England

beautiful paintings

I used to keep these two beautiful little paintings as part of my display at Ethical Clothing in Petaluma.  People kept asking to purchase them and I finally took them down because I was afraid someone was going to pinch them.  I love their sweetness and authenticity.  And they just plain make me happy.  Which is why, I suppose, everyone is drawn to them.  I asked the artist if she wouldn't be kind enough to paint some more that I could put in my little shop - and she did!  Her name is Phoebe Brookes.  I think she is an amazing artist.  And I am biased, because she is also my beautiful sister.  Here is a sample of what is available here.

Until next time...xoxostill life with roses

English countryside number 2

Blenheim Palace number 1

still life

unique sf

Pennyroyal Design will be here June 30 and July 1st.

great new photos...

...all thanks to my good friend Debbie.  xoxo

new things

another market bag - this one with a large leather fold over fringe to keep your goodies safe

and some big, free-form floor pillows made with naturally hand dyed fabric and kapok stuffing

For the past couple weeks I have been keeping busy out in the garden - which is looking especially pretty this year, I must say.  But now it is time to come in and start sewing again.  I have some new materials to play with - virgin wool for stuffing, lots of different hemp fabrics and even some raw linen - as in, not even washed linen.  Hours of fun!  I have a whole list of goodies I will be offering towards the end of June including lots of naturally hand dyed linen napkins, linen floor pillows, linen and woolen bags, tea towels and some other surprises.   I am also opening a new on-line shop, so keep your eyes open for that.  But for now, back outside because it is so very beautiful today.  Be well.  xoxo

mine

mine

I made this bag today out of the natural linen I had on hand.  It is a bit smaller than the others but with all the same details - ticking lining, big double pocket and key holder.  And, of course, the same leather fringe which I am absolutely in love with.  I am going to keep this one as a tester.  It may need to be wider.  We shall see.  I like everything I make to be really functional and strong, because even though things should look good, they really should be incredibly well made and stand up to use.  Otherwise...what's the point?  Next, I am onto lots of linen napkins and tea towels - who couldn't use more of those - and some naturally dyed produce bags in lovely indigo shades.  I use them all the time for the market, but also for lunches and just general carryalls.  They are sturdy and super cute!

So, now that I am done with my sewing for the day, I am out to plant bush and fava beans, winter and summer squash, onions and strawberries.  My little one will be planting his yearly watermelon.  Hopefully with more luck than we had last year when the field rats and gophers ate them.  Bad, bad field rats.  Bad, bad gophers.  I hope you are all enjoying your day - wherever you are - as much as I am enjoying mine.  xoxo

And now...for something a little different.

A sneak peek at the new line of market bags.  I am calling this line "English Hunt."  (More on that to be revealed later.  Trust me, it will make sense.)  The outside is a lovely wool tartan from Cotswold Woolen Weavers - hand carried from jolly old England.  The inside is naturally hand dyed hemp canvas with two generous linen pockets.  Straps are oil rubbed leather from our own Maverick Leather here in Penngrove.  The closure is held with a vintage cadet button - not sure what I will do when I finally run out of these handy buttons.  The lovely Simone - owner of the ever so fabulous Zenbelly Catering - tested the prototype for me.  I figured she was the perfect person to test a market tote since she is a regular at the local farmer's markets.  And the result is...a glowing two thumbs up review!!  "...it's perfect for the market, and also as a city bag/big purse- If I were running errands on foot, I would totally use it to throw my purchases in."  Which means, not only is it good-looking, it is - more importantly - well made and functional.  So, you can carry it out with you to town and throw in all the goodies you find - go ahead, load it up! - and comfortably carry it home.  She tested the longer strap version which will be available.  Some versions will also now have an outside pocket for your keys and wallet - Simone's suggestion.  And a good one at that.  Back to Zenbelly for a minute, if you haven't checked out her blog, you absolutely should.  Don't wait.  Do it now.  It is filled with the most delicious recipes.  As in, "the best chicken ever" type of recipes.  And they are easy to follow.  Which, as we all know, is very much appreciated.  Thanks, Simone, for testing my market bag, and thanks for more than a couple excellent family meals!  Your the tops!

4.9.12 Easter Tree

A pretty new tradition we picked up from our dear friend Lucy while we were in England.

3.31.12 fresh milk

Mmmmmmmm....fresh milk.  Wouldn't this be nice?

3.30.12 Objects of Use, Oxford

Objects of Use No. 6 Lincoln House Market Street Oxford OX1 3EQ United Kindgom

Telephone: ++44 (0)1865 241705

goat hair high duster, cobweb duster, and carpet beater

garden goods and brooms

lovely garden goods

Wandering around Oxford – some may call it lost, we like to call it exploring – we stumbled upon THE most amazing shop.  And I do not say that lightly.  Objects of Use is quite simply the loveliest shop I have ever stepped foot inside.  Filled with a vast array of usable items of the most exquisite workmanship and quality.  The time the proprietor must have spent in choosing each piece is impressive, to say the least.  What was most refreshing and touching, really, was the lack of slick brand goods.  This is not a design store.  Although it is, in my opinion, exquisitely designed.  It is a store filled with Objects for Use.  Simple in its function.  Stunning in its execution.  Again, the loveliest shop.  My heart leapt when I spotted a selection scissors lovingly hung from wooden pegs along the wall.  I may have to take a trip back for the little gold stork handled embroidery ones.  At only 15 pounds, I would be a fool to pass them up.

the lovely lady of the shop

the very gracious owner - a supremely brilliant human being who is - in his own words - 'against throwawayism'

cooking and kitchen

3.28.12 filkins

Some of the lovely woolen fabrics I found at Cotswold Woollen Weavers in Filkins.  They weave wool grown in the area.  Very sustainable - which makes me feel good about using it.  They will make fantastic big market bags.  The plain brown is speckled with very delicate flecks of almost pastel colors - so faint you can just see it.  And it is so soft to the touch it feels like cashmere.  I will be turning that into really big, squishy pillows.  Perfect for cuddling up with on the couch - or on a nice sheepskin rug in front of the fire!

I have also reserved my booth for the upcoming Fall Urban Air Market in Hayes Valley.  You can check out a list of other designers on their website.  There are some beautiful goodies!  Hope I don't shop too much.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends and family for the birthday wishes.  Such a special day.  It always feels good to feel loved.  I do.  I hope you do, too.  Because you are.

Off to explore Woodstock some more - and hopefully keeps the kiddos out of trouble.  xoxo

3.24.12 England

Strolling through the countryside near my Mum's house in the Cotswolds.

I love washing hanging on the line.  This was taken in a little town in Wales.  I think when I get home I will put up some washing lines in our field.  It would be a nice way to dry all the dyed fabric.

We play "would you rather" in the car which usually goes something like "would you rather eat rotten scallops or rotten clams?"  Every once in a while I try to get it on a more pleasant track - would you rather stroll through the English countryside or the California country side?  My husband says, "no question...California."  I say, "no question...English."  Hmmm...wonder where that will lead?

So...what have we been up to?  Mostly walking.  And going to really, really old pubs which you have to bend down to enter - because the doorways are so little.  Seeing the baby - which is the main reason we are here.  It is amazingly warm and sunny so we packed all wrong.  Rain coats and heavy sweaters.  But, as you can see from the photos, we don't really need any.  Next week we are going to Filkin's fabrics to look at remnants of some super beautiful woolen fabric.  I am hoping to purchase enough to make an entire line of pillow covers and hopefully some smaller patchwork throws.  At home, I have been busy making a stash of larger, plain pillows as an accompaniment to the modern rustic ones.  They look great together.  I felt the more detailed pieces needed to be balanced out.  Otherwise it feels too cramped and messy.  I will put some in the shop when I get home.

My daughter's busy work.  She has been keeping herself occupied by picking flowers from the neighbor's yards and then selling them back for 1P.  Budding young capitalist.

Off for another walk!  Enjoy your days.  xoxo