Friday, 30 September 2016

Friday Smiles - Week 189

Hello Everyone,

Warning ... more photographs this week!

I hope you have had a lovely week and that, like me, you'll be sharing some smiley moments with Annie at A Stitch In Time. We've had a busy time out and about which means we have a few more lovely memories to add to the many we already have.

Sunday we went down to the secondhand book shop at Culzean Country Park, both to drop a few read books off and to look for a couple of books for my sister, Margaret. She reads a lot. After that we took a wee saunter round the grounds.

While Alan was gazing out to see, I discovered these busy little hoverflies/wasps (I'm not too sure which) enjoying the flowers on the ivy.

Ivy flowers look quite nondescript, no pretty colours, just green, but the insects adore them.

Monday we went to the quilt exhibition at Rozelle and I've already posted a few photos here so I'll control myself and not share anymore. Suffice to say the quilts were well worth the visit.

Moving swiftly on to Tuesday we took a trip to the big city, Glasgow. Instead of driving up we put our free bus pass to good use and let the bus driver take the strain! I was heading to John Lewis haberdashery department to buy sewing thread but we stopped for lunch in the restaurant there too before going out onto Glasgow's main shopping area, Sauchiehall Street.

This was a surprise. An old police box, Dr Who must have missed this one, being used as a retail outlet selling essential oils!

Sauchiehall Street is long so by the time we reached to top we were ready for another cuppa. this time in Waterstones Book Store coffee shop which is where I spotted these fabulous posters depicting some favourite classics.

Here's Alan showing me how pleased he is to be shopping with me :)

On the way back to the bus station I spotted this poster which brought back memories of childhood trips to Burntisland which is on the east coast of Scotland, near enough to Edinburgh, my home town, for a day trip. Ah, happy days :)

Just in case you are wondering about the rest of the week .... Wednesday we had visitors and yesterday was super busy for me as I spent the morning at a quilting class and the afternoon at the weekly craft club I attend. Yes, it's been a very busy week but it has resulted in a lot to smile about.

And finally,

My little, but growing, pile of crocheted hexagons. I'm using up all the oddments of yarn I had tucked away to make a blanket big enough to fit a double bed. Don't they look almost delicious enough to eat?

Apologies to Kate and Robyn for not visiting them during the week - I ran out of week! Hoping to do much better this week - there's no plans for trips out this coming week. Yet!

Take care all and have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - Week 382

Hello Everyone,

I've not posted for few days. Been busy away and not near the computer but it's Wednesday, time to join in with Julia's What's On Your Desk, and share what's on my desk with the world.
I know it looks a bit staged but it is and it isn't. Much of what is out on the desk, fabric, thread, rotary cutter, is in preparation for the quilt class (morning) and craft club (afternoon) I'm attending tomorrow but just before I took the photo I remembered that I had this bag, seen in the planning stage last week and finished this week, to share with you. I found the pattern for the bag in an old issue of Love Sewing (issue 03). The handles were a freebie with the same magazine. I did modify the pattern a little bit - missing a bit here adding a bit there - till I was pleased with the end result. I now have a pretty bag to carry crochet yarn and hook back and forward to the craft club every Thursday. In fact, this week I'm going to have a go at making the little black bat that is another freebie - this time from the current Simply Crochet magazine you can see on my desk. I now need to make another bag for my quilting project - that needs to be much larger, of course.

I mentioned I had a few busy days recently. We've been out and about with a trip down the coast to Culzean and Dunure on Sunday, a shopping trip yesterday to the big city, Glasgow ... mainly to John Lewis haberdashery department (see the reels of threads at the top of the desk) ... and Monday we went along to see the Ayrshire Quilters at Rozelle 2016 exhibit here in Ayr. I thought you might like to see one or two of the beautiful pieces of work we saw there.
Just one of the three rooms the quilts are displayed in.
Two of the small quilts made to celebrate Rozelle - there's a lovely tearoom in the basement of Rozelle House hence the quilt on the right and the other shows two old ladies passing on the news of the quilt exhibition.
A beautiful signature quilt - each piece has been signed by a guest at a wedding and then made into this fabulous quilt.

And finally, I'm including this quilt because it is very similar in design to the one I'm learning to make at the quilt class ...
... though I don't expect for one moment it will look as fabulous as this.

That's me for today. Apologies for the lengthy post but I hope that you have found the quilts as interesting as I did.

I hope you have had a great week.

Happy WOYWW,

Friday, 23 September 2016

Friday Smiles - Falkirk, The Kelpies and The Wheel

Hi Everyone,

Warning! A photo heavy post follows.

I hope you having a lovely Friday and that there's been a lot to smile about in the week. Last week, on my post for Annie's Friday Smiles, I mentioned that we were off to Falkirk to celebrate my husband's birthday. Needless to say, we had a fabulous time, found plenty to smile about, and the weather was kind too. I took a ton of photos so I thought I'd show some, in the form of montages otherwise you'd be here all day.

Falkirk is a town that sits in the very heart of Scotland, midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The town has some very attractive buildings, this is just a few. Click on the montage to see it enlarged.

Falkirk Trinity Church, also known as The Faw Kirk, with it's ancient graveyard, is sited in the centre of the town. It contains important historical memorials from the time of William Wallace, the Battle of Falkirk (1298) and a later second Battle in 1746. The carvings are in the wall surrounding the churchyard.

All around the town on pavements and walls are engraved quotations, including part of William Wallace's famous cry for Freedom.

The magnificent Kelpies, designed by sculptor Andy Scott, are situated in the The Helix - a recreational park with visitor attractions that include a lagoon, wetlands, splash play area, trails and other outdoor events. The Kelpies, standing 30 metres high, are the world's largest equine sculptures. The name, The Kelpies, reflects the mythological water horses that are part of Scottish folklore. It is said that these water kelpies are shape-shifting creatures that occupy our lochs and rivers, much of their bodies being underwater and that they posses the strength and endurance of 10 horses.

Each Kelpie has a name, Duke and Baron, and a descriptive 'Head Down' and 'Head Up'.

They each have a quotation of their own too. Falkirk folk clearly love their quotations.

The Saturday we were there coincided with a National Addiction Recovery Walk, organised by the Scottish Recovery Consortium. Those that attended were each given a red rose which was ceremonially thrown into the Forth & Clyde canal that is located just behind The Kelpies.

After the Kelpies we went on to visit the Falkirk Wheel - another amazing feat of engineering. The Wheel is the world's only rotating boat lift. It's breathtaking. For even better photos do click the link, it is worth it!

And it seems we can't get away from the Kelpies, not that we would want to, because there's another set of 1:10 scale maquettes on display at the base of the Wheel.

And finally, we had a bit of a giggle when Alan decided he had to take his cap off while one of the security men obliged by taking our photo.

Apologies for the length of this post but there really is a lot to see in Falkirk. We didn't manage the half of it so will have to return, perhaps next year, to visit the places we missed this time.

Hope you enjoyed my Friday Smiles and if you would like to see more do pop over to A Stitch In Time so see more reasons to smile at Annie's.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - Week 381 - and Nuvo Crystal Drops

Hello Everyone,

So sorry to be so late joining in the fun, and sharing my desk, at Julia's What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday but the weather has been warm and sunny today so I spent much of it working away in the garden. My excuse! It's the equinox tomorrow which probably means that there will be fewer and fewer lovely hours to spend pottering among the flowers. Oh, and, of course, it's raining now!

Well, a bit of change on my desk today. The bits and bobs have been put away, for now, because I'm planning a little sewing project.

I need a knitting bag. Not for knitting, I don't knit, but for crochet. A bag will be perfect for carrying some yarn and a hook to the craft club I go to on Thursday afternoons. And much classier than the bag-for-life I've been using up till now. The fabric I've chosen has great retro sewing images on it - sort of appropriate. The postcard above the navy fabric is of The Kelpies at The Helix, in Falkirk where we spent the weekend, all lit up at night. Under it is the paper bag it was wrapped in beautifully illustrated with a drawing of the Kelpies - too nice to throw though I have no idea what I'll do with it. Maybe it will appear on a scrapbook page some time in the future. Finally, that's a new flower-patterned mug, bought by the EM to replace the one he dropped on the kitchen floor ... it's a hard floor so it much didn't stand a chance!!!

In last week's WOYWW post I mentioned these Nuvo Crystal Drops (a Tonic product) I had sitting on my desk and said that if any of you were interested I'd do a wee post on how I got on with them. During the weeks and months that was my blogging break much of my rest and recuperation was taken up with watching YouTube videos - well, it's crafting, sort of . At the time it seemed that millions of scrappers, okay, I exaggerate but it was a lot, were raving about them as a very suitable, and cheaper, alternative to enamel dots. So, of course, I just had to order a few bottles to try for myself. The colours are, from left to right, Wedgewood Blue, Red Berry, Navy Blue, Bubblegum Blush.

The way to use the crystal drops is to squeeze drops out on to a non-stick surface and leave to dry for 24 hours when they will have dried to a hard dot. I squeezed different amounts to get different sizes of dots.

They are similar in a way to Liquid Pearls, however, the one advantage with the crystal drops is that they don't drop to a point so no need to tap the back to create a rounded shape. I believe it is possible to squeeze the drops directly on to a project but I wouldn't trust myself to get them uniform enough to even attempt it.

Here are my first attempts, dried and ready to use. Although all four colours were called Crystal Drops only two, Wedgewood Blue and Navy Blue had an opalescent finish. The Berry Red and Bubbegum Blush were a solid colour but no less lovely for that.

And here they are dried and ready to use.

To see how I used some of them pop back to my Sunday Snippets post - I've used them as embellishments on three of the cards featured. I think they look rather nice too.

They are a bit fiddly to use so they may not be for everyone but I liked the finished dots and, yes, they do make a great substitute for enamel dots. I may even have to acquire a few lot more colours very soon.

I hope I've managed to clarify what Nuvo Crystal Drops are for those of you who had never heard of them.

Belated Happy WOYWW to you,

Monday, 19 September 2016

In A Vase On Monday - Nasturtiums

My vase today is a very simple arrangement of nasturtium flowers. The set of four small white vases makes it easy to to plonk lots of short-stemmed flowers like these and they still look lovely.

I love the colours, so autumnal.

A very brief post today - well, there's not much more to say about nasturtiums. I'll be joining in with Cathy's meme, In A Vase On Monday where I'm sure to find many much more advanced arrangements than this one.

Happy Monday,

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sunday Snippets - a few cards made from bits and bobs

Hello Everyone,

I hope this finds you all well and busy using up your snippets. It's ages since I popped into Pixie's Craft Workshop to catch up with Di's Snippets Playground. It goes without saying that you are bound to have made a lot more cards than I have over the past couple of months but I'm back feeling much better and raring to go.

I found the materials for the four cards I'm sharing today stashed away in a box full of my trials with new stamps, dies, inks, colouring, etc., together with card and paper from the snippets box. Of course, most of these materials were made some time ago and now I'm having trouble remembering all the ingredients used, but I will do my best.

This scrap of card used as the background layer is, I think, a Kanban design. The topper was made with a Rubbernecker stamp, Poppy Fields, inked up with blue, purple and green. The outline was stamped with StazOn Jet Black ink. It's matted on to a snippet of blue card. The pearly embellishments were made using Navy Blue Nuvo Crystal Drops. Sadly, I cannot remember where the greeting is from. I found the blue card used for layering in the snippet box and the ribbon was from my stash mountain ... seriously, I'm addicted to ribbon!

This topper started off as a mopping up piece from some other inky project which I then used as a background to stamp up the Flower Background from Stamps Away with Tim Holtz Black Soot. For this card I matted the topper on to a scrap of silver cardstock, added another one of those greetings, matted on to black cardstock, and finished it off with a blue printed ribbon - I thought the flowers were very similar to those in the stamped image. The very pretty tree patterned paper in the background is one I have had for a year or two - maybe even longer - but I've no idea what the design is called. The blue Rainbow Drops are from Craftynotions.

This one is covered in mysteries. I don't remember much about the papers though I think the floral one on the top half came in a freebie stack from a magazine a few years ago. As did the topper which came in a little booklet of printed images which just needed colouring ... it's matted on to a scrap of green card. The butterflies were punched from a scrap of aqua paper using a Woodware butterfly punch. Again, the pearly embellies were made from Nuvo Crystal Drops, Wedgwood Blue, and the ribbon is from my lovely stash.

And finally, this little kitty card. The base was created from a piece of leftover Kraft card measuring 8"x 4" folded in half to create an easel shaped card. Before folding one edge was embossed with a little button patterned folder. The topper is made from a scrap of white card stamped with a kitten stamp from Joanna Sheen (Cats - JS208) using a Memento Rich Cocoa ink pad. It's matted on to a scrap of Kraft card. By now I'm sure you have guessed that the ribbon is from stash and the embellishments were made with Nuvo Crystal Drops, Red Berry.

So many cards! Just making up for those weeks of inactivity in the craft room :)

Have a great week.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Friday Smiles - Week 187

Morning Everyone,

It's my beloved husband's birthday today and that is plenty of reason for me to smile. We are off on an overnight stay to Falkirk to visit the Kelpies. The photo above is of himself and the prototype Kelpies that were on display in Kirkcudbright recently. The real Kelpies are very much bigger and I believe, but will discover for real very soon, you can go inside one, if not both, of them.

They are fabulous!

It's, of necessity, a very brief post for Annie's Friday Smile this week but I hope you all have a lot to smile about and have a wonderful weekend. We sure plan to enjoy ourselves.

Happy Friday,

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

What's On Your Desk Wednesday - WOYWW Week 380

Another week gone, another Wednesday reached and time to show what's on your desk for our Desk Leader Extraordinary, Julia of  Stamping Ground fame, who's a bit surprised WOYWW has reached Week 380. How time flies!

How indeed! And my desk looks as though not much has changed from last week. The bits and bobs are still scattered about. The scissors that were out last week are still there but I have taken the opportunity to sharpen them using that neat little black gadget you can see to the left of the mess. It's a Fiskars scissor sharpener, simple to use - well, it has to be for me -and it works a treat. 

That's my collection of coloured card scraps in the straw basket on the left and there's a box of more bits and another of ribbon scraps to the right. The stamp sets on top of the ribbon box are there because it is so long ago since I made the bits and bobs I had to remind myself what was used. 

At the back, in front of the tray of tools, are four bottles of Nuvo Crystal Drops and a tube of dew drops. I've had the Crystal Drops for some time so I thought it was time I gave them a whirl. If you are interested in how I got on with them let me know and I'll do a post on them. 

I haven't been a total slacker this week. I've managed to make four cards out of the bits and bobs - not an impressive amount of work but better than nothing!

Right, I've waffled more than I intended so I'll stop now - it's time for lunch.

In the meantime, take care and have a great day.


Monday, 12 September 2016

In A Vase On Monday - September Splendour

We've had high winds here for the last couple of days and it has been wreaking havoc in the garden, especially among the tallest plants. It got so bad today that I thought it best to conduct a rescue operation and just pick anything that seemed to be in danger. The result is this lovely autumnal bunch of flowers, berries and foliage from the garden.
It includes the flowers of honeysuckle (lonicera periclymenum Serotina), verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop', echinacea 'Tomato Soup', roses - 'Faithful' (deep red) and an unknown variety (peach coloured).

The rowan trees and hypericum 'Magical Red Flame' provided the berries. Our two rowan trees have a heavy crop of berries this year. According to folklore if the rowan bears a heavy load of fruit then it is going to be a mild winter with little snow. 

The eucalyptus gunnii, top heavy with lovely new growth, was leaning away from the prevailing wind and looking very likely to topple over altogether so I pruned the top, then used the trimmings in the 'arrangement'. Other foliage is from ageratina 'Chocolate' and cuttings from the ivy that trails over the gravel at the front of the house.

And the apples? They are our entire harvest, six in total, this year!

To see what others have found to put in their vases today check out Cathy's blog Rambling in the Garden and if you feel you would like to join in I'm sure you would be very welcome.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Friday Smiles - Week 186

Hello Everyone,

It's quite a while since I joined in with Annie's Friday Smile meme. I've been enjoying a bit of a break but I'm back and I have a few little things that make me smile to share.

First, there is this beautiful honeysuckle. It's blooming at a time when most of the summer flowers has gone over.

And then there's this. It's an Echinacea called 'Tomato Soup' - my favourite childhood comfort food - blooming in front of the purple loosestrife called 'Robin' - the nation's favourite bird. Plants that have this sort of special association makes gardening even more of a pleasure. Isn't that colour combination stunning and purely accidental too :)

Finally, I've given my blog a makeover and I like it. I created the banner on Serif Craft Artist 2 and went for a clean and simple design. What do you think?

Want to see more reasons to smile? Why not pop over to A Stitch In Time where you can find more links to Friday Smiles.

Have a wonderful weekend.