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  • 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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« The first 'Dear Father Christmas'. | Main | "Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree.........." »



Welcome back vanessa, you have been missed! I must confess to being a tiny bit envious of your gift-swaps; you both choose such gorgeous thoughtful things for one another :)
ps just thought you might like to know that "dear father Christmas; get well soon" is currently my nearly 3-year-old's absolute favourite book. She calls it "my special Christmas book" and shows it to everyone who comes to visit. My father in law has commented on how lovely the pictures are and applauds your use of colour (He's an artist too....)
have a fab evening, natalie x


hi vanessa
what a lovely clourful read this evening! i so enjoy following the swaps between you and hen - thank you for sharing them with us! i love the candles in the beautiful green cups and i did wonder if the 'sarah london' scarf might be for hen - i hope you've made one for yourself as well??
love gill xx


Wow, that all look abosutely amacing!
It is a good thing you are doing - can imagine just how happy one gets from reciving such well thought of gifts! :)
Can't wait for the pattern for your "sandra london scarf"!:)


My favourite thing is definitely the socks. I thought they were candy canes or stripey caterpillars at first, so I'm glad you told us they were dachshunds because it took me a while to figure out the design. Perfect for Christmas socks anyway.


The whole post todau is exciting Vanessa. All those gorgeous goodies and I saw that story being read!!! How fab and thanks for sharing xx

Erica K

How sweet of her to make a stocking for Hugo too! And they're gorgeous! And yes, I'm always jealous of the packages you and Hen share. I would love to have someone of similar taste to exchange with...

Thanks so much for sharing! :)

Aubrey Cotton-Stapleton

What beautiful presents you choose each other, lots of the fun would be in the finding things that you think are just right! Love Aubrey


You are a very lucky girl indeed! What lovely gifts! Both that you gave and received.

Ann Tilley

Hi Vanessa! I just discovered your blog yesterday and have been addictively looking through all your posts. They're all so pretty! Love your colors, I'm very inspired. I posted some of my favorite pictures of yours on my blog, hope that's ok. Thanks for sharing!

Mary Poppins

My what beautiful presenst, how delightful :@) A little message now from my 8 yr old daughter....

Hello Vanessa, My mummy said it was alright to send you a little message to say how very much i am enjoying reading DEAR FATHER CHRISTMAS, My Mummy read your post on it and had to buy it for me, she likes buying things my mummy ;) We loved looking at all the pretty pages with your illistations on, my favourite page is the one with holly and the tree and my mumys is the present page. I have one question if that is alright. I wanted to know how long it takes you to do one of your pretty pictures for the book, the one with footprints must have taken you days. Love Mary Poppins Little Girl X

So there you go a two in one message, wishing you a Merry Christmas




Petit Filoux

Those stockings are wonderful!!! And those candles in tea cups, simply scrumptious!!! You're very lucky!!! (and congrats on the book, that is great news!!) x


A post filled with wonderful things - of course I love the hand-crafted things the most but isn't everything Hen sent lovely? You really do have complementary tastes don't you. I saw everything you gave Hen on her post and was amazed (I surely wouldn't mind one of those scarves!) Now it is your turn and haven't you got some delightful things? I am indeed envious of those stockings and we saw that Hen had dyed the fabric on her blog; they are absolutely beautiful aren't they - the colours are so vibrant and the details so pretty. No need to squabble either as they are nice as each other! I'm loving the tea-cup candles too and although I have seen them in magazines lately I'm pretty sure I saw them on Hen's blog first - such a great idea - and you will have some rather elegant china when they have burnt through. I have to mention the little doggie socks as they are just so cute - I didn't know you had dachshunds too, how lovely! I had my bed-time story read to me by that rather nice man even though it was a bit early for me. It was done really well wasn't it? - loved the last page especially where all the animals are looking so happy. Most excellent for your story to be chosen, and totally cute illustrations.

By the way Vanessa I am fascinated by your day job and would love to have 'a day in the life of...' kind of thing. Obviously you may not want to do that and like to keep that separate and private but I'm interested to know the discipline required and how a book evolves - how you work with the writer/editor and that kind of thing.

I get as excited as you two do by this present swap thing you have going on! Mole is so cute (more than the narrator even!) I think it's time for a guinea pig hero though!! Looking forward to seeing the new painting. x

Mary Poppins

Hi Vanessa, hope you don't mind but have mentioned your Dear Father Christmas book in my post and photographed a couple of your illustations from the book and linked back to you, I had to share it :)


Suzy's Vintage Attic

Hello Vanessa

Some very lovely gifts indeed,the named stockings were a nice touch. It so nice when you know someone who shares the same tastes and interests as you.

I really like the scarf, the colours are absolutely gorgeous.

Warm wishes
Isabelle x

Isabel S./Lisbon-Portugal

Dear Vanessa, such beautiful gifts, you're very lucky!! I love your scarf, the colours and the pattern.Very beautiful! I've been using that pattern for the last 25 years to make blankets to my kids (3 and no longer kids :twins age 21 and a boy 18) and for friends also. I haven't a blog but if you are interested I can send you some photos by mail (in that case please send me yr mail) who knows that will inspire you to make a blanket with those lovely colours you usualy use ????It's very easy and I'm sure you'll be inspired.
Love xxxxxx
Isabel S./Lisbon-Portugal

Wendy Rhys Jones

Hello Vanessa, What a lovely blog you have shared with us, and I think that it is fabulous that you and Hen have found each other, obviously a meeting of soulmates!!! Your gifts to each other are amazing, and thank you for opening them so carefully with us, it's almost as good as being there! Will you share with us what treasures you put in your socks I wonder, that would be nice.I love your illustrations, and I will be looking for the books for my Grandson, I'm sure that he will enjoy them.Thank you so much, have a super Christmas, with love from Wendy {:0) xx

greedy nan

What stunning pressies - specially the stockings! Lucky ol' yous.
I noticed a little Poppy Treffry book in one of the pics - what is it? You never made mention and I'm a big fan.


Everyone else has sad it all, so just a WOW from me!


I'm a new follower to your blog and it is providing me with so much joy so thank you. You have a wonderful sounding life, house, garden and dachshunds and am very much enjoying reading about ELlie and Douglas and your new pen-pal write and gift entries. So exciting to see what you will receive next. I was very pleased (as an owner of a very characterful wire-haired Dachshund, sometimes responds to the name Bert!) to see that you too have the dachshund socks! Look out for the matching pants that are available too :)
Many thanks for brightening my soggy grey Monday! I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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