Ich lerne Deutsch


Heya again,

It’s probably the fifth or sixth time I’ve begun learning German in the past 30 or so years, ever since meine Schwiegerschwester married her German husband. Each time I begin and then after a few months or weeks the effort peters out. The latest episode was triggered by picking up the Duolingo app for my Kindle Fire. Maybe the convenience of being able to carry it around with me will keep me going this time? That and the fact that my hubby and daughter are learning with me. It’s been almost two weeks this time, and I can now say ‘The cow hears the dog’. Loving the fact that cow is kuh. Hah! That’s the way my (Suffolk bred) dad has always said it.


Annette   🙂

Brandywine Stud


I’ve been keeping rats as pets since 2001 and breeding rats under the name of ‘Brandywine Stud’ since 2008. The name was chosen because of its link with the Brandywine Bridge in The Hobbit, as my little ratty friends always seem like little hobbit people to me and they certainly have the requisite hairy feet. I think, though, that my breeding phase is coming to a close. I’m not going to say that I will never breed another litter, but there are more demands on my time at the moment and, dare I say it, I feel it’s time to give myself the option of going on holiday once in a while. My standards of record keeping and updating have been slipping for a while now, and although I still make time for each cage of rats to come out to play every day, it’s increasingly difficult to fit my parents, adult children, other family, book creation, crochet, crafts, reading, computer, housework and my job around them. Time to ease off for a while. I never want to be without ratties in my life, but maybe just a couple of cages.

And more sleep.

Paint-box baby blanket


This is something I finished a few weeks ago, but I haven’t got around to showing it off here yet. It’s for a friend who is expecting a baby boy next month, crocheted in Caron Simply Soft wool and using solid granny squares because I didn’t want it to have any finger traps. I wanted it to be mainly white because she is using mostly grey and white as her colour theme, but also with some added colour. It’s turned out quite heavy, more a pram blanket than a wrap-a-newborn blanket, but I love the feel of the soft wool and the white is a lovely bright contrast to the colours, which are mostly wools that I already had for other projects. The edges are a bit wibbly, I probably gained some stitches on the way round, but I am pleased with it.


Doodle Artist – Guinea Pigs


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Let’s see if we can keep blogging for a while this time, shall we?

I’ve been prompted to revisit my much neglected blog by the publication last week of my most recent colouring book, Doodle Artist Guinea Pigs. It was a lovely book to draw. I began by being uncertain how to give character to pictures of guinea pigs, which have always seemed to me to be little round balls of fluff with a leg at each corner, but I soon realised from the lovely source photos from Warren Photographic that each guinea pig has a character all of its own, and they were a joy to draw.


The book is beginning to sell well in the UK and Europe now, but has not left the starting blocks in the US. I’m hoping that eventually the guinea pig forums will discover it and it will take off.

Run, little piggies, run!

Learning to crochet


Last year I discovered a new hobby; crochet. It’s something I’ve wanted to learn for a long time, but it was only with the discovery of YouTube tutorials that I really got going. The best one for me was girlybunches because I found it really easy to follow. It seems the English and the Americans use the same names for different stitches and this one uses the English terms. I spent a lot of time at the end of last year visiting my dad in hospital, so crochet was a useful way of feeling productive while sitting talking every evening. My masterpiece to date is a cardigan, made to this pattern but without the stripes and with a border all around. Here is the result. It’s the comfiest cardi I have and is in danger of getting worn out very quickly. It’s like wearing a blanket.


Doodle Artist Dogs


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Wow. It really has been too long since I’ve posted. There sits the post for my last book, and here I am with another one. This time I’ve filled a book with drawings of dogs, and having hit the publish button last Tuesday I’m suffering from the usual crisis of confidence as I wait for it to sell. I know these are my best drawings yet, I feel I’m improving with each book, but that doesn’t mean that it will compete with the many other doggy colouring books. So I’ll just leave you with my favourite drawing this time around. The bulldog.





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My latest colouring book went live on Amazon on Saturday evening and the anticipation is killing me. With every book I feel that my work is improving, and I’m so pleased with this one that I’m expecting big things from it. Doodle Artist Pets has pictures of twenty different pets, two copies of each picture, and I’m aiming to make a big splash with it by setting the price as low as I can for the first week. The trick really seems to be to bump the books right up the chart to make them visible in their sub categories, because once they are there they tend to stay there for a good long while.


I feel so fortunate that this opportunity to earn through self publishing and print on demand is possible these days. My other half is looking at redundancy at the age of 58 and I have the feeling we’re going to need every penny we can find. Amazon is by no means perfect, but it’s allowed me to find an income stream that would not have been available a few years ago. Check out Createspace if you don’t know what I’m on about.

Peaceful Patterns – Giveaway



If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Doodle Artist – Peaceful Patterns, it’s currently on a Goodreads Giveaway offer until the end of January, with five chances to win a copy. Drawing those patterns really did help to soothe away the tension during December, so I’m hoping they will work just as well for my customers too.

Stressful times



It’s been a good while now since I posted, partly because life suddenly became very busy at the end of last year. My dad was taken into hospital on his 85th birthday in November and spend the whole of Christmas there. For the first few weeks he was in a hospital some miles away, and as my mum was determined to visit him every evening and my brother had a broken arm, this gave me the happy task of driving her over there. Thankfully we’re now looking to get him back home again, albeit with a heavy package of carers.

Luckily for me the stress relieving properties seem to extend to the drawing of colouring books as well as the colouring side, and I managed to publish my Rabbits and Hares colouring book just in time for the Christmas rush. The Peaceful Patterns book followed and was published on Christmas day. Not a traditional day to bring out a new book, but the day afforded a break from both my day job and hospital visiting as other family members were eager to have their chance to visit. Self publishing does cut out the delays in publishing a book – once it’s ready to go, it can.

So now I hope it’s not quite too late to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope 2016 turns out to be a good one for you.