Thursday, 26 February 2009


Much stitchery has taken place in my little and extremely messy sewing room. Actually, I realise that although I call it 'little' it is quite the opposite in reality. Messy, however, is quite another thing. Messy it definitely is. This is in part due to the working on of orders, but mostly because I am working on a new range which always involves me pulling out endless fabrics, throwing them away when the desired effect is not achieved and repeating the process... over and over again, generally sewing like a mad thing and gnashing my teeth at the frustration brought about by ideas not immediately translating as I wish.

Finally, the breakthrough is reached and the needle flies across the linen or whatever I may be using as a base for the hand embroidery I use on almost all my products. Then I become obsessed and want to work away forever.

Of course, sometimes my sketches and designs work straight away; oh, the heady feeling that comes hand in hand with a project that works first time. I do wonder if it is the same for everyone or does the fact that I have a head constantly brimful of colours and textures and if I only tried it in that colourway/stitch/size makes it almost a painful process sometimes? Reality tells me that creativity which has to be turned on and off according to a family's needs is always going to be a hard path to tread, but somehow we make it work and I am able to race to the task as the moment frees itself, even if only for ten minutes (do you know how many lazy daisies can be sewn in just ten minutes? Quite amazing really).

And it will not always be this way. My little Isabella turns three in May and time is already running away from me. However excited I am about the idea of more time to work on developing this business it is tinged with sadness at that letting go. I like having her with me, though am honest enough to admit to loving a break. I like the fact that my embroidery threads are beyond disgraceful because she plays with them on the days I have no choice but to work while she is awake. I love the way we cook and paint and do 'garding', both clad in wellies and covered in mud. There have been many (many, many, many...getting the picture?) clashes between the stubborness that is Isabella and the equal stubborness of her mother, but somewhere deep inside I am so proud of the fact that we have struggled through together and she is negotiating the rights and wrongs of her world with my help, and I with hers. I also know how lucky I am to be able to do this with Dave's support. Money has been hard, more than hard and there has been the constant guilt of knowing I am home where I could be out earning a regular wage as opposed to the irregular one my so far small business brings, but together Dave and I have made it work, choosing this difficult path for what feels the better good for us, for our family. I truly believe everyone should do what feels right for them and this was it for us. But slowly, slowly it is changing as my precious baby grows and I know it will still be good...different, but just as good.

Golly, that was not the post I thought I was going to write and I do apologise for my ramble, but it is obviously all very much on my mind and I suppose my blog is as good a place as any to offload! Funny how the mind weaves its own trail from one thought to another, each new thought laid down like the tiniest stitch to be worked on and mulled over before moving on to the next. My thoughts must now turn back to these particular stitches of which more will be revealed hopefully next week (she said with an air of something wonderful to behold and thus guaranteeing a sigh of deepest disappointment I fear!).

Have a lovely rest of week xx


  1. Lovely, lovely!! Did you ever see Saving Grace?? Oh, how we laughed.Can't wait til next week to see the whole picture...
    Just think of the antics she'll get up to in school and all the tales she will have to tell you, another step..

  2. Beautiful stitches, and words, Pipany. What a lucky girl Isabella is to have a Mummy like you.
    I do wonder though, what you are making???

  3. Don't ever feel guilty about staying home to look after your children, you are giving her something far more precious than money and something that will stay with her forever. My littlest is of to school full time in september and my eldest is 10 and time has flown by so fast! Enjoy every little moment, good or bad. Beautiful stitching too!

  4. Hello Pipany,

    I am intrigued to see more of that new project ... like those little butterflies hovering around. What you wrote about experimenting a bit before seeing what you've imagined actually strike it right surely rings familiar with me.

    Sometimes it is hard for me to cast off a project that has "gone off" in its early stages ... somehow I still want to rescue it, even though that means venturing away from what my original intent might have been.

    When I was making etchings, such abrupt turns sometimes were a blessing; with other kinds of projects, perhaps less so.

    I also love how you write about that adorable Isabella, a real life angel, even when her little nose needs a scrub.


  5. Lovely post, Pip, and lots of shared thoughts - I think with any kind of creative process you're always trying to match what you produce to the idea you've formed in your mind. I share your frustration with trying to capture it, I know just how it feels. Also lack of money. Tom and I made that decision to do business our way so there's no spare cash in the system but when it does fall in to place it's because we've made it happen. Yes, little girls do get bigger every day, don't they?!

  6. Pip, I think being a mother means that you automatically carry a certain amount of guilt about with you regardless of whether you can stay at home or not. Children grow up so fast and its time you can never get back. My youngest is now ten (how did that happen?). I don't know anyone who ever looked back and regretted NOT working more. You are a good mum, be proud of your talents. Have a lovely day - jacqui

  7. Hello Pip, have left a couple of comments on your first half term post - and have caught up with the other one too, all so lovely to read. You transport me to a place I love every time - and your own particular little slice of it sounds divine too.

    My youngest daughter is now 6, my oldest 10. I have not worked since I had them but even when you are full time at home 'work' (domestic) is always taking you away too (specially when father works so hard too and is not around in the evenings or mornings). I am so with you on all your feelings. I have had them with all the girls but most with L as she is my last and I treasure every second of her 'littleness'. How I miss those toddler days and that special vocabulary. I am currently dreading her finishing infant school in the summer. Once they move on to junior school everything changes and they grow up even faster...

    Delightful stitching, you clever thing.

  8. The time spent at home with your children, when they are littlies especially, is so precious.. I wish more young women, my daughter in law included, would be like you, realise that money isn't everything, that you can't get back this precious time, and who cares if the baby wears a 'label' for heavens' sake. I love your stitchin, it is SO neat and tidy... I tend to get a bit slipshod due to not very good eyesight and not as much patience as I once had. My mother was a brilliant embroideress, wish I had a thimbleful of her talents and patience. A full picture of the finished item would be good....what was the fabric by the way?

  9. the moments with out little ones are so precious...
    I find it hard to switch on and off creativity and for me ideas come at absurd hours when it is not really convenient to work... a note book by the bed is always good. i totally agree with finding our own paths that fit in with our lifestyles. we do not have a lot of money either but to be here for the girls and work around them is where i want to be.. also to be home to cultivate the garden (which has been slow this year due to work projects.) i have been lucky to get work to fit around my family though at times it can be a huge balancing game. your designs are looking good ... and i am sure they will be lovely. lots of love to you.
    Ginny xx

  10. I could relate to so much of this Pip. Those days are so precious, it's such a privilege to be there with them through those early days. And somehow the money just kind of works out (not without the odd panic though!)I love the way your thoughts and words developed with your stitches. You are so clever.

  11. It may not have been the post you set you to write, Pip, but it was beautifully written and obviously from your heart. It is wonderful that you are able to see the gifts in your life and especially the ones that are yours for such a short time. Keep on enjoying that toddler - you're right, she'll be a big girl soon, but you'll have all those gorgeous memories, and the satisfaction of having raised her yourself and not missed a moment.

  12. Lovely little butterflies Pipany, and I do particularly like your neat 'words and photos' blog - why can't I get mine like that? Must practice more.

    You are doing the right thing being at home for your children, in my opinion anyway - nothing is more important than a secure and happy childhood. And you would be stifled in some sort of horrible job. Best wishes x

  13. Isn't it funny how sometimes you set off to write one thing and end up writing something quite different? But it's a good thing, I think.
    Lucky Isabella is all I can say - lucky lucky little girl. You're giving her the most fabulous, magical start to her life and considering that, money becomes very unimportant.
    Love that embroidery have the patience of a saint!

  14. That was lovely pipany . i so remeber the turning on and off of creativity when i worked at home with the children,,.xx

  15. Beautiful stitchery Pipany. The lovely stuff you wrote about Isabella is exactly the same for Twiglet and I, he starts school in September and I'm manically doing stuff with him. I feel like I've blinked and he's suddenly grown up. Like you I've been lucky enough to spend his first few years at home whilst juggling the occasional bit of work, it's been VERY tough financially but SO SO SO worth it.
    The memories are magical.
    Twiggy x

  16. Hello Pipany, your doing the most important thing any mother can give her child...your time, love and attention, and though money's tight, and sometimes creative space too, you won't regret this time, and nor will Dave. I think of you and Isabella...feisty Mum and feisty daughter! And your stitching looks beautiful, too. Happy weekend, my friend.
    Love Diana xxx

  17. It sounds like youve had a lovely half term and have enjoyed it very much. Your new embroidery project looks very nice, i love the colours youve used. I also just caught up with your allotment post and love the idea of the chicken helping you out down there! Excellent idea!!

  18. I love your creativity and so know the joy when you get something in your head and it just comes out right - strangely enough it happens like that even when you have to write about distribuiton and supply chains just like me. Oh the joy when it just flows!

  19. Beautiful pictures of both your work and your girl. You are doing just the right thing - you'll both look back and smile at these times. Emma x

  20. Pipany, I don't have a blog, and don't usually leave comments, but I just have to say that you are doing such a good thing for your child by staying home with her. I stayed at home with my daughter until she started kindergarten, and even though it meant doing without things, I would gladly do it again. Today, she is in her first year of law school, has a full academic scholarship, and is the most centered, intelligent young woman. And can she ever stretch a dollar! When people chided me and said I could have so much more money if I went back to work, my response was always the same: I didn't have a child so someone else could raise her. I know lots of people HAVE to work, but we chose to do without so she could have that foundation, and I'll never regret it. If at some point you feel you must go to work, then you must, but while you are able to stay home, do it with no regrets.

  21. Lovely, as ever! I so love the stitching and it has been good to catch up with you. What a lovely young lady she is growing into - can't believe how the time is flying by!xx

  22. Beautiful stitches.
    I think it is far better for all, to be at home with the children, you can never get these times back but money will always be there! we hope.
    I stayed at home and loved every minute even though we were so poor! suffered during the last ressession too!
    Just enjoy and never feel guilty.
    Carol x