March 2020

They say a picture says a thousand words and I’m better with pictures.

We were having an amazing time at the Hodgson loom gallery in Laxey, the workshops were fully booked up and the response has been fantastic.

Great article in the press.

The first two weeks were amazing, then unfortunately due to the Covid 19 virus everything changed, all the events, courses, schools festivals and any other gatherings have been cancelled or postponed.

Some of the workshops
Some of the brooches made on the workshops

Dealing with the potential lockdown came as a shock. Realising that all the schools and events were being cancelled or closed was having a huge effect on everyone. All our holiday guests had to cancel, and there would be no traveling to Glastonbury Festival. The TT races were cancelled, it was a very disturbing time.

I found it hard not seeing my grandsons.

The boys with the felted bunnies
Continue reading March 2020

February 2020

So proud of my Grandson. Only climbed Mount Snowdon with his Dad to raise money for the RNLI.

I’d better make sure that calendar doesn’t get lost.

Radio appearance, which was great for advertising all the events that were happening.

The band Uphill and Still visited the Island three gigs to organise.

We’ve had at least 4 storms so the weather has been trying, ferries and flights cancelled, no end of wind and rain, but everything is working to plan. Maddy,Jon and Jon had a wonderful time the gigs were amazing and they were made very welcome.

Julia has done a great job of setting up the exhibition and FibreSpace IOM Biosphere workshops. All set to start in March

January 2020

After a wonderful Festive season full of family and fun it’s time to start and fill in the new Julia Ashby Smyth calendar.

I’ve committed to Tuesday afternoon swimming and a Thursday afternoon art with the local school.

Teaching a celts workshop at the a House of Mannanan in Peel for Manx National Heritage.

A traders and raiders Viking workshop at the Ramsey Primary school, 74 darling Vikings produced 3 beautiful wall hangings, and learnt a few traditional skills.

Dark nights and fun times in trees.

It’s great having a big fire in the field, still and starry.

A trip to peel beach to see the waves, we thought we might see The dolphins but only got wet.

I love walks out and around the cottage this time of year.

Kush the red panda escaped again so the boys thought they go out check every corner to be sure he hadn’t decided to have a little holiday again, mind I wouldn’t blame him is beautiful round here in January.

I did a Shibori dying course, I’d never done this before it was very interesting how to created patterns in the cloth, a bit more involved than tie dye.



There’s a lot of excitement about being included in an exhibition at the end beginning of March. It’s all textile based and myself and other Fibre Space friends will also be exhibiting. We are planning to do demonstrations and workshops too, so I’ll need to make some items to display.

I’ve also designed a card making kit for sale. It contains materials and tools to created a few cards by needle Felting onto pre felt. They look good and will be in a few outlets soon.

December 2019

It’s a busy month of school workshops, and Katie is coming to do some metal clay workshops here at the Retreat.

I’ve a Victorian day doing cross stitch and braiding, making mod rock penguins with yogurt cartons, and helping yr 6 art.

Katie’s workshops were a hit as always

And the weather is cold and clear and great for walks in the winter sunshine.

The boys love evening walks before bed, especially when the fairy lights are up

And it’s time to make the Christmas wreaths.

Schools ending for the holidays and I was presented with the most beautiful thank you present from yr 6.

It’s been a busy workshop month

Our band The Fecktones were asked to perform at the Villa for a Christmas party That was fun.

Now time to get ready for the family Christmas.

We will be having our meals in the log cabin and mum is coming to stay for the holidays. And what amazing time we all had.

“The New Year’s Eve and Dawns Birthday in the garden with a fire and music was brilliant, and the wind stopped at the perfect time.

Then a beautiful walk to Spoot vane on New Year’s Day

That’s been another memorable year.

November 2019

We’ve arrived home to a bit of a wet and windy Island.

The past few weeks have seen a bit of turmoil with trees down and branches snapping off trees, like the one that fell into the enclosure at the Wildlife park. Unfortunately a red panda was able to escape due the branch hanging over the side fence.

The red panda Kush has been hanging out at the cottage whilst we’ve been away.

The wildlife park staff all helped to remove some of my hedging so we limited Kush’s escape route, and we succeeded in capturing him in our archery net so he was safely returned him to his home.

The nights are getting darker now. The holiday Cottage is getting sorted for the winter, we don’t advertise during the winter months.

Time to get wrapped up and get out with the boys whilst the weather permits.

Heading back to Fernhill Farm and Katie, staying a few days at the farm helping provide workshops for guests and the Osprey charity for mental health, and a few days in Nunney. It was brilliant, I’ve designed some card ideas and I’m going to make kits to sell.

Back on the Island in time to help out with workshops at the School Christmas fundraiser. I provide Christmas tree decorations workshops using pine cones.

October 2019

It’s time to start preparing the garden for the winter. I’m thinking of changing the raised beds and rearranging the poly tunnel

It’s Lego time again

Getting out in the wild weather

The school art projects are all about Remembrance Day, so we are painting stones and felting poppies for a large wall hanging.

Time for a holiday, Gary and I went to Wales for a few days to see some sights, hike some trails, do a bit of shopping and stay in nice hotels.

September 2019

It’s time to start making plans, school workshops, my Retreat workshops, the garden, the Band, a holiday.

Still enjoying the warm evenings

Getting the wood chopped and stored

It’s the End to End cycle race from the top of the Island to the bottom, a tough one, road, and rough.

Gary won his class Rich did well too, even with a few punctures.

Weekend sleep overs, the nights are getting dark now.

The first school workshops have gone really well

The amazing terra-cotta army, and beautiful block printing.

It’s the blade shearing contest at a Fernhill Farm and I’m flying over to see Katie and do a workshop for Jen and Andy who run the holistic farm, and rear the happy sheep with the magical fleece.

Spending time with Katie in the beautiful village Nunney with the little castle and friendly folk, with a great pub is a treat.

Band practice on the beach.

After school dips in the river and saunas.

And getting the apples off the trees and cooked.

The nights are getting cooler and colder it’s time to get the games out and LEGO challenges.

August 2019

The weather just keeps getting better.

School holidays as much more fun in the sunshine

Visits to the Transport museum

Lots of jobs need doing in the summer so it’s a busy time all round.

The holiday cottage is fully booked, and the garden is blooming,

Family visits and garden dining, it’s so nice to eat and play outside.

Now getting ready for the next big racing event The festival of motorcycle, The Manx Grand Prix.

Back helping Duke Videos at the Hillbery Grandstand. The weather was a mixture of sun and showers but it all turned out well in the end.

The end of the holidays. That’s August over.

March 2019

It’s definitely getting warmer, I love March. The garden starts to wake up, everywhere I look I see life bursting through the ground.

The month started with a beautiful day of yoga and mediation at Abby’s and ended with a similar day at Lucy’s.

The cabins been busy with felting and a healing day of massages. The band have been practicing getting ready for some planned gigs, but the biggest event has to be the planning for the metal clay workshops in April.

Me and Sara went to the Community Farm and had a wonderful morning teaching the Friday students wool dying, they loved it. Can’t wait to see the yarn when it’s dry.

Mother’s Day was a joy, my family turned up and made an amazing breakfast then we all went for a walk. Our mum came for lunch and we enjoyed a sunny day in the garden. Then went for an amazing hike in Kings forest with Virg.

June 2019

June’s weather wasn’t great for the TT races, in fact we were lucky we managed to get all the practice and races finished.

The Shindig Festival was a hit and the Fecktones played a great set.

The weather is improving and the grandchildren are loving playing in the gardens

Now we’re packed and ready for the ferry to Glastonbury Festival.

Stopped off at Nunney on the way to see Katie then on site to set up the craft workshop in the Green Craft Village

The Festival was amazing, sun shine and loads of lovely people. The bracelet making workshops we do are free so it’s very much in demand. Gary and I were invited to play at the opening ceremony again. Wow.

Heading back to the Island for our Tynwald day celebration.

Self catering holiday cottage, craft workshops, bespoke crafts. A retreat in the beautiful Sulby Glen, Isle of Man