Tuesday, 17 March 2015


This week I have mostly been showing my work off in Clerkenwell.

So far so good, not only have I been exhibiting and selling but also sewing so whenever I get the "so do you draw these and sew over?" rather than "no" I just go the machine and show them what I do.

The space will have my work till Sunday, although Saturday morning Frozen singalong might have to come first with Toby so Mr Tina will be there instead.

For the first time I'm selling the original embroideries, or shown them and unique dolls some of which already have new homes so if you are keen don't hang around.

Tobyboo at the Showcase Gallery
Craft Central
33 St Johns Square
London EC1
till Sunday 22nd March
11am - closing hours vary

Monday, 9 March 2015

De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill

So this is the second week of visiting a new place I seem to be making a habit of it. This week we went to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea for the Ladybird by Design exhibition; showing the original artwork from some of the Ladybird books it's just beautiful! Fantastic - I won't say more just go! I will say if you don't want to spend money avoid the shop and cafe - the food was lovely and I managed to spend heaps in the shop (it's a really good shop).

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Back on Track

I was commissioned a while a go by a lovely lady called Kerry who was opening her own holistic remedy business. It was yet another job I really enjoyed and here be the results.

well done and good luck Kerry - to get in touch for details see here Back on Track health

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Fan Museum, Greenwich

It was our 15th wedding anniversary this week and our incredibly and lovely kind friends took Toby for the night and we went - not exactly far - but to Greenwich! There's something about spending the night somewhere your used to and I thought I knew the place.

On an afternoon tea hunt we found The Fan Museum, never been but knew of it. Not only was afternoon tea fantastic (no pun) and such a good deal but the museum itself was a stunning hidden gem.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

I can't believe its not Butterbeer!

Last nights activity was a Harry Potter night, yes a bit late for Harry Potter Book Night so Toby timetabled an entire precise evening dedicated to the lightening scar.
6-6.45pm wand combat, 6.45-7pm quiz, you get the idea up until 10.30.

(this be my wand he's trying to use it won't work for him though!)

One of the things we had to do was potions class to make Butterbeer - not sure what we'd come up with after tasting what they sell at Harry Potter Studios (it's as if they've never read the book). Amazingly, we did it! yes Butterbeer - the stuff the real stuff!! heated butterscotch topping bits, whisk till melted add cream soda and topped off by leaving a tiny drop of the liquid in the pan once pouring in a glass and whipping up marshmallows - try and spoon on top without licking half of them - that's it! I felt we struck gold.

might be in the right glass but warm Tizer just isn't Butterbeer Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Canvas and Cream

Today the lovely and talented artist Viv Richards took me for tea and cake at Canvas and Cream in Forest Hill - crikey what a treat!

What a stunning place to eat and gallery, not far from Forest Hill station and a stones throw from the Horniman Museum. Well worth the effort if you are further a field, I had the gluten free chocolate cake (no photo because it didn't last very long) and the cherry tea.

and just round the corner when you come out - look!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Houses and Buildings

So the boy doesn't like drawing much normally, maths yes, playing Countdown as many times in a day as most people have coffee but drawing... non.

He's recently been starting to get the pencil out on backs of business cards or boxes he can find and today he even drew in a sketchbook. When he'd finished the outline he said it was a design called Houses and Buildings and with him giving me direction here be his finished repeat pattern.

Pen Draw by Toby
'Houses and Buildings'

Wednesday, 31 December 2014


Thursday, 25 December 2014

It's Christmas!

Best present goes to personalised Nutella - thank you husband

Best reaction, Toby "this is the best Christmas ever - I only wanted the Guardians Sandman book and I got it!"

Best Crackers - balloon modelling ones from TKMaxx 

Best 'nope can't see much' present - a telescope

Best cat present - as little disruption as possible and maybe a catnip filled dangly Christmas tree.

(My thoughts are with those nearby that I can't begin to imagine what they're going through - huge love to you Sarah and Will, stay strong both of you you've been inspirational)

Monday, 15 December 2014

It's all for Charity...

The rather talented Jenny Lockyer, musician, storyteller and we see her in the pub - has a charity single out for Christmas in aid of Shelter. If this weather doesn't make you think about people living without a roof over their heads I don't know what will. Jenny's passionate about the cause - and rather than thinking she's only gone and done something about it!

The single "Give it Away" (nowt to do with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) is available to listen to and download and all Jenny asks is if you possibly could donate that would be marvellous.

Now, there is a Toby link to all this. When the song was being recorded Jenny thought it might be good to have children as backing vocals on the chorus the trouble is getting the kids and for them to cooperate... well Toby was the one that did but him alone does not make much of a choir so she decided to go with the original version - which is marvellous.... go blinkin listen!

Jenny Lockyer with a teeny bit of help from Toby

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Rising Vamp

I won't like I'm in shock - Croydon's having one heck of a revamp but I never expected to see work from likes of Robert Motherwell, Peter Blake or Andy Warhol.

Gallery owner and art saviour of Croydon , Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison has plans beyond his new Rise Gallery for our concrete city he see's the hope in Croydon that most ignore. I've gone on about the talent that has come out of Croydon School of Art and Kevin has also lectured there. His vision is an art quarter, studios, public art... if anyone can make this real it's him after talking to him for ten minutes crikey that man knows what he's talking about and is passionate to make it a reality.

Croydon will always be butt of jokes if it doesn't change - I don't mean yet another shiny new shopping centre, the arts have been sold, trampled on and discarded in CR0 and it looks like the light has come! Places to live need art and a cultural side - ignore it and well you get ... well Croydon add a respect for creativity and appreciation for art, galleries, general public art, places for artists to thrive and as if by magic you'd have one hell of an area.

Am looking forward to meeting with Kevin again. If you are near here go see what I mean Rise is in the most unlikely part of Croydon too (7- 9 St Georges Walk) which makes the project even more fascinating. Hoorah St Kevin and thank you.

Monday, 10 November 2014



from 11am

lots of offers to tempt you with your Christmas shopping

*if anyone wants to collect orders please get in touch - the 6 for 5 mug offer applies but do let me know in advance so I can bring your order email me tina@tobyboo.com

Monday, 3 November 2014

Was Doogie Howser Happy?

Early this year Channel 4 managed to create a modern freak show 'Child Genius', a hideous MENSA quiz for children. None of the 'cast' came out of it well, you were either screaming social services at the screen or hiding behind cushions cringing. If you were to ask the average person would you give money to a charity that helped gifted and talented children - quite honestly you'd be laughed at.

The reality is there is a charity doing just that previously the National Association for Gifted Children and renamed Potential Plus UK has been going for 47 years. If you did watch Child Genius you'd be forgiven for wondering what on earth the charity does but when it comes to G&T please put that bloody programme out of your mind! The fact is that gifted and talented children aren't the odd, lacking in social skills, with weird parents kids that your primed to think.

Children with higher intelligence are more likely to suffer depression and eating disorders as young as 6. Their brains do work differently so it's not that they can't socialise it's just they want to socialise with children on the same level as them. A high number of kids that schools can't cope with talk about killing themselves and the only option is to home school them.

Most of us of a certain age remember watching Wogan and seeing 'the freaky antique boy' that then turned out to be trans gender, Lauren. Basically there has never been any thought or sympathy towards the children that are afflicted by what is meant to be a gift. Both boys and girls having 'teenage' illnesses such as depression - it's not something to be laughed at. The team at Potential Plus not only support parents who have no where to go for help they also help with training teachers to deal with pupils that need different teaching, when help with changing schools comes up they're there and they give the chance for like minded kids to meet up and realise they're not alone.

This is a hard post to write, we knew Toby was gifted we didn't know what level we knew he had nothing wrong with him, nothing on the autism spectrum which is the first thing that pops into minds when they see a clever child. He recently had an independent assessment just to see how his brain worked. Toby is in the 99.99 percentile his IQ is 154, he is a genius. I could hear what he was being asked, and from a day lasting from 10am till 5pm I could answer about 2 questions, yes it says more about me I know.

I wouldn't wish this on any child, he can't play with friends at school, he runs around the playground so he 'looks busy' he loves going to parks to meet older kids that he can play with or other children that can play on his level but he has had dreams about killing himself, he's not a happy 7 year old, he's got more empathy than any adult I know (another side effect) as parents we feel like we have an egg that we can't drop and all we want is for him to be like 'the other children' and be happy not to analyse everything. We need help to find Toby the right school - thank goodness for Potential Plus because otherwise just how long do we leave him lonely and miserable.

So if you can see the importance of charities that deal with depression can you imagine how magnified it is to have help for vulnerable pre school kids that depression and eating disorders relish? I'm well aware how many children struggle to keep up at schools but how happy are they in the playground? how much does it effect there every thought? This is about tiny kids with brains that are doing their best to fit in tiny heads and somehow they miss being children, adult thoughts and sleepless nights - we should just be feeling proud of Toby instead he feels like a dirty secret we need to keep under wraps for fear of ridicule.

Potential Plus UK do heaps of research alongside amazing support for parents and children - I can't imagine how many lives they've saved - but they have - thank you.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Toby says.....

"I don't know what's going on but its very interesting.... hmmm interesting" Toby (age 6) on the Ashford Hijab by Grayson Perry at the National Portrait Gallery

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Seven Year Stitch

Well the October 18th can only mean one thing in the world of Boo, Toby's birthday. This year is one that feels slightly strange, age 7 in 2014 is like entering teenage hood and seven years is the same amount of time that we tried to get him here in the first place. 

Yesterday was my reminder of not only how long Thread Drawn by Tobyboo has been about but also what we went through to become parents to the real Toby. I know each year I bore anyone reading about our struggle and luck but maybe for some this is the first time hearing it all and in fact might be interested.... or I could as ever be talking to myself. 

If it wasn't for Toby I wouldn't be doing what I do, I started up Tobyboo as a hobby because I couldn't afford friends baby presents but had to make it work to earn me a living because after 7 years of not working due to disability what choice did I have?

I'm still disabled, I'm in a lot of pain but I am on a huge cocktail of meds that mean I can move and sew and walk - I consider myself so, so lucky - I am lucky. 

So this week it came out that the Welfare reform minster, Lord Freud, claimed disabled people are not worth minimum wage... not sure how to swear at that. Most people's perceptions of disability are 
a) something you're born with 
b) wheelchair 
c) it's physical 
d) if you can stand, see or hear you clearly aren't disabled. 
People need to be educated about what it means to be disabled and not go social media mad when they see someone get out of a wheelchair.
No one looks at me and thinks I'm disabled unless I'm in the wheelchair, if I use the stick most people think I've done something to my leg. Disability is massive umbrella which unfortunately means having to try harder than those that don't. As someone who was in full health before I work and try 10 times harder than I did before, I can't imagine what it's like to only know the struggle and discrimination all the time. The annoying thing is that as a self employed disabled person I do earn less than £2 an hour....

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Votes Were In....

Last week was a marvellous first for me I exhibited at the Museums Association conference and exhibition which was held at the rather majestical Wales Millennium Centre. Not exactly a trade show that buyers attend but felt it was an opportunity to meet museum folk all the same.

I pretty much was a soloist on the designer front but surrounded by some amazing gadgets and exciting tech that was more like magic to me; communicating paintings like something out of Hogwarts, apps that recognised images and could give you every ounce of info on the object in question and other apps that could give guides in the middle of nowhere.... I was all surrounded by such a lovely bunch people I'd do it again just for the fun of it!

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the museums association and yes of course there was a party to celebrate! Women 30 feet in the air doing synchronised dancing on curtains what else would yo expect at the Cardiff National Museum?! 

There were also 2 awards given out that were voted by the delegates that attended the event; best looking stand and best product. Now, bearing in mind how much money and gadgets the other stand holders had I didn't exactly have a shot, they were slick and techy and one even had  gorgeous looking pick n mix selection to entice and yet shockingly I won.
(me on the left there and Best Product went to Atlas AV with there amazing interactive magic table)

The following day I had such lovely comments from lots who had voted congratulating and telling me they had voted for me. I've not felt so proud in ages, so thank you voting types!

I know the competition within free embroidery artists is becoming greater, when I started I genuinely couldn't see anyone else doing it commercially and just because others use the same medium doesn't mean our work is the same - no one says to a photographer "I know someone that's like you" because they work with a camera. Anyway I've been getting bored of hearing from some people "oh I've seen artists that work like that" of course you have, I've seen lots of artists that draw with pencils and more than a dozen that use paint! Shocking I know.....my point is it gets soul destroying hearing things like that so last week was a fantastic one of recognition and I loved every second, well except the going on stage and photo part!