A Woman and her Craft: Claire Brewster

I came across the most exquisite creations and wrote to Claire Brewster to ask if I could share them with you. I should first admit that I am a bird lover of the oddest kind. My kids call me the 'bird lady', I like to collect anything that has to do with birds, even soundtracks. Strange, I know, but when you move countries often, and find that each has their own individual sound...you sometimes miss the sounds of another.

Claire creates from nature in more ways than one. She takes her inspiration from the environment she lives in...London. Her installations represent flora and fauna from the world around her and imagined locations. " Her birds, insects and flowers transcend borders and pass freely between countries with scant regard for rules of immigration or the effects of biodiversity". As an Expat, I can relate to this. :)
"Claire Brewster's work is about retrieving the discarded, celebrating the unwanted and giving new life to the obsolete. Claire uses old and out of date maps and atlases as her fabric with which to create her intricate, delicate and detailed cut outs"
It is the intricacy and delicacy of her work that I find so appealing...and...the whimsical names she puts to each piece.

If you are interested in learning more about Claire's work, you can view her site here or write to her... mail@clairebrewster.co.uk

'Whatever you got, I want it'

'I have seen the great bear, I have'
'Hornsey Rises'

'From a Dark Heart'

'Hackney Bug'
'Humming over London'
'Rain Rose'
'Don't Spoil It For The Rest Of Us (Zebra Finches)'

                                               Claire isn't the only 'craft bird' in the nest..
(sorry,  I know it's silly, but I just had to say it...call it 'bird lady' speak)

More inspiring women and their craft...
                                                                  Artist, Kate Mears
                                                     Textile Designer, Charlene Mullen
                                                               Artist, Aida Tomescu
                                                               Women and their Craft
                                                            A Room for Arts and Craft
A Woman and her Garden

Images and mentioned text from Claire Brewster website 

Pashley and Brooks...a love story

I think my experience living in England will be forever known as the
time in my life when I fell in love...with Pashley and Brooks. 
My first love is my Pashley bike.
I have written about it numerous times and made the decision
 to bring it back as my blog title photo...again, just because I love it so.

A curious thing happened to me last week in an excursion to explore
Chiswick outside of London. I popped into a bike shop, and found 
the pannier of my dreams. The Brick Lane Roll-Up Pannier by Brooks to be specific.
It was a bit dear in price, even on discount...I hemmed and hawed. 
I looked for a Pashley bike in the shop, threw it on the back and I had my answer.
The pannier is versatile, light, easy to use, holds everything I need,
I just love the look and it is now mine. :)

images 1-4



I now have two items by Brooks...a bike seat and a pannier.
Both made in England and both to be treasured for many years to come.

My Pashley and my Brooks (below)
@Home Sweet Home

My next stop...Islington.
I have yet to get to Bobbin Bicycles and I need a helmet.

An English Painting and an American Passage...

'A Summer's Day' by Percy William Gibbs (1895-1925)
via Country Life magazine, February 8 2012

I came across this painting by Percy William Gibbs this morning....I took one extra sip of my coffee
  and came right to the computer. I had a feeling many readers of this blog would relate to this painting in the same way that I did...a flood of novelists and stories came to mind.  One in particular, 
by American writer, Louisa May Alcott and 'Little Women'.

"The pleasant room in the house was set aside for Beth, and in it was gathered everything
 that she most loved, -flowers, pictures, her piano, the little worktable, and the beloved pussies.
 Father's best books found their way there, mother's easy-chair, Jo's desk, Amy's find sketches;
 and every day Meg brought her babies on a loving pilgrimage, to make sunshine for Aunty Beth.
 John quietly set apart a little sum, that he might enjoy the pleasure of keeping the invalid supplied
 with the fruit she loved and longed for...and from across the sea came little gifts and cheerful letters, seeming to bring breaths of warmth and fragrance from lands that knew no winter. 

Percy William Gibbs (1895-1925) was a landscape painter, residing in East Molesey, Surrey. Just around the corner from where I live. He regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1894 to 1937. The painting above, 'A Summer's Day', is available for viewing and for sale at John Noott Galleries in Worcestershire. More information on this painting is available here.

One more, before I go...another by Percy William Gibbs, although, this one is a mystery.
I could not find the home for this one...but is surely conjures up many possibilities for a story.

'By The Pond' by Percy William Gibbs (1895-1925)
Now it is your turn...
what does this painting make you think of?

On that note... 
I wish for you..a wonderful weekend, 
filled with your heart's desires.

Jeanne xx

In Pursuit of the Perfect English Reader...

This is a follow up to my last post, A Queen and her Diamond Jubilee. Before I proceed, I would like to thank the lovely readers of my blog who forwarded my last post to me. I had an unfortunate mishap with my iPad and managed to delete everything but the post title. Peace and order have entered my life once again...much like The Queen.

This is not a book review, yet. In fact it is about to be a purchase. To get into the spirit of the Jubilee, I have decided to listen via Audio CD to a biography on the life of Queen Elizabeth II. I have mentioned before, my life requires many hours, behind the wheel, on country roads and the confusion of city streets. I learned quickly, upon moving to Surrey, that listening to a story along the way...is well, lovely. I have listened to many and the standouts during my time living in England have been The Hobbit read by Martin Shaw and my most recent journey, Then Again, read by Diane Keaton.

I am particular about my stories, I have to listen to a sample of the Reader first. If I am going to listen to someone for hours on end, I want to enjoy their company. I am very particular on this one. In regards to Queen Elizabeth II, the reader must be English...and have the reverence of a Queen. There are several audio biographies out there, but try as I might, I just couldn't warm up to many of them.  I think I found what I was looking for in the voice of Phyllida Nash. Reading sample, here.

Sarah Bradford is a internationally acclaimed historian and biographer.  George VI, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Diana, Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis are a few of her many acclaimed and celebrated biographies. 'Queen Elizabeth II - Her Life in Our Times' was released this month. You can read more about Sarah Bradford here.

I am currently driver without reader. When I finished my journey with Diane Keaton, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a dear friend. Yes, I enjoy a good Reader, that much... and well....there is something about Diane. :)

I look forward to the voice of Phyllida Nash...perhaps I might even perfect an English accent. On second thought...this is beyond my capabilities...my American accent with a trace of an Australian lilt...is sealed for life! But I can try...

You can read a review on the 'Queen Elizabeth II - Her Life in Our Times' here
If you shop via Amazon UK, you can purchase the audio CD, here or Amazon USA, here.

How about you... do you enjoy the company of a Reader?

I have nearly completed the CD's and have been hanging on every word. Not only do I find the life of Queen Elizabeth II interesting but also the historical events surrounding her years of service to her country. Her devotion and dedication is admirable and I admit there were a few tears (mine) as well.
I am so happy to have selected this story in CD version...well chosen!

Image and another source to purchase the book, via AudioGo

A Queen and her Diamond Jubilee

February 1952...Legendary hunter Jim Corbett wrote in Treetops' visitors' book: 

"A young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess 
and after having what she described 
as her most thrilling experience, 
she climbed down from the tree next day 
a Queen-- God Bless her". '

Call me a romantic, but I just loved reading the passage above.
So much so, that it prompted me to write this post. I read it in my favourite weekly magazine,
Country Life. It arrives in my post box on Wednesdays, a sign that a cup of tea is in order to read it.
I have declared to Mr. H that when we move onto Vietnam in July, one luxury must go with us....
my weekly subscription to Country Life magazine and stash of Fortnum and Mason English tea.

This issue (February 1, 2012) is a keeper 
as it is full of details for The Queen's upcoming Diamond Jubilee. 
I am sure there will be more coverage to follow.

 I have highlighted a few events that appeal to me.
If I am lucky, they will suit you as well.

The top of my list in London... 
with links to tickets..
'Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration'
Opening 8 February at the V&A, London

Followed by..
'Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist'
The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace
27 April to 9 September

'The Queen: Art and Image'
The National Portrait Gallery and touring
17 May-21 October

'Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration'
The Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace
31 July to 30 September

June 3
The Big Jubilee Lunch
 'Lunch parties, picnics and street parties
will be encouraged to bring communities together.
The event is being organised by the Big Lunch.'

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
'Up to 1,000 boats from around the world will form a flotilla
and travel down the Thames from Putney to Tower Bridge
led by The Queen travelling in the Royal Barge- The Spirit of Chartwell- 
decked out as a 17th/18th-century royal gallery. The procession
will be accompanied by the ringing of church bells, fireworks and music.
The event is being organised by The Diamond Jubilee Foundation '

June 4
The BBC Concert at Buckingham Palace
'Will be televised and tickets are available to UK residents by public ballot.
The programme will feature musicians from Britain and the Commonwealth.'

Jubilee Beacons
'Across the country, 2012 beacons will be lit and there will be others on the Channel islands,
the Isle of Man and across the Commonwealth. The Queen will light the National Beacon
as she did in 2002 and there will be Church Tower beacons on the battlements
of the Tower of London, St James's Palace, London and The Palace of Holyroodhouse,
Edinburgh and Killyleagh Castle, Northern Island, among many others.'

Are you feeling what I am feeling??
It's going to be fun!


For those of you who wondered about Jim Corbett  (1875-1955), as I did.
He was a British hunter, conservationist, author and naturalist.
He was an avid photographerand was famous for slaying a large number
of man-eating tigers and leopards in India.

I enjoyed discovering Jim Corbett as well today too.
Just love this blogging business!

Images and text from Country Life February 1, 2012 issue
Jim Corbett image here