25 December 2013

Candle for friends far away


It’s become a tradition with some special internet friends of mine, to light a candle on Christmas Day as a symbol of the great friendships we have.

This years candle is burning brightly, thank you all (internet and local friends) for…well, just being there.

This year the candle is also in remembrance of Carol, Val and Hazel, its been a sad year.


Winters Greetings!

Morning everyone!  

Hope you all have a fabulous day.

Winter greeting 2013

19 December 2013

The Next Online Workshop......

….Will be on fabric decoration, shisha mirrors and calm meditative stitching.

It could be that I work on two workshops at once as I tend to work on this one in the evening and this take a LOT of hand stitching and a LOT of TIME.
Slow down…. take it easy…… chill out. 

Kantha 1


Kantha 2


I’m happy to say that the launch of the first online workshop went very well, (considering we are almost at the silly season of Christmas).

Do take a look if you haven’t already. (ps if Jane Coad from NZ reads this please get in touch, I can’t send you the link to the PDF as your inbox is full!)

You can visit and buy at the online workshop website here.



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Mini tower PDFCover



16 December 2013


 Finally.  After so many of you have asked me for online workshops….. here we are!!!!
 I am MORE than happy to announce…..

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The first workshop on Mini-Jewelled Towers is now up and the first 10 people will be able to buy it for a special price of £9.99.

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The website address is

Please help me spread the word to the rest of the textile world!
Thank you
Helen xxx 

15 December 2013

Tomorrow is THE day!!!

Am SO excited as tomorrow I’m launching a BRAND NEW VENTURE!

Something really new for me.

A way for me, Helen Cowans, aka the Tower Lady, aka Textile Goddess Blogger to reach across the global community from the back end of rural north Northumberland. 

Oh phew!

I hope I’ve got it right!

(And it explains what I’ve been doing for the last two months).

Watch this space for more news…………

Hare3Hare3Corsages autumn winter

3 December 2013

Starting to appliqué and embroider

Wow, two blog posts in a row - am I getting back into the swing of blogging?  Hope so.

 So this was progress yesterday about 2pm before the light faded too far for photographs.
Darn this winter darkness.

Wallington Paisley 1a

Wallington Paisley 1b

2 December 2013

Firstly create the background...

Morning!  I’m starting work on a project for an exhibition at Wallington House in August.

So first off is creating the background.
The space I have in the cafe gallery can accommodate one large piece or four smaller ones.
Initially I thought of making a large wall hanging.

But then my sensible brain kicked in and reminded me that four smaller pictures were more likely to sell to the general public.

As I want all the pieces to work as a theme the background is the same for them all.
Sari silk ribbon unfolded and ironed (ugh, what a boring “put the radio on and zen out” job!) 

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Woven together.


Then it all needs sewing into place.

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A piece of dyed tissuetex on top to "knock back” the contrast in colours and with?...

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…or without black chiffon layered on top too?

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I decided without - I loved the bright colours too much.

Over the weekend, between feeding two teenage boys, watching a football match and coping with a tired, jet lagged DH I managed to create four designs with inspiration taken from a dresser in the Hall.

Its all sketched out and transferred to bondaweb ready for appliqué today.
Feeling very positive about it.

For those who like online classes…. check this out .  Some great classes at reasonable prices.
Have signed myself up for surface pattern design and digitizing calligraphy classes for only £19 for the two.

25 November 2013

Antique Indian Embroideries

On Saturday I was so excited to buy these two pieces of embroidery at the local auction house.
They came from a country house sale and I would love to find out more about them.

The frames and mounts are decidedly grubby but the frames will clean up well and I’m going to remount the embroidery and hang them in our Indian/Boho/Hippy sitting room. 

The needlework is very fine and they look as if they were made as panels.
If anyone can help with a date or geographical area I’d be very interested to know. 

Antique Indian Embroidery 2

Antique Indian Embroidery


Antique Indian Embroidery 10

Antique Indian Embroidery 11


Antique Indian Embroidery 12

Antique Indian Embroidery 13

Antique Indian Embroidery 14

Antique Indian Embroidery 15

Antique Indian Embroidery 16

Antique Indian Embroidery 17

Antique Indian Embroidery 3

Antique Indian Embroidery 6

Antique Indian Embroidery 7

Antique Indian Embroidery 8

Antique Indian Embroidery 9

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24 November 2013


Where is my time going atm?  The weeks seem to be flying by.  
Maybe it’s the dark nights, making the day feel as if its finished at 4pm?  

When DS started at High School I knew my day would be longer - he leaves at 7.30am rather than 8.30am and arrives home at 4.30pm, before it was 3.50pm.
But I still feel as if I am catching up from the summer holidays and now its nearly Christmas.

I was hoping to have the new website up and running and the first workshop available this week.  
However, I decided not to stress and the launch date is now next week.

I will let you know the web address very soon.
I just want to make sure its all ready before I tell the world about it.

So what HAVE I been up to?


Well I made a draught excluder for the kitchen door from an Indian Wallhanging


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I’ve cut up this beautiful piece of hand dyed silk velvet for a very good cause (don’t worry I have two pieces that are identical!)
I can’t show you what I’m making just yet….. you will have to wait a few weeks. 


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Most of my time has been used up constructing these new Mini-Jewelled Towers.  
These are for my first online workshop.
I do hope someone is interested in purchasing the information after all the hard work!

Working on towers

3 November 2013

Autumn holidays


Seems AGES since I last posted.  
We are almost at the end of the school holidays and its been a great week.

I’ve been working on…...

*drum roll*…… some new online workshops (finally!) and a new website for these workshops.

I’m hoping to launch in mid-November.  
Watch this space!

So what did we do in the holidays?  
Well, we escaped to Keswick and had fun doing the usual things - walk to the Lake with (the best ever) chips, shopping in Mayson's (whilst the boys were shopping in George Fishers), relaxing and drinking coffee, stone throwing and taking photos.


Autumn leaves

Autumn Colours on the shore of Lake Derwentwater


01 11 2013

Derwentwater and Catbells, lit for a fleeting moment in the sun,



Borrowdale from Friars Crag.
(One of my favourite views in life).  

Ian  Ric

Boys throwing stones and having a good time.
(I love photographing them laughing) 



Sunset at Castlerigg Stone Circle.
You KNOW this is my favourite stone circle already don’t you?
It never makes fails to make me feel I’m somewhere REALLY special. 

Castlerigg sunset

CAstlerigg sunset 2


Excuse the cross posting with Facebook, but I had to show everyone photos of my favourite places.

Talking of Facebook don’t forget you can find me there too, click the icon below to go there.

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7 October 2013


Simple, delicate flowers.

For me that makes them harder to draw - there simply isn't much detail to excite me and I always find it harder to draw an object without detail, so I'm playing with colour too and exaggerating all the colours and tones I can just see….and I have chosen a flower captured with real movement and not a cliche round and flat poppy flower.

Poppy sketch 2

Poppy sketch

Pencils are Coloursoft by Derwent, about A5 size (the drawing, not the pencils).

Poppoy charcoal

Loosening up on A2 sized paper with charcoal and wash.

And loosening up even more with fluid acrylics (Golden), sprayed water and dabbled with fingers (great fun).

Poppy paint 1

And here are the new storage units, I think I am in Studio Nirvana.
They came from a local private school that has closed and were a real bargain.

Finally the studio is tidy (yes that great pile of fabric has been sorted Sue), its been decorated, hoovered and dusted and is all welcoming again.
At last it feels right to be back in there.

At least I managed it before the next school holiday starts!



Don't forget you can find me on Facebook, always something different and new to see.



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