Taking Time Out

Over the last few weeks, we have been taking time out to tidy up our little courtyard so that it’s ready for the summer ahead. Last weekend we made a trip to one of my favourite garden centres (http://www.bernaville.co.uk/) at Cowley, Exeter.  Whilst it’s not the largest garden centre in Exeter, it’s one of the prettiest. I particularly love their selection of garden pots as they stock the Heritage Garden Pottery collection in a variety of colours. It won’t surprise you to hear that dusky duck-egg blue is my current favourite.

There’s room for a few more pots & plants I think (ooh great, another trip to Bernaville Nursaries!), and we are in the process of getting an outside light installed so that we can see this pretty tableau from the kitchen table. The walls have been freshly painted and yesterday evening I lit the candles for the first time. Whilst of them blew out (a bit windy around here last night!), enough stayed alight to cast a warm glow.

I’m looking forward to longer, lighter evenings and sitting at the kitchen table with a glass of wine, taking time out to reflect on the peace that emanates from my beautiful Buddha and the tranquility of this little scene.

Setting the Table

This weekend I got to use my mediterranean blue table napkins for the first time. We had friends around for dinner and served up a Greek menu, starting with nibblies (olives, dips, and tiropitakia); followed by stefado with garlic and lemon roasted potatoes and green beans; and finishing with a selection of tasty baklava. I had found the ideal bowls in our local cook shop , for serving the stefado in, and knew that my blue and white wading birds napkins would add the perfect finishing touch.

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Having fallen in love with the duck-egg colourway of this design and a habit of using them on every occasion, it was heartening to see the blue napkins looking perfectly at home on the kitchen table.

Note to self: remember you have more than one set of napkins in the drawer 😉

A good cuppa

Having almost run out, I was very relieved when the postman delivered my recent order of my favourite Devon blended loose tea. Having originally discovered this perfect cuppa at Route 2 cafe in Topsham, I had been delighted to find it online at  (http://www.teasme.co.uk/about).  Now I can’t be without it!

IMG_0795Of course, the perfect tea requires the perfect accessories – china cups; pretty pottery teapot; and ginger biccies from a Sadler china biscuit barrel.

Time to settle down then, with a nice cuppa and plan my next design. I’m working on ‘redshanks’ at the moment and will let you know how I get on.

Quilted Patchwork Cushion #1

Well here it is, my first quilted patchwork cushion. I have absolutely loved making it and can’t wait to get started on my next one. It’s been an interesting experience though as this is the first time I have quilted using my sewing machine rather than by hand.  This has meant that the cushion came together much more quickly than it would have done (I still have two hand quilting projects ‘on the go’!!!) which is very satisfying.

I used a combination of traditional machine quilting (stitch in the ditch) and free motion quilting (for the hearts and swirls). Although I am very used to free motion stitching, using it on this project has been a bit of a challenge. It felt strange going from the very precise and neat process of patchwork to the completely free and almost messy flow of free motion stitching3. But it works….I think….

Playing with Patchwork

I have fallen in love with all things patchwork. This will come as no surprise to those who know me as there is perhaps no other form of sewing more suited to my obsession with neatness. Not only is a multitude of beautiful fabrics, in rows and rows of pretty baskets filled to the brim with perfectly proportioned fat quarters, readily available in my favourite shop (Coast and Country Crafts & Quilts); but once purchased, these fabrics need to be cut into mathematically precise squares (or triangles or hexagons etc). Heaven!

And there are so many gorgeous patterns and designs to choose from, which leads to hours and hours spent deciding which fabrics to use, for which project, and in which configuration. Bliss!

Once the project is planned neat and precise sewing is called for – as is my trusty 1/4 inch sewing machine foot. Having sewn and pressed and sewn and pressed and sewn and pressed some more, the moment of truth arrives where the corners of each set of four squares meet perfectly (or not!!!) in the middle. How much better could it get?!?!

Needless to say, this passion for patchwork is sure to find its way into my products before long. Watch this space.

 

Dashing through the snow

This year we have added a new limited edition’Coastal Christmas‘ range to our homeware and have been busy getting it ready for the website.  The central motif is this gorgeous reindeer (above), inspired by the swooping swirling lines of early folk art.

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Wassily Kandinsky

We’ve taken this central design and adapted it for a new line of Christmas cards, festive stickers, and napkins (coming soon).

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Reindeer Christmas Card

I always love this time of year, and have often thought I would be quite happy running my own all-year-round Christmas shop 🙂 It’s not so much because I love Christmas Day itself…. it’s because I love Christmas time, and most especially Advent (which I will say more about when it’s here). For me, it’s all about the preparation…..cosying up the house for the longer darker days. Lighting the candles. Snuggling under the blankets. Choosing a new decoration for the tree.  I love the deep warm reds and the soft russets and burnished golds that bring the autumnal colours of the outdoors inside.

My guilty secret at this time of year?…..ssh……feel good movies on ‘Christmas 24‘…….but don’t tell………

Sunday morning in Topsham

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning in Topsham, Devon. The November sun is soft and low and the estuary is calm and still – disturbed only by the movement of a small boat and the gentle splashing of the resident ducks. 

I’m sitting by the window of the popular Route 2 cafe enjoying breakfast and planning a day of sewing. I’m in the middle of making a batch of Reindeer cushions and looking forward to launching them at the Arty Craft Christmas Fair next month. I’ve had great fun with their antlers, using a lovely silky embroidery thread to create long sweeping lines and plenty of swirls. I love the design so much that I’ve used it as the basis for my Christmas cards and seasonal packaging stickers. 

         
I’ll post photos of the cushions when they’re ready. No doubt I will spend the evening sewing on buttons on the back 🙂