Thursday, 23 April 2015

More Wonderings & my Obsession.

Yet more seascapes. I am obsessed, I know. I do promise other content will appear here soon, but there will always be images of the sea, the rivers and coves, the cliffs and moorland that make up my home in Cornwall alongside the endless pictures of meals and family, and so on.

We have begun the after-school beach sessions when the weather is warm enough. Isabella will go in the water whatever it is like, a bit like her Mama. The children carry a permanent tan as the winds in Cornwall are fairly constant. We consider ourselves pale and yet...

I am still feeling and milling possibilities for change of some sort, as mentioned in my last post. Sometimes I wonder whether my love of this county can't be utilised better. It is so much a part of my soul and I constantly seek inspiration from it, capturing as much as I can with my camera. My designs reflect both it and the life I lead within it. I wonder whether there is something more there I am missing?

We are quite a creative family. Most of the children are creative in different ways and Dave and I both write though not for a very, very long time in my case. Lucy is an author in the making and even Isabella is now writing her first book (at the grand old age of eight). I have finally been forced (nagged) into taking up the pen again by a couple of the gang, with Lucy even buying me a notebook for scribbling my plot details in. No excuse then.


An idea is forming, slowly coming together and notes are being made. It's a good way to use those times I wait in the car for various people. I am not saying I am any good at writing, merely that I sort of need to do it. It may be my blog or poetry or a story. I hope this time I actually start the blooming thing!

A quick pause in my meandering musings to show you the jellyfish we found washed up on the shore recently. Beautiful creature isn't it? I swam with a white one of a similar size the next day. We dithered and dallied around each other and it was almost as though it was observing me before finally giving a great surge and swimming away, long tentacles quivering into the distance. I felt quite honoured it spent time with me!

Back to my musings. I wish I could paint the scenes I see. Perhaps I just need to try rather than thinking about it. I would love to render these photos in paint, see the jades and emeralds and deepest blue blend across the canvas, the whitecaps flicking off the sea just as they do in reality. Maybe this weekend I will give it a go.

And so, that is it for today. A shorter post with yet more wondering. Feel free to leave a comment and I will reply. Any thoughts? 

Bye for now x

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Sea, Loss and Change.

Blissful sunshine is burning through my studio roof as I type. It calls for images of the sea (yes, just for a change), especially as the season for dog walking on most of the Cornish beaches is now at an end. I have no real problem with this as there are so very many other beautiful spots to walk and I quite like the marking of the seasons in this way. I also have no desire to have myself or my children scattered in sand by an over-excited dog when we are there for the day!  I do however quite like the idea of a 9 - 6pm ban which would give the best of all worlds, but this is not something that happens here. Ah well...

It feels so good to be spending longer outside, the clocks changing allowing for trips down to the beach with the children after school and time spent pootling in the garden until it becomes a bit too chilly. I am excited by the challenge of our garden this year as dogs, hens and errant ducks have turned what was once beautiful into something of a bombsite. I see opportunity all over and am torn between wanting to be out there and needing to be in here working. Work has to win of course but it's a hard won battle.

I do intend to document some of the changes of our garden on here but for now it is mostly the need for the sea that dominates today's post. The first post in a very long time actually, but I am missing blogging and hope to keep it going for as long as possible before the next lull hits!

In other news I have begun to dabble again with painting though have only achieved one so far! I have never used acrylics before and really enjoyed the dabbling. The result (unfinished I may add) is this rather Poldark-ish painting of an engine house though unfortunately minus the gorgeous Ross & the equally lovely Demelza. The colours are a little brighter than the scanned version shows. The trouble is that having left it for a while I am a bit nervous about carrying on and am tempted to start another instead!

I am drawn to some of the photos I have taken of the sea and may have a try at a seascape which is another challenge I have not attempted before.

A new design for mini bunting has kept me busy in the studio and has been pleasingly popular. I really enjoy making these little flags up and they can be personalised to suit.

Of course, while I ma busy in the studio others think they can do as they please.  I popped out to make a cuppa to find this bunch wandering around the kitchen. Five ducks and one hen rummaging around led by the ever-naughty Sunshine... that's the one looking directly at the camera.

Yes, this one!

Isabella and Dave watched Paddington the movie and followed it up with a marmalade making session. You can just see Paddington watching over them on the dresser in the background. Lovely to have a jug of coffee in bed and freshly made marmalade on toast which is pretty much what we did throughout the Easter holidays.

My lovely girlie doing a touch of sewing in my studio. Hmm, who does she take after I wonder?

I am so glad to see the back of winter. It was a hard one with two very loved people passing away leaving me feeling so lost and struggling to find my bearings again. It is still so hard but the sun does help. Tears are important too and many a walk with precious Pepper has seen me viewing the sea through blurred eyes, tissue to hand and a sopping wet dog to cuddle up with after her salty swim. I miss my Mum, I miss our Uncle and I thank the heavens for the special times spent with both. 

All this has led me to feel a need for change of some sort though I have no idea what form it should take. I need something to focus on as I come to terms with the profound sense of loss I am left with so am milling and musing, hoping something comes into my head that feels right. Perhaps it will just be as simple as altering the garden - I did take down a 20ft holly tree from the front hedge with nothing more than a fine edged saw the other day all on my own, as is my wont - or maybe it's the business that needs to alter. Maybe I need to develop it in a different way. I just don't know but I know something will guide me eventually.

In the meantime I will work on one of my other challenges which is to teach myself to do the splits. 

This is something I have never been able to do and thought that now I'm 51 (dear god, how did that happen!) it would be a good time to do it. I am almost there so on with the stretching!

I do like a challenge!

Let me know in the comments if you have planned any challenges for yourself won't you and I'll reply.

Bye for now x

Monday, 6 October 2014

Summer into Autumn.

I feel a little like a frond of seaweed floating in this surf at the moment. I am being pulled in many directions & typically am at the mercy of circumstance rather than myself, something I am not good at. If there is a problem, a situation that needs sorting, I usually work it out but at the moment I have to go with the flow and there is much buffeting in its wake.

I realise that sounds very cryptic and I don't mean it to be. Illness has become a feature in our wider family and it has had a knock on effect with worry and sadness mingled with catch ups and laughs. Somehow I feel as though the summer, that beautiful amazing summer of sunshine and walks and endless sea swims, was a little sharper in focus for me than it may otherwise have been. 

I always take note of what's around me. The little things catch my eye from the slight pearl-pink sheen of a fragment of shell nestling in the sand to the soaring wings of a kestrel hovering over the cliffs with the sea swirling beneath. This summer I have noticed more. I have wanted to soak up every single thing I see & store it away like a photograph to be brought out at a later date. I want to stow away every turning shade of the trees as they shift their colours into the soft jewel tones of autumn, the umbers and ochres and berry leaves shimmering in the golden light.

I am lucky enough to live in the most beautiful county with its landscape so much a part of my soul that I honestly don't think I could breathe if I had to leave. A little over the top you may think, but I know me well. I have to swim in the sea, feel the cool salt water moving over my skin and dive deep in the depths to swim with shoals of sandeel, run my fingers through the long branches of varied seaweed and generally poke around in the secret pools beneath the waves.

I have to wander along the creeks and coves bordered by swooping woodlands where I can rummage for nuts & berries or search out some other treasure to take home and add to the various flotsam sitting on the windowsills. I need to see the boats tucked around the meandering banks waiting for the tide to lift them back into life once more.

I can't imagine not seeking out the beautiful flora as it moves from flourishing blossom to the seedheads I love so much, the shapes and colours often complimented by the watery backdrop so synonymous with Cornwall.

This is my solace when things are hard. As I said, I am lucky and when the tide pulls me this way & that, this is where I escape to find a clear head again.

Overall, despite the tone of this post, things are good and the summer has been wonderful with the usual mix of family, games, beach and huge meals.

But the pull has been there and I am determined to keep searching out the positives as autumn wends its way;

to continue to forage and turn nature into delicious (hopefully) drinks and preserves. Such a fabulous year for blackberries isn't it?

I am determined to allow the beauty around me to inspire my designs and to lead me maybe into new areas with my work, to take challenges as they present themselves and not miss a single opportunity by being complacent.

And when I am tired as I often am, I will push myself back out there

for yet another swim

in that wonderful, invigorating, mind-clearing sea.


Lucky me x

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Thoughts on Coasts & Inspiration.

As anyone who reads my blog will know, I love the coast. I love the waves and the calm of the sea; I love the rugged cliffs & the soft sand, the way the north of Cornwall is wild and sublime while the south coast is gentler with coves and rivers. Lately the Cornish coast has very much been inspiring my designs, particularly on a new range of bags where little boats bob close to coral and fish...

This design is called The Rugged Cliffs because it was inspired by the rugged cliffs (!) of North Cornwall where I grew up. There the cliffs are scattered with clumps of pinky mauve sea thrift, the plants huddled in nooks & crevices in order to survive the ever-pervailing winds. There is a majesty and beauty in this coast that haunts my thoughts. I have never really left it behind and when I need space to think or breathe, when my mind is so full it is tipping over or when life manages to break through to wound just a little, as all life does sometimes, this is where I see myself. Here the waves crash against sea-smooth stone and the reaching, jagged cliffs put the world back to rights...well, for me anyway.

hence the sentiment on the bag: 'Let the Sea Soothe your Soul.' I really loved working the freehand embroidery cliffs for this design & hope I have captured something of how this place makes me feel.

Of course, then there is the other coast: the softer southern Cornish seas which also speak to me though so differently. Here we have lighthouses which look quaint as well as reminding the onlooker of the rocks beneath the often calm surface. Here my children and I search for crabs and shells and pretty things in the many rockpools, and swim, snorkel or just play. I think of more rested times as my gaze falls on the ripples of jade water.

 Somehow this coast inspired a jauntier feel for this design, the words 'The Soft, Silent Sea' suggesting how often I have lain on the golden sand listening to the gentle ebb & flow of the tide, its calm song lulling me to sleep.

And there it is: a little inspiration, a brand new design flowing out of my head and onto the fabric. My own version of the tide perhaps?

And then on to the most recent: Beach Huts. This is a slight mix of both coasts as beach huts appear on each, though the idea of the palm tree surviving those harsh winds makes me smile a little. That definitely belongs to the south!

I really loved working on this one! There is something about beach huts I think. Perhaps it is the idea of living as close to the water as possible, even if only for a day. Maybe it is the pretty colours they are usually painted in. Who know; all I know is that I love them!

At the moment these bags are part of a short run while I trial out the designs. Each measures 41cm x 35cm approx, and has an interior pocket. 

They are available to buy for £ 35.00 + 2.00 p&p 

Either leave me a message here in the comments, a PM on my Facebook page, a DM on Twitter or email me if you prefer ( )

I hope you like them as much as me!
Bye for now x

Monday, 16 June 2014

More of the same!

A day on a beach: swimming in ice sea, cool breeze wisping waves into your face and skittering the surface into dancing ripples. A receding tide reveals pools of sun-warmed water. Golden sand shimmers and shifts as a red eyed, in-a-bad-mood crab moves into view and pinches Isabella's finger as she pokes and prods the seaweed aside. A brief moment in a bucket allows a closer study and a photo opportunity. Just look at those beautiful claws.

So many different types of life, everything from bladder wrack and sea lettuce draped over rock, to crabs and shrimp and, on this particular outing, a flat fish which was spotted by a sharp eyed friend. Other than swimming far, far out in the bay with Davey, rock-pooling has to be my most favourite of all the many things I like to do.

Just letting time slip by as the waves ebb and flow, letting cares wash away with the tide ... what could be better?

A constantly changing landscape of boats and yachts and ships in the far distance, the whole set against that amazing backdrop of fields sweeping down to the shore.

The water was freezing on this day but we still managed to swim (no idea who these people are, but they are not us!)

This pretty boat appeared as the sun was beginning to cast a few shadows behind us. I love that feel at the end of a beach day; everything slows down a pace or two and the colours soften to a gentler hue. It becomes quieter as people wend their way home and leave us to ourselves to take a last swim or two. 

Finally we pack away wet towels and all the usual paraphernalia of a day out with children. Home to a glass of something chilled and a sit down on the courtyard listening to Ella & Louis, caramel notes drifting on the evening air and the shadows lengthening until we move at last back indoors.

A greyer day on Sunday meant baking for me: a gorgeous cake with the recipe filched from one of my favourite blogs written by the lovely Sue (who I am lucky enough to meet up with each year when she and her family holiday nearby). Her version of this cake can be found here: Elderflower Drizzle Cake but I had to use our homemade rosehip syrup as I had run out of elderflower cordial till the next batch is made. The cake was gorgeous.

Elderflowers have been picked and are macerating ready to make elderflower champagne.


So pretty; so cheap to make; so very delicious!

Hopefully, we shall mostly be eating outside for the summer.
Keeps the house a bit cleaner!

I also had a go at Sue's Ridiculously Easy No-knead Bread which was ridiculously easy with no kneading! I mixed white & brown flours but otherwise followed Sue's instructions as she is a darned good cook. The result has already been mostly scoffed by the bread-mad Dave & Isabella, and pronounced as a hit.

I would add that it pays to remember to set your timer. Ahem...

Do pop over to Sue's blog; it is possibly my most fave as she is so darned honest and also posts such lovely things/photos. I can see her blushing from here!

Bye for now x