Monday, December 31


The year is almost over.
I've been reflecting on the ups and down of the last twelve months. 
I'll spare you my thoughts, though.
Instead this is what Christmas Day entailed for dogs in the Roberts household. 

Firstly a wet walk in Kielder Forest  - nearly four miles of empty forest road to career along and ample puddles to splash through. 
A couple of brief stops - at the observatory and at the Skyspace installation. As you can see the only one enthusiastic about posing for the picture in there was Midge - check those ears!

 The return home was followed by a snooze in front of the stove before they both provided essential assistance with unwrapping presents.
Tonight we just have to cross the road to the village hall for what promises to be a very sociable night
Whatever you are doing to see in 2013, I hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, December 24

Season's Greetings

Stevan Dohanos   December 1947

From my little corner of the world to yours, 
I'd like to wish you a warm and safe Christmas and New Year.

Saturday, December 15

Winter blues (and whites)

Thanks to all of you who visited last weekend. It was good to catch up with old friends and make new ones too. It's been a very busy autumn and I am looking forward to a break over Christmas, if only to catch up on some of the lovely textile books I have acquired. 
January will see me stitching samples, spinning and sketching ideas in preparation for the return trip to Gujarat. I'm planning on entering an indigo phase (!) so here are some suitably coloured images. 
I can't take credit for any of them but you'll understand I could not let these textile pieces go when I saw them on Mirjam's stall at Southdean's Christmas Fair....

Friday, December 7

Busy this weekend?



HQ is spruced up; 
shelves arranged, 
cushions plumped, 
floor vacuumed, 
bargains priced (or free!)

Hugh is still in his cabin, 
hanging pictures -
with the occasional riff on 
guitar to keep him focused

Cake baked, 
mincemeat flapjacks baked, 
coffee machine ready-to-roll

we need gentle weather 
over the weekend and 
some lovely visitors to call in!

Saturday, December 1

Festive Spirits

Fibres and buttons on my stall yesterday, bread, scones, mincemeat and more on a different stall today. Life ain't dull in the Borders (cold, though...first snow last night)

I had lovely company at the Southdean Christmas Fair this afternoon, with Mirjam on one side and Ruth on the other, plus more friends turning up to support us all. 

I succumbed to a few choice articles myself, not least Lorraine's plum gin (tested this evening and just as scrumptious as it sounds...may not see Christmas) and great beads and fabrics from Mirjam.

And so, one more busy week of preparation before our annual Christmas open weekend. 

Come along if you can, the more the merrier!

Sunday, November 25

A day of rest?

Not here! 

Today I have baked bread and cakes,


 made some delicious Amaretto & almond butter for Saturday's Southdean Christmas Fair,


carded lots of luscious fibres


 and toiled over a computer to put some new 'literature' together before Friday!


Monday, November 12

Still here...

... and working hard to get as much made and ready for this weekend's fair as I possibly can.
It's going to be a good 'un so I hope you can get along to see and buy the work of so many wonderful local designers and makers!

Sunday, October 28

A great day out....

10.00 - 4.00
everything from fleece to finished goods
carded, combed, dyed, natural, spun, stitched 
plus other lovelies like handmade jewellery
not to mention great refreshments
close to glorious sea cliffs for a dramatic 
coastline walk to blow the cobwebs away

see you there!

Tuesday, October 23


I am back home after a busy month in Gujarat. I'm posting images over at my India blog but thought I'd use this space to tell you about up and coming Tart-related events.


On Saturday 3rd November the Tart will be at the revamped community hall in St Abbs for a warming winter wool festival event. Great soup and cakes too.


The next Woolgathering is on Sunday 4th November in Southdean Hall here in Chesters. They are informal days of stitching/spinning/knitting/nattering/swapping. Cost £5. Join in at any point from 11.00 am and bring your lunch. See above for more info on Woolgatherings.


On November 17th and 18th I’ll be at Springwood Park in Kelso for this annual event. My spinning wheel and I look forward to seeing you there. At such a great venue full of quality makers; you are sure to find a wealth of presents there for friends with taste and style!


On Friday 30th November you’ll find Ali, Linda, Janet and me at Ali’s house in Jedburgh, inviting you to snap up a feast of textile and paper supplies. We’re also launching WARPED, our artists book group, with our first themed books. Come along between 1.00pm and 8.00pm and catch up with us all.See poster below for details.

It's on Saturday 1st December. It’s small and friendly, with good refreshments and free entry. Come along and


     8th and 9th December        
11.00 till 5.00

Hugh and I will both have our workshops open for a Christmassy weekend. Drop in for a blether and some festive fare, snap up a few ideas for presents or bring your stitching and stay for a while. Everyone’s welcome.

Friday, September 21

Flitting to t'other blog...

... but just for a month. Posts here will be sporadic but please do take a look at my India blog while I am away. I hope to be posting up lots of pics.
Just checked the forecast there for Sunday. 60% chance of thunder and 32 degrees. I will have melted into a puddle just stepping off the plane!

Saturday, September 15

Northern travels

Back from a very fine week in Sutherland. Walked across heathery moors, down wooded hillsides and along (very) blustery beaches, ate rather too well, caught up with brother and his new dog, and with good friends too.

We visited Timespan in Helmsdale and were lucky to catch an exhibition of impressive, understated and very covetable slate sculpture by Mary Bourne.
Although sunny it was blooming chilly so we settled for a swift walk along to the quay and back again.

Dornoch beach was where I found these shells (I think they are tellins) So many colours, and just crying out to be 'kaleidoscoped' on the ipad!

On the last day we made it to Dunrobin Castle, and in between the showers it was quite magical, if a little surreal,to be looking at the immaculate garden modelled on Versailles.

We saw round probably twenty rooms and passages and nooks and crannies in this castle which is an amalgam of 14th Century 'keep' and several additions over the centuries (and now has 189 rooms...)

Thursday, September 6

Time to hit the trail

Art Trail East kicks off tomorrow and there's lots to whet your appetite  - jewellery, glass, textiles, paintings, wood and more. Hugh and I are planning a wee sortie to see some Crossing Borders friends and enjoy the glorious landscape on the way.

We were delighted to see so many new faces as well as welcoming old friends last weekend. Tart HQ attracted a good few admirers so perhaps I could set up a sideline in revamped old caravans...

The Stitched Sheep was much worked upon by visitors and went from nude to decorated over the three days
 Here's the talented Katie from MAKE launching into bunting-mode on Day One
 By the end of Day Two sheepie's modelling a top hat and tail and has acquired a second ear
And by Sunday night she's looking pretty fine, the garden has blossomed and there's wildlife including a butterfly and a caterpillar, Oh and the ear has an earring. We are blessed with many creative types in this neck of the woods!

Tuesday, August 28

An art extravaganza...

 ....awaits you in just a few days' time! 
Crossing Borders members are throwing open their doors this weekend.
We're sweeping and vacuuming, dusting and polishing, frantically finishing off, hanging and arranging and generally putting on a show - so whenever you see a sheep sign, take a little time to look in and meet the artists in workshops and studios and village halls across the Borders and North Northumberland.

The naked sheep above is waiting for visitors to sew a few stitches, add a button or a patch or two in Tart HQ. I hope by the end of three days we'll have ourselves a collaborative cushion to mark the 2012 Art Trail!
 Parts of my beloved old caravan are looking very organised and shop-like. Other areas are a work-in-progress but I'm nearly sorted. I look forward to welcoming old faces and new to HQ this weekend.

Saturday, August 25

Art Trail just around the corner...

Five days to go until we launch into the fifth annual Crossing Borders Art Trail. 

 Here at Chesters Hugh's been working in a bolder style than before - he's really enjoying this freer approach and the results are dramatic so there's lots of great new artwork on show.
 And as Hugh's work gets looser, mine gets more fiddly... 
I've been having fun with smaller framed collages.

Friday 31st - Saturday 1st - Sunday 2nd 
10 am till 5pm each day (later on Friday)

Lots more to see, including our quality 'garage sale', and fresh coffee and cake to wash it down with. Whatever the late summer chooses to throw at us all, you'll get a warm welcome in our cosy workspaces. And we're open late on Friday night till 8.00pm so grab a glass of something stronger and linger a while.

Saturday, August 18


Today I drove to Broughton in depressingly damp conditions, following yet another night of heavy rain. But the day improved hugely! Not only did the sun split the sky from lunchtime onwards, but I was surrounded by happy textilers from Edinburgh, Dumfries and Tweed branches of the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. 

Broughton Hall echoed to the sound of many varied spinning wheels, and quite a babble of excited textile talk. Fleeces, wheels, and essential supplies changed hands and were washed down with tea and fine Scottish home baking. Some lovely person had even made tablet, which gladdened the heart and widened the hips of this particular attendee...
My fellow stall-holders, Natalie of The Yarnyard and the girls from Colorimetry, and I ensured that the room was bursting with colour, and we all had a busy day.

And then, I got to drive home through my beloved Borderland, bathed in late afternoon sun. It was glorious. I sang along at the top of my abysmal voice to this, and smiled inanely at the rolling hills and sweeping valleys of my country!

Thursday, August 9

Playing houses

Two warm sunny days in a row! That means outdoor duties so no advances in Tart HQ but lots of shed walls painted. At least outside will look tidy for the Art Trail...

A Woolgathering to look forward to on Sunday (12th) -  a great catch-up with textile friends and another excuse for me to talk about India

And next weekend (18th) I'm off to Broughton to meet up with lots of spinners, weavers and dyers and sell my fibre supplies and probably the odd button or two.

I have been working on these - do you like them? Little house collages, each with its own number, made from salvaged offcuts from a furniture-maker-with-attitude! They'll be in HQ for the Art Trail on August 31, and 1/2 September.

We're staying open late on Friday 31st so do come along and have a glass of something as you wander from Hugh's cabin to Tart HQ or linger over the 'garage sale' under cover in the woodshed. If we can't sell you some artwork, maybe you'll succumb to a bargain there!

Download a guide to all the open studios here

Friday, August 3


are supposed to be our day off but it seldom works like that. This week, though, we combined some hill-checking with exploring. Hugh needed to see if he could find a safe way up a particular hillside  in the Ettrick Valley in a 4x4 (with the farmer's consent!) so we drove part of the way and walked the rest. 

Then we were free to head off past Megget and Talla reservoirs (vowing to come back and do some walking there) and almost to the junction with the A701. That's when we spotted the single track road to Fruid. A few miles later we had this place all to ourselves. I think it looks like the setting for a modern day John Buchan tale of derring do in the lowland hills.

Wednesday, July 25

Boys, Girls and the Border Union Show

First the boys...
We visited Anne's wee flock of Shetlands last night to admire the lambs and their newly shorn mums. Two of the wether lambs will be coming to live here in August, to enjoy a long and idle life eating grass and giving up a lovely fleece each year. Well, that's the plan... 

And the girls? Still able to pose for the camera while reclining after a good long walk with Hugh at the weekend.

And The Border Union Show...this Friday and Saturday at Kelso. Always a good agricultural day oot. 
And tucked into the Food Hall this year (dangerously close to lots of lovely delicacies) you'll find the Crossing Borders stand. Drop by, stay and chat to us and stroke my lovely skeins of handspun while you admire the work of other CB members. Now's the time to grab yourself a booklet about our forthcoming Art Trail...