Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Well the decorations and lights are up and the cakes are iced, the cards are posted and most of the shopping is done. I can now collect my thoughts together before and relax a bit before the family arrive on Christmas Eve.
When I was coming home earlier in the week I stopped in a lay by to take some pictures of the sun setting.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Christmas Tree

Christmas for us last year didn't really happen. All our things were packed as we were between houses including all the Christmas decorations. We put up the cards, watched TV and hoped things would get back to normal as quickly as possible. We had hoped to move before Christmas but we didn't move till March.
This year has been different and I could not wait to get the decorations up. In the past I have always gone for traditional Christmas colours but the lounge really does not lend itself to traditionl so it is purple, silver and white. Our dining room is very traditional and tomorrow I am going to buy a small Christmas tree to go in there.
The tree is of the ground as Sophie is now crawling and into everything!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Christmas Robin

This is my first encaustic picture for nearly a year so I thought I would share it with and wish you all A Very Merry Christmas

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Arch for Carol T

This is one of my Encaustic pictures which I used a print of for Carol's arch

Close up showing the free machined arch with its bells

This is my final arch. I know it is still November but I wanted to get it done and sent of before the chaos of Christmas. I started of by thinking I would do something seasonal so I used one of my own paintings as a starting point. Having read the brief I started of on the Gothic route but think I must have been distracted by Tiggy's blog of her trip to India because the arch started to go very Indian. I did a bit of free machine embroidery which had tassles, just right for little bells. Carol likes metal so I made a metal frame for the picture which left a space, just right for a bit of shisha work I thought, so I dug out my instuctions which I had from doing a workshop with Tig years ago. I embellished the background. Red and blue chiffon onto blue felt. I added a little copper Angelina behind the free machined arch. I then hand stitched beads around the edge and finally added a few Swarkovsci crystals to give it a sparkle.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Arch for Cathy

This is the arch I made for Cathy. November is a time of remeberance here in England. The majority of people can be seen wearing poppies bought from the British Legion to help them raise much needed funds. The money enables them to help servicemen, ex servicemen and their families in anyway they can. I decided as Cathy had floral on her list that I would do poppies for her. I used various sheer fabrics layered up onto a felt backing. The centres of the poppies were done on the embellisher. I decided to leave the edges free.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

The Birthday

Alfie after the cake!

Not to sure about the candles

Showing sister Sophie his motor bike.

A quick play before opening the next present.

Here are some pictures I took on Alfie's birthday. It wasn't easy to take pictures as he was moving around busy opening his presents.
He is having another party today with some of his little friends.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Cake for Alfie

Bob the Builder
It is my grandson Alfie's second birthday tomorrow,so I thought I would attempt to make him a cake. I am not a cake maker as you can see but I do like a challenge. I made two Victoria sponges which I filled with jam and butter cream. The face is one of them. The second cake I cut each piece in half and sandwiched three of them to make the hat. The last bit was used for the ears nose and the bit on the hat. I bought ready coloured icing but there was barely enough. which made it a bit tricky. I would have liked it to have been thicker. As you will see from the picture it did pull into holes in places which I did my best to repair. I built bits of structure to the face with icing for the ears lips and cheeks. The icing is not stuck to the cake very well. I did not have any brown icing for the hair so he had to make do with black His nose is a bit mucky and his skin is a bit pale. I am satisfied that I did my best with the equipment I had and I am confident that it will taste fine. After all it is the thought that counts.

Alfie enjoying the pond and wet

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Arch for Gillian

I have just completed my October arch for Gillian. She likes seahorses, leaves and anything Egyptian. I decided to do the sea horse. Although I can draw sea horses I had a stencil which had come free in a magazine years ago and have not done a lot of stencilling. I stencilled onto felt and add some puff paint to give it a bit of texture. The background is layered chiffon. The edge is painted Vilene to look like rocks(although I have added so much stuff you can hardly see them now)I stitched over the sea horse and background, then attacked it a bit with the soldering iron. I loosely added some chiffon as sea weed. I then got out the glue gun and did some foiling. Finished!
The next day as I was getting it ready to post, I decided on second thoughts it was not finished. It needed something else. It was lifeless. It was a bit flat so I tackled the for ground by adding the shells. While looking for the shells I found the leaves and then the bits of painted Tyvek. I now feel it is finished and will again get it ready to post

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Arch for Hannah

I have just finished the arch for Hannah. I worked it on the embellisher using felt, wool and chiffon. It is worked from the front and the back. The candle is a print of one of my encaustic pictures. I have done some stamping and added some foil. The problem I find with the embellisher is that the work grows. I embellished it onto silk this time thinking it would hold its shape but it didn't make any difference. Originally the stone arch was bigger but it had to be trimmed down to fit the template. I enjoy using the embellisher and don't break so many needles now (since I found out how much they cost.
My work space is getting more organised and I feel much more comfortable with it. Ever since we moved in I have been moving things around to make the space more workable. I make cards and jewellery for a living and need to be able to get at all the components easily. I think I am nearly there now.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Attic Finds

Yesterday my son went into the attic to remove some suitcases and boxes that were up there behind the water tank. We are hoping to have some insulation put up there sometime, so new it would have to come out. We did not know who it belonged to or what it was. There were two suitcases one was full of rubbish - empty chocolate boxes bits of tinsel. It had made a nice nest for the mice which had lived up there. When I opened the next one it looked more interesting. A collection of items which were probably used in pantomimes but the items had a lot of work in them and looked very old and interesting. There were several jig saws and an Alfa Romeo car which my grandson Alfie decided he was keeping. It was still in its original box. Then there was an old carrier bag which looked like the contents of a drawer. It had pens and pennies,smelling salts all sorts of rubbish then I opened a little box and out came the beautiful watch. I also found a ring and some chains. I was really enjoying this now. Another box was full of dress patterns from possibly the 40's and 50's and yet another box full of fabric but it was all nylon and crimpline.
I did not recognise the name of the person who owned all this but we are the third family to live here since them. They are sadly no longer around. Next time my son comes over I might send him up there again to see what else he finds.

Saturday, 13 September 2008


Tin mine

View through an arch at the derelict tin mine

The remains of lunch

View through the resturant window

A posing seagull

Well we are back from our creative travels. The weather was on the whole kind most of the time. Sarah's converted dairy is fantastic and I can thoroughly recommend it. There are some pictures here
On the first day we visited a couple of local churches, a tin mine and a tropical garden centre then the other three walked up a Tor/hill to admire the view. I stayed in the car as I have a dodgy knee. They tell me that you can see both coast lines from there. We then spent the afternoon working on various projects. In the evening we prepared some screens and fabric with flour.
The next day we spent in St Ives visiting the shops, the Barbara Hepworth Gallery and The Tate Gallery. We even managed to have lunch outside overlooking the beach. In the evening after our meal we did a bit of felt making, some sketch book work and some printing using the previously prepared screen.
On the final day we stayed in and did projects including photoshop, sketckbooks, fabric transfer crayons and paint and embellishing on the Pfaff embellisher. We rounded the trip of by going out for a lovely meal in St Ives. It was absolutely pouring down but thanks to Sarah's daughter Helen we were dropped of and collected from the door.
I was not as productive as the others because I was in constant pain. I will post some pictures of the work I did when I have taken pictures of it. Until then here are some pictures that I had taken

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Family History

For some time now I have been interested in my family history. I started wanting to know what made me, me. Why was I good at doing things with my hands and not my brain! My parents were both craft teachers so that was a good reason for me being like I am but what about them. The computer has made searching records a fantastic hobby but it is rather addictive. The more you find the more you want to find. The tree can become huge. I have over 1000 on mine now. I am finding things like - on my paternal side I come from a dynasty of Quaker clog makers. That's a very hands on occupation. I am from the North of England my mothers side from Lancashire and Scotland, my fathers side Yorkshire. Some of the information I thought I knew, which had been handed down I could not follow up. It looked like the history of two great men had been combined. The one I am related to owned a mill and a coal mine and was a Mayor. The other founded a children's home and is related to Queen Victoria's physician. All this information I have found on the Internet but it is two people born in the same year with the same name. Most of my ancestors worked in the mills. On my maternal side cotton on my paternal side wool. The jobs I have seen are calico printers, weavers, cotton doffer,cotton drawer,cotton spinner, cotton winder and a salesman of turkey red cotton. there are also a few farmers, stone masons and joiners.I have now traced some branches right back to the early 1500's
I have posted a picture of a needle point made by my Great Great grandmother Lucy Cockshutt in 1855 when she was 16. It is quite large about 3ft by 4ft, so there was also a love of sewing.
The other picture is of Mary Collins born 13 June 1830 and died 5 Feb 1904. She was my other maternal Great Great Grandmother.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Arch from Pam

This was the arch that I received from Pam.It is part of the Textile challenge Groups on going challenge The photo doesn't really do it justice. It looks like all the lights are on in the windows of the castle. It is all very neatly done too.

Monday, 25 August 2008

August Arch for Judy

I can't believe that this year is going so quickly and how long ago since I last blogged!
I have just finished this arch for Judy. I had made most of it by the first week in August. I thought I was doing really well but then suffered mental block. It is when you know what you would like to do but just can't think how to do it. I made the back that made me feel like I was progressing even if I wasn't. The ideas gradually trickled back and I hope Judy will like it.
I made it on my Pfaff embellisher. The first problem was keeping the shape. I had to trim a lot of so apologise for the lack of walls. Judy said she liked trees, leaves, oceans, ancients relics, castle and doorways. So, I did a window, well it is nearly like a door! The background is the ocean (and land which would have trees and leaves) The window is in castle which used to be an ancient relic before it was extensively modernised. In the for ground on the window sill is a vase of flowers( and leaves) and a shell a souvenir I brought back from Cape Cod.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

I have not been very productive lately. I have done some gardening and tidying and been out and about so I thought I would post some inspirational pictures for you while I think about what to do next. My head is full of ideas I just need to get a few of them on paper. These are a couple of pictures taken at Lee Bay in North Devon

Thursday, 10 July 2008


This was the ATC which I received from Zoe. It was part of a hand stitched lottery challenge in the Textile Challenge Group. Her challenge stitch was cross stitch

July Arch for Kate
The base is black felt. I embellished a layer of velvet and then a layer of chiffon. I put the heat gun on it for a while. The picture is of my grandmother or my Aunty Nell. They were identical twins. The picture is framed with embossed metal. I have added tea dyed paper, shells,a skeletal leaf, a lace motif and gemstone. Finally I added some foil.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Lapstock 2008

This week has been busy. Not much time (not any) time for sewing. I have had rehearsals in the evenings and during the day making cards and ear rings to build up my stock.
It was Lapstock Music Festival yesterday and the weather was really kind. Th atmosphere was fantastic with around 20 bands playing from 11 to 11. The music was a good cross section and the audience covered several generations. It was so nice to see families all enjoying being together. These are a few pictures of the day.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Darmoor Quilt

The original encaustic picture used for the design on the quilt

This is a quilt made by Upcott Valley Quilters. We wanted to reflect the colours and textures of Dartmoor. It was hung at the Festival of Quilts here in England in 2006 but didn't win any prizes. We each did small samples of colour and texture which in the end we cut up and pieced to make the Moor. The towns are Stannery Towns, these were towns where the weighing, stamping and distributing of tin went on. The symbol in the corner is of the three rabbits/hares which is the symbol of the Tinners Guild in Devon and Cornwall. There are more pictures of the symbols found in Devon on this site look for hares in the index.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Hand Stiched ATC

I have just finished a hand stitched A.T.C. for the Textile Challenge group. My challenge was to use Chevron stitch which as I am not an embroiderer I had never heard of. I managed to fined a picture with in instructions and this is the result. For the background I had some half made samples which I chopped up and painted with fabric paint. The Chevron was done in variegated man made thread. As it was a hand stitched challenge I blanket stitched around the edge.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Arch for Arlee

Close up of detail

This is a better colour likeness

I am really getting ahead now. This is my June arch, made and already sent. I bought an embellisher at Christmas and thought I would use it on this arch. I embellished bits of thread and fabric to felt until I thought I had the right look. (It took a while) I then added some paper which had been heated with the hot air gun the paper was then foiled. The leaves were cur out of sheet metal and free machines on to the felt. I added the metal charm ladybirds. Copper paint was used to paint the foil,ladybirds. The edging was thread waste which I ordered from India. It was difficult to photograph.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Arch for Pam

Arch next to original picture

This is the arch I have just finished for Pam. She is interested in architecture and ancient relics. I chose the work of Antoni Gaudi as my inspiration. ( Although not strictly ancient) The Cathedral in Barcelona (The Segrada Familia) was started over 100 years ago and is still being built.
I started with a photo bonded to fabric and covered with sheer fabric. I then free machined it to felt and finished by highlighting with gold paint.