The daylight is wrapping itself up in its winter cloak, but it's still bright in the grotto...
On the days I work in the gallery, I read, wheelbarrowfuls of pages, and make scrolls of the most magical words I stumble upon...
I wouldn't mind digging up a lion's share of kaleidoscopic alchemy! (The words in this particular melting pot all come from Angela Carter's 'The Magic Toyshop').
In preparation for our Christmas shopping night (Friday 13th November), I have been sprucing up our paper bags. These will be sold on the night and in the run-up to Christmas. £1.00 for a munchkin-sized, £1.50 for the giant.
The pastry star atop this mince pie of early November is that one of my oldest friends is coming to England after studying in Cape Town, and we are going to prance to Brighton and drink enormous cups of tea and bake mint chocolate cakes and chortle over Poirot's moustache.
Finally, I have finished a machine embroidered drawing illustrating one of the snippet-sized yarns from my book of fairytale poetry.
There was a moment with this where I thought, "Humph. This has gone pear-shaped, and a disintegrating pear at that, perhaps with a little fluffy coat around the middle." But, while 'Emma' was chattering away in the background, I vowed to give it what for. Next I will cycle it over to the Chapel Gallery in Cuckfield to be box-framed in green. I have been in this little treasure trove only once before and found myself in a wonderland of beams and creaky floorboards and stained wood in caravan colours with an intriguing little staircase at the end, leading to who know's where.
The pixie who swings by the door now has black curly locks, leafy sleeves, and a golden bell jangling at the end of her cloak hood. I was so delighted to watch her come to life that I am thinking of making dolls to sell.
She has settled me in my nest. The typewriter has new ribbon, and one by one, the daddy long legs are evicted.
Now I am to start work on a fairytale poetry book! So far it features a good deal of nonsense.
In the meantime, a collaborative project between myself and author Sally Crabtree will be in an exhibition at Penlee House Museum & Gallery in Penzance from 28th November. The main feature is a concertina book about all the Lost Property office of Olly, a mouse. The display will also include a cabinet of curiosities with paper characters from the book.
One morning, wandering in a patchwork blanket called the South Downs...
...a poppy invites me to sit with him a while in the sun (and wind, and rain).
Back in the grotto, the bunting is stitched and tied to the ceiling, and a patchwork (of more modest proportion) is hatched...
...while this brazen fellow clamps himself to my thread tin, determined to complete his highly confidential Daddy long legs mission (which seems to involve staying still for three hours gazing into a gold lid).
Outside my door, the leaves jostle like bejewelled fish...
Brrr, back into the nest.
"There's blackcurrant tea, it's nigh on four..."
(said the crimson cloaked pixie who swings by the door),
"I'm back from the menders with boots of bright red..."
"...and a velveteen hood which will keep warm my head."
Meanwhile, I am stitching up some bunting for my walls from Granny fabrics.
My beloved lagoon-green Bernina Record is a little trooper.
In the meantime, reading 'The Old Curiosity Shop' by Charles Dickens...
There were suits of mail standing like ghosts in armour here and there, fantastic carvings brought from monkish cloisters, rusty weapons of various kinds, distorted figures in china and wood and iron and ivory: tapestry and strange furniture that might have been designed in dreams.