Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A Giveaway Gift.

Look what arrived in the post for me! I won a consolation prize in Jane's recent giveaway and it came in the form of this beautiful soft green knitted heart and Jane even popped in a packet of California poppies too.

Look at the even stitches (so unlike my own erratic knitting where stitch tension depends on mood - cross/watching tense film/annoyed/excited all equal fast knitting whereas calm/sleepy/thoughtful equal slow knitting, thus a changing tension throughout!). Jane's is even and lovely.

Who is the numpty in the back of this picture? I love the dainty button and am so thrilled with the whole package. Thank you, dear Jane.

Last night's torrential rain has given way to sunshine and the colours of the fallen leaves gleam as though polished, raindrops glistening on the edges of burnished jewels.

I am waiting for the maple to turn and have this picture from last autumn to remind me how beautiful it will be before shedding its leaves once more for the winter sleep.

Golds and soft browns are all around, catching the sun and echoing the colours in the various apple trees dotted around the garden.

Speaking of which, I really must get on and do something with these before they turn to mush. Chutney or wine? Apple pie or crumble? Hmm...

Perhaps I'll just have another slice of sticky gingerbread before deciding. Just one more and then I'll put the lid on the box so that the spicy smell of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and zingy lemon rind don't tempt me anymore. May have to make another batch I think!

What are you up to today? x

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A Bit of This and That.

This morning Mustang and Biscuit seemed very sedate, gliding up and down the pond with none of the usual frenetic diving and splashing. I think the warmth in the sun had mellowed them as they took their morning constitutional just before breakfast.

Looking back, it was another lovely weekend with so much going on. A little trip out in Mermaid had been much anticipated and fortunately the sun shone for us.

I made little cheese and vegetable pies, and chocolate brownies in the morning to keep us going out on the water.

It was easy to slip into a slightly hypnotic state as the oars cut through the water... well, less so once I joined Dave in the rowing.

We passed houseboats in various states of (dis)repair, some brightly coloured with fires being lit and others shabbily beautiful as they slipped slowly, slowly into the climbing water.

I have photographed these many, many times from the riverbank so it was great to be able to take a different perspective.

We made our way up the river towards Penryn quay, weaving in and out of all kinds of boats on the way.

It's such hungry work sitting here looking gorgeous!

I have realised how difficult it is to take pictures when in a busy harbour and of course I was supposed to be rowing! Many of my photos are out of focus or lopsided like this one, but you get the gist of how pretty it was.

The sun was warm, the breeze was balmy and we had a fantastic few hours n our dear little boat.

Back home in the garden the fungi are blooming and some are creating a strange beauty in their slow deterioration.

Isabella and Lucy played in the garden shrieking like mad things as they raced around, stopping only to bring me these beautiful fallen fig leaves which smell strongly of coconut buns! Most odd. We inspected green ones still on the bush, but they had none of this perfume.

I spent every free moment cutting out and embroidering for Chr ... well, I won't say it, but I guess you can work it out from what you see here. The stockpiling has been going on for a while now, so I must up the pace to ensure I can keep up with the demand when it starts.

That's all from me today. How was your weekend? x

Friday, 24 September 2010

A Little Look at Autumn.

Autumn in Cornwall hasn't been what I was hoping for so far. Where many of you have had glorious sunshine and hot, hot days we have been experiencing damp, sometimes muggy, sometimes really chilly weather. As some of you say though, it does give an excuse to light the fire - not that I ever need one. And there is beauty to be found even in the dankest of days.

Beautiful seed heads have an almost structural quality to them

which I translate into my handmade covered notebooks

Raindrops catch the fading light and hang from every surface.

Hard to tell these soggy flower tops were once the childlike flowers of feverfew - dainty daisies dancing in the breeze, now reduced to a static display of decay.

All around are the things which give me ideas for my work particularly at this time of year. I somehow relate to autumn more than any other season, though I find things I love in them all. I like having a little reminder like this lavender cushion so that I can enjoy it all without always having to get wet to do so!

When I see such beautiful things in nature it inspires so many ideas which is why I capture them in photographs. These often become a separate art form which inspires me as the lens takes up the shadows and highlights, offering a new image from the one I originally saw. Having these cards in my sewing room is a quick means of having a reference point for me.

There are still plenty of blackberries around, though I doubt they will be there much longer if this picture is anything to go by. See the pretty calyx left by the dropped berry; it almost looks like a flower in own right.

No matter, I will be able to look at these instead in the darker months and know their time will come again.

I picked up these windfalls this morning when feeding the ducks and collected up a pile of wood from the woodshed to use on the fire tonight. I have plans for a lovely roaring fire to accompany my knitting.

Isabella has plans to help me make another plum, apple and blackberry crumble. This one had a sprinkling of cinnamon and a goodly slug of our homemade plum gin to help it on its way.

Yes, even a grey day can be beautiful.

What are your plans tonight? x

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Promoting Handmade.

As a designer-maker with my own website business I am very aware how important it is to promote my work in order to draw new people to my site; no browsers equals no orders after all. Fortunately for me the handmade business community is one which, unlike that of the mass produced marketplace, is generous, works together to help promote each other and as a whole is supportive of each other. I cannot count the times some other maker has come to my aid with marketing/website/anything-you-can-think-of advice, all for free, all with no agenda other than to be helpful.

Small businesses specialising in the handmade are also very lucky to have wonderful resources on hand in the shape of UK Handmade and makers-online which is currently running a Spotlight campaign on its blog. This enables people like myself to raise the profile of each other's websites by offering links on our blogs. What a great way to hopefully introduce you to some new designers in the world of handmade! As well as running the Spotlights, makers online has a great range of handmade accessories including some from many of the makers featured in this post (and yes, that does include me too!).

So, to start you off...


Seventyseventyone is a designer/maker working with felt to create the most gorgeous felt brooches. Her designs are highly sculptural and are heavily inspired by the designs and colourways of Scandinavian ceramics and fabrics of the mid 1960’s. I really want the funky lime green Loopy Corsage!

Handmade Crafts Directory

Rachel Lucie

Rachel Lucie designs and makes the most beautiful handmade silver jewellery & works with semi-precious gemstones, pearls and Swarovski crystal to create truly gorgeous pieces. Her website is packed full of delicate images which perfectly capture the ephemeral quality of her work, much of which is inspired by her Grandma's 1920's jewellery and the Art Deco style of the 30's.

Dig The Earth

For truly contemporary designer cards you can do no better than to pop over to the Dig The Earth website. Here you will find bright cards and giclee prints using 100% recycled card, and museum quality inks to ensure the best quality possible. Anyone of these works would brighten the darkest winter day.


Evie Milo is based in Scotland and has a serious love of stationery! She takes the unused and the unwanted as a basis for her work, turning it into beautiful upcycled stationery with a range which includes envelopes, notebooks, paper garlands and greeting cards. She also designs and produces upcycled jewellery using the same ethos of turning something no longer used into something to be loved.

The Handmade Crafts Directory

The handmade crafts directory from aims to provide a high quality crafts directory for makers from all craft disciplines. It works to get makers seen and also to help find others in your area working in the creative field. Well worth a look.

So, there you have it. All these sites have blogs which can be found by clicking onto the links above. They really are full of wonderful things and information as well as providing a lovely read. Please do find some time to pop over and support the world of Handmade. Oh and don't forget me either!

Thank you x

Sunday, 19 September 2010

A First Outing.

Our first trip out on the Mermaid today; here she sits in all her slightly grubby, slightly dishevelled beauty waiting for us to come aboard. Please excuse the not-so-very-good photos; I'm afraid I just clicked away rather than actually considering what the outcome was!

Miss Isabella had a slight twinge of nerves as the reality of a rocking boat sank in as we clambered onto our bench and insisted she needed to go home...didn't last more than about a minute and the rest of the time was pretty much as you can see here!

I, of course, was away with the fairies dreaming of all the coves we can explore (once we get a little outboard engine as rowing is not the quickest way to cross the harbour and sails don't appeal when it is as busy as it was today) and all the picnics on tucked away beaches.

Dear Mr Davey, was in his element

I feel I may have some competition here...hmm, that wasn't on the agenda. Luckily, Dave isn't one of those people who wants to talk endlessly about the ins and outs of boating or wants to spend forever tinkering about with the blooming thing leaving me at home all weekend because 'it has to be done'.

No for us Mermaid, though lovely, is intended for fun: sailing with the children, rowing around our beautiful rivers, going on picnics in new, hidden places and generally having a good time.

And I do truly promise not to bore you with endless talk of her either, but for now please indulge me!

Isabella found the sea air gave her an appetite.

And Lucy-Lu has a big smile on her face throughout despite a pounding headache that the fresh air could only help a little.

We pootled around the harbour searching out all the names of the other boats and watching the cows in the fields bordering the water from a different angle to usual.

Yes, all in all, it was a good first outing.

A hungry child waiting to row home for tea.

Off to eat the enormous stew & dumplings I made ready for our return and to spend the evening knitting by the fire, glass of wine to hand. Till next time, dear Mermaid

Oh and before I go, look what arrived here on Friday: a fantastic gift from our fabulous, lovely, just brilliant friend Diana. She is such a thoughtful person and we were both very touched by this gift. The River Cottage Handbooks are so well written and even the introduction by the god that is Hugh was enough to make me want to get going, thoughts of delicious meals making my mouth water as I read. Fishing is such great fun (well, we think so anyway). Thank you sweetie and looking forward to taking you fishing some time soon! x

What did you get up to today? x