Category Archives: Blog

Reading Guild of Artists

In November 2019 I became an exhibiting member of the Reading Guild of Artists – a wonderful local organisation founded in 1930 that supports local amateur and professional artists. Thank you RGA! Here is a link to my bio on their pages.

And find more of my work in the gallery.

Rose Centre


Breathing new life into old

I picked up this old document bag for the car boot on a bank holiday. Note that the clasps are on wrong. And I managed to make all these things out of it.


1. A round leather bag using the strap and inside pockets.

2. A phone case/wallet

3. Triangular band-aid kit

4. Pencil case

Vegan Magaj

Magaj recipe 

This is an all time favourite of mine. I grew up on this stuff, not being a lover of anything savoury as a child. Magaj is a sweetmeat that is cooked and left to set. Before it sets, I sprinkle it with chopped or sliced nuts and cut up into diamond shapes, just like my mum does. Its commonly made with refined sugar these days but since my mum has been telling me for years to eat healthier, unrefined cane sugar or Gor, also known as Jaggery and Panela, I set out trying to make my favourite Indian sweet using that.

I’ve also made it without any dairy products which also changes the consistency a bit. This version tastes a bit different to magaj that you might buy in a shop or traditional magaj that I know but Its just as more-ish as ever!

(I think Gor is increasing in popularity now as it contains a lot of the cane’s natural nutrients and gives an earthy, slightly gingery flavour to the food and I’ve also found that its commonly used in lots of other countries.)

My first attempt was far from perfect but I was surprised that all my friends that tried it, couldn’t stop eating it (just like me). The Gor is not as easy to melt as refined sugar so I tried melting it in water to make a syrup but that turned into a kind of caramel and made my magaj sticky. I found that the best way was to shave or grate the magaj before adding it and this has worked the best.

Warning: This is not the kind of recipe that you can make just by sticking to the instructions as every batch/brand of Gor can be of a slightly different consistency and the chick pea flour will react to it differently. I’ve experimented with about 10 batches to get to a magaj that I am happy with but a few less/extra spoonfuls of milk can make a big difference so if it doesn’t work first time, tweak it a bit. I’ll do my best to describe how I recognise when its right for me but if it doesn’t set the way it ought to, just enjoy it with a spoon.



  • 90g vegan margarine
  • 280g course chick pea flour
  • 140g Gor (unrefined sugar)
  • 6 Cardamom pods, shelled and finely blended/chopped
  • 1 teaspoons grated Nutmeg
  • 3-4 tablespoons of vegan milk (I like to use coconut milk but any will do)
  • For topping: Chopped almonds and pistachio nuts


  1. Melt margarine in a large, thinned bottom pan, a wok works well (careful not to let it burn) on a low heat.
  2. Add chick pea flour and keep stirring with a metal spoon, break down any lumps and ensure flour is mixed well with margarine until the flour is fragrant and has turned a light brown.
  3. Thinly slice off or grate the needed amount of Gor and add to the pan. (Please don’t be tempted to use lumps of Gor as it won’t work!)
  4. Mix well as the Gor is melting and add cardamom and nutmeg.
  5. Once all the Gor is melted and blended in with the mixture (can take 10-15 minutes), turn off the heat.
  6. Add milk and stir it in. I add milk a tablespoon at a time so as not to get the mixture too wet as this will result in a sticky Gor. I think it is just right when the mixture is no longer crumbly but looks wet and sticks to itself. If it gets too wet at this point it won’t set to be firm. If you do get it too wet, no matter, sticky magaj is still yummy. 
  7. Grease a tray or dish that you don’t mind cutting in (ie not a non-stick cake tin) and spread your mixture into the tray (I use two 18cm round trays). Sprink on almonds and pistachio nuts. Press down using a greased spoon or bottom of a steel bowl.
  8. Cut your magaj into squares or diamond pieces before it cools down.


Once its cooled down, eat and enjoy!



Sew your purse


I just love these coin purses so much that I thought I would create these kits that make it easy for you to make one yourself. Contact the Art Jam Studio in Caversham to get one.

Once you have the bits and pieces, here’s how you put it together. You can either sew by hand or with a machine, using a 1cm seam allowance.

First, sew the top of the purse.


Sew the sides of the purse.



Turn out the purse.

Put the frame in place – use a contrasting thread!


Attach the frame – use a contrasting or a matching thread as you wish. From the inside of the frame, insert your needle at an angle to keep the stitches under the frame on the inside.


The finished purse!



Note that you may have purchased a slightly different purse frame shape. This doesn’t matter, the process of making is the same.


Quilting your upcycled pouch

Quilted heart

This tutorial is to show how to perfect making the quilted pouch. I’m not going into how to free motion quilt – thats for another workshop – but what I noticed doing this class was that its difficult to get everything including the zip, lined up nicely, particularly with silks that pull easily.


Close the zip and you are done!

So this one is made from some old jeans. A layer of wadding is sandwiched between two layers of denim. I use some temp fabric glue and sew around the edge of the pattern to keep everything in place. Contact me for a copy of the pattern.


Then, its time to drop the feed-dogs and quilt a pattern. Its a good idea to draw something on your fabric using an water soluble pen. You don’t have to follow it exactly but it helps. This hearty one is inspired by Valentine’s Day.


Once both sides are bound (don’t worry about finishing edges nicely, they’ll be covered) you can attach the zip to the inside of the binding, nice and close. The first side is easy. Just pin in place and sew.


Attaching the second side of the zip is the trickiest bit! Making sure the zip is attached to the pouch so it all lines up.

Once you are happy with how the pouch and zip line up, sew on the zip.

Sew up both the ends.


Finish off.


So hopefully you end up with something resembling this:

Ta daa! Hope yours works out too!

Pouch perfect

Photographic reminder to help everyone who attended my class to jog your memory and create more of your own bags/pouches with perfect boxed out corners. All seams are sewn with 1cm seam allowance, included in the pattern.

If you have lost your pattern please contact me and I will send you one.

This technique can be used to make a bag of any size and can be adjusted for a tapered cosmetics style bag. Use this pouch to perfect your technique and then start experimenting! Contact me if you need any help adjusting your pattern.

1. Attach your fabric (outer and lining) to the zip.

This can be done in one single step if you feel confident doing it; Make a sandwich of the zip in between the outer fabric and the lining. The zip should be face down on the right side of the outer fabric. The lining and outer fabric should be right sides together. Pin and sew.

2 Attach fabric to other side of zip


3 Sewing the edges of the pouch.

4 Boxing out the bottom.

Do this with both corners of the outer fabric.


5 Boxing out the top.

This is the trickiest part but make sure you have it all aligned and flat and pinned! before you sew. The lining and outer fabric are sew together with the zip sandwiched in between.


6 Turn your pouch inside out.

7 Finish off.

Its all in the case!



I haven’t been here for a while, been having a wild ride this year. I took a bit of a break after Christmas and decided to make myself something that has been brewing for a while. I always wanted one of these when I was a little girl, now I finally got one inspired by the kids, created out of their grown-out-of so I can carry them around with me.

I’ve filled it up with my sewing supplies. Its perfect for carrying them around when I am running my sewing classes.


Final batch of shirts



Ready for dispatch! Phew, job done.

Fun in the sun

Well its just so hot and we needed some hats. And here is what I came up with using some old dresses and bits of fat quarters hanging around waiting for a purpose in life.


And of course we needed a Dino hat as well.