Wednesday, 25 January 2017


I haven’t been in the studio all week. I’ve had some busy days, and in between I haven’t felt too well with my M.E. so I have rested. I have done a bit more on my embroidery project, and this is the latest piece I have completed:

10 Blue Piece with Red Flower Shape

11 Blue Piece with Red Flower Shape Detail

12 Blue Piece with Red Flower Shape Close Detail

again using whipped spiderweb stitch which is fast becoming a favourite! I like the focal point with the shi-sha mirror, too, and of course, all the French knots that I really like doing! The red thread in this one is sparkly, but of course it doesn’t show up properly on the photo.

Remember this one from last time?

WOYWW 398a 18-1-17 Embroidery WIP

I have now completed it.

03 Purple Piece with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch

04 Purple Piece with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch Detail

05 Purple Piece with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch Close Detail

I’ve done a couple more, too, which you can read about in more detail here.

06 Yellow and Blue Pieces with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch

07 Yellow Piece with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch Detail

08 Blue Paisley Piece with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch Detail

I’ve now done 27 in total, and have only 17 more to go!!

Something else I finished this week… Remember this? It is a mandala I drew on my iPad Pro and have been colouring in at odd moments.

Lotus Mandala Colour WIP

I decided it had been a work in progress for too long, so I completed it.

Lotus Mandala Pink

I did some baking this week, for a couple of events (our monthly informal cancer cake-athon meeting, and a shared lunch at church). I wrote about this in my previous post, here.

Custard tarts, coconut macaroons filled with chocolate ganache and gingerbread biscuits:

Baking for Cancer Cakeathon

and sticky toffee pavlova (my favourite pudding in the whole world!).

Sticky Toffee Pavlova for St. Luke's Lunch

Not much else to report except the good news that my pesky wisdom tooth has now settled down completely – no more pain!! I think it’s emerged a tiny bit more than before. I shall probably die of old age before it makes a full appearance!

Here’s Beatrice sitting on my lap.

Beatrice on my Lap 24-1-17

I tried to get her to look at me, but she wouldn’t. A few minutes earlier, I had Phoebe too, but when I got the camera out, she jumped off. Why are kitties always so contrary?

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Baking and Embroidery


Baking for Cancer Cakeathon

A busy week! We had our monthly informal get-together at the cancer support centre at the hospital on Friday so I thought I’d better get my skates on and do some baking! Earlier in the week I made some more mince pies as we’d run out, and I do enjoy them at any time of the year, but I didn’t want to take those because they are better warmed up, and there’s nowhere to do that at the Lodge except for a microwave, which makes the pastry soggy.

So I decided it was time to make some more coconut macaroons. Last time the actual macaroons didn’t come out so well, but the chocolate ganache was perfect, but this time it was the other way round! I really need to get a thermometer as I have no way of measuring the temperature of the cream, and this may be why the ganache decided to separate, and when cold, the liquid became white, so they didn’t look perfect, although they tasted jolly good!

I was given a tall jar of dry ingredients for Christmas – arranged in decorative layers like those glass tubes full of different coloured sand. There was no recipe as such, but just some instructions to add melted butter, black treacle and syrup and stir it all together, and make gingerbread biscuits – they came out absolutely delicious and I wish I had the recipe!

Today we went to a bring and share lunch at St. Luke’s Church in Torquay, and I said I’d bring a pudding. I made my “signature” dish – sticky toffee pavlova – the best pudding this side of heaven in my opinion!

Sticky Toffee Pavlova for St. Luke's Lunch

After making this, and the macaroons, I ended up with 8 egg yolks… What on earth to do with 8 egg yolks? I decided to try my hand at making custard tarts, something I’ve never made before, and I googled them and found a wonderful online recipe from Paul Hollywood from the Great British Bake-Off, and they came out absolutely delicious! Why is it, though, that Paul’s look so perfect, and mine have sunk massively in the middle, and look half-empty?!!


Continuing to work on my UFOs (UnFinished Objects!) this year, over the past couple of days I’ve made two more embroidered pieces to decorate my bed half-tester. I recently discovered whipped spiderweb stitch online, which is so pretty, so I’ve started using this on recent pieces.

05 Yellow and Blue Pieces with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch

Some detail shots.

06 Yellow Piece with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch Detail

07 Blue Paisley Piece with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch Detail

08 Blue Paisley Piece with Whipped Spiderweb Stitch Close Detail

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Tubes, Teabag Stains, Spider Webs and WOYWW

For WOYWW #398 it’s a mixed bag from Shoshi.

I know that to stick to my NY resolutions, I was supposed to be concentrating exclusively on UFOs (UnFinished Objects, or as Glitter and Glue Margaret called them, “Unfinished Symphonies” lol!), but I just had to do a small something new this week, because we finished a roll of clingfilm:

01 Cling Film Tube

and it brought to mind a fabulous video I saw on Youtube recently:

and I decided to cut this tube up and make it into the start of a series of vintage mini-books which I shall work on later. It’s quite a thick tube, and a lot narrower than a toilet roll or kitchen roll tube, and I thought it would be ideal for a series of very small books.

I began by cutting the tube into four lengths.

02 Tube Cut into Four Pieces

The cutting made the ends quite rough, so I sanded them with some 120-grade sandpaper.

03 Sanding the Ends of the Tubes

Working on the inside of the cut end with a bit of torn off sandpaper.

04 Sanding the Inside of the Tube End

Four tubes ready for cutting in half lengthwise.

05 Tubes Ready for Cutting in Half

I marked the length on opposite sides of the tube in readiness for cutting.

06 Tube Marked Ready for Cutting

One of the tubes cut in half lengthwise.

07 Tube Cut in Half

Again, the cutting made quite a mess of the cardboard, so I sanded each one.

08 Sanding the Cut Tubes

Some of the inner linings of the tubes had pulled away so I stuck them back with a glue stick.

09 Tidying Up the Inside of the Tubes

All prepped and ready to go! It was all a pretty dusty job and it made me sneeze! Good thing I had my nifty little brush handy to clear up the mess.

10 Tubes All Prepped and Ready to Go

Watch this space for the future of these tubes – but it may be a while!

(By the way, the little pile of thread scraps in the first photo are from my embroidery project – I save all these and put them in a box, ready to add to mixed media projects.)

This week I also made another sheet of watercolour paper with round teabag stains.

01 Round Teabsg Stains

I love the marks they make. Plenty of scope for Zentangle and other embellishment!

Finally, back to my current UFO. I haven’t managed to get much done this week because of other things, but I was excited to find a new embroidery stitch online – whipped spider web stitch, which is really pretty.

03 Purple Piece with Whipped Spider Web Stitch

I did this round my signature shi-sha mirror and I’m really pleased with this. This piece isn’t finished yet as I’ve got to work around the edges of the applique. Here’s a detail shot.

04 Purple Piece with Whipped Spider Web Stitch Detail

I can see a lot of potential in this and I’m looking forward to doing some more, and as I get more practice, I’m hoping to get the stitches a bit more evenly spaced.

I’ve got baking to do over the next couple of days, in readiness for the resumption of our informal cake-athon get-together at the cancer support centre on Friday after the Christmas break. I made lots of mince pies last night, and am hoping to make some more of my chocolate ganache filled coconut macaroons and possibly some cupcakes. And yes, I am still on my diet! I gained 2 lb over Christmas but have lost it again, plus another pound, and have now hit my all-time low since starting the diet back in 2014 – I’ve now lost a total of 3 st 1 lb!

Health Update

My wretched wisdom tooth kept me on maximum dose of paracetamol for about a week! However, it is now quite a lot better and I haven’t taken any pain killers today. I’m hoping it will settle back down completely and no intervention will be necessary. I will tell the dentist about it when I see him but hopefully I won’t have to see him before our scheduled appointment.

I’ve had a couple of days this week when I’ve had to take to the recliner with my ME. There’s been a lot going on lately and I have to take the consequences! Better again today though. I have now lived with this for 10 years and know how to deal with it. Life is good! Have to keep smiling, and keep looking up!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

WOYWW 397–The Great UFO Challenge

I am rising to the challenge of trying to stick to my New Year’s resolutions, including tackling my many UFOs (UnFinished Objects) which are taking up far too much space in my studio.

For several years I have been working on some pieces to decorate a half-tester over a bed. Each piece is a shaped piece of fabric with some machine applique on it, which I made up more years ago than I care to remember, and each one is being embellished with brightly-coloured embroidery to enhance the vibrant colours of the fabrics. The embroidery is based around at least one piece of shi-sha (Indian mirror work, one of my all-time favourite embroidery techniques) and I’m doing a lot of chain stitch and French knots.

I’ve picked this up again this year and am determined to complete it during the year! Now that I have finished my mini-album about our woodland walk, I am getting stuck in on this before I start anything else in the studio.

Here are the pieces I’ve recently completed.

01 Three Pieces

This is a detail shot of my favourite of the three.

02 Yellow, Red & Green Detail

Over the coming days, I am hoping to work on a video slideshow of the mini-album, but I’m having some problems with Final Cut Pro crashing on the Mac and not too sure what to do about that.

Health Update

Doing fine generally – I am still waiting for the support pants to arrive to help with my parastomal hernia. The lady from the support garments firm came back to see me before Christmas to see what adjustments needed to be made to my first pair, and she took them away. I am hoping that they will come back soon, but have to make allowances for everything having stopped over the holiday period. Once I give them the go-ahead that they are OK, they will make up two more pairs for me, making the total of 3 that I am allowed in a single year, free on prescription.

The arthritis in my knuckle joint has now subsided and the pain is minimal, but I have developed something else that I could really do without – one of my lower wisdom teeth has decided it’s on the move again and this time it is causing me a lot of pain which I am keeping as under control as possible with paracetamol. In the past, this has only gone on for a day or two and then it’s stopped moving, but this time it does seem to be a lot worse, and so far no sign of it stopping. We’ve got a dental check-up appointment coming up soon and I’m hoping to last out till then, and maybe it will have stopped by then, but if not, I am not relishing the idea of having to have this tooth removed… I was told many years ago that if I was going to have any trouble with my wisdom teeth, it would be the bottom ones because the teeth are pretty overcrowded on my lower deck! What a bore – it seems to be one thing after another at the moment!

Happy WOYWW everybody.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


Nothing much on my desk today, because I’ve finished my little woodland album!

WOYWW 396 3-1-17

Just my copy of the album, and a few offcuts of the Infusions papers I made, and the remaining flowers and leaves from the project. You can see the final post about it here. I am delighted to report that our friends were thrilled with it when I gave it to them yesterday.

01 Front Cover

03 Frontispiece

22 Strong Tower

We went on an outing with them yesterday to Topsham. You can read about it here, and see the photos I took. What a fabulous day out it was.

45 Street of Dutch Houses

02 Bright Sun Over the Exe Estuary

11 Gulls on the Water's Edge

A couple of days ago I wrote my reviews of 2016 and you can read them here and here. Where did 2016 go? Did I blink and miss it?

Wishing all my WOYWW friends, and all my other friends, readers and loyal followers, a very happy New Year.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Outing to Topsham

We went to Topsham on the River Exe estuary today with our friends – an outing that had been planned months ago and postponed more than once for various reasons. Today turned out to be a perfect day for our visit – a crisp, bright, sunny winter day – if rather cold! At least the others could keep warm by walking but I was sitting on Betsy, my small buggy, and I got pretty cold despite being well wrapped up! Our walk was split into two halves, divided by lunch.

Topsham is a very pretty and unusual small town, and its chief feature is the numerous Dutch style houses with their pretty gables – built by Dutch merchants in the days when the town was a thriving port. It has been a major centre for fishing and shipbuilding in the past, and there are also many examples of fine Georgian architecture. There are some fascinating shops – but we weren’t there for shopping today, but for exploring some of the more picturesque areas and sharing a lunch out together.

Some waterfront pictures.

02 Bright Sun Over the Exe Estuary

01 Boats on the Exe Estuary

03 Shipwreck on Exe Estuary

14 Boats and Gulls in the Bright Sunlight

20 Fortifications

29 Estuary with New Bridge

55 The Goat Walk

56 Evening Light on the Mud Flats

Some of the gorgeous Dutch houses.

46 Dutch House being Renovated

45 Street of Dutch Houses

13 Roofs and Dutch Gables

Even a garage with a Dutch gable!

47 Dutch Gable Garage

Some other interesting architecture.

18 Wisteria Over a Blue Door

19 White Houses

30 Stone Facade with Interesting Window

33 Shell House

41 Street with Pink Bow-Fronted House

50 House with Unusual Steps

52 Courtyard of White Houses

54 White House with Arched Window

There was one house that particularly intrigued me, and I took several photos of it.

21 Follett Lodge

22 Circular Window in Follett Lodge

23 Linenfold Door in Follett Lodge

A modern house which really fitted in with the general style of the town.

26 Modern House with Interesting Brickwork

Some interesting architectural details that caught my eye.

24 Ineresting Door

25 Ship Weather Vane

35 Tile Topped Wall

37 Ship Over White Door

My hubby and I were intrigued by these sliding shutters.

43 Sliding Shutters

49 Oriel Window

Some of the streets were very narrow and winding, and definitely not designed for modern traffic! We frequently had to find an opening or gateway, in order to let cars pass.

07 Narrow Back Street

32 Winding Street with Pink Houses

38 Narrow Street

Some of the places where we walked, through the town and along the estuary frontage, and the sort of details I always notice!

This photo was taken in the small area of park that included a children’s play area. Beyond the reed bed is the estuary.

28 Reed Bed

44 Arch Into a Garden

17 Courtyard Through a Stone Archway

A very neat and tidy log store.

51 Log Store

Beautiful frosty leaves on the roadside.

27 Frosty Leaves

Grow where you’re planted?

09 Grow Where You're Planted

Pigeons were going in and out of a little hole in the wall with a special place for them to rest their feet. There’s no place like home!

10 Home Sweet Home

Everywhere we looked, people had pretty things in their windows, and of course their Christmas decorations were still up. We saw several Christmas cribs in people’s windows, including this very pretty one made of raffia, including a gorgeous raffia angel!

34 Raffia Crib Set

A knitted Christmas crib.

40 Knitted Crib Set

42 Wooden Crib Set

39 Twisted Bay Tree

A beautiful slate house sign. I love the contours of the slate surface.

53 Slate House Sign

A beautiful, and probably expensive shop. I adore these unusual carved wooden wine racks.

58 Wine Racks in Shop Window

59 Carved Wooden Table in Shop Window

Some lovely old boaty bits, decayed and rusty, speaking of Topsham’s maritime past.

05 Boaty Stuff

Finally, my favourite picture from today, I think.

11 Gulls on the Water's Edge

We had lunch in a lovely pub – a real winter warmer to set us on our way for our afternoon walk. During lunch, I gave our friends the little album I’d made about our woodland walk together back in the summer. They were thrilled. I am so pleased they like it.

I hope this has given you a taste of a pretty and picturesque little town in our local area. We are so privileged to live in an area where there is so much beauty and variety, and to have such lovely friends to share it with!

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