Tales from the Sea Garden

Tales from The Sea Garden

Email me: theseagarden@btinternet.com

Monday, 21 November 2011

10 Years Old!

This week back in November 2001 was the week I first opened the door of my little shop, The Sea Garden; first in rented premises in Gerrans Square, and then in 2003 down to my present location at the bottom of River Street in Portscatho. 10 years does seem like quite a long time; I'm just pleased that I've managed to stay open, and that's all been down to the many varied, wonderful, incredibly loyal and supportive customers who have passed through the door over these last ten years. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, one and all!

When we have a brisk Easterly wind blowing into Gerrans Bay everything gets coated in seasalt, and it had got to the point where you could hardly see in or out of my little shop windows, so a thorough cleaning was the order of the day. By the time I'd finished, dusk was just beginning to fall, and I switched on the Christmas lights for the first time and took a few pics to share with you.

Gertie and Jane have organised the first 'Christmas Homespun Fair', coming up this  Sunday, 27th November, at Portscatho Memorial Hall. There are 18 different stallholders coming from all over the southwest of England, with a whole treasure trove of vintage and handmade goodies on offer, perfect for finding Christmas pressies which don't cost the earth ( in more ways than one when you consider that buying vintage and antique is recycling! ) and pieces that are original, unique and different. 

The Sea Garden will also be open from 12.30 - 4.30pm, so I do hope to say hello to lots of you on Sunday,

Happy Christmas Shopping!
Love, Christine x x x

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Sun Day

These November days seem particularly gloomy at the moment, so it was a breath of fresh air to have a bright, clear day on Sunday. Not a cloud in the sky. Watergate Bay looked stunning in the late afternoon sun; long shadows and dark silhouettes against a glowing peachy horizon.

A few surfers braving the cold.

A real tonic!

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post; I feel very fortunate that I have the means to be able to make a choice in how to bring about change in my life. Plenty of people don't get to choose how they live. 
x x x

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Heart and Home

I feel as though I have been living in a state of limbo for most of this year, and that is why I have not done much blogging lately. My cottage has been on the market again since June, and although my first buyers pulled out a couple of weeks ago, in a stroke of luck a new buyer has come along and I am hopeful this time it will go through (fingers crossed). 
For a while now I have been restless (in my New Year post I wrote about needing change and that I was the only person who could make it happen). My shop will celebrate it's tenth anniversary in two weeks time, and although the experience of starting up and running my own business has been rewarding in so many ways, especially in the meeting of so many wonderful people who have walked through my shop door, the experience has also been challenging and draining. I need to break away for a while and assess what the future holds for me, and the first step I am taking is to sell my home.

On the 22nd of October I attended the evening wedding reception of one of my belly dancing friends, Sarah ( this is the heart I made for her and her husband to remember their special day), and it got me thinking about 'Home' and what it means. She and David have just bought their first home together. My little cottage has been my home for the past 12 years; my first home after leaving my parents and the house where I was brought up. 

So what will it be like to walk out of this front door knowing that I will never return? Well, I am quite philosophical about it really. Essentially I have lived alone here for the last 12 years. There are no memories of children running about the place for me to hold dear. Having two old buildings to constantly maintain has been a challenge and expense. The cottage is actually, now I realise, bigger than I really need it to be, so why pay a mortgage on this house when I could downsize to a smaller one? And, quite radically you may think, I am seriously considering not living in a house at all for the next year or so. My plan is to rent somewhere this winter, and then in the spring when the weather warms up, set off in a camper van and live on the road! 

I know that I am the kind of person who feels at home wherever I happen to be, and just because my home will be a mobile one will in no way make it less of a home to me. I am very excited at the prospect of breaking free from the responsibilities of mortgage and bills (although I will still have the responsibility of maintaining the shop). The other reason I feel the need to break free is in order to develop my own creativity, which has necessarily become somewhat stifled with the need to make things which are (hopefully) guaranteed to sell. My mind is buzzing with ideas all the time, but time is the one thing you don't get much of when running your own business. To not feel the pressure to constantly earn a living will be a luxury which will allow me to pursue those avenues I have been thinking about: going back to painting and drawing, creating more ambitious stitched pieces, photographing gardens and exploring this beautiful country of ours.

But before all that happens, I have the Vintage and Handmade Fair in Chipping Sodbury to think about! ( Saturday 3rd December ) So here's what I'm making at the moment.....

Decorations to hang made from an assortment of chandelier drops, glass beads and pearls, mother-of-pearl buttons, and vintage metal and diamante bits

Some of the drops have been backed with vintage fabric and old handwritten documents, and these are the tiny offcuts left over....

I have an idea to convert them into another sort of decoration, but that will have to wait for another posting......
I hope that you, my Blogger friends, haven't minded me sharing some quite personal thoughts in this posting; your support and friendship means a lot to me. Perhaps on my travels roaming the countryside I will be able to meet some of you in person! I hope so!
x x x

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Autumnal bliss

Yesterday after I'd closed up at the shop I went picking blackberries above Percuil River, and the hush of the evening was such perfection I wanted to commit it to memory forever.

Today I spent lazing on the beach, perfect blue sky and hot but not searing sunshine; listening to the sound of happy carefree children at play. I swam in the sea too but not for long, it was colder than a few months ago. 

Has anyone else got a plague of flies? I've just spent the last half-hour swotting and catching sixteen flies in my bedroom alone, all zipping round my lamp in that frenzied drugged state.... aarrggghhhhh!

Sorry to do a retrospective bit of blogging now, but a couple of weeks ago Angela and I found ourselves at the second annual Hat Festival in Bridport, Dorset.

 There were lots of street stalls, the weather was kind to us on the whole, and the atmosphere was very jovial. I think it was a great way to get the whole town involved; anyone could participate simply by wearing a hat!

 There were some weird and wonderful hats on show, but I think Angela should take the prize for being the most stylish - what do you think?

A very daring South American red felt trilby, and Angela carried it off with panache!

I love this great second-hand bookshop in Bridport, I never leave empty handed! 

Cheery-bye blogger friends! I look forward to reading what you have been doing in the sunshine this week x x x

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Last Friday Angela and I decided to have a day out. It was typical Cornish weather - mizzly but warm - and I thought the perfect day to take the coast road between St. Ives and St. Just on the north Cornish coast. The mist was rolling off the hills and stoney outcrops, and the derelict engine houses loomed out of the whiteness, so atmospheric. Our first stop was Zennor, a tiny hamlet which has become famous for two reasons. During the war D.H.Lawrence and his German wife retreated here for peace and security. And have you heard of the legend of the Mermaid of Zennor?

Inside the ancient granite church dedicated to St. Senara is the 'Mermaid Chair', a simple wooden seat with the carving of a mermaid on one end, holding a mirror. 

Legend has it that a local lad heard strange and beautiful singing whilst attending service in the church, and so intoxicated was he by this otherworldly voice that one day he followed the sound down to the cove and walked down underneath the waves, for it was a mermaid who lured him to his death.

From the church we walked down the track leading to the cove, passing this farmyard with its ancient granite posts.

Spiky gorse, moss and ivy, typical of the granite walls in this part of wild Cornwall

So bleak, no trees; but the landscape has a raw beauty all of its own

Then the cove, quite a precipitous drop, and no beach at high tide

Angela is a textile addict like myself, and since I had my camera with me I asked if I could take some pictures round her home.

This is one of her oil paintings, a work in progress. Aren't the colours beautiful? It is definitely an interior, but I love the way everything remains in soft focus.

On her living room floor, about six work baskets overflowing with fabric snippets, including a lot of gorgeous vintage Liberty Tana lawn.

Upstairs on the landing, a veritable cascade of vintage clothing that Angela wears on a regular basis

This skirt has the most divine print and colouring

On her bedroom wardrobe doors hang yet more delicious vintageness; some of the clothes she made for her daughter when she was small

A Liberty lawn summer dress, very faded at the top,

and a knitted cardi with little stitched flowers and this divine Julie Arkell brooch pinned to the hem!

A raspberry red velvet bias-cut evening dress with petals decorating the neckline

Oh so glamorous!

And this wee jacket that Angela made for her baby daughter,

such a pretty fabric and quilted with a contrasting pinky-red stitch.

Going down the stairs, which I have done many times before, only this time I spot the little shelf 

with its little family of cuties! Just look at that darling velour elephant!
Thanks Angela, it's always a joy coming to your home x x x