Sunday, 21 October 2018


I'm working away in the background making the portraits for my Mum's memorial quilt and here are the latest few I've completed.
This handsome young man is my nephew Sebastian, son of my younger sister Juliet.

The second portrait of Stephanie my middle granddaughter is much prettier from the first one I made.

Here is Juliet, hand stitched on linen to co-ordinate with the other pictures of the same generation like Christopher and the others I want to do of Rosi and myself.

Sarah's machine stitched portraits have been turned into gifts for her birthday, this one is now on the cover of an A4 sketchbook I've made for her.

I machine embroidered a message on the inside of her card and decorated it with appliquéd butterflies, then made a drawstring bag with the same fabric to use as wrapping for the card and sketchbook.

The last machine stitched portrait is now on the front of Sarah's card which I stiffened with some pelmet interlining which is stiff enough to keep the card standing.
I hope you've enjoyed this look at my latest work and I'll be back soon with some more in a few weeks after my autumn visit to see the family in England.

Saturday, 29 September 2018



We arrived at Benodet and found our campsite only a short distance from the shore with a fabulous promenade all around the headland and back along the river bank to the town itself.  This is a stitched picture of the sketch  below, using linen as a background with assorted organzas and yarns and a bit of inktense coloured fabric for the tree trunk.

I sat on a bench one afternoon to draw this in my new long sketchbook which is quite a challenge to use as I have to think carefully about how I'm going to fit in the image I want to depict. I used water soluble triplus pens on this trip as they are so quick and easy to add a bit of colour.
This another view from the promenade  around the headland looking out to sea and the yachts coming home after a day's sailing.  The cormorant posed on his rock just long enough for me to capture him and his strange movements as he tried to swallow a large fish!

We walked into town one day and found a very busy port with boats taking people out for trips up the river as well as to the nearby islands. There were coaches full of visitors and many bars and restaurants to choose from selling the local seafood as well as crepes.  We chose a bar with comfortable sofas facing the harbour wall to take a couple of beers to refresh us ready for the long walk back to camp.

The campsite was very well laid out with lots of attractive trees between the plots and this is the view through our front window.  I've left out the caravan that was actually where I've done the writing and used my Museum water soluble pencils to add the colour.
I picked a few of the red sycamore leaves from the tree on the left of the sketch to play with using the crimson water soluble pen from the triplus set.  I had wanted to pick one of the chestnuts from the tree in the distance but there was another camper on the plot and I didn't want him to think I was a total nutcase!

From Benodet we moved on to Arradon on the gulf of Morbihan and another campsite only a short walk from the sea.  We had arranged our annual get together with some camping friends and we spent three lovely days together, walking, talking, eating and drinking so I only have one sketch to show for it.  Carolyn and I took their dog Florie for a walk and sat in the sun to draw this while our menfolk went shopping for wine.
Now we're back home and I'm catching up on my family portrait project which I'll share with you next time.  A bientot!

Saturday, 22 September 2018


Back home now after a couple of weeks touring Brittany. 
We started at L'Aberwrach on the 1st of September where we celebrated our wedding anniversary with a delicious meal at le Vioben, an excellent restaurant renowned for it's seafood.
This is a sketch drawn while we were walking along the footpath by the edge of the river, I haven't added the blue of the water or the pale green hills in the distance as I wanted to concentrate on those wonderful tangled pine trees.

The path was lined with all sorts of plants like brambles and bracken but my eye was taken by the velvety looking sloes and the nibbled greeny grey leaves.  I used to gather these inedible berries to make sloe gin but as we haven't finished drinking the last batch from 2 years ago I thought I would leave them for someone else;  I also believe in only taking what you need from nature, not over collecting just for the sake of it!

From L'Aberwrach we drove on to Locronan, designated 'une petite cite de charactère' by the French tourist board.  The campsite was on the edge of town up a winding hill road and we were allocated a plot with a fabulous view through the front window which I couldn't resist drawing as I sat at the table in the morning.  I could see across the valley to the hills opposite with their éoliennes (wind turbines) turning slowly in the distance.

As always I took some sewing supplies with me and stitched this picture postcard view over the next 3 days. The background is a printed patchwork fabric perfect for this kind of work and then I layered up organza and other scraps as well as some of the confetti patchwork I prepared before we left home. I used a mixture of threads and yarns to depict the trees and leaves and chain stitch around the edge for a border.

In the mornings we visited the town to see what all the tourists came for and to have a refreshing beer before climbing back up the hill to camp.  The walk was very pleasant through the woods with glimpses of the view through the trees and then the roof tops and the old church spire came into sight.
Coach loads of people come here to see where many films have been made and spend money in the gift shops.  I felt there wasn't a lot of character though, just a lot of well preserved grey buildings and hundreds of people pointing their cameras in all directions.  We even overheard an American trying to persuade his wife to pose in front of the bank pretending to take out some cash!
We moved on to Benodet next but I'll have to save that till next time.
A bientot!

Thursday, 30 August 2018


The September challenge in the Postcard fabric art Facebook group is inspired by the art of Leonid Afremov and the colours blue and yellow, theme of landscape and using confetti quilting technique.
I had a search online for the confetti idea, watched a couple of videos, and soon I was rummaging in my scrap bags looking for suitable fabrics to cut up.

Luckily I'm a tidy person and each colour had it's own bag which made the selection a lot easier.

I decided to use water soluble stabiliser to mount the confetti on to and as I have two sorts I put the opaque one on the base and the transparent one on top so I could see where I was stitching.

The idea is that you sandwich all the scraps between the layers of stabiliser and free motion stitch all over to make sure all the bits of fabric are attached to each other.

Before long I realised I needed to put in a lot more pins all over the piece as when I moved it about on the sewing machine the scraps collected in one place instead of being spread out!

I decided to make some red and green confetti as well so that I can use it for various projects in the future.

What a fun afternoon, stitching like crazy then running to the bathroom to wash away the stabiliser and see what I had made!

And here are the finished sheets all A4 sized, dried and ready to use when I find my subject. 
We're off on our next camping car trip tomorrow so I will be sketching views of Brittany as we travel around and hopefully one of them will be suitable for the confetti stitchpic treatment.
Watch this space in a couple of weeks for episode 2 of the September Postcard fabric art challenge!

Tuesday, 28 August 2018


My portrait project is growing and I've hand stitched another six pictures during the summer.
Here is Kirsty with her lovely red hair which is actually a lot longer than it appears in the picture.

My niece Esther was quite difficult to capture, this is the second attempt at her face.

My nephew Gregory, son of Rosi who died 15 years ago, has a wonderful head of curly red hair which he is very proud of.  I had a lot of fun stitching it in a mixture of  yarns.

This portrait of Steph, my middle granddaughter is a reject, it's not very pretty and her plait is far too dominating.  I've started a new version using a different photo which I'm sure will be more flattering.

My brother Chris has white hair like me and a jolly smile.  I used a pale grey linen and monochrome running stitches in different thicknesses.

And finally here's a funny one of me, I'm not happy with the likeness so I'll probably try another one for the final quilt.
The main thing with all these portraits is that I am really enjoying working them and the challenge to make the recognisable.

Thursday, 23 August 2018


After a lovely long hot summer, the weather has changed and rain has come to water the garden and I started to think of making things for next year's garden party.
I have a lovely collection of fabrics given to me by friends and family and it seemed a good idea to make some lingerie bags.
I had already made these two for Justine to use for her holidays and also seen some pretty ones at an art expo last week so a couple of afternoons work produced what you can see in the top picture.
I appliqued orchids from some organza or broderie anglaise using bondaweb and zigzag stitch to finish the edges.
Then I used some crinkly brown cotton with a matching print to make a pair of shoe bags which turned out big enough for at least two pairs.

My sister and niece had asked me to make them bags like mine for their birthdays so I set to and made the larger ones you can see here.  They measure approx. 42 cms wide by 26 cms high.

There was plenty of fabric left over to make a pair of smaller ones too which measure 30 cms wide and 20 cms high.
All the bags have internal pockets for pens or phones and a plastic inner base to give support.

I'm really pleased with my rainy day efforts and I'm already planning my next wet weather projects, maybe some sketchbooks.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018


This month the challenge on Postcard Fabric Art is the colour orange and the artist Georgia O'Keeffe, famous for her large scale paintings of flowers

 I researched the images on the internet and found she had painted a few lilies and as I have a lovely potful on my terrace I knew I could use them as my inspiration.
I draw these fragrant blooms every year and I soon found some previous sketches to inspire me as well as going out and sitting by the plant to draw straight away. I am also aware of the copyright laws about using other people's images and there was a very interesting discussion in the group about this  issue.  I am very particular about using only my own drawings or photos or my friend's with her permission.
I love the way the petals curl and their frilly edges.
I have made a collection of templates that I use when I start a new project to make sure I work to a standard size, whether to fit a frame or a card to be posted.  I had bought a set of plastic place mats at Lidl but found them far more useful for this purpose as they are easy to cut with scissors or a craft knife.  I place them onto the fabric and lightly draw the boundary of where I want to stitch with a pencil.  Sometimes if I'm using linen with a coarse enough weave I will pull threads along the line to be sure I'm perfectly square.

I made a careful drawing that I could use as a basis for my needlework and made my fabric selection from my collection of organzas, cottons and some vibrant orange jersey given to me by a friend.

The base fabric is a plain yellow cotton then there is a layer of pale green organza and a translucent unwoven fabric layer for texture. I cut out each orange jersey petal shape and tacked it on then added a layer of yellow organza to lift the colour and give a bit of a sparkle.  Each petal was then stitched by hand using a red yarn to depict the spots.
After I finished stitching on the petals I added the white edges by couching on a line of white cotton knitting yarn which gives the flower a bit of life and dimension.  Then I decided to edge the picture with a line of variegated yarn woven through a line of light green running stitches.
I finished off with the stamens and stigma using various different yarns but being sure to follow the shape and pattern correctly as I had drawn originally.
I pinned the picture to a square canvas and used a co-ordinating ribbon round the edge to hide the folds and pins and it is now hanging on my studio wall so I can enjoy it while I decide who will be the lucky recipient.
Here is the link to the PFA group page on Facebook, (fingers crossed it works!)