Getting into the groove.

I’ve almost lost count of where we are with the lockdown, we are now going into the 4th week. Still the sun keeps shining, I’m getting into the groove and just going with the flow each day. I’m not stressing as I don’t have to think about online shopping  for food for a few weeks, we have enough for now. I love the vegetable box scheme, it’s lovely fresh produce delivered to my door each week and no plastic packaging. I’ve sourced food from farm shops and coffee suppliers as well.
UntitledI’m enjoying being resourceful in the kitchen, this is a vegan chickpea frittata made with leftover vegetables and topped with wild garlic pesto. I foraged the wild garlic on one of my walks. It’s great in a bean salad or mayonnaise.
UntitledThe blanket is growing, it’s almost ready for the border. I have been doing some in an evening but mainly when sitting in the garden on an afternoon crocheting and watching the wildlife. Drone flies are my new amazing creature to watch, there are blackbirds fighting over the ivy berries even though there’s enough for all, and today a mouse came running across to my chair then disappeared under the fence.
I’ve made shopping masks for family and friends, but I think I have the pleats going the wrong way up, I don’t suppose it makes much difference.
UntitledWe have had some lovely local walks, I love getting out into the countryside, it’s good for our well being. Nothing is more calming than being out in the countryside walking and nature spotting.
UntitledThe wildflowers are blooming, the bluebells are just starting to come out now.


UntitledThe streams are low but the water is crystal clear as we haven’t had any rain in over a month.
UntitledCan you see all the minnows at the bottom of this photo?
UntitledA heron stands fishing.
UntitledThe lambs are getting fat, and today I saw my first ducklings, aren’t they cute?
UntitledAt this difficult time I am counting my blessings, I am thankful for everyday things I would probably take for granted normally.

I hope you are staying safe and well both mentally and physically, take care. Please leave a comment and let me know how you are doing.


Cooking with dried egg.

When the lockdown started and panic buying was leading to food shortages I bought some dried egg powder. I have been curious to try it as my Mum told me she loved it during the war.

From the packet I worked out 12g was about the equivalent of an egg. I decided to make a Victoria sandwich cake, but I only made 110 g / 2 egg mixture, baked in one tin just in case it didn’t  turn out right, I didn’t  want to risk wasting ingredients, I could always make a trifle with it if it didn’t turn out right.

The egg powder is a lovely yellow colour, it smells slightly eggy but that’s probably to be expected.
Baking with dried eggI added it after creaming the butter and sugar, it didn’t  sieve very well so a spoon was used to push it through. I added some milk as the mixture was too stiff then beat it in before folding in the flour.
Baking with dried egg
All the mixture went in one tin, with the plan of cutting it into 2 semi circles and sandwiching with homemade jam. I don’t  like buttercream and I’m not going out to shop so unfortunately there’s no cream to put in the middle.
Baking with dried eggThe cake rose well, I decided to cut it through the middle but as it was so light I found this quite difficult and the top layer cracked, nothing that can’t be disguised with a dusting of icing sugar.
Baking with dried eggOn eating, the cake was feather light and spongy, it tasted buttery maybe slightly more eggy than when using fresh eggs, it was delicious.
Baking with dried eggAs it’s Easter Sunday I’m cooking a roast dinner for the 3 of us who are at home, normally there would be a family gathering. I used the dried egg and dried milk to make Yorkshire puddings, not the best puds I’ve ever made but they tasted great, very light and fluffy.

Yorkshire puddings made with dried egg and milk

Being kind to myself

First let me say as I no longer know what day of the week it is I forgot to blog on Sunday , so here it is.

After a week of lockdown an undercurrent of stress started taking it’s toll, this wasn’t how I expected to feel as I am well used to being home most of the time.

I decided to have a media free weekend and eventually felt more relaxed, however at night I woke up suddenly and I couldn’t sleep for brain overload. I decided that it was time to start meditation again so gifted myself a yearlong subscription to Headspace. It felt so good to get back into it. I  love that feeling of calm, I have been practising now for a week and already my stress levels are almost back to normal.

I’m determined  to turn this awful time into something positive, which starts by being good to myself so I’m doing whatever I feel like doing without a guilt trip. Basically I’m just pottering about.

I am catching up on chores although I can’t have a good clear out as the council is asking us not to create extra rubbish or they won’t be able to cope, and I can’t decorate as I can’t get paint.

I don’t have a structure to my day, I get creative when I want, I can stay in bed, or get up and go for my walk at dawn. I’ve found time for reading, and exercising most days, we have set up a mini gym for rainy days and I have taken up tia chi again.

Allowing myself time to just be, and live in the moment feels so good. I now know what retirement feels like, but I  have a few more years to go yet.

I’ve baked bread a few times.
This weeks makesMy blanket has grown a lot, I will have to start another one as my yarn has run out. Time to make a scrap blanket.
Waffle blanket crochet alongI’ve made soap, this olive oil soap is so kind to the skin.
This weeks makesI baked scones, using oil instead of butter, they came out fine and weren’t as dry the next day.
This weeks makesI made myself a couple of dresses, I hope they fit when I finally get to wear them, with all this baking I’m not so sure. The patterned one was some expensive fabric I had bought a couple of years ago but was too scared to cut it.
This weeks makesThe olive green needlecord one probably cost under a fiver to make, fabric was a bargain from Pound Fabrics. I made it to go with my eco printed scarf.

This weeks makesI made handcream, it smells gorgeous, I made up the recipe and it came out fine.


1 part coconut oil

2 parts olive or almond oil

1 part beeswax

Melt together over a pan of simmering water. Add a fragrance oil ( rose geranium and thyme oil) before putting in jars.

I ran out of pots so I will use this up first.
This weeks makes
Today I’ve made some cookie / rock buns, another made up recipe using oil instead of butter. They are coconut and raisin but the recipe was for sunflower seed and apricot, these won’t last long I have to say.
This weeks makes
I hope you are coping well and finding things to do to fill your days. Be kind to yourself.
Stay safe and well.

Waffle Comfort Blanket Crochet Pattern.

When I was sick as a child my Mum made me a bed on the sofa, I loved to snuggle up with a waffle blanket that only came out at times when I was poorly. I loved to try and put a finger each into their own indentation in the blanket, and it was so warm it felt like a hug in a rug.

At times such as these we could all use a comfort blanket.

This is an easy pattern, it only uses one stitch, a treble. I decided to make wide stripes so I don’t have so many ends to darn in, I hate doing that. I chose calming colours but brights would certainly lift the spirit.

Waffle blanket crochet along

Waffle Comfort Blanket.


Double knitting yarn, I use Stylecraft, amount depends on the size of your blanket. I have 10 balls but will need another 10 balls ( 1 ball does 2 stripes the width I have chosen).  Plus yarn for the border, I haven’t decided how to do my border yet but I will update the pattern when I have finished the blanket.

Crochet hook – I’m using a 4.5 mm as I like a firm fabric but a 5mm will be ok too.

My blanket measures 116 cm in width, this is without the border.

I hope you will join me in the ‘crochet along’.


note – Cast on chain needs to be multiples of 3 plus 2 extra chain. My blanket is 198 chain.

Row 1.

Treble (tr) in 3rd chain from hook, tr in each chain to end of row. Chain (ch) 1 and turn.* Ch 1 counts as first st.

Row 2.

Tr in next stitch, trAP ( treble around post of next stitch ), tr in next 2 sts, repeat to last 2 st, tr A P in next st then 1 tr in last st. Ch 1 and turn.


Tr in next st, trAP in next 2 sts, repeat to last st trAP around last st. Ch 1 and turn.

Row 4.

Tr into next st, trAP around next st, tr in next 2 sts. Repeat to end, tr in turning chain.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 to end of blanket. Change colour as desired. I decided to make wide stripes of 6 rows as I don’t like darning in ends. Each stripe took about 45g of yarn. I had 9 colours and did 3 stripes of each colour. 

Next Row.

Repeat row 1 to * finish off by pulling yarn through loop. Darn in all loose ends.


Row 1.

Note – I picked up 195 st on short ends of blanket and 270 st on the long sides .

Starting in 2nd tr of a short end ch3 for first st, tr into each st to corner, 3 tr, 2 ch, 3 tr into last st. On long side tr about 9 sts into each stripe to last st, 3 tr, 2 ch, 3 tr into last st. Continue around other 2 sides. Slip st into the first st. 

Row 2 & 3.

Change colour, working in waffle st as r 1 & 2 and keeping the pattern in line with the blanket pattern  do 2 r of waffle stitch, turning corners as r 1. Turn blanket over for 2nd r.

Rows 4 & 13.

Continue as r 1, 2 and 3 changing colour as you go, slip st into first st, pull end through. Darn in end. 

Here’s my blanket so far, I’m going to have to ration myself to one stripe a day as I will run out of yarn soon.

Untitled If you want to join in and crochet along, with this blanket or your own project I’d love to see photos, you can post them in my  Facebook group Hobbies For Wellbeing

Stay safe and well x.


Strange Times, Strange Times!

Indeed these are such strange times, it feels so surreal don’t you think?

I’m planning how to use my time, as a crafter working from home not a lot will change but there will be time for spring cleaning, possibly some decorating, and gardening. We need to lift our spirits and being in the garden does that, the soil gives off a chemical that does something in our brain and makes us feel good.

I was going to shut my shop for the foreseeable future but then decided to keep it open for UK customers and extend my dispatch time to 5 working days. I have to shop at least once a week so I will post then.

My twice weekly gym sessions have come to a halt, I  will miss it but I will try and keep fit with what’s available to me at home. I have a therraband for resistance, tins of beans can be used as dumbbells, and the stairs for stepping.  I’ve not done a 5k jog in a while so I will work on that. I hope to get out on the fells as much as possible, social distancing outdoors is one of the joys of living here.

I have lot’s of craft projects to get on with, sewing patterns to make up, that punch needle that I still haven’t tried out, lino cutting tools and a gelli plate from Christmas all sitting untouched.

I ordered yarn to crochet another blanket. I was tempted to call it the plague blanket but comfort blanket sounds better. If anyone would like to join in a ‘crochet along ‘  or show us what you are making to get through this time I have a Facebook page called ‘Hobbies For Wellbeing’ please pop over for a natter and show us what you are making.

These are the colours that I’ve chosen for my blanket, inspired by the bedroom curtains.

Waffle CAL blanketThis is the waffle stitch, it’s really easy, there’s only one stitch, a treble. I will post the pattern here and show you my progress in the next installment.

Waffle comfort blanketDo you have a plan to prevent boredom and feed your creativity while you are confined to your home?

Whatever we must do staying well and not putting others at risk is paramount.

Look after you and yours, we will get through this.


5 Mothers Day Gifts Under £10 That Mum Will Love.

Mother’s Day is not far off now but you still have time to find a handmade gift Mum will love, and you can free up your time by shopping online.

Here’s some gift ideas for Mum that are available in my shop.

Handmade soap dish  with holes £10 + P&P.

This handmade soap dish has draining holes and feet, it has a deeply textured design and a blue green shiny glaze which give the soap dish a kind of Moroccan feel Mum will love.
Ceramic soap dish with holes

Ceramic snowdrops heart £8 + P&P.

The beauty of snowdrops captured forever in this ceramic hanging heart. Mother’s Day hanging heart

Ceramic fish £8 each + P&P.

Ceramic fish to make Mum smile, why not treat her to her own shoal of fish.

Ceramic fish wall art

Ceramic pendant necklace £9 + P&P.

A unique and stylish ceramic necklace Mum will love, there will never be another necklace like this one.
Ceramic pendant necklace

Leaf tray for rings or tealight £9.

The perfect little leaf tray made from a real host leaf, for Mum’s rings or a tealight.

Ceramic leaf ring dishThis is just five gift ideas under £10 but there’s more  handmade Mother’s Day gift ideas in my shop.  Why not take a look.

Ceramic leaves to hang on the wall

After waiting for a month the rain finally stopped just long enough to get a raku firing  done.

This batch of ceramic leaves have particularly good colours, don’t you think?
Ceramic leaf wall art from Kiln Fired ArtI hate keeping my customers waiting but hopefully they understand the slow nature of ceramics, especially when you have to wait for improvements in the weather to do a firing.

My ceramic leaves can solve a specific need in interior decor. Some of my customers send me photos of how they are using my leaf wall art on those awkward walls above a window, around an arch, above a doorway, up a staircase. I can’t show you photos of my customer’s homes but I can show you my leaf art installation which hangs on a narrow wall between two windows. I love the way it connects indoors with the outdoors.

leaf wall art I have added a few more leaves since that photo was taken. That’s the beauty of having a ceramic leaf art sculpture hanging on your wall, you can keep adding to it when you feel the need. I would love to make a large leaf art installation one day, I wonder which wall I could use, maybe up the staircase.

Some of my leaves are heading off to their new homes this week but there are still some available in my shop and I will be glazing more this weekend. I wonder how long I will have to wait for the next dry day to fire the next batch of leaves? Hopefully not too long.

On that note I will leave you with some more eye candy, do you have a favourite leaf?
Hanging leaf wall art from Kiln Fired Art

If you look at KilnFiredArt on Instagram or Facebook you can see some videos which show how gorgeous the colours are and how they change in the light.

Snowdrop Ceramic Art Tiles Finally Finished.

The weather hasn’t improved yet so still no raku firing, so I’ve had to adapt, it’s rained every day so I have contented myself working indoors staining up the snowdrop tiles and these ceramic hearts.

staining ceramic snowdrop heartsI love how rustic these look, I think that’s down to the choice of clay and the colour. I like how adding the colour reveals the delicacy of the snowdrop flowers.

Ceramic snowdrop art tiles

I took a slightly different approach with these pulmonaria wall plaques, leaving the speckled stoneware as it is then using a very small brush I painted in the pinks blues and greens of the flowers and foliage. The process reminded me of my china painting days. These pulmonaria  flowers are dear to my heart, they remind me of my Grandpa’s garden, as a child I was in awe of these pink and blue flowers on a single stem, how could that be?

Rustic ceramic flower tiles

Here’s a closer picture of one of the tiles, you can see the tiny details in each flower petal. They still make me smile today. I think pulmonaria, or lungwort as it’s also known are one of my favourite plants in the spring border.

plant ceramic art tiles

The light hasn’t been so good for photographs this week so I will leave the ceramic hearts and ring dishes for another post. To see more photos of these ceramic tiles click to go to my shop.

Now I’m off to glaze some soap dishes, what are your plans for today?

Enjoy your Sunday.

The Slow Art Of Ceramics

This week I’ve haven’t been able to get much done because of the weather but I did manage to get some bisque firing done, the pieces that I made before my holidays. Snowdrop tiles, little ring dishes and hanging hearts, you can find them here in my last post. Just as well I got them made before I left as the snowdrops had gone over before I got home. I have just opened the kiln in this photo and they are hot, hot, hot.

Bisque fired ceramics
I love working with the seasons, however it’s not always “slow living” when you have to get something done before the flowering season ends.

You may not have given much thought to it but making ceramics is a slow process, there’s a lot of waiting, you have to wait until the clay is at the right stage of dryness to do what you want to do. After rolling I have to wait until the clay firms up a bit before rolling in the plants, then once you have made your pieces you have to wait to do the fettling, I like to do this at leather hard stage. Then you have to wait until the pieces are dry enough for bisque firing. These snowdrop pieces sat for almost 2 weeks before they were fired as it’s been so cold and damp, but slow drying is a good thing.
Once dry the ceramic leaves and fish are bisque fired, that’s another 24 hour ( or longer) wait before I can open the kiln.

Fish to hang on the wall

Seasonal (and weather) influenced work certainly teaches patience, I just hope my customers are understanding.

The bisque pieces now need to be glazed, the ceramic fish and leaf wall art have an application of raku glazes which have to be fired outside, this is where the looooong wait has come in. I can only raku fire when the weather is right, it needs to be dry and not very windy. We have to stand around all day putting pieces in and out of the kiln so it helps if it’s not too cold.

Ceramic leaves to hang on the wallSo that’s where I’m at, waiting and watching the weather, it’s not looking good for the coming week, I just hope my customers are understanding. These  pieces will be making their way into my Kiln Fired Art shop as soon as they are glazed and fired. Patience is definitely a virtue where the slow art of ceramics is concerned. Fingers crossed for better weather soon.