Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The T Shirt Blanket

Well hello, dear reader. How are you? I hope all is well. I'm good, thank you, but busy, busy, busy. I like being busy and this makes me happy. My textiles course is brilliant, and is taking a couple of days per week of my time. At the moment I'm doing lots of work on learning to draw and making marks. Sometimes it's a little frustrating as I'd like to leap ahead to the sewing bit, but I'm realistic enough to know that I need to work on this stage pretty hard; my drawing is terminally rubbish. I'm going to set up a separate blog to track my college work, I think. I'll share a link when it's up and running and, if you're interested, you can pop over and have a look at what I'm doing.

Today I wanted to talk to you about the second of my columns in Handmade Living magazine. It was published in the August edition. It talks about our family days out at Spurn Point.


Day by the seaside

Spurn is an amazing place. It is a spit of land that's slowly being reclaimed by the sea. It is wild and lonely, with raging hot-chocolate coloured tides and sandy beaches peppered with wild sea grass. The skies are massive as the surrounding land is very flat, and the beaches are peppered with long gone coastal defences: well worn bricks, rusted pieces of metal and eroded concrete. We go to take photos and walk and throw stones into the sea. 

I took these pictures at Spurn in 2009. It's amazing how much the boys have changed since then!

Spurn collage 1

Jonny was just a boy, bless him. Now he's tall and muscular and strong. A man. 

Spurn collage 2

I love the texture of Spurn Point. At one point the path narrows, being eroded on both sides, so that the sea is to your left, and the Humber estuary to your right. One side smells briny, and the other brackish.

Spurn collage 3

There is something about the moodiness of that picture of Dom that makes me weak at the knees. He's bemused by this, and his mum thinks it's a dreadful picture. 


Spurn collage 4

Charlie is but a baby! He's lost his baby cheeks now, and is a proper, lithe, six year old boy. I miss those chubby baby cheeks.

Last time we went to Spurn there was an unusally high tide. The power of the sea was utterly magnificent. That night part of the road was washed away. Spurn is a land that will be reclaimed to the sea in the next few years - often large chunks disappear overnight. That overpowering feeling of loss and the raw power of nature pervades the place. It forcefully reminds me to live in the present, and to appreciate all the things that I currently hold dear.

In the spirit of this magical land, I wanted to make a beach blanket that was respectful to it's environment, but also provided a base for family adventures. It needed to be cheery and comfortable and practical. 

At the same time, I was sorting out bags of clothes the boys had grown out of, and was trying to find time to take them to the charity shop. Then an idea hit. Why not re-use those fabrics to makes something special?

Beach blanket 1

In order to make a family sized beach blanket, you need several T shirts. I used 17, big and small. As you are knitting in squares, you can knit up a square each time you have some spare fabric - it'll take a while to get enough together to piece the final blanket, but it'll be worth the wait.

Beach blanket 2

Making the yarn

Cut the T shirt across the body under the arms. This should give you a tube of fabric. At the bottom seam, cut into the t shirt at an angle, until the cut is about 2cms deep. Then start to cut the shirt horizontally, 2cms from the bottom seam all the way round. You should aim to cut into into one long strip, so will need to work at a slight angle, like peeling an apple. If you do end up with a shorter length, fret not, just tie the ends together tightly. Don't worry about plastic transfers or embroidery on the T shirt, just keep snipping. These add to the texture of the yarn, and give a visual reminder of where the fabric has come from.

Beach blanket 3

Knitting Up

You will need huge 20mm knitting needles. Cast on 20 stitches. Knit five rows in garter stitch. Cast off. Knit as many squares as you have yarn available.

Colour Correction

You may be lucky and your t shirts all look good together. On the other hand, you may end up like me with lots of mucky, stained school shirts that don't look great even when knitted into squares. If this is the case, you can correct the colours with dye.

I used Dylon Machine Use Dye, that I purchased from Hobbycraft for £6.49 per colour. I chose bright colours as I wanted something to cheer us up on beach days. However, with dye, the world is your oyster. The only things you must bear in mind are this:

  1. Man made fibres will not dye easily. Most t shirts are different blends of cotton and man made fibres like acrylic. This means that you will get varying shades from one load according to the amount of natural fibres in each item.

  2. Most modern items are made with acrylic thread. This means the thread usually stays white even when the rest of the fabric changes colour.

  3. The larger the number of items in any one dye wash, the lighter the shade will be generally. For very intense colours, use a small number of fabric pieces.

  4. It is very difficult to lighten dark colours. I would recommend only dying lighter shades.

  5. Normal colour mixing rules apply. For example, if you dye yellow fabric a blue shade, then you will end up with green.

I really like Machine Dye as it's so simple to use. You just add cooking salt to the drum, followed by the powdered dye and the fabric pieces. Set to a 40 degree wash and leave alone. Watching that first turn of the drum where the colour first meets the fabric is a special kind of magic!

Beach blanket 4

Joining the Squares

If you have several different colour squares, it's worth playing around to see how best you can put together your pieces. Do you have enough for a gradual rainbow change? A chequerboard pattern? Something random? I like to take a photo of each of my pieces and arrange them as a photo collage. I use Picnik, but I am sure there are other equally good photo collage services out there (if you know a better one, please let me know!)

Once you have decided what sort of pattern you want, join the squares with single crochet, with spare t shirt yarn. A tutorial can be found on the web here


Et voila! A new use for old fabrics you have knocking around the house, and a blanket that will hopefully be the scene of many a new family adventure. Here's hoping many a picnic is consumed upon her, and many sandy feet run across her - and that Spurn stays around for a good long time yet.

With love

Claire x

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

So, I've been keeping a little secret....

And before you ask - NO! I'm not pregnant! hahaha.

Earlier in the year I had the good fortune to come across some very lovely ladies who work at All Craft Media, the publishing company that produces such brilliant magazines as Handmade Living, Sew Hip, Knit and Inside Crochet.  The link was made through the Folksy blog, as they were looking for craft writers. I sent off a quick 'hello' with some ideas, fully expecting to hear nothing in return. To my amazement I was offered a regular gig - a monthly column at Handmade Living. Yippppeeeee!

I've got a few editions under my belt now, so I wanted to share them with you. I wanted to keep this under my hat for a bit, because it didn't seem fair to share the content of my pieces with those who had not read the magazine. I'm going to use my blog to share the back story of my pieces, and to point you to the places you might buy this magazine of fabulousness. It's available from Hobbycraft, WH Smith, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsburys and Martins. Good local newsagents will order it for you if you ask them. You can download an individual digital edition by clicking here, or you can subscribe by clicking here.

Here was my first piece:

Tea at nans

Called "Tea at Nan's" this piece reminisces about my summers as the youngest child of a gaggle of 10 cousins. We would chase each other around the vegetable patch, play hide and seek and feed our dolls with a bakelite pink plastic teaset.


nans tea 6


Sunday tea was always a special occasion. There were loads of us crammed into my Nan's best room - twelve adults, ten children and sometimes other friends and neighbours. The adults *all* smoked - the men mainly smoked pipes, from what I recall, and I still remember it's heady scent, mixed with the tang of coal dust, fondly. After tea we were allowed a sip of sherry mixed with lemonade, if we were lucky. I don't even think that the adults were allowed undiluted sherry, and one was very definitely everyone's limit. My Nan was extremely concerned about What The Neighbours Might Say.

Nans tea 2


Whether it was winter or summer, tea was always tinned salmon sandwiches (cut into triangles; a luxury in our house), plain crisps bought from the pub, salad separated out into individual bowls and pork pie. Woe betide the person who ate the last slice of pork pie! Pudding was a community affair - my mum and most of my aunties were keen bakers, so we often had a selection of home made shortbread, chocolate cakes and - best of all - my Nan's pointy little rock buns. These delights were usually served with warm Cornish ice cream (Nan had no freezer, so someone would dash to the village cafe for the ice cream before Tea, and we would eat it semi-melted.) Strangely enough, our family would also eat bread and butter with their pudding - my Mum tells me this is a war time trick to make the good things go further. Even if it sounds weird, brown bread and butter with ice cream is delicious, believe me.

During The Tea, my Grandad's friend would always turn up with a contraption that was something important to do with racing pigeons. To this day, I'm not sure what it was. As a five or six year old, I was never allowed to accompany Grandad to talk to this man in the hall. Instead I used to stand next to the door, and push my face against it's creamy, smooth gloss paint in an effort to work out this mystery.


nans tea 3

I thought I'd share with you the recipe for my Nan's delicious buns. The photos are ones that I took this summer, having given them a bit of a modern facelift. Nan's were always plain and, as I said earlier, always pointy. They didn't come in fancy cases either. This is a war time recipe passed down my family, and it's still just as good today as it ever was. I only need to bake a batch to be transported back to my Nan's happy, hot and slightly damp house. My sons love them too, unaware of the history behind them. Enjoy! X

nans tea 4


225g Self Raising Flour

85g Margarine

30g Vegetable Fat (like Trex)

110g Caster Sugar

2 eggs, mixed with milk to make 1/4 pint


1. Pre-heat the oven to 90C / 200F / Gas Mark 6

2. Rub the margarine and fat into the flour, or whizz in a food processor, until it has a breadcrumb-like texture

3. Mix in the sugar

4. Whisk the eggs and, if they measure less than a 1/4 pint, top up with milk

5. Add the egg mixture slowly (I drizzle it in whilst the food processor is whirring). The final mixture should be a dropping consistency - slowly add more milk if it's dry.

6. Spoon the mixture into greased bun tins, or paper muffin cases.

7. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown.


You can change the recipe by adding 110g of dried fruit, glace cherries or chocolate chips. You can also substitute 30g of cocoa powder for the self raising flour. Decorate with melted chocolate and brown sugar.


Friday, 9 September 2011

Starting Anew

"Starting Anew" has been the caption under my Facebook profile for a good couple of years. Way back in the dark days of 2009, it was the only way that I could put a positive spin on the depression. Part of me, deep down, knew that I would get better, and that I would move on and maybe even flourish on day. "Starting Anew" sounded a bit like I was getting divorced (again), but I knew what it meant to me, my husband didn't mind, and so it stuck.

Well, today I am actually starting anew in a real and tangible way. Here before you stands a student! I have not been a student since 1997, although I was slimmer and prettier then, so I'm kind of hoping my new status invokes some of the old. But even so. Me, a student! Wow!

My last post didn't actually work in the way it was intended. I doubt very much that the tutor visited my blog as no-one responded to me email. Boo, Hull College, poor show. On the other hand, maybe this was a nudge from the hands of the Gods. Maybe Hull College was never meant to be. Rather than an Art Foundation course (which, if you think about it, is designed just to lead on to other courses), I am now a student on no less than a BA (Hons) in Textiles! Get me!

The course looks brilliant. It's with OCA and well worth a Google. I am desperately excited at being given the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and to make things with art as their primary function (for me, that means aesthetic and meaning, rather than being something that needs to be useful first and foremost). I've already done a BA once, but didn't feel confident enough to tackle an MA in a different subject, especially after all these years. The only real consequences are time (it'll take about 5 years to complete the BA, but that's cool, I'm enjoying raising my family at the same time and wouldn't want to short cut that) and money. It's eye wateringly expensive, for us, at least. I do worry about money, and I know that Dom does. But it's important to find some sort of meaning in the experiences of the last couple of years, and I really need a new direction in my career. I have high hopes that this course will suit both.

I'm very intrigued by the other students I will meet. Unlike last time, pretty much all the students will be "mature" like me. They all have their own talents, opinions, thoughts, families, home circumstances and personalities, and I'm really hoping that I get the chance to meet as many fellow students as possible, even if it is just online. University is quite unique in bringing together likeminded people, I think.

It's a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I'm thrilled, excited, terrified, anxious, worried about how I'll fit it all in, buzzing with ideas and really keen to actually get stuck in. I'm also going to have to get a grip on our finances to enable us to do what we need to do with the resources we have. It's going to be a challenge, but I'm hoping it'll be a good one.

So, that's me! Back at school and feeling rather first day-ish. I'll keep you posted.

Lots of love

Claire x








Monday, 15 August 2011

Things of which I am proud...

I am considering going back to college. When I was there first time around, I studied English, Media and Politics. I did a year long PGCE. These were all enjoyable things at the time, but as I've grown older, I've changed.

I'm doing a lot of research into what my next steps would be. I'd LOVE to do the year long art foundation course, but I'm not sure that I have the required drawing skills, to be honest. I really want to push myself, though, and I haven't got 2 or 3 years to do a course in; I need a relatively quick fix. I am passionate about textiles. I love what I do. I want to get better at it, and I want to meet local people who are good at it too. I'd also like to learn what else I might be good at, with the right effort, instruction and opportunity. I'd really, really like to do print making, with a view to printing my own fabric.

I have sent a link to my blog to a college tutor. I don't know if he/she will take a look, but it got me thinking. How do I want to represent myself? What am I most proud of?


I'll tell you my insecurities. I'm worried that my work is parochial and twee and not arty enough. I worry that I'm too old and too frumpy. I worry that I don't have enough talent or skill to make it work in that arena known as "art" rather than "craft"


I love the work I do, but it's work that I do for money, so it's necessarily commercial. Who knows what I would make if I could make something for art's sake?

William's Memory Book

Would it be any good?



I wonder if I am *really* good at something that I haven't yet discovered. I love sewing, quilting and crocheting. I'm not especially excited about making garments, but making stuff for the home makes me fizz with excitement.



I am inspired by: vintage fabrics, old fashioned household tips, recycling and living more greenly, children's creativity, illustrations from children's books, the changing seasons, beekeeping, the sea.


Dom's Memory Quilt

I enjoy making pieces that are personalised, and also quirky. I like to use domestic styling to shock and compare modern life with past times:


bless this home fuck fucking housework

fuck the fucking houswork

I like stuff that's just a bit different:

Veggie Bag

..and stuff that's pretty...

Bunting Notebook

All the items I have shown you above have been made since January 2011. There are lots of things of which I am proud from previous years (you may see some of these in the folders on the right --->) However, THIS year I decided to stop working from patterns, and start focussing on making what I want to make. This has been a scary, but liberating, experience but I have learned a great deal.

I'm not sure whether the pieces I have shown you demonstrate a particular style that is demonstrably mine, but they do represent a journey I have undertaken, in which I am striving to do exactly that. I hope, in a year or two more, to get that licked.

Most of all though, I love what I do, and I am extremely lucky to have the time to indulge my passion, and customers who want to buy the things that I make. And for that, I am very grateful.


I feel as though a formal qualification will be part of the next stage of my journey. I want to push the boundaries of what I can achieve, and experiment with new materials, processes and ideas. I want to watch and learn from other people. I want to be able to use equipment beyond what I have at home. I want to grow in confidence - and the feeling of legitimacy - so that I can confidently say "I am an artist" (and believe it)

Claire x




Summer Update Part One - Baby Knitting and Adventures With Cake Part Two

Hello, blog lovers. I'm sorry I haven't had chance to pop by, but it's been a BUSY summer so far. I hope you are well and that you are having lots of fun with your crafting adventures and your families.

I'm doing just fine. I had an ME flare at the beginning of the summer, and was stuck in bed for about three weeks. That was incredibly frustrating as it just came out of nowhere with seemingly no reason. Having said that, it did pass eventually, and I need to remember to simply be patient and remember to just let it all wash over me. As luck would have it, my best friend Naomi was about to have a baby, so I spent that time knitting a couple of lovely little jumpers. I made a lilac baby hoody, which was so adorable my ovaries winced, from this pattern booklet (which was the one I very first re-learned to knit from, back in 2002) 

First steps booklet

Yes, I made that little square hat. It was green with navy stitching. I even knitted the little garter stitch jacket in shiny green. It looked OK after I had finished (OK, brilliant in my eyes), and I was extremely proud of them. However, when Charlie came along three years later, he looked ruddy awful in them. And so they have never been worn, and will be lurking around somewhere in the loft. They're not so badly knitted (honestly), they're too bulky and badly shaped. Although, to be fair, it IS difficult to make a nice baby garment with just garter stitch and no shaping, I am sure. 

I also knitted that checked blanket. It took weeks and was so wonky that I threw it away. Sadly, no-one had told me about the joys of blocking. What a waste!

The other little jumper I knitted for the baby, who has now been born by the way and is an adorable bundle called CHARLOTTE, and is very obviously not a boy as we'd all believed, is from this fabulous blog: It's an adorable blog, and an adorable little cardigan, knitted in one piece:

Maile jumper

Now I'll be honest, I haven't finished this one yet and it's gone onto the WIP pile. It is, therefore, entirely possible that lovely Charlotte may not be it's recipient given the rate that baby's grow. But I have adopted a new sentiment, which is that of the "hope chest." Mine is a small chest of drawers in the spare bedroom. Whenever I fancy knitting baby items (which, let's face it is frequently, given how adorable they are, and how quick they are to complete) I can make an item without guilt, and without needing to know a pregnant woman. These lovely items are blocked, labelled with their size, wrapped in acid free tissue paper and put into a plastic zip lock bag, ready for any appropriate gift giving opportunity. I hope to live a long time, and have a lot of babies to knit for amongst close family and friends (even if I have no more myself.) Therefore this is an entirely practical, and NOT RIDICULOUSLY EMOTIONAL thing to do at all, obviously. Even if all I do is give them to a charity shop, at least I get the enjoyment of knitting them in the first place. It's taken me a while to convince myself that these are not the actions of an almost menopausal woman who would actually quite like another baby even though it's pretty much impossible. These are, indeed, the actions of a benevolent, mature woman, for whom it is a sensible decision. Honest, guv.


Oh, and Aunty Pauline was 60 and I made her a cake. 

Pauline cake

It was great fun, but it literally took a week to make. Which is why I don't do these things professionally.

Pauline cake 2

Pauline cake 3

I won't leave as long next time!

Thanks for dropping by,

Claire x




Friday, 10 June 2011

Recent Adventures with Embroidery

Blimey, it's chilly here today. I've taken to wearing socks again but, to be honest, I'm quite tempted to light the fire this afternoon. My hands are like ice! I might warm them up with some crochet in a bit.

As the weekend approaches I wanted to share with you a couple of the Little Picasso cushions I've done recently of which I am proud.

You may remember that my Little Picasso cushions are embroidered copies of a child's drawing, with patchwork to match the colours used in the illustration. The actual process of making them is a closely guarded secret (if I told you I'd have to kill you, mwahahaha). I'm very proud of the way they turn out. And I LOVE working from children's drawings, it really is the most fun.

The hand embroidery is time consuming, but is my favourite part. It takes, on average 4 - 10 hours per cushion.

This one was from a little boy for his Frampy, who owns a Harley Davidson. Isn't it the coolest thing?



I tried really hard to make sure that the fabrics I chose were appropriate biker fabrics - sometimes choosing cushion fabric for men can be a bit challenging. This was OK though because it contained red and orange. I'm LOVING red and orange at the moment - it's part of my year long orange fetish*

The back of Frampy's cushion was plain, with a zip:




By contrast, here is a Little Picasso by a girl for her Aunty Janaya. Possibly picked because, again, it indulges my love of orange:



Being more girly, this one has the patchwork frill, and is fastened at the back by a large orange button. I love it's four mismatched corner buttons too.



You see, THIS is why I love working with children's drawings. Not only are they unique and effused with love, but who would have thought about putting orange with lilac and blue? But, blimey, I love it and I will certainly use that colour scheme again in the future.

I hope you have a great weekend! I'm in the very unusual position of not having any orders, so I think I shall spend my time making Roman blinds for my kitchen/diner. I've only had the fabric for, umm..., four years, so I really ought to get a wriggle on!

Lots of love! Speak soon!

Claire x


* the colour orange. Not Conservative politician orange fetish. Obviously.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Adventures with Cake! Part 1

In more cheerful news, we have had a couple of BIG family birthdays this month. My Father-in-law Baz, or Pops as my boys call him, was 65. He finally retired from his job as a school caretaker, which he absolutely loved. At this moment, he and my mother-in-law are sunning themselves on a cruise of the Med, the lucky things, in celebration of the next stage of their lives.

There are a few things you need to know about Baz. He's a musician, and a self confessed ladies man. And he looks a bit like Father Christmas. As he's a big flirt, my mother-in-law asked me to make him a booby cake. A BOOBY cake?! Well, erm OK then, it could be a laugh....



I made two cakes, one a vanilla sponge and one a coffee cake - Baz's favourite. I baked them both in Pyrex mixing bowls, as the cake needed to feed 60 at his surprise birthday party. This took HOURS - about 3.5 hours per cake! After this, I cut them in two places and sandwiched them back together with vanilla buttercream and sieved home made raspberry jam.

The sugarpaste came from the fab Squires Kitchen, an online shop that I could spend hours browsing (and often do). It took me about 3 hours to ice the cake, having covered it roughly in more buttercream.

The best fun for me, by far, was making the cake topper. I have a really talented friend, Jenny ( who does fabulous things with Fimo clay, and she'd inspired me to have a go myself. I'd seen wedding cake toppers, and wanted to make a model of Baz playing his guitar. It was marvellous fun.

The structure of his body is made from wire, with tin foil putting flesh on the bones. The clay then needs to be softened and rolled out quite thinly and wrapped around the tin foil. This was not as easy as I thought, especially for his clothes. Eventually I blasted him with a paint stripper gun. It felt a bit odd (and could, I imagine, be quite cathartic, depending on the member of family one had modelled...)

I was quite pleased with the outcome. Quite a good likeness I thought...



The party was brilliant - Baz had no idea that most of his family and friends would be there, so was thrilled to bits. The cake was a hit too - and apparently a lot of fun was had at the end of the night after we had gone home.

Do you think boys ever grow up?

Lots of love

Claire x

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Taa-Daa: A Fabric Book for a Special Little Boy

If you've been following my blog for a little while, you know that recently one of my friends, Lee-ann, lost her two year old son. It was terribly shocking news and, unsurprisingly, it has knocked everyone sideways, even those who did not know the family terribly well. There's just something so frighteningly unnatural in losing your child that way. It was an unexpected death, he hadn't been ill, and his family still don't have any real answers to the cause of his death.

When a child dies like this, it makes everything else fall into perspective. It has made me realise just how utterly fundamentally life-affirmingly important my own children are to me, even when they are being little sods (which happens quite a lot ;o). I have never made any secret of finding motherhood extremely demanding - but maybe I do whinge too much. Really, I have the most important things in life right here before me, don't I? Says I, currently irritated so much that my teeth itch, by silly questions, mardy teenagers, too-loud television, homework not done, meals and snacks that are constantly whined for, siblings fighting, constant attention seeking behaviour etc etc etc. But even so, these are the days that I will look back on when I am old and grey and, as much as I moan, I cannot imagine for a single moment how awful it would be if one of them were taken away. 

After any death, I think it's natural to feel completely impotent. If I could have done anything, no matter how big, to change William's death or take away his family's pain then I would have done it. As it stands, there's very little one can do, is there? Other than contemplate life, and feel one's own pain and imagine the horror that the immediate family are feeling.

Right from the start, Sophia, William's big sister, said that the family should have a party to remember William. And so Lee-ann and Mark began planning a celebration of William's life, rather than a funeral. In a very touching tribute they requested that all adults and children that could not attend the funeral jump on their beds at 2pm. A lot of people joined in, and a lot of fun was had in William's name.

Lee-ann mentioned to me that she wanted a Guest Book in which funeral guests recalled their memories of William. Immediately I saw a way in which I could help in some small way, so I offered to make one. Amongst William's favourite things were: the colour orange; 2 pence pieces, especially when whizzed down those swirly charity boxes; daisies; jumping in puddles; bubbles and dandelion clocks. I wanted to include as many of these items as I could.

Here is my tribute to sweet William:

William's Memory Book



William's Memory Book - both covers

It was emotionally tough to make, but not nearly as emotionally tough as it was for it's recipients, I'm sure. It was important to me to make it well and to get it right too. I nearly had a complete meltdown when my husband, without really looking, said that the back cover looked like a happy boy on a cloud! Yikes, how inappropriate would that be?! Thankfully, after looking carefully he agreed it did not, and friends back this up and so it was sent off (with me having palpitations until it was received and approved of!)

Technically, I really enjoyed the mix of sewing, applique and both hand and machine embroidery. I was very unsure how to tackle the bubbles, but machine sewing circles onto bits of voile worked really well as it made them stand proud, as well as being transparent. If I could go back and change anything, I would make the fabric onto which I embroidered the dandelion clocks less patterned as I think it's hard to see them. Also, I made the picture on the back a little too wide, so a sliver of the umbrella slides off the edge. This was me getting carried away with making the picture on a deliberately cut-too-big piece of fabric; I wasn't careful enough at measuring the size of the finished book.

Anyway, you live and learn, and this was one of those projects that meant a lot to me. On reflection, I am pleased with what I created and I learned some important lessons that will help me to progress further with future projects. 

I'm also incredibly grateful to Lee-ann for letting me share something so private. Sleep tight, William. My memory of you will always be how much you made your Mummy smile x

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Adventures in Beekeeping

Hello lovelies - how are you? I hope all is well. It's been a BUSY couple of weeks, and I didn't want to post too soon after my last post as it all seemed a bit trivial somehow.

Anyway, to change direction completely, a thread about beekeeping. As you know, we have five beehives in our garden and Dominic and I take great interest in looking after our buzzy charges. The boys even like to get involved too - Charlie more than Jonathan, admittedly. They get suited and booted in their bee suit too, and help Dominic to go through the hives and check the bees are OK. They all love eating the honey, but I guess that goes without saying.

May - June is the time of the year that bees swarm. Dom is registered with East Riding Council as a beekeeper who will go and rescue swarms. He doesn't charge and the council should not either. This short film is a swarm that we recently rescued. In my opinion, it's a miracle that many people don't get to see. I hope you enjoy it.

See you soon

Claire x


Friday, 6 May 2011

On Days Like This The World Should Stop

Today my friends and I received the most awful news: the son of our friend had died in his sleep. He was excited about his third birthday this week. 

There is no clear reason for his death, it was sudden and unexpected. I think I speak for us all when I say that I feel lost, unable to find the right words and bewildered. Lord only knows what his mum and dad are feeling.

I've been trying to find the right words, helpful words, comforting words, all morning. Words that can express how devastated I feel, and how much love I want to send his parents. That express how grateful I am for every moment with my own little family, and how much I need to have them with me right at this very moment. Words that will allow me to understand what has happened, and to give comfort to others.

Words have never felt so inadequate.

I'm not a great photographer, but I have taken some photographs in my garden today, looking at the little things. And praying that William will sleep tight, that his parents and sister will find peace and that no other little one will be lost. God bless you, William.


When I was editing, I spotted this. It wasn't taken today, but it seems strangely apt. Written by my five year old, I am sure that if William could say anything to his mummy and daddy and big sister right now, this would be it:


Lee-ann, if there's anything I can do then please, please ask. My thoughts and prayers and love is with you *squeezes hand*