Monday, 30 April 2007

Thanks Jo!

A big THANKS! to Jo for organising the bookmark swap, you can see the lovely bookmarks I received in my previous posts, but since this is the official 'Swap Day',I felt it only fitting to give thanks to the organiser herself! Thank you.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Love Johnny

I absolutely love this, but it makes me cry every time.

Home Truths

I've been thinking that perhaps my blog shows a rather superficial view of me. Not that I am not the wonderfully funny, lovely person you see before you of course, but I thought it might be good (for me particularly - lol) to list a few thoughts/facts about myself - a few 'home truths' if you will - just to admit that I am (way) less than perfect.

1. I lack confidence
2. I am the queen of procrastination
3. I think political correctness has gone way too far
4. I struggle to keep depression at bay
5. People who are too nice and profess to see the good in everyone make me suspicious
6. I think I have a good sense of humour, if slightly wicked at times :)
7. I hate the way the world is headed
8. I love nature
9. I love my family to bits
10. Sometimes I believe I am a bad mother
11. I try not to care what people think of me
12. I am overweight
13. I don't always agree with people who say you should 'get it off your chest' or 'work through it', it will be 'cathartic'. Sometimes yes it's absolutely the thing to do but not always. I told this to a psychiatrist once. He left his job after seeing me. I don't think the two were connected - lol (don't worry, I wasn't there because 'the voices told me to do it' or anything!)
14. Maybe I do care what people think!
15. I love textiles in any shape or form and always always have
16. I don't trust the government or the media
17. I do still believe there is good in the world
18. I am an avid reader but a bad student
19. It's a cliche, but my children are my most successful works
20. Friends are really important - if I'd realised this sooner, I'd have tried to make more
21. I can wiggle my ears and roll my tongue

Blimey. I do sound quite a negative person don't I? I'm not really you know, what I should have put in that list is one thing I am passionate about, and that is I believe that there is always Hope. In any situation I am always a hopeful person and I always try and find a bright side.

Do I sound like a raving lunatic now I wonder?

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Disrupted Day

There was an earthquake in Kent, England today. Unbelievable! We don't get earthquakes of that size in Britian as a rule so it was a bit of a surprise. It measured 4.3 on the Richter Scale and caused a bit of damage to property. No one was seriously hurt thankfully. I expect someone will blame that on Global Warming too.

Today I woke up feeling awful - headache and nausea. Now, I hate to feel sick on any day, but at the weekend it's somehow even worse, you know? Not to mention that I had a tutorial at Stirling University (a 45 minute drive) and I really needed any wisdom that was on offer there. However, I was just too sick to go and so had to stay home and remain unenlightened. Well, a bit longer won't make any difference.

Later today, when feeling somewhat better, I had another try at making my blog photos enlarge with just a click of the mouse. I carefully followed several different instructions given by nice, generous people and did I have success? Nope. Not a chance. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but be assured I will get to the bottom of this if it kills me, which it may well do.

Giving a Friend Some Encouragement!

My dear, wonderful friend Diane in New Zealand has started her blog very very recently. She doesn't think she has much to say, but I know she does! Why don't you go pay her a visit and give her some encouragement? Diane and I have been 'pen-pals' for a (very) long time - since we were at school in fact, and although we've never met, we are the bestest of friends. She is always there for me whether I'm happy or sad or just need a good old moan - she is truly one in a million that girl!!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Another Bookmark, Bead Shop, Tidy Up Time

Today has been another busy day - and a good one! Firstly I received another gorgeous bookmark in the post from the lovely Gill and I love it. Red is one of my favourite colours, so I'm doubly thrilled. Thanks Gill!! (and I love the cute tag that came with it too).

As if that wasn't exciting enough, my brother in law took my sister and I to The Bead Shop in Edinburgh! It was really good and my sister made me buy one or two things (really, she did, twisted my arm behind my back and everything!). But, I was fairly restrained and at least four tubes of beads came from the bargain bin. I won't tell you what she bought (ker-ching!). Here is the side view of the shop with my lovely sister Judith and her other half - the man they call 'Robbo'.

And here is what I came home with. There were so many beads to choose from, all the colours and all the sizes you could wish for. Well, actually there were no size 15 beads which I was looking for so that's not strictly accurate is it? Nevertheless, it was pretty bloomin' good and the staff were very helpful too I might add. And what am I going to make with these goodies I hear you ask? Well, nothing at the moment. I have been good and put them away till after my studies are done, but when the time comes - watch out beads!!

So, you might think I had had enough excitement by now, but no! When I came home I tidied up my 'studio' - okay, my dining room. This is it looking really tidy, no kidding, before the tidy up it was absolutely covered in fabric, threads, the sewing machine and several other piles of necessary 'stuff'. You can actually see the table now. But again, it's all away till after the studies, unless there is a sewing emergency that is...

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Bookmark Swap and Textile Thursday

I think I can show you now what I have received from a bookmark swap I was in. Just look at the lovely bookmark I got from the very talented Alison. She only needed to send a bookmark but she also sent me a lovely book (spookily, it was one on my 'to read' list) and also the cutest little handmade Spring bird card. Thanks again Alison!

I also received an extra bookmark from the clever lady that is Wendy. Don't you just love the way she has combined these gorgeous black and white fabrics - I love it! Thanks again to you Wendy! I must just add that this was beautifully wrapped in pink tissue paper.

Today was my textile group day. It was a really good turnout this time - there were a whole seven of us! It was a good day and we had a good chat at lunchtime although we don't stop for long to chat - we need to get as much done as possible on that interruption free one day a month! Everyone was working on far more interesting things than me of course, but I had fun and mainly worked on this. I just couldn't get a decent photo showing the colours very well but here it is anyway.

It's basically lots of scraps of fabric on a hand dyed fabric background with a layer of tulle over the top and stitched and stitched in a circular motion - not a good photo as I say but I was pleased with the finished piece. I will have to do more work on it but I'm not sure what as yet.

Here is my good friend Maria concentrating hard on some work. She will kill me for posting this picture of her!

I also finished off this piece I had been working on. I will probably add a dark background to it at some stage.

I had an interesting trip to a new shop the other day to buy some wool (the merino tops kind, not the yarn kind!) but that is a topic for another day. Tomorrow I may or may not visit a bead shop I've never been to before over in Edinburgh. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Today I Have Mainly Been...

Making muffins! Muffin making is something I do a lot of (probably shouldn't given my waistline) and I do experiment a bit too, especially when I run out of something! No experiments here though. The chocolate muffins with choc chip topping were made by Miss Lucy, my dear daughter; and the cornmeal with cheese ones (yes, it sounds odd I know, but they taste delicious) were made by me. There were twelve of each...

I have a few other things to blog about but I have been busy busy the last couple of days so I will hopefully catch up in the next couple of days. Tomorrow I go to my textile group - we are supposed to meet once a month (started last September-ish) and I think I've actually made it twice so far! I have nothing ready to take and a complete and sudden lack of inspiration - typical! Never mind, I'll think of something in the morning - I hope :)))))

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Quilt Shop & Crochet

I had to go to the quilt shop yesterday. No really, I needed bondaweb for a project I had suddenly thought of and so obviously had to purchase the bondaweb immediately (they could have run out of it)! Anyway, while I was there I couldn't resist this ball of Japanese Noro yarn - just look at those colours. No idea what I will use it for yet but there was only one ball left and, well, nuff said really.

Later in the day, while looking for my crochet needles (don't ask) I found this crocheted bedcover. I only ever got about a foot and a half done and it is really wide, so I'm just wondering - do I continue and finish it whenever, or do I rip it down and crochet up some granny squares? Hmmm... Incidentally it is made from some utterly gorgeous Shetland wool (I think it's about 4 ply) from Jamieson & Smith up there in Lerwick.

Judging by these photos, I still have not managed to fathom out how to make them enlarge by clicking on them.... I really must pay more attention...

Not much else to report here although I may go on a trip to Linlithgow tomorrow with my good friend Maria. This involves a quilt shop, a needlecraft shop, a chocolate shop (not for me you understand), a fabric shop, an art shop and of course, lunch!! Mwwaaahaaahaaahaaa!

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Lifting my Spirits with Alanis

I'd totally forgotten how much I love this song and how it lifts my spirits and makes me sing out loud.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Big Hello to my Dear Friend Diane!

This is just a big Hello from me here in Scotland to my dear, lovely, wonderful friend Diane in New Zealand! Hope you find the blog - you know who you are!! xxx

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Tooth Tales and Fun Projects

Today started out very nicely when I went shopping with my mum and sister. Bought some nice blue net, some cheap red velvet, offcuts of lace and ribbon, some beads, a nice Jasmine scented candle, some threads and a few other bits and bobs. When I got home I fancied a Granola bar (well, I missed lunch!), bit into it and my tooth split. Ended up having to get my mum to come along and take me to the dentist where he promptly extracted the tooth! Well, I say 'promptly' but in fact it was a real bu**er to get out and it took half an hour and there is still a bit left in (and it had an abcess on it, but I think that's enough information!). Still, I am glad that it's out because it would have had to be removed eventually and I would have kept putting it off. Angel Jem - you can be proud of me!! Oh yes, while I was in the dentists chair I managed to knock over the little rinsing cup full of mouthwash and laughed out loud when the hygienist knocked the dentist on the head with the overhead light!!

Enough of that. Yesterday I did a bit of sewing and made a couple of little fun projects. I wanted to make something out of the experimental 'bits' I made with the embellisher. This journal cover was made from commercial felt cut into strips and woven and then went over it all with the embellisher. Then I added some shapes and flowers made with the embellisher and some bits of fibres. I wasn't all that keen on it so I sewed lines of flower and leaf patterns with my sewing machine. Then I lined it, satin stitched the edges, made some cord for it (with some nice beads added to cords and large flower) and that was that. It is actually quite a nice colour combination but my photo has made it somewhat lurid. I tried to photograph it all ways, but it still came out like this - but at least you get the idea - it was fun!

I had similar problems with this photo. Same sort of idea with the woven felt but this has also red net over the top and some hand stitching of hearts on the orange bits and a nice felted flower. It is lined and has a little press stud to close. This is pretty bright in real life!

Monday, 16 April 2007

Back to School & Bookmark Swap

It was back to school for my little ones this morning and back to studying for me. I have gotten so behind with my studies over the two week holiday that I need to do a lot of catching up! I did start off with good intentions this morning but I kept finding other 'important' things to do! I am close to the end of this year's course now with just one more essay to complete and then the exam at the beginning of June. I can't wait to finish, it hasn't been easy and I'm fed up with it - still, they do say it's worth it in the end don't they - ha! we will see. One of those 'important' things I did was to finish off and post my bookmarks I made for a bookmark swap, so at least I've achieved something today! I will post more about the swap when it is completed. Now I am going to be very virtuous and go and open the study books again!

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Tired and Toothache

I am so tired after the little sleepover darlings kept me awake for hours last night (grrrr) and I have a toothache too, so I am Mrs Grumpy today (actually that was the polite description - you can imagine...). I have had this toothache on and off for a while now and it's a tooth that had a lot of root treatment previously and now really just needs extracted. I like to hang on to things for too long (so people tell me - huh!) but on this occasion I think I will let the tooth go. Off to feel sorry for myself and steal the children's remaining easter egg chocolate...

Friday, 13 April 2007

Good Trip to the Crannog

Our trip to the Crannog at Kenmore on Loch Tay today was really good. We stopped at Dunkeld (again) on the way and had another walk around the Cathedral and the town. I won't post any more pics of Dunkeld after last week's ones but I did think this fallen down tree was rather lovely. The children all had a great time here running around and not one managed to fall into the River Tay!Then we headed on to the Crannog itself (stopping for a picnic on the way of course). If you want to find out any more about the Crannog itself (no, it's nothing to do with aliens - you know who you are!) then here is the link to the website - . You have a tour inside the Crannog and the guide gives a little talk etc. She asked my son and nephew what sort of fish they thought might have been swimming around in Loch Tay in times gone by and their replies were - goldfish and sardines! After the tour inside, there are activities to try outside such as using a lathe, spinning wool with a drop spindle, making a hole in a stone (more fun than it sounds, honest!), turning wheat into spelt flour, and making fire - oooh the men always love this one for some reason lol. My boy liked grinding the wheat into flour with a stone...

So did the girls...My other 'boy' just had to have a go at making fire!...

All the children had a go at mixing the clay - which was to be used to repair a clay oven. They really liked this, it was mucky!
This was some wool spun on a drop spindle. It has been dyed with plants - berries, lichen, bark and so on. I absolutely loved this, the colours are fantastic aren't they? I was tempted to run off with it!!

It was a long drive home and we were stuck behind a tour bus from somewhere in Germany for ages on narrow twisting roads for ages. We managed to get past the bus and carried on merrily until coming up behind this - a three wheeler! - I haven't seen one of these for years (showing my age now lol).

All the adults are quite tired out now but are the children - NO! I know this because my two and one of their cousins are in the next room to me supposed to be asleep!! I will have to go in to them and adopt my stern voice in a minute! Somehow I think it's going to be a long night.....

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Interesting Post, More Tyvek and Trip Tomorrow

Been a strange day really. Couldn't sleep (again) and got up at 5am, so it's been a long day! It was so hot today too, just like Summer! Had to remove my jacket which doesn't happen very often I can tell you - lol. Some of the day was taken up with a long visit to the park, tyvek experimentation, sewing for a bookmark swap and making up sandwiches for tomorrow's trip (see below). Oh yes, and ordering lots and lots of beading supplies online for my sister!! I managed to restrain myself and ordered only one packet of beads and some needles - aren't I a good girl?

Anyway, this morning this came...

and this... Both of these were free when I bought the Xpression Embellisher and I've just been waiting on their arrival.

Managed a few more tyvek experiments. This one was painted woven tyvek which was then stitched and heated with the gun. I like it but next time I will leave out the stitching I think.

Similar technique here, painted tyvek stitched and then cut up and heated. Like the colour a lot, but spent ages trying to pick out the stitching! Oh well...

More beads from tyvek and wrapped with wire. Not a great photo.

Tomorrow, we are all going here - the Crannog at Kenmore. I love this place, this will be the fifth time we have been and this time my sister and her lot are coming too, along with my mum (we've managed to indoctrinate her to the ways of the Crannog - this is her second visit!). I'm in danger of turning into a Crannog groupie lol. My kids love it too so it should be a good day out.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Tyvek Experiments

Finally managed to get a minute to play (even though I should be studying Henry V - naughty me). Coloured some tyvek with Stewart Gill Fabric Paints of different varieties and then stitched into the tyvek when it was dry and heated with heat gun. This piece was the soft tyvek.

This piece was the firmer 'paper' style tyvek with similar technique only I stitched on water soluble stuff first then attached it to the tyvek before I used the heat gun.

Some tyvek beads - painted then stitched with zigzag stitch down the centre before heating.

I have no idea what I'm going to use them for - maybe journal covers. It was just nice to play for five minutes!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Advice Please

If anyone knows how you get a blog photo to enlarge when you click on it, I would be most grateful for that information. I haven't a clue!

Easter Egg Hunt and Jewellery

Happy Easter Sunday! This is the morning where mummy (being me) has to go out into the garden at some ungodly hour and 'check' to see whether the Easter Bunny has left anything (I must just point out here that my kids had never thought of the Easter Bunny until my sister mentioned it a few years ago - Judith, if you are reading this - grrrrrr!). Anyway, amazingly the bunny had been.... here...can you see the little eggs?

my goodness, that bunny must be quite tall...

All in all, the bunny left four little eggs each for my children to find - boy were they happy!!

And they did make some lovely Easter cards and things for me this year...

Now to the jewellery. This post is particularly for Angel Jem and Alis who wanted to see us making things (I'm still not posting the pic of me looking like the Loch Ness Monster!). These are the earrings I made when my sister was round this week, I finally managed to get a picture in focus - they are really simple but I just loved the colours of the beads.

Then I found some earrings I made a while ago - the colours aren't very good here due to my bad photography.

And here are some funky rings I made ages ago too. I made loads of different wrapped rings like this - they are good fun but of course I never remember to wear them!

Friday, 6 April 2007

Visit to Vane Farm RSPB Centre

Still in Easter Holiday mode, today we visited Vane Farm RSPB Centre, Kinross, Fife. Being a fully paid up member of the RSPB and not having visited Vane Farm for (at least) a year, I thought it was high time we went. Lucy and Adam were keen to go and my mum came too - well, we made her come because we had to take her car! It was another sunny day but still a chilly wind blowing. We saw loads of birds, greylag and pink-footed geese, various duck species including Shelduck and best of all, we saw this little chap - Egbert the egret! I was a happy girl because I hadn't seen one before ever and was enthusing about the fact to anyone who would listen - which was only my mum because well, she has to doesn't she! Still, I was happy.

The excitement didn't end there, oh no, after Vane Farm I went home and cleaned some carpets with a new Vax machine thingy I borrowed from my mum (yes, she has many and varied uses) and this was also successful. I just wonder if tomorrow can be any more exciting than today....

Thursday, 5 April 2007

My Arm Hurts!

My arm hurts! I decided to cut down three trees that have been annoying me for ages (asked other half to do the job - nuff said!). Of course, I couldn't find the proper saw so I had to make do with some other thing that took twice as long (and will probably get me into bother when said other half finds out I've used it!). Never mind I thought, this won't take me long - huh! It took me two hours to saw the trees - it's actually one tree with three trunks - and then I had to chop/saw all the branches into tiny bits to fit in the 'brown' bin which is our garden refuse bin. I eventually managed it - one brown bin filled with tree bits and three long 'trunks' which I shall have to dispose of somehow! Could make a wigwam I suppose - or should that be a teepee... Anyway, my arm hurts a lot and I suspect it will only get worse - I'm not used to such hard work! Still, off to visit the Library now where there are some Easter crafty type activities on for the children and where I will sit and try and get some studying done - deep joy - Henry V (heavy sarcasm here).

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

A Good Day Was Had by All

Today we decided on a day trip to see the Ospreys near Dunkeld (somewhat North of Perth). So I (note the lack of help implied by the 'I' here!) duly packed a picnic, spare clothes for the children (just in case), jackets and wellies and off we went. The sun was out and it almost (almost...) felt like Summer. I love these road signs - it always signifies 'heading North' to me, and sometimes you just have to head North - it's good for the soul.

Just had to take a photo of the lichen on this tree. There were hundreds like it and I managed to collect some bits that were lying on the ground to take home with me.

We arrived at the Loch of the Lowes to see if there were any Ospreys nesting... and there were!! We saw the male in the nest - he was doing a bit of nest building - very domesticated indeed. Here are some of the wildlife we brought with us!! Namely Lucy and Adam. Rather dangerous wildlife I might add - note Adam's 'strongman' pose!

After visiting the loch, the hides and the visitor centre, we headed back into Dunkeld town and had a stroll around by the medieval Cathedral and the River Tay. I was almost dizzy looking up into this lovely tall tree.

Isn't it just beautiful? There are lots of huge Larches and Pine trees all around the Cathedral and there are some lovely walks too. The River Tay was looking quite enchanting with the sunlight reflecting off it - Adam couldn't quite believe it - he kept saying 'it's sparkling' (I expect he was thinking of something magical from Lord of the Rings by this stage!).

This is the old bridge over which you enter Dunkeld.

Part of the Cathedral, looking up from the River Tay.

Doesn't this look like the perfect spot to sit and while away the hours with some quiet contemplation?

I was quite tempted to push the one on the right in at this moment!! (mwa ha ha). I say 'quite', I really meant 'very'!.

Just look at the shadows from the trees on the grass...

And here...

Well, after that lovely day out it was off home to make dinner for everyone. No sooner was that all done but my lovely sister appeared to show me how to do something creative with beads. What actually happened was that my daughter and my neice made earrings and phone charms, and my sister and I achieved very little! We did drool a lot over her bead collection though, and I do now know what some of the little findings I have are actually for! I have to say that I had a picture of us to put here but it was quite possibly one of the most unflattering ones of us I have ever seen.... and we can't have that now can we? But, all in all, a very good day was had by all...