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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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oh vanessa what a horrid few days you've had - are you sure about the gym?? i'm somewhat older than you and i started pilates about a year ago. now while i haven't lost weight(that wasn't the plan) i feel so much better in many ways.
anyway i love your red anemones and your knitting and your paintings so i'd rather you stayed just the way you are!
love gill


(this is going to be a long comment btw, you may want to make a cup of tea.)

Scary biscuits about the fainting, look after yourself won't you, and do see the doctor if it happens again?
I hate all things weight related to do with myself. I have some pretty strong denial about it going on. But this needs to change. Because I want to have a baby, and I know that they way I am now is not healthy. I think you're brave for talking about it on here and well done for going to the gym and trying to change something you're not happy with. You've more guts than me!

Your post today is full of amazing colour and inspiration - you're crochet is beautiful and I just adore the two colours you're making your dress in. I'm really drawn to reds at the moment and looked at your anenome photo for ages just appreciating the red!

I also want to say (I'll be finished with this comment in a minute, promise!) that I fully appreciate the effort it takes to write a pattern for crochet, (I have spent nearly all day writing one for granny squares. Granny squares!!) and so THANK YOU for the time you've taken to write yours.

Big hugs,
Heather xxxx

mlle paradis

oh vanessa! sorry to whisk your painting away from you so soon! (i was just so afraid i'd suffer that "if you snooze, you lose" syndrome.) i know how that feels. when i was selling more frequently my consolation was that many went to homes within two blocks of me so i knew that i could always go visit them. now one is in florida, one is in alabama...the rest are in new jersey and i am in california!

if it's not one quandary in life, it's another. i'm another one who's happy enough sitting and computers give us yet another excuse to do it. but i do force myself to walk. with and without hubby. it seems so much more civilized than those horrid (to me) organized gym activities. and it will make more space for you in those clothes!

hang in there! spring is coming and you have had a very productive winter haven't you!?


Hope your wooziness keeps at bay... surely all that crafting and baking counts as something?! The gym can be horrible place; I go a couple of times a week and still don't enjoy it as such - just wish my cupcake belly could just vanish! Can't wait for the patterns, they're all going in my queue :D


dear vanessa,

how u feeling today? dont wnt to say too much as i havnet actually seen you but as a doctor would like to say that it looks like u might need to up ur fluid intake esp if u r returning to exercise aftera break. like u said if the dizzy feeling persists do do visit urlocal gp. thats a sound idea. meanwhile do what u lov eto do and do so well!!
on to crafty pursuits, u mite be happy o know u have coneverted a crochet challenged person to one whos actually picked up aook after seeing those cute squares!! crocheted some ina nondescript colour as practice and now have started on pink ones for my lil princess. vil keep u posted on progress,wish u get, to read my posts, i would be fab to get replies!! i am from india and dont hv emany friends here so readin ur blog acually makes e feel like i hve made a new one!! will close by seeing i am smitten by the blue rred combo, remeinds me of my mums saree [indian attire]it was the exact combo and brought back so many childhood memories of india!!1 thank u vanessa for beinga lovely friend


Love your artwork Vanessa and smiled at the crochet and cupcakes comparison. Good luck with the knitted dress. The sisterhood blanket - wow!

Catriona Williams

Hope you are feeling better but I just wanted to say this is the most beautiful blog post I have looked at for ages, the colours and the dress and the doll. I have book marked it to look at again and again,
Thank you,


Vanessa your so good for doing something about your weight. I dont like my weight gain either and I joined the Contours gym for women 2 weeks ago and I actually like it a lot. I do have a few mornings where I finish and feel a bit lightheaded and sick but that is only because I dont eat enough food to fuel my body. Maybe take it easy for a little bit. They do say that the only way to lose weight is to get your heart rate up to a certain level and increase your metabolism by eating every 3 to 4 hours. I agree that I dont like exercise or eating healthy very much either but I am starting to change that way of thinking! I have to tell you that your crocheted blanket is simply gorgeous in those beautiful squares. How stunning, just like your paintings. Your doll is such a cutie too, how lucky you are to receive such a wonderful gift. I like the dress your knitting, and I like the colors together too. Even that mustard is nice which I happen to really like at the moment for some reason. Stay calm and dont stress too much about the gym.

Isabelle (France)

Oh no no no no nooooo.... The birds in the bath is gone :((
Anyway, I hope you feel better now. I also need to change my ways with regards to eating and exercising. I think too much about it and should start DOING sth about it.
Have a good weekend


You need to see the doctor before going back to the gym. It is the only way to be sure that what you are doing is okay for you.

I long to see more of the frock.


Vanessa, the least said about the gym and dieting the better! It's something I need to do as well, but find it so difficult. Onto nicer things - the doll is lovely, you are so lucky. The dress looks very interesting, the colours are great. Your colour choices are very inspirational. Good luck at the gym next time.


Hello Lettice and Vanessa! I love The Frock (I absolutely think it deserves capital letters) it is going to be beyond adorable in those colours, I wish I could find that wool here in Melbourne, the new season's wool will be available here soon maybe Clegs (a lovely store with Liberty and wool)will have it ... And I love your dress,your cardigan and your little hat too, Lettice! Another lovely blog to visit ...
And I am now going to make a totally bossy and politically incorrect statement in the year 2010 but nevermind, I hate gyms! don't believe in them and never will (and I've tried them twice at different stages in my life, they made me miserable) Jumping around on a thinly-covered concrete floor makes me feel sick and I would so much rather take my doggie for a walk in the fresh air and perhaps a few stretching exercises at home!
Quite enough ranting for one day and thank you for all the lovely photos, Vanessa, they are wonderful, take very good extra care of yourself won't you, I'm off to market tomorrow with a car full of cushions and crochet ... Barbara.


Beautiful photos as ever. Love the colour co-ordinated corsages/cupcakes. Hope you're feeling better now, and take it easy starting out at the gym!


Oh my. What a GORGEOUS post! I'm a lurker to your blog and I must say you made my evening with this color bounty! :)

LOVELY and sooo inspiring! :)


Hope you feeling better.

What a wonderfully colourful post! I have only been following your blog for a short time but you have inspired me so much already.

A HUGE thank you for sharing with us.


Hello dear Vanessa and Lettice ! Vanessa I'm so sorry you've been poorly this week, it's sounds most distressing. I would definately get a check up with the doc. Lettice looks so at home sitting on your desk, and the whole post looked lovely and colourful and I'm not surprised your painting went before it got in your shop! Have a lovely relaxing weekend with a nice walk with Ellie and Douglas, so much better than the gym! Penny xxx (Planet Penny)


oh hope you are feeling better soon - have you had your blood pressure checked, low blood pressure can cause dizziness....

love love love your knitting, your use of colour is as always gorgeous xoxo


The web never ceases to delight and amaze. I was trawling for cheap decorators drop-sheets when I was directed to a photo of your painting and decorating gear! Don't know when I'll be coming back this way again, but loved some of your images ...the colour, the colour...! Great illustration work too...

Good luck with the gym!


goodness i hope you feel better very soon - maybe a visit to the doc might be a good idea. I love your paintings, they are always soo beautiful - those crochet flowers are just brilliant, do you have a pattern for those? I shouldn't worry too much about the banned subject - everything in moderation is the key!!!I hope you have a lovely relaxing weekend!



All those lovely colours - all different all lovely!

Poor you. The annual diet/detox thing just isn't any fun at all is it? It feels soo harsh when we have to give up all those lovely yummy things! Sometimes for the first week I just cut back a little and then take it from there - that way it doesn't seem such a hideous shock and I don't feel so deprived. Do be careful with the exercise though, they can be a bit Sergent Majorish at the Gym; little and often is good, at least to begin with. I had a bad experience once with an exercise tape which was a bit extreme and sounds quite similar to yours. I insisted on completing the tape and by the end I had to go to off to be sick. Not very good at all. I stick to lovely kind walking now. I hope you are feeling very much better now though. As you haven't got a weight problem (you always look lovely in your pictures) maybe just cut back a little bit so you maintain your weight without putting any on? I get into v bad habits over Christmas and keep them up for months!

Lucky Lettice for having found such a respectful home. She is beautifully made isn't she and not everyone does appreciated things like that. You do the same though, when you make beautiful things as gifts. Those Anemones are such gorgeous flowers and I love the painting you are doing. I also think that knitted dress is going to look fab - I love that colour with the red. Yummy cakes and flowers too. Your blog is exploding with colourful pictures today - lovely!

Lorraine Tarr

Ooohhh Vanessa - this post has been eye candy in the extreme!!! Thanks so much for sharing such a riot of colour to brighten our weekend :-)
You are so fortunate to have received such a beautifully crafted gift as the lovely Lettice. She looks so relaxed and at home in your super spotty bowls and isn't she lucky to be around the hub of all your creativity?
Hope you are feeling better by now - Just keep walking your two precious pooches - fresh air is so much better for you.
Enjoy a great weekend - you deserve it xx


Thank you, Vanessa, the colours in this blog post really cheered me up and sent me back to my sewing machine to sew up some fabric covered in red strawberries and little blue squiggles that I'd forgotten all about!
Hope you're feeling better now.

Glad to hear that you are OK - I don't know about you, but I take my health for granted and whenever my back plays up or I need stronger glasses, I worry about ill health stopping me from doing what I love. You've reminded me to prioritize my health and so i AM going to go on the run I've been putting off all day soon as I post this!!! Good luck with the induction (does the instructor make it any easier!!!!)

Val Reaves

Dear Vanessa,
Hello from the middle of the US... Your site is just beautiful and inspirational. Thank you for sharing it..


Hello to you, Vanessa.

Bet you know how many folks have admired your slipper design over on my post.

Hoping that you are feeling much more "equalized" now and your metabolism is back on a normal track.

Your duck blue and crimson red colorway is beautful. Truely inspired by those beautiful flowers.

Your water color/gouache paintings just make me want to find some painting time. Wait a minute ... it was your slippers and knitting that got me casting stitches on my needles.

Vanessa, thank you for the inspiration. Think that your sporadic posts are good for your creativity off the blog track. xo


I had a couple of dizzy spells at yoga which I've practised for about 30 years. Quite worrying, but my blood pressure etc were fine when I got checked out. I wouldn't beat yourself up about the gym, if that kind of exercise doesn't suit you it doesn't and there are plenty of other options, walking cycling. Meantime press on with that lovely knitting, it is so gorgeous.


Oh - I have a case of knitting envy for your latest project! I've been admiring that design for ages - your colour choice is wonderful.


How well I understand your predicament. I've always been one quite happy with eating, reading and writing and with the only exceptions of waking my dogs (dalmatians and very fast) or riding my horse, I've pretty much chained myself to a desk. I guess I'll always be just a little bit fat... but very snug in a crochet blanket I made myself. So there!


Oh Vanessa, You poor thing...please go to see the doctor if You come over all fainty again. You don't want us all worrying about You now - Do take care of Your sweet self. We need You and all Your colourful craftwomanship. The pictures on this post are divine as always....more than divine, Breathtaking! I Love them a lot, all those lovely lovely colours and the very very Gorgeous blanket. You are so generous with your Wonderful tutorials too. I want to have another go at crochet (it got very much put aside last year) so i'll be studying your tutorials intently.
I have been feeling a bit rotten myself with a horrible flare up of lupus :o( At the moment I'm sitting in bed with my laptop on my lap and a big labrador squashing my lower legs. I have a steaming cup of tea by my side and and am dreaming of cakes, but don't presently have the energy to make any. I have the same kind of prob as You in that I need a new wardrobe of slightly bigger garments. I think once I'm feeling a bit better, the sewing machine needs to come out from hiding under the huge pile of junk that is my craft table. Anyway, for now I a doing my best to enjoy the enforced rest.
I do like the name lettuce very much and it suits Your lovely dolly, she looks like a lettuce (the girl not the veg). I think she is a very generous and lovely gift indeed.
Lots of love to You xxx hope You feel better soon. I am more in favour of walks or gentle swimming than all that gym stuff, or my fave excercise of all - dancing around like a monkey to my favourite records (records! am sounding my age ;o)

Janice Perkin

don't push yourself or punish yourself soo much - just do it gently
lovely photos as always - I just love all that colour
take care

Sandra Engström

Such sweet things! I love the colours!

I read you blog every day to see if there's anything new. I like it!

I've got a lottery at my blog to celebrate. I would be happy if you joined! =) You can win an crochet hanger or a "princesscake".


What a beautiful blog post, gorgeous images!Just what I need this morning!
Hope you get your dizzy spells sorted soon!
Rachel x

The Girl

I hope your gym induction goes more succesfully the second time around. Nearly fainting is not a good sign (although you will have managed to come up with a cast iron excuse not to go to the gym!)

That dress looks as though it's going to be lovely, and even if you are only working in 2 colours, at least one of them is that zinging red!


hi again vanessa
how r u today? waiting to see ur post this eve.been goin crazy trying to find the correct shades of blue and red as featured in ur post, cant find the shades in 4 ply!! found the blue in dk but not th ered which is available in 4ply!! need ur help cos i wanna make this combo fro my lil one. can u pls help with where i can find the wool u got on the blog? wld be so grateful.

thks and see u in the eve.

Sue Jones

Hi Vanessa love your blog and your pictures. PLEASE put some on Etsy can't wait to buy for special presents. Sue


I've just stumbled upon your blog and popped in to tell you I adore the duck-egg ble and the red combo. The anemones are so pretty, in life or in your painting -- thank you for sharing, and curses! I can'tget that blue and red out of my mind. I may have to go to the yarn store. Cheers and nice to meet you.

Best from California,


Hello Vanessa, I've been meaning to leave a note here for quite some time to say just how completely inspiring your fair isle knitting is! I've been wanting to learn how to "knit with two colours" for ages but even more since I've been following your blog and seen this. One day, when time allows...

The Sarah London scarf is amazing too!

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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