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my etsy shop


  • Would you like to award someone special a knitted rosette? See the pattern to knit one here!

  • Little Squares Scarf, (quick pattern).

  • Little Squares Scarf, (step-by-step pattern, with lots of step-by-step photos).

  • How to sew up crochet or knitting with an invisible stitch, step-by-step tutorial

  • Sisterhood Crochet Blanket pattern for square.

  • step-by-step pattern for Sisterhood Crochet Blanket square. Makes crocheting this pattern a doddle for beginners!

  • step-by-step tutorial for some basic crochet stitches

  • Tara's failsafe cup cake sponge recipe

  • knitted slipper pattern

blogs I read

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Listen Vanessa, I have an idea.......why don't you bin your paintings over here onto my walls until you get your self belief back! It would be a crime to for you to have to wake up to them each day!! Only a joke, you know that in the path to success the road isn't always smooth BUT your new direction is so YOU, your style utterly UNIQUE, so keep the subject matter your choice. Goodness knows you paint enough gorgeous little animals while at work, this is why it's wonderful to see you doing what you do brilliantly but from a more personal perspective.
You were right to remove your work from the gallery and find somewhere more appropriate to hang this fantastic art work.
Tam xx




Sending a (hug). Its hard to keep feeling good about your own work and creativity. This is definately one of those times when THEY have a problem not you.


This just reminds me how brave bloggers are--putting their ideas & work out there for us to see, and THEN laying themselves open to our comments. The art each person likes is a very personal thing, and if we're not trained, we respond more by emotion than any other reason. But if we are trained, it does affect our response to what we see, and sometimes the pure enjoyment is lost. There are likely many more positive responders out there (like me) who comment rarely!


Your paitings are beautiful, take no notice of stupid people. Don't let your confidence be knocked by this. Kathy


Oh my god I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ANGRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes I am bloody well seething, and this is not an emotion I display at all often as you probably know.
Vanessa hun, PLEASE PLEASE do not give in to these narrow minded individuals. I am so sad to hear about the gallery, so very very sad. BUT maybe this just tells you that you need to rethink your selling venues....please please consider an etsy shop. Or even an extra page on your blog pics and prices that acts as a shop.

I for one LOVE your paintings so very very much as you know, the latest one you've shown today took my breath away when I first saw it.
Don't give up, don't lose your faith in these amazing paintings. I can't think of enough words to make you feel better, but I am sending the hugest hug to you, and hope you can put this behind you and carry on. GET THE ETSY SHOP OPEN, please? (gentle pressure not sounding so gentle any more lol)

ps I have had a great many disappointing scrapes with galleries exhibiting my work, too many to mention, its so sad.


ouch is right. please be strong and remember that this kind of thing happens to all artists and it always hurts but you have to let it go and not take it to heart! give yourself credit and be proud of yourself for making these beautiful, sensitive and thoughtful paintings!


don't give up Vanessa, they're lovely!!


Some people, when given an opportunity to give their opinion, just can't help themselves. Allow me to be one of them.

I love your paintings. I love the play between light and shadows. I love the colours. I love the delicate sense of whimsy. I love the refined naturalness of the flowers set against the refined man-madeness of the teacup.

If I had an art gallery I'd give you a whole wall all to yourself.


It's a hole that all of us fall into now and again. Your style is your style- the fact is that you're not painting to sell- you're painting for you and if things sell that'll be great.

Unfortunately people throw out comments without a thought to the person they are actually directed to. Don't let someone's thoughtlessness deter you from something you love.

And good for you for taking your things out of that gallery! I'm sure you'll find a better place to sell that is more in tune with what you find to be the best in your work.

Keep on trucking-- don't lose heart--

"Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
— Eleanor Roosevelt


I am pea green with envy that you have such a clearly defined style to your work that is unique to you and brings such obvious pleasure and contentment to you (and others). I've wanted to ask you how you do it, how do you settle on the way to paint that seems most right to you, that produces an image that is most like the one you aspire to in your minds eye - and I'm guessing that this kind of challenge, although a bit sore, might just be an essential part of that process.


I have nice places on my walls to store your art until you're more sure what you want to do with them. (No receipts


I agree wholeheartedly with ALL the above comments and on reflection about art and music in general, I think it is a little wierd that we notice what "other people" say about paintings in galleries and when they sit in concerts and criticise the performers and the music, and they have absolutely no idea about even holding a paintbrush or a musical instrument, and yet they hold forth and we listen to our detriment. We lose our confidence and joy in what we are doing and basically these people are imbeciles !!!! I adore your paintings and I so envy your remarkable talent...I wish, wish, WISH I could paint half as well as you !

Alice C

Dear Vanessa,
Are you suggesting that you have a choice?

That you can choose whether to be an Artist creating paintings that make your heart sing or a Factory producing pictures to order?

I hope the choice makes you shudder and then turn back to your easel and water pot. There are not enough artists in the world that we afford to lose one because of a careless, unkind comment.


Your little paintings are lovely little capsules of serenity and peace and joy. Do not allow a mean spirited person destroy your instincts.


Perhaps I should forward a recent email from a 'friend' who had shown a sample box of my work to one of her contacts. Needless to say, the advice was basically stop what you're doing and do THIS instead. THIS being their own ideas etc. I did reel at first and doubted everything - then I remembered - oh yes, it's my work, not theirs.
Let's keep supporting each other here in blogland - we need it.

P x


Hello Vanessa, I read this entry and connected with you, in ways, and just want to add my little voice of support.... Creative people question themselves all the time, I know, I know it is easy to lose heart sometimes. Your paintings, all of them, are vibrant, heartfelt artworks.


Hi. I'm not a big commenter and I've never been to your place before but I just feel I have to say something here. I'm sad about the way one (tasteless) person have made you feel, that is totally the reaction I myself would have gotten and I feel just by reading it how much it would hurt. I think your little paintings show great personality and they feel cozy and sweet and make me get a warm feeling of home in my soul. Don't let negative people bring you down and ruin things, they're not worth it. (Maybe some day I'll be strong enough to listen to that advice myself.)


I have been on your blog before, but I never realized what a marvellous painter/illustrator you re - but there in the attic24 I saw a painting of primulas - and wanted to see more ;-)
I like your style!
I like the combination of porcelain and flowers!

And there will always be people who will not like it - I also now how tough that is. But I am sure, that these paintings will sell, you just have to find the right place/gallery/shop where people who appreciate this style are and where a person to explain painting and artists is close.

After all it is okay that we have different likes and dislikes and that "beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder".

Thanks for sharing with us the ups and downs of an artist's life!


I know this happened ages ago and I'm sure you have moved on since then but the odd nasty person does crop up from time to time I expect for most of us, so I couldn't resist commenting. I read somewhere that if you are going to take notice of the nice things people say, then you have to take notice of the not so nice. Fair point I think. However, what I notice is that people give far more more credence to the nasty and negative comments than they do to the nicer ones and they prey on your mind and can be really upsetting. When someone says something unpleasant, that's OK, that's their opinion (not everyone's opinion is equal either - well, not in my opinion!) but what about the zillion people to that one meany who tell you that they love what you do? There are far more who appreciate your talent and skill and who don't think you should be doing something else - your personal painting is for you to decide on the subject matter, and besides they are beautiful! I am having a meander back in time over the holiday as I have never properly read the bit before I started visiting. I was thinking how good your paintings really are! (way before the nameless nasty one appeared). As for the gallery, well they just sound silly don't they? I think that they are not quite knowing what they are about - the picture above looks stunning in its frame. I think it was a confident thing to do to remove your paintings - it shows you know your own worth and have faith in yourself. Besides, I know how well your pictures have been selling since on etsy! (hurray!!) Anyway, you are a published and employed artist, in a very competitive field - no mean feat that! Criticism is OK if it is constructive - and even then only if you agree with it - because your view point is the most valid of all as YOU are the artist and the director of your own creativity. I loved all the other comments and I agreed so much with what they said!
p.s. I've also learned that your little doggies are miniature wire-haird dachshunds! (I said recently that I didn't know you had dachshunds, only knowing about the regular smooth kind - I thought you had them hidden away somewhere not visible in blog land.)

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Hello and welcome!

  • Hello, my name is Vanessa Cabban, and I'm so pleased you've dropped by! I'm an artist and illustrator, working from home. I have two Miniature wire-haired Dachshunds, Ellie and Douglas. I love being part of the blogosphere, reading your comments, and feeling like I'm part of a community. I hope you enjoy reading about my small world.

Books I have illustrated!

  • The Best Gift of All

  • Book and dvd,(narrated by Kevin Whateley), of Bringing Down the Moon

  • There's a House Inside My Mummy

  • The Magic Donkey Ride

  • Down in the Woods at Sleepytime

  • Dear Tooth Fairy

  • Dear Mermaid

  • No Place Like Home

  • Diamond in the Snow

  • Bringing Down the Moon