Saturday 31 December 2016

Simple Reflections....

Hello my lovelies...
How are we all?

Did we have a beautiful yuletide celebration?
I hope you found some moments to treasure in there somewhere what ever
you were doing and who ever you may have shared it with....
I'd like to say that as I am writing this I am looking at a blanket of cold crisp snow because that is what we expect for this time of year...
Unfortunately I can only see the winter sunshine, so I've cheated with my opening picture to greet you all from my blogging window!

It seems so very strange that another year is behind me as I write.
2016 really hasn't been a fab year but despite the negative sides of life there are always positives to take forward with us.

My year spent working on the TV has bought such happiness for me which out ways the usual stress
of prepping for a show with a moments notice...
(that's just the nature of the beast!)
I have met so many of you and chatted with so many lovely peeps who have made me feel so very humble to be in a very lucky position of saying hello to you right in the middle 
of your craft rooms or lounges....
meeting two lovely middle-aged ladies who had driven all the way from Wales to Ally Pally just to say hello bought tears to my eyes....
So many people came and said hello from different areas of the country and it really makes all those hours of sewing by candlelight (not literally you understand as I have Daylight lamp remember!)

I know I say this many times but I really am no celebrity in any way..
just a textile artist living in the wild Cambs Fens, who has a passion for crafting 
and is lucky to get paid for doing something I love.
I believe we all have a gift to share with the world before we venture onto a different path 
and mine is sharing my passion for teaching crafts through my love of cloth and thread...

I try to walk a simple and gentle path of life collecting memories
of special moments along the way.
Mother Nature inspires me every day in some way or another and 
over this past year I have ventured into that unkown territory of Instagram
to capture those golden moments...
If you fancy saying hello you can find me 

I'm quite proud of this old fen bird working out how to do something technical
(on a new phone I might add!) without asking my son to show me!

So...what else has happened in 2016?
This time last year I decided to take a different direction with my work
and took a gamble of dipping my toe in the water of just being me. 
I spent the year doing several exhibitions, workshops and talks around the UK
which has made me immensely happy!

Having said that, I do have to say it was quite a challenge for several reasons and 
yet a breeze for others....

I was stepping into a world of..... 
- masters who have degrees coming out of their ears....

- professional tutors who have taught the world over...
- experts who consider their work to be the perfect way and mine to be the very unperfect way!
(that's my Fen expression of normal!)

So why did I wobble I ask myself a year later?
I can chat the hind leg off a donkey with anyone...

I am very proud to say I can teach the unteachable...

I can design and sew until the cows come home...
So why the worry?

I just don't have a piece of paper to tell me I can do so.
My degree is in Early Years and a lifetime of awkward experiences thrown at 
me from a very young age.
A year on from those initial thoughts tells me that in the grand scheme of things
I am very happy with my lot in life and my 'piece of paper' telling others I know what I am doing is simply non negotionable!

Going on TV for Create & Craft three years ago 
was one of the scariest moments in my life and yet the very best in many other ways...
 I looked at it that it couldn't be any worse than childbirth and I had survived that more than once before.... so what was there to worry about?

My lovely Nan had taught me from a teenager 'to simply be myself' and I have to say that at such a young age I really didn't understand what that meant!
Of course I do now...
I can't be any different...
My Fen roots won't allow me to even try.

So looking forward what will be on the agenda this year ahead I hear many of you ask?
Well, like you are probably doing at this time of year, 
I am busy writing plans.
I am SO excited!

I want to shout from the rooftops that one of my lifetime dreams has finally come true....
but sadly I've learnt to my cost of being open and 
honest that not everyone in this 'professional' world is the same.
There are sharks waiting to bite at all costs as there is in any walks of life.
So for that reason I will share with you when I can and things are safe to tell the world.

Am I bothered that not everyone has my honesty?

I'm a firm believer in karma... what goes around comes around 
and one day that 'professional' person that I refer to will tumble eventually.
Sadly it's a lesson we all learn at school...that there are original designers and those that copy.
My conscience is as clear as tinkerbells wings..
I know that I can lie in my bed at night and say that ALL my designs are my own work, my own
thought process and I remain true to myself with true integrity.
Enough said on that one.

In the meantime let me tell you that I shall be attending several events this year again, doing loads of workshops which I will be sharing details of soon for you all to book onto if you wish
and appearing back on your Create & Craft TV screens again as soon as the new schedules are arranged.

I simply love the connection with people. 
I always have.
I am a people's person....
So...I will also be working more online offering you lovelies some snippets of inspiration
and more blog posts.
I just adore writing and have decided to sit and ramble much more watch out folks!

Do I have any readers still with me?
I know I can ramble my way for a while so if you are still here...
thank you for staying a while!

Let's raise a toast to a beautiful 2017...
for more smiles...
more happiness and peace amongst our fellow beings
and share a little love for Mother Nature and all she provides us.

I wish you all a wonderful celebration with your loved ones.
I certainly will treasure having Mr T with me to see the New Year in.
I thought I had sadly lost him a few weeks a ago so to enjoy a snuggle on the sofa together
watching the festivities by the fire will seem like I've won the Lottery this New Year.

Blessings to you all...
much love
Tilly x

Thursday 15 December 2016

Festive Yuletide Treats...

Hello lovelies...

It's that special time of year when we all go and pretend we can fit a forest into our lounges...

We post cards and cards to people we perhaps in reality rarely touch base with..

We decorate every inch of our little homes with twinkly glitz to hide the dust...

Buy tons of pressies that will probably be recycled again next year...

And bake a mountain of pastry goodies resulting in adding three stone to our waistlines to be taken off again throughout Springtime.

Am I a cynic I hear you all say?
Am I as heck as like....

I LOVE the glitz. the glamour and the frivolity of it all just as much as the rest of you do!!!

I adore Christmas.

It's a very precious time of year that fits beautifully into our season of dark days,
foggy mornings and cold numb fingers.

Christmas evokes beautiful memories for us all in some way or another; albeit tiny snippets of smiles for some and oodles of surprises for others...

but for the past few years Christmas has meant worry, sadness and tough times in my little home for one reason or another for our family.
I'm sure I am no different to many out there.
Just because I appear on TV doesn't make me exempt to all the grumbly parts of life.

Losing members of your family so close to this festive period does obviously put a saddened dampner on the time of year and for some I'm sure it is tougher each year and yet you know in you heart that the person (s) you may have lost will have wanted you to still celebrate in style, still sing the same old silly carols and play the same old silly games with your loved ones.

Alot has happened in my family again this year and a few weeks ago I thought I would be facing the same prospect again and yet thankfully to the wonderful peeps of the NHS here in Pterborough, 
I am pleased to say that all my loved ones, near and far will be with me,
all cosied up in our little home doing all of the above....
So.....I consider myself the luckiest lady full of riches right now.


Can I please ask for you all reading this though, to take five mins out to think of all those who are not as lucky as myself in having a huge tree laden with sparkle, a home full of festive smiles and happiness?

Whilst at the hospital I read a notice asking for donations to be placed into Santa's sack
to be given out on Christmas Day to all those patients who will be unable to go home for some reason or another.
Some patients will not be as lucky as hubby with a waiting family eager to have him home.

Without this turning into a Tilly Rose soapbox sermon I'd like to ask you all to consider checking with your local hospital to see if buying a crossword puzzle book, bar of soap, magazine or even a shower gel would help bring a smile or two to someone staying in on a hospital ward this Christmas.....

It doesn't seem alot does it? a magazine?
and yet knowing how much my hubby welcomed such a simple thing, I can guarantee
it will help to bring a festive smile to someone.
So if pennies allow do please consider a little something extra in your basket when you are next at the checkout and pop it in Santa's sack.
Even if your hospital may not be offering the same scheme I am sure there will be something as worth while where you could  do the same for another community.

Thank you for your kindness my lovelies.
A smile is always worth much more than a million diamonds methinks....

x x x

Thursday 10 November 2016

They simply stitched...

Good morning lovelies!

A cold start to this November morning greets me...
So, slippers are keeping me warm, cuppa in hand and I have five mins
of saying hello before my busy day ahead.

My week has been a very mixed bag of moments...

English Paper Piecing.

Family History.


Travelling through The Fens.

Slow Stitching.


Of course, if I was to sum up all of my varied days it would look like a jumbled patchwork throw...unfinished at that.
I guess the same as anyone else!

In our modern times life just seems to travel so flippin fast don't you think?
I wonder if our ancestors thought the same or even had time to think of such thoughts?

Slow stitching helps to ground me when I am needing some downtime.
When it is time to step off that hamster wheel of normality.
Isn't it strange how the thrill of a simple piece of metal and a snippet of thread can bring such joy....

I decided in the summer that my project over winter was to finally get around to
cutting out and then stitching my hexies back together again to produce
a snuggly lapquilt.
I have so many FQ's that are too small to add to a project but too big to waste.

English Paper Piecing has always been welcome in my heart since learning how to make a cushion whilst at Junior School.
I diligently stitched with eagerness each and every little small piece of cloth waiting for my jigsaw to appear.
of course in practise it was a really good way of introducing children to stitching and even wiser a good way to get them to practise their stitching without it becoming a chore.
i owe a huge thank to Mrs Walters for that...

Of course real English Paper Piecing (EPP) has a history something very different to what we perceive today...
It evolved from sheer necessity, like many sewing crafts.

Every tiny scrap of cloth able to be saved was added to the bag of scraps
and housewives would sit and stitch whilst hubbies were toiling the land 
during the summer months to produce a 'new' bed blanket quilt to keep their families warm
in the grueling hostile winter months.

I'm sure they didn't see it as therapeutic as we do today.

they simply stitched....

Not sure what they would've thought of our designs and styles today.

They used any scrap of paper they could get their hands on as templates to 
use to cut out their hexie shapes...
letters from family, telegrams, birthday cards, shopping lists, brown paper from the bacon or cheese they collected daily on their shopping trips to the grocers.

None of our pre-cut shapes back then.

No die cut shapes or machines to help quicken the process.

No fresh sparkling new fabric....


As they stitched by gas light or low evening light, because that was often the only time
they were able to sit and stitch...
they would simply stitch, slow and steady but methodically to get the job done.

Would their mind wander as does mine?

I really would love to sit and chat with the women in my family who are no longer here that 
sat quietly and did the very same...

What do you sit and think about whilst stitching?

All our vintage whispers of thread will become hierlooms of the future.
Do you add special memories to your projects or are you happy to simply stitch also?

Do tell..
I love to hear your tales...

Monday 7 November 2016

Seeped in history...

Hello lovelies...

Thank you for all your lovely comments following my last post.
It is so joyous for me to share my passion for my beautiful 
Fens with you all.

I know everyone favours the area they know best.... 
the area you were born into or the area you grew up in.

For me the ancient landscape known as The Cambs Fens
is deeply rooted within my bones.
My family history reaches back to a time when Fenmen waded 
through the boggy marshes on stilts; before there were dry fields and profitable farms.

Over time, man has forcibly sculptured every square patch of the land
for his own advantage despite Mother Nature putting up a big fight, resulting
in the flat land now famously known for the best arable land in the UK.

On a holiday in Cornwall a few years ago, a shopkeeper asked me if I had travelled far
on my hols...
When I replied I lived in Cambridgeshire,
 she quickly returned with " live in the damp patch then..."

The damp patch?

Can't say I've ever been described as a damp patcher before!

A stubborn 'ol Fen bird yes.
A Fen tiger yes.
One of them odd fen folk yes.
But...never a damp

My Fens offer skylines that equal a winning National Lottery ticket.
Her sunsets are masterpieces fit for the Tate Gallery.

As a child I would sit for hours watching clouds, create characters
and building my own stories...
I loved writing stories and poems.

I take SO many photos of the Fens and her landscape you would think at my age I would be bored of doing so by now but no.
I especially love trees.

Fen trees have a special corner in my heart.
Any shape, any size...any age.

They are always full of silent energy that bring a smile or two
whenever I see them.
Prince Charles was famously ridiculed for talking to the plants and trees but
I have to say I'm with him on that one....

I'm a firm believer in trusting trees with their wisdom.
They know a thing or two about survival of the fittest.
The tough 'ol Fen winds whip up a Fen blow around 
their ankles that often cause distress to so many....
and yet they plod on like tired old soldiers to get to the winning post.
They hold their own.

They are like little treasure boxes holding secrets to our past.
If only they could talk back....

Off to grab a cuppa and do some slow stitching so
until our next chat folks...
Toodle- ooh for now!

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Fenland Misty Mirrors

Hello lovelies...
November already?
Where does time go?

My poor neglected blog mirrors a very loyal friend who I return to when time allows and yet faithfully awaits my return for my next story...

As I am writing this post I am surrounded by the most beautiful Autumnal sunshine...
the sort that tricks you into thinking it may still be a little summery
out there but in reality it really is quite a shock to the system!

Spidery frost fronds decorate my garden with so many of Mother Nature's gems glistening in the sunlight.

Yes indeedy...Autumn has definitely set out her stall.
She is here to stay for a while so it is time to dig out those snuggly jumpers, tights 
and crocheted blankets. 
The array of colour, texture and smells delight my Virgo soul.
It really is MY time of year and for a couple of months I feel in vogue...

For me, Autumn has always been a reflective time of the year.
A time to start closing the door on life earlier in the day to snuggle under the warmth of home with my loved ones.

As usual I have a whole host of projects on the go to complete during the darker months which
will probably still be sitting there come Springtime but the intention is always good...

I have been working away from home alot this year doing various events and shows 
so it is extra special this year to be slowing down and putting my feet up a little more.

As much as I have absolutely loved doing all the events, exhibiting some of my work,
selling my kits, demonstrating various crafts and meeting so many beautiful people 
from all walks of life....
In truth, I am such a home bird...

My Fen roots are so strong that the feeling of nesting at home with my family whilst the
wild Fen winds blow all around me seep to the edge of every cell of my body.
I yearn for the simplicity of life.

Is that just a Fen thing or just an age related obsession?

So, with harvests all now in, flowers slowly fading, leaves finally falling 
and children already writing their Christmas lists it is time to wish everyone  
Happy Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season
 and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year.

Samhain allows my Fenland soul to rest her weary bones for a while and simply enjoy
the beauty around.
Don't get me wrong...
I don't enjoy the darker side of our year for so many reasons
but we must all embrace things in our lives that are often not our choice.
So with that in mind I welcome the dark into my life for a while
as best as I can...

As our rhythms of life begin to complete their full circle for this year we shall soon be moving on to the next circle.

2016 has been a very enlightening one for me.
I took a huge gamble at the beginning of the year to change direction slightly
and concentrate on projects I really wanted to do rather than was expected to do.
It was definitely a new direction to travel in, a scary one at times 
but none the less a very inspiring one! 
In allowing myself the freedom to explore through my much loved cloth and thread, my world of creativity has expanded immensely.

I've always enjoyed exploring and experimenting but lately
I've so enjoyed throwing loads into the mix of a textile collage, and just like watching a Victoria sponge being baked in an oven,
 watch it evolve right in front of my eyes.....

Capturing my ancient landscape with vintage cloth is just so beautiful to do.
I'm so pleased I haven't lost that 
well known dogged Fen determination deep in my genetic make-up to go against the grain... 
if anything I think it is getting stronger as I get older!
Either way it is making my soul so very happy.

"each new day is a path of wonder,
a different invitation..."
John O'Donohue

Until my next story...
Toodle-ooh for now 

Monday 10 October 2016

Ally Pally Crafting for our Well-Being

Good morning my lovelies!
How are we all?

Today is a lazy daisy kinda day after spending last week working my little socks off at
the most amazing 'Knitting & Stitch Show' at Ally Pally in London.

I had the most A-maz-ing week surrounded by cloth, thread, yarn, embellishments,
vintage gorgeousness, and even handmade chocolates!

I've been in crafty heaven to say the least............
Do you know what really made me smile?

The daily taxi ride to Ally Pally through the back streets of London looking at the beautiful Edwardian architecture maybe?

The fabulous Indian restaurant I managed to discover?

The fantastic  plethora of wonderful inspiration on offer from so many talented people?


The answer lies in human compassion...
Whilst at Ally Pally I have been overwhelmed by the beautiful warmth and kindness generously gifted towards me whilst demoing free motion embroidery on the Create & Craft TV stand

Your words and comforting smiles have all made me feel so humble in knowing how you feel I am able to offer you all a little inspiration and help with tips & techniques at times...
You've all shared your stories, your projects and your crafting worries and it has been lovely.

As you all know I am a textile artist who also appears as a guest presenter on TV at times.
Crafting for me is completely all about well-being, friendship and a gentle sharing of skills.
I know for many peeps crafting is often the only little ray of sunshine that helps to keep 
them smiling at times.
And I know through personal  experience when my husband was undergoing chemo treatment for bowel cancer, that sometimes you just need something like some gentle slow stitching, the hum of a sewing machine or the rhythmn of a pair of knitting needles to help to take you away from the harsh reality of life into a warm gentle happiness if only for a few minutes.

I am blessed to be in a very fortunate position of doing a job I absolutely adore and being able to walk my way through life in a gentle way sharing skills with so many others through crafting.
Hearing from so many of you; your stitching tales, your yarn rambles or your thread journeys and how they help to make up your own life's patchwork has been so inspirational and hugely rewarding.

Life often brings you riches in a variety of ways and sometimes not in a financial way.
You just have to decide what you consider is actually valuable in life...

A huge thank you for all of you who took the time and trouble to come and say hello.

Toodle-ooh -for-now folks!