Friday, 23 December 2016


Today is my sister Juliet's birthday and for her card this year I made one of my special mushroom needlepaintings.

I thought you might like to see how I build up the picture with layers of fabric scraps from my collection of samples from my dress designer friend Luba.
I was inspired by this photo I took in England in October and as you can see I found plenty of suitably coloured scraps in the stash.
This first part of the picture making is quite exciting as I never know how this random seeming jumble of bits pinned to a larger piece of plain brown gabardine will turn out.  I then started to stitch it all down with zigzags overlapping pieces as I went.  It all looks a bit of a mess at this stage!
I then added some cords stitched at angles for twigs and a few cut out leaf shapes with the veins stitched on first.

A close up shows the stitching and you can't quit see it but there's a bit of frayed cord that turned out rather nicely as it fluffed up like lichen.
I had a lot of fun with the mushrooms, zigzagging the patterns on the caps and overlapping the shapes to make a pleasing arrangement.

I added a fifth mushroom after I took this picture as I feel that an odd number is always a better composition and I didn't like that one bending over in the middle!  Lots more cut out leaves stitched on and I think it's finished.
I  mounted the picture on some red card and made a frame to cover the cut edges and posted it off in time for Juliet to open it today.  Happy birthday little sister!

Saturday, 17 December 2016


I have a tiny Moleskine sketchbook in my handbag to use when I'm out and about but I haven't posted much from it lately.  Here is a sketch from October, just before I left for my visit to England.
This is one of many pink granite statues in and around the town where we live on the Cote de Granite Rose.  The sculptor has used several different coloured stones to make this charming statue of a girl with her dog.

One of our favourite afternoon walks is along this lovely beach with views across to the little chateau Costaeres built on an island that can be reached at low water springs.  The Sept Iles are in the distance with the lighthouse on Ile au Moines.

 I was in England to spend a few days with my daughters and while at Justine's I had the opportunity to see a few episodes of Game of Thrones, a series I'd heard a lot about never seen as we don't have Netflix or Sky TV channels.

Justine's annual fancy dress party had Game of Thrones as the theme so I was very interested to see the real thing, especially as I had imagined and made my own costume before going.

We spent several hours together on the Sunday afternoon binge watching TV and recovering from the night before and I was able to sketch all the beautiful dresses.

The costume designer had a fantastic imagination, each character had her own style and colour scheme which continued as the series went on.  I'm looking forward to seeing more episodes next time or maybe one day we'll get round to buying the box set!

Last weekend was our Marché de Noel in the village and I was there volunteering on the Twinning Association stand on the Saturday, selling English products like Christmas pudding and crackers. 

On the Sunday we met up with our friends to partake of the mulled wine and scallop kebabs followed by a performance by the choir in the chapel of Notre dame de la Clarté.
As you can see I took the opportunity to sketch as we listened to some of our French friends singing so beautifully.
I've found this drawing of the chapel from a few years ago so you can see what a beautiful old building it is, dating from the 15th century and built in the local pink granite of course!

Sunday, 4 December 2016


I finally found the time to complete the picture collage of the flowering shrubs I started drawing earlier in the year.  I think I've managed to draw them all but I had to add a couple of drawings from my folder to make up the 20 I needed to fill the frame.

Back to sketchbook no 38 which I keep on the coffee table so I can draw in the evening when I sit down with my aperitif.  This little Hellebore plant came from Lidl and is a delight with it's white flowers turning lime green as they mature.

I had wanted to sweep the leaves in the garden for a couple of weeks but the rain was too heavy and the wind too strong and when the sun finally came out they had all been blown away over the bank or into my neighbour's garden.  There were some leaves on the flower beds which the black bird flicked all over the grass again though.

On Thursday I walked down the lane to visit a friend and came face to face with a wild boar grazing in a field.  I was disappointed I didn't have my camera with me but I kept the image in my head to draw when I came home later. I must admit I was pretty scared as these wild animals have a reputation for being very ferocious!

My friend Rose Jones sent me a lovely mushroom picture to draw so I decided to try some pointillism, it took ages to do but I think worth the effort!

Another friend also sent a picture which I drew in the Triplus pens washed with water.