Sunday, 27 March 2011

Somerset – enjoy the scenery!

Beautiful views are a speciality in Somerset – be it iconic ones such as Glastonbury Tor – or landscape delights such as Brean Down.

(Photo: courtesy of Joe Dunckley/

Brean Down is one of the landmarks of the Somerset coastline - jutting out into the Bristol Channel and providing a download setting between Burnham-On-Sea to the south and Weston-super-Mare to the north. It boasts two cafes near the beach, plus a small visitor centre and a bird garden.  The National Trust describe it as “offering magnificent views for miles around, it is rich in wildlife and history; an ideal place to explore. The Palmerston Fort, built 1865, provides a unique insight into Brean's past.” (

The Down is protected by the National Trust and scheduled as a Site of Special Scientific Interest by the Nature Conservancy Council for its exceptional natural history. It is also classed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument by the Department of the Environment for its archaeological remains.

Natural history of Brean Down
The vegetation of the steep, rocky southern slopes and cliffs contrasts with the gentler slopes on the north side where the soil - containing wind-blown sand - is deeper. On the thin limestone, the most noticeable plant flowering in early summer is the rare White Rock Rose. It grows in abundance on Brean Down, at its most northerly world limit, and is only known to exist in two other places in Britain.

(Photo: courtesy of Joe Dunckley/

Other rare plants which grow on Brean Down include the inconspicuous Dwarf Sedge, which flowers in early spring, the late flowering Goldilocks and the Somerset Hair Grass, known only in England in the Mendips. Many well known plants include the grass Sheep's Fescue, plus Wild Thyme, Wood Sage, Salad Burnet, St John's Wort, Field Scabious, Bird's Foot Trefoil and the sping-flowering Cowslips. Shrubs are trees are few and far between because of the strong winds and salt spray, but low-growing Privet, Hawthorn and Elder trees can be seen on the south side.

Butterflies and other insect life are rich on Brean Down. Butterflies regularly seen include the Common Blue, Meadow Brown and the Marbled White, while the Chalkhill Blue, whose caterpillar feeds on Horseshoe Vetch, is less common. Various species of grasshoppers can occasionally be seen, and the Bloody-Nosed Beetle can also be spotted.
(Couresy of:

(Photo: courtesy of Joe Dunckley/

Brean Down is just one of many inspirational places appreciated by photographers in Somerset.  Julie, from Julie M Photography, an online shop on Folksy, is one such person.  Here we meet her and she talks about her work.

Please introduce yourself and tell us what brought you to Somerset?

I am Julie and I have had a store in Folksy for a year this month, I am originally from London.
My parents moved us to Somerset in 1975. Dad’s employer relocated, and they thought that it would be a better pace of life in the country.

Tell us about your chosen craft.
I first became interested in photography, because of dad . He had an old bellows camera, and he would take his pictures and develop them in the bathroom.
I began taking a real iinjterest in photography when I started working in a Photographic Laboratory, some twenty years ago.
I am still passionate about photography, hence my shop name.

 As well as selling through your Folksy shop, can your work be found in any other outlets in Somerset?
I have my own web-site www.juliemonkphotography, which I started in order to promote my Pet Portrait business. I started taking photographs of peoples pets after my beautiful German Shepherd Gemma had to be put down.  It is only after their gone that you realise that you haven’t captured the true personality of a loved pet. I also have a shop on Creative Stores, and I sell in the shop where I work.

Where does your inspiration come from?My inspiration comes from all around ,the world in a beautiful place , also I enjoy capturing a picture from a different angle, I love taking close ups because it always seems to give another perspective.
And finally, what's your favourite place in Somerset and why?
Somerset has such wonderful landscapes, it is difficult to think of one that stands out above the rest, but for a diverse day of shooting, I don’t think you can beat Hestercombe Gardens near Taunton.  It is a wonderful place for photography, because it has formal gardens, follys, old buildings, a watermill and landscape shots wherever you look.

To see more of Julie's work, visit and

Saturday, 26 March 2011

rainbow stripe mobile phone covers

These two snazzy rainbow numbers have just been listed.  10% of price (excl post and packing) donated to

Check out this link to find out more:

Also available to fit blackberry and iPod (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation) in ribbed or stocking stitch design.  Each is unique, colours may vary depending on what's in my woolly hoard!  Please get in touch to commission your's.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Answer to the mini quiz.......Its c)

First of all, a big thank you to all who took part in the mini quiz.  I'm now in a position to reveal that the answer to the pictures (see below) was c) iPod, blackberry and mobile phone covers.

Stripey blackberry covers - just listed!

These are part of the classic stripe, back to  basics range.  The ribbed knit is stretchy and hugs your blackberry/mobile tight.  Clear and contrasting colours.

*******and for a cheeky preview, see below for items not yet listed in this classic range********

IPod covers
Fits 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation.

Mobile phone covers

Get in touch if you would like to reserve your one now.......

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Hidden Somerset

One of the joys of visiting and living in Somerset is that there is always something new to discover.  The Hidden Somerset website ( helps you discover some of these hidden gems for yourself:

“For those looking to get 'off the beaten track' in Somerset, look no further than, a special website designed to share the 'bits the others can't reach' (to acknowledge a well known old advert). This website offers information about a variety of little known gems, where you are most unlikely ever to meet a coach load of tourists. Explore Somerset's more interesting historic, geographical and cultural features, the things which make our county so special and unique.”  In particular, look under the 'gems' section where thoughtful people have added their own favourite 'gems'.

Family run Musgrove Willows is one such gem who continue the Somerset tradition of willow growing and making items from it.  It is situated in the historic village of Westonzoyland. 

(photo - - doll's cradle - from shop)
It is now run by Michael Musgrove and his wife, Ellen, the 3rd generation, and the expertise has been passed down through the family They now grow over 50 different species of salix (willow/withies) at Musgrove Willows which are suitable for living willow projects (such as domes, tunnels, living fences and windbreaks), basket making and hurdle fencing.  Visitors are able to see all these varieties growing on site and experience the age old traditions of sorting, boiling and stripping the willow ready for the basket maker.
(courtesy of:
As well as visiting the site, taking part in their course, the Musgrove Willows work can also be seen as the giant Willow Man on the M5.
Somerset’s long tradition in crafting is reflected in the work of other local crafters with shops of the Folksy website.  This week we meet Emma, aka Mrs Jones Handmade Jewellery.

Please introduce yourself and tell us what brought you to Somerset?

Hello, I am Emma Jones aka Mrs Jones Handmade Jewellery. I was born in Taunton, Somerset and apart from a brief time living in Preston, Somerset has always been my home, and always will be. I currently live with my husband and two boys near the Blackdown Hills.

Where does your inspiration come from?
The green of the surrounding Somerset countryside has definitely inspired me – I never get tired of green! But the colours and shapes of the beads themselves are the starting point of my jewellery, sometimes leading to surprising colour combinations.


And finally, what's your favourite place in Somerset and why?

My favourite place in Somerset is
Fyne Court
on the Quantock Hills. It is mainly woodland with streams and walks through meadows. I used to visit it with my family when I was a child, and now I take my children.

To visit Emma’s shop, go to and

Monday, 14 March 2011

"Is it a [insert answer]" Quiz

And for today's mystery item:

Is it:

A) a set of scarves from the bear guests at a recent Teddy Bears' Picnic?

B) a close up of a multi coloured creature newly discovered living in some distant land?

C) a set of 'work in progress' mobile, blackberry and iPod covers sporting the new 'back to basic' stripe range?

Answers on a postcard to a non existent cyber space address please. 

WARNING - This is a sneak preview and these items have yet to appear in the Mosaic Tree on line shop (  Watch this space.

Come tweet along with me!

Now tweeting on Twitter - @MosaicTree.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Somerset = Local and Quality

Somerset is perhaps best known in the past for its orchards, and particularly its long career as a cider producing area.  Somerset has branched out into other areas and both local and top quality are its trademarks.

Local Food

Somerset has its own locally-branded food, Levels’ Best.  This is “a beacon for high quality and transparency and it identifies producers who are doing their level best for consumers.

When you buy Levels' Best you can be assured that this branded food or drink has been produced by people who practice conservation land management, animal welfare, rear native breeds of livestock and where feasible plant traditional varieties of plants and seeds within the 260 square miles (114 parishes) of the Somerset Levels and Moors.
The Somerset Levels and Moors is a wetland landscape defined by its willows and rhynes (ditches). It's ancient heritage underpins today's traditional, extensive farming methods that are sympathetic to the needs of wildlife - breeding, migrant and wading birds, meadow and rhyne flora, mammals such as otter and water vole and water shrew and not least dragonflies, grasshoppers and butterflies.” (

Local Crafters

The theme of both local and high quality is continued with the crafters from the local Somerset scene.  Today we meet Kate, aka rosielee.

Please introduce yourself and tell us what brought you to Somerset?
My real name is Kate Bradley, and I have been living on the Somerset Border of Sherborne since April 2010.  When I did finally move to Sherborne, life was considerably better and the creativity started going. I love Sherborne….there is Sherborne House which was featured on the BBC restoration programme and there is a small arts centre here.  The whole town is so small and full of lovely independent shops.

Tell us about your chosen craft.
I finished a Fine Art Degree in 2005 but its only since April of last year that I have been interested in all things crafty as well as all thing painterly. I am also drawn to paper crafts.   The two paper mache bowls that I managed to complete have been featured in many blogs, it is calling me to do some more.  For now I am doing lots of water colours - although I don’t list new stuff on folksy very much, I do creative work consistently every day.  Basically I prefer crafts that are cheap and easy to do in the home.

As well as selling through your Folksy shop, can your work be found in any other outlets in Somerset?

I don’t sell to other shops or outlets, I’m still learning and trying out too many things.  I am taking some stuff over to this gallery/cafe in Yetminster which is full of nice hand made crafts. Its not elitist or "contemporary".
Where does your inspiration come from?My inspiration comes from the fact I am living in this lovely area and I’m settled and happy, I love where I live and this just feeds my creativity. I can always walk into town and look at the local gallery, or look at Sherborne Abbey, or Sherborne House - there is so much here to give you inspiration. I have realised that your surroundings can make a big difference to your creativity.  Before I used to live in another town on a much rougher council estate and it wasn’t very nice, its only since I have moved here that it has all clicked into place and my creativity has taken off.  My creativity goes from strength to strength and this is the most important thing for me.

And finally, what's your favourite place in Somerset and why?
I like Glastonbury and Sherborne as it has so much history, and the surrounding countryside is beautiful.
To see more of Kate’s work please visit

Monday, 7 March 2011

iPod cover - handknitted - pale green, spiral detail - now in shop

Just listed today in online shop -

Fits 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation iPods.  Handknitted in cotton rich wool (pale green) with ocean colour spiral detail, cleverly concealing hidden button and loop catch.

Protects iPod from scratches, both when you're out and about and when its stored in a pocket or bag.

Makes an ideal present - lightwieht and easy to post.  It can be gently handwashed - with love, of course!

Ideal for a Mother's Day pressie - and there's still time to order one yet!  Commissions welcome.
 and for this item -

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Your guide to a great day out with the Somerset stars!

Steeped in history and mysticism, with a unique and magical landscape, it is little wonder that Somerset has served to grow, inspire and attract some of history’s best and minds. 

Explore the rugged rural setting for Lorna Doone, climb Jack and Jill’s fabled hill and run like the Beatles across the station platform in A Hard Days Night. Discover your Famous Somerset... (


(Courtesy of -

The Famous Somerset Guide (see will help you unravel what stirred the emotions of romantic poets and novelists, as well as film directors, business men and women and more, including:

·         S T Coleridge and William Wordsworth
·         J R R Tolkien and John Stienbeck 
·         Hot Fuzz and Elizabeth The Golden Age
·         Deborah Meaden & PJ Harvey
·         Folksy crafters – Artyadz (featured in previous blog entry), booboocraft (featured today) and rosielee and MrsJonesHandMadeJewellery (both coming soon).

Today we’re interviewing Lesley, aka booboocraft, a local Somerset crafter with a shop on Folksy.


Please introduce yourself and tell us what brought you to Somerset?
My name is Lesley also known as Booboo hence the name of my shop and business. We moved to Somerset 6 years ago, we had both had high profile jobs and were fed up with the rat race of city living. We sold a large house and down sized to be mortgage free.

Tell us about your chosen craft.
I worked for 7 years as a factory manager in a commercial embroidery factory and then for 12 years in higher education part time teaching and part time technical advice this time with hand, machine and computer embroidery also surface textile and fabric manipulation.

As well as selling through your Folksy shop, can your work be found in any other outlets in Somerset?
I only started Booboocraft last May and have sold through an Artist Studio as a guest Artist and once at a craft fair was also asked to show my embroidered pictures at a gallery not with much success.

Where does your inspiration come from?
As we live on the coast I walk every day along the sea front and find the coastline very inspiring Brean down is also an amazing place to visit.


And finally, what's your favourite place in Somerset and why?
There are so many favorite places in Somerset Burnham on Sea where we live is great as it is like stepping back in time and there are a lot of crafters and artist living locally, I am also very fond of Somerton it's a great little town full of character with a fantastic gallery/shop with brilliant works of art across many different media.

 To visit the booboocraft shop, please visit