Grow Your Blog Party 2015

25 January 2015


I am a bit late to the party!

All the best plans.........

Anyway, better late than never!  So here I go - plunging in.

Hello, my name is Hilary - nice to meet you.

Why do I blog?

I started to blog for two reasons:

  1. I have an urge to get my work out there, to show it to people and to see what they have to say about it.  Is that being egotistical or just a natural instinct?  I am not sure.
  2. As a discipline.  I find that knowing that people do visit my blog (the stats are always fascinating) spurs me on to be creative.  I feel guilty if I have not blogged for a while - I feel I am letting my readers down. It is fantastic discipline when otherwise 'life' would just get in the way.
But now that I have been blogging for a little while, you know the most amazing thing?  It's such a great way to meet people.  Through my blog I am in regular communication with people who I would never have met - and all over the world too!  How fabulous is that??

Mono print with stitch embellishement

About Me (because I guess we're all a bit nosey and anyway it's a good way to break the ice)

My blog has a slightly bonkers title - Living to Work - Working to Live. Nothing about me or textiles or art in there at all!

And that is because I lead a slightly bonkers life!

I live on the South Coast of England - Gosport, Hampshire - a small town just across the harbour from Portsmouth (home to Nelson's flagship 'The Victory' and Henry VIII ship 'The Mary Rose').

I live here in the official sense, because it is where I am registered to vote etc.  But I spend most of my time in Milton Keynes some 120 miles north, because that is where the day job is.  So my studio (my materials, my sewing machine and my creative mess) is in the rented house just outside MK.

My work/life balance used to be well out of kilter, and my kids would say to me that I lived to work.  And now that I have an additional drive to create textile based art, the obvious choice for my blog name was Living to Work - Working to Live.  I was trying to be a bit ironic.

Anyhow it stuck.

So now I troll up and down to Milton Keynes.  Sometimes I spend all weekend there but usually I come down to Portsmouth on a Saturday evening (but go back on a Sunday).

The day job has nothing to do with the arts in anyway, though some of my creativity is able to be expressed in more commercial ways.  Its a good job and I really enjoy it.  Could I give it up?  Well no - I need the money and I could not live off my art but sometime, as we all must do, I dream of winning the lottery and having more time to be creative.

About My Work

If you had asked me what I did a few years ago, I would have said I am a Quilter.  But really I am a mixed media/textile artist.  Most of my work includes stitch, but my materials are moving away from traditional fabric and I am now much more likely to be embroidering onto paper or tissue backed with wadding or felt.  Snippets of fabric still find their way in, but mostly I start with paper now.

I also use a lot of paint and print techniques, and bit of good old cutting and pasting.  Hence the description mixed media/textile.

I am a member of the Contemporary Quilt group of the Quilters Guild of the UK, and I go to Embroiders Guild meetings in Milton Keynes.

And what next?

Well. I am beginning to accumulate a bit of a body of work so I am thinking that I need to be a bit more business like about my art. Clear the decks a bit and allow me to buy more materials etc.

So this year I am doing an Open Studio event with two other MK based artists.  This is potentially a big thing for me.  I hope to get some feedback on my work that will then give me enough confidence to, perhaps, approach a gallery (golly - there I have said it! Getting all grown up about my work).

But, one step at a time!  And I have to fit all of this in around the 'day job', helping my grown up kids from time to time. visiting aged parents, walking various hounds and trekking up and down to Milton Keynes (2 hours in the car is 2 hours when I could be at my sewing machine!)

Have a look around my blog - see what you like and perhaps say hi so I can find your blog too.


ps - these pieces below are machine embroideries - all framed.


  1. Hello Hilary! I'd like to welcome you to the Grow Your Blog party 2015, on behalf of Vicki and our other volunteer greeters :)

    I love your bold designs and your positive attitude, both of which will serve you well on your way toward advancing your art. Now if we could figure out how to drive the car AND pursue our hobbies/passions concurrently...

    Following via GFC and will try again later to add you to my Bloglovin feed (for some reason it's not "finding" your blog right now) :)

    1. Ah - now I haven't got to grips with Bloglovin'. If there is something I need to do at my end, let me know!

      But lovely to meet you too and I will pop over to your blog and have a little look.

    2. Not to worry, occasionally Bloglovin decides not to "play nice" with some (usually Blogger) blogs. If you DO want a "follow" widget from them you can access here:

      But don't feel obligated. So many feeds came to the fore after GFC cut back providing this service, one couldn't possibly have them all at the ready without a lot of clutter on the blog margins :)

  2. Hi Hilary,
    So glad you said your name. It took me a lot of detective work originally to work out who you were! I couldn't find your name anywhere! I would come across your comments on blogs I was reading and wondered who Living to work-working to live was. So, I started reading here now and then when I had seen one of your comments, and eventually someone called you Hilary!
    And later I worked out which Hilary.
    So, anyway. I enjoy reading your blog. Interesting to see the kind of jungle of life others have to hack their way through in order to get to the art making part.
    Sandy in Bracknell

    1. Hi Sandy. I'm in CQ as I believe you are too. I'm another Hilary G!! I don't go into the forum much, but when I do I sometimes call myself Hilary lurcher, because it's the name that Hillary Beatty gave me a few years ago referencing my dog! If I sign Hilary G I could be confused with Hilary Gooding.

  3. Hi Hilary,
    I have seen your icon a few times as we must visit the same person ... Margaret, I believe. I enjoyed your GYB post today ... It's been fun meeting new people and learning a bit about them. Love your machine embroidered art !

    1. And I think I have seen your face before that Margaret Cooter you are referring to?

  4. What gorgeous art you create! I'm delighted the GYB party has led me here.

  5. I was blown away by your lovely art quilts or whatever you are calling them, since they are part paper, part fabric, part paint. Whatever they are, I am IN LOVE. I know you UK folks have the best and latest techniques and such that we in the US don't seem to have. If we do, we pass on them. But I want to come visit your studio and learn more, because I am IN LOVE with what you make (OK, I guess that was a bit redundant).

    So glad I visited today. It's my first time at GYB, too.

    1. Hello Elizabeth. How lovely of you to drop by. I have been over to your blog but the Internet seems rather tardy this morning and I haven't been able to leave you a comment there so I thought I would reply to this one here which hopefully you will find.

      Showing my complete ignorance of the United States is WichitaThe place that Glenn Campbell (?) Sang about with the Witchita lineman? And it seems that you are currently experiencing quite warm temperatures or am I getting that completely wrong? Do you not really suffer from the extreme winters (I must go and look up by Kansas is)

      I too am beginning to dabble in the arts of altered books so when I have a bit more time I will return to your blog and have a look at some of your tutorials. I find altered books fascinating. In fact I bought one on Saturday with the sole purpose of altering it. I'm going to a coursehosted by Laura Kempshall later in the year specifically on this topic.

      Thank you for your very kind words and we will meet again very soon . Hilary

  6. Hi - good to find your blog - you express some of my sentiments exactly regarding quilting and a more textile art approach. I have recently decided to stop churning out quilts and step back and try to be more creative. I will be following for inspriation

    1. I love traditional quilts but just am not inspired to make them. For me it's all about a more art focussed approach. Thanks so much for visiting.

  7. Ohhhhhhhh, Hilary ... beautiful work. You throw a great party. Thank you for inviting me!

    So that you know, I've become a Follower and when time permits, I'll be back to see what other beautiful things were made by your hands!

    What this party is all about is to GROW your blog and I'm hoping to do the same. When you get to Section One, check out A Country Chic Retreat and SuZeQ Creations, my personal blog, in Section Fifteen I'd love for you to follow and subscribe to.

    Happy crafting!

  8. Wonderful! I like your words, as well as your works. I like also to make mixed media and textile art, I like to learn and work ...

    1. Thanks so much Carmina. I have visited your blog too and love your colours. I will pop back soon.

  9. Love your art. Our local Starbucks features a different artist every month. You should try that kind of a venue for you art. Have fun at the party!

    1. The Starbucks idea is a very interesting one. In fact quite recently I did have some work hanging in a little restaurant attached to a deli. It looks lovely but it wasn't the right environment to sell anything because people were going to the deli to buy food not to buy art. That said it gave me great confidence to just get it out there.

      This year I am going to be brave and do an open studios in June. Will be sharing the space with a couple of other artists. If it is a success I may also go on and do a sale nearer Christmas.

      Thanks so much for visiting.

  10. Hi Hilary! Thank you SO SO MUCH for finding me - now I've found you back! Your work's truly lovely. Yes, really! I honestly think that you'd sell successfully if you can find the right galleries. I love the organic nature of your work- that's very much a 'thing' for me! Those two mono-prints (the leaves) are especially commercial... Have you considered approaching restaurants (posh 'uns) and asking them if they'll exhibit for you? Just blag a bit about your sales and stuff if it helps. Feel free to email me at if I can help in any way. Sending big hugs and thanks for brightening my day - Shroo:)xx

    1. Thanks so very much for stopping by. I loved your post on that snoozing muse and shared it all over the place. Hope you get some followers.

    2. Bloomin heck - technology with gremlins this evening. Comments going all awry.

      Anyway, was going to add that I have tried a restaurant in the past which was great experience, and will be doing an Open Studio later this year. So thanks for the encouragement.

  11. Visiting via GYB from St. John's, NL Canada. Your work is lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I definitely agree with you that blogging is a discipline because it makes me create more and be more aware of what I see on the internet that I might be able to share with my readers. Nice to meet you!

  13. Hi Hilary, I am so pleased to have found your blog, your work is fascinating and I'm looking forward to seeing more as I follow the blog. Your life sounds hectic with that long commute, I know Gosport well as we lived at Horndean before coming to France.

  14. Hello Hilary, you are so talented and really an artist. What lovely work. I love sketchnoting very much (but it is not as colourful as your work... more graphical with black and white an a few coloured accents - but I don't blog about that). Nice to meet you! Kind regards & best wishes from Germany. Annett


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