Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A Little Quiet.

Odd to be back blogging and truthfully I am still very much in the midst of the Christmas break as are most of you no doubt, but I felt a little quiet time here was needed. Not many words, just images from our Christmas which has been just how I hoped it would be: restful, fun, full of family and feasting with plenty of creative moments thrown in. So, first up are some of the handmade gifts I was unable to show before: blocks of pure glycerine soaps cut by Dave and packaged by me as gifts for friends.

Pretty bottles of oil flavoured with garlic, chilli, rosemary and juniper berries with a few bay leaves thrown in. In the background is a large jar of pickled eggs made for Sam who has been asking for some all year!

Walks were taken at Trevaunace Cove in icy winds

where the late afternoon sun caught the cragged cliffs bathing them in cool winter light and casting the battering sea below into deep shadow.

Frozen, we headed to nearby Porthtowan Beach for huge bowls of hot chocolate to chase the chills away.


Then out for a last run across the sands as twilight rapidly descended into night.

Well, I think that'll be all for this first foray back into blogging. I must off to scoff one of the gorgeous cupcakes Lucy has made using her new cookery set, book and apron. Truly delicious and I think next year may be the year of the cupcake in this house.

Which one shall I choose?

Hope your Christmas has been all you hoped for.
Bye for now x

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas x

Juts a brief line or two to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Our internet access has been a little intermittent (!) hence the lack of blogging and commenting, but I will catch up when I can with you all. In the meantime have fun, eat plenty, drink carefully and much love to you all,

Pip xx

Monday, 14 December 2009

A Perfect Day + Giveaway Result.

Well, I know who won my little giveaway, but before I divulge this information I want to tell you about the wonderful day we had yesterday when this lovely lady came to visit with dear Walter who behaved beautifully putting up with much cuddling, pestering and generally being given no peace, poor chap. Diana came bearing gorgeous gifts such as this...

and these wonderfully scented pinecones which crackled and fizzed on the fire giving off the most amazing light and scenting the room with Christmassy smells. Of course, the packaging was perfect too with all my favourites included: brown paper, waxed string and butcher's string...ahhh.

We also had some of those beautiful paper lanterns which you place a tealight under and watch them float away as you make a wish. I love these and have never been lucky enough to own any, so we are planning to light these on New Year's Eve, making wishes for the coming year and thinking of our lovely friend and her wonderful, generous company. Such a great day of a little alcohol (thanks for the pink fizz Diana), a lot of feasting and a fair mix of chatting, knitting - Lucy, Davey, Diana and I all clacking our needles away around the kitchen table - and laughing. The very best of days (though you were heartily missed and talked about dear Ginny x).

And so, to the giveaway - thank you to all who entered and I loved reading your aims for next year. I will definitely link back to this next December when we can all compare notes and laugh at the notion that we thought of such lofty achievements or cheer each other on for those who actually managed what they said. I may even post reminders along the way to keep us all going. Quite like the idea of that somehow.

I used a random number generator this time to pick the winner and it came up with....


A Peace Dove Heart will be winging its way to you Simone once you have let me have your address please (email:

Sorry to those who didn't win, but I think I may do more of these next year as I quite enjoy them!

Off to work now. Have a lovely day x

Friday, 11 December 2009

A Little Giveaway.

I thought a little Christmas giveaway would be a nice way to end the week - yay, it's Friday! - but first a catch-up on what's been going on here in sunny Cornwall. Yes, at last we had wonderful, healing, glorious sunshine which bathed the harbour in golden light.

I took these pictures on a very short trip into town with Isabella who has been very poorly. She loves to see the boats and, as I think I have mentioned many times before, is something of a water baby. The beautiful sunlit water cheered us both after being housebound yet again this week. My poor, sweet girl seems to have had one thing after another this winter, but is on the mend now (fingers crossed). I moved into the kitchen for the week with my work and Isabella sat threading beads, keeping me company once she was over the worst and chatting quietly about all things Christmassy.

Orders had flowed steadily in and were tackled in a calm manner. It's amazing how a child with a roaring temperature throws everything into perspective isn't it? Once I would have panicked each time my email inbox revealed another order had arrived - how would I do it with a sick child? What if the order was late? What if she wouldn't let me leave her side? Now I just sit next to her and embroider, count myself lucky that I have orders at all when so many I know are struggling and treat it like I do everything else, knowing that you just work away until things are sorted. No point in the panic really is there? Of course, I might add that it does help that I managed to get well ahead in the stock-piling before she will ill with boxes of cut out goods and embroidered pieces waiting to be put together. Must remember that being organised is a Good Thing!

Other elements of life went on much the same as ever. I am proud as can be to be able to say that I am still making all our own bread and have not bought any since the beginning of the summer holidays. I fact, I would go so far as to say that it is a necessary part of my days now, the kneading and working of the dough being a time for reflection and thought as much as writing my blog seems to be, freeing up the creative part of my mind ready for the day ahead. I'm not saying it is always like that (I am often baking blasted rolls at night because SOMEONE has scoffed the last few intended for lunches the next day - mentioning no names Dave), but when it runs like it is supposed to I can't imagine ever buying bread again. Simple pleasures in providing for your family aren't there?

Life is now back to normal with me re-instated in my seing room and focussing on work once more, but I felt a little fun was needed and so on to my little giveaway. I thought it would be nice to offer one of these Christmassy hearts, the catch being - there's always a catch isn't there? - that you have to tell me one thing you would like to achieve by the end of next year. It could be something craft-based: I hope to start crocheting again, something I haven't done since I was a very young child; it could be something life-changing/enhancing such as spending one night a week pampering yourself or changing jobs or starting your own business; in fact in could be anything big or small that you hope to achieve. My plan is that roughly this time next year I will post a link on my blog back to this post and you will be able to see if you actually did manage what you hoped to. Does that make sense?

Obviously this is supposed to be fun and I do not intend for you to feel like a colossal failure if you haven't done what you set out to do! It just struck me that it could be a lovely and hopefully inspiring way to get something done, and to have a laugh at some of the funnier suggestions I'm sure will arrive. The downside is that you will have to pop over here to let me know which of the four Christmas themed hearts you want should your name be drawn: one of these Peace Hearts

or one of this silvery-threaded pair.

So, that's it - I will make this a quick one with the closing date for comments on this post at 10am Monday 14th December so that I can post it the same day. Usual rules: open to all-comers whether you have never visited before, never commented before (always lovely to meet new people) or are a regular visitor. The more the merrier.

Golly, my posts get ever-longer and for this I do apologise and will try to make them shorter and less waffly in future! In the meantime, let's hope for more sunshine and think about what you want to achieve next year.

Have a great weekend x

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Winter Light.

At this time of year when the light is all but gone I find myself drawn to the shadowy blues such dim light produces. There is something quieting, soothing about these tones which makes me feel restful even when I am far from it. It is the sort of light a fall of snow produces casting blueish notes into an otherwise white landscape and there is something so vastly appealing in this for me that I thought today's post would reflect it, particularly as there is a distinct absence of such a tonal range just now with greys and depressingly sludgy colours predominating. .

Ah well, a trip through the photo archives will find cool seas and frost-rimed seaweed.

A row of Butterfly Bags waitng for packaging hangs from the mantlepiece, the mix of almost Scandinavian blues and reds forming a pleasing picture on this dull day.

I love these images of the little ragdoll I made for Isabella last Christmas (she has named her Celia after our friends' little baby girl). Her tiny bloomers with lace-edged legs remind me that my darling daughter Lauren and I fully intend to start a bloomer renaissance as we love them so much! Beautiful shadows are cast by the winter light as it falls on the soft folds.

There is something faintly nostalgic in the soft creamy white of the bonnet with the age-worn tones of the cotton lace, a gift from my Grandmother many years ago and one of many I have as a reminder of this incredible lady.

I am normally so full of moans about the cold, but the endless rain we have experienced over the past few years - sodden summers with low light levels, brief forays into golden sunlight in the autumn only to be thrown back into the clutches of the watery onslaught - have made me think again. I now can cope with the cold, can dress in a multitude of layers which though i find them uncomfortably restrictive on my small frame, do at least keep the chills at bay. What I find hard to remain cheery in the face of is the all-encompassing, never-ending wet which works its way through every bright thought I may have. If I can only remember to look for the beauty hidden behind it all, remember to go out and grasp it in the brief moments of respite to squirrel away in images such as these to draw on when it all gets a bit too much, then maybe the winter months won't seem so bad?

Because there is such beauty there from the starkness of a frost-ridden morn

to the twilight-lit sheltering warmth of my kitchen waiting for the candles to cast their glow.

And there it is.

Have a lovely day x

Monday, 7 December 2009

Sewing and Knitting and Mud.

I think I have been revelling so much in the festive feel racing through blogland that I had sort of missed the fact that the Big Day is actually also racing, ever closer, ever faster. Lucy has just informed me she has eight school days left. EIGHT SCHOOL DAYS!!!! How did I miss that? Of course, there are weekends in amongst it all, but even so. Ah well, I have thoroughly enjoyed my perusing of everyone's wonderful Christmas makes, decorations and feeling of good cheer, so thank you one and all. Now, on to my own little blog and here's today's Christmas Mug Shot

Now, I did promise some crafting. You may remember I had put myself firmly back in the world of sock knitting only to find I didn't like the wool I was using? Well, its garish tones are growing on me as the sock itself moves along. It certainly isn't something I would choose, but I guess it will be good to wear something different by the fireside as I snuggle down for the evenings. This change of mood was much helped along by Mr Davy who announced that he would be happy to wear them if I made a larger - much larger - pair. Lor', the very thought of knitting such long socks again made them seem beautiful to mine eyes. Not sure I could stomach the sight of them on his mannish feet either!

This wonderful piece of pink knitting is my dear Lucy's own. She has been knitting now for a couple of years and has moved on so much just lately in terms of progress. Her tension is becoming better than mine - afraid I am affected by mood and knit furiously when holding an imaginary conversation with someone or there is some action film playing in the background, particularly if we are watching a psychological thriller. The needles fly and although mistakes are fortunately rarely made it does mean the tension varies with the plot! Lucy is the image of calm and can now even work out how to correct some of the mistakes she makes. not bad for an eleven year old is it? (Dave take note, and stop asking me to pick up your dropped stitches please!).

Today's orders waiting for finishing and packaging include some of these Little House Notebooks

and a couple of these Butterfly Bags, one in each colourway which makes for a lovely bit of variety on this dullest of days.

So much rain is falling outside that a cheery boat picture is just not possible today, so I will settle for one of the nuddiness that is Mylor Creek; so beautiful when the tide is out, but Saturday wasn't playing fair with me and the rain, grey skies and gloopiness of the mud made me ever-thankful for the cosy house waiting for me.

Now I am off for a blog catch up with my mug of coffee before starting the real work of the day.

Have a happy Monday x

Friday, 4 December 2009

UK Handmade Magazine.

Oh my golly, I am beyond excited today because the winter edition of the wonderful online magazine UK Handmade is now available to read and there just happens to be an interview with me inside its pretty pages! I so admire this publication and the amazing support they offer to independent artists of all media, as well as the constant work they put into promoting such work. The only thing I am not so sure about is the photo of yours truly - hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Head off here for a wonderful read through of things to make, interesting articles on all topics craft/art related and some great interviews - oh, and then there'll be me!

Have a great day x

Thursday, 3 December 2009

A Christmassy Ramble.

Such a beautiful day today with sunshine and crisp breezes. Isabella and I have just returned from a treat of a shared hot cholcolate in Thorntons; a rare treat, but one made all the more special for the scarcity. Her little face was so excited. I swear she radiated happiness and it was returned by the other shoppers smiling at her chocolatey face. back at home a few things have continued to make me smile such as these dried apple rings piled high in a flowery jug. They will be gracing a door wreath any day now, but for the moment I just love the sight of them in our kitchen.

Waiting on the worktop is my most favourite Christmas mug, a present from Mr Davey a couple of Christmasses ago. No doubt you recognise it as a Caroline Zoob design. She is someone whose delicate embroidery I admire hugely and I covet one of her beautiful pictures. Of course, I also aspire to be as good as her in my own embroidery work and should any potters out there wish me to design a range for them I would not be too slow in saying yes!

Ho hum... well, on to decorations. I love handmade - obviously - but am also lucky enough to own one or two exquisite baubles thanks to my dear dave. This fragile beauty has been gracing our tree for a number of years now and is made of the finest glass painted with the sweetest circus scene. So fine is it that the light shines trhough turning the colours into glowing jewels

much like the stained glass orange slices dried earlier this week - have you done yours yet? Bossy again, eh.

Let's mix things up a little as a change from the festive scene. I think I may have mentioned how much I love to cook and so here's a recipe I would like to share. No need to be precise about measurements. Just take a mound of peelings - potato, sqush, leek for example. Add some chunks of said squash, some left over apple pieces, pumpkin seeds,porridge oats and anything else you would normally add to your compost bin; add some water and cook gently till slightly softened.

Blitz with a blitzer (!) and ta da, you have a meal fit for...ducks and hens obviously. What else were you thinking?

Ok, intermission over and it's back to Christmas with a tree made by Davey who makes a new decoration every year or two depending on how the mood takes him. I love this one with its touch of hand embroidery and tweedy squishyness.

And of course, the best of all are the ones made by your chldren aren't they? This is the angel made by my eldest son Tom almost 22 years ago when he was five - and for those of you trying to do the maths, there is almost 24 years between Tom and our youngest, Isabella. Come to that, there is four and a half years between Tom and Lauren, seven between Tom and Sam, fourteen between Tom and Lucy (eight between Sam and Lucy) and as I said, 24 between Tom and Isabella (eight between Lucy and Isabella). Add to that Dave's two gorgeous children Matty and Elias (we hate the word step-children as it suggests you are distanced from them and I most certainly am not!) and you can see maths comes hard in this house! Anyhoo, back to Tom's angel fondly known as the 'Angle' Gadriel - and yes, the 'Angle' is intended!

Back out with the Christmas cookery books and first up is Elizabeth David's classic which, though I love her writing, I do wish there were more pictures to complete the scene she sets so evocatively.

Well, I think I have rambled quite enough for one day, so will leave you to enjoy yours with a picture of the magnolia stellata buds which are forming their furry bud coverings quite nicely and reminding us that spring is not so very far away. Back next time with some more crafting, some more decorations and possibly some more christmas china too. I can feel the anticipation!

Bye for now x