Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Sunshine and showers.

I thought it was all going too well - Isabella and I have been playing with a pot of bright blue playdoh she discovered tucked away in my cupboard. It was one of a batch bought as extra presents 'just in case' for Christmas and somehow it got left in my clothes cupboard where I sneak off for a secret fix every so often as the need arises. Now come on, you aren't telling me you don't love that almondy smell of true Playdoh too? It takes me straight back to my childhood, particularly if I close my eyes just as I take the lid off the pot and inhale the delicious fumes slowly, deeply...mmmm.

Er, as I was saying, Isabella raced up to me bleating 'nid, nid' and thrusting the pot into my face. Obviously I knew that if I took the nid off the pot there would be bits of blue glued firmly to the furniture for evermore (though the thought of the smell drifting through the house is preferable to the current aroma of leftover veggies waiting for me to take them down to the compost heap!) but if I refused did I really feel up to the screeching that would follow? Not today. Hence we spent a happy half hour or so creating mice and rabbits and all was well right up to the point where dopey Mummy suggested a drink and rolled the mice and rabbits into one big ball....screams to challenge a dog's hearing! "Babbit, Babbit, Babbit! Mouses, Noooo!" Mistake number one.

Mistake number two came when, having finally calmed her down with a re-creation of the mangled creatures and deposited her in a chair with a biscuit, I cheerily threw the washing into the machine. Isabella trailed out a little later and once more caused the very walls of the house to vibrate from her high-pitched shrieks. What was wrong? I followed the line of her thrust out arm to where the tiny finger pointed accusingly at the machine and there through the round window I saw her cuddly toy - also called Babbit - doing twenty circuits with his face pressed against the glass in a Hammer House of Horror pastiche. Yep, not good.

The poor traumatised mite is now reading a book to her doll in her bedroom while I give up on playing with her for her own good and do this instead. I managed to refrain from taking photographs of Babbit (even though it was actually quite funny the way his head swelled up from the water) and will now move on...

A few more things that have caught my eye today -

This gorgeous chaenomeles (japonica) which is in the main path to the house is just breaking into flower. I sent some branches up to Lauren to force in Bristol to remind her of home. There is somethng so delicate yet strong about the blossom of this shrub which I love

An odd photo of our bedroom curtains taken when the sun came through for a very brief moment earlier today. I so love this fabric and the way it warms the room on a cold day but just glows with life whent the sun shines through it turning our tiny bedroom into a restful haven. Just makes me want to curl up and sleep.

And as Dave has not only removed the battries from the camera and taken them off for the day without letting me know (Arghh, I have loads of stuff to do needing the camera for the business!!!) but has also taken the lead that connects it to the computer (!) I shall post a photograph of one of our campfire to cheer myself up - or fan the flames of my anger - not sure which.

Have a lovely day and don't do anything involving Babbits! xx

Monday, 25 February 2008

Notes from a Sunday.

Another lovely weekend - well, once the cleaning frenzy was over! Dave had work to do on Sunday morning and so Lucy, Isabella and I had a tea party which involved Isabella in maternal mode forcefully feeding her doll a cup of tea, yelling drink at the same time! So restful.

A couple of stories later, a couple of puzzles completed and Dave took over as he and Lucy had planned an experiment involving this...

and some boiling water to see what happens with steam or hot air or something!!! Anyhow, it involved the use of frozen fruit which they then made into this...

While all this activity went on I sat serenely (!) turning this little pile

into this work in progress...

We ate a delicious roast dinner (thank you Davey) and then set off in the car for a drive; the intention had been to go for a walk but the heavens opened and the rain bucketed down scuppering that idea. Unfortunately, this meant I didn't bother taking the camera and was so cross with myself as we drove around the creeks to the sun breaking through with that beautiful late afternoon light turning the branches into gold-tinted silhouettes, the rain-wet petals of daffodil clumps clustering on the banks glistening like jewels and the creek water of the little inlet a deep pool of shadowed jade - it really was breathtaking. The road wound around the creek and rose up the hill leading to Port Navas, an old village of pretty slate-hung and weather softened granite houses, the verges and banks cheery with yet more daffodils. Far off in the distant the lowering sun cast shadows on fields swooping down to the snaking river and we pulled the car over to listen to the gentle settling of river birds saying goodnight, one of my most favourite sounds in the world. It was such a moment of calm and peace; even Lucy, usually not known for keeping quiet - sat silently listening.

Well, with no camera to hand I have nothing to show you and will leave you instead with a picture of Prussia Cove - why? Because it's the only one I can find at the moment showing an inlet!

Finally home to scones and a pot of tea


See you soon xx

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Saturday sanity!

Today started out in it's usual fairly chilled manner, more-so than usual perhaps as Isabella slept till 6.30 before hollering and then went back to sleep till 7am. Wonderful. I practically skipped into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and found some croissants Dave had hidden away the evening before - hmm, someone was bound to hear the rustling; in bounced Lucy with an expectant grin. So, here is how the day started:

Unfortunately, after a leisurely perusal of a cetain magazine(naming no names...)bought the night before for me by Dave reality hit and I was confronted by the disgustingness that is our house! All week I have mummbled about the mess and fought to sort it, but the battle was clearly not going in my favour. Now it had reached a zenith and everywhere I looked were the signs of my domestic inadequacies - marks on the walls from grubby hands, clothes strewn willy-nilly (love that)...oh, I could go on and on and on. Dave the wonderful took the two younger girls off to do the shopping (YAY!) and I put on an apron (yep, I meant business), put on some music - it could have been Bat Out of Hell but I needed something that was rousing yet had its more soothing moments too, hence Vivaldi was today's choice albeit played very loudly - and I am now settling to the task with breaks for, er well, this!

Ok. it's now much later and
I am a little further forward with the cleaning; the kitchen at least no longer resembles a bombsite (note the sparkling biscuit tins and pasta jar!)

and we are enjoying a celebratory glass of Cava to make room in the fridge for the food from Dave's shop!!! Oh typical, I wanted to show off the beautiful champagne flutes we were given by a very dear friend the day Isabella was born, but no, Dave had to go and use my very kitsch cocktail glasses (huge fans of cocktail evenings at home here). Ah well....

To finish up here's a picture of three things that are making me smile today - Lucy's lunch (how lucky we are to have a child or two that LOVE fresh fruit and veg!)

the ducks inspecting the willow clippings from the tree that fell into our neighbour's garden and have now arrived back in ours. Their names are - from the top - Lemony, Mustang and Biscuit; the fourth, Maple, refused to be 'ready for her close up'...

ans another gorgeous plate that I have had for so long I've forgotten how I came by it in the first place. Not terribly well photographed but my glass, er I mean the cleaning beckons!

Cheers all and hope your day is full of lovely things and very little cleaning. Now on to the rest of the house....

Friday, 22 February 2008

And today's tea cup is...

It is cold and grey here today and so photographing anything has been difficult; the light quality is so poor and our little house seems slightly drab as a result - oh for the glorious Spring light. As I am so craving it I thought I would post one of my favourite shots of the garden with the tulips peeking through the new shoots of the plants. How fresh and airy the hazy sunshine looks - ahhh....

And here's today's cup for my morning coffee. I love this little cup and saucer which I think I paid about 50p for in a carboot sale a couple of years ago.

I do quite well on these visits though I haven't been to one for a long time; hmm, perhaps it's time to start going again - after all, I might pick up another lovely plate to go on the kitchen mantlepiece with this one:

Well, how did that happen? The lavender sachet I made for Lauren seems to have worked its way into the picture! Ok, truth to tell, I am having a problem sending it on its way because I like it so much. It sat on my dressing table last night and kept the little Japanese doll I made when I was a very young girl company - yes, this is where I began my creating....bless her, she's very worn and battered now and a few blemishes mark her (a bit like me really).

I made her for my Mum, a lady not renowned for hanging on to things which probably explains why I so love things from the past, things that have lived a little or a lot. I love to hold them and wonder about where they came from and what they saw, what they could tell us if only they had words. Anyway, you can imaging my surprise when Mum handed me this diminutive being out of the blue...I thought she was long gone and to see those tiny stitches and her poor pipe-cleaner hands trying to keep hold of her paper fan quite brought tears to my eyes as I could remember struggling to make her so clearly all those years before. Battered and forlorn though she is, she is still very special to me.

Well, the final picture for today is a sachet I made for myself this morning - now I have no excuse and will post the other one of to lovely Lauren this afternoon!

Have a lovely day xx

Thursday, 21 February 2008

A few more...

I so enjoyed photographing things around the house yesterday that I think I might carry on with it for a bit; who knows, I nay even eventually work out how to take a decent photo!

So, to begin let's have a coffee - today I am feeling a little seaside mood coming on so it's a Cornish Blue cup (of course!) on a pretty tray bought by darling Sam (son number two who is a fantastic present buyer). Elizabethd please note the cafetiere! Also two more of my favourite books - The Home Farm by Paul Heiney and Sarah Raven's Vegetable Book.

Last night's dinner to showcase my beautiful bowl which my Mum gave me and which has always been a feature at mealtimes since as far back as I can remember.
First, take a pretty bowl...

add some 'home grown' egs....

throw in some other bits and bobs and there's a salad to go with a rather orange loking but delicious chilli...

One more foodie note: a plate of brownies I knocked up last night(note another gorgeous plate from one of my carboot forays)...

and this is the miniscule heap left this morning on yet another gorgeous plate (though MUCH smaller than the other!)

I realise I have something of a cup fetish! This is a pretty cup and saucer which now contains one of the soaps Dave made - it smells of lemons and Spring, and looks just edible!

And lastly for today, look at these gorgeous fabrics that will I be working on today - lucky me!

HAve a lovely day everyone xx

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

These are a few of my favourite things.

After yesterday's 'day in the life' post I quite fancied posting a few things around our home that bring me pleasure whenever my eye falls on them. If only it were that simple! I started by trying to photograph Isabella's new dresses made by me in the half term; I had forgotten what a wriggle worm she can be. For example:

Then there was this one:

And then this....

Ah well, here's a close up of the pretty tied pockets -

And not one of them shows the beauty and delicacy of the gorgeous Liberty lawn! To make matters even worse, the photos I took of the other dress were even more appalling and she wasn't wearing it at the time!!! How bad am I at this? Also it would truly pay to remember to IRON said dress before attempting to
photograph it.

Other things bringing me pleasure at the moment are this cup and saucer bought for me by Dave's mum as a 'congratulations on being pregnant with Isabella' pressie

along with the beautiful blossom and blue tablecloth which makes me feel full of spring (the season not the energy unfortunately!) and the books which I love to browse for inspiration. Anna Pavord's Kitchen Garden book is one of my all-time favourites...truly gorgeous.

And last for today some shots of plants busily doing their thing in the garden including the gorgeous daphne odora which perfumes the steps to the house

one of our aeoniums which flourishes outdoors all year in the balmy Cornish air

and finally to prove the mildness of this beautiful county, forget-me-nots and the lemon which are both outdoors all year and doing well.

Oops, nearly forgot; a tiny selection of some of the masses of sea treasure scattered around the house.

Bye for now xx

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

A day in the life of a Pipany!

Oh dear, I have been putting this off as I can't think how to go about it - which day do I choose? A day full of fun and larks? Or a day where I work my little fingers to the bone on some sewing project perhaps? Then again there are the Bone Idle Days where I do as little as is humanly possible, though I tend to think that this is still a fair amount as it's impossible to be too lazy with a family this size. The problem is increased by the fact that I am going through one of my Can't Settle To Anything phases which generally results in a dissatisfied me who moans and groans - albeit to herself - and searches fruitlessly for some nugget to inspire her. Hmm, how's this day in the life grabbing you so far?

Well, let's take a fairly typical day with which to introduce you to my life - a Saturday for example should serve the purpose.....

M'lady Isabella awakens at the appalling hour of 4am and emits her usual high pitched shriek guaranteed to satisfy the souls of those with a taste for the Gothic. Her sweet mama (yes, I can be sweet though rarely at this hour truth to tell) staggers beguilingly from the warmth of her bed to lie the dear angel down and murmer night-night to the babe who responds with her usual elegant yell, most affronted at the very notion of further slumber. Mama returns to bed in a staggering manner reminiscent of the drunk and eventually isabella caves in and silence ensues once more (apart form snoring cats, Dave, etc).

The day proper begins with a pot of coffee brought to bed by either of us on a tray while isabella romps around the room looking adorable with her crazy hair a mass of wild curls. She is always full of life and always full of chat, as is Lucy who soon joins in the fun (almost 10 and gorgeous). The pair chatter away as Dave and I plan our day. Often Tom (25) will arrive and sit on the bed to share the coffee pot and eventually most of the vast brood squash onto the patchwork quilt as they have done most mornings when school is not on the agenda for the past goodness knows how many years. I love this, the laughing and chatting and planning as Dave and I sit in state - friends on holiday even seem to adopt the same pattern and perch at the foot of the bed too as though it is what everyone does in their own homes.

Here I shall break for a picture of eggs as this also is a part of my daily life - egg hunting as some of the hens will insist on doing a Colditz and breaking free of their pen which means I have to find the flipping eggs. This is a favourite spot, a little hollow under the hedge which has become the perfect nest shape.

I also use the egg collecting as a chance to have a loook around the garden to see what is new - the winter flowering cherry has blossomed for a while now and the fresh green leaves are just beginning to appear signalling the flowering is almost over for another year

The day generally follows a pattern something like this....(can't upload pics as batteries have just gone flat!)

I will perhaps work for the morning in my sewing room while Dave and the children go off shopping at the supermarket ( I defy anyone to comment here! Try feeding this bunch without resorting to a supermarket for some things!). Various activities take up the rest of the day as we are very much a 'doing' family. For example, this half term saw the following projects undertaken:

two dresses made for Isabella by me and a jacket trimmed for Lucy with some very pretty Liberty lawn given by the lovely Elizabethd.

Glycerine soaps, creams and lotions made by Dave and the children, including a brilliant one made of beeswax, almond oil and something else which I have forgotten - this cleared the persistent eczema on my eyes within an hour!!!

Lucy painted a glass bottle with glass paints to resemble a stained glass window and Elias made a model of the Bismark from a kit he bought himself;

Sam slept (!) and surfaced intermittently to play killer hands of blackjack and also taught himself to play poker. Regular rounds of Tarot were also played and mostly won by the devious card shark, Lucy (though Dave hasn't quite accepted this defeat yet).

Meals made and consumed in ever-increasing quantities included Thai fish curry (yum), carbonara, homemade scones with homemade jam and good Cornish clotted cream of course, pancakes (known to us as Yank panks - the thick ones not crepes) with smoked bacon and maple syrup, nut roast and all the trimmings, spag bol, cakes - marmalade cake, chocolate cake and I think I did make brownies too, roast chicken rubbed all over with our own tarragon harvested from the garden last year and dried in the kitchen (double yum) with all the trimmings (which means an enormous tray of crispy roast pots and vats of gravy plus veggies such as baked squash, garlic and pepper with olive oil and rosemary/ parsnips tossed in flour and parmesan and roasted till golden/ cabbage and caraway/ caramelised onions/ glazed carrots...oh you get the gist. There were more meals than this I am sure but I can't remember them now.

Evenings consisted of films watched accompanied by popcorn and wine (no, not the kids)

Walks in the afetrnoon - Argal Reservoir: a three mile walk where I was once heard to say that the tide was low (DURR - it's a reaservoir!). Time for a pic of Isabella trying out her new walking reins which she seems very proud of. She actually walked three quarters of the way round, bless her.

I realise I am nutshelling this as much as is possible, but this is a fairly typical picture of our holidays and weekends. In the summer there is much going to the beach and late summer includes endless blackberrying, sloe collecting, gin and wine production, crumble baking, etc. Schhol terms only alter the scene a little and evenings are when we play games or chat around the fire. When Isabella sleeps I work and sometimes while she plays, I sew where I can - hand embroidery is perfect for this. And obviously there are the less appealling things, the housework is ongoing but no more so than when I only had a couple of children. It's all a matter of how you view it I think - if you think 'oh no, i've got this to do and I hate it, then it will be a burden so don't think like it. Lecture over.

The seasons change but the feel is the same. All year there are camp fires and huge family meals, games and work, but it is all pretty lovely, well to me anyway.

Pipany xx

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Happy Birthday TOM!!!!

It's Tom's birthday - 25 today! How did that happen? I can't possibly be old enough to have a child who has reached the quarter century mark surely?!!!

Ah well, I am and he is so have a wonderful day my gorgeous boy and I have loved being your mum so far (yes, even with all the agro in the school years and the post school years too! Here's to the next bit.

I do love you so my chapxxxxxx


Monday, 4 February 2008

A fine day out.

Finally a quick blog about my meeting with the lovely Elizabethd. We met up on Thursday in the Norway Inn, an old inn on the main Truro to Falmouth road (she said as though you all knew what I was talking about). Actually we met outside the inn, I scanning the carpark for a car with French number plates and she watching out for the arrival of a blue people carrier. The rain lashed down with all intention of raising the Ark and then I spotted the happy smile of the lovely Elizabeth.

We raced inside, purloined the leather settee tucked away in a little nook and instantly started chatting. Despite never having met before, I felt as though I already knew this elegant (yes, even with the rain!) and friendly lady. We chatted nonstop, drank coffee - the less said about that the better; suffice it to say that the inn did a neat line in machine coffee when I wanted a cafetiere's worth... "a what?" commented the young girl vacantly. Hmm....

After a lengthy discussion on families, Purplecoo (for the uninitiated pop it in your search engine and all will be explained), homes, gardens and, of course, fabrics, we decided not to risk the lunch and moved to a local garden centre for lunch. A further coffee later and it was time to part, the whole day having flown. Pressies were exchanged and oh, what pressies they were! Here are one or two photos of the absolutely beautiful fabrics Elizabeth had brought over with her from her collection in France:

And there were more, piles and piles of gorgeous lawns and cottons, yards and yards (metres if you must) and all for me!!!! It felt like all my best Christmasses in one! Sighs in total bliss...

And this little gem full of beauty is a ceramic pot made, fired and painted by the highly talented Un Peu Loufoque for Isabella. The painting even looks a lot like my little bundle. How clever is that lady? Hurry ye over and get something gorgeous made for yourself right now (unfortunately my addled brain has gone blank and I can't think how to link you to her site so am off to find out how and will add it later today; pop back for the link)

Thank you Elizabeth for a really lovely day, one which I hope can be repeated the next time you are in Cornwall xx

And just to end - and because I am in a good mood due to the posting of my first wholesale order (cheers loudly) - I would like to introduce you to one of our cats, the most beautiful, the most ragdoll-ish (!) and sleepy Fatty Arbuckle!!!!

Have a lovely day xx

PS. Have sorted the link now, so go and see the webpage of ceramacist Un Peu Loufoque x