Friday, 31 October 2008

Meeting & Making.

The half term holiday has been a wet and windy time in Cornwall. Every day seems to have been a mixture of showers, both torrentially heavy and drizzly light, and odd bursts of weak sun which fails to last. Today the sun is bursting through in a clear, bright sky turning the rosehips twining through the camellia outside our bedroom window the most brilliant shade of vermillion against a backdrop of glistening green leaves. Even Davey's lemon is putting on fresh growth, though I fear it will regret that when it turns colder and we get our one frost of the year.

Earlier this week I met up with lovely Diana from Pebbledash, another blogger from Cornwall. I have been so looking forward to meeting her and we arranged to meet up in The Yellow House, a pretty little shop in Penryn once featured in Country Living, selling all sorts of gorgeous things with the ability to drink coffee and scoff cakes to your hearts content... and goodness did we test that to the limit; I walked home thinking a couple of hours had passed to find it was actually closer to four! Oops.

Diana was just as I knew she would be - warm, interesting, funny (very funny - rats, that's all I'm saying Diana!) and so very easy to chat with as the amount of time we spent proved. I could quite happily have whiled away the remainder of the day, but we'll save that for another time instead. Diana also gave me the gorgeous stamped cards seen above made by her own very talented hands. I really think she should be allowing us to purchase her beautiful paperwork which you can see by popping over to her blog if you haven't already. My photographs don't do them justice I'm afraid, but Isabella thought they were beautiful too and chose this one to keep...

then changed her mind in favour of this one...

Such a lovely time... thank you Diana and next time we'll have to persuade Ginny down for a holiday! Well, off to finish making the skull pinata with the children for tonight's Hallowe'en party. Dressing up, apple bobbing and Dave's Boston Baked Beans are all on the agenda so plenty to do. I am actually on top of - nay, ahead of - the orders which is a lovely feeling and means I can risk doing something about my list of Christmas gifts niggling away in the back of my mind. Hmm, will probably regret saying that!

Happy Hallowe'en everyone xx

Thursday, 23 October 2008

A Babbity Day!

A very quick post today as the sewing room is hidden by a pile of orders which need packaging and posting...with much help from Isabella no doubt. The Christmas stocking and Carol Hearts have been really well received, so thank you for all the lovely comments - the next batch of items are on their way to the website, but I still haven't got pictures I am altogether happy with yet; probably be ready about New Year at this rate!

Today is Davey's 40th birthday - hasn't quite caught me up yet - so there has been much excitement here at Poltisko Farm. I have a pile of his favourite brownies to make which will be all gone in a very short time once the hoards get their hands on them, and then we shall have a lovely romantic dinner once the littles have gone to bed; well, that's the plan though I haven't actually worked out what I'm cooking other than pea & borage soup...hmm, may need a bit more than soup and candlelight to make it work.

Lots to do so I had better make a start and had also better rescue poor Fatty Arbuckle from Isabella as she is trying to get him to have his photograph taken...looks worse than it is really as he is the soppiest cat and positively purrs like a mad thing when she 'plays' with him. At least it keeps her away from the Babbits waiting for their name tags before they leave for their new homes. The word busy seems to be synonymous with Babbits at the moment, so for once I will introduce a new saying instead of Isabella (she of the 'Habby' for happy and 'Babbit' for rabbit') and say I hope you all have a Babbity day!

Have a Babbity day everyone x

Monday, 20 October 2008

Christmas goodies!

Finally, finally, I have uploaded some Christmas goodies onto my website and there will be more to come, but I cannot face any more photography on such a dark, dismally wet day. Many thanks are due to my dear davey who helped me so much with the whole image taking challenge and it truly is such a challenge as our little house is very lacking in the natural light department. So, here are the first of the pipany Christmas range!

The Holly and the Ivy Christmas stocking as pictured at the top - pretty picture Dave - features hand embroidered holly leaves, berries and silvery stars which twinkle slightly as they catch the light. It is made from a cream linen mix and has a soft, fleecy cuff which I have embroidered 'the Holly and the Ivy' across as shown just here...

and here is a detail shot of the leaves where you can just see the delicate silveryness traced trhough the stocking...

So, on now to my Christmas padded hearts which are this year's version of the ones I made for 2007. This year I have based the hearts on the following carols...

In the bleak Mid-winter

Away in a Manger

and last of the three is O Little Town of Bethlehem

Each of the hearts is lightly padded and can be hung on the tree or anywhere else around the house to add a festive touch. They are also available as a collection of three.

So there you have it - a quickly posted blog for something that seems to have taken forever! Hope you like them and here's another picture of the Holly and Ivy Christmas stocking just because. More to follow soon!

Bye for now x

Monday, 13 October 2008

Cider Sunday.

It is early morning and the garden is shrouded in an October mist. Hopefully this heralds another beautiful Autumnal day full of sunshine and warmth much like the perfect weekend we have just had. My weekend began with a treat, a little something of such loveliness that I couldn't resist - I bought myself a pincushion from a gorgeous new online shop called Made by Florence. I suggest you take yourselves off for a look at some of the beautiful things Florence makes, all very original and stitched with care. It is just perfect Florence and I have already used it to great effect all weekend - thank you x

Orders poured in all through last week, so I spent much of the weekend working in my sewing room which was very enjoyable. I can only imagine thoughts are turning Christmas-wise judging by the order list pinned on my wall and what is lovely is the range of things being ordered, everything from bags to Babbits (of which there are a vast number of the baby variety lined up on my shelves) to garden door hangings. It is all very busy and makes me feel I have hit the mark with my designs which is most gratifying. In between all this activity Dave and I made sure we all had a good time as a family - it was the weekend after all. Sunday morning saw us dressed and out by 9am after first downing a pot of coffee in bed first of course. By 9.30 we had collected two trugs of apples from a friend's garden.

Home once more and Elias and Dave set up the fruit press in the front garden while I got a hearty breakfast underway - sausages, beans, etc as a rare Sunday morning treat. My eldest son, Tom, arrived and was soon pulled into service with our diminutive press, which is somewhat ironic as he makes cider for a living with a press that makes ours seem a little on the small side. Doesn't everyone make cider dressed in surfwear?

Elias worked hard and the girls splashed and sploshed up and down the pathway in the excess water from cleaning the equipment. They were truly drenched by the time I called them all in for a sustaining breakfast - how often it seems I dress & re-dress little Isabella. Much toast was consumed accompanied by glassed of freshly squeezed apple juice which is so unlike anything I can describe. Each time you press it, it tastes different depending on the year, the varieties used, the mix of apples, but it always tastes just wonderful. This batch was brownish in colour as is usual and sweet. The remaining apples were pressed and the barrel now sits in the mint bed in front of the kitchen window turning into cider for Christmas festivities as a change from the other homemade beverages stowed away.

Dave went off to London in the afternoon for another meeting and what did I do instead of sewing? Made chutney with Tom as he had a burning desire to make some to take home to his girlfriend on her return from work later that day. We chopped and stirred and measured and chatted away the afternoon to the delicious smell of mint and vinegar, and the deeper aromas of fresh ginger combined with apple. A short while and several cups of tea later and here was the result of our endeavours, mine sensibly labelled like so...

and Tom's not so sensibly labelled like this (but much funnier I think!).

For those who may be interested, the recipe for this chutney which is delicious with cheese or meats is written up here. Make some, keep some & give some away for Christmas - homemade presents are always lovely aren't they?

Bye for now x

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Feeding the Hens.

Phew, things suddenly got a bit hectic around here - the orders have begun to increase after a relatively quiet summer, which is just lovely. I have had a couple of new things commissioned which I have thoroughly enjoyed working on - more of those another day. I finally also managed to finish a little work in progress, a work which had made it this far, but no further...

until yesterday when I completed it at last. It is my 'I'm feeding the Hens' door hanging for those of us who have this little job as part of our daily lives and judging by what I read in the land of blog, that is quite a lot of us. So, first came the hen-house, complete with rose covered walls (and no, our hen-house has no roses left on it either!). Actually, in our case the hens came first in a cardboard box from whence Dave let them out whereupon they flew all around the living room until we novices caught them and proceeded to build them a home!!! Quite a few years ago and all of us, children included, are now very able bird catchers.

Hmm, back to the door hanging - next, of course, came the hens, the inspiration for which lay in the form of our own little Gold Line called Discovery. Well, she looks a little like this anyway.

And finally came the hedging as I thought an image of our 8ft fence would not seem so appealling to the eye, and here is the finished article which would go rather nicely with the 'I'm in the Garden' door hanging as I usually combine the two.

Another job ticked off the list and now I am off to make up a bag, a Babbit, a tote bag, a..... well, let's just say I'll be sewing!

Pipany xx

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A special present

Isabella is a little under the weather today and as today is the one day in the week when she goes to a friend for a few hours, it means I have lost my work day. Hey ho, these things happen and it is lovely to snuggle up with her on the sofa while the rain pours down. Just need to shove down hard on that panic about stock-building and order sending and... enough, she is having a little snooze so I have a chance to post this blog before snuggling down again and that is just fine.

Today the postman brought this gorgeous parcel all for me! It is from the lovely Ginny at the Flour Loft and inside were this pretty card made by Ginny

a package of goodies

and THIS! Ginny and her friend Alice have written a book - a real and published book - and here it is! Lucy and I are going to make some of the projects and write a review; in fact, Lucy will insist on writing her own as she is so fiercly independent that she cannot see why I should merely pass on what she thinks, so watch this space. From a first look through the book seems absolutely bursting with great projects which cover a wide range and loads of helpful information. I have already earmarked two for us to make for a dear friend's 3rd birthday in a couple of weeks' time. Thank you so much Ginny - I am so thrilled and touched by your thoughtfulness, lovely lady x

And finally, Ginny also tagged me for some random facts which I have not got round to doing, so here they are:

1. I am known to say 'I love onions' often, a fact I did not realise until friends pointed it out to me. I love them any way they come - fried, roasted, caramelised, raw; I love them as leeks, spring, garlic, anything oniony really. and apparently I will quite happily ramble on about onions for hours (actually, any food really!).

2. Many of the females on my father's side of the family were white witches and my aunt - long dead now - once sat me down and told me I 'had the gift' too. My mother's side is full of stories of my Irish Grandmother's psychic ability which I also seem to have a bit of judging by the over-sensitivity to atmosphere, knowing who is going to 'phone, etc. Never really sure what one should do about such things so I do little, but can do a mean card reading when in the right mood! Oh, and I saw a ghost a couple of years ago when we were staying in a Nat Trust property for the weekend - most odd experience.

3. I often smell in colour - I forget the name for this right now. Doesn't everyone understand when I say something smells like scarlet?!!!

4. I have an absolute need for beauty and can generally find it anywhere I am. A piece of writing that can move me with its simplicity and honesty is my idea of heaven, music (Gorecki - just beautiful), a tiny flower, the colour of a leaf in autumn - so much all around if we just stop for a moment. Just picture the slowly unfolding twilight, the gentle deepening of dusk as the birds settle and silhouetted trees move gently against the velvety backdrop of an ochre streaked sky - how can that not move the soul? Lucky me to have a Davey who feels the same!

5. I am a dreadful worrier. I mostly worry about the children not world events which is terrible but I am so exhausted after worrying about seven children that I just can't fit much more in! I think it is all about low self-esteem (yes, that old cherry) and the endless need to make things 'better' for our children, but for the love of God can I not just stop!

6. I love almost everything about Autumn, from the colours to the mists, the fruits & berries (my fave), crackling fires, hot sunny days when we get them and crisp, chilly nights, even the rain today has me smiling as I watch the ducks enjoying it and the poor hen looking like a wet rag! Or perhaps I am just a bit chilled out today.

Well done for making it this far - off for a read of my new gorgeous book now before Isabella wakes.

Have a good day xx

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Designing for doors!

Sometimes the design process is difficult. Sometimes you have all these ideas whirling through your mind, each one vying with the others, each seeming more exciting than the last and keeping you awake at night with the endless possible combinations of colour and texture, and yet, and yet... Sometimes these ideas just refuse to work and have to be stowed away for another time. This week I had an idea that just worked from the outset. First i wanted to make a door hanging that was perhaps more suited to grown ups than these or these. It needed to be larger and I had a hankering for a wheelbarrow to be included.

The wheelbarrow led me to thinking about all the clippings and twigs sitting in mine since my garden clearance of the weekend, and so this was included too.

From here I decided to add a little stack of precariously balanced flowerpots, a pleasing mix of flowers and gingam to offset the browns of the wheelbarrow waiting close by.

And finally, I worked the accompanying hand embroidered line 'I'm in the garden' just in case anyone was unsure. I am so pleased with this Garden door hanging that I keep moving our one around the house so that I can see it most of the time. I have added it to the website where it is available here.

If only all ideas worked as well as this!
Next up is the almost completed design for people out 'feeding the hens'.

Have a lovely weekend xx

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Creative Works.

Isabella has been very creative this week in a variety of activities. She has made creatures out of pipe cleaners, glue, etc in the best Blue Peter manner. A little help was given as you may have thought from the penguin seen in the picture, but the caterpillar is all her own work.

From here the inspired babe progressed to scribbling all over her Mamma's notes for an English lesson she was about to give a student once Isabella went down for her nap...when will I learn not to leave things lying around?

A little flower arranging in the garden with the hydrangeas which were intended for drying...

and of course one must always tidy up by brushing the path (note to self: check daughter is wearing tights of a colour not to turn lurid in the eye of camera before photographing said child + check all junk in form of bag of mother's embroidery is removed from step! No magazine feature pending then?)

Further note to self: don't hurl oneself into the air like some lunatic in an effort to imitate a bunny for daughter, nor twitch one's nose and make noises of a tongue-clicking-Bugs Bunnyish nature before checking whether the postman is watching silently with a large grin on his usually sombre face!

Bye for now x