Friday, 21 November 2014

Seagulls and packing tape...

.. It's been another busy week here with lots of packing, quite a few trips to the Post Office plus a day off of sorts to Hull. More of that later but first as it's Friday it just has to be ..

 .. Fabulous Folksy Friday Finds!

As the Festive season fast approaches we thought we'd take the opportunity to showcase gift ideas found on Folksy and so this week the theme is gifts for the men in your life. Do try and find time to delve deeper into these gorgeous shops, their shop url's can be found under their photos.

  Gifts for men

Twit Twoo
Beautiful Barn Owl, made with such attention to detail, it would look wonderful perched high on an old beam. Lee specializes in capturing wild birds in her magical carvings, her shop is a 'twitchers' paradise:

Brew time
This stylish looking travel mug comes with a handy lid and is just the ticket for holding a hot brew. It is constructed of black Walnut and Maple and has a real Retro feel to it: Ben also makes these handsome mugs in Cherry wood for an equally stylish finish:

Pin striped 'Pinny'
An Apron with a hint of the city gent about it. Crisp pinstripes give this artisan apron a masculine edge for all those aspiring 'head chefs'. Lisa's Folksy Shop has aprons for both big and little boys:

Shampoo in a bar
Scented with Citrus and Clary Sage this solid Shampoo bar is suitable for both men and women, so you might as well order two to go! Melanie's home must smell fabulous with all her traditionally made lotions and potions containing such heady scents as Jasmine, Cedarwood and Bay Rum:

We found ourselves in Kingston upon Hull on Wednesday. The real reason was to have our car serviced but it did give us an excuse to explore the city and perhaps get some reference shots for future artworks. We found ourselves in the old part of the city which surprisingly still contains Tudor buildings that managed to survive the heavy bombing the city withstood during the second world war. 

Tudor bricks on the old Grammer School
As the weather was behaving we made our way to the banks of the estuary, which even though is only a couple of minutes walk from the heart of the bustling city is a place of peace and quiet, we could stand on the foreshore and listen to the lap of the tide.

Gary took lots of bird reference shots and while on one of the jetties spied a solitary red shank feeding on the estuary mud flats. Such a delicate bird with a busy habit, it's foot prints left in the mud looked like a complicated dance move!

Can't go to the sea without spotting a seagull

Red Shank looking for lunch.

Another Shoreline bird feeding...

There will be more on Hull in a future blog, but until then, enjoy your weekend.

'Travel and change of place import new vigor to the mind'.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Nearly 'that' time of year ...

.. The supermarkets are starting to fill their shelves with Christmas items and the TV festive ad campaigns are well underway so it must be getting to the time of year when decorations get sorted, lists get made and cakes get baked in preparation for the holidays. We took delivery this week of packing materials and picture mounts so we are primed for the festive flurry. But before we get 'snowed under' we better get on with the very last Alphabet themed Friday picks, it's time for ..

 .. Fabulous Folksy Friday Finds!

 'Z' was as difficult as we knew it would be, but we did manage to find a handful of items, all we can say is thank goodness for zombies and zebras!. If you would like to see more from these talented crafters, their shop url's are under their photo's.

  'Z' is for...

Hand carved heart
Z is for - Zebra wood. This pretty pendant is hand carved from Zebra wood. Mark's Folksy shop is filled with 'beach' inspired items including surfboard clocks!

Stripy buttony fun
Z is for - Zebra buttons. Lorraine's Folksy shop is an online haberdashery store, just the place if you are on the look out for buttons and bows!

Z is for - Zombies! Laura is the designer and maker behind this zombie squirrel head trophy. Her quirky, fun soft sculptures range from festive mince pies to human hearts, so if you are looking for something unusual then drop by her Folksy shop:

Here in the Studio we have been stock checking, re-printing and making space for packing up prints. We have a World map on the studio wall and place stars onto all the places where our prints find new homes, it's great fun seeing stars glittering from around the globe. New stars this week have been added including twinkles on New Zealand and California, just wish we could deliver them by hand!

'Charlie' - off to a new home in New Zealand

We also had friends around for supper midweek, they are jetting off soon to their winter home in sunnier climes so it was our chance to say bon voyage to them. They supply us with wood for our log stove, fruits from their garden and plants too. The latest plant gifts included some soft leaved lamb's ears, these plants have always found their way into our garden designs and I have been known to use them as cat substitutes, imagining their soft leaves as cat's ears on the rare occasions we have had no feline friends to share our home with. 

pink flowered lamb's ears

The evening went well and the pudding especially was a great success. I decided to attempt chocolate fondants, even though all the talk surrounding them makes them seem an impossible culinary feat. Happy to report they were simple to make, turned out as they should with a silky soft, gooey chocolate centre and we even have two spares sitting in the fridge for a treat over the weekend! Just wish I had thought to take a photo before eating them...

Enjoy your weekend.

'Those who do not think outside the box are easily contained'.

Friday, 7 November 2014

First Frosts ...

.. Within a matter of days we have gone from warm sunny days to our first frost of the Autumn and what a shock it was. The garden is looking very autumnal apart from some brave Cosmos that just keeps on flowering. This weather does act as a reminder that Christmas is just around the corner and this week's finds would all make great gifts for someone special. So here we go with..

 .. Fabulous Folksy Friday Finds!

 'Y' is the letter of the week and has offered up some lovely, Autumn themed items. Do pop by the shops, their url's are under their photo's.

  'Y' is for...

For your log cabin in the woods

Y is for Yew Clock - This slice of locally sourced Yew tree makes a very handsome clock face. Paul searches local timber yards for wood with interesting forms to turn into his unusual clocks, lots more back in his Folksy shop:

Woolly brooch for knitting fans

Y is for Yarn - In the form of a tiny pair of knitting needles with a ball of yarn which is actually a cute brooch. Such a fun gift idea for any knitting mad friends. Max's Folksy shop is filled with lots of craft themed jewellery:

A home for your yarn

Y is for Yarn Bowl - Think these are such a great idea. Instead of chasing your yarn around or even having to wrestle it off the cat it will sit securely in this purpose made bowl. Especially like the glaze used here, it reminds me of roast chestnuts. Gary's Folksy shop has pots for all sorts of occasions:

Autumn leaves are falling

Y is for Yellow leaf - This delicate leaf is crocheted by Kasia and can be used as a table doily, perfect for this time of year. The fine detailed work that goes into the crafted pieces is wonderful, lots of time and patience has gone into every one. Find more of Kaisa's handy work back in her Folksy shop:

As this week has used Y for inspiration we couldn't miss the opportunity to feature one of our 'Y' for York prints.This is one of Gary's linocuts featuring York Minster, the tracery of the heart shaped window casement to the bottom right of the print is known as the 'Eye of York' as it looks down onto the great city.

The Medieval Cathedral of the city of York

When we first moved to York I decided to train to be a tour guide for the city. This entailed attending night school classes, lots of training and sitting exams. But I loved it all and really enjoyed the job itself, although after talking non-stop for 5 hours left me feeling more than a little hoarse!

York was home to Guy Fawkes, who found infamy by being part of the great gunpowder plot. The city goes to great lengths to celebrate the anniversary of the failed plot and the 5th November sees great firework displays taking place. Although we didn't get to see any fireworks this year the date did conjure up memories of 'bonfire nights' attended as a child and how my Nanna would always bake homemade Parkin for the night. We both love Parkin so I dug out a recipe and made a great slab of the gloriously sticky cake. Think I might have been a little light of hand with the black treacle as it isn't as dark as I remember but it still smells delicious and it contains lots of ginger and oatmeal. We are being very patient and leaving it for a couple of days in a tin to get even stickier before we take our first bite, can't wait!

Sticky, oaty treat

The 'tease' last week showing just a corner of Gary's latest print can now be revealed. Here it is, titled 'In the old Elm tree' it is an image of two magpies perched high in the branches of an old Elm tree, both on look out duties. It is getting lots of favourable comments since we listed in our online shops.

Two for Joy!

Enjoy your weekend.

'Autumn carries more gold in it's pocket than all the other seasons.'
Jim Bishop