait to see someone knit one up. It was a really fun book to do.

I've just finished writing my social and cultural look at 1920s Britain and my brain is still rather stuck in that era. I was able to draw on family for this book too which made it really special. not sure when it is coming out but it is being published with Pen&Sword Books UK.

I did find some drawings I did when I was about 18 and I thought they didn't look too bad at all.

Makes me think I should do some more in this style. 

I've also been developing some medieval style dolls based on dolls from the period. It is a tricky thing to do: balance a 21st century aesthetic and playability with authenticity.

I have designed some knitted versions as well. There is no evidence for or against knitted dolls having existed in the middle ages. There are no examples known but then there are no cloth dolls either but there is no doubt they existed. Knitting was practised widely back then, usually stockinette in the round. Intricated patterns were knitted into socks and vests so it is certainly plausible that a mother may have fashioned a child's toy from left over yarn.

I'm hoping to be selected to have a doll stall at the Abbey Medieval Festival in July this year. The festival is held at the Abbey Muesum in Caboolture, near Brisbane. My son is with a re-enactor group that goes there every year. You have to dress up in authentic costume to participate. Fingers crossed.