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Bringing the Christmas Magic back!

I don’t know if you’ll have seen the latest craze to sweep the World, I spotted it late into last years season, so when I spotted a couple of friends at it again this year, I just had to join in.  Although I love Dinovember, the pressure to keep that up was too much, but with my 10 year old boy starting to question the magic of Christmas and my 3 year old not yet understanding what it was all about, I knew my time was limited.  Then in flew Crinkles.  Our own special magic Christmas Elf on The Shelf.

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The Netherlands – Day 4

Our last day in the Netherlands had to be spent with the windmills.  So we headed to Zaanse Schans where they have working windmills.

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A look back at 2013

It’s New Year’s Eve and time to reflect and what a busy year it’s been!!

I have added new products to my illustration range:

 

Although I have been going to the Tetbury Market for a while by the end of 2013 I have taken over organising our Craft & Gift Fairs at Tetbury Market House.

 

I have started being an Independent Phoenix Trader.

 

And last but definitely not least is my photography.  In January I started entering the Image of the Month Competition with The Guild of Photographers and have been awarded 6 Silver Bar Awards and 20 Bronze Bar Awards with December’s scores still to come back.  It has been an incredible year for my photography and here are all those award winning images:

 

It has been an amazing year and I can’t wait to get started on 2014 to see where it takes me!

Happy New Year!!!

Three Silver Bars for Snapdragons!!

August saw me achieve my best results yet with my highest individual scores in The Guild of Photographers Image of the Month Competition.  The snapdragons were calling to me to photograph them from the minute I saw them and I am really pleased with how the final images turned out.

Snapdragon with Frame

My highest scoring image to date

Snapdragons in a jug

My second highest scoring image to date

Close up of Snapdragons

My personal favourite of the 3 snapdragon images

I’m so thrilled that I’m reaching the rare and hard to achieve Silver Bar Awards repeatedly, it’s a huge personal and professional achievement which I hope to maintain while I aim for the next level.  My highest marks this month saw me just 2% away from Gold!!  As would be expected, Gold Bar Awards are very hard to achieve and fingers crossed one day I’ll get there!

 

 

On A Roll – Another Silver Photography Award!

I was able to enter my most recent peony collection into the Guild of Photographers monthly competition for July and am delighted to have scooped up another Silver bar award and 3 bronze bars for it and also a bronze bar award for a portrait image of my son.

Peonies in a vase - My Silver Bar Image

Peonies in a vase – My Silver Bar Image

 

This peonie image missed a silver by just 1%!!

This peony image missed a silver by just 1%!!

 

A strong bronze bar for this peonie

A strong bronze bar for this peony (which will be hanging on my wall somewhere)

 

Another bronze for this peonie image too!

Another bronze for this peony image too!

 

My lucky charm! A bronze for my boy.

My lucky charm! A bronze for my boy.

 

I’ve had some really great results this month but I’m not sure how much longer I can keep it up!  It takes a lot of patience and time to capture a great image and bring the best out of it in post production editing but for my fine art prints I also spend hours carefully adding textures, light & shade and bringing out details that had been lost.  I liken my mouse cursor to a paintbrush and the more I work on my fine art collection and the more awards I’m lucky enough to win, the more I consider it an art.  And with only a week until the August deadline I’d better get clicking!

 

 

 

 

Second Silver Award Success!

June was a busy month and as the end drew near I wasn’t sure I’d have any images to submit for The Guild of Photographers Image of the Month Competition, let alone try to get another Silver Award.  So I found some lovely floral images that were good, but were just missing a little something and packed my youngest son in the car for a nice walk in the local Arboretum.

 

A Silver for the pom pom dahlia

A Silver for the pom pom dahlia

I was already happy with my pom pom dahlia image, the flower’s texture was great and the colours were so rich it created a velvety feel to the image, so with just a little of the fine art touch it became a work of art.  The judges thought so too and awarded it a ” rare – difficult to achieve” Silver Bar Award.

 

Fine art tulip scored a bronze

Fine art tulip scored a bronze

As you may be aware, I love to photograph tulips.  Their texture comes through beautifully when captured through a lens, but having already submitted a handful of tulip images, I wanted to do something a little different with this one so it also got the fine art treatment.  And the result was a Bronze Bar Award.  I’m thrilled that my collection of tulip prints has so many award winners amongst them!

 

A Bronze for my cheeky boy

A Bronze for my cheeky boy

And after much chasing around and getting out his favourite ball, I finally  managed to catch my little boy in a moments peace… and yes, it was just a moment, the little smile and the look in his eye is very much his “you’ve got me now but just you wait” look!

I said last month after getting my first Silver Award that I would be aiming for silver again, well I did and I got another one!  I’m absolutely thrilled.  There’s no doubt I will be aiming for silver again this month and with about a week left to finish my entries I’ll be busy.  You never know, one month I may even aim for Gold! :D

 

My First Silver Photography Award

Every month I enter The Guild of Photographers Image of the Month competition with what I feel are my strongest images that I hope to get awards with.  Each month when I enter them I’m usually fairly confident, but by the time the results come out (at least 3 weeks later), the self doubt begins!  I loved my asparagus and orchid images when I had created them and of course the images of my gorgeous son but are they “Award Winning”?

My First Silver Bar Award

My First Silver Bar Award

Well a panel of judges that scored them think so!  And they liked my asparagus image so much that they awarded it a Silver Bar!  Silver Bar Award images are rare and defined as “Images that are very well crafted at a professional level – difficult to achieve”.   I have been aiming to raise my average scores from Bronze Bars which are amazing to receive as they are also difficult to achieve, but it’s something else to feel like I have reached the next level in my photography.

A Bronze Bar award for my orchid image

A Bronze Bar award for my orchid image

Alongside my Silver Bar Award, I also managed to total up another staggering 5 Bronze Bar Awards!!

Another Bronze Bar For my fine art orchid image

Another Bronze Bar For my fine art orchid image

All I can say is it’s lucky I have such a willing model in my youngest son, my eldest’s rates are getting far too expensive!

A Bronze Bar for my youngest

A Bronze Bar for my youngest

Another Bronze Bar, I expect it was for the eyes!

Another Bronze Bar, I expect it was for the eyes!

Another Bronze Bar - It seems Fistral Beach is my lucky spot!

Another Bronze Bar – It seems Fistral Beach is my lucky spot!

I’ve had an amazing couple of months with record scores, but it’s been such a busy month, I don’t think I’m going to be able quite as many images into June’s Image of the Month Competition.  But now that I’ve reached that elusive Silver, the bar has been set and I shall most definitely be aiming for it again.

Wish me luck!

 

 

New Personalised Illustrations

When I first started my illustration range, along with my original name prints with illustrations for each letter and full alphabet prints, I created a letter print range of illustrations.  Just one illustration with the corresponding letter.  I thought these could be a nice way of adding a bit of personalisation to a children’s room without a full name.  However, it seems as though they’re not as popular as I’d have hoped.  But then it struck me at the weekend…. Why am I printing them as letter prints, when I should be designing them as alternative name prints?  How had I not thought of this before?!

 

Choose your favourite illustration

Choose your favourite illustration

Choose your favourite illustration from the complete range of 72 and then add your name underneath.

 

Longer names can fit

Longer names can fit

With the original name prints, it is difficult to fit too many letters on as the illustrations become too small, however with these new personalised prints, longer names can be accommodated very easily.

 

Name colour is chosen to match the illustration

Name colour is chosen to match the illustration

The colour of the name will be chosen to match the illustration, but if you have a preferred colour then you can just let me know when you order.

Order today!

Order today!

They are approx. 23cm x 23cm and are available to order from my online shop for just £9.50 unframed or £19.50 framed.  Click here.

 

 

Name prints with extra personalised details

I’ve been thinking about offering extra personalised details on my prints for a while, so when a friend asked me to create one for a Christening present, of course I told her I could!

Add up to 3 sections of text of your choice

Add up to 3 sections of text of your choice

There are three areas of text that you can add details to.  Two standard rows immediately below the name and then a little section in the corner if you’d like to “sign it”.  It is entirely up to you what details or text goes in those areas and I will balance the text size to fit nicely on the print.  Text colour will be a softer shade of the main text colour i.e. for boys it will be a softer blue and for girls a softer pink.  Digital proofs can be emailed out to check for any errors prior to printing if requested.

 

Happy Christening Mia Grace

Happy Christening Mia Grace

I have been given permission to share the lovely print that was created for Mia.  The Christening was on sunday and I received some lovely feedback on sunday evening from them: “Thankyou so much for making me a great memento for my Goddaughters christening present! It was beautiful and would recommend you to anyone for childrens gifts for any occasion! xxx”.  Apparently Mia’s mum cried when she saw it because it was so perfect…. but you didn’t hear that from me ;)

 

Name prints with additional personalised details will be available soon on the online shop in the meantime you can order them directly from me through my facebook page or email contact@gemmadawks.co.uk.  They will be on sale for £17.50 unframed and £32.50 framed (framed illustrations will be available for collection only.

 

 

New Bunting Collections

It seems that the majority of people that buy my bunting do so to create personalised  name bunting.  It’s great, that’s exactly why I made it,  I want people to be able to buy a personalised string of bunting right then and there and not have to place an order like they would have to for conventional bunting.  But when I was designing it I also wanted to give people the option to be able to just choose their favourite designs without having to spell anything out.  So I print each flag as double sided, one side shows the illustration on its own and the other side also shows the corresponding letter.  So my conundrum now is how can I show people how beautiful the bunting looks as a string of their favourite illustrations as well??

And thus my bunting collections were born!  There are currently five to choose from which incorporate some of the most popular of my designs and children’s favourite themes.

 

The Terrific Transport Bunting Collection

The Terrific Transport Bunting Collection

There’s The Terrific Transport Bunting Collection which includes: a yacht, a tractor, a helicopter, a bus, a car, a fire engine and a ufo (of course, I mean what better way to travel than by ufo)!

 

The Pretty in Pinks Bunting Collection

The Pretty in Pinks Bunting Collection

There’s the Pretty in Pink Bunting Collection, which includes:  a ring, a dress, a unicorn, a fairy, a necklace, a cupcake and a ballerina.

 

The Great Outdoors Bunting Collection

The Great Outdoors Bunting Collection

There’s the Great Outdoors Bunting Collection, which includes: a snail, a house, a ladybird, a nest, a gnome, a bumble bee and an apple.

 

The Animal Menagerie Bunting Collection

The Animal Menagerie Bunting Collection

There’s the Animal Menagerie Bunting Collection, which includes: a giraffe, a dog, a hippo, a penguin, an owl, a zebra and a monkey.

 

The All at Sea Bunting Collection

The All at Sea Bunting Collection

And there’s also the All at Sea Bunting Collection, which includes:  a whale, a net, a lighthouse, a treasure island, a rainbow, an octopus and a yacht.

 

So, what's in the bag?

So, what’s in the bag?

Each collection includes 7 of my unique poppered bunting flags and a pair of end loop ribbons so that they can be hung straight away.  When connected together with the end loops the string measures just over 1 metre.  They are also fully compatible with all the other designs and accessories from my bunting range.

 

My unique poppered bunting range

My unique poppered bunting range

For those not familiar with my bunting, I print my illustrations onto a canvas material and each flag connects directly onto the next by a popper.  Also in my bunting range is spacing ribbon for those that like the more traditional look of spreading the flags out and there’s also reversing ribbon so that some flags can be hung showing just the illustration and others within the same string can show the letter.  They are all hand made by me with the help of a vintage pinking machine and a handy popper press.   There are currently 72 illustrations covering the entire alphabet with 3 designs for every letter (with plans for even more designs in the future).

My new bunting collections will be making their debut appearance this weekend (25th May 2013) at Tetbury Market House and will be coming to my online shop soon!  They’ll be on sale for £14.50.