Let Me Tell You About My Brave Friend


Her name is Emma.

This is about my brave friend, and her audacious dream...


I met Emma in Tahiti...

At a precise point in time where we were both deemed "terminal" with mysterious illnesses that no one knew existed for sure, lest having a cure for.

She'd sold all of her personal possessions, left UK, and on her way to New Zealand with a stop over at the island of Moorea. I was there because my Dad insisted. And I was glad I went because...

Tahiti was magical.

In between swimming with turtles and attempting to open freshly fallen coconuts, we chatted about our plans. While I didn't have a clue about what to do with my life at the time...

Emma had an audacious dream. 

She was actually on her way to finalise the purchase of some land in the wilderness of New Zealand, where she intended to create a retreat for those who needed a place to heal.

We spoke of all the scary thoughts that kept us awake. All the things we could possibly do - now that we could never go back to live our old lives again. Our conversation carried on late into the night....

Exploring how people heal.

Emma's idea was simple - why not take people away from their hectic existence that made them sick in the first place, and let them get close to nature to be grounded again.

Perhaps a space for people to unwind and do nothing?

I had a slightly different take on this.

You see, doing nothing doesn't come naturally to everyone.

For me, I often brought my head full of pressure of being perfect (and fear of not being perfect) along, wherever I go. There would be no true peace as long as my mind was kept busy by worrying thoughts.

Instead, I learned to find peace though a physical practice.

While that practice might be meditation or yoga for some - it had always been sewing for me.

"Sometimes a bit of time set away deliberately for playful handworks

 - to make something from nothing -

is all that it takes to make your heart sing."

I said. 


In fact, our thoughts might distract us - often by whispering "you're not enough" - just loud enough so that our heart might hear it. Don't give in.

Instead, immerse in the handworks to let the process unfold and allow your craft to...

Reveal what you're truly capable of.

Put your perfectionism aside and allowed yourself to be surprised.

Acknowledge what you've created - from nothing to something. Soak up the joy. Rinse & Repeat. Give it time & space to make yourself whole again.

I had patchwork in mind - though the same applies to crochet, woodturning, starting an edible garden or tying flies for fly fishing. I know this because I've seen it work for people I taught sewing to.

"Would it be some form of art therapy?" Emma asked.

"Let's just call it Creative Timeout." I said. 


I vowed to visit Emma's retreat (perhaps teach some sessions) once I'd get my own stuff sorted out. I had much healing to do on my own.

Years later - we both lived.

Terminal illness be damned. Emma's retreat happened, and now she's back in the UK on a difference adventure as a mum.

As for me....?

I'm living a version of what I said I was going to do. I'm here to help YOU...

Do more of what makes your heart sing... 

Simply by keeping your hands busy & your mind in the present - in the easiest possible way. Remember I'm here to share your joy, and celebrate all that's right in YOUR world.

Because none of us are here forever. Tomorrow might never come.

But today, we make things.

Shall we play...?

Happy Sewing!


P.S. It seems I've started a new tradition - I've begun telling stories of friends for the Australia Day Edition of my newsletter :-)

This was the story from last year:

Meet My Talented Friend Nikki

Because the spirit of Australia Day is all about mateship and camaraderie - right? 


Janome DC2150 Beginner Sewing Machine + 15-Piece Presser Feet Set LAST FEW!
Janome DC6050 Quilting Sewing Machine + The Ultimate Feet Set On Sale


Good on you Shelley All power to you!



Thank you Shelley for this post today, I enjoyed reading it very much. Thanks again..

Take care,

Kind regards,


Shelley, that is an awesome story! Thank you so much for sharing with us. You are such a giver!

Big hugs,



Dear Shelley
That was very inspiring & moved me.
Thank you for sharing


Dear Shelley, Wow Wow Wow - thank you for the inspiring newsletter, firstly on the health matter - you are amazing (and your friend Emma), Thank you again and all the best,

Yours sincerely


Thank you Shelley. A very blessed New Year to you and your family.
Love Jeannette. oxoxoxoxox


Dear Shelley

Your story is so uplifting and perfectly worded.
It’s funny how no matter what situation we are in ,
To read this awakes our thoughts to be positive and see good in ourselves and others, sometimes we don’t “stop and smell the Roses” until we are shaken by sadness.

I like your style and look forward to reading many more Incredible stories and positive outlooks

Well done. you have made a difference to me xx



Dear Shelley,

YOU are a beautiful person!!! I am so glad you made it through your terrible time and are here to enjoy your life. Your business deserves all the success I can wish for you. Not only are you fulfilling a dream for yourself, but you ARE helping others/ME!

I don't have cause to buy much because I'm older and have just about every gadget my heart desires (though I do sometimes find some here that I didn't know existed!!). However, your emails are a bright spot in my week.......I love your stories and knowing that someone else feels like I do (and have done for over 40 years) about sewing and craft.

We are Creatives......and I couldn't imagine NOT being one. My life is rich because I create. I wish you many many many years of creativity and joy. With it comes love!

Blessings to you,


Loved your story. Thank you for sharing.

Yours Sincerely