I’m on a Sufi Retreat

More when I get home…

UPDATE 1st March 2010: OK, so I’m home now, so I’d better explain! I was at a three-day break at Wistaston Hall Retreat Centre at Crewe in Cheshire at the weekend. Forty people met up to do Dances of Universal Peace (many being dances from the Buddhist and Aramaic Christian traditions, as that fitted with this year’s theme), meditations, and so on, in a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere.  The weekend was led by Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz and Tansen Philip O’Donohoe.

Wistaston Hall Retreat Centre, Crewe, Cheshire

At the Centre, there was a room with computers for the use of guests – and one of the other people staying there  (hello, Fateah!) was interested in having a blog, so I showed her how easy WordPress blogs are to use. But I didn’t have time to do much, other than demonstrate how quickly you can put up a new post – hence the brief original entry!

The retreat itself was very refreshing and uplifting. I find doing the Dances gives me very intense feelings which work themselves out through my creative designing. So, after each retreat or single dance day that I go to, I get a ‘burst’ of energy that inspires me to design more embroidery, or plan something new that I don’t think would have emerged otherwise.

To anyone who was there at the weekend – thanks for being part of something very special.


Making doll’s house furniture kits might get a bit easier, now…

This picture might not seem very exciting to you. To me, it is. Very. It’s a delivery of samples from a company that sells all shapes and sizes of plastic bottles.

A delivery of samples - the circular lidded pots are only an inch across

I’ve been trying to find a way of selling small amounts of wood stain and varnish, as a ‘Finishing kit’ to help people who want to make up the miniature furniture kits that I sell along with my doll’s house embroidery kits, for literally years. I’ve always felt that it’s a shame that the smallest ‘hobby size’ tins and bottles of stain and varnish are too large, and often very expensive – most of it ends up going to waste. You only need a tiny amount to finish a wooden chair that’s only three and a half inches high! A 250ml tin of wood stain, for instance, would last a lifetime.

I already sell an embroidery kit to make this chair, with a whitewood chair kit. Now, I'll be able to sell a staining kit alongside it

Now, I’ve managed to find a supplier of the most dinky little bottles and jars, so I can finally start putting together a finishing kit that has just enough for a couple of kits, so that nothing goes to waste. So, soon there will be waxing kits and staining kits available from my website, to go alongside the embroidery kits.

These rectangular stools, stitched on 32 count silk gauze, co-ordinate with the chairs

What’s that saying? “If it’s worth having, it’s worth waiting for.” Seems to be the story of my life!

Haiti – the injustice of extreme poverty

Aid workers assisting a child in the rubble of Port au Prince

I sponsor two children though the children’s charity Compassion (one is in Uganda and the other in the Dominican Republic), and yesterday I received a letter from the CEO of Compassion, with an amazing statistic about the Haiti earthquake, which I’d like to repeat here:

” Don’t let anyone tell you this was simply a natural disaster, because what happened in Haiti is much worse than that. It was a human disaster; a consequence of the injustice of poverty. In 1994 an earthquake of similar magnitude struck Los Angeles, a city 10 times the size of Port au Prince. Sixty people perished that day; 230,000 died in Haiti so far. The difference? Inadequate building codes and standards, and the absence of lifting equipment and medical provision. All the consequence of poverty and neglect.”

The Compassion charity runs many projects in Haiti. 38 of them have either been destroyed or severely damaged.

If you are considering giving to any charity for the assistance of the people of Haiti, please consider Compassion. Their UK website is here, and the list of other countries that they operate in is here. You can either make a one-off payment for the Haiti Fund, or you may even want to consider sponsoring a child.

Tiny accessories for tiny embroidered teacosies

Tiny teacosies to stitch for a doll's house

I’ve been selling tea pots to go with the doll’s house teacosy kits that I sell, for several months, now. But I wanted to have ‘proper’ mini tea sets as well. Now, I have managed to find a supplier of really cute tea sets, in several patterns, to go with the teacosies, and at a really great price. A full set of tea pot, milk jug, sugar bowl with lid and four cups and saucers costs only £5.95, with free postage worldwide when bought from my website.

Blue and white doll's house tea set
A pretty pink doll's house tea set
Classic pink roses doll's house tea set on white china

Just look at those tiny cups! They’re only 8 millimetres high!