Granite one, Perlite one – Knitting Rocks

sarah gilpin:

For my knitting & crochet buddies – the ultimate…

Originally posted on Geological Society of London blog:

Trilobite hat (c) Hannah Ingalls

It’s Autumn, and while we’d normally have been in our woolies for weeks now, we’re still able to get away without. For knitters this is a great time to whip up a quick hat or pair of gloves – but have you ever considered geological knitting?

View original 479 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Moving to a New Blog

Life has been more than a bit crazy, busy, stressful etc etc for a while!

I have still been making things every day – a MUST for me in stressful times – but there has been no time or head-space for photographing and writing about things.

The plus side of this is I have a whole heap of stuff waiting to be shared in wonderful blogland …… and ….. it will be shared on my NEW ‘Wild Daffodil’ BLOG!!!

I do hope you will all follow me over to the new site, come on, it would be great to have you along:

It has all the archive material from this Stonechat Blog, but from now on I will be posting my creative adventures and creativity with my Grandchildren on ‘Wild Daffodil’ instead of ‘Stonechat’.

Stonechat will now concentrate on life at the Hut.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Painting Portland Bill – open studio co-operative effort

As part of the Spirit of Portland the Sculpture Hut was open to visitors with Stonechat providing a painting opportunity. Only a small task – to paint Portland Bill. In order to aid the process, and to inspire artists young an old, a basic outline of earth, sea, sky and key features (huts and lighthouse) was provided on a large sheet of heavy duty paper (re-cycled from my art course)

OS Painting the Bill - readiness

OS Painting the Bill – the studio is ready

OS the not quite blank canvas

OS the not quite blank canvas

We had some very enthusiastic young British artists arrive who got stuck in to painting the sea

First enthusiastic young artists

First enthusiastic young artists

To the lighthouse

Other feartures added

The other features included the Lobster Pot cafe, lots of grass and a few more huts ……some of which were on fire (due to excess of red paint)!

Then along came a couple of willing adults who built up some deatails

Mermaid ahoy

Mermaid ahoy

Besides a mermaid Mary added a very effective NE wind! Then a large sea creature appeared, maybe a jellyfish or possibly an octopus appeared, although we’re not sure who the adult artist was.

Surfing the shoreline

Surfing the shoreline

With the help of three more YBAs late in the afternoon the picture was almost done

Another pretty blue hut added

Another pretty blue hut added

Adding another boat and working hard at growing grass

Adding another boat and working hard at growing grass

And so by close of studio we have a magnificent wall painting – there’s still room for more detail to be added in the months to come

Painting at the end of the day

Painting at the end of the day

Posted in open studio, painting | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

July Studio Day – Part 2

Jean and Rachel

there is nothing more companionable than sitting in a beautiful spot, chatting, crafting and sketching togethersket

sharing photosst

and tiny tendrilly stone and wire sculptures alien sputnik

and seeing how our different items sit together


perched on 200 year old juniper still emitting that wonderful softly pungent juniper smellsnail snail1

a walk with the dog finding outcrops of flowers amongst the hutspinkk peapink

stones all ready and waiting for Sarah’s studentsstone


and back for another look at those gorgeous teasels


Posted in art from natural objects, other artists, photographs, sculpture, stone, textiles, walks, workshops | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

July Studio Day – part 1

Glorious day

the races next field tease trsck

to sit and create

Jean sketch pebble

with a wonderful bunch of artists and


and a perky little terrier ……..

Posted in art from natural objects, drawing, knitting, other artists, photographs, sculpture, stone, textiles, walks | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cushions galore!

Making yet another cushion in order to try out a pattern – well you can never have enough… can you?

I always have to have an easy project on the go to pick up in any odd moment and this 20 x 20inch cushion cover is my latest easy project.


The pattern can be found on Ravelry as a free pattern by Red Heart, and if you log into Ravelry you can see 916 projects made form this pattern. I’m not surprised it is so popular, reasons for loving this pattern:

There is no foundation row

Easy enough for beginners

Endless possibilities

Suitable in any weight of yarn

Relaxing to do.

Very little counting.

I’m sure I will think of others as I go along.


And I’m thinking it will sit comfortably in front of the Summer Flight Throw.


I will crochet until there is enough to cover both sides of a 20 inch cushion insert, with an overlap at the back to fasten.

Posted in crochet, how to | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Crochet calm

When life gives you lemons – crochet!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Life has been a bit stressful recently, blogland is one of my glorious escapes, and


so is sitting in a colourful corner of my garden next to drying poppy heads, whilst taking a little break from brain aching computer work, preparing for an important meeting tomorrow.


The colours in the crochet chime so beautifully with the multicoloured hydrangea ….


… still using Summer Flight palette in search of a winning combination, but I have added another Stylecraft DK pink, it’s called ‘Fondant‘.

I am following a ‘Corner to Corner Throw’ Free Pattern found on this lovely blog, ‘Crochet Between Two Worlds‘, which I will make into another cushion cover.


And there in the garden is my favourite combination of pinks and oranges, with parsley seed heads adding some lime green – yummy.



The children are particularly intrigued that a bush can have all these different coloured flowers on it – and so am I – and it goes so well with the 80’s curtain fabric in the spare bedroom – love those kind of happy accidents



ok back to work …..

Later addition:

After a trying day it was truly blissful to sit till past 10pm on the bench building the rows of crochet, listening to birdsong amidst the scent of night-scented stocks and watching delicate little white moths flit about – sooooooo soooooooooothing.

How lucky I feel to live in such a peaceful place.

Posted in crochet, garden | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments


Nearly finished ….

nearly finished

There is always a mini feeling of sadness when a big project is coming to an end, like when you arrive at the last chapter in a great novel and you don’t want to leave the world of the characters and the story.

I started this throw back in April, and if you are interested in the yarn and colours, click here and you can see the list I ordered. However I did not use the ‘raspberry’ in the end.


I have loved using this process of choosing the colours and working out the best combination and pattern and making up the sequence of colours according to the painting.

Has it worked? Well, I’m not sure it has – the zig-zags are maybe too bold … perhaps a more regular and repeating pattern would have worked better with single rows of each colour.

I have so enjoyed the ‘journey’ of it though. It holds many happy memories. It has led to making cushion covers for 3 grandchildren and they have been able to choose their own colours. And Miss E who painted this picture when she was 4 (at her house, so not in sight of the painting)


as the sort of picture that Granny likes,  was able to play with colour. Teddy chose this combination for her next dress!


And here is the throw, or snuggle blanket  …. finished (?). I crocheted a row of single crochet along the side edge in pale turquoise.


When a creative piece is not entirely a success I like to remember that “it is not wrong, it is just not finished”. A great quote – wish I could remember where I found it.

sumstarSo I will live with the Throw and enjoy it and probably try out another design for another cushion cover. And maybe make a second blanket that will harmonise in a more pleasing way. I do like it, but not LOVE it, so no big Ta Dah! on this one – work in progress.


Posted in children's art, crochet, other artists, textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grass 2014

I have been playing with a bit of grass art again

lawn grid

this time in grids

last year we had a spiral, followed by waves

I particularly like the patterns in the evening light

evening lawn

Happy gardening!

Posted in art from natural objects, garden | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Wild Daffodil at Society6

I have tried to hold back until a few things are sorted out before sharing a new online shop with you all – but it’s no good, I just can’t wait any more!


Society6 is an online shop based in America. Alisa Burke shared her Society6 items on her fabulous blog, so I had a go at uploading photos of some of my work (above is some of my machine embroidery printed onto a shoulder bag), and I LOVE it!!!

The look of the Tote Bags and the Cushions (Throw Pillows) make me squeeeeeak with joy!



I have ordered a Tote Bag for myself, to check out the quality and to see how much I will have to pay on top of the postage once it gets to this country. I was going to wait for the bag to arrive before blogging about it but it’s hopeless, I just can not wait!

The fabric is printed with a high definition photograph and I am really interested to see if they look as great in reality as they do online.

I have searched in vain for a UK or European site which does the same thing – the prices and postage are reasonable on the US site I think – just waiting to see what charges are made once in the UK.

Loving the idea of having a crocheted cushion sitting next to it’s photographed counterpart, and maybe a clock to match in the kitchen – or is that going too far?

11893045_11657592-clkfwhw_bCould always go for a slightly different pattern in the same colour way

11895639_3233226-plwfr2_b Having lots of fun thinking about different combos. . . .


and different sizes and scale, and then there are the rugs

11872507_14383183-rg23_jand the mugs


I’ve got masses of ideas prancing around in my mind for more and more things I want to photograph. PLUS ideas of things I want to make in order to photograph them and see them turned into bags and cushions .. so please pop into the shop and have a look around – I’d love to know what you like best – more to come very soon.

Posted in crochet, for sale, garden, other artists, photographs, textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imagine ….

After two days immersed in digging and delving in my garden, my body aches and creaks and groans, but what joy at the end of the day to peer deep into these gorgeous flowers and imagine……. I just want to dive in and live in them

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

poppy poppy2 popwh pop bee


mmmm pet

entrance to the fairies’ night club –  there’s nature’s strobe lighting going on in there …

darkk marigold

opium poppy ball-gown

opium opi

silk taffeta skirt

– come prance with me amongst the petals before curling up in a tussle of taffeta and dream of sunny tomorrows

Posted in garden, photographs | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Crochet cross country


aaaaaaaah – that view!!!

On Monday a friend and I went off to meander around West Dorset and take in some ozone packed Art on display through Dorset Arts Weeks .

We drove to Abbotsbury and visited Dansel Wood Gallery. We had met there when we both worked in the Gallery 20 years ago. The view above was on my journey to work each morning and it never failed to give me a gasp of pleasure, and I thought I must have one of the best commutes in the world! (the ferry across Sydney Harbour Australia possibly just beats it!).

I can highly recommend the coffee shop at Dansel too – giving time for a catch-up chat with our former boss,  and to do a spot of crochet


I’m so enjoying building memories into this throw.

Then on to a blustery Burton Bradstock for a blast along the beach


before dropping in on Carolyne Kardia’s Open Studio – what a fabulous spaceck

adding a few more stitches at the original home of Summer Flightckme


Gorgeous Exhibition!!!! Wonderful space, delightful artist!

And on to lunch at Down House Farm Cafe

cafee cafe

it is on the footpath and a bit tricky to get to by car, but well worth it for the friendly service, delicious menu and wonderful viewsview

and time for a more crochetfoot


Do you like my co-ordinating new sandals! Made by Adesso, bought in Wimborne’s Doris and Daisy ?


whilst my friend browsed through the book to see where we would go next

A wonderful sunny Dorset day filled with Stunning Views, The Sea, Art, Friendship and re-connecting with old friends – all now crocheted into and held snuggly by my Summer Flight Throw.

Posted in crochet, other artists | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Throw Progress

I took the beginnings of the throw on the train when I went to stay with my son and his family in London, setting off from our little country station


Started the night before just to set the pattern, I managed to do nearly a row whilst waiting for the train and had done this much by the time we got to Bournemouth


We had a delightful and very camp ticket inspector who gasped with joy when he saw my ripples! And held it up declaring

“Look what she’s doing isn’t it FAAABulous, LOOK it goes up and down as well!”

Very unusual on an English train!!! The usual reserve broken and little slightly self-conscious smiles and nods all round.

People often ask me how long it takes to make things, which I find hard to answer because I do it for relaxation and in between other things and whilst watching children play or in front of the TV – so how long it takes is irrelevant to me – but to answer the question, I timed a row of the throw – it took about 11 mins.

But a better answer would be to say, how long does it take you to read a book.

Later I was on the long tube journey to the outer reaches of London and a burly bloke says in a cockney accent – “Gor blimey, slow down , you’re makin me dizzy” as I thundered on seeing how much I could do on the journey.

I love the way doing crafts in public often gives the go ahead for conversation.

And now I am home again here is the throw so far


I’m loving doing it and the way the picture is guiding the colour sequence – not sure it actually works and I can already see how I would like to have done it differently – but that is the creative mind – never completely satisfied – always thinking of the next project.

I think I would have preferred to do it in this sequence with 4 single rows every so often


I briefly contemplated unpicking the throw, but it is not only the time and work invested in the piece – but also the happy memories as it’s made – I can always do another one!

Posted in crochet | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Flowers inside


My granny used to grow streptocarpus and I have tried before failing miserably, but now…st

I seem to have got the hang of it ….


Maybe it helps to be a Granny.


And here are some flowers I picked from my garden to put in the bedroom for my friend who is coming to stay ….flos

Weigela, black cornflowers, marigolds, red campion, and sweet cicely for a bit of froth..folsWe are going to a Quick Draw event at Sculpture by the Lakes tomorrow – lovely!


Posted in garden | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day on the beach




sitting in the shade with Granny


a glorious day






home time



Posted in crochet, walks | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Local Village Shop

Swapping little gems of art from across the world is a joy each Spring and Autumn and they start their journey from our wonderful local village Post Office, run by Pascal.


The postcards had to be weighed as with all the collage and stitching they needed a higher postage than standard postcards – something to think about for next time.

This is a gem of a shop with gorgeous local produce and people from the village at the till




Pascal always does inspirational window displays and is keen to advertise village events – in this case the upcoming Open Gardens on 25th and 26th May


If you want to hear the latest news the shop has a Facebook Page.


It sits close by the world heritage Jurassic Coast. How lucky am I to live here!!!

So perfect to pop in for picnic ingredients if you are off for a walk around Lulworth Cove.











If you would like to go and see the spectacular array of postcards others have made, click here for a feast of inspiration!

Posted in collage, other artists, post card swap | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Charles Clary

Check this out!! Fascinating paper sculpture. Scroll down for a great video of the process. Found on the blog Picdit where you will see many other amazing artists

Posted in collage, drawing, other artists | Leave a comment

May Post Cards


I always look forward to iHanna’s Post Card Swap, I think this is the fourth I have been part of.

You make 10 postcards, Hanna gives you 10 addresses from around the world and then, when she fires the starting pistol, you send them off and await for 10 wonderful works of art to glide through your letter box. It’s magic!

I have used one of the collages done at the beach hut for mine this Spring Swap. You can see the start of it by clicking here. Gosh, that is about a year ago!

A large piece of card, approx  A1 size, gathered from the Dorset Scrapstore, gets covered with a fairly random assortment of pictures in a chosen colour theme – this time, yellow for Spring!1cv

Then I paint over it, and machine stitch (inspired by Tammy at Daisy Yellow – see link on the blogroll on the right).


I love the way the stitching looks on the reverse side


Greta, a recipient of one of the cards called this ‘sewed on gold’ – LOVE that!! Thank you Greta.

Then cut them into post card sizes


And add an edging


in this case a leaf design on sellotape


Ta dah!

10And off they go!

You can see links to other participants posts here – what a beautiful bountiful bunch of inspiration!

Posted in collage, how to, other artists, painting, post card swap, recycling, stamps, stencils | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments


zing waves


I just could not wait to try out this zingy colour combination.


Posted in crochet | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Clay play


After the slow business and concentration of learning the new skill of stone carving, Miss E thoroughly enjoyed working with clay and made this delightful leaping dolphin


Exploring a familiar medium in  a different way

The dolphin was left to dryD and the conversation turned to how the clay was used and stored etc, so Sarah showed Miss E how to recycle clay by smashing it with a hammer,


mixing it with water…………. and swidging it about


and then ..


which when held up to the light

000lig backlight

gained magical halos where the paper had absorbed the water.

It was wonderful to watch this process unfold as E was supported by Sarah to explore things as they emerged, E always taking a next creative step with what she was doing.

Even the board on which the model had stood provided a shape that to Miss E looked like a lion’s headtiger

can you see it?


and so a print was made.

For want of a printing press Granny’s great weight was used and because even that was not quite enough to make a decent print, I picked Elfie up and we jumped up and down on the board and … ta dah!


She now had a picture of a .. oh , it turned into a tiger prowling towards the viewer. E was down on her hands and knees demonstrating just how the tiger was moving …

tiger22it’s no wonder Miss E recently won a prize at school for story writing – very proud Granny!!!

The three of us were entirely absorbed for those two and a half hours of wonderful exploration – a very special time  – and so lovely to be able to share it with you all.

Sarah runs workshops for all ages and family groups – tis a fabulous experience and makes a great present. Take a look at this website to find out more.

Posted in art from natural objects, children's art, how to, recycling, sculpture, stamps, stone, workshops | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Summer Flight Throw

Have been wanting to start a new big crochet project and inspired by Lucy at Attic 24 who has put together a palette of colours on the Wool Warehouse and Deramores websites, I wanted to have a go at putting my own palette together.

The throw is to go on the futon that sits below ‘Summer Flight’.


So, how about using the same palette of colours.

I found the yarn in the Wool Warehouse

Stylecraft Special DK – Bright Pink (1435)
Stylecraft Special DK – Raspberry (1023)
Stylecraft Special DK – Magenta (1084)
Stylecraft Special DK – Fiesta (1257)
Stylecraft Special DK – Soft Peach (1240)
Stylecraft Special DK – Sunshine (1114)
Stylecraft Special DK – Citron (1263)
Stylecraft Special DK – Cream (1005)
Stylecraft Special DK – Turquoise (1068)
Stylecraft Special DK – Aspen (1422)
Stylecraft Special DK – Wisteria (1432)
Stylecraft Special DK – Teal (1062)
Stylecraft Special DK – Midnight (1011)
Stylecraft Special DK – Petrol (1708)

14 colours, and I hope to keep them in the same proportions as the painting, but we’ll see how it goes as I’m making it


Very excited about playing with different combinations of colours within the same palette.

I had such fun arranging them on the sofa – glee! is the word that comes to mind!

I also just had to add a brilliant orange colour
Stylecraft Special DK – Jaffa (1256)

Because I am also wanting to make some things in one of my favourite combos of pink and orange. With maybe a bit of purple and turquoise too – oooooh – I so LOVE that combo



makes me want to dance!!

Posted in crochet, knitting, other artists, painting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Sculpture Hut

Miss E (my 6 year old granddaughter) asked me if she could ‘do some art’ with Sarah at the Sculpture Hut and so I booked a session and off we went with our packed lunch and warm coats.

E just loves Sarah’s studio and enjoyed looking at, and talking to Sarah about, different pieces there



she decided to have a go at some stone carving, trying out different tools0001a

and how to make shapes and marks on the stone.


She worked with a chisel and a mallet to make a carving of a shark leaping up over the edge of the piece of stone and then did some

filefiling to soften the edge.





Stone carving is hard work for a 6 year old but she worked for about 45 mins before needing a break.

She discovered that when you come across a fossilised shell in the stone the stone is harder to work.


We went down to sea to look at the rocks that had been broken by the storms and found fossils in them.


and found a warm sunny ledge to have our picnic lunch on and watch the fishermen



and do some knitting – the crocheted blanket was great charity shop find which lives at the hut and the knitting will be a jacket for Miss E.



It was a really special creative time at Granny’s Hut

Miss E also worked with clay – pictures of her creations to follow in another post.

Posted in art from natural objects, children's art, crochet, knitting, sculpture, stone, workshops | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments


Hurray for Spring sunshine!


and the Amelanchier in full bloom!

Don’t you just love that word – Amel …… anch …… eeeee …….errrrr.

I’m not even sure that’s how to say it, and I can never remember it, but it is a grand name.

With the white narcissi underneath, my garden seems to have a bridal feel to it at the moment.


I wonder what other delicate white flowers I could grow to flower at this time of year, any ideas?

I like the way the cerise cyclamen and bright pink and purple hyacinths of March gave way to this froth of white in April. It will change again into the pinks, oranges and blues of the summer planting. Totally unplanned, but I like it! Serendipity – yes!!!

Post script: I went for a walk round the village this evening, to look for other white flowers in bloom and came across some white muscari and white myosotis – they will join the bridal theme next year. Loving the theatre of it. I have never thought of playing with colour in the garden in this way before. Fun!


Posted in garden | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s doodle outside

With stacks of black plastic pots stored in the garage, I was looking on Pinterest for ways of using them and came across living walls.

DIY is not my thing, or I would have made 3 or 5 shelves to go on an outside wall and arranged the pots on them, tilting them at a n angle and putting the largest ones in the middle, grading them down to the smaller ones at the ends.

But I do have some redundant fixings in a south facing wall.

111aWhere an tired old rose had been.

Until my newly planted fig trees grow, the wall is bare and so …..001apps

I wired the pots together with plastic-coated green wire, putting a stick at the base (painted pink) of the largest pot, and threading through one of the drainage holes.

To reduce the weight in the large pot, I turned a small plastic pot upside down, before adding the compost.


then a second wire starting under the next pot and threading the 2 wires through all the pots all the way to the top.

The wires are twisted round the supports on the way up to prevent wind rock and to help spread the weight.


Ideally I’d the two rows to be hanging closer together, and have more of them, but that is where the supports are, and it does give me satisfaction to use what I’ve got and not take too long putting things together.


I couldn’t resist a bit of doodling!

And once I’d started ..


001atreI just kept going!







001aacarand one of my favourite sayings, especially directed at all those drivers who feel they need to beep at me ….

001acarI have planted some succulents in the top pots and alpine strawberries, that freely seed themselves around the garden, in some of the others.


Later, after the risk of frost has gone,  I’ll plant more ordinary strawberry plants in the larger, lower pots, and maybe some thyme.

This is an experiment – I don’t know if it will work but I will keep you posted.





Posted in Doodles, garden, how to | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment



Loving the white Narcissi the most, their scent ….. the scent of spring, caught here in the early morning light.

But there are other stars in the garden too..001apurp 001amnots 001amon

just look at that powder puff centre


And seedlings in waiting. Pippin, the caravan in the garden, is making a very good potting shed at the moment001acara

Posted in garden | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Urban Art

Let’s have bit more of this in the world ….10n

as posted by Buttonsy Jewellry, today.

Posted in Doodles, land art, other artists | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fun with Felt


Yumsk! Those colours just make my heart sing!

After a taxing week I was SO looking forward to Saturday’s Felt Making Workshop led by, local artist, Di Pattinson.


There is something soothing and wonderful about a group of women crafting together, and every so often I just have to book a day for myself to have a go at a new textile related skill.


I first came across Di’s work some years ago during Dorset Arts Weeks, an almost overwhelming richness of Dorset Art on show for 2 weeks every 2 years. (It is about to happen again soon, in May, click on link above to go to the website)



The pictures above are of Di’s work – lots of variety to inspire.

The workshop was held in The Old School, Upwey, home to the Upwey Potters and next to Upwey Wishing Well Cafe and Water gardens (which by the way is for sale if any readers are looking for a quaint old English Tea Rooms steeped in history, magic and mystery) from which we could order delicious lunches, which were brought across to us.

Di has a very upbeat and encouraging, relaxed style of demonstrating and supporting her students, so that one does not feel pressured to achieve, anything goes and she has a mass of materials to choose from

f2ooooo, don’t you just want to go elbow-deep into all that wonderful merino colourful softness

I was going for …f4bright.

I can’t seem to get enough of the hot pink, turquoise, orange, acid green, yellow combo – this obsession has been going on since the 1960s

Here I am aged 15 (ha!) the colours of the photo have faded a bit – but that dress was BRIGHT!!

note the Dr Scholl sandals – remember those?

I had a brief foray into terracotta and subtle greens in the 80s, but it did not last long.

Back to the felt – We started with a flat piece and I just threw it all together very quickly as I did not really want to think too much or have any finished object in mind – the day, for me, was about pure relaxation. Very much a Process Art approach, be drawn by a colour and go with where it takes you, and this meant I could dash off another piece before we stopped for lunch.


If ‘dash off’ can really describe the 400 rolls, back and forth, you need to do to get the wool fibres to felt together.

Others went for more subtle colouring (mine on the left) and produced some beautiful and fun pieces, which were left to dry on the radiator – some were destined for needle felting and/or  other embellishments later.

f1aI was bowled over by this piece inspired by a greetings card

f3After lunch Di told us how to make vessels, whether for vases, bags or bowls

Here are couple she has decorated with pebblesf9We were all amazed at the variety of colours and shapes we produced

I was still going for ..


adding tassels of knitting yarn to decorate

pinkto create a little shoulder bag


I really found it hard to believe that I was able to create 3 pieces in 6 hours with a stop for lunch, as well as being shown several other techniquesf11

Here is my Ta Dah! moment.

I’m not sure what I will do with the flat pieces but no doubt embroidery and beads will be used. The first piece with circles I think I will cut into strips and machine embroider into a collage.

And the second – well I really like this one as it is – I might add a few beads and some simple embroidery but I’m pretty sure this one will go on the wall

a4 a3

Now, I wonder whether it would it sit comfortably next to Summer Flight



Posted in art from natural objects, other artists, textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hod Hill walk

Still savouring Sunday, with more pictures from Sunday’s wonderful walk in the crisp, clear Spring sunshine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


the track leading to Hod HillDSCF5983

We had to take a diversion to get to the hill fort as the path was blocked because of the damage caused by recent flooding DSCF5985

wonderful to be up so high – the views from Hill Forts are always 360 degrees and magnificent on a clear dayDSCF5986 DSCF5987 DSCF5988

the tracery of branches, which will soon be full of leavesDSCF5989

River Stour glinting in the distanceDSCF5990 DSCF5992

‘To see a clear sky, in detail’ !DSCF5993

our shadows from the ridgeDSCF5994 DSCF5997 DSCF5998 DSCF5999 DSCF6001

I could imagine a fairy reclining against this tree, with picnic table besideDSCF6002

view of Stourpaine as our walk takes us back to the village, wild violets were in flower and there was the promise of bluebells to come.


Posted in photographs, walks | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stourpaine Walk

Sunny Sunday!

A walk around Stourpaine, a friend and I were walking the paths of our ancestors.

The larks were singing the sun was bright …

First we stopped off at Compton Abbas

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

DSCF5932 DSCF5935 DSCF5936

a peaceful spotDSCF5937

this rhododendron was showing off magnificently


we saw yellow butterflies – could they have been Yellow Brimstones? in the churchyard at Compton Abbas

DSCF5939 DSCF5940

a font by the doorDSCF5941 DSCF5943

the Bible has been there all that timeDSCF5944 DSCF5946

sunny haze and ploughed fields, the crop cycle beginning againDSCF5948

lunch at a pubDSCF5950

the ambience delightful, the food – not so much!DSCF5951 DSCF5952 DSCF5953


DSCF5954 DSCF5956 DSCF5957 DSCF5959 DSCF5960

storm damage, my have the winds been fierce this winterDSCF5961

Victorian lych gateDSCF5962

doodle inspirationDSCF5963 DSCF5965

an extraordinary name caught our eye – no relationDSCF5966 DSCF5967 DSCF5968

this font is so plain it has been sent to a curtained corner!DSCF5969 DSCF5970 DSCF5971 DSCF5972

I am not religious but I love the history that churches holdDSCF5973

the villageDSCF5974 DSCF5976

cute house with lovely, not too formal, topiaryDSCF5977 DSCF5978

a grumpy looking little ‘Thelwell’ ponyDSCF5979

and then for a walk on Hod Hill  …….

Posted in Doodles, garden, photographs, walks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bright colours to greet the Sun!!!

The sun is out and I’m wanting to wear bright colours and have them all around me!


it was iHanna who inspired me to wear turquoise nail varnish, and then I found all these other gorgeous colours too – yummy! Loving the combination of turquoise, orange and acid green.

The clothes above are floral print trousers from Landsend (last year), a Boden orange cardigan (a few years ago) and a T-shirt from, I can’t remember where. With bright pink shoes they all put a Spriiiiiiinnnnnnnggg in my step :-)

And these needlepoint daffodil squares are just the colours I want around me at the moment:

WD1 wd3

I created the pattern and these 16′ squares about 10 years ago, and they have been sitting in a roll waiting for me to do something with them. Crazy! Should they be framed as pictures or used as cushion covers – I know I am bad at making decisions but this is ridiculous!

AND I would like to be able to sell the charts for them – now where have I stored those things …

A Spring clean is needed – and SOON!

Posted in textiles | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment



from the bottom of my garden


and reflected in my bedroom window


Posted in photographs | Tagged , | 4 Comments

First Day of Spring

What a glorious day of sunshine we had yesterday.

I planted some gifted rhubarb plants, autumn fruiting raspberry canes, and managed to finish planting the snowdrops (over 200 altogether!). The neighbours were out in their garden too – chatting over the fence whilst both pottering in the sunshine is precious after a long winter of snatched hellos whilst dodging the wind and rain. And they kindly gave me some of their naturalised anemone blanda to put amongst the snowdrops.

I keep going back out and looking at all that potential for gorgeousness and imagining how this will look next Spring and even better the next when they bulk up a bit – ooooo! Exciting!

This seems to be turning into a blue and white themed border – I’m wondering what can go in there to continue this colour theme throughout the year.

Here were the crocuses the day before, bravely adding colour on a cold dull day


(They are in a pot, planted under a eucalyptus tree and have been joined by some self seeded flat leaf parsley)

and then the sun came out!


crocu croc


they seem to shout Hurray!!!!cra feast of purple with those bright spikes of yellow and orange – fabulous.

Happy gardening!



Posted in garden | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Good Day

Some days go by and I feel I have done very little and then other days – like today, I feel full of energy having achieved much – it is no coincidence that the sun has been shining ALL day:

I woke early and cleared out some 150 or so emails from my Inbox – my how they increase when you are not on it! (up to just over 900, which is ridiculous!).

Checked in on Ravelry and Etsy and answered emails and messages.

Finished off a knitted Hat Wig (or Wig Hat – which sounds better? hmmm?) with a 3 needle cast off, my new favourite finishing technique,


I rarely get up before doing a bit of knitting or crochet, with my first cuppa of the day – green tea.

Charged phone, lap top, and camera ready to go to a meeting at work (this is some work I do with groups of children) and set off for the weekly market in my local town to buy snowdrops ‘in the green’, and some wonderful local produce.

I bought 20 little bunches of snowdrops from a local grower


and he kindly threw in a few extra and some advice to plant them at least 5″ deep to prevent them from being dug up by mice and squirrels for a tasty snack.

And then to work – I was a bit earlier than I needed to be so I sat in the car listening to ’12 Years a Slave’ on BBC Radio 4. and carrying on with some knitting – I was so engrossed in both that I was nearly late for my meeting – oops!

I’ve come up with this kinda wavy pattern for the Flick Wig – it’s probably a well known pattern, but it pleases me because it is a cable that does not need a cable needle,


and it gives the wig a bit of texture and creates a snugger fit, which is especially important for chemo caps/hats/wigs.

A very productive meeting at work, and then back home to plant snowdrops in the sunshine


I am planting them in front of my new espalier pear trees – Concorde, Conference, Clapps Favourite and Baronne de Mello which I got from Thornhayes Nursery in Devon. They were planted in early December.


And in front of the snowdrops will be a mass of forget-me-knots, from the seeds I was given last year and grew in my fabulous Veg Trugs


The heart is made of poppy seedlings, the ‘kisses’ are black cornflowers, and the sprinkling around the edge is the forget-me-knots.

I love how the shapes grew


I planted the snowdrops with a little of my own home made compost to give them a good start – you can see the amazing whizzo black rotary compost maker in the background


There is very little that gives me more pleasure than using my own compost! It ticks so many boxes for me – using up waste (the hoarder in me LOVES this!), environmentally fabulous, creative, and just so magical how kitchen waste can turn into rich earth so quickly to give my food and flower plants such a good start. Heavenly bliss!!! My children roll their eyes at my glee and delight!!!

And now the sun is going down so it’s back inside for a currant bun, vanilla chai and a cosy log fire – and more knitting of course!

How was your day?

Posted in garden, knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


A little sea sprite danced into the Abu Dhabi creative meanderings copy

a frolic of shells!

In emails from home I knew my daughter was having a challenging time with her amazingly creative, energetic, frolicsome, imaginative, demanding, mischievous trio of joyful delight! At 6, 4 and 19mths, her children are delightful, and juggling the needs of the whole family can be exhausting!!!!

It was hard to be so far away and know how much she could have done with a helping hand. So I sent her this picture of the sea sprite to dance into her day and hopefully give her a boost of sunny playful energy……..

along with a little visualisation/meditation – so if anyone is feeling a bit lack lustre, or is feeling at the effect of the grim weather we have been having on both sides of the Atlantic – she is happy for me to share her visualisation just in case it helps:

Close your eyes, deep breath, I am sending you a dose of warm and healing sunshine.
Can you feel it all through every cell of your body, down to your tippy toes and tingling in your finger tips.
Add a hug of jacuzzi bubbles softening to the sound of gently lapping waves on white sands, with sparkles of joy and warm oceans of love ………….

feel a bit better?

Posted in art from natural objects | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Some more shell mandalas – they make me feel calm and creative, just looking at them – hope you like them too …

this one is simple but one of my favourites



it became the centre of a few more mandalas






i could spend days sorting, categorising, re-sorting and putting into size lines

this quote seems to sum up the zone I was able to get into on holiday

make-artgrr! I can’t remember where I saw this quote – it might have been on Quinn Creative, she comes up with such great quotes and comments about all sorts of aspects of creativity.

1mandaand then



this happened .. which led me into other designs…

and they are for another day….

Hope you have some peaceful meandering creative time in your day or week.



Posted in mandalas, other artists | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Abu Dhabi Days

Escaping from the relentless rain here in the south of England, I go over my pictures of the glorious sunshine of Abu Dhabi. I can take my self back there with this view from my bedroom



Join me in soaking up the sunshine,



wandering along the beach …


finding interesting pieces of coral  – is that what this is?

the beach did not at first look promising for beach combing – one of my very favourite pastimes – but when I looked really closely



there were such delicate colours and beautiful fragments to be found ….

and eventually finding a few larger shells, I started to write names

1.nameAnd then I realised if I did a picture of the name of one of my grandchildren, then all eight needed to be done! More shells needed. …..

I got into a lovely routine of wandering slowly along the beach first thing each morning and ……..




mandalas started to take over from knitting designs.. .  . …

Such a grasshopper mind!



What is it about sorting and arranging that is SO pleasing and relaxing ……


Posted in mandalas | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fun Chemo Caps, Hats, wigs

A couple of years ago, I was hopping around the internet looking for knitting inspiration when I saw a picture of a knitted wig. I couldn’t find a pattern for it so I made one up myself. To get the pattern right I had knitted several wigs.


which we had fun with at Stonechat – but what to do with them – so i put them in my Etsy shop.

I had no idea what a wonderful journey this would take me on. The first to sell was the Daisy Wig, which  was bought by a woman in America for her friend who was going through chemo and I was told  “she absolutely went nuts for it!”

And since then I have had such heartwarming messages from people who have bought a wig and say it has cheered up an otherwise grim time for them and their families – other members of the family wanting to wear the wigs too!

And of course they still come in handy for fancy dress parties

bright and tight

This is my lovely daughter-in-law modelling the multi-coloured clown style wig, getting ready to go to a ‘Bright and Tight’ Fancy Dress party.

I have also been asked to make some patterns using double knit rather than chunky yarn0wig 01wig

and I have come up with these bob-styles.

It has taken several attempts to get the shape right – and now to get the pattern perfect for others to follow …….

So that is what I was working on whilst putting my feet up in the Middle East


swapping our little .beach hut studio at dear old wind-battered Portland Bill (crumbs, have we had some storms in the UK this winter!) for a different ambience altogether.

You can see my new toy in the picture – an iPad – mainly bought so that I could work on the patterns on the beach!!!

So, at one point I was 4, 410 miles from home, on the beach, listening to English radio live on the iPad, whilst reading a Thomas Hardy novel downloaded for free onto the iPad and knitting wigs – surreal?

I love my life!!!!

Posted in knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Abu Dhabi

This blog had been a bit quiet recently due to a little bit of hibernation followed by a self styled knitting retreat in Abu Dhabi – oh boy was it WONDERFUL to get some sun on my bones this winter:

My favourite knitting spot

favourite spotJust soak up those sunny warm peaceful rays!!!!

I went for a fortnight – Now how much yarn would you pack for 14 days of virtually uninterrupted knitting

caseOf course I took far too much and hoped the airline would not Xray my case to see a severed head and umpteen dodgy looking balls of something.

I went to stay with my brother-in-law who is working in Abu Dhabi. He was at work all day and I had the place to myself to work on my Hat Wig designs.

I thought I was taking so long to get new ones finished because I have so many other calls on my time at home, and a fortnight away would see a batch of new patterns ready to put in the Etsy Shop and on Ravelry. It turns out it just does take me AGES to finish writing a pattern. Ideas, creating designs, knitting new creations – easy, but actually getting them down on paper for others to follow – that is HARD work. If anyone has any tips or computer programmes that can help PLEASE let me know!!!

I like to add photos to the patterns to make them easy to followpnk

and that does take time of course, but it is the methodical, ordered, organised careful writing of knitting patterns that my grasshopper mind resists.



And then of course the view could be a bit distracting ……




Posted in knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

A walk near Toller Porcorum

Stormy weather leading up to Christmas with lashings of wind and rain, fallen tress, power cuts and flooded roads … would we all be able to gather together as planned?Thankfully things calmed and on Christmas Eve my son, daughter-in-law, their twins and 3 year old were able to get here from London. They set off at 5am to be sure of missing further bad weather.

With 8 grandchildren under 7, and the babies now all toddling around, I had the (brilliant!) idea of hiring the village hall for a few hours where we all gathered for tea and the kids were able to race around and all play together without wrecking anyone’s house!

We had a great time, and Christmas Day passed without any fights over toys – a minor miracle – hope your Christams Day was all you wished it to be.

Everyone safely back in their own homes, then more storms and rain. AND we are forecast with more gale force winds again tonight.

So today a friend and I made the most of clear skies and glorious sunshine and went for a really Wonderful Winter Walk. Again we went to west Dorset. We parked at Powerstock Common and walked towards Toller Porcorum. The Latin name seems curious in deepest Dorset.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

toller1it was pretty boggy in placestoller3frost lingered in the shadowy bits
toller4but the sun shone and showed up the red of the willows around Toller church.

tollerWe met no-one on the walk and Toller High Street (!) was SO very quiet

toller5 toPilsdon Pen in the distance, an ancient hill fort and said to be the highest point in Dorset.

t tollethe footpath took us through what looked like an Eventing course for horses, with sturdy jumps made of tree trunks

tolland then back into the woodland of the nature reserve.


A short drive to lunch at The Crown at Uploders …tcrowndelicious Watercress and Celeriac soup, with garlic bread

tegacrownon the way home …

tegardonbreathtaking views of Egardon and the Marshwood Vale beyond

tegardto quote my walking pal, “sheep and shadows”.

tegaand glimpses of the sea on the horizon

tegAaaah! – restores my soul and recharges my batteries.

Posted in walks | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Winter Solstice!

A time of shifts and changes – the longest night, the shortest day


– from now on the days get longer, the light returns. I am feeling such a sense of celebration and wonder –  of the seasons turning in continuous motion – beautifully and symbolically represented in the ‘Never Ending Card’.

A Magical new discovery courtesy of my You Tube feed – find a tutorial and demo here .

I was looking for a break from yarn based activities and along comes a little bit of simple magic just in time to make a birthday card for a very dear friend

2 card

1cdyou just keep turning and folding the card and more patterns and appear – like magic!

This one is 6″ square.



just had to make some more


This one is 4″ square

2 card 3

2 card 4

2card4aand now I have found a use for some of my pages and pages of black and white doodles


which are cut into 6″x 3″ and 4″x 2″ and will appear as Never Ending Cards soooon!

Posted in collage, crafty tricks, Doodles, stamps, stencils | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creativity and Knitted Pigs

Sometimes I get obsessively fixed on a ‘thing’ and can’t let it go until it has worked itself out. It’s a WONDERFUL feeling! There have been the doodle weaves, (actually loads of different sorts of doodling), and the machine embroidered crazy patchwork, mandala making, knitted wigs, and daisies to name but a few …..


I am in the delicious grip of another obsession right now. AND I have felt a low level of inner critic muttering away at me, saying that these obsessions are somehow wrong – like an addiction and should be avoided or at least kept under control. Where has that inner critic come from? Was it school? Or was it in my childhood? Being the eldest of 4, I was expected to help, not sit in my room all day reading or drawing – getting lost in a story or the endless variations one could create with a Spirograph – my most treasured Christmas present, and first experience of a creative obsession.


I am currently obsessed by knitting little cream coloured pigs – ??/@*! – I know!

I went to a friend’s for lunch and she showed me some cute pottery pigs made by a local artist, Rose Swann, who, by the way also runs a delightful looking B+B.

My friend likes all things white (or cream) – her house is a sunlit haven of whiteness – she also loves cuteness. We sometimes give each other silly presents at Christmas, so …. could I knit a couple of little pigs to join her Rose Swann collection …..

pigs 2

My toes curl at the horrendous commercialisation of the Winter Holidays and as I knitted the 8th little pig – I was trying to get the pattern right –  I had the idea to give each of my 8 grandchildren (aged 1 – 6) a little white pig for Christmas. My thought is that as the years go by,  I will make the same thing for each of the 8, every Christmas. This will link them together, link them to me and link each year. I hope to take a picture of them all together with the gifts so there is a record all those weird presents Granny gave them!

Because I am lucky enough to have so many grandchildren, each item will have to be quite small and quick to make – little white pigs fit the bill – (well we are a farming family, does that make it any less weird, probably not!).

The validity of this obsession grows as the next little pig lines up on the table. As I subtly adjust the pattern, each pig is subtly different, it has its own little character.


And then I watched a programme about Edmund de Waal.

He makes thousands and thousands of simple straight sided porcelain pots – mainly in white. It might seem a bit ridiculous to relate little knitted pigs to de Waal’s pots but the creative process is definitely related. I feel a kinship in the creative process – hurray!!! Repetition allows for a meditative atmosphere to develop, and in that rich ground other ideas creep in and grow and become – well poetic and meaningful and to me, beautiful!



Have I gone too far!!?? No! we creatives must celebrate the process and enjoy the fact that other people think we are crazy!

“He who can not hear the music, thinks the dancer is mad”

If you too would like to make some cute little pigs, I’ve put the pattern, with photos to help along the way, in my Etsy shop. £1 for an instant download PDF. (I’d love to see some pictures if you make one)

Are you too in the grip of any creative obsessions?

Posted in knitting, other artists | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fun way to keep your ears warm this Winter

Wigs and patterns have been flying off the shelves of my Etsy shop, so I am busy making brown3 more and improving the patterns as I go.

I’ve had some fun requests too which I can’t share with you yet – but hopefully when I have perfected to new designs I will be able to tell you all about it.

Let me know if you have any crazy ideas for styles of wigs I could make.brown

Looking forward to creating new designs in January when I take my knitting needles all the way to Abu Dhabi for some winter sun, R and R and a sort of knitting retreat – can’t wait!brbac

Posted in knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fun with Tyvek

Looking forward to having a go at this!!

Using metallic paint on Tyvek and then an iron to distress it, you can get some great effects for Christmassy crafts or textile projects.

Here is the link to the You Tube Clip

The clip is 11 minutes long.

I have some Tyvek that I got from the Dorset Scrapstore, off to get some metallic paint. . .



Posted in crafty tricks, how to | 4 Comments

Woodland Hoodie, free pattern. is an amazing source of all things knitting and crochet. You can find all manner of patterns on the site for free and to buy. I have a few patterns for sale on Ravelry and Etsy – and gosh it takes so much work to put a pattern together! I am working on several at the moment and they take SO much longer to get right than I ever imagined. Knitting and designing is the easy part – getting the pattern in a form that others can follow is another thing altogether.

I found a great pattern for a crocheted Hoodie on Ravelry. It didn’t work out quite as I wanted it and so I have adapted it and am offering it for free:

Click on this ‘Woodland Hoodie’ link for an instant free pdf of my version of the pattern:

Woodland Hoodie

183 Ravelers have already downloaded it – exciting!



Posted in crochet | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eeek Exciting! we have some flags on our Map!

THANK YOU!!!! to all of you who have put yourself on our MAP.

North America, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Australia ………


Click on word MAP above to see who has taken the time to put themselves on the Stonechat Visitors map. Thank you, thank you , thank you!!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November walk

I met up with some old school friends for a nostalgic wander down memory lane, a walk in the wilds of West Dorset and a delicious pub lunch at The Three Horseshoes, Powerstock.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


we came across some acorn artp8 p9 p10

a voluptuous oak tree


deep wooded valleysp4

and walked a disused railway line


the smell of autumn in the air



West Dorset has a feeling of the land that time forgot and it is where my paternal ancestors come from. I most probably share DNA with the Iron Age inhabitants of the nearby Pilsdon Pen – a cosy, rooted feeling.p2at the end of the walk the sun tried to squeeze through


Bliss. . . .

Posted in land art, walks | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Post Card Swap! Nov 13

This is my third iHanna Post Card Swap.

I LOVE making all these wonderful creative connections across the world. During your visit to this blog, it would be fabulous if you would be able to take the time to put yourself on our Map. It is fun to see where everyone comes from.

Here are the cards I have sent this year – all made from A1 size collages cut to post card size and further embellished with doodles, paint and washi tape.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

0pc DSCF4664 DSCF4659 DSCF4657 DSCF4665 DSCF4661 DSCF4658 DSCF4655 DSCF4660 DSCF4662 DSCF4656 DSCF4663

And you can see cards from my previous swaps here, here and here!

Go over to Hanna’s blog and see all the links to all the other fabulous swappers, truly inspirational!

Posted in collage, crochet, daisies, Doodles, other artists, painting, post card swap, recycling | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Party Time!

It was my birthday on Monday! I had SUCH a wonderful time. Friends and family gathered for a disco in the village hall – just like the ’70s. And I danced all night to all the old favourites – PERFECT!!!


My son made a wonderful speech and we had a couple of brilliant jives together. My daughter did a STELLAR job of welcoming everyone with a drink and then persuading even the most reluctant ones onto the dance floor. And a dear friend made a lemon drizzle cake sparkling with edible glitter and champagne-bottle-shaped candles.

There are no photos of the party as it is usually me who takes them – and then, often, I seem to only experience gatherings with a photographers eye, looking for nice shots of people and things – I decided I just wanted to party and don’t regret it one bit – I’m loving all the images of crazy dancing and laughing friends that are in my memory bank of smiling happy faces.

So I am including pics of some of the lovely cards and presents I was given (the camellias above centre, painted by my friend Anne, who gave me the card)



One of my sisters had JUST (supreme effort to make it to the party) returned from Abu Dhabi and brought back this AMAZING presentation box of the MOST glorious selection of dickered-up dates (I LURVE dates!!!)dates

the photo doesn’t really do them justice – they are amaZING!!!!!

Heaven in a box……

……and the box is fabulous with a magnetic clasp – just right for storing knitting needles in me thinks.

The ‘put on your dancing shoes and party’ card was from my other sister who sadly couldn’t make it to the party as she is head down studying for a degree in Homeopathy – so Monday night not a good one when she lives 3 hours away.

crds prz

Quite a few notepads came my way – which is great because I need them all over the place so that I remember moments of inspiration AND tasks I need to complete – if I don’t write them down, I’ll never remember anything – my contemporaries obviously understand this!! I’m particularly intrigued by the ‘mousepad notepad’ lots of gorgeous patterns to be recycled as collage material once they’ve served as mousepad AND notepad – ingenious. Designer: Amy Butler

crdepeople do have such amazing ideas.

And I can highly recommend the CD, Kenosis, made by a friend and neighbour…

cdas a very relaxing, meditative background to any creative activity.

My daughter, as well as being life and soul of the party, gave me a wonderful momento of our very special Pembrokeshire holiday.


I had mentioned , just in passing, when we were in Solva that I had an ‘I love Newgale’ mug and must look out for an ‘I love Solva’ one.

mu2Even better to have a personalised ‘WE love Solva’ mug – very special!

So I danced my feet off to the good old sounds of the 60s, 70s and 80s, surrounded by friends and family – what a great birthday – ‘Celebrate Good Times Come on!!!!!!’.

Huge thanks to one and all for making it so special.





Posted in other artists | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A quote from Daisy Yellow’s blog


“I recognize that knitting can improve my mood in trying circumstances.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Posted in art journal, other artists | 4 Comments


We had a visitor to the blog from Iceland today!

Since 2.Oct.13 we have visitors from:

Sri Lanka, US, Australia, Denmark, Canada, Philippines, Sweden, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Portugal, Brazil and Cambodia.

Fabulous to be making these wonderful creative links across the world – I LOVE blogland!!!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weekend in London

On Thursday I went to London, setting off from our little local station

DSCF4445A grey day turned into a glorious warm sunbathing sort of day – so I sat in Green Park on one of the painted deck chairs with a cappuccino and my packed lunch

DSCF4446 DSCF4447 DSCF4449 DSCF4450


DSCF4452 DSCF4453

love the leaf doodle logo for the Royal Parks

and enjoyed the sun and the holiday atmosphere before heading for the South Bank and a visit to Lauren Shanley’s new shop in the OXO tower

DSCF4455 DSCF4456

This sculpture has been yarn bombed before but I’m thinking I just might take some Hat Wigs with me next time so they could model them for me

DSCF4457 DSCF4460

The London skyline was looking glorious – I love the mix of architecture.

And there were quite a few street performers near the Millennium Bridge




view from the bridge

DSCF4470 DSCF4472

And a guy was lying on the bridge creating what looked like enamel miniatures 


DSCF4458was everywhere I looked

And as I sat in a park waiting to meet my son I filled in a traffic survey and doodled on the envelope – hoping it would make someone’s job just a tiny bit less boring


Posted in Doodles, other artists, walks | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


My 6 year old granddaughter has caught the doodle-bug

E E.d

fabulous aren’t they!

Posted in children's art, Doodles | 2 Comments

Fabric Doodle

Still following the black and white doodle theme (it’s not out of my system yet) I have started on fabric – one metre of unbleached calico


This was the result of a day with my housebound 85 year old Mum. In the afternoon, we sat and watched an old black and white film ‘Shall We Dance’, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made in 1937, perfect to doodle to!

Next day I wasn’t feeling so good, so I spent a blissful Sunday doodling in bed and watched  Jane Eyre with Samantha Morton, made in 1997.

It was fun to hear that my sister, Caroline, was also doodling to Jane Eyre and completed this A3 sheet!


She’s definitely caught the bug too.

There is something SO absorbing and relaxing about just creating patterns that grow and develop without much effort or planning – they have a life of their own.

On the calico I used 3 pens



two ordinary permanent markers and a fabric pen

dood1 dood2 dood3and ironed it to fix the ink when I had finished.


Posted in Doodles, textiles | Leave a comment

Black and White

Looking back at photos of my recent stay in Pembrokeshire I found this photo of a wonderfully vibrant lichen




found on rocks at Whitesands beach



where we went for a wonderful paddle one evening when the sun came out after a grey and rainy day.

Looking at the white lichen on the black rock inspired these doodles

0doodle 0dooa


and now I’m thinking of adding some gold and silver – hmm – Christmas cards maybe?

The black and white theme continues with my Cruella Deville Hat Wig selling this week and now speeding it’s way off to be worn for a Halloween Party – must knit another quickly – luckily it only takes a total of 4.5 hours to complete a Hat Wig – a couple of evenings and it’ll be done.



You can find a pattern in my Etsy Shop  if you too would like to be Cruella.

Posted in Doodles, knitting, stone | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Doodles Black and White



Now I’ve started on the black and white theme I just want to keep on going and my very talented creative sister, who does exquisite detailed work, has got the bug too – she sent me this work in progress



I love the way we all take a theme and work it in our own unique way. Her work is very soothing to look at – I love the repetitions.

A while ago I put a doodle on the blog as a PDF for readers to download

here is what I have done with it so far, following the black and white theme, more to do



and some more from my sketchbook


all these will be added to in odd stolen moments of the day, and in the evening in front of the TV,





whilst waiting for an appointment,




over a coffeedoodl




or on the telephone ….



how do you fill those precious little pockets of time?

Posted in Doodles, other artists | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Bingo and Perennial Plants

Back to more Wales tales.

One of the conditions for Jude joining me on the trip was that on the Tuesday night,  we would go to Tony’s Bingo at the Harbour Inn, which is right next door to Felingog.


I first time I went to Tony’s Bingo was with my sister and her son, when he was about 15 and we loved it, so it has become a bit of a tradition on trips to Solva.

Jude was not too sure!! But the evening – although it doesn’t start til way after the publicised time of 9pm, was really good fun, with loads of local fun and banter – “At the end of your foot – 8 – 0……. (a toe) 80”


and so on – and Jude came home with £22!


I came home with lots of collage material!

Next day off to the Perennial Garden Centre near St.Davids

zgdncWhere alstroemerias were in flower in the poly tunnels
zalstrosand a cute little plant I did not recognise
zmysterythe flower was on a long stalk above a floret of variegated leaves

z flower


does anyone know what it is?

The owner was away for the day and there was no label or price tag.

We sheltered in the cosy cafe

zcafewith hot chocolate, bara brith, and some dreamy hookiness.

There is something wonderful about being away from home and sitting in a cafe with knitting or crochet that feels SO good – delightful conversations strike up and meander around all things creative – cafe crochet – can’t beat it. Know what I mean?


The cafe is also a gallery for local artists and the tablecloths provided doodle inspiration
zdt zddwe checked out the cottage to let for future reference.



and then out into the mild grey drizzly day and back to the smallest city in Britain, St.Davids.


Posted in collage, crochet, Doodles, garden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doodle Time

I always find Alisa Burke inspiring. There is a link to her blog in the blogroll on the right.

She often posts glimpses into her sketchbook and I just had to have a go at her latest style of doodle which she calls ‘Meditation’, and I can see why.

Here are my versions:

sketchbook sktbk sktbkdtl sktbkdetail


Thoroughly absorbing to do – go on have a go!

Posted in Doodles, other artists | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Pembrokeshire Beaches

On our second day in Pembrokeshire, we set off on a drive to visit the little coves and beaches south of Solva. First stop Newgale, where Jude and I had spent many happy summer teenage days with my Grandparents. The sun was not shining but that took nothing away from our enjoyment of wandering along looking in rock pools


intriguing little worlds of their own


and reminiscing.

We asked a group of walkers striding by to take a photo before going for a paddle


Then off to Broadhaven for a coffee and a crochet


My felt project bag included in the picture to add a bit of ‘sunshine’!

I love it – it was made by a Nepalese women’s collective and I bought it from a stall at the Axminster Plant and Garden Show some years ago (now called the Axe Vale Festival) .

Next stop Marloes – I remembered going to Marloes as a child and we set off to find it.

We found the village, with a delightful pub in it opposite a children’s playground (note for future visits with the grandchildren), The Lobster Pot. Unfortunately it was the manager’s day off so the kitchen was not open for lunch.

We climbed down to where the ferry leaves for Skomer Island. Another thing to do on another trip (about a 40min drive from Solva, down some very wiggly narrow lanes).

zmarloes ztt We never did find the beach of my memories, but a bit of searching on the net when we got back and we found Marloes Sands, just a short distance from where we were as the crow flies but apparently a long walk from the car park. Looks worth it though, another place on the to go list for next time.

We made a brief stop at Little Haven on the way home


and walked out onto the headland to see this glorious view to the south and the view below to the northzlH

back to Solva for a relaxing crochet session looking out on the harbour


and supper on the balcony!



Happiness is …………

Posted in crochet, walks | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

3rd time this year

I’m back in Solva again for the third time this year – bliss!

This time I am here with my dear old friend, Jude. We came here together as children, and stayed with my Welsh Grandparents, it is wonderful to go down memory lane as well as discovering new places together.

Jude drove us here and I discovered that I can crochet in the car! This is THRILLING!!!


Yes thrilling!! I know ….. yes, Jude laughed too!!! if you are not a knitting and crochet addict like me you won’t understand but for those of you who are – these discoveries are, well, thrilling!!!

Anyway I did masses of a new design I am working out, for an elfin tabard for my 6 year old granddaughter, on our 5 and a half hour journey. And arrived to the usual warm welcome at Felingog.

Then a walk along the beach:


zx zm

I just can’t get enough of the shapes, angles and designs around each corner


And the colours and textures of the rocks, weeds and lichens – everything looks beautiful, interesting and like a painting or embroidery waiting to happen

zliand then back on the balcony



Bliss bliss blissity bliss!

Posted in crochet, stone, walks | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Arty Crafty days continued – Collage

The wonderfully relaxing art of collage …. there is nothing I find more relaxing than spending a couple of hours leafing through magazine pictures gathering pictures for a paper collage


I seem to take ages doing it as I go into a sort of trance, so I wondered how much could be achieved in our workshop as we only had just over an hour after our mandala painting – I was amazed …….

Jill was delighted to find this ‘creative thinking’ piece for her collage


Pat chose a wedding theme


I can’t remember if this was themed by subject, but I love the colours Joan put together, and the touch of paint added to bring the whole together0000ca

Pat’s had an Indian feel, and used flyers of events that had happened, or were about to, in the Village Hall0000cb

and here is Sue’s festive feast!


What a BRILLIANT time we had!

It was great to be with such an enthusiastic group – up for trying all the diverse crafty ideas I threw in front of them – AND they plan to continue to meet to have time to pursue some of the techniques over a longer period of time – HAVE FUN you wonderful women! I’m sure you will!

And a BIG thank you goes out to Pat for getting us all together – thanks Pat.

Posted in collage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Barefoot Mandala Making

0000pdMusic playing with  iTunes on shuffle added an extra twist



at the same time as the central floor mandala was being created – individual ones were also in the making

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




Posted in mandalas, painting | 2 Comments

Messy Play


We’ve just had our last of 3 Arty Crafty Workshops in Winfrith.

The theme of the afternoon was Messy Play and Sticky Fingers, so lots of paint and glue, tearing and sticking and splodging!

As a focus I chose a floor mandala – 6 large pieces of paper from the Dorset Scrapstore, held down with masking tape on the floor. And bamboo sticks with foam on the ends as paint brushes.

0000pk 0000

The idea was to feel free to make a mess without being able to be too precise – emphasis on play.


first marks being made


painting with fingers0000pq

painting with toes



0000pc 0000ph 0000pg





more to follow …….

Posted in mandalas, painting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Arty Crafty Workshops

We’ve been having fun at our Arty Crafty Workshops in the Village Hall.

In the first session we talked about altered books and making our own stamps and stencils:

0c 0c1 0c2For some it was hard to tear out the pages of a book but everyone seemed to enjoy messing about with paint.

Introducing the magically relaxing game of doodling was generally thought to be one of the favourites.

One of the most satisfying comments, for me, on the feedback forms was “Very enjoyable, brought out my inner child” – Hurray! – that’s what I am aiming for – makes me feel all warm a fuzzy inside!! And one feedback form even had some doodles on it – fabulous!

This week, ‘Granny’s Crafty Tricks’ was designed as a workshop for grandparents to have a few craft ideas up their sleeves for when the grandchildren come to stay – especially as the days get shorter and we are looking for things to do inside.

I chose crafts that I have done with my 6 and 4 year old grandchildren, that have a touch of magic about them, and that can also be done in a more sophisticated way with all ages and for oneself if you don’t have any kids to play with.

First tattoo a banana!




here’s one I did earlier, using the picture of a butterfly laid over the banana and going round the outlines with a pin.

0c5 Everyone went very quiet as they worked on their designs – and as the Hall has Wifi, I could show all the amazing designs and even some videos on the internet.

And LOOK!!!

0c6 0c7 0c7a


a bit of magic for teatime!

Onto pop-up cards – a bit more of a brain tease, but worth it in the end …….. I hope!

0c3 0c8


A really wonderful group – up for having a go!

We then played around with names, letters, sigils and mirror writing with some doodling thrown in. As ever, time ran out really quickly and there was just a few minutes at the end to demonstrate decorations that can be made with an empty loo roll. And again I was able show the fabulous examples one can find on the web.

Next week: Messy Play and Sticky Fingers!

Can’t wait!

Posted in Altered Books, art journal, collage, crafty tricks, Doodles, painting, recycling, stamps, stencils | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Knit TV

A knitting programme on the TV!

It is on BBC4 at 9pm and is the first of 3 programmes entitled ‘Fabric of Britain’.

I do hope it is good – knitted swimwear does not sound very exciting to me!

Posted in knitting | Tagged | 3 Comments


I have been preparing for an Arty Crafty workshop I am running on Thursday. We’ll be doing some Art Journal style album making and I’m getting some examples ready by Gesso-ing lots of altered books



making up little packs of stamping and stencilling supplies



and at the same time …… gardening

I seem to have to grasshopper about – it drives other people mad but it IS part of my creative process and I’ve had to learn to live with it!!

One of my most long-standing and greatest friends gave me a wonderful garden based cornucopia of gardening bits and bobs for my birthday and in it were these cute seed packets



from a Somerset company, Pennard Plants.

I didn’t get to sow them this summer but have just sown the half- hardy annuals in one of the veg trugs.

01eI mixed them with sand and sprinkled them in clear shapes as advised by Monty Don (swoon) of BBC2’s Gardener’s World, so that I can see what the young plants look like when they come up. Then they will be all ready to plant out in my new beds in the Spring.

Back to the altered books001A page from a gardening book I am altering, leaving some of the flower pictures shining through.

It got me thinking – I love the Art Journal style but I don’t really want to keep an Art Journal which is why I do photo albums for my grandchildren – BUT a Garden journal – hmm – now01c that might be something I would like to do – a place to keep all the seed packets and a record of what I sow. Now that feels exciting!!

and a way to keep all these lovely seed packets


oh more hours in the day please ……..


Posted in Altered Books, art journal, collage, Doodles, garden, painting, stamps, stencils | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Creative Mix

Different forms of creativity often thread their way through my day and yesterday had the usual rich mix:

0001first of all I started to sort, tidy and clear in my garage and came across old electrical cables of long dead goods – I can’t throw anything away before checking it out for bits and pieces that might be able to be used in collages etc so I smashed the transformer with a hammer – it took some smashing!! –


And just in case you too have ever wondered, there really isn’t anything in there that can be used, but it’s good to know.

Then 3 of my grandchildren 6, 3 and 1 came for the morning and we made dens on the garden under a huge old Laura Ashley tablecloth I’ve had since the 70s000den

and houses for fairies out of cereal packets and egg boxes

000fairy 000fwelc 000fwel


so much thought and care and chatting about fairies and what they would like, went into this – I even had to get the step ladder out so they could climb up and pick little green acorns from the oak tree for the fairies, as fairies make tea with these you know.

And after they went home I went to do some filming of a huge construction on my son-in-law’s dairy farm as I am putting together a photo and video record of the whole event.



In another life I think I would like to be a film maker and editor.

I’d love to hear how creativity weaves its way through your day.

Posted in children's art, garden, recycling | Tagged | Leave a comment


Great Aunt Sue (my sister) arrived, full of energy and enthusiasm determined to build ‘the biggest sand castle ever!’.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of this magnificent construction as on the evening of her arrival we ordered the very worst Chinese Take-away any of us has ever had and I spent the whole night being very ill indeed – next day I slept.

So thank goodness for GREAT (!) Aunt Sue as they all went off to build enormous castles on Newgale beach and had a lovely day.

Next day there was a raft race across Solva harbour which we went to watch,



again no photos of the actual race as R got a bit bored waiting for things to happen, and I still wasn’t feeling great so he and I went back to the cafe and shared a bowl of chips.

Sue and E loved the event though and were full of all the antics of the 10 teams who had to build a raft and collect a passenger from the other side of the harbour.

We celebrated what would have been our Dad’s 92nd birthday by eating some delicious, fresh caught crab and lobster – his favourite.


Sue had gone on a mission to discover locally caught shellfish and found one down a side alley in Upper Solva. This is just what our Dad would do, at home in Dorset, when we were on holiday in UK or in Portugal.  He’d search out local fishermen and often persuade them to take him out fishing with them. He’d come home beaming from ear to ear with a glorious haul of beautiful fresh fish for supper.

For a small village, there are some interesting shops in Solva, my daughter had a great time in Window on Wales and found some really nice clothes and some presents. 

In Simon Swinfield’s Gallery I admired a delightful nightlight burner, and my lovely sister  bought it for me as a gift for inviting her to join us – she was having such a wonderful time reliving happy childhood memories digging on the beach.


I couldn’t wait to light it when I got home, and surround it with the shells the children had collected. It throws a very romantic light on the little carving of a buddha that I got in Mid-Wales some years ago.

One evening the children were far too lively to go to bed so we took them to another little cove near St. David’s called Caerfai

Here are some pics I took a couple of years ago, in better light


and when the tide was out00cpo

there is a nice long steep climb down to the beach


this time, it was windy and the tide was in when we went, with waves crashing on the rocks. It felt a bit spooky, we looked for pebbles for Mamgu (my Mum – Mamgu, pronounced Mam- gee with a hard ‘G’ is the Welsh word for Granny) and found the egg of a dog fish

00dogfwhich E and R were a bit scared of and thought it looked more like a monster egg or an alien egg.

We found a picture of a dogfish on the internet later – which looks disappointingly benign



I’ve no idea if this is the same type of dogfish as the egg layer.

We had a truly wonderful, magical time in Wales and although the journey home took us 8 hours, with exercise stops with the little ones, we all loved it and hope to return together sometime.


Posted in other artists, wildlife | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Labyrinths and sand dragons

Back to the beach, rock pools, caves and gentle waves



the baby spuddled amongst the masses of black seaweed, E and my daughter went for a swim and R and I  made a labyrinth

000When looking for a link to a ‘how to draw a labyrinth’ site for those of you who would like to have a go I came across this site of ‘Peaceful Endeavours’ for children.

I love the way children always run around labyrinths, and R then spent ages making more paths and trails with his spade……

Since about 1989 I have been drawing or creating labyrinths, mandalas and spirals all over the place and walking other labyrinths whenever I

this is one made out of carob pods in the garden of La Serrania, a retreat centre I went to in Majorca some years ago. I went on a walking holiday, but after half a day walking up a mountain and the second half walking down, my right knee gave way, so for the rest of the week whilst the others went walking, I had a delicious time drawing, sewing, chatting to the gardener and creating carob pod labyrinths

7.c+treewhich smelt of chocolate as you walked them



and stone spirals

inner smilethe gardener had placed this stone on the tree stump and painted a face on it, I did the spirals of stones so that one could walk in to greet your own inner smile!00mandala

and then a mandala of carob and olives on the terrace just outside my room.

Back on Solva beach another sand dragon was made,

000abut the tide was coming in so we had to leave her and walked back along the beach creating stories about the sand dragon swimming off to America when the tide came in and all the adventures she would have along the way……..




Posted in children's art, land art, mandalas, sculpture, stone | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

St David’s Cathedral

Last Saturday was a drizzly day, just right for visiting St. David’s Cathedral, and looking at all the different patterns in the stone work



in the stained glass windows, on the painted ceilings and the wonderful use of recycled tiles on the floor



the children lit candles and made wishes for people they thought of who were poorly



and I had a little chat with St. David on behalf of my Mum who is 85 and no longer well enough to travel back to her beloved Wales. We always take her back a pebble from Newgale Beach which she puts in her garden next to a cheeky little stone dragon.

Then back to the flat to wash shells

1wash 1sh

and use them to inspire pictures

1face 00aliend 00alien


Six year old E and 3 year old R are always full of creative ideas, after drawing pictures they wanted to make a book to keep them in, so we folded some scrap paper in half and sewed the pages together.

Then they decided they wanted little books to hang round their necks and we decorated them each with a limpet shell

a 00books

Lucky that Granny always has a needle and thread wherever she goes

Posted in children's art, crafty tricks, drawing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments



Newgale Beach has to be one of the very best beaches for sand sculpture. The sand is fine enough and damp enough to hold its shape.

Whilst I sat in the car with my crochet and a sleeping baby the others set off to make sandcastles and sand dragons. A row of sandcastles and a pebble city had to be abandoned as the tide was coming in fast, but undaunted, the children immediately started on a sand dragon, making up stories about its name and where it would swim to when the waves covered it up.

Time for a paddle and to wash off the sand


and then back to our cosy home in Solva and that glorious view


Posted in children's art, sculpture | 2 Comments

Just back from a week in Solva

I have just returned from a glorious week in Solva with my daughter and her children. We arrived in a storm but thankfully the weather cleared and we had plenty of peachy beachy days.

There is something magical about introducing a much loved place from my own childhood to my grandchildren and see it all afresh through their eyes. We walked along the beach at low tide and saw masses of small jelly fish …..


(the shiny discs bottom right of the picture) strewn over the sand.

We made shadow pictures

Ashadowand footprints


collected shells

1shellswent paddling


and looked at the patterns sand ripples make

Aripples Aripples1 Aripples2

a gentle arrival after a long 7 hour journey, more to come……

Posted in walks | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Another one for you Lizi

Look who came to visit today

zmothAnd sat very obligingly on the lily, that is just outside my front door, while I went to get the camera and didn’t seem to mind being photographed at all



I wouldn’t be surprised if it has Zebra somewhere in its name,

but boy is he handsome!

Posted in garden, photographs, wildlife | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments