Thursday 31 December 2015


Well if the last post was about the end of November this is definitely the end of December and the end of 2015.

The year has been a quiet one with a shaky start when I was suffering from severe anxiety but with a little help from friends and a 6-week well-being workshop I learnt new skills to help me deal with it. I'm not saying it will be gone forever but this year my approach to Christmas was altogether different from last year's.

I took up yoga (very lovely group of people) and I joined a book group, (ditto).

We had a few nice breaks away and I'm lucky to have been to three of my favourite places  and I've had two very successful selling events and two not so successful.

December was mostly taken up with selling all the things I didn't sell at the last craft fair. I had a bumper year for on-line sales so a big thank you to everyone who has bought or just shared my work.
I heard from my son yesterday that the wife of a friend of his had bought one of my brooches for her Grandma. (If you're reading, hello, you know who you are!) That was so lovely and very close to my ambition to see someone wearing one of my brooches when I'm out and away from Textile events.

This is getting a bit like a 'round robin' Christmas letter and I don't always enjoy getting those so I'll stop reviewing and do a bit of a preview.

I've decided, next year. to stop bemoaning the fact that I am overlooked by a certain Textile blog which makes me feel as if I am not an 'Artist'. I'm not going to  change my work and the way I present it just to fit in. I can't think what else an Artist is except one who works tirelessly at creativity because they have to, and need to produce something they find beautiful and fulfilling, and I think I do that.

My pieces are what they are 'wysiwyg' ..'What you see is what you get' and not 'wyriwyg' (the 'r' being 'read' instead of 'see'.)

Maybe it isn't Art but it's my form of expression.

That's it then..thats my New Years resolution.

I may also have another one up my sleeve...I'm going to have a clear-out of my existing wall pieces sooner or later, and will be selling some at a reduced rate to clear the decks for making new work. So watch this space. Or you could visit my website and look at the pieces I have there and imagine them with a quarter off!

This year I've only made three wall pieces as I've been very busy with my bread-and-butter brooches. I send the brooches to Galleries all over the country, not many, as I can only do so much, but they are spread out. Sadly two of the lovely Galleries I supply and who have been incredibly supportive are closing. Lazyhill Gallery in Abbotsbury, Dorset, has already closed, but the lovely Rachel and Gordon can still be found there at the weekends until the end of January and will continue to run the Village shop next door.

Jam Eton, a Gallery in, yes, Eton is closing as the owners are retiring at the end of January. They too have been selling lots of my brooches for a couple of years and are having a sale now, so if you want a bargain pop along there before the end of next month (and don't forget to say hello from me.)

I'm losing two of my stockists but along have come two more to fill the gap. Details later.

I'll leave you with a picture of a wall piece I made  this year, and with my best wishes for a happy, peaceful and healthy 2016, and thanks for all the support and comments I had from you during 2015.

Monday 30 November 2015


Its all about the end of the month in this post. 
November brings the Knitting and stitching show in Harrogate and I went for a visit on Thursday, with a friend.
The first person we saw was the one I wanted to see the most, the delightful and extremely talented Michala Gyetvai, who I've know from blogging and flickr almost from the start of my internet life!
I was dying to see her recent work, inspired by landscape and trees and influenced by a recent trip to India.

Some of her pieces are huge and intensely stitched. If you want to see more of her work visit her website and blog.
It was a pleasure to meet her. 

I also met up with Julie, Wendy and their friend Tina.
We arranged to meet and I was having my lunch when I saw Wendy I swallowed a big piece of my sandwich so I could say hello, and proceeded to choke. 
Fortunately Wendy was a dab hand..or should I say a dab fist, at thumping on the back, which she did and saved my life. Honest! I was choking. SO embarrassing.
We had a laugh about it...but I was quite shaken.

I met a few other textiley friends including Kim Thittichai, Sue Dove, Angie Hughes,  Clare Bullock, and Wyn Ingham.

I'd had enough of the whole stall thing by 3.30 though. I'm getting a bit jaded. 
I went out into the fresh air and did a bit of shopping.

Talking of fresh the weekend I did craft fair in The Palm House, Sefton Park, Liverpool.
Its an amazing huge Victorian Glass house. 
When I arrived I had no idea whether my stand would be in the Palm House or in the Marquee next door. It turned out I was in the Palm house and I was mighty glad because it was cold and windy on Saturday.

 Its a stupendous venue and in theory a good place for a craft fair. 
I had a perfect spot and met some truly great makers. 
But sadly, not enough buyers of my work.

 The weather had put a lot of people off I think, and perhaps my work was not right for this event. Such a contrast to Woolfest and Yarndale where I almost ran out of brooches.

By Sunday the winds had got up and after about an hour the people with stands in the marquee had to leave. There were huge gusts and the whole place resounded with noise of the wind against the glass. Trees were being blown over in the park, so the organisers made the difficult but very sensible decision to close.

 Rather a pity as I'd sold as much in the first two hours on Sunday as I'd sold all day Saturday. 

I'm having a rethink about Craft Fairs.
Even the  beautiful ones.

Now I'm going back in time to earlier in the month and in the last post I showed you the birds,
Well, I made lots more (for the craft fair) and had a little play with them for photographing.

And today I put all the ones I didn't sell at the weekend (which was nearly all of them!) into my etsy shop.
Here they are peeping and ready to fly.

And indeed many of them have flown today in my own online craft fair.
If you'd like to join in I'm giving 20% discount with the coupon code VALENTINE.

Now...if you don't know how to enter a coupon code here's a picture that might help. Do you see where it says 'apply shop coupon code' ? Click that
and you get this.

Put the code in the box and click apply.

Just so you know!

There are other things in the shop besides birds.

Selling fast.
I'm having a big rest from sewing now and going to tidy up so there may not be any more.

Tuesday 10 November 2015


Birds have been hatching in October.
I've been thinking about making them for years and at last got round to it.
This was the first one.

I made it into a brooch and sold it immediately.

Suddenly I got into gear and continued to make them.
Each one is started with a machined outline on felt. I make a pile of them.

Next a pretty velvet wing is added.
And a new pile is made.

Then some nice tail feathers are machined and a beak and some feet. 
(Sometimes one, sometimes two. Just depends how I feel.)
And I make the pile again.

 Then I put the pile in a box and take them downstairs, with all my yummy hand threads, and sit and stitch little patterns on each them using French knots and lazy daisy and running stitch.

I get ridiculously involved in minute detail and very excited by things such as these little black stars with shiny white centres.

Then I take them back upstairs and machine a stiff piece of Vilene on to stiffen it, and start another pile.
Then I trim the Vilene down to the outline.

                       I go through the pile again, ironing a backing of Liberty lawn floral fabric on .

 Then I trim the excess felt and fabric away.
Some are going to be brooches and some have ribbons.

 I did that just before I wrote this post but it's too dark to photograph them.

 I used lovely shades of Organza ribbon .
 I ordered some from a company called Stylish and stunning. The order was wrong and no amount of emailing, phoning, and even returning the order has elicited a response from them. So avoid Stylish and stunning at all costs and use instead Printfare who sent me a perfect order within about three days, all correct.

I'm making more soon. 
I will be putting some in my shop eventually.
But don't know when.
They will be the same price as the brooches.

Here are the finished birds. Photographed this morning.

Monday 28 September 2015


Yarndale at the weekend was excellent and a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said 'you don't blog enough'. So here I am at last in the nick of time for September.

Its been a hectic month. We started with a holiday to Symi. Greece (search my blog for posts about Symi and you'll see it was our sixth visit!) We enjoyed it very much but I think perhaps we've been too often. Mind you, we say that every year and then we get lured back by its blue charms. We usually go around mid september when its a bit cooler, but this year, as I had a prior commitment, we went early in the month and happened to be there for the hottest day they'd had all year. If anyone had told me I'd be there in 40 degrees of heat I don't think I would have gone, but we actually coped. We actually walked about a mile on said hottest day and I didn't collapse.
I am extremely conscious of my less than perfect 'beach body' but this year I decided to not give a tuppeny about my physique, and wear what was comfortable, even if it was shorts. Thus I had a happy time.
Anyway here are some lovely Symi photographs.
Old Rhodes town

New can rent this yacht with 24 crew and a helicopter for  750.000 euros a week excluding 'expenses'

Two semi feral kittens resident around the Olive Tree Cafe, Symi.

Plant life in The Windmill Restaurant Symi.


A sort of turret in the city walls overlooking the port of Rhodes.

Tholi , Symi.

Husband on holiday, Dafne's Taverna , Tholi, Symi.

There;s a tiny dot to the left and further away than the boat. Its a buoy and we swam out to it. It was quite rough water. Tholi

This is the shadow of how you get to the back of a pick up truck. If you're lucky to get to sit inside, which I did on this occasion.

The road is a bit hair raising.

You get a superb view of the harbour from up here.

On another trip we stopped at this little rest point .

A road trip to Panormitis Monastery. 

Old and new at Panormitis.

The tower at Panormitis.

This makes a change..not cat paws in the concrete, but goat's feet.

No caption needed.

Inviting sea.
Poseidon at rest at St Emillianos. Compulsory swimming. Absolute bliss.

St Emilianos Monastery, empty and hot and beautiful. They set up the long table full of food here.

The chicken on the bbq

 One of the passengers dived for these and said 'help yourself'

So here they are now, on my kitchen work top!

It was a good holiday.
Then I kept my promise to do the church flowers for a wedding in our parish.

I enjoyed it so much. I did them in the kitchen and took them to church where I added a couple of extra snapdragons top and bottom. They're so fragile they might have snapped.

I put some inside and some outside.
 The bride's flowers were lovely, and my church flowers went very well with them, even though I hadn't seen them.
The very happy couple. It was an exciting day for the parish. They had both been widowed years ago so its a lovely outcome.

The happy bride, with her mother.

Then it was Yarndale. I had a ball meeting lovely people, some I knew, some I didn't . But I was so busy I didn't take any photographs!

Ah well.

Bye for now.
Thanks you for all the comments last time.

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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