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 · 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 · guinea fowl · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Thistle Cottage Studio · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · Thistle Cottage Studio · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · Animal tales · Garden in the meadow · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · French Life · Making and crafting · Thistle Cottage Studio

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

All Posts · Making and crafting · Photography thoughts · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

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

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

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

All Posts · Animal tales · Geese · Making and crafting

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

All Posts · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

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

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

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

All Posts · Making and crafting

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

All Posts · French Life · Making and crafting · Travels in Europe · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · Writing and Illustrating

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

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

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

All Posts · Animal tales · Making and crafting · Writing and Illustrating

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!

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · Geese · guinea fowl · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · Making and crafting

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

All Posts · Animal tales · Links I Love · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Writing and Illustrating

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

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Links I Love · The Factory

Eau de Nil

I love to have Brocante finds and personal objects I love on my desk. I worked from home since 2001 and making a home office that felt comfortable and workable was important. We recently completed my accounts office and a studio above at the factory. Both have desks. One is a nod at my love… Continue reading Eau de Nil

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · Making and crafting · Renovation work · The Factory

Woodworm

Rain. Flooded field and the chicken coop projects on hold…again! So what do you do? Go to a Brocante armed with your measley €30.00, knowing that there will be an immense wealth of objects that would make even the Count Of Monte cristo blink twice! A short half hour drive across country to picturesque Chambon… Continue reading Woodworm

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The art of birds

On my 7th birthday I asked my parents for Charles Tunnicliffe’s book of bird illustrations. I had at the time a mild obsession with painting owls, especially barn owls, along with Dutch windmills for some obscure reason. Maybe it was a flight thing, the sails rising up into the sky, the connection with the wind,… Continue reading The art of birds

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Links I Love · Travels in Europe

Inspired by comments

I am so behind with blogging I should pay a fine! I have also to catch up on everyone else’s wonderful blog posts and apologise for being so sloth in adding my comments. But tonight I managed to read a few and this prompted me to manage an update. The Anxious Gardener is busy. I… Continue reading Inspired by comments

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Making and crafting · Renovation work · The farm

The mundane and the magnificent

A homestead is a isolated dwelling, especially a farmhouse, and adjacent outbuildings, typically on a large agricultural holding such as a ranch or station.  A homesteader is a lifestyle of self sufficiency. A year ago we would not have called ourselves homesteaders, but by the close of this year, we actually feel we are heading in… Continue reading The mundane and the magnificent

All Posts · Making and crafting · Renovation work

Putty in my hands

Autumn seems to have arrived with earnest. From a blistering sahara 42 degrees we are down to a fishfinger chilly 18 degrees in less than two weeks. This signals not only rummidging in cupboards to find lost winter jumpers, but realizing we must get to the Farmhouse to decorate our bedroom. We need it to… Continue reading Putty in my hands

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · The Factory

Contrasts

Today was a day of contrasts. First thing this morning we headed off to Boussac, a lovely French provincial town just north of us with a chateau high up on a stony outcrop, to collect a painting by a local artist Pascale Lauwers. She hails from Belgium and had an exhibition of Chinoiserie inspired paintings… Continue reading Contrasts

All Posts · Making and crafting · The Factory

Sew we are sewing.

Is it the height of vanity to take a selfie or is it because the rain clouds have gone at last and Mr Sunshine has crept into every nook and crany and made us sun drunk and wanting to share my sunny feeling? I packed up all the winter woolies into boxes and took them… Continue reading Sew we are sewing.

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Links I Love · Making and crafting

The foraged home

I have always loved exploring second-hand shops and the old warehouse salvage yards of Bermondsey, London, now sadly on the decline (better converted by a greedy landlord than promoting entrepreneurial enterprise..don’t get me started!) and if I get the chance, beachcombing, or collecting “finds” from the countryside, like curiously shaped sticks, old glass bottles to… Continue reading The foraged home

All Posts · Mountain house · Premo From London · Transylvanian travels

Mountain retreat for a Transylvanian

What a long day today. We finally completed our property purchases by signing for our rear barn and mountain house. I hadn’t slept well. Over did work at the farmhouse and my back was angry. On the second signing I was drifting off. I can understand French ok. Can’t speak it but it’s tiring when… Continue reading Mountain retreat for a Transylvanian

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Links I Love · My Company Projects

Funky Chicken Rescue

Sometimes we do slightly zany things in life. Coming to France seemed a little zany at first, but now I am settling and the benefits of being in this wonderful countryside surrounded by cow’s and mountain pines and oaks, well it seems the most sensible of decisions in reality.I have always tried to support charities.… Continue reading Funky Chicken Rescue

All Posts · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Renovation work · The Factory

Mezzanines

This week the mezzanines arrived from Spain. The French delivery guys had no idea about health and safety and appeared to have no safety boots or understanding about using truck hi-abs without the risk of loosing their pallet truck in the process. I couldn’t watch. After a lot of groaning and levering, the three very… Continue reading Mezzanines

All Posts · French Life · The Barn · Writing and Illustrating

Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

La Grange has it’s tree and its Christmas jumper time for us. It seems Hippo and me shopped the same design! Our collection of stuffed friends in the background…Lob-i-ster, Alfred the pig, Chicken and La Loup. Don’t worry, forever a child at heart and writing stories. You should see the other shelves! In Paris I… Continue reading Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Writing and Illustrating

Bon Noel from France

My first Christmas in France and we finally got our tiny little tree up. Having only just finished the bedroom in the barn, the tree is perched on top of my yellow chest of drawers as the floor is still full of boxes to be unpacked. But it’s full of Christmas bling, bells and flashing… Continue reading Bon Noel from France

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work · Tony Costin

Team soul mate – notes and plans

I often refer to Tony in my posts. He is my rock, soul mate, breakfast and tea maker, solid sharer of life’s stresses and calming problem solver in a crisis. I haven’t met anyone who works as hard as he does nor with such enthusiasm. I am more tetchy and vulnerable to doubt. Hard labour… Continue reading Team soul mate – notes and plans

All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

Happy hedgehog

I am stuck in Barts hospital in London. Mum got dehydrated so drip in place..yes I have a 4 hour wait. I was due to meet a friend to celebrate diagnosis of her medical condition. A landmark after many years of frustration. I spotted hedggie on my arrival. Badly sewn eye. As soon as mum… Continue reading Happy hedgehog

All Posts · Travels in Europe

Whilst away

Technology has never been my bag. I lag behind generally, then burst into the latest product with a momentary glimmer of being informed. Then I lag again. So to the point. I do not have access yet to my blog email, so all your lovely posts that I follow may not get comments until: I… Continue reading Whilst away