Friday 26 September 2008

Gone fishing

I'm heading up country to see my family, and meet some friends.
Back in a while.

Wednesday 24 September 2008


This post is for Alice - just to remind you of a few familiar places, and the beauty of this far away land.

All taken between 7am and 8am this morning. It was the perfect start to my day.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Off with the old, on with the new

I barely glanced at my knitting over the summer, somehow it didn't feel a very summery activity for me. These last couple of weeks I've had the urge to pick up my needles and finish a dishcloth that's been in-the-knit since back in the spring.

I think it's a nesting thing...imagining evenings snuggled on the sofa with some lovely wool, needles clicking away, dogs curled up at my feet, pitch black outside (ok, I'm getting carried away here!) So a few more rows and the above has been cast off, to add to my little pile. I was trying out various brands of cotton, and stitches. My favourite is still Rowan Handknit DK Cotton - both to knit with, and to use as a cloth.

So what next? I would really like to knit some of these - they're so cute. I have the pattern, but I've yet to master knitting on dpns. You Tube videos are a great help but I need hands-on assistance. So to get a simple winter project going I've decided to knit a blanket (I think in real knitter speak it's an afghan?) using this yarn.

I love these colours (no surprises there, they're blue!) so I'm knitting large squares in stocking stitch which I'll then patchwork together, and probably add a border. And I'll probably still be at it come spring. I also have my eye on knitting some Maine Morning Mitts from The Knitters Book of Yarn (free pdf pattern here) but that also means mastering the dpns! I thought they'd make great presents. Christmas isn't that far away...

Monday 22 September 2008


How I love the sun at this time of year, as the seasons slowly change. Unbroken sunshine, lasting not just hours, but days, has been a real delight. And so unexpected. I think we'd all given up on it, hadn't we?

Walking down to the beach to catch the sun going down, seeing it bathe my little town in its warm glow.

Feeling the chill in the air as we reach the autumn equinox. Enjoying and observing the changes in nature as the trees shed their leaves and once again they are reduced to their bare bones. I have been re-acquainting myself with the poetry of Mary Oliver. Her poems have a deep connection to nature and spirit - her collection Wild Geese is a great place to start if you want to read more. Here is one of her poems that has particularly resonated this weekend.

The Sun

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats towards the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone -
and how it slides again

out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance -
and have you ever felt for anything

such wild love -
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
empty-handed -
or have you too
turned from this world -

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

Mary Oliver

Sunday 21 September 2008


In silhouette: the death dance between spider and fly

Friday 19 September 2008

Love makes the world go round

Things I've loved this week .....

:: warm autumn sunshine, late afternoon sun and long shadows

:: pink skies at sunrise

:: playing on the beach with the dogs

:: starting a new knitting project

:: collecting elderberries and rosehips to make syrups

:: eating my first crumble of the season - blackberry, apple and elderberry

:: chatting with my sisters

:: being treated to lunch by a friend

:: painting on pebbles and sea glass

And I love the way the colour fades on hydrangeas....

slowly seeping from the petals until they are pale and delicate and even more beautiful.

Spread a little love around this weekend, not only to those who expect it, but also to those who don't. On Simplicity has written a wonderful post about love being the world's only truly renewable resource. Read and be inspired.

This seems a good time to welcome a new blogger. Can you remember what it was like in those first few weeks, when you wondered if anyone would drop by and visit, let alone leave a comment? (admit it, we all like comments). So please go and say hi to Kim at Heart in the Country. She's got lots of lovely chickens!

Happy weekend - I think the forecast is sun, sun, sun (at least for the far south west)!

Thursday 18 September 2008

Today's pebble

I am always searching for that elusive 'perfect pebble'. I often find it, because the criteria for 'perfect' changes on a daily basis, entirely at whim. Sometimes it's the perfect smooth oval, sometimes it's round. Sometimes it's speckled and sometimes it's chalky white. And sometimes it'll have a pattern of lines that just catches my eye. Like today.

Tomorrow's pebble will probably be completely different. I'm lucky enough to live a ten-minute walk from the beach. This is what we call our 'town' beach, nestled below the prom, and then stretching westwards to Newlyn. It's a pebble beach and as such is also a treasure trove of sea glass. Sea glass is even more important to me than pebbles - I'm forever on the look out for these little jewel-like fragments. I rarely collect brown glass, and am not that taken with green, either. Clear glass, blasted to an opaque white, is precious, and aqua and turquoise even more so. But the real treasure is cobalt blue - a rare find indeed. Today's haul was fairly average, by all accounts.

Pebbles and sea glass are arranged at home in little still lifes, bowls and glass jars, whatever suits my mood of the moment. My greatest inspiration for the perfect pebble spiral somes from Kettle's Yard. Here is a quote from the website: "On Castle Street in Cambridge, is a beautiful and unique house containing a distinctive collection of modern art. Kettle's Yard was founded by H.S. 'Jim' Ede as a place where visitors would 'find a home and a welcome, a refuge of peace and order, of the visual arts and of music.' "

A glimpse of the pebble spiral can be seen on the top left of their home page. If you've never visited Kettle's Yard it's a journey worth making.

Gongs and a blog-date

I have been honoured with some awards in the last few weeks (months?) and have been very lax in posting about them. And I am honoured - I've received these with a sense of disbelief, and a huge grin...because it never ceases to surprise me that you lovely people visit my blog, come back for seconds, and furthermore, lots of you leave me comments. It makes my day (and I really mean that). I've even had the fun of my first 'blog date' - more of that in a moment.

Three generous bloggers have awarded me the 'I Love Your Blog' award:

So my thanks to Louise at Louise@Home Is Where The Heart Is, Ginny at The Flour Loft, and Aubrey at The Quiet Life.
Each of these blogs are well worth visiting - drop in, say hello, and visit often.

Irene at The Most Splendid Day! has just presented me with this award:

Thanks so much Irene! Irene has just moved back to Blogger, and has a beautiful new banner, so go and take a peak.

Here's the bit I'm not good at. The rules....anyone who knows me well will know that I'm not a follower of rules but a breaker of rules, in many areas of my life. And I hate feeling right now, I'm not passing these on...but I might just surprise you one day (without any obligation). And by not passing these on, it doesn't mean I'm not inspired by all of you - on the contrary, I struggle to narrow it down to a handful. So I'm not even going to try.


A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of my first 'blog date' - taking that leap from 'virtual' to 'reality'. I admit to a mixture of excitement and terror (I can laugh about that now). The excitement was understandable - I was going to meet someone who has supported my blog from the word go, leaves me lovely comments and sends me emails sharing her latest knitting projects (the Noro Iro is now on order, courtesy of a late birthday pressie from my biggest sis). The trepidation was along the lines of...what shall I wear (I'm a real scruff bag), She'll think I'm a fake, my blog edits out all the grotty bits, so it's life through rose-tinted specs, I'm not really creative....and so on..and on. I suspect it's something along the lines of what most of us might be feeling. And actually, once I met Suzanne, all those feelings melted away. Suzanne had travelled all the way from Glasgow to Cornwall (with a yarn purchasing detour in Wales!) to visit her sister. We met up for coffee and cake (actually, it was only me who scoffed cake!) at The Exchange - the new part of the Newlyn Gallery, here in Penzance. We talked non-stop, and got chucked out when the cafe was closing. I think we could have talked for hours.... Thanks Suzanne, for visiting my neck of the woods. I had a really lovely time and I wish you weren't as far away as Scotland!

Suzanne's gorgeous tweed scottie dogs - available from her etsy shop

Monday 15 September 2008

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Today is my sister G's birthday - I won't embarrass her by mentioning just how old she is, but suffice to say, she's older than me!

Instead of a card I made her a tiny paper bunting banner, sewn together with bias binding. Each little triangle is cut from tissue paper (doubled) and is just over 2 inches high. I'm ridiculously pleased with this and love its smallness.

To finish off, on the very last triangle I wrote a little message from me. Happy birthday G, can't wait to see you next week!

Sunday 14 September 2008


Yesterday was a gloriously hot sunny september day...the kind we've been yearning for all summer. My sunflowers are looking quite majestic, especially with the sun backlighting their leaves and petals, making them glow.

These photos are all taken through the rather grubby glass of my little conservatory - the only possible place that had the right vantage point.
Note: get out the vinegar for some serious window cleaning!

There's something about sunflowers that makes me smile - they just look so happy and have a simple almost child-like quality. And they're so easy to grow. I particularly like these dark rusty colours - I think the variety was 'Earth Walker'...or maybe 'Velvet Queen'... or both. I forgot to label them.

Thursday 11 September 2008

Hedgerow harvest

Our hedgerows are laden with autumn fruits just beckoning to be gathered and turned into jams, jellies and crumbles.

And sloe gin. Pipany has generously shared her recipe and tips for sloe gin on her lovely website.
The hard bit is leaving the gin to mature until christmas....

Tuesday 9 September 2008

A thank you, and a sewing swap

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who left lovely supportive comments about Ben's chicken coops. It's been an exciting week for him, and my post has also led to some orders and enquiries. Wow! Ben has read every single comment, too, and has been overwhelmed at how generous you've all been. So thank you again.

And now to something a little more mundane - namely, my sewing. Just over three months ago I joined a pin cushion and needle book swap over at Down to Earth. The intention of the swap was to use thrifted supplies and bits from your stash. So far, so good. And we had three months in which to complete the project. No pressure then. Mmm. Not good. Procrastination is my middle name. Give me all the time in the world and I'll leave something to the very last minute (Suzanne, this is familiar I think?!!). I finally got to work two days before the posting deadline. I wanted to use some felted jumper and a piece from my large pile of vintage blankets. The advantage of this for me is no fraying edges, for starters. In my head I can reality, I struggle to sew straight lines, especially on the machine, so my projects never turn out quite how I envisaged. Small photos here, in the vain hope that the wonkiness is less evident! (edited: I've re-posted the photos, they were too small!)

pin cushion

I decided to try a little embroidery on the needlecase, having been inspired by Melissa's beautiful work, and Sally Anne's. My stitching is at best clumsy and I can already see that I should have divided the strands of thread - I used six and I think three would have been ample. Sewing is a constant learning curve for me.

needle case

needle case - inside

These have gone off to Ann in Australia, along with some of my cards. I have received my package already, but not yet photographed it. The handiwork puts mine to shame....

On a kind of blog admin note.....I seem to have had emails going astray left right and centre this past if you've emailed me and I've not replied chances are it's got lost somewhere in the ether, either way. Please try again!

Wednesday 3 September 2008

Blowing Ben's trumpet

This post is for all you chicken-lovers out there.....maybe you have chickens already, or maybe you dream of having chickens (that's me!). And of course, I want to tell you about my nephew Ben.

Ben (who was staying with me last week) has been designing and making gorgeous chicken coops for the last year. He finally has his website up and running, and his business cards printed.

He has kept chickens from an early age - his first chicken was called 'Chicky' - she used to come up to the french doors and tap on the window with her beak to say hello. Even my Mum grew to love her, and she wasn't a fan of anything with feathers.

The coop and run designs are entirely his own, and he makes them and paints them by hand, from start to finish, using superb quality components from the wood to the screws, and more.

His website is Oakdene Coops and his email is here. His coops can be viewed by appointment near Dorking, Surrey. There's the added bonus of seeing my sister's beautiful garden at the same time!

Any comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated, so do take a peek at his website! His order book is filling up thick and fast. Oh...and delivery is anywhere in the UK. So if you need a new coop, this is the place to go...

I know this is shameless promotion of a family member, but I am very proud of Ben and his coops are just gorgeous. You won't regret even looking!
Enough said.

Monday 1 September 2008

Postcard :: dahlia three

Dahlia 'Karma Fuschiana' - the tubers were from Jane. I love this dahlia, the colours are so intense they positively glow. Very uplifting on a damp grey day.