Playing with embroidery on Paper

Sometimes it’s fun just to doodle with paper and thread. Next stage is to build up my confidence in sketching with pen(cil) on paper. I know it’s like anything else, the more you practice, the more you can relax into … Continue reading

Craftivism: #astitchintime for the #livingwage


I believe that an individual can instigate positive change however, when a group of like-minded individuals comes together it is even more powerful. This is certainly my hope for the hanky I’ve just created for the Craftivist Collective / ShareAction campaign I’m involved with.

Did you know that Marks & Spencer is not a Living Wage employer? This surprised me especially as they promote themselves as everything that is good about Britain and have a reputation for being a good employer. I naturally thought they would be one of the 1570 employers in the UK who paid the Living Wage (£7.85 ph UK and £9.15 ph London), employers that include Scottish Government, Santander and Transport for London but they’re not. So when Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective contacted me to find out if I would like to take part in their campaign I gladly accepted.

Along with 24 other people I stitched a unique hanky for one of M&S board members and influential celebrities. I chose board member Laura Wade-Gery not only because of her progressive outlook but because, like me, she likes her classical music. Along with a hand written letter from me it will be hand delivered to her at M&Ss AGM on 7th July. All I ask, as a M&S customer, is for her to do the right thing and implement the Living Wage across M&S. Sarah sums up the campaign beautifully in this blog post.


History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

I chose to quote the opening of Seamus Heaney’s The Cure at Troy as I know she studied history at university, for its importance in recent historical events including Bill Clinton’s speech during the Northern Ireland Peace Process, and more importantly because it is about hope and knowing the right time to be on the positive side of justice. (the character who says these words was injured, spent time in the wilderness but ultimately went on to be the person who freed Troy during the Tojan wars)

I also embellished my hanky with a dandelion puff with our wishes and hopes interspersed with musical notes echoing the poem and our joint interests in music. The colours purple, white and green reflect the suffragette movement and with over 70% of M%S employees being women I hope it is not lost on her.

Naturally other craftivists also wanted to get involved so as part of a more visual campaign they have been tweeting and even stitching outside of M&S stores from Brighton to Irvine engaging with members of the public and raising awareness of the campaign.


I’ll keep you informed of the progress we make however if you want to know more about the organisations involved or the Living Wage her are some links to get you started:

Craftivist Collective

Living Wage

Marks & Spencer


the time is right?


I second that emotion.

Originally posted on fatblackcatjournal:

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Duke St Leith

So I had to do this thing and every time I was about to do it something was wrong. The weather, the light, too tired. Eventually I twigged you just have to do it. There is no perfect moment. The perfect moment is an excuse. We have to get stuck in. In the imperfect midst of it all.

View original

islands and archipelagos embroidery sketchbook

It’s no surprise that I like my sketchbooks. I’m a sucker for popping in to art stores to see what they’ve got on offer. Often they come home with me and just sit waiting on a shelf for inspiration to strike, teasing me.

My latest sketchbook has just started and is going to be filled with the theme of islands and archipelagos. I’ve made a start with some machine stitched lace which created a beautiful landscape now embellished with french knots, bullion knots, wrapped threads and detached buttonhole stitch. So far it’s all very white but I think colour will gradually creep in.

Here are some of the first islands.

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1-IMG_2819 1-IMG_2817 1-IMG_2816Looking forward to seeing how this progresses and whether or not I’ll be able to close the book at the end :-)

a whole lotta cross stitch

I’ve been getting into cross stitch again thanks to the Stitching Out Stigma project.

This included a kit for a friend which reminded her her of being with her two sister and I completed Peter Rabbit though I think he needs something extra round him.



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I also found a sweet one I’d made from The Bellwether which I must do something with as it’s crying out to be given a cute wee frame.



Stitching Out Stigma

This gallery contains 5 photos.

  Some posts are easy to write whilst others are very difficult. This is one of the difficult ones as it is about me, my life with depression and a fab cross stitch project set up by a fellow sufferer. … Continue reading

The Making Room pt.2


IMG_7587After having fun trying block printing a fortnight ago as part of The Making Room I was really looking forward to my screen printing taster session.

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This time our tutors were the fab team from Bespoke Atelier who seem to live for patterns.

We met in the exhibition space at the back of All That is Solid and the team chatted to us about the basics of screen printing and showed us some of the screens they’d created based on Alexander “Greek” Thomson’s architectural details.


There was a lot of head scratching thinking about what we’d like to print onto our tote bags and most of us used a mix of Bespoke Atelier’s designs with masks we’d created to alter the designs. All a bit messy and a whole lot of fun.

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I’m really chuffed with my bag which I printed on both sides. The back echos the print on the front but by using a mask I’ve created something that looks more like a chemical equation. I’ll also add some embroidery to embellish it.

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Bespoke Atelier are taking part in the Southside Art Trail on 24th May which looks like an amazing event and also run workshops.

The Making Room Pt.1

Earlier this year I really lost my creative mojo. No matter where I looked I just couldn’t find it and it was really getting me down. Think it must have been on a world tour but it’s back & I’m feeling good.


Recently I heard that WASPs Glasgow were creating a month of arts events that ranged from talks to taster sessions. Well what’s a girl to do but sign up :-)

On Saturday I went to the first of the two sessions I’d signed up for, block printing. The taster session was taken by the talented and lovely Megan Held who showed us the basics of printing.

We started with potato printing. Haven’t done that since school and it was a lot of fun. We all procrastinated that our repeat designs weren’t good but once we popped on the paint and started playing with the designs we could see the potential.


After that Megan showed us the basics of how to create a design for a repeat block and we made a Lino cutting. Several test runs on paper and fabric were duely tried and finally we took courage and made either towels or bags.


I opted for a bag which turned out a lot better than I thought it would, even the splodges of paint looked fine. I’ll add some embroidery to it in the near future and show you the result.

We all had a really fun afternoon & were chuffed with our results. I think a lot of the sessions are sold out but have a look just in case there are some spaces.


The Making Room: http://utter

Shake it up in 2015


There are lots of reasons to hibernate until spring comes but that would be boring and who likes boring?

I’ve found a few creative ideas that might tickle your fancy that are happening in January. Most are in Scotland but if anything inspires you why not start something in your town. Warning: there are a lot of links in this post so grab your mug of tea and notebook to start planning.

Try something new or rekindle an old passion. At Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts they don’t just have studio space but run various workshops from bookbinding to weaving, silk printing to carpentry. If you’re not sure of committing for a long course then why not dip in for a day or weekend? I’m quite interested in the bookbinding classes run by Allison Downie in Glasgow. Lots of museums run free classes for both adults and children so it’s worth checking by heir websites or just ask the next time you walk by I know Glasgow’s museums certainly do.

Pick a project and do it every day for a month. It doesn’t need to be time consuming. A timed 5 minute sketch every day, knit that jumper you’ve been promising yourself or go for a walk with you camera. A thanks must go to Helen Shaddock for highlighting the fun-a-day project to me. This project which started in Philadelphia has now crossed the Channel and Dundee is embracing it.

Start a pictorial diary with Blipfoto. Take a photo a day on your phone or DSLR upload it to Blipfoto with or without words and challenge yourself to doing for 365 days. It’s a brilliant way to become more aware of your day as well as improving your camera skills. Oh be warned it can become addictive and you’ll find yourself dipping into the lives of other blippers from around the world.

Be curious. You might remember way back in 2011 I took part in several fun projects by The Curiosity Project, well they’re back with another one off idea. This time you have the chance to send a box filled with a story. With a limit of £20 you tell your story with only your imagination to limit you and in return you’ll get a story from someone else. You can find out more on their website.

Of course there are also lots of free things to do like get out for a walk and really look at your surroundings, find out what art exhibitions are on in your area and GO to them and of course volunteer. A good place to start is the Voluntary Arts website which covers the UK and with Voluntary Arts Week coming round soon now’s as good a time as any to shake away those winter blues and get creative.

So? Anything take your fancy? If so let me know & please leave links in the comments if you know of other creative things we could be getting up to.

More embroidery on the radio


Insomniacs like me might have already stumbled over this wee gem of a radio series  but if not its worth seeking out Amanda Vickery’s A History of Private Life. It’s on BBC Radio 4 Extra in the UK, each episode is only 15 minutes long and looks at life in people’s homes. Being nosey I find it fascinating, yes even when she reads lists of pots to be mended in an 18th century home.

The episode I thought you’d love is the one on embroidery, cross stitch and tenting and how it not only occupied young women but saved them for awkward silences – in the days before you could stare at a TV screen – and even helped their mental wellbeing.

Here’s a link to the episode called Ornamenting the Home which I believe is available for the next 4 weeks.

Happy listening.