Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Second chances...

On the 31st October I finally finished my second album of solo music.  I wrote, recorded and produced the whole project myself, and it took 2 years of (very) hard work and not a little frustration and struggle but also elation and fulfilment.

This album feels more like more of a risk than 'Human', my first CD, partly because I set myself the challenge of including more songs - which means lyrics and singing: both of which feel more personal somehow than instrumental pieces. The lyrics and music chart my journey through the last few years of my life, and the project is called 'Second chances'.

'Second chances '  is freely available to download or to stream online at my music website, here.

Monday, 17 October 2011


Just back from a fantastic trip to Skye, Harris and Lewis, where the gold, copper and bronze of the Machair, the turquoise of the sea and the white of the beaches (and the big skies) were really inspiring...

Dramatic skies at Scarasta beach, Harris

Sunset at Neist point, Skye

Waves and a rainbow at Dail Mor, Lewis

Thursday, 22 September 2011


I'm nearly at the end of my period of almost-full-time working, and I'm really looking forward to having more time again for all sorts of makery and crafting.

One thing I have been managing to carry on with during it all has been my current music project (KTPR002).  

The teaser webpage is now live!

Thursday, 8 September 2011


My friend Kasia and I just opened up an Etsy shop!

We bring you... 'Zwierzyna' - where we will sell jewellery and perhaps pieces of artwork that we have collaborated on together, made from Kasia's illustrations and my fibre-y embellishments.

The first items to go into the shop are three brooches that we made a little while ago, featuring...

a dapper gentleman cat:

a proud fish-catcher:

and a playful fattycat:

we're looking forward to developing more brooches and other ideas!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sculpture inspiration...

Today Kasia and I visited Jupiter Artland, a secluded sculpture park outside Edinburgh.  We timed it just right before it got busy, and spent a lovely couple of hours wandering around the woodland admiring the sculpture.

This is 'Firmament' by Anthony Gormley, inspired by an old star map:

Although I love to look at sculpture, it doesn't often move me.  An exception to this today was the group of sculptures called 'Weeping girls' by Laura Ford.  I thought these were the best sculptures in the whole place - very sad and rather chilling, with such attention to detail in the hands and shoes, in a perfect setting in the deserted woodland:

Seeing so many different styles on such a larger scale than my own work was very refreshing!

Meanwhile on a much smaller scale, yesterday I completed a prototype pair of earrings in my favourite wooden bezels.  


Monday, 15 August 2011


Last Friday my sister and I spent a very enjoyable day at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.  It was lovely to see some internet friends like Chris and Myfanwy in person (and to browse their wares!), and it provided me with some much-needed inspiration.

Looking forward to playing with these!

Monday, 1 August 2011


Since coming back from Japan I've been having a long, hard think about my jewellery making and my Etsy shop.

  At the moment particularly I have so little time, but I'm also focussing more on other projects.  Also, I've been trying to think more about what is really 'me', and to make pieces which more truly reflect that.

So, I've made the decision to slowly streamline my jewellery making.  At the moment and for the foreseeable future, the only pieces I will work on will be more 'wooden bezel' brooches.  All other items in my shop will not be renewed when their listings expire.

This feels like the right decision, and in celebration, yesterday I finished two new pieces:



I'm still in love with these beautifully smooth wooden settings :)

Saturday, 23 July 2011


I spent a very enjoyable time this afternoon having a 'serious play' with beautiful watercolour paints (thank you Kasia!).

Like sketching, painting is something I have certainly felt a bit scared of.  Today however I had a lovely time mixing and painting and spattering!

I love colour!

These were experiments in preparation for using watercolours as part of a secret project... .

Sunday, 17 July 2011

17th July 2011...

Since coming back from Japan I haven't had much time for crafting.  I've temporarily changed to working almost full-time, and also have been experiencing a rich patch of inspiration for my current music project, which means that other things aren't getting much of a look-in.

What I have managed to do though is to finish another felted, beaded and embroidered pencil case:

Made from black linen, vintage Japanese kimono fabric for the lining, and an 8-tama kumihimo braid for tying.

 The felt piece is made from merino roving, cotton nepps, organza, scrim, bamboo fibre, silk hankie fibre and silk fabric, with metal and glass beads, tiny sequins, and seed, detached chain, colonial knot, bullion knot, running and detached fly hand embroidery stitches.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Morningside Makers Market...

This Saturday I will have a stall at the Morningside Makers Market, being held at the Columcille Centre, Newbattle Terrace, here in Edinburgh, from 11am - 4pm.
If you're in the area it would be great to see you there!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Japanese fabric...

Japanese fabric has got to be my absolute favourite. Whilst in Tokyo I had a lovely time in an area called Nippori, famous for its fabric shops.  I found a wonderful kimono shop that also sold smaller pieces of antique and vintage kimono fabric.  

I couldn't resist!

Almost too beautiful to cut up and use... .

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Japan sketches...

Well, we're home and adjusting to being back in the UK after a wonderful time in Japan.  I've come back laden with many wonderful craft books and supplies, and while I was there I managed to get a little sketching in:

5 Buddhas at Osorezan on the Shimokita Hantō

A lady having a snooze on the Aoimori train betwen Aomori and Noheji

Looking forward to making something with my new supplies!

Sunday, 15 May 2011


日本に行くよ = I'm going to Japan~!

Getting myself into an appropriate frame of mind in preparation for the trip I had been working on a complex dodecahedral modular origami assembly of 90 units. 

 (these took a long time to fold!!)


Hmmmm.  Hopefully whilst I'm there I will be able to absorb some improved origami skills from the Japanese ether and then will be able to have another more successful attempt on my return!

Also, my Etsy shop is now closed for the duration of the trip.  As I mentioned in this post, I planned to donate the equivalent of 50% of the value of anything I sold in my Etsy shop between the date of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and now, to the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal. I'm so grateful to my lovely customers, who between them bought Tangelo, Berenjena, some custom kumihimo bracelets, Verbena, Ianthine, Carduus and Astral, and have enabled me to donate a total of £50.  Thank you so much!

Thursday, 5 May 2011


When I am not embroidering, felting, beading or sewing, my other favourite craft is origami.  I find it mind-bending and fascinating, and very satisfying (when it finally works after many practice runs!).  It was my birthday on Sunday...

(We went up Arthur's seat for a picnic... here is my friend's dog, Jackson, looking longingly at my cake!)

...and I was very lucky to recieve some lovely non-traditional origami papers, as well as a fantastic rare book called 'Origami for the connoisseur' by Kasahara & Takahara. I heard about this book through Flickr, where there are so many photos of people's amazing origami projects which are very inspiring.  Most of the projects in this book will take some building up to... but I'm looking forward to the challenge!

In preparation I've been practising some 'modular' origami - where you make a compound shape using multiples of a base 'unit' made of one folded sheet.  I've been working with 'Sonobe' units with a lot of help from a wonderful book called 'Marvelous modular origami' by Meenakshi Mukerji.

30 Sonobe units folded and ready to be assembled:
I am fascinated by all the permutations that are possible using the same basic units.  

These are all built from the same base unit, but in different multiples or sizes of paper sheet:
(6 pieces for the cubes, 12 for the octahedral assembly and 30 for the icosahedral assembly)

These are the smallest ones I have managed!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

More brooches...

Today I finished the rest of the wooden bezel brooches - here are Topaz, Lavandel, Natsu, Nimbus, Baya, Melocoton and Agua.
I still can't get enough of these wooden bezels: I love the way the beautifully smooth wood contrasts with the texture of the felted pieces.

Friday, 22 April 2011


I'm working on some more brooches using the beautiful wooden bezels made by brightcolorart.  Hoping to have them all ready in time for the Magpie Market!

Here are the first few I've just finished: 
Moonshine, Islet, Guava, Pomme and Flamenco.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Magpie Market...

Kasia and I will be sharing a table at the Magpie Market Spring Fair, being held here in Edinburgh on Sunday 8th May.  Hooray!

Do come along and say hello if you're in the area!

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Today I finished the second of my two narcissus brooch experiments - I wanted to explore colour, petal/sepal shape and corona size, so here is an alternative to Jonquil: Affodell...

 Giving shape to the edges of the corona:

The felt for Affodell is made from silk throwsters waste, wool roving, silk lapps, wool locks, bamboo fibre, silk fabric and wool nepps, with glass beads, freshwater pearls and seed, colonial knot, bullion knot, detached chain and detached fly hand embroidery stitches.

Here they are together - my ode to spring!

Thursday, 7 April 2011


I managed to finish this today.


Another attempt at a more 3D beaded and embroidered felt brooch, this time inspired by the beautiful narcissi and daffodils that are blooming all over Edinburgh at the moment.

Here are my preliminary notes - I found out that 3 of what I thought of were petals are actually sepals!  The corona posed a particular challenge.

The felt is made from wool roving, silk velvet, cotton scrim, organza, soy silk, bamboo fibre, silk noil and silk tops, embellished with glass beads and colonial knot, seed, bullion knot, detached fly, detached chain and Algerian eye stitches.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Work in progress...

Trying to get this finished before all of the inspiration finishes flowering!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Pencil cases...

For the last couple of weeks I have been working on a special present of a pencil case.  I wanted it to be a 'wrap' style case with no zip, and to make it from a piece of felted, embroidered and beaded linen, and to use some Japanese fabric for the lining.

When I do projects like these I always start off with a rough sketch of what I hope it will look like, with approximate dimensions - this becomes the 'pattern' that I work from (although I don't actually use pattern pieces, just measurements).  I generally make two of anything so I can iron out any problems with the design in the first attempt.

Here's my rough sketch:

The first pencil case I made was like this:

It has a pouch for storing pencils and pens...
(the black and cream lining fabric that you can just about see is more from my vintage kimono stash that I got from Kyoto)

...and then rolls up like this.  It's held closed with an 8-tama kumihimo braid.

 Here's a closeup of the front felted area:
Fortunately the pattern worked out ok, which meant I could also make up the second pencil case - this time in my favourite autumnal shades:

 the inside has red kimono fabric:
(I used felt for the lining of the pouch to provide some extra protection for the contents)

The Autumnal pencil case has been given as part of a special present, but I am keeping the blue prototype for myself - and I'm looking forward to using it on our next sketching trip!