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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

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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 · 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

Fragments

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

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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 · 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

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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

Childrens Book Illustrating · Making and crafting · Thistle Cottage Studio · Writing and Illustrating

1001 Reflections

Every year, just south of us in Crocq, an exhibition for art is run, featuring both professional or amateur painters, ceramics, sculptures. The exhibition is themed and your given space of upto 2 x 2.5×1.75 metres to display work and sell prints etc. It’s quite a big deal in such a rural area and thus… Continue reading 1001 Reflections

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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 · 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

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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

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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

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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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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

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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

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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 · 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

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From sketch to tea mug

A few posts back I mentioned my dream of drawing and designing fabrics, characters and products. As an accountant, very embedded in my toils of tax and statutory accounts, I still scribbled in sketch books and jotted stories on ever growing bundles of lined and plain paper. Over the years I had completed half a… Continue reading From sketch to tea mug

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Renovation work

Make do and mend

Moving crates and boxes of fabrics into the Factory sewing rooms, found these wonderful old linen sacks and strips. Not only are the textures wonderful, but so too the painstaking work to repatch and darn the holes or tears. The patches to me create a new design. I don’t see them as repairs of damage,… Continue reading Make do and mend

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The bee suite

A couple of years ago I begun sketching characters for a book about a pig and a goose. The quandary was that the book would probably take years to write and the illustrations even longer. After a few jaunts to London to see traditional publishing  houses, I knew self- publishing was the new route to… Continue reading The bee suite

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Bee and bug time once more

This post is a little long but it contains a few thoughts about the insects world that I would really appreciate if you could read. It’s an important revelation to me and has changed my life…literally. Bees. I think most of us have a huge respect and soft spot for these busy guys, who work… Continue reading Bee and bug time once more

All Posts · Geese · Guinea fowl · Making and crafting · Thistle Cottage Studio

Tapestry time

I am very lucky to live near Aubusson, https://www.cite-tapisserie.fr/ the famous tapestry town in France. Felletin is just another twenty minutes further south and our brocantes are full of notions, wools and tapestries to snap up as bargains. I collect pre-loved tapestries too, always birds as they are my passion. Thistle Cottage studio will eventually… Continue reading Tapestry time

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Geese · Guinea fowl · The farm · Thistle Cottage Studio

Pipi Pintade

Last year I was given a box of baby guineafowl. They were supposed to be banthams. Billy Bantham my adopted, feisty cockerel needed girls. He had adopted the role of deputy to Ronnie roosters flock of Rhode Island hens as Ronnie had an amputated toe and found rounding up the girls at sunset difficult. But… Continue reading Pipi Pintade

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Crafting and shipping

This week, after a quite stressful start from loosing a little guinea fowl, to finding French postage is way more than UK postage, I felt I needed to go into print. I have successfully printed all my mugs, toiling with the foibles of sublimation heat and time settings, ink ICC colour management codes and a… Continue reading Crafting and shipping

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Finding the flowers

Sometimes I forget why I started my blog way way back in London. I took a trip down memory lane and it was good to feel that I still had my love of all things natural and wild flowers and more than that, the tentative start with a camera, as before 2012, I didn’t own… Continue reading Finding the flowers

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Fables in France

I am am an absolute sucker for traditional illustration and the brocantes here in France provide an absolute treasure trove of pre-loved books for children. Fables are a favorite and books like this are filled with many classic tales and fine art illustrators who also painted as an aside, for childrens publishers. This volume is… Continue reading Fables in France

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Egg song

I love my Cou-nous naked neck chickens. Sadly of my original six, only Doobie, Sweetie and Ruby remain but are a source of daily happiness. We have had a few moments of crisis with them too…Ruby suffered from respiratory issues and upto a year ago was constantly blue looking. Doobie had a nasty prolapse due… Continue reading Egg song

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Naughty Goose

Very excited to have at last designed my first fabric for children, and honestly for a great group of poultry loving homesteaders and keepers I connect with on social media. Getting great feedback. I have for a very long time had a passion for fabrics, especially retro, folk and pre-1920’s designs, plus the ubiquitous English… Continue reading Naughty Goose

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Taking perspective

I studied One Point, Two Point and Three but never Multi or Curvilinear. Finally a book that really gets into how to do these. I remember I took technical drawing at 11 years old. I was top in my class and my teacher was really excited, as most people found draughting boring. But I was… Continue reading Taking perspective

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Shine brightly

My husband is fascinated by lighting design. It’s a project he has long wanted to work on but the French rules on health and safety will make this tricky for a while and ideas will need to be simply created from existing wired models. I too adore lighting. An interior with the lighting that brings… Continue reading Shine brightly

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Golden Hands

When I was just 5 years old I used to dream about owning these knotted and crocheted dresses and glam silver shoes. The dresses looked sexy even to my young head but I wa very creative even back then. I collected cigarette adverts, fascinated by Silk Cut and cosmetic brands. The dresses came from the… Continue reading Golden Hands

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Sketch Avergne

Back in 2006 I visited the volcanic area of the Avergne. Little did I know then that in just ten years I would be permanently settling just about hour North in Creuse. I always adored France and vacationers there every other year, with Scotland and the North of England as my walking holidays in between.… Continue reading Sketch Avergne

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Bumble Goose

As you may know from my previous posts, I am finally back to art. Hurrah. I completed my pintade portraits and a few on grumpy Bumble goose but hadn’t tackled a full illustration as practise for my future story book projects. Keeping with Bumble I hoped to achieve a colourful and friendly illustration. I am… Continue reading Bumble Goose

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From cattle stall to Scottish snug

In a previous post I wrote about my journey to finding a home.  Buying property in France was the best decision I had ever made. Having now an open slate to work on I wanted the French dream.  I wanted to bring together everything I had learnt and wanted for so long – the comfy… Continue reading From cattle stall to Scottish snug

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Making and crafting · Mountain house · Renovation work · The Barn · The Factory · The farm

Property dreams

For as long as I can remember I wanted a home.  Not merely a house you decorate and live in between work and socializing outside, but a real home, full of homely noise like dogs barking, cockerels crowing, the sound of my husband chopping wood for the fire, the kettle whistling.  I suspect I have… Continue reading Property dreams

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Being a mug!

Not the best title for a post but had to put that pun in somewhere! Finally we hauled the extremely heavisome ceramic mug printing machine to the farmhouse. Our factory in nearby Gouzon was too cold and we still have a tonne of work to insulate the printing studio. Choosing what project to prioritize and… Continue reading Being a mug!

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Getting to grips with the goose

I started my new project last week, drawing a set of illustrations of my goose Bumble. About two years ago I started writing a book, a collection if stories with the hope that I would somehow illustrate it too. How I would do that was rather beyond me at the time. I hadn’t drawn much… Continue reading Getting to grips with the goose

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It’s an art start

A couple of weeks ago I posted about finding coloured pencils. A lightbulb moment after a very long time stressing about what medium and what subjects to paint, lit up. Paint. That was the problematic word. Actually the whole acrylic and watercolour thing had turned me off art and although I dabbled a little back… Continue reading It’s an art start

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Boys will be boys

Freezing today but luckily Penquin my Pekin duck had laid an egg. It was still warm and I held it in my pocket between feeding all the feathery family.  My girls are now three years old and egg laying is sporadic. With the winter chill all the hens have slowed and from twenty hens I… Continue reading Boys will be boys

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Button up

If I had to say my third obsessions after fabric and ceramic tiles, its buttons. I have many boxes from brocantes and what seems a jumbled lot of buttons that have little to love about now, once sorted a few gems appear. Some buttons are damned ugly and have to go, but others are a… Continue reading Button up

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Finding my pencils

Note these are not my drawings, but come from a great book called The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornwell. For a long time I have struggled to find an art medium I love. Watercolour I find restricting with the layers and colour build up of washes and control. I… Continue reading Finding my pencils

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Mad about the birds

From previous posts you probably gather I am starting out on a new journey to get back into art that I abandoned as a teenager. Part of that journey over the past year has been sourcing inspirational art, studying art techniques and amassing what’s beginning to be quite an extensive library of books dedicated to… Continue reading Mad about the birds

All Posts · Floral Photography · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Making and crafting · The farm

Bucket list at lockdown

With the French lockdown coming into affect tomorrow and the generally pathetic display of judgement by the powers that be, re Covid-19, I am arming myself with an eclectic library of reading, from science fiction, fashion, tapestry renovations, to bohemian souls, poultry farming, no-dig gardening and French decorators. I wont get bored. My latest delivery… Continue reading Bucket list at lockdown

All Posts · Cheese tales · Travels in Europe

Sunday Cheese Tour

Sometimes I indulge in a piece of cheese mid afternoon. Sometimes brie, sometimes cheddar, sometimes whatever my tastebuds feel the need to be consoled with…salty, acidic or smokey. A few years back I did a quick European tour and explored cheeses. I used to work for HT Webb, a cheese importer back in UK, Kent… Continue reading Sunday Cheese Tour