Monthly Archives: October 2009

Trick-or-Treat!

Happy Halloween! I hope your day is filled with cute little pumpkins, witches and hobgoblins. We are packing up the car this morning and getting ready to leave this enchanting place! I will miss Cornwall and our walks along the coastal path and smelling the fresh sea air.

Yesterday, we went to another Smuggler’s Cottage, this time in Tolverne on the river Fal. 

Unfortunately, the pub was closed so I didn’t get to see all the memorabilia that exists inside, but it was one of the sites used by American troops to launch the ships for D-Day. It was moving to think I saw what so many soldiers had seen as they boarded the boats; the same cottage, the same views, drove down the same lane…

There were signs along the road to the pub stating what different areas were used for and what they housed. It was really interesting to see.

We carried on down the road after that for a nice pint and some lunch at a nearby pub, before heading back to Looe for one more walk down the coastal path (and one more chance to wear my green polka dot wellies!). We stood on the beach once more; it is amazing to thing we are standing on the edge of England, the edge of our world! We stopped at Larsson’s Coffee House , named after the Swedish artist Carl Larsson; for wonderful crepes and the most scrumptiously rich hot chocolate oozing with whipped cream, mmm! Perfect for a cold day!

Next, we headed to the bakery to pick up fresh scones on our way home with Cornish cream and strawberry jam, that is our breakfast today, I can’t think of anything better!

We are saddened to leave here, but we hope to come back again to visit this bewitching little slice of heaven.

(Trick-or-Treat image copyright Country Living)

Shhh! There be Smugglers About, Matey!

We have been off on the smuggler’s trail over the last few days. Yesterday, we drove to Bodmin and visited Jamaica Inn, a complete tourist trap, but I got to see Daphne du Maurier’s writing desk and typewriter in their little museum and that made me smile. Driving along the moors we saw scraggy coated wild horses walking along the rocks and munching away on grass.

The weather changed by the time we got to the Inn, the temperature dropped and it began to rain. It painted quite a picture. You could envision the smugglers carrying their loads in from one of the Looe routes on a dark frosty night the air thick with mist, driving their horse led carriage hard through the moors to the Inn where they hoped to have a drink, do some business and catch a little respite.

We wandered down to the town on Sunday afternoon for lunch and ate at the Smugglers Cott, we had the most deliciously cozy traditional British Sunday roast. The atmosphere inside was charming.

The beams belonged to a ship from the Spanish Armada and the inside of the pub was filled with vintage bottles and ship related paraphernalia. After lunch we took a stroll around the harbour and watched the boats come in and out.

There was still some men in the fish market, finishing up cleaning their day’s catch. There existed in the air a heady smell of the salty sea and warm fish guts.

We walked down into town today along the coastal path and it was the very first day I got to wear my wellies. They were broken in along the sandy beach with the waves crashing against my feet as I hunted for sea glass.

We discovered the most adorable bakery and got the most heavenly cupcakes, Halloween of course! We devoured them like greedy little monsters as we continued to explore the twisty little streets of Looe.

Everything here is adorably decorated for Halloween with pumpkins and paper lanterns hung in windows, mixed with the leaves changing here, you feel truly Autumnal.


We ate fresh fish & chips, burning the roof of our mouths as we munched away on hot salty chips (no vinegar for me) and watched the crowds go by, it was a perfect day, just being.

We will be saddened to leave here at the end of the week. What a magical place Cornwall is.

A Pixie village we passed on our walk down the coast.

The Birds

I thought this photo was Halloween appropriate as well as a fitting theme for Cornwall. After a few days here, I have a very clear picture of how Daphne du Maurier came up with the idea for “The Birds”! The seagulls near the harbour are absolutely enormous and their eyes follow you as you walk along.

We watched, as a flock of hungry seagulls swooped down on their unsuspecting prey and stole chips right out of a woman’s hand. Hitchcock took this short story and created one of the most perfectly eerie cinematic experiences. A great film for Halloween. I remember the first time I saw the movie; as the birds came shooting out of the fireplace my feet curled and raised off of the ground, as if somehow I gained protection from that. Upon leaving, I looked cautiously around as I stepped out into the light of day, I think I was half expecting to see crows perched along the jungle gym of a playground waiting to attack helpless victims.

The birds and the fog that has rolled in over the last day here, coupled with the fact that we have turned our clocks back, so evening falls more quickly each day, only adds more to the Halloweeny atmosphere we are leading up to at the end of the week.

(Images copyright Country Living)

What Could be Better?

This was my view this morning. I watched the sun peek out behind the clouds as I sat on the deck, reading my book with a hot cup of tea in hand! No one else was up yet so it was just peaceful. A nice way to greet the day by just slowly coming in to it. What could be better than this? It took a little bit longer to get here yesterday than expected, with all the holiday traffic heading down to the coast, but, who is in a rush?

We drove through gorgeous countryside, passing little stone farmhouses happily perched on the edge of the road. In the surrounding fields, cows and sheep munched away on grass watching the cars pass by; in one farmyard the cutest pink pigs with black spots were snorting around in the dirt.

We even passed Stonehenge! That was something to marvel at! I had no idea you would be able to see it from the road. We quickly rolled down the window and snapped a picture with the phone. It was drizzling and misty yesterday and as we approached the hill the massive stones began to just slowly appear out of the mist, looming in front of us. It was very Halloween spooky, all we needed were candles and druids marching up the hill in a long procession in the mist to complete the mood.

Today we are off to go exploring, if I can tear myself away from the view at the bottom of our garden. The sunshine, mixed with the breeze and the sounds of waves crashing against the rocks below, is just magical!

Off to the Cornish Coast

Well, by tomorrow afternoon I will be sitting in sunny Cornwall. How sunny it will be remains to be seen, but that doesn’t matter to me, all I need is the few books I have set aside to read and that big chair at the bottom of the garden overlooking the ocean, add to that some walks along the coastal path with my sweetie pie and I will be as happy as a clam.

This is a true adventure for me. I have yet to go to Cornwall in all my time living here, so I can’t wait to see what the next week brings my way. I am hoping for quaint villages, old little antique stores and interesting places to wander and explore.

I have wanted to travel there, since my husband and I bought an old train advertising poster for Cornwall. A little girl stands on the edge of the bay overlooking all the fishing boats with a grandfatherly looking fisherman in his wellies leaning against a railing nearby; with sailboats and a lighthouse, all beautifully captured in 1930’s colors, it paints quite a picture. This poster alone has made me want to go to Cornwall since we hung it on our wall.

There is a ferry near where we are staying that will take you up the estuary and upon docking, you are met with a house named “Ferryside”, once the home of Daphne du Maurier. I have visions of her writing away at her desk, looking out the windows of “Ferryside” and writing “The House Upon the Strand”, what a book!

I am looking forward to this half term break and taking a real break, working on nothing for the fair (as much as I want too), I think it would be best to just come back refreshed, I have stayed ahead of schedule and only have a few pieces left to finish. So, I plan to just drink in each day in the sea air. I can’t wait for my first taste of fish & chips, scalding our mouths and fingers as we reach for hot salty chips out of the paper cone holder, walking arm and arm along the strand.

Everything is coming up Rosy with an Ice-Skating Afternoon

I have just received my Ice-Skating Afternoon kit from “Rosy Little Things”, better known as: Posie Gets Cozy. If you have not come across Alicia Paulson, you are truly missing out on a very warm, witty, creative and cozy woman. I saw this kit last year when I first found her blog and I was saddened that she had completely sold out. Lucky for me, she sold the kits again this year with a new set of 3 ornaments, Walk in the Woods to coordinate with her previous designs.

I had the kit sent to my parent’s house and as my Mom and I skyped, she waved this adorable package in front of the screen, taunting me with cuteness. But, it will have to wait, I refuse to let her send it to me, because I have so much I am trying to complete for the Christmas Fair at the moment. Today, I am sealing my gingerbread wreaths. So, the kit will be my reward for finishing all my little tooth bears and Christmas bears and apple garlands and mitten garlands….

The kit was beautifully packaged and holds almost everything needed to make each ornament. Once it is is in my hands, I know I will just gaze at it for ages before I bring myself to start cutting up the gorgeous colored felt and snipping into pretty threads. Not only was everything so nicely packaged, it held within it a handwritten thank you, and it is those personal touches that make it truly special. Even though it is more work, when I create my pieces for the fair I like to make sure that all the items have personal touches from me; so, it is lovely when you meet other kindred spirits who do the same.

Unfortunately, Alicia has sold out of the kits for this season but she has informed me that in the next few days, PDF versions of the kit patterns will be available through her website. So keep checking there and on her blog for information, these are too cute to miss!

Now, my hardest decision will be which one to start with first? A pom-pom adorned ice skate, a warming cup of cocoa, or a Heidi-ish looking gingerbread girl? Please check out Alicia’s site if you have not before, it always brings a smile to my face when I do!

(All images used are copyright to Alicia Paulson, Posie Gets Cozy)

Hats & Mittens Weather

It is definitely hats & mittens weather. Yesterday, as I went traipsing through the woods on a morning walk, I could see my breath in front of me. The sky is silvery again, gone is the very blue sky of Autumn and it is bone chillingly cold here. I am going to have to get out my bag of hats and scarves and mittens.

It is one of my favorite rituals, going through all the wonderful colored scarves and mittens I have, some bought, some handmade, all bright and happy to mix and match with any outfit.

This little image from Belle & Boo reminded me of the crispy days of Autumn. When you don’t quite need your winter coat but definitely a hat and possibly a scarf, to keep you warm on a long walk through the woods with your sweetie pie.

If you have not come across Belle & Boo, it is a real gem. The drawings, for me, harken back to a 60’s-ish style of children’s art work. The simplicity, sweetness and whimsical nature of Mandy Sutcliffe’s creations are pieces that work for any age group. Not only are there prints of herartwork, but among other things she also has a stationery line. One of these adorable gift tags tied to your little parcel and it would take on a whole new life. They are just too cute!

Click on the Image below to visit the website:

Belle&Boo

(Images used copyright Belle & Boo)

Pumpkin Patch Love

I love the festive look of these Pumpkin Patch cupcakes from Martha Stewart. We went pumpkin hunting this weekend and I came back with another pumpkin to add to my collection. He is small with a cute curl of a stem, and has lots of personality!

I haven’t seen any teeny pumpkins yet this year, I love the little munchkin pumpkins! I thought these cupcakes would be perfect with a glass of cold apple cider to wash away those hungry pumpkin hunting appetites. They also would taste just as yummy if you cheated and used a gingerbread cake recipe instead of a pumpkin one, you decide.

Happy Hunting!

Get the Recipe

(Image used copyright Martha Stewart Living)

Pumpkin Carving

I have been so involved the last few days with all of my Christmas Fair projects I have almost forgotten it was pumpkin weather. Walking out into a crisp autumn day early this morning, to post a letter, I did remember!

It was the kind of English Autumn day where the sky was silver and the brilliant color palette of the leaves stood sharply against the silvery mist. As fallen leaves squeaked under my feet I started thinking about what I would carve on my pumpkin this year.

I love the “lantern” pumpkins that Country Living has in their latest issue. That would be a great idea for any occasion. I can just imagine having a barn party with “lantern” pumpkins guiding you down the hay bale path to a fun affair, like the Halloween party held in the barn at the end of Summer Magic, I love that movie!

They also showed how to turn mini pumpkins into votive holders. I have done that many times with pumpkins and apples, it is very effective and sets such a sweet tone to your table with leaves and ivy mixed in amongst them. It can also be a less expensive alternative to flowers if you are doing a dinner party on a budget. The votives work as both candle holder and decoration, with some foliage and twigs cut from your backyard or the woods and woven along the table you have an interesting display for not a lot of money.

I did a lot of printmaking in College, so, I loved their “Cinderella” Pumpkin Flower too. The carvings with the wood tools are so beautifully folksy. Or, maybe it is just that this orange pumpkin is contrasted against a pink background and I love PINK!

What are you carving on your pumpkins? Click here to go to the Country Living website for templates to create the pumpkin “lanterns”.

(All images used copyright Country Living)

Gingerbread & Rolls of Ribbon

Yesterday, I finished baking all my gingerbread wreaths. Now they will just have to be varnished and have gingham ribbon strung through their little adjoining arms. With my leftover dough, I cut out little ornaments, to attach to my “Christmas Packaging” for the Fair. Presentation is everything, it makes even the smallest item look lovely.

I also organized my ribbons yesterday to make it easier to cut for my garlands. One of the places that I purchase ribbon has no rolling system, so they bundle up your items that you have spent ages pondering over and oohing and aahing, with one swoop and dump them unceremoniously in a bag. I don’t like being in the middle of a project and then having to stop to untangle knots in my ribbon.

In telling this story to my Mom, she asked if I had any toilet paper rolls in my recycling bag? After replying with a yes, she told me to use that to wrap my ribbon on. What a fantastic idea! Sometimes you just can’t see the forest for the trees. So, into my recycle bag I dove and came out with a paper towel roll.

Like a kindergartner I happily sat on my couch yesterday with the scent of baking cinnamony Christmas dough in the air and the crooning voice of Ella Fitzgerald, inviting me out for a sleigh ride and wrapped ribbon around my newfound holder. I love being organized (in my small cottage you have to be) and a great way to make use of something I was going to throw out, it just makes me happy.

(My treasured ribbon next to my sewing house that my adorable husband gave me for Christmas one year, he is such a cutie!)