Thursday, September 27, 2007

Realisation that summer has passed...

The sunflower has now faded

The long days of Summer are now gone...

But my passion flower is still going strong.

Seeds to gather

and time for me to welcome in Autumn with all her beautiful colours.

This time of year often finds me slightly melancholic ... but the beautiful colours, the conkers, the smokey evenings.. all your inspiring Autumnal posts.. have me in brighter spirits than usual and i am appreciating all that this time of year brings.

Do you have a favourite season or do you love them all?
I have added a poll (on the side bar) if you'd like to vote for your favourite.
Happy weekend


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Ice Bowl!

I did it and it worked.. Sorry the photo is bad but i hope you get the idea.

I just put a small bowl into the larger bowl and filled up the bottom and sides. I probably didn't leave it long enough as it's bottom could have frozen better. Apparently you can freeze it in stages.. e.g. fill the bottom few inches of your large bowl first and freeze... then add the smaller bowl weighted down (with more water) and fill around the sides. My friend Amanda whose suggestion it was that i attempt one, made an ice bowl at Christmas and filled the sides with glitter stars and some cranberries. Hers was so thick and so frozen that it didn't melt and she remembers wiping it out and refreezing it!
My man was impressed and said it was like ' proper, posh presentation.' Very different from my usual thing. I may try it if we have friends around sometime.. i think if you put the right herbs in you could break off bit to use in drinks. Alternatively once melted, use it to water your plants!

Thank you for all your anniversary wishes, we had a lovely evening. We also had a weekend away as an old flame had a 40th Birthday doo in Dorset (near Bridport). No posh hotel i'm afraid.. my man treated me to a camping adventure, and adventure it was as the wind was so strong the tent (a small igloo one) nearly took off! One of the legs was broken so we wrapped it in gaffa tape and it did hold. Luckily it wasn't raining as every time the wind blew the whole tent blew in and knocked into us.. Romantic .. er no, but memorable nevertheless!

We did survive it and the location was beautiful , just on the cliff.
This was the view...

The sun was out when we arrived and the breeze was strong.. i just love the force of the wind .. it makes me want to stand up tall, stretch my arms in the air and breath it all in. Which i did... .. it felt so good! There's nothing quite like the forces of nature to shake off the cobwebs and make you feel alive and exhilarated.
The next day after the party was quite a different story, however!
Hope your weekend was good.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

11 years!

Today i am celebrating.. my 'lovely' man and i have been married for 11 years.

I am at home today and have been looking through the box of our wedding and honeymoon photos.. we look so young! ( though we wern't that young in respect of getting married.. i was 28 and he was 32) .
Even though we are the same people, we are also different. Time has changed our appearances, sometimes changed our opinions, definately played with our emotions but has i am happy to say taught us that we can grow together. I can't say it has all been easy, we have had our fair share of sadness and worries, but the cord that holds us together is still strong, even if it needs a little dusting and care at times. I truly love my man, i respect him and want to grow old with him. We have created a warm home together, now a garden, and our precious children. I feel very blessed to share my life with this special, kind man. We are also learning to let each other be selfish sometimes too. (and not get narked)! My journey in life is constantly changing and throwing new things into the 'pot', and i hope this special unity can survive the harsh realities of life. I feel optimistic that we can and i feel that love, communication and sensitivity to each others' needs hold the key.

I also found the book i put together of our Wedding cards and another book filled out with messages on the day. Some of those who shared our lovely day are no longer here, so to read their words and their sentiments is so moving.
We had a small affair, 40 people, immediate family and all our friends. My dress was a burnt orangy, red. It was made by my costume making girlfriends. The wedding car was our beautiful old Triumph Vitesse, 'Rosie', sadly in car heaven now and the invites, the cake and hall decoration were all created by friends. A real all pull together affair which for us made it all the more special. It was such a happy day. My man is fairly shy, but it was an intimate civil wedding so not too grand. We honeymooned in Tuscany near Lucca, up in the hills. Ahh ... memories.

I am planning to cook a meal tonight for my ' beau', and have taken ingredients from the garden and aim to make a meal with an Italian slant.... basil, tomatoes, courgettes, oak leaf lettuce, rocket and rhubarb (not italian i know), but in the garden and we like it. I shall be buying mozzarello ( heaven), and various other bits including some wine.
My friend Amanda, has suggested i make an 'ice bowl'? to serve the ice cream from. Not sure if this is going to work but have one in the freezer.. freezing, filled with borage flowers and mint leaves.
All a bit of fun ... will let you know how it goes.

Today has had me reflecting on my relationship...and made me value it more than ever.
Hold those you love close, listen to them and treasure them.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Proof i am still sewing.....

This is to prove i am still sewing and creating .....
even though the posts of late, haven't included much reference to this.

notice all the threads and scraps? ..must get the broom out!

I have been taking lots of step by step shots of new things we have been making and have had the camera permanently in my hand.. this shot just appeared in my view finder and reminded me of a many similar blog shots I've seen. These are my 'pretty' sandals.. the only ones really as my usual footwear attire is more suited to walking and gardening.

Unfortunately i can't show you what i am doing as it's a secret...

I haven't wanted to say till now, as it is all a little unreal, but Alice and I are writing a book. Still won't believe it till it's published. Deadlines are getting close... with our first photo shoot next week! arghhh! Actually i am really looking forward to it and am loving the opportunity of creating new projects for this book with Alice. This is what we really love doing best.... the challenge of designing, the collaboration of ideas and the joy of creating. The book is already written in synopsis form and all the projects it shall include were agreed earlier in the year. Last week we submitted the first two completed projects with all the 'blurb' and step by steps. The publishers create a BLAD (book , layout and design) from this with cover shots and contents page and use this to discuss and fine tune the final layout and design of the book. It is hard work but very exciting and we feel so lucky to be given this opportunity.

Life in the studio still continues and we are also working on some commissions.

Some cushions adapted from our 'Tree of Life' Cushion,

Some specially commissioned Angel dolls as Holy Communion gifts and a made to order Advent. (yes it is coming around again..).

So life is very full , but also very creative, which is what makes me happy!

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Harvest reflection...

One of my great passions is gardening. I have dabbled with growing herbs and veg for just over 10 years now. Pre children, i spent all my spare cash on plants for the garden in our rented flat. I even managed to bring some favourites with me when we finally moved out of London in the late 90's.
This year my husband has taken an interest in the garden too, which has been great as keeping on top of it with the children still young and with running a business has been pretty difficult.
As we were flooded in freak weather in 2006, we decided to raise the old veg beds and built some very tall beds from oak sleepers. My man built another raised bed for salads nearer the house. The greenhouse was tidied, staging built and we happily sowed away.

It has been a trial and error year and I would like to share with you our attempts ...

Our first harvests were from Lollo Rosso lettuce, rocket ( really easy and really tasty), spring onions, basil and spinach (good for a bit and then bolted).
We then enjoyed some fruit; raspberries, gooseberries and alpine strawberries.. only a few of each but still great.

The potatoes came next and we were lucky that as the beds were raised so high, the damp weather didn't spoil them.

This was our alien potato.

The dwarf french beans were our favourite crop of all.. so fresh and enjoyed by the whole family (good yeild over a long period for only six plants).

The carrots actually grew (a first for me!). They were of variable sizes but the earlier ones could have been sweeter. The spot we grew them in was not in direct sun so we wondered wether they needed more light? We had some this weekend and they were better.

The veg which did really well were the courgettes.. almost too many to eat and many turned into marrows whilst we were on our holiday. I did find a good recipe this book..

' Courgettes Parmigiana'.

About 3lb courgettes cut diagonally and blanched for 3-4mins, drained, then arranged in layers (as in a lasagna) with fresh tomato sauce and then sliced mozzarello (each layer seasoned well) and then topped with grated parmesan and drizzled with olive oil. All baked at gas 4/ 180c for 40-45 mins. It was so easy to do and tasted really good.

We also have a large clump of rhubarb in the garden and have made fruit crumble a few times too. Crumble is my all time favourite pudding and in times of low moods (i get a few of these from time to time), my mum will always find an excuse to make me a blackberry and apple crumble (my most favourite). A small morello cherry tree gave us and the birds a few fruits too.

The crop which failed dismally for us were the tomatoes. I had sown gardener's delight and my man sowed Super Marmande beef tomatoes. Firstly we grew too many, and found it hard to care for them all, and secondly the they hated the wet and most got brown patches on their stems and got blighted so we had to dig them up. We were pleased to hear we wern't the only ones and even Monty said the tomatoes at Berryfield were a disaster.

A few salvaged tomatoes.

Our final crop to harvest is sweetcorn. We barbequed our first cobs today and they really were the best we'd ever tasted. They do say that sweetcorn is best picked and eaten straight away and it seems to be true.

We still have ridge cucmbers going strong, some blackberries (thornless ones planted by me for the girls), more courgettes, a few salads, garlic and these bannana peppers.

All in all a good year .. i think next year we should plan for leeks and parsnips .. two of my favourites and romanesco.. but one thing at a time ...
It still amazes us that all this comes from tiny planted seeds ..So i want to say thanks for the harvest from our garden this year and how enjoyable it has been to share this new adventure with my husband. Our girls have really enjoyed helping too, especially picking the goodies.
If you have any veg/harvest stories or advice to share please do leave a comment.. i'd love to hear how this year is going for you..
Have a good week.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Mixed feelings...

Tomorrow is a day of mixed feelings..
Firstly the girls go back to school after a lovely long holiday. I will miss having them around although i do need to have some time to get on with some much awaited work at the studio. It is my youngest's 7th birthday too. She had an animal and wildlife fancy dress party on Sunday which was great fun.

It is also baby 'Poppy's' day. She was due to be born tomorrow. Sadly she died earlier in the year. Very hard and very sad for my best friend and her husband. I lost a baby some 10 years ago during pregnancy in similar circumstances. My baby had a rare condition ' not compatible with life' (in the professional's words) and died at 20 weeks. He is up there in the clouds with baby Poppy. It's so hard to understand why such sad things happen, Talking has helped me.. i have always wanted to talk about my baby...i don't want to lose him again. Sometimes it's like a dream.. very surreal. Whilst in the midsts of trauma and tragedy you just go with it. But it's hard too. My friend is such a beautiful special woman.. she has helped me through so many things over the past few years. It pains me to know what she and her husband are going through. They are such strong vibrant people and i love them dearly. They are coping really well. I know there are so many people out there with similar experiences and my heart goes out to you all.

Life is so precious and there is so much to be thankful for despite the hurts and pains. Experiences like these make us realise what is important to us and how fragile life can be.
I think Bella enchanted did a lovely thing when she started an award called 'Nice Matters '. This award celebrates those who inspire good feelings and inspiration, are just nice people and good blog friends. Something i feel is worth celebrating. I am heartened at how many nice people there are out there.

I was so touched recently to be nominated for this award

(Sorry it's taken me so long to respond.)

I would like to further pass on the good feeling to 2 bloggers in particular .....
(although all of you i exchange with i feel deserve this award as you're all 'NICE'!)

She is an amazing woman and in every sense is an inspiration. She has her own heartaches and yet has done something very special for my beautiful friend. Thank you Manda, your gift touched her so sweetly and dearly (i was on the other end of the phone as the surprise package arrived this morning. ) Such a thoughtful and generous thing to do. x

She really is the sweetest person. I recently brought this lovely fawn from her for my daughters birthday (all wrapped up and ready to give her in the morning) and she also put in a sweet little note and an extra little present for the birthday girl. So very nice of you Tracy and really appreciated. I know my little one is going to love her presents. Thank you. x

Isn't she just gorgeous!

and finally i want to send special love to my lovely Alice who is also very nice!
see you in the studio.....