A load of old clocks

At the local auction a couple of weeks ago I took a chance on a box of old clocks. I managed to get them for not very much at all and although there are a couple that I cannot do anything with, this nice mid-century Equity clock just needed a little encouragement to get it ticking nicely. It has been cleaned up for sale and I'm hoping somebody will fall in love with it - after all, the pink disc in the middle spins round and creates a bit of a psychedelic pattern. What more could you want from a clock?

The other surprising treasure was this poor thing. With a cracked face and tarnished case, it is a bit of a wreck. But some research (and taking the back off to see the workings) proved it to be a 1930s ladies 'Bijou' carriage clock made by a very good French company, Bayard. It's of no use to me, as I haven't the skills to fix it. But quality always tells and it's already sold, for spares or repair. I hope the purchaser repairs it, if they can. Had it been in good working condition, its value would have been in three figures. But I'm happy to get what I can for it.

So selling the sad little carriage clock has almost paid for what I actually really wanted in the box of old clocks - this pretty mantle clock, which was still ticking when I had a sneaky listen in the viewing.

It too has seen better days, however unlike the Bayard clock, it has no great pedigree. Rather annoyingly, it has since stopped working, so I am going to have to get my tiny screw driver and clock oil, to see if I can work some DIY magic. But for now it looks quite nice with the other treasures on top of the piano that nobody plays. Near another old clock that doesn't work.


Old room, new room

Since the day Andy and I moved into the cottage over four years ago, the front room has been a dumping ground for removal boxes. The boxes have shifted about a bit, more added and some of them even unpacked, though not until much later. Boxes, especially when sealed for some time, can be memory sinks and I avoided them for the first couple of years.

When Joe moved in last year,  we tidied it up a bit, so that he had space for his computer and model collection. But last month we tackled it properly. First we went through the attic and sorted that out. We had a jolly good clear out.


Eight boxes of books and many boxes of odds and ends went to charity shops. My record collection, which I've had since I was sixteen, is sacrosanct and not going anywhere.


Although just to get it out of the way, it now lives under the stairs. All of the boxes were sorted through, and many things went in the attic to be dealt with another time.

Then the other week at the local auction, we picked up this battered old bureau for almost nothing. Nobody wanted it and I paid the ridiculous price of £11 for it. We had no idea where it would go, but we did save it from the skip.

Brian-next-door helped me get it home the next day, in his trailer.

And then it found its way into the newly tidy front room. You can actually see the nice little fireplace now and I have a work bench almost ready for action. (I have several old sewing machines and some old filing drawers to tidy up, but that's another story).

Like the rest of the cottage, the walls are still in the parlous state they were when Andy died, after we'd stripped them down ready for renovation. There's no money to do anything with them at the moment,and the electrics need doing anyway. So they have to stay 'interesting' and 'rustic'. But we don't mind. It's home.

If I'm not around much, it's not necessarily because there is anything wrong. I'm still in the process of rebuilding my life and healing from the carnage of the last few years; working out what happens next, especially with my career. Whether Joe and I are able to stay here is still very much moot point, but at least we finally have an almost respectable front room - even if it is a little scruffy and eccentric by ordinary standards.


Winter needle felt workshop

It's been a quiet January and I've been having some private 'hermit' time. Sometimes its good to take a step back from online life and 'get on' with things. However I was winkled out of my cave last weekend to do a local, private workshop in Shropshire.  Rather nice not have to catch a train somewhere, and to be able to return home on the same day.

It was a very nice group to work with and after four hours, I was very pleased with the results.

As you may have noticed, fan tails were a common theme. I've amended my basic chicken pattern and it seemed to give scope for more 'off-piste' creativity. all the more impressive when only one person out of the group of nine had any experience of needle felting at all, so for the majority, this was their first creation.

It's always a bit of a flurry at the end of a workshop; people are a bit tired after so much concentration and naturally, there is a clamour for photos. But I managed to get a line up of all the lovely chickens in a row.

I only have two workshops lined up for this year, so far. They are both 'baby hare' courses and run all day. The first is on March 2nd, in Shrewsbury, so another local one for me. The second is somewhat further away on the other side of the country, in Norfolk on March 25th. At the moment there are three spaces left on each one. Details and booking links can be found on my workshops page here


Winter walk around the lanes

One of those frosty mornings when it is obligatory to venture out to explore. I've not had much time for walking recently, but the lanes and my camera were calling.

The air was thin and clean. Although it was late in the morning, the frost was still heavy.

 Crossing the clear river Cound, slow moving and icy.

Long shadows cast by the bright winter sun as we passed an old Regency farmhouse.

Then turning back up little 'Sandy Lane', a deep and old track still frequented by large tractors and lorries. But not today.

 Swans were quietly grazing in the thawing fields.

Before dropping down to the old converted  mill, and heading back to our own little cottage, nearby, which once upon a time might well have housed a labourer who worked at the mill when it was in use, over a hundred years ago.


Harey Christmas

That's been a very busy few weeks and now my holiday selling season has finished. I've sent kits, supplies and needle felt doo-dahs across various oceans. Inbetween, I've also been able to finish a hare and make another one. She was sent over to a new home in America as soon as she was finished and arrived in time for Christmas.

I've finally been able to have some time with my sketch book and tidy my studio. Christmas is a very quiet period for us, and I hope that all my blog friends have the holiday that they desire, whatever that is, with very best wishes from Joe and myself and Percy and Penelope hare.



Before Pinterest...


 ...there were scrapbooks. I started collecting cuttings when I was 16, for art references and articles of interest and I kept it up for about 20 years. So this is my pile of 38 scrapbooks, filled with newspaper and magazine clippings, postcards, flyers and all manner of ephemera wot-nots.

In the same way that I now have specific Pinterest boards, I tended to keep different albums for different subjects. Textiles was a favourite even back then.

Landscapes and atmosphere -


I often found poems in old newspapers and put appropriate ones on themed pages. The spread below, of various tapestry and decorative textiles, includes this lovely writing by Vita Sackville-West, 
'Full Moon'

She was wearing the coral taffeta trousers
Someone had brought her from Ispahan,
And the little gold coat with pomegranate blossoms,
And the coral-hafted feather fan;
But she ran down a Kentish lane in the moonlight,
And skipped in the pool of the moon as she ran.

She cared not a rap for all the big planets,
For Betelgeuse or Aldebaran,
And all the big planets cared nothing for her,
That small impertinent charlatan;
But she climbed on a Kentish stile in the moonlight,
And laughed at the sky through the sticks of her fan.

Other books are just full of slightly odd, curious, often ugly and sometimes downright macabre images.

There are several life style 'aspiration' books, put together by a dirt poor teenager with nothing but dreams, some old magazines, scissors and glue.

And hundreds of references for colour, style, ideas and potential reference for the glowing art career I was (naturally) going to have.

I'm going to keep them out now that I've discovered them again. There is something satisfying about these old and battered albums; it's like looking into my own head from a few decades ago, when I dreamed big and didn't worry every day about the future. Some pages are like messages in bottles, from the me-then to the me-now. As if I somehow sensed something.

 Don't Ask

Tell me love, what are you thinking of?

I was thinking how there are certain times of the night
when the dead wipe the frost from their souls and weep.

Of nothing simpler?

Of a courtyard I once visited and of a woman 
standing beside a statue covered in snow.

Of no-one? No-one else?

She was so beautiful.
Had she been made of nettles I'd have wanted her.

Why think of her now, at this moment?

Because I am still missing the ashes of the dead and of dead obsessions

Why answer me like this?

Because I am bankrupt of small comforts, of small deceits.
Because we two are new, and without history, 
And treasonous memory sleeps in so many beds.



Baby hare and flying swans

In-between other things, I have been working on new designs for next year's workshops and the first is this baby hare. 

I am also holding my first local workshop, in Shrewsbury, at a fabulous venue, the Victorian home of Sarah, who runs Fern Dell bed and breakfast near Shrewsbury Abbey. We were hooked up by BBC radio Shropshire on the Jim Hawkins show, after he interviewed me one morning and I mentioned that I was looking for a suitable workshop place.  Seconds later, Sarah had contacted me on Twitter and within 24 hours we had things pretty much sorted.

 So baby hare will be tried for the first time next year on March 2nd, a Thursday. It's an all day workshop and Sarah will be providing a home cooked lunch and refreshments, all of which is included in the price. However, it has booked up pretty quickly and there are only three places left.  If you'd like to see more details, you can find them on my workshop page - booking is directly through myself.  And if you'd like to see the beautiful Fern Dell, the website is here and more lovely photos here in Sarah's Instagram feed

For this weekend only I am having a mini Black Friday sale on these three large, hanging  winter swans, reduced to £40 each plus postage. Each one took two days to needle felt and hangs on silver wire with suspended glass tear drop beads and a twist of silver gauze ribbon.  They are the top featured items in my Etsy shop, or direct links are underneath each picture.