Taking Stock and Opening Shops


Forest Moor Designs Banner 2

It’s only a matter of days now until Christmas but there is just enough time to squeeze in my last blog post of the year. The picture at the top shows most of my new banner which complements my new logo, both done by my talented daughter. These are for me to (finally!) open a ‘Forest Moor Designs’ Etsy shop in January  (I have been talking about doing it for years) and to re-open my folksy shop featuring new fabric pictures with Scottish themes as well as mini quilts, runners and fabric decorations.

As people who follow my ‘Forest Moor Designs’ page on Facebook will already know, I haven’t been doing much sewing lately. It’s partly because I’ve busy preparing for Christmas but we have had some really bad weather lately, lots of rain and wild winds, and the days have been so dark that it has made sewing difficult. We’ve had a huge beech tree come down into our garden from the wood behind and that has damaged several plants and a section of wall.IMG_2093

The duck pen has had an new extension but that nice new grassy area on the right is now a sea of mud with all the rain we’ve had. The ducks have a makeshift shelter for now but a new one is in progress and will be installed by Christmas day.


It’s been mild at times but very cold at others so I’ve been putting food out for the birds. I have some just expired duck food that the pheasants seem to love. I counted 19 of them in the back garden yesterday, mostly females but there a couple of males, one of which has a beautiful silver back.


However, the main reason I stop sewing at this time of year is to take stock of the year, to see where I’ve got to and where I want to go next. I’ve been making pencil sketches for new, more ‘arty’ and ‘housey’, ideas to try in the New Year, in addition to my ubiquitous Scottish themes.

I have a design idea that makes use of my new House Ruler from Creative Grids so I have also been making another series of sketches on house-shaped pieces of paper. I can’t be sure that any of these ideas will work out in practice but I will try one or two.  I don’t know exactly what result I’m after. I’m just following a feeling. It’s one of those things that I’ll know when I get there but I’m not sure of the route.


I’ve bought some new fabric, despite trying hard to resist doing this; some red, blue and black florals for houses, some frosty winter trees and a number of ‘sky’ fabrics, featuring seagulls, flying geese and these two shades of ‘Murmuration’ from Lewis and Irene. Aren’t they wonderful? I can’t wait to put a house on those!


Today I re-opened my ‘Forest Moor Designs’ shop on Folksy, a UK market place for hand made goods. I added my new banner and logo and listed just one item, the hand painted and stitched portrait shown below, so that everything is ready for me to addd new stock in January. I have broadened my stock now to include fabric pictures and wall quilts as well as mini quilts and table toppers.

Rajastani Woman

‘India Daydream’

I may add some more Indian designs because I have several sketches that might translate well to fabric and paint. I can’t decide whether it will seem odd to have them side by side with Scottish themes, though. What do you think?


That’s about it, but, before I go, I want to thank my followers for joining and sticking with me through the year.  I really appreciate you being there and love it when you make comments and ask questions. I don’t publish posts as often as received wisdom says I should but hand sewing is slow, so I’m grateful that you hang in there, knowing something will appear eventually.

Happy Christmas and a bright new year to you all. See you again, soon. xx

A Duck, More Ducks and Some Sewing

I had this ornament before Daisy, my black and white cat, brought in a duckling. Prophetic, eh?

I have discovered that ducks and sewing don’t really mix, even though they may give equal pleasure. One makes you a whole lot wetter and muddier.

My life has been duck-full lately. I stopped sewing for a spell in the garden. When was that? April? I gardened happily until June when my cat brought in a duckling and deposited it,  unhurt, on the living room floor.  You may remember me mentioning this in passing in one of my earlier posts (EPP Loves the Hexagon).

Baby Maple that Daisy, my cat, brought to me

My little duckling has turned into a beautiful female Mallard with all of her mature colouring. She is aptly named, Maple.

My grown up Maple

When she was five weeks old I decided to buy her a friend, a lovely Aylesbury duck which I was certain was a female. I called her Alba.

Then one day, a couple of weeks later, when I opened the shed door for a moment to put a tray outside, Maple flew out of the open pen,  through the small space above my head and into the sky. After a couple of days and assurances from several people that she would not return, I bought another Aylesbury duck, a female friend for Alba, called Lilly.  Maple, I decided, was a wild duck after all. I had simply taken care of her until she was ready to go out into the world.

In the meantime, I had been having doubts about Alba. If she was female she should have had a well developed quack by 9 weeks but all she had was a croak. I had Lily delivered by the seller, so that I could ask advice from someone more experienced. And Alba, it turned out, was a male. So now I had a mum and dad. Not really what I had in mind, originally.  After Lily’s arrival, Alba began showing off , becoming quite skittish and bossy, so he has been renamed Bossy-Boy. And it suits him perfectly.

Bossy-Boy is at the back, Lily in the front.


But that’s not the end of the story because, no sooner had my Aylesbury pair settled in together, Maple returned. I couldn’t believe it. She came sauntering down the garden path and led me a merry dance around the garden before she let me pick her up. She was very hungry and thirsty and seemed happy to be returned to the pen. She has become more and more tame over the weeks since and clearly loves being part of our duck community.

So that’s my duck story. But not the end of it, I’m sure.

Dismayed to find it was already August, I thought I had better get some sewing done. Usually I do one quilt and finish it and then think about starting another but I thought I would try a different approach this time.

‘Monarch of the Glen?’ I plan to embroider over the stags head as well as hand quilt the surface.

Having got so behind I thought it would be a good plan to complete a series of mini quilt tops, all the same size, one after another and finish them later.  I could do this more quickly which would make me feel as if I had made good progress. I decided to do three Scottish themed ones and a couple of fun ones. All of them are based on traditional, out-of-copyright blocks, re-imagined for my own purposes.

‘Dog Log’, a variation on the traditional Log Cabin block


‘Liberty Square’. The house shapes that circle the square will be more obvious as houses, with windows and doors, eventually.

It was a good idea but didn’t really work. Too many of them needed small changes and when you have half a dozen quilt tops needing little changes, it doesn’t do much for motivation. I must say that I would recommend buying paper pieces if you can afford them. I make my own templates and because I am not a maths whizz, they are always slightly inaccurate. The bought ones are a breeze to put together and you don’t have to spend ages tweaking a block that is not quite square, or has a wonky triangle in it somewhere, and so on. I make my templates, not just to save money but because my ideas don’t always have standard shapes to fit them.

‘Harbour Side’ – a take on our Scottish seaside communities, little boats in a harbour with tartan accents.

‘Close Community’. Two tartans meeting around 4 neighbouring houses (still unfinished)

Followers of my Facebook ‘Forest Moor Designs’ Page, will have seen these five new mini quilts already, so apologies for that, and  I am afraid that, even though I have lots more cut out and ready to go, I have done nothing since. I am hoping this blog post will motivate me to have something more to share soon. I have about twenty (all 8 inches square) to complete, before I move on to something new.

Just a couple more things:  I framed one of my mini quilts to see how it would look in a frame. This is ‘The Wind in the West’: 

Not too bad, but in future I will make the quilt to fit the frame and not the other way around. That will ensure that borders don’t show and triangles don’t get chopped off (lesson learned).  Also, I have a new logo for my sometime-soon-to-be-opened-I-hope shop on Etsy. Someone said the font is not very clear, and I agree, so my daughter and I are working on that. I do love the way the crosshatching looks like little sticks in a forest, though.

So that was what I did in August but I am determined to have a few more mini quilts to show before the end of September.  I have also been thinking how lovely it would be to have two Indian Runner ducks when my husband gets around to enlarging the pen….  ; )

Till next time……