The Yorkshire Dales…(do I work for the tourist board?!)

As you may have gathered, we are on holiday, back at ‘home’ in the Yorkshire Dales, we normally stay here

the riddings 2

the riddings

which is the family farm I grew up on, just outside Bolton Abbey, as you can see from the second shot it’s a little isolated although very beautiful.  On this trip, we are staying in the next village down, Burnsall, in my sister’s newly done up cottage which I made these blinds for a while ago.  It’s lovely, no cleaning, no real cooking, rather too much eating but plenty of walking to make up for it.



The cottage has some lovely finishing touches such as this lampshade, can’t find who the designer is but I’ll add it later.  (UPDATE: Thanks to Karen and Flora, the lampshade is by Lush Designs, thanks ladies!)


Burnsall is the village my Gran lived in, I still think of her sitting at the window in the living room every time we pass ‘her’ house, she loved to watch the world go by.  I highly recommend Burnsall as a holiday venue if you fancy a trip to the Dales, it’s a quiet village but has a splendid shop (Shop on the Green) selling all the basics and some very lovely homemade cakes with a cafe along side.  There is the Red Lion and The Devonshire Fell to eat and stay at and I believe you can get take away pizza at the RL.  Really the rest is about beautiful countryside, even in the rain which is has pretty much done since we arrived as you can see from this shot taken from a single pane of the kitchen window.


One of the nice things about the cottage is the bits and pieces that were made by Gran, if you squint closely at the photo of the living room you can see a needlepoint calender hanging on the RHS.  I remember her stitching this, in fact I now have the pattern.  Two of the months look like this



If you fancy somewhere a bit more lively, Grassington is the next village along, all my Mother’s family live here so we will be doing a number of visits.  Grassington is a larger village with quite a few shops and eating places, it hosts Grassington Festival and also one of the original Dickensian weekends and is, of course surrounded by amazing countryside and walks.

Now, I am one of those people who has a bit of a food obsession in that I love growing, cooking and eating.  I love the memories that food evokes and there are a few must haves for me on a visit to Yorkshire.


Yorkshire mixture, which is basically a mix of boiled sweets.  I am not really a boiled sweet person, but I like these just for the memory and the lollies above are exactly as we had as children.  You canbuy these pretty much every where.


Fat Rascals (a sort of mix of scone and rock cake) fresh from Bettys.  If you have ever been to the Dales you may have heard of Bettys, it’s a famous small chain (Harrogate, Ilkley, Northallerton and York) of cafes that serve a mix of traditional English (with a Continental influence, especially in the chocolates) food in a Victorian style.  They are big on cakes and afternoon tea, the prize being the Fat Rascal as above.  They sell on-line at Bettys by Post, if I could recommend one thing to order online it would be their Italian Ricciarelli Biscuit Tray which aren’t cheap but are oh so amazing.  Oh, should mention, there is nearly always a wait for a table at busy times so come early or take out.


My final food photo is of Whitakers Chocolates from Skipton.  We bought the chocolate mint wafers every year for Mother’s day for my Gran.  I was a bit disappointed as they didn’t have chocolate cherries or stem ginger, but I think we bought enough.

Right, best go walk off all that eating!

New Photos…

Did you notice the banner change above?  I sneaked it in a while ago, it was time to update my linen cats/bunnies line with some of the more recent stock, can’t help but notice that the green dress bunny is rather snuggly with the check trousered cat, not sure how that happened.

When I have to photograph new stock, here’s how it goes.  I notice the weather is perfect for a spot of photography (bright enough to show the colours but not so as to have too strong a shadow), I rush to get my needs-to-be-photographed stock which is inevitably in the bottom box.  I clear my table/floor/bed and lay out the stock, rather too quickly, in between making cheese sandwhich/juice/changing the tv channel (bad mother!)/fixing the lego robot back together for the umptenth time.  I grab camera, discover it’s out of battery, quick mini charge, set up tripod…..oh bugger, the sun’s gone in.

Also my boys LOVE having their photo taken, seriously, Charlie sees a camera and shoves his face into shot and says cheese.  He cries a lot if you don’t photograph him so I end up with plenty of these




We haven’t been burgled in the back of this last shot, it’s a crazy mid builders mess shot and don’t even ask what happened to the white wall on the rhs.

However, last time around I did get some usable photos so finally we have



as made back here and after having their beady little….er bead….eyes sown on, they are ready for listing on return from our Yorkshire holiday as part of the Christmas Shop update.



Just for the record, my favourite are the dark red and mustard ones.

I’ve won an award…

From the lovely Lyn over at Everyday Life, whose fabulous photos always shame me for just pointing my camera and pressing the button, must make more of an effort to learn how to use my (husband’s) camera properly.  Thank you Lyn!


The ‘Lemonade’ award is for, “seeing blessings where they’re not obvious and making lemonade instead if complaining about sour lemons”  and I believe I need to list some things that I am grateful for and then pass along, so here goes:

  • Top of the list, my family and friends, especially my lovely boys who drive me bonkers but I can’t imagine life without.
  • My health (I imagine everyone’s list starts with these two) and that of my family.
  • Having the time to indulge in the arty, crafty world that brings me so much pleasure.  I am a happier and therefor nicer person for it.
  • Our lovely home, we really are very lucky.
  • Right now, the glass of sherry I just poured from a bottle my sister has conveniently left out at her holiday cottage (where we are staying) that goes so perfectly with catching up on blogworld whilst the wind howls and the rain batters the window…..wonder if she has a secret chocolate stash somewhere…?

I would like to pass this award on to:

Anne of Andamento


Flora of Through the Round Window

Kirsty at sixty one A

Bex of Bex Buttons and joint with El, also Stuffed Nonsense – now Bex & El, I am sure you have already been awarded this but your blog is so cheery I have to send it to you again, sorry.

Ladies, (are there any male arty/crafty/vintage bloggers out there?) feel free to attach this award to your blog but don’t feel you have to forward it along, I believe some of you may have been given similar blog awards before, I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy reading your blogs; I am rather nosey and I find them very inspiring.  It’s nice to be part of this ‘gang’ and it has certainly brought me a lot of pleasure over the last year, can’t believe I didn’t start blog writing and reading sooner.

Blimey, the wind really is lashing the cottage, I swear I can hear Cathy tapping at the windows!

Christmas Fairies…

I talk a lot about my love of hoarding, vintage and especially about my Gran’s belongings, at Christmas it is a custom for us to have her fairy on the tree.  We think it is from her early married days so probably mid 1930’s and sadly, is getting a little worse for wear so say the least.


My Mother allowed me to use it for the last two years, as she spent Christmas with us (Grandchildren change everything) and I figured it was about time I made a copy before the original disintegrates entirely.  I had planned to make an exact copy of the original, in card and tissue, but realised that it would translate well into fabric so back in June when I was in ‘Wet Yorkshire ModeI treated myself to some new silk and got working on a sample.

I am amazed at how slow my design progress was on this one.  I sort of pottered on a bit every now and again, in fact, the silk inspired me to make my sweet pea cushions in July first.


By September I figured I had better get a move on so some of the bodies were made, M remarked at the time that they looked like aliens and I fear he was not wrong.


There are some rather cross and bog-eyed fairies in this batch but I rather think that’s the beauty of handmade, it would be boring if they were identical.  The wings were a bit tricky to stitch in the slippery silk


but finally they are done, or the first few anyway.  They are a little plumper than the original (but aren’t we all!) and the hair has a definite Tammy Wynette feel, I am sure if I was designing them from sctatch they would be a little more stylised but I am pleased with the result.


They are made in silk and wool, with the exception of the silver ric-rac.  I am not a fan of using glue, don’t know why as there is no real reason, but I had to UHU then stitch the hair into place and the backs have a long ribbon for tying them into the tree, or looping so they can be hung as an ornament.


My final problem is trying get a true colour photo of the plum version.  As you can see I haven’t really nailed that one yet, even outside in natural light the colour is very off, in reality it’s a bright plum purple.

I am not sure how I will price these, they take an insane amount of work and the silk isn’t cheap but the price has to be affordable so I’ll need to think on that one.

Right, only a few more days of hand sewing to get the rest finished!

I love Sundays…

M is away.  He goes quite a lot and I always have mixed feelings, not sure if it’s just me but I get a lot done when he is gone, it makes me realise he is rather messy and it’s not just the kids I clear up after.  The flip side is I am on my own with the boys 24-7 which can be very, very tiring.  For those who read this blog a bit you will know I have early risers, the average is 6 am but it is quite often earlier and both our boys tend to wake during the night, however this morning it was 7.30 – hurrah!  and I feel goooooood.  Must admit didn’t sleep great as spent night panicking about not getting enough sleep (as you do) but 7.30 am is pretty amazing for our two.

In the back of such a good start, I feel determined to make the most of Sunday.  The ‘Shopping Man’ is due any moment with our food delivery, which I only booked yesterday (I LOVE Ocado).  We have a chicken on it’s way to roast this afternoon, I have been back reading the ‘52 Weeks, 52 Chickens’ posts at Distracted Gourmet which are great, I haven’t been swayed into Jamie’s ‘Chicken in Milk’ but I have always wondered if it’s any good and I will try some of the other recipes.  I am desperate to get old style Sunday lunch a fixture in our house, M is resisting, he hates how food oriented I can be but I was brought up in a foodie family, we ate quite exotic food and I was surrounded by great cooks.  I really want the boys to grow up with the ceremony of a big family sit down on Sundays, walks in the afternoon, relaxing together, all of that.

The shopping man came whilst I was writing, so it’s 9.53am and I have ‘done’ the weekly shop, put a load of washing on, made up a half batch of Delia’s Mincemeat to steep overnight, tidied the kitchen, fed and cuddled up with the boys; the Sun is shining and I really do feel great!

Before some photos to liven this rather ‘chatty’ post you will probably realise from my happiness that the builders are not here today.  It’s our first day builder free for weeks and we now have windows and a single radiator in the back so it’s not like walking into a dusty freezer, which is a major break through.


I find cooking very relaxing and I love making jams/pickles etc, it’s a perfect Sunday pottering kind of project.  Above is stage one of Delia’s mincemeat recipe which is filling the Kitchen with lovely aromas.  Last year I made ‘Pear and Ginger suet free mincemeat’ from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook (No 2) which was great but I was inspired by my new book to go back to Delia this year.


Finally, yesterday’s work bench.  First glance at my Christmas Fairies which I have been working on for a while.  I have managed to get some general photos taken of new shop products so I’ll blog later with the details.

Right, onwards and upwards!

Christmas is, really, it is…

I was having a bit of a pants day today, the builders are still here and I am still stuck in the kitchen and half the living room, so I can’t clean (for a change, I actually want to as I’m sick of the mess) or get to my studio, or do a lot really apart from hand sewing and try to create barriers out of the sofa and chairs to keep Charlie on one side of the living room (not easy, I am telling you).


But, hurrah!  Delia has saved my day.  I pre-ordered her new ‘Happy Christmas’ book and the nice man from City Link just delivered it.  Now, I know it’s a while away but the hand sewing I have been doing is all Christmas stuff and realistically by the time we get the back decorated and the flooring down Crimbo will be upon us (that may be optimistic but I live in hope) so I am looking forward to the festive season already.  I am a true Christmas person although I make a point of not decorating the house too early, I feel bad even mentioning it in October, but I do like to make my own cake and mincemeat ahead of time and have a real tree etc; and I love, love buying and wrapping presents, in fact I do start this early so it’s not such a shocker on the wallet or a last minute dash.

Right, back to the book.  I will admit to abandoning D’s last TV series, it annoyed me but she does do great traditional food and I like this side of her cooking.  On first glance there are a lot of re-worked recipes but I am OK with that and the book’s styled like my house!  All white with splashes of bright colours and a smattering of vintage.


in fact I am a bit taken by the photos at the moment so need to go have a proper read of the recipes which I am sure are also good.


That’s it.  Quick post but I was so childishly excited I felt the need to share!

It’s Raining, it’s Pouring…

I am feeling very lucky right now.  The builders got the roof on a couple of weeks ago and a few days later the rain came; It’s much needed, there has been very little rain here in Kent and the garden has been looking a little pathetic as a result, but oh am I glad we got the roof on first!   The builders took a break last week, on another job and waiting for our windows to be ready but before they left they put our new staircase in which is a major development as it’s straight so for the first time in 3 years we are able to move some of the larger pieces of furniture upstairs.  This includes my beloved glass fronted cabinate which is one of 3 items I bought while I was waiting for the sale of my first flat to complete, many, many years ago (good old Ilkley Salerooms have a lot to answer for).  I have always assumed it would house my fabric and nic-nak collection which, of course, would be perfectly displayed through it’s lovely glass doors.  In reality it has been stuffed to the gills with all sorts over the past few years, it’s like a Tardis and on emptying it to carry upstairs I filled all the kitchen surfaces with it’s contents.



And that’s just some of it, there was also a large box of of old sketch books and art supplies and another of millinery bits and bobs along with my most precious vintage books.


Whilst the said cabinate has been in the living room we (well, I) put a plain ‘etching’ film on the front, party to hide the mess inside but also because the glass is not safety glass, so should the boys break it the film should hold the glass fragments together, at least that’s the theory.  I decided to remove this and replace with an etching film containing a pattern from FrostBrite.  We have used this design before in the bathroom and I really like it as it works well with all our Marimekko blinds.  We have also used film from PurlFrost in the past who have some nice designs but are a little more expensive.


(This is a shot of the bathroom window as it’s hard to see the design on the cabinet glass).

There is a definite knack to attaching the film, I rushed and creased it whilst trying to peel of the backing paper, I hadn’t enough time and it was getting dark.  I am rather cross with myself, but it’s done now.  The other thing I noticed was the film from FrostBite isn’t as dense as the one we have used from PurlFrost so creates a more see through effect.  Still, I like it and feel happier that the glass is a little safer.

Just to illustrate how long ago I imagined this cabinet in my ‘studio’ I bought this paper from the large Paperchase on Totternaham Court Road


for lining the shelves over 3 years ago (shuuush, don’t tell the husband, he already thinks I’m nuts but I tend to buy things I fall in love with if I see where I plan to use them, I just didn’t think it would be 3 years).  They used to have a floor of handmade and art paper, not sure if they still do?


The best thing is being able to have some of my vintage stash out on display, mostly things that belonged to my Gran and finally being able to put my fabric away safe from dust and direct light.


Last shot is of the lovely Hector Wall Light…not sure where it came from, I am a canny internet shopper and spent a while getting the lowest price, we have one on either side of the room.  I bought a Hector bedside lamp years ago, in fact from Laura Ashley for a very, very reasonable price before they became a hit and the price soared.

So, the builders are back next week and hopefully they will be all done by Friday and I can have my house back.  I am rather too excited!