Thursday, 18 July 2013


So today I did some flower arranging. 

Not the most usual of activites for me so I shall explain. It was my 40th birthday earlier this year and I had a big party and invited everyone I knew. One of my neighbours, the very lovely Pippa, came to my party and brought me a big pink bag full of goodies. Once the party was over I opened up all my presents and this big pink bag contained a host of unexpected items, all hinting at floral arranging; vases, oasis, tape of sorts, plant scissors (is there a proper name?!) Anyway, Pippa explained that she would love to have a morning with me teaching me the basics of flower arranging (she has been doing it for quite a while now, and is marvellous at it)

My birthday was the beginning of March. It is now mid July. This is how long it takes for two busy people to get together at a mutually acceptable time! Yes, I am still extremely busy but I had cancelled twice previous and so couldn't again, and anyway, felt like I needed this (remember my mantra?!!)

So, 10am on another beautifully sunny day, after a slow stroll down the road, I was greeted by the lovely Pippa and a nice cup of tea. We chatted over magazines and discussed the principles of design, whether it be floral, interior, fashion, textile, art, they are basically the same. 

We then went strolling around her extensive gardens snipping and cutting and smelling and ooing and ahhing at all the beautiful plants. As a flower arranger she grows her plants for her work and so there is such a variety of wonder (apologies for lack of photos until this point, I was far too absorbed!)

We finally had a big bucket full and got to work. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I was going with instinct and working on the principles that Pippa had gone over earlier. Composition, balance, texture, colour. All those things you learn throughout your art training, but now with flowers. I honestly didn't know where it was going to take me, but I just went with the flow. I felt out of my comfort zone, but not, if you know what I mean. I loved it - and I never thought I would say that!

I discovered that I like very delicate flowers, and I like delicate arrangements. I was scared I was going very OTT but the final result didn't show that. I thought I was going to be really rustic and messy but actually they had a great deal of structure about them. I didn't use a great deal of colour, which I thought I would. The colours that I love in my home (browns, oranges, yellows) I didn't like in a floral arrangement, I went for a lot of greens, whites and a little of pink & purple.

It was absolutely fascinating, and A LOT harder than it looks. You may see these pictures and just see some flowers and leaves chucked together, but there was so much thought and experimenting involved in creating this arrangement. Exactly like the process I use for my cushion designs!

I am so proud of what I achieved today, and felt inspired and invigorated once I left. I have them both pride of place in the kitchen and will keep topping up the oasis's (is that a correct plural?!) with water to help the sweet peas and roses and all the other ones that I don't know the names of to last as long as possible!

A new world has been opened. And I am going to keep it open!
I am discovering that it is good to get out of your comfort zone every now and again, as you might just learn something...


Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Recently I have been really really busy sticking to my mantra of doing things that make me happy!

Here is a brief summary of the last 10 days or so...

A weekend in Stratford with some of my most favouritest facebook friends. 24 hours of food, drink, laughter and feeling so comfortable with people I had barely met. It was wonderful.

Witnessing the fruits ripening on my fruit trees - planted last year in memory of Dad. We have apples, pears and cherries plus plums from the older tree and raspberries from the overgrown canes. They are loving the sunshine. Not quite bumper crops yet, but getting there...

Lunch at a gorgeous undiscovered Devonshire thatched pub with another facebook friend.

Water fights in Mum's pool. We've not used it since Dad died and it was so good to feel the energy and fun of years gone by. Barbeques were had with feeling him watching over us all. It was the hottest weekend of the year so far and it reminded me of being a kid and being able to have a dip before breakfast. I know I felt lucky at the time, but I'm not sure I realised how lucky I was. But then you never do, do you?!

A new batch of yarn, ready for my next project. 

I'm not quite sure what it will be, or when I will start, because I have been so busy doing this...

...a gazillion apple for the teacher magnets!

Fresh flowers from the garden and homemade cakes.

A new base for my gorgeous Folly & Glee lampshade.

Flinging the bedroom windows open wide and taking in the most glorious sunshine and views across Devon.

I do know that life is good, I guess I just need reminders of that every now and again...

It's much easier now the fug of illness has passed, and the sunshine filling my soul. If only I could bottle all this, I guess I would do just fine all year round!

I really hope you are all doing just fine too.