Wow, the sun lasted longer than I'd anticipated! Not to mention a busy few days at the cookery school. This morning I was determined to make it to the Wool Workshop for another Dorset button workshop with the quite brilliant Marion Howitt. So, after piling through some paperwork, I nipped off, just in time - although I was several stages behind everyone else, I almost completed one button, so have returned home full of creative energy! And part of my creative process is this blog and the 'blogosphere' in general. In fact, I've been out of sorts for a while and have found sanctuary in the musings of others - whether it's just the comfort of knowing I'm not alone in my hazy muddle of daily life, trying to squeeze too many things into too few hours, or finding images that make me smile and remind me of the things that I love in life (hence my new fascination with Pinterest!). The reality is, I find pleasure in simple things, the Sicilian and I live a very straightforward life, having chosen not to pursue highly paid careers in exchange for quality time with our children and time to enjoy this beautiful corner of Dorset we have elected to call our home. It probably all sounds idyllic, but even this level of simplicity comes at a price. We rent our little cottage, so we rarely have anything left over at the end of the month for luxuries, we have to work every moment even if we're under the weather, not to mention any holidays being unpaid. But, I wouldn't swap it for the world. This lifestyle choice defines much of what I do, even an impromptu al fresco lunch on Father's Day.
In a hunt for flowers for a clients lunch party, I stumbled across these peonies on the market in Dorchester - not the right colour for the client's theme unfortunately. But for just £5 the lot, I couldn't resist! It was late on a Friday and the flower seller didn't want to return the next day (or that was his story anyway!). I've been nurturing my tiny cutting garden at home, to avoid being tempted by shop flowers, but with only one peony bud at present, I gave in to temptation. So, with work out of the way, and the sun shining on Sunday (which also happened to be Father's Day), I set about putting up the trestle table on the grass for lunch. My pile of cotton doilies is growing by the day and the intention being that one day they will become a table runner; so with this in mind I laid them out on some cream linen, just to see how many more I would need. Then the peonies, in all their pink and yellow splendor (I know Sarah, they almost seem too good to be true!), dotted about in old jam jars. To finish it off, some pale blue napkins I'd made from a gorgeous linen I picked up in Daisy May's (total cost for the four napkins, approximately £6, plus an hour or so on my trusty Janome), some old French wine glasses I'd found in Smith's Vintage in Swanage (again, about £2 each, so £8), little oak leaves hand cut from watercolour card to tie the napkins and, of course, a delicious lunch the Sicilian had prepared earlier. So, in times of austerity (which is pretty much all of the time in our household), home made and hand made really does pay! Apart from the peonies, which have now faded away, and the lunch, which was enjoyed by all, everything else can be used again and again and hasn't cost a small fortune to create or collect.
And as for Violet, my very special pussycat, she just can't help herself, which is why I included the photo of her. As soon as I'm setting a table or laying out a sewing or crochet project, or even just rummaging through work papers, she comes and sits in the midst of it all, as if to say 'I know you're busy, but just take a moment to step back and enjoy it, and tickle my tummy whilst you do it!'. It almost looked as if she was winking at me in this one ;) xxx