Wednesday 28 May 2014

Slow Making: A Blanket Investment

Thought anyone who happens by might like this lovely musing by my friend Sue about the benefits and joys of making things. 

Hope you're all happily industrious out there all over the world.  

Friday 29 November 2013

Print your own fabric.... in the UK...!!!!

I've just found this new business which might interest all you UK based people -

Seems they'll print your fabric designs up digitally and send it to you in no time.... (like Sp....nflower but in the UK).

I've designed and sent off to print this silk scarf design today and will post a picture of the scarf when I receive it.  (If it arrives as quickly as they promise, it may even answer lots of Christmas present requirements!)  It's a bit 'loud' but I expect when it's printed onto the silk the colour will dilute somewhat.

Hope you're all enjoying the run up to the festive season which seems to be upon us all too soon.


Tuesday 12 November 2013

Hi everyone. It's been a massively busy time for me with things happening in very close proximity. Some of you know I have just had a book of my photographs published called, All Prize Winners Paraded. I finished making the work about nine years ago and the book has always been an idea...until now! I'm very blessed. The work is about the stillness of small rituals, told through the Australian rural agricultural 'show'. If you'd like to see some of the images from the book you can check out website of M.33 where I'm represented.

My other news: I have a solo show in a window space in Sydney called Branch 3D (all of November). This project was so much fun to do - the work is called, 'Vessel' and the pieces are made out of vintage tea towels. I LOVE old tea towels so if you have any rolling around in cupboards that you don't want anymore, contact me and send 'em over! They may just end up in some art work. You can see the work here at my website and here at the Branch website.

Hope you are all well. I was so sad to miss out on Jessie Chorley's workshop in France this year but as you can see I was a bit busy. Cancelling was not easy to do.  I followed Becky's photos on Facebook and it was lovely. I always feel like I am so far away when great things are happening over there. 


Thursday 29 August 2013


Knitting is big in Ladakh, they call it Larchis.  We have returned after 5 months of being away and are feeling rather confused, so it was very good to look at the Pantry Violet website and still see that all of you keep on sewing and knitting.  We met a lovely lady called Angmo, who has one of the hardest lives I have come across and has the sweetest disposition throughout it all.  Angmo loves to knit and showed me a great deal of her handiwork including all these gorgeous bonnets she had made for her little boy Karma Jigmed.  I asked if we could peg them on the line on top of her mud brick house that has no running water or electricity and gets down to minus 50 for three months in the winter.  Angmo was delighted. It reminded me of Briancon and hanging all our flowers on the line.
Ladies of the world clearly are united - through knitting and sewing.

Friday 26 July 2013


Hi gals, my website up and running after a pretty long haul. I went the DIY route and it was a big learning curve. I'd love your feedback.  Just click on the pic!

My news: I have a solo show in a window space in Sydney in November which I'm really excited about. I'll post some images when that happens. I also have a book of my photography being published soon which is a dream really. Hoping for a Sept/Oct release.

I don't know if you follow Les soeurs on FB but Katie posted about an article in a French mag recently and it featured a picture of the workshop I (we) did - such memories. We had such a great bunch of people in that workshop. Brought it all back. Hope you're all doing well.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

almost one year ago

I was just going through some old photos and found this one - can't believe it's almost one year since our Julie Arkell workshop and exhibition at Petite Violette. Time flies!

Thursday 11 July 2013

merchant & mills

Here's a gorgeous short film sent to Petite Violette by one of our favourite suppliers, Merchant & Mills. As soon as I saw it I thought of the Pantry Violets - it's worth taking a few minutes to watch, I think you will love it!

Watch the short film here.

Monday 8 July 2013

birthday goodies

July 1st was my friend Laura's birthday.
She is one of those people who has enough of everything.
None of us needs "more stuff"....
... but how does one resist?

 I made her this "forget-me-not" pin
The photo is not so great,
but the pin is nice.
I need to make some more like it.

I have also been cutting a lot of paper.
I am practicing for my class at Briancon.
This is the card I made for Laura....

Hope you are all well.

for another kind of "cut-out"
click HERE

Sunday 23 June 2013

an exciting project

Just as Petite Violette is winding down for the summer months, so too is this exciting project Grant and I have been working on for the last 6 or 7 months. We started renovating the attic space above our apartment in December, and hopefully we can move up there in the next 4 - 5 weeks.

It's been a huge project - we completely gutted the space and ripped out a bad 80s renovation that gave absolutely no hint about the beautiful old beams and brick walls that were hidden behind dodgy walls and low ceilings.  We can't wait till it's finished and even though it's fun to choose tiles, paint, kitchen cabinets, etc, it will be a huge relief once it's over!

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Here are some cut-outs I did for the course 
I am teaching in August.
I sent one to each attendee with their name....
We will be doing some paper cutting at Briancon.
I hope they will all find it as fun as I do.

Monday 17 June 2013


Late last year I went to Viv's Needlecase workshop at Weston Hall.

As you may recall, I am a massive fan of Hens Teeth - glorious gentle stitching - and had already been on
a couple of the Haberdashery Brooch classes given by Viv.  On the second brooch class I made brooches out of haberdashery cards, buttons etc like this one:

So when it came to making needlecases - rather than lots of sewing - i am not a great sewist and cheat whenever I can, I decided to to use some bits and pieces of paper stuff I had.  When I was in France a couple of years ago I bought an old Lotto set, including lovely old cards - very damp and not a little smelly but rather fabulous once dried out and put in a container with a scented sachet and left for a while.

I love the needlecases Viv makes with old battered quilts - the loveliest colours and beautiful washed and worn - so, I decided to stick a piece of quilt onto the Lotto card, fixed in a bit of ribbon to tie it as I went and here is the result:
Next in line was a lovely little booklet with a pretty picture on the cover that I bought last year, I pulled out the innards of the booklet, stitched a piece of quilt to it using blanket stitch - get me - included the ties as I went - you can see the inside above and here is the cover:
The tie on this one is a piece of bias binding dipped in tea which came unfurled, but I think it makes a nifty little wrap around tie!  Just had time to make a third! Made from two out of a set of mats also bought last
year in France, both the centre circles inside have a quilted circle attached and the mats are stitched together at one side and tied with a ribbon at the other.
Taken together, a fine days workshop was had by all and lots produced in a short time!
 To see what I made at the second needlecase workshop - a magical chatelaine that I think is one of the finest things Ive every made! - please check out tinkeringbythesea.blogspot

Many thanks to Viv for the use of some of her lovely photographs.

Love to All

Wednesday 12 June 2013


Hello Lovelies!

Sorry to be absent for so long - but life is much more hectic now and time for creativity is severely

Just recently, I wanted to make changes to the sitting room, which was my sister Lynda's and which adjoins
the kitchen diner (all of which joined up is a huge L shape).  For many reasons I needed to make it my
own again, and, as I cant spare the time for a full paint job I got rid of the suite, bought some Ercol frames moved some of the bulkier furniture out of the room and did a bit of upholstery.  I'm also on with shelving so that it can temporarily double as a studio.

The frames are were in good shape, and, only £100.00 - but came with no cushions.  As a new set from
Ercol is over £350.00 I bought foam blocks, made a pattern then set about the foam with a carving knife!
Fair enough it is the crude but effective method, it did, however, get the job done.  I went to Abakhan for
the fabric, 3 different linens which I bought by weight, on offer 50% off cost me only £38.00.  The foam
was £60.00 so the whole suite done came in at around £200.00.

I made box cushions using the envelope method so no zips - fairly tricky to sew too.  The foam is a bit unwieldy to get in and out of the covers but perseverance pays off! Though I am definitely from the 'make it have it' school of upholsterers I am quite pleased with the end result!

My little doggies, Bert & Daisy are also quite fond of the results!


Monday 10 June 2013

The Moth Ball

hello dear pantry Violets, wondering how you are all doing, and feeling bad about not posting anything, not even anything boring! I am madly illustrating stories for my Ragtales company which is slowly growing thanks to my 2 sales partners...have been on a childrens book writing course and have re written the story of version is about Molly the clothes moth who is very sad and drab and hates eating cardigans and longs to go to the nightly Moth is a rough illustration.....xx

Wednesday 29 May 2013

petite violette

Hello dear Pantry Violets!

Just a few recent pics from Petite Violette! Not much making going on I have to say - so funny that before we opened I imagined lovely hours whiled away in the shop stitching handmade bits and bobs to sell! There's always something to do, a little corner to re-arrange, customers to chat with, products to photograph, website to update...

I do have a little creative outlet once or twice a month at our Petite Violette stitching nights, inspired by Les Soeurs Anglaises and all of you lovely ladies. The time I've spent stitching and chatting at Briançon was so wonderful that I wanted to re-create at least a tiny fraction of that magic at Petite Violette. The stitching nights are so much fun and incredibly inspiring and it's just so fantastic to find so many friendly, warm, creative, like-minded souls to join us. Wish you could all come along!!!!!

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Degree Show Exhibition

Hi everyone,
I realise this isn't quite a Pantryviolets kind of thing... but it is my end of Degree show pieces.  I've absolutely loved doing my BA in Fine Arts and learnt so much.  It is made from 100s of plastic fingernail polish sample rods woven together with hair and braid.  There is a hidden wire so can be shaped into all sorts of forms.  It references nature, abjection and bodily commodification (phew!).  
If you like, check out my website at  
(Am now thinking an MA for next year).  
Love to you all and happy times for those going to France this summer.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Fabric Squares

Here are four of the designs that are part of my latest collection of fabric:

 "KNOWLEDGE & fantasy"

There are more HERE if you would like to see them.
There are also 8 BOY designs that I will post soon.