We're back from a lovely few days in Cornwall, what a treat! We stayed in a lovely cottage with a hot tub, which we used even when it was raining (it's actually quite a nice experience). It was great to see Ruth's (step-daughter) new house and to spend time with her and Jay. The weather in the West Country is definitely different - Spring has already arrived, daffodils and anemones are in flower and the whole place looks really pretty. Otto had a fantastic time, he loves the beaches, and I think St Ives beach must be his favourite, he was so excited when we first got there that he didn't know which way to run first!
I'm glad we arrived home when we did though, as Dick has gone down with the lurgy, and is in bed, which is not like him at all. The place seems very quiet, and Otto just keeps going to have a look at him, not quite understanding what his playmate is doing.
Even though we have been away I am still putting new stock on the website this week, I have already added a few, and have several other things to add over the next few days, so have a look at the New Items section to see what I've been up to.
.I'm having a good day today, the birds have been singing, woodpeckers pecking and our hens have decided that spring is on its way. They have gone from laying one or two eggs a day to producing eight yesterday! Good going for so early in the year. We're selling them at the bottom of the drive again now and they're proving very popular. We had to purchase a new stand for the eggs as our last one met with a sad demise, we'd had a rather good evening here with friends a couple of weeks ago, when they left they reversed down our drive (quite tricky I must admit) and our egg stall got run over. Seriously run over, it looked like a flat pack kit. It has now been used for firewood, but a new one was easily come by so no harm done. Except to our friend's pride.
Dick and I went to Diss this morning, we often go for supermarket shopping, but very rarely walk round the town, which we did this morning for a change. Handy for me as I got a new pair of jeans (size 10 would you believe! Target reached - thank you Slimming World), The mere was looking lovely, and we saw people we hadn't seen for a while, which was great. What was also great was that we stopped for a scone and coffee. Wonderful!.
There are new items on the website - why not click here New Items to have a look.
I'm having a busy, busy day today. I have a lot of new stock to get onto the website, but it's not an easy (or quick) process. It is easier these days though, now that I have my portable photo studio which makes getting good light so much less a matter of luck. Before I invested in the lighting etc I had to take all my photos early in the morning to get the right light - it's just too dark in this cottage. It still takes a long time, but I like to think that the website looks relatively professional! I have to say that although I have made it sound like hard work, it isn't really, I just like to think of it as advanced play.
As I have been spending a lot of time sitting on my behind, making, pricing and taking photos I have to get out and exercise a bit - there seem to be so many programmes on lately about health/weight loss/general fitness. Dick and I can often be seen stomping round the countryside, and we are keen on doing ten minute speed walks to raise our heart rates. It seems to be working - we're both getting a lot thinner (I've lost 24lbs, am so pleased and can't help but have a quick boast, sorry). Dick has been wearing his new Fatface hat which covers his ears, so no more complaining about cold ones. This morning we gathered some firewood - so many branches have come down this winter in the storms, so we carry them back to the barn for firewood. Otto was a little disappointed that he couldn't carry this particular branch!
I have started putting the new stock on the website, and this will be an ongoing process, so keep an eye out in the new items section.
It's been an interesting week, not least the fantastic Super Moon. I have to admit that I have let everybody down, I had planned to put a photo of the moon on this blog, but despite my efforts yesterday evening, all of my moon pics were rubbish! You'll have to put up with Irises and Aconites instead, proof that Spring is on it's way, if not quite as exciting as the Super Moon. Never mind, I tried.
Dick and I have both been enjoying our stained glass course, so much so that Dick is currently outside setting up a workshop in one of the outbuildings. We've both got a bit to learn, but are doing really well. Dick is so enthusiastic that he has bought a job lot of glass and assorted tools, which will have to be collected from Devon; this will fit in nicely with a short break to visit daughter Ruth at her new home in Cornwall! I have a lot of ideas and designs for stained glass items formulating in my mind, if half of them get made I'm going to be very busy! Watch this space.....
As is usual, I have been making (and buying!) new items which I have been busy putting on the website this morning, have a look at the New Items page to see what I've been up to.
Did anybody else see that fantastic sunrise on Tuesday morning? It was absolutely magnificent and well worth getting out of bed for. I have to admit though, that Dick told me about the sunrise while I was still in bed, and knowing how quickly the sky can change, I leapt (?) out of bed and went outside (on quite a chilly morning) in my lovely red towelling dressing gown. I was absolutely mesmerised and took several pictures, so was absolutely freezing by the time I went indoors. I would like to apologise to any passers by for my attire.
Our Humbug (our youngest chicken) is proving to be quite a Houdini, I have explained to her that she and the other chickens are not to wander at the moment, the others seem to understand and stay in their little run, but not Humbug. She just keeps getting out and we are obviously going to have to curtail her exploits by further trimming of her flight feathers. She will not be happy, but needs must at the moment.
While I have been writing this Dick has been out and "dealt" with the problem, I don't think I'll be seeing Humbug round the garden for a little while, she's been trimmed!
Those of you who have looked at the website this week (several of you - thank you), will have noticed that there is a lot of new stock, mainly sterling silver items. Have a look at this link to see New Items
I hope you all survived the horrible storm we had last night, the earth really seemed to move for me! The wind was so strong it kept me awake for what seemed to be hours, I honestly felt I could feel the house moving. Luckily for us we don't have too much damage, the main problem being that the greenhouse doesn't have all that much glass left, but I know that many people are far worse off than that. At least we don't have the snow that most areas seem to be struggling with.
Dick and I now have a use for the broken greenhouse glass, we have started our stained glass evening classes, and are both enjoying it immensely. Beginners learn their glass cutting skills on clear glass, and we can now supply plenty of pieces of that!
Today I'm spending time getting jewellery ready for Sue's new clothing shop which is opening in Union Street in Harleston on Monday - I spoke to her yesterday and she's so excited, I must admit I am too. As I'm a bit smaller than I was I shall be looking for something new to wear, I think it's good to support our local businesses. Sue has supported mine over the years and I'm really grateful that she is going to keep stocking my jewellery in her new shop.
I have got quite a quantity of new sterling silver items arriving in the next few days - ear studs, earrings, toe rings, pendants etc, so keep an eye on the website as I will start to put them on as soon as they arrive.
How difficult should it be to get a new chair? In our case it has been quite tricky. I have been suffering a bit with a bad back, especially when sitting at my jewellery making desk, which has made me a bit miserable. I don't like it when it hurts to play with beads. This really started in December when I was spending hours a day to keep up. Dick ordered me a new chair for delivery the next day, it didn't come. When he checked with the supplier, the driver had said that he couldn't find our address. I know we're a bit out in the sticks, but everything else gets here! We put it down to pre-Christmas rush, we got our refund and ordered another one. It didn't come either, same reason given. By now it was too close to Christmas to worry so much, I knew the orders were slowing down, so the decision was taken to wait until the new year. The order was duly placed, and glory be - the parcel arrived yesterday! I opened it, all excited - there it was, not quite the colour we expected (dark claret?), but I was willing to forgive that.. I took all of the pieces out of the box, not many. Small problem, the chair has a five point base, and four wheels were delivered. Aaarghhh!! I don't often get cross, but I was so disappointed. Luckily Dick was a bit more sensible and just used a wheel from the old chair. I'm happy.
I had another disappointment yesterday - I had ordered nine lovely strings of beads from a supplier I haven't used much, so didn't go overboard with the order. Shortly afterwards I received an email saying that eight of the nine items were out of stock. What??? Why have a website if you don't keep it up to date. I can assure you that mine is. Rant over.
Anyway, Otto and I have been out for a fine plod round the meadows to clear our heads. I know it's a bit grotty out there, but I saw a Bullfinch, sorry no photo, I wasn't quick enough. Also, a Woodpecker was pecking away and a Robin was singing his heart out (sorry, photo not the best, but it was somewhat drizzly). So all in all, things are good.
By the way - don't forget the Sale finishes on 14th Jan - and it covers everything on the site, just use the code SALE at the checkout to get 20% off the marked price. Click here to see the shop.
We've done a lot of walking this week, I have no idea how many miles, but even Otto is losing weight. I know the weather hasn't always been the best, and it's not very inviting to get out there, but once you're all togged up and walking it's really enjoyable. Otto isn't keen on the bad weather either, but if we're going there's no way he's going to miss out. The beck has been really high this week, fuller than it's been for a while, but he still loves his swim, he's a really keen swimmer in fresh water, but for some reason he doesn't go in the sea.
Even in the dull weather, there are still some flowers out, we have pansies and wallflowers, and there are still wild flowers - especially the Winter Flowering Heliotrope which has the most wonderful scent. We have some on the other side of our hedge, and if the weather is calm (!?!) the air is full of an almondy (I know that's not a proper word) aroma which is lovely.
Just a reminder that the sale is on until 14th January, 20% off everything (even the new stock which I've put on this week). Use the code SALE at the checkout and the discount will appear automatically. Click here to see the online shop.
We had a long and very lovely walk here in the Saints this morning, but by gum it was cold. There was a fair bit of ice on the road, so it was a bit tricky to stay upright, and you could hear the ice in the puddles cracking. I love mornings like this though, its so clear and everything looks clean and lovely, but Dick gets a bit fed up when I keep stopping to take pictures, which is perhaps a bit over often.
Dick went outside a few minutes ago - to do outdoorsy things, like he does. Unusually though he came back after about ten minutes because it's too cold - he says it's enough to cut your legs off! I shall stay indoors then, with the fire roaring.
BIG NEWS!!! I have decided to have a 20% off SALE on everything on the website, this will happen at the till - but you must remember to use the code SALE before you pay. The sale will continue until 14th January 2018. Have fun!!
Having done surprisingly well on my diet I have awarded myself a couple of weeks off so that I can enjoy the festivities, and will start being very good again in the New Year. I have rediscovered my love of the scone - any scone - cheese, fruit or plain, and have tried both the cheese and fruit varieties during the last few days. When I left my job at South Norfolk Council I was given a fridge magnet declaring my love of scones, so apt (thanks Carolyn, it's still on the fridge). I decided not to make a Christmas Cake this year, it lasts too long and would be too much of a temptation after Christmas, but have made a small fruit cake with no icing or marzipan. Other baking will start tomorrow, just sausage rolls and pork pies - I have to remember I'm not the only person in the house!
I have received so many lovely comments about my photos that I'm considering making a calendar for 2019 showing a year at Howes Cottage, hopefully we'll have a good display of orchids and other wild flowers etc. to make it worthwhile. I'm hoping that it would be a good way to raise a little bit of money for charity, and if they don't sell you all know what you'll be getting for Christmas next year!
There have been a few re-stocks on the website this week, but not much in the way of new items - things have gone a bit quiet now that we're so close to the big day. Thank you to all of you for your custom and friendship this year;. Have a lovely Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year.
The weekly ramblings of a self-employed jeweller and countrywoman based in the Waveney Valley.