Towers of Flowers Workshop

Today I set off for Stirling and I can’t believe how warm it is going to be 24 degrees C.  Not only is Britain warm but I am heading 115 miles north into Scotland, past Edinburgh and up to Stirling University and its got to be 7-8 degrees warmer than here.

I have 19 students in my class – all of whom will be using a sewing machine – could be rather erm….. sticky.  I’m really looking forward to it as its been a while since I taught T of F and even longer since visiting Stirling Uni (I used to visit the Science Park in a past life incarnation).  There used to be a tapestry / needlework shop in the Bridge of Allan – I wonder if it’s still there?

Towers of flowers

Towers of Flowers close1

Back to work……….

The studio is now fully functional again!  Much cooler too with the new insulation and very clean looking now its all painted white.  The new skylights make such a different to lighting levels too.

To ease myself back into sewing again I’ve started a new project – for me this time for my bed.


And finishing off old projects…..


Some views for you……






Another piece for sale….. Hinterberg hand quilting frame.  Never used – will go to King Size with extensions.  Cost £400 will accept £150, need to collect from Northumberland.

hin hin2

Summer time……

But where is the sun?  Come BACK!  Our weather is the classic British “sunshine and showers”. 

Never really getting warmer than 16 degrees C and when it rains it really rains.  And its really wet. 
Well, yes, I know that’s obvious but this is really wet and cold rain. 


Unfortunately this isn’t my garden….. nor my house.



But I could certainly live somewhere like this.  Well, with central heating, double glazing and flushing loo’s.  Lets be honest – the Medieval manor house maybe beautiful and romantic but it was really smelly, draughty and cold.  Do you prefer colour or B&W?


Beautiful bunch of flowers in the house.  Thanks darling 🙂


Seen from the kitchen window – the grass is always greener on the other side.


Tomorrow the new studio….. yes I got in there working on Friday for a few hours…… then my whip lash started hurting again.  No fun.


Must go, DH has just returned from Berwick with a Chinese Takeaway.

Keep calm…………..

I just had to blog this as I couldn’t stop laughing. 

This is an old wartime moral boosting poster (which wasn’t actually ever put into production in the 1940’s – a proof was found in a box of books in a second hand shop in Alnwick).  We’ve been seeing it a lot with the present economic crisis.

Anyway here it is….


And looking through blogs tonight I saw this……  it tickled me 🙂

Great timing with the government crisis here in the UK tonight.

an alternative mug

Both from

The Studio is almost ready

The Studio is almost ready….

New high tables and storage space for papers….. I can just get up onto that chair LOL!


Print blocks were made for decorative displaying and can’t be left in boxes.


Threads and beads are all out and ready.  This is a working studio, not a pretty one set up for photographing so there is a little, erm, is chaos the correct word??? 


The Pfaff is ready to go (hasn’t been switched on yet – time I need time!), fabrics are ready to dye, the Bernina’s are patiently waiting and the new dresser is full of scrumptious coloured fabrics and threads ready to be used.


Starting off with some domestic projects – altering a jacket, turning up trousers and making shorts for DS.


The painting side is also complete and ready to go.



Next week I’m doing a workshop so it will be a while before I get to working in here. 

All that’s left is the shop to layout and the display wall to do.  Nearly there.

Shall we have champagne when its finished?  And strawberries?  Great idea.

Living the Good life

Bear with me whilst I indulge myself in this blog post……………

The recent issue of Country Living included a booklet on “How to live the good life”

According to Country Living the definition of “Living the Good Life” is to be self sufficient in fruit, vegetables and animals.  Much like the “Good Life” TV show from the 1970’s (yes I can remember it).  If possible you should have a plot productive enough to sell the surplus at Farmers Markets…..


I read through the booklet and realised that

1. I wasn’t a “part time producer” of veggies

2. I don’t have my own hens (yet)


3. Neither do I have my own sheep, pigs, geese or ducks

4. I haven’t built a smokehouse

5. I don’t store my own fruit and veg over the winter nor eat my own animals


On the plus side I do

1. Grow my own herbs


2. Have a wildlife friendly garden with lots of wildflowers – all planned of course (!)

3. Have two perfect little composters called Skittles and Star (the rabbits)

4. Walk through the village to shop and chatter to several people I know so it can take an hour and a half to get a loaf of bread and a newspaper


I thought about all this long and hard this week.  Had I achieved the “Good Life” I set out for in leaving London in 1994?  I’ve been in Northumberland since 1995 and at this house for almost 9 years.

So the question is…………..



Is it as defined by Country Living?

Am I failing?

The Good Life surely must be defined individually….. everyone’s perfect life is different……  I’m not saying Country Living is wrong – its a magazine I’ve read for more years than I’ve lived here and when I was in London it fuelled my dream of country living.

I started to think of the good things in my life and (being a materialistic Taurean) firstly of the good things in my house and home….do take this tongue in cheek as I realise I have become quite stereotyped with my Boden and Cath Kidston etc!


I can wear purple as much as I like.  When ever I like.  As much as I like.


A bunch of flowers in the house.  What is more beautiful?

Tulips and rosesweb

I have a watering can that I love simply because it is cream.  I can hang my Boden kaftan on the line to dry in the sun.  I choose my pegs because I like the colours and I have four tiny little blackbird chicks in a nest by the back door (so tiny and sweet!)


My house is wonderful (though not perfect – there is still a lot to do) and  the flowers are blooming (these are from the garden – the rose was a present from DH 10 years ago for my 30th birthday). 

I’ve found a company that sells the most scrumptious gluten/dairy free lemon cake.  I can eat this with my favourite strawberries (I love these red juicy fruits), my Cath Kidston mug of fresh ground coffee and my fancy mock ivory cutlery.


My house is full of beautiful things….. I have tea towels from Cath Kidston (I might keep these for when we have visitors – sad), cake tins from Emma Bridgewater, bean to brew coffee machine from Argos (OK I know that doesn’t sound so good but it was £100 cheaper than John Lewis!).  I have mirrored coasters from the Pier (I mourn their demise).  There are chickens in the kitchen if not in the garden and my son and I collect pine cones and have a nature display area…..


When on holiday just two weeks ago (it seems like months away) I invested in a set of Craftswoman made porcelain stacking pots.  Closer to home I can take a walk in my village (Wooler) and come home with a large useful pot from the Florin Gallery (like Winnie the Poo I love useful pots). 

I can see a foxglove (my second favourite flower after poppies) from the kitchen table (where I am sitting today writing this) and I can see my washing blowing on the line.


And yesterday I took my son for a walk in the National Park, we went up to a hill fort thousands of years old.  We laughed, joked, discussed and meditated on the life of the people living on this hilltop. 

Here’s a photo of the two of us.

Ric & Helenweb

I have a beautiful son who is growing up and getting more gorgeous by the day. 

I love to see the way he absorbs knowledge and learns new skills. 

My DH is also growing older and he’s gorgeous too!  (I had to say that!)

I have my studio and my art and I’m not tied to a “proper” job.

Oh what else?  I have travelled to New Zealand and Australia in the last year, got back to having a professional SLR camera and lenses and regained a love of photography.  I’ve sold some artwork, lectured and taught some wonderful people, organised a solo exhibition for 2010 and made some new friends…….

This IS the good life.  Mine anyway.

Oh, and by the way……………… the Textile Goddess is almost back up and running…. we might get this blog back to textiles soon – Yeh!