contact me at

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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Florence is beautiful! It's clear that a lot of time and love went into her creation.


I'm sure Florence will soon go to a loving home, she is beautiful and so lovingly created.
I'm a big fan of audio books, one of the first things I look for in the charity shops. I listen when I'm gardening, when I'm ironing, when I'm tidying....... I love books and this enables me to "read" even more.

Vintage Squirrel

Florence is truly wonderful. I love the way you have painted her face, giving her lovely gardeners rosy cheeks! The crotcheting must have taken many, many hours, let alone the days spent on the papier mache. I used to work for my sister-in-law (a specialist decorative painter) and we painted a house in Holland over 3 separate one month trips- we spent the long journey from Scotland listening to book tapes (no CDs then)and now we enjoy them as a family. The afternoon play on radio 4 is just not long enough! Happy creating!!

Linda Gilbert

What a labour of love -- Truly gorgeous


I love your papier maché pieces and more I learn more I love them ! you are so clever and none only the global piece is marvellous but every detail make them so personal ans cute, your really worth this fist place!
I would like to be as clever as you!
Marie from france


Vanessa, congratulations on your sale at the SSA, brilliant news. As for Florence, she is so incredibly detailed and it's so obvious that loads of hours of carefully meticulated work have gone into making her, ihope shesells soon and is certainly worth your asking price xox

I am a bit of a romantic when it comes to gentleman's english, so if you would parden me I'll be off xox thanks for all your endless beautiful posts and inspiration x


Hello Vanessa,
Congratulations on your sale at the exhibition!Florence is an incredible and gorgeous piece! Such a lifelike face and her clothes are gorgeously detailed! I love the placket on her jacket and her crocheted tights.You have put such a lot of hard work into her!
I'm sure she won't be with you for much longer!
Rachel x


she is so beautiful...i love the detail. i too love a good audio book when making something and so find i am now in love with rosamund pike's voice from william boyds restless!!....give it a go x


Vanessa, your papier mache sculptures are magnificent! Florence and Millie are both jewels! I enjoy seeing your work and am glad you share it with us. Bess


Florence has the sweetest face, and such a lot of detail! Nice work!


The detail is lovely- the crochet tights!What joy.
All this and Trollope.Nothing beats being read to-especially being read Victorian novels.

Mary Ann

Florence is adorable:) I also listen to audio tapes when I work.


Hello to you, Vanessa. I love your description of the pancake making with a handleless pan. So many images float through my imagination. (I might suggest these images might somehow get translated into papier mache?)

And to take along knitting (weather permitting) to be done in the company of sheep? Sublime experience.

Let me also give lots of praise to dear Florence. The details involved in her creation are apparent to me, and I so hope that others will also truly see her.

Vanessa, it's such fun to catch up with you and see how your visual voice expresses itself, through your also amazing writing skills.


Teresa Kasner

Dear Vanessa, that is a brilliant and wonderful paper mache sculpture and the crochet details please my eyes no end! Thanks for sharing her the little darling.

Did you get the new frying pan for Hugo? What kind did you get? I'm sure it is a special one!

Hugs from Oregon, USA -- Teresa :-)

Helen Tzabar

Florence is sooo beautiful although, I think my heart lies with Evangeline. You must have endless patience when it comes to detail her tights and skirt are fantastic. Enjoy your book, I've been listening to audio books on the iPod when I can't get to sleep, very soothing.

Jo Bleaden

Florence really is the most darling creation I love her. You can tell that a lot of patience and love has gone into creating her too.
Jo x

Jenni at Baa-me Kniits

Oh Vanessa Florence is worth every penny!! Such exquisite work and I love her little touches, those crochet tights,, BLISS!

I listen to audiobooks in the car as our local radio is pretty ordinary. Its great to have someone read you a story as you are driving around. We have quite big distances between home and town and friends so I get to hear quite a few books. I just had to give up on Thomas Hardy though, kept on having to rewind as I'd lost concentration. I will have to try and read that one myself it might flow better if I can see the words?? Have a great weekend xx

Liz W in Missouri, USA

My guess is that Florence, Millie and Evangeline are all best friends. They meet for tea and cookies on Thursday afternoons, and have a knit night every other week. Florence always brings a lovely bouquet of flowers to grace the small table where they sit, and Beautiful Betty lies quietly in the corner, almost, but not quite, like Bo Peeps young lamb. They are always dressed in their finest handmade attire and have many discussions on needlework and the skills their wonderful Grammys taught them over the years. At the end of the day together they each return to their own warm, cozy homes and sleep peacefully, dreaming of small birds in boats.
Your work is incredible, Vanessa. I'm very happy that I know if it, and of you.

Samantha H

Florence is so beautiful, I hope she sells soon for you! Your work is so inspiring, I'd love to be able to make something like this!!

Samantha x


Adorable! And I can definitely see all the love you put into your pieces! so precious =)


Beautiful, absolutely beautiful x


my comment is late - and what more to add, except wow. wow. and

Crafty Mermaid

love the skirt - wonder if I can make me a life-sized version? :)


Florence is really beautiful - you can tell so much thought and work has gone into her creation and I'm sure she will find a new home very soon. I used to love audio books when I spent all my time painting, they were the perfect accompaniment.
I loved your previous post, with the lovely walk and gorgeous sheep - and the marvellous idea of taking your knitting on a walk!! When we go to the Lakes next month, there will be some knitting as well as a picnic in our backpack! Have a lovely weekend, Vanessa.
Helen x


Lovely Florence, it's all these lovely details that make her so special and unique- she is taller than I think I imagined too. Hope you find some one nice to adopt her very soon. Your Trollopian style made me smile - I'm very fond of Anthony Trollope, an excellent story-teller. Well done for selling Mr Brown's beloved book of insects too!


Hi Vanessa, it's me again... thanks for your comment on my blog. I simply had to tell you that I had a dream last night about going to a papier mache workshop held by YOU! It was defnitely you as I've seen your photos of you in your gorgeous knitted creations. We made an elephant! (probably part of my south african wild life sub-conscious!?) and mine had 3 ears (he he) So while I was thinking about it this morning , I was wondering if you might consider giving the novice's of us out there a photographic mini-tutorial on how to do papier mache ? Sorry you might think I'm a bit whacky, but I would love just to try and make a simple papier mache shape like a heart for example. I could only dream to be as skilled and talented as you xox


Your papier mache pieces are amazingly beautiful and truly exquisite - truly inspiring. Congratulations on a beautiful blog.

Alice and Raymond!!!

Flowence is so much bigger than I expected Vanessa!!! I thought she would be about 10cms high, so then understood how you could crochet the tights and sew the skirt being that she is a wee bit bigger than that! I really love her, she is just gorgeous and I hope you sell her really quickly, how long did it take you to make her?
Have a lovely weekend XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Alice and Raymond!!!

Florence! :O)


Dear Vanessa,
I'm always looking forward to read your blog and be inspired by your art, designs and ideas. Your appreciation for colours and details is brilliant. Thank you so much!


I quite agree with Liz from missouri. I love your work. So creative. So wonderful. I think I may live too far away but would you think of paper mache waorkshops, could always make a weekend of it . Have always wanted to visit scotland again. Would Hugo take the husband on a long walk along the beach and then to the pub!


I have to say I truly love every one of your papier mache figures. Thank you for sharing

Planet Penny

I've had fun catching up after my holiday, Vanessa! There's a huge amount of work in your pieces, they are worth every penny. I love Millie and her sheep, gorgeous.


Hello Vanessa! Florence is unbelievable creation! How on earth have you made that tiny skirt and even those buttons! I'm well known of my good pation but yours is something else! I enjoy so much watching your art!
Thank you also for your last post with amazing photos! I love to see your dogs out in the wind - they are so bautiful!
xxx Teje


oooh, I enjoyed this post! :)
Florence is lovely. Great to hear about how you made her and I think £300 is fair for such detailed work. If only we weren't about to buy a house......
Still, one day I will have one of your creations for sure! I need to doll my studio up!! ;)
Great idea to listen to an audio tape while you work. I'd love to do the same, but I'm in the middle of writing an essay and it would be interesting if amongst my analytical work I'd start talking 'proper' english, because those academics I'm studying and writing for certainly don't know much about that...


I think Florence the Gardener is adorable, I had seriously thought of making you an offer for her.
I've imagined her cheering up my drab little home; she would have found a home on my computer desk.
Sadly it's not to be as I thought she might be about 9 inches tall...boy was my estimate 'way out of whack'!

I hope you find a home for her soon, she'd cheer up anyone's day.

Gwen Gyldenege

The bird and sweet little girl are both adorable! I love how fresh and bright your color choices are. Makes me happy just to gaze at them... reminds me of fields of daffodils. Spectacularly well done! And great job being featured on the front page of Etsy. That's how I found you!

Suzy's Vintage Attic

Hello Vanessa

Florence is absolutely stunning. I am amazed by the amount of detail. A real work of art and a labour of love!
Isabelle x


Hello! Your work is fantastic. What a beauty she is. I just found your blog today, and cannot wait to read more.
Warm greetings from Norway

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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