Wednesday 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

'Tis the season to be jolly and this year the Treacle Market in Macclesfield certainly made us feel festive.
There was plenty of sparkle... 

...silly hats...

..a tune to make you smile...


...and festive dogs!

We got our tree up eventually and each year I love the memories that flood back as we unwrap the decorations. Not for me a tasteful, colour coordinated, fashionable set of decorations. Ours have been given by friends, bought as souvenirs on holiday or hand-made by family members and each year we unwrap them and marvel about where they came from. Some don't survive another year in the loft - air-dried clay has a tendency to crumble- but those that don't are gently wrapped up and put back in storage.

The tree in all its sparkly glory! It is small, but lovely (unlike the angel who looks kind of huge and unconventially dressed in red!)

We made lots of painted clay decorations when the children were quite small and had such fun with beads and glitter.

 A button heart made by my daughter.

A sleepy owl made by my mother-in-law

I made this Christmas stocking when my patchwork obsession was born.

The stag sits on the wall year-round, but has a festive touch for Christmas.

I'm very proud of my felt wreath.

Once the decorations are up we open this tree and have one of the special chocolates that are hidden inside. I think the family occasionally sneak one when nobody is looking, which is fine as long as there is one left for each of us for when the decorations get put away in the New Year.

Funny how we all develop our own little traditions as the years go by.

So after this little peek at my Christmas, all that remains is to wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas 2015.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Christmas at Sefton Park Palm House

This weekend I will be helping many other artisans and food producers to bring Christmas festivities to Sefton Park Palm House.

This quality event will be expertly run by the wonderful Larry and Mandy of Artisans Network and all their helpers, creating a great weekend for visitors and stallholders alike. It is a fantastic opportunity to talk to artisans about their inspiration and work, not to mention a fabulous place to buy unique Christmas gifts (drink gin and eat cake).

Mr Dotty and I are very much looking forward to the weekend- we enjoy chatting to our fellow stallholders and the wonderful people of Liverpool who are always interested and engaging. We will wrap up snuggly in lots of layers and maybe warm our cockles with a special coffee or two!

The event is on 27th-29th Nov 12-6pm. I'll be there on Saturday and Sunday.

This is well worth a trip, so pull out all the stops- be there or be sqaure! (and come and say "Hi" to us at "Dotty B". We'd be delighted to meet you.)

Friday 13 November 2015

Long Time No See!

I daren't look at the date that I last blogged- no excuse really, just life plodding on! I'd forgive you if you have given up on me. I just haven't been very good at taking photos to show you or getting my head together to write something interesting.

Life here has changed a little. My daughter has gone away to Uni and I really miss her and find myself in an all male household! She is here this weekend, which is lovely. My middle son is at Uni doing art foundation and thankfully still at home this year. I'm enjoying watching the progress of his various projects. My youngest is in year 10 so is gearing up towards GCSEs (well, when he is not out skateboarding!)

The dog is as naughty (and mucky) as usual, but as the house is often empty now I wouldn't want to be without his company.

Work-wise it has been a bit of an up and down year. I've had a couple of exhibitions and some slow times, but I have been stitching recently as I have a stall at Spinningfields in Manchester with Makers Market this Saturday (14th November). I'll also be at Sefton Park Palm House in Liverpool for a Christmas extravaganza packed with beautiful handmade goods, delicious food and festive fun, on 28th and 29th November. (Details here : / )

I think I'll need tp wrap up warm, but I love doing these events, chatting to people about my work and hopefully supporting other makers by buying some Christmas gifts. There may also be a little cake consumed- just to help me keep warm :)

Hope you have a good weekend xx

Friday 10 July 2015

Artisans At Croxteth Hall

I'm getting excited about attending Artisans At Croxteth Hall in Liverpool on 19th August. It is on both the Saturday & Sunday 12-6pm, but I will be taking my textile art there on Sunday 19th.

As well as my larger framed pieces I have been busy making these postcard-sized artworks.
The background is needle-felted with patches of fabric, then applique and machine stitches added. I usually add some little blades of grass and swooping seagulls by hand.

If you get chance pop over and say "Hi". It will be a lovely event with lots of beautiful handcrafted goods to admire (and buy), delicious food and a great atmosphere set in the beautiful grounds of Croxteth Hall.

Thursday 2 July 2015

Peace and Tranquility

The Summer holidays are fast approaching and I'm really wishing we had a little holiday planned. I'd love to escape in a little camper van...

...or sleep peacefully within the cool walls of a whitewashed stone cottage.

I'm craving sea breezes, open skies and time to enjoy each moment. My system needs a reboot to help me find some direction again. And some cool, salty air to clear my melted brain!!!

Monday 27 April 2015

More Lisbon... street Art

Happy Monday!

Anyone that knows me or has been reading my blog for a while will know that I love graffiti -the colours, messages and its ephemeral nature.

It often features in my work and our recent holiday was a rich source of inspiration.

I reckon some of these images will make their way onto my textiles somewhere along the way, maybe as a backdrop for a lonesome chair...

I've mostly stopped photographing the whole piece now. I prefer to get in closer and abstact it a bit.

That way I seem to notice more of the details and unexpected shapes...

...and the textures of the wall beneath.

Have a good week....

Friday 24 April 2015

All This Used to Be Fields

This morning the dog and I set off for our very local walk. It's a short stroll from our front door, along a pathway and a quiet road where the oil depot sits. It is very peaceful - the oil tankers are few and far between and are very respectful of walkers. There is a little pond in an adjacent field and the route is often populated by sheep, horses and cows in the fields.

We climb a stile into a large field, where Alfie can run free if there are no sheep (he's a bit of a sheep rustler at heart). After that we climb another stile and mooch along a leafy pathway next to the golf course before emerging back onto the road back home, where we sometimes pass children on their way to school.

Occasionally we bump into other dog walkers, rarely we see a golfer, but we are always accompanied by birdsong. I've walked this route in all weathers, learnt to run here and it is very close to my heart.

 Which is why I feel so sad this morning, having seen the early stages of devastation that the new by-pass road is causing.

 The boundaries of these fields were lined with trees and hedgerows. I can't help wondering what has happened to any nesting birds.

All of the trees and hedges have been uprooted and shredded leaving just a mess of sawdust.

Just beyond the sawdust there used to be a line of trees screening the golf course beyond.

Alfie is looking a bit confused- this is where I used to lift him over the stile and there were trees screening us from the field on the right.

It seems such a shame. I think I may have to walk elsewhere for a while.

Monday 20 April 2015

Mr Blue Sky

The first day and a half of our holiday we had showery weather. From my experience, when it rains in Portugal, it rains a deluge! After that though, our trip to Lisbon gave us mostly blue and cloudless skies....

...which contrasted beautifully with the pale buildings.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Lisbon 2015

Hello lovely people.

The sun is shining and I'm holding on to the holiday feeling after our wonderful trip to Lisbon.

I'm slowly working through my photos and the tonnes of washing (thank goodness for the dry weather) and easing my way back into day to day life. It has been so good to spend time with my family- walking, eating and laughing. Come September our daughter will be moving away to uni and the following year one of our sons will probably be on his way too, so these times together are very precious.

I will bring more pictures here later in the week.

In the meantime, I'd like to show you my shiny new website;

I'd love you to pop by and have a browse and let me know what you think.

Have a lovely weekend.xx

Thursday 26 March 2015

Sefton Park Palm House

Last weekend the weather was very kind to us for our first (hopefully of many) event with the Artisan Network. We set up my Dotty B stall in the very beautiful Sefton Park Palm House amid a festival atmosphere. The mood was buoyant as the sun shone through the palm leaves.

There were amazing stalls full of beautifully handcrafted, quality products, fabulous food and drink, music and fun activities. We had over 11,000 visitors and Mr Dotty and I really enjoyed talking to everyone who came to see us. We met some lovely people, both visitors and stallholders. We bought a couple of nice things including an item from Jenny Barnett which I can't show you yet as it is a surprise for someone.....

We ate delicious brownies from Treats Bake Shop. I (only just) managed to resist the temptation to succumb to a large G&T from Liverpool Gin, which I can assure you took a huge effort of will as they looked wonderful, clear and refreshing!

Richard of RG Pens was our next door neighbour for the weekend. Mr Dotty was in his element as Richard handcrafts beautiful pens from a range of materials, including exotic hardwoods and wonderfully coloured acrylics. No two pens are ever the same. Mr Dotty purchased one for himself and one for our son (they both have special birthdays later in the year).

We also met Stef and her husband, a really lovely, friendly couple, originally from South Africa. Stef paints beautiful, vibrant watercolours. We share a love of little houses and Stef very kindly purchased some of my pieces!

Anne and her friends from Sew Nautical were great fun. Her stall was full of gorgeous, little driftwood houses and harbours. Anne also makes colourful  paper and stitch collages.

 On Sunday our neighbour was Alexis Valentine and his high quality Walking On Glass pieces. Alexis creates his engravings entirely by hand and specialises in engraving glass for those who enjoy the great outdoors.

We had such a fantastic weekend. When we had packed up and were heading back to the car we both felt a little sad as though had been on a little holiday and were leaving behind new friends.

I'd like to say a big thank you to all the visitors, staff and stallholders, Sefton Palmhouse,the people of Liverpool and further afield and especially to Larry and Mandy who make it all happen.

Hope to see you all again soon. xx

Friday 13 March 2015

Spring Flowers

The promise of Spring has been in the air, though today is wet, cold and grey!
We need a little colour....

Is this bright enough to bring a little cheer? My beautiful daughter has spent months stitching away in her free time.

She seems to share my love of hexagons, stitched by hand over papers, the traditional way.

She stitched together 14 rows, 161 flowers, 1127 hexagons. I can't imagine how many tiny little stitches were needed to make up this gorgeous lap quilt.

The finished top was tie quilted onto sky blue, polka dot fleece to make it super snuggly, then she stitched all the way around the edge.

It sits on her chair in the window, brightening my days. I will have to make the most of both of them before they both go off to university later in the year.

Wishing you a lovely weekend and a special Mother's Day to all Mums on Sunday. xx