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

Friday 30 September 2016

Zebra Plant and Partying

With not much spare time over the last week I'm amazed that I have something to show for the Paint Party Friday link up, but here I am. 
I actually never got as far as the studio because basically the wood burner was lit and it was beautifully cosy in the kitchen. 
Whilst moving my daughter from A to B in Edinburgh (see here if you missed the post) I saw a very sad plant. 
My daughter didn't want to keep it and so I just 'had' to rescue it. 
I loved the colours of the leaves and the under side of the leaf feels like velvet. 
It was far too pretty to abandon... so here it is. 
Bright and perky now and ready to join the party!

I've since discovered that it is the zebra plant (scientific name - calathea zebrina) a perennial foliage plant which displays fairly large ovate leaves a the tips of it's long stalks, growing up to 1 metre tall... if I'm lucky!
I had been contemplating autumn leaves and autumnal colours so this fitted right in.
It's a beautiful bright fresh morning this morning, that sings of autumn... there's no deigning it... autumn has arrived.
I've not finished the leaf as you can see, but I'm using the layering technique that Tracey Fletcher King taught me, so there's a fair way to go yet. I always get so far in this process and then think that perhaps I should have used a good piece of paper and not my journal. 
Ho hum... Does this happen to you too?
Well I've got over a hundred spring bulbs to plant up today, so I better get a wriggle on if I want to do it whilst the sun is shining.
I hope you have a fabulous Friday and a great weekend lies ahead.
I'm also linking up with Alexander's Sunday Sketches
Alexandra is staying in the UK for a few months and is hosting Sunday Sketches from this side of the pond. If you'd like to see her illustrations, plus lots more through the link then you can use the button in my sidebar. 
Thanks for your visit.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

From here to there... and back again!

Our gathering of the clan in Edinburgh went very smoothly and our daughter is now settling into her new nest.
The new nest isn't quite up to this elevation of the castle, but it's certainly an upgrade. 
I enjoyed my stay, but it confirmed to me that I'm now definitely countrified.
I think my days of living in the centre of a major city may be over.
Don't get me wrong... Edinburgh is beautiful and there's always so much to see and do, but I missed my space.

Whilst sleeping in my daughters old apartment with the very heavy footed noisy neighbours overhead, I had to sleep using ear-plugs.
Let me tell you that this was both a good idea, but also bad.
Wearing ear plugs does shut out outside noises, like the Ucayali playing (yes... they even played one at silly-o-clock) the obvious jumping from bunk beds to floor numerous times with hobnailed boots on, shouting profanities that would make a barmaid blush, plus my usual hubby's snoring and puffing, but it also amplifies internal noises.
I suddenly became aware of my own heart-beat, which seemed to me to be beating far faster than it should have, especially as I was lying still and relaxed.
There was also the slight wheeze which added a musical element to the evening and at one stage I wondered what on earth could that strange noise be?
I finally worked out that it was my grinding teeth!
Well not quite grinding, but certainly still noisy.

So to have a silent sleep in the new abode was very much appreciated.
It has a lovely homely feel to it.
I'm sure my daughter is going to be happy there.

For recent visitors to my blog you'll remember that I'm currently having a thing about walled gardens... and look at this baby below!
It's the wall to the shared garden area at the back of the property.
It's about 9 feet tall and possibly dates back from 1889'ish.
It is totally wonderful for displaying the beautiful plants and shrubs.
The birds are using the spaces in the stones too, for shelter and probably nesting when spring comes around.
Of course McMuffy had to come to our clan gathering too.
She coped really well considering that there was so much upheaval going on.
Here's a photo to show just how exhausting it was for her.
This was taken on the homeward journey.
(Apologies if you've seen these already on my Instagram feed 
It's good to go away, but it's great to be back home again.
Now I'm off to try to catch up with everyone and link with
Mersad's Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless (on Tuesday at image-in-ing)

Thanks for visiting.
Happy Wednesday

Saturday 24 September 2016

A Meeting Of The Clan... PPF

This is how I left my studio on Wednesday morning... I'm missing it, but there's work to be done. 
My daughter is flying from one nest to another within Edinburgh, so the Clan is meeting up to give her a hand!
As you can see I decided to revisit painting the wildflower meadow with acrylic paints before I left.
I feel much happier with this one, especially with a few more little additions, but I've still got a lot to learn.
Because I've been hanging on to summer for as long as I possibly could, I thought I'd include a butterfly and swallows.

Autumn has arrived... so now on to the glorious autumnal colour display.
Before I go Muffin wanted you to see her on holiday.
I think she's totally confused with what's happening, but coping.
Enjoy your weekend everyone and I hope to see you back at the studio again soon.
As usual I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday.

Sunday 18 September 2016

My Sunday Photo... Last of the Summer Wine

I know... here I am once again posting photo's of butterflies and bees.
But these may be the last we see of these beautiful summer visitors until next year. 
So I want to indulge once more and appreciate them before they disappear. 
Autumn is waiting in the wings and I fear that this warm spell may be our last for some time. 
(Peacock Butterfly)
If you would like to encourage bees into your garden, then I strongly recommend that you plant Sedum plants into your borders.
(Red Admiral Butterfly)
I don't think I've ever seen so many bees on one flower head at the same time.
They were frantically gathering the nectar like it was the best bargain in town!
It was difficult to get a good shot because they were so busy... but I just wanted to capture how many there were. Obviously they like this particular plant and I remember that my sedums flowered right up to December last year.
If you look closely at this photo below you will see two bees and a butterfly.
I do love Autumn, but I don't want to rush into it... I want to make sure that summer is well and truly over first. 
Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Friday 16 September 2016

Splish Splash... PPF and Sunday Sketches.

Splish splash is certainly an appropriate title for this weeks Paint Party Friday artwork, because it has been seriously wet and even foggy here these last few days. 
That in itself is bad enough, but the rest of the UK has been basking in temperatures of near the 30 degree mark!
That just seems so unjust in my book.
So yesterday, we decided to leave fog bound Aberdeen and head inland... which worked a treat.
It's a well known fact, that the fog can be thick here near the North Sea coast, but if you drive a few miles inland, there's a good chance that the sky will clear and out pops the sun!
Which in fact it did.
We visited another Scottish National Trust property that I will post about at a later date. 
I've still got Pitmedden Gardens (part 2) to edit.

I thought I would let you see what I was talking about on my PPF post last week, when I mentioned my visiting doves watching me through the window, whilst I work. 
(For anyone that missed my PPF post last week here is the link... click here)
It's time to join the Paint Party Link, where Kristin and Eva host lots of talented artists to come together to share their work and inspiration.
I'm also linking up with Alexandra's Sunday Sketches
Alexandra is staying in the UK for a few months and is hosting Sunday Sketches from this side of the pond. If you'd like to see her illustrations, plus lots more through the link then you can use the button in my sidebar. 
So I'll love and leave you for now.
Thanks for popping by and I hope to see you again soon.
I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday 13 September 2016

A Trip To Pitmedden Gardens (Part 1)

Last week we had another trip out to enjoy the beautiful weather before summer finally disappears. 
We travelled just 14 miles North of Aberdeen to the stunning Pitmedden Gardens. 
The magnificent walled garden was originally laid out in 1675 by Sir Alexander Seton.
(I really am falling in love with walled gardens).
The granite wall has sheltered the garden for more than 300 years... imagine that!
Little is known about the early history of the garden, but from at least the 1840's it was a productive kitchen garden, famed for it's apples and pears.
The wall has provided the garden protection from the worst of the weather, wind and predators over the years.
The property was gifted to the National Trust in 1952. 
The Trust set about re-creating the gardens following designs dating from the 17 century.
Today, Pitmedden features over 5 miles of box hedging arranged in intricate patters to form six parterres. 
(A parterre is a formal garden constructed on a level surface, consisting of planting beds, typically in symmetrical patterns, separated and connected by gravel pathways)
The gardener was busy with the hedge cutters, whist we wondered around the grounds.
I can imagine that it's a never ending job.
These parterres are filled with 40,000 plants bursting with colour, which makes quite a spectacle.
Unfortunately, some of the box hedging is suffering from the dreaded box blight that is plaguing the
UK at the moment, but it is currently being treated, so hopefully it will recover.
This is the centre of the walled garden looking out to the rear.
I've put in a request for my lawn to look like this next year. 
(A wall garden and a pristine lawn... not much to ask for really
This is the reverse of the photo above, looking back at the house.
A good part of being able to visit during the week is that there are very few visitors, so I am able to capture the images without people wandering into the shot.

The wall is hard to see on this photo below because it is covered it is fully laden with apples and pears. If you look closely you might be able to see the step ladders of one of the gardeners.
They were busy pruning the fruit.
The gardener was telling us about the September festival here at Pitmedden Gardens, when all the apples and pears are sold off.
Apple Sunday 'Applea and Cornkisters' will be held on Sunday 25th September.
The garden was positively buzzing with the sound of busy bees.
There is plenty more to show you but I'm aware of that I've probably taken up too much of your time, so I'll carry on with Part 2 another day. 
As well as the beautiful garden there's an orchard, small gallery, a museum of farming life with a fantastic collection of machinery and photographs of time gone by, plus a woodland walks.
Phew... I think it's time we should head to the cafe for afternoon tea. 
It's hard to imagine that today a garden would be planted on such an extravagant scale.
I hope you'll join me next time to carry on with our visit in Part 2.

I am linking today to
Wordless Wednesday... create with joy
Our World Tuesday
Wordless (on Tuesday at image-in-ing)
Although I'm hardly wordless, so I hope I'll be forgiven.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Stunning Sky

My Sunday Photographs this week were taken within a few minutes of each other.
I was visiting another Scottish National Trust property and whilst walking the woodland trail, I suddenly stopped in my tracks to look at the sky.
(Yes, I'm one of those people who can just stop whatever they are doing or wherever they are going to capture an image). 
The light and sun's rays were spectacular.
I just loved the way the light shone through the clouds.
It gave an exquisite fan of light below the setting sun. 
I know it sounds like an lame excuse, but unfortunately my photographs don't do it justice.
It really was spectacular.
It was certainly a show stopper.
I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo and
Mersad's Through My Lens
If you have time then why not nip across (using the links above) to see more great photos.
Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Friday 9 September 2016

Wildflower Meadow and Doves...PPF and Sunday Sketches

Morning everyone... or whatever salutation is appropriate for you at this particular moment.
It's Friday once again which means it's time to party! 
Yesterday I decided as well as working on my other 'project' (to be revealed at a later date) I'd have a play on a new canvas. 
Firstly, I need to explain that I haven't really used acrylic paints before... so as the photos show... I need help!
As you can see from the view from the studio window, it was a great day for playing indoors.
I decided to revisit the wildflower meadow experiment that I'd had fun with a few weeks back.
Perhaps it's my last attempt to cling on to summer, because I distinctly heard the robins twittering and felt a rather chilly feel to this mornings air.
Needless to say I dashed straight away for a thick warm cozy jumper.
I'm taking no chances.
Who knows I could self-combust by lunchtime... with any luck!

So on to the painting...
Now in my defence it isn't finished and I intend to knock back the sky and yellow later. 
I'm not sure that 'knock back' is the correct term, but I think it's too bright and needs to be toned down.
I like the grass and flowers, although I will have a further fiddle with these no doubt before I'm done.
If you have any tips or advice I'd certainly love to hear from you.

My quick sketch today was inspired after visiting Alexandra's blog post over at Bluechairdiary.
I had a good chuckle reading about the pigeon cooing away every morning and it reminded me of the doves that come to visit me each day. I have no idea where they come from, but they seem very happy to stay, resting on our chimney pots. 
I know when they arrive, because they coo loudly which reverberates down the chimney!
They know me so well now that they have actually started to come onto the decking and peer in the patio window where I am working. 
It's we're here, waiting and why aren't you feeding us!
I will be linking up with Alexandra for the Sunday Sketch on Sunday, but if you would like to visit her before then just click on the Sunday Sketch logo in my sidebar.

Before I leave you this morning, I would like to say that I really would love to visit each and every entry for the Paint Party Friday and Sunday Sketches, but unfortunately, I have only managed that for one week...so far. I have the best intentions, but time is just whipped away from me. 
If you visit and comment here, I always try to return the compliment.
I also answer your comment here and try to copy it to your email account, but many have a no-reply comment address... so in that case the reply is only on my blog. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and I hope to see you again soon.

Sunday 4 September 2016

My Sunday Photo... Dandelion Flower

Initially I couldn't believe the audacity of this particular dandelion to actually flower... smack bang right in the middle of my freshly cut lawn! 
It stood centre stage, alone and proud.
Considering that the lawns were only cut two days ago, it had managed to miss the lawn mower blades and had grown to such an extent, as to produce this flower. 
Quite an achievement! 
Never underestimate the power of a weed
But then who decides what is a weed and what is a flower?

I've wanted to capture the image of a dandelion for quite some time.
Today was the day.
It seemed fitting to give it even more limelight by choosing it for My Sunday Photo this week.

I had fun playing around with the image.
This is the negative edit. 

As usual I'm linking with Photalife
and Mersad over at Through My Lens
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. 

Friday 2 September 2016

Sharing Studio Space... PPF & Sunday Sketches

Here is the room that I'm desperate to reacquaint myself with. 
My art studio.
I've neglected it so much favouring the big outdoor canvas of my garden, while the weather is kind.
Once my hubby retired (about a month or two ago) he became mistaken that this particular room (my studio) might be his too. 
He moved the computer monitor and keyboard on to my desk and spread files and paperwork about in gay abandon! 
Well that might be a little exaggerated, because he is really tidy and everything has to be in a file or on a spreadsheet, but you get the jist. 
It was my space!
I've mentioned this before, but muscling in to my space just wasn't on the plan as far as I was concerned. I have been working on the kitchen table lately, so I suppose I should be a little lenient... but now we're entering autumn I want to reorganise my space and move back in.
Once again when I mentioned this... hubby decided to pull everything out of the room for me to organise and decide where it should go. 
Having everything piled along the landing certainly induces productive work! 
It wasn't on my plan, but then at least it prioritised my time and got me to focus. 
Hopefully, I'll actually be able to spend some time creating and producing art next!
(Note to self: Don't mention things out loud within hubby's earshot, because he's likely to get involved whether or not I want him too).

It's time to join the Paint Party link up where Kristin and Eva host lots of talented artists to come together to share their work and inspiration.
I'm also linking up with Alexandra Sunday Sketches. 
It is week 6 already!
So that's it for this week folks.
Thanks for popping in to my place... it's great to have you visit and even better if you leave a comment, so I know you've been here. 
I'm off to start my visiting... Have a great week everyone.
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