Frogs, Trolls and Amigurumi

My challenge to revive the lost art of the handwritten letter continues to be, well, challenging. I am writing a letter a day, but also illustrating each one with an original Ziggy Elf. I wanted to post up what I was doing, but quickly realized that I couldn’t show the contents of the letters. That would spoil the surprise for the recipient. So, ingeniously, I decided to illustrate the envelopes. So far I’ve come up with something that has meaning to each person, but it’s taxing my drawing skills. Just check out the latest batch.

Number 34 is going all the way to CHINA! I was so excited to hear from Chenchen who is creator of Pure Sketch and Comics. This is a young man who is so talented. His ink sketches are fabulous. He lives in Nanjing which is famous for its salted duck….nom nom.

illustrated letter 34

Letter 35 is going to somewhere equally exciting…Hawaii. Well it’s exciting to someone who lives in the North of England. It is for Paul who is a ceramicist and is the creator of Paper, Mud and Me. Like the letter that went to Hansi in California, this one is adorned with Sunny the Campervan. How wonderful to tootle around Hawaii in a VDub bus.

illustrated letter 35

Letter 36 goes to Virginia who hails from Eldersburg, Maryland, USA. She is another 3D artist, a sculptor and you can find out more about her at Muse-ings. Virginia made some lovely frogs, so I thought I’d have a go too.


Letter 37 is staying in the UK and heading south to Dorset. Now this may not be the exotica of Hawaii but I can tell you this is one of England’s most beautiful counties, and pretty cool for a campervan adventure. The coast is known as the Jurassic Coast and is a World Heritage Site. Ha! Who needs palm trees now? It is home to Joanna who is creator of Pippin Run Wild, a veritable feast of all things vintage and crafty. Joanna made a beautiful bluebird pin cushion that inspired her envelope illustration.


Letter 38 is the first to go to Sweden and is for Janna. She is the creator of Janna’s Whimsies. This blog is packed with lovely images and creative stories. The envelope illustration is inspired by a post about an ancient forest and it’s trolls.


Letter 39 is going just up the coast to Amble in Northumberland, another breath- takingly beautiful county. It is for Jean Rafferty, an award winning journalist and author. You can find out more about this very talented lady at her website here. One of my favourite walks with the Skinny Dogs is from Warkworth, along the beach to Amble and back up by the estuary. You can always spot a magnificent heron or two, and here’s mine.


The penultimate letter in this batch is going to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I actually have relatives in Vancouver going back two generations. I would love to visit. Maybe one day. This is for Caroline who is the creator of the very stylish blog The Girl in the Yellow Dress. The subtitle is Yellow Bird Dreams, so it had to be a little Tweetie Pie.


And finally, letter 41 is going to the Illustrated Letter projects favourite destination; Australia. In particular Melbourne. This envelope is adorned with the strangest thing I have ever dreamt up and it is especially for Sharon at Gentle Stiches. She is all about the stitchery and the “gentle art of repair.” But Sharon is particularly fond of amigurumi, the Japanese art of knitting cute mini animals. So I’ve had a go at an Amigurumi Elf. What do you think?


Phew! Around the world in eight illustrations.

Well, I still need help if I am to complete my challenge of a letter a day. I need 365 people to send letters to. Would you like to recieve an original Ziggy Elf? If so you’ll find all the details here.

Elves, Penguins and Howler Monkeys

I am attempting to revive the lost art of letter writing and have set myself the ridiculous challenge of a letter a day through 2013. I am absolutely loving it and the response has been fantastic. My little letter elves are flying all over the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has requested a letter. You WILL get one.

I thought you might like to know to whom and where the latest batch have gone to. I can’t show the contents, it would spoil the surprise for the receiver, so I have illustrated the envelope.

Letter 29 is going to Claire Litherland who is creator of Little Red Monkey and Co a fabulous place full of crafty ideas. Her letter elf is staying in the UK and setting off for Sheffield. Obvious I know, but Claire gets a monkey, of the howling variety.

Illustrated letter 29

Number 30 is for Jennie Sisler and is going to Sunderland. No not Wearside UK, but Massachusetts, USA. And Jennie is a seasoned letter writer. Her most recent blog post is all about saving the town’s Post Office. Something we are all too familiar with here in the UK. Check out Jennie’s blog; Jen’s Rambling Thoughts. Why has she got a penguin? Because it is one of the unusual things to be found in her handbag (purse).

Illustrated letter 30

Number 31 is very special. Almost 10 years ago my very best friend lost her battle with a brain tumour and left a huge hole in my life. We’d been friends since we were 6 years old and I never once imagined that we wouldn’t make it into old age together. Although she didn’t have children herself she was Godmother to many, and spoilt them rotten. I also have the privilege to be a Godmother, but to just one person, Lucy. After my friend died I decided to commemorate her birthday, the 2nd February, as Goddaughters Day. And every 2nd February I send Lucy a handwritten letter. This is hers for 2013.

Illustrated letter 31

On to number 32, and this is for Deb Court, my writing buddy. If any of you are wading through the treacle of novel writing you’ll know how good it is to have someone to bounce ideas around with and be a shoulder to cry on. Deb has a very damp shoulder. She is also on the search for dragons.

Illustrated letter 32

And finally in this batch, letter 33 is going across the channel to The Netherlands and to artist Saskia. Now, I actually find thinking of something to draw on the envelope harder than coming up with ideas for letter elves. And as I sat in my studio hoping for inspiration I stared out of the window and gazed at the bare branches of my beautiful silver birch. Hey presto, a tree elf. This wasn’t initially going to be for Saskia, but when I went to check out her deviantART site, Finnguala, what did I find but an awesome drawing of a girl growing branches from her head. Spooky eh?

Illustrated letter 33

Of course sending a letter every day for a year means there have to be 365 of them. So I still need people to send to. If you want to join in with my challenge and would like to receive an original Ziggy Elf take a look here.

Fish, Pigs and Coffee

It’s time for an update on those Ilustrated Letters.

For those just joining us, I am attempting to revive the lost art of letter writing by penning a letter a day in 2013. That’s 365 of them. And not just words, each one is illustrated with an original Ziggy Elf. I can’t show the contents of each letter as that would spoil the surprise for the recipient but each letter has an illustrated envelope.

Number 22 is going to Penland, USA and is for Laura creator of Soul Survivor a very compelling blog about living with Bipolar Disorder. Laura used to write a lot of letters and hopes that joining in with this challenge will inspire her to dust off her fountain pen.  She gets a be-hatted elf who I think is inspired by the cold snowy weather I’ve been experiencing.

Illustrated letter 22

Letter 23 is staying in Newcastle and is for Lauren who is another Seven Stories colleague. She is part of the hardworking marketing team and very kindly asked to join in with my ridiculous challenge. As well as having the cutest spaniel puppy on the planet, Lauren also has a little guinea pig. Again, a first for Ziggy; drawing a piggy.

Illustrated letter 23

Number 24 is heading off to Ontario, Canada to Claudia creator of  Summer Solstice Girl, a wonderful vibrant blog full of swing dance and Columbian Coffee. So a cup of coffee and a coffee bean elf seemed appropriate.


Letter 25 is the first letter heading to the Philippines and is for Melody, creator of the blog 30 Minute Art. She is a full time teacher but allows herself 30 minutes a day to paint and draw. So I couldn’t resist a little messy artist elf.

Illustrated Letter 25

Number 26 goes to another Seven Stories colleague, Hannah, who works with me Front of House. Hannah can be found all over the building, rocking out story times, on reception and in the bookshop. She also delivers birthday parties and the most popular theme is Damsels and Dragons, for which, Hannah wears a beautiful dragon coat. So it had to be my favourite mythical creature.

Illustrated letter 27

Number 27 is for my very lovely sister-in-law Clare. She is the sort of person who never wastes time, always doing something, knitting, playing the piano, the flute, photography and tending to her vast allotment. So she gets a Fruit and Veg elf.

Illustrated Letter 26

And finally today, letter 28 is the first one to go to Poland and is for Jess creator of JNiggelArt an Art Photoblog. Jess is a dab hand with pencil or paint and I love her portraits. She also has a few fish on there so I thought I would join in the fishy fun.

Illustrated letter 28

In order to complete my challenge of 365 letters I need people to send them to. Would you like to receive a letter with an original Ziggy Elf? Then you’ll find all the details here.


Quoth the Raven “Ziggy Draw!”

My goodness me, but here we are at letter 21 in my ridiculous challenge to revive the lost art of letter writing by penning one a day through 2013. Not just words, these are illustrated letters, each one containing a Ziggy Elf.

As always, I can’t show you the content as it will spoil the surprise for the receiver who today is Aalid. She is the creator of the delightfully entitled Mage and Raven, a lovely blog full of quirky creative musings. And where is this letter going? Well, it’s staying in the wintry North of England and heading to Bolton in Lancashire. And this one has wings…Raven’s wings of course.

illustrated letter 21In order to write 365 letters I need 365 people to write to. Would you like an illustrated letter with an original Ziggy Elf?  All the details are here.

Illustrated Letter 20; It’s Furry Man

I am attempting to revive the lost art of the hand written letter by writing one each day through 2013. Not just words though; each one will contain a unique original Ziggy Elf. What was I thinking? But here we are at number 20 and it’s the first one where I have made a mistake. “But Ziggy, you never make mistakes” I hear you cry. Well, my confession is coming up……

I want to document the letters and post them up on the blog, but I can’t show the contents of the letter as it will spoil the surprise for the recipient. So, in order to make each post vaguely interesting I am illustrating the envelope. This particular letter is for Laura Frantz an author and blogger. Laura mentions that her earliest memories of the local libraries were shelves filled with biographies of historical figures like Daniel Boone. Great I thought, a Daniel Boone elf it is. I got doodling only to discover I’d drawn a trapper hat NOT a Daniel Boone hat. Sorry Laura and all Americans everywhere 😦

Well this letter is off to Port Angeles, Washington. Where in the world will tomorrows illustrated letter be going? Check in and find out. If you would like to receive your very own original Ziggy Letter Elf check out the details here.

illustrated letter 20

Dachshunds and Slipper Baths

I am over halfway through the first month of my yearlong challenge to revive the lost art of letter writing. I’m going to write a letter a day, 365 of them. That’s hand written letters that you slip into an envelope, attach a stamp to and pop in a post box. Remember doing that? However, I have decided to illustrate each letter with a Ziggy Elf.

I can’t show you the contents of the letters, that would spoil it for the receivers, but I have illustrated the envelopes. Letters 18 and 19 are heading Stateside.

The first of these two has gone to Texas to Donna L Sadd. Donna is a blogger and author of “Lucci the No Smoochie Poochie” the story of a dachshund that doesn’t like kisses. I’m rather fond of dachshunds, I think they have the loveliest of faces, but I’ve never drawn one……until now.

illustrated letter 18

Letter 19 is heading to Illinois and to Tawn another blogger and author. In one of her posts Tawn admits to being fond of bubble baths so a little elf in a slipper bath seemed appropriate. Tawn writes a variety of short stories that are TotallyTawn.

Illustrated letter 19

If I am to write 365 letters I require help. I need people to write to. Would you like to receive a letter containing a Ziggy Elf ? The details on how to get one are here.

Another Batch of Letter Elves Hatched

My quest to rekindle the art of the hand written letter continues. Another six letters have set off on their journey around the world; Boston USA, Tasmania Australia, Victoria Australia, Newcastle UK and two have headed to British Columbia Canada.

I can’t show the illustrations inside the letters, it would spoil the surprise for those receiving, but I have illustrated the envelopes.

Letter number 12 has set off to Jen Ross the creator of Winter Owls a delightful blog full of thrifty creations and of course Owls. Not surprisingly Jen gets an owl.

illustrated letter 12

Letter 13 is full of good luck and is off to Jade in Canada. Her Dad is the creator of Drawings for Jade. Each morning before he sets of to work he makes a drawing for Jade…how cool is that. Jade loves her ladybug boots so I thought a little spotty insect or two wouldn’t go amiss.

illustrated letter 13

Letter 14 is for Harini who is the creator of The Madras Designery. Harini, like me, uses fine liner pens for many of her drawings but takes the art to a whole different level.

illustrated letter 14

Letter 15 hasn’t gone very far at all, it’s stayed in Newcastle. It is for Erin who works alongside me at Seven Stories. Erin has given a home to some ex-battery hens who produce the most delicious eggs. So it had to be chickens.

illustrated letter 15

Number 16 is for Owlissa who is also doing a letter writing challenge. She has been far more sensible and is sending off one a week. Check out her blog Mum in the Woods   The little elf on the envelope is an homage to Owlissa who has a very cool hairstyle.

illustrated letter 16

And finally letter 17 has gone all the way to Canada to Shelley who lives in Honeymoon Bay. I hope that is as romantic as it sounds. Shelly popped by my blog and offered to help me out with my challenge by asking me to send her a letter.

illustrated letter 17

If I am to complete my challenge of sending a letter a day through 2013 I really need some help. I need 365 people to send to. If you would like to receive a Letter Elf from me you’ll find all the details here.

Illustrated Letter 11; For My Favourite Pirate

My challenge for 2013 is to rekindle an interest in the art of letter writing. That’s hand written letters, slipped into envelopes and popped into post boxes. I’m attempting one a day for the year. But not just words, each letter will contain an illustration; a Ziggy Elf.
So far they have travelled to Australia, USA, Germany and the UK.

Letter Elf 11 is the first to stay in the North East of England and is going to Louise who lives in Stockton-on-Tees. She is the creator of YellowHighWayLines a lovely blog full of her miscellaneous musings, photos and more. Louise also happens to work with me at Seven Stories, the children’s book museum. We spend a lot of time dressing up at work, and by dressing up I mean costumes; fairies, vikings, astronauts, gorillas, Christmas Elves and the like. But Louise’s default costume is Pirates and is now known as “Cap’n Corky”. So, although I can’t show you the content of her letter, it would spoil the surprise for her, I have illustrated the envelope with a pirate and skull and cross-bones. It couldn’t have been anything else!


Illustrated letter11 Louise

In order to complete my challenge of 365 handwritten illustrated letters I need people to send them to. If you would like to join in the fun and receive a Letter Elf you can find all the details here.




Illustrated Letter 10; A Little Closer to Home

In a bid to revive the lost art of letter writing I am composing and sending an illustrated hand written letter a day through 2013.

The first batch of letter elves have now flown the coop including number 10. This one is not roaming too far away from Newcastle, just a little further up the coast to Berwickshire, to nestle down with Hannah, creator of Cameo Curio. I discovered this blog back in February last year and love it. Inspirational art, beautiful photos….and Buddy the Puppy. Pop over and take a look.

As always the content is hidden so Hannah can’t see her elf, but there is a cheeky little creature peeping out of the envelope.

To see the other letters take a peek here.


Illustrated letter 10 Hannah

I am having so much fun with this challenge but I need people to send the letters to. If you would like to receive a Little Letter Elf the details are here.

Illustrated Letters 8 and 9; off to Germany and California

I have embarked on a challenge to revive the art of letter writing by composing one a day for the year. But not just the written word, each one is illustrated with a Ziggy elf.

Here are letters 8 and 9 for two lovely people who agreed to join in. Firstly a little elf is off to Germany to live with Geralin, creator of The Colourful Sketchbook. She deftly produces with simple lines delightful images. Take a look. I can’t show the contents of the letter, it’ll spoil the surprise for Geralin, but I’ve illustrated the envelope. Somebody had to get a Skinny Dog and Geralin is the first.

Letter number 9 is going all the way to Southern California. I wish I could squeeze into the envelope and bask in some of that lovely sunshine. But I don’t think Hansi would be too keen. He is the recipient of the latest letter and creator of Hansi’s Hallucinations. How can I describe his blog? Do you know, I don’t think I could find the words to adequately do it justice. His tag line is “The Drawings and Rants of a Mad Man” which does it nicely. Head on over and say hello. Hansi gets a VDub Splitty ‘cos campervans and California go hand in hand.


Illustrated letter 8 Geralin


Illustrated letter 9

But if I am to complete 365 I require some help. I need more people to send them to. If you would like an Illustrated Letter you’ll find the details here.