On Saturday 26th August 2017 we shall be celebrating our second annual Topsham Chater Day. In August 1300 Topsham was awarded the Charter by King Edward 1. This gave Topsham its town status which included the right to hold an annual fayre and street market. The day starts at 2pm with a procession from Matthews Hall to St Margaret's church and the opening of the medieval street market. We shall be there, donned in medieval dress and selling our wares. A mummers play will be performed at various intervals throughout the day and the streets will come alive to the sound of street entertainers and medieval musicians. Knights in combat and a falconer will demonstrate their skills. There will be fabulous food and drink to whet your appetite and a plethora of medieval themed activities dotted around the town. All in all it promises to be a great day culminating in an evening ceilidh and a festival of light show.
Watch the video below (Topsham Charter Day 2016) for a sense of what Saturday 26th August might have in store for our beautiful town.
This week I have been busy working on a project using a selection of Moda fabrics (Pondicherry range). It all started at a recent Jelly Roll class led by the wonderful Jenna from Exeter Sewing Machine Company. We had a great day playing with long strips of pre-cut fabrics, learning to create a Bargello quilt. Essentially a Bargello quilt is one that is based on the needlepoint pattern of the same name and is made of strips of fabric sewn together to create movement such as zig zags, chevrons, waves and swirls.
For a useful How To Guide watch this video on YouTube created by Craftsy.
Having planned the design during the class I have been working on the final steps at home. I'm quite proud of the way that most of my corners meet and today I finished the quilting stage (my favourite) using the stitch in the ditch technique. Next step is to tidy away the loose strands of thread; trim the excess wadding; add a border and finish with a pretty hand-made binding. I'm not quite sure what to do with the end product, but I'm hoping it will dress the bed perfectly.
A few weeks ago I had a little time to myself, so I dusted off Betsy (my lovely blue bike) and made my way along the Exe estuary cycle path to Lympstone. I had planned to stop for a drink at the The Swan Inn but because the sun had come out it was really busy with visitors stopping off for lunch. So I cycled a little further and found a quiet spot overlooking the estuary and sat for a while. It was perfectly peaceful and time just slipped away. People (with ice creams) came and went and children played in the mud below. Birds hunted for food in the shallows. And I felt incredibly blessed to be living in such a beautiful county with the South West coast right on my door step.
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.
We are very lucky to live in this beautiful county of Devon, with its fabulous coastlines, estuaries, moors, tors, hills, rivers, valleys, villages, towns and cities. And the weather over the last week or so has been gorgeous - blue skies and early April sunshine; the ideal time to get out and about on our bikes. Betsy (my bike) - blue (of course!), with a pretty basket - has been enjoying her first trips out since the Autumn. The pictures above were taken at Exeter Quay. We crossed the river Exe at Topsham on the passenger ferry (The Shimmer) and cycled along the cycle path (mainly flat) to the Quayside. It was a calm, still day as you can see from the almost perfect reflection of the clouds in the river. We stopped for a drink at the Waterfront (http://www.waterfrontexeter.co.uk/) and soaked up the atmosphere and the gentle buzz of people chatting in the sunshine. Perfect :-)
We are very proud to announce that our products will shortly be available in the very gorgeous Kittiwakes, Braunton, North Devon. In fact, we can't think of a more suitable outlet for our work than a shop whose name is inspired by this beautiful coastal gull.
For more information please see http://www.kittiwakes.co.uk/. Or better still, pop along to 15 Caen Street, Braunton, and browse through Sarah's lovely collection of home furnishings and giftware.
Spring is in the air and our local fruit and veg shop have beautiful blue hyacinths and white tulips for sale - just the thing to cheer up the kitchen. The days are starting to get longer and my mind turns to the new designs that have been bubbling away in the background. I've been playing with patchwork recently and have been thinking about how I can bring that into my work. There's something so satisfying about the careful precision and timeless beauty of patchwork that I love, and I look forward to seeing where that will take me.
It's a beautiful winter's day in Topsham. The sun is low in the sky, casting a soft warm light over the estuary. This picture was taken from the bottom of my road. It's the view over to the Lock Keeper's cottage (now a holiday cottage in the winter and a cafe in the summer). When the tide allows, Mike (the ferryman) carries people across in the aptly named 'Shimmer' - the small Topsham Ferry pictured below.