Monday, 30 June 2008

The sun came back!

Finally, the sun arrived back in Cornwall, albeit on and off for some of the time. So what have we been up to this weekend? First up was a trip into Falmouth for some sewing bits and bobs to complete an order. This is the view fromt he other end of town to the one I showed before and is called Custom's House Quay. The headland opposite is covered with a blaze of bright yellow gorse at times and the smell if you should walk there is at such times is one of pure coconut buns. From here it is but a short walk to the beach and so we took the children down for a play in the bright, breezy waves for an hour or two and met up with friends for a chat. Oops, forgot to check the skyline and now it looks a little like a Batman shot!

We also popped up to our allotment where the peas were looking wonderful alongside spinach, runner beans twining around their canes and oh, so much all busily growing away. I sowed some more parsnips - bit late, but we'll see - and more carrots. So exciting to see it all and mouth watering when I think of the lovely meals we shall be having.

Sunday consisted of another trip to the beach in the morning followed by a gorgeous afternoon tea of Davey's scones, jam and Cornish clotted cream with Dave's sister, her children and his Mum. Lucy and I picked a trugfull of flowers to put all over the house, including this lovely Ballerina rose which looks particularly pretty with the lime green alchemilla

The weekend rounded off with yet another trip to the beach - so peaceful as the late afternoon sunlight warmed us as we watched the oystercatchers wheel and dive, their gentle song drifting on the breeze.

Lauren tote bag in grape and teal

Happy Monday xx

Friday, 27 June 2008

Where is the sun?

Goodness, it's hard to take a decent photograph at the moment. It was so dull here when I got up this morning that it made me think of the first week the children go back to school after the Autumn half-term holiday. We usually have beautiful weather here for September - all mellow mists and fruitfulness, hot days with a chill underlying, just lovely - but the week the children go back in October always turns dull, dark and dank, just as it is now. Where is the June sun? probably everywhere other than Cornwall. Still, on to other things.

Yesterday, Isabella and I decided a trip to the beach was needed and as Lucy had gone to a friend's house for tea, we had an hour or two to use up. Off we went to Castle Beach where we were the only people to be seen on the sandy shore, so cold and windy was the day. We wrapped our jackets tightly around us and raced off arms outstretched as we soared in an 'amazing' imitation of airplanes or seagulls depending on how Isabella felt at any given moment (meaning that whichever I said we were she claimed the opposite!) As I didn't have my camera with me for once, I have put a picture of Lucy on yet another cold though marginally brighter day earlier this week so as not to have a claim of favouritism lodged against me!

The wild and wooly weather had blown up drifts of shells by the bucketload. All I had to hand in my highly organised way was a doll's teacup whcih Isabella quickly filled with this beautiful treasure

I have been working on a few wedding orders which involve lavender, embroidery and wonderful combinations of fabrics: thick, slubby (is that a word?) cottons overlaid with delicate muslins. Unfortunately, I can't actually show any of them as they tend to include the names of the bride, bridesmaid, etc or some other personalised motif. I really need to find some time to make up some as samples, but time and I are having a battle at the moment and I am clearly not the one with the most points.

I love making these sachets which also seem to make an ideal present from the couple to the mothers of the bride and groom, and I really like the idea that they can be made so personal by the inclusion of something dear to the recipient such as a favourite flower embroidered in the chosen colours or a symbol such as a butterfly like the one above (insects of all sorts are very popular). Lovely to think these little momentoes which disappear all over the country were stitched in my little sewing room in Cornwall.

Well, that's me done for today. Judging by this picture of Mr Dave's writing room I have some weeding to do this weekend! Hope you all have a good one with lots of sun xx

P.S. Forgot to say, for those who have enquired about recipes for elderflower cordial if you click here it will take you to our recipe on my website x

Monday, 23 June 2008

Time flying by.

Where is the time going? I can't seem to keep up with the children, the seasons, the world....ah well, let's have a glass of something nice and let it all flow past. Here is me and my nose (sigh) enjoying a glass of elderflower champagne on the wet and windy day that was the solstice.

Our champagne has a slight problem this year in that it is making so much fizz it disperses almost as soon as it is poured into the glass leaving a faint tinge of disappointment. It starts well as can be seen in the picture below, but just doesn't last - such a shame as the taste is just unbelievable: nothing like the elderflower cordial (still time to make some people and our recipe is here), it's a different, deeper, just beautiful flavour that fills the mouth with gorgeousness. Oh I can't explain it but it is just the best. Well, apart from the disappearing bubbles which are so violent that they burst our pressurised beer barrel - we don't make anything in small amounts here and had to fill a couple of kegs with the stuff! We will work out the problem and how to resolve it and in the meantime just sip away.

The weather this weekend was appalling: rain, dull, grey and dull again. The sun did make an appearance on Sunday for a while, but I was glued to the sewing machine and was unable to take advantage of it unlike Mr Dave and the children who popped off to the allotment. The grass there was rather long and so Dave tackled that while Elias and Lucy sowed seeds of various vegetables which they forgot to write the names of - they'll have great fun guessing what they are as they grow. I, meanwhile, felt a great sense of satisfaction at boxing up this little lot of lovelies before starting work on the next wholesale order...phew!

The garden is going through a change with agapanthus flowers just beginning to break, loosestrife and margeurites vying for attention and hot pink lychnis peeping in and out of the greenery. The posy at the top is composed of chive flowers, alchemilla mollis, yellow loosestrife and feverfew; not the best photo as the light was so poor, but a burst of colour nonetheless. The redcurrants are ready for picking - in fact I think I have missed some already - and look just wonderful; I like to use them on pavlovas or on top of cakes as a decoration, but I might freeze some to use with berries later on in the autumn in a mixed berry cordial.

That's it for today. Have a lovely rest of Wednesday everyone xx

Thursday, 19 June 2008

A mixed bag!

Well, here they are, two little chocolate brown and teal blue shoes from Clarks, the shop that makes you cry as you hand over your hard-earned cash. The cost of those shoes! Mind you, I did very well as these were the only ones I liked and they were in the sale and in Isabella's size - I paid the princely sum of £10..hurray! Please excuse the carpet colour; I photographed the shoes on a dull Wednesday which had the effect of making the carpet appear the most lurid colour!

I would have like to show pictures of Isabella's gorgeously pudgy feet actually in the shoes, but you know what she's like (see previous pictures of my dear toddler disappearing from view). Maybe another time. They seem very large and even though I placed them next to Daddy's work boots to give some idea of scale they still look enormous.

I am finally catching up with myself a little where the business is concerned. I'm not too sure why I feel I have been running behind on everything, but that is how it has seemed of late. Perhaps the reality is that I am desperate to work on some new projects - ideas for bags have been buzzing around in my head and I also want to start doing a small limited range of one offs (or 3 or 4 offs) where I can explore some design ideas which are not practical on a large scale, but that will enable me to mix hand embroidery with script, something I love to do. Can't show anything just yet, but hopefully next week will see the first few completed.

My Lauren tote bags have been in demand of late which has made me assess stock and change a few of the fabrics used. I need to take some better photos, but the weather has been a bit iffy here to say the least and I keep missing the sunny patches - here are the ones I have taken in the meantime:

Lauren tote in blossom

Lauren tote in bubbles

Lauren tote in almond blossom

Hmm, better shots as soon as I can manage methinks!

* Ooh, a lovely bit of news just came in via email: a company I haven't dealt with much before has contacted me to place an order for 10 of my bags! Hurray! And even better, they are paying for them straight away - even bigger hurray!! Of course, this is where the reality of running a very small business from home with children and time issues comes into play - think I might do a blog about that next week

Kerry bag in tulip

Well, time for a coffee and a game of shops before starting on the washing mountain.

Have a good day xx

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

A bit of this and that

Isabella needed new shoes and so a trip into Falmouth was on the cards. Yet again, I forgot Lucy had drama club after school and patiently waited at the school gates for her to appear - durr - and finally worked out that now would be a good time to go shoe shopping as we had an hour to kill. This is what we see when we go shopping in Falmouth...

You see, the river Fal runs from the sea into the harbour mouth - 3rd deepest natural harbour in the world - past the docks...

through the town alongside the main street. These pictures show what we see from any of the little alleyways that lead off from the one main street; all were taken from the car park which Isabelaa and I use in the centre of town. This rather poorly taken shot gives an idea of what we see looking back over our shoulder into the town fromt he same car park: a glorious higgeldy-piggeldy mixture of rooftops silhoutted against a bright blue sky.

Hmm, must take more time over these pictures in future as they really aren't of good quality; then, we did have pretty teal blue and chocolate brown shoes to buy!

Our elderflower champagne is almost ready and fizzing so much that even the pressurised barrel split yesterday to gush a steady stream all over my dresser; thought the kitchen smelled a little worse than usual! Her's a posy I picked the other day to dry for when the hedgerows stop billowing with their creamy umbels. Many things - vinegars, tisanes, cordials, etc can be made with dried flowers as well as fresh.

We made so much cordial we are having to store it in demijohns as we can't face any more bottling up just yet. Well, time to finish; here's a pie to end on as I seem to have included food in most posts lately.

Have a lovely day all xx

Saturday, 14 June 2008

The week that was.

It's been a busy week of sewing and cooking and family get-togethers and, oh this is what we have been up to...

Making supper - red peppers stuffed with garlic, cherry tomatoes, cracked black pepper and plenty of home-grown marjoram

Add great glugs of fruity olive oil and some torn basil leaves, and top the whole with thin slices of chorizo (or not as we feel)...

and grated cheese. Bake for a bit to get this...

All those rich juices need some of Mr Dave's Italian bread made with tomatoes and black olives to soak them up - yum!

So that was some of the cooking, aided and abetted by Isabella whose apron really needs a wash as she uses it so often when helping me in the kitchen. I have also been completing a wholesale order which is on it's way now - phew, the relief. It was lovely working in the sewing room on beachy bags in such lovely hot weather knowing that we could always pop down to the sea for a bit after the children were out of school.

We are hoping to eat this - food again! - the first artichoke ever from our plants. Sooo looking forward to it!

Thank you by the way for all the lovely comments about the new 'what we are doing' page on my website. The feedback has been very positive and I am taking the suggestions of a book seriously - with shock, but seriously!!! Not sure how/when/why to do it but who knows eh?

Have a lovely weekend all.
Pipany xx

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

At Last!

Yesterday evening Lucy and I had a campfire and cleared away some of the enormous weeds that have taken over the garden a la triffids! It was a gorgeous evening and she worked away so hard. We are planning to do some more tonight and I think we shall have some marshmallows at the ready for toasting as a special treat - yum.

I have been thinking of adding a page to my website where I could put down some of the ways we do things here at Poltisko Farm (the farm that isn't if you know what I mean); I mean the sort of things that we have always done as a family and which are an integral part of our everyday life. Finally, I have got this underway thanks to the many, many requests I have had for our elderflower cordial recipe. For those of you who are interested in having a go at this delicious drink just click on the website link on the right of this page and look for the 'what we are doing' bit on the menu bar.

I am quite excited about this page as I can share some of the projects we have such fun with - the making of sloe gin and elderberry rob, the winemaking, the many, many recipes Dave and I have developed over all these years. I can explain how to make a pizza oven or how we grow our herbs for cutting and drying. I might even include some sewing projects for those who fancy taking me on at my own game! Then again, there may be a bit on how to keep hens for those who are thinking that way...who knows, but what I do know is that I shall have fun and it will be a journey through the seasons as most of what we do is governed by the ever changing landscape and what it has to offer.

I hope you will pop over to have a look and let me know what you think - please also allow for the fact that I need to work on it a little more. More things will be added regularly. For those of you who do not wish to visit my website I can only apologise as I simply cannot take the time to put them in two places and had to make a business decision (for once!).

In the meantime, above is the gate Dave made for our allotment - how cute is that?
And here is our little ramshackle shed which we moved to the allotment and which has left a huge hole in the garden that will become a den for the children in the summer holidays.

Enjoy your day xx

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Elderfower magic.

Yesterday afternoon I decided I had finally had enough of feeling like rubbish - great grammar there. Sick of feeling that I was on a merry-go-round of problems and worries with no control; in other words, I felt I had become someone life happens to rather than someone who makes life happen and it doesn't suit me. Maybe I am a bit of a control freak, but I find this a scary way to live, always wondering what the next 'thing' will be or dreading collecting the post/ answering the phone for fear of more bad news. This is not living as I know it and yesterday I had enough.

I collected Sam and Lucy from school and drove to pretty Mylor Bridge (yes, I have mentioned it a before as I love it so). This pretty creek village has a post office right on the water and I needed to collect car tax, so a trip seemed worth the short drive. I think with hindsight - that wonderous thing - that I probably felt the need to be soothed and feel a bit safe, for want of a better word, and Mylor has always been that place for me. Anyway, the children sat in the car watching the boats bob on the high tide and the kids playing football in the field on the opposite bank until I returned and then it hit me: we go on a harvesting fest! Nothing better than a spot of gathering when you feel a bit blue, so we drove home, collected Mr Dave (who was miraculously early for once) and headed back to the lanes of Mylor.

It was such fun, more so because I expected Sam to say he would stay at home as he is 18 now and has done this for most of his life, but he practically leapt into the car and brought a smile to his mamma's face with his eagerness to participate - bless him. Jolly handy too as his 6ft plus height could reach far higher than either me or Dave.

We walked, we drove, stopping the car whenever we spotted another cluster of bushes (and I am talking lanes that probably see a tractor a few times a year not busy side lanes here). It was such fun watching everybody clutching their bags of the gorgeous creamy flowers with that magical perfume you either love or loathe rather like Marmite. Finally we headed for home where dinner was eaten, baby bathed and put to bed and the elderflowers counted - 110 flower umbels in all! Good grief! And just in case anyone is worried here, we made sure we left plenty on each plant and there were still plenty to come (hurray, elderberry wine/cordial/jelly...).

So here's what we made - two vats of elderflower cordial and one huge batch of elderflower champagne which unfortunately doesn't keep too long and will have to be drunk rather quickly to avoid wastage...oh dear! In all we made gallons of the stuff, but more importantly we had such a grat time doing it.

And do I feel more like me? Yes I do. Will it last? Probably not but
it's a start, and there's always the champagne when the going gets tough! So my thought for all those feeling blue today is to get thee out into some countryside if at all possible and pick these beautiful flowers. Cordial can also be made with dried flowers so town dwellers can still join in and if the bushes in your area aren't flowering yet then you can still go out to earmark the ones you will be using.

P.S. Thank you all so much for the good wishes; it means a lot x

PPS. We've also been making ginger beer, but I'll save that for another day! xx