Monday 30 May 2016

In A Vase On Monday - Columbines

Looking around the garden for materials for In a Vase on Monday this week it soon became obvious it had to be Columbines (aquilegias) because there are so many in bloom at the moment. I know some regard them as weeds but Columbines/Grannies Bonnets are among my favourite flowers. I grow quite a few varieties - but I have still got long way to go before I can call it the National Collection! The named varieties you can see in my vase are Spring Magic (the Blue & White and Rose & White) alpines, bi-coloured Mrs Scott Elliot and Biedermeier. Aquilegia vulgaris is seeding itself everywhere and there's a few gatecrashers I don't know the names of too.
Mrs Scott Elliot
Spring Magic Blue & White (top), Beidermeier (bottom)

Spring Magic Rose and White

I did add a few sprays of London Pride, saxifraga x urbium, and a couple of trailing tendrils of golden hop, humulus lupulus 'Aureus'. For such a cottage garden bunch of flowers the only appropriate 'vase' was the old cottage garden decorated jug.

Unusually for a Bank Holiday weekend we have had nothing but scorching sunshine here so I've been limiting any garden work to the shadier parts of the garden or leaving it until early evening when it hasn't been so hot. Yesterday evening I potted up dark mullien, verbascum thapsus, seedlings - last year's sowing - and the two helleborus lividus bought earlier this year and now outgrown their original pots.  Today I've been weeding, those pesky weeds don't care that it's a holiday, and planting up a couple of cranesbill plants, hardy geraniums, found yesterday on a trip to the nursery in the Walled Garden at Culzean Castle Estate ... g. himalayense  and g. Johnson's Blue. I'm told that they are perfect spreading plants and therefore a help in keeping those weeds at bay.

While out in the garden earlier this afternoon I was devastated to witness a magpie carry off a baby starling despite the screeching of the distraught parents. As soon as I realised what was happening I  clapped my hands loudly scaring of the magpie which dropped the baby bird into our roof guttering. The parents then rallied round and did their best to rouse the baby but I fear it died despite everything. It's the second incident I've witnessed recently of a magpie killing a young starling.

Sorry to finish on such a sad note.

Wednesday 25 May 2016

WOYWW 364 - The 7th Anniversary

Seven years! I can hardly believe that Julia's brainchild, WOYWW, has been going for seven years. Not that I've been submitting my desk for scrutiny all those years, but it's certainly been for a big chunk of them and I so enjoy it too. Not so much for the showing of my desk which is as often as not, to borrow a phrase, a hot mess, but for the opportunity to join in the fun with one of the friendliest bunch of people I've had the pleasure of meeting, sometimes in person but mostly online. And that includes the ever fantastic Jan, LLJ, who is for this week, and a few more to come, standing in for Julia. Many thanks to you all.

There's not much on the craft desk today, except that hot mess I mentioned above, but I have a couple of projects on the go to share.

Another giant granny square in progress. This one in my niece's favourite colours. I'm hoping it will be finished by her birthday ... it's not until August, plenty of time you'd think, but that's no guarantee it will be done by then.
And on the ironing board, materials for a cushion cover. Well, it will be a cushion cover once I've decided how to put it all together. The crochet lace was made by my late mother. It's very precious to me ... so precious I've hesitated to use it up until now but I think it would look perfect with the panel of embroidered lavender.

And finally,

I have made a few ATCs to celebrate the occasion. (Dreadful photo! I'll try to take a better one in daylight to replace it.)

Edit ... a slightly better shot of the ATC. At least it shows the gold thread used.

I've made several so just let me know if you would like to swap.

I'm well aware that I may be the last Desker to participate today. I meant to make an appearance earlier but, as often happens, life got in the way today. Nevertheless, I simply could not let this celebration pass without joining in.

Too late to say have a happy WOYWW so I'll wish you all a wonderful week instead.

Friday 20 May 2016

Cardmaking - Poppies and Mariposa Petals

Morning Everyone,

Two posts in one morning ... pass me the aspirin!

Hope you are well and having a very good Friday. the EM has his paint brush out, freshening up the living-room walls, so I'm sheltering in the craft room to escaping the paint fumes. It's hard not being able to join in but it does mean I've had time to make a card.

This card fits in with Mrs A's current Butterfly Challenge #55 which calls for an aperture and/or apricot. I couldn't manage the apricot but have created an aperture using an oval die - possibly for the first time ever! It was easier than anticipated so can't think why I haven't done it before.

Supplies used and notes on how the card was made:

- a 4" x 6" white card base

- a scrap of smooth black cardstock (from Papermill Direct) trimmed to a fraction smaller all round than the card front for the first layer

- a piece of red textured card (Papermania) trimmed a fraction smaller than the black layer. I then die-cut the oval shape (from a CArt-Us die set) before embossing with the Crafts-Too Lattice folder

- the poppy stamped piece for the aperture. This is just one of the pieces from a stamping session I had some time last year. I can't remember exactly what I did then but I used the Rubbernecker Poppy Field stamp. These stamps come in two parts. There are several good demos on YouTube showing how to use them. For the coloured part of the poppies I used the watercolour technique with, I think, Tim Holtz Festive Berries distress ink and water. Archival Jet Black, again I think, was used for the outline. I trimmed the piece down a little to fit behind the red embossed topper which I then adhered it down on to the black layer.

- snippets of thin black card, not the same as that from PaperMill Direct but from goodness knows where,  and the red textured card die cut with a Tonic flourish die, Mariposa Petals. I adhered the black flourish on the front letting a part of it lie over the aperture. Then I trimmed the butterfly from the red one and adhered just the body part on top of the black one. I teased the wings up to take the photo but they will fold down flat for posting.

- tiny jet black gems - source forgotten - painstakingly glued on the lattice intersections and the butterfly's body. Note to self: never again!!!

Because I've not been making so many cards lately, the snippet mountain, though not quite as high as Ben Nevis yet, is growing. That being so, I deliberately used as many snippets on the card as I possibly could which means I can also submit it to Di's challenge: Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 229. Something to celebrate :)

Wishing you all a very happy Friday and an enjoyable weekend.

Friday Smile

Morning Smilers,

Annie is away on a jaunt today but that's not stopped her scheduling a post complete with the linky thing, so no excuse for me not to share a little of what has made me smile this week.

Perhaps predictably, I have a couple of favourite shots taken this week of my great-grandchildren.

 My granddaughter's super trio - Brodie, Lacie and Rhian. Don't children love dressing up?
Our very own green-haired 'Oor Wullie'! Brodie all done up for Crazy Hair Walk To School Day. This is a drive to get children walking to school rather than relying on Mum or Dad's taxi. Doesn't he suit the look :)

And just in case you haven't found much to smile about here's George.
I don't know about you but if I needed to be cheered up George fabric would do it for me!

Have a great weekend,

Wednesday 18 May 2016

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW Week 363

Hello Everyone,

Back again after missing last week's WOYWW and later than expected too. I've been helping the EM sort out his mitres ... don't ask!

Anyway, here's the shot of my desk as it was late Tuesday evening. I took the photo then hoping to steal a march on the day ... clearly that didn't work!
As you can see, I was in the middle of making a card - this one for my younger brother, Colin, so a masculine theme was called for. I confess to being pretty rusty at cardmaking. It's quite a while since I made any so well out of practice! The supplies out on my desk are a Creative Crafting kit - perfect for when a quick card is called for - American Craft cardstock, twine from WH Smith, the Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher and the usual scissors, tape runner and Tonic guillotine. Out of shot is the X-Cut scallop edge punch, chipboard card candy, coloured with a black Sharpie, also used.

I've since finished the card and it's now winging it's way to reach him just before his birthday ... phew!!!

Here's a few pics of the completed card.
I used a lovely image of a fox from the brush ... see what I did there ... of Pollyanna Pickering.  The design is fairly simple. Well, it has to be when there's not much time ... his birthday is on Friday!

The back has a smaller version of the image on it as the one used on the front. There's so much stuff in these  kits it would be a shame not to use it up. To make it easier to write a greeting inside I've attached a panel of the cardstock with just a wee bit of bunting just for fun.

And that is my desk for today. I know everyone is, quite rightly, getting excited about the seventh anniversary of WOYWW and the ATCs, but I'm sure you will not be surprised to learn that, although I intend to make some, I haven't actually started yet. There's one or two ideas floating around inside the old grey matter but, as yet, nothing has crystalised into a design ... sigh. I have faith, there will be ATCs!!!

For today I've glued my bottom to my stool with the intention of visiting as many desks as possible so see you soon.

Happy WOYWW,

Monday 16 May 2016

In A Vase On Monday - Wildflowers and Apple Blossom

Hello Everyone,

It's Monday again! Where does the weekend go? Still, being Monday is not all bad. At least we get to join in with Cathy's In A Vase On Monday and that's got to be good.
Most of the flowers in my vase today were found in the wildflower patch. Last year I sowed some mixed seed packets which contained mostly annuals such as poppies, papaver rheoas and orientale , corn marigolds, glebionis segetum, and corncockles, Agrostemma githago, but the list of contents did contain the names of a few biennials. Of course, I totally forgot about that! One of the lovely advantages of being forgetful is that it's been a wonderful surprise to discover a few new wildflowers popping up here and there in the patch.
For example, this red campion, Silene dioica,  - a little flower that holds memories in it's wee pink petals of spring holidays in North Yorkshire where the hedgerows were a delight to see. Also in the mix is a few sprays of London Pride, saxifraga × urbium, and a little piece from our very young gum tree, eucalyptus.
Again this week, because it is so pretty, there's dames violet, hesperis matronalis. Another name for this flower is sweet rocket, very apt because it is deliciously scented. I've added one deep purple aquilegia ... I'd love to tell you the variety but the label has long gone ... and a couple of stems of apple blossom. Last year we had very little blossom and only two apples but it was the first year of planting. This year the tree is covered in blossom and I have high hopes for a bumper harvest, so don't think pinching a few blossoms is too bad.
Tucked in under the flowers are a couple of sprigs of feverfew, tanacetum parthenium, which has happily seeded around the rose bed. The three orange/yellow geums are survivors from last week's vase. The colour is a bit of a mystery because according to my records these are Mrs Bradshaw, a red variety. Another mystery to me is the brown coloured brush shaped flower you can see in the shot above. It is another surprise from the seed packets but I have absolutely no idea what it is called. Any ideas?
Once I picked my little posy of wildflowers it seemed appropriate to plonk arrange them into a vase that is decorated with some of my favourite Scottish wildflowers.

It's taken me since this morning to complete this post. So many interruptions and distractions, if you can call the mountain of ironing, of Ben Nevis proportions, a distraction. I think perhaps I should take a leaf out of Sam's, A Coastal Plot, and cheat a little by doing it all Sunday evening but then there's usually something else distracting me then too ... sigh!

As usual, thanks to Cathy for hosting this friendly meme.

Happy gardening,

Sunday 15 May 2016

Ayr County Show

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are enjoying a very happy Sunday. It's a bright and sunny day here in Ayrshire.

I have a few of the many, many photos taken at the Ayr County Show yesterday to share with you.

Here's the EM recalling a boyhood dream. When he didn't want to be a train driver he wanted to drive one of these beauties!
Actually, given his age, it would have to have been one of these that featured in his boyhood drams :)

The next few photos are of the animals preparing to be judged.

You can't train a lamb to stay still for the judge!

As I said at the top, this is only a few of the photos taken there. I hope to share a few more later but for now I'm off to visit my daughter. I'll be back after a cuppa and a chat :)

Take care and enjoy the rest of the day.

Friday 13 May 2016

Friday Smiles

Afternoon Everyone,

And happy Friday to you all, even if it is the 13th! I have had a lot to smile about this week so I'm linking this post with Annie's A Stitch In Time where you can catch up with what has been making the other Friday Smilers happy.

First on my smiley list is this Clematis Montana Rubra. It's a miracle there are so many flowers blooming away today because the local wood pigeon population seem to find the flower buds a tasty treat! However, it's such a great flowering plant that there are plenty for all of us to enjoy.

Then there's this cheeky chappy. Callum is a master of funny faces and this one makes me giggle.

And how could I not be entertained by this two jokers in the tearoom at Rozelle Park. That's the EM (he's the one waving) with his pal, Brian, trying to make me laugh while I'm concentrating on taking their photo.
And they succeeded. Whatever they said Margaret, Brian's wife, and I found it hilarious. Oh, and can you see I'm wearing my new pink framed glasses. Which brings me nicely to my funny for this week.

Yes, it's been a great week for smiles. Hope yours has been as happy.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday 12 May 2016

Missed WOYWW - Belated Desk Shot + Sun Sea & Sand Layout

Evening Everyone,

I suppose it's no surprise that I missed WOYWW this week given my recent track record, but I did manage to take a desk shot on Wednesday so I thought I'd share it anyway ... better late than never!
This layout has been lying on my desk for a week or so. I started it but stuttered to a standstill when other more pressing things had to be done.  However, Saturday was International Scrapbooking Day, just the motivation I needed to sit down and attempt to finish it.
And finish it I did. I've used patterned papers from The Coastal Collection (Kaisercraft) for this layout. The photo is of me, taken in my salad days, in Jersey, Channel Islands, with the stunning St Ouen's Bay for a backdrop, way back in 1998. There was less of me back then and my hair was darker too ... how cruel the march of time! To get the wavy effect on the borders at the bottom of the page I traced around a Kiwi Lane template with a pencil and then cut the paper out by hand. The quotes in the two corner embellishment clusters are from the branding strips cut from the papers. All the other embellishments I already had in my stash.

Supplies used:

  • Bluebird cardstock from Bazzill
  • Seagrass and Shells patterned papers from The Coastal Collection from Kaisercraft
  • Abbey Road template from Kiwi Lane Designs
  • BoBunny Weekend Market (yellow letters) & Hobbycraft Felt Alphabet Stickers (blue letters)
  • Trimcraft Ruban Riverbank Revels Washi tape
  • Simple Stories So Fancy enamel dots
  • American Crafts Dear Lizzy Leaf & Feather Ornaments
  • Paper Cellar gold sequins
  • Gems, gold shell shaped sequins, chipboard starfish and shell shapes, and natural twine from stash

It's taken me much longer than anticipated to put this post together because I got a bit distracted by the programme about Gareth Malone's Invictus Choir. So glad I watched it - it was wonderful!

Right, I'm off to bed. It's been a long day and I'm shattered so time to call it a day.

Take care and happy crafting,

Monday 9 May 2016

In A Vase On Monday - Bluebells in Wedgwood

Hello Everyone,

Summer has arrived. At last! And, of course, I've been pottering in the garden most of the day and not so much making hay while the sun shone but deadheading daffodils and pulling up weeds. And that is why this post for Cathy's In A Vase On Monday is so late.
It's bluebell time in our garden again. Despite having dug up a great many bulbs last year, we still have several clumps of these Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish bluebells) growing in a narrow border that runs along the back of the house and, in truth, they are so pretty it would be a shame to eradicate them altogether. Especially as they look perfect in this blue and white vase - yet another charity shop find.
Down at the bottom of the wildflower patch Hesperis Matronalis (Dames Violet) and Lunaria annua (Honesty) are doing well too so I didn't feel too guilty cutting a spray or two to add to the vase. The Geum Mrs Bradshow that I added is just coming into bud in the long border - still green, not yet showing the bright red they will eventually become.
In the woodland area I was delighted to discover that my little Fagus sylvatica (green birch) is breaking into leaf. I love the soft feel of the fresh green growth so I've added a couple of sprigs to the vase. The leaves of epimedium pubigerum (Bishop's Mitre) are maybe a bit too big but I couldn't resist the bright lime freshness of the new growth. They will darken soon enough.

About the vase. The markings on the base suggests that it's a pre-1900 transfer printed Wedgwood Etruria vase. I need to do a bit more research on it but if it turns out to be genuine it's quite a find. Whether it's real or fake, I think it's lovely anyway.

According to the weather forecast it's going to be another good day tomorrow so I'm planning get out into the garden again. I picked up several pelargonium plants from the garden centre today which, together with herbs I've been nursing through winter, need to be potted up ready for the summer. That's assuming that these few sunny days aren't going to be our only summer!

Happy gardening everyone,

Friday 6 May 2016

Friday Smiles

Evening Everyone,

Well, Friday is almost over so I'm more than a little bit late joining in with Annie, A Stitch In Time, and her meme, Friday Smile. Something I haven't done for a while because, in all honesty, I haven't felt much like smiling recently. However, there's been a few of things that have cheered me up this week so I thought I'd take the opportunity to share them today.
First, there's been all the kind messages received from lots of lovely blogging buddies including these sympathy cards, two from friends and a sweet handmade one, all the way from the US, from Darnell, djkardkreations. Thanks Darnell!

Second, there's this chap. Meet Alfie.
Alfie lives at the Garden Centre down at Ballantrae. We now go there, not just to buy plants, but to visit him and this is the kind of greeting we get. That's him galloping towards us, heehawing all the way. Who would have thought a donkey would remember us but Alfie clearly did ... or maybe it's the bag of carrots we bring with us that he remembers.
I've always been a bit wary of feeding him but here I am overcoming my fear at last.
Such a sweetheart.

And talking of sweethearts.
This little poppet is my youngest great-granddaughter, Lacie. I'm told her second tooth came through today. Now that is something to smile about :)

Wishing you all a very happy weekend.