Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Help Needed Please & a Giveaway!

I have spent much of the last few days working on my website - a job which involves hours of sitting staring at a computer screen until my eyes feel as though they are about to bleed! Attractive image isn't it?

The whole site needed a little tweaking which, once started, turned into a lot of tweaking. The result I hope will make it a little easier to navigate. I have changed the product page so that there are now four categories: gifts, bags, children's corner and home accesories. Some of the products will appear in a couple of categories because they fit both - hey, who am I to say a door hanging can't be both a home accessory and a gift?

By clicking on the images you should now be taken through to a page of products available in each of the categories and from there to further details (size, price, etc) of each item.

I have also updated at last the Where we are and What we are doing pages with more current pictures of our life here in Cornwall - it is after all what inspired and continues to inspire this little business of mine.

Now for the 'Help' part of this post: I wonder if you would be so good as to pop over to have a look at the site? What I want is for you to have a wander around, try out some of the links, generally test it out for me and then let me know what you think. In return I will put all the names of those who leave a comment between now and Saturday morning - shall we say 10am closing? - into a hat and send whoever is pulled out one of these Hush Hearts as a thank you. I know how hard it can be to find time to just read blogs let alone have to do some work, so I really am very grateful to those who can help out. Not worried if you've never visited before or never commented - always nice to meet new people. The pipany website can be reached here.

(And dear Twiglet who has waited forever, yours is in the post finally and should be there tomorrow - let me know if not!).

Thank you x

Monday, 28 September 2009

Seeds and Grasses.

When will I learn that it really doesn't pay to leave product photography for another day when the conditions are pretty much perfect at the time of making said decision? Yesterday there was soft, golden sunlight where today there is only a dull, flat light which makes it so difficult for a very amateur photographer such as myself to get the product images I need for my website. Hey ho, no doubt such things will eventually stick in my mind and I won't allow myself to be seduced by the thought of lazily quaffing wine on the courtyard as the sun descends possibly not to return for far too long...hmm, or maybe I won't.

So, here is the Grasses Lavender Cushion, the first of my new range. It is one of two lavender cushions inspired by the grasses and seedheads I see everywhere I go at the moment. Whether I am in our garden, roaming around the lanes or by the sea the colours and textures of autumn seem to leap out at me and this is my interpretation of what I see.

I have changed the way I work slightly for these pieces using a mix of freehand machine and hand embroidery to get the effect I was after, that of wispy grasses waving in the breeze layered with the bulkier, denser forms of seeds and seed cases.

The second cushion - aptly named Seed Lavender Cushion - also has a little applique, my working of the granite rocks glimpsed as a backdrop to so much of the landscape in Cornwall.

A little close-up of embroidery detail.

Each cushion is approximately 12cm square, quite small to be called a cushion really, but somehow sachet or pad didn't fit with how I feel about them. I have given them each a string handle to enable them to be hung if desired rather than tucked away in a drawer(far too pretty for that methinks!) My hope is that whoever sees them will view them as miniature pieces of art (if that doesn't sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet?), something which will add to their home and be a little heirloom in the making. Well, that's my hope anyway.

Each one will obviously vary slightly due to the nature of handmade items, but that is the charm of something handcrafted isn't it: something unique and worked from the heart, which these certainly were. More items to come over the next few days - if the light returns that is!

Friday, 25 September 2009

A September Morn.

It is cloudy here now after the most beautiful start to the day. I wanted to show you the things that are inspiring my work at the moment and so took these pictures early this morning after Isabella and I had taken Lucy to school. Seedheads and grasses of every description catch my eye, from golden grasses

to rumex of the darkest red

and as for these...oh, how beautiful they are.

Thay seem to change from soft and downy

to harder, more scratchy in texture - does that make sense?

Such amazing colours from vibrant green

to wheaten yellow.

From starkly structural

to spindly and delicate.

Pure inspiration. If only what I see in my head would leap onto the fabric - or, read another way, if only I could stop scribbling ideas and leave it at the thousand or so designs I already have. My business head says the new range is ready to go, items made and set to be showcased, and yet I feel nervous.

There is a change evident in this range, a slightly more 'grown-up' feel for want of a better description and I am nervous at the reaction to it. Silly and not very business-like of me I know, but perhaps it is because these designs speak to something in me, the bit of me that loves autumn and the restful feel that comes with the softened tones of nature, the fires lit in the lengthening dusk, the soft-and-sad song of birds on quiet mist shrouded rivers. All these things I love and I hope they are evident in some small way in the stitches worked, the gentler tones weaving through the cloth.

I hope to show my new range next week after a little final tweaking (though heavens knows I have probably built it into something it isn't now and thus will regret mentioning it at all!). In the meantime,

have a lovely weekend everyone x

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


I may not have mentioned it much lately, but sewing has been pretty much filling my days; come to that it has pretty much been filling my nights too. New designs, orders, fabrics to sort ... these are just some of the things which demand of my time and as they are also the very things which lie at the heart of a textiles business such as mine, then time must be found - somehow.

If only days were longer; if only I had more energy; if only I could find more time for stitching grasses...

baking breads...

more grasses...

knitting socks... still...sigh...

playing games....

but mostly trying to perfect darned designs that swim around my head

they'll get there

in time.

What are you struggling to find time for? Just one thing will do!

Have a restful evening x

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Changing Light.

Friday late afternoon found me waiting on Customs House Quay for the return of Lucy after a one night school residential. Glorious sunshine had disappeared leaving a lowering sky in its wake, a light that turned sea to a leaden version of its erstewhile glittering self. I love both its costumes, the former for the cheery holiday feel a sparkling sea and jaunty wavelets impart, and the latter because in my heart I am a North coast girl prone to the pull of angry seas, crashing waves and dark, moodily brooding scenes. We don't get so many of those on this softer south coast, but this was such a day; ok, the crashing waves were noticeable in their absence, but the light was pure molten lead...just call me Heathcliffe.

The tide was exceptionally high and reached just below the quayside bringing the myriad boats closer than ever. I love to come into town and stop by one of the various places that lead to such views as these. Somehow shopping seems far more interesting when boats are just round the corner (or so Isabella thinks judging by the fact that we spend sooo long walking around the quays and so little time actually in the shops).

Water polo used to be played in this little inlet. Shame there wasn't time for a swift pint in the Chain Locker!

By contrast, a walk along another waterway took place in soft autumnal sunshine late on Saturday afternoon. We headed to Coombe, a favourite walk of ours which I have blogged about before. Here the famous Kea plums grow in ancient orchards bordering the banks of the river. We usually take the children here a bit earlier in the year to gather the fallen plums from the lanes, but somehow we missed it this year and found only the splattering purple marks embedded in the grit to mark their passing.

Such a beautiful place with old ramshackle sheds nestled under trees

pretty boats bobbing softly against the shore

A place of quiet and peace and beautiful houses peeked at through hidden gateways...oh, the garden of this one is just perfect with sloping lawns - not manicured, thank heavens (hate, hate, hate this, much prefering lawns with moss and clover, buttercups and dandelion making up the sward) - and hazel teepees covered in deliciously scented sweet peas. I could go on (and frequently do!), but suffice it to say I could move in tomorrow given so much as a nod.

there's the sloping lawn...

We trudged on up the lane past this piece of perfection

quick view of another piece of perfection (what do you mean, love is blind?)

I realise this post is rather long, so will call a halt for now and leave the orchards & bric-a-brac stall hidden under a tree for another day. We bought a few things including a little footstall which Isabella liked so much she sat upon the shore watching the sun slanting across the still waters while the river birds quietly sang their song in the distance. Very lovely.

Hope your weekend was good too x

Thursday, 17 September 2009

A Day For....

Couldn't help snapping some more things that have pleased me today. First up, big brother Sam playing patiently with little sister Isabella. Very patient considering she was trying to fashion him a hat from her poor, bedraggled bunny.

Washing quilts and seeing them blowing on the line...

Awful pictures as the sun had moved behind the trees, yet the shade was bright. Hmm, that makes no sense does it?

One day I swear I'll take a decent picture of the quilts I made for the two littlest girls (said in the manner of one obsessed!)

A perfect blue sky

Dazzling daisies against murky pond

Still perfect even with a cotton-wool cloud or two scudding lazily across the canvas

A chilled out Tiger-Lily stretched out on the bench beneath the weigelia.

So, a day for playing and quilt-watching and cat-napping and for reading this wonderful post from one of my favourite blogs, Little Cottage Comforts by Pomona. Pop over if you haven't already and have a lovely read through her truly gorgeous blog.

And isn't it always a day for a kiss?
Bye for now x