We've just enjoyed a long weekend here as yesterday it was Spring Bank Holiday in the UK. I love this time of year so much, I love the lush green landscape, the deliciously long hours of daylight and the feeling of being on the very cusp of summer. These days at the end of May always feel luxurious and precious to me - even if we simply stay at home, it feels special somehow.
On Saturday, Little Lady and I went off on a short jaunt, just the two of us. We journeyed by train to the nearby town of Saltaire to visit the Saltaire Makers Fair which is part of a larger arts event called Saltaire Inspired. The fair was taking place in the magnificent Victoria Hall, and when we arrived mid morning the atmosphere was very festivalish indeed.
I'd never been inside this grand Victorian building before, it was really lovely!! I found myself as fascinated with the walls, windows, ceilings, lights and stairs as I was with the event itself and spent much of my time gazing around in awe. Little Lady and I snook upstairs to the balcony area to take the above photo, oh it was so grand!
The Makers Fair itself was absolutely superb, showcasing the work of some very talented local designers and makers. The standard was exceptionally high and the rooms were filled with so many beautiful things it was almost overwhelming - the instant I set foot in the first room I was oooohing and ahhhhing with pleasure. Printmaking, jewellery, ceramics, glass work, textiles and woodwork were beautifully displayed, with the added advantage of having the super-clever makers right there on hand to chat to.
One of the main reasons I made the journey to the fair was to see the work of mixed media artist Shirley Vauvelle - that's Shirley looking very lovely in the above photo (Hi Shirley, it was so nice to finally meet you in person!!). I've been a fan of Shirley's work for years after discovering her on Facebook, but have never been lucky enough to see her work in real life before. Shirley's mixed media pieces are very sought after by private collectors and art galleries and even though she has an online shop it can be devilishly difficult to buy from her as her pieces are snapped up so quickly.
So to say I was excited about feasting my eyes on the above display was a bit of an understatement, I was beside myself with the loveliness of it all. Shirley's charming sculptures and wall pieces are so unique and full of detail, they really are stunning. I love the mixture of materials she uses (driftwood, metal and old maps combined with beautiful handmade ceramic and porcelain pieces), the whole effect is very pleasing on the eye. I treated myself to a couple of wonderful little sculptures which have made me so happy, I know I shall treasure them.
I also fell in love with the most beautiful hand made jewellery by a talented maker called Catherine Woodall. Catherine's work is inspired by the Yorkshire countryside where she lives and works, and although I loved pretty much all of her jewellery, it was these beautiful acorn and oak leaf necklaces which captured my heart. The delicate silver leaves are imprinted with real skeleton leaves, and the acorns are hand made from lamp work glass. Glass!!!! I couldn't believe the glass bit, but it was the whole effect of glass, silver and semi precious stones combined which made these necklaces so breathtaking. Catherine has a well stocked Etsy shop, and you can find her on Facebook too.
After all the giddy excitement of the fair, it was lovely to step outside into the gloriousness of a lovely sunny May day and take a wander. We bought filled rolls from the village deli and took ourselves down to the park for an impromptu picnic before flopping onto the train home again. What a lovely, lovely outing.
Often the weather can be a disappointment at this time of year as it doesn't always do the required warm sunny stuff. However, on Sunday it was a really glorious day and so we set out to take a walk. Up the hill we went.....
.....stopping for a rest at the top to catch our breath and take in the view. I love that we can see our house from up here (we are one of the terraced houses in the far right of the above photo), it gives a wonderful perspective on the place I now call Home.
The woodland is looking gloriously green now, and the dappled sunlight streaming through the leafy canopy was a delight.
Newly unfurled oak leaves instantly reminded me of Catherine's acorn necklaces....
The wild garlic is in full bloom now and the scent of it in the air as we walked was intoxicating. The sight of such large swathes of it in full throttle was spectacular....
....but also the individual flowers are so pretty and delicate when you stop and look closely.
It was a beautiful family walk and we came home feeling refreshed and relaxed.
The good weather continued throughout the afternoon and by 4pm it was decided that a Street Outing was in order. I love it when an already lovely day takes on an unexpected turn, and on Sunday it was great fun to head out with our neighbours from number 18, 17 and 14. We didn't go far, just a few minutes down the road to our local pub to enjoy a few drinks outside in the sunshine. The Little People all played together, and even our Teens arrived for food and drink before heading off again on their bikes. The afternoon turned to evening and eventually we wandered back to our street to carry on our impromptu party a bit closer to home. I feel blessed to live in such a friendly, close community, and the fact that our neighbours have become good friends over the years that we have settled here is a lovely thing indeed.
Amongst the visiting, walking and partying, I've also enjoyed some quiet time this weekend, sitting in the warmth of our sheltered back yard with yarn and hook. I'm making great progress on this stash-buster granny square blanket and enjoying it so so so much! This blanket is feeding my colour addiction beautifully, I'll tell you lots more about it very soon I promise. Forty four colours my lovelies, forty four !!!!!!!!!!!!