Visit to Scotney Castle in Kent

Scotney-CastleScotney Castle is a National Trust property in Kent, which I recently went to visit with my husband. As we became members of the National Trust last year we’ve been trying to visit places whenever we can and this one was a little gem. Scotney Castle is made up of a country house, moated castle and wooded gardens.

First we took a tour around the house. This was carved over the main entrance.door-sign

One of the decorative ceilings.

I loved the colours of these bottles.

We then wandered down to the old castle, which is now half in ruin although you can still walk inside part of the building.




The old castle was built in 1387 by Roger D. Ashburnham and was lived in for the next 450 years by three different families. In 1836 the new house was built by the Hussey family and the old castle was deliberately ruined to create a picturesque folly in the grounds.

The grounds and gardens were lovely, and so peaceful (if a little on the chilly side)…



…with an old boat house in the moat…

…a beautiful pheasant, that ran off as soon as I took the photo (camera shy)…

…and a brilliant cat and fish feature in the fountain by the house.


Lino printing

lino-cutting1Over the past couple of weeks I have been experimenting with lino printing. I dabbled with this at college on my art foundation course (which feels like a lifetime ago) and remember it being quite fun to do.

I’m always taking photos of flowers and plants, so this seemed like a natural place to start. These are a few photos I took during the summer:berries





I wanted to keep the design simple but interesting. I really like 50’s textile designs and the outline style of the images in ‘The Secret Garden’ book by Johanna Basford.


I started by doodling some simple flowers in my sketchbook before drawing up a design approx 10cm square.flower-doodles

I drew the final design onto tracing paper, then traced this onto the piece of lino (remembering that the finished design would be in reverse). I bought a selection of lino cutters and set to work cutting around the design. Its very easy to slip and cut through a bit of lino that you wanted to keep but thankfully this didn’t happen too often. I also made myself a small wooden cutting frame that mean’t I was guaranteed to keep my hand BEHIND the lino cutter!



Using a black, water-based, block printing ink and rubber rollers this is one of my first prints…


…which I then added a few hand-painted colours to…


As I remembered, this was a lot of fun to do 🙂

Writing bureau restoration


I was given this writing bureau to restore, as it had a few scratches and was looking a bit sorry for itself. At first I simply cleaned and polished it to remove the scratches and lined the drawers. It was a perfect addition to the lounge, giving me a writing desk and storage for my wool.

So, having lived with it for a while now I wondered what it would look like painted. I had been reading an Annie Sloane book on painting furniture and also reading about decoupage on furniture, and I thought I would try to mix the two.

Rather than purchase chalk paint I used one of the home made chalk paint recipes that I’ve used previously on my catalogue drawers to paint the outside. I then used wallpaper to cover the drawers (luckily the height of the three drawers was exactly the width of a roll of wallpaper!). I cut the wallpaper into three pieces and glued them into position. To seal the drawers and to protect them from general wear and tear I coated them with two layers of Mod Podge.


I replaced the drawer handles with these antique-looking ones. I was still able to use the existing holes from the original handles.


I painted the inside with an off-white egg shell paint, recovered the leather using a black leatherette and added the wallpaper to the back of the desk.

A trip to Yorkshire

The weather this summer has been gorgeous! It was so nice to be able to take a short break in the UK and have such warm, sunny and dry days. These are a few pics from my visit to Yorkshire.


Whitby town centre
Whitby Bay
Whitby Abbey
Weathered grave stone


North Bay, Scarborough
North Bay, Scarborough
Scarborough beach huts
Wood carving in Peasholm Park, Scarborough
Wood carving in Peasholm Park, Scarborough
Ann Bronte's grave stone
Ann Bronte’s grave stone


A visit to Harrogate wouldn’t be complete without dropping in to Betty’s Tea Rooms for a cup of tea and a slice of cake!

Bettys Tea Rooms
Bettys Tea Rooms

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey
Detail of Bolton Abbey


Stepping stones across the river
View along the River Wharfe
Weathered coins pushed into a tree trunk

My craft shed – part 2

Well, having (patiently) waited for my shed to be made the delivery day finally arrived! As part of the shed company’s service, they also deliver and construct the shed for you (win win) and it takes less than 30 mins!!? So we timed them…


They laid the floor in less than 10 minutes…


To construct three walls took a further 15 minutes…


And the shed was completed in under 30 minutes. Awesome! Obviously for them to achieve this they had built everything offsite and it was a simple bolt-it-together job. I say simple, but I’m glad they did it and not us…


Then for the fun bit. I painted the inside white, to keep it light and bright, wanting it to resemble an art studio. I really like the extra window at the end, which not only provides additional light but also means I can keep an eye on the chickens!


This was my first attempt at loading up the shed with my crafting bits and bobs. It didn’t flow very well and I felt boxed in. A bit of rearranging will fix this.


But in the meantime, the shed certainly has someone’s approval!