Thursday 31 July 2008

A parcel in the post

I am one of the lucky winners in Suzanne's recent giveaway to celebrate her blog's first anniversary, and my gift arrived this week. If you don't know Suzanne's blog, Fieldy, go and take a peek. There's all manner of crafty goings on - sewing, knitting, lately some crochet, and especially beautiful handmades from Harris Tweed.

I am thrilled with my spongebag, and in fact think this is far too nice to be relegated to the bathroom and trips away (which I rarely make, to be honest). I am going to use it for small sewing and knitting projects. Sometime soon I hope to tackle something on dpns, not sure what yet...socks? fingerless gloves? Anyway, this will be the perfect work-in-progress bag.

You can see the beautiful colours woven in the tweed here, and I love the finishing touches of the chocolate velvet ribbon and the metal fly. It has been raining here pretty much non-stop all week, so not great for taking photos. A brief respite this afternoon saw me out in the garden, but it was still windy and no matter how many pics I took, I couldn't get the labels to keep still. I gave up!

Suzanne also sent me a lovely card - the photograph of the poppies was taken by Caireen at The Patchwork Dress. You can see more of Caireen's photocards here.

Suzanne, thanks so much, it's lovely to see your work in the flesh, and now actually own a piece!

Suzanne and Caireen have both just celebrated their birthdays so Happy Birthday to You!!

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Summer reads

Thanks for all the plant suggestions from my last post - the definitive answer is Knautia Macedonia, confirmed by the garden's owner!

One of my best friends has been on holiday down here for the last couple of weeks, and I've managed to meet up with her several times. Last week we picniced on the beach at Prussia Cove, one of my favourite places. Ever. We played frisbee, dipped our toes in the sea, and talked non-stop for several hours. Just catching up on life, you know how it is.

I came home with a bag full of summer reading - Jo always saves her paperbacks for me, either posting them on, or like this time, when we actually get to meet, a big supply in one go!

My book group is on its summer break, so I'll have a bit more time to delve in to these. Anybody out there read any of them already? Any comments or reviews? On sunday I woke with a splitting headache of the hormonal variety. Being upright was not an option, but tea and a book in bed most definitely was, so long as I kept very still! The sun was shining outside, yet again the sky was blue, and I can see the sea from my bed (just have to ignore what's between my bedroom window and the sea itself) so it was a good location for reading and recovery. By lunchtime I'd transferred to the steamer chair in the garden, and that is where I remained until I'd read Jonathan Coe's The Rain Before It Falls, from cover to cover. I loved it, just couldn't stop turning the pages. Compulsive, evocative of times passed, haunting..... I have to admit I felt quite decadent, lounging all day. Especially as by the time I went and sat in the garden my pounding head was becoming a distant memory. But then sometimes you need a day like that.

Yesterday Jo and I met up one more time - I drove over to Helford where she's staying, and we walked to nearby Manaccan (accompanied by her son, and Walter dog) for lunch at this new-ish cafe. Stylish, simple, and delicious food, too. I do love it when friends visit my neck of the woods.

Friday 25 July 2008


It really feels like summer's here at long last. There's a palpable sense of slowing down, enjoying each day and the treasures that come with it - most of all the sunshine. Feeling the warmth of the sun's rays, and enjoying the balmy evenings. Of finally wearing t-shirts and not getting chilly. Earlier this week I drove across the moor to the north coast (a mere four miles!) to meet friends for an early evening drink. This was the view. As I drive 'over the top' from south coast to north coast, there is a huge expanse of sky, and then finally the sea again. Every time, it takes my breath away - the vastness of it, and the wonderful ever-changing light.

I love bringing flowers in from the garden, and piling them any-old-how into jam jars, to dot around the house. These are from a friend's garden - Lady's Mantle (or alchemilla mollis) and I'm not sure what the deep red flowers are - I think they may be astrantia. Can anyone tell me?

Nothing much else to say really (can you tell I'm already in weekend mode?), except have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy all this sunshine and blue skies!

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Shadow play

An evening walk in the woods - the coolest time of day for the dogs. Sunlight filtering through the trees, playing with shadows. Scattered pools of light.

I love the stillness at this time of day, and the gentle sounds of nature preparing for the night.

Monday 21 July 2008

A little bit of gingham love

A weekend of skies, wisps of cloud, warmth from the sun, a gentle breeze. I'm lapping this up, it feels like we've waited so long. Is summer really here? I like to think so. I'm making the most of it, because it's never quite guaranteed.

As a consequence, not much is happening in the crafting department. I've been turning out some drawers, trying to re-organize my paper scraps, card and tissue paper stash. The reality is the drawers are empty and my dining room table is piled high (actually, that's a fairly normal state of affairs, this table's always accumulating one thing or another). In the meantime, I keep getting distracted by all the goodies that have long been forgotten. Order out of chaos? Forget it...I'm just creating more chaos! I did find some blue gingham tissue paper, and this inspired me to make a new little notebook. I love gingham - it feels very summery, but not too twee (I don't really do twee) and this one's a lovely cobalt blue.

I used an envelope for the cover, glueing the tissue paper in place and trimming...then I lined the envelope flaps on both sides, and cut the flap in the middle so you get a little pocket front and back.

The paper is scrap letterhead from a previous life, cut to fit, and sewn in place with pamphlet stitch. Now it's resting under a heavy pile of books, to encourage all the papers to lie flat. I need to start checking the grain of the papers I'm using if I'm going to do this properly.

I'm rather pleased with this, it all came together just as I imagined, and that always feels good. It doesn't usually happen like that!

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Three things

I just wanted to share three quick things.....

:: I found this company in a google search the other day. Loads of yarn, linen threads, cotton, embroidery stuff - list after list. I sent for their catalogue (£3) which includes pages of samples, and oh I do love samples!

You get to touch, to feel, to look, it's sensory overload.

And it's very very tempting....

:: This brochure arrived in the post this morning. Has anyone done any courses at West Dean? I can recommend it, though it's a good eight years or so since I've been. A huge variety of arts and crafts in spectacular surroundings with well equipped workshops, and tutors who are successful designer/makers in their field (like Janet Bolton, Magie Hollingworth, Jackie Binns and more).

:: My neighbour's shirt, hanging on the line this morning - I was rather taken with it...

In my head, I've already re-purposed it...perhaps a small bag...a cushion cover...what would you turn it in to?

Monday 14 July 2008

Back in balance

It seems I was not the only one to have an 'off' week last week, judging by your lovely supportive comments. Pipany made me laugh when she said: "my grumpiness is driving even me mad!" and that's it, in a nutshell. I was irritating myself on a daily basis, and of course I was the only one who could do anything about it. Well, I'm pleased to say that a sense of balance has been restored, helped no doubt by mostly blue skies and sunshine over the weekend.

Time to potter at home - a bit of gardening, a bit of reading, a bit of dreaming. And some time laughing with girlfriends over tea and chocolate brownies, the smoke from the bonfire enveloping us in that wonderful woody smell that lingers in your hair, your clothes, the dogs' fur, long after you've come home.

Loving the bright colours of the calendula and poppies scattered through my friend K's vegetable patch

And I've also been thinking about what it means to be creative - inspired in part by this book, recommended to me by Ginny. It's a great book to dip into...lots of activities to free the spirit, to get you playing again. Overall, it reminds you that being creative is also about having fun and letting go.

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware,
joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware

(quote by Henry Miller, taken from Living Out Loud by Keri Smith)

Friday 11 July 2008

A wee moan

Hello. I've been kind of absent from my usual self this week. I'm not usually fazed by the weather in all its guises but somehow the relentless rain we've been subjected to recently has taken its toll.

These words spring to mind: grumpy, ratty, disjointed, unfocused, untidy (yes, chaos reigns chez Pebbledash), a 'to do' list where nothing much is getting done...oh, I could go on and on, but I can see I need to nip this in the bud.

So some good things to turn this mood around:

:: the sun has made a lukewarm appearance today

:: the sky has been mainly blue

:: I walked the dogs today without getting soaked through to my knickers

:: I finished making the little sketch/doodle books, and they've now all been posted. I've so enjoyed this little project, it feels good giving things away for the sheer joy of it. And I do love wrapping up a parcel, too. So if you're still waiting for your package, I promise it's on its way.

:: the sun was out long enough this afternoon to cast shadows in the kitchen, like this...

There....I feel better now. Thank you for letting me have a little moan, I needed to clear the air. Of course, you might have given up on this post by now.....I can hardly blame you. But if you're still here, hope you have a weekend full of sunshine.

Sunday 6 July 2008

Everyone's a winner!

Thank you everyone who left a comment about the sketch books, I do appreciate it! We have had torrential rain here for the last three days - it's been cold too, more like November, never mind July. So it's been a perfect opportunity to hole up inside, drink hot chocolate, eat saffron buns....and make a pile of books! As I had the time, I thought I'd make you one each....I just have a few more to do.

So please email me your addresses and I'll get them in the post this week - it will be second class as there are quite a few!

Hope you had a fun (and dry!) weekend!

Thursday 3 July 2008

Getting wordy with wordle

Did you see Tracy's post today about wordle? I lost the rest of the afternoon playing around with words, fonts and colour. The word cloud for my blog url was a bit disappointing, somehow it didn't seem quite 'me'. So I changed tack and starting playing with word groups, initially making a card and envelope for my nephew, who's just passed his driving test. I came up with this - folded with all the text on the front for the card, and then enlarged onto A4, which I folded and cut for the envelope. No photo, I forgot, but the envelope looked pretty cool - I used bluey purple paper so the text was quite subtle.

I carried on playing for a bit (mmm, quite a while actually) and printed some covers which I've made into doodle sketch books. Medium weight card for the cover, with type wrapping around to the back.

Inside I've just used lightweight recycled copy paper - 20 pages

They're simply bound using pamphlet stitch, though I think my binding could be tighter

I thought they'd make fun sketchbooks for kids......and as I don't have any, I thought I'd give them away....

So if you'd like one, either for your offspring or yourself, leave me a comment and I'll draw two names at random on sunday evening, say 8pm (6 July).

Now go and play with wordle....... I need to get back to work!

Tuesday 1 July 2008

Six months. Vanished.

Pinch, punch, first of the month....

Is it really 1 July? Half way through the year? Already?

I don't want to believe it, because these days time just seems to fly by. Or is it just me? Is it about getting older? Does anyone have any tricks for slowing it down? If so, please leave details in the comments section. I'm sure there are others out there who'd like to know.

letterpress calender from Linda and Harriett