Thursday, 3 November 2016

30 Years - In Search of the Beautiful Exhibitions this Month in the North and the South

Preview of my New Paintings Saturday 5th November 

You are Invited to an Exhibition of My Paintings at

Chantry House Gallery
 Ripley, near Harrogate HG3 3AY
5th - 20th November

Saturday 5th November will be the Opening of the Show 11am -5pm 
So please join us for drinks and nibbles! 

Wed - Thurs 11am - 4pm, Fri - Sat 11am - 5pm ,   Sun 12am - 5pm 

***  I will be at the Gallery every Saturday on the 5th,12th and 19th November.

People always say that life is a journey. Embrace the highs and lows and just gather it all in as you go. Where business is concerned everyone is encouraged to be positive and upbeat all the time, to say we’re all fine and that everything is fabulous, and sometimes that is a huge strain. However I prefer to tell it as it is. It seems more honest.
So I would say that after the 14 months of Polly being poorly I think we are all doing okay. Being creative has certainly helped me through the ordeal – from painting pots as a distraction on the Teenage Cancer Unit to painting for Chelsea and the two shows I now have coming up.  Having an awful reminder of the fragility of life undoubtedly makes you feel more fearful, but it also encourages you to treasure what you have and intensifies your love for all who are dearest to you. In bad times there is a great pulling together among family and friends that, when life is on track and running smoothly, we conveniently forget. We still have tidal surges of fear if Polly seems poorly for any reason, which we never had before, and that in time we will hopefully learn to manage. She has started at Edinburgh College of Art doing Fine Art Painting, which a year ago is the best news we could have wished for. When we dropped her off last month, she hugged us tight and whispered, “We did it”. It was hard to believe that the day we had all been hoping for for so long had finally arrived; the day when she would become a student for the first time and get to do what she loves. She has already had two commissions for book covers and other people are now contacting her for different things, so it will be so exciting from here on in to see where her journey takes her.

Painting  - Ireland, Italy and Aggressive Sheep!

I try all the time to pour feeling into my paintings. It’s a concept that our son Dave, and indeed Polly 
at times too, finds hard to grasp. Even I find it hard to explain exactly what I mean sometimes. No doubt when I try, I probably come over sounding all ‘arty and weird’! But if you feel things keenly, there is a need to try to convey how beautiful often the mostly seemingly inconsequential thing can be – from the light on the ground in the distance, or behind a rain cloud, to the furls and enveloping curls of a flower. Sometimes the frustration of not being able to realise the painting that lies buried in my head is immense, but hey, with the wisdom of age I know that at least even my bad paintings represent a step nearer to understanding how to do it better next time. As I said earlier, life’s a journey – not to mention a continual learning process!
So in this great rollercoaster of a year we’ve had, we continue to grab treats with both hands. We’ve been to fabulous Ireland, where we will definitely be returning. And we’ve also been to Wales, where we stayed in a yurt and I got chased out of a field by the most aggressive sheep I have ever met! It rained a lot so although there was less painting done than my friend Rebecca de Mendonca and I had anticipated, we made up for it by spending the time doing something just as pleasurable: eating and laughing. Speaking of Rebecca, she and I ran our first residential course in Devon this year, which was great. We will be running four residential courses next year, including one in Tuscany, Italy, and one in Cober Hill near Scarborough. If you want information and fancy trying something different for a weekend away then please go to

Aphrodite Original Pastel Rose from the National Collection

Hot Chocolate  Original Pastel from the National Collection 

Craft in Focus Show, Wisley  23rd-27th November

The Garden of the Rose, which I visited in June, was beautiful, and the paintings I did there will be shown for the first time at the two shows coming up. Apart from Chelsea I have not done a show in the South for years, so it will be lovely to see people at the Wisley Craft in Focus show. I have enclosed a leaflet for it with more details.

Charity Paintings Page on New Website

I want to continue to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust and the PPR Brain Tumour Foundation, and so will be dedicating a page of my new website to that. I will periodically add paintings and sketches to it, along with other items, the sale of which will contribute to these two charities, just as the work that I sold in my Charity Sale did last year. So please keep a look out for that when I launch the new site, as I know many of you missed out on last year’s sale as the paintings sold out very quickly.

Thank you once again for reading this. I really appreciate it, and I truly value all the support you’ve shown both to me, and to us as a family, over so many years.

Very Best Wishes
Nel xxxx

Monday, 7 September 2015

Art therapy and Polly Update

Well we are now many months on and here I am still writing this from hospital. Polly has had six months of chemotherapy and alas her recent scan showed that she needs stronger chemo so we are all in today with her as she's having a thicker line put in, in preparation for her chemo next week. Mark has just said Polly is now another step nearer to being a Cyberman... It helps him to relate everything to Dr Who! 
We had a great holiday in Suffolk and Dartmouth so glad that the chemo was over, so we are just adjusting to the fact that this journey is going to be a little longer than we all thought. 
I managed to get to the Festival of Quilts, where as ever, I met lots of lovely people and received lots of hugs. People have been AMAZING. The love we have received and continue to receive has been quite overwhelming. It holds us up it truly does.

Chelsea Flòwer Show was great again with so many customers coming to see me with presents, cards , hugs and good wishes . It was the best show I have ever done. The presents were partly because it was also our Silver Wedding that week too! 
People have wondered how I can paint through this very difficult time in our lives. The answer to that question is because it helps and because as Mark and I are both self employed we need to. On the Young Adult Unit that Polly has her chemo on we have painted pots on a regular basis as it just takes you're mind off it. I love that being creative helps people during difficult times.
I did the 10k Race for Life for Polly in July. Having never been a long distance runner it was a real challenge for me, there was a lot of sweaty, everything aching moments. Sadly I didn't suddenly morph into a svelt gazelle. But by some miracle I did it and even more amazingly thanks to the tide of support from facebook as well as complete strangers I raised £6215 !!! So such a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me you were INCREDIBLY GENEROUS!

Autumn Exhibition Chantry a House Gallery 7th-22nd November

I'm currently painting landscapes and seascapes for my show at Chantry House Gallery Show up at Ripley Main Street, Ripley, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 3AY. I've also got stuck back into my oils which I'm enjoying. I'm hoping to be at the show each Saturday so it would be really lovely to see you all there. There'll still be florals of course this is Lilac Lake that I was particularly pleased with.

So we're now on the way home and Pollys doing ok she is such a ballsy girl. She said it was so bad as her biopsy and that the toast after was great. Another step nearer getting better. Thanks to everyone for reminding us many times over how wonderful people can be . Xxxx

Friday, 6 February 2015

Sending all our Love to our Daughter Polly xxxxxx

Well here I find myself with more time to write my blog but under circumstances that I wish with all my heart that I could alter. I could pretend and say everything is fine but it really isn't I don't have the emotional energy to pretend. We are currently sat in a hospital room awaiting a biopsy for our beautiful daughter Polly. Mark my hubby and her are discussing the tattoo she is designing for him. He is making her laugh as it's supposed to look a bit like an octopus and Polly has just said that she watched a series of videos of Octupi and it made her feel quite sick! It has been truly a terrible week as she has a tumour in her chest but we don't know exactly what it is until we have the results of the biopsy which may take up to a week or more.
So we're getting through each day slowly, literally slowly as she is worst in the mornings. But we now have a little routine of getting her sitting up. The day's extend like weeks until we know exactly what we're dealing with.
Our friends and family have been and continue to be amazing and we feel very well loved. Dave our son is coming back from Uni again today so he's here after her biopsy.
Painting as ever is a solace, as I see Polly drawing now so effortlessly, being creative is a comfort.
The sky is a beautiful blue and as we drove into the hospital this morning for 7.30 everywhere was frosty and the early sky a myriad of hues.

I have Chelsea Flower Show to prepare for and the strike offs of my next Collection Orient have arrived so I have these things to fill my mind in the times when I'm not with Polly or doing things that need doing. I asked Polly if she minded me posting this and she said it was fine.

So in the meantime I'm posting some paintings for our fabulous daughter and sending a big thank you to everyone that has sent so many kind messages. Nel xx

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Chelsea Flower Show Here We Come and Diary Dates for Where You Can Find Me I 2014 and News Of Memory Lane at Last and the Festival of Quilts!

Well I have been officially rubbish at keeping up with my blog so this is going to be rather a blast of news as there's a lot of it! I haven't been idle just too busy and it is the job that doesn't get done unfortunately! So here we go it's the beginning of show season again, kicking off with Chelsea flower show that starts on the 20th-24th May in London. I am getting ready for now, if you want to see much more regularly updates and pictures of the show and all the news then please go to my facebook art page  to see what I'm up to go to as I post on there far more regularly.

For Patterns and fabric then go to

This is my centre piece at Chelsea ( the one below) it's called Tender is the Light . It's done in pastel and is around 120 cm wide . It took me ages to do but I'm really please with it.
On the fabric front Memory Lane is now out which is exciting and I have just got the gorgeous quilt back from Trudy Wood who has done a fabulous job on it. So I hope to get  some pictures of it done this week. Memory Lane looks like this 

If you'd like to know where I am going to be in 2014 please go to the Diary of Shows on the news page  at

 I'll post more pictures soon but now we have a wedding to go to and I need to get ready!! Byee for now. xx

Saturday, 24 August 2013

secret garden is starting to ship!

We're back from the Festival of Quilts, and it was a whirlwind! So many people, so many wonderful customers. More (much more) on that in a later post but for now, here's a picture (sorry - it's a terrible phone pic) of the 2 quilts made from Secret Garden that were hanging in the Coats stand.

There will be patterns for both of these shortly. You can now buy Secret Garden from Hawthorne Threads (In the US) and shortly it'll be in stock at the eclectic maker (in the UK). We'll keep you posted on more stockists as we find them!

If you are a shop or know of a shop that is stocking Secret Garden, please leave a comment and I can add you to the list of stockists.

Festival of quilts 2013

Friday, 26 July 2013

10 minute make - pin cushion tutorial

The summer holidays are upon us and the children need organising and entertaining.
This simple pin cushion tutorial only takes 10 minutes and is a great way to encourage children into trying sewing, or you could make one for yourself to give you a breather when the summer break gets a little too much!

Pin cushion tute

1. Trace 2 circles from fabric (I used a large mug to trace my circles). Cut them out at least 1/4" larger all the way round. use pinking shears if you have them.

Pin cushion tute

2. Sew the 2 circles right sides together on the marked line, backstitching at the start and end of the stitching and leave a 1.5" or so gap for turning and stuffing.

Pin cushion tute

3. Turn right way out and stuff really firmly with wadding scraps or polyfill/toy stuffing

Pin cushion tute

4. Slip stitch the opening closed

Pin cushion tute

5. Take a very long length (about the same length of your full arm or so) of embroidery thread and make a good knot at the bottom.

Pin cushion tute

6. Push the needle through at the centre of one side, to the other side and working in a figure 8 wrap the thread over, pull tight, push the needle through, and then across the opposite side, pull tight again. Repeat this so you have the thread wrapped around in 8 places. Pull tight each time. Secure with a button and knot.

Pin cushion tute

Pin cushion tute

Pin cushion tute

7. And there you have it - one simple pin cushion!

I used 2 prints from eden to make this version. You can buy eden from The Cotton Patch.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

a bag from Eden

Hi, it's Katy from Monkey Do blogging for Nel again, with another project I've made using Nel's fabrics.

This time I made a reversible bag in Eden fabrics using the lickety split pattern by Made by Rae.

I have to admit, Eden isn't the sort of colours I'm normally drawn to, they're more muted than my usual palette, but I just love how they work together and now I've made this bag I'm actually loving the more muted colours!

Lickety split bag

The bag is perfectly sized for folding up and popping into your handbag for a trip to the grocers, or market. It's so useful. The pattern was fast and simple, and does include pockets (but I left them off).

Being reversible, you get 2 bags for the price of one! Even better!

Lickety split bag

I've just finished the quilt that will be hanging in Nel's section of the coat's and crafts booth at festival of quilts next month using the new line, Secret Garden (out later this year - I think around September time if all goes to plan with the fabrics arriving in the UK). Secret garden is completely my palette - it's bright, and full of purples, pinks and bold colours. Making the quilt has been an absolute pleasure, and I loved working with the new fabrics. I'll be back with another blog post soon to show you!