Meeting people who enjoy sharing creative activites

It is often difficult finding new people who enjoy the same activities and interests that you do.

I have always been interested in sketching outside but have always found that you spend much of your time being disturbed by well intentioned people who are curious about what you are doing and I am just to polite to be rude to them to get them to leave me alone.

One of the solutions for me has to join a local meet up group, ( members come from all over the place and from many different backgrounds the one thing you have in common is the topic of the group. Now I know that groups do exist where  people are not that  welcoming and if the group is such that they always meet at the same place with the same people it can get a bit creaky  however the clue to that is to try one or two sessions and move on to another one if it isnt for you.

I have been lucky. I joined a sketching group where members attend when they can and  we spent yesterday sketching at The Vyne a National Trust Property near Basingstoke. Some people stayed together others went of on their own it really didnt matter. I think the key to the groups success is  that we knew that we could find one of the group if we needed to so we no one feel as if they were on their own,  everyone was  supportive and helpful and non judgmental  and we talked about the topic and did not dwell on our  personal lives

Recharging your batteries and trying something different

Sometimes you need to have a rest and recharge your batteries.

I don’t know about you but I am one of those active people all ways doing something however I do look forward to quiet times where I can  allow myself the luxury of  a chance to recharge.

The early part of the year is the one time when I can do this, people don’t really want to go out they want to make the most of the few good  weather days that we have. I love this time to jump start my own creativity, Ive recently been enjoying  creating abstracted art works with no particular theme and focusing on texture and pattern, creating several pieces at a time and moving between them all waiting for inspiration to kick in its been great fun its something that I would recommend to anyone who is finding it hard to motivate themselves

Winchester Christmas Lantern Parade 2013

We had a incredibly busy lantern parade lots of fantastic lanterns on display a great write up in the Daily Echo. With some lovely pics

And just to say a  big thank you  to all of my amazing volunteers it was great working with you all.

Last weekends lantern workshops and getting ready for next weeks parade

IMG_2262We have just had another great couple of days getting ready  for next Thursdays Lantern Parade . It was very busy and I didn’t stop all day on the Saturday for lunch so thank goodness I had thought to have breakfast before I left in the morning.

We are  so lookIMG_2337ing forward to the parade itself we made over 80 lanterns and have sold over 40 packs and with others are being made at home we decided to make  some changes this year and decided to reduce the size of the lanterns in the parade. It is so tempting  to make bigger lanterns however I would advise any IMG_2295one planning a parade to really give some thought to both your location  and the numbers of people taking part as well as observing . Their is some great advise out there when it comes to ensuring that your event is as safe as it can be.

I have received some lovely emails from schools and IMG_2318local groups so it is going to be really interesting to see what they have made.


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A great couple of days creating willow lanterns

Busy workshopproud mum and daughter




I have just spent a great couple of days  running lantern building workshops at the Brooks Center in Winchester. Because of space limitations I decided to spend day 1 making the structures and day 2 doing the decorating. this worked really well when your creating 40 lanterns in a day it is very tiring and changing over the materials mid way would have just been to difficult so a plan that worked well.

The next couple of workshops are on the weekend of the 16th and 17th November I am not sure if there are are any spaces left its been so popular this year, we’ve made up packs to make at home and they are going fast.

bright sky IMG_2233   presents ahoy geometric constuction



turkey lanternGiant heart lantern



Great fun training my new lantern parade workshop volunteers

I spent a lovely day on Saturday training up my lantern parade workshops volunteers, such a lovely group of people all happy to give up their spare time to help me to support the participants who will attending out lantern making workshops starting this week.

We attracted a large audience of passing spectators curious as to what we were doing, we were still awaiting our posters to arrive from the printers so I decided to write some details on a couple of sheets of paper so that people knew what we were up to.


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Getting ready for the lantern parade workshops, moving into our unit at the Brooks Winchester

Ive just spent the day moving all of our materials and equipment into our pop up shop at the Brooks Center in Winchester. The center has been great allowing us to use the space for a peppercorn rate we couldn’t do it without their support, I have put up three examples that I have made to show my new volunteers I  cant wait for the ceiling to start filling with examples that they make on Saturday.

I also introduced myself to my local shop staff and Costa Coffee came up trumps when they popped in and offered to donate us free hot drink vouchers for the lantern workshop participants to have when they finish their session a lovely thought.



Winchester Lantern Parade , getting ready for this years event

Ive been so busy with the planning for this years Lantern Parade (November 28th) all of  the necessary legal requirements are in place and I have been busy recruiting volunteer helpers to assist with preparing the lantern packs for sale at the Cathedral as well as volunteers to assist me during the workshops…

This years parade is different to past years , as it is a stand alone event with a 5o’s style band the Cadillacs playing in the Cathedral grounds as well as a variety of other entertainment with of course the parade were planning a celebration feel to our event

Its going to be great fun .

Ive also put together a information sheet for anyone wanting to make their own lanterns which you can find on my ….Free hints, tips and resources page

If you want to join in with this years parade either as a participant or as a a volunter please contact the Cathedral for more details



The Summer is over time away in my camper van and project management

I have been so busy over the summer months running holiday activities for children and working with project managing this years Lantern Parade for Winchester Cathedral that I have finally got around to taking some time of work for some well earned of in my v dub, She has now been partly rebuilt and now has a cooker sink and bed back in her, still lots more to do and I am really hoping to find the time to paint her I am going to turn her into a piece of art when I get time and I was really inspired by this great v dub to create my own version

vdub radio

Teaching parents how to face paint their children

I have just had spent a lovely day at Winchester Lantern Children Centre introducing parents to  the art of face painting.

My aim as usual was to provide parents with some hints and tips that the books don’t tell you and help them to feel more confident about approaching  face painting their children.

I first started face painting when my son was two years old ( he is now 25) as a means of providing a fun activity and offering a freebie to friends as a present when I didnt have very much money, in fact I often made presents or offered to provide activities as a present little did I know then that I would be where I am now.

When Ash was 8 years old and I had finished my university studies I went to work on Southampton s Play Bus for 3 years where every school holiday I trained staff to face paint ready for the children’s schemes, this carried on when I moved on to running Eastleigh Councils play schemes and over the years I have provided many subsequent training sessions as well as working at Festivals providing face painting as well as art activities in the children’s areas.

Always a useful skill t which  I enjoy passing on but this was the first time that I had agreed to providing a basic workshop for parents with their children so once again the old thinking cap on deciding what tips might be of most use to parents.