Happy Mother’s Day


Hi everyone.  I’ve been awake since 3am on what is Mother’s Day in the UK, so I’m going to do a shout out to all mothers, mothers-to-be and those who just need a virtual (((hug))), perhaps because they miss their mums or fell out with their mums or have been separated for whatever reason.

My aunt, an American, married my uncle, a Brit many years ago.  My uncle lived in the US for more than two decades … could have been three earning a living with his Geology qualifications.  He vowed he’d return to the UK when his elderly parents became frail, and that’s exactly what he did.  He brought his wife to England; she thought our houses were ‘quaint’ and laughed at the disastrous ways we deal with a dusting of snow and the whole country grinds to a halt.  But, like most in the UK we Brits like to drink tea and are renowned for our trailing teahouses and cafes snuggled in narrow lanes and along cobbled side streets.

When I was very young, my uncle’s parents (aka my grandparents) were invited over to what we call ‘tea’ (sandwiches, cake and beverages of squash or hot drinks) – which was usually on a weekend because my parents worked and we children were at school in the week – and they turned up in their Triumph, which I then thought was a Mini.  My brother, a bit older than me, was prompted by my mother to make them a cup of tea on their arrival.  Assuming he knew how to do this task, he was allowed to set to work.  Minutes later, with the kettle boiling, there was a moment similar to: ‘You didn’t put diesel in petrol car, did you?’ moment as my mother stood, mouth agape gazing into the kettle.  Her son and my brother had added loose tea leaves to kettle instead of spooning them into the teapot.  She watched as the brown soggy leaves danced and pirouetted in the bubbling water, wondering how she was going to clean up the mishap.

Similarly, well maybe differently, my own son offered to make me a cup of hot chocolate when he was little.  I felt proud of this moment as I waited patiently for him to bring me a mug of steaming chocolate.  I took a tentative sip and found it weak and watery rather than thick and creamy or indeed chocolatey!  ‘How did you make this?’ I asked.

My little boy described how he had one MINI rolo left and wanted to give it to me … so he boiled the kettle, placed the mini rolo in a mug and added hot water to it.  Endearing.  I haven’t tasted anything quite like it!

Tea, on the other hand, is drunk black in our house.  I sometimes drink fruit tea at work.  My mother-in-law, however loves her tea from a teapot and then adds milk.  She likes Earl Grey and is content to receive a box of teabags for any occasion be it a birthday or Christmas.  I hope she likes her Mother’s Day present.  It’s not tea, but a bouquet of flowers will sit nicely on her table while we sip our drinks 🙂image


Haiku for 2015

New memo to self:
Turn a house into a home:
Personalise it.


How many different words can you think of for house or home or living accommodation? If you were asked to draw a house, what would it look like? Would it look like a square with four evenly spaced windows and a door set centrally?
If you were thinking of buying or renting are you drawn to the actual name of the address or the house name? My uncle used to live in a bungalow called Cobwebs and its front door had a stained glass image of a spider’s web, while my father-in-law named his house ‘Hardgraft’ because he bought the biggest house he could and then worked many hours to pay for it!
Here’s a list I’ve come up with and each carries a different story (it may prompt you into some poetry writing!)…

Residential home
Stately home
Nursing home
Tree house
Studio flat

Can you think of any more?


Tonight, loyal followers and likers, I am delighted to be the guest on http://greeneearthoriginals.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/gelli-printing-guest-post-3-with.html
and being interviewed about my gelliprinting. Hope you take time to read it; comment and get inspired 🙂
Some of the images shown in the interview are also found in my recently printed book on printing:


Drawing and story a day #3

Ever forgotten something on a really important day? How about forgetting to put a 35mm film in the camera for your engagement party? We did. Many years ago my father gave me a Fujica camera for my birthday while studying for my ‘A’ Level art and design. He’s an avid photographer who likes to do nature shots of flowers and he’s got a multitude of boat pictures in his collection of slides and displayed in photo albums.
When it came to the momentous occasion of doing a studio photo shoot for my future husband, one of the 35mm reels of film jammed in the camera and without a darkroom, my future father-in-law thought he was being helpful by opening up the back (big no-no as the light destroys the film). Both my boyfriend and I stood mouth agape at the unravelled roll dangling from the back of the camera like the intestines of a cadaver during autopsy.
Later, during our engagement party, we snapped away photo after photo of the cake and the riotous game of skittles only to find that we’d forgotten to include a camera film when it was too late. The drawing of the Fujica camera was an attempt at creating a picture without removing the fineliner pen from the page. There were occasions when I did have to lift the pen though, such as for the lettering to be readable! It was tricky gauging the right dimensions and trying to keep to scale (reason for wonky lens).

My son, now also an avid photographer, enjoys using the Canon and I’ve watched him create and delete photos he’s not happy with and I’ve observed the glee on his face when he’s captured that perfect moment: sunsets and portraits, deer feeding while surrounded by ground frost. I wonder how he’d get on with a 35mm film in a camera where you can’t check the shot and then have to wait a fortnight for it to be developed and printed like back in the 80s? I hope he likes the rubber stamp I cut this evening for him. He can use it over and over again on letter heads or business cards … Or he can use the eraser and gradually the camera will fade away! Lol!
Meanwhile camera fans who read this blog might appreciate a photograph of my son’s kitten he named Nikon, after another camera. Here she is playing around with the dismantled Christmas tree …



A Drawing a Day …

Today my son returned to university. It’s a day mixed with pride and also has a strong emotional tug. I remember well the day I left home – I’d prepared what was known as ‘a bottom drawer’ up in the attic: a collection of pots, plates, cups, cutlery and an assortment of other household items saved for the very moment of moving out. It was different to the moment my son first set off back in September. I got married instead. University came much later and after the arrival of three children. It’s never easy saying goodbye but it is easier keeping in touch now with the use of Skype, instant messagings, texting and emails. We’re wired like birds sitting on the line connecting two telegraph poles. Despite the miles separating us, there is always a virtual hug close at hand, a smiley emoticon or a ringtone alert on the phone. Hopefully, four months won’t seem so long as it does right now… the house is very quiet.


Happy New Year!!!

January 1st – a new day, a new year, and a different kind of blog!

Happy New Year one and all :-). My daughter gave me this book for my birthday. It’s poignant because there is one story for every day of the year and each story is 365 words long.

This year I plan to not just present you with a craft experience, but each craft I showcase or explore will have a story behind it. I hope to be able to share with you the highs and lows of creating a drawing a day as I try and improve my drawing in order to finally make a book.
According to my WordPress stats report, I had 7,900 hits on my Squarebird blog over the year. Thank you everyone who has visited, commented, liked and supported me through the experience of writing my first blog. It has led me to new friendships and the discovery of a craft that I love and revisit frequently. It has led to me being able to sell my art and begin workshopping, so others can also learn in a friendly, social atmosphere. It has brought me through trials, where I my patience was tested. An example of this was making the patchwork chicken pin cushion. Not only had a never done patchwork before, I’d also not worked on such a small piece using fabric block panels.
So on the anniversary of my first blog post … Here’s to another 365 days of fun, craft, blogging and sharing. I hope you join me in this next journey. Enjoy your day wherever you are … Happy January 1st! 🙂


Well the day’s been interesting … And successful

On 27th November, the Bath Christmas market opened to the public, so I decided to take my youngest there to see the wooden cabins and possibly eat the hot chestnuts. But when we arrived at the bus depot the queues were substantial and I thought we’d be standing there going nowhere for at least an hour. We made the decision to abort the idea of going into the city and chose a shopping centre somewhere else. It turned out to be a successful trip: my daughter was about to actually eat her lunch of beans on toast (she’s just had braces fitted on her top and bottom teeth) and we were able to find some Christmas presents and a birthday present. Quite probably, we found more success shopping away from the city than if we’d battled through the crowds.


I also bought some cardstock so I can make some more prints – Christmas cards. Although these Gelli ducks printed on fabric aren’t Christmassy, my polar bear ATC is!



Also, as you know I’ve been busy typing away at a first draft novel as part of National Novel Writing Month. Tonight I reached the 50,000 words target. Whoop! Whoop! The story’s still not finished, so I plan to write some more tomorrow, but at least I know it’s backed up and ready to validate so I can get my certificate 🙂


This is how many pages 50,000 words takes up on my laptop.

Hope all you lovely people are enjoying the run up to Christmas and that you’re all having fun creating. Now it’s off to bed for me – night all 🙂

A further update on National Novel Writing Month …

My progress chart … This is one of the reasons why I like taking part: there’s a word counter which informs you how many more words are left to go.

Although I’ve not been posting a craft daily this month, I’ve been busy beavering away at the keyboard and creating my first draft of a novel; working overtime at work and being a mum! Hope you lovely people who take time to visit my blog are all well and I promise there will be some more handicrafts in the run up to Christmas including a fun giveaway. Yay! 🙂

Hand printed felt and an update

It wasn’t my intention to stay away from blogging for long, if at all, but illness meant I had no choice but to stay away from the computer. Sadly, that meant also not being able to showcase what I’ve been working on in secret as it’s not quite dry yet. Watch this space for a special Christmas giveaway coming up shortly; I do hope you lovely people will like it and want to take part. In the meantime I managed to do a bit of handprinted felt this afternoon and catch up on my novel writing – I had to even miss two days of writing because of a migraine :-(. But, I’m back on track with my characters jumping off a freight train and my word count is almost up to what it should be for this weekend.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, my daughter is also writing a novel … She’s up to chapter 34 now and over lunch we discussed the excitement of knowing other people have been reading her story-in-progress as she writes each chapter. I haven’t read any of her book yet but she tells me that if you type the title in Google it comes at the top of the list. She gets a buzz out of that. I hope her enthusiasm continues and who knows, maybe next year she’ll join in National Novel Writing Month or even win a creative writing contest 🙂

My printed felt which will be turned into a journal cover.
Also, an update on the craft fair I took part in recently. I received a letter yesterday informing me on how much was raised for
Children’s Hospice. Thanks to everyone who braved the thick fog and either participated in running a stall or bought from the stalls, we raised a respectable £635 🙂