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.
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.
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 😉
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!
Of 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.
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.
We’ve taken this central design and adapted it for a new line of Christmas cards, festive stickers, and napkins (coming soon).
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………
“Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there”
I was very excited to receive my first logo stamp in the post this week – handmade by the very talented people behind ‘Wood n Stuff Rustic’ (http://woodnstuffrustic.co.uk). I love the feel of the solid wood in my hand and the beautifully carved logo in rubber on the reverse. I ordered the larger size with the idea of sprucing up plain paper bags and simple product packaging but am now very tempted to get the smaller size as well…..just because….
Having a logo stamp tells me that I am a little further along in my journey of developing a brand identity. I am sticking at something….a look…..a motif…..something identifiable and consistent.
ETSY has been busy re-designing shop-fronts. I have used that as an opportunity to re-think how I describe what it is that I do. I seem to have outgrown my first strapline, ‘Coast and Country Textiles’: firstly because with the advent of my greeting cards range, I no longer offer textile products alone; and secondly because my work has naturally graduated towards the coast rather than the country. Time for a re-think.
Playing with straplines is an interesting activity. It has forced me to take a step back and look at my work from the outside. I have had all kinds of conversations with myself as part of the process and in the end I have decided to go with ‘Contemporary Coastal Style’. I will live with that one for a while and see how it feels.
I have always loved stationery. As a child I used to look forward to the start of the new school term as it brought with it a new pencil case and new (second hand) text books which we would cover in brown paper (as per the school rules!). Growing up in Ireland, we had ‘copy books’ not ‘exercise books’ – each subject had a different colour – and I couldn’t wait to write the first word on the first line on the first page. Friends have teased me for having an addiction to ‘colour coding’ and to insisting on all folders in my office being blue! But I can’t help it. Stationery, and the smell of new books, is where it’s at.
This of course, brings me to the point. I have decided to indulge my love of all things stationery and design my own greetings cards. As with all my other work, the designs are based on appliquéd images of my favourite wading birds. I am delighted with how they have turned out. Have a look and see what you think…..