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

Sunday 31 January 2016

My Sunday Photo... Winter Sky

It seems that since we have started a new trend recently of naming storms that come to our shores, they have taken on a new force. It's like with their new identity they are more powerful. 
Take for instance the latest one that arrived in the early hours of yesterday....Gertrude.
She was obviously very full of herself and vented full anger on us. 
Maybe she was menopausal or had had some terrible misfortune because oh boy was she angry!
For the first time I could actually feel the house tremble whilst she whipped herself up into a frenzy. We have large trees on our property and I had some very vivid thoughts about them coming to call, quite literally, especially with having had so much rain recently... I mean that came weaken roots and softening the ground surely?
Frank ... the storm before Gertrude brought floods like Aberdeenshire has never seen before. 
So maybe we should stop this new trend and revert back to the old ways.
Let's concentrate on saying farewell to winter and welcome spring.
I captured this winter sky whilst out walking one crisp cold morning last week.

If you'd like to see more photo's then click on the camera and join us over at Photo A Life 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone

Friday 29 January 2016

Get your lovely Mango's - PPF

After a few weeks of creating black ink drawings, I needed a blast of colour for this weeks link to Paint Party Friday. 
So when I came across Tracey Fletcher King's latest video illustrating her technique for painting a mango, I was thrilled because it's no secret that I'm a huge fan, but also that I had a mango to hand. 
As you can see it's rather dark for painting, but what can you do during winter in Bonnie Scotland. You have to work with what you're given. 
With desk lamp and overhead lights switched on I dubiously started.
For those of you that like to know details of what supplies were used, then here they are...
I used the Kohi-I-Noor watercolour paints as shown in the above photo on Daler Rowney 300g/m2 
Aquafine paper, outlining with uni-ball eye waterproof black pen and white corrective pen.
I like the texture of the paper which gives the effect for the mango skin,
And here's the finished mango. 
It was such fun to paint and gave me my colour fix. 
If you'd like to take a look at the video of  Tracey painting a mango then click on her name, or nip across to the Paint Party Friday link, then click here.
Paint Party Friday
and for Sunday Sketches 
Also Express Your Creativity

Right... now I can actually eat the mango.... Mmm 
Have a fantastic Friday and wonderful weekend everyone.
Hope to see you again soon

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Letters Of Note - Shaun Usher

If you enjoy a good book, writing and receiving letters, then here's something that might interest you.
Before I go any further, I need to say that I am in no way being paid or receiving anything for writing this blog post. 
There now that's out of the way... let's get to the really interesting stuff.
Last weekend I received a wonderful birthday present of a hard-backed book
 'Letters Of  Note' - correspondence deserving of a wider audience.
'Letters Of Note' is a collection of over 100 of the worlds most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters. I'm slowly working my way through the fascinating letters and with each turn of the page there's the power of the written word. 
They capture the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives.
I don't want to give too much away, but I can honestly say it's one of the most interesting, page turning and fascinating books that I've ever come across. 
There are copies of Virginia Wolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, Queen Elizabeth II recipe of drop scones sent to President Eisenhower, Gandhi's appeal for calm to Hitler, to Leonardo Da Vinci's remarkable job application letter along with many more.
Each page has a detailed synopsis of the letter, details of the sender, recipient, date and reason for the note. Then a typed letter (which with some of the historical hand-writing is necessary...well it is in my case) and finally a photocopy of the original letter or note.
The handwritten or typed letters and photographs have all been collated by Shaun Usher who is a writer and sole custodian of the blog http://www.lettersofnote.com
The popular website has been visited over 100 million times to date.
'Letters Of Note' is Shaun's first book and was published by Unbound in 2009. 
The follow up volume of 'More Letters Of Note' was printed last year.
It obviously must be a labour of love, to be the sole custodian of these amazing snippets from history and it's a real privilege to see and read such an entertaining, unusual and inspiring collection.
I will now put the second book on my wish list.
Happy Reading!

Sunday 24 January 2016

My Sunday Photo... Melbourne

I've been watching the Australian Open Tennis Championship in Melbourne during this past week and it's set me off thinking about my time spent living in this amazing city... 
...so I thought I'd pay tribute by posting a picture for my Sunday Photo.
There's such an eclectic mix of architecture within the city that there's sure to be something for everyone.
Happy Australia Day for 26th January.

As usual I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo 
Enjoy your Sunday everyone and thanks for stopping by my place

Friday 22 January 2016

Paint Party Friday... Signs of spring

I just can't believe that it's Friday once more. 
I've got a busy weekend ahead, but I've actually managed to finish the autumn tree drawing, and as promised I've come to the Paint Party Friday link to show how it turned out.
Not only that but I've actually managed to started a new design.
I must be subconsciously thinking of wonderful springiness and lovely summer days because butterflies (or flutterby's as my daughter used to call them) appeared in my drawing.
Maybe it's the appearance of sprouting daffodils, crocus and much to my surprise Iris, that has set me off. Some positive signs of lighter nights, warmer days and the smell of cut grass.
I can't wait...
Paint Party Friday
I'm also linking to Sunday Sketches
So I'm off now to put on my glad rags, a little lippy and then to enjoy Friday night!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend and perhaps if you'd like to see more art, then click here.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Animal Tales

I thought I'd bring you a little something different today and this little fluff ball is definitely different!
When I think about what she's seen and experienced over her little lifetime, it really is quite remarkable. 
She's traveled to three continents, been in temperatures ranging from +50C to -5C (so far), been reported as having leishmaniosis and given a death sentence, which thankfully was overturned when the tests were repeated and proved to have been an error. She's had a little fracas with a staffie in the park and had to be rushed to the emergency vet, served a month in the penitentiary quarantine, and these are just a few things that come to mind! 
But the main thing about Muffin is that she's been the best friend anyone could wish for! 
 I know some of you may have seen these photo's if you follow her account on Instagram,
(the_world_according_to Muffy
but I've been asked to remember to include them here too, for readers who don't use Instagram.
See I do listen.
These photo's were taken once the floodwaters had receded, but the cold snap had descended. 
Muffin, (Muffy, McMuffy, Mufftypup or whatever name you know her by... don't worry she knows them all and will respond no matter what you call her) needs an extra layer at the moment, so we've go this 'ADIDOG' jacket for her. It fits like a dream and even manages to keep some of her tummy dry, which is a major achievement. 
But then there's still need for a bath after every walk... well more like a doggy dip really than a full bath.
Don't worry that she looks so unhappy in this photo because although she hates being cold, she's working it so that she makes me feel guilty and she'll get a treat.
I personally think she likes this part because after the lovely warm soak, she's wrapped into a towel and transported to sit on top of the Aga for a wee whilie.
Isn't that what Aga's are for? 
I mean just look at that face now.
The next part is her favourite... she gets a little chicken treat. 
And then finally a little grooming.
I don't normally put anything in her hair... I'm not one for dressing up a dog, but she needs to go to the groomers and they don't have an appointment for another two weeks.
I'm not sure purple is her colour, but at least she can see.

Enjoy your Thursday everyone and if you'd like to hear some more Animal Tales then why not nip across by clicking here
Thanks for visiting my place and I hope you'll come back soon.

Sunday 17 January 2016

My Sunday Photo... Stonehaven Sculpture

For my Sunday Photo this week I've chosen a nautical sculpture from the waterfront at Stonehaven. 
Stonehaven is a town on the North East coast of Scotland.
It's about a thirty minute drive from Aberdeen. 
I came across this sculpture a few months back whilst walking along the sea front, after indulging in a beautiful full Scottish breakfast. 
I've tried to find out details of the artist who created this incredible trawler (fishing boat) to give them a shout out and credit, but I'm afraid I can't find any details. 
It's about a meter long and the fishermen are actually all fish and their catch are matchstick men! 
The artist obviously had a sense of humour. 

As usual I'm linking up with My Sunday My Sunday Photo and My Captured Moment 
OneDad3GirlsRunning in Lavender
Why don't you come over and join me.
Enjoy your Sunday

Friday 15 January 2016

Two T's... Trees and T2 Tiny Tin of Tea

I was feeling a little smug with myself last weekend because I actually managed to visit all of the linked artists joining in with Paint Party Friday.
It's something that I've tried to do each week, but then life happens and I'm afraid I fail abysmally. 
If you linked up after my visits, then I'm sorry I missed you... maybe I'll catch up with you this week.

So as my last post mentioned the rain finally spotted and we saw not only the sky, but some sun too. 
The temperature has dropped and there is talk of possible snow... oh yes and as the weather presenters have mentioned (numerous times)... "we'll have minus double digits this weekend"!
This must be the latest buzz word in the meteorologists office, or from the office memo, because all the news presenters are using this new turn of phrase. We would normally be given the actual temperature ie -3 or -32 (ha) or whatever, but obviously we've moved into a new phase and this is the up to the minute phrase.

Anyway... here's my desk this week (or kitchen table actually)
I decided to go back and revisit a previous design.
An autumn tree...
Here it is in more detail from my old journal.
But I've decided to draw this new one as an A3 design.
I used a uni-ball eye which is one of my favourites.
I do find these kind of drawings incredibly relaxing.
I can leave it at any time and also pop back at random times to carry on, which is perfect for me just now.

Before I go I must mention this gorgeous T2 Tiny Tin of Tea that arrived in the post recently.
Happy post... don't you just love it when surprises arrive.
(I've had quite a few lately... so feel very lucky and I smile for the rest of the day)
I decided that today was the day that I would dive in (not literally) and try it out.
I must say that I've been intrigued since it's arrival, but you can't rush these things. 
Patience is a virtue and all that.
I have to say I loved the tin as soon as I saw it, even before it was opened to reveal the delight within.
A blossom opens up along with the green tea. 
It's beyond fascinating to watch... I did video it, but it was a slow process and my available space is very tight, so I decided just to show you the still photo.
How cool is that?
And that's before you even taste the peachy tea!
Well, now that I have my cuppa it's time to start visiting all of Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday blog.
Paint Party Friday
I'm also linking to Sunday Sketches
Have a brilliant day and a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Finally the sun came out...

Finally, the sun came out and no-one was more pleased to see it than 'moi'!
After what seems like months weeks of rain, wind and dark grey days, we're finally able to see the sky... so that's definitely worth writing about in my book blog.
I know you've possibly seen news coverage of the floods that have caused such havoc and mayhem throughout various parts of the UK, so I'll not dwell on them today.
But suffice to say I've never seen such huge amounts of water, river banks bursting and road closures everywhere due to the weather, since we first moved to Scotland.

Here's the scene today of the back field.
Yep we've got our pond at last!
It has been iced over so now we can go ice-skating too.
I wouldn't be surprised if a swan, ducks or even pelican landed. 
Oh you may laugh, but we've had ducks already!
Never say never I say....
Obviously with the sun coming out to play we'd like to be able to see it, which meant that the windows needed cleaning... nothing for it, but to get out there and deal with it.
I thought at first that due to the winter in-activities (ie hibernating) my bones were creaking, but I'm happy to report that it was only the little step ladder I was using. Phew!
A beautiful robin kept me company singing that spring is on it's way 
(hey a little kidd-ology never hurt anyone) 
This photo was taken a day or so ago when M&M were assessing the situation... to walk or not to walk. They decided that 'yes' they would?
Fun was had and the heaven's opened just as they returned... so the timing was perfect.
Right... I must away now because as you know the sun highlights not only dirty windows, but every surface covered in dust and muddy paw prints everywhere.
No rest for the wicked and I must have been really bad in a previous life... that's all I can say.
Have a wonderful Wednesday and thanks for popping into my place.
I hope to chat again soon.

Friday 8 January 2016

Paint Party Friday

I can't believe that it's a whole week since I mentioned the floods here in Aberdeenshire and believe it or not, last night was the worst night of flooding since the rain started over a week ago.
The National Media have now suddenly become aware of the severity of the flooding and thanks to the fantastic voluntary Fubar News team on Facebook, who are providing the masses of video footage for them, everyone now has become aware of what people are dealing with here.
It's wonderful to see and hear about the local community pulling together (other than a few morons that have taken the opportunistic view that an unattended, flooded house is far game for looting) along with the amazing emergency services, local businesses and volunteers that are all doing incredible work to try to minimize what is an horrific situation for so many. 
These floods are the worst on record... EVER!
We are counting our blessings here in this house for sitting high on a hill.

I'm feel slightly frivolous linking up with my little piece of artwork today, when so much is happening but it is Friday and I haven't posted all week... so here it is...
my latest drawing.
Can you tell what it is...?
I decided that after drawing the wolf (click here if you'd like to see him) 
(Wow... I've just seen that I drew him way back in November)
Oh my, how time flies when you're enjoying yourself.
There's lots I would change on this drawing, but I thought I'd show you because I think it's important to show when things go well and when they don't. 
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
After all it's the journey when creating art isn't it?
That's one of the fascinating things about creating art... you just never know!
I read that there are as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild.
It's unthinkable that we might lose these magnificent animals in my lifetime!
That would be so tragic.

Unfortunately, the photographs were taken on different days and as you can see there hasn't been a great deal of light. 
But I can assure you the final drawing is on white paper! 
I forgot to mention that we had snow last night and now it's turned to ice.
Just another spanner in the works... It just keeps giving!
So when Mufftypup finally went out for her walk after days of being house-bound due to the wind and rain she wore her  'Adidog' coat (as in Adidas with a difference).
She was very cozy and she was really up for a good workout.
She decided she wanted to head into the woods for lots of mooching and adventures. 
Here's the before photo... 
And here's the after shot...
She's showing her sad face because she knows she's heading into a bath!
But after she had a good warm sitting on the Aga, then the hairdryer and finally into her bed by the wood burner for her afternoon snoozelet.
Is it any wonder I don't get enough hours in my day?

I'm off to check out all the artist linking up to Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday
Paint Party Friday
Have a great Friday and I hope you have a wonderful enjoyable weekend!
Thanks for stopping by my place and I hope you'll come back again soon

Sunday 3 January 2016

My Sunday Photo... Snowdrops

Today, it hardly got light at all and although we are heading into the lighter nights now, I fear we still have a long way to go. 
I've tried not to let the dark, grey, wet days seep into my soul, but I'm fighting a losing battle. 
I'm digging deep now after a week of floods and horrendous winds, but I live in hope that we might see some sunlight soon... please?
So having said that, imagine my delight when we I saw little clumps of snowdrops peeking out from the undergrowth.
They certainly made me smile.
Through my lens

And ...
I'm linking up with 'My Sunday Photo', 'Through My Lens'
and 'Wordless (on Tuesday) at image-in-ing as usual today, so if you'd like to see more photographs, then click on the icon's above.
Thanks for popping into my place... I love to have visitors.
I wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year where all your wishes and dreams come true. 
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