Monday, 31 August 2009

birds, bags and baz

Bank holiday Monday, so lovely to have a day off, this afternoon I sat in my studio on my rickety green chair embroidering birds onto a little evening bag, listening to the radio, channel hopping as ever, when one of those songs pops on that stops you dead in your tracks you don't know whether to laugh, dance or cry. I did all three.
It is Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's free (to wear sun screen).
These are just some of the lyrics.
I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you
imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes
you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with
yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you
succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium.

I think these observations are a good rule of thumb for life, for everyone.
Listen to it and tell me you didn't laugh, dance and cry all at the same time.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


Every morning without fail I spin my globe to see where I land, I love that it keeps spinning and you can stop it and see where in the world you are. Every morning a new place, a strange but familiar name. Those names conjure up wonderful imaginations of far off lands to explore and delight in. I remember buying my first globe for my birthday when I was nine from a very strange shop called Winkworths. I used to lie in bed spin the globe and see where it would stop and try and remember the names of these wonderful sounding places. I still have those same feelings of excitement of where it might stop and where we might travel in our dreams for a moment or two this morning. I love the sound of these familiar names, Mogadishu, Nicaragua, Cook Islands, Archipelago, Syria Vietiene and Zanzibar to name but a few in my millions of places I long to go. This morning I spun the world and landed in the middle of the Northern Atlantic Ocean that often happens. I better get swimming!
Be restless my wanderlust

Friday, 28 August 2009

catching crabs

So lovely to be able to grab some sunny moments in the garden the other evening, catching crabs! Crab apples that is. Our tree was fit to burst with crab apples. So off my two trusty apple pickers went with intrepidation as the ladder is not that fit for purpose, to reach the ones at the top. One of my apple pickers has no need for the ladder he just jumps up on to the tree and resumes his normal position, of lying across the branches batting the apples off of the tree, whilst keeping a beady eye out for the two rotund wood pigeons who often nestle there.
Job done, a glass of wine, jumper on, to enjoy watching the starry night appear. Perfect!

Friday, 21 August 2009

hanging out your butterflies to dry

"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls"
Pablo Picasso

I need to paint a hundred stick and ink butterflies for some invitations, with so many it has meant putting a make shift butterfly washing line up, they are all drying beautifully in the breeze.
What has really made me laugh is that I have a washing line of dancing butterflies and my neighbour, a washing line with the most enormous pants billowing in the breeze.
You can find some of these in my folksy shop the invitations not, those massive pants.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

in search of the perfect turquoise velvet

Yesterday was one of those lovely days, no plans, just to go and be inspired. So to London I went.
My journey started at Liberty's which is a constant source of inspiration. It starts as soon as you reach Great Malborough street, with the delightful window displays pictured above. As you walk in the door it is like the most wonderful souk, where your eyes are led around beautiful spaces full of jewel like objects and treasures. My journey takes me to the 3rd floor to the haberdashery and fabrics, and then on to the wonders of the 4th floor, with the amazing pieces of furniture by Squint who have adorned every piece of furniture with a patchwork of fabrics. Then there are the sofas that are big enough to live on forever, in the most exquisite prints. Enough of this mooching around, my mission was to find the perfect turquoise cotton velvet. So I headed off into Soho to Borovicks in Berwick St, I found this shop when I was doing my fashion degree, it has been a constant source of wonders and yesterday it came up trumps. Armed with my sketchbook, glass of wine and a head crammed full of stuff from the day I go off to create or maybe just relish in the day.

Monday, 17 August 2009


I am not a great one for needing to buy things and don't hanker after many possession's, although for many years now I have had this wish list of four things I desire to own before I leave this life. These are a french chandelier to hang in my bathroom, to plant an orchard, a little library dedicated to my millions of books, and a golden Thai Angel. After reading Saturday's newspaper, that all changed there is now a fifth, this exquisite chair. I absolutely love this chair! How can such a practical object can be so impractical and so frivolous? A chair adorned with feathers. Our cat Archie will think he is in heaven! When all added up those desire's could prove quite costly, they may just stay as desire day dreams.
This chair can be found

Sunday, 16 August 2009

stitches away your worries

This little bag above was given to me by my grandma, it is a constant source of inspiration, it is so beautifully stitched and perfectly composed.This little bag sits on my bench in my studio it has the occasional night out on the town, but most of the time it can be found in my inspiration corner. There are some sources of inspiration that you never tire from looking at, every time you see a new little detail or wonder, this bag is one of them. I have stitched my way around the world in airports, on planes, the paddy fields of Cambodia. Stitching has saved me, made me friends all over the world, crossed language barriers and taught me much about the human need to create and make.
I have been hand embroidering some little evening bags made from Cambodian silk that I found on my travels. I love green and pink together they are delicious and remind me in particular of some of my favourite Patrick Heron and Graham Sutherland' s paintings.

Friday, 14 August 2009


Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid.
Jules Feiffer

At the moment I seem to be drawn to the colour red in all areas of my life. Those of you who know me, will know that I never leave the house without my Christian Dior no 13 red lipstick, which after nearly 20 years of research is by still the perfect red. Then there are my lovely red shoes that I adore, I sit them on a chair stacked on top of all my books to gaze at lovingly, they are a true work of art. Inspiration infiltrates in many ways, so red is seeping into my work everywhere, into my paintings, stitching and cushions made of devilishly red silk.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

The Grand Tidy up

My Granny always used to say tidy house tidy mind. Oh how I wish for those qualities, that make one tidy and ordered. How I wish to be able to walk into my studio, fabric folded neatly into boxes, my millions of beautiful buttons back in their home, instead of the piles on the floor that so frequently have to be rescued from the hoover. I long to have jars of paintbrushes in neat rows, soft, beautiful and ready to create. My books and beloved collection of Vogue's on shelves in some kind of system, so I don't have to pull out every book I own to find the one I want.

But maybe if I was always tidy and everything had it's place. I would not have the joy of finding a dog eared drawing that you really liked that inspires you on your way, or that vogue 1993 June with a beautiful photo of a John Galliano jacket that you loved so much then, and still do now. Or maybe just maybe you find that beautiful mother of pearl button that you had put safe for something lovely.

I think their needs to be a happy medium, this means not over romanticizing all the lovely finds, because it is not always like that. The dead spiders endless plates of paint and printing ink that Archie the cat has walked through, are never good.

There are many things to blame for my untidy ways, the untidy gene I inherited from my mum, one of those creative minds that doesn't work well in order, and time.

But for now I will try to clear up and try hard not to be distracted by lovely friends popping round for a glass of wine and a natter, watching the butterfly ballet on the Verbena in my garden and of course catching up on the Archers.

Tidy studio, tidy creative mind !

Some hope.