Building a Living Willow Dome

Worthing Willow Dom

The first few days of February's half term holiday were spent helping to build a living willow dome in Worthing's Beach House Park. This family-friendly project was part of BugCycle an initiative run by community arts organisation Creative Waves in partnership with Worthing Wildlife. BugCycle aims to bring wildlife, planting, crafts and colour to an underused space in this beautiful park.

Building a living willow dome

Willow crafting team extraordinaire Ganesh and Elaine of Creative Willow led the construction of the dome and taught us how to make bird feeders, stars and living willow pencils. Children were encouraged to decorate the area with chalked drawings and crafts. Happily the BugCycle team provided hot drinks and biscuits which nicely took the edge off the winter chill as our kids were having too much fun to want to leave!  

Willow crafts and decoration for Beach House Park
Creative Waves willow dome workshops, February 2015
Elaine and Ganesh at Creative Willow; BugCycle's Ellie, Charlotte, Sarah, Nadia and Vanessa

Beach House Park is a place I walk through every day – with tree lined paths and herbaceous borders it's a haven for birds and wildlife as well as the site for Nancy Price's Pigeon War Memorial. For years the park was famously home to the Bowls England National Championships, an event that packed out the park every summer. Controversially this flagship tournament moved to Leamington Spa last year amid local mutterings that Worthing Council should have done more to hold onto what had been an acclaimed and lucrative event for our town for over 40 years. The loss of the tournament (and revenue) has already signalled changes in the park with the vast, colourful flower beds that ran through the central avenue being dug out and replaced by large green tubs of low maintenance shrubs. While these are still pretty they're not a patch on the spectacular floral displays that greeted visitors to the park during the Bowls Championship years.

Beach House Park willow dome

BugCycle hopes to breathe life into neglected areas of Beach House Park again and I'm sure will help attract many new visitors – human as well as insect! I look forward to seeing the project grow, especially the living willow dome.

Doodling bugs

Embroidered by Imagination: A Gudrun Sjödén Valentine

Ivy Arch wears Gudrun Sjödén's Li Wei coat

Embellished with embroidered and printed roses, Gudrun Sjödén's Spring 2015 collection is influenced by the colourfulness and craftsmanship of the Far East.
Embroidered and lined with roses: Gudrun Sjödén's Li Wei quilted coat

My favourite piece from Sjödén's Spring collection is the Li Wei coat. The coat is padded and finely quilted with a stitched scallop pattern around the hem and has exquisitely embroidered roses and leaves on the front. Inside it's lined with Xiang print fabric which looks like a spray of roses in full bloom. The coat is just lightly padded but is surprisingly warm and in the cherry red colour is just the thing to brighten any grey day.

Inside the Li Wei coat is lined with Xiang bright rose print

I chose the Sakura button-through kimono dress to wear with it. 'Sakura' means cherry tree and this bright hibiscus pink fabric is printed with sweet cherry blossom flowers.
Sakura kimono dress: Gudrun Sjödén Spring 2015

My final pick was a break from convention as I hardly every wear anything tight around my waist – I chose the kod woven cotton tie belt in mustard as it looked so wonderful on the models in Gudrun Sjödén's catalogue! It wraps around the body and ties a bit like my daughter's karate belt. It feels rather ceremonial to wear and I like the fact that it has no buckles or metal fastenings.

A Gudrun Sjödén valentine

See more of Gudrun Sjödén's exciting Spring Collection 2015 here

Save Worthing Skyline!

Say NO to Roffey's Skyscraper on Worthing beach!

Property developer Roffey Homes intend to build a 21 storey high-rise apartment block close to the promenade on Worthing beach. Yesterday I joined the Save our Seafront protest to voice my opposition to these disproportionate plans for a sight previously bequeathed to the town's people for leisure use.

Sign the petition!

For two hours two dozen locals braved the cold weather to hand out fliers to passers by, collect signatures for the petition, hoist banners and raise awareness for this just cause. Every supportive beep from passing motorists, bus, lorry and van drivers was met with a cheer!

Save Our Seafront protest, 7 February 2014
These people all say NO to Roffey's skyscraper on the beach!

Roffey's proposed skyscraper is an ersatz, unimaginative design that would exceed the height of all buildings in Brighton Road and along the seafront. It would ruin the seafront skyline and herald the destruction of what is historically an elegant seaside resort. Over a thousand people have signed a petition indicating they don't want it to go ahead and I hope that Worthing Council will consider our views and veto Roffey's plans.
I urge all readers of my blog to sign our petition to Save Worthing Seafront. You don't have to be a local resident to sign – you are all potential visitors to Worthing!

Save Our Seafront! Please sign the petition.

For more information visit Save Our Seafront Worthing. Sign the petition here.

Year of The Goat lavender bags in the Ivy Arch shop

To mark the imminent start of the Year of the Goat I have restocked my Etsy shop with some new Chinese zodiac goat lavender bags. They're made from Mini Moderns Stevie printed cotton which was inspired by an oriental postage stamp collection. Mini Moderns produced this wonderful fabric for Clothkits a few years ago and the fabric is now out of print, making these lavender bags very rare indeed! For the backs I used Carolyn Gavin's poppy design organic cotton.

In the Chinese zodiac the sign of the goat (ram or sheep) is thought to symbolise good things and represents creativity and calm. Wishing you these things and more for a Happy Chinese New Year!

To buy or for more info visit the Ivy Arch shop.