Friday, 25 February 2011

good things

:: it's friday. That means the weekend is just around the corner.

:: I had one of these with my morning coffee. Yum.

:: new season purple sprouting broccoli - I love this steamed, and finished off with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a twist of black pepper

:: my red boots - colour for a grey day

:: winding a skein of wool into a ball, ready for this pattern

:: enjoying the heady fragrance of hyacinths. Note the use of an old knitting needle as a support stake

:: soup is bubbling on the stove - it's a soup-kind-of-day here, and I found some split peas lurking in the back of a cupboard. They need eating

Do you have plans for the weekend? I'm hoping the weather will brighten up for some good walks - accompanied by my boy and a flask of hot chocolate.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

on the prom

I 'walk the prom' regularly. It's usually included on my 'round town' walk with Walter, and we get to go on the beach too, and search for sea glass amongst the pebbles. These photos were taken about fifteen minutes after these ones. A change of angle, a change of perspective, a change in the light, and I have photos that look like they were taken on a different day entirely.

I love the wild windy weather that throws spray up onto the prom. Sometimes you get a surprise drenching if you're not quick on your toes!

These are for the two Kates, to remind them of home.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

knitting notes

I knit nearly every day. Sometimes it may be just a few rows, others it's for a couple of hours. I've realised lately how much faster I knit now. Regular practice certainly helps - that, and a greater confidence in what I'm doing. I no longer feel like a real beginner. I can read a pattern and it usually makes sense, instead of a page from a novel written in a foreign language.

Francis Revisited was my first jumper, and I'm delighted with it. However, after a couple of months' wear there were two niggles: a too-tight bind-off round the bottom, and despite much measuring and trying on, a lack of length. Last week I rectified this, ripping back the moss stitch band on the bottom, then adding a couple more inches to the stocking stitch before re-knitting the moss stitch border and finishing with Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off. Now, it's perfect and I'm one hundred and ten percent happy!
At the weekend I finished off the last sleeve (a barely-there sleeve, actually) of Idlewood, which has been hanging around since before Christmas. Yesterday, after blocking beautifully, I wore it to my monthly knitting group. You can guarantee your knitting friends will oooh and aaah and make all the right appreciative noises! This is gorgeous to wear, very snuggly, with the large drapey cowl providing a halo of warmth around my neck. I love this pattern, and now have my eye on a couple more knits by Cecily Glowik MacDonald.
Finally, the socks are finished. Sock two was slower off the needles - typically, I got distracted on route to a speedy completion. I kitchenered the toe yesterday and after a quick block they're now ready to wear.
Have you noticed the colour co-ordination going on here? Not intentional, but pleasing to the eye, even if it's just for photographic purposes.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

a tree full of starlings

It's common to see a sky full of starlings at dusk throughout the winter months, as they journey to their roosting habitat at nearby Marazion Marshes. They often linger in a tree here and there, or on a rooftop. Several winters ago I had the pleasure of them in my garden, a fleeting visit that turned the sky black.

I like to linger too, and watch them as they fly away. They make a beautiful silhouette against the fading sky.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

big seas and moody skies

The weather is very changeable at the moment in my neck of the woods. Strong winds are whipping up big seas, and the water level at high tide is rising as we approach full moon.

It makes for dramatic views and a bracing walk. I love this kind of weather.

Walter added his own little drama today by rolling in horse poo, followed by a dead fish, and then a dead gull. He is less than fragrant, and has had to be bathed. He's now been banished to his bed, where he's sleeping off his little adventure.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

making

After playing comes making.

I was wondering what to do with my card printed with random red lines, and decided to make a simple blank notebook. Like many things I make, it's quite small. I wonder about this sometimes. I feel comfortable with 'small' - is it because the smaller something is the harder I think it will be to see the faults? Perhaps if my work is quite tiny, I hope it won't be noticed at all. I feel distinctly uncomfortable under the spotlight. Most of my skills are self-taught, and usually a positive result comes from much trial and error. I am also very critical of anything I make - focusing too much on the end result rather than enjoying the process, and learning and growing from it.

I digress. I hadn't intended to talk about all that, but it's been simmering under the surface, so clearly it's reached boiling point! My intention is to start selling some of my work, albeit in a small way, but it feels very scary, and a real leap of faith, too.

So here's a wee notebook. The pages are made from some old compliments slips. It needs to sit under a heavy weight for a few days to 'cure' it and stop it automatically opening at centre page. It's a simple stitched binding with waxed linen thread and all the pages have been hand-cut, so there's inevitably that slight quirkiness that comes from something handmade.

I'm pleased with it, but I've no idea yet what I'll use it for. Lists of some sort, I expect. Or maybe it will end up being gifted to someone else.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

playing

Sometimes the need to just play for half an hour is too strong to resist. An old cork, a wooden skewer, some thread, paper and an ink pad were the required ingredients.

That, and an open, non-judgemental mind, a little imagination, and some fun can be had.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

big skies at the beach

A dull start to the day, with those grey/blue skies merging with the greeny blue sea. The sea was strangely calm for such a windy morning. This afternoon the skies were blue, the sun came out, and I spent two hours in the garden digging, tidying, and pulling up dandelions. It was blissful to be working outside.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

the beauty of purple kale


Beauty at the green grocers. I couldn't resist getting my camera out when I got home - the underside of this head of kale was particularly beautiful. Almost too good to eat.
It's blowing a real gale here today. I like wind, I find it quite exhilarating (so long as there's no chill factor). Out walking this afternoon I rescued a little lamb tangled up in wire. His bleats were so loud I could not ignore him. He was desperate to get back to his mum. She was also caught up - and once free, it was clear she'd injured her leg, possibly broken it. I made some calls when I got home to try and locate the farmer they belong to. I don't know what the outcome will be, but at least ewe and lamb are together, and the little one won't go hungry.

Friday, 4 February 2011

wintery

The weather has turned these last couple of days and it feels wintery again. I'm probably in the minority, but I'd be happy if we had more snow! I've been reading this lovely book, a meditative daily winter journal of a gardener, covering three months in Iowa. I picked up a second-hand copy on Amazon for less than five pounds. The artwork on the cover is beautiful, and the book is nearly a square - a format I really like.

(click on photos to enlarge)
The journal tells of a harsher winter than those we experience here in the UK, and certainly Cornwall, but it's a beautifully written narrative, and if you enjoy nature, the seasons and gardening I think you would love it.
Continuing with a wintery theme, I found these bookmarks hidden in a pile of papers. I made them from recycling a magazine page. I like the way the perspective is changed when the image is divided up and the order changed.
You can never have too many bookmarks, either. I can't bear turning down the corners of the pages. I just can't bring myself to do it. I find moo cards also make great little bookmarks!
For a spot of winter green, a bunch of flat leaf parsley picked up at my local W.I. market. I like having this on the kitchen windowsill as much as a bunch of daffs, and I get to eat it too. Actually I'm rather partial to eating fresh parsley on its own. Does that make me a bit odd?
Wishing you all a happy weekend!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

my cup is full

Life is good.

Do you have days when you feel that, with absolute certainty?

I do, and today was one of them. I'm lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the world. I can lie in bed and see the sea in the distance. I can walk on the beach every day, if I wish, or I can head up to the moor between north and south coast, and seek silence and solitude. I work mostly from home, and am able to plan my days as I wish - perhaps taking advantage of a sunny day and working instead in the evening. I have a roof over my head, and the handsome Walter for company. Life in Cornwall is not necessarily an easy life - wages are low, work can be scarce, and you have to be resilient and adaptable. But the things that nourish and inspire me are free and on my doorstep, and you can't put a price on that. I'm lucky too that I'm a real home bird and enjoy a simple life.

 seaglass collected last weekend - this is a teeny tiny cup!
I was driving home today when the sun came out and sparkled on the bay, and this song came on the radio. My heart skipped a beat. The moment I walked in the door the phone rang, and it was one of my dearest friends. We don't speak that often, but there are always squeals of excitement when that oh-so-familiar voice comes down the phone line, and we have a good catch up.

Tonight there has been a little work, a lot more chatting (with sister Gill) and some knitting. I can also safely say that I have enough wool in my stash to knit away happily all year without purchasing another ball. That makes me smile, but of course it's no guarantee I won't be adding to it, on a whim.

See, my cup is full.