Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Half term hols.

What a strange time this has been: a week or so of problems for friends and family which have taken the shine off of much that we have done and yet, perversely, has also made Dave and I take a long, hard look at the good things in our lives and feel thankful for them. I haven't felt like blogging, indeed I have only felt like doing what I always do when things are a bit grim - being at home, losing myself in work and being wth the children. Normality I guess. Still, life seems to be going back to where it was and here I am again, so let's have a cup of soothing mint tea made from the patch just outside our kitchen window and I will fill you in on the nicer things that have taken place.

The weather has been mostly dull and wet, yet in between we have had the most glorious, hot sunshine. Dave took advantage of this to take the children for one of our favourite walks from Mawnan Old Church through the fields down to Parson's Beach. Unfortunately, he didn't take the camera so this will mean little to most of you (though maybe Diana and Elizabethd may know it). I will have to do a trip myself to show you the beauty of the path that winds down to the sea through the most gorgeous uppy-downy fields bordered with brambles where we pick for sustenance and jam and sheer gluttony! On this occasion the older children ran on ahead where Sam led them into the sea while Dave, Isabella and Matzen picked elderflowers for cordial. Of course, once Isabella realised there was water to be had she was drenched! Here are the gorgeous, frothy flowers waiting to have sugar and water added...

and here is Dave's precious lemon - yes, THE lemon he has been growing for the past few years outside our bedroom window which Isabella walked up to and picked earlier in the week, handing it to him with about as much interest as if it were a rotten tomato! Poor Dave. And I didn't even think to take a decent photo of it!

and here is the sludgy mess which became the most lovely, fragrant cordial. Delicious.

Dave has been going through something of a cooking frenzy and has been making wonderful, soft loaves of bread which has to be one of the best comfort foods ever (as was the meal consisting of fried mashed potato, eggs and fried bread I served up for us last night - haven't eaten that sort of food for years and boy it was good!).

Work has been pleasingly busy with a new wholesale order for my Summer Days beach bags and quite a few new contacts which I haven't sought out. This always makes me happy as I must be doing something right for them to come across my work. The orders have been very steady with a range of my products being selected and an increase in feedback which I love. I have some new ideas for my website which I will share later in the week as I want to make the changes first, but essentially it will all remain the same with some tweaks to make it better!

Bye for now xx

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A Mid-summer Night's Tale!

Just a few more photos from Monday morning as the sun is weak here today and I feel the need to see the early morning light playing with the leaves. I have been finding myself popping back to my own blog regularly and clicking on the pictures containing marigolds to make them larger and then scrolling through the entire picture to view it all - the reason for this odd behaviour is that it seems to fill the screen with glowing, vibrant colour, May greens and zesty orange all catching the sun's rays and making me feel as though I have been filled with it too. The only problem is when you return the picture to its normal size the world suddenly seems to dim, so perhaps it's not the best thing to do after all!

The foxgloves are opening from this...

to this...

so pretty and I'm sure whichever fox wears these gloves must be the most elegant in the garden ( I have been trying this story out on Lucy as she is the most receptive to my ramblings!). We think the night animals, the hedgehogs which bumble around below our bedroom window making the strangest of noises, the badger who occasionally crashes through the hedge late at night and the scrawny fox who thinks I can't see him as he sits in the duck house cursing the deepness of our pond as the ducks circle around quacking in delight at his displeasure, Lucy and I think all these creatures are planning their mid-summer party and nothing could be nicer for a fox than to have beautiful, velvety gloves to adorn her paws. Well, that's what we think anyway.

Here is the view from our little, ramshackle back porch:

and here are the timy gooseberry fruitlets all hairy and tart. I love them and as we have three bushes I am hoping there will be enough for crumbles and wine and, my personal favourite, gooseberry and elderflower fool - yum.

Have a lovely day xx

Monday, 19 May 2008

A weekend mix.

What a mix this weekend turned out to be - rain, grey and cold for most of Saturday followed by beautiful sunshine and brilliant nlue skies for Sunday. Typically, we arranged Isabella's birthday party for the wrong day and instead of playing in the garden with the paddling pool and bubble machine to hand, the children were racing around the house bravely clutching their chocolate cake to help them on their way!

Ah well, it was still a lovely day consisting of my bestest friend popping over in the morning for a cup of tea and a chat as Dave and I cooked pizza toppings, pasta salad, brownies and of course the gorgeous chocolate birthday cake traditionally made by dave. Actually, Mr Dave was a bit of a star as he donned his apron (a blue and brown deckchair striped pipany version obviously!)and had cooked a batch of scones, loaf of bread and sausage rolls, aided and abetted by Isabella, by 9.30 am!

The picure above is of the posy I picked for my friend as it was also her birthday. Funny how all the flowers in the garden just now seem to be shades of purple, from soft lilacs through to the deeper mauves of the aquilegia. The contrast with the rich orange of Black Prince marigolds was quite startling and not something I would usually use without a few toning shades to soothe it a little, yet the whole made a very pleasing nosegay (love that word) for a very special person.

Sunday consisted of yet more cooking - a roast for lunch and a marmalade cake made with our own marmalade - then up to the allotment in the afternoon to find rabbits ahd got in despite the fence and eaten our lettuces! Arghh!! Obviously we need to sink it a bit deeper, but at least we found this out before everything else got too far forward - determined to start looking on the bright side as we have had weeks of things going awry: tumble dryer broke, lightbulb went on the sewing machine as I sewed late one night, still having car problems, etc......

Still, the runner bean canes are in and sown, more of the field is skimmed and dug, spinach is planted out and I can almost taste the iron goodness to come. Just hope the rabbits aren't of the Popeye variety! As Dave and I worked the children picnicked on egg and mayo sandwiches (made form our own duck eggs - yum) and basically just watched apart from Elias who is a fantastic little worker and is never happier than when he is chopping, digging or lugging weighty things around! Next weekend we are hoping to build our own pizza oven, so watch this space!

And in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the tour I took of the garden this morning accompanied by Fatty Arbuckle (one of the cats) and chook (the cuckoo maran) who can both be spotted in some of the pictures - aren't foxgloves just gorgeous with the velvety softness of the stems and those gorgeous spotted petals? The peony is in bud as are the papavers and chives are all around. More pictures soon.

Pipany xx

Friday, 16 May 2008

My birthday girl x

Just some pictures today as it's little Isabella's birthday - 2 today! As ever, I feel emotional and teary whenever it is one of the troop's birthday as I think back to when they were born, that mixture of excitment and fear and hormones...ahh, the hormones! Well, I know they have been on here before but here they are again - my own George Clooney

Me and my girl (golly, I look all nose!!!)

Mamma and Dadda (which is what she calls us!)

And at various points of Cornwall, six other children were waiting for a call to tell them what they had - baby brother or baby sister; they were most happy with the result!

And then she grew

and grew

and then her first birthday came around

and she carried on growing until she reached her 2nd birthday

Typically poor shots of the wriggly worm but at least it proves I did finish her dress, albeit at 1.30 this morning - yawn!!! Not meant to be worn over a vest and the shirring is a bit wobbly but hey...

Happy Birthday my darling girl xxx

Monday, 12 May 2008

Beach bags and broccoli.

A lovely weekend here, though the weather took a slight nosedive on Saturday - mist rolled in from the sea and worked its way inland, refusing to lift till Sunday when it was glorious. I quite like the mist as its one of the many things that go hand in hand with living so close to the sea; I love the atmosphere it brings, all ghostly and cloaked suggesting pirates and mystery, where sounds become distorted and intensified so that all the senses seem keener in an effort to orientate oneself. Where I grew up on the North Cornish coast sea mists were a little more common and, combined with the majestic cliffs and huge, huge seas which flattened eerily in misty weather to an oily slick, the whole gave a very free reign to my always fertile imagination. As I walked my dog alone over the cliff tops surrounded by rustlings and weird noises it was impossible to name, I would frequently find my step getting faster and faster in an effort to outpace the blanket rolling over me from the sea - no wonder I have such a love of the Gothic genre! Of course, I would never let any of my children walk alone like this; how times have changed.

Well, enough of that. As I said, Sunday was just perfect and provided the ideal opportunity for photographing the latest range to come from the Pipany sewing room (which sort of implies they made themselves - if only!). As usual poor Lucy was dragged in to model for me; actually, she loves it and was only slightly cross as she hadn't time to change into a pretty dress!

The bags are from my 'Summer Days' range and come in two sizes (child & adult)and have a central panel appliqued & embroidered in one of three designs: The lighthouse, Beach Hut or Ship Ahoy. Each also has its own pouch of shells collected from the beautiful Cornish beaches which can be added to of course and the adult size has an interior pocket to pop keys, etc into to keep them safe. I think all the designs would work as well for the beach or a trip into town.

End of business bit except to say that it has been incredibly busy and I do apologise for being so behind in my blog reading - I will catch up hopefully this week now the designing stage of these bags is finished. Other lovely things this weekend were:

* Working on the allotment - broccoli (sp?), brussels, spinach, pots, mix of lettuces all gone in; much skimming of sward & digging of beds happened & much involvement of children of all ages in digging, eating Dave's homemade scones sitting on a blanket and generally enjoying being outdoors.

* Tea with Dave's mum which is always gorgeous and consists of far too much food (meringues, strawbs & Cornish cream; ham; chicken; salad; choc buns, etc, etc...)

* The beach, of course - children in & out of pools, and Isabella loving the water, however freezing it may be.

And finally, a picture of her lovely ringlets just because I love them. It's her 2nd birthday on Friday and I can't quite think where the time has gone.

Have a lovely day xx

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

All things merged together.

Isn't Bramley apple blossom pretty?

After thinking about it for a little while and seeking the advice of those good enough to read them, I have decided to merge both my blogs together; the business and family life are so very closely entwined that it seems increasingly hard to know what to write where. Obviously the family - all seven children, ducks, hens, cats, etc - existed long before the business officially began and the very skills I use for it are the skills I have used for most of my life. I have always sewn, whether for clothes for the children or soft furnishings for the house; I have knitted for longer than I can remember and I have gardened since I was old enough to trail around after my Grandfather, bucket in hand to catch the haphazardly thrown marigold flowers as I helped to deadhead them. I learned these crafts by osmosis, by following and watching, by trying with a determination that drives me insane sometimes (wish I could allow myself to fail just once in a while!), and now they are second nature to me and my life would feel odd without them.

How does all this relate to the blogs? Well, we have acquired a 90ft x 30ft allotment run not by the council, but by a lovely chap who happens to own a field which got a bit much for him. He thought he would rent out plots and get a bit of a community thing going and we were there in a jiffy. Already we have begun turning it over and as well as feeding our family from it, I shall be growing the herbs I need for the business - the lavenders and marigolds, chamomiles and marjorams; the list is endless and much of it we already grow in our own garden, just not in the quantity I need for a supply of sachets and pillows, etc. So with this allotment business and family life blend together once more, hence it is time for the blogs to do the same... here's a few pictures:

view from the top to the car

bit of extra land the lovely owner let us have to encourage wildlife and pop a shed on

view from the car up!

Ok, so now you are bored! Well, having dug like a mad thing for much of the weekend (slow but sure) I transplanted some young globe artichokes into the allotment, looking forward to when they get like this one in our garden

and on a different note, don't you love looking up through cherry blossom at a gorgeous blue sky which we had plenty of for the entire weekend?

So, there you have it - Pipany and the Poltisko Memoirs all in one blog from now on, and hopefully the change won't be too noticeable. Off to tackle an order for three feet of bunting now which should make for a bright and cheery day!

Byeeee xx