26 November 2014


I don't know where the time has gone.
November is almost over already.

My Mum had her birthday this week.
The sun shone for one day.
And then we had frost that lasted past mid-day in my back garden.

The herbs looked so pretty I couldn't resist taking a picture.

I'm on twitter again.
The last time I tried was in 2009.
Boy, hasn't it changed in five years?
We'll see how it goes....

31 October 2014

discounts and thank you gifts

From sketch book, through to copper prototypes, polishing and oxidizing, photographing, and then gift boxing, with my new business cards.

Thanks to the patience of a dear friend, I have found my silversmithing mojo again.
To celebrate this renewed activity at the workbench I am offering two kinds of discounts at the shop.

First.  I will be sending a £5.00 thank you coupon for every purchase made in the shop from now until New Year's Eve to be redeemed in the shop on purchases over £10.00.

Second.  If you use the coupon code RHUBARB10 at checkout, from now until New Year's Eve, you will also receive a 10% discount on your purchases.

Happy gift hunting from now until then. 
And as always, thank you for your support and encouragement!

25 October 2014

DC: Dress


Me eleven years old. 

Let me start this post by saying that I don't wear dresses anymore.
They make me feel too exposed.

Too "feminine"
Too vulnerable.
Too obviously female.

I like skirts with thick tights and flat heels.
I like tunics over jeans or floaty trousers.
But mostly I like jeans.

I received a very strange email from someone the other day, telling me how good they thought I looked in high heels and that I should wear them more often!

That was all he said in the email.
Creepy right?

They were high heeled boot shoes, worn with thick black tights and a very plain cord wrap skirt.
I had assumed I would be safe from the sort of attention I received above.

As an early developer, I began to receive the kind of comments and attention from men that a thirteen year old girl just doesn't need.  I began to feel unable to walk down the street without attracting this unwanted kind of attention.  As a teen in the 70s, there must have been some strange post-contraceptive-pill-free-for-all when it came to the sudden accessibility of women to men.

In Britain there has been a lot of historical prosecutions by women that had been sexually assaulted or abused by men in the 70s.  We have seen many once celebrated and now sad, bewildered, old men taken to task over their once, carefree attitude towards women.  I am ready to bet that there are a lot of women my age remembering the same sort of over familiar touchy-feely attention they received from teachers and the like that men would not so easily get away with today.

We put up with it.  Didn't we?

Anyway.  This was not the sort of post Patrice A had in mind as a drawing challenge I'm sure. 
(I promise next time I will make some attempt to draw/make something)

The last time I wore a dress I was married. 'nough said. 

So, here I am, in my glad to be a girl, prepubescent years, modelling, one of the many, many, dresses that was made for me by my beautiful grandmother who taught me how to sew and is part of the reason I have started a new blog about my attempts to make my own clothes.

19 October 2014

in print

Between my son, daughter and I, we have a lot of books; this is just a peek.
He left a collection of DH Lawrence's poems "Birds, Beasts, And Flowers" in my bedroom a couple of days ago.

I like to read poetry at night.
I like to write poetry at night too.

I've read some of his poems before of course, but I don't remember reading his "Figs" poem before.  It struck me as very sad.  Maybe, it's my age...

This extract particularly captured my imagination; perhaps because I've been sewing a lot lately....

"...When Eve once knew in her mind that she was naked

She quickly sewed fig-leaves, and sewed the same for the man.
She’d been naked all her days before,
But till then, till that apple of knowledge, she hadn’t had the fact on her mind.
She got the fact on her mind, and quickly sewed fig-leaves.
And women have been sewing ever since.
But now they stitch to adorn the bursten fig, not to cover it.
They have their nakedness more than ever on their mind,
And they won’t let us forget it.
Now, the secret
Becomes an affirmation through moist, scarlet lips
That laugh at the Lord’s indignation.
What then, good Lord! cry the women.
We have kept our secret long enough.
We are a ripe fig.
Let us burst into affirmation.
They forget, ripe figs won’t keep.
Ripe figs won’t keep...."

                From “Birds, Beasts, And Flowers: Poems By D. H. Lawrence.”

Photograph with permission from Patrice A Arts 

I've also been so happy to find my friend has opened her own ETSY shop!
I've been waiting for this to happen for ages.

Her work is amazing.
And her printing press is a beauty!

Please take a look, if you haven't already.
(I bet you have!)

Patrice A's website
Patrice A's Etsy Shop!!!

Congratulations my friend

9 October 2014

in support of makers...

 I have found an artist I can sometimes afford to collect.
And I have found that my friends enjoy collecting her work too!
Every Christmas I buy something from Paula's shop Otchipotchi and am really fond of her beautiful porcelain decorations and tea lights. I am hoping that she will make something similar again this year. 

I don't think of myself as materialistic.  In an emergency, my heart would not  break at losing these possessions.  But when I can afford to, which is not as often as I would like, I like to support the work of people I admire and at the same time understand that I am supporting them in my small way, so that they may continue to make their beautiful things, which I can enjoy in  my home - or give as gifts to those I love. 

The supermarkets are already filling up with cheap chocolate and gaudy wrapping paper, and it won't be long before the rows of plastic toys displayed in plastic wrapping take over the aisles.  I feel sorry for the young struggling families that live here in my financially deprived neighbourhood, where food banks are sprouting up to feed those people unable to buy enough to feed themselves or their families.  Even Supermarkets have trolleys to support these charities.

Christmas day is the only part of the whole countdown that I enjoy, and I spend it with my family.  We have Boxing day too, a unique British extension of the Christmas period.  I enjoy receiving gifts that are thoughtfully handmade as opposed to bodywash and flannels marketed and packaged especially for christmas.  I'm sure that you do too.  Which is why I wanted to add my voice to Sonia's and state that I will be supporting makers this year as far as my purse will allow, and give handmade gifts as tokens to my family and friends. 

5 October 2014


enter giveaway on instagram: http://instagram.com/laccentnou

Not mine, but my lovely blogger friend Anastasia at L'accent Nou  I love her jewellery and now she has made these beautiful ceramic pods laced with gold lustre.  I think they are beautiful and would love to win one myself!  If you would like a chance to win one too, visit her instagram account and start reblogging :)

Like a lot of bloggers lately, instagram seems to have become the place to check out my friends and what they've been up to during the week.

Hope yours was good, and that you enjoy today!

1 October 2014

just saying hello...

I don't know how time goes by so quickly.
It's been a busy week or two!

I've updated the Haiku:365 blog if you follow
 and have not abandoned my sewing machine altogether either.
(if you like freebies, there's a good link there)

I want to write a little more about my Haiku:365 project at some point soon.
Perhaps nearer publication date in the new year...

Keep sage safe!

(I liked the accidental typo)

24 September 2014

found on the roadside


The fallen patterns of these dried pine needles fascinate me.
They literally stopped me in my tracks.
I find them extremely beautiful.
together or alone.

Such stunningly elegant lines.

16 September 2014

this week...

This weekend a lovely parcel arrived all the way from sunny Montpellier.
So many parcels!
My children get jealous when these lovely gift parcels arrive in the post, but they happen because of the friendships developed over years of following each other through our blogs and creativity.

I have always admired Sonia's beautiful naturally dyed linen scarves - and now because of another gift swap we agreed upon, I am the delighted owner of this avocado dye, linen scarf!  It is beautiful Sonia, thank you!  I love how the grey pink tones, coordinate perfectly with my recently made "et voila" skirt.  Even though there will only be a few short weeks left of warmer weather, I am making the most of them.  It is sunny today, but when the clouds come, the northern chill is quickly felt and the scarf is perfect.  You can guess that the delicious honey nugget was speedily scoffed (and not shared) and all the other parcels torn open.  I was very moved by the necklace included in these precious parcels.  Having so many beautiful handmade creations around the house remind me of the people that made them and they are some of the things that are held onto and not so easily discarded as shop bought items are.  I think that is why I am trying hard to make my own clothes.  I am not great - at all - with the sewing machine, but selecting the fabric and pattern, sitting in the evenings to wrestle  patiently struggle with the machine all require deliberate choices and time.  When these clothes are made, and the season for wearing them is over - I carefully store them away for next year, hoping that I don't gain too much weight over Christmas to wear them again - (it happens...).  

You can  be sure that the necklace is being almost constantly worn - and the pin-cushion was put to good use immediately on my current sewing project.

Enjoy the rest of your week friends - and if anyone else is interested in a handmade gift swap - let me know - I'm in!

5 September 2014

Autumn Term

New things arrived in the post this week.

An irresistible wool purse, hand-dyed and sewn by my talented friend Sonia
(the phone is ancient - but it's practically indestructible)

A free sample of Eco - Canvas, using 45% recycled  content from Spoonflower - an excuse to see what one of my new designs print like.  I was beaming when I saw how bright and clear the line and colours turned out!  It's a good fabric for sturdy bags or upholstering chair seats.

And an update on how my garden is looking lately.  Remember this:

Yesterday I finally finished painting the fences in "Rustic Brown".  When the sun shines on them, they practically glow.  I even washed and cleaned the windows so now everything seems bright and shiny.

The back fence will have to wait until Spring - the tree that is growing out of the back wall is being taken down soon after a kind neighbour tracked down the owner of the garage and showed him what his wall was looking like - so anything could happen - the wall is almost falling down.

And the new term begins Monday - only instead of the supply teacher, I will be the student - studying a subject completely alien to me.  I intend to be très chic at class - with a slightly longer length skirt.

I have made the decision to change what and how I do things in order to change the trajectory of my life.  It's a theory that I am putting into practice.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

30 August 2014

DC: Japan

cherry blossom moon

Nadia's   Nadine's theme for this week is Japan.
So of course, I am excited....
I first learned origami at school, when I was about 8 years old, and loved the intricate Japanese paper designs.  My first introduction to Japanese design I guess.
Then lately learning about Indigo dye and shibori techniques - so painstaking and intricate again, with the boro style of Japanese mending.  It goes without saying that Japanese ceramics are inherently beautiful and if I had the money...boy if I did.

We are doing everything Japanese these days.
From watching Akira Kurosawa films to eating for the first time at well known noodle bars, sampling sake.

I am also captivated by my small collection of Japanese Haiku and Tanka books which inspired the HAIKU:365 project.

I think a visit to Japan is in the cards and something to definitely plan for.  The architecture, gardens, design and philosophies are all so attractive and compelling...

You already know about my love of Japanese sewing books, and now I have been influenced by the textile designs of Mina Perhonen to make bolder, more free style textile designs for myself although her fabrics are so much finer, and embroidered, and heavier.  I love discovering new artists that hold my attention and draw me in new directions.

I have watched this video of her Summer Collection over and over - so hope you like it too.
Thank you Nadia Nadine (!) for another opportunity to share my love of all things Japanese!

26 August 2014

new paths

If it hurts your feet
get off the worn-out foot path
and walk on the grass.

I wrote this haiku walking home from the local College today.
You see, the old familiar paths have been hurting my feet lately.
The gravel and stones bruise the soles of my feet, no matter how sturdy my shoes have been.

Today, i marked out a new path.
I am hoping that the new path will be my own, although I am sharing this lovely new experience with my daughter!  We are starting out on a new adventure together - and that makes me so happy.

Co-incidentally, when I got home a letter had arrived from the solicitors telling me that my Decree Nici has been issued and now all I have to do it wait six weeks for the Absolute - marking an official end to what has been a physically, emotionally and at times, devastatingly traumatic seven years.

It all feels so right.
Which is maybe why my creative juices have been flowing again.
Don't they say that it takes seven years to grow a new skin?

This certainly feels like a brand new skin.

(I love the photograph taken by my son on a recent march to support Palestine.)