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

Saturday 29 October 2016

My Sunday Photo... Tiny Mushrooms

I saw these little beauties rise up from between a gap in the patio paving stones two days ago.
The photo doesn't show how tiny they actually are.
We are heading home tomorrow, back to Scotland after an emotional week having to say a final goodbye to Granddad.

I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo
Thanks for visiting 

Wednesday 26 October 2016

An Uninvited Guest Arrives

My sister started to jump up and down, gesticulating wildly as she ran out into the garden this morning. She was virtually squealing as she ran down to the pond.
I'm glad to say that this isn't her usual behaviour... but she'd noticed a heron had landed near her pond. After restocking her fish recently after last years greedy heron visitor, she was not prepared for this new chap to indulge in her new Koi Carp.
I was thrilled to have my camera on hand to capture him being shooed off.
I didn't take a photo of my sister flapping and running down to the pond... because basically she'd kill me if I did that.
He didn't manage to eat breakfast this time, but he did try to come back three times during the morning.
There's wire zig-zagged across the pond as a deterrent to keep him from entering which seems to be working for now, but he seems determined.
I'm linking up with Mersad's Through My Lens

Sunday 23 October 2016

Sunday Sketches... Sleepy Hedgehog

Just a really quick sketch today... 
I've got lots to do before next week, but hopefully I'll be able to tick them all off my list.
I'd love to just curl up, get cosy and snooze away, but that's not going to happen.
There's not many more weeks for Alexandra's Sunday Sketches coming from the UK, so why not hit the link below, or in my sidebar and see what's happening. 
Thanks for hosting the link once again Alexandra.
Sunday Sketches
I hope you have had a great weekend and are ready for the new week ahead.

My Sunday Photo... Autumn Synopsis

This may not be the best photo, but in my defence it was such a dull grey day, so I suppose the result is not surprising.
I thought I'd show you a synopsis of where we are at this moment in time.
Autumn is just getting into full swing after a very mild start, so the trees are only just putting on their colourful display and as you can see here some plants are still flowering. 
I've started to take the tender plants inside, just in case a sneaky frost creeps in to visit during the night, but it's such a shame whilst they are looking so healthy.
Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
The Virginia Creeper has been virtually changing colour right before our eyes.
I couldn't help thinking that this next photo looks like a string of hearts.
I love those little love hearts on the top right of the photo.
As you can imagine with the weather turning chillier and a wood fanatic on the premises, there's a fair amount of wood management going on. 
Sourcing, stacking, sawing and standing back to admire your handy work.
I did wonder when I saw this pile, if my hubby was expecting rain... a lot of rain.
It looks like a raft! 
These logs haven't seen the chainsaw yet.
They have just been raised off the ground for now, so that they don't rot over winter.
We have a full wood store with prepared logs and we're not afraid to use them... daily!
Our wood burner is doing a grand job of keeping the house cosy and there's nothing more homely than having a fire flickering away on such a dull day.
And finally here's a shot of the sky to show you just what I meant when I said we have had a grey day!
I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo
Thanks for visiting

Friday 21 October 2016

A New Creative Space...PPF

I am still away at the moment, due to a family bereavement, but I thought I'd just post this photo which I meant to post last week. 
It is taken in my daughters new nest which shows her new art desk.
She purchased it when we helped her move from her old nest. 
My son put it together for her and I think it's settling in well.
It is probably full of art supplies by now, as she is working on new designs ready for the festive season.
I am always interested to see other peoples creative space, aren't you?

Because it is Friday, I am joining in with the Paint Party Friday link up.
Have a great weekend everyone and I hope to catch up with you after next week.
Take care 

Monday 17 October 2016

Muffin Chronicles

Something a little different for you today.
My son created this video with our own star Mufflepuff (Muffin).
She's quite the Diva and is now insisting on her own trailer!
I hope it makes you smile 
I'm going to link up with a few blogs for this post... I'd love you to take a peek at them. 
I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Sunday 16 October 2016

Alexandra's Sunday Sketches from England

Apologies in advance for being in such a rush with this post, but I managed to finish the owl and thought that I'd link him to Sunday Sketches
I also started drawing a rose...
I realise that these ink drawings are probably going to drive colourists crazy. 
I love to just draw in ink, but even I'm beginning to think that they need COLOUR!

Sorry to be in such a rush this week. 
If you'd like to see more work by talented artists then click on the icon below. 
It'll take you straight to Alexandra's Sunday Sketches.
Sunday Sketches
It still thrills me to see my winning design on Alexandra's Blue Chair Diary Blog

Saturday 15 October 2016

Lemon Tart... My Sunday Photo

I'm away at the moment, so I thought I'd leave you with one of my most popular blog posts. 
The Classic Lemon Tart.
With the holiday season creeping up on the calendar in the North Hemisphere and Summer about to appear in the Southern Hemisphere (when lemons will be plentiful) it's a great recipe for entertaining no matter what the occasion.
I've included the recipe below but please forgive me for not putting the different measurements.

Classic Lemon Tart (serves 12 at least)

10 eggs380g caster sugar500 ml Double creamzest and juice of 8 lemonsbutter, for greasing225g sweet shortcrust pastry  (see recipe below)

To Serve:
100g mild goat's cheese

50 ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting 
a little whipping cream 

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

2. To make the filling, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk gently to break up the yolks. 
3. Add the sugar and continue to mix, then add the cream and lemon juice, but not the zest. 
4. Pass the mixture through a sieve, add the lemon zest and leave to one side.
5. Butter a 20cm plain, loose-bottomed flan tin with softened butter and roll out the pastry to get a thin even depth to the pastry. 
6. Carefully roll the pastry back over the rolling pin, lift over the tin and roll the pastry back over the tin very loosely. If you don't leave the slack, the pastry will rip or shrink too much when cooking.  
7. Tuck the pastry down the sides of the tin, pressing into the bottom edge well, but be careful not to tear or stretch the pastry. Don't trim the pastry.
8. Line the tart with a circle of grease-proof paper that is bigger than the tart and allows the paper to rise above the ring.
9. Fill the tart with either baking beans, rice or ceramic baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven and remove the beans and grease-proof paper, then place back in the oven to colour the bottom of the tart. This should only take 3-4 minutes.
11. Turn the oven down to 100°C/225°F/Gas Mark ½. 
12. Pour in the lemon mix to reach the top of the tart and bake for 1 hour until the tart is only just set. 
13. Remove from the oven and trim off the edges of the pastry. Leave to cool for about 1 hour.
14. To make the accompanying cream, mix the goat's cheese with the double cream and icing sugar.
15. To serve, dust the tart with plenty of icing sugar and grill under a hot grill to caramelize the top. 
16. Remove from the grill and cut into wedges and serve with a spoonful of the cream.

Rich shortcrust pastry ~ makes 300g


200g plain flour
 ¼ tsp salt 
  2 tbsp icing sugar (if making sweet pastry)
100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp iced water

Mix together the flour and salt (and icing sugar if making sweet pastry). Add half the cubed butter to the flour. Gently and swiftly, rub the fat into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the rest of the butter and mix until it's the size of small peas. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. 
Mix the egg with the lemon juice and water and gradually pour into the well a little at a time, rubbing it through your fingers, until it forms a dough (you may not need all the liquid). 
Turn out onto a floured board and knead lightly until smooth. 
Shape into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

To line a tin or mould, roll the chilled pastry onto the rolling pin, then unroll over the tin, draping the pastry into the tin or mould. Gently press it in place using your fingers.  

I tend only to bake this tart for special occasions...but to simplify the recipe I suppose you could use (sharp intake of breath) packet pastry!!!!
If you'd like to read the full blog post then click Classic Lemon Tart

I'll love and leave you for now.
As usual I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo
Thanks for visiting

Friday 14 October 2016

Confession, Conker and Cosy Owl... PPF

I'm having to come to the party this morning with a confession. 
I failed the InkTober challenge miserably, but I'm feeling so much better now that I've decided it wasn't working for me this year.
The official prompts didn't appeal and I am aware that a challenge shouldn't be easy, but I was beginning to not enjoy the art and that's a fundamental principle of me drawing/painting or sketching.
I have to enjoy it!
So now that that's out there, I'm carrying on with the ink drawing at my own pace and creating designs that appeal to me. 
As it's autumn and all the leaves here are putting on their colourful display, I thought a conker leaf would be just right. 
I was even tempted to go back and paint this one, but I think I'll leave the painting until the end of the month. 
It's funny how our inner thoughts and feelings come out in a drawing, without any conscious thought.
Here's my design from yesterday.
It is a wise old owl.
He's not finished yet, as I want to pattern his hat and add his feathers.
My Hubby's Father has been very sick for quite some time and he was in my thoughts today.
Thank you for visiting and I hope that I can pop over to your place soon.
In the meantime, I'll be linking up with Paint Party Friday as usual.
If you'd like to see lots of fantastic artists work, then come and join me by clicking here
Have a great weekend everyone. 

Sadly my Hubby's Dad (Grandad) has passed away
I may not be around for a little while, as the family need to group together at this terribly sad time.
He will be greatly missed... he was a real trouper, but unfortunately two days after his 90th Birthday went quietly asleep and is now at peace.
Rest in Peace Grandad

Monday 10 October 2016

Autumn... Through my lens.

September has been an exceptional month so far. 
It's reaffirmed to me that it is one of my favourite months.
Here are some autumnal photographs...
This was my view this morning... not all Mondays mornings are bad.
It's certainly crisp and fresh first thing, with temperatures dropping to 0 degrees overnight, but at least the day's are bright and full of sunlight.
Here's Muffy checking out one particular patch in our garden that's been intriguing her all week. 
I suspect that the fox (which we saw in the back field yesterday) has visited us.
You can just see Madame Muffy's back end sticking out of the shrubs, as she tentatively takes up the trail. 
Each year I love to see the Virginia Creeper change colour... I'm never disappointed.
It certainly brightens up the garage wall.
I was going to put out a warning on this next photo, but there's no spider in sight so I thought it would be okay... which makes me wonder where it might be?
This was the sight that greeted me as I opened the back door this morning, but thankfully I'm vertically challenged and wasn't tall enough for it to swipe across my face. Ugh!
(Funny I've never been thankful for being short before
Someone's certainly been busy overnight.
I believe September really is the spider month, because it's amazing how many cobwebs can appear even when you've swept through with the hoover nozzle, or feather duster.
(Honest I do make a gesture now and then)
Because the weather has been so brilliant it's obviously affected the plants and wildlife in the garden.
Here's a sample of some of the plants and grasses that I picked for an autumn display.
Anyone that knows me knows that I love to pick flowers from outside and bring them in to fully appreciate their loveliness.
Although having hubby send off for an offer for some spring bulbs took me to the limit this week.
I use the term 'some' bulbs loosely because when the boxes arrived there were a variety amounting to 800 in total. 
I'm still not through planting them all yet. 
I think I've got four more packets still to plant and I'm telling you now that if they don't all appear in spring... you'll hear about it! 
I normally take down my summer hanging baskets by now, but I just can't when they are still flowering so well. 
The winter display will have to wait.

The photo below shows Aberdeen once again, but this time from a different location.
It's still not clear, but I liked it.
If you'd like to see the other photo which was linked to My Sunday Photo... then click here
...and finally because I'm aware that this post is getting rather long and I could go on with autumn photos... 
One sight and sound that confirms that Autumn has definitely arrived, is the departure of the geese flying south for the winter.
Hearing and seeing them makes me slightly melancholy, but I know that they'll be back and what a sight that will be.
I'm going to link up with a few blogs for this post... I'd love you to take a peek at them. 
I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
I hope you have a brilliant week ahead and I look forward to seeing you again soon

Sunday 9 October 2016

My Sunday Photo... Aberdeen City

I took a distant view of Aberdeen City today, but unfortunately the weather wasn't the best for such a shot. I'll definitely have to revisit this another day, because on a clear day you can see all of the church spires and even the beach over on the far right hand side of the photo. 
I'm linking up with 
Thanks for popping into my place.
I hope you are enjoying a great weekend.
Until next time... Toodleloo 

Friday 7 October 2016

Inktober Challenge 2016... PPF and Sunday Sketches

I can't believe that it is October, but the calendar tells me so.
I did wonder whether it would be good for my creative mind to take up the Inktober Challenge once again. I took up the challenge last year, but I didn't quite complete it, as I missed the odd day here and there. I have to admit that the process of trying to come up with an illustration idea everyday was a good one for me. 
So nothing ventured nothing gained... I'm participating once again.
Inktober challenge is to hopefully improve inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. 
There is an official prompt list for 2016, but some of the subjects are not really what I'd favour.
More about that later.
This next illustration should possibly come with a warning according to my children... (and they're grown up!) 
I thought a troll might be fun to draw, as I used to collect then way back when I was a toot and I see that there's a new film about to be released... so here he/she is...
After sending a day in my garden planting 800 bulbs... yes 800!
I had mentioned that I had 100 previously, but when I opened the box there were actually 800 of the little darlings.
It's amazing how long that can take a person to plant, and how busy suddenly everyone else is, so couldn't possibly help!
I just hope after all this effort they give me a wonderful surprise in Spring.
There was a cheerful chappie keeping me company though, who serenaded me beautifully.
Mr Robin Redbreast!
Day 4's theme was 'Hungry'... and immediately I thought of a dog requesting his dinner.
Day 5 is where I began to think that I'll not be following the official prompt lists at times, because the prompt was 'Sad'.
I always try to remain positive and I think with so much stress, worry, conflicts etc out there today that it's important to keep positive and smile.
No one wants to come to a blog and leave feeling down... but I'm afraid my next illustration might just do that. 
I must apologies to all the jolly clowns out there, and also for the fact that I've never liked clowns!
Nothing personal... there must have been an incident back in my childhood that set this precedence.
I promise that after pushing myself to come up with this last illustration, I shall try to keep it light and cheerful. The next two days prompts are 'Hidden' and 'Lost' so that may be quite a challenge.

As it's Friday I'm going to link up with PPF as usual, and Sunday Sketches
Thank you ladies for hosting once again and I hope you'll join me over there.
There are some amazing artists sharing incredible work.
Have a fabulous Friday and great weekend.
Keep smiling and pass it on...

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Wordless Wednesday... Lawn

Who would think that it's still necessary to cut the lawn in October! 
I know I certainly didn't think I'd still be using the lawn mower.
Hopefully this might be the last cut of the year, but you never know.
I am linking today to
Thanks for your visit and I hope you are having a great week.
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