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.)

20 August 2014

a blog too far?

Do you remember me pledging to make myself more clothes? And do you also remember me sounding so  hopeful and positive that this would actually happen? Yes I know - it was a long time ago.  But now I have begun.  And  to demonstrate my commitment to the pledge I have begun a specially dedicated blog!

I know....

But it's the only way I can organize my life.  A tumblr for inspiration, a blog for my HAIKU:365 project and now let me introduce you to - "baktak"  or running stitch - a brand new place to chronicle my  amateur efforts to make my very own autumn/winter collection.  

I know that I have been moaning about losing my knitting mojo but with this icy North Wind blast - the urge to keep my fingers and lap warm in a knitting project returned - like magic - or is it a seasonal urge - who needs wool in Summer?  So the wool literally dropped on my doorstep this very minute - a gorgeous med grey marl DK and I have two patterns to toss and turn over...but all that will  be on the other blog....

So - if you're curious about my efforts or would like to leave a couple of handy hints and tips which will all be most welcome, please do visit me there.  You can find the link on the right under "other places" along with a neat Spoonflower banner with a direct link to my fabric shop.  

And -  am I the only one freezing!!!  Where oh where did Summer go??

17 August 2014

49 minus 1

It's my birthday!
I am this chilled about it.
look what I got!

I love how my daughter decorated her parcels...
and treated me to gel nails
and then I had to hammer a ring for myself.
A birthday treat to me.

(the 49 minus 1 is a reference to the birthday candle combo my parents found for my birthday cake as they didn't have number 8)

9 August 2014



These beautiful hydrangeas were from my mothers garden.
They did not dry.
Don't worry, (I tell myself) she has plenty more!!!

My son has been joining these protests - in Cardiff and in London.
They are his photographs, and I hope he took some more at the rally in London today.

Both doing their own thing - together....

A budding writer?
This one can become whatever she chooses to be.

These have been transformed into fabric.
They have been printed and shipped.
I am just waiting for the sample collection to arrive.....

25 July 2014

Happy Birthday Princess!

My youngest turned 19.
We listened to music I bought when I was 17.
I'm not sure which of us had the most fun with her birthday gifts!!

I actually pogoed to this and another three or four songs from the LP until my body told me to behave myself

It's been a lovely day.
I will not complain, ever, about the sun.....

21 July 2014

an update...

I seem to have been away forever, but it has only been a few weeks.
And I am still working on my HAIKU:365 project and have just updated the pages...

Summer has certainly arrived.
You can find me bathing in the sun, whenever she shows her face.

Have a great Summer friends.

28 June 2014


The theme DC NUDE hosted by Patrice made me think of EXPOSED.
cleared of make-up, under sky light, still growing out my grey  hair

as exposed and nude as I am daring to go.

My daughter shot these.
No editing (except cropping).

I think she captured quite a variety of mes.

Thank you for the invite Patrice!

9 June 2014

guilty pleasures...


I have bought yet another Japanese pattern book.
This one is translated to French - which is a little  lot easier to understand!

It arrived the same time as my fabric samples from the Parisienne Collection.
I couldn't be happier about them.
The colour translation is perfect - 
but I may play with scale, 
something smaller I think for a dress I have in mind.