Saturday, 24 February 2018


Stephanie, my granddaughter who loves rocks, is studying geology at Cardiff university so when she showed me some photos taken of microscopic sections of rock I was really inspired by the beautiful colours and designs. This is one of the textile art pieces I have created this week using various scraps from my stash like organza and velvet layered over a white linen base and stitched on the machine.
Here is my original sketch done in brush pen, black micron pen and watercolour pencils.  I had a lot of fun on dark winter evenings interpreting the photos I have stored on my Kindle tablet.

The back of the stitching on the white linen base looks like a lot of doodles!
Stephanie didn't tell me the names of the rocks but it doesn't matter too much as they are such lovely abstract patterns.

This piece was made by making some scrap lace using water-soluble stabiliser so that I could place those tiny bits of blue silk in spaces on the background which is made from a part of my grandmother's silk velvet shawl that must be at least 100 years old.

Here's my sketch, I think it looks a bit like a planet spinning in space!

The third photo looks like the world with the equator running across the middle.

The sketch is done in watercolour and I really like the way the colours mingled when I painted them which I tried to replicate in the machine stitched version.

The black patches are more scraps of grannie's velvet attached with zigzag among the pieces of organza and hand dyed cotton.
I haven't quite decided what to make with these now, maybe some birthday cards or pieced together as a cushion cover.....That means I'll need to do another one to make a square, oh well, back to the drawing board!

Sunday, 18 February 2018


We chose to stay at an adults only hotel this year and were delighted to find that there were lots of activities available to entertain us during the day as well as the evenings.
On Monday morning there was a silk painting class run by an English lady, Sue Brown, who lives on the island.  This is my first attempt at something I've often thought of trying.

The view from our balcony was very inspiring and as I had taken a selection of threads and fabrics I decided to make a stitch picture to record what I saw.

Another morning we had the opportunity to try decoupage and here is the first glass dish I made using cut up napkins and acrylic paint as well as the usual crackle treatment.

The second week I made another one and I think it turned out better as I chose the background colours more carefully.  I'm not sure if I'll be doing much more of this technique, I much prefer stitching and painting!

On the second Monday I had another try at the silk painting and enjoyed it so much I'm considering giving it a go at home.  I used pieces of rock salt carefully placed to make those lovely sparkle effects, something the teacher had not tried before as previously she just sprinkled it on at random.
I met some lovely ladies during these classes and we are keeping in touch on the Facebook page set up by Sue to highlight the work of the classes each week.

Saturday, 10 February 2018


Part 2 of my holiday story continues with a poolside drawing of the palms in the gardens at the hotel Barceló, Corralejo Bay on Fuerteventura.

Our evenings there were spent in the lounge bar listening to a variety of live bands. This is a Beatles tribute trio that came on as Status Quo in the second half without their wigs and completely different music.

The Abba band was very good at getting people up to dance, here are my favourites. The man is a handicapped German who danced alone every evening till someone went up to join him.  I took a few turns too after these two lovely ladies went home.

Here are the group who entertained us so well.

We made some friends who we sat with some evenings, here is Derek while he was playing dominoes with the others.

This group played and sang and the girl in the middle also played the violin, at the request of one guest she did some amazing Irish folk music.

Some afternoons we sat on the terrace by the lounge instead of the pool as it was a bit sunnier later in the day being a level higher.

This was an amazing combination of Irish and Spanish dancing and music.  The foot stamping is very similar and the accompaniment on the drum combined with the flautist excellent.

Hard to capture the movement but the main thing is to enjoy the moment and not worry about making mistakes.

On our last day the mist over Lanzarote cleared enough for me to draw it in detail in my coloured pencils on this gorgeous tinted Ingres paper.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed my little trip to Fuerteventura, we will definitely go back next year.

Sunday, 4 February 2018


We have just come back from a fortnight's holiday in the Barcel√≥ hotel at Corralejo Bay on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands.  I took my new sketchbook, no 44, and started it with a sketch of one of the great bands that entertained us during the evenings.

Mr Bana band was one of the best live groups I've heard, playing Rhythm and Blues music very professionally. I showed them the drawings when they finished and they were delighted to see them and signed each of their portraits.

We stayed in a room on the 3rd floor with a fantastic view over the harbour.  We could see Lanzarote in the distance when it wasn't too hazy.

The port was quite busy with ferries coming and going during the day between the islands.

Ile Lobos was just offshore and the sea sweeping in between the islands was quite strong making it fantastic for wind and kite surfers.

There was a lovely walk along the beach in both directions which we did most days when the wind wasn't too strong.

Looking southwards we could see the mountains in the distance behind the campanile of the shopping centre.

We spent every evening enjoying the live music and entertainment in the comfortable wicker chairs.

Another of my favourite groups was  'Jersey 's Best' a Four Seasons tribute band, very lively and entertaining.

Saturday, 6 January 2018


Happy new year to you all and I hope you had a good time over the festive season.
I thought I should start the year with a catch up on the latest drawings in my sketchbooks. 
I have finally completed no 41 which I started in January 2017 with these drawings from some photos taken while I was walking with Justine in the Surrey hills in November last year.

The ground was littered with red and gold leaves and the fallen branches silhouetted against the sky were very sculptural, making lovely frames for my photos.

While I was in England my middle granddaughter Steph who is studying geology at Cardiff university showed me some photos she had taken of microscopic sections of rocks. 
I couldn't believe the colours and patterns that appeared.

I asked her to email some to me as I was inspired to try and draw them with a plan to later turn them into embroideries.

I had a lot of fun on the rainy winter evenings using water soluble pens and crayons in my square sketchbook.

As the patterns are very intricate it was very hard not to get bogged down in the detail but I managed to get looser each time I tried a different one.

They look like planets spinning in outer space and as I have just re-discovered my grandmother's black velvet shawl I'm planning to use it as a background when I start the textile versions.

And maybe they lend themselves to some free machine stitching embroidery. 
I'm enjoying my new found love of hand stitching so much there don't seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything!  I've got a bag full of felting supplies waiting to be tried, my ongoing family tree portrait project and a head full of other ideas so I will never get bored. 
We're off on our travels soon and I've already packed some fabrics and threads as well as my sketchbook and pencils to keep me occupied in the winter sun of the Canaries so look out for my next blog when I hope to have some new things to share with you.

Saturday, 23 December 2017


It is nearly Christmas so I can now share with you my cards for this year.

My daughter and her family are going skiing in Sweden this year so I decided to base their cards on a typical Swedish symbol.

The Dala horse has been made in Sweden for centuries, originally by carpenters for their children using up scraps of wood and then for sale to earn some extra money.

The traditional colour is red and they come in many sizes but I decided to use some of my fabric scraps to embroider using my own wooden horse as a model.  This mauve fabric is from a cashmere jumper Justine gave me a few years ago,  I love the contrast against the zigzags.

Although most of the horses are red or blue I had a lot of fun choosing suitable backgrounds for each person.  I gave Kirsty the hearts as I feel she's a romantic person.

Sarah loves trees so she got a scrap of silver birches, a favourite tree seen all over Sweden.

Steph got the blue sky as she loves geography and is a bit of a dreamer, often found staring into space!
And finally here's the card I made and printed to send to the rest of the family and friends, a drawing inspired by the Christmas tree mat my mother embroidered when I was a baby.  We were living in Sweden at the time, 1950, and I was the first of four children.  The mat has been used every year since then although for the first time it's now under Joanna's tree as I thought it was time to pass it down through the family.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before I handed it over, maybe I'll have to ask her to take one for me.
Have a very Happy Christmas everyone and I'll be back soon.