Saturday, 25 March 2017


I've just realised I haven't posted anything from sketchbook no 41 which I started in January with this title page combining some snowdrops from the garden with a simple numeral.
Here is the cover, a pretty batik fabric (thank you Juliet!) and my favourite pen at the moment tucked into the spine.
The pages measure 11 x 17 centimetres.

It's quite a small book made from some watercolour cards I bought last year but never used so they seemed perfect to make into a book, being already folded.

There were few flowers around when I started to fill the book and this page is one of my favourites, some hellebores from a plant given to me by Justine about 10 years ago.  They never fail to pop up in January and brighten up the dark winter days.

I have a few dried Hydrangeas in a vase and one day I noticed how well they co-ordinated with my little Canterbury pottery vase containing a few narcissi.

A few years ago when I cleared out my mother-in-law's patio pots she gave me the old miniature daffodil bulbs to take home and they are still going strong in a corner of the herb garden where I can see them from the kitchen window.

There are always bunches of tulips in the shops at this time of year and I can't resist bringing some home to draw and just enjoy of course! 
You might have seen some of these sketches recently turned into needlepaintings and there are a lot more to come too when I get around to the next batch of drawings.  I hadn't planned to make this a nature journal but that is how it's turning out although it was originally made for our trip to Italy last summer which we had to postpone.
Have a nice weekend, remember to cherish your mothers on Sunday, I'm busy drawing mine at the moment ready for tomorrow when I'll be posting it on Facebook.

Saturday, 18 March 2017


This week I've been drawing my grandchildren and my sister's children.
Here is Stephanie aged 4 after a birthday party with a butterfly painted on her face.

Stephanie has beautiful straight dark hair that feels like silk, I used to love washing and drying it in the days when I lived in England and popped in every week after work.

Kirsty, the redhead, has a beautiful smile that lights up a room.

As an adult now she is still full of fun and that hair is a wonder, very Pre-Raphaelite!

Jimmy as a baby already had his big greeny grey eyes.

He is turning into a handsome young boy now, the apple of his mummy, Jo's eyes!

My sister Juliet has a lovely daughter, Esther.

And a good-looking son called Sebastian.

Saturday, 11 March 2017


It's been a funny week, I couldn't quite get down to some needlepainting so I decided to sketch my bunch of tulips from Lidl instead and straight away I came up with an idea for depicting them in fabric.  I got out all the bits of fabric and made a pile ready to get on with later, but first I had to finish off a few other projects.

Here are 2 new A5 notebooks ready for the garden party in April.
And half a dozen sketchbooks filled with proper drawing paper in 3 sizes.

I found a fascinating fabric backed cork textile in the sewing shop recently and designed a sketchbook to cover it with which incorporated a beautiful wrapping paper I've been hoarding for years.  I made the end papers with the turquoise as well as putting some on the cover, I just love this colour combination, don't you?

Yesterday in the post a lovely parcel of silk fabrics arrived from Kirsty and Justine and I couldn't wait to get started on making a couple more sketchbooks.  I've already torn and folded 7 large sheets of drawing paper and cut out the covers.  I'll be hard at work stitching and glueing this afternoon while Bob enjoys the rugby.

I've been wanting to recover this little lampshade for years and I finally got around to it this week on a rainy Wednesday morning.
So as you can see I've been very busy doing lots of  bits and pieces and maybe next week I will catch up with the portraits and a bit of needlepainting!

Saturday, 4 March 2017


A few more drawings from my portrait sketchbook, this first is of my little sister Juliet taken at the same time as the last two of Christopher and me from the previous portrait post.

Here's mummy with a big smile on her face just after becoming a grandmother to Justine in 1967.

Nearly 50 years later and here is her youngest great-granddaughter, Sarah. 

And finally a picture of Sarah aged 4.  I like to use co-ordinating colours on opposing pages and this pair looks really nice in the book.  Now it's back to work to fill a few more pages.
See you next week and hope the sun shines on you as spring comes along!

Saturday, 25 February 2017



I've been so inspired this last couple of weeks by the new growth in the garden that I haven't done much drawing in the portrait book.
Here is the latest picture of the Hellebores in my garden given to me about 10 years ago by Justine and still going strong.
I can see the clump from my kitchen window lit by the morning sun when it passes through the cut down hydrangea branches.  The white flowers glow like lanterns against the dark soil and leaves.
I picked a sprig to draw from another clump elsewhere in the garden as I didn't want to spoil my display near the house and drew it in grey pen and watercolours.
Then it was time to get out the fabrics and start cutting.  I had found some non-woven fabrics at the local shop and I attached a layer of bondaweb to several of the colours so that I could build up a background on a piece of yellow cotton.  Then I stitched around the dark leaves as a simple under layer for the flowers.
Then it was just a case of gathering together some green and white fabrics and yellow ribbons for the stems and stitching them onto the background.  I love the abstract fuzzy background, what do you think?  The picture is already in a frame and hanging in the bedroom!
Next I decided to tackle the tiny daffodils that have opened in a big clump in the herb garden.
First a sketch to get used to the shapes of the trumpets and angles of the petals.
Then another background using the non-woven fabrics to which I added a few solid and spotty leaves.

I had already coloured a length of lace with some yellow acrylic paints so I used it to shape the trumpets for the flowers.  I used some narrow green ribbon for the stems and added a pink bow and a few more leaves.
This is going to be mounted on pink card for my mother in law on Mothering Sunday in a few week's time.

Saturday, 18 February 2017


My portrait sketchbook project is carrying on in the background while I work on my needlepainting during the afternoons.

I switch off my sewing machine and go downstairs at 5.30 to pick up my pencils and sketchbook to try and capture another family member.

I trawled through my photo albums in search of suitable images to scan and print ready for when the drawing mood takes me.

I made a pocket in the back of the sketchbook to hold the prints which I can then copy into the sketchbook. 

I'm trying to vary the colours I use, especially when I come to a tinted page.  Some work quite nicely....

but I don't like this shades of blue combination on purple very much.

The black and white looks best on this paper.  It's funny how you don't notice the errors till much later.. his glasses aren't the same size on both sides!

I look a bit odd too but the whole point of the exercise is to practise my portrait drawing and eventually by the time I've filled about 60 pages I'll have got it!!

Saturday, 11 February 2017


Here's my latest needlepainting, a view of Tourony plage, our favourite beach and one of the iconic images of Ploumanac'h used in most of the publicity for this wonderful area of the pink granite coast.
I collected together a bunch of photos of the little chateau on the island at the entrance to the harbour and the rocks as well as some of my sketches done over the years to use as inspiration.

I started with a calico background that I covered with pale blue organza scraps held down with a piece of blue net.  The sea is made from bondaweb coloured with acrylic inks thanks to a tip from my friend in Sweden, Jacqueline.
I started to build up the image with scraps of green and pink fabrics and overstitching till I was happy with the effect.

The rocks came next in a combination of all the orange and pink scraps I could find. I played around with different stitches on the sewing machine to give them some texture.  As you can see from the picture at the top I gradually worked forward adding bits till I was happy.  The painted bondaweb was great for the little bits of sea on the sand as long as I remembered to cover them with paper before touching with the iron!

When I had finished I turned over the work and decided to scan the back as it looks rather like a coloured sketch.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing this process and I will be sharing some more with you later in the year.