The feel of a community

I used to live in big towns where I never met anyone I knew. I could go for months, almost invisible.

So when I moved where we live now, it came as a shock when people started tapping on my shoulder saying hello because they knew me. I have to tell you that I am terrible at names and faces, unless I met with people for long enough so they imprint in my mind.

Anyway, moving somewhere new means starting from scratch, making new friends and taking on activities to meet people that enjoy the same things as you do. It doesn’t happen in one day, oh no! From experience, it takes about a couple of years before putting roots down, making new friends and feeling that your life is getting settled again. Having a child helps because it makes you go to activities for your child and meet other parents.

Recently, I joined a group of ladies called the “material girls” . They meet once a week at the library and share knowledge, projects, enjoyments and tips. Cakes and biscuits feature on the table at tea time and it is wonderfully informal. The one thing they did was to make me and anyone new so welcome. It almost felt like a big happy hug!

Then, a few weeks back I invited a lovely lady called Anne Brooks for a coffee. She runs a collaborative gallery of about 16 artists, give or take and my partner Adrian used to have his paintings there for a while, before our life got to busy with raising a family and re-building our house! It is different and we take it in turns to be there and meet the public. This is the first gallery I feel is truly a community. So a couple of coffees later and time to show her our work, she was very excited to have us back… well, actually I never my work there despite having helped a bit so we agreed to rent so wall space and have an exhibition. Side by side, very romantic in a way to have an exhibition by my partner even though when I said that to him he said “really?”. Men for you, eh?!


Adrian’s work on the right and might on the left

I have also volunteered to update the gallery website so I am for  now updating profiles and adding pictures. I am now learning new skills and I am hoping that one of the added benefits will enable me to set up a gallery portfolio on my blog as it is also a WordPress site. A friend of mine this morning said “I don’t know how you fit it all in!”. I don’t, most of the time. I snatch times like now when my little one is having a nap or I disappear in my new studio to see where my inspiration will take me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. However, I feel less alone now I am part of these communities. I have more people to ask feedback to, bounce ideas at and show things to before I put them out there.

Here are a few pictures of the gallery as it was this morning. Let me know what you think and if you are close to Truro in Cornwall, come and see us there. Visit for the address and the opening times.

DSCF1398e DSCF1399e DSCF1403e DSCF1421e


Artists featured at the gallery at the moment are : Anne Richards – Janet Downes – Vivienne Fraser – Sue Currie – John Brooks – Sally Dingle – Alison Jones – Anne Lofthouse – Chris Holloway – Joe Armstrong – Anne Brooks – Gaelle by the sea – Adrian Penhallow – D M Wright – Coral Spencer – Nicola Bottono – Martin Manuell – Colin Timpson

What is your community like? drop me a line and tell me :)

With smiles as always

Gaelle by the sea


flawed education

I always felt that important lessons were missed out of general education and mine in particular. In between other things life skills,… and a few other things that help us go through life and be happy. (This is in no way a complete list you understand!)

photo credit: Mixtribe Photo via photopin cc

photo credit: Mixtribe Photo via photopin cc

Today I came across something about Japanese design. It was not so much about the aesthetics but more about the meaning behind design. It puts into words simple concepts that I am going to share here.


Wabi stands for a kind of freshness and quietness. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of an object is evidenced in its patina and wear, or in visible repairs. The Japanese word for rust is also pronounced as sabi, and the two words surely share some connotations, when it comes to the impermanence of things. Wabi-sabi then is the art of balancing those two, which is neverending process in itself. In short: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect and that is a good thing.


It means original, calm, exquisite and sophisticated but without being perfect or complicated. A bit like the French word “chic”, but as the English would say: understated chic.

keep things plain and simple. Reducing designs to their essence is seen as strength of character.

Read more:

(this is mainly an extract of an article called 5 japanese design concepts. click here if you want to read more

photo credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen via photopin cc

photo credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen via photopin cc

One thing is for sure. The wording above meant more to me than many things I have read in the past and the reason is simple. Of course education puts a lot of design styles and movements into descriptions and set of artists. But here’s the thing, none of them talked to me. Putting the essence of design decisions and style like iki or wabi-sabi is not common knowledge. I am not surprised though but I feel very strongly that if it was, it would do a lot for many artists and designers. It would simplify their communication and most importantly build their confidence no end.

This post may not be for everyone but if it makes a difference for one person, then it was worth writing. And if this person is you, drop me a line and tell me how.

The first of many: My world is…

A while ago whilst planning the collection for my launch, I had an idea for my friend’s birthday. All I knew is that I wanted to do something handmade for her and play around with new techniques at the same time.

So first I went to my local florist and picked some roses. The selection was very narrow but peeling back the petals they turned out to be beautiful and having wonderful colours in them. I did spread the petals on a mounting board and started shooting. I think it is fair to say that despite having an idea in mind, I like the magic of trying things out and one of the pictures will happen as per magic and make my idea of it even better than it was in my mind. I was not disappointed. It turned out better than I planned.

My world is photoshot collage

Then I thought about my friend and how she is all about emotion and passion. She is creative and I wanted to celebrate that. May I say that I have not done something handmade for a long time apart for my partner and my daughter so I was a bit nervous.

I worked with different fonts and ended up printing on muslin. It’s light texture made the photograph almost vintage and added a very soft feel to it. Well, that also said a lot about my friend too!

So a few hours later, a few occasions where she almost saw it and some home wrapping later, I finally got to give it to her. I loved her face when she opened it.

See, for me, this is why I am doing what I do now. If I can help spreading a bit of joy and help celebrate someone special, then it is a real pleasure and one worth sharing.

My world is frame © Gaelle by the sea

My world is … frame © Gaelle by the sea

So now I am launching my shop in Etsy I will start sharing what I have been working on for a few weeks. Enjoy. Ask questions. Give me some feedback.

PS: the link to Etsy is now live at

House warming party with a relaxed feel

For the last few days, I have been busy tidying up, cleaning and sorting to make the house more presentable. Being surrounded by boxes, tools and builders is somewhat a challenge but we are getting there. Now it is time to enjoy it and celebrate.

So when a friend of mine, Sue,  asked me if I wanted to host a party for a spa products, I thought “wouldn’t it be wonderful to celebrate with a bit of pampering?”. She was nervous because she only started doing this recently and she is juggling motherhood like me ( except that she has to deal with 2 rather than 1) but she has taken steps to change her life, working around her family. I had never done this kind of thing before so it was a new experience.

So a few drinks later and  a special mention for a “spritz” to start with (cocktail from Venice made of Proseco and Aperol, similar to Campari but not so bitter), a cake with fresh raspberries and all the smells of the naturals elements within the creams and potions, we all fell laughing and relaxing.

 temple spa with Sue 

Click on the picture and it will open a larger version. Caption: (I would not be a very good friend if I did not add her link here because she has been fab so have a look at her site if you feel like treating yourself so here goes ).

One of the most funny moments was when we used one of the mask on problem areas. We ended up looking like clowns with dark creams all in different places and looking quite silly. Everyone thought it was so funny that they didn’t mind me sharing these on this post. I, for one, feel very relaxed and wish I could do this more often! Silliness apart, the products made use feel one million dollars and who would not want that?! I tell you what, the day has come and gone and I have thoroughly enjoyed it and everyone else too.

Last night, I thought about some clay experiments I did a few weeks back and giving one to each person coming. Imprints of roses, butterflies, words and natural textures… a bit of natural pigments and… voila! “Home is where the heart is” felt the ideal fit for this afternoon and celebrating our new home and make each person welcome. Here is a picture taken before I gave them away.


Why is this significant I hear you asking? In the past, I have been a conceptual designer. Great stuff but after I did all the marketing, sales, leading the company.. I hardly ever had time to design and even less to experiment. This time, I want to touch textures, play and experiment, in brief allowing myself to be creative. I have done too much thinking and not enough doing. So I am now “en route” to take action. In the near future I will start putting elements of that creativity for all to see.

I realise as I am reading this post that it is a bit unstructured but it is OK. I am relaxed, happy, inspired and feeling that nice things are about to happen…

Disclaimer: Ads may appear below, just something that happened tonight without my consent and that can be removed at a cost! Not so happy about that. When I thought this platform was doing so well… In any case, it is not something I have chosen to do, just thought I would mention it…

All so quiet

It is very early in the morning now little P wakes up at the crack of dawn but at least it is quiet. For the last two days we have had sewage work in our street. They work mainly in the evening and the night before last the compressor in front of our house worked until to restart at! They have also used a resin that smells like car coolant and it is still down in the lounge. OK, it is safe but very heady and persisting. They are supposed to finish the work today (Sunday), fill the trench now filing the front of our house so we can all park in the street!

What a weird week this has been. Adrian has gone to watch a cricket match with a friend. He does that once a year, goes away for the weekend and this time will come back with lots of goodies! He has been to IKEA “en route”. Not straightforward as not everything was available and he has to go to another one today. The closest to us is about 4 hours from here so only on long journeys. I am very excited. I have been planning this shopping list for the last few weeks. I was only sad not to join the trip as I love to go there but it wouldn’t all fit in the car with little P in the back too. So what is coming? Some bookcases, fabric to do curtains, curtains to reupholster the sofa, (I will explain the logic in that next time) storage solutions than can double up as storage somewhere else later. It is all about to find solutions and systems that work. Once we have that, we will be able to put away the essential and then, maybe I will be able to be ruthless and get rid of stuff that may make someone else very happy.

At least, just a few most hours, and I will have “toys” to play with!  I can’t wait… Patience is not my strong point… This should be keeping me busy for a while and give me plenty to do at the next craft evenings (about a year and a half ago, I started a craft evening with some other mums. We meet mainly at my house and have fun. Sometimes some evenings turn to some chatty evening but that’s part of the fun too). The thing is, for the foreseeable future, all evenings will be craft, painting and so on… I have finished staining the unit for the bathroom and I am thrilled with the results. Promise, I will posts plenty of pics in the next few days so you can all see what I am talking about. I have now so many things on the go. Some needs Adrian to be there so I can go to the other house, some are fitted during nap times and need drying time, some are waiting for the fabric but are all worked out and measured up. Did I ever say that I never work only on one project at any one time? They always seems to be feeding from each other once I get the momentum going and actually, this is an important part of my design process.

Workmen are back. Noise will follow… The street will be all repaired and working like new before we move back and that can’t be bad.

One step at a time

OK so the plan is not going fast. In fact it feels like snail pace all the way. Why?

Doing any sort of promotion for the work I do or (planning to do) has taken me to some sites to improves things, giving me tips and links. Don’t get me wrong. A lot of them are very good and useful. Some are damn good in fact. But where do we draw the line between optimizing a blog or a website, creating a site, have a social network presence… (blah, blah, blah…)? We could spend every house of the day and more to even just giving it a start. Does it work? Will it make a difference? Is it worth my time? This last question, you see, is paramount. I have been there and I have spent hours and days on marketing and the whole promotion shebang. In the end though, I had no time to be creative. Don’t want that now.

So this time, I am more wary/careful. I do not want to repeat previous mistakes. I know, I know, there are never any guaranties but we live and learn don’t we?

I have a list of things to do in that respect and it is 4 pages long. Time for a highlighter. Rome was not built in a day as they say. I will pick one or two and see how it goes, one step at a time. By the way. What works for you? Have you just put a couple of steps in place? Let me know.

My mum is coming tomorrow for almost two weeks and looking after my little one next week (when I have an operation on my ankle, third time lucky!), followed by my mother in law for a further few days. I am not sure how it will work or even if my blog will get less of my attention but I may take the chance to do what I preach and do things rather than thinking about it. She is bringing me fabric for curtains. Will get my sewing machine at the ready! joy! as soon as I have tidied up the place. Wish me luck!!

Life in storage

When we moved into this rented house, I packed for the 6 months we were supposed to complete the work on our house. Yep you guessed we are now 10 this later and we are still 2 months if not a bit more before we move back in. I would not mind so much if this was the third time in the last 4 years because we relocated, moved in temporary accommodation, then bought a project, moved in and moved out for the work to be done. Don’t get me wrong, it is not the fact of moving or having to wait (saying that, waiting is not my strong point!!), it is more the fact that most of my tools and bits & pieces  are in neatly labelled boxes, piled up in corners so I can keep an eyes on them and use if emergency. The thing is, I have nowhere to put the stuff in them as each corner is full to the rafters, See this is a common things for all creative (for all the ones I know anyway), we collect stuff. We make space when we have run out. We create piles that are ready to collapse to the desperation of our partners I have to say… So how did I cope? well, I used different techniques. For a few months and projects, I turned to sewing rather than scrapbooking for example. I also collected new books and gathered inspiration for our new house and our wedding next year. Did I mention I also have a two and half year old at home? That’s me all over, can’t do just one project. So the last few weeks I threw myself wholeheartedly into creating boards onto Pinterest for each of my interest. May I say thank you here to everyone that has contributed in keeping me sane by providing me inspiration and so many pretty things to look at?

One of the interesting I have discovered is that many designers use Pinterest boards to gather inspiration like I have just done. See, before it used to all be on my computer. Then, my laptop ceased up, bursting at the seams. Now I have a shiny new (purple) one, I am finding new ways of keeping it tidy and collect inspiration virtually. The greatest advantage, apart from not taking valuable space on my hard drive, is that all the links and URLs are kept intact for further reference. How cool is that? So no long now I hope into what will be a dream house as it will host an art studio for me and my partner. Not sure how the sharing will happen yet… I will try not to take all the space… ;)

Have you been through something similar or something else disrupting your creativity? Come and share your experience as I am sure other mums will enjoy hearing about it and get tips along the way. If nothing else, they will know that they are not alone out there…

as/3687374116/">Gustavo Minas</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit:

This is the first time I am using outside content and crediting a picture. I hope I have done it ok!