Sunday, 28 September 2008

A perfect weekend.

The weekend was as beautiful as promised. Sunshine from morning through to dusk meant two days spent in the garden trying to get it back under some sort of control after pretty much ignoring it for the last two summers. I am something of a gardening addict and love my time spent pottering, weeding, pruning, blitzing...whatever is needed I pretty much enjoy. It is a long-held addiction which began as a little girl following my Dad around his veg plot and dead-heading marigolds into a bucket for my lovely Grandad, the vibrant orange petals leaving a gungy mess on my fingers which fascinated me even then.

Our own garden is fairly large and has the end part fenced off for the hens. At the moment we are down to one, the other three having succombed to a fox attack and old age (probably died of shock bless her) and, of course, the survivor is once again a dear little Gold Line hen called Discovery - I won't go into the reasons behind this odd name yet again, but suffice it to say that this hen sleeps in our sloe tree and has always managed to escape the fox where other less intelligent hens have failed miserably. We have decided this week we shall replace the missing three with some more Gold Lines as they are such a lovely breed and genuinely enjoy human company, following us around as we weed and running up to us when we come through the back door to be stroked. My eldest son once taught one to fly across the pen and land on his shoulder; a dubious thing to achieve but very funny. Hopefully the new ones will be as much fun.

The rest of the garden needed a serious re-think and I was called in for one of my favourite jobs of re-designing. I had to lift all the plants, of which there are literally hundreds, re-shape some beds and remove others to enable a new grass area to be seeded when the heat goes out of the weather a little. We had gradually lost much of our grass to plants over the years and while this was lovely in its own way, it meant that Isabella really had nowhere to play that was toddler-friendly, though the front garden is perfect in this respect and we do use it a lot. I wanted her to be able to join me in my gardening without worrying about her safety and so the garden once more will have grass. It will be lovely to see the children camping out there again next summer and sitting round the camp fire late into the night.

So, as I chopped and dug and levelled with Lucy helping out- when she could stop herself scoffing blackberries and nasturtium flowers - Mr Dave and Elias built a new hen house to replace our huge one which we built together for our very first hens many years ago. This was also due an overhaul as the blasted birds pt using it as a means to escape, launching themselves onto the roof and then walking over the top of the fence to plop down the other side. It was like watching Chicken Run, but no more will they munch my plants and devour my seedlings. The new house is smaller, lower of roof and made from scrap wood to please me (Dave would much rather get wood of the right size than cobble together, but it is so cute in a higgeldy-piggeldy way and I love it).

The weekend ended with a roaring camp fire to reduce the enormous mountains my clearance had produced. The ducks watched bemused as always, Discovery sat down as close to us as she could bear (it really was roaring and thus swelteringly hot) and I sipped my Homemade Something as I stoked the flames. The Homemade Something? I have various demi-johns full of different coloured liquids in our porch. Some, such as this one, are 7-8 years old and the labels have long since gone so I have no idea what they are. Generally they are nothing to write home about and I recork them to see if another year will improve the situation. Dave would quite merrily bin them, but he is learning as this year two of them have struck gold. One tastes like an Amontillado sherry - dry, walnutty and wonderful poured over ice. The other is just gorgeous - more like a liqueur with a rich, velvety feel and that wonderful warmth as it fills your mouth. I think it either a plum or rhubarb or possibly a honeysuckle wine, though less likely the latter. Anyway it is delicious and I quie merrily sipped away until I was quite chilled out. The perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Cheers all xx

P.S. I feel obliged to mention (for those who may be worried) that we rarely have a fox attack and we do shut the majority of the girls up at night. Unfortunately, nature is red in tooth and all that, and will always win some of the battles.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Bits and Bobs.

Mr Dave is home once more, exhausted by a very gruelling three day course which started at 8am and seemd to end at about 8.30pm. On our last evening of 'girly times' as Lucy referred to it, I had a sudden need to do some cooking with the two littlies. Not sure why as it was a bit late in the day really and I could feel I was not at my most patient, but they were so keen that I bit back any reservations and off we set. Aprons were donned and utensils placed to the ready. Lucy decided to make
herself a cheese and vegetable pasty (not purists here I'm afraid) for her lunch at school the next day.

Isabella 'helped' me to make one for Daddy - she rolled that pastry and added the necessary carrot peelings, bits of cheese and frankly anything else she could get her chubby paws on, the resulting squiggles of pastry being added to the top of the pasty as a decoration. "Mine is 'L' for Lucy," announced Lucy-Lu. "Mine is a El-Phant!" bellowed Isabella, a tone of shocked surprise running through her voice at our incredible dimness!

No pictures of the finished article I am sorry to say as I was a little up to my ears in things by the time they had cooked, but they were truly delicious as was the blackberry and apple pie we also made from the last of our Coxs and berries from the garden. Other things occupying my time this week have been equally enjoyable. Yesterday I sat in the garden working on a pile - 18 backs and 6 fronts to be precise - of doorhangings. Lovely to embroider in the hot Autumn sunshine. The picture above shows just a little of the heap.

I have also been cutting out an increasting stack of fabric squares as I want to make Isabella and Lucy quilts for Christmas, though I am not experienced at this in the least. I made one which I was rather pleased with for Lauren's 21st birthday earlier this year and am now carried away by my success. Isabella's will be the first as it will be for her cot and therefore not so large. I never seem able to photgraph these fabrics well.

And lastly, here's a further peek at some of my Christmas range which is also coming along nicely. I have used some materials which speak to me of the sea and Cornwall in their colours and textures for these. More another time.

Phew, well that's it for today.

Have a lovely weekend everyone xx

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

A little time alone

Hasn't this been a truly beautiful Autumn so far, made all the more so by the desperate need to see some sunshine after the dire summer. The lanes are almost groaning under the weight of berries and our children seem to have permanantly stained faces from gorging on blackberries. Mr Davey is back late tonight and I have to say it has been really rather lovely looking after my brood alone, but only because it has been for a limited time. I know how hard it is by yourself having done it for far too long before. Still, a change is good and we are all excitd about Daddy's return.

Of course, Lucy-Lu reverted to type, spending the last two nights snuggled up in her mamma's bed in case I should 'feel lonely without Daddy'. So lovely to cuddle up to this warm little bundle squirrelled away under the covers like my very own teddy bear and to see her as she wakes in the morning. Mia Isabella has been vocal in her disgust that Daddy is absent and has been heard to shout 'not 'till workin'' whenever I have tried to explain, her curly head practically shaking with disbelief and a suspicious look in her eye as though I have hidden him away just to annoy her.

The last two evenings I have been completely alone once the two littles were asleep as the older ones have been taking themselves on visits all over the country. This brought its own special pleasure as I have always been very happy in my own company (bit of a joke as it happens about once every ten years, but I really am quite an independent soul) and really enjoyed the chance to do as I want for a while. Unfortunately, this also resulted in me taking this ludicrous photo as I was having a bad leg day and needed to check they were acceptable before I took them out for the day. This is what happens when you are left alone you know...sigh.

Back to saner things ... the fire was lit early, wine close to hand and a pile of sewing close by - bliss. Would have been even better if sheer tiredness didn't always have to spoil things so that by 8 o'clock I am slumped like a ragdoll in the wonderful heat of the crackling fire and close to comatose on one small glass of wine. Hey ho, I did get some sewing completed and actually have the beginnings of a pile of stock to stow away which is so lovely for me to see.

So, looking forward to another evening of the same before my dear chap is home again and life returns to its usual tenor of films and games and much laughter...and I wouldn't swap it for worlds.

Have a beautiful, sunny Wednesday xx

P.S. The apple is a Cornish Aromatic and it tastes gorgeou - just thought you might like to know.
P.P.S. I know I have used the pic of a rosehip before but I love it and it is so beautiful if you click on it to enlarge - kind of lifts the sprits really x

Monday, 22 September 2008

So pleased!

Just a quick and probably rather silly post, BUT I made the Grandad shirt and I am sooo pleased with it! Here is Mr Dave modelling it for me - dreadful pics as I was in a tearing hurry to get some photos before he went away for three days... three days!!!! On a course for his Headship final qualification! Most odd not to have him here

Anyway, back to the shirt. I have never made one these before and was actually a bit worried that I would mess it up. As it is, I am chuffed to bits as not only did it turn out really well, but it fitted too and, more to the point, as we are on a huge economy drive I made it from an Egyptian cotton sheet we had - gorgeous fabric which I then starched to give it a lovely crisp finish. So not only am I pleased but I am immensely smug too at my recycling skills. I so wish you could see the details such as the flat felled seams which are just a joy to do and give the garment such a lovely finish and the plackets on the front and cuffs (no, I had never heard of these either, but apparently they are the pieces which support buttonholes and line the openings on clothes).

Shame poor Davey looks rather short of leg (well, he is a little) as I stood on the step thus shortening him to Hobbit-ish proportions. Sigh...can't get everything right. I really felt like Ma from Little House on the Prarie turning sheets into clothes and feeding my babe berries from the garden which is the other thing we did this weekend. Off now to do some baking!

Have a lovely Monday x

Friday, 19 September 2008

A few more...

The children's door hangings I put on the website a few days ago are fairly flying out the sewing room door, thus I am enjoying a lovely feeling of having done something right which I am most pleased about. I received an enquiry as to whether I could possibly extend the range of canvas ones to include a couple more similarly nautical designs and here are the results...

First up is the original: Sailing Ship

followed by - The Lighthouse

and finally, Beach Hut

I have worked with these designs in various formats before and it was a pleasure to return to them, albeit with a little tweaking of patterns. I think they are quite jolly and remind me of the things I see every time I wander into Falmouth, especially the little lighthouse across the Bay known as St Anthony's on the Roseland Peninsula (just for you Elizabethd!).

Each has the same bed design on the reverse with the word 'sleeping' hand embroidered onto it. So there you have it: there are now three nautical door hangings to go with the Hearts & Flowers one shown below. They can be found by clicking here

This weekend I will be working on making some slightly larger ones for grown ups thanks to the brilliant suggestions of the lovely Kittyb, she of the glamorous looks, wonderfully mouthwatering cookery skills and gorgeous home...and she's also really fun to chat with as I have met her in 'real' life in a Cornish pub so I know she is all the these things! Go visit her blog and website, and see for yourself. Anyway, as I was saying, Kitty has given me some fab suggestions for door hangings to let people know you are feeding the hens (as many of us are, myself included), gardening, in the bath and so on. Thinking of some Christmassy ones too. Oh, I also have to make Dave a Grandad shirt by Monday...don't ask!!!!

Have a lovely weekend
Pipany xx

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

A little something for christmas.

I seem to be having a run on ideas at the moment, spurred on no doubt by the need to make some things for my own friends and family for Christmas - hey, I'm not the only one mentioning it! The upside to this is that if Iam pleased with the design it means I have a present nicely tucked away and can also do a run on the item for the business. Of course, I won't say what happens to all the ones that don't go quite according to plan...

This is what I have been working on this week and I have to say I am rather pleased with them. They are door hangings which were inspired (or not, depending on your point of view) by the vile pink fluffy thing that Lucy has on her bedroom door. it is not the colour I object to, but the tackiness of the entire item. Naturally she loves it and turns it around every night to display the hideous princess in lurid purple lying on her yellow bed...groan. I decided enough was enough, so set out to make her something pretty using my current obsession with linen and applique, and here it is: the Hearts & Flowers door hanging

The door hangings have a different design on the front and back as shown in the pictures. This one iis called Sailing ship and I love the mix of canvas and stipy fabrics in the applique. Of course there is a little hand embroidery as one would expect.

And here's the reverse...

They are both available here and I am now officially underway on the present front!

Bye for now x

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Tall Ships Regatta

Just some random shots of the Tall Ships Regatta which left from Falmouth Harbour on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon. The whole harbour and bay was a mass of boats and ships of every size and we watched it all from Dave's mother's garden which overlooks the bay. The pictures are of dreadful quality I'm afraid and belies the fact that is was a gloriously hot autumn day. I sat in the garden sipping endless cups of tea with my embroidery to hand - just lovely.

and a final one of Isabella trying to see the ducks swimming in our garden by standing on the wicked chair (Tom's way of saying wicker when he was but a babe). Cute.

Happy Sunday all x

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A Toothy Tale.

Little Lucy lost another tooth. Now for many parents this does not present any particular problem. For me, however, it is quite a different story. You see, Lucy-Lu writes a note - well, a letter of ever-increasing length actually - to the tooth fairy chatting about this and that, the drama surrounding said tooth and whether or not she has been a good girl since the last dental saga.

This gives me a headache on a number of points:
1. Have I confused her somehow and is this why she thinks Good Behaviour is part of the deal?

2. She expects a reply hand-written by the fairy who incidentally happens to be called Lilly.

3. Lucy is now 10 and knows sure as skippy there is no Tooth Fairy - stop with the shocked expression please as I do guilt far too well to take on board the ruination of bloggers' innocent dreams! The letter writing consists of her asking me endlessly whether I think the fairy will have improved her neatness of hand (I write a reply with my left hand which renders it almost illegible) whilst looking at me with that 'hmm, let's see how well you answer this then or are you going to mess up by letting slip at last that she doesn't exist' expression.

Trust me, when you wake from your deepest slumber with a feeling that you have left something major undone and then have to fish about under the pillow of sleeping child who has made sure there is every chance you will waken her by placing blinking miniscule tooth firmly under her head, it is very tempting to disabuse said child of any notions of fairyness, toothyness and any other ness that may spring to mind.
However, instead I decided to make this...

a Tooth Fairy purse in order that I may have something larger than Lucy's teeny tooth to find and place the required response into - the response by the way is usually written on blue card. Why? Haven't a clue! Anyway, this little purse has made it all so much easier and Lucy is so pleased with it that she didn't even give me the knowing 'look', just one of pure pleasure that her dearest Mamma should have spent her time embroidering flowers just for her.

And she really doesn't need to know that I would rather do that than housework any day...does she? The purse now is available on my website for all those in a similar predicament with many more trips from the Tooth Fairy to contemplate.

Bye for now x

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Hearts and Flowers

The last few days seem to have been a little manic here - me trying to get back into work mode and the family descending en masse at the same time. Though it's been a lovely time of impromptu meals and chats and much laughter, yesterday found me desperate for two minutes peace in order to be able to clear some of the ever-growing list of jobs. Yesterday all calmed a little in the evening and I was able to start the list by loading this little gem onto the website.

It is a sweet linen bag lined with flowered cotton which I decided to call Hearts and Flowers due to the fact that it comes with its own gingham heart...

and is hand embroidered with a scattering of flowers and a branch of pretty blossom. I also appliqued a little girl with a hat to complete the scene.

So that is one job completed which is always a lovely way to start the day. Next up is organising my Christmas range which is already well underway. Here's a little peek to to whet the appetite.

Of course, this little bag would make a perfect early present to stow away for all you organised people - just think how virtuous you'll feel! Pushy? Me?

Have a lovely day x