“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Friday 28 March 2014

Yay...it's Friday and I'm ready to party with PPF and APR

I can't believe that today I've actually managed to complete a piece of artwork. YAY!
After a great week weather wise with lots of fantastic sunshine, today turned out to be rather grey and that freezing north wind blew. 
So much so that it really wasn't a good day to be outside voluntarily...so I stayed indoors. 
After flinging myself around for most of the morning, ticking chores and messages off my never ending list, I decided to get tough with myself and finally sat down at the kitchen table to finish the kingfisher picture I started a few weeks back. 
Here's a reminder...
I tried desperately to be loose with it and not stress too much and for most parts it worked but old habits die hard. 
There's a few things that I'm not happy about...but I'll not mention them because maybe... just maybe you won't notice them. 
My main aim was to just get something into my journal. 
And guess what? 
I've now got an idea for what I'd like to do for tomorrow...whoohoo...so it looks like I may have kick started my mojo into action at last. 

I'm so happy that I feel like partying...so I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday and the Artist's Play Room.
Why don't you take a look and have fun too - just click on the blue writing above to be transported to the party.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone 

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Spring Watch at my place

Yoohoo...I'm here!
I've been missing and I'm hoping that you've been devastated missed me because I certainly missed you.
Quite a few things just took over last week and I couldn't fit blogging in (gasp) 
I know, it shocked me too because I normally can manage that no matter what, but I now realise that I'm not superhuman and can't do everything which has come as a blow. 
But I won't give in...I'm hoping I can catch up in the next few days. 
(I stopped by the roadside to take this blossom photo...it just made me smile) 
There was a little trip to Glasgow for a few days and last weekend McMuffy became ill. She's okay now thankfully but I was really quite worried about her at the time. 
She's normally so healthy it came as a surprise and not one I'd like to repeat. 
We haven't had any positive diagnosis other than a possible stomach upset, but it was really quite scary to see her so unwell. 
(Twisted/Corkscrew Hazel Tree in our garden...looking beautiful at any time of year)
So where are we? 
Well I'm pleased to report that we seem to be getting a little of the house back as each day passes. The amount of dust sheets covering everything has diminished, although I have to say some of them were as useful as a teabag...the dust just seemed to go right through. 

(I've kept this photo deliberately small...basically because it's such a mess) 

Who would have guessed that choosing a new external front door could take up so much time and cause so much anxiety. I wanted our new door to make a statement and for me to instantly fall in love with it, like I have done with the new windows, but unfortunately that hasn't happened.  
I'm pleased with the windows, in fact I couldn't be more pleased...but the front door is another story and has been a real challenge...one I haven't won...yet. 
I'm so nervous of making a mistake in my choice...for the second time! 
Yes, I've already picked one, had it made, paid for it and had it installed but I hate don't like it. 
The poor builders face when he enthusiastically asked with a beaming smile..."well what do you think?" suddenly took a downward turn when I just crinkled my nose and shrugged my shoulders. I tried to like it, honestly I did, but it just wasn't meant to be. 
I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong initially other than the colour stain of the wood, but if you're like me you know what you like and what you don't - instantly. 
We've now worked it out that the dimensions weren't correct. 
Glass to wood ratio wasn't what I wanted. 
It's unfortunate that I didn't see the door before we made the final choice and I know that sounds crazy but we didn't. Don't ask me how this happened because even on reflection I really don't know. Maybe it was the sales rep and builders enthusiasm that swept me away. Statements like "it'll be stunning" etc may have persuaded me but I should have insisted on seeing the stain and a photo or at least a drawing of the door first...and so back to the drawing board to choose another. 
I think I'm getting there...fingers crossed.
I've certainly learnt from this experience though. 

(Hellebore...a sure sign spring is here)
Yesterday I escaped for a few hours into the garden.
 I'm a little worried that its going to burst into life and leave me behind. 
There is so much to do so if/when the sun shines...I'm out there! 
I planted some new plants into a border which was delightful until the sun dipped down and I felt that chilly wind blow. I then decided enough was enough and it was time to call it a day. I enjoyed a much needed cuppa whilst looking back and assessing my handy work. Don't you just love that? Enjoying a much needed cuppa and looking back over your work. The border is still not finished so I'll not show it to you just yet. 
I also put some potatoes into a sack to grow. I've done this before and been surprised how successful this method can be (see here). 
I'd have liked to put them into an allocated raised bed but unfortunately we are way off starting the veg plot. There's talk of a little digger coming (the mechanical kind) to help so we may get to it but there again...who knows? 

(Blue Anemone)
Have you seen this feather before? 
I can't remember if I've mentioned or shown it to you before. 
It's amazing because I noticed it when we first arrived back here in July. It was clinging to a branch of the rust tree. Can you believe that it's still clinging on seven months later? 
It's managed to stay there even with all the elements throwing everything at it. 
I'm wondering just how long it will stay?
Now that's staying power through all forms of adversity. 

Maybe there's a lesson there for us all. 

Just to let you know that I'm trying to visit everyone and I know I haven't replied to all the lovely emails and comments that I've received but I hopefully will.
Enjoy your week and like the feather if its tough for whatever reason...hang on in there...I'm sure it'll get better.
psst....still no lambs 

Friday 14 March 2014

A Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY ~ Friday 14th March 2014

Outside my window...Everything appears to be in a transitional mode. Winter is about to unwrap its cold grip whilst spring gently moves in to embrace with it's delights of sounds, colour and possibilities. Outside my window, the back field is ominously waiting for the farmer. I'm not sure what's on his plan and maybe it's nothing, but I'm still hoping that springy, bouncy lambs will arrive any day now to delight us. I've noticed that a field of sheep seems to be a lot rarer sight these days. I remember there used to be lots around when we last lived here. Most of the other fields have been turned over by the plough ready for planting. The rich treacle black soil which has been strategically patterned in their straight lines worked beautifully by the farmer and his plough.
There's the odd whiff of manure wafting on the breeze some days, that reminds me of my grandmother...no she didn't smell odd it's that she used to say when smelling that particular smell...."take a deep breath and breath it in...it's good for you!" I must admit at a tender age of around 8 years old, that was probably when I came to the opinion that most things that are good for you either don't smell or taste particularly good.
The trees are pushing buds out that with an encouraging burst of sun and a little rise in the temperature will no doubt transform the garden when they do open. There are new plants from my recent trip to the Garden Centre sitting on the back step waiting for me to decide where they will be best situated. I want to give them the best home possible to make them happy and provide profusions of perfume and flowers for my future floral displays during the coming months. At the moment the daffodils are smiling their sunny bright yellow which can't help to but lift the spirits. 
I can now see more of the old wall having pruned the honeysuckle back to a reasonable amount. It was in danger of taking over the whole pathway. I have had quite a few sessions of pruning recently and at times been a little unsure of what I'm doing...am I being too harsh or not harsh enough?...but then I think a hair cut never killed anyone, did it?. Hopefully that will apply to plants too.
There's a rather fat wood pigeon who's obviously indulged in too many of my sunflower heart seeds. He's trying to balance on the fence post and looks extremely incapable but he's giving it his best shot.
This rear bird feeder has two beautiful goldfinches perched and pecking away, whilst a siskin and chaffinches sit patiently waiting for the mask raiders to move on. (Click here to see goldfinches details)
Oops...I nearly forgot...there's the scaffolding which obviously I've got used to seeing through now, due to the fact I almost forgot to mention it. I have to confess I'll be glad when we're able to remove it completely and all of the window replacements are finished, but I think it'll be here for a little while longer. 
I could go on and on about what I can see from my window but I think that's probably enough for this entry. After all you have a life and are probably busy with places to go and people to see etc.

I am thinking...that I haven't written a Day book entry since last November and how much has happened since then. Don't worry I'll not revisit all that's happened...keeping in mind the length of this entry shouldn't compete with War and Peace!

I am thankful...for fabulous little things that arrive in my letterbox from all over the world. Little notelets or thank you cards saying how much my blog means to them. It never ceases to amaze and humble me. Beautiful sentiments which come as such a surprise. Thank you each and every one of you for your kind thoughts. I love to blog but to know that you enjoy reading it means so much to me. 

In the kitchen...
A little fruit cake but hopefully over the weekend a coffee cake might appear. My sister has sent me a recipe with a photo, so she's set me the challenge. When big sister speaks I listen! (lol)

Here's a photo of her coffee cake...pretty yummy eh?
I am wearing...jean's and a t-shirt, but I've a thermal vest hidden underneath ensuring that I'm cosy when nipping outside plus my fleece. Muffy and I walked early this morning and the breeze ensured we kept up a brisk pace which is a miracle with madame's little length of leg ^..^

I am creating...
a painting YAY! I know I'm as surprised as you. I never had it on my plan for today, but it just sort of happened. It's a kingfisher. I've wanted to draw one for some time now, so I'm happy that I'm finally getting to do it. Depending on how it turns out you may see it soon. Oh yes...and I'm knitting a blue penguin jumper...yes you read that right a penguin pullover! (click here to view)

I am going...on a few trips but I'll post about them later perhaps. It's a question of watch this space I'm afraid. 

I am wondering...how some people become very special to you. I'm not talking about family...that goes without saying. But take for instance a conversation that I've just had with a friend whose living in another part of the world and whom I haven't spoken to for months. But that didn't matter because we just immediately reconnected. Before we knew it we were giggling like school children. This friend has always been special to me and I always feel lifted or inspired when I've spoken to her. She always seems to say the right thing no matter what the circumstances...I'm hoping she doesn't read this because she'll know it's her and she'll be full of it! 

She can be an absolute scream having me in stitches or tears, but also she can be so serious and profound when the occasion necessitates. A true friend. 

Oh what the heck...here she is looking stunning and so youthful she couldn't possibly be the grooms Mother surely? (Ok...a little over the top I know, but she's bound to see this...plus I'm a little older than her...well a few months in fact, so I can say these things) Don't worry, I've just contacted her to check if she okay about posting this photo and she's given me her permission. Now look at those smiles...what an absolutely wonderful family photo...don't you agree? 

(Photograph courtesy of  Nicholas and Carol Frost Photography) 

 If you'd like to revisit a Fairy-tale Scottish Castle Wedding then click here for Part 1 and Part 2

I am reading...gardening books. I've got lots to catch up on because surprisingly enough I've forgotten so much. What needs planting where/when/how? I'm wanting raised beds for a veggie plot too, so there's lots to do, think about and organise. No doubt I'll be following up with regular posts on my progress.
But I've also got lots of books that haven't been read yet. I unpacked them onto new book shelves last week, so I'll be picking out a new one soon. I always get excited at the prospect of starting a new book.
Any ideas what I should read next?

I am hoping...that I'll be able to plant out all of my new purchases over the next few days. Times getting on for chitting (pardon me but that's a gardening term) also I have a wild seed mat that will hopefully flower and help the diminishing numbers of bees, if I can get it into the ground soon enough.  

Around the house...there's less dust which I'm happy to announce. But my week of free time with no builders is about to end and they'll be back on Monday. Hey ho...you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

I am pondering...on whether I'll find a new front door design that I like and will work for the property. I've decided on one, but once fitted it just doesn't work and I hate dislike it. I can't blame anyone for this, but it's got to go. An expensive error and one that I've learnt from, so I'm going slowly with choosing another to replace it. It's now becoming an obsession as I'm finding that my head is on a swivel when I'm out driving checking other front doors, which isn't the best idea or safest. Hopefully I'll get there soon.

A favorite quote for today..."Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant" Robert Louis Stevenson

One of my favorite things...is having my family all in one nest and that's about to happen. But this time instead of it being for just a brief period ie holiday it'll be a little more permanent than that. I'm not sure how long but my daughter is coming home to live with us. It's a long story but lets just say its a new phase in her life and an exciting one. It'll be wonderful to have her here everyday. We speak everyday now, so I know we have such a massive amount in common and get on so well...I just hope that will carry on. 

A few plans: To balance my time better...work, rest and play but not necessarily in that order. 

A peek into my day... 

I decided that you can see my unfinished drawing of the kingfisher because that has been part of my day today.

I've just noticed that I've included my wrist brace in this photo. I decided to give my wrist a rest from the brace. I hate wearing it and my skins not too happy about it either, but I've put it back on now. One more week wearing it should do it, then I'll downgrade to a tight bandage for support...by the way my ribs have recovered so they were only cracked and not broken thankfully.

Well that's it for this week folks...I'm linking up with Peggy over at The Simple Woman then off duty...whoohoo it's Friday night! 
Thanks Peggy for hosting once again. 

Why don't you make a cuppa and head over there? They'll be lots to see. 
Have a wonderful weekend everyone...
...Toddleloo for now 

Wednesday 12 March 2014

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday #249

Okay, so one week on and I've still not got an actual desk to show you. 
The room is in the process of being painted this week and I have to confess it does seem a little odd to actually paint the room when it'll probably have splashes and splodges of additional colour probably within a few days of my daughter and I moving into it. But every room in the house is having new windows and repainted with a fresh lick of paint....art studio included.  
Anyway...I have something to show you today, but I don't want you to think that I've lost the plot or have a fit of giggles and cause yourself a mischief. 
Okay well why not...(have a giggle that is and not the injury) 
It's good to have a laugh isn't it?

Some of you may remember that I have picked up my knitting needles after a 20+ year gap and I was happily clicking away with no intention of actually producing anything. 
But then my daughter sent me an incredible newspaper article from 'The Guardian' newspaper, which requested knitters to pick up their needles and help out, knitting penguin jumpers!
How cute are these little guys? 
(photo and story courtesy of The Guardian click here for more details)

(Photo and article courtesy of The Guardian...click here for more details)

Now I just couldn't resist that request could I? 
But it appears once again that I'm tail-end Charlie and too late to help out this time. 
Thankfully the penguins have enough jumpers donated for the moment. 
It's brilliant news to know that everyone responded brilliantly, but now I wonder what do I do with this...?
  It's far too small for Muffy even if she gave up all of her treats ^..^
I'll just have to carry on and finish it...who knows...there maybe need for more at another time and I'll be ready and organised.
If you'd like to check out some more craft and art desks around the globe then click here to join in the fun with Julia over at Stamping Ground Blog.

Thanks for popping over to my place...it's always great to see you.
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone and I hope to see you again soon.

Monday 10 March 2014

Blue Monday...Sir William Wallace statue and dawn chorus

I think I should let some others welcome you here on this fanastic spring morning...

Dawn Chorus with Woodpecker on percussion
(click on the Neesie Natters above the orange button to hear the audio)

But it is Monday and I'm linking up as usual with Sally...so here's my entry for today's Blue Monday link. 
It's a photo of the Statue of Sir William Wallace that was created in 1888 by William Grant Stevenson, and it is positioned opposite His Majesty's Theatre and across from Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen city centre. If you've visited the city then no doubt you've seen the statue and of course no doubt you've heard or seen the film 'Braveheart'.

Sir William Wallace was a Scottish landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence.
If you'd like to read more about William Wallace click here

Enjoy your day...I'm off outside to see what needs plucking, planting, pruning and perusing! 

Thanks for stopping by...it's great to see you and even better if you have a quick natter.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

What's On Your Work Desk? #248

I wish I could say something was on my workdesk but look...nada...zip...diddleysquat!
But there is progress...we now have at least highlighted which room will be the art studio. If you've visited me previously you may realise that it's not the original room that I told you about. Like many things around here lately, the plan keeps changing. 
Here's what the other room looked like with it's open fire and downstairs location. 
Click here to view.
It would be a fantastic room but then it would be better as an office/study/snug etc so we've relocated upstairs.
This location will be better because I'll be able to make a mess, leave things lying around or out on the desk etc, so I'm hoping that it'll lend itself to more productivity.
Well they'll be no excuse because our daughter is returning home and she has BIG plans for the room too. This is actually her desk and the paint splattered chair was my Grandmothers. Note the new windows? 
The light wasn't the best for taking these photos and now when I look at the colours I'm glad that I'm not showing you my artwork. For instance, the carpet is in fact blue. It was to be thrown out but now will remain because it will probably be splashed, glued, and generally splodged! 

The view out of this window is stunning and should certainly inspire us...its overlooking the side garden and is filled with plants, trees, masses of birds and their song. It also has amazing sunsets too.
 Oh I'm so looking forward to spring and summer.

Anyway, the lovely Julia over at her Stamping Ground blog will be slapping my wrists for taking so much of your time...these WOYWW posts are supposed to be brief so that we can nip around the globe checking out each others desks...and there's a few to visit. 
If you'd like to play too click here to be transported. 

But one last thing that your might like to see before you go...It's Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Aberdeen Art Gallery is the main visual arts exhibition space in the city of Aberdeen. It opened in 1885 in a building designed by Alexander Marshall Mackenzie. 
The fascinating history of the Art Gallery can be traced back to 1873. 
I nipped into the gift shop briefly last week and noticed that they are currently exhibiting 'The Great Tapestry of Scotland'. 
I know that many of the WOYWW gang may be interested to read about this amazing project.
(photo courtesy of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums)
Click here if you'd like to know more.

Well I must dash...there's so much to do.
I'm so sorry if I haven't managed to reply to your much loved comments or visited you yet, but I hopefully will. I have every good intention, it's just this sleep thingy that happens and gets in the way especially after my 5.30am start and 17 hours on the go! 
Have a wonderful Wednesday whatever you do...have fun and keep smiling

Monday 3 March 2014

Blue Monday...Knitting?

I've had a notion since winter started that I'd sit by the fire knitting at some stage. 
Don't ask me where this notion came from...it just seemed to conjure up a cosy picture. I knew that I had some knitting needles somewhere but hadn't a clue where they might be. 
Over the weekend they appeared. 
Typical as spring is about to burst forth, I finally get my act together...talk about Tail-end Charlie. 
I knew it had been some years since I last knitted and I've just realised how long it's been.
The wool is from when my son was born...or I should say before he was born.
The baby blue gave it away and that was probably the last time I picked up a knitting needle...over 21 years ago! 
I was never a proficient knitter it has to be said, but I do like the process. 
You can sit comfortably, cosy, with mind and hands just doing their thing whilst even watching the TV if you don't mind the odd slipped stitch!
(That last statment is purely my level of skill)
At first I hadn't a clue what to do, but as I picked up the needles and wool something happened. I rode that bike again...or should I say I started to knit. 
I managed to remember how to work the rib (knit one, purl one...oh listen to me...like a true pro?) then I had the challenge of changing to knit a line, purl a line!
It just got easier until I looked back to discover a very raggedy piece of work. 
I then remembered that I should have started with a smaller pair of needles for the rib. Whoops too late now. Or should that be the other way around???
But I must remember that this is only to have a play, so Muffy need not worry that she'll be the laughing stock of the park in one of my home knitted jumpers. 
It'll probably go into hiding once again when I've done or possibly keep growing into the longest scarf in living memory, due to me not knowing how to end it!

Just a brief update on the renovation of the windows and doors...we are over half way now and thankfully the sanding down seems to be tailoring off.
But what to do with all the old frames...well chop them up of course! 
Thankfully someone liked doing this job...just call him Mr Chopchop.
As you can see there's lots of safety gear and rules, but I have to say I still can't watch. 
We are aware that all that wood was sitting around the gas tank, but thankfully that's all sorted now. 

And finally I thought you might like to meet the renovation gang...
There's nothing better than a cup of tea or coffee to keep the troops happy...well maybe a piece of home baking too perhaps? 
That reminds me it's nearly time for the next one.
Happy Blue Monday to you all...
If you would like to see more Blue Monday links, then nip over to Sally by clicking here
Have fun! 

Saturday 1 March 2014

Has Spring sprung or not?

So is it officially spring or not? 
Apparently a row has erupted over the official date. 
According to the Meteorological Office spring has sprung, but much of the country is still gripped by icy winter weather. 
The Met Office classes the first day of spring as 1 March, saying March, April and May are regarded as the spring months. But traditionally spring has started on the night of 20/21 March. 
So I'm thinking we are in a transitional period of neither winter or spring.

There's a battle quietly playing out each day with the seasons and one day in particular last week, it was split between the two. For the first half of the day it was definitely winter but then as the afternoon arrived so did spring.
As Muffy and I participated in our early morning walk...wrapped up like we were off to explore the polar icecap...I became aware that our surroundings we were in a static state. It was neither winter nor spring.
The sun low and blinding...wind roaring through the copse like a freight train, which thankfully didn't reach us certainly made it feel like winter.
It wasn't a morning for birdsong or twitter-bations either...there was more of an eery silence prevailed, whilst the birds snuggled in their nest.
The raindrops pitter-patted on my fur-lined hood.
Yes...can you believe that I've become a hoodie since being back here!
I noted the cows huddled around their red metal grilled feeder in the bottom corner of the field away from the winds vicious bite...looking for all the world like they were snuggled around an electric fire for warmth. 
Muffy's paws collected so much mud she was nearly twice her usual weight...bringing grit, mud and general grime home for yet another dip in the sink. 
We called a brief greeting to a neighbour as we passed which the wind whipped up and took away, but the wave said it all "Hi, I'm fine...how are you? See you when it's not so cold to catch up!" 
But then as the day progressed and the sun put in an appearance and the whole picture changed. Birds once more sang and visited the garden, bulbs and buds began to sprout and spring open, giving a splash of much needed colour, the container of strawberries looked amazing and gave a huge lift that we will be able to have strawberries once more, eat lunch al-fresco and generally enjoy the 18 hours of daylight...whoohoo...bring it on!

This one's for you Darla...it's the 'wee burn' that you wished you could hear trickling when I last posted about it (click here to see). 
We revisited it once again but this time I took a video with sound
I hope you enjoy it Emoji

Just before I go...I thought you might like to see Hamish from the Stick Paw Prize Draw all wrapped up and on his way to MacMillanMarie in Canada
He caused quite a stir with the ladies in the Post Office in his smart tartan kilt and 
tam o'shanter. I think basically they wanted to adopt him but he was already spoken for.  

I have to admit I was rather pleased with myself when I managed to pixel the address label. Hehe...I love to learn new things especially if I manage them without the aid of a safety net (basically someone from the younger generation) 

Today whether the first day of spring or not is also St Davids Day.
Celebrations are being held around Wales to mark the national day of the country's patron saint. 
So Happy St.Davids Day
Have a wonderful weekend everyone
I'm linking up with Saturday Show and Tell... 

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