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.

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.

 

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 🙂

Putting my stamp on it

“Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there”

Josh Billings

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.

 

Now all I have to do is get a nice blue ink pad!

Playing with ‘straplines’

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.