world worst blogger

There may not be an official competition but if there is one somewhere, I would like to enter, please. I figure I am a shoe-in for the title and any possible “awards” that might go with it… hmm, possibly a day book? or one of those clocks that beeps as time goes by? (wouldn’t that be annoying!) or in my case maybe a month to month calendar! Anyways here I am tossing my hat in the ring for the title of Worlds Worst Blogger- or maybe most unreliable blogger would be a better fit.

Enough whining here’s all the excuses- oops, all the things I have been up to this past month. Since I last wrote I have made it home to Vancouver, which seems like ages ago now. I arrived home just in time ( I do mean just!) for the North Shore Arts Crawl, which for me meant the studio was open even if my eyes weren’t. Thankfully Elizabeth Harris had everything in hand and set up for the show and all I had to do was swan in and chat with the visitors.

I can only plead jet lag and exhaustion and admit that there are no images from the event, sorry about that. But it was wonderful to see everyone who made it to the studio for a visit. There is a bit of info about the crawl here.

I did make it home just in time for some of the spring flowers, the magnolia tree in the front yard was gorgeous.

019In fact it gave me a boost on some new work…. but I can’t tell you much yet, the opening for Sanctuary is coming up fast and I don’t want to steal my own thunder. The show is here in North Vancouver and I am working with 2 very talented ladies exploring nests- actually, a whole new look at nests and what they stand for. It’s been fascinating so far and I feel I am just scratching the surface of a subject that could occupy my mind for a very long time. I am working all hours to get everything ready. I am hooked on this subject, each completed piece leads me to more and more ideas, I love it when that happens!

Here’s a little peek of one of the pieces in progress….

025It’s finished now and I promise to show images of this and all the others once the show opens… honest!

Not only is this a very late in arriving blog it’s a bit boring as well, there’s a lot of stuff coming up that I can’t talk about yet-

I have a new project about to go up on the Mettler website, June 3rd is the date for that.

Six and Friends are heading to Wales, or at least the Orientation exhibition is. I have two new pieces scheduled to join the show at the Minerva Arts Center in Llanidloes, Wales. You can follow along with the SiX and Friends blog and find out what we are all up to, they are all much better bloggers than I am.

I am heading back to the UK in August for Festival of Quilts  (yup, it’s that time of the year again) some teaching and catching up. I have two new workshops to offer this year which means new samples.

…and of course Sanctuary opens June 13th at CityScape Gallery in North Vancouver.

So now that you know where I am and that I am head down and making, I will sign off and get back to it.

Bye for now, Catherine



bad habits and travel

Well not the interesting sort of bad habits the other type, like not posting on the blog very often and being late, which might actually be the same sort of thing when you think about it. I don’t even have any exotic and wonderful excuses for being a hit and miss blogger just a pathetic I’ve been busy. But really I have been… it’s been a month of travel and still is.

That old song I’ve been everywhere man”- is running through my head and OK maybe I haven’t been everywhere, but I have been a few places. Last month I was in Calgary teaching a workshop at  Out of Hand, a most amazing shop full of good things! everything was lovely there except the weather.


If you look closely enough there is something beautiful almost everywhere, even a frozen parking lot.


The weather wasn’t a problem at all. I was very happy to be inside the shop, there was something new round every corner and treats galore, visual and baked!



These baked creations are apparently called “pink disgusting’s”  and in no way were they disgusting! They were sweet, gooey and definitely pink! what more can you ask for.

A few weeks after Calgary I arrived in England. It’s warmer here than Calgary but not by a lot! Its been very cold and spring is late in arriving, but I have managed a few sights.


a quick jaunt through Warwick, a walk along the river in Worcester….


…where I met these 2 swans doing a little grooming. They were wonderful to watch and let me get quite close. They were so in sync in their movements and the positions they got into looked a bit dizzy making.



But is hasn’t been all swan watching and sight-seeing, I did get some work done before leaving Vancouver. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is on again and I have a new piece in the show, it’s called “koumori” which is Japanese for bat (they’re on the pot!)

CNicholls koumori overall

koumori 006

The show is on at the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver until April 21st if you want to drop in.

I’ve also been working on a new piece, right now it’s called “black bamboo” but that might change when it’s closer to finished. Its going to join the Orientation show when it reaches Llanidloes in mid-Wales this summer.


Meanwhile I’m headed to Nottingham to Coles Sewing Center. It’s a real treat to represent Mettler threads alongside good friend and talented quilter Edwina Mackinnon at  Mettler Open Studio Day on April 12th at Coles. If you’re nearby do come over and say hello!

There are some lovely sights along the road.


Bye for now, Catherine

catching up again…

I’m not quite sure how it happens but it keeps happening! Life seems to be moving at a great rate these days, I am going to blame it on the dreary days of February but that doesn’t seem an adequate enough reason somehow.

It’s not that’s there’s nothing going on around here- far from it! I just have been feeling more than a little distracted. I think I’m ready for winter to be over.

Just to catch up a bit here’s a few images of the show at the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver. The show closed 2 weeks ago but no one minds looking at work hanging in a show- even if they can’t go see it in person anymore- right? ( I hope I’m right!)  There are more images of the show on the North Shore Needle Arts blog and do check out the link to Bright Lights. One of the community newspapers attended the event and sent a photographer to the opening, there’s some great shots of members and their work.

nsnag silk purse feb 2013 007

The piece in the middle of all the beautiful embroideries is my quilt called “crossroads”. I’ve been exploring some new directions.. and this is one of them.  Here’s a close up so you can see what I’ve been up to.

nsnag silk purse feb 2013 047

I belong to a small group of amazing women who are all masters with a needle, they have taught me so much. We challenged ourselves to make a piece for this show and the real challenge was it to fit into this frame, which is 8 inches by 10 inches. Now that’s a challenge for a quilter!

Here are all our pieces hanging together at the show, they made a striking presentation the way the gallery had them arranged. The lighting in this image isn’t the best, I hope you can see them all.

nsnag silk purse feb 2013 035

And here’s a close-up of my little piece “fragment” , which took just as long as some of the larger pieces I’ve made… it really was a challenge.

nsnag silk purse feb 2013 038

There’s work on the design wall for the Cherry Blossom Festival here in Vancouver and more for Orientation as it tours the UK, so lots to keep me busy!

and still it rains….


Bye for now…. Catherine


opening at the Silk Purse gallery on the 5th!

I have been very slow off the mark with my blog and a bunch of other things as well this year.  But since I am a firm believer in better late than never ( I have to be!)   it’s time to get into gear and make my New Years  less-a-month intentions and one of them is to be a better blogger!

So to get my new intentions off to a good start here we go! And perfect timing I will be attending an opening on Tuesday evening, the 5th! Actually I am helping out with the hanging the day before so it wont be a big surprise on Tuesday night.

silk purse invite0001

I am a member of the guild and will have a couple of pieces in the show and am going to be attending the opening for sure.

The opening reception is Tuesday the 5th of February from 6 to 8 pm. I hope you can make it if you are in the area and if you can’t I’ll post some images a little later on.

Bye for now, Catherine

Happy New Year! Ok not quite as new as it should be….

I’m not quite sure what the “rules” are about wishing you a Happy New Year but I have long been a member of the “better late than never” ( on most things) club. The new year has started off with the same old busy stuff the old one ended with… but we did have a great break in the middle of it all!

Ned and I had a very white Christmas! we headed north along with our friends Elizabeth Harris and Runner-bean to the Peace River area of BC to visit family for the holidays! It was a true winter wonderland in all sorts of ways.

on the road

Once we got out of the Vancouver area the roads were wide open and not many folk around! the drive was lovely with sunny skies and OK, a bit of snow on the road.

fort st john

There wasn’t much of a view out the back- it was a challenge to keep the windows clear of road gunk! but one of the dogs was usually awake and keeping an eye (or ear!) out for trouble.

fort st john

This is a stunningly beautiful part of the world! and I have hundreds (literally hundreds!) of images even after weeding out the bad ones. I know this trip is going to turn up in my work at some point , hopefully sooner rather than later. I can see why Elizabeth is so inspired by the landscape.

Here’s a few of my favorite shots…

fort st john 084

fort st john 139fort st john 167

fort st john 223

It was cold there!!

fort st john 091

Yup! it says minus 24 Celsius. Which turned out to be one of the warmer mornings…the coldest was minus 37 Celsius. But you know the old saying” it’s a dry cold!”

In the midst of the holiday celebrations Elizabeth taught a life drawing workshop and I got to hang out and  draw for 2 days.

fort st john 184

I had so much fun trying some new things and playing around with my drawing, something I need to do more of. I did my very best to sit quietly in the corner and not disrupt the class.

fort st john 171 fort st john 187 fort st john 189

I really enjoyed having the time to explore areas that I haven’t put the time into I would like. It was a treat to work on a few of the “details” that I tend to skip over when I am in a hurry, like hands and feet.

There are loads more images to share of my trip  and now that life has settled down a bit, my cold is almost over, the new roof is on the studio ( not as bad as it sounds, but bad enough)  I will post a few more images next week!

Bye for now, Catherine


Happy Holidays!

It’s looking a lot like Christmas around here! we’ve had an exciting weather week here in Vancouver- a few days of snow and even a bit of ice! To celebrate the season Ned put on his reindeer antlers and grudgingly agreed  to have his photo taken.

At the risk of being reported to the SPCA, the RSPCA or any other animal welfare society  we’ll show you the photo…


I know I know he looks less than happy, actually slightly less than sane in the image but he’s really  not a Grinch. We have put the antlers away, I’m not sure he appreciates “dressing up” for the holidays.

There are lots of smiling faces around here – I am a bit of a collector and I love all things Nutcracker. These fellows and a bunch of their friends are lined up along the mantle and their grins always make me smile!


Wishing you and yours a peaceful Happy Christmas and a Creative New Year,



thanks for coming!

Thanks everyone for braving the pouring rain and making it to the open house! I guess I should have called it an open studio since that where we were. I did promise some images and even though it feels like it was ages ago here they are.

It all looked so pretty and festive at the start of the day

open house 014

open house 040

There were lots of goodies both to look at and to eat!

open house 025

open house 031

It was a wonderful day but a bit tiring for almost everyone.

open house 047a

Bye for now, Catherine


on the road again…

Well actually I was on the road but I am back home again after a whirlwind trip to Oliver BC, the wine capital of Canada! Oliver is a lovely little town about 5 hours east of Vancouver in the Okanagan Valley and yes, they grow wine there and apples, lots and lots of apples.

It was a gorgeous drive to Oliver last Sunday afternoon a rare sunny crisp afternoon with snow on the mountain tops and colour on the trees.

This time of year evening comes early when you are in the mountains and on a sunny day there are some amazing shadows.

I had a wonderful 3 days leading 2 different workshops with a  trunk show and talk one evening. Jim and Marilyn were perfect hosts and all the  members of the Double O Quilters Guild made me feel so welcome. The students created some wonderful work over the 3 days, exploring ideas and sampling techniques. I know there are some new quilts in the works and I am really looking forward to seeing some of the finished pieces.

There was lots to talk about and demonstrate!

After Tuesdays class I got a whirlwind tour of Oliver- first fruit and then wine. The fruit packing place was amazing, I have never seen so many apples and you’ll have to take my word for it the smell of the place is glorious.

These wonderful crates are full of apples and stacked in tall towers row upon row outside the building. Once you get inside the place is humming with apples being sorted, washed and packed, it’s a most amazing process and there are apples in every direction you look.


It really was a sea of apples. On the way out I spotted these striking palettes stacked around in the yard, I love the almost patchwork look of them and the colour as well.

After the apples there was a quick wine tour,  no pictures of that! Just this image of the amazing scenery down the valley with vineyards as far as you can see.

I did pick up a few bottles of wine, they were too good to resist, I also loaded the car with squash, yup all different types of squash. There were tons of them around, it appears that wine and fruit aren’t the only major crops in the area, squash are as well.

Sorry about the image quality but the roof high stacks of squash are worth seeing. Those crates on the ground are full  of them, each crate a different variety and there are all sorts. I gathered a collection of the most interesting looking ones and headed home- it’s time to get the soup pot warmed up.

I hope I’m not being boring but I wanted to share this most unusual image, it’s Ned- again! but this is something that isn’t seen often around here- he’s sleeping!

Bye for now, Catherine



go figure…

I have been life drawing for ages and have always enjoyed it,  I’m hoping working  in 2 dimensions might feel a bit simpler after this weekend! I attended an amazing Anatomical Sculpture workshop with  Santos Mignosa. The workshop is designed for artists who paint or draw the figure and want to know a bit more about what is under the skin.

We started the day with wire armature, a bag of sculptors clay and set to work with lots of guidance from Santos. I have never worked with clay before so I was a long way outside my comfort zone!

It’s amazing how many more mistakes you can make when working in 3 dimensions! There are so many things to consider posture, balance, proportions and then of course the muscle structure of the model.

Thanks to our  very patient model Guy who spent the entire day standing still, which is much more tiring than you would think!

At the end of the day we tore down the sculpture we had created! I must admit it took me a few minutes to gather the strength but it was a hugely liberating feeling. I made sure to take lots of images to record my progress and remind me of what we had done. What a great way to spend a rainy Sunday!

Thanks  for  all the lovely comments about Ned! “New Exceptional Dog” is a great version of his name… very clever, thanks Jennifer!  He has settled in well and is growing like a little weed, OK big weed.

In between dog walks- and there have been a lot of them -I brought these “mystery” squash and a few late tomatoes in from the garden. I know I should remember what I planted but this year I adopted these plants and other than some kind of squash I didn’t (and still don’t) know what kind they are. They are quite a lovely shape though….

Bye for now, Catherine