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

Friday 30 June 2017

My Menagerie... PPF

No surprises today in guessing what I might have drawn for this weeks Paint Party Friday link up.
Of course it had to be chook related at some stage.
We have two breeds of chicken living here with us... Maran and Bluebell.
My painting is a little mix of both of them.
Definitely free range with my painting...haha! 
(Sorry I couldn't resist that)
This painting could be 'Flo' the soft sister of 'Big Bertha' (Maran) and 'Canny Annie' (Bluebell) 
(nee Anxious Annie... I've changed her name, because I think she's actually really switched on. 
She works the system and gets just what she wants/needs!)
The bowl of eggs show our morning collection of fresh eggs. 
All four girls are firing on all cylinders and we have four beautiful eggs daily.
Happy Chooks indeed.
I couldn't resist popping them into this bowl with the rooster on it.
It's a really old cereal bowl, that we got when my children were very small and we lived in Brunei.
As you can probably guess...it came with a famous cereal.
So this portrait is called AnnieFlo' 

Now who remembers 'Hetty'?
NO! Before you mention it...we haven't got a Highland Cow now!
I draw the line there...although with my hubby and his hobbies...ie hot tub he may well decide to try and persuade me to have one!
I met up with an old friend last week and she mentioned how much she liked my Highland Cow painting, so I thought I'd revisit it and have a go at painting another. 
I find it fascinating how my painting is progressing and it's not until I look back that I see and realise that I'm evolving as an artist. 
Do you find the same with your art?
Hopefully, I'm moving in the right direction! 

I have also had the pleasure of receiving photographs of my Giraffe painting in their new homes.
I have two in Australia, two in USA and a few in the UK.
That seriously makes me smile :D
So on that happy note I shall love and leave you this week.
Thanks Eva and Kristin for hosting PPF once more.
Have a brilliant weekend everyone 

Saturday 24 June 2017

My Sunday Photo...Hot Tub

Since my hubby retired, I've had to be prepared for his new projects.
We've had the creating of the veg plot and the chickens are well established as part of the family now, but I can honestly say I never ever envisioned this latest project. 
For any of my regular readers you'll already know that my hubby adores wood and our wood burner So imagine his delight when he saw a Scandinavian wood burning stove, that heats a hot tub! 
One was ordered and delivered before I could say 'HYGGE'

I have to admit I wasn't convinced until actually used it....oh boy I have to admit it is amazing.
This photo doesn't actually show how big it is...plenty of room for two.
The only trouble is that my feet don't touch to the other side and I keep finding myself floating!

As you can see my son loves it!
I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo as usual. 
Thanks Darren for hosting once again.
Please feel free to pop across to see lots more photographs by clicking here
I'm also linking up with Image-in-ing.blogspot.co.uk
Thanks Sue for hosting.
And finally thanks to you for popping by and I hope to see you again soon.
Enjoy your day :D

Friday 23 June 2017

Muffin's Portrait...PPF

A very quick post today because apparently it's my Wedding Anniversary! 
In my defence I didn't actually forget the anniversary...just that today was Friday.
The beautiful perfumed rose appearing on my bedside cabinet gave me the sharp reminder,
It's actually my hubby's fault that I didn't realise it was today, because since he left work I have lost track of which day it is. They all seem to merge together.
Anyway...apparently we are going out for the day...so I must be quick linking up with Paint Party Friday. 
I've started to paint a chicken.
It seems that they are ruling our roost these days, so it's inevitable that I would attempt to paint one sooner or later.
As you can see it's a WIP as I'm only just beginning to add the many layers.

I also wanted to share something very special to my heart today.
A very thoughtful friend (#Jeff_and_Kathleen) organised a fantastic surprise for me.
She arranged for a very talented artist in America to draw Muffin's portrait.
They decided which photographs to use and I can't believe that #Vinnie_van_go_gee managed to capture not only Muffy's likeness so well, but also her personality.
This one is taken from my favourite photograph.
Now I have these amazing pencil portraits to treasure forever.
I mean...just look at those eyes! 
Incredible talent.
Thank you my friends 
Have a great weekend and thanks for your visits.
Thanks also to Eva and Kristin for Paint Party Friday and all participants to continue to inspire.

Thursday 22 June 2017

The Veggie Plot Update

With summer well underway here in the UK and temperatures soaring, I thought it was time to give you a little update on our new veggie plot.
(It's not quite tropical for us up here, in the North East of Scotland...but still it's very nice, thank you) 
The plot is coming along nicely, especially when I look back at the first photo's that I took in back in February.
We're not quite self-sufficient in fresh produce yet, but we're getting there.
The raised beds are doing well...housing onions, garlic, fennel, carrots, and brassicas (cabbage, sprouts, broccoli) .
The only failure so far has been our cauliflower...or lack of.
The seedlings didn't stand a chance with the early temperatures. 
We've made a note that we shouldn't sew them so early next year.
The tatties (or potatoes) are doing really well with six different varieties. 
They are flowering now so we won't have long to wait to lift them and see just what we have.
The fennel has also been a huge success. 
We have far too many and will have to be inventive in how to use them all.
I'm happy to report that our cabbage, sprouts and broccoli are another success.
Here's the parsnips still in their toilet roll holders... hopefully they aren't being restricted and we have prime specimens underneath the soil.
The peas and runner beans are also starting to flower. 
I can't wait for the snap of the pea pod being opened and the juicy sweet jewels held within.
Once these flowers die off we can start to lift our potatoes...well hopefully we'll have a reasonable crop. We have staggered the planting, so that we have a steady supply to harvest.
I sound so confident that there's something lying there, don't I?

We have quite a few beetroots so if you have any tips on how to use them I'd appreciate it.
I'm not sure other than to slice into a salad or to pickle them.
I was rather delighted to find that the broccoli are sprouting too and there's a couple of sprouts appeared within the cabbages!
Obviously, someone's organisational skills at the seedling stage went slightly awry.
We also have herbs, lettuce, artichoke, blueberries and strawberries.
Growing blueberries is completely new to us and we're hoping that they actually can survive up here with these temperatures. We have three small bushes that are located in the Tardis (small plastic greenhouse) and one has flowered, so I'm hoping the berries will follow.
Here's our first strawberries.
I feel we should have a strawberry ceremony...perhaps including ice-cream, meringue or maybe I'll just pop one straight in my mouth!
We should be well set ready for the start of Wimbledon if these beauties are anything to go by.
How do you prefer to eat your strawberries?
Have a great week...if you're in the middle of these record temperatures then stay cool and know that it will pass... plus there are some that would love a few more degrees up on the thermometer.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon.

Saturday 17 June 2017

My Sunday Photo...Aquilegia

Today, like most of the country was bathed in glorious sunlight...there was a warmth to the sun that we haven't felt here in the North East of Scotland since last year.
Our first true summer day.
This flower...the Aquilegia with it's beautiful bright yellow flowers look like lots of miniature suns dotted throughout the border. 
I believe this particular one might be the Aquilegia chrysantha Yellow Queen, but please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. 
It produces bee-pleasing bright yellow flowers in May, a month when flowers tend to be in short supply.
I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo as usual. 
Thanks Darren for hosting once again.
Please feel free to pop across to see lots more photographs by clicking here

I'm hoping tomorrow will be day two of our summer.
Thanks for popping by and I hope to see you again soon.
Enjoy your Sunday

Friday 16 June 2017

The Eye Of The Tiger...PPF

Well he's finally finished.
'The Eye Of The Tiger'
Apologies that he seems to have hogged my PPF limelight for a few weeks now. 
I will definitely move on to another project for next week.
I decided to have a little play at producing some art every morning...which is a little scary as who knows where this might lead. 
I think it's better that I actually produce some artwork regularly... and hopefully that'll help with my creativity.
These girls (the cows) appeared and yes it is a little bizarre that I should draw cow butts, but there is a story line... promise!
The reason is that we visited a local dairy farm's new venture the other day... it's a cafe attached to the milking sheds of a local farm.
They advertise that you can go and witness the cow being milked, whilst having a cuppa and cake.
But I never expected the cafe to actually have a huge glass windows overlooking the whole proceedings. 
Fantastic for kiddie-winks to witness the cows wandering in to the stalls, being milked and then on their way again. I thought the whole thing was ingenious and will definitely be going back.
Well they do sell homemade baking and fantastic cheesecakes after all.
There's also a soft play area for the children and a brilliant farm shop and butchers!

It seems that I might actually be turning into a real country girl!
What with our chickens and drawing cow's.
Where will this end?
As I mentioned on Facebook...I didn't really intend for this video clip to be out there, but I was persuaded. Therefore, I didn't want my blog followers to miss out... so here it is.
(It's taken me about three hours to put this up because I heard that the last video wasn't available for everyone to see. Hopefully this YouTube video will work...I'd appreciate it if you could let me know if it works)

The chooks ran the quickest time yesterday...so I think I better get fit and up my game, otherwise they'll be way ahead of me :D

A little fun to end this weeks PPF link.
I hope it gives you a giggle. 
Have a great weekend and thanks for your visits and for Paint Party Friday for continuing to inspire.

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Baby Birds About To Fledge

I shared a photo the other day of our kitchen window bird feeder, which was very popular, so I wanted to try and capture what I see numerous times a day. 
It took masses of stealth and patience.
Sitting up balanced on top of the kitchen units, squished into the corner and draped with a dark cloth...I patiently waited.
It's not like the image of a wildlife nature photographer, for sure...
...but thankfully it worked....eventually!
It's funny because I can stand at the sink working away or walking to and fro in the kitchen and the Bluetit just keeps on visiting and eating her way through our offerings. 
She's not in the least bothered about my presence. 
That is until I take hold of my camera, then she seems to become extremely shy.
Finally, I managed to capture Mum at work!
Hopefully the video will work for you.
I think her babies are nearly ready to fledge by the sounds coming from her nearby nest box.
I'm intrigued to see how many there are... who knows I might even be lucky and capture them leaving.
I'm linking up with Image-in-ing.blogspot.co.uk

Thanks for popping over to my place.
Enjoy your Tuesday everyone and hope to see you again soon

Sunday 11 June 2017

My Sunday Photo... Cheers

Cheers everyone!
The sun finally remembered where we live and came to visit this evening.
We hadn't seen sight nor sound of it for nearly a week.
As soon as it appeared the temperature went up and we went out! 
Enjoying it's warmth whilst we sipped a nice glass of red.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, whatever weather comes your way.
I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo over at Photalife.com 

Friday 9 June 2017

The Eye of the Tiger...PPF

There hasn't been much time or motivation to return to my art over the last few weeks, but yesterday I decided that I have been missing it and that I should get back to it. 
My house guests have left and everything is reasonably tidy, plus the weather has been horrendous this week, so there's no way I want to spend any time outside.
In other words it's perfect for zoning out with my art supplies.
My screensaver type art...the artwork that I never think to seriously about is drawing with ink.
I'm still playing with the tiger drawing that I started weeks ago.
I'm in no hurry to finish it as it's my therapy.
He looks a little fierce for my liking, but that's sometimes the fun side of art...a creation evolves into it's own personality.
It could be the gold highlights that I added to his eyes that gives him that scary stare.
Maybe I'm a little angry and that's what's coming out through my artwork.
Who knows?
I have a commission on the back burner, but thought I'd try out a few designs to try and get my act together. This leaf was one of the trials and now I realise that I'm just not firing on all cylinders yet.
This is a long way from where I want or need to be.
Once again because the gold ink pen was to hand, I couldn't resist adding little touches, but I think they are hard to see on this photo.
I have to admit I have no idea why it's come out like an autumn leaf, as we're supposed to be in the middle of our summer now. Maybe it's due to the terrible weather we've experienced this past week.
Our Tardis (the plastic greenhouse) took off and was heading to Kansas (Oh Toto) 
It lifted and threw all of the plants enclosed within.
Tomatoes went toppling, lettuce were launched, avocado ascended, fuchsia's flew...in fact I don't think anything remained intact.
I was awake for most of the night, listening to the wind howling around the house with such force...it was a little scary. I was imaging the whole of the veg plot devastated...all that hard work gone in one night. The storm was far worse than we experienced during winter.

I also wondered quite how the baby birds and fledgling managed.
Here's a photo that I took this morning of Mummy Blue-tit getting some well needed sustenance for her babies in our kitchen window feeder.
Her babies are in a nest box in that large tree on our driveway to the left of this photo, so she doesn't have far to go.
By the sound coming from the nest box...there's quite a few squished up inside there. 
They sound nearly ready to fledge and hopefully we might actually witness it.
Our very own Springwatch!

Thanks for visiting my place...I hope to have time over the weekend to create a few of the things that are cramming my creative brain at the moment.
It's a good sign...now I just have to execute them.
Have a great weekend and thanks Paint Party Friday link for continuing to inspire.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Wordless Wednesday... Catterline Cove

My Wordless Wednesday post today is a video that I took a few days ago... it's certainly too windy to visit there today.
I am standing on the Catterline Cove Clifftop before heading into The Creel Inn Restaurant for some beautiful fresh seafood, that has probably been caught that morning.
This is to show that if you manage to be lucky with the weather, then Scotland has such a lot to offer.
If you click here then you can see my previous post about the RSPB Fowlsheugh Bird Sanctuary, where I managed to capture an image of the Puffin.
Thanks for your visit and I hope to see you again soon

Sunday 4 June 2017

My Sunday Photo...RSPB Bird Santuary with Puffins

I have had difficulty deciding whether or not to post this Sunday morning, after last nights atrocious sad news from London, and initially I thought posting random photo's was a little frivolous...but with further thought this morning, I've decided not to let these mindless people have the last say. 
I'm thinking that we need to maintain our way of life as much as possible... 
...so here's My Sunday Photo.
This post is at the entrance to the clifftops where the RSPB Fowlsheugh Bird Sanctuary begins.
Thankfully, the weather was perfect for a walk along the cliff tops with my visitors.
It was good to show that Scotland does have blue sky and great weather (sometimes)
When the weather is like this, then it makes a perfect day.
There was even some warmth in that sun.
The little islands near the shoreline had sunbathing seals...which is the first time that I've seen them there. Last time we were lucky to see a pod of dolphins, but alas not this time.

Talk about high rise accommodation. 
Imagine hanging on to the cliff whilst incubating an egg or feeding a chick whilst hungry gulls etc are trying to grab them.
When the partner flies back from a feeding forage...how on earth does he find the right nest?
As you can imagine the noise is quite loud, but the smell louder! 
Phew...very pungent if the breeze is blowing in the wrong direction.
It is quite a drop and there are no rails to ensure you don't step too near to the edge.
Now then...let's try to spot a Puffin.
Erm...shout out if you see one.
THERE.... there.... can you see him...?
Well the puffin's nest is actually further up the cliff face on the bank, so it's a little easier.
Although their numbers have supposedly declined over the last few years, we saw 5 this time which is 2 more than the last time we visited last year.
I believe that some where possibly in their burrows... actually sitting on their nests.
I hope to go back soon to check on the 'pufflings' (isn't that a fantastic name for the baby chicks)
Unfortunately, after quite some time searching and taking lots of photo's that were slightly out of range for my lens...we came across this chap!
I got so excited that I snapped hundreds of shots whilst hyperventilating.
I also committed the ultimate photographers sin, by not checking the settings on my camera before shooting...hence that's why I'll have to return as these photo's are annoyingly blurred.
But at least you can see that it's a Puffin.
He was very busy strutting his stuff and dancing in front of the nest.
Maybe Mrs P was in active parturition and he was the nervous Dad waiting anxiously for news. 
You can see his nest just behind... on the right.
This is the same Puffin but this is the dance floor just below his nest where he can impress the ladies, with his moves.
I have masses of photo's to edit and check through, but I think I have found my favourite...this pair of Guillemots.
I should explain that I was actually leaning over the cliff edge at this point, as their nest just happened to be on a nearby ledge under the cliff.
I quite like the effect that the grasses have made.
They were constantly chatting to each other...possibly saying 'Oh here we go again...paparazzi. I told you this stop was too near the path'!

I think that'll do for today and as usual I'll link up with My Sunday Photo over at Photalife.com
 Mersad's Photography through my lens
Have a peaceful Sunday and hug the ones you love.
Sending prayers and positive vibes to anyone involved with the tragic events in London and Manchester
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