Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Thoughts on Coasts & Inspiration.

As anyone who reads my blog will know, I love the coast. I love the waves and the calm of the sea; I love the rugged cliffs & the soft sand, the way the north of Cornwall is wild and sublime while the south coast is gentler with coves and rivers. Lately the Cornish coast has very much been inspiring my designs, particularly on a new range of bags where little boats bob close to coral and fish...

This design is called The Rugged Cliffs because it was inspired by the rugged cliffs (!) of North Cornwall where I grew up. There the cliffs are scattered with clumps of pinky mauve sea thrift, the plants huddled in nooks & crevices in order to survive the ever-pervailing winds. There is a majesty and beauty in this coast that haunts my thoughts. I have never really left it behind and when I need space to think or breathe, when my mind is so full it is tipping over or when life manages to break through to wound just a little, as all life does sometimes, this is where I see myself. Here the waves crash against sea-smooth stone and the reaching, jagged cliffs put the world back to rights...well, for me anyway.

hence the sentiment on the bag: 'Let the Sea Soothe your Soul.' I really loved working the freehand embroidery cliffs for this design & hope I have captured something of how this place makes me feel.

Of course, then there is the other coast: the softer southern Cornish seas which also speak to me though so differently. Here we have lighthouses which look quaint as well as reminding the onlooker of the rocks beneath the often calm surface. Here my children and I search for crabs and shells and pretty things in the many rockpools, and swim, snorkel or just play. I think of more rested times as my gaze falls on the ripples of jade water.

 Somehow this coast inspired a jauntier feel for this design, the words 'The Soft, Silent Sea' suggesting how often I have lain on the golden sand listening to the gentle ebb & flow of the tide, its calm song lulling me to sleep.

And there it is: a little inspiration, a brand new design flowing out of my head and onto the fabric. My own version of the tide perhaps?

And then on to the most recent: Beach Huts. This is a slight mix of both coasts as beach huts appear on each, though the idea of the palm tree surviving those harsh winds makes me smile a little. That definitely belongs to the south!

I really loved working on this one! There is something about beach huts I think. Perhaps it is the idea of living as close to the water as possible, even if only for a day. Maybe it is the pretty colours they are usually painted in. Who know; all I know is that I love them!

At the moment these bags are part of a short run while I trial out the designs. Each measures 41cm x 35cm approx, and has an interior pocket. 

They are available to buy for £ 35.00 + 2.00 p&p 

Either leave me a message here in the comments, a PM on my Facebook page, a DM on Twitter or email me if you prefer ( )

I hope you like them as much as me!
Bye for now x

Monday, 16 June 2014

More of the same!

A day on a beach: swimming in ice sea, cool breeze wisping waves into your face and skittering the surface into dancing ripples. A receding tide reveals pools of sun-warmed water. Golden sand shimmers and shifts as a red eyed, in-a-bad-mood crab moves into view and pinches Isabella's finger as she pokes and prods the seaweed aside. A brief moment in a bucket allows a closer study and a photo opportunity. Just look at those beautiful claws.

So many different types of life, everything from bladder wrack and sea lettuce draped over rock, to crabs and shrimp and, on this particular outing, a flat fish which was spotted by a sharp eyed friend. Other than swimming far, far out in the bay with Davey, rock-pooling has to be my most favourite of all the many things I like to do.

Just letting time slip by as the waves ebb and flow, letting cares wash away with the tide ... what could be better?

A constantly changing landscape of boats and yachts and ships in the far distance, the whole set against that amazing backdrop of fields sweeping down to the shore.

The water was freezing on this day but we still managed to swim (no idea who these people are, but they are not us!)

This pretty boat appeared as the sun was beginning to cast a few shadows behind us. I love that feel at the end of a beach day; everything slows down a pace or two and the colours soften to a gentler hue. It becomes quieter as people wend their way home and leave us to ourselves to take a last swim or two. 

Finally we pack away wet towels and all the usual paraphernalia of a day out with children. Home to a glass of something chilled and a sit down on the courtyard listening to Ella & Louis, caramel notes drifting on the evening air and the shadows lengthening until we move at last back indoors.

A greyer day on Sunday meant baking for me: a gorgeous cake with the recipe filched from one of my favourite blogs written by the lovely Sue (who I am lucky enough to meet up with each year when she and her family holiday nearby). Her version of this cake can be found here: Elderflower Drizzle Cake but I had to use our homemade rosehip syrup as I had run out of elderflower cordial till the next batch is made. The cake was gorgeous.

Elderflowers have been picked and are macerating ready to make elderflower champagne.


So pretty; so cheap to make; so very delicious!

Hopefully, we shall mostly be eating outside for the summer.
Keeps the house a bit cleaner!

I also had a go at Sue's Ridiculously Easy No-knead Bread which was ridiculously easy with no kneading! I mixed white & brown flours but otherwise followed Sue's instructions as she is a darned good cook. The result has already been mostly scoffed by the bread-mad Dave & Isabella, and pronounced as a hit.

I would add that it pays to remember to set your timer. Ahem...

Do pop over to Sue's blog; it is possibly my most fave as she is so darned honest and also posts such lovely things/photos. I can see her blushing from here!

Bye for now x

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Beach Life.

Strange weather isn't it? It swings from blazing sun to freezing cold, but when it is good we try to make the most of it. Of course, in Cornwall that generally means heading for the beach.

Warmer evenings mean we can move outdoors onto our little courtyard for games of chess. You can almost hear those rusty cogs turning can't you?

The hedgerows burgeon with hogsweed & campion & cow parsley, the whole looking truly beautiful when set against a cornflower blue sea.

Walks every day along cliff paths with views such as these set me up for the day and provide inspiration for designs. The problem comes when I try to reduce the inspiration down to just one or two ideas to work on at a time.

My sketchbook has been kept close to hand lately with every opportunity to practice grabbed with both hands. I haven't done much in the way of sketching other than on designs for such a long time. Odd how things come in phases isn't it? At the moment I see things I want to draw all over the place, although the things that are inspiring me most tend to be coast change there then!

This unfinished sketch is what I was working on in the above photo: a little rendering of the rocks as we waited for the Red Arrows to swoop over the bay to mark the end of The Pendennis Cup.

Sea thrift. Perhaps one of my favourites against the blue. Such an amazing contrast.

Beautiful whether viewed up close or with the headlands in the distance. All these images are views I see daily.

The purpose of this scary photo is to show you the little necklace I made from a cowrie! Rabbit in the headlights springs to mind. I truly am not good at selfies! So lovely to be able to make something so pretty from things I forage from the shores. 

Things such as this sea treasure. Nature at its best. We have so many bowls & jars full of shells such as these. Our mantlepiece has grey-blue mussels and chalky ridged limpets lying next to cowries and flat winkles; the window sills have little heaps of pebbles and shells piled where they are easy to reach for a game of Ship, Ship Sailing.

I really want to draw this. Just look at the intricacy of the florets. This is what I love about drawing and photography: I am forced to slow my pace, to absorb the finer details and try, try, try to capture them. It makes me see the world properly.

The other thing I love is that I can lose myself for hours in the process. This drawing of a hermit crab was done by firelight one cold, dreary night. I had music playing, a glass of wine and Pepper puppy for company. For over four hours I was lost to the world, completely absorbed in what I was doing and only dimly aware of the flickering flames and the beautiful mellifluous tones of Joni Mitchell drifting in and out of my consciousness. True bliss.

Trips into town for shopping usually involve one of the Falmouth Quays which run alongside the main thoroughfare. This is Customs house Quay which is my favourite.

There's always so much going on, even when it looks quite quiet. 

So, that's it for now.

I would love to hear what you think of the larger photos - too large or just right? Also, i do sometimes respond to comments in the comment section. Till next time x

Monday, 28 April 2014

A Little tribute to Dave.

Sitting here I start to think who is Pipany? I start first with the name, a name that was given to me by my Davey. 

It encapsulated a fresh start for me alongside my partner, friend and lover, Mr Davey. I saw him as my ray of light that shone so, so brightly through the grey that clouded, and still does sometimes cloud, my mind. There he stood bright, cheery and gorgeous, always ready to laugh or talk or hold when life's trials got too hard.

I knew early on that I would never find another soul to love as much. 


Like most people, I have become busy with the daily running of a house, and the stresses and strains that come with trying to get a business both started & continuing. I guess I am constantly developing as a person, however grindingly slow that process may be, but the constant that stays in my heart and in my life is Dave. 


For that I am grateful and so I guess what i am trying to say is that Pipany is not a Me, but a We.

                    I love you my Dave x

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Spring Weather & Knitting News.

Spring: I can feel it in the air; see it in the hazy light & slow unfurling flowers; hear it in the increasingly loud birdsong emanating from outside our window where finches flit frantically from branch to branch. And today I felt it in the hot sun as I walked across the beach.

It is close enough to touch and even if the weather should turn icy the clock still ticks toward the brighter months with the promise of all that brings.

The seas have been brisk and swirling myriad shades of blue. Oyster-catchers and herring gulls skim across the foamy waves in a dance of catch-me-if-you-can, sea spray fingers reaching up to cast silvery trails into the sky as wings dip and dodge and hover.

Sunlight turns the dullest patches of seaweed into illuminated tableaux full of vibrant citrusy yellows back lit to render them a stained glass quality. Spring light does this. It takes the ordinary and humble and shouts,"look at what is here! Take note!" ... and I do.

It is precious time, though I am spending far too long walking Pepper. The air is so fresh, the waves so enticing that the thought of being shut indoors does not appeal so very much. I think, "I'll just see what the next wave does," and so it goes on.

Plus, as ever, there is treasure to sort through and search out. The strong stormy winds have thrown plenty for us to turn over and that sun, when it is there, is telling me there is no rush.

 Pepper is in no particular hurry either. She has friends to play with on busier days or, when I find us a secret spot hidden away as is my favourite, she pootles through rockpools with me, her lump-of-coal nose shuffling around under stones to chase out something special to amuse her for a while. Then we sit and watch and listen and just breathe it all in.

Eventually home calls but even here I am filling the shelves and sills with signs of spring. On Saturday I decided it was time:our first duck egg shone bright white in the duck pen and told us that the ducks are ready for a change of season even if the calender isn't. The first egg from the ducklings I hatched and hand reared last year. I must admit I feel quite proud! 

Bowls and baskets of shells are popping up everywhere so that the light can bounce off their surfaces.. pretty flat winkles, cowries, whelks ... so many.

My pockets are always full of things I find.

Evening time is still so chilly though and so we light the fire and I pick up my knitting. Yes, I finally settled on a pattern from the masses saved to my Pinterest knitting board. Not an easy thing when I want so many of the things I have on there, but I have started with Deco by Kate Davies.

It's a lovely cardigan which I am knitting in Sirdar Sublime extra fine Merino DK. The shade is as you can see but with more depth than my photo shows. It is giving me the chance to use my Knit Pro circular needles from a set I treated myself to a long (long) time ago. They come with a gorgeous range of coloured interchangeable tips and are very comfortable to use. The patterning is simple with enough going on to keep things interesting.

Of course, I bought a few more balls in another colour at the same time as I was having trouble choosing. Davey encouraged this as he was heading off to purchase a little more yarn himself. I call him ' The Enabler!'

The blue I am using is called Spruce & the other is aptly named Gorgeous, which it is.

 And so that's me for now.

 Bye for now x