Monday, 28 April 2014


I've been away on Wordpress blogging about our community garden for a while and find myself in unfamiliar territory but it will all come back to me soon enough.  I'm anxious to make contact with my carry-a-bag friends and followers now that the site is back online and I'm back behind my sewing machine.

My fundamental need to MAKE has won over my need to plant veggies for slugs and snails. I've always been a maker and get immense satisfaction from crafting something with my own hands. I love shopping but for me nothing beats making.  I have a room filled to bursting with fabric, a clutter
of bobbins, buttons and threads and find the lure of selecting, matching and making impossible to resist.  My time outside gave me the opportunity to watch bees and see how many sorts there are and each has its own task -  buzzing, busy and determined.  I think I may be a Solitary Bee as I'm very happy to work alone, as long as I have 6Music on nice and loud.

However, I'll be venturing out to dip my toes into the exciting world of the Pick Me Up design fair at Somerset House this week where I'm running a tote bag making workshop using the new HEALS 1812 fabric range.   Very exciting. - come and visit, make a bag and take it home.

Nice to be back on the blog

love & peace


Friday, 23 November 2012

Carry-a-bag to the shops

Okay, I admit it, I've allowed myself to become distracted over the past year.  I've neglected my bags and the blog having fallen in love with a new project. 

Early this year a group of us got together and created a 
community garden on a large plot of derelict land in St Leonards. We called it the Moveable Feast, which describes our plan to grow vegetables and move to a new place if and when the land owners decide to reclaim the land and build houses. (It's also the title of one of Hemingway's books.)  This is our blogsite: 

My passion to make a difference by tempting people to carry bags and refuse point blank to accept any more dammed plastic bags remains undimmed. But business wasn't booming and I began to believe that nobody needed any more bags and indeed by making more I was contributing to the massive bag-build up. People own so many bags - how could they possibly want any more? 
My batteries needed recharging.

So I started working outdoors growing vegetables and talking to strangers about our need to reconnect with our food sources, breathe fresh air and feel part of a community.  It's been a bit like having an affair - I couldn't stay away from the garden, I didn't want to miss anything.  And the garden has flourished.

Seasons change and I'm back in the room.  
My fabrics are unfolded, spread out and pondered over. I have markets booked, I'm working in SHOP in Norman Road and I'm sewing bags.  Not masses of bags but I'm a little bit busy making very limited editions and loving it. My website's been dusted off and is looking fresh and I've a new workroom with a view of the sea.  

Happy Days




Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Yes - I am still here! I know I have neglected my blog for a very very long time and apologise to anyone who likes to read it. I fully expect to have lost all followers by now.

Its been a funny time with many distractions. These have mostly been nice ones and there are two new books to prove it. The Little Hastings & Rye Cook Book 2 was published on the final day of November and the whole process was a bit of a whirlwind. It was second only to Jamie Oliver in the pre-Christmas sales at our local Waterstones and I promise we will sort out the typos in print edition 2.
HOME SEWN HOME comes out later this year. Its a starter book on sewing for your home (it's all in the title really)with a vintage twist. I used to write 'how to' books before I started CARRY-A-BAG and like to keep my hand in. This year I plan to refresh the bag business and will begin with the website, so keep an eye on it and let me know what you think via email. I shall be introducing a newsletter and urging everyone to join up for regular updates and special offers.

I love the New Year and all the plans that come with it. I wish you all a HAPPY ONE - there is so much to look forward to.

love & peace



Wednesday, 1 June 2011


It has been an odd Spring this year with heatwaves in April and such cold nights in late May
that weve taken to lighting the fire in the evening. Everyone's noticed how early the flowers and fruit are and we'll have a monster crop of figs in a month or two. And there seem to be more Elderflowers than I've ever seen before. I made cordial on Monday and bottled it up yesterday but actually cannot bear to look at the trees covered with flowers without planning to make another batch. I should like it to last till next year but will be lucky if it makes July the way we're guzzling it. Free seasonal food should never be ignored.
Workwise Aveda keep me busy with lovely collaborative bag projects and the latest ones will be in Liberty's this month to celebrate the new Beauty Rooms. I'm also making another big batch of Union Jack cosmetic bags with pretty floral linings for them, so sign-up with Aveda online for newsletters and their special offers ....which may be one of my bags.
Living beside the sea, when summer looms I find Beach Bags are on my mind and this year I've been trying my hand at silk screen printing, putting big red arrows on vintage striped canvas. I love the results and by the look of it my favourite customers do too - thanks xxxx you know who you are!

Enjoy the summer & Make Elderflower Cordial & Be Happy



Saturday, 19 March 2011


A very long time ago somebody who lived in Hastings left land and specified that it
was never to be built on. Instead certain rare trees were to be planted for the enjoyment of future generations. One of these is the Magnolia Grandiflora, now a familar garden feature
but when it was chosen it must have been extremely exotic and unusual.
The wonderful thing is that this tree has now grown so huge it towers over all other trees and the surrounding meadows. It stands tall, a bizarre mass of sugary pink set against bare branches, so wonderfully out of place that it makes you gasp with delight.
By next week all the buds will be open and the earliest ones will drop creating a carpet of pink beneath the tree.
Its extraordinary and wonderfully generous.
So thank you.

love & peace

Monday, 7 March 2011

this time of year

I have been in Dorset, in the heart of the countryside where I was
thrilled by the views of rolling hills, newly ploughed fields and
trees just starting to green up. The lanes were lined with snowdrops and every tree seemed to boast at least one singing bird. The green of the grass was vibrant and the sky a brilliant blue. It was pure joy.
As we drove back to Sussex today something else caught my eye.
Dirty shredded plastic bags
stuck in hedges, flapping on barbed wire and woven through branches. In a week or two the new leaves will hide this evidence of people's indifference. Till Autumn.
There was a car in front of me with an English Flag sticker on the back windscreen and the driver threw his chocolate bar wrapper out of the window. There he was surrounded by fields of green and I wondered what it was he loved so much about England - not the countryside I'm guessing. He's probably never noticed that.
Lately I have realised that the only way for me to deal with this is to pick up the litter that the careless ones leave behind - being angry spoils my day and their messy behavior spoils my neighbourhood and our countryside. That's my plan.

Enjoy that view..........
I took the photograph this morning

with love & peace


Wednesday, 2 February 2011


I seemed to have spent an entire month sorting through fabrics and trying to tidy up my workroom. This means business has been quiet, as it always is in the depths of winter. People turn to weatherproof bags
and let's face it without a plastic content nothing is waterproof - well, I suppose there is rubber and oiled cotton but those are not on my 'pretty vintage' radar. So, January is the time to fold and stack. Until an order comes in for something that I know I've seen somewhere....
then I start messing things up again and frankly, that's where I'm at right now. It looks as if nothing has changed but, on the bright side, I have done a mental audit of my fabulous bag potential - and there is plenty of it! Snowdrops have come up, tulips are pushing through and I've seen a couple of blue tits checking out my birdbox.
It's a way off yet but I'm definitely feeling more energetic and so looking forward to the Spring.





About Me

My photo
Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom
Carry-a-bag began about five ago when I was fuming about plastic carrier bags stuck in trees, washed up on the beach and generally messing up the planet. It began as a little idea but one morning I woke up thinking "don't take a carrier bag just remember to carry a bag. And now I make bags all the time.


Take it shopping or digging...

September 11th 2007

September 11th 2007
Blue sky day


time to save the planet dudes + me in the hat