all that is past...

Another year has come to its end. In my mind I have always visualised each passing year in a sort of linear, tabular form... so that as one year ends, the eye of my mind is required to forcibly lift itself up from the bottom right hand corner, where the December days are dark and worn, and move up, along and over, to the top left, to January: to a place of gradually increasing light... a new page, a clean beginning, a fresh start. This year, I am so ready for that new page. It has been a challenging and frustrating twelve months. Pleasures and achievements have been small but intense... some of them are illustrated here.

My wish for us all this new year is light, laughter, peace, happy memories, creativity, fun, health, good times, lovely surprises, warm weather, and friendship. All the way through to the end.

here there is peace, and a short while for dreaming...

The snow has wrought a silence and a stillness which at first seems to sit uneasily with this busy time of preparation and creativity. There are cards and gifts to be delivered, supplies to be bought, errands to run, yet the ground outside is as uncompromisingly hard as iron and cold as ice. The freezing weather is its own master, and now ours too. Jobs must wait. Excess is stripped away. Everything is pared down to an essential skeleton. I rather like this, but then again, I am not spending my nights on an airport trolley, or waiting anxiously for the return of loved ones.

The weather brings a surprising mix of the necessary and the unexpected. For me, this afternoon, an unplanned but very welcome time of peace and quiet alone with the scent of the Christmas tree and a log fire, full of thankfulness for a mended boiler and for the hot water and warmth that it brings. Lemon-and-orange curd cooling in the kitchen, and jobs done, as far as I am able. Time to think and reflect and to wait expectantly for the winter solstice: deep in the freezing darkness of tomorrow night, when at last the earth will begin to turn and move towards the sun once more, and every day will be a few minutes longer than the last.

The craft market on Saturday was echoingly quiet, the snow keeping everyone at home. It was disappointing, but I have made sufficient sales this winter to fund my art materials for next year, which was my goal, and it is too easy to become greedy. I have a few items left over, however, so if anybody wants to buy a box of the paper and stitch bunting or a string of little linen birds, let me know, although I won't be able to get them to you for Christmas. The bunting is £8 and the birds are £14 which includes P&P to the UK.


I have been so amazed and inspired today by this article, I can't stop thinking about it. I can't get this out of my head either: if all of us who have enough gave something to those who haven't, we would only need to give 1% of our incomes to completely eradicate poverty.

be quick...

...if you'd like to buy anything from the winter shop as it will be closing at the weekend for this year. It may be back next year, I'm not sure yet, we'll see. There are still a very few bags, Christmas wreaths, organic cotton washcloths, and these chocolate brown linen hearts, finished off with a vintage button and a tiny string of beads. Postage and packing remains free to the UK. Many thanks to all who have bought from the shop already and for all your lovely compliments and great feedback! Shop link here.

recycled toast

I love the Toast catalogue, but it is too expensive for me and anyway, as I am not seven stone I fear I would look like an overdressed shepherd if I wore any of their clothes. However, it is lovely quality paper with gorgeous colour and detail, so I decided to cut it up and make Christmas garlands with it.

First of all I stuck gold paper to the reverse, then I stamped out hundreds of little scalloped rounds... a bit like making paper mince pies... then I made them into little piles and whizzed them into a long length with metallic thread on the sewing machine. A few minutes spent fanning them out into little globes and the beautiful paper is visible again and they look absolutely gorgeous. It's hard to show how lovely they are on a photograph but the rich colours with the gold accents remind me of Renaissance paintings. I'll be offering these for sale at my last craft market of the season (see below for details).

Next to be sacrificed was my carefully saved pile of Plumo catalogues, which underwent a similar treatment but these ones I have made into single hemispheres for this year's Christmas cards... simple little Christmas trees with surprise fold-out stars on top.

If you are in Manchester on the weekend of the 18th/19th December, please come along to the Whitworth Art Gallery Christmas Craft Market! I'll be there and so will lots of other makers and artists with lots of lovely things to see and buy. I have heard stories about carols and mince pies too...