Monday, 7 September 2015

Art therapy and Polly Update

Well we are now many months on and here I am still writing this from hospital. Polly has had six months of chemotherapy and alas her recent scan showed that she needs stronger chemo so we are all in today with her as she's having a thicker line put in, in preparation for her chemo next week. Mark has just said Polly is now another step nearer to being a Cyberman... It helps him to relate everything to Dr Who! 
We had a great holiday in Suffolk and Dartmouth so glad that the chemo was over, so we are just adjusting to the fact that this journey is going to be a little longer than we all thought. 
I managed to get to the Festival of Quilts, where as ever, I met lots of lovely people and received lots of hugs. People have been AMAZING. The love we have received and continue to receive has been quite overwhelming. It holds us up it truly does.

Chelsea Flòwer Show was great again with so many customers coming to see me with presents, cards , hugs and good wishes . It was the best show I have ever done. The presents were partly because it was also our Silver Wedding that week too! 
People have wondered how I can paint through this very difficult time in our lives. The answer to that question is because it helps and because as Mark and I are both self employed we need to. On the Young Adult Unit that Polly has her chemo on we have painted pots on a regular basis as it just takes you're mind off it. I love that being creative helps people during difficult times.
I did the 10k Race for Life for Polly in July. Having never been a long distance runner it was a real challenge for me, there was a lot of sweaty, everything aching moments. Sadly I didn't suddenly morph into a svelt gazelle. But by some miracle I did it and even more amazingly thanks to the tide of support from facebook as well as complete strangers I raised £6215 !!! So such a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me you were INCREDIBLY GENEROUS!

Autumn Exhibition Chantry a House Gallery 7th-22nd November

I'm currently painting landscapes and seascapes for my show at Chantry House Gallery Show up at Ripley Main Street, Ripley, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 3AY. I've also got stuck back into my oils which I'm enjoying. I'm hoping to be at the show each Saturday so it would be really lovely to see you all there. There'll still be florals of course this is Lilac Lake that I was particularly pleased with.

So we're now on the way home and Pollys doing ok she is such a ballsy girl. She said it was so bad as her biopsy and that the toast after was great. Another step nearer getting better. Thanks to everyone for reminding us many times over how wonderful people can be . Xxxx

Friday, 6 February 2015

Sending all our Love to our Daughter Polly xxxxxx

Well here I find myself with more time to write my blog but under circumstances that I wish with all my heart that I could alter. I could pretend and say everything is fine but it really isn't I don't have the emotional energy to pretend. We are currently sat in a hospital room awaiting a biopsy for our beautiful daughter Polly. Mark my hubby and her are discussing the tattoo she is designing for him. He is making her laugh as it's supposed to look a bit like an octopus and Polly has just said that she watched a series of videos of Octupi and it made her feel quite sick! It has been truly a terrible week as she has a tumour in her chest but we don't know exactly what it is until we have the results of the biopsy which may take up to a week or more.
So we're getting through each day slowly, literally slowly as she is worst in the mornings. But we now have a little routine of getting her sitting up. The day's extend like weeks until we know exactly what we're dealing with.
Our friends and family have been and continue to be amazing and we feel very well loved. Dave our son is coming back from Uni again today so he's here after her biopsy.
Painting as ever is a solace, as I see Polly drawing now so effortlessly, being creative is a comfort.
The sky is a beautiful blue and as we drove into the hospital this morning for 7.30 everywhere was frosty and the early sky a myriad of hues.

I have Chelsea Flower Show to prepare for and the strike offs of my next Collection Orient have arrived so I have these things to fill my mind in the times when I'm not with Polly or doing things that need doing. I asked Polly if she minded me posting this and she said it was fine.

So in the meantime I'm posting some paintings for our fabulous daughter and sending a big thank you to everyone that has sent so many kind messages. Nel xx

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Chelsea Flower Show Here We Come and Diary Dates for Where You Can Find Me I 2014 and News Of Memory Lane at Last and the Festival of Quilts!

Well I have been officially rubbish at keeping up with my blog so this is going to be rather a blast of news as there's a lot of it! I haven't been idle just too busy and it is the job that doesn't get done unfortunately! So here we go it's the beginning of show season again, kicking off with Chelsea flower show that starts on the 20th-24th May in London. I am getting ready for now, if you want to see much more regularly updates and pictures of the show and all the news then please go to my facebook art page  to see what I'm up to go to as I post on there far more regularly.

For Patterns and fabric then go to

This is my centre piece at Chelsea ( the one below) it's called Tender is the Light . It's done in pastel and is around 120 cm wide . It took me ages to do but I'm really please with it.
On the fabric front Memory Lane is now out which is exciting and I have just got the gorgeous quilt back from Trudy Wood who has done a fabulous job on it. So I hope to get  some pictures of it done this week. Memory Lane looks like this 

If you'd like to know where I am going to be in 2014 please go to the Diary of Shows on the news page  at

 I'll post more pictures soon but now we have a wedding to go to and I need to get ready!! Byee for now. xx

Saturday, 24 August 2013

secret garden is starting to ship!

We're back from the Festival of Quilts, and it was a whirlwind! So many people, so many wonderful customers. More (much more) on that in a later post but for now, here's a picture (sorry - it's a terrible phone pic) of the 2 quilts made from Secret Garden that were hanging in the Coats stand.

There will be patterns for both of these shortly. You can now buy Secret Garden from Hawthorne Threads (In the US) and shortly it'll be in stock at the eclectic maker (in the UK). We'll keep you posted on more stockists as we find them!

If you are a shop or know of a shop that is stocking Secret Garden, please leave a comment and I can add you to the list of stockists.

Festival of quilts 2013

Friday, 26 July 2013

10 minute make - pin cushion tutorial

The summer holidays are upon us and the children need organising and entertaining.
This simple pin cushion tutorial only takes 10 minutes and is a great way to encourage children into trying sewing, or you could make one for yourself to give you a breather when the summer break gets a little too much!

Pin cushion tute

1. Trace 2 circles from fabric (I used a large mug to trace my circles). Cut them out at least 1/4" larger all the way round. use pinking shears if you have them.

Pin cushion tute

2. Sew the 2 circles right sides together on the marked line, backstitching at the start and end of the stitching and leave a 1.5" or so gap for turning and stuffing.

Pin cushion tute

3. Turn right way out and stuff really firmly with wadding scraps or polyfill/toy stuffing

Pin cushion tute

4. Slip stitch the opening closed

Pin cushion tute

5. Take a very long length (about the same length of your full arm or so) of embroidery thread and make a good knot at the bottom.

Pin cushion tute

6. Push the needle through at the centre of one side, to the other side and working in a figure 8 wrap the thread over, pull tight, push the needle through, and then across the opposite side, pull tight again. Repeat this so you have the thread wrapped around in 8 places. Pull tight each time. Secure with a button and knot.

Pin cushion tute

Pin cushion tute

Pin cushion tute

7. And there you have it - one simple pin cushion!

I used 2 prints from eden to make this version. You can buy eden from The Cotton Patch.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

a bag from Eden

Hi, it's Katy from Monkey Do blogging for Nel again, with another project I've made using Nel's fabrics.

This time I made a reversible bag in Eden fabrics using the lickety split pattern by Made by Rae.

I have to admit, Eden isn't the sort of colours I'm normally drawn to, they're more muted than my usual palette, but I just love how they work together and now I've made this bag I'm actually loving the more muted colours!

Lickety split bag

The bag is perfectly sized for folding up and popping into your handbag for a trip to the grocers, or market. It's so useful. The pattern was fast and simple, and does include pockets (but I left them off).

Being reversible, you get 2 bags for the price of one! Even better!

Lickety split bag

I've just finished the quilt that will be hanging in Nel's section of the coat's and crafts booth at festival of quilts next month using the new line, Secret Garden (out later this year - I think around September time if all goes to plan with the fabrics arriving in the UK). Secret garden is completely my palette - it's bright, and full of purples, pinks and bold colours. Making the quilt has been an absolute pleasure, and I loved working with the new fabrics. I'll be back with another blog post soon to show you!

Monday, 17 June 2013

butterflies in the garden

Hi, I'm Katy and I blog over at I'm A GingerMonkey. I've been helping Nel with her preparations for the festival of quilts in August and playing around with some of the next fabric release, Secret Garden.

One of the finished projects is this butterfly cushion, with 3D butterflies appliqued onto it.

Butterfly pillow

It was a really simple project to make, and I talk a little bit about how I made it on the Sizzix blog should you want to make one yourself (you can find the direct link if you click here).

Butterfly applique

I'm also working on a quilt and some more cushions for Nel so I'll show you more of those as I get them finished.

I hope you like what we're doing with the new fabrics - I think this is my favourite of Nel's collections so far, the colours are beautiful and the designs work so nicely together. There's a fantastic mix of scale with both larger and smaller prints, which is important to me as a quilter.