Do Your Best

Do. Your. Best.

Mum’s maxim still rings in my ears, even after all this time. The power of words to linger, to imprint in your mind, to guide, to remind.

‘do’ is hand stitched.  I’ve taken the stitches across the letters here, to echo the background. I love to hand stitch. I love machine stitching also. There’s no need to choose one above the other, just enjoy each process.

As this project develops, I notice I am searching for specific letters to complete a word. There are no ‘b’s’ left, so I reversed a ‘d’ instead. I could expand the lexicon but will stick to the plan and only use the remaining letters. Keep some boundaries, test some limits. It will only be a problem if I want to spell.

Word games

The letters are growing in number. It’s time for a little fun, (or pun !) time for a word game and this is what I came up with. I especially like the vibrancy of ‘opens’.

Day 4 #100 Day Result

I am switching my routine, to stitch first and then do yoga, because I had a strange feeling in my head yesterday after I posted on the blog. The crown of my head felt weird, I couldn’t get out of that place, involved with words, technology, stuck the virtual space of my head and the internet, it seemed like one and the same thing.
How did I remedy it ? it did the dishes, yep, I stood washing up the dishes,  back to a safe,  familiar, scenario…Woman  Washing  Dishes…trying to ground myself and return to my whole body. I think yoga will be a better solution.

So now I’ve completed my little stitches for today. I love the colour, it is bright, vivid and warm. The circle or ring is an ancient and universal symbol.
I like it, I like the shape, this ‘O’ . It is pleasant to stitch, no sharp, untidy corners, with exactly the right amount of thread on the needle. It looked as though the thread was going to run out but didn’t. Then lots of little ideas arrived, how I might make micro changes.

Trying again

I have one hundred 3″ cloth squares in various colours and a number of random letters left over from another project. Each day I will stitch one letter to one square and post it on Instagram and blog about the process here. This is to get into a habit of making and to make a micro system of recording my projects.  In keeping it small, and keeping it simple is to get myself a modest result and most of all to finish.

Because in last year”s #100 day project I was going along happily, then stopped for no apparent reason. I failed and took so long to recover. Really. This is a pattern of mine. When I am making something and feel good about it, I halt. There has been plenty of time for reflection as to why.

There were several contributing factors ( some might say excuses ) such as external circumstances and all manner of mindset games (generally known as the ‘inner critic’ ) that played in my head to divert me to ‘not’ doing. It is quite staggering the way the brain works to prevent a person ( that is, me ) to fulfill a simple aim, to make art for one hundred days. And when it didn’t happen, the consequences were drastic, to the extent that my grand daughter observed that my studio looked abandoned..
Some lessons learned from last time.
1. to focus only on the task, to finish the daily task. I found that I started to include other things that were not about the project, like celebrating my yoga days for example. Nothing to do with one hundred beautiful words.
2. There is what I call ‘force fixing ‘ mentally shaping the outcome – what it would look like, what would happen as a result, etc etc. Who knows what will happen as a result of 100 days of making or what it will look like. I have to just stitch each day, it will reveal itself as we go along.
3. When I’m doing something i love, ideas flow freely and open up the potential for bigger things, my mind becomes distracted, ambitious and gets carried far away from the task at hand.
4. Then there were the external circumstances, life showed up in the form of family drama and of course I dropped tools to help. There was no need for me to give up my project though, I just did.

So here, I am trying again, this time with a refined plan. To keep the whole process simple to execute, simple to record and simple to finish. To complete daily, to stitch over and over each day for 100 days. I’m hoping also to establish a routine that will lodge in my brain, for onward use into other endeavours. This is the intention ( after doing my daily stitching that is )

15 Minutes


A new year begins, a welcome, an invitation to to each new day, for hopes and plans for the year ahead.

In 2015 I learned the power of 15 minutes – 15 minutes of de cluttering a day, 15 minutes of  daily yoga. Doing things in small pockets of time regularly makes a difference. I practiced yoga 192 days in 2015 and plan to continue this year.

What did you learn last year that you will bring with you in 2016?

Sewin Studio banner at Brixton Market

My Sewin banner had it’s inaugural visit to Brixton Market today. I made the banner to fit the width of the stall which is 2 metres (6ft +) It is made with raw edge applique, machine stitching on white organza.

The pink buckram is dyed with cochineal and it has faded nicely to match the tone of the original logo. The stitching is hard to see from the front so I’ve shown you the reverse, so you can get an idea of the detail. Each segment of each letter is stitched separately.

I’l be back at Brixton Market on the 30th August 2013 with more fabric oyster card wallets and new colour ways, adding more choice to the collection and some small art works. If you’re in the market, look out for my banner and come and say hello.

Look! we made these……. at Lambeth Country Show

All these lovely people joined in Hope in Your Handbag™ taster workshop at Lambeth Country Show .They learned raw edge applique and stitched a small sample.It was a planned one hour workshop, we did two in the end. Here’s what I learned…children are decisive and focused, everyone finished their work, I love open air workshops…that I missed the camel racing and a falcon can break bone with it’s beak! Lambeth Country Show, a summer two day event at Brockwell Park, Brixton, is full of surprises.

Thanks to Tim at Brixton blog for hosting the workshop, Kristina and Karen from Makerhood  for organising and support on the day and to everyone who joined in.

Still In Love…

…….with colour and like all the best love affairs requires the qualities of honesty, reflection, hope, joy,  to name but a few.

So I’ve been reflecting on how I use colour presently, looking honestly at what I aim to achieve.

As a child I responded to colours set out before me, as an adult I choose  colour and try to take charge of it’s effect.

Saturated colour is my preferred palette and lemon yellow is currently catching my eye, but it is the interaction between the tints & tones ,

hot & cool that makes for interesting discoveries and engages me in the process.

With my appliqued affirmations I am using colour in small amounts, in the form of thread, to create interplay between the coloured letters and the ground fabric.

Hoping to create a vibrant effect, hoping to enhance the message.

How do you like to use colour? What is today’s favourite colour ?

Thank you…

Bright Green Oyster Wallet Hand stitched with hand cut embellished applique letters/font

IMG_0121 IMG_0120 For visiting my blog.



Who IS…?

multi coloured Affirmation written in white cloth font appliqued onto blue african background fabric.I once led a guided walk for a  group of teenagers from Capelulo to Llangelynin Church,(in Gwynedd North Wales)

I was 9-10 years old and was one of the six children who lived in the village of Capelulo.

My friend Marion and I became territorial when these young people invaded. We planned

an early morning raid on their tents, hoping to sabotage their sleep and their stay. These teenagers were camping

in a field 200 yds up the road from where I slept. They were from Liverpool and were in our village.

Marion and I gathered our sabotaging tools, which amounted to a  torch each , met at 3am, proceeded up to the field,

and tampered with the guy ropes, loosening them , hoping for the tents to collapse. Nothing much happened. It was dark.

We went home.

A couple of days later they, the teenagers and their adult leaders, were walking along the bank of the small river and so was I. Was I

slightly nervous about being told off? Did I expect to get into trouble ? yes I did. One of the adults began talking to me,telling me the group was  called TOC H and was from Liverpool, asking me did I

know the way to the little church? Before I knew it the day had been set, I was to take them all on a guided walk from the village up and up

the steep narrow path to the top of the fairy glen, rambling over spongy grass, pounding earth, all the way along till we reached the tiny,

isolated church. A good three hour walk there and the same back. Except for some of the party who had walked on ahead and missed the turning for the path down.  They finally made it back to camp a couple of hours later.

Making my ‘guide’ affirmation has reminded me of this little tale. When I recounted it to my daughter she was amazed at the freedom and innocence of it all- especially with current legislation for health and safety and I can see her point. For my memory though, it is a fantastic example of  direct and indirect guidance, based on trust.