It’s the same most mornings. I awake to silence and enjoy that brief peacefulness, knowing only too well that it won’t last.

I go to the bathroom and as soon as the loo is flushed, it starts. Snorting, that gets louder and louder.

I get washed and changed as soon as I can, then hot foot it downstairs, where I quickly flick the kettle on. By this time the snorting has grown even louder and is sometimes coupled with a thumping sound, as an impatient hoof reminds me that it is HIS breakfast time.

So I hot foot it outside and into the feed room and emerge doing my greasy spoon waitress impersonation – “Who ordered a Big Boy’s Breakfast, with extra fried bread, a mocha chocca latte with 6 sugars and a Belgian Bun?”  I await the low chuckle in response and say “Good morning gorgeous; still dieting are we?” (just in case you’re wondering, I don’t really give my horse a fry-up for breakfast, he has a horsey, high fibre meal, with carrots… but the banter amuses me).

Having taken Jasper his breakfast, it’s peaceful again for ten minutes. At this point I grab coffee and sit and watch my boy munching his breakfast. Upon the last mouthful being chewed, a head appears over the stable door, and eyes fix upon me, then the snorting starts again – short, sharp, loud snorts, coupled with box walking. Each box walk circuit is matched with a snort as he passes by the stable door, poking his head out briefly to glare and fire the snort in my direction. On occasions, the stable door might also be booted on each circuit; it’s a sort of equine, one-man-band – just what I want, first thing in the morning. By the time I’ve grabbed his rug and head collar and put them on my boy, he’s stood at the stable door, snorting and stamping and throwing his head around wildly, as though conducting an imaginary orchestra.

Anyone who didn’t know Jasper would probably think “Bugger it, I’m not opening the door for this nutter, he’ll be gone like grease lightening, bucking up the road and I’ll never hold onto him”. I open the stable door and a large nose (Jasper’s, not mine) gently pokes out an inch or two, to sniff the morning air and take in the atmosphere, this is sedately followed, several seconds later, by a completely relaxed horse, taking steady strides. Once he’s gotten his own way, peace reigns.

But there’s a new man in my life. One that doesn’t snort, or thump. He’s tall, dark and handsome and never takes his eyes off me, as I sit working. Each time I glance up at him, he smiles serenely down upon me. How nice it is not to be snorted at for once. Meet Happy Dave:

Happy Dave by Shirley Macarthur

Happy Dave by (kind permission of) Shirley Macarthur

Happy Dave is my January pin-up, my calendar boy. I bought the calendar from the artist, Shirley Macarthur, who painted him. Isn’t he lovely? Shirley also paints some stunning Highland Beast, which I’m hanging my nose over. You can find Shirley’s artwork here: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/happyhorseandnoseycowpaintings

Moving onto something completely different. I’ve been experimenting with my fabric transfers.

I took a piece of ply board and painted it with chalk paint:


Then I grabbed one of my small, postcard, fabric transfers:


Trimmed it:


Flipped it over and positioned it:


Ironed it. Disaster:


Instead of the transfer sticking to the paint, the paint stuck to the transfer. Maybe it will work with a different type of paint – I’ll perhaps have a go with milk paint one day.

Not wanting to be a complete failure, I flipped the ply board over and tried again on the bare wood, not really expecting success:


I was pleasantly surprised:


The transfers I used are perhaps a little too pale for the gold tones of the bare wood – plain black, I think, will stand out more.

I tried one of the Eiffel Tower’s too:


The transfers I used have a background colour, so you can see the rectangular outline quite plainly. I’m looking forward to trying a transfer with a transparent background, to see if an obvious border can be seen.

I gave the Eiffel Tower transfer a coat of varnish, just to see what would happen. Nothing untoward happened, so I guess this experiment was a success.

The wood I used was untreated, bare wood. I used a hot iron, rather than very hot, because I didn’t want to scorch the wood. I haven’t tried, but I’m 99% sure that the transfers cannot be used on varnished wood – common sense tells me that the varnish will melt and bubble and make a mess of your iron.

I’m going to try one of my large transfers, but have run out of ply board; once I’ve picked some up, I’ll post my findings.