Dorset’s Delicious Bits | OKEFORD HILL

 

Okeford Hill

… The view from the top of Okeford Hill …

This photo opportunity happened completely by accident. It was the dreariest of days and the clouds hung thickly, looking as if they weren’t going to shift even a tiny bit. I was on my way to run errands (I love that phrase… it contains so much self importance) anyway, me and my errands, were going in the direction of Okeford Hill.  The foggy mistiness was getting pretty dense by the time I was up at the top and I was sad that I wouldn’t see much of a view – which is a stunner by the way.

However, when I was actually coming down the other side, I was amazed at the mixed bag of weather I could see from my elevated position.  I naturally whipped out the camera and had to take some pictures to show you…

To the right of me (picture above), the sun was breaking through and giving everything a warm glow. The cows were grazing happily despite the wind which had, by this time, almost given my fingers frostbite.

Okeford Hill 3

Whereas to the left, the weather was all dark and sultry, looking as if it might rain any minute.  It really was a view of two halves!

On a clear, bright day, the view is pretty staggering. There are often people parachuting off the top and you can sit and watch their brightly-coloured canopies whirling above you. The villages all nestle in their own little creeks, with the tops of the churches just visible.

If you are there early enough, you can watch the racehorses thunder down the gallops. I’m always worried that by rocketing down a steep slope at such speeds, they will fall over onto their noses… but I don’t think they do!

the gallops on Okeford Hill

… looking towards the gallops …

It’s so worth a visit and there are brilliant walks that zigzag all over – perfect for dogs, clearing away cobwebs or letting over-excitable children deplete their energy reserves!!

Have a great Sunday everyone!

A tiny note – just to say, of course I don’t get any money for blogging about the gorgeous gems of Dorset – I do it for the love! 

 

 

CROCHET CHUNKY MAN SCARF

crochet chunky man scarf

I was terribly excited about this latest crochet adventure… working with beautifully soft, chunky wool to create something that Mr D-F really wanted for his birthday.  Over the past few months, I would flick through one of my crochet books, to find a helpful page and he would always remark ‘I really love the look of that scarf’ or sometimes ‘I bet that scarf would be warm’.  Needless to say, I quickly got the hint.

The other thing about this dreamy man-scarf is how long it took from start to finish. It only took me a couple of evenings by the fire and I was definitely not hooking at full speed.  The chunky wool was lovely to work with but it took a bit of effort as the scarf grew in size.

I was a bit disappointed that it was all over so quickly!

crochet man scarf2

If you are interested in some of the facts:

I used Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky in four colours (2 x 50g balls of each colour), with a 6.5mm hook.

The pattern was from one of my favourite books of all: Crochet – The complete step-by-step guide, by DK.

crochet man scarf3

I really hope that after all of his hinting, Mr D-F really loves it.

Have a great day!

WELCOMING THE NEW YEAR

early primrose

So before anything else, a big Happy New Year to you! I hope you managed to have a rest in between seeing family, wrapping presents, watching favourite films and drinking hot chocolate with little marshmallows floating on the top.

January seems to inspire the inner-planner in people (and especially me, who is prone to every creative fad and whim going).  I am currently getting excited over new planting plans for the garden, looking at new paint colours for the cottage and DIY projects that will enhance my life (according to Pinterest)…

… and yesterday I got a little joyously overwhelmed while sorting out my herb and spice cupboard. I know, I sure know how to party!

In order to get a little perspective and ground myself before starting too many new things at once, I took a little trip around the garden, just to see what was happening while the weather was cold and frosty.

moss on sleeper

bird bath in winter

I felt instantly calmed… and ready to make a list of all of these crazy ideas flying round my head. I can now tackle them one-by-one, before telling you all about them throughout the year!

Have a great day!

 

A Look Back | 2014 Favourites

2014 favourites

This has been a truly great year and I can’t believe we’re on the cusp of a new one. Don’t get me wrong, the last twelve months have had their fair share of ups, downs and mega downs, but looking back has allowed me to re-live the enormous number of brilliant bits, especially when it comes to the blog.

I’ve made so many new friends, have tried lots of different new experiences and have attempted to push myself to go that little bit further when all I fancy is a cuddle with the cat (fat chance – far too grumpy). So I thought I would show you, just a few of my posts, that hold some sort of big significance in 2014 at The Dorset Finca.  I hope you enjoy…

propagating-jade-plants2

This post was a real gardening turning point for me.

I was given a book on plant propagation last Christmas and was mesmerised at how easily plants could be persuaded to make more of themselves. I obviously then went a little bit crazy and had pots on every windowsill of the house as I tried propagating everything possible! Although my windowsills are now more or less back to normal, it was incredible to watch cuttings and leaves take root, all by themselves.

crochet-granny-flower2

Another major craze of my year was featured in this post. A craze which I feel will never end as I completely and utterly LOVE crochet. I love it.

For eight blissful weeks, I attended a crochet course on Tuesdays. My incredible teacher Ali (her website is here if you’re interested) filled us with enthusiasm and encouragement. The above picture was the first time that I attempted a compilation of my own (although I used Lucy’s pattern at Attic24 for the flower squares) and was thrilled with the results.

be-brutal2

The posts about the goings on in The Dorset Finca garden always seem to encourage people to comment and have a chat about their own experiences – which makes me so happy. The best bit about blogging for me is the community… the way you can make new friends from anywhere on the planet and compare notes.

This post about being brave in the face of pruning, in particular, seemed to strike a chord and I received lots of lovely emails and comments.

Emsie Sharp bauble making

…and finally, this post (featuring glass blower Emsie Sharp), which reminds me of all the wonderful experiences that I have had over the last twelve months.  When I started my Dorset’s Delicious Bits series, the aim was to showcase the county how I see it; full of beautiful scenery, places to visit and most importantly, incredibly friendly and talented people.  I hope to be able to continue this series into 2015 and uncover lots more Dorset loveliness.

Have a great last day of 2014, see you next year! x

Wishing You A Very Happy Christmas

IMG_0995

A big, massive, enormous Happy Christmas to you! I hope it is filled with lots of laughter, tummies filled to the brim and lots of silly paper hats! (Everyone looks suave in a paper hat)!

Thank you for all of the support over the year, it has meant so much to me. I’ve made lots of new friends and had a blast – this year has been my absolute favourite on the blog so far.

A last big thank you and ‘ho ho ho’ to all the lovely people who have let me in to their shops, galleries, cafes and farms for my Dorset’s Delicious Bits series.. which will continue first thing in the New Year. Eeek, I can hardly wait!

Dorset’s Delicious Bits | Blowing Baubles

Handmade Bauble

… my glass bauble, blown with the help of Emsie Sharp …

Last weekend, Emsie Sharp opened the doors of her studio to give people the opportunity to blow their own glass Christmas bauble.

I was unbelievably excited.  However, when I arrived, I got a slight attack of the nerves! I mean, there are furnaces… and metal poles …and molten glass!! As a million painful accidents raced through my mind, I looked at the neat little rows of beautiful glittery baubles that had been blown previously. I watched as Emsie carefully led people through the blowing process, watching all the time to ensure they achieved the best results.

Suddenly, my irrational fears disappeared and the eagerness to take part in this incredible art form took over… and I stepped over the safety bunting.

Bauble Colours

I was amazed to see the liquid glass scooped up like globs of honey onto the end of the pole, before being rolled in colour and foil. I was asked if I would like my bauble to go into the mould to make rivets in the surface …yes please. Would I like colours… yes please and would I like some foil to create a silvery effect… ooh yes please! I wanted the works. If I had anything to do with it, this bauble was going to be the most extravagant ever made.

Emsie Sharp bauble making

My newly tricked-out glass blob then went into this little furnace to get warmed up and a bit more gloopy, ready for some blowing.

Bauble making first step

heating up the bauble

Quite a lot of puff was needed at the start to get the glass to inflate and I had to remember to turn the pole as I blew, to get an even rounded shape.  My glob was starting to look quite bauble-like at this point, but it needed another quick heat up before the final bit of blowing to create the size I needed.

Then Emsie took over the reins and cut the bauble off before artistically making the stringing loop with another little globule of glass.

Once it was finished, my magnificent bauble went into the oven to harden.

glass blowing tools

I am soooo pleased that I went and had a go. My bauble is gorgeous and has taken pride of place in amongst our decorations. I have so much respect for Emsie and how she can manipulate glass to create such incredible objects.  She runs courses from her studio and I’m very tempted!

What a cool job! Have a great Sunday everyone!

 

A tiny note – just to say, of course I don’t get any money for blogging about the gorgeous gems of Dorset – I do it for the love! 

Dorset’s Delicious Bits | Art On Our Doorstep

hanging bird

… The Old Farmhouse Studio, Gussage Saint Michael …

I was lucky enough, last weekend, to be invited to the Christmas Shop at The Old Farmhouse Studio. Artist Jeannie Brunskill and her family have opened the doors of this amazing working studio, for a few days only, to allow people to browse and buy some of the incredibly beautiful works of art on offer.

Can I just say right now, that I could have happily spent the whole day here…

black bird on canvas

The studio is well-lit, stunningly styled and I wandered around in a state of calm relaxation looking at the nature-inspired cards, prints, canvases and printed cushions. Tea and biscuits were offered to everyone, which contributed to the laid-back, friendly atmosphere.

I could visualise so much of the artwork on the walls back at the Finca. I adored the canvases depicting flocks of black birds, I desperately wanted the pug print for a special wall above the bedroom fireplace and I have totally fallen in love with a particular pair of pictures. (Of course, I’m not going to tell you which… but I bet when you see them you will guess straight away)! 

art collageMy main concern was that the studio is only going to be open for a few select days before Christmas… not nearly enough time for everyone to get there and experience this loveliness for themselves.  Luckily, Charley (Jeannie’s daughter) has assured me that anyone wishing to pop in and visit, can do so anytime. Just drop an email into the studio, so that the kettle can be on in time! artistnotincluded@gmail.com

Charley also showcases some of her own stunning illustrations on her blog Artist Not Included.

bunting

Have a great Sunday everyone!

A tiny note – just to say, of course I don’t get any money for blogging about the gorgeous gems of Dorset – I do it for the love! 

 

 

The Highlights

snake

It was a lucky thing that I had my camera with me all of the time this week, as there were so many interesting moments to capture. This little fellow (above) was hanging around in possibly the most gorgeous and relaxing place IN THE WORLD!

…sorry for being a tiny bit elusive but never fear… I will share all about this hidden gem on Sunday in my Dorset’s Delicious Bits post.

catkins log pile

It has been pretty chilly this week and the woodburner has had its work cut out. While out stacking logs to replenish our dwindling stores, I noticed that the hazel already had its catkins out on display. They looked almost golden in the December sunshine.

Ollie-destructo-cat was less than helpful while I was trying to arrange the Christmas decorations. Unfortunately, he has a penchant for glittery twigs … and fairy lights … and tea light holders … you get the picture!

This photograph was taken in the one moment that he stopped gnashing his teeth at the tinsel and looked rather angelic. Gotta love my kitty!

wide eyed kittyHappy Friday!

 

An Alternative Christmas Tree

glittered twigs

I felt like something a little simpler this Christmas. Our sitting room isn’t really arranged in a way that lends itself to a traditional Christmas set-up, with the tree in a focal position and space around it for decorating and placing presents at its foot.  The whole tree debacle stresses me out almost every year… I persevere, only to spend the majority of the holidays convincing the cat that swinging on the branches and chewing the fairy lights, isn’t the best idea. Hardly relaxing!

So this year, it was time for a change. I wanted to go minimal, natural, pretty and hassle-free! The table by the window, seemed like a good place for my alternative festive arrangement, as I had already strung up the pompom garland (from this post) in the window.  I created a focal point with some glittered twigs, which catch the light from the tea lights placed around it.  In order to keep the relaxed feel, I used a mixture of ceramic, mercuried glass and home-made tea light holders (if you would like to make your own painted tea light holder, as seen towards the back of the picture, see this post).

tea light collection ceramic tea light

Mr D-F declared that this paired-down Christmas was all very well and good, but I wasn’t going to get away with not including fairy lights somewhere in the mix.  It took me a while to think about the best place for them…

The twigs were too spindly to hold them, they would look messy just draped on the table and I didn’t want to string them in the window because they wouldn’t be seen once the blinds were closed in the evening.

Just as a test, I put the lights in a black and gold bowl… and I couldn’t have been happier with the results! All sparkly, pretty and warm – perfect!

fairy lights in bowl

Are you deciding to do Christmas differently this year or are you all about tradition?