Thursday, December 23, 2010

super happy christmas!

Thanks to you ALL for making my first year of blogging so much fun! I really do appreciate every single one of you who stops by to have a read or leave a comment. Hope you all have a Super Happy Christmas and a fab New Year! And I hope you all get some time to relax over the festive season :)
I'm looking forward to a WHOLE WEEK away at the beach with Marty and some good mates, so I'll see you all sometime after Jan 4th. Woohoo beach holiday - it's been a few years since I had one of those hehe! Lotsa Love, Bee xxoo

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Spaces!

Howdy everyone, how you doing? I have some super exciting news to share today yay! I am now a contributing artist over at Happy Spaces, a really fab company over in the UK that produce beautiful canvas wall-art for kids. They represent some artists whom I greatly admire, so I'm THRILLED to be jumping on board with them! You can check out my first three canvases here. I hope to start work on some more new designs over the Summer. Hooray! xo

Monday, December 20, 2010

sauce recipe

Hello again! I've had a request or two for my sauce recipe from the below post - so here it is. It's from a FANTASTIC book called 'A Year In A Bottle' by Sally Wise. I'd highly recommend this book if you are into preserving, pickling or jamming fruits and veg.

6kg (13lb 8oz) tomatoes, roughly chopped
1kg (2lb 4oz) onions, roughly chopped
750g (1lb 10oz) sugar
2 cups white or cider vinegar
120g ( 4 1/2oz) cooking salt
1 1/2 tbsp whole cloves
1 1/2 tbsp allspice berries
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in a LARGE saucepan (I use a massive stock pot). Bring to boil and cook, stirring regularly for 4 hours (careful it doesn't stick to the bottom and burn). Strain mixture through a seive, colander or food mill and return to clean saucepan. Bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour into warm sterilised bottles and seal immediately. Invert bottles briefly.
Consume at once or store in a cool, dry and dark place for up to 2 years.
I usually get about 11 or 12 x 300ml bottles out of this recipe.

** I sterilise my jars and bottles in the oven. First, wash your bottles with HOT soapy water, rinse and leave to dry. Place on a tray in cold oven. Turn oven to 110C (225F). When the oven has reached temperature, turn off the heat and leave bottles for 10 minutes. I also chuck the lids in the oven, otherwise you can simmer them in boiling water for 2 minutes and make sure they are dry before sealing.

Happy sauce making!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

gettin saucy

 Here it is at the start...
 Here it is 4 hours later...
Voila! Ready to give :)

For as long as I can remember, my family have always given each other home-made gifts at Christmas. We've never much cared for extravagant gifts, preferring to have something that's been made with love! This year, I've made a couple of batches of tomato sauce (ketchup) for all my relatives. Summer is barbecue season, and you can't have a barbecue without sauce, right?! So here's the result of my efforts, and I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out! Do you get busy in your kitchen at Christmas time? What yummy things do you like to make?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

art prints now available

Hello all! How is your week going? Can't believe there's only one weekend left between now and Christmas... where has December gone?! Anyway, I'm here to let you all know you can now get your little mits on some of my art prints if you wish! I've just listed 'Mister Fox's New Hat' and 'Odette' in my Etsy store, they are limited editions of 20 each, hand signed and numbered and they come mounted in a nice white matte board.
You can also get my 'Field Trip Kids' series (six designs in all) via the lovely Lark shop. These are open-edition prints and do not come mounted. I do plan to add these to my Etsy store once I have more in stock. I'm planning to have some more prints happening in the new year - huzzah!
I hope all your Christmas preparations are coming along nicely, isn't it a mad time of year?! xoxoxo

Friday, December 10, 2010

nelly's friend

Yay I received these samples in the post last week! A greeting card I designed for Papyrus a while ago... I love how they've put the glittery flitter on the yellow bits! And it's been printed on very lovely matte cardstock. I don't think it's available for purchase online yet but I'll let you know when :) Have an awesome Friday xo

Monday, December 6, 2010

harvesting garlic

Whoo it's hot and humid today! I've just pulled all my garlic out of the ground, ready to be hung and cured so it stores nicely all year. I had to pull it up a little early this year, as you can see, the bulbs aren't quite as big as they should be. All the torrential rain we've had recently has bent the garlic foliage right over, and they've started dying off already... so unfortunately we have small-medium bulbs this year, but it's still enough garlic to last us the whole year through, and some left over for xmas presents yay! Hope your Monday is going ace :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

FREE printable xmas tags

Hey there friends! Just a quick stop today to let you know about some FREE printable holiday gift tags you can download over at our group blog, We Love To Illustrate. Pictured above are mine, but please swing by We Love To Illustrate and check out the other GORGEOUS designs by Nina, Julissa, Jennifer, Cally and Shirley... these girls create the most unreal illustrations, and I can guarantee you'll find some free gift tags that you'll fall in love with! Happy Friday, and happy downloading! xoxo

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

happy woodland fabric

My Happy Woodland fabric is now available for sale at Spoonflower - hooray! Perfect for children's clothing or soft furnishings. You can click here to check it out. I'm currently working on some new designs and will hopefully have a stack more for sale after Christmas. Hope you're having a lovely Tuesday :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

weekends and weddings

Happy Friday, lovely people! What's on for your weekend? I'm taking a trip up to Daylesford to see the lovely Allison of Lark. I have some stock to drop off and I'm also looking forward to browsing her Lark Garage Sale. Oooooh I can't wait! I think I'll have to go to the Daylesford Makers Market while I'm there too... hmm I'd better set myself a strict budget or I'll be in trouble before I know it with so many lovely handcrafted things on offer!
Here's a wedding invite I designed recently for some super lovely friends of my brother's. I didn't realise when I designed it that Sumah actually has a phobia of birds... Stefan told me to keep the bird on her head in the design as he found it hilarious... blokes! :D

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

feature on Bondville

Hello all! I was super excited to receive an email from the very lovely Stephanie Bond, the talent behind the wonderful Bondville blog. Stephanie has featured my Christmas cards on her awesome blog - what a thrill! Thanks Stephanie for the fab write-up. Do pop by and check out Bondville, it's full of super fabulous Australian design for mums, kids and home. Have a top Wednesday :D

Monday, November 15, 2010

The 'C' word...

All images and designs copyright Belinda Strong 2010

... CHRISTMAS! 'Tis nearly the season to be jolly, and I thought I'd let you all know about my range of Christmas cards for this year. There are four designs and you can buy them through the wonderful Lark shop, or my Etsy shop. You can buy the cards individually, or get big discounts when you buy a pack of 8 or 12!


From now until November 22nd (that's ONE week only) ALL you lovely people who read my blog can receive 25% off ANYTHING you order from my Etsy shop! For example, that means that cards go from $5.95 down to $4.45 YIPPEE!
Here's how it will work:

1) In the 'message to seller' window as you checkout please type HONEYJUMBLE so I know to apply the discount... if you don't type it, you won't receive the discount :)
2) **IMPORTANT NOTE** Please pay via PAYPAL - You will be charged the regular price as Etsy can't create discounts. I will then be able to refund you the 25% after you've checked out.
NOTE: Discount will not apply to shipping.
NOTE: I usually have plenty of stock so if you'd like more than what is listed please convo me via Etsy and I'll create a custom listing for you.

Happy shopping! :D 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

birthday cards

Hellloooo! My goodness, has it really been a week and a half since I last blogged? Where has the time gone? How have you all been? THANK YOU ALL so much for all your congrats on our wedding anniversary and for all your Spoonflower votes! You guys rock! I didn't win the comp, but the winning design was AWESOME. I do plan to get a Spoonflower shop running soon though so my designs will be available to purchase as fabrics... hopefully before xmas but will more likely be in the new year.
Anyway... here are some cards I did recently for Greetings Factory in the UK. I had heaps of fun with these :) Hope you are all doing ace! xxoo

Friday, October 29, 2010


Happy Frrriiidddaaayyy!! Wheeee it's the end of the week and I'm REALLY looking forward to a weekend away with Marty - it's our first wedding anniversary so we are spoiling ourselves for two lovely nights! What have you got planned for your weekend? I hope you get some time to do some fun stuff :)
I've just entered a design in this week's Spoonflower fabric design contest. The theme is 'woodland creatures' and there are lots of lovely entries! Why not take a look and vote for your faves here. Voting closes Nov 3rd. Have a top weekend everyone... see you on the other side! xxoo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Ello everyone! How have you all been? Wow - it's been a busy time for me, so I'm just going to leave you with this AWESOME little piece of Janis Joplin today. She's gotta be my fave female vocalist EVER. Hope this leaves you feeling goooood :) Don't you just get shivers when you hear that voice belting it out?! WOW.

For some REAL shivers, listen to the first 15 seconds of this one:

Friday, October 15, 2010

greetings for little ones

Friday woohooo! How has your week been? Are you looking forward to anything special on the weekend? I'm looking forward to a yummy Thai dinner with some ace friends tonight mmmmm can't wait! Just stopping by today to show you some brand new pieces for my portfolio, which will be available for license through my agent. Wishing you all a happy Friday and a super fun weekend :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

lovely things

Romper by Twiglet

Echidna by Mookah

Helllloooo everyone, happy Monday! Did you have a good weekend? I hope so! Melbourne FINALLY turned on some proper sunny Spring weather this weekend, and our day at the Finders Keepers market was sensational. We stopped on the way to the market for some morning tea at the lovely home of our dear friends Liz and Jason - (thanks for the yummy danishes guys!). Then we had a good wander around the Finders Keepers market, in fact we went around twice because there was just SO MUCH beautiful stuff to look at. Well done to all the stall-holders, the standard and variety of handmade goods was just so impressive. I could have spent a fortune, but I stuck to my budget (pat on the back for me - it took a lot of will power!). I bought the two lovely items above.... the CUTEST little retro-print baby romper from the awesomely talented Dana of Twiglet. And this Echidna softie, which I've named Crazy Ed, from the equally talented Mookah. We finished off our ace day out with lunch in the sunshine by the water at Docklands - felt like a holiday!
Hope your week is off to a great start :) xoxo

Thursday, October 7, 2010

finders keepers

What are you up to this weekend? If you are around Melbourne, why not take yourself down to the Finders Keepers market? It's going to be rad!! Lark will be there, with some gorgeous products from Belle & Boo, and their new Daisy Lane products (which I just adore) and some of my Little Beehive products too... including my brand new 'Field Trip Kids' prints which I recently exhibited. I'm going to check it out on Saturday, and I can't wait!
P.S - How cool is the poster artwork by Brisbane artist Lauren Carney ?!

Monday, October 4, 2010

FREE printable treat box!

Download my treat box HERE!

Oh my goodness - October! Where has the year gone already?!
I hope you all had fab weekends, and are ready for another week :)
Over at out group blog, We Love To Illustrate, we've all created some FREE printable Halloween treat boxes for you to download, print, assemble and fill with treats on Halloween! Please head on over to
We Love To Illustrate
and check out the other fun treat boxes from Cally, Shirley, Nina, Julissa and Jennifer. I had a ball creating my little treat box, I hope you enjoy. Have an awesome Monday :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

new stuff

'Fairy Bread' card range 
'Lemondrops' card range

Ello!! Just a quick one today to do a little plug for some NEW STUFF available right now in my Etsy store - yippee!

There's the 'Fairy Bread' card range - four cards for birthday or everyday occasions featuring characters from some of my favourite fairy tales... Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and
Puss In Boots.

And there's the 'Lemondrops' card range, if you need to send a cheery greeting :) Featuring Thank You, Hello Sunshine, Basil and Nelly.

You can find them in my Etsy store, or you can buy them through the gorgeous Lark online shop.
Cheers everyone! :D

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

exhibition accomplished!

Howdy everybody! How is your week going? Only a couple more days until the weekend - yay!
The exhibition opening last Friday was great - SO many fab people rocked up to have a look at our artwork and have a good natter. Was a very fun evening! I finally decided on names for my last two little friends... Thanks so much to Flora, who suggested the name 'Meg' for the girl and to Moira, who suggested 'Alfie' for the boy. All your suggestions were very much appreciated though, it was hard to chose just two.

Oh and I have decided to post the 'Getting to Know...' segment monthly. Workload is getting a bit nutty, and organising myself to do mini-interviews is a little tricky at the mo :) xo

Thursday, September 16, 2010

getting to know... Pinky the Toymaker

Hello lovelies! Sorry about the delay in this week's 'Getting To Know...' post. I've been a busy bee getting the exhibition set-up. All done now and ready to roll for opening tomorrow night yay!

OK - May I introduce Pinky the Toymaker! Pinky has been sewing for 20 years - since she was little. She has studied sewing, pattern making and graphic arts at college and now also teaches at college. Pinky says POO POO to factory-made toys, and aims to create gorgeous softies that are just as special as the children they belong to. Pinky has a wonderful Etsy shop here and a Flickr photostream here - please do take a visit!

 images and designs copyright Pinky the Toymaker 2010

*Where do you find inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration for my toys from fabric, my fiancé and my childhood. I didn't have a lot of store bought toys when I was little and I guess that's why I started sewing my own too. My mother had a beautiful wooden Babushka doll when I was little and with all the beautiful bright fabrics available I have always wanted to make a fabric one. I like simple forms because they are quick and easy to make but I've also been know to spend 100's of hours making art dolls too.

*How do you usually start and finish your working day?
I teach and I'm a freelance graphic artist so my days vary. I do a lot of my toy making in the evenings during the week and then spend all weekend sewing some times when I should be doing UNI assessments or marking assignments!

* Tell us something about where you live....
I live on the border of NSW and Victoria, so I'm right on the Murray River. I enjoy the peacefulness of a country town but LOVE trips to Melbourne which is three hours away, that's where I do most of my shopping for fabric :)

* What do you do for fun or relaxation?
Sew, sew, sew and cook! Both things that make LOTS of mess! Hahaha.

* Do you have any pets? Tell us about them...
I have a lovely little cat who thinks he's a dog. He's an Abyssinian which is a short-hair cat with BIG ears and an even BIGGER personality. He loves to help me with anything I'm doing. That's why I keep him locked out of my studio because I'm sure he's love to try and arrange my fabric when I'm not home. He's our little that's what we called him!

* Of all your softie creations, do you have a favourite?
You shouldn't have a favorite softie! But... in saying that, there is one that is dear to my heart and he lives with my Nanna. He is the first softie I ever made. I designed and made him when I was about 8 years old by cutting him out of an old blue fleecy jumper. I used the buttons from the front of the jumper to secure his limbs to his body. He's a tatty, disproportionate little fellow and my hand-stitching was very rough but I literally love him to pieces! 

* What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is SPOTS! I can't get enough of them. Whenever I venture into a patchwork shop I always come out with at least one little piece of spotty fabric. I find that spots go with everything and there is something so childish about them I just love them. So needless to say, when you see my toys you'll know why their little bellies or clothes are all spotty.

Also, I remember telling myself when I was a little girl to remember what it was like to be a child and promised myself never to forget. At the time I wanted to be a toymaker but also thought that maybe it was a far-fetched dream. But here I am today doing all the grown-up stuff and still doing what I wanted to do when I was little! :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

just for fun

Ben's doodle
Ben's first-time-in-Illustrator version

My version

Happy Saturday! Today I wanna share a fun little unplanned collaboration between myself and my little brother, Ben. Ben is an amazingly talented artist, I'm actually quite jealous of his skills! Anyway, he sent me this little doodle he did - characters of himself and his friend Chay. Ben's been wanting to learn Adobe Illustrator for a long time, and he decided he'd dive into it head-first and have a go at re-creating this doodle in Illustrator... So above we have Ben's little sketch, Ben's version in Illustrator (damn good for a first time Illustrator user!) and I couldn't resist doing a quick version too - fun! We hope to swap doodles for each other to colour-in some more.
Have a little peek at some of Ben's other work below - some sketches, some more finished. As you can see, he likes the darker sorta stuff as well as the super cute stuff! What an eye for detail!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

wall art

Morning all! Just a quick one today... a couple of wall-art designs I recently did for a company here in  Australia. The brief was to create cute sea creatures that would be suitable for a boy or a girl's room. It was actually a lot trickier than I thought it would be to make them gender-neutral! Have you ever had that problem? I didn't realise how much I tend to think in terms of gender when creating illustrations for kids, although personally I've never subscribed to the idea that 'pink is for girls and blue is for boys'! Anyway, it was a super-fun project, I enjoyed every moment of it :) Have a lovely Thursday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

getting to know... Moira Millman

Hello and welcome to this week's 'Getting To Know...' post! This week the wonderful Moira Millman is sharing a little bit about herself with us - yay! Moira has been working as an illustrator since she graduated in 1992, and has worked (and continues to work) with a very impressive list of clients. She also sells her gorgeous hand-printed Gocco prints in her beautiful Etsy shop here. And why not take a peek at Moira's blog here to see what she's been up to! Thanks Moira for alowing us to take a peek into your world...

image and design copyright Moira Millman 2010

* Where do you find inspiration?
I think my love of the 1950's is one of my main inspirations, I've been very drawn to that era ever since I was a teenager and collect all sorts of things from the 50's up to the 70's. That whole period was a fantastic time for design and I love old pottery, packaging, books and other ephemera and these quirky little collections inspire my work.  I'm not a minimalist by any means, although I think I may have reached collecting capacity now as our shelves are heaving!
As well as my commissioned work for magazines I've been doing more personal work lately.  I've always liked coming up with witty ideas using wordplay and doodling in my sketchbook and I've been enjoying turning these little ideas into prints. Selling my work online is a new area for me as I've always concentrated on the commercial side of illustration but it's something I'm hoping to expand on...

* Tell us something about where you live...
I'm originally from Devon which is a very southerly part of the UK, a popular holiday destination and famous for its lovely hilly scenery and cream teas: scones, jam and local delicacy, clotted cream!  After graduating I spent 10 years living in London and now I live in one of the flattest parts of the UK, the Fens.  This area was originally underwater before it was drained in the 17th Century.... good job because I'm not much of a swimmer!  I live in a small town which is surrounded by farmland so it's not unusual to be stuck behind a tractor when you're going out somewhere!  Being so flat, this region is also known for its big skies, lovely sunsets and plenty of cyclists.

* Do you have any pets? Tell us about them...
I have a greedy grey and white cat called Alf who we adopted from the RSPCA 4 years ago, we don't actually know his real age but recently he's been getting a few more grey hairs! (like the rest of us!) and he's calmed down a lot.  When we first got him he was a bit crazy, climbing up on shelves, the fridge and wardrobe and he has been known to knock pictures down from the wall to get our attention, broken glass everywhere!  For all his quirks we love him to bits!!

* You share a studio with your husband, what are the pros and cons of working so closely with your partner?
Well we have shared a studio for a long time so we don't really have anything to compare it too. We used to both work in a tiny box room which was a challenge especially as I can be quite untidy!  We now have a bit more space which is great but my end of the studio is still a lot more messy than my husband's!  I'm lucky to have the window near my desk which looks out to the garden, a nice distraction. It can be hard working at home alone and for me it's nice to have someone to bounce ideas off and for a second opinion. Maybe you should ask my husband though, he keeps threatening to put up a partition!! ha ha

* What is your guilty pleasure?
Ooh probably watching too much rubbish on the tv!  I love quality dramas especially Mad Men but I can sometimes be found immersed in a 'made for tv' cheesy movie or old episode of Columbo!
I also eat far too much chocolate, I only eat the 70% dark stuff and I tell myself it's better for you than milk chocolate but my expanding waistline will testify against that! Well curves are all the rage don't ya know!!

images and designs copyright Moira Millman 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

you're invited

Oh - Monday again - really?!! Bah! How was your weekend? Hope it didn't fly by like mine did! I had a lovely Saturday, starting with scones and jam for breakfast - baked by my hubby (yes I'm very lucky!) Then I had a visit from my super good friend, Liz... Awesome! What did you get up to?

What are you doing on Friday night the 17th September? If you are in or near Melbourne on this night, I'd love for you to come along to the opening of "Paper, Paint & Pixels" exhibition. I'm very excited to be exhibiting alongside some very talented friends at Hogan Gallery in Collingwood. Please do come on down for some opening night drinks and say G'day - it would be lovely to meet you!

P.S - Still deciding on names for those two little friends... I'll let you know as soon as I do :)