Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Dear Linda, you might remember back in October when we met up in London you suggested that I enter the momiji couture competition...well I did, and my needlefelted doll came 7th and is being shown in Los Angeles with the other runner ups as well as the 'marie antoinette' winning doll! So thank you Linda for having such a keen eye for things in the press! Could you post us with some more competitions as I have nothing to enter for the new year!!!

Blue and Soft

Hey Violets,
Hope everyone had a good Holiday. I guess there is still New Years-and the New Year. Joanna, I like your quilt very much and hope your husband is very happy and warm under it. Maybe he would like this scarf I am making. I am not sure about all the blues together but it is very soft and cuddly and that I do like.
Last week before school returns so I am sewing, book making and trying to get journal pages done before I return. We will learn about Alexander Calder in January which should be fun. The young ones will do circus animal figures with wire. Just wanted to give a little hello to everyone. No Chloe news(which in turn is good news).

Saturday, 26 December 2009


Hope your holiday was merry and bright
Best wishes for the rest of this week (year)
and all wonderful things in the New Year.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
By W.B. Yeats

This is a poem that I love and that was read at our marriage service. As Chris only wears the colour blue it always seemed appropriate. This year I have made Chris a quilt out of his old blue clothes, which I shall give him for Christmas. It was inspired in part by the poem and the quilts of Gee's Bend. On the back I sewed words that were important to Chris and I. I have hand quilted it and am very pleased with myself as I have not done this before. So today I thought I would hang it in the sun and take some pictures of it before I wrap it up and hand it over with love. Joanna

Happy Holidays Violets

Happy Holidays everyone. Enjoying the holiday greetings on our blog. Seeing the snow, candles, and Jone your cat is very photogenic. Here are some of my wrappings with my little people. I think I like getting the presents ready more so than making the actual present.
Just staying home this holiday which is nice although I am having a hankering for California.
Here's to a great 2010. xxoo Taylor

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Miss Marble


Here is my sweet kitty, "Miss Marble Fat Cat" helping me put the lights on the Christmas tree last Saturday night. We had a really nice time together.

Don't you think we did a nice job? I decided that too many ornaments tend to tempt the cats, so I only used a few unbreakable ones. Besides, it is the lights that are the magical part - the warm glow in an otherwise dark room. I could sit there for hours just staring at the tree....

I love the lights on the tree. I spend quite a long time making sure that they are just right. My daddy used to do that and I feel like there is a part of him in me that wants the lights to be" just right".......funny how some things that seem so simple have such an emotional impact.

Yarn bombing


Thought you guys might like to check out this site. And maybe we could decide on a project we could all work on together to help brighten up the world!


Sunday, 20 December 2009

Happy Christmas

How lovely to see Katie's pictures of Briancon in the snow. Here in Bath it is just very cold. At our local kindergarten we celebrate advent each year with this beautiful advent spiral and all take turns to light a candle and place it in the spiral, which is made of garden greenery. It always looks very beautiful and I am always amazed how even young children respond and don't set the whole place on fire.
So hold the light inside of all you this winter time and may the new year bring peace to you all.
lots of love Joanna

Friday, 18 December 2009

All our very best wishes for 2010

Thought you gals might like to see what it's like here in South West France once all you swallows have flown. As I write we are having yet another snow flurry, but the blue tits are still feasting on the fat balls hanging outside our office window - very seasonal, very Christmasy! time to take out those mince pies and sit in front of our gorgeous new woodburner.

Only worry is whether I will be able to get to the hospital in Perigueux tonight where poor old Mike is having his gallbladder removed. Ouch!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

more from Beth's House

The tree on the left is filled with little felt ornaments - many of which I have made over the years. My friend has such a way with display. I was so touched to see those ornaments with the tiny painted wooden angels and hearts that I have collected myself. They work very well together.

And this little shelf holds some very sweet little goodies.....I love the house tucked in there, and the reindeer...
(the little heart hanging on the wall is what I gave her for xmas last year)

Monday, 14 December 2009

a little magic

As promised, more photos from my friend Beth's magical home. Everywhere you look, there is something breathtaking.....

This beautiful wooden figure really fascinated me. Beth was trying to put a tiny heart shaped stone (from Bali) in "her" hands, but it was being difficult. I got lucky and the stone stayed right there where it was supposed to be. Isn't the light nice?

Absolutely LOVE this tin figure! She is very charming and quite large, actually - 2-3 ft tall? I guess I like her because she reminds me a bit of my own drawings... 

Isn't this great? Two little Swedish horses kissing under the Christmas tree...and the butter molds, too. These are sitting in the kitchen window above the sink. I would smile a lot washing dishes there....

In the bedroom, tucked away near the floor are these hands. Beth collects hands and she really has some very special ones. I think these are particularly interesting, especially with the reflections in the window.... and I love that they are just "there"...

One very special thing at Beth's is the large cage at the end of a hallway near the kitchen. They do not look real in this photo, but there are two doves that live in there. I do not know their names, but as we were talking to each other while sewing, the doves were doing a lot of "talking," too. Apparently, they actually sleep in the little nest that they are just sitting on here.
I have beaucoups more photos of her Christmas scenarios that I will post later on. Hope some of the magic from her home has inspired you....sure has me.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

A Happy Creative Day

Today I was at my friend Beth's house for her annual Tea Party....which turned into a creative "playdate" as my gift to the attendees. My hubby called at 3 pm to see where I was, having expected me home closer to noon. I was having way too much fun to go home...

Here are some pictures of the wonderfulness we created over the course of 6 hours with tea, coffee and cookies.
I packaged up some patterns, as well as silk ribbon and embroidery threads, that we used to make little ornaments and I adore what everyone did...

My dear friend, Cheryl, made this beautiful lady with her red floral apron. Someone suggested she add feet at the end of the day, so they will be sewn on in the process. Isn't she nice? I adore her....and her amazing apron...
Beth, who hosted the party, started several wonderful things. Sewing is not something she feels all that comfortable doing.  It was a bit intimidating for her to be with the rest of us who love to sew. Still, she did a superb job trying things and finally found her own "style" by the end of the day and admitted to really enjoying it. Here are the two hearts she really liked and I think she will be so proud when they are finished.
I love this one that Laura created. We all laughed because when she was two-thirds of the way around with the pearls, she was ready for it to be done! I think it is so lovely with the red berry-beads "Lazy Daisy" leaves. Her colors are yummy!
Anika, Beth's incredibly talented daughter, made this gorgeous heart by stitching silk ribbon, layer by layer, and then cutting the "window" out of grey felt to cover the edges. I think it is so elegant. Unfortunately, the photo does not do it justice. Still, I think you can get the idea.
...and I made this little horse. Beth is Swedish, too, so we both love these horses. I left this one on her tree as a gift. I hope she will be delighted when she finds it....
We all agreed that we need to do this on a regular basis. It is my goal for the new year to make these kinds of things happen often enough so that we all stay in touch with that part of ourselves that makes us so incredibly HAPPY with so little effort.....
That is why we are all going back to Briancon, right?   xoxo

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


I just love you guys! I think that the Pantry Violets are such phenomenal people. Thanks for all that you do and all that you are...I feel so lucky that we have found one another and I think about you ALL all the time...
....just love you dearly, each and every one of you....


We awoke to S*N*O*W this morning....and a "snow day" which makes for very happy kids!
Here is a shot out the back door. Nice icicles, don't you think?
You can't really see the mountains due to the clouds, but I KNOW they got lots of snow last night. It's a good thing, since the ski area will open this weekend for the season.

ahhhhhh...happy holidays to all.....  xo

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Anthroplogie! I give you an actual anthropologist studying the natives local dance. I took the boys up to the London on my 40th birthday as Chris had to be in town and we caught a boat down the Thames to the Tower of London and saw the Crown Jewels. It was a really lovely day.
Good to hear that you are all still working hard and that "the Winner" continues to win. Top tips for entering competitions should be on the dinner menu this summer.
Have finally put my houses on top of jam posts. The anthropologist would not let me part with the ones I had made so I had to copy them. Lets hope they sell at the Christmas Fayre this weekend after all the hard work.
Had a lovely time in Paris, how come no one mentioned "La Drougerie" in Les Halles. The most fantastic knit and bead shop - ever.
Keep blogging

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Hello all you not so shrinking violets - oh how industrious you all have been! I have been keeping an eye on all your goings on and enjoying it thoroughly. Many apologies for not contributing nor communicating all this time, but I been moving to Woodbridge, doing a Foundation Art & Design course at Ipswich and going through a gruelling divorce - Court next week if no agreement forthcoming. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed).

Here's my first little movie - it should you laugh...and yes, it's me - couldn't convince any of the teenagers to star...

Well, the actual reason I just HAD to add a post was because I got a .pdf from this website...http://www.chateaudumas.net/home/home.htm. They are having classes next year - silver jewellery, millinery and french textiles. It looks so fabulous I think I may have to treat my cousin from NZ to accompany me to one of them, (hopefully by then my financial situation will be clarified).

If you go on their mailing list they'll send you the brochure - it looks GORGEOUS...

Well, bye for now. Hope you vaguely remember me....


I know you will all hate me for winning another competition, but if you don't enter them........Look at the spoonflower website, very exciting for all us budding textile designers!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Back to the grind

Hey Violets,
Here is the loot from anthropologie. Nothing too great. I saw a lot of nice dishes by Nathelie and some rose soap but was trying to be disciplined. These tights are just me. Spots of color with red, purple, and gray. Most of you could have knit this chunky scarf in three seconds.
My friend Ellen gave me some cool fabric- well a ton and I am having a give away. Check my blog to enter the giveaway for fabric swatches. She had patterned velvets, feed sack pieces, all kinds of stuff. It was interesting going through the bags and actually seeing fabric from projects I had seen her work on.
Back to school after 5 days off. Whoa that should be hard and clay with kindergarten first thing. No fancy tights this week I guess.
I'm working on some journal pages and sketching many fabric ideas, but tonight I just need to finish one of our famous Julie flowers for a friend's birthday. Oh and it's Chloe's birthday today. 15 and still just as sarcastic. She requested ribs when I took her out to lunch today and hoped they would be just as great as the ones she had in France. Those ribs were one of the highlights of her trip. Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Thanksgiving: "Lookin' a Little Like Christmas"

While in California, I asked my cousin Becky to come with me to one of my FAVORITE places on earth - Roger's Gardens. 
It is located just off PCH south of Newport Beach across the street from Fashion Island.

Christmas F*a*i*r*y*l*a*n*d .............. truly. It is magical and makes you feel like a kid. Many, m a n y trees decorated in different themes....big rooms filled to the top with sparkling trees and lights and ornaments.....absolutely beautiful.

May you enjoy the season and all that it offers. 

Roger's Gardens is really a nursery and the plants and gardens are spectacular - even at the end of November. (only in California) Here is a path of cyclamen that was being replenished from the little delivery truck. I could've spent hours there......sigh......it is a paradise.
Happy Holidays to all of you............ Ho Ho Ho.......

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Betsy McCall and Sewing Tips

Checking out Pantry Violets (which I do on a regular basis) I saw Jone's uploads of SEW magazine and for some reason it reminded me of "McCalls". My mother had a subscription to this imported glossy magazine - we had lived in Washington for several years in the early fifties and she must have developed a taste for it because it would have been a huge extravagance for anyone in 1950s Britain. Anyway, I just LOVED the Betsy McCall's paper dolls that were always situated at the back of mag, and usually managed to get to her before any of my older sisters (or did my mother save her for me?); in my imagination it typified the glamour and primary colours of American Life ... and it also kick-started my love of fabrics. I started by designing my own paper clothes for Betsy, then moved on to cutting paper patterns for myself. Fortunately my mother was a magpie with materials and happy for my sisters and myself to experiment with anything she had.

Talking of sisters, Susu recently gave me this delightful little Encyclopedia of Needlework, which she found in a book sale in the UK and is actually a translation from the French. There is no publication date anywhere in the book, but judging from the photographs on the cover of the ladies sewing, it must have been sometime in the fifties and is absolutely chockablock full of useful knitting and sewing techniques. Eat your heart out Martha Stewart!

Friday, 20 November 2009

SEW Somerset

The new SEW Somerset is out and my article is in it!
It's the Winter Issue that probably will be on newsstands next week.
The title is "Christmas Whimsies" and it is about little felt ornaments. The photos look really nice and I am so pleased with it!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, 19 November 2009


..ahhhhhh, another visit to Anthropologie....
this one was a doozie! I found so many things and had to really "hold back" ....ha! no such luck!

the "unresistible" items follow:
notecards, which are one of my weaknesses
a little zipper bag in the shape of a horse
tiny red velvet slippers (xo)
a little doll for my friend Addi's birthday
....and these 4 fantastic plates that I squealed for! I feel like I deserved this early holiday gift for myself. They are such "Swedish, Polish, Russian, ethnic, embroidered-looking" things - I am madly in love and so happy that it truly takes very little to get me so excited!

"hooray" for Anthropologie and all of its' wonders.... and inspirations!