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November rolls in….

Does November know what it is this year? I know its bonfires and sparkly skies. All a bit glitzy after the darkness and gentle Samhain quiet of my Norfolk ocean. It’s a wee bit of a mash up in my head…a mixture of things that don’t seem to go together, but there they all are anyway – rolling around in my life. It’s somewhere in between autumn and winter – squeezing the last drops of sunshine out of summer, and pulling on the woollens at the same time. Eating the last tomatoes and basil, whilst chopping up the squashes for winter soups. It’s feeling radical at a feminist conference, then a week later lying on the floor praying for Scotty to beam me up. Hey ho. November, you can be a bit tricksy. We will see what you bring.

[Always heartening to know that your pets will double check you for deadness before they eat you...]

Yeah, so where did we get to? Oh yes, I left you a while back after I had decided that clippers were a fantastic idea. Even better then, after a vicious bout of pmt, to go the whole hog and do a Sinead. Hurrah. Listen up, all you mothers of teenagers, I have been banned by my children from the school A’level information evening. At the time of writing this, I am luxuriating, LUXURIATING, on the sofa with a glass of wine, while unfortunate partner is slugging it out in a sweaty gym hall filled with spotty youths and leaflets. I may be a cliche, but no-shit-sherlock, I’m a happy one.

November also brings the candlelight, and the beginning of the official ‘cosy time’ when my bad ass gets glued to the sofa. This can last, if I time it right, from November through to April, sooooo good.

It’s a wonder I actually get any work done at all. Although you would be proud of me – I have at long last had some of my original artwork mounted, and got together some of my stitchy things, and put them in an online shop here. And even more cunning of me, I have gotten that very clever girl, sister of badness, cake, and ocean dwelling, to carve some stunningly gorgeous crochet hooks and other lovely things, to put in the shop too. Yay. Do take a look and check out what we’ve been up to.

And from stitching to sisterhood – the Feminism in London Conference 2013 was a blast – a massive thank you to the organisers, speakers and workshop facilitators. I am still on a total high from meeting some fab women, hearing some great speeches, and well – just looking around a packed auditorium of women (and some men and kids too) – seeing strength, resilience, intelligence – and thinking wow! We rock sisters….

Photo credit: FIL 2013 http://www.flickr.com/groups/2339365@N25/

Photo credit: FIL 2013 http://www.flickr.com/groups/2339365@N25/

There are people putting the world back together again…piece by piece….hope by shining hope.

Photo credit: FIL 2013 http://www.flickr.com/groups/2339365@N25/

Happy November to you all out there….may the leaves you swish through be extra crunchy, may the stars twinkle magically above you….may the dark time gently come to rest in your sacred spaces.

November 7, 2013   1 Comment

More Mad Crazy

Oooh hello, it’s been a while. You know what it is like around these Stroudie parts – a week can be a long time, with lots of different, unplanned things popping up all over the place.

This week has been about the magic that happens when women get together.

We gathered for our annual opening of our Red Hearth House by the light of the new moon, and danced, drummed, sang and howled with the most witchy of whiskers. 

This is such a special place that we have created, in Kesty and Martin’s beautiful woodland, and it fed my soul once more to be there, with many different wonderful women and all the stories that they bring to weave in with my own.

Oh you mad, crazy week…I didn’t see you coming. But in I leapt, as I knew I would, with my fast beating heart yearning for adventure and change. There have been camp outs, dawn choruses, badgers, burial chambers, axes, art, get togethers, cake, bitey things, and lots and lots of laughing and chit chatting.

It is also the month that Fiona and John Owen throw open their chapel studio doors to let us all have a peek inside at their wonderful, most magical of creations.

If you live anywhere near Gloucestershire, their exhibition is on until 30th June and is breathtaking. You will love it.

And so my week has rolled on, with a daughter learning to skateboard, puzzling over strange pub quiz questions, rainstorms to be caught in, and art students arriving at our house in a lovely impromptu gathering.

And today, Sunday, it ends as it so often begins, with wool, cake and friends – with Prema’s PicKnit in the Park – and as much as I need to collapse on my sofa and rest, I skip along with my pink peace scarf, dodging raindrops, and slide into yet more mad crazy…..

June 16, 2013   No Comments

This is your life, do what you love…..

Welcome to your life, do what you love….oh, ok, so what is it that I love? I love spring for a start – any chance of that rocking up soon in to my valley?? No, thought not.

Although the signs are there – daffodils spotted on my weekly walk around Hawkwood, and the first ruby stalks of rhubarb appearing on our CSA vegetable plot…..but come on, I am itching to peel off my thermals now – I’ve had them on since last October (can anyone even remember as far back as last October or is that just me??)

Well, being the good little community witch that I am, I thought I had better get myself outside for a wee bit of equinoxing this week…try to find a spot of balance emerging in this suddenly crazy world of mine…yeah right…

Hawkwood is so good for this – there is a funny sort of tree house cabin that is used as a meditation space right in the middle of the wooded valley….although I have been a bit too skittish recently for sitting still and contemplating peaceful thoughts – my pink hair is testimony to that, lets face it….but I love the idea of it….

There is also a very lovely natural spring bubbling out of the ground in their gardens – Herb and I always stop by here for a bit of witching and a bit of a drink

Back home then, and maybe it IS time for some meditative contemplation – so this is your life babe – how’s it working out for you??? Well, thanks for asking – you know those lovely white walls I worked so hard on last week? Yup, I remember. How about writing all over them? Splendid idea honey, lets do it….(talking to yourself, never a great sign)

Oh, how much fun can one bad girl and a Rotring have??? Answers on a postcard…

So, this is your life, do what you love and do it often…oh, so good to remember this, especially as this long, long winter draws hopefully to a close. You know what I love? I love all the photographs that I take – hundreds of them, sometimes up to a thousand a month, of people, places, knitting, my garden, oh you know well enough by now what my camera gets up to. Only right then, that I put some of my favourite pictures, and of course my favourite people, up on those lovely white and waiting walls.

Because life really is about the people you meet, and the magic you create with them. And whilst this winter may feel long, actually this life is very short. Not a moment to be wasted then.

I have to tell you that these words are not mine – they are from an advert for skin care products, believe it or not, that have been stuck to my fridge for a long time. But I like them, and they felt right enough to be penned up more permanently. And there is a lot more to come – that’s one big bit of wall I have travelling up the stairway. Just as well that I have piles and piles of photos ready and waiting, and so many more to take in this mad life of mine.

All in all I may just have inadvertently found some equinox balance this week. A need to escape out into the world, yes, but an anchor at home, remembering that right now my life is here, with its schedules and work and people.

But it is good. It is full. And springtime will come. That alone is enough to make a girl really quite perky.

March 22, 2013   2 Comments

A few February days…..

Am I meandering through these days, tumbling through them, or just standing still and staring at my feet?

A little bit of all three probably. February does that to you sometimes. So to begin with, a Fairy Mouse (that I promised to show a while back) – because knitting small creatures is really the only thing to do when waiting for the light to return. She has a naughty sister that she visits sometimes and together they eat chocolate and scamper around attics causing mayhem and badness.

So back to my February days. There are early mornings making bread.

….and crazy afternoons with my favourite small boy….

There are hills waiting to be walked

…and a Sunday morning escape to our local art gallery to see Simon Packard’s fantastically bold and inspiring work.

Anything can fill a February day, and very often does, such is their disorganisation. February sometimes doesn’t know what it is. Is it deep, dark winter, or is tipping into Spring? It waits and watches, or tiptoes hesitantly, less it shakes more snow and blueness on to us.

If you are lucky, it will give you days of sisterhood, sweet balm to the soul, even if not all your precious sisters can be there.

And if that is so, you will walk those hills, and watch together for that returning light…

….and it will come….

There may well be sunsets the colour of peardrops and happy hearts to match

…with hands held quietly, and strong arms around us. These are a few of my February days.

February 9, 2013   4 Comments

Prema – a sweet little outing

Continuing on my sparkly theme (can I? Is it O.K? You will tell me, won’t you….) I have this overdue little offering of art gallery bling.

In the days leading up to my recent REVOLUTION, I needed to fortify myself, and what better way than a small tripette to a charming little arts centre in the neighbouring valley of Uley with a couple of girlies.

This is Prema and it really is a centre of arty funkiness with workshops, performance, exhibitions and plenty of lovely gorgeous things for sale, as witnessed below….

Did you see those blankets? Did you? My girlfriends made me keep my hands firmly in my pockets. Especially as I was probably going to need bail money very shortly.

Lets get down to business. We were actually there to see the amazing work of a Bristol-based artist called Beci Whatley – beautifully intricate and madly colourful pieces that are made from layers and layers of paint, mirrors, gems and glitter. Whooohooo. They were exquisite and I loved them.

Hard to describe, but they were sort of Aboriginal art – meets Klimt – meets Art Deco – meets craziness. Right up my street.


We were so giddy that we had to beat a retreat to the rather red and ultra cool coffee shop below…..

…where we stilled our beating hearts with extra large cappuccinos and calming hot chocolates. It would have been rude not to.

It was ever-so-slightly tragic that I wasn’t able to get my eager chops around the array of homemade cakes that were on the counter (being a tad wheat-free at the moment), but the waitress saw my sad eyes and I do believe that extra chocolate was sprinkled in the direction of my drink. Love.

All in all, one very lovely little outing, two very lovely friends (and fab kids) and a break from every day-ness…isn’t that what its all about?


October 21, 2012   3 Comments

A sneaky-peek….

Today, being Tuesday, I bring you a sneaky-peek of my studio, otherwise known as the Artshed (I suppose on account of it being a shed where art is meant to happen; other variants: tea-drinking shed, gossiping shed, chocolate shed, and general work-avoidance shed). I digress.

Which, in fact, is the total point of this blog today….to postpone the moment when I have to face up to facts: I have to produce 10 stitchy designs by Friday, el completo, or else I get the whip cracked big time, by my lovely business partner in crime, Mr. Scott. Whoohooo.

I have made a start, and have done the cutting out bit….to get technical, this is when a beautifully stacked pile of fabric starts like this:

and ends up looking like this:


There is not an inch of desk space to be had…..this may also reflect my state of mind.

You see, what really happens when I am seriously under pressure, is that I start to wander off in my mind and devise clever ways to keep straying balls of wool from falling on the dogs head

or I just gaze at my beautiful bunting that my friend Debs crocheted me

There are always pins to line up in colour order (real artists and stitchers do this I am told)

And Herb shamelessly begs me for more tea and biscuits every half hour – I have to oblige – take a look at those sad, pleading eyes.

Even so, work does seem to be happening, one way or another, and I may even make my deadline, which would be a shocker. Unless of course, the pixies of chaos arrive in the dead of night and wreak their evil and mayhem on proceedings….O.K, I know, I need a break, I need to get out, breathe fresh air, talk to someone….



July 10, 2012   1 Comment