Saturday, 8 December 2012

Nativity Printable

Okay, here we go. I have been trying to figure out how to add a free printable to the blog....some people make this interweb look so easy! After much googling and some failed attempts I am trying this way.

Below may be a link to my Free Printable colour and cut out Nativity scene or it may be a whole load of indecipherable HTML gobbledygook. I will take some photos of said Nativity when I can get organised enough to have the camera in the right place.

Nativity Cut out scene

Happy Christmas crafting folks. 

More festive fun from Fat Hen And Flo

Special edition festive Stan

Make your own Gnometastic bunting

Friday, 28 September 2012

I don't get it

I am not one for watching numbers. I don't feverishly watch my Facebook page likes (although I did notice today that it is a nice round number - you can win your very own Stan if you comment here). I don't like all those 'Hike Your Likes' type pages. I want people to find  my page and genuinely want to see me in their newsfeed. Most hated comment.....'new like from blah blah, return the like'.....errr NO!!! I won't 'like' a page unless I actually want to see more from that page. I will take the time to visit your page, leave comments and interact with you. If I like your page it means I actually do...well okay there are a couple of exceptions where I ;
A: feel obliged to like you for some reason
B: need to for 'networking' purposes...boring but necessary
C: need to keep tabs on people...... 
Don't act so surprised, everyone has a fb 'friend' that fits in to these boxes. 

Anyway, I've gone off on a tangent. Numbers is where I was. Occasionally I have a look to see how many people read my blog posts. What is more popular? What do you guys want to read about? For example, more of you wanted to read about Vintage Books than Meet Betty.

That's good, I can work with that. BUT when it comes to good ol' Facebook...well......what can I say....
An average post reaches maybe a third, sometimes more, of my fans/likes. A post like this for example-

or even this - two thirds saw this.

 But nearly FOUR times as many people viewed this!!! That's way more than my total fans/likes!!

REALLY? Is this what you guys want to see?
Might need to rethink my creative business.

Good night folks

*all my hard work and they love adult chunks in jelly*

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

So what do you do all day in the studio?

Some people might wonder what us creative folk get up to in our studios every day. Other creative folk wonder if everyone else is more being organised/productive/successful than they are. I thought I'd share with you the beginning of a typical day.

So what does Susan do in the studio?
First the kettle goes on to make that very important cup of tea.

I then fling open the window and put some music on.

If I have the laptop with me I switch it on to quickly say Hi to the world. A picture would be nice, I think to myself, of this beautiful sunny morning. People like pictures. So I find my camera and take a picture, or 3 or 4, of the sun pouring into the studio.

I then notice the sun catching all the lovely colours of my crayons and remembering a conversation yesterday with the lovely Caro from Predominantly Print I decide to take a close up for her.

Whilst taking that picture I notice a name on the crayon that I've not noticed before!! Macaroni and cheese!! How cool - although my macaroni and cheese doesn't look that colour!

It looks like this.

Anyway, I start to wonder what other interesting names the crayola crayons have that I haven't noticed. Best have a quick look through all 72 of them. The folks out there in the virtual world might be interested in this too, I'd better take a picture of my favourite ones. I can then blog about it because that'll be fascinating....... they are, my favourite names.

What are your favourite crayon names?

And suddenly it's 10 o'clock..... I then have a very slight panic remembering my loooong to do list. Best put the kettle on before I tackle that. 
Welcome to the world of the easily distracted.
This social media/networking/marketing malarky is an essential and tedious part of the business.
.....and I haven't even checked emails yet!

I hope you enjoyed this little insight.


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Art residency, skipping and the joy of school stationery.

What a beautiful day it was today! The kids returned to school, the sun was shining and the windows were flung wide open at the studio. It was back to work and full steam ahead!!!
Next week I start my year as Artist in Residence at a local primary school. I'm super excited about working with the children - they are little sponges just waiting to take everything in. I popped in today for my induction and had a peek in the room I'll be using. I've got two walls to fill with whatever I want as well as an area in reception. Well I practically skipped to the studio once I was finished.......  so full of ideas in need of writing down!!

This what I was doing in my head. Thankfully I kept it there!

So this is how I spent my day. 

Messy table but GOOD messy.

Start of a sign. I love playing with maps and old annuals.

 Canvases a bit later in the day.

And then I got to look through a catalogue and order my supplies....... I was restrained (I have most of what I need from trawling skips, bootfairs and my recycling bin over the summer). But I know that some of you will appreciate the simple joy of a catalogue like this, I tried not to dribble on the pages as it has to be returned to the school.....don't want them thinking I'm weird or anything!!!! There is something seriously stroke-able about a new big class box of pencils........ go on, roll your fingers along the top and hear that sound......'s not weird!! I love school stationery. I must confess that I pick up all the yellow and black Steadtler HB pencils that kids drop on their way to school or in the playground. How can you not??!! My name is Susan and I am a pencil hoarder. Just need to get one of those school wind up pencil sharpeners.....oohhhh. Still not weird!! 

That's all for now folks, Ben & Jerry are calling and I'm starting to ramble.

Be back soon.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

We're nearing the end

The holidays are so nearly over. We've had fun. Whilst many are dreading the thought of going back to work I CAN'T WAIT!!! I love the hols and have great fun with the kids.....the lie-ins and routine free days are good too. But my studio time, and therefore my work, all but grinds to a halt despite my best intentions.
I am now raring to go....I have bootfair and skip treasure to play with.

I have a nice little stash of vintage aprons that I have a plan for. There is tidying and sorting to do.
And very soon I start my art residency at a local school so there is planning for that (I've already planned the fun stuff!) Very excited to be working with the children on some great projects.

I'm looking forward to drinking some of these :-) 

And btw, here is my quilt at The Festival of Quilts. A bit crumpled....

Summer has been fun now bring on the work!!!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

That Summer Holiday Magic Moment

I know I should probably be blogging about the amazing show that I have just participated in with some incredible artists. But I'll save that for another day. Click on the image below to see more pictures.
Or I know you want to hear about my bootfair bargains and skip raiding haul but you'll have to wait for that too.
Because today I need to tell you about that summer holiday magic moment. Those of you with kids will know that these moments are rare and MUST  be acknowledged. Well, we had ours this morning (in fact it continues as I type). 
What is a SHMM you ask? It is that moment when everything in the universe is aligned and you are granted a small parcel of time when everyone is happy and content. Treasure these moments, you will get only a few over the six weeks of hols.

This is how mine unfolded today.
Child 1 has been doing a bit of under the bed clearing out -without being asked to!!!- whilst the cat plays with his toes. Child 2 has been busy building Tatooine out of Lego.

Child 3 is tidying her bedroom pit which I know in reality means clearing a small space to sit then becoming engrossed in her Bratz and Barbies whilst listening to her favourite 'Disco' cd.
I meanwhile have done two loads of laundry, the hoovering and the washing up so am happy  that the chore quota has been adequately filled for today so brunched on eggs on toast. I am undisturbed by arguing siblings! Nobody is bored or been thumped by another! They are positively delightful. Bliss.....if this happens to you -STOP-enjoy the moment, cherish it and hold on that vision of the wonderful summer holidays for the days when everyone is arguing and moaning and bored and you just want to disappear off somewhere and make something or read your book or do anything undisturbed!!

I know this will soon come to an end. Child 1 has joined child 2 at the Lego. A stop animation film is being made. Raised voices are drifting through in the battle for control. The word idiot is being brandished. Issues on how to write 'The End'....out of Lego or on paper.... It is sure to end in tears and probably with smashed Lego.

Never mind, I have savoured my Summer Holiday Magic Moment. I am restored, recharged and ready to face whatever is thrown at me. Make sure you savour yours too. 


Update. Result of child 1 and 2 Lego collaboration. 
Downloading stop animation software has made me the best Mum ever and bought some studio time this afternoon. YAY!!!!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Meet Betty.

I've had my eye on Betty for a while. She has stood abandoned and forlorn in the corner on the studio kitchen since I arrived. Today, her previous owner had finally shed all responsibility for her. I seized my opportunity and rescued her!!
She was in a worse state than I'd imagined...... not just superficial fabric loss but internal falling apart!!!

I rose to the challenge and gathered my tools..... super sticky sticks anything glue and picture hanging wire (!) she was going to need some Heath Robinson mending. Her bust was repaired with said picture wire. 

Some glue has done the trick with the fabric, I'll tidy up all the edges once it's dry.

She still seemed a bit glum so I gave her a jubilee coloured corsage....and named her Betty as everything is all Jubilicious at the moment.

I like to say that I adjusted her dials to my size and those are my exact curves............ alas there is no dial that says 'adjust tummy to allow for having had 3 kids and eaten too much cake'. Maybe Betty will inspire me. She is a little rough around the edges but I'm sure Betty will be very happy in my studio. I might even finish the summer dress I started last year.


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Open Studio

I’m opening my studio so that you can all come and have a peek....YAY!! From the 1st to the 17th June it is South East Open Studios and although I didn’t have my studio when it was sign up time, Anne in the studio downstairs is taking part and has very kindly let me jump on her bandwagon. So now you get to visit two very different studios in one building.

Let me tell you a little about Anne Wimsett

  She is an incredibly prolific artist working with paint, ceramics and textiles. Her work is full of texture, character, heart and soul. Anne is not a crowd pleaser and cannot be faulted for her unapologetic approach to her art. She creates art that is true to who she is and this is evident when you see a large body of her work, which you will when you visit her studio. Do take the time to visit her Aladdin’s cave of a studio; there are some gems in there. Take the time to have a good look.

These two paintings are also the views from my studio windows.

After visiting Anne pop upstairs and say Hi to me. J There isn’t quite as much to see but you will get a peek at where I hide out every day.

 You might also get a sneak peek at some of the big projects I’m working on at the moment. You can also find out about the workshops I am running from the studio. I will have a batch of ready made colour yourself soft dolls available to buy, perfect for keeping the kids occupied during half term. They can even use my fabric pens to create their little piece of art whilst you look around the studio.

I do hope you can pop along. Check my Facebook page nearer the time to see when I will be there. I will try to open most days at some point in between juggling kids, home etc.

Right better start tidying the studio.........................

Fat Hen And Flo Studio 3
11/15 The Old High Street,
Opposite Georges House Gallery

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Meet Franc & Stan

I thought it might be a nice idea to introduce Franc & Stan and tell you a little more about these quiet but colourful characters.
The two chaps have an intriguing back story. Franc is a retired circus lion tamer and champion disco dancer. He is reluctant to talk much about his lion taming days and I suspect there are many tales of love, won and lost, if only he would share his stories. Nobody is sure of Franc's exact age but it is suspected that he is considerably older than he looks thanks to Grecian 2000. Franc has an insatiable appetite for pork scratchings and now spends much of his time with his best mate Stan. 


Stan is an avid collector of jumpers (sweaters in the U.S). It is rumoured that he has nearly two thousand, some dating back to the 1930's. He has bequeathed the entire collection to the National Institute for Sweater and Tank Top Design in Stanton, Nebraska much to Francs relief!!! Stan is also a champion ping pong player and has travelled the globe to compete. It was on one competition tour that Franc and Stan first met. In 1991 in a soulless hotel bar, a long way from home in Chiba City, Japan, both buzzing from winning their respective heats, they sat chatting late into the night. They remain firm friends to this day.


Franc & Stan are available to buy as a kit to make yourself or as ready made softies and even as keyrings.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Franc and Stan. We'll meet some more Fat Hen And Flo folk soon.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Do more of what you LOVE.

The weekend is here and it's a long one,yay!!!! well it is in the UK anyway. And true to form the weather is fairly miserable. I however think it's a perfect excuse to cosy down and do lots of what I love, which this weekend is mostly this.

I'll also being doing plenty of this with friends and family......

Eat, Laugh, Love Kitchen Art Print with Utensils 8x10 Art Print in Your CUSTOM color scheme
Print by Freshline Illustration on Etsy .com

and eating a little of this.....

What ever you do this weekend, make sure you do more of what you LOVE.

By the way......have you seen the new items in my shop? A little bit of of London.

Available on Etsy and Folksy.

I'm off now to eat cake and drink tea........happy days.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

What shall I write in my peacock blue square?

Today I found myself feeling a little flat and struggling to get going, the grey skies didn't help. I quite fancied snuggling up with a book and an endless cup of tea but that wasn't going to happen. I then couldn't find a pattern I was looking for that I'd had only a few days ago...grrrrrrr, so I decided to head out to pick up a coffee and get some fresh air. 
I don't really know how I came to be in Wilkinson's in the paint aisle..... looking at paint sample pots..... I am not thinking of decorating any time soon....... or why I felt compelled to buy a pot of Peacock Blue paint (complete with brush attached to lid for emergency painting moments). 
So with my paint in my bag I headed back to the studio, picking up much needed coffee on the way. Once in the studio I did this.

 I don't know why or what for but sometimes things just need to be done!!
I quite like it actually and I'm thinking I might add some text, perhaps an inspirational quote...........

What should I write in my Peacock Blue square? Answers on a postcard to ...... the comments box below will do fine. If any one suggests anything that I use I might even send you a little something from Fat Hen And Flo.


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Vintage book fun

Can you imagine asking kids today to answer these???? This is from a book of bedtime stories for young children in 1976.
How many can you get right? Answers later.

I got three and my hubby is a gardener!! I would have been four when this was published and so just the age for bedtime stories, can't imagine I'd have answered ANY then......


The answers.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Inspirational Vintage Book Bargains

Beautiful illustration on the inside cover of this 1972 'Toddlers Own' and just look at the price!

I just adore vintage children’s illustrated story books and over the past couple of years have gathered my own tiny collection. They are often found stacked on my desk when I’m working on new designs or just when I just feel like an afternoon of tea and books.... creative research, a legitimate work activity.....
What is it I love about these books? The colour, naive style, folk element, simplicity and I’m sure a handful of nostalgia needs to be thrown in. Also it’s this......

This would have been a major gift, not just an annual to bulk out the presents, thrown hastily in the trolley as it was on offer...  so cheap it can be sent to the charity shop in 3 months when it’s hardly been looked at!! This, I’m sure, would have been read from cover to cover and here it is 55 years later back on someone’s bookshelf.

Last week I struck lucky and found 4 fabulous books for just 50p each!!! OMG I here you cry....I know!!! I paid up and ran out the shop quickly before they realised their error. Inside my head I was skipping down the street. Not that they have any real monetary value but were I to stumble across them at a vintage fair say, I’d have paid handsomely I’m sure.  They range from 1957 to 1976 and are full of gorgeous stuff like this.

The 1957 Girl Annual has these beautiful colour prints in the the centre.

And OMG it even has a vintage toy sewing pattern, another love of mine that I'll share with you another time.

It's all about enjoying the simple pleasures in life and this little bundle of loveliness rounded off a great week perfectly for me.

What bargains make you want to skip down the street?