Friday, 23 July 2010

Holidays and Giveaways.

Well, the holidays are here...hooray! I have my holiday jar at the ready (first told of last year in a few places on my blog) and will top it up with some new ideas in readiness for days of rain or days of not-sure-what-to-do-ness. I honestly recommend having one of these for anyone, whether children are around, visitors are visiting or just because it's a fun way of deciding what to do with a spare hour or two.

I'm still hoping the children will pick out the piece of paper instructing us to obtain more ducks as poor Biscuit's attempts at motherhood ended with precisely nothing and we really could do with another couple. Come to that, the piece of paper with 'buy some hens' is sounding pretty good too (or any of the 'make a kite', 'build a fort', 'bake a cake' ones would do).

Anyhow, onto other things; I, spoilt soul that I am, am being taken away to Italy for a week - yes, that's right, a whole complete week - by my lovely Mr Davey who booked us into a hotel in Bologna as a surprise. Having arranged childcare with our fabulous friend (for we are going to be childfree for the first time ever for more than a couple of days & we've never been abroad together either) and sorted the flight, I was presented with a fait accompli. I AM SO SERIOUSLY EXCITED!!!

Now I won't bore you with the fact that Bologna is the culinary capital of Italy or that it has a seriously wonderfully romantically historic background full of art and food and art and food and cloisters and old, old architecture and so much more; nor will I bore you with the fact that our hotel is right in the centre with a candlelit rooftop restaurant which looks across the Piazza Maggiore at two medieval towers (which apparently lean more than the one in Pisa).

Instead I will say that I can't quite believe this is me going away with my darling, wonderful, gorgeous Davey and that I will try very, very hard to damp down my deep-seated feelings of worry/guilt at leaving my babies behind - and yes, sadly I include them all in that, from the 27 year old to the 23, the 21 year old to the 20, the 14 year old to the 12 to the four year old that is little Isabella. They are all excited for us and the older ones really do wish I would accept they are adults!

The sewing will cease for a little with the last order leaving the sewing room today. It has been amazingly busy of late with everything from notebooks to bunting - five metres of which was sent out just this morning, the order having come in at eleven o'clock last night when I thought I was safe! The year so far has been a brilliant one for my business and I feel excited at the thought of a break, but equally excited to get back to all the things I have planned for the rest of the pipany year.

I must stop my rambling now and go, but before I say 'bye for now', I must just let you know that I will be holding a giveaway on my return. It may be for one of my 'Lavender and Bees Notebooks'

or some bunting

or some other item from my website

I haven't really decided but will give it some serious thought while I am away...honest!

I will now cease posting ridiculously random pictures which have nothing whatsoever to do with the text (which is no surprise as the text struggles to make any sense at all) and say bye for now and have fun while I'm away. See you for the giveaway.

Byeeee x

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

I Want This!

We have had a lot of rain in Cornwall.

Too much for me.

I want summer back please.

Bright colours

sparkling seas

The locals!

Fun with the kids

Trolling through rock pools looking for sealife

Picnic lunches full of sand

Blue, blue skies with only the occasional fluffy cloud scudding by

And then home for tea.

Just thought I'd say. x

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Alchemilla for Camilla.

Mr Davey came home from school recently - he will pass his exams eventually, I am sure - and announced that he was organising a visit to the school by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; he then announced that he had said I would do the flowers for Camilla and her Lady-in-waiting. Oh. Right. Now let me tell you a little story...

Once upon a lifetime ago, Pipany sort of trained as a florist. This was as a back-up plan because she had actually trained in horticulture, but as Pipany was a skinny waif of a gel, it seemed getting work in the world of gardening may be a problem in not so very enlightened Cornwall (it was a long, long time ago), but soon decided that she was not keen on such formal flower arranging and returned to her own tied posies of garden flowers grown by her own not-usually-very-fair hands.

Having learned all about corsages and wreaths, wedding flowers and all manner of funereal crosses and sprays, Pipany then did indeed work in the prettily-scented floristry shops of ye local town (plus ye not so local town now I come to think about it).

The years rolled on until one day Mr Davey announced that he had put Pipany's name forward as the arranger of posies for m'lady Camilla - Ooohhh bum. The thing is, my posies are very informal and full of things like herbs and marigolds, wildly disarrayed sprays of whatever is looking pretty out in the garden. Typically, we are on the in between bit, but there was plenty of golden marjoram, lavender, daisies, hypericum berries, oregano and masses of my trusty alchemilla. I even cut our precious few brodeia - like a small and very dainty agapanthus which lasts brilliantly as a cut flower despite its fragility.

So, there you are and there I am, yet again bemoaning the fact that the photographs I took were hurried and in harsh light which has turned what were really rather pretty and natural tied posies into things of garishness where the soft mauve of brodeia and the gentle lime of my favourite alchemilla are lost only to be replaced by a harsh purple and green which bears no resemblance whatsoever to the original.

Ah well, such is life. The day went well and the flowers didn't fall apart and I made fruit loaf to mark the occasion

and jammed the tayberries

and made a batch of bread rolls to scoff thickly spread with butter and said jam.

Not a bad day, all in all. How was yours? x

Monday, 12 July 2010

Dressmaking Part Two.

A lovely weekend despite the overcast weather clothing Cornwall of late. We still had fun with trips to the cinema, fruit picking and watching Dave belting out songs with his school staff band at a 'gig' (I use the term loosely as it was a Fun Day, but they really are a very good band and Dave really is a very good if very growly singer much suited to the likes of Nickleback & Reef type songs!). Anyhow, first up comes the fruit.

Isabella was supposed to be holding the bowl for me to gently drop the berries into, but from my precarious position I could see they were fast disappearing into her mouth. Fortunately, the thought of playing horses on the prop that supports our very old and wonky pear tree was more appealing than being moaned at by me.

A daydreamy moment while riding the plains.

We (I) picked so many that a batch of tayberry jam seemed a good idea. Just look at the richness of this bowlful.

And so on to the dressmaking stint of the previous weekend, the one where I sewed three articles in one day with no pattern and a lot of luck. This is item number two - a skirt for Lucy made from a hacked about skirt of her older sister, Lauren. It went from this...

to this: A flicky skirt with two ruched sections in the front decorated with black ribbon to keep a slightly more grown up feel (well, she is twelve now you know).

I actually found it quite hard to photograph the ruched bits to show how they lift to form a sort of gathered section which adds a little interest to an otherwise fairly simple skirt.

It was very easy to do and could be achieved either by shirring a small section vertically or, as I did on this skirt, merely using a gathering thread to pull up the amount you want before securing with a few stitches on the machine.

We liked the effect so much that I feel many of our clothes could be receiving this treatment. It is also very forgiving as it can be used to hide an uneven hemline - obviously I am not suggesting for one moment that any of you would be so shoddy as to do such a thing, but frankly my three items were patternless and hurried, hence a little manipulation was required and this was the result!

One happy lady more than happy to pose.

My little Sweetie x

What did your weekend hold? x

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A Little Harvest.

No sewing news today as my other model is at school; photo session tonight I hope of a re-worked skirt for my not-so-little Lucy. Instead a quick garden catch up for you. The cherries are slowly turning red on our huge cheery tree and the odd one plops onto the duckpond beneath. I love the way the sweeping branches bow and arch toward the murky waters below, the odd one dipping its toe in for good measure.

We have eaten yet more of these gorgeous Tayberries and as the juice dribbles down my chin I can't help thinking that perhaps the soft fruit season is my favourite of all. Of course, I do love plums and damsons and then there are English apples in all their glory. Oh I just love fruit I guess.

Overall our garden has had a bit of a quiet patch the last few weeks on the flower front, but the next flurry seems about to burst. These foxgloves are beginning to make way for day lilies, swathes of feverfew and lady's mantle, and bright yellow loosestrife.

Courgettes are coming thick and fast now

and Isabella helps to crop them, along with her broad beans (from a little plant she grew at nursery) and parsley.

It's all quite nice really.

What's good in your garden right now? x