The Hoarder Next Door


Micky Mouse milk bottle design

Micky Mouse milk bottle design

Before Christmas I took part in filming for The Hoarder Next Door. A local man has a Milk Bottle Museum with 30,000 milk bottles and I was rung by Channel 4 to see if I could make use of any glass bottles…..silly question…yes of course I can use glass bottles I said! Little did I realise what I was letting myself in for….

cereal designs milk bottles

cereal designs milk bottles



My sister now jokes that I’ve become the hoarder next door as I have around 200 milk bottles in the garage ready to turn into teabag dishes or just to sell on as unusual vases. Some of the bottles are advertising products while others are from dairies all over the country. If you are interested in a certain region please get in touch and I can see if I have one that matches your request.

The Hoarder Next Door

The Hoarder Next Door

Who remembers these? I wasn’t a fan of milk at school but know that lots of people were, so these bring back happy memories. I have bottles from Co-op, United Dairies and Unigate.

school milk bottles

school milk bottles


screen printed milk bottles

screen printed milk bottles

Some bottles have lovely designs on them….would it be bad it I hung onto this one?!? I do love a bit of hot choc 🙂

I’ve been experimenting with flattening the milk bottles into teabag dishes. Some of the designs are clear glass and others have got colour inside them. The gold works really well for the orange juice bottle. I’m now selling these for £5


milk bottle spoon rests

milk bottle spoon rests


milk bottle teabag dish

milk bottle teabag dish

Other bottles look great just as they are so these are just £3


milk bottle dish

milk bottle dish


Fused Glass Workshop Date Updates

**Workshop availability update**

1st Feb Bunting and Bowls at Craft Classes at Beautiful Things, Ingrave, Brentwood £45 2 spaces

18th Feb 10-12.30 glass bunting £45 1 space

24th Feb 10-4 fused glass day for anyone who can already cut glass £85 1 space

8th March 10-1pm Textures and Metals Masterclass at Glass From The Past, Barleylands, Billericay £50

25th March 10-1pm Woven Bowls and Metal Effects – advanced class £50 3 spaces

7th April 10-12.30 Glass Bunting £45 3 spaces

8th April 10-12 Stop Frame Animation for children at Craft Classes at Beautiful Things, Ingrave, Brentwood £20

8th April 1-3 Fused Glass for child and parent at Craft Classes at Beautiful Things, Ingrave, Brentwood £38

10th April 10-3.30 Glass Triptych panels- advanced class £90 1 space

12th April 10-1pm Landscapes Masterclass at Glass From The Past, Barleylands, Billericay £50

13th April 10-4 beginners fused glass £85 1 space

16th April 10-1pm Glass Jewellery and Beads £45 3 spaces

16th April 6.30-9pm Glass Bunting £45 3 spaces

Printing Christmas Cards

Although it seems like it’s a long way off I’m afraid to report that it really isn’t….yep, Christmas is coming  and in about 9wks time eekk! For me this is the busiest time of my year and I’ve been making fused glass Christmas decorations since the heatwave back in July so on this rare weekend off I decided it was time to get my Christmas cards made.

This year I am running workshops at The Make it Room, Howe Green, Chelmsford and Craft Classes at Beautiful Things, Ingrave, Brentwood in making Christmas cards, tags and wrap with lino printing techniques. As a result of this I have fully stocked card making and print making boxes and thought that it would be a good opportunity to make my seasonal cards slightly differently this year.

ImageI made a start by drawing a design onto a fab product called ‘easy carve lino’. It is so much easier to carve into than the old fashioned lino tiles with a hessian back. No more heating your lino on a radiator or under a hot tap to made it soft enough to carve into (I’ll bet this brings back some memories of school art lessons for a few of you!), this stuff is soft enough straight away 🙂 


I’ve deliberately left the cut lines showing. It will help to create a flow within the design and adds to the character of a lino print. As I was planning on printing this onto white card I removed everything I wanted to look snowy.Image

As many a crafter will understand, going into Hobbycraft can be a costly experience…far too many tempting things to buy to add to an already bulging craft cupboard!!! The other week I spotted mini letter stamps and thought they’d be great for the printing workshops and thankfully they work as well as I hoped they would.Image

I might have got a little carried away as I printed onto the envelopes with the lino and the letter stamps too….is it possible for things to look too pretty at Christmas?! no, thought not hehe…….and Mum, before you say anything, yes there is an enveloped printed for you and Dad too, it’s just underneath some of these!

By the time I got to printing out some wrapping paper I had company…..far too curious for her own good 🙂Image

If you’d like to have a go at making your own designs my workshops at The Make It Room, Chelmsford are on Tues 5th Nov 10-12.30, Weds 13th Nov 6-8.30pm and Thurs 21st Nov 9-11.30 am. Booking is via

If you live closer to Brentwood the workshops there are on Thurs 14th Nov 10-1pm and booking is via

Materials will be provided and you’ll be able to take you pieces of lino home with you so if you need to print more cards/tags/paper then you’ll be able to 🙂

Hope to see some of you soon.



Art Course



Image6 weeks ago my art course began over at The Make It Room, Howe Green. The course was aimed at beginners but it soon became apparent that none of the students were really beginners as they had all dabbled in various types of art in the past, having been on other courses through work or workshops at other locations. What seemed to be different about my approach to an art course though was that I’d structured it with my classroom teacher head on.  I’d start with demos, artists and collected imagery, taught different techniques each week and showed how to work with each material successfully. This seemed to suit my students as they had come along wanting to learn new skills and discover more about art 🙂

Each week was centred around a different technique and theme. Week 1 was based on line drawing where we began working from observation using pencil and stick/inks. The aim was to focus on textured mark making to help objects look 3D. I particularly liked the fluffy teddy, as did Drea’s next door neighbour who offered to buy it off her 🙂

ImageWeek 2 progressed onto a still life with multiple objects and plenty of jokes about me bringing my breakfast with me! Food based still lives are a winner in my book but no boring bowls of fruit here. We had cereal, toast, pots of tea etc The brown parcel paper has an interesting texture for drawing onto and shows up the contrasting tones to good effect….as I’m sure you will have noticed 😉


Week 3 we moved onto coloured materials and began to experiment with chalks and oil pastels. Irma thought she didn’t like using oil pastels because of the feel of them but actually  discovered that she was a natural when it came to using bright colours and blending them together whereas Drea created the most stunning chalk study of an ape holding a baby, it looked so real…. I’m gutted I forgot to take a photo of it!!!Image


In week 4 Sue became ‘star baker’….yep we chatted a LOT about The Great British Bake Off!!!….well the class was on a Weds morning after GBBO on a Tues so it was a natural topic for us teehee…..anyway, I digress, Sue had previously worked with acrylic paint so after a few handy hints, tips, artist studies and experiments took to painting very quickly. That confidence in the material helped her to be free with the paint and I think you’d agree that her autumnal landscape below is gorgeous and would you guess that it was painted entirely with a glue spreader?! 

This week we looked at Leonid Afremov and David Hockney as our inspirational starting points. If you aren’t familiar with their work look it up. They are goooood.Image



Collage and mixed media was the challenge for week 5. We made our own textured papers and then raided the Argos catalogue for other colours/textures. Several of the flowers below are made from bedding and cushions! Those painting skills from last week came in handy for creating different textured marks to add into the piece to create a wow factor. The bigger challenge this wk though seemed to be NOT putting your paintbrush into your cup of tea! anyone else done that before, yep me too!!!


Reduction method lino printing was the task for the final week. In basic terms that’s print, carve, print, carve, print, carve…until you have no more lino left.Image



…and then it was all over 😦 Time flew by each week as we made art, drank tea, ate biscuits, chatted about books and GBBO and before we knew it 6 weeks of art had passed BUT (and this makes me smile ) with everyone booking to come back for course no 2 in January 😀 

In Nov this course starts all over again on Monday eves 6.30-9pm. There are still a couple of places left so if you’d like to join us get in touch 01245 401118 or book directly via this link with paypal

I’ll be running Art Course 2 from Mon 6th Jan 10-12.30 or Tues 6.30-9pm for 6weeks £105 all materials included and this time we will be going BIG…well A2 size big 🙂


Glass stock for Fairs

Why is it that I have a garage with boxes upon boxes of glass and yet I still always feel like I don’t have enough stock right before every craft fair I do?!?! I think it’s a strange phenomenon experienced by most crafters and sure enough I’ve been suffering from it this week. I think we should come with a name for it…what do you reckon this could be called?

I’ve had the kiln/s on every day for the past few weeks firing student work, and my own work, and this is some of what I’ve been making.





Glass powder workshop

Last week I had a request for a workshop in using glass powders with the aim of creating a mini artist masterpiece. Marie had been unable to attend my masterclass when I ran it earlier in the summer so thought she’d see when I was doing another one. After comparing diaries it looked like she would have to wait nearly a month so we did the opposite and went for a matter of days after the phone call. It’s one of the advantages of having a teaching space at home that I can run a workshop whenever I like 🙂


Step one when working with glass powders is to learn how to apply it evenly and how to layer it without moving the colours you’ve put on already. Marie worked with some of my stencils to experiment with this and then created her own stencil to make a glass version of a painting she has hanging on her kitchen wall.

It will all go into the kiln within the next few days (I’ve got a bit of a backlog with all the recent workshops that need different firing schedules!) and as soon as its finished I’ll post a photo of it on here.

Printing on Glass

Today’s glass workshop has been all about printing onto glass.

18 months ago I took part in a workshop at Creative Glass all about screen printing on glass. It was something I’d wanted to learn how to do for a while. I absolutely loved the workshop there but didn’t have all the equipment to do it at home without some serious investment so with my art teachers hat on I thought I’d have a go at other forms of print making using the glass enamels.

I experimented, had good and bad outcomes and settled on Lino as a good material for printing with, which has lead towards my Printing on Glass workshops.

Today we were focusing on creating a printed image that can ultimately be hung on a wall. Lorraine’s pattern piece will be over printed in other colours after the 1st firing and Drea’s is just perfect on its own.


Woven glass bowl workshop

Weaving with glass looks seemingly impossible but with a few little lessons and tricks of the trade it’s not too difficult to achieve.
This morning I had a workshop teaching how to make a woven glass bowl like these.



Ann chose the most gorgeous, locate colour way with her design and I can’t wait to see how this fuses. We discussed the effect she wanted so its going to have a tack fuse to retain as much texture as possible and to make it look as close to the blue bowl I use as my sample piece.

This kiln is on every day at the moment as I’ve had so many workshops going on….tomorrow is Printing on Glass and Monday is all about Powders and Frits.

Seasonal Glass

It feels a little bit odd to be doing this at the height of summer, in the middle of a heat wave, but needs must…..I’ve been making Christmas decorations! Yep you read right!

This year I have signed up to do a 4 day Christmas market and with opening hours of 10am -8pm I will need to take a lot of stock with me. I am therefore starting early and getting ahead on making some fused glass decorations. If I can make a few each week between now and the end of November there shouldn’t be a last minute rush in making enough stock. I have a glass order coming tomorrow full of red, green and white glass and then I’ll be onto making my 3D decorations too.