Posh tat: Turning junk into furniture

Working in partnership for the last few years, Richard and Claire Walton transform rubbish and discarded items into high-end furniture, accessories and art. Oil drums from Zimbabwe and metal from local scrap yards, cut and moulded into 10ft high garden sculptures; petrol cans from Indonesia cleaned, wired and fashioned into table lamps; and discarded scaffolding boards crafted into cool loft-style shelving units are just a few of their eclectic recycled wares.

West Yorkshire Playhouse head of wardrobe Victoria Marzetti. Picture by Simon Hulme

Beind the scenes at Strictly Ballroom The Musical

There are two things you notice about the costumes for Strictly Ballroom The Musical. Firstly there are sequins. Lots of them. Secondly those with negative body issues should probably not audition for a role. Skimpy, quite literally, doesn’t cover it. Not even close. The show, which sees maverick dancer Scott Hastings take on the traditionalists as he sets out to win the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship, is based on Baz Luhrmann’s 1992 film of the same name. A few years ago the director decided to revisit the rom com which gave him his break on the big screen and take it back to the stage.

Ballet dancers Alice Rathbone, Benjamin Jones, Daisy Edwards and Daisy Kerry recreate The Nutcracker in the Painted Hall at Chatsworth House. Picture: F Stop Press

Five golden rings: Yorkshire’s poshest Christmas trees

When Kelly Smith says she makes two guys from building services attend bauble- hanging classes before they get near one of Castle Howard’s Christmas trees, she’s not entirely joking. While the workshops aren’t formal, Kelly, who is known as Fairy Christmas around the North Yorkshire stately home, has certain rules that must be obeyed.

Angela Harding
 at the door of her garden studio in Wing , Rutland

R is for roadkill: A wildlife alphabet

Roadkill makes most of us squirm with horror, so it’s comforting to know that some of the animals and birds have served a higher purpose than feast for carrion.

Chris Wilson with his Harrier training jet, at Selby. Picture by Simon Hulme

For sale - my latest do-up: A Harrier Jump Jet

Chris Wilson has two rules for buying vintage planes. They must be fast. And they must be flashy. It’s something of an irony then that the restoration business he began 10 years ago is neither. The work can be painstakingly slow, locating authentic spare parts even slower and the hangars of Jet Art Aviation, tucked away a few miles from Selby, often resemble the scrap yard next door. Still, it’s an improvement on their original site on top of a hill overlooking Bradford which was something of a wind tunnel.

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Yorkshire blacksmith David Stephenson has been making replicas of Viking pots.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Viking-sized task of rescuing Jorvik from our 21st century weather

At his forge near Pickering, a blacksmith has spent weeks working out how to make various Viking kitchen items. Three hundred miles away in the west of Scotland, a pewter jewellery specialist is putting the finishing touches to a replica of an elaborate 10th century padlock. And in the Rochdale offices of Dale Air, the team have recently been perfecting the authentic smell of a Viking forest.

Amy setting off, August 11, 1930 from Croydon Airport on a flight to her home city of Hull. This was to be the start of a three month publicity tour of the country

Darling of the cockpit: The real Amy Johnson

There are a few iconic images of Hull-born aviator Amy Johnson. Most of them picture her next to a plane having just set off or having just returned from another record-breaking flight. Nines times out of 1o, she’s dressed for the part in jumpsuit and flying goggles. A new photographic collection, Amy Johnson: A Life in Pictures, is a little different.

Razan Alsous of Yorkshire Dama Cheese  at Linthwaite.

How I fled Syria and brought Halloumi cheese to Yorkshire

When Razan Alsous arrived in Huddersfield four years ago after fleeing the civil war in Syria she had nothing but the contents of her suitcase. Razan, her three young children and husband Raghid Sandouk were forced to abandon their comfortable lives in Damascus, leaving everything behind.

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Printmaker Michael Atkin in his studio. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Etched with love: Definitive A-Z of Scarborough

The Williams Blake and Morris were masters of the art. Édouard Manet and David Hockney produced their own highly sought-after versions. Yet the very nature of artists’ books means that they’re not widely known as an art form – they’re essentially rarefied private pieces, small editions of labour-intensive books in which every element is produced by hand and which usually end up in private collections, galleries or museums.

Louise Redknapp.

Redknapps’ past laid bare in a secret history of surnames

IT IS a name synonymous today with glamour, wealth and success, but its history tells a different story.

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Video: Cloudy with just a chance of a supermoon as Yorkshire stargazers look skywards

Cloudy conditions have hampered the efforts of Yorkshire sky-gazers to see the supermoon as the natural satellite came closer to Earth than it has in decades.

Envelopes addressed by Charlotte Bronte to her life-long friend Ellen Nussey will go under the hammer.

Dear reader: Envelopes from Charlotte Bronte’s letters to her friend go under the hammer

Rare envelopes that would have contained letters detailing the relationship between author Charlotte Bronte and her life-long friend are expected to fetch about £1,000 when they go under the hammer.

Matt Hopkins of the  Great British Exchange near Harrogate .

The ‘permanent trade show’ taking small makers to mass markets

It’s one of life’s great inequities that some of the best designer makers and artisan food producers barely sell enough to make a living. Many have to combine their craft with a second job to make ends meet. Websites such as Etsy, Folksy and Notonthehighstreet have helped but getting a product onto shop shelves is far more difficult. It requires sales and marketing skills and a substantial amount of time and money that some creatives just don’t have.

Edinburgh Castle is at the start of St Andew's Way, one of six pilgrim routes retraced for a new book by Emma Wells.

In the footsteps of Yorkshire’s first pilgrims

In the index to Emma J Wells’s latest book, in which she revisits various ancient routes first trod by medieval pilgrims, some of the country’s most famous religious buildings unsurprisingly get a mention. Canterbury Cathedral is there, along with Winchester and Walsingham. However, sandwiched between the various places of worship, saints’ names and abbeys, there is one less obvious inclusion. There in the index, part way down the third column, is George Clooney.

On the Sheffield street art trail - work by Rocket01.  Picture: Scott Merrylees

Why walls have ears in Sheffield (and noses and mouths...)

Turn a corner and Sir David Attenborough beams benignly down at you. Turn another corner and Sir Patrick Moore, bow-tied and monocled, eyeballs you beadily. Turn yet another and big-bearded Charles Darwin tries to ignore the road-digger parked in front of him. All three portraits, by a Sheffield artist called Rocket01, adorn buildings on the city’s Street Art Walk, which I’m following. Within a few hours, however, two of the three murals will have been vandalised with graffiti. Street art is by its very nature vulnerable.


Video: Brownlee brothers and Kadeena Cox light up Leeds for Christmas

The countdown to Christmas officially started last night when thousands of people came out to watch Leeds’s Rio heroes at the city’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Pet charity Blue Cross has created a new meditation class called Karma�Kitties

Mindfulness for cats: Can you resist watching these cute kitties?

THE latest meditation craze is starting to leave even cats feline great.

Geoffrey Boycott, who has revealed that Theresa May passes his test as a good Prime Minister, as he compared her to Margaret Thatcher.

Why Geoff Boycott is bowled over by Theresa May

Veteran Yorkshire cricketer Geoffrey Boycott revealed that Theresa May passes his test as a good Prime Minister, as he compared her to Margaret Thatcher.

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St Martin's Church hosts fine examples of pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows

God’s house of wonders on Scarborough’s south Cliff

You have to arrive in Scarborough by train to fully appreciate the position that St Martin’s Church occupies in the town. Just to the right of the station there are two landmarks.

Leeds College of Art alum Liz West with  her light installation, 'An Addictive Mix', at the National Media Museum, Bradford. Picture by Simon Hulme

Names in the frames: Amazing alumni of Leeds College of Art

On a wall inside Leeds College of Art’s Blenheim Walk site there is a timeline. The design is striking and it’s beautifully painted, but it’s the names that really stand out.

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