All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Renovation work · The Barn

The Giant Pea Cottage

Finally after wrangling lime mortar, paint pots, breeze blocks, tiles, sewing machines that broke needles, the barn apartment is ready to rent. It’s taken about a year but so happy with the results. And why Giant Pea…Well we are artists and I am writing a story book about lost family and friendships and finding them… Continue reading The Giant Pea Cottage

All Posts · Guinea fowl · Transylvanian travels · Writing and Illustrating

Unlikely combinations

Yesterday I had a wonderful surprise … order from a lady in Georgia, USA, which given the enthusiasm of the Southern States for my guinea illustrations, mugs and fabrics, wasn’t in itself a surprise. I believe with their strong homesteading roots and often paired with religious fervour to till the land, guineas feature heavily in… Continue reading Unlikely combinations

All Posts · Animal tales · Childrens Book Illustrating · Writing and Illustrating


I thought I would show you a little of the daunting white space I get in the home run of an illustration, along with a couple of experimental ideas. I have been on a journey the last two years finding my feet on how to illustrate, paint or pencil, and what to illustrate. Birds seem… Continue reading Backgrounds

All Posts · French Life · My Company Projects · Writing and Illustrating

Going to a Gallery

A recent opencall from a lovely gallery in Neath, South Wales, led me to be a little cheeky. I didn’t want to risk loosing my original illustrations, sending from France during the end of year postal problems, but also collecting could be a slight issue. So I asked if I could send prints instead, and… Continue reading Going to a Gallery

All Posts · Animal welfare · Making and crafting · Thistle Cottage Studio · Writing and Illustrating

Little birds

After an initial wobble through etching and finding it rather messily liberating, I embarked on a little Garden Bird project, reinforced by a small local exhibition coming up in March at a local La Poste. Very kindly the post lady has a spare area and monthly allows artists to display work. My friend kindly invited… Continue reading Little birds

All Posts · Chickens

Pecking order

Love my girls. Many have passed over the Rainbow Bridge 🌈 but Doobie is now six years old and aging gracefully. When they had their new table top perch, to save my back re bending, it caused mahem. Everyone wants to sit at the front, next to the cockerel and be first to do it.… Continue reading Pecking order

All Posts · Animal tales · Animal welfare · Chickens · Ducks · The farm

Over the Rainbow Bridge

Some years go by and the poultry garden changes with the addition of rescued and adopted birds, and new chick’s and ducklings. Younger members of the flocks suddenly mature and their characters form fully and relationships are formed and friendships bond deeper. Then the clock ticks and certain milestones arrive…three years, six years and maybe… Continue reading Over the Rainbow Bridge

All Posts · Writing and Illustrating

Figuring out Fish

Last year I started illustrating fish. A challenge online to complete illustrations in set colours got me thinking about fish. I had never illustrated fish and never really thought about them. I wanted to work on crustaceans, lobsters, Crabs and suchlike, but never lent a thought to fish! The first scheme was green and red… Continue reading Figuring out Fish

All Posts · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Writing and Illustrating

Etching after sketching

I have never etched anything. I haven’t ever really thought about it until reading a book on printing this year. It was a sort of mystery…copper plates, acid, looked complicated. But then I read more and found it could be simplified, if only to practice, try techniques and get a feel for it. I bought… Continue reading Etching after sketching

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work · The Barn

Home at the barn

We bought this barn for a song, way back in 2015 and since then have had a roller coaster of events, all lurking somewhere on this blog, from failed businesses, to property investments, new career paths and health scares. But, and a drum roll please……we are in and its cosy, bright and beautiful! Since buying… Continue reading Home at the barn

All Posts · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

Seabird portfolio

Back in October I started a thirty day Birdtober challenge to illustrate 30 birds. After a wobbly start with a cockerel, my next bird did not go well. I was trying to move temporarily away from whimsical to try my hand at a more fine art style, if for no other reason that to show… Continue reading Seabird portfolio

All Posts · Animal tales · Animal welfare · Chickens · Ducks · Feathered photography · Garden in the meadow · Geese · Guinea fowl

Little Souls

Myrtle was the first chicken I lost. I felt helpless as the vet couldn’t diagnose. She couldn’t breathe and I read every book I could, but everything led to the same diagnosis, which I now know is not always right. It was supposed to signify gape worm, but I honestly now believe it was sadly… Continue reading Little Souls

All Posts · Fabrics and Ceramics · Making and crafting

Tapestry at Aubusson

I have lived in France for quite a few years now and although I managed to visit the memorable tapestry manufacturing museum at Aubusson – St Jean – I had not entered the Unesco Cite Internationale de la Tapisserie. But today on a bright November Sunday afternoon I made the half hour drive and yes… Continue reading Tapestry at Aubusson

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Fabrics and Ceramics · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

Three French Hens

Sometimes you get a commission that’s a little extra special and such a joy to work on. In this case a lovely bedcover for a two year old to be an heirloom piece. The little girl has three hens, one white feathered and two with black and copper. Her mum says she’s mad about them… Continue reading Three French Hens

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · Feathered photography · The farm

I am a hen

Back a few months ago, Mollie became broody, she often does, but this time I decided to leave her with a few eggs, including three duck eggs from our Indian Runners and Pekins. The ducks had been vigilantly sitting for a month, but the eggs went bad and after I checked by candling, shining a… Continue reading I am a hen

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Childrens Book Illustrating · Ducks · Geese · Making and crafting · The farm · Writing and Illustrating

Bird October

Autumn has arrived here in France, the air is still humid and heavy rains fall. Its cow country snd pasture appears never to cease growing here, but after September it slows, the leaves start to turn their autumnal colours and we have a couple if beautiful months of bedding down for winter. I have a… Continue reading Bird October

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · Fabrics and Ceramics · Making and crafting · Thistle Cottage Studio


I have always loved fabrics, often walking round fabric stores with my thumb and forefinger primed to rub and feel the weight, grain, texture and weaves. You can tell alot by simply doing this, mainly if the fabric is a natural fibre or man-made and its density of weave. I woukd swiftly skim through bolts… Continue reading Fragments

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · Feathered photography · Geese · Guinea fowl · The farm

Feathered friends

During molting season, just finishing now, the poultry garden is full of feathers, sometimes like a soft snow fall over night. Meticulously I gather them, long, strong flight feathers and tail feathers from the geese, pure white ones from the pekin ducks and pretty patterned, spotty ones from Bovril, our guinea. The gingers, coffee, clotted… Continue reading Feathered friends

All Posts · Animal tales · Ducks

Nagging your boyfriend

Heff was adopted. A big cuddly duck who was rather a stud muffin. Penquin was the lucky survivor of a pine Martin attack, loosing both her sisters, Daisy and Darcey. Left alone, Penquin hooked up with Heff. Heff wasn’t so keen, as he adored Daisy, but when you have an insistent girlfriend and your a… Continue reading Nagging your boyfriend

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · The farm

Rooster Booster

Ronnie rooster…gentle, caring, last to bed and liked by all the hens. Since Pipi passed, Bovril our guinea has befriended Ronnie and since Ronnie has got more wobbly on his feet, won’t go to bed till his sideways crowing friend has gone in the coop. We adopted Ronnie a few years back. He was being… Continue reading Rooster Booster

All Posts · Writing and Illustrating

Muscovy moment

A couple of weeks ago I visited a new friend. Creuse can get lonely, its very rural, and much of the French cafe scene is non-existent here. But there are a lot of talented artists and caftspeople around and although we won’t change the world, alot of us are connecting, promoting and even setting up… Continue reading Muscovy moment

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · The farm

The babies arrived

Owning over fifty birds, you get eggs, lots of them and this year I wanted to try for babies now that we have a more organized set-up. The cous-nous flock with Rudi needed a few additions and I so wanted more Pekin ducks. Poor Heff, our big six year old has arthritis badly and lost… Continue reading The babies arrived

All Posts · Fabrics and Ceramics · French Life · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Thistle Cottage Studio

French Expo

The last few years have been very tied up with renovations, Covid, starting my illustration business and struggling with migraines…some things on the agenda had to postponed, but this year I refused to postpone the summer Expo at Crocq, a pretty medieval town near Aubusson, famous for The Black Prince invading and partially destroying during… Continue reading French Expo

All Posts · Fabrics and Ceramics · Links I Love · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

Paul McCartney

In this world there are musician that’s stand the test of time and there are two that seem to have been around since the dawn of modern music…Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. The decades pass and come hell or high water, these two perform still, enthusiastically, and professionally, with an energy I can rarely muster… Continue reading Paul McCartney

All Posts · Animal tales · My Company Projects · Writing and Illustrating

The Giant Pea

Sometimes you have a dream and it stays with you when you wake. Mine was of a Giant Pea. I sometimes think I do spend too much time with my ducks and geese and when they fill your dreams too, we’ll maybe therapy is needed. Mine is illustrating, so I decided to draw this Pea.… Continue reading The Giant Pea

All Posts · Renovation work · The farm

Pretty poultry wardrobe

After a tonne of elbow grease, or as one friend put it better, a tonne of elbow geese (te he), polishing the wax coating to a soft sheen, the wardrobe is finished! I added couple of sweet little poultry hangers to the keys and at last the brown elephant in the room has vanished.

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Renovation work · The farm

Country Colourful Bedroom

We have lived at The Farmhouse for over three years now, in a pre-renovation mess of undecorated rooms, boxes and drab creams and browns. The building was a good size, but had funny qwerks like no access to the rear, a kitchen next to a bedroom, a tiny bathroom, and for a house that could… Continue reading Country Colourful Bedroom

All Posts · Chickens · Childrens Book Illustrating · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

Commission Children’s Book

As you know I started illustrating last year and its been a fun year creating characters like Pipi Pintade and Naughty Goose. I always loved children’s books,classics like Winnie The Pooh, Peter Pan, The Wizard Of Oz, Dragon In Danger, The Mouse and his Child to name a few,and pop-up books. The French have bookshops… Continue reading Commission Children’s Book

All Posts · Cats and dogs · French Life · Renovation work · The farm

Snug in a snug

The lower room in our farmhouse is a little dark, so why not go a little darker and create a cosy snug? Inspired by my Scottish ancestry and the collection of tartans and tweeds I have in my fabric stash and using the lovely Aubusson Blue chalk paint, which is funny given Aubusson, the tapestry… Continue reading Snug in a snug

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Making and crafting · Renovation work · Thistle Cottage Studio

Thistle Cottage Studio

Drum roll please!!!!!Apart from painting the walls, and making curtains, my studio is finished. A lot of chalk painting and waxing brocante finds, and suffering from cracked skin on my fingers, a sore back and bruises from I don’t know where….I love it! Somehow it seems to have manifested a French red, white and blue… Continue reading Thistle Cottage Studio

All Posts · Writing and Illustrating

100 days of fishes

I don’t normally attempt to follow trends on Instagram due to limited time, but back in February, after working for sometime on my shop, my Pipi Guineas and Naughty Geese designs, plus alot of fabrics, and having a wonderful time communicating to happy customers, I decided I would try #the100dayproject2022. I wanted a subject that… Continue reading 100 days of fishes

All Posts · Animal tales · Geese · Writing and Illustrating

Getting to grips with the goose

I have been very tied up with new projects involving fishes, a book commission for a lady in America and big plan changes re our future home. Therefore I cheated a little and I am reposting about my Naughty Goose, as very soon I will be working on adding more and given we added Louis… Continue reading Getting to grips with the goose

All Posts · Fabrics and Ceramics · French Life · Guinea fowl · Making and crafting · Thistle Cottage Studio

Fateful Fabrics

From way, way back as a child I loved fabrics. My mother’s wooden chest in the hallway provided hours of fun for me exploring the Colefax and Fowler, Laura Ashley, Cole &Son and Liberty prints, feeling their textures, weight and mesmerised by the pattern repeats and complex layers of colours. My mother rarely sewed but… Continue reading Fateful Fabrics

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Pastoral Poultry Prints

As you know I am mad about my feathered gang, they supply endless joy, inspiration and muddy boots! After a tentative year setting up my new business, illustrating and designing fabrics and mug designs, I was asked if I made greetings cards? Well why not I thought. Certainly affordable if you love many designs and… Continue reading Pastoral Poultry Prints

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · Feathered photography · Garden in the meadow · Geese · Guinea fowl · Landscapes and trees

Winter wordless

Every morning is a surprise here…some are misty, the coops slowly becoming visable as the sun rises and evaporates the damp air; others are cold, chilled with a tough layer of frost, buckets of water frozen solid and perfect to create ice scultures, the garden filling with little ice discs or the sound of torrential… Continue reading Winter wordless

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow

New Cous Nous

A few years ago now, pottering about the old chicken coop, there was a strange sight…a sort of chicken shaped bird but with a long red neck, featherless and topped by a head with a huge beak and a topnot of ginger like hair! The bird was trying to enter our coop, excited by the… Continue reading New Cous Nous

All Posts · Fabrics and Ceramics · Thistle Cottage Studio · Writing and Illustrating

Busy Country Bees

I adore bees, their characters, their hard work ethic and over the years I have studied beekeeping, imported raw honey from Germany and Transylvania and can tell a good honey from a false honey.. a sly mix of sugars added to many sourced honey’s. Pure unadulterated, raw honey is amazing. You should be able to… Continue reading Busy Country Bees

All Posts · Animal tales · Animal welfare · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Geese · Guinea fowl · The farm · Thistle Cottage Studio

Pipi found me

I haven’t posted for a while and wanted to catch up with a few updates. It’s a longish post but bare with me…I promise over the next few weeks they will be shorter and very varied. A lot has been going on and I have exciting things happening. But it had to start somewhere….. In… Continue reading Pipi found me

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Social Upset

I haven’t posted in a while. I have been working on my residence in France, setting up my new shop and wrapping up the garden for winter ensuring the poultry are warm and cosy with extra hay, minerals for their feather molt (what bad timing in winter!) and clearing the autumn leaves into composters. The… Continue reading Social Upset

All Posts · Animal tales · Ducks · Garden in the meadow · Geese


Over the last couple of years the feathered gang has increased. From two flocks of chickens with a couple of rescue roosters, we have now nine boisterous Tolouse geese including our new rescue Louis ( was on the food menu, bought for meat and luckily the buyer regretted and asked for rehoming!), two guineas, seven… Continue reading Gates

All Posts · Animal tales · Brocantes and reclaimation · Chickens · Thistle Cottage Studio · Writing and Illustrating

Sharing support

As you probably know by now, I am crazy about poultry. Not only do these guys bring me daily joy and a sense of worth, but they have been the catalyst in finally finding my new vocation in life, illustrating and story writing. They are the source of my inspiration, the bedrock of my day… Continue reading Sharing support

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

Operation vet

Poultry in France get a raw deal. Seen more as food and less as pets, finding an Avian vet isn’t easy. Foi gras, goose liver is still on the menu and guineas and ducks are slaughtered for gastronomic appetites. I can’t agree, I am absolutely not happy to see these poor birds have such short… Continue reading Operation vet

All Posts · My Company Projects · Writing and Illustrating

Helping Afghanistan

I was very privileged this week to be able to assist an ex-marine artist, Amanda Shomber, in pulling together a set of 21 colouring sheets for her art packs, over a thousand, to be distributed to a North Carolina Refugee camp. Having arrived suddenly with little or no belongings, there is a need for children… Continue reading Helping Afghanistan

All Posts · Animal tales · Geese

Bumble trouble

Spent some quality time with Bumble today. We had him at just a few weeks, he was yellow, fluffy and cute and he was extremely playful and curious. His favorite toy was a squeaky pig and we would chase each other round the garden with this silly pig, him tackling me and visa versa for… Continue reading Bumble trouble

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Recipes and allotment

Factory House to Apple Puree

I have hurt my back again. Mowers with pull cords are absolutely dangerous! I have a lot of grass and land weeds to contend with and petrol mowers are a necessity. But they do not make them suitable for women. I am not a feminist but I do expect manufacturers to know our upper body… Continue reading Factory House to Apple Puree

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Guinea fowl · The farm

Please perch

A recent post on Facebook perches prompted me to do a quick post on my perches. . There are a lot of different types and views on perches and after keeping chickens now for three years, I realized the old fashioned idea of round perches, like a thick broom handle, were wrong. The girls suffer… Continue reading Please perch

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Landscapes and trees · Renovation work · Thistle Cottage Studio

Front of house

Finally the front of the Farmhouse looks respectable. It’s taken over a year to renovate my studio externally, repair the well and install the ancient well winding gear and repoint the wall. We put in the picket fence, pruned the roses and removed layers of plastic bags in the flower bed, supposedly put there to… Continue reading Front of house

All Posts · Animal tales · Animal welfare · Cats and dogs · Chickens

Food for fur and feathered friends

Yes they are spoilt. We hate the commercial dog foods. Too strong, too much protein, too much cost and no wonder dogs end up with health problems and eating special dietary food that happens to be supplied by vets. My mother-in-law fed her dogs on bread soaked in meat juices, chicken legs and scraps. They… Continue reading Food for fur and feathered friends