Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Virgin Territory

Everything I do at the moment seems to be something I haven't done before, and it wears on the spirit. Whinge and Grizzle.

I try to do at least two significant PROGRESS things a day, in with all the normal maintenance and routine. Keep calm and carry on.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Beautiful Site


Ludwiga has some of the most beautiful monograms I have ever seen.

An Extroverted Sunday

Saturday we shot all the Seattle cushions, Sunday I finished the last thirteen China Blue letters then we dressed smartly and off to Fort Mason for Pinot Days, which was wonderful! I could never have foreseen that several people spotted my trade name-tag and said yes, I've seen your trailer, or, you worked with Jamie, and one man had seen us filming at wineries for the Pomo Indians and remembered. First time for that sort of recognition in America, I took it for granted in our circles in London. The whole event was jumping, and professional, with knowledgeable drinkers, a pleasure.

Stefan had parked in Chrissy Fields (dropping me off out of consideration for my high heels), so we walked back across the grass watching San Francisco at play, kites flying, bikes, scooters, skates, little children on family picnics, then drove to William's place where he was recovering form a three-hour bike ride. Felix came back and we all talked and disputed, and Felix put my first Mombasa up on Etsy and introduced me to Google Analytics. Have to get my keywords right.

Sunday Ned and Drew called in on granny before heading back to Brisbane and she Skyped me so we could chat - Norma and Mike were rowing a marathon (quad) on the Tweed, but of course that was Saturday for me, still counter-intuitive.

We called in on George, Cissy and Monika on the way back and stayed for a wonderful al fresco supper, saw thebigpicture.tv new website, which is most wonderfully innovative, and showed them our latest achievements, then rolled home to our little cat, and the lights shining on the water.

Friday, June 26, 2009

From Norma


Swept along by irritation at my frowsty sitting area, I gave up trying to tidy it for something approaching a photoshoot and repainted it. First two colour choices were dire, but soft putty has transformed it. The blackout curtains on the side windows are retired for the moment too.

I also tore off the skirtings, the last dinky ones in the house, and am sorely tempted to rip up the carpet. Two-foot-square cement tiles underneath which could be coaxed into smartness, but horribly hard underfoot, and my precious antique Afghan rug would get pounded.

The feeling of that area is quite changed, into something approaching an orangery. Pale colour, white linen sofas, lots of glass and big mirror. Nice.

What I really meant to write was that last night I was seized with the desire to hear Poulenc's Domine Deus, and discovered a wonderful version by a school choir on youtube. When I think how hard a bunch of adults found it, and these kids manage so beautifully! Fieldston, in the Bronx.

Then Gounod's St Cecilia Mass for good measure, and I have been driving Stefan mad with soft dirge-like renditions all morning while I cut the last fourteen China Blue cushions and wondered which French composer was the one who interfered with the choirboys (Saint-Saens?). He has gone to buy chocolate biscuits for morning tea, but I suspect he just had to get out. Poulenc isn't something that the people can hum.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Late Evening

Suddenly an astonishingly clean and tidy house - unless it is just by contrast to the guddle of the past week. Anyway, I am enjoying it - had to clear for the shoot today, and swept and swiped to good effect.

Low Tide

We went out early onto the breakwater to see the lowest tide of the year and it might well be true that you could walk to the islands. San Francisco Bay will have its wetlands back soon enough, at this rate.

The blue crane was fishing alongside more common birds, not at all put off by my bellowing of "Ev'ry valley...". A seagull stole his fish; the crane pursued while I shouted at the gull, "Hey! don't you know he's endangered?" I like to think it was my intervention that shamed him into dropping the fish. Bad gull.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Felix's Aeropress makes heavenly coffee!

Buckley escaped this morning and came to our gate, so I rang Tom then went walking with Buckley round the marina, amazed at the erosion and wetness from high tide last night, and of course, more to come. The whole thing is going to wash away, the sea wall is breached in three places.

A sociable weekend, the Crushpad party where I actually met people I knew, the to Mary's garden party where of course I also met people I knew, and some very nice ones I know now. I hadn't realised Mary's garden is one third of an acre and runs right down to the lagoon, and of course since she is the proprietor of Quite Contrary Gardening, amazingly laid out and planted.

This morning we will have breakfast for Father's Day with Cissy and George, and the boys are coming over at about four o'clock. All good. And a fig from our own tree, perfectly ripe and tasting of honey.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Not Coping

Thursday, June 18, 2009



Bronte, the dear old Perry dog, is failing fast, and somehow she is taking with her the children's childhood, the memory of noisy, cheery mess in a family house, and the busy-ness of middle age when everything demands attention. No more shedding hair and dander, no more puddles (only of late), no more embarrassing run-ins with the council when she wanders - that is the comfortless upside.

But to lose that wonderful loyalty and whole-hearted love, the silky ears, the grace in motion, the meaningful exchange of looks, the understanding and empathy, and the simple willingness to accompany for the pleasure of your company. It is very hard.

"Freedom is when the children leave and the dog dies." But freedom is another word for nothing left to lose. Much as I love Suscipe, cats somehow make it easier.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


How often I do all the things I want to do but the thing I am reluctant to do just sits there in isolation, surrounded by mental signs that say Next and Now and Get it Over With.

Marketing. Product is necessary, but marketing is crucial, so I have spent this morning so far investigating advertising, new leads, phone calls, research and emails. It isn't that bad once you throw yourself into it. For the film and the cushions.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Magical Morning

Unusual number of seagulls just outside my window at first light, I lay listening to them and watching the sky get lighter with my ripping good yarn in my lap. I made coffee and dragged my duvet onto the chaise longue on the deck and hovered in bliss with the birds, and the mountain, the smell of the water and the racket of the garbage truck.

Every now and then I get a notion to just drive off with a sleeping bag in the back of my truck and a hypothetical shaggy dog for company. I would go north where rain is abundant, and a hot shower would be luxury beyond imagining.

Friday, June 12, 2009

On Auto

I was in Mill Valley, just about to cross the street when I heard wild screaming behind me and a toddler, about twenty months old, shot past me into the traffic. Before I could take it in my hand clamped around his arm and pulled him back, then his mother scooped him up and left without a word.

I think I need gin.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No Cushion

Well, there we go: twenty of my first cushion-babies out into the wild world of retail, labelled, inventoried, stuffed, posed and lit in the window by spotlights. Another forty-eight stay here as backup. What will happen? I admit to feeling demoralised and powerless, riding a cushion to prosperity seems laughable at this moment.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Dead Mole

While I was watering this morning I found a perfect little dead mole, no signs of violence, just soft grey-brown fur and strong front claws. I had no idea they existed in America.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


It was such a lovely evening Mary and I went out in our kayaks.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Cissy and Friends

A Cornucopia of Cushions

Lapin Blanc Lapin Blanc

The cushion inserts have arrived, so I have inserted every last one of them. They look good.