Saturday, 27 September 2014


Last week heralded the arrival of the long-awaited Certificate of Completion for the on-going work at La Petite Maison. Hooray!

However, there is still a lot of work needing to be done, so with a deep breath and a longing for Allotment Days and other more genteel pursuits, it is Hey Ho and Off to Work we go etc.

One of the rooms still to be completed is my Creative Space.

Space is a must for anyone who has the slightest inclination towards creativity,

and for anyone like me who has several projects on the go at once, a kitchen table and work basket simply do not suffice. (Although I fully intend to spread out in front of the new woodburning stove in the kitchen extension on a chilly evening with knitting needles and wool.) 

But as Virginia Woolf so rightly said "A woman must have.... a room of her own."

Without a workshop or proper Creative Space, the pleasurable tasks of soft furnishings, including making curtains, lampshades and cushions et al, and most crucially soap-making are being conducted whenever and wherever there is free space - be it time wise or space wise.

Previously a small sunny back bedroom with French doors and wrought iron balcony overlooking the garden provided me with a delightfully pleasant work room, and is the one room that I am sorry to leave behind; but now in La Petite Maison, unwilling to sacrifice a bedroom and aspiring to a larger area for all my potential creative projects (most of which I have had to reluctantly put on hold since the inception of the renovation of La Petite Maison), I decided to convert the loft for Creative purposes.

Although the headroom is a little on the restricted side, it is perfectly adequate for those like myself who are of somewhat petite stature.

The loft space conversion was a lot more involved than I had ever envisaged, and so whilst the laborious work of cutting and fitting the cumbersome (and surprisingly pricey) insulation panels ensued, I took time to check out a few other Creative Spaces for inspiration. 

This French Sewing Room is enviable

and I love the light and airy feel to the room above.

The room below is located at Monks House

and was the workroom of Caroline Zoob.

Amanda Hoskin's studio

is full of her fabulous paintings of Cornwall

and inspires me to pick up a very different type of paintbrush than the brushes I have been using over the past while.

As the loft conversion progressed

and while the freshly plastered walls are drying, I indulged and tormented myself with a book by Caroline Zoob - 

whose gorgeous pieces of embroidery on old linens, inspired by nature, are exquisite and inspirational, and whose projects in the book entitled "The Hand-Stitched Home" tempt me to put aside all else and pick up my embroidery hoop.

My sewing skills have mainly been put to use on cushions and curtains and although I have always been enthralled by works of embroidery,

I have yet to attempt such detailed works as those by Jan Constantine

and Jo Butcher, (who paints beautiful pictures with her needle and thread),

the closest being when an addiction to cross-stitch developed into a fascination for redwork.

One Winter's day with time to kill and an embroidery hoop, needle, white linen and red thread, I lost myself in a world of French Knots and Daisy Stitches

and on the happy chance that I find myself with a further few hours to spare and space to work, I plan to incorporate this little redwork piece into a gingham and vintage lace edged cushion cover; 

My work may lack finesse and is sadly not up to Caroline or Jo's impeccable standard, but doing it was most enjoyable and rewarding nonetheless and has left me with a desire to learn how to embroider properly. 

Interestingly, I discovered that Caroline Zoob has recently been taking embroidery workshops............ so perhaps when the creating of my Creative space is complete, I will find the time to enroll upon one!!

Roll on that day......