Top Drawer 09

Just back from latest trade show. We went wondering if it was going to be a complete waste of time, but we heard consistently encouraging news. Despite the negative news through the media, the BBC in particular going in for wailing and wringing of hands over the economic situation, our small independent shops have got through Christmas pretty well. In fact more than one customer described being quite miffed because they had heeded all the scare stories and had ordered very cautiously and had run out of stock and then with production at full spate couldn't then replenish their stock.

We had good responses from our new ranges Scuba (very large platters, square dishes and salad bowls) and Soda a new basic dinner range, all coming in at surprisingly good prices.

We have very busy times ahead now with a number of design projects underway. All deadlines seem to coincide!


Winter continues

Next design push for Spring Fair. Our mug collection to be launched at S.F. has been a very freeing experience, drawing in ideas that have been simmering away in the background but haven't yet found the right place and new notions too. The top 2 are inspired by decorating Judi and Nick's Christmas present. They are due to get a few hens (pets or family members - it remains to be seen) so we found a very nice galvanised feeder, not the easiest present to wrap, but I tried to disguise this by making paper chain cut outs of chickens to wrap round the paper. Then having enjoyed doing this so much I made a design to go round a mug. And in honour of the fox I sometimes meet on my hill run I thought I'd do a pair.

Heart Flower and Folk tree are somehow Hungarian - I wonder why??

The swans seem underwhelmed by all the weather throws at them. Night after night of temperatures below minus 8 and daytime not above freezing, yet they go for a stately wander across the ice and swim in whatever water is unfrozen. The little birds are having a much for difficult time. My beloved sparrow community is very little in evidence at the moment having been frightened off by some particulary bullying tactics of the bluetits.


Minus 4 max minus 7 min

Freezing, but thankfully sunny today. Nice morning spent in Bishops Castle, went to library and came out with a great haul of favourite writers; Rose Tremain, Joseph Roth, William Trevor, Joyce Carol Oates, Amy Tan, plus some untried authors. Perfect for these dark, cold evenings to curl up by the fire (albeit a bit spitty with the ash we're burning).

Had great plans to do a "summing up" blog of the last year, but as usual, I'm behind hand with other pressing stuff so it has got a bit shelved. So probably it will happen in dribs and drabs, things suddenly coming to mind, probably quite insignificant to anyone happening to read this, but to me somehow indicative of the year. For instance growing the most amazing crop of purple sprouting broccoli, its special anyway for being one of the earliest things to crop in the garden, but this was so sweet and tender - looked an eyesore as it was swathed with enviromesh to prevent the peacocks from devouring it, but it was the best I'd ever eaten. 2009 I discovered the writer William Boyd, particularly enjoyed Armadillo, the Blue Afternoon and Fascination. Here's a link to his
site. But most importantly (how do I say this without sounding cliched?) I really dicovered how wonderful it is to have the love and support of family and friends. 2009 turned out to be pretty stressed, not only for myself, but I have felt it for a number of friends who have struggled with difficult things, and what has helped me more than anything else is to share good times with those we love.

And as a complete nonsequiter here's a little movie of my garden in summer to remind us of sunshine and warmth at the darkest times of the year. Enjoy it but don't expect much by way of action or plot. ...


New Year sub zero

Here we are again, with a bright, shiny new year ahead of us, as yet unsullied with use.

For the first time on 31st December the highest day time temperature didn't even reach zero, and the same today 1st Jan. Thankfully we have lots on so can shut myself away to work and try to ignore the chill. Despite it being a bank holiday today we had pressing work to do, but managed to go out for a walk for an hour after lunch. Mist and frost hung about all day.