Friday, January 30, 2009

My Rainbow

I am not sure I like my rainbow very much LOL

Your rainbow is intensely shaded yellow, blue, and indigo.

What is says about you: You are a tranquil person. You appreciate cities, technology, and other great things people have created. Friends count on you for being honest and insightful. You're good at getting people to like you.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

H.T. To Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Naughty Sammy pps 3 and 4

Grandad threw the ball for Sammy while L... was eating some lunch at the picnic table outside.
One time he threw it too hard and it landed in the bushes.

Sammy followed after it, squeezing through the leaves until he was quite lost from sight.
Inside the bushes, it was dark and damp, and Sammy began to feel rather scared.

Story and pictures Copyright by R. Proffitt

Sammy pg2

Sammy 2
Originally uploaded by spinneretta

After getting input from DD (the recipient) I coloured the picture :)
On to page three...

One day L... brought Sammy a brand new ball to play fetch with.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Originally uploaded by spinneretta

page 2 of my Sammy story.

One day L... brought Sammy a brand new ball to play fetch with.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sammy pg1

Originally uploaded by spinneretta

I'm working on a small picture book of Mum's dog, he is great fodder for stories because he is so naughty!
It's for DD's birthday because she loves the stories we have told her about him- true AND made up ;)


Once there was a naughty puppy called Sammy, who was always getting into trouble.

Sammy belonged to the Nanny and Grandad of a little girl named L..., who loved to go and see him.


I just uploaded some photos of the freezing rain, onto my nature notebook :) I am considering HOW I might paint this... :)


I don't like to talk much politically here, but I am getting very angry about this particular act! you can read all about it here at Kidhaus and download the action plan from here Blog by Handmade .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Of Mice and Rivers...

Only not so iconic! Sorry Mr. Steinbeck!
Two pictures of a view of the Rappahannock river- the first in coloured pencil, the second in acrylic.

My brand new wireless mouse- it's bluetooth and the buttons are customisable :) The perfect addition to my laptop :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Notebook Pages

First up, the Papaver flower. Of course, Papaver is just Latin for Poppy :) This is from a photo- I just love the way that the poppy petals are so frilly :)

Then I wanted to experiment with my (very cheap) acrylics. I didn't have any canvas around, I did what I was taught in school- I made acrylics into a watercolour- well at least STYLE wise I tried. Acrylics are not exactly transparent, so the technique was a little different- I had to get used to the fact that acrylics dont layer the same :) I was surprised at how well the paper held up to them, hopefully it will be OK.

After making some notes about my experiment, I wanted to eat the chocolate I picked up earlier in the day. First, however, I drew them. I just love Cadbury's creme eggs, I just wish they didn't make them smaller each year!

My favourites are the caramel ones- I love caramel!
P.S. All post pictures today are photos- the scanner is offline for a bit :/

The Art Books I Like

This is a continually running post I am setting up- I will link it in the sidebar for the express purpose of recording the wonderful art books I like :) There are three categories- drawing, painting and inspirational. That's pretty much self explanatory :D. There is no particular order to these, just the one I felt like ;)


The Big Book of Drawing by Lee Hammond. Lee's books are ALL great books for teaching drawing. They are what I would call intermediate to advanced level drawing books, for those who already understand the basics of perspective. Lee's books are all about making your drawings REAL. She has some really great tips, and I highly recommend trying them out- some seem a little fussy or finicky BUT are actually very helpful if you have complicated pictures you want to draw :)

How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs by Lee Hammond

Lifelike Drawing in Coloured Pencil by Lee Hammond. This one takes the steps from her graphite books a lot further- teaching you how to add colour. I admit, I liked it because she used Prismacolor pencils- which I happened to have :D

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. This is a really good book for the beginner artist. Yes, it CAN help the more advanced, but typically it works best for those who want to learn from scratch :)

The Sierra Club Guide to Sketching in Nature by Cathy Johnson. I love Cathy's books, and she also has a number of CD's at her website that are worth checking out since many of the older books are far too overpriced (and it is not money going to her!!). The CD's are compilations of information from her older books and modern updates. Definitely look for these :) This particular book is a guide to sketching while out and about- in different media.

Sketching Your Favourite Subjects in Pen and Ink by Claudia Nice. Claudia's books are really the definitive work on sketching in pen and ink. If you want to learn some of her tricks, then her books will definitely teach you how to make the most of that pen you are too timid to try :)
How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal by Claudia Nice. This is a simple book that just gives some helpful suggestions on making your own sketchbook journal- my favourite part is the little bag she made for her tools though :)


Creating Nature in Watercolor by Cathy Johnson. This is great tips and tricks book for actually painting from nature. Like most of Cathy's books it is full of ideas, and worth buying :)

Creating Texures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice. Goes with her pen and ink drawing books, only this one adds paint too. Buy as a companion to the pen & ink book and enjoy the full versatility of inks :)

Beautiful Botanicals by Bente Starcke King. If you ever had the idea of becoming a botanical artist, then this book is a good start. She has several tutorials you can follow through, plus tips and techniques to try.

Create Your Own Artist's Journal by Erin O'Toole. One of my favourites because it is such a nice record of HOW to make your journal, by telling you how SHE made hers!

The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook
by Gordon MacKenzie. One of the more unassuming books, this is full of techniques to use when painting with watercolors- worth the look.


When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journey of Staying Put by Vivian Swift. This is a glimpse into the sketchbooks of an artist- she has compiled pictures from her journeys and her current staying home life. It's a fun read, and sure to get you thinking :)

The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be the Artist You Truly Are by Danny Gregory. Many people credit this book with making them want to draw again- although in some ways it IS an how to book, it is also inspirational for making you WANT to do it, and not be worried about HOW you do it. As with all of Danny's books, he illustrated it himself, his drawings are definitely quirky and very lively :) It's a great book for those just starting back into drawing.

Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. This is Danny's journal- one of self discovery and realisation. It's a heartwarming read :)

An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers by Danny Gregory. I consider this one to be the most inspirational of Danny's books- because here you get to glimpse into the sketchbooks of all kinds of artists! This book is sure to inspire anyone of an artistic bent, into wanting to make their own journals. If you can only buy ONE inspirational book, make it this one!

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. I love this book- not because it was written long ago, so much as the life it shows in it. The author's story is somewhat tragic, but her paintings and nature notes should definitely grace EVERY homeschooler's shelf, and artists are sure to find her book a delightful read :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Jacobite Rose

So last night I was surprised by an Irish coffee made by my husband :) Since I had spent the day working on my blog (with the very kind input from a few friends) I had not yet drawn anything. The coffee was perfect- my skills at drawing have improved considerably since I last drew a coffee mug!

And this is the flower from which my blog gets its name- the Jacobite Rose. In Latin, it is the Rosa alba 'maxima', which just means the big white rose :) It is what is known as a 'full' bloom- you can tell from the number of petals. A Rosa alba 'semi-plena' would be the 'half bloom' flower- or the one with just the single set of petals surrounding the centre. The rose in my header is a 'semi-plena' one :)

This rose is said to have been one of the symbols of the Jacobite rebellion- somewhat of a tradition in the UK when you think of the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster and the Tudor rose...

None the less, this Jacobite rose is from a photo of OUR Jacobite rose :) and is really the namesake of the blog :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog Changes

Don't worry- I know the blog is messed up :) I am in the middle of making changes- so keep a watch right here!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Virtual Sketch Date


Originally uploaded by spinneretta

My first submission for the virtual sketch date- my favourite winter fruit. I was inspired to join in by some fellow artists!
I overworked the back, right peel segment unfortunately- that's what happens when you try to do Latin and Greek while drawing :-o
Arches HP Paper, Prismacolor Pencils, White Gelly Roll pen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

EDM #207 Draw a Shell

EDM #207 Draw a Shell
Originally uploaded by spinneretta

Well I couldn't choose which one to draw, so I had fun and drew four :) I experimented with my waterbrush and watercolours, as well as using my usual brush!

These shells were in a bag of bed linens a friend gave us- the kids love them :)

President Obama

President Obama
Originally uploaded by spinneretta

Two sitting presidents in two days :) Only I messed up on the likeness of this one- I am very disappointed with myself :/ Oh well, I did much better with the tones though LOL.
Maybe I'll give it another try.


Inaugurations are hard on 4 year (almost 5 year olds)

I thought she was playing in the other room only to find that she was not!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bunnies and Presidents

Well I spent the last few days churning out drawings- but you wont see most of them because I wont be posting them.
Not that they are terrible- far from it. They are just my learning curve pictures as i work my way through Lee Hammond's "How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs".
I am pretty sure that the noses, mouths and moustaches (spheres, cylinders and eggs too) I have drawn are of little interest- so you'll have to make do with these entries in my notebook :)

We brought our rabbit Mocha inside the other night, because the temperatures were dipping pretty low. The poor thing did not care for the much smaller indoor cage, nor for the constant 'loving' from the kids. He had a few tantrums and kept trying to escape. As soon as the mercury got above freezing, we put him back out, much to his happiness :)

While inside, I was able to sketch him in a few different poses, using my water soluble graphite and my water brush. I actually enjoyed those tools- they made sketching a quick and fun thing to do :)

After doing some of the exercises in Lee Hammond's book, I felt much more up to the task I had set myself for today- drawing the 43rd President on his last day in office. I thought it would be appropriate to record events of note in my notebook. I still have a ways to go with my shading and toning technique. Actually it's the blending part of it I need to work on! Not bad though!

Daybook for Monday 19th January

Peggy over at the Simple Woman's Daybook hosts these daybooks, run on over for a look :)

Outside my window...
it's cold and overcast. They are predicting actual snow for the first time in over a year!!

I am thinking...
that I can't wait for spring. The garden centres are beginning to stock up on seeds and I have catalogues to browse through.

I am thankful for...
a slight warming up of the weather. We had to have the rabbit inside for a few days because it kept getting down into the single digits at night. The kids tormented the poor thing with too much loving, we put him back outside as soon as the weather warmed slightly and he was ecstatic.

From the learning rooms... Completely loving the new schedule. I am sticking to the plans like glue this time- no continuing a lesson even if the work didn't get done. Inconvenient, but so much less hassle.

From the kitchen...
roast chicken. I will use the bones to make stock for soup later in the week. Any leftover meat will be used in lunch menus :)

I am wearing...
dark grey skirt, green v-neck. Bare legs until I find my tights (or what they call pantyhose here). Hair up in a twist.

I am creating...
art again. Working my way through a drawing book. Might make a few Artist Trading Cards this week for someone who wants to swap :)

I am going... to the grocery store. Maybe outside into the yard. Not much planned here :)

I am reading...
STILL have my Victoria and Food Matters by Mark Bittman (but only the recipes right now) and my art book :)

I am hoping...
to do some more of my drawing book PLUS adding a page to my journal...

I am hearing...
Rebel talking, the water running and the heat-pump pumping.

Around the house...
Cleaning. I want to make M'Lady a cardigan too.

One of my favorite things...
grocery stores that think outside the box (see my photo).

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Make M'Lady's cardigan, organise a homeschooler gathering, take M'Lady to a birthday party (which means buy a present for her friend).

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Picking up extra groceries became easier this weekend- M'Lady gets to do the pushing ;)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Originally uploaded by spinneretta

Click for larger picture.

What could be more appropriate than drawing Grissom on his last episode of CSI? :)
First picture in my new sketchbook! (Another handmade one ;))

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Food Matters

Food Matters
Originally uploaded by spinneretta

This book by Mark Bittman, is a great read. In the style of Michael Pollan, he gives you an "how to" guide for "eating consciously". It's the awareness factor- do you know what you are eating?
He gives a lot of information on practises within the world of processed food, and describes how he lost weight with his 'before 6' diet.
He has a 4 week menu plan, and a boatload of recipes. Each recipe is accompanied by notes- many of which guide you in making a few seasonal changes :)
It is the first 'how to' guide I have seen for the way *I* have always thought we should eat- and my favourite aspect is definitely those annotations on seasonal changes. There are not enough of those as far as I am concerned, but the menus are interesting, the food simple, and yummy :)
Enjoyable Read :) 4 **** Stars

Finishing My Notebook

Just one page left in this notebook- it is one I made myself and I have been very pleased with it! I have two Coptic Binding notebooks to fill after this- although I am seriously considering re-sewing the bindings as I find them a little loose. Here are the last two but one!

So I made a mistake when creating this page- I accidentally wrote 'pen'. When I realised, I hastily added in brush, before realising it really didn't make much sense. Oh well, my linguistic capabilities suffer when drawing ;)

Watercolour Pencils, Pigma Micron.

Prismacolor Pencils, gelly roll pen (white), Pigma Micron (black)
This stuff is delicious! It is made from the native American persimmon (you can use the ones in the store) and is a very old recipe. This one was handed down from an elderly relative of my husband. It is worth mentioning that the settlers were known to have made Persimmon Pudding in Historic Jamestowne- one of the many recipes from home, adapted to their new foods they discovered.
My husband absolutely loves persimmon pudding- it is one of the few things HE cooks, because he loves it so much (not that he can't cook- he can, very well). We dole out very small slices, because Persimmons are seasonal. The ones that made this pudding were picked by ourselves. You can buy the Japanese types in the local stores from late autumn.
Native ones should always be collected after the last frost, and eaten when squishy- they need to be very ripe :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pedicure and Favourite Socks

Click to enlarge picture.

My pedicure complete with cute snowman) and my favourite socks. They are only about 10 years old- and still have no holes :) And yes, I wear them- just in the winter though ;)

Daybook for Monday 12th January

Peggy over at the Simple Woman's Daybook hosts these daybooks, run on over for a look :)

Outside my window...
it's cold and sunny. :) Pretty typical January weather for around here. a little too cool for much outdoor study, I'm thinking we might do some feeder stuff ;)

I am thinking...
about all the things I need to do today and this week. And my artwork, and the next lesson in my book...!

I am thankful for...
a healthy family. It is so much nicer when the kids are not sick with a cold/cough :)

From the learning rooms... The new schedule is working well! My Living Memory book arrived, and I'll be setting up memory work today :)

From the kitchen...
well the dental appointment last week skewed my dinner plans, so I am debating what to make for tonight. I think it will feature bread...

I am wearing...
Jeans and a white blouse with black stripes. Very old socks (my new ones are being washed) and my hair is back with a crocodile clip. Or at least someting that looks like one!

I am creating...
More art... still working through my book :)

I am going...
to the grocery store. Otherwise maybe just a walk around the block!

I am reading...
Still have my Victoria, Country Living BE, Food Matters by Mark Bittman (I'll review it once done) and my art book :)

I am hoping...
to get everything on my list done today...

I am hearing...
the kids playing, the radio and the birds chirping- they are quite noisy today :)

Around the house...
ditto last week... A little laundry, a little cleaning and I still have those curtains :)!

One of my favorite things...
finding a book on food that I agree with.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
same as last... read, school- try to get things done.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
aren't these berries such a pretty shade of purple?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

EDM #206: We Call It...

EDM #206: We Call It...
Originally uploaded by spinneretta

I call it a tap- DH calls it a faucet. It is on what I call my bathroom sink, and what DH calls a 'lavatory'!!

Click picture to see larger image :)

16 Things About Me!

Both David and Donna tagged me for my 16 :)
1. I was born and raised in England.
2. Like Donna, I was born blonde (well what little hair I had ;))
3. Although I am from England I don't like tea.
4. Likewise I dont like fish!
5. I started to wear glasses when I was 11.
6. I got an A* for G.C.S.E. art ;) (That is short for General certificate of Secondary Education- roughly equivalent to the SATs over here, and A* is more or less A+)
7. Even though I loved art, I took the 3 sciences for A' level.
8. Of the three I preferred biology- my favourite part being the drawing ;)
9. I went to college and started in biochemistry, switching to biology later when...
10. I met my husband online...
11. Quit college...
12. and moved here to the states to marry him.
13. It was my first time on a plane, and the furthest from home I had ever been.
14. I decided to homeschool when my husband told me of his terrible experience in Middle School.
15. I fell in love with learning again- especially Nature Study- which combines art and biology, and have been learning Latin alongside my son. I had always wanted to learn Latin!
16. I haven't been home in 10 years because of cost/kids/jobs/economy... you name it! I keep planning to do it though...

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Originally uploaded by spinneretta

click for larger image.

Delicious dark chocolate kisses :) And an appropriately kissy quote from Ingrid Bergman.

Friday, January 09, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

How thrilling- Kim has given me my first award this year! You really should visit her blog, because she does deserve it :)

As with most awards, they want you to pass it on to others that you feel are deserving. In this case, there are 7 others to gift :) So here I go, in nor particular order...

1. The Inspiring Breezy at A Bowl of Moss and Pebbles
2. The ever so talented Lin at View from the Oak.
3. The very creative Margaret at Resurrection Fern.
4. The delightful Mary at Across the Pond.
5. The inventive Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits.
6. ALL the ladies at Catholic Cuisine, who make LIFE beautiful!
7. And Geninne- creator of some of the loveliest journal pages you've seen :)

These ladies are all very creative, and sit in my blogroll, I thought I'd share their pages with you, because I think you will like them all :)

Thanks once more to the lovely Kim for giving this to me, and those of you I nominated- enjoy!