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

Thursday 31 December 2015

Christmas Elves kicking back!

I've changed my post slightly today with the events that have happened over the last 24 hours.
People have seen the weather reports and news footage from the UK, and have sent messages and notes to check on whether we're okay here, from the four corners of the globe.
Canada, Australia, Middle East, South of the UK to way up high at the top of Scotland.
When something like this happens you realise just how technology keeps you in touch with family and friends.
I have to say I was deeply touched and appreciated each and every one of them.
I should state right here and now that we are fine after the storm 'Frank' visited yesterday... but I know we are extremely lucky and many people out there haven't been.
We live on a high hill and so were not effected by the River Dee flooding it's banks.
I've seen incredible footage of familiar places that are virtually unrecognizable now.
But as with disasters there are always wonderful stories of good will and incredible caring people pulling together from the local community.
So thank you to all of the emergency services, agencies, helpers, carers and anyone who has been a helpful elf in one form or another at this time.
And now onto my original post.... about more elves.

It's time for all of the helpful Christmas Elves to put up their feet and kick back.
All of the hard work has been done and it's time for reflection. 
Personally, I had a lovely Christmas with family and friends and I hope that you did too. 
We had lots of incredible food, lots of fun and enjoyed all of the festivities.
But it seems to be over far too quickly, but isn't that always the case. 
When you are really enjoying something... it is over before you know it.
I'm contemplating many things at the moment and feel the year to come will have lots of changes.
Hopefully all of them for the good. 
Have you decided on any new year resolutions yet?
I'm quite pleased that even with being so busy... I managed to do a quick sketch and painting.
After being 0.3kg overweight with my flight luggage, I felt I had to use my art supplies at least once.
As soon as I saw my sister's new addition to her Christmas decoration hoard, I knew I wanted to paint him. He is so cute... but I'm not sure that the sheep who normally sits on that shelf has the same opinion.
Just look at him peeping from behind.
Here he is... although a little rushed I was still pleased that I actually managed to do one painting!
I now see that I should have added more shade etc but hey ho... it was a busy Christmas holiday after all. 
I'm linking to Paint Party Friday as usual for inspiration, encouragement, friendly banter and sheer pleasure... why don't you join me.
Paint Party Friday
And so onwards to the New Year...
I wish you all Good Luck, Health and Happiness for 2016.
I've loved sharing a little of my world with you this last year.
Let's hope 2016 is a good one for us all.
Enjoy xoxo

Sunday 13 December 2015

The Barn Owl

It's not every day (or night) that you get to see the majestic Barn Owl fly across your path. 
But that's exactly what happened to my son on his way home from work on Thursday evening. 
It must have been quite a sight because he has been talking about it ever since.
I've heard owl calls from our garden, but not been privileged to see one yet.
So now I feel we need to put up an owl box. 
We already have numerous bird boxes positioned around the garden for the smaller visitors, but maybe we need to up our game now that we know a barn owl is close by.
My son obviously didn't manage to get a photo mainly because he was driving at the time, but also it was such a surprise to have the owl fly across his path. 
But I did have this photo below from our visit to Gardening Scotland during the summer, just in case you've never seen a Barn Owl before (I know but just in case)
She was a rescue owl that unfortunately I can't remember her name... but I did manage (with permission) to give her plumage a gentle stroke.
She was magnificent.
If you'd like to know more details about the Barn Owl or to see a video of one in flight then click here

Lots of links this week....
I will be linking up as usual to My Sunday Photo link over at Darren's place.
I'm also linking into image-in-ing if you'd like to see more photographs.
And Through my lens

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for popping into my place.
I hope I see you again soon

Friday 11 December 2015

Paint Party Friday... Koi Carp

I've had a play and experimented a little during the week, and finally this is where I've ended up with the Koi Carp watercolour painting. 
I think I'm finished on this one and I'll finally call it a day.
It's been good to nip in and out having a dabble here and there, but I think it's time to move on.
I'm pleased with certain aspects, but regret others... but that's what it's like when you're learning isn't it?
Like many of you I'm having a hard time fitting in all that I'd like to at the moment. 
It's that time of year when expectations can completely outweigh reality.
I am going to take stock of what I do and how I allocate my time for this coming new year.
I think it will be a major time for change (hopefully for the good).

I will try to visit as many PPF's blogs as I can because it's amazing how brilliant, inspiring and uplifting it is to see so many artists work. 
They are a great bunch, so click here if you'd like to join in too.
Paint Party Friday
Thanks Eva and Kristin for hosting once again.
I'm also linking to Sunday Sketches

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
Have fun and enjoy

Sunday 6 December 2015

My Sunday Photo... The Christmas Aga

I can't believe that I haven't written a post since last Sunday... and here we are again!
So soon...

We have visitors at the moment, so Christmas has begun in our household.
Unfortunately, the weather has been so grey and dark recently, that I haven't been able to take any decent photographs. 
(Roll on the 21st December I say... when we can say we're heading into the lighter nights!)
I thought I'd show you where all the action will be taking place... the Christmas Aga will be working overtime for sure!
But there are so many other uses for the Aga along with the obvious one of cooking, 
Here's one for example... Dog drying!
It works a treat just so long as you cover the hot plates... I think Muffy loves this part the best.
She needs to have her paws and tummy washed after her morning walk at the moment, but she doesn't seem to mind. 
I think she just adores the warm water and then the coziest best seat in the house!
(I'm linking up with Darren as usual over at My Sunday Photo)
Have a wonderful weekend everyone and I really will try harder to write and take more photos during this coming week.
Thanks for stopping by... I hope to see you again soon 

Sunday 29 November 2015

My Sunday Photo

My wish came true... we have sheep in the back field!
I couldn't resist taking a photo of them this morning, but unfortunately I had to take it from inside an upstairs window. 
The sheep are still a little nervous in their new home and run at the least thing.

They're just come right up to the house and set the intruder light off, but it's too dark to take the photo now. Mufftypup is aware of them being there, but can't work out what they are...  or what she should do about it. We're keeping a close eye on here when she goes out into the garden. 
I think the ewes might think she's a lamb. 
A small lamb!
(for those of you who haven't met Muffin... here's a brief video of her woodland walk this morning)

Have a great weekend everyone.
If you'd like to see more photo's... click on the link below.

Friday 27 November 2015

Kindness and Koi Carp... PPF Week 38

Have you experienced Black Friday up close and personal today?
I'm happy to say I haven't been near any of the shops all day... they can get on with it as far as I'm concerned. 
Instead, I've been a busy bee, secret squirrel, Santa's little helper or whatever you'd like to call it... by driving around my local area leaving artwork for people to hopefully pick up and enjoy... for FREE.
It's all part of Scott Wong's idea to spread random acts of kindness to be enjoyed, instead of fighting and stampeding each other to purchase an electrical item or whatever, that we probably don't even need!
I started early this morning before the rain came and drove around my local area.  
I left a piece in a park and one near a cafe (which to my delight disappeared within minutes of me walking no more than twenty paces away) I then went to a favourite walk of mine and left a piece on a gate and the final piece in a school playground.
I was beside myself with delight when I returned home to find that the school had left a message on twitter to thank me!
It supposed to be my act of kindness, but I have to admit I've had so much fun and delight from taking part in this project I'll probably do it again next year. 
(Click here if you'd like to see the artwork I dropped)
With all of the above taking up my time this week... choosing, wrapping, tagging and distributing the artwork, I've not had much time to start a new painting. 
I happy to say that I do have a little something tinkering away in the dark recesses of my mind, which I hope to bring into the light and start drawing soon. 
So I thought I'd revisit and have another play with the Koi Carp watercolour I started a few weeks ago. I've decided to use this piece to play and experiement with.
This afternoon I worked on the water once again, but I've got such a long way to go with this... any helpful tips would be gratefully accepted. 

I better dash over to the Paint Party Friday link up with Kristin and Eva... before I'm too late.
I hope you have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend. 
Keep looking for those random pieces of art out there... it's a global project and you just might get lucky! 

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Flooding the streets with art... WOYWW 338

Diddledee dee... Diddledee dee.... Diddledee dee...
It's all go in this household at the moment. 
I've just taken a large box of Christmas card orders to the Post Office this morning as I'm still helping my daughter with her orders along with building muscles carrying boxes and envelopes. 
It's amazing how heavy paper can be... but it'll save me going to the gym!
My table was clear, for a few minutes, but now I'm getting ready for tomorrow's random act of kindness event. 
It's my first year participating in this project, but it's been going for three years now. 
It's the creation of Scott Wong from Wisconsin.
He wanted to participate in random acts of kindness after spending Thanksgiving with family and friends and not indulging in the Black Friday mayhem. 
If you'd like to read more or perhaps spread the word, or even better still participate then click here
It was difficult to choose which pieces of art to include and I'm still not convinced that this is the definite final pieces. 
I wanted to include the children in this act... hopefully passing on not only the wonderful surprise, but also that it is far easier than we think to pass on an act of kindness. 
I've included bookmarks (which may be dropped near a library or children's play park)
The Teddy Bear hopefully will appeal to small children too. 
An autumn watercolour of a fallen leaf and finally a Highland Cow... just because. 
I may also includele a zentangle for the colouring craze fans, but it's difficult to choose which one.

So there you are... my desk today.
If you'd like to see more desks dotted around the globe then click here to join the "What's on your desk Wednesday" (WOYWW)
Have a fantastic day and spread the kindness and smiles.
Thanks for stopping by my place.

Saturday 21 November 2015

My Sunday Photo... Splash an Dash!

Yes the snow has arrived and this was Muffin's first meeting. 
She ran out for her usual last minute night-time call, but came to a sudden stop when her paws touched the ground.
The snow wasn't too deep but it still came as a shock! 
We've now discovered the splash an dash technique.
Apologies for the quality of this photo.
 If there's a better opportunity to take another tomorrow morning then I'll post one.
That is unless the snow becomes too deep and there's a chance we'd lose her! 
Have a great Sunday everyone.
(The internet is playing up too but I hope it'll be okay in the morning to add link to Darren's Sunday Photo link)

Friday 20 November 2015

Wolf - Paint Party Friday

Here he is finished (well sort of... I may scan him before making any more tweaks) my wolf... although it's not the best photo due to light issues.
It seems quite appropriate to have designed a wolf because yesterday we had an incident with the sheep in the adjacent field! 
Now I know you'll all immediately think there was a wolf involved, but thankfully we don't have wolves in our part of the country! 
No... this was a little white Jack Russell dog who ran from the woods and tried to round up the sheep. I'll forgive you if you have a little giggle here because that does conjure up comic thoughts, but no unfortunately this little chap was extremely excited and started to separate the sheep, biting their legs and ears. I ran out as soon as I saw him and managed to get said little dog away from one particular sheep, who was bleeding from his ear.... for the dog only to run after the rest of the herd. 
So this was serious, I had to call in the fitter, younger troups...(my son) to take the dog lead and to try to round him up.
I should add at this point the owner was nowhere to be seen! 
Unfortunately, seeing the tables had turned and now the hunter was the hunted, he took a massive sprint onto the woods (as fast as his little legs could go... but it's amazing how fast they go when your on the run!)
The farmer was called and he did a quick roundup to check the flock were all okay. 
He seems quite resounded to the fact that people keep their dogs off the lead and this is a regular occurrence.
I assured him that I'll be making sure McMuffy isn't a nuisance... although she could hardly chase them for long with her little legs even if they thought she was a dog. 
I think they'd possibly think she was a lamb!
We're only 4 degree's this morning and there's a warning that snow is on the way for tonight and tomorrow. It'll be our first, so I'm sort of excited but also dreading it.

Once again linking to Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday blog.
Thank you ladies for such a fun place to party.
Paint Party Friday
I'm also joining Alexandra over at Sunday Sketches.
Oh and I'm taking part in the random act of kindness to FLOOD the streets with ART on Black Friday (27th November) If you'd like to know more... then click here
I'm also helping with my daughter's Christmas card orders.
Here I am at the centre of all the activity.
with the little fluffy quality controller!
(the photo was taken last year... I haven't started dressing up either the rooms or myself yet!)
If you'd like to see more of my daughters design work... then click here

I'm off now to light the fires and add more
thermal layers... if that's even possible!
Stay cozy or cool depending on your location.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Flood the streets with art invite (WOYWW)

I've always been a great believer in passing a smile on. 
It doesn't take much, but it can have such an impact on someone's day.
Upon hearing all of the horrendous atrocities that are have been happening during these last few weeks, I think it's so important that we try to do whatever we can even no matter how small a gesture, as long as it's a positive gesture. 
It's not only for the person receiving the smile, but also for the giver. 
This week I've been even more aware of trying to help people and smiling. 
(Not in a creepy way of course... I thought I should just clarify that point)
So, when I received an invition from Nicola McLean to join a special project, I knew I had to accept.
Basically, it is for anyone to join whether you're a artist, crafter, potter, knitter, jewelry maker or whatever you create then you could join in too. 
So here's my invitation for you to join if you wish...

The project is called FLOOD the streets with ART.
This will be the third year that Scott Wong has co-ordinated this fantastic random act of kindness. 
(My first year participating...)
The event will take place on Black Friday which is 27th November.
Everyone everywhere on the entire planet is invited to create something and then leave it on the streets as a random act of kindness for someone to pick up, take home and love. 
Scott is asking everyone to be involved and that your art (no matter what you create) be dropped on Black Friday. 
A simple tag explaining that the art is FREE and hasn't been left behind, discarded or rubbish is all that's needed. 
If you can't or don't feel like participating, then please just share! 
Here's a link to see more details if you'd like to be involved.
I'm not sure how many or which pieces of my art work I'll be dropping in my local area, but I'm really looking forward to join in. If anyone wants to participate but is unsure or has questions... then please write in the comments below and I'll try to answer them. Thank you

I wanted to attach this invite today because it's Wednesday and I'm linking up with the What's on your work desk Wednesday (WOYWW gang) 
They're a fantastic bunch of creative artists, so I know they'll be interested in this random act of kindness... but I can certainly understand if it's a busy time for some with Christmas preparations etc and they'll not be able to manage. 

I better carry on with the WOYWW show and tell... because Julie over at Stamping Ground Blog likes to keep our post brief.
(Sorry Julie this is a little larger than usual)

Here's where I've been working today... on my kitchen table once again.
I'm helping my daughter with her Christmas card orders. 
If you'd like to see more of her work then click on the link in my sidebar... to be magically transported to her blog.
I've not really got into the Christmas spirit yet, but this will certainly help.
This particular collection is destined to a shop in London!
I'll leave it there for this week, but just give the FLOOD the streets with ART a thought. 
Even if you manage to only drop one item... just think what a lovely surprise that would be for the person finding it.
Thanks once again and I hope you have a great day

Saturday 14 November 2015

My Sunday Photo....Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

As the temperature dips and winter approaches I find myself dreaming of sandy beaches, pure crystal clear blue water, warm sunshine, stunning skies and scenery.
My mind wanders back to fantastic holidays whilst living in Australia... one particular favourite was when we visited New Zealand.
We made two separate trips... one to the North Island... and one to the South Island.
(If you'd like to see more of our New Zealand adventures then type New Zealand in my search box in my side bar of this blog. You'll see lot's of posts about our trips to both Islands
Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve as it is known in Maori or Cathedral Cove as we knew it is located on the Coromandel Peninsula of the North Island and is accessible only on foot, boat or kayak.
It's a magnificent beach.
Thanks for joining me for a little flash back photo. 
I'm going to link up with the Sunday Photo gang over at Darren's place if you'd like to see lots more photographs. 
Enjoy your Sunday everyone

Friday 13 November 2015

The wolf is still at the door...(PPF Week 36)

Hello everyone... 
I'm happy to report we survived Abigail.
(the storm which was supposed to visit us yesterday... she actually stood us up in the end). 
She never arrived.
If she did visit you then I hope you are okay and have no storm damage. 

Well it's Friday and so let's kick off the weekend with a party... Paint Party Friday
Here's what I'm taking to the party.
My wolf ink drawing.
It's going to take quite some time to finish him, but it's all about the journey... right?
I'm contemplating giving him blue eyes... what do you think?
I find drawing these ink designs very relaxing.
It's easy to just nip in for a few minutes here and there (unless I can squeeze an hour or so) and leaving everything out on the table in between sessions is an added bonus.
It is only one ink pen and paper after all!
Click on the icon below if you'd like to join the party.
Paint Party Friday
I'm also joining Alexandra over at Sunday Sketches.

I know my previous title from Wednesday's blog post caused quite a stir... thinking that a wolf might have been a threat to McMuffy. I'm happy to report she's fine and we don't actually have real wolves here in Aberdeenshire... well none that I know of.
Talking of Muffy... she's at the vets this morning having her teeth cleaned. 
I'm a little nervous it has to be said and I can't wait to go to collect her.
Here's a photo I took of her this morning.
It was the moment that she realised she wasn't going to the park... but to the vet's instead (again!)
She's fighting fit and got a clean bill of health earlier in the week, but she needs her teeth cleaned.
Not bad for an auld girl eh?
Have a wonderful weekend everyone
I hope if you have surprises... then they are all good ones.
As always I'd like to thank you for visiting my place.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Wolf comes to call...(WOYWW #336)

A little late here today, but the sun was shining, so I wanted to make the most of it.
I'm multi-tasking and because it's Wednesday I thought I'd show you what I have on my desk. 
Well it's actually the kitchen table.
Since I completed the Inktober challenge my son has been asking me to draw a wolf! 
I'm not sure why he particularly wanted a wolf, but I thought I'd give it a go...
I love to draw using ink because I can just nip in and out as time allows, which is perfect for today.
Talking of which I'm going to nip across to link up to Julia at Stamping Ground blog
and the 'What's on your desk Wednesday (WOYWW) gang.
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone and thanks for popping into my place.

Sunday 8 November 2015

My Sunday Photo... Remembrance Sunday Bouquet

My Remembrance Bouquet with a proportion of the cost being donated to the Poppy Appeal.


Friday 6 November 2015

Working in a Fog

How can it be Friday already? 
Well my phone, radio and calendar tell me it is, but I'm finding it hard to believe. 
One of the reasons could be because I've been in a fog over the last three days... quite literally.
Although the temperatures have been unseasonably warm this week, they've been accompanied by thick fog. Sometimes so much so that we could hardly see the garden fence. 
So I took that as a great excuse to indulge in a painting. 
After finishing the Inktober challenge I needed some colour.
The grapevine provided me with that fix. 
I apologise for the poor quality of this photograph... but foggy conditions certainly make photography challenging. 
Hopefully, the sun will come up tomorrow...(that sounds like a musical).
If that's the case, then I'll be certain to replace the photo with a better one.
I'm off to join in with the Paint Party over at Kristin and Eva's place.
Paint Party Friday
Have fun and Happy Painting to you all.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Autumnal scenes

Autumn has been spectacular this year. 
It has highlighted what I already knew... that it's my favourite season. 
Maybe it's the fact that summer very often is a disappointment here in Bonnie Scotland, so when the temperature rises to 15 degrees (in October!) I'm right there to appreciate it as much as I can.
The photo above was taken whilst on a dog walk.
Who wouldn't love nature's palette?
Everywhere you look there's something to catch the eye.
Berry's, leaves, sunsets and sunrises to name but a few. 
This Canna Lily which I planted into a large pot along with fuschias, ivy and lobelia (which is hidden under all that foliage) hasn't flowered this year, but I'm not too sad about that because just look at the colour of those leaves.
I just have to try to save it from frost and the plummeting temperatures over night with our clear skies. 
I'm thinking about wrapping it with bubble wrap, but if anyone has any tips... I'm all ears!
The floating leaves caught my attention the other day on another dog walk.
The windy conditions caused them to float and congregate at one end of the lake.
There's nothing better than when a chore becomes fun don't you think?
Here's my son initially helping me to collect some of the fallen leaves from the trees in our garden... but as often happens... things took a turn for to the fun side with a game of hide and seek.
Muffin had to find him when he had buried himself in the leaves. 
She's never played this game before so it was fun to see her reaction.
You may have to look closely to find Muffin... she was nearly buried too.

And finally just when I thought Halloween is over... I got a big scare this afternoon, but thankfully it turned into delight very quickly.
The fog which has been visiting most of the country (mainly further down south) arrived here today.
I looked out of the window to check on the density of the fog this afternoon, when I suddenly noticed white shapes moving in the adjacent field.
Straining my eyes and doing extremely excessive blinks with my eyes were on stalks, I realised that the farmer had brought sheep into the field.
I'm delighted and have wanted the sheep to come nearer to the house since we returned from Australia (they used to be right up to our garden when we last lived here... which was so much fun when the lambs appeared)
I'm not sure what Muffin will make of them... she's never been close to one before.
In fact I don't think she's even seen one.
This'll be fun!
I couldn't take a photo because it's a pea souper out there now, but you know me... I won't be able to resist!

I'm linking to My World Tuesday today.
Our World Tuesday Graphic

I hope you are having fun this week and enjoying autumn too.
Happy Autumn to you all.

Sunday 1 November 2015

My Sunday Photo... Halloween Sunset

I'm not such a great fan of Halloween, but it certainly seems to be gaining popularity. 
I think it may be due to my childhood and not liking scary things. 
We never went trick or treating or had costumes, but we did bob for apples and had them hanging up on strings to try to eat them with our hands tied behind our backs. 
My Sunday photo this week was taken in my garden and has a Halloween feel to it.
I think the building look a little like a church, but it is in fact a ruined barn with my new pheasant weather vane proudly perched on top.
(The wood pigeons have to find a new perch!) 
The sunset was a spectacular one and I'm joining up with the Sunday Photo link as usual to share it.
Enjoy your Sunday and thanks for visiting

Friday 30 October 2015

Reading, robins and reminders

As soon as I saw Tracey Fletcher King's instagram illustration recently of her comfy reading chair, I knew that I needed to draw my own reading corner. 
It's been incredibly neglected over the whole summer, so it's time it got a little attention. 
Now winter is coming towards us, I hope that I'll be curled up here with a mass of great books to plough through. Bliss!
Obviously with the roaring fire toasting my toes... ahh... I never thought I'd say it but now I think about it... roll on winter if that's the case. 
(by the way if you have any recommendations please just pop them into the comments below)  
I'm still managing to add to my Inktober Challenge, although I'm still not up to date. 
I thought I'd take a photo of the reading corner so that you can see what I was using as a reference. 
I've not drawn it exactly, otherwise I'd be here until October 2016, so let's say it's my artistic license. 
Here are a few other sketches just in case you didn't see them on my Instagram or Facebook accounts.
If you did, then I apologise... you must be fed up seeing these designs yet again, but we're near to the end of the month.
I'll leave you in peace then.
I've got a thing about Highland Cows.
This one isn't Hetty (drawn last year) but maybe Hilda perhaps?

I had a request to include a grapevine in this challenge... I'm pleased with this one which if you know me is unusual. I think it would be better with a nice glass of red, but maybe I'll have one later!
I like the swirly whirly grapes.
Now here's a very simple design of a fuschia that is still actually blooming in my garden. 
It's a beautiful pink puffy ballerina tutu.
And finally, I wasn't going anywhere near Christmas but I've got a few robins in my garden and they're singing beautifully. 
I think they want to be drawn.
I'm heading off to the PPF party now to check out other artists and they're amazing work. 
If you'd like to join me then click on the link below. 
Paint Party Friday
Have a brilliant weekend everyone
Happy painting too xx
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