Monday, 30 December 2013

What happened?

Oh dear, I seem to have gone a little AWOL again haven’t I? It’s not for lack of willing I just haven’t done much worth writing about.

I blame winter – when it’s grey I don’t want to do much. Oh and Bioshock Infinite, I definitely blame Bioshock Infinite!

For Christmas I only managed to make one little hat (it’s become a tradition that I always make Tracey a hat for Christmas!)

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It is Meret by Wooly Wormhead and you can get the pattern free from here. In fact, if you like knitting hats this is the place to look – there are lots of lovely designs for all difficulty levels, something for everyone!

Did you guys get lots of gifts made? Is it just me? I’m not really feeling it lately. I want to make knitty/sewey things but I’m having trouble not only finding the time but also getting going. I can spend my few free hours looking through patterns but never really making any decisions. Its a bit frustrating.

In other news I have opened a little shop on Folksy and in it I’m selling these little brooches:

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I’ll be adding some other things shortly but for now I’m a bit brooch mad. They are porcelain and feature my (by now) trademark vintage patterns.

Only £10, get ‘em while they’re hot!

Right! I’m only going to play an hour of Bioshock, then I might get out ‘A Stitch in Time’ for a bit of a pattern browse. I’m due volume one in the post any day now – I can’t wait!


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Santa special…

Not feeling Christmassy enough, on Saturday we went to Bolton Abbey steam railway for a special trip on a 50’s steam train with Santa.


They decorated the little Victorian one-platform station and lit all the fires.


Even the toilets!


The carriages were quite plush in the 50’s! We got on quite early so mum could take photo’s but within fifteen minutes the train was full of people. You would expect there to be a lot of kids but there were many more adults than children. I’m pretty sure most of the adults were using their kids as an excuse!

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We had a wonderful nostalgic afternoon – the station is entirely staffed by volunteers and fully deserves its reputation as the friendliest steam railway.


Hee, mum met Santa!


Monday, 25 November 2013

Some new work and a craft fair review…

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Lately I’ve been making jugs…

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…lots and lots of jugs!

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I’ve also gone a bit brooch mad. You see, I’ve got a couple of sales this month and I really needed lots and lots of work in case people wanted to buy things!

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The first sale was last Saturday and was for Rural Arts at the courthouse in Thirsk and I’ve been so busy getting ready for it I haven’t had time to post about it on here!

Sadly the sale was a bit of a washout with no-one really making many sales so it was a complete waste of my time. It seems that the organisers didn’t do much marketing for the event – there were only posters outside the venue for instance but none in the surrounding area to point people in our direction.

Needless to say I won’t be doing a sale at that venue again!

Anyway, I’m doing another one this Saturday but this is a much better venue – The National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, Lincolnshire! You can visit their website here or their Facebook page here. There will be food and live music at this one as well as the lovely handmade goodies, so lots to see and do!

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If you happen to be nearby pop in and say hello – go on, step out of internetland and join me for a mulled wine!


Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Just a few photos today of the wonderful local organised display for Guy Fawkes night. It was loosely based on Doctor Who's 50th anniversary (always good!) but my favourite bits were when it was almost like an explosion in a firework factory (bang b b b bang bang boom!)
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I don’t know about Doctor Who but was pretty spacey!


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Pumpkin judging…

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We were wandering around Ripon on Saturday and found that there was a pumpkin carving contest in the market place. There were some amazing pumpkins, obviously carved by very talented people.

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I thought it was a bit sad though that those ones would get all the votes and the ones done by the kids wouldn’t get as many.

I voted for this one!

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Isn’t it great! Excellent use of mixed-media elements.

Happy Halloween!


Sunday, 13 October 2013


They started quite discreet…

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But then they grew…

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And grew…..

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And grew…!

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I thought that fly agarics were rare, or only grew in foreign lands. A quick google tells me they are rife and everywhere. Still, I’ve never seen one except in a picture book so I was pretty disappointed there weren’t more gnomes. Or any gnomes.

Luckily the hens didn’t seem interested in eating them, but something was definitely having a nibble – I think our resident slugs are having a whale of a time at the bottom of the garden! Either that or they’ve all poisoned themselves.

Either way, I’m not particularly interested in eating them. I just think they’re pretty. A friend issued a warning when I put these pics on Facebook – you’d better pick them before they spore or your garden will look like Super Mario Land!

That sounds awesome!

Beccy Ridsdel

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Festival of Thrift

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Last weekend we visited the Festival of Thrift, a brand new festival for this year, which celebrates all things thrifty, handmade, recycled and repurposed. It was free entry and luckily for us was held here in the North an hour away in Darlington at Lingfield Point, an old industrial site which itself has been repurposed into beautiful offices and studios. In fact part of it used to be Patons the yarn people.

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The map has exactly the feel of the whole festival, a sort of 50’s/60’s kitschy pastel vintage vibe.

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I don’t know why but it looks much smaller and less sunny than it actually was! This is the alternative village fete, which had hula hooping, a vintage hairdresser in a caravan, Oxfam vintage, a swop shop and loads of stalls selling handmade stuff and supplies.

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There was also a DJ playing vinyl (you could choose from a selection of vintage greats!) and a dancefloor where they had hula-hoop dancing in the afternoon. There was also the Podium of Non-Judgementalism if you fancied a solo dance!

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There were street performers roaming around – that chap at the top is wearing a suit made from growing cress and has persuaded that lady to wear a breakfast hat with real boiled egg, juice and soldier glasses. The blokes on the contraption above just travelled around squeakily. They were only wearing pants for most of the day but in the afternoon it got a bit chilly so they chose to accessorise with clear bin bags.

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There were loads of food and drink stalls, this one had lots of yummy cordials.

Around the festival there were loads of jumble sale type stalls (fill a bag for a fiver!), vintage stalls, free crafts tables, cooking demos, even building with pallets! The whole feeling wasn’t preachy (recycle! If you don’t you’re killing the planet!!!) it was fun and relaxed – like a large group of people sharing ideas really.

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Mum trying on a hat at the Oxfam vintage stall. She said, “if it was the 60’s, I would actually be wearing one of these!” I think she should anyway.

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Sixty-three tickle me!

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The huge posters and paintings on the walls are permanently at Lingfield Point where the festival was held.

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As is the ‘Home’ house. I have no idea why it is the way it is but isn’t it great?

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And finally not the best photo, but you can see the giant picture on the wall. It is a lamb being bottle fed in an office, and why not? I think I’d like to work at Lingfield Point, they have a sense of humour!

It was a great day out and we will definitely go next year. We maybe didn’t come back with as many thrifty ideas as we had hoped (although I saw some beehives, I want bees!) but to spend a relaxed day surrounded by like-minded people was wonderful.


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Mellow fruitfulness…

The summer seems to have produced exactly the right conditions for brambles, they’re everywhere and they are laden heavy with fruit.

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And what’s the thing to do with masses of free soft fruit? Make jam! Lots and lots of jam!

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Isn’t that an amazing colour? The recipe is really easy – 900g of blackberries and 900g of sugar boiled rapidly with 1 1/2tbs lemon juice until the jam thermometer reads 105degreesC. It’s really flexible too and can be adapted to other fruit. Recipe here on the BBC!

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Yum jam! I’ve got half a freezer full of fruit just waiting to be made into jammy gifts!


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Away days…

Whenever we can we like to get to the coast or the hills – we don’t really mind which but living in a valley makes you long for both! Sometimes we have a destination but mostly we just drive and see where we end up, safe in the knowledge that Lady Satnav will bring us home again.


We always get a little thrill when we pass the sign announcing our arrival in the Howardian Hills, and are greeted by true green rolling hills and lushness. At least it always seems like that.


This is Yorkshire Lavender near Castle Howard. It’s a wonderful garden laid mostly to lavender but with other perennials too. They have a tea room too, and a little garden centre where you can buy lots and lots of different types of lavender. It’s lovely, and free to get in, but at this time of year boy is it full of bees!


I love stopping at the top of the hills to marvel at the flatness of the Vale of York. Since it’s a glaciated valley (thank you Mr Hooton for my GCSE in geography) it’s very flat and very wide, so wide you can’t see the other side except on a very clear day.


I love finding the unexpected. This is the (allegedly) ancient City of Troy maze near Dalby. You could almost miss it since it is the smallest example in Europe.


I think this is the most unexpected thing I’ve every found and since I've been made aware of phone-box libraries I’ve seen quite a few of them in rural villages. These are places that usually don’t have a shop or a pub they are so small. I love this example in Foston especially though because somebody has taken the time to mosaic the floor.

So here’s to a few more away days before work starts in earnest when the students come back next week!