Friday, 30 May 2014

Nearly the weekend.

Friday came around in a flash, doesn't seem five minutes ago since we were last saying this, it's...

.. Fabulous Folksy Friday Finds!

Had fun this week choosing items beginning with the letter 'C', very difficult trying to whittle down to just four items to showcase but these ones just shone out as fabulous!

Do take time to visit the shops, their shop url's are under their photo's, you're in for a real treat.

  'C' is for...

'Cap'-tivating - fabulous and fun too!

This Cap Bag is genius, we love it for it's clever re-working of flat caps, it's in the Christmas wish list here. You can find it in Rebecca's Folksy shop:

Like gazing into the depths of a rock pool

A lovely modern twist on a charm bracelet. We especially love the soft hues of the sea glass. Suzanne's Folksy shop is full of delicate and thoughtfully designed jewellery pieces:

Worth putting the kettle on for a proper pot of tea!

We love hens so this stylish Tea Cosy caught our eye for it's humorous applique illustration. This and other pretty home accessories are available in Sheila's Folksy shop:

Simple and useful too - just want to fill it with strawberries...

This fresh looking colander resonates to the wise words of William Morris, that all items in the home should be either beautiful or useful, this fits well with both these descriptions. Lots more pots like this in Martin's and Pam's Folksy shop:

So tempting to let our new cat linocut print, titled 'Black Velvet' wander in here, she does comes under the category of 'C', but she had an entire blog post dedicated to her yesterday if anyone is curious to know what she looks like, she's a pretty furry girl and no mistake. And she is available to purchase in our online shops now.

Wet prints of 'Black Velvet' pegged up to dry

Princess B - she so loved to talk

Our little black rescue cat loved to pose for the camera, we have a wealth of photographic material stored away, she is one of Gary's favourite muses, (more fitting to be meowes!)

Cannot let this week go by without a mention of the loss of Maya Angelou, a Warrior of a woman, with such wit and wisdom, she will be sadly missed.

'Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realise that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art'.
Maya Angelou.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Our Latest Purry Print!

We dropped a few hints in an earlier blog as to what sort of images would be making the next appearance in our shops. Well the wait is over, here is the latest feline friend to join our furry, purry collection of cats.

Titled 'Black Velvet'

Titled 'Black Velvet' it is inspired by a photo of our sweet, little rescue cat. Sadly no longer with us, we have fond memories of sharing our lives with her. She always seemed to be so grateful for any affection offered, her earlier life had left it's imprints, she used to cower under a chair whenever Gary would pull on his gardening boots, perhaps she had encountered some harsh kicks in a former life... She loved lying in all the sunny spots around the house, her velvet, black coat acting as a heat sump, soaking up any warmth. And she used to like sneaking under the duvet when she thought we weren't looking.

Available in a choice of black or cream mount

Getting inked up

Hanging up to dry - do love old fashioned wooden pegs!

All finished and ready for the wall

'Black Velvet' can be purchased in our online shops.
And don't forget Gary can personalise your print with your own Cat's name, they make a unique gift idea.

Coming soon.. more kennel chums.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sunday sorting photo's...

Busy archiving photo's here in the Studio while Gary is working on two new prints featuring assorted flora, they look very promising.

I always love these early stages in the creative process, Gary never fails to surprise me and how he can take a couple of images from our vast library of archived photo's and compose them into wonderful pieces of art. He's trying to decide which method to use, they are going to be printed in 3 or 4 colours and are very complicated, he's working out whether to cut 4 separate plates or use the reduction method, (a really tricky process of cutting away at the image after each colour is printed so the lino plate gets literally cut away).

One of the images that has inspired his latest work is taken from a photo shot on a visit last summer to Benningborough Hall, which is situated on the outskirts of York. The walled gardens there offer a wealth of material, we are overdue another visit there soon...

Hoping that our borders emulate these one day!

Door leading to gardening paradise...

Amongst the library of photo's I'm presently trawling through I came across this cute photo of our two furry girls when they were tiny kittens, they only just fitted into the wine carrier.
(Note: No kittens were harmed in the taking of this photo)!

We should have named them 'Shiraz' and 'Chardonnay'!
Hope they raise a smile or two.

And can someone tell the rain, enough plants in danger of floating off... only up side is our radishes are being pumped up to golf ball size!

Friday, 23 May 2014

It's Friday so that means only one thing it's time to dim the house lights and introduce...

.. Fabulous Folksy Friday Finds!

This week it's the letter 'B' which has brought forth so many brilliant items to showcase.

Do take time to visit the shops, their shop url's are under their photo's, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise and if you are looking for Father's Day gift ideas there are some great ideas to be found.

 B is for...

Do hope bees have faces like these ones!

These busy bee brooches can be found in Lainey's quirky, fun and most of all original Folksy shop:

A pretty birdbath to brighten any garden corner

These colourful mosaic birdbaths come in a variety of styles and gorgeous colours, find then in Jo Sara's Folksy shop:

Re-cycling magic makes a perfect picnic beer carrier!

This Folksy shop breathes new life into old Malt sacks, the smell in Lorna's workshop must be a heady, scent of malty goodness. They also do a range of unique aprons, well worth a visit:

You can't beat Mother Nature's colour chart

We love this twiggy Bunting handcrafted from Willow reeds, from Wendy's Folksy shop:

We couldn't resist adding one of our 'B's here, our Basset crept in when we weren't looking...

Just one of our Doggie friends...

Find him and all his Kennel chums back in our Folksy shop:

Back here we are spending the weekend in the Studio. Gary is just starting work on a new image, this time flora has proved inspirational, can't wait to see the finished print, he's not too sure whether to work with 3 colour plates or use the reduction method of lino printing. Whichever he chooses I just know it's going to be beautiful! 

The garden is far too wet after yesterday's rain to venture into, the ground is waterlogged at the bottom end and we realise too late that a pond would have been perfect there. We moved a huge shrub from one side of the garden into the new curved flower bed just before the rains came so are hoping that it might thrive with being well watered into it's new home.

At least this Hosta enjoys the rain, shame the slugs do too...

'The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain'
Dolly Parton

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Left over from Christmas

Searching through the kitchen cupboards, (which are just a little too high and thus things at the back get overlooked, or should that be underlooked), unearthed some leftovers from Christmas baking. As nothing gets wasted here a flick through a couple of recipe books gave inspiration to the following recipe which has been named Christmas leftover Muffins!

Promising ingredients for a fruity muffin mix


Makes 12

280g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
85g soft brown sugar
150ml milk
180ml cranberry sauce
couple of drops of vanilla extract
90ml sunflower oil
1 large egg
50g mixed nuts
50g orange peel chopped fine
finely grated rind of one orange
flaked almonds to decorate

Preheat oven to 190 - 200 deg. C
Prepare muffin tins with cases.
In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl beat egg then add oil, milk, cranberry sauce, vanilla extract.
Pour wet mix into dry and stir until just combined, just so that all flour is combined, the less stirs the fluffier and light the muffins.
Decorate the tops with a sprinkle of almonds.
Spoon into the cases and bake for 20 - 25 mins, until the tops are tanned and spring back when gently pressed.

A delicious Christmas memory

Have discovered they work just as well with any leftover mincemeat too.

Caution: do not consume over artwork or computer keyboard, there will be crumbs!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Happy Monday

Sun still shining, aren't we lucky!

Great email message first thing this morning, our Pinterest picks have made it to the Folksy front page! Love it when that happens, you can find it here:

Our Avocet gracing the front page on Folksy

Busy week to come, as ever, the 'to do' list keeps getting things tagged on to the bottom of it, still better to be busy than sitting twiddling thumbs.

Between working in the studio there is bread to make, a compost bin to build from all the old fence panels we have leaning on the log store and a large shrub to be moved from one side of the garden to the other. And must remember to put new frying pan on the shopping list this week, not that we fry a lot but we do use one to make Pakoras and the like. Made garlic sauteed potatoes on Saturday night and ended up fighting them off the bottom of the very old omelette pan that really needs to be retired with a commendation for good service.

Gary finished a lino plate on Saturday afternoon, it's wonderful, another moggie, one of our much loved and lost furry friends. One of the other images of her is proving to be one of our best sellers so it will be interesting to see how this one is received. As soon as we peel it off the press we'll take a photo and let the world have a peek.

Want to be here please!

Off to start this weeks list, would prefer to be dancing on top of a fell instead...

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Sunny Saturday

Such a lovely day, the Skylark in the fields at the bottom of our lane are putting Vaughan Williams composition to shame. The Swifts and Swallows are performing their aerobatics overhead, chattering to one another at every tumble and turn in the bright, blue heavens.
Have been out to tend to all the plants we have hardening off outside the greenhouse before they find their way to their summer homes, all are looking healthy and ready to romp away. Hopefully we will be eating our first courgettes of the season very soon.

It's now a little too hot for any hard labour out there so we are busy in the cool Studio instead. One cat snoozing on our bed and the other balanced on the printing press, one eye on what Gary is working on at his desk, looks like he has feline's on his mind...

The glories of a sunny May day in Yorkshire

A spot of Cat Yoga - better title than bottom washing!

'N'er cast a clout 'til May is out'

(Think we are safe to remove the thermals now).

Friday, 16 May 2014

Light the blue touch paper, get the Trumpeters to purse their lips and get ready for the fanfare as here comes our very first...

.. Fabulous Folksy Friday Finds!

Tra La!

As we are going with an Alphabetical theme it's 'A' to start us off and what a wonderful choice it gave us browsing through Folksy looking for items to fit into the brief, hope you like them and if you do why not take some time out to browse around their shops, all links are provided under the photo's.

A is for...

Divine paperwork Angel's Wings
These fabulous Wings are available from Helen's Folksy shop:

Put on some Jerry Lee Louis and Rock those pots!
This colourful Apron is available from RosieAnn's shop:

We want him to follow us home
This handsome chap is found along with other pooches and pals at:

Simple elegance with bite!
A juicy piece of jewellery available at Angela's Folksy shop:

What an inspiring selection to start us off, already have an eye on what will be
giving the 'B's some bounce next Friday.

And back here in our studio we have another print tile waiting to get inked up for the press. It would really give the game away to show it all here but here's a sneaky peek of what looks like bracken, could it be a woodland scene?

Pencil rubbing to check all the cuts are correct

Looking forward to this sunny weekend, lots to do in the garden, still getting on with the grand plans. We will be heaving stone flags into place around the greenhouse and planting up the next newly built and painted raised bed with courgettes and purple french beans.

A green tapestry of tiny saladings

And for all those gardeners who are passionate about seedlings, sedums and sun kissed tomatoes here's a quote from the great Gertrude Jekyll that sums it up quite neatly...

'The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies'.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Monday, 12 May 2014

So here goes...

So it's only taken 5 months to get around to starting a blog, as usual there is too little time to squeeze everything on the 'to do' list into our busy life, but here goes...

What to share with anyone out there wishing to read on... well our little art studio always has interesting projects on the go, new prints being cut and printed, animals being added to the menagerie of artworks, inspiration for new images coming from anywhere and everywhere. And not enough hours in the day to get them all down in ink... but we enjoy striving to capture more of what makes us happy.

Next dog print ready for the press, can you guess the breed?

Honesty offering inspiration for a linocut

When the lure to get outdoors gets too much our recently acquired garden is a green and pleasant space to while away some - productive - time, planting seeds in the greenhouse, adding to the raised beds in the veggie garden, heaving paving slabs into place, building seating areas where we can take time out to admire our horticultural toils.

Waiting to be planted out - purple beans, courgettes, butternut squash and Cosmos.

And what to do with all that wonderful home grown produce? Straight into the kitchen and into salads, or the good old slow cooker, maybe the slightly dented preserve pan, then into any old jam jars we can lay our hands on to be stored in the pantry to be brought out and enjoyed once their contents have matured into some epicurean delight, perhaps slathered onto some homemade sourdough bread?

From this...
..Sourdough starter or 'Chef'.. this... Freshly baked Sourdough bread

So that's the arty stuff, gardening and the kitchen covered, what else sparks our interest and gets us away from all this homespun activity, well beautiful York is down the road and the peace of the Yorkshire Wolds is in the other direction, the best of both worlds depending on the mood.

In future posts we want to share our art, gardening pursuits and tips, recipes to inspire, days out exploring and also the work of other industrious artisans and the wonders they produce.

Every Friday we will be showing some of the fabulous, hand crafted items available on Folksy.
Items will be chosen using the alphabet to assist the hunt for goodies, so this Friday being the first of many Folksy forays it will be 'A' that kicks us off.