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!

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


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


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?

A Forest of Fungi

fungi in leaves

Random post alert! I certainly wasn’t intending to write a post about mushrooms this week… but when we were out walking at the weekend, to our amazement, we continued to find little clumps of fungi everywhere.

I loved the way that they photographed against their grassy or leafy background. Some more symmetrical than others, but each one an individual.

three mushrooms

The ones in little clusters looked like miniature woodlands in amongst the blades of grass.

round mushroom

So, I’m sorry for the abundance of mushrooms, but I knew you’d love the pictures! Have a great day!


Make Your Own Pompom Garland

pompom garlands

Welcome to my newest craze! These gorgeous bundles of woolly joy are sure to cheer up even the darkest of wintry days… and I currently have them almost everywhere! My newest obsession began as I wanted to have a colourful pompom garland strung up in our window, where our alternative Christmas tree is planned to go (more on that next week, I promise). I loved the idea of bright pops of colour contrasted against the painted white of the window frames.

pompom makers


I toyed with the idea of cutting out two cardboard doughnuts for my pompoms and making them as I did when I was at school, but after spending half an hour wading through the recycling box trying to find just the right thickness of card, I was suddenly, enormously sold on the idea of PomPom Makers.

Using these, I can make uniform, secure pompoms in minutes… which is perfect if you have a long garland of twenty or thirty pompoms to finish! I found that by wrapping the yarn tightly and winding until there was no more space gave the best results.

Using white yarn and a wool needle, I threaded each pompom so that they were evenly spaced. At each end, I made a loop so that the garland could be easily attached.

Every time I look up and see the colour in the window, it makes me smile.  I’ve also heaped white pompoms of two different sizes into a bowl, to look like snowballs… and I’m debating whether to fill a mason jar with pink and white pompoms to resemble marshmallows.  However, I think I might just buy marshmallows – they’re better in hot chocolate!

places for pompoms

Have you joined in with any pre-Christmas crazes?


Dorset’s Delicious Bits | A Wintery Scene


frosted apples

This week, we had one of the first proper frosts of the season. We woke up to a covering of white crispiness, making the coming of Christmas and the winter months seem even closer.  That morning, all of my Twitter buddies were posting their own frosty views, with comments such as ‘breathtaking’ and ‘aren’t we lucky to live here’.

The U.K. is full of stunning views and incredible countryside, but it was so warming to read the thoughts of local Dorset dwellers and be humbled by their gratitude and wonder for the sights that we wake up to every morning.


frosty box

For today’s post, I thought that I would offer up my own appreciation for the little gorgeous details of my rural patch of this county.  After stealing downstairs at the first sign of proper sunshine and dressing in as much woollen attire as I could find, I crunched my way through the grass to find these little gems to share with you. Although my fingers were about to drop off from the cold (I can’t handle my camera with gloves), I was not short of fantastic sights to snap away at.

thistle snowflake

I even found thistles resembling snowflakes! Have a wonderful Sunday!



crochet ripple blanket

I managed to find a few moments, in the evenings of this hectic week, to make a start on my new ripple blanket. I am already completely in love with the soft waves of this pattern and the way that the colours merge together. This pattern is Lucy’s Cottage Blanket from Attic24 – you can check out her gorgeous blog here.

I can’t decide where this ripply goodness will live when it is finished, but it will certainly need to be somewhere where it can be picked up regularly and used for wrapping up cold feet and hands in the late afternoon.

GBHD Feast

Last weekend, we took a trip to the Great Big Huge Dorset Feast, hosted by Olives Et Al.  There was an enormous tent, packed full of local food and drink producers offering tastes and sips of everything they had on offer. Everyone was happy and cheerful and we met lots of people who were passionate about their products. We tasted beer from the Piddle Brewery,  incredible cheeses from James’ Cheese, beautiful teas from TeaTonics and so much more. Mr D-F carried around our cardboard shopping basket and once we’d filled it to the top, we joined the throngs waiting to pay.

Although I decreed that we should keep our box of goodies until nearer Christmas, I have already noticed bits and pieces disappearing… hmmm…

garden log book

I’m also starting to think about which seeds will need to be planted over the winter months. After digging out my garden journal, I recapped the jobs that I was doing at the start of this year. Hopefully, having this log to refer back to, will help me keep motivated and organised when the weather is cold and wet.  I hate getting to April only to realise I should have planted seeds way back in early February!

I hope you have had a brilliant week so far!

Cosy Afternoons | Stamping Christmas Cards

Christmas cards that christmas feeling

Some years, I hanker after the glossy, luxury Christmas cards on offer in the shops.  However, every other year or so, I want nothing more than to sit cosily by the fire in the late afternoons and make cards that are much more personal.  Obviously this notion appeals hugely to my craft-loving, stationary-obsessed self!

Usually, my self-made cards involve some sort of stamping.  I love the way that an image can be repeated using different colours to build up a big picture. I also love script and typography, so any stamps that have interesting lettering are first on my list.

inks and acrylic

This was my first attempt at using clear stamps on an acrylic block and I must say, this method had me hooked! Not only could I vary the position of the icons on the block, I could clearly see where I was stamping, so my final results were much more accurate than when I have used wood block stamps in the past.

Although I went a bit crazy when ordering my ink pads, I generally used the blues, reds, greens and purples the most. I also used my Ali Edwards word stamps to print words on the inside of my cards… such as MAGIC, BEST and SUPER.  I plan to add handwritten messages to incorporate the words… like ‘we hope your Christmas is PERFECT!’

Christmas cards tis the season

When it comes to Christmas cards, do you have particular favourites that you buy each year?  Or do you have a special recipe for handmade cards?