Step by step sunflower

So I decided show a step by step of one of my sunflowers

Materials : fabric bag dyed navy blue 41*41cm

.Aunt Lydia’s crotchet thread : Mexicana. Second hand poly cotton for the centre of the flower (14cm circle cut two.)

Red linen for petals (cut 18)

Yellow fabric for details.

Red variageted  thread (I used second hand, but anchor do a similar one called Coton Pearle),

Yellow thread for accents and to attach yellow fabric. Purple variegated thread to add depth to the petals.

Quilting pins to initially attach everything to the bag

I have been sewing mandalas using Aunt Lydia’s Crotchet thread. I use 2 layers of fabric and source dense patterns on second hand fabric – I start in the middle and work outwards sewing in a variety of different stitches. I don’t use the same stitches on any of the mandalas.


I cut out 18 red petals making them the same height as the centre diameter- though a section is tucked under the centre.  Secure in place using running stitch around the edges, including the centre.



I added yellow accents in scraps of yellow fabric and stitched that in place with running stitch


Add running stitch close together in variegated red thread to add tone and texture to each petal

I decided to add some variegated purple to the petals to add depth. I also decided to add some anthers in yellow with purple outlines. These details haven’t been added all the way round the centre.


MontJaux 2019

We don’t usually visit the French house in September. This year it was just Jon and I  for a few days, then Dad joined us.

Jon wanted to visit some where new . We have been visiting this area for over 30yrs.

When we drive  up the A75 from Beziers we pass sign posts for the Cirque de Navacelles which is the remains of a large oxbow lake. I wasn’t prepared for the depth or the scale of it.

img_20190905_120753 We drove down to the centre and the village for lunch.


The doors were decorated with cardabelles – the flower of the region and for the first time I also saw shoes.

My Dad is always renovating bits of the house. This year he and my brother organised a new terrace door. Which has become my new favourite view.



Embroidery flowers


I have been absent on my blog for a bit. Everything goes in phases……. Recently I have been making large colourful embroidered flowers. The centres have evolved into brightly coloured mandalas – the petals are attached with running stitch. I have been collecting second hand fabric bags to decorate.

This week I decided to go back to blue

Curating my Instagram feed

The daughter is working for an agency that looks after Instagram influencers and she has been encouraging me to look at my feed and think about how I post.

I have been watching free webinars too. This inspired me to begin keeping a bank of hashtags,

H suggested that I think about posting images in themes. It all seemed a bit much, but I found after deciding to choose a bank of white images. I was more aware walking around Edinburgh and I enjoyed thinking within the restrictions. It helps that the sun has been shining and its spring. I decided to think about 6-9 images.

Jon was given a white rose to raise his awareness in ovarian cancer

It also helps that the New Town in Edinburgh is stunning architecturally – I am not 100% happy with how I have placed the letting on my zines though ………

Day 2

Monika and I were working in Dunfermline today at the Carnegie Library which won awards when it was built in 2017

I had a few minutes after our session ended to take photos. The spring sunshine and the views inspired today’s Instagram posts of slices of images through windows.

The Abbey and gardens look great anyway but framing them adds a slightly surreal feel. Particularly in the stair wells .

I took a load more shots too I couldn’t help my self. Always a sucker for a bit of award winning architectural detail

Art journaling – around migraines

I have written before about my migraines. I had another stinker over the last couple of days that left me feeling disoriented and with my eyes feeling very odd. I listened to a Shelley Klammer art journaling webinar called ‘Diving Deep’ I haven’t even finished listening to Shelleys course and I was inspired.

I used the soft eye techniques flipping through magazines and collecting images and text. I wanted to work with something around eyes and glasses because of the disorientation. I am always touching my glasses – to make sure that I am seeing as accurately as I can.

The words just jumped out at me.

I added a bit more text in the distorted clocks because time seems to stand still, when I am in the full episode.

I wanted to represent the feelings of too much going on in my head. I added pen scribble and white paint to add more texture and oddness to the composition.

I made the collage in a book that I had worked in before. The page on the left had a hole in it – I was very pleased that serendipity played a part – when I closed the page one of the eyes was exactly in the aperture. The framed eye has a lot more impact that when seen within the composition.

Self Compassion dolls

Tess and Monika decided to run a session on compassion after the workshop attendees reacted to Tess’s doll silouhettes.

Monika and I are working with an art journaling for self care group in Edinburgh.

We wanted to do something on self- compassion. Last week we worked on emotions and sensations within the body. I felt that the group reacted quite strongly to the body shapes I produced. I chose an imperfect slightly rounded body shape to work. 

Because of the groups reactions, we thought it would be great to work on self compassion- being kind to their inner critic. I found a few resources on line that were really helpful

The last link is an article by Patricia Rose Williams for the Canadian Art Therapy association journsl . Within the article is table of exercises and ideas for art projects.

‘For example, creating a simple wrapped doll with a variety of textiles and embellishments can become a powerful symbol of the self.’

I wanted to adapt this and make a doll that could be added to an art journal.

ACTIVITY: Practicing Self-Compassion

The purpose of this activity is to introduce the concept of self-compassion. It will allow participants to assess how they currently practice self-compassion and to begin thinking of ways they could become more self- compassionate.


Self-compassion is defined as being kind and understanding to one’s self in times of suffering, failure, or when we feel inadequate. Self-compassion contributes to increased resiliency. People who practice self-compassion can take responsibility for negative experiences but don’t get overwhelmed by bad feelings.

Self-compassion researcher Kristen Neff identifies three components of self-compassion:

1) Self-kindness: being kind and understanding to one’s self in times of suffering, failure, or when we feel inadequate.

2) Shared humanity: Suffering and being imperfect are part of the shared human experience. Everyone suffers and everyone feels inadequate sometimes.

3) Mindfulness: Observing our negative thoughts and emotions openly and without judgment, but realising they are just thoughts and emotions. They are not facts.

• Ask the group what they think self-compassion is. After they respond, share the definition .

• Ask the group for their thoughts and feedback on the exercise.

• Does anyone feel they are already very good at self-compassion? Does anyone feel this is

something they need to work on?

• Why do we tend to be so critical of ourselves?

• What are some other ways we could practice self-compassion

1) Think about a time when a friend or family member was going through a hard time or felt bad about themselves. What did you do in that situation (how did you act, what did you say, what tone did you use)?

2) Now think about a time when you were struggling or feeling bad. What did you do in that situation (how did you act, what did you say to yourself about the situation, were you self- critical or kind)?

3) Is there a difference between how you treat a friend who is suffering and how you treat yourself? If so, why?

4)How could you treat yourself more like you would treat a loved one the next time you are suffering or feel “not good enough”?

For more information on self-compassion, visit Dr. Kristen Heff’s website:

About the Book

The writing activity above was adapted from “How Would You Treat a Friend?” at: the

Sources/ More Information

On a paper doll I wrote down things that I don’t find easy about my self

I wanted to use paper to wrap the doll in, but wanted it to be more like fabric, so I scrunched it up to create texture, I wrapped a section of the doll in th paper and attached it using washi tape, so that it looked like a blanket, then I attached the doll to the page using comments about self compassion.

The above doll comes out of the red wrap so that I can use it for a teaching aid. I decided that I wanted to make another doll today – I get really bad migraines and after suffering for a few days I decided I wanted to make my own doll

I scrunched and coloured the paper with water soluble pastels and hand wrote out the statements, it felt more mindful and I had more control. I made a nest of paper scraps, wrapped the doll in ripped out coloured paper with the colours up against her body and stuck her in the nest. As an exercise this was a lot more satisfying for me. I like how messy it is ….. the top one is a bit toooo clinical


Who knew that was a hashtag! The cherry blossoms are still beautiful in Edinburgh. I try and get down to the Meadows when they are in bloom.

I wanted to celebrate where I am and what I have been doing so I decided to have a go blending some images.

There was a fab art panel on a wall near Middle Meadow walk so I tried layering that with some of my blossom picks

But my photos were to busy

Then I had a go at mixing with my stitching

But I handn’t fiddled with it enough – I love the way the sky shows through though.

I used layout and my iPhone camera phone app to copy , rotate and reflect the image to get a pattern. I used to use an app called Reflection to do this, but it started crashing all the time…….