Wednesday, 4 January 2017

High Jinks for the New Year . . and a catch up.

 I never tire of being amazed by nature . .

Happy New Year!!! 
Here we are in 2017, and we are still here. Let's make the most of it.

I am slowly getting used to my new rural life. Having so much space around the house is wonderful, I am able to see for miles. It makes a change from living in the middle of a housing estate in Brighton! 
The area where I live on the Lopphead peninsula is quite remote. It's 40 minutes to the nearest Aldi and Tesco, but boy, it's worth it. Moving to the West Coast of Ireland is the best thing I have ever done. It took a while to plan - but here I am. 

I am constantly looking at the sky and the land around me, when I am home! 
Just when I think I have found a new colour palette, I find another. Combinations of colours that I have never considered before.

 I was just settling into this colour combination . .

. . . And then this happens . .

  . . and this.

 These pavements are along the coast at Kilbaha.

 There are wonderful textures in the rocks and cliffs, I won't keep posting all my images or this blog will turn into an advert for the Wild Atlantic Way.


I meet a lot of fascinating people on my travels. I met Nicola Brown in Australia 2 or is it 3, years ago when I was I teaching for TAFTA in Geelong. Because these events are quite hectic, I didn't get to know much about Nicola till I listened to her lecture and discovered she was Irish and lived and worked in County Carlow.  Nicola is a feltmaker and eco dyer and printer. Her work is beautiful.

I love the random print on this silk. The colours Nicola achieves from all natural materials is wonderful

I visited Nicola the following month when I was over in Dublin for the Knitting and Stitching Show. I was blown away by her beautiful cottage and workshop. The area around Nicola is quite rural, not too many neighbours nearby. It was at this time that I started to think - I would like to live like this. But how to do it?

It's taken a bit of planning - but I did it. Now I need to wind down the traveling so I am actually here, in my house, to appreciate it.
Because we are so busy we haven't had a lot of opportunity to meet up. We got the chance over New Year when Nicola invited me over for a few days.

 Nicola holding and feeding a 5 day old Zwartbles lamb.

 We had great fun watching the lambs frolic about.

Nicola took me to see her Friend Suzanna who owns a wonderful farm and keeps Zwartbles sheep and a few Alpaca. Do have a look at the website. 
Nicola uses the fleece from these beautiful creatures in her work.

 A gorgeous rusty wheel at the farm.

After the visit to the farm it was all systems go to prepare the house and food for Nicola's New Year party.  
Nicola's dog - Freddy. Such a character.

We had a great time together, catching up and discussing our work and where we thought we may be going with it. Nicola is ahead of me with her online teaching, she has already run 3 very successful courses. We had a bit of time for Nicola to give me the low down on how her online teaching has gone so far. She is always so generous with her information.

Freddy and me posing in Nicola's garden.

It was good to have a break, it all helps with your perspective. Nicola will be visiting me in February. I am very much looking forward to showing her around this stunning part of the world.


I am now starting to get organised for a very busy 4 months - my feet aren't really going to touch the ground. I am teaching at the IDC studios in Redditch for the next 2 weekends. Then I will rush back home for a couple of days and then I fly to India for 10 days with Jamie from Colouricious.
We will be back in Jaipur for another block printing holiday. It is going to be a very exciting trip.
After that there is more to-ing and fro-ing to the UK and then I teach in New Zealand. 

Then - I start filming the videos for my online teaching which should launch in July at the latest. If you would like to be added to my database and be one of the first to hear about my online teaching, please email me -

Things will get less busy as the year goes on. Next year - I will be traveling MUCH less.


Hello Jill, 29 days to go - squeeeaallll!!!
Hello Diana, hope you are warm and snug and happy stitching.
Hello Tod - will definitely ring next week. Lynda has booked her flights to come over at the end of Feb. Yippee.