Saturday, 27 October 2012

I have not been doing so well with my promise to update my blog regularly. Things have been so busy that I have not been able to find time to keep up. This is just a quick update on my Etsy store though. I have managed to find time to develop a few bead ideas and have just added them to my shop. I hope you will be able to drop by and check them out.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

New beads

There are some new designs of paper beads in my Etsy store this week. Not only have I added more Day of the Dead beads but I have added some very meditative Om beads and two different sets of Marie Antoinette beads.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Puss in books

As I mentioned a few posts back I have had some exciting news about a couple of my drawings. They have been accepted for publication in a new book of cat sayings by Book Collaborative. Cat Sayings: wit & wisdom from the whiskered ones is to be published on the 1st September and you can find out more about me, the project and ordering the book from here. There are some lovely reviews on too. Please note that only customers from the USA can order via Book Collaborative's web site right now but Bradford is working on adding new destinations to the site. In the meantime you can order from if you really can't wait.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


My promise of more blogging seems to have fallen by the wayside. It has just been so busy lately that my brain has been in a spin. So, for now, I'll leave you with a couple of quick sketches I did of some local landmarks.

Monday, 30 July 2012


With all the recent biz I haven't had a lot of time to play around with new crafts. So it was a great pleasure to find some time this week to try kumihimo. I started out using the instructions and printable template from and followed up with the information on Weir Crafts' web site. I found that it was super easy to produce beautiful cords, both round and flat. In fact, it's so simple an amoeba could do it - if it had fingers.

My first kumohimo disk was made using the printable template stuck to corrugated card and stood me in good stead for my first attempts. However, after an evening of making cords it became a bit dog eared. So I ordered a proper one and have been making cords whenever I have five minutes to myself. Being a bit of a fibre freak, I dug around in my stash and found yarns in acrylic and wool, rat tail plus some cotton perle and hand dyed silks. All of them worked beautifully. I didn't even have a problem keeping the tension to form even cords. However, you can use a small weight (e.g. a keyring or heavy bead) hung from the bottom of the cord to keep it hanging straight if you have difficulty forming an even cord.

Now, what to do with the cord? No doubt some will be used on cards but I made a cute little bracelet from a thin spiral cord using silver plated findings. I have also ordered some larger findings so I can make the other cords into jewellery too. My new favourite craft? Definitely. How long will that last? Probably until I find the next new craft.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Opportunities, rabbits and zombie lambs

OK, I know, I am shamefully late in posting anything to my blog. Due to being hyper busy, and a few other personal issues that are highly boring, finding inspiration for blogging took a back seat. I can't promise that I will be posting any more regularly but I will be trying to. My aim is to post once a week - but much like everything else in my life right now that's open to being challenged.

I do have a couple of exciting announcements but I can't give details about them right now. One involves some of my art work being published in a book - possibly. I'm still waiting to hear what's going on with that. The other involves my craft work being on TV. Again, I don't know a huge amount just now but I hope to be sharing details with you at a later date. But talk about exciting! At the start of the year I was scared things were not going to go well this year. Certainly I've had my problems. But figuring I had nothing to loose I decided to try some positive thinking and see if I could shift that feeling. Since then sales of paintings and beads have been very healthy and I've been getting new opportunities. Here's to thinking positive thoughts.

The summer exhibition has once again arrived and as usual I was rushing around trying to get work ready. One of these exhibitions I will be organised before the hand in. But below you can find two of the entries. Both are watercolour over graphite.

The lamb started off as a pencil drawing. However, I decided that I didn't like it. The original was drawn on Arches hot pressed watercolour paper but the graphite showed the checkered surface of the paper. The lamb also had a look of a zombie lamb - staring eyes, looking like it was looming out of the picture to try and grab your liver. Again, I had nothing to loose and threw some watercolour on it. A serious improvement. But you can't help but wonder if it's thinking about a nice bit of liver for lunch.

And now we wait and see if I get any sales.

By the way, although my blog has been 'resting' I can always be found on Facebook. You can find my art page here my bead page here or my personal page here. Links to my Twitter and Pinterest accounts can be found at the top of the page.

Thursday, 15 March 2012


Hello, my name is Gillian McMurray and I am a Pinterest addict. Yes, I too have been swallowed up by the latest social media craze - which is very unlike me. I have never been one for diving in at the first sign of a new online social site. But Pinterest is different. Sharing inspirational pictures, seeing other people's favourites and, best of all, finding huge numbers of art and craft tutorials. I cannot tell you how excited I am about that and I have come across loads of new ideas and things to try thanks to Pinterest.

However, on a more serious note, there has been a lot of talk online and in the media about Pinterest's copyright issues and their claim that they can do what they like with images regardless of the copyright of the original photographer. I know that copyright is a hot topic right now. There are artists and photographers who have seen their work 'stolen' from web sites and copied in tens of different ways. That must be a truly horrible situation for them. However, in Pinterest's case it is clear that if they are to survive they will have to change their policies. It is only a matter of time. Let's face it, Pinterest are not going to be able to use any of the images with impunity. They would be bombarded by law suits. So I will be sticking around to pin a few more tutorials in the hope that Pinterest will get their house in order sooner rather than later. However, if you want to find out more about using Pinterest, they copyright issue and how best to use it for marketing then I have some links to a few articles of interest:

Copyright is Not the Problem, You Are!
on Skinny Artist's blog
The Pinterest Guide to Selling Art Online on The Abundant Artist's web site
56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest on Copyblogger

And finally, if you would like to join the fun and take a look at my boards than just click the image below or the one on the top right of the page. I'll be happy to see you there and you might even find a great little tutorial to teach you something new.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Words of wisdom and history

With the post Christmas buzz for paintings and commissions slowing down I worried that January might be rather quiet. However, I need not have worried. My beads have been flying off the metaphorical shelves. So much so that I didn't have time to work on new designs. Luckily last week I managed to get some creative time in and create some new, never seen before beads.

First up are the Vintage Word beads. Five beads with inspirational words on them. Great for grungy and vintage crafts in the style of Tim Holtz. What's more, I can even produce sets of beads with just one of those words or even totally different words (within reason).

Then we have some flag beads. So far I have just made American and British beads but if they sell then I hope to try other nation's flags. Of course, if anyone wants a specific flag produced as beads I can always do a custom order too. However, in Britain this year we have a few historic occasions to look forward to in the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. That was what inspired me to make the beads in the first place. These beads are ideal for paper crafts like scrapbook pages that commemorate any of these occasions but they are also great for making jewellery. My plan is to make some earrings to wear during the summer's festivities. Whether I get around to making some is another matter. To abuse a quote by Scotland's premier poet, Rabbie Burns - the best laid schemes of mice and (wo)men, go often awry

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

She Sells Sea Shells

I have been painting a few new things over the last week or so. I decided to try my hand at painting what you might call natural history artefacts - a.k.a. shells, feather, fossils, etc. It made a nice change to not have to paint fur, which drives me round the twist. But the architecture of these little 'bits' amazes me. Most people overlook their beauty but I have always had a fascination with picking up shells on the beach or feathers from the roadside. Or, at least I did until I brought home a tree branch that must have been home to a spider's egg sac. Let's just say the story didn't end well for someone who isn't overly keen on spiders in the house. I tend to photograph things of beauty now. However, if you take the time to look at shells or feathers you see how wonderful they really are. Little miracles of nature. So I was inspired. I've added a few pictures here but feel that I will have to find a few more 'little miracles' to paint soon.

The first two are shells found on a beach on the west coast of Scotland.

The next two paintings are sharks teeth found on the south coast of England during a fossil hunt.

And this is a fossilised bivalve from the same trip.
Mussels. They may be a form of food to many people but I love those shells.