Wednesday, 31 August 2011

creating a mood


I’ve been having fun with my camera, taking photos of my new pyrography necklaces for my etsy shop. The forest has been great for finding different textures and backgrounds. I completely lost track of time and it became like when I am drawing, completely focused on just one thing, all the stress of life melted away.


Trying to think up ways of putting across my feelings for these necklaces through the photos is hard but I think I’m getting there! I’m hoping to come up with a sort of formula to make the following necklaces quicker to put into the shop.


I’m not sure I can count the photography part as work because I enjoy it so much, and there’s the added bonus that Floss gets a walk at the same time.

I have noticed the leaves changing colour already and Autumn is definitely in the air. The smell of Autumn in the forest is so evocative for me. When I was four, my first night away from home was with school to a place called Fox Howl in the forest. I can still remember the ranger taking us on a walk to show us all the different types of fungi. It was all such a big adventure.

Saturday, 27 August 2011



I took a deep breath and polished the oxidisation off. I hope they’re pleased with it.

Friday, 26 August 2011

silver patina

I’ve been making a keepsake for my god-daughter-to-be with silver metal clay. I took some photos after I oxidised the pendant with liver of sulphur because the colours that appeared were really beautiful. I can hardly bare to polish this back but the original idea was just to give it an antique finish and make the letter stand out more. I know it’s possible to keep patinas like this with some special wax but I think they eventually darken. Mmmm… what to do???!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

sketchbook honey bee to thank you card


I recently bought myself some new Triplus pens and they have completely changed the way I use my sketchbook. I just love them! I use them for drawing, sketching out ideas, trying designs for pyrography, list making and lots more.

I drew this bee in my sketchbook, the amazing thing about drawing is that you notice and learn so much more about the subject you’re studying. For instance, I never knew that bees had little claw-like feet and such hairy legs!

I scanned my drawing into Photoshop and after a bit of tweaking came up with this which I liked better for what I had in mind.honey-bee-copy-plain-after-

It was one day last week, we were walking Floss and got talking to a man outside his house who owns a chocolate factory (can you imagine how lovely that would be?!). He told us he keeps bees so he can use the honey in his confectionery. I’ve always been interested in beekeeping so asked him lots of questions and then as I was getting round to asking him if he sold the wax (thinking that it would be great to use on my pyrography being so local) he fetched us a jar of honey and wouldn’t take anything in return.honey-bee-thank-you-blog

A thank you card! I hope he likes it.


And to think, that honey might have been made using the flowers from our garden! How ace is that? I’ve never tried local honey before. It doesn’t taste like any honey I’ve tasted before and it’s delicious.

Thursday, 4 August 2011



A lovely sunny weekend exploring the honey coloured villages and towns of the Cotswolds. I wish I had some photos to show you of the magical cottage gardens we saw. There seems to be a big hollyhock fan club. They were everywhere. There also seems to be lots of old fashioned sweet shops with jars upon jars of goodies. I hope my dentist is not reading this.

Usually before I go away I do loads of research to make sure we’re not missing anything but this time we went without a clue of what we would find and left it all to chance. Very relaxing just wandering on a whim. It turned out that Hidcote was just down the road.


This huge garden is divided in lots of ‘rooms’ all with different characters. The mural below was a big surprise.


It’s hard to tell which is painting and which is part of the structure.

All in all a great weekend and there’s still so much of our fab country that I’ve never been too. Where is your favourite place for a weekend away?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A peek at what I’ve been crafting…

woodburn create necklace 2

I’ve been woodburning designs and patterns onto beads and making necklaces with my pyrography kit. For ages now I’ve been fascinated by tattoos, especially old school type tatts. I’d love to get one done (my mum is horrified by this even though I’m in my mid 30’s! Haha!) but I hate needles so it will take a lot of courage. I’m a big fan of The Cannibal Bonbon blog, her work is amazing! So maybe one day I will travel to Paris for a tattoo. Maybe! In the mean time I will play with some tatts on wood and I’ll wear one round my neck instead.

woodburn create necklace

I’ve got lots more designs to show you, many of them are geometric patterns (another fascination of mine at the moment) and I’m working on building up a collection and putting them in my etsy shop. I’d really like to open a new shop with a brand new name for my pyrography but I’m finding it hard to choose one and I’m not sure it’s a good idea after building up some good feedback with Bird Ahoy. But now would be the best time to do it. What to do… what to do…?

Any suggestions would be very welcome! Especially for a name.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

old red fox pyrography

old red fox pyrography 3

My latest woodburning.

old red fox pyrography 1

Old Red’s a wily fox who likes nothing more than finding a quiet spot to sunbath. He knows that he’s less likely to be spotted if he follows the edge of the field and in any case, everyone knows that the edge is always the most interesting place to be with all the wild flowers, animals and birds nesting!

old red fox pyrography 2

I have taken to hanging these little circles of English sycamore wood on the wall like mini artworks.

old red fox pyrography 4

There is also a small slice of yew that I’m working on from the timber yard down the road. I’ve decided on a sleeping fox this time. Rumours of a mini festival being organised at the yard centred around wood craft with a barbeque and some live music have caught my interest. Sounds like fun! My friend asked if I’d like to show some of my work so of course I said yes! Better get cracking then!

Bye for now.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Where I would love to live…

Marloes beach in Pembrokeshire.

We have not long come back from a lovely break which included in no particular order:

  • Lots of gorgeous beaches, some sandy, some pebbly, some rocky, some deserted, some with other dogs to play with.

Freshwater West

  • A boat trip round Ramsey Island which Floss seemed to really enjoy (her second boat trip ever!) We saw seals, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, blackbacks, gannets and a buzzard.

Boat trip from St. Justinians around Ramsey Island

  • A game of rounders on Barafundle beach with Flossy’s tennis ball and a driftwood bat. Great fun, especially with our lightning-fast furry black fielder!
  • Over-sized food… in the form of a giant ice cream that Mr P accidently ordered to the amusement of the queue behind him. I laughed so much I cried and Floss somehow ended up with it all over her head as it dripped through the picnic bench. There was also a giant hot chocolate drank in a breezy beer garden at the Druidstone Hotel (a mad, arty, laid back place if ever there was one!)

Humongous hot chocolate at The Druidstone Hotel

  • Stumbling across an exhibition at a fab gallery in St Davids of one of our fav artists, Chris Neale. It must have been fate and a painting was somehow found room for in the car for the journey home.
  • A fab holiday house in Little Haven called Regatta Cottage. We fell asleep to the sound of waves breaking on the beach and there was a great spot on the terrace to watch the sun setting over the sea. It also had an ace shower in the ensuite.

Little Haven

  • Beautiful wild flowers everywhere, the bluebells and red campion looked so beautiful against the bright green of the cow parsley flower buds on the tall banks down the winding lanes.
  • Seaweed! On one beach in particular I found so many different types of different shapes, sizes and colours that I went a bit mad with the camera and ran the battery down!

  • A couple of good drenchings. Well it wouldn’t be a proper British holiday without it and as long as you’ve got the right clothing and a pub to dry off in afterwards there’s no reason not to get out there.

05 08 11_0414
Looking out towards Skomer Island.

  • Strolling round the little harbour of Porthgain and eating fish and chips at The Shed.


  • Buying some sea thrift from the perennial nursery as a souvenir so I will be reminded when I’m in the garden.

Traeth Llyfn

I think my one ambition in life is to live here one day. Can’t wait to go back again soon!

Monday, 18 April 2011

exciting parcel

It wasn’t my birthday, but it felt like it when this came through the post! Gorgeous wrapped goods from vintage squirrel! Look at that lovely ceramic button!!

And inside was the lovely woolly flower brooch I have had my eye on since I saw it in this blog post.
vintagesquirrel flower brooch 1
The only photo out of about 30 that I managed to focus on the flower!
I’ve been wearing it constantly since I received it. Thanks Katie! I really think you should charge more for them. I am very tempted to buy another in different colours.

Monday, 21 March 2011

lovely aberdovey

aberdovey mosaic blog

Wanderlust led us to Aberdovey on the Snowdonia coast this weekend.

We travelled through the dead of night and found ourselves winding our way up the side of a mountain, bumping over pot holes, around hairpin bends to a little wooden cabin. The moon was so big and bright it lit up the whole of the estuary below and the hills beyond.

The next morning the sun shone as though it was summer and we ate our breakfast outside a cafe wearing our sunglasses and later relaxed in a beer garden overlooking the estuary. The golden sandy beach stretches on for miles, backed by sand dunes and with glorious views we walked and played with Floss, kicking her ball for her to fetch. It was so good to spend some time together.

There is nothing like exploring a new place to refresh your creative spirit.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

a thoroughly English afternoon tea

afternoon tea 2 blog

On Sunday Mr P treated me to afternoon tea at a posh hotel. When we arrived a table had been all laid out for us in a quiet lounge next to a large window overlooking over the gardens. We settled down on a comfy sofa and soon the table was filled with tea, cakes and finger sandwiches. After being on a diet (admittedly on and off but mostly on) since October and finally hitting my target weight, I almost squealed with delight to see mini chocolate ├ęclairs and scones with clotted cream. The scones were so light they would have blown away had the window been opened! Everything was delish and we almost managed to polish it all off.

afternoon tea 1 blog

A woman who saw me taking photos offered to take one of the two of us and this was the result. Isn’t it posh?! We both had a giggle at it as it’s really not us at all. But a lovely reminder of an exquisite couple of hours away from the norm.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

painted pebbles

sleepy fox pebble
I got a bit fed up with the dust from engraving pebbles recently and decided to try painting them for a change. So much easier to clean up afterwards! The beautiful piece of wood underneath is a piece of yew branch that my friend cut and sanded for me. It’s so lovely that I’m struggling to take my pyrography pen anywhere near it, although my friend is insisting that’s why he gave it to me. I am ecstatic to have some local wood that has come from a tree surgeon who is very passionate about trees. He always tries to find the best use for every part of the trees he works with (if he can’t save them) and does his best to make sure the wood won’t end up in a landfill in 30 years time by becoming cheap veneered furniture.
painted pebbles collection

Anyway, back to the pebbles… birds and foxes, I think my favourite is the owl. I’ve come to realise that if I draw them straight out onto the pebble without using my sketchbook they have more spontaneity and better lines. All these pebbles are quite tiny and I had to use a very fine brush.
painted pebbles collection 2
Did you hear the good news about the forests?!!! I was so relieved to hear the announcement that after the immense public response our government have decided to drop their plans to sell our public woodland!!!!! How brilliant is that?!!! Thank you so much to everyone who signed the petition or wrote an email. People power really does work!!
old beech tree trunk

Wednesday, 16 February 2011



Yes, I’ve been at it again and I’m still lost in the woods but with the mushrooms this time. I enjoyed trying out some more pen and ink type hatching on this woodburning. Although I wish that I’d made the toadstool a bit more jaunty looking. Maybe I’ll do another one. I’ve been using Danish oil on the previous woodburnings to finish them off although I’d like a more environmentally friendly oil finish if there is one. Any ideas?

poisonous toadstool 3

poisonous toadstool 2

If I’m not burning bits of wood with my pyrography machine or out walking Floss I’m to be found curled up somewhere with my new kindle, a present from Mr P. I downloaded Jane Eyre as my first book to read, never read it before and really loving it. Although it seems paradoxical to be reading a book written in the 19th century on an electronic device and I am feeling a bit sentimentally lost without the feel of paper and the smell of a real book, I also love the fact that I never lose my page, my arm never aches and it’s just so easy to turn the page or look up a word that I don’t understand, I can read in bed without waking Mr P up too. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl. Also, I love the random pictures of authors which appear when you turn the device off. Has anyone else got one?

Right, must go and walk Floss in the forest before it goes dark. Bye for now.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

green deep woods

deep woods woodburning 1

Here is my latest offering… a piece of sycamore burned with a bird in the rain. I changed the wire ‘nib’ on the wood burning machine for this one. It has a sort of spoon shape and is good for shading.

The woods are on my mind a lot at the moment. On Wednesday the government, after a heated debate followed by a divided vote and then a further vote behind locked doors, finally opted to go ahead and sell our public forests and woodland. This isn’t the end of the road though, as the Save Our Woods campaign journey will carry on to the House of Lords and the House of Commons. You can still sign the petition here… it will make a difference. Over 450,000 people have now added their names! During the debate a number of conservative MPs also expressed concern about the amount of letters they were receiving from their constituents… write to your MP here. It’s made very easy for you and only takes a few minutes depending on how much you want to add.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

on not knowing when to stop

nut tea woodburning 1

So this is how it is now.

squirrel nut tea before

And this is how it was when I should have probably stopped.

I don’t know, what do you think?

I just can’t seem to stop tweaking things sometimes and then eventually I forget where I started from.

nut tea woodburning 2

I think I just wanted it to look older and a bit worn and not so pristine. Not sure if I succeeded or not without ruining it.

nut tea woodburning 3

Anyway, these two squirrels are enjoying a cup of nut tea on a huge fly agaric mushroom! I used another piece of English sycamore for the wood burning, it’s a large key ring.

I got a bit het up before when I was reading the news. The pope’s visit last year cost the taxpayer £10m, this was for just a few days. Apparently that is around about the same amount it costs the government (after timber sales) to look after the forests for a whole year. No disrespect, but I know which I would rather have.

If you haven’t already signed the petition to stop the government selling our public forests, please sign it here. You can also email your MP. The website makes it really easy to do and call me sad but it’s quite exciting to get a fancy letter through your door with ‘House of Commons’ embossed on the envelope (not cutting the stationery budget then?).

Right, feeling much calmer now, which is good considering I’m about to get hold of that pyrography machine again!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

a magical place

llandwyn lighthouse
On Sunday we spent a few tranquil but freezing cold hours on Llanddwyn Island (also known as lover’s island) on Anglesey. It’s a really special place and when you’re there you feel like you’re a million miles away from civilisation.
llandwyn pilot houses

These tiny cottages used to be where the lighthouse keeper lived, I can’t imagine what that must have been like. Now they are all empty and one houses an exhibition of the island.
llandwyn cross
This is a very ancient, spiritual place. The view across the sea to the mountains of Snowdonia is really beautiful and the light is ever changing.
llandwyn pony 1
The only residents are the ponies who keep the grass down.
lesley & floss on llandwyn

A really lovely place to be.
Strangely, I turned the TV on last night and there was a film on called Half Light with Demi Moore in it. She was standing in a red and white lighthouse and I said to Mr P that looks just like Llanddwyn but with a red and white lighthouse superimposed on it, and sure enough it was.