Hello and a warm welcome to you! Thank you for visiting my blog where I enjoy sharing a little of my life and my love for textiles, I hope you will enjoy what you see and read here...do say hello to me on Facebook or Instagram...or come and get creative on a workshop!

Monday, 26 November 2018

NEWS! Pop up Gallery and shop...

well heavens to Betsy, it's nearly that time again! Mr Phil clears out his lovely willow and six artists take over the space to create a fab pop up gallery and Christmas extravaganza...we invite you to Make Christmas Easy! And this year we have a suprise guest maker to add to the loveliness! SO put it in your diary for Fri 30th November, Sat 1st and Sun 2nd December 11am - 5pm at Deanscales Village, near Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0SP ...hope to see you there!  

Here's a before...

and an after...

So for the last 6 weeks or so I have been slowly making and even labelling and pricing - usually I do this in about a week and always need another week to get it all done! But, as my word for this year is SLOW...slow it has been. Here's a taste of of the lovely colourful hearts I have been making, lots of upcycled fabrics layered and emebroidered...a real labour of love but so worth it for the results.

First I get all my boxes of fabrics out with the richest colours and get cutting and choosing...

then out come all my shiny sparkly threads....

then I pin the fabrics and stitch the fabrics quickly to hold them in place...quite a job as they do like to wiggle about!

then it's just lots and lots of free maching stitching, in lots of lovely colours to create a rich luxurious surface...

pin on a heart shaped pattern and stitch round, stuff and stitch up the gap...easy peasy!

and ta da, packed, labelled, priced and ready to go...

AND now to my other news...drum roll please...I have re-opened my Etsy shop!! I have spent many months filling the shelves of my lovely shop with beautiful handmade brooches, handbags, teacosies and artwork, and some printed items such as notebooks and mugs, just in time for some handmade Christmas shopping...do take a look: My Shop

so it's back to my studio to finish off all the last bits and bobs, get everything labelled, packed and priced...and on Wednesday we all get together for the big setting up...now where did I put the Take Six tinsel?

here's to a fun week!  


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

mind the gap! and holidays part 2...

so sorry I haven't been here for a while....central heating now in and TOTALLY blissful!! But it has taken many weeks to get the house back to some kind of order, and in the meantime I have a new computer as my old one was leaked on and that took several weeks to sort out too...so now we are nearly in winter, so how lovely to have a reminder of sunny summer days...my holiday part 2!

You may remember we took a ferry across to Colonsay in the Hebrides for a week of blissful nothingness! 


Big skies and sunshine, lunch outdoors and a view across to Oronsay to lose yourself in...therapy indeed!

most of the islands have wonderful museums marking their history, and Colonsay was no exception, a small heritage centre in the old church was full of fascinating items and stories, including a wonderful tinytelephone exchange!

we had such a beautiful last day on the island, suddenly it was hot and sunny...so of course my daughter went for a swim...and with a seal nearby in the water with her (at a safe distance so as not to disturb)...how magical was that!

we got off the ferry around 9 pm and a short drive took us up a hill just on the outskirts of Oban, into the unknown...to our glamping experience: a wonderful simple shed with THE most comfortable bed and magnificent compost toilet! We were met by Shaun the owner, a really interesting guy, a former forester, now building various sheds/chalets on his hill to let out and give people a taste of the outdoors. We arrived to a candle lit wooden shack and settled down to get some sleep. We awoke to another glorious morning...and breakfast outdoors in the sunshine. You could even have an outdoor shower if you felt brave enough! 

The whole holiday left me feeling calm and relaxed and with a strong desire to simplify my life even more...and this part was especially thought provoking, as there were no mod cons, and yet there was just about everything you might need.

And...I had a hot tip from the lovely lady in 'Christine's Craft Shed' on Colonsay...to visit feltmaker Liz Gaffney of heartfeltbyliz ...seeing as we were to drive almost right past Dalmally Railway Station on our way south from Oban we just had to call in! It was a glorious sunny day, I had a lovely chat with LIz whoo is a talented artist

, saw all her beautiful inspiring work and the fantastic station that is her home and studio. You can even stay there as she does Air B and B, and enjoy a feltmaking workshop too...heaven indeed! 

I could have stayed much, much longer, but travelling home was the name of the game now...so we reluctantly left textile gorgeousness and the highlands and islands, back to beautiful Cumbria.I came home with treasures of many kinds, relaxed and inspired!

And now we are up to date, and starting afresh, as we head into November. Busy in my studio with lots of making for Christmas...yes the festive season is nearly upon us and our annual pop up gallery is at the end of the month!!

so without more ado, I'll love you and leave you and get back to my stitching!

see you soon...


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

holidays and the end of summer....

back home from our holidays, and there is a noticeable silence, in the outhouses and the skies, a deafening silence, no twittering and zipping in and out...the swallows have gone. Undercover of darkness they have disappeared. They were here, and now they are not, they are off, winging their long journey across vast oceans and land masses. We who remain behind attached firmly to the earth can only admire...and look forward to their return next year.

We had a wonderful relaxing week on Colonsay, in the Inner Hebrides. It started with a 2 hour ferry journey...which takes you out to sea and away from everything! 

 And there's always interesting things to photograph at Oban harbour and on the ferry...

A small wild island, single track road going round, with a general shop (selling everything you need!), a brewery, bookshop, gallery, cafe, craft shed, and hotel, little phone signal or wifi,and just the freedom to roam inland or by the sea, birdwatching, picnics, rain or sun, and a lovely cottage to stay in, it was bliss! I took some fabrics to hand stitch and a knitting kit to make a bag to felt, we bought a bag of coal to make the evening's cosy...and it was just heavenly!

Lots of inspiration, textures, shapes and colour. Simple flowers, rocks and seaweed, sheep and birds, some rusty things and lots of shells and other sea treasures. We saw seals and a golden eagle! 

Too many photos as usual...so how about Part 2 next time...

have a fun week...we're having central heating (hurrah!) put in so being in my studio is my sanity keeper!

Monday, 20 August 2018

a textured life...

High summer and low summer, we've had it all this year, from baking Grecian style hot hot hot to cool rainy soft gentle Cumbrian days. And now as the year tilts down towards autumn, textures and colours abound, wherever your eye alights. 

We've had a pretty strange summer here, with so much change within and without. The village has seen the demolition of a beautiful old barn to make way for new houses, sad for the swifts and owls, but they are going to put up nesting boxes for them, and the stone has been recycled. It is modern life meeting the old ways, and at least there is greater awareness now of wild life. Perhaps new houses will bring new life into the place too. One has to be positive when reality is what it is! To ask for the gift in any situation...even if it's just so bonkers the best thing is just to laugh!

The village had 6 weeks of roadworks while they dug to put in fibre broadband (is that 'High Fibre'?!) where we didn't know if we could get in or out and if so which direction to go in! It was just hilarious...but not so great for local farmers, access for emergencies and getting the bins emptied! But we now potentially have more light available to us! This is the theme of the summer I think, clearing away the old to make way for the new, both personally and in the surroundings, as well as bringing in more light. All that sunshine was pretty high on the light meter!

On a biggger scale, our water has been re-piped so there were also masssive engineering works in all the fields for miles around and huge great machines everywhere, and massive blue pipes lining the greenness which is a very odd sight!

There are new houses popping up in green fields and even my neighbours too replaced an old byre with a smart new storage space. Luckily not on a huge scale, but still change all the same. I rescued that foxglove before the walls came down and it flowered for me in my garden! There is now a nice clean new watertight building which will be well used and loved, like the old one once was.

Here at home we had the builders in to give us lovely new kitchen windows, which was chaotic and messy to say the least, but now we have so much more light and the view is just stunning, I feel like I am in the garden and the landscape! Yes, there is redecorating to do and a new worktop was required...and no we didn't spend £100's on a new one, we found an old flat door and my clever husband rounded the corners and it awaits a coat of paint!!

Keeping sane has been the name of the game...lots of gentle walks and some creativity and reading...and of course sitting in the garden.

Yesterday I took a walk and took photos of some of these lovely shapes and textures seen before I even got out of the top of our lane! There are advantages even to building works...lots of interesting things to inspire!

and I've been in the studio, clearing up and sorting after our exhibition, planning workshops and playing with new ideas. A friend's daughter came round who is in her 2nd year of her textiles degree, and we've had 2 great sessions creating with fabric and paints and stitch together. You just can't beat connecting and playing with other artists, it feeds you both and makes it all much more fun and productive somehow.

so here's to calmer days and more delightful collaborations!

Saturday, 21 July 2018

exhibition and an open day...

hot, hot, hot weather and delicious summer everywhere, and our exhibition all looking good. We all arrived at Florence Arts Centre on 23rd July for a Grand Open Day, or Meet The Maker'...

We set ourselves up indoors and out, to show off what we do - silk painting, spinning, needlfelting by hand and machine, machine embroidery, rag rugging and lino cut printing...so much to see! We had a lovely day, with lots of visitors including those fresh from Woolfest...we had the Florence knitting group in and people showing off their Woolfest stashes in a mini 'show and tell'...or perhaps that should be 'show and confess'! It was a like a party!


Even extreme ironing...outdoors!

It's been lovely to be part of a group of such diverse talents, all creative souls but in different media, mixing our skills and abilities mades for an exhibition showcasing traditional skills but with a 21st century twist.

SO what will be next I wonder? well we'll have a get-together and a cup of tea to talk about the exhibition and see what we'd like to work on, ready for next year! It's great to have something like this to aim for as it really brings focus to our making.

I am back to workshops and planning and making...back in my studio with ideas for some commissioned work. And of course, getting out in the garden, veg patch and further afield to really maker the most summer with my family and friends!

Enjoy your weekend...