Finding Inspiration In The Yorkshire Dales.

We decided to take a break from the home improvements that have been ongoing since June to head off to the Yorkshire Dales for a week walking in “God’s Own Country” as Yorkshire folks describe the Yorkshire Dales.

This is a short post, I’m sharing some photos which are an inspiration to me and I hope to use them in some art projects later on.

Mary Lou if you are reading this, I was thinking of you and your love of our stone walls. Swaledale in Yorkshire is stone wall heaven, it also has lots of wonderful stone barns.

The history behind the barns that are all over Swaledale.

A patchwork of stone walls around Muker in Swaledale.

Yorkshire has some beautiful waterfalls too, this is Hardraw Force and below is Aysgill Force.

I found so much peace and beauty which I intend to use as inspiration for some artwork. Well that’s the plan 🙂

Enjoy your Sunday.

Refurbishing Stressless Chairs

I haven’t been around much this summer so craft making and blogging have been quite scarce, I’m now doing some home improvements, painting and renovating our home.

I have a couple of Stressless chairs which have damage to the leather, cracks, the top is off the leather in places, and even a hole in the seat. I got a 4 figure quote to have them done professionally and then a Facebook friend told me about Furniture Clinic leather repair kit which she had used to mend a hole in a sofa. I watched the videos and decided to have a go myself .

Here’s some photos showing the leather damage.

Firstly I used their cleaner to get rid of dirt and grease on the leather, then used the hole repair kit to close the tear.

Then I used the filler in the kit to fill the hole and cracks, when dry this was sanded and refilled until the surface was built up.

The next job was to go over these areas with the ‘paint’ which was quite a close match to the colour of my chairs but not quite perfect.

The kit does include primary colours and black so in theory I should have been able to mix the perfect shade but I just couldn’t get it right. I spent 2 days trying.

I decided to buy the leather colourant to do the whole chair, it can transform a leather sofa from one colour to another according to the videos on the website. When it came the colour was really close to my chair colour.

I applied 3 thin coats over the entire back, arms and seat of the chair but seeing the colour was such a good match I decided not to do the sides of the chair because of the woodwork and metalwork.

Then I applied a clear topcoat in several layers to protect the finish, I chose the satin finish but it’s shinier than I would have liked so I might get the matt one and go over them again.

Here’s some before and after photos.

I am absolutely delighted with how my chairs turned out, and it cost less than £100 to do them myself. They look like new again.

My Wildflower Border

Last Autumn the grass verge outside my house was dug up to lay a pipe, they didn’t seed it very well so as we look after it we decided to sow wildflower seeds. We chose a seed mix from Boston Seeds for bees and butterflies.

At first we thought the seeds weren’t germinating, we had a lot of heavy rain so we thought they had been washed away. We bought more seeds and sowed again, this time I scattered some of the seed and put some seed in trays of compost then pricked out into plugs as a back up plan.

One day I went to see how the plants were doing on the verge and much to my surprise a lot had germinated , the transplanted plug plants have been slow to grow since they were put in. I put some in planters so I can harvest the seeds and add them to the border later in the year.

The most prolific plant is borage, the bees absolutely love it.

Now the poppies and cornflowers are out, and there are some lovely grass seed heads too. The first corn cockle is flowering today.

Yesterday I spotted a lady with a camera taking photos and a couple complimented me on the border. I went out to see how it was looking and I could see what the fuss was all about. I hope other people in my village turn their verges over to wildflowers and wildlife, just imagine how that would look.

Ceramic holders for air plants

It seems a long time ago since I bisque fired the stoneware ceramic air plant pebbles and air plant wall pockets, but life sometimes gets in the way. This week I got some stain and glazes on them and finally got them finished and in my shop.

The air plant pebbles were lovely to make, I love the feel of the clay in my hands. I have given them a granite look glaze, and as they are stoneware clay they could have moss or a tiny plant inside instead of air plants.

I have only just gotten into air plants, why didn’t I buy some sooner? They are my kind of houseplant as they don’t mind a bit of neglect. I just spray them with water when I remember which is about once a week.

I must hang some air plant wall pockets in my new kitchen when it’s finished, but they will look great in any room of the house, they are living wall sculpture.

The hanging air plant holders were also hand built and textured with tree bark, inspired by a tree just up the road when I was out on a walk. Where branches had been cut off the bark had grown forming a little niche where a fern had seeded itself, nature is always an inspiration.

I have double pockets for two plants.

A couple of different designs of single plant pockets.

Each wall pocket will be unique, I think a group on the wall will make a great impact, or just one or two on a small wall would look equally as good. Now we can all have our own hanging garden.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

Hello, I haven’t posted much recently as I have had some unexpected things to deal with so I am just taking things as they come but still keeping busy and keeping my Etsy shop ticking over.

I have been out walking most days, it’s still quite chilly though. I have been looking for inspiration for a wildflower verge that I’m trying to establish. We have seeded it twice with wildflower grass mix but it was so dry nothing germinated. I have bought more seeds to try and grow on as plug plants but they aren’t showing signs of germination yet. The 3 different varieties of tagetees, calendula and 2 types of eucalyptus have germinated on the window sill but they are looking quite leggy and need to get potted on soon. These will be used for ecoprinting

I bought a seed sprouting tray to grow micro greens, our outdoor crops last year were a washout so I thought growing these indoors would be something that might work. The holes in the tray are too big for broccoli and cabbage seeds so I lined the try with some muslin.

Here’s some photos from my walk, I have primroses in my garden but no cowslips so they are on my list of what to grow next.

I love the primrose bank

I have a new resident in the garden who we have named Polly, a red legged partridge who comes to drink several times a day, we feed her now too, I think she lives behind the studio.

I have been sock knitting in the evenings, it’s so relaxing, almost meditative. As there’s only so many pairs of socks I need I decided to offer them up on a Facebook page which I called Socks4Charity . My intention is to use the money to buy a ball of yarn to knit the next pair of socks, pay UK P&P then donate what’s left to charity, so it’s win win all round, I keep knitting socks, someone get a pair of handknit socks and a charity benefits as well. Please have a look at Socks4Charity it could use some likes and shares.

https://www.facebook.com/Socks4Charity

The spring flowers are blooming in my garden so it’s a busy time, making ceramic pieces to stock my shop. The hard part is estimating how many of each plant tile to make, if I run out I can’t make any more for a year. The wild garlic and bluebells are out now so that’s what I have been working with this week.

Here’s some of the tiles from last month which are listed on Etsy.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KilnFiredArt?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&section_id=25110253

This weekend I hope to do some ecoprinting and something new to me, cyanotypes, it’s all go working with the seasons.

Enjoy your weekend.

A Day In The Life Of A garden Pond

I decided to move the trail cam so it would pick up the bird activity around my garden pond. In 24 hours there was more than 400 videos to wade through, mostly a pair of blackbirds who are taking enough mud from my marginal plants to build a huge nest. They also enjoy a lot of bathing too, so lots of editing to do. You will see our latest garden resident, a red legged partridge we have named Polly. No sign of our weasel so maybe I can stop worrying as to whether a weasel can take a partridge.

There’s an interesting evening visitor too.

I hope you enjoyed this video, I will move the camera elsewhere and see if I can capture our friend the weasel.

Vanilla Socks But Different Flavours.

If you are not familiar with the phrase ‘vanilla socks’ you could be forgiven in thinking I have flipped. I came across this term on a sock knitting forum, basically vanilla knitting is plain knitting. Now it makes sense, right?

I have been enjoying vanilla knitting recently, I used to think of stocking stitch as mindless knitting but now I think of it as meditative knitting, the rhythm you get into is very calming and often I feel I could fall asleep whilst knitting.

If you are following my blog you will know I have recently gotten into sock knitting, I am completely hooked. I love knitting with King Cole Zig Zag sock yarn, most of the socks here are knitted with Zig Zag yarn.

What has me hooked is each ball of yarn knits up differently, they are all different ‘flavours’ I love starting a new ball of yarn not knowing how the self pattern will come out. Since the start of the pandemic little things like this have given me great pleasure. 🙂

These are my most recently finished socks

This is what’s on my needles now, look how differently the pattern is working out.

Can a person have too many socks? I hope not. 😊

I got quite a lot of stock made for my shop last week but I haven’t managed to photograph it all yet. I will show you in my next post.

Walking In The Lake District – Blake Fell

Blake Fell is a lesser known fell, you can walk there only meeting one or two people if you are lucky. I have been up there never seeing a soul but that’s rare these days. This is one of my favourite walks. There are some quite steep parts but then things level out for a while so the climb is staggered. The views are pretty special, I hope you agree.

Enjoy.