Category Archives: Books

From Leeds to Sheffield (A Love Story)

Sheffield run an artist’s book prize and this year I thought I’d have a go at making a submission.  When Pickle and I were first dating he would spend all of his money to get from Leeds to Sheffield to see me and we accumulated a large number of spent train tickets.  I thought I’d stick them all together to make pages, and then draw on them in permanent marker.  After spending so long making the pages themselves, I was quite frightened of putting such an unforgiving pen to the pages, but it worked out okay in the end.  I had written a poem to accompany the illustrations, but I like it being just pictures.

Front CoverLeeds to Sheffield - A love Story 001

Page OneLeeds to Sheffield - A love Story 002

Page Two Leeds to Sheffield - A love Story 003

Page Three Leeds to Sheffield - A love Story 004

Page Four Leeds to Sheffield - A love Story 005

Page FiveLeeds to Sheffield - A love Story 006

Page Six Leeds to Sheffield - A love Story 007

All of the tickets on the cover are single tickets; the rest of the book is made out of two part returns.

As I was going to submit the book I realised that there is a charge, so I’m not entirely sure if I will submit it or not, but either way I think it will be something nice to give to Thom when he’s a lot older…a little love story of how his mummy and daddy got together… x


The Chronicles of Camm Street…

Today we decided it would be a wonderful day to visit Narnia…so we did!

 Me and Pickle emptied out our wardrobe and moved it into the lounge.  Inside we hung our dressing gowns as fur coats and made a dressing up/reading area.  The Christmas tree made another appearance!

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I made an Aslan mask.  I got the template from The Magical World of Narnia by Brian Sibley and drew the face on.  There are lots of brilliant activities in the book but they are mostly for older children

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The Sparklist and Ron Burgundy let us borrow their Christmas tree for the day for our White Witch’s Kingdom

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I got a fruit crate from Morrisons, painted it black and put cushions and blankets inside.  I attached a lantern  and filled it with battery powered fairy lights.

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It made a nice bed for Moo-Cat who was our Aslan for the day

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I dressed up as the White Witch

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I made a lamp-post so we could find our way back to Spare Oom and War Drobe

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We had lunch with Mr Tumnus

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“And really it was a wonderful tea.  There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled, for each of them, and then sardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toast with honey, and then a sugar topped cake.”

Moo-Pa quickly sketched a portrait of an old Faun with a grey beard to put on the mantelpiece over the fire.

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We re-spined some of our books with titles Mr Tumnus has in his little cave and added a little pile of his brown paper parcels.

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After lunch we went to play in the snow and Moo-Ma made a miniature snowman

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We then went inside to warm up.  We coloured in some pictures of Mr Tumnus and Lucy before we all got a bit kippy and had a nap.

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I made a wipe-able dinner mat of a map of Narnia and instead of Turkish Delight we ate rather too many Snowball chocolates (I had meant to save some for you Pickle, sorry!)

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We made some fancy paper snowflakes

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And we’re now off to watch the film and play before we have tea with Mr and Mrs Beaver.  What a fab day!

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The Pop-Up Story Centre…

I am very excited to be taking part in a wonderful project.  Ms Moz asked me if I would be interested in producing some work/ideas for group work for The Pop-Up Story Centre in Rotherham.  The idea of the project is to create….” A ‘pop-up’ magical story centre to create new opportunities families, parents, grandparents, children, volunteers, and young people.  This story centre will provide a base for Rotherham people to come along and share stories, publish work, learn about illustrating and story telling.”

 I was highly honoured when the lady behind the project took at look at some of things I have been making recently and deemed them of a high enough standard to join the scheme.

The first theme of the Pop-Up Story Centre is a Dickensian one, focusing on stories with a Victorian feel and incorporating elements of the Christmas Carol on the lead up to Christmas.  I didn’t really know a great deal about Charles Dickens, so I did a little bit of research to see what I could be inspired into making.  I came across his last words….”On the ground” which were a response to his daughter’s request that he lie down after suffering a stroke.  I thought about what the shop might need…I decided that all shops need a door mat, and one that says “On the ground” would be pretty neat indeed…so here it is…On the ground

 I tried to bleach the words onto the mat at first, but it wasn’t taking, so I resorted to acrylics and I’m really pleased with the result.

I didn’t entirely understand what the project was about until I watched the following Ted Talk with Ms Moz.  He explains it all rather better than I could!  The Rotherham project has these ideas at it’s heart, but done on a local scale and with more art/textiles etc included…

You can find more information on the project at

I’m really looking forward to supporting this…how exciting! x



Calm down, Boris Johnson…

After a friend mentioned how happy he’d be if Calm down Boris was actually about Boris Johnson, I decided to make it so.  This amended version of the classic children’s book comes complete with Boris Johnson’s blond mop over each eye x

Thom’s mobile library…


I adapted Thom’s block trolley so that he can be just like Mummy.  The days I’m not working in the library, me and Thom get to play mobile libraries and push the library around issuing books to people.  On one side it says “The book stops here” and on the back “Don’t just sit there….circulate!”  I sent this picture to my friend in Sheffield Children’s library and she liked the idea so much they are going to make one, which has made me a very happy Button indeed


He has also made an appearance in a classroom in Hull today!  Hooray! x

Get thee to a library…

I seem to have plodded through this week amidst a mist of yawns with drowsy functioning…I’m quite sure the government has secretly squeezed two weeks into one whilst we weren’t looking… this is not to say that there haven’t been some quite delightful moments and these are the Button twinklings I would like to share with you…

On Saturday me, Pickle and Mrs Armitage all went to our local library to borrow items and join up respectively.  It will be of no surprise to you that we are all big library enthusiasts and we are worried by recent stories of library closures and reduced hours.

I had a few ideas for making things, so I decided to choose some audiobooks so I could listen to stories whilst I squirreled away with felt and thread.  I have a theory that as adults we still crave the joy we felt as children at story time… just because we get older does not mean we enjoy this luxury any less, yet it seems to fall away.  I love being read to, always have…Pickle reads to me in the bath and it’s such a treat.  In the absence of having a wonderful someone to read to you, I find audiobooks an appropriate and convenient alternative.  They are great for the walk into work…on a gloomy Monday morning who wouldn’t be cheered by the animated tones of Stephen Fry telling you fervent tales?

I listened to Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift…what an amazing book!  It went by all too quickly as I beavered away over the T-Shirt I am making for the Half Man Half Biscuit gig we’re going to (which I’m extremely excited about already).  The kids at school told me that there is a new Gulliver’s Travels film out at the cinebobs…it has Jack Black in it…I am confused about Jack Black.  I watched Be kind rewind and thought both him and the film were wonderful.  I think when he gets it right he really gets it right, but when he doesn’t he comes across as someone I would repeat don’t-sit-next-to-me-don’t-sit-next-to-me-don’t-sit-next-to-me in my head should he get on the same bus.

I went to bed early on Wednesday night and snuggled up with a cup of hot chocolate and Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot.  Such a sweet story.  I also finally finished Seeing Stars by Simon Armitage.  I had been rationing myself to one or two stories a day so I could think carefully about what I had read for the rest of the day.  I did the same with Sum:40 tales of the afterlives by David Eagleman…a book I will reread again soon…my brain loved that book.  My brain and the rest of me simply loves books…

Libraries may be entering dark days, with some holding up their Kindles by way of making light…but I love BOOKS not just the words on the page, the stories themselves, but the physical item we refer to as “Book”.  The feel of a book in your hand, the smell of it’s worn charity shop paper pages, the comfort of it resting, slightly curled in your bag, reassuring you that it doesn’t matter if you’re early to the pub to meet your friend, because here is a tiny paper friend ready to keep you entertained until the human fleshy friend arrives.  The thrill of being the first person to take out a much sort after library book, the way they sit happily together on shelves, conservatives next to labour, Clarkson next to someone who isn’t a complete twat, the Koran next to the Bible…we could all learn a thing or two from books…

To Have old train tickets and to have not much to do with them…

I have just finished reading Ernest Hemingway To Have and Have Not… I do like Hemingway, but he’s always a bit fishy for me…

It makes me went to start calling drunk people “rummies” and tell everyone to “take it easy.”

On completing Hemingway I have begun Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from underground… which seemed a good option as it is a week today that I last went to work and, in fact, apart from a trip to the doctors (which you could hardly call an outing) it was a week today that I was last outside!  I, unlike the main protagonist in the book, have not decided to withdraw from society to scribble away about my suffering (I’m not doing that here.. am I?) but instead have a stinky virus thing.  Pickle took the day off work yesterday and looked after me… he’s back at work today…

 We get a lot of train tickets from Pickle going to work… I’ve been saving them up…


I don’t have quite enough to write, “There’s no place like…” at the front yet.