Down the Lane

There is a distinctly sultry feeling about today, a warm if not damp afternoon. The lane were I walk my dog is full of hawthorn berries, bright red and abundant. Bindweed climbs and clings, through the hedgerows and blackberries glisten like the tiny, beady eyes of a wood mouse.

The painting below is from my children's book Down the Lane. The wood mouse is a figment of my imagination, he is sitting in an abandoned bird's nest. I did read somewhere that they sometimes make their nests in empty birds nests. Everything else is exactly the same down the lane today, except for the swifts and swallows who seem to have taken their leave.

I am busy working on a new fabric collection for Makower UK, they manufacture fabrics for the quilters and crafters. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to show you what is on my desk right now as it is top secret! I did create a Hedgerow collection which is pretty much over now. The industry demands a rapid turnover of new designs, still, I mustn't grumble as it keeps the wolf from my door. I have seen a few fabrics on various websites but the warehouse at Makower in Henley-on-Thames has been out of stock for some time.

If you, or anyone you know has made a quilt or sewn a project using any of my fabrics I would love to hear about it. So far I have designed four collections; Nestled in Springtime, Hedgerow, Christmas teddies and Herb Garden. The later is about to be launched and I am waiting to see the strike offs. I thought it might be nice to show some needlework on this blog. I am the world's slowest quilter, despite having amassed a collection of printed samples.


  1. I stand corrected, the swallows are still here. When we walked this afternoon we saw them swooshing and circling overhead, under "Tupperware grey skies". We also saw a huge dragonfly doing much the same thing.

  2. What a lovely little lane and the perfect painting to showcase it. I would love to see some of your quilting fabrics. I used to do a lot of quilting, but it sort of drifted by the wayside when my decorating business took off. I needlepoint a lot, and just got back this evening from the first night of a brand new knitting class!

    But, wouldn't I just adore making another quilt with your fabrics! Do you know if they are available in the states?

  3. Valerie,
    I love that image. It makes me want to go for a wander down the lane. Glad to hear you are busy. I see you have original work on the Books Illustrated site, one of my favourite haunts.
    As I said in my blog comment lets have a Celebrate Self Publishing Day sometime soon!!Thanks for visiting

  4. Pamela,

    Knitting is getting very trendy again isn't it? When I first married there was a wool shop on every corner but then it seemed to go out of favour.

    A company called Andover is the USA distributer for Makower. I have tracked down a website called Over the Rainbow http://www.overrainbow.com which has some fabric in stock, if you type in my name in the search it comes up with a page. Also http://www.craftconn.com/Main.asp?Step=Fabric+Details&Task=Custom&productID=22253 has the hedgerow labels. these are three inch square "Picture" prints.

    The newest fabric collection is about to be launched so I will try to track down some suppliers.

    Thanks for your interest!

  5. What a perfect whimsical lane!I love the wood mouse, so cute!

  6. Oh, gorgeous, I want to be walking down that lane now instead of watching the rain drip down my windows! It reminds me of the hedgerow I spotted the other day full of rosehips and elderberries - I wish I could see a woodmouse in a nest too:)

  7. What a delightful little place you have here! I am over from Stephen's comment sections, where I have "seen" you lately. Glad I stopped by.

    I love "Tupperware grey skies". I know just the color you mean.


  8. Valerie, this painting is just lovely! And the mouse looks so cute in his little birds' nest!I haven't sewn anything with your fabrics, but I hope I see them sometime. When you're allowed to show us your new collection, please do ;)

  9. Hello Valerie !

    Tu as de superbes images sur Ton blog...
    Je reviendrai...

  10. That is such a lovely painting Valerie. There is a place I like to walk near my home that has numerous hawthorne trees and they are so beautiful in the Fall with their bright red berries which you have beautifully depicted. I want to get your book, Down by Lane!


  11. I used this picture of the woodmouse as my screansaver...its lovely.
    I am not a quilting person but a knitting person ,so i do hope it will become more trendy..
    I loved the wool shops !Would like to have a little woolshop myself.And then sit and knit in it..

  12. Oh that is such a lovely, lovely painting, when I was a little girl wanting to be an artist this is exactly the kind of thing I would have wanted to paint.

  13. Your illustration has taken me down memory lane after spending many years growing up as a child on a farm in West Sussex, either walking, or whizzing up and down these country lanes on my bike. I have so many happy memories of my childhood living in the country, I really must blog about them sometime! x