Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Stretching ideas on the Isle of Skye


I have just been to Timber House on The Isle of Syke with my dear friend Rachel Hazell.


It's the perfect place to rest and dream and stretch ideas, as Rachel put it so well. It's a good place for stretching your body too and there was lots of yoga time for me 


and feet up time too.


We like to talk about our businesses and how it's all going and make plans over many cups of tea and Rachel likes to make books.


Rachel is a paper loving, bookbinding artist who has a marvelous e-course called Paperlove which runs in only a few weeks time so there was much buzz about that. Has anyone reading taken her course? Everyone who I have spoken to has loved it.


While Rachel perfected her coptic stitch ready for her Driftwood Binding workshop on Iona later in the month I had short rambles up the hill behind the house in between the hailstorms and driving rain.


The colours are so good on Skye.


And the air is so clean.


And I always notice the mosses too 


and I have to get up really close






There's an old derelict cottage up the hill behind the house.


It's surrounded by the gnarliest old trees. 


The trees were covered in the most incredible mosses.





It's always a shame when it's time to leave the wilderness


but the journey back on the train was astounding with snowy mountains, deer and wild rivers.


Then I had a couple of nights in Edinburgh at Rachel's house which is full of papery wonders and piles books to devour.



There was shopping


and more cups of tea.

Thankyou Rachel for another lovely Timber House time. 

Please visit Rachel's lovely new website and if you are a paper lover too then Paperlove starts in a few weeks time. Check it out here.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Aira Flexuosa (wavy hair grass to you and me).



Tomorrow the lovely people from the wallpaper factory are coming to my studio to talk about my next design. They come and have a look at how best they can print it before going away and etching the gravure cylinders.


I'm not going to show you the finished design quite yet but it features my favourite grass - so beautiful and delicate. 


I drew a lot of it back in the summer (oh summer, come back soon). 


 My Observer's book of 'Grasses, Sedges and Rushes' came in handy today as I wanted to make sure that I had identified it correctly.


 Aira Flexuosa. Wavy Hair Grass

'This grass is a perennial and generally distributed throughout Britain. It grows abundantly amongst the heather on the uplands. It is particularly luxuriant in some districts of the north where it often covers great areas of moorland...

...in July the delicate stems support a pale greenish-brown, glossy, erect panicle, with wavy hair-like branches, which are no thicker than the most delicate sewing thread..'

I always notice it on the path where the wood meets the fields and there is loads of it in the meadows above Nutclough.

I can't wait to get my next design to print! 


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Wallpaper on Simply Laura


If you look closely at the back of this photo you will see my Teal Paper Meadow wallpaper. This is a photo from a show called Simply Laura on the Cooking Channel in the U.S. 

Last year a lovely stylist from New York called Bette Blau got in touch as she was styling the kitchen for the show. Did she find me at the show I did in New York I wondered??? Nope, she found me on Pinterest. I could have stayed at home ;)

So if anyone out there is wondering where they can get some wallpaper like Laura Vitale's, they can get it right here on my website. 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Goodnight Tomsky


This week we said goodbye to our beautiful shiny boy Tomsk. He got poorly and just wouldn't get better despite all the love that we and his twin brother Ollie could give him.

These guys have been curling up together for the last fifteen and a half years.

Can I tell you a story?

In June 1999, the year we moved to Hebden Bridge I lost a baby. I was twenty weeks pregnant and it was a huge loss for all of us. After we left baby Sam at the hospital and came home empty handed and heavy with grief, my arms ached for weeks with the longing to hold him. 'What you need is a cat' my Mum said wisely and the thought brought me comfort.  But we were just doing up our new house - laying floors and decorating, it was summer and the kids would be in and out playing. It just wasn't the right time. So I waited.

In September, when the kids were back in school I was washing up and I saw the opposite neighbours black cat chasing a fly in the kitchen window. I thought to myself  'Today is the day we get a cat' and I scoured all the notice boards around town until I saw 'Two ginger kittens, in Heptonstall, free to good home'. My partner insisted I only got one of them so after school me and the kids went up the hill to choose.

They were ridiculously cute. One (Ollie), sat in the middle of the kitchen floor meowing at us, unperturbed by our invasion. The other was in trouble for weeing on the carpet and was refusing to come out from behind the sofa. We chose the brave one and we carried him up to my partners Mum's who was giving us a lift home. 'What do you mean he has a brother and you've left him behind?' she said. I did feel terrible. 'But I'm only allowed to get one....' I didn't need much encouragement to drive back to pick up his brother.

Their owner looked worried as she found me at her door again but was much relieved when I said I'd come for the other one. She wanted them to go together as they made such a good pair. Bundling Tomsky into the cat basket I asked her when they had been born. She didn't understand my welling up of tears. 

They were born on the same day I lost my baby.


From the moment we got them home (I don't remember being in too much trouble) it was crazy to think of them not being together. They were a matching pair. What ever one was doing, the other one would be doing too. 


And when they had done chasing each other around the house, they would curl up on my chest in a big purring mass of ears and paws and tails and they have been doing it ever since.


They have been such fun together.


noisy,


silly,


adventurous (Tomsk loved coming for a walk),


cosy,


handsome,


and just always on my knee, any chance they got.


Ollie took such care of him when he became ill


and kept himself as close as possible, keeping him warm.


On Thursday I had to get the vet to put him to sleep. In the last few hours we had together while we waited for them to come I stroked him and told him all the stories from his life. He smiled at me and squeaked his squeaky purr right until the end. 


Ollie is doing ok I think. He looks a bit lost at times but is enjoying all the extra love and cuddles and there have been ALOT of them. We're cosying up together. 

Tomsky, your bright shining soul will always be remembered. Thankyou for the bringing such joy to our family for all of these years x

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Janice & Dan and the house of orchids


In December I left my capable team  looking after the Christmas orders (I have a TEAM - I am so grateful to them) and I snuck off to the States to do a very special yoga workshop. I'm building up to a post about that but for now I want to tell you about the Airbnb house that I stayed in.


I'm so lucky to have learned quite young that when you follow your heart you get to the right places and finding this house and these lovely people re-affirmed this. Ok, so when I searched for a place to stay on Airbnb I did search for 'yoga' in the profiles of hosts close to where I was going so I there was a good chance that I might find someone like minded, but I really did land on my feet here at Janice & Dan's.


You can tell a lot about someone by what's on (and in) their fridge right? Janice is a health and wellness coach and has recently and very excitedly left her job and started her business Savor Wellness. We had some great conversations and the healthiest, greenest breakfast smoothies!


 And Dan's passion is growing orchids. 


He nurtures them in a special room where the temperature and humidity is just right


Each one gets special care and attention every day


and when they flower they get to come in the house. 


They are so beautiful.


The house was beautiful too - as usual I have focused in on the tiny details and don't have any house photos but it was really comfortable, spacious and serene. The perfect place to chill after a yoga intensive. 


If you ever happen to find yourself in Takoma Park, Maryland then do stay with them. I really wish I could have stayed longer. I am so glad to have met them.


Here's another snippet from their kitchen. Can't argue with that!

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