Golden days …

01/11/2016 § 1 Comment

Today is the first of November and feels SO different from yesterday. October left us in a blaze of golden sunshine, with carpets of crisp leaves underfoot and the warmth of the sun on our faces.  Both yesterday and today I gently strolled around Farley Mount – the local country park – with the collies, but how different the atmosphere between those two days.  Today was dank, gloomy and quite chilly in contrast to the glorious gold of yesterday.

Gentle strolls are all I can manage as I’ve had/still got a horrible ‘bug’ that is laying me quite low.  I have no energy and a killer sore throat that just won’t go away.  In truth, I think the past few weeks with the boys going off in opposite directions around the world and the exhausting trip to Wales has taken its toll and I probably need to rest and recuperate.  I haven’t even done any sewing – for a whole week – oh dear!

So homemade chicken broth with homemade bread and stewed apples from the garden with comforting custard are on the menu with a constantly topped up mug of my mother’s special drink.

Whenever anyone felt under the weather when I was growing up, Mum would make one of her ‘special drinks’.  They consisted of melted jam and honey in hot water, fresh lemon juice, cloves, matchsticks of fresh ginger and a teaspoon of cider vinegar all swirled around by a cinnamon stick.  I made them for the boys (who both had this bug when they were home recently) and now I’m making them for myself.  It has been known that for a dash of whisky to be added at bedtime!!

I’ve been having a bit of a jelly-fest over recent weeks, trying to use up all the apples from the garden and so I’ve been delving into jars of Rosehip Jelly, Hedgerow Jelly, Bramble Jelly and Rosemary Jelly for my drinks.  Rosehip jelly is the gentlest pink colour – quite beautiful.


I’ll line up and label all my jars of preserves very soon, as hopefully it won’t long until I’m feeling more energetic again.

Take care


David Graeber on the Value of Work

27/10/2016 § Leave a comment

Awesome animation, Jack. Totally awesome!

This is a link to my son’s blog where his latest animation is featured:

Jack Dubben Animation

I recently was commissioned by RSA to create this short film based on a talk by David Graeber.

It was a challenge animating to such a fast script, below you can find some of the style tests and work in progress.

Big thanks to RSA and David Graeber for making this come together and cheers to Latveria Design for letting me use their studio to work in for a couple of months. Enjoy!

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Creativity …

23/10/2016 § 2 Comments

Yesterday, in a village hall near Stockbridge, I met up with a lovely group of ladies who had asked me to run a Patchwork Day.  The brief was to actually ‘make something’!

Well, that’s my kind of a day and here are a few moments from our wonderful day filled with creativity, colour and chatter …


We quickly arranged the big tables, ironing boards and assorted sewing machines inside the hall, as the heating warmed us up to the rafters.  There was a LOT of fabric and everyone had fun choosing colours that would make either a bag or a cushion, from a traditional Log Cabin design.

Soon the sewing machines were humming happily and everyone was chatting and stitching their chosen project …





Everyone had brought something for lunch – a delicious break in the middle of our patchwork log cabins.  And at the end of the afternoon, everyone had a Ta Dah moment …

Drum roll please …. …. ….


Three cushions and two totes completed and big smiles all around.

For me, the day marked a return to the ‘classroom’ since I left teaching in 2013.  I can’t wait for my Garden Studio to be completed so that classes can run right here, surrounded by fabrics with Flora Puddleduck quacking along in the garden as we sew!

Enjoy the awesome Autumn colours – here are a few photos of our White Birch tree in the garden and the farm where I walk the collies – I definitely feel a russet-inspired quilt coming on.



I’m off to pick more rosehips and hawthorn berries to make some Hedgerow Jelly – the collies for company, of course.  It’s a beautiful day and I can’t bear to be inside – Autumn is most definitely my favourite season of the year.

Enjoy the rest of October – and all that Autumn brings.


Workshops in Winchester – taught by Adaliza.  Max 5 per group.

Welsh Cottages and harbours …

18/10/2016 § 2 Comments

Pembrokeshire Cottage

Pembrokeshire Cottage Abercastle

Pembrokeshire Cottage - Abereidy

Both J1 and J2 are here in the UK for a week or so.  J1 having returned from Thailand for the school holidays and J2 inbetween various trips here and there.  It’s great to have their company and listen to their banter – their conversations are always hilarious as they are both great mimics and have inherited their father’s black sense of humour and quick wit.  We took a trip to Wales so they could both spend a few days with their grandfather – my Dad who is 91 in December.

A jaunt to Pembrokeshire on the most perfect day last week, had me clicking away at some beautiful coastal cottages – I just love that pink roofed little home and the russet walls and cemented roof of the little house.  My grandfather’s home in Trefin used to be the village Post Office where my great aunt was postmistress and her sister ran a smallholding with a few cows, some hens and ducks …

Trefin, Pembrokeshire

My father remembers spending his holidays here and being sent out to the village pump to fetch water for his grandmother.  His best memories though are of Withy Hill, a small farm up a long and fairly inaccessible lane a few miles from Trefin, where his mother’s parents farmed.  The Withyl, as it’s affectionately known nestles into the landscape and we stopped, as always, a few fields away where the road takes a turn and if you stand on the gate, you can look over and see the farmhouse roof …

Withy Hill

We had lunch in Trefin, where the locals at the village pub still remember his family, and then on to Porthgain where slate was quarried and tunnelled out through the headland.  My grandfather, as a young man worked at the quarry and is in this photo (Dad has an original copy) …


in the 2nd row from the top, in the middle, is a young man in a cap with a white muffler and a stick – this is my grandfather in 1908.  The local pub The Sloop, has walls full of photos of barges lined up in the small harbour at Porthgain, waiting for the slate to be brought through the tunnels on little trains.

Porthgain harbour

Porthgain harbour

Just over the headland from Porthgain is a little cove called Abereidy.  The headland bears the scars of the slate industry – abandoned quarry workers’ cottages and industrial buildings.  But one amazing result of blasting to extract slate – when the quarry closed, they blasted out the tip of the headland to let the sea into the quarry – and it’s formed The Blue Lagoon – the colour is incredibly blue and caused by chemicals in the water which is over 25m deep and extremely cold (so I’m told)!

The Blue Lagoon, Abereidy

The Blue Lagoon, Abereidy

After our Pembrokeshire day, we jaunted all around some local towns – Newcastle Emlyn, Cardigan, Lampeter and Aberaeron – I treated myself to some yarns and can’t wait to get started on some awesome wool from the local country market – the same stall that I bought this wool from a couple of years ago and made this shawl.

So now we’re back at home and by the end of the week it’ll be just me and the collies – and Flora Puddleduck, of course.  Back to Skype calls and emails as they explore the world and tell me all about it!

The new studio is coming on fast and I’ll soon be able to share some photos of it, all clad out and with a pretty tiled roof.  In fact, I think I’m creating my own little cottage-like structure right here – I just need a view of the sea!!!

Have a great week.



Workshops in Winchester

06/10/2016 § Leave a comment

A brand new, bespoke sewing room is coming to Winchester very soon.

Specially designed and laid out for small group teaching, with a maximum of 5 places, you will be able to explore your creative side and whether you’re a beginner or have already had a go at patchwork, there will be a workshop for you.

Have a look at the first wave of workshops here.

Just email to book your place.


PS     you’ll have to wait for a couple of weeks for photos of the new studio (it’s currently under construction)

PPS   gift vouchers are available – a course would make a GREAT Christmas pressie!

Time to wrap …

04/10/2016 § 2 Comments

I started this shawl way back – can’t even remember when, but maybe February time.  It’s been keeping me company throughout the year for a few rows at a time, here and there, in the evenings and I decided that as finish was overdue I took it on holiday with me to Cornwall.

My usual style of an elongated, knitted triangle in a variety of stitches that take my fancy, then my favourite pineapple-ish crochet edging.

I did finish it whilst on holiday and brought it home for blocking and end-stitching-in. Almost as soon as October arrived, it was time to wear it during the evenings.  It’s a comforting extra layer around my shoulders and very soft.  The yarn – a linen mix – was a charity shop buy for just a couple of pounds.  It’s gone a long way, as I made this shawl for my daughter earlier in the year.

The apples are ripening and I’ve Sloe & Apple Jelly underway in the kitchen as well as piles of dried fruit, onions, sugar and bottles of vinegar all ready for chutney-making.  Just awaiting my delivery of jam jars and then we’re off …

Patchwork and pickling are on the agenda for this week.  What are you up to?




A week away …

26/09/2016 § 2 Comments

is a very good thing!

We’re back home now, me and the collies.  Last week was spent overlooking our favourite harbour in Cornwall – same house, same village, same long walks out along the coast path, same strolls around the harbour – it was the ‘same’ as many other holidays that have been enjoyed there over many years – same and different.  I love going back and the weather was amazingly good.  I did a bit of knitting whilst sitting out in the sunshine, overlooking the busy harbour, but had a whole week away from patchworking!

That’s not to say I didn’t have a stroll around my favourite fabric shops and of course, didn’t come away empty-handed!  I’m itching to get on with new projects now – it’s good to be back home.

Autumn officially arrived last week with the Autumn Equinox and the summer annuals in the garden have all had their day so I spent yesterday doing a bit of sorting out with Flora greedily rummaging around looking for worms.  I did miss her, she’s such a character.

Today, I’m back in my studio, new fabrics in hand and away to go …

patchwork here I come! 

have a great week …


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