Monday, 28 April 2008

A long week.

I feel very cross with myself as I meant to get this post sorted last week and time just flew away with me meaning it didn't happen. Never mind, I shall do it now and apologise for the lateness to dear Tracy of 'Cupcakes at home' who sent me this lovely package. I won it in her giveaway and have already spruced the somewhat grimy rooms of our little house - how much nicer the task is when you have such cheery things to hand.

Aren't they lovely? Isabella is particularly taken with the bird pegs and obviously thinks mummy does nothing but get sent presents on a regular basis; must make a mental note to ensure I prepare her for the reality of bills, etc...or maybe not eh? Thank you Tracy for such a bundle of fun x

The week as a whole has been yet another stressful one where final assessments (Dave) and a sewing day at Lucy's school where mummies who can sew were asked to come in and help the children make hats (thus Guilt as was unable due to littlest one). I also started teaching for the first time in three years which set my stomach churning in that oh-so-familiar way. Lord how I hated that feeling! As is often the way with these most dreaded of events, all went well and I actually felt a huge sense of pride when I arrived at the house of the aunt of one of the pupils to hear a phone conversation where my pupil was squealing that she wasn't 'thick' after all. How sad it is that the accumulation of academic qualifications is still what decides to many whether or not we are intelligent? I truly believe intelligence is about so much more than grades on a piece of paper and know many, many people who have these supposed proofs, working in highly paid and professional jobs, who seem to me to display a very narrow view of intelligent thought processes - give me someone with the ability to see things from all perspectives and able to use common sense any day.
Phew, mini rant over!

What else happened this week? Well, we had most of the children here all weekend and I was on cooking duties while poor Dave worked the entire time. What was on the menu? Roast (of course) with all the trimmings and far too many yorkshire puddings as usual; they were so yellow as I used the eggs from the ducks which are just the most beautiful chrome yellow at this time of year. I also made a casserole with a potato dish called Pan Haggerty (layers of pots, onion and cheese with milk and cream poured over before baking), a plum and rhubarb crumble with homemade custard, again very yellow though it was the hens' eggs this time, and a gorgeous but thoroughly rich chocolate pudding which oozes velvety chocolate sauce when you cut into it. Mmmm! No photos as it was gone almost as soon as I cut into it!

Lucy and I spent Saturday morning sowing seeds - sweetcorn, courgettes, cucumbers, toms, sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli, parsley and a few others. Luckily she loves gardening as much as I do and it was so lovely sharing this time together, her cheery little voice chattering away as she wrote out labels and struggled with the heavy watering can.

We looked around to see what was new in the garden and discovered the bluebells I planted when pregnant with Isabella have just started to flower as the picture above shows, and the pretty little Cornish Aromatic apple covered itself in gorgeous blossom to keep them company.

Golly, I have rambled on rather - sorry for such a long Monday blog! xx

Monday, 21 April 2008

A whole week!

I can't quite believe it is a whole week since I last blogged - where does the time go? It was certainly a topsy-turvy week where the stars and planets must have been misaligned or something as everything I touched seemed to go wrong apart from the things I worked on for the business. Actually then, I suppose it could have been worse - so the car went wrong to the tune of £500 and there were a few family hassles including colds which brought babies and adults alike to their knees with hacking coughs and ear infections....hmm, think I'll move on.

The weekend finally arrived and began in the most wonderful way with a 'to cheer you up' gift from a very lovely lady I have got to know through the wonderful world of blogging and whom I now consider a friend. I need to check whether she would rather not be named here (like to check on privacy issues), but will pop a link later if that's ok with her. Anyway, here's what this sweet soul sent me and it really couldn't have been more perfect

Isn't that just wonderful? I can't wait to get out into my little ramshackle greenhouse and get going; just the thought of all those delicious veggies makes my mouth water, particularly as the gift contained seeds for one of my most favourite vegetables: purple sprouting broccoli. My dad was a fantastic veg gardener and every time I was pregnant I used to drive home and he would send me away with bagfulls of this broccoli which I craved with a passion. Sadly he died before Lucy and Isabella were born and I was unable to get my fix in the same way - not the same thing at all buying it pre-packaged from the supermarket is it? So thank you once again Z for such a thoughtful and much-loved gift.

A lot of time was spent in the sewing room as I had a few orders to work on; my lovely sorta-daughter (step-daughter but we hate the phrase!) Matzen and her boyfriend arrived home for the weekend which meant films and popcorn, walks on the beach in the rain and pasty-making by Dave and Isabella were all on the agenda. Isabella takes her work very seriously as you can see!

I have to say they were the best pasties I have had for years and my mouth waters now just thinking about them. The food theme continues - as it usually does here - with a glorious high-tea on Sunday of scones piled high on the cake stand ready to be covered with wonderful jam from Sufflokmum, another blogging friend, and the whole to be topped by thick Cornish clotted cream. Dave also baked a gorgeous Victoria sponge which was lightness itself without that horrible dryness that sponges can sometimes have (you know what I mean? The ones that make you cough!).

By the way, just in case I give the impression that I sit scoffing while Dave slaves away (well, I would given half a chance), I have been rather busy with orders so have been working where I can at the weekends and have also been working on a line of little lovelies ( more of that on my pipany blog). I am also doing a bit of private English tuition as two young ladies have asked me to help them out - it seems strange to go back to looking at the ins and outs of poetry, but nice too as literature is another creative thing which lies close to my heart.

So, all in all a lovely weekend full of treats and busyness and family - just perfect.

Well, that's it for today
Pip xx

Monday, 14 April 2008

A weekend of poorliness

I am up to my eyes in Isabella and bunting, and I'm not sure the two mix. Isabella loves the bright fabrics and keeps pinching the flags from the ever-growing pile perching on the table - I suppose this proves the point that work is work and being a mum is being a mum. Put the bunting away Pip and wait till baby's asleep!

On another note, I was ill this weekend with what I suppose was a virus. I thought the ol' Black Dog had come to visit as I felt so low and teary, crying over what I can now see were ludricously small events which seemed monumental at the time. I should have realised I was actually in need of my bed what with the tears, the headache (oh that headache!) and the achy bones, but I just thought I had hit a real low patch for no reason and carried on regardless, determined to kick it into touch. Off I went to the sewing room and set to with paper and pens to make a pattern for this little dress...

I wanted to make something which reminded me of The Little House on the Prairie - a simple sort of loose dress which could have an apron added or an underskirt, and which had large-ish buttons sewn on.

I did have to unpick a fair bit as my guesswork on the pattern-making was rather out on some parts, but overall I am pleased with the end result

and luckily so is Isabella!

She does look very cute in it, I must say. The fabric is so beautiful - far more gorgeous than the pictures actually show. It was one of the pile given to me by Elizabethd on her visit from France and is of the softest cotton. There is so much over that I have plans to make a dress for Lucy too, perhaps in the same style so thank you dear Elizabeth x

The virus disappeared a quickly as it came and I feel fine now though no doubt a day or two in bed would have been lovely. Ah well, thesewing was fun too even if it was accompanied by occasional bouts of blubbing at a Radio 4 play (which truly wasn't worth the tears!). Other things to leave the sewing room last week were Baby Babbits, now gone to new homes where I hope they'll be very happy and this dear little mop cap - after serious debate I have decided I prefer 'mop' to 'mob' even though I think the latter is the correct term. It is so sweet that I am desperate to see it on the newborn owner's head rather than on my sofa where it sat for the photograph. The littleness of it just isn't shown here, but suffice it to say I will be making many more of them for the website and am planning a larger one for Isabella to go with her dress; whether it will stay on her bouncy curls of course is another thing altogether!

Have a lovely day xx

Friday, 11 April 2008

Cheery Friday

So many things went awry yesterday and the whole week has had such an air of being out of kilter that I am walking around today waiting for the next problem to pop up; this is not a good way to begin the weekend and so I am going to focus on the fact that it is Friday - my favourite day of the week - and think only of good things like this little lady...

Her name is Biscuit and she is a Silver-cheeked Appleyard; Biscuit has the softest feathers in gorgeous muted creams and browns, and is the sweetest of our ducks by which I mean she always has an apologetic air about her when I chase her back into the pen unlike the others who look positively affronted and dip their heads at me in disgust. All our duck are quite enormous compared to the little wild ones we see in nearby Swanpool. I didn't realise just how large domestic ducks are until we kept our own; certainly a heavy armful when I cart them around as is needed from time to time. It's good for me to stop and think how lucky we are that our children have grown up caring for these lovely creatures and what fun they have brought us all, as have the hens with their enormous Dave-and-Pip-built des-res!

Isabella and Lucy are both a little poorly today with colds. Lucy is quite put out as winter is over and she wants to be racing around outside not tucked up under a cover on the sofa, whereas Isabella is quite content and enjoying the sound of her own moaning - she runs often to the mirror to observe her expression as she whines and groans! I think it is so funny when toddlers become this aware of their reflection; we sometimes catch her twirling around in front of the wardrobe mirror to see how she looks from all angles, her chubby body twisting this way and that as she tries to view herself and she frequently holds teddy up for the same treatment!

Other things for a cheery Friday? well, my eye has just fallen on this kitchen cupboard which I love because Mr Dave made it - there is a matching one (though of slightly different proportions because I don't like things too much the same) under the sink. Yes, the flowery curtain has gone to be replaced by these pretty doors and drawers - oh the bliss of extra storage. We even put child locks on, but all that happened was that Isabella could still raid the food stores as they opened so easily, and we couldn't close the doors instead!

A final picture to end today's post - this surely can't fail to brighten the day. The forsythia is in the last glorious throws of flowering and I took this photo just a moment ago. Perfect.

have a great day xx

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Surveying the view.

Strange week this one is turning into - good things mostly, but underpinned by annoying frustrations such as being the only one who seems bothered about people traipsing through the House of Grime and its attendant Grot in the shape of ancient cobwebs, damp patches in corners and a general air of the Miss Havishams. Ah the neglect, the shame and the unfairness that I was the only one here when the surveyor came to visit. Won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say a re-mortgage is involved in this sorry little tale.

On to better things in the shape of this beautiful little package that arrived all the way from Australia yesterday - just look at the pretty handmade card

and the lovely tissue paper

not to mention the gift itself; this dear hand-stitched bag was a gift from Ros of Bloom - pop over and have a look at her blog

I love the dainty flowere embroidered onto the front - thank you so much Ros. Unfortunately it was snaffled by Miss Isabella who took an instant liking to it.

After a good look inside she raced off to fill it with a cup, toy brick and a little book, and I haven't been able to find it since! Hmm...

Other nice things? The ducks are back in full lay so lots of yummy cakes will be on their way

Lucy has decided to be her own fashion stylist, but had a fit of the giggles when she pranced out of her room in this outfit (she is actually quite tall and slim - I was looking down at her from the bedroom window so she seems rather wide and short!)

A little splash of something cheery before I head off to feed the hungry hoards with some thrown together dish - what's known as 'ifits' in this house, meaning 'if it's there you can have it'! The sun has been catching the red of these tulips for the last few days, filling the garden with hot spots of vibrant colour wherever there is a clump and making the view from the kitchen window resemble a child's drawing: bright, happy and fun - the perfect view to lift the bad mood of a frazzled Pipany!

Bye for now xx

Monday, 7 April 2008

Just some pictures.

I have spent so long posting my Pipany business blog today that I have only got time to pop a few pictures of the garden on this one - if I don't do them today they'll get lost in the thousands (ok, slight exaggeration) of others saved on the computer. They were taken yesterday before the snow; even Cornwall finally managed some! First up, the Black Prince marigold which hasn't stopped flowering since last summer

the sloe blossom...don't you just love all the different blossoms?

a view from the kitchen window - soon there will be a huge mass of pink cherry blossom (well, as long as the snow goes away that is!)

and lastly, the reason the other blog took so long - Baby Babbit is here! More pictures on my business blog but I really must go now and sort the website.

Have a lovely day xx

Friday, 4 April 2008

A new friend.

I always find it a little hard to write about meetings with people from the Purplecoo website as it seems hard to encapsulate what has so far been a good experience in a way that doesn't sound dull. Already I can feel my usual writing tone changing to that of a reporter and losing something of the emotion on the way; I don't mean it to happen, but don't quite know what to do about it. I suppose privacy is an issue - it's hard to write about the things you talk about without giving details away which the other party may not have wanted known; it's also hard not to detail each subject covered without sounding like a teeneger in full flow - "and then he said...and she said"...and so on. So here is a report of my morning with Suffolkmum which took place yesterday at Trengwainton Garden in Cornwall yesterday - just take it from me that I had a brilliant time and really liked SM!

Yesterday was gorgeous - the most wonderful, hot sunshiney day. Did you get that? I said HOT! So hot was Cornwall that Suffolkmum, her hubby and two children, myself and two of my littles almost melted as we walked around the gardens of Trengwainton near Penzance. I had arranged to meet up with SM for the final day of her holiday in Cornwall, deciding a walk would be good but not expecting it to be so hot that a swim in the sea would have been more appropriate. To make matters worse I insisted the children wore coats as the mist still lingered and it could have gone either way - mist in Cornwall always lifts to reveal persistent rain or sweltering sun with no clue to help you out; add to that the fact that weather reports for this sea-bound county are usually wrong and you can see my dilemma. I paid the price as I carted my thick and heavy cord three-quarter length and Isabella's thick and heavy cord three-quarter length plus a largish bag of the necessary bits and bobs (nappies, etc) around the pretty walled gardens. Ah well....

I have never met SM before, but knew we would get on - I have always felt that she writes the way she is, not feeling the need to hide her persona and I really hoped that was the case as I had really taken to the character on the page, so to speak. She was exactly as she seems - lovely, warm and friendly (and as glam as her pic suggested darn it!!!). She bounced out of her car with a huge smile and that was it, we chatted as though we had known each other for ages which I suppose we have in a way. She really was as she appears to be and I hope I am as my blog make me sound as I certainly write it as I think too. I can't show pictures as I forgot my camera yet again (unfortunately R, her husband, took a leaving picture of the two of us but I am demanding the right to veto its publication!).

The only downer on such a lovely day came when I discovered that the SM family had once considered moving to Cornwall - typical of my luck that it didn't happen; think of the fun we could have had and the children really hit it off too. Lucy was loud (very!) and lively and now is planning a letter to J and K (SM's children) as she liked them so much. I think she hopes that will ensure a trip up to Suffolk in the future to continue the fun! Isabella walked for two hours in the searing sun without a moan, her whole time being spent searching for water (a stream runs the length of the garden and Isabella is addicted to water being a good Cornish mermaid) and filling her pockets with pebbles. She finally allowed me to carry her on the last little bit of the walk as her chubby legs couldn't take any more. It all ended far too quickly and now I am annoyed as there are so many more things I want to chat about - chickens, gardens, soap-making, children, work....the list goes on. I suppose there is always email, but it just isn't the same as a chat over coffee is it? Perhaps I can persuade them to move through the children?!!!!

I really hope I have made a friend for life in SM ( oh how weird it seems now to type those initials when there is a real and lovely person in their place). I hope she feels the same.

And now in the absence of photos on my part, here is one that I feel like posting instead:

Mr Dave in his new Hawaiian shirt showing the orchids on the reverse and the halo that appeared around his head; apologies for the blurriness and also the strange posture!