Jennifer Orkin Lewis’ Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way – the first month

My first month working my way through Jennifer Orkin Lewis’ Draw Every day from J Lacer on Vimeo.

Jennifer Orkin Lewis’ Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way has been fantastic at helping me keep my drawing practice up. It’s part sketch book, part instruction, part prompt, you get monthly themes and with each month, you get to practice with different materials. The first month’s theme is nature and marker pens, you can see how I got on in the video above.



Treachery (Giordano Bruno #4)Treachery by S.J. Parris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another excellent Giordano Bruno book; this time both he and Sir Philip are in Plymouth to see Drake’s fleet and as they arrive they discover that the Captain General himself is in desperate need of Bruno’s unique services, as a member of Drake’s crew has been found dead onboard. There are a lot of twists and turns and false leads and it’s all very atmospheric. The ending is rather bittersweet too.

View all my reviews

Richmond Park – October 2016

Richmond Park October 2016

I went to Richmond Park over the weekend, it was full of speeding cyclists, posh dog walkers and extremely randy stags, it actually wasn’t that relaxing (for once). But I did have my ‘good’ camera with me, so I took some shots.

Richmond Park October 2016

Richmond Park October 2016

Richmond Park October 2016

Richmond Park October 2016


5 things I liked this week – 7.10.16

1. The cake Girl Lacer made for Boy Lacer’s birthday was thankfully much better than my cupcakes. She used a slightly adapted Nigella recipe.
Cake made by S

2. Sometimes it’s the small things but on the way back from an appointment on Monday, I stopped off at Morrisons (we don’t have one near where I live) and had the most gorgeous wrap from their choose your own fillings sandwich bar. They’re incredibly good value, under £3, I’m so used to London prices now, I’d more expect something like that to be a fiver, as the wrap had about six fillings in and was so big it was a struggle to fit in your mouth. The fillings were good too, much fresher looking than a certain well know sandwich chain which is a soon to be teenage favourite of Girl Lacer’s.

3. I went to see the lovely doc who did my op back in June, I hadn’t seen him since then and I made him laugh with the amount and nature of the compliments I have been getting since. The second stage of the op has been booked now and will be towards the end of this month. I have been extremely lucky to be so well looked after.

4. I went to see the Opus Anglicanum exhibition at the V&A and well, just wow! An exhibition of medieval English embroidery, it is mainly religious stuff (apparently lots of stuff would have been embroidered back then but the religious embroideries were more carefully looked after) and religious stuff isn’t really my cup of tea but, oh wow, the pieces are just so well preserved, I had to keep looking at the labels and reminding myself that what I was looking at was 800 – 900 years old and the needlework, oh my goodness, was amazing. Everything is obviously under glass but you can (with the glass between you obviously) get pretty close, so to see how intricate the stitching is, well, it got this embroidery geek pretty excited. I loved how all the exhibition labels said what stitches were used and I loved how although this stuff was 800 – 900 years old, the colours used and the illustrative work, heck, it would look good if it were done today. So, if you like your embroidery, you have to see this.

5. Somebody once said to me, that I don’t have very many positive, older role models in my life and although there are a few, a lot of older people I’ve known in my life, well things didn’t end particularly well for them. So one of the many things I love about living in London is that some of the older people here, they rock, at least of the stylistic stakes. So a big thumbs up to the very elderly guy I saw on the bus, who seemed to be having trouble walking but still rocked a pair of crisply turned up jeans, a buttoned up denim jacket, a crisp blue shirt and a thickly knotted yellow and black stripy tie, with a record bag slung over his shoulder. He was a street photographer’s dream. You couldn’t help but look at him and think that he must have lived an interesting life, if I had had the nerve (and not the worry that I might have freaked him out), I would have loved to talk to him.

On the menu – not that nice cupcakes



It was Boy Lacer’s birthday today and although Girl Lacer is the official birthday cake maker this year, she couldn’t make one until the day after, so I made some cupcakes because you’ve got to have cake and a candle to blow out on your actual birthday. So I made the Malted Cupcakes from ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’ and um, they weren’t actually that nice. They were rather dense and far too sweet, so your taste buds were literally overwhelmed with the texture and the sugar, you couldn’t actually really taste anything else, especially not malt! It’s perhaps a good thing Girl Lacer is the official birthday cake maker for Boy Lacer this year!


The WIP report -September 2016

September 2016 WIP

Diamond Hex Quilt – getting even more tricky to remotely photograph well

Ugh, September was not a good craft month, I’m still having to sort out the consequences of our bedroom swap, so it feels like it’s been 24/7 housework all month and there’s still boxes in the living room (my sewing machine space), so a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to do, I couldn’t.

I’ve continued to work on my diamond hex quilt and I’ve been doing a bit more work on the Farrah Top and it now looks more like a potential item of clothing.

September 2016 WIP

And I’m still working on my secret project cross stitch.

September 2016 WIP

And I’ve been doing some art too, drawing every day in Jennifer Orkin Lewis’ Draw Every Day Draw Every Way book (which is a brilliant book). Here’s my latest completed spread.

September 2016 WIP

As for October, I have to get my sewing space back, as there is a lot of stuff I need to do and I’m up to here with bloody housework, my official 16 week post op recovery period doesn’t end until next Friday but with the amount of stuff I’ve been moving around, if my medical team had seen I’d have got a thorough telling off, I think they (and my sore stomach) would much more approve of some nice gentle sewing….



What I’ve been reading – September 2016

Books I've read September 2016

This month my reading has pretty much all been about Giordano Bruno, the hero of SJ Parris’ Tudor thrillers. I’ve completed books 1 to 3 and I’m currently at the beginning of book 4. I like them because they’re weaning me off my almost exclusive crime novel kick of the last many months (honestly, I was boring myself) but people are still getting murdered in these, so it’s a gentle weaning. And I particularly love them because the characters featured are actually, in the most part, real people. Now obviously these are fiction, I’m sure Giordano didn’t nearly as often have a knife to his throat for a start (which seems to happen at least every other chapter in the books), but the real life Giordano was apparently thought possibly to have been a spy to Walsingham. Out of curiosity, I did read Giordano’s Wikipedia page (I know, height of historical accuracy), so obviously I know all the spoilers about what happened to Giordano in the end (spoiler – it’s rather sad) and what happened to his friend Phillip Sydney (spoiler – also rather sad) but actually knowing how the real life Bruno and Sydney ended up, you can see traces of it in the books, behaviours in the fictional Bruno and Sydney that tally with how and why their real life counterparts met their ends.

Also this month, I’ve been reading a little bit of The Cozy Life, that hygge book everyone is talking about and Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon, which is very encouraging and inspiring.