Carving a wooden pumpkin

I have seen quite a few impressive wooden pumpkins on the internet and decided to have a go. Luckily I had recently rescued a large union of freshly felled Sycamore that the wood fairies had left behind as it was too big and nasty to split for firewood.

The original ‘big lump’ of wood was first sawn into three pieces to make it more manageable and placed on a cherry log podium work bench.

Lump of recently felled Sycamore
Lump of recently felled Sycamore

The log was then trimmed with a chainsaw until a rough pumpkin shaped had been achieved.

Roughing out the rough shape with a chainsaw
Roughing out the rough shape of a pumpkin with a chainsaw

The wooden pumpkin was then planed to shape and a first pass of 60 grit sand paper applied. A hole was popped into the top and a nice curved piece of Hazel found to make a pumpkin ‘stem’.

The roughed out Sycamore pumpkin together with a hazel stalk
The roughed out Sycamore pumpkin together with a naturally curved hazel stalk

As the wood is unseasoned and still very wet there is no way of sanding a proper finish so it will be stored and finished next year when it has fully seasoned.  This will give me a year to make a decision; varnish, wax or paint. I suspect the pattern of the grain around the union will mean it is left as a wood finish but I am so tempted to try a coat of chalk paint to see how that looks.


Getting to grips with a DSLR

Still trying top get to grips with my new camera. Yes, I have read the instructions but after so long with a ‘point and press’ the complexity of a DSLR seems insurmountable. Trying to remember the little bit learnt a week ago is a big enough challenge at the moment.

I didn’t want to let the season  pass without having a go at capturing some nice pumpkin photos for use on our website. Most shots were either out of focus or were too bright but these few were ok. Back to the instruction manual!

Little pumpkin on window ledge
Pumpkin on stone
Pumpkins on a bench outside the Summer House
Pumpkins on bench
A selection of pumpkins outside our wood shed
Pumpkins on wood shed step

Fire Dragons / Swedish Log Candles

We are now stocking ‘Fire Dragons’ made by my brother Graham and his wife Jacky at ‘Really Rustic’. They harvest these large logs from their own sustainable forest in Wales making a wide variety of products from the wood including these Swedish log candles that they have branded as Welsh ‘Fire Dragons’.

Swedish Candle logs now stocked in Hesketh Bank, Lancashire
Swedish Candle patio fire logs now in stock

The Fire Dragon is their take on the classic woodsman’s Swedish log candle (sometimes called a Swedish Fire Torch) which is a very simple design: a large upright log with three downward cuts that run almost the entire length of the log. They are lit by inserting a small amount of kindling into the top (or just pop in a bit of firelighter) and they quickly get going to provide light and heat into the evening.

A lit 'Fire Dragon' Swedish Candle campfire alternative
A lit ‘Fire Dragon’

Ideal for use on the patio or in the garden although a common sense approach is needed; flames can blow a considerable distance in high winds and burning pieces of log can fall away from the main log so the Fire Dragon Log must be sat on a non flammable surface. Nothing flammable should be allowed into a 4 meter radius around the burning log and it should not be left unattended. Do not let children go too close to the fire or leave them to attend it unsupervised by an adult.

Available for collection from Hesketh Bank, Lancashire a Fire Dragon costs just £15 for one or £25 for two.


Alternative Wire Heart Frame Now In Stock

We took delivery of our new heart frame stock this afternoon. The ‘dumpy’ heart shape of these new wire frames make it slightly easier to binding foliage to them. It will be interesting to hear from our customers who use them for fabric crafts as to what they think of them. All feedback very welcome.

They are made from a slightly thinner gauge of wire but are well made and offer a good saving over the standard ‘Oasis’ frames we have stocked for some time.

Visit to see the full range.

New wire heart frame for wreaths and crafts arrived
New heart frame now in stock



Rosemary Wreath

Made for the local village show which was held yesterday, this very simple wreath caught quite a bit of attention; not necessarily because of the quality of its construction but more from the intense fragrance of rosemary that permeated the hall.

12 inch wreath made from willow and rosemary
Rosemary wreath

It was easily made; just a good pruning of our home grown rosemary plants with the cuttings bound with wreath binding wire to a 12″ rustic willow base.