Our Blog

Merry Christmas 2017

  • Image
  • 0
My husband Steve attending his first guitar show at Rheged, Penrith.

My husband Steve attending his first guitar show at Rheged, Penrith.


It’s nearly the end of another year and it’s been a particularly good one for myself and my husband Steve.

Early in 2017 Steve was able to realise his dream of becoming a full-time guitar maker.  He’s been making for 10 years but it’s very different to making full-time and he’s already seeing the benefits with regards to honing his skills.  We went to his first guitar show earlier in the year and received lots of positive feedback (above).  Next year we’re going to concentrate more on the marketing side of things.  For this remarkable turn of events we are forever in debt to Dave (you know who you are).


Building our new workshops

Building our new workshops


One of the most important things that happened more recently this year was erecting two his ‘n’ hers workshops in the garden (above).  Steve built them himself and has done us both proud.  One is a guitar workshop that will allow Steve to work from home, whilst the other is a painting /crafting studio for myself.  What self-respecting creative girl doesn’t want her own shed?

Today I am going to begin moving into mine and I am so excited.  Steve has banned me from letting any of my small furries run around the workshops; only Kizzy will have that privilege and I’m sure he will think it’s his own personal bachelor pad.  Our thanks go to Steve’s mum for buying the double-glazed windows for us (double-glazing is important when you’re a cold fish like me!).

Being a child of nature I was overjoyed when in February we were able to transform our simple strip garden into something really amazing after we were able to purchase a small parcel of land adjoining our own (below).  This not only created a place for me to exercise my gardening muscles which had atrophied somewhat since we moved here, but also opened up the opportunity for us to build the workshops onsite.  Our thanks go to my parents for helping us with the purchase.


Kizzy in the new garden

Kizzy in the new garden


Since February we have done a lot of work in the garden.  I dug a 9m long flower bed which is now filled with perennials (below) and we built a wildlife pond under the hawthorn tree.  Next year I hope I can build a greenhouse and I am creating another central flower bed.


New flower bed in the garden

New flower bed in the garden


I finally finished my most recent watercolour painting ‘HMV’ this year which is part of a series I call ‘Antique Cats’.  It features our beautiful bengal Benja and a gramophone (below).  I hope to have prints available at www.benjablue.com in the spring.  I was also really excited when a local magazine, The Guide, decided to feature my painting and write an article on myself and my work.


Pet portrait watercolour painting of snow bengal, Benja Blue.

Pet portrait watercolour painting of snow bengal, Benja Blue.


Talking of kitties, my mam and dad have just welcomed a beautiful kitten into their home.  His name is Oscar Fox and no doubt he will feature in a future painting.  He’s gorgeous and slightly mental, both traits which tend to go together in cats!


Oscar Fox

Oscar Fox


I know I have been very lucky this year.  For all those critters out there who aren’t so lucky I give a donation for every item sold in my Etsy shop, Benja Blue, to animal charities.  At Christmas I add it all up, and I’m pleased to say the following charities will each receive a share of £150 this year:

Notts Nibblers – my current degus, Pan and Saxon, came from this amazing home-run rescue for small furries.

Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary – not bleak at all, but a wonderful rescue near Manchester for dogs, cats and all manner of other critters needing homes.  We got our 13 year-old pudding cat Kizzy from here in November 2016.

Hillside Animal Sanctuary – I have been donating to this rescue centre for farm animals since it opened many years ago now.  I have never visited but would love to one day.

Brooke Hospital for Animals – providing relief to working equines throughout the world and education for thier owners.

Cruelty Free International (formerly BUAV) – campaigning for an end to animal experiments.

Harmony Fund – providing aid to small animal charities in dire need of funds.

Soi Dog Foundation – campaigning for an end to the dog and cat meat trade and rescuing street animals.

REAN – rescung European animals in need.

Fleecehaven – the UK’s only sheep rescue sanctuary!

Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats – does what it says on the tin!


Finally, I would like to wish you and your pets a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2018!


Kelly, Steve, Kizzy, Tuppence, Truffle, Pan and Saxon!


Show Comments (0)

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!