Studio inspiration

It’s hard to feel inspired when the wind is bitter and there are snow blizzards, however this morning the sunshine warmed the Studio: it smelled of a welcoming wood so I decided to have a play.


Fox in a wintry wood.

 This linocut print was the result of a workshop I did last weekend. Sometimes it is good to work alongside other artists. It was inspired by a lovely experience in Cople wood, or I like to call it the magic, or fairy wood. The little wood does have a magical atmosphere. One day we were out walking when  we saw this young fox peering at us. It was a special moment I always wanted to recreate the image in my head. I hope you enjoy it. I may make a smaller version for cards.

Summer colour


Mid summer here we come with an abundance of flowers in the garden to enjoy. I particularly love scented roses in delicate pinks or hot orange and yellow calendulas and  zinnias. Yarrow which is beautifully structural has replaced the poppies and dahlias are very cheerfu!

Enjoy a little taste of our country garden and lets hope the wweather is kind to us this week. πŸ™‚

Down the garden path

We’ve just had an unbelievably hot week, or more. Everyday I have been up early watering the garden and greenhouse before taking the dogs for their walk. I am really enjoying the garden now as it is a joy to see plants I’ve grown from seed flourish and last year’s plants particularly Dahlias appear. I love the variety of colour and textures in the garden. The oriental poppies as have wild poppies been spectacular, I love watching their delicate papery petals dancing in the breeze. When they are backlit by the sun in late afternoon they look stunning.  This year we decided to buy garden furniture so we can sit with a cup of tea or a meal, watching the visiting birds swooping about, landing on a hoe or garden fork, they can be comical. Goldfinches are beautiful birds.  We are proud of our garden, it has a long way to go but it is  like an artist’s canvas turning into nature’s theatre. You can’t beat it! 

I hope you’re all having a good week. πŸ™‚

Art studio up and running!


Gradually I am moving my artist materials and equipment into the  log cabin art studio, which is situated about half way down our large garden.  We purchased most of the vintage furniture from our local auction as I wanted a homely, eclectic feel to my studio. My husband bought me the printing press from an antique shop in Ampthill called the Emporium, for Christmas.  I have basic heating and lighting and when our home extension is built I will have everything I need.

I am really enjoying having my own space. I pop down when I like, make a cup of tea, ponder my art books, sketch, write in my studio diary or just watch the birds on the feeders, the sun going down, cloud formations, bees on the flowers or listening to the rustling of leaves, or the cockeral next door. It is just so magical!


The Aquilegia or Columbine Is a beautiful fairylike plant which just loves growing in  our garden. I love its delicate petals and the colours are faded and old fashioned. I decided to pick a few blooms for the studio to do loose watercolour painting cameos, which I will add glazes to later on, or I may just leave them looking fresh and delicate. 



The colours haven’t photographed well, however hopefully you’ll get the essence!

Progress in the cottage garden


We have been working hard to make the garden look colourful and working on the structure. 

My husband has now got his greenhouse up and running and my seedlings and tomoato plants are enjoying the warmth. Hubs has started to dig vegetable beds and raised beds for the veg growing Iin the greenhouse. It is all very experimental.

As you can see, I now have my studio where I can write, paint, do printmaking, upholstery or just enjoy quiet moments. 

It’s wonderful to spend time in the garden, working or pottering about listening to the birds bees and butterflies. 

The roses are coming out too! Unfortunately the frost has taken many young plants including three acers! Our peach tree has a fungus which is a shame, although apparently it will bear fruit. I hope so because the peaches are wonderful. 

I am currently working on various watercolours and prints which I’ll show you hopefully soon. I am so proud of hubby for managing to create this beautiful haven, he is working full time too! We are both looking forward to his retirement in tge fairly near future fingers crossed!

We have today had a little rain, but not enough to fill our waterbutts! I hope you are enjoying your gardens or green spaces around you. Happy weekend to come. πŸ™‚

Bountiful spring borders

Last spring we only had a few shrubs in this border, so we spent ages last autumn planting various tulips, narcissi, gorgeous old fashioned wallflowers, and many more. What an ambundance of varieties and colours!

My lack of wordpress posts is because of necessary weeding, deadheading, pruning and planting whilst my husband designs new borders and features. It is wonderful to be serenaded by the birds and bees. There are quite a few butterflies about too, the yellow, tourtoiseshell and the painted lady so far.

I hope you are out in your gardens enjoying spring and if it is still cold where you live, I hope my photos cheer you up.

‘Slumber’ a moment captured in pastel

After my husband leaves home for his office, the dogs find one of our many cosy chairs and fall Iinto a deep slumber. I usually sit, enjoying the birdsong outside and reading, writing my poetry, catching up with my nature diary, or sketching. Today, instead of using a drawing pen or charcoal I picked up a dark grey hard pastel. Gently I tried to capture the essence of my border collie, the muddle of soft fur, tucked into the plump folds of the cushion and herringbone wool covered armchair. I loved the way her wispy tail curled around her. I had to work quickly because I knew she would stretch out her paw or move her head slightly. With every few deep breaths of the warm, ccomfortable dog, I gradually built up the tones and strokes to form her likeness. It is always difficult to know when the drawing is finished, but I focused on capturing the essence of Β my dog deep in slumber.I hope you enjoy looking at her and relaxing.

Delicious festive easy dessert

I used to make Boodle’s Β fool many year’s ago when I regularly hosted afternoon tea on Sunday afternoons. It was always ‘demolished’ by family members!

When I found an old hand written recipe book circa 1989, there was the recipe complete with turned down page! So I decided to make it but give it an Italian, modern twist.

The original fool was made I believe for Winston Churchill who frequently dined at the exclusive Boodles Club in London.

I hope you enjoy my version but if you want to make the original version, use plain sponge cake instead of Panettone and swap Amaretto for Grande Marnier. I will work on a dairy free version which will possibly be made with coconut cream.

Janet’s Orange, Lemon and Amaretto fool


50g or a few pieces of traditional panettone broken up, enough

for 6 small glass dessert dishes.

2-3 tablespoons of Amaretto or almond liqueur

Rind and juice of 2 oranges and 2 small lemons

85grams of caster sugar

10fl ounces of double cream


Place the Panettone in a bowl and add Ameretto gently to just moisten the cake a little.

Distribute the Panettone between 6 small dessert dishes.

Grate the lemon rind and orange rind. Juice the fruit into a jug.

Add rind to the juice leaving a few pieces of the rind to decorate the tops of the desserts.

Add caster sugar to the juice and dissolve it.

Whip the double cream until it is stiff, then gently add the rind Β and juice liquid until it is mixed well.

Spoon the creamy mixture into the dishes and decorate with pieces of rind.

Refridgerate for 3-4 hours or overnight. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash & Chestnut soup

I managed to pick a bag full of windfall Sweet chestnuts a couple of week’s ago. I roasted them and peeled them and after eating a few, because they were so delicious, I put half in the fridge and froze the rest.

I was contemplating cooking Chestnut risotto, however hubs isn’t keen so instead I made this wonderful hearty, autumnal soup. You could use rosemary instead of sage, spice it up with a pinch of paprika or use an onion instead of a leek.

I’m gluten and dairy intolerant so I didn’t add a swirl of sour cream, but you could and a sage leaf or sprig of rosemary.

I hope you enjoy trying out this recipe. If you can’t get fresh chestnuts I think you can by them in a pouch from the deli or supermarket.