Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


March 2017 Link up Party

If you have joined in with my

Scavenger hunt, please link

with me on your blog :)

Please add your name to the

link up tool below,

just follow the easy instructions,

don't worry - if I can do it so can you!

Please just add your Name or Blog Name in the 'Link Title',

Now, let's all visit and see everyone's lovely pictures!

March Scavenger photo hunt

A beautiful vibrant bunch from my dear Himself for Valentine's day.
He has never missed a year since we first met.
Never, ever.

Baking or cooking
Leek and Potato Soup - thick rings of freshly washed leeks.
My favourite recipe at the end of the post***.

A couple of years ago, I bravely set off sans Himself
and took the boys to Galloway for a week.
We visited Wigtown, sadly not during the book festival
which had concluded the day before we arrived.
However, we feasted our eyes and senses by visiting all the bookshops
carefully lifting, sniffing, feeling the books.
Delighting in the quotes and the quirks
finally retiring in a bookshop that served delicious hot chocolate
with a side dish of the written word,

We have two cats, each a 'little purrson' in their own right.
Pepper is effusive, enthusiastic, a bossy team player,
a leader, a supervisor, is vocal, demanding and insistent.
And then there is Pan.
A quiet, determined, independent and shy princess.
We hold our breath if she chooses to sit on our lap,
we tell each other if we've been allowed to stroke her,
so when, be still my beating heart,
my dear Pan decides to sleep near my desk while I paint,
I take a photo - because I don't know when 
I will next be blessed by her company.

Favourite Colour
...Is not pink...

Eldest reached his 19th milestone in March,
19 years ago we lived in Africa,
19 years ago, we lived on an avocado and guava farm,
19 years ago I gardened carefully to avoid snakes,
19 years ago I had a small blonde baby
who now is tall and serious and amazing.

You know when you are out and about, 
looking out of the car window,
rain streaked and misty.
Your eyes drag across the passing scenery,
seeing yet not seeing.
Then suddenly something catches your gaze,
grabs your attention,
forces you to screech 
and demand a stop.
(This usually startles Himself to do the perfect emergency stop ...)
Then, a sweet smile and an innocent request
to reverse .....
so you can take a photograph
of a pig with a hat......

Our walks, pre-dog, usually had some mud involved.
Now, with dog, mud is guaranteed.
Even a simple constitutional walk
now has mud as an integral ingredient....

Favourite mug or cup and saucer
Not one that I use often during winter,
it tends not to keep my drink warm.
I prefer using it in summer when herbal infusions
are fine
hot or cold
and look a lot prettier
in this.
No, during winter,
give me chunky thick mugs
built to last
built to hold gallons
of steaming hot tea!

My own choice
In the small town of Coldstream, Scotland,
 we had driven around the back of the town centre,
looking for parking. 
Having found a quiet little road, lined by quaint shops, 
we chose to potter around this un-touristy area
rather than the more populated and visitor-centric main street.
We visited a lovely little museum,
topsy-turvy charity shops,
a dusty bookshop,
walked passed traditional houses
and a vernacular pub.
A little further along, we discovered a small park 
with a narrow but vigorous stream gurgling through it.
On the bridge, this sign.
Not 100 metres from said pub!

***Leek and Potato Soup
Gently heat oil in heavy based pan, add a chopped onion, 225gms of chopped potatoes, I leave the skins on and  3 medium leeks - washed and chopped.
Cook for 3 - 4 minutes until everything starts to soften and look glossy.
Add about a litre of vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
Season and simmer until all the vegetables are tender.
Removed from heat, cool slightly and whizzzzzzz until as smooth as you like, gently re-warm. Check seasoning and add if you need to.

Serve in warmed bowls with crusty bread and a flourish of coarsely ground black pepper - yum yum yum.



I was just going to post a quick reminder about the Scavenger Photo Hunt, 
just a quick post 
- you know the type - 
 Five minutes at the very most....

When - blogger pulled a fast one! They have added all sorts of new and shiny looking templates and with an invitation to .......
'come and have a look'
 and a promise of 
'you can return to your original layout at any time'
 All I had to do was to save my template and I could revert back if I wished.
I was well and truly hooked.

It took me about five minutes to choose a new theme, one minute to realise that, once I'd set it up I could not alter the heading photo - I had to use the one they supplied which was ...
A cat.
 I like cats, 
I own cats,
my cats own me 
but this..was..not..my..cat!

It took a further five minutes to realise that although I 'can return to your original layout' that it was not the same - lots of pop-ups kept popping up (as they do) saying that this widget or that option was no longer visible or had moved or had been deleted all together! The layout no longer fitted the screen and all the text was over the images. The colour had changed and so had the font .... What?!?

Finally, THIRTY MINUTES LATER, I have managed to replace my layout back to a similar format I had before ... minus some things that have 'got lost' - 
Blogger..you.are.not.liked.very.much.at.this.moment - grrrrr

Now where was I, ah yes, deep breath, brush myself down, look out the window and see the snow has finally stopped, and ....

As usual I will post a page where we can put all our links, please put your name or your blog's name and not the title of your post in the link. Til then!

PS think I need a lie down after that nonsense with blogger - sigh!


Six things that made me smile this Saturday

 Six things that made me smile this Saturday

1. An unexpected egg from an mature hen, who retired herself last year and retrained as a bug and weed inspector - a job she has done exceedingly well.

2. Hand writing a slate for the larger potager and symbolically hanging it on the nervous tree - it can relax for a bit longer, it has two important roles this year - sweetpea support and slate sign holder. It's position will be reassessed at the end of the year.
3. A dilly dog sitting still long enough to be in my picture

4. Being able to make a start on the lay out of the brick edges for the potager beds before it got too wet.
5. Sowing seeds while the hen takes a well earned dust bath beneath my potting tray as the rain hammered on the greenhouse roof
6. Watching as Himself places the 'birthday bench' (a gift from my folks) into pride of place 

Then, due to the inclement weather we had to reluctantly declare defeat and retreat to the house where I made leek and potato soup and 'Betty Ferrie's Shetland Oatcakes

A gentle day, filled with quiet smiles and muddy puddles. But, if it was an indication of what was to come - spring is definitely on her way :)

And you - what made you smile today?
Where you defeated by the rain?
How is your garden growing ?


There will be consequences ...

Wednesday turned out to be sublime. Gentle sunshine and warm air. Clear views and out of the blue and most welcome - a walk with friends. Moss could not wait and as soon as her lead made an appearance, she shuffled her bottom closer and closer until she practically sat on my feet. Her eyes glued steadfastly on her lead.
We set off, our walking pack a few houses up the hill were waiting for us. Moss - who if left to her own devices will pull like a steam train - was made to heel and she, despite her obvious pique soon trotted nicely and stopped trying to dislocate my left shoulder!

My friend and I chatted, her daughter coming a short way before returning to continue with her crochet, while the dogs flew around the fields. Three border collies pretended to be rockets accelerating with ease -three black and white cannonballs fly by.

We crossed up the hill, found a deep track loved by walkers, cyclists and horse riders alike and followed it back down to farmland. In places there were deep ruts filled with the most*delicious*deep*thick*chocolate*coloured*mud*. Moss was in her element. Although I had taken my camera, I completely forgot to take evidence of the bog monster which squelched out of the sludge..... My friend was amused if not a little taken aback at Moss' delight at wallowing and dredging at every opportunity. Her two dogs skipped and flew over mud and were as clean at the end of our walk as they were when we started....Not Moss. Happy muddy dog. We did manage to find a clean stream half way back which Moss leapt in with such a silly grin. Happy slightly less muddy dog.

There is a downside to this story.... the inevitable shower when we returned.... made all the more humiliating by the intervention and involvement by the cat. Pepper not only supervised but got in on the act. 
There was so much head bopping and butting. Pepper purred and bripped while Moss sat in the shower. The supervisor kept walking along the bath edge with paw extended to tap the dog on her head or nose.

The attention did not end when the water was switched off, no, with a towel wrapped dog out of the bath, Pepper could now get closer and even more involved. Poor Moss - she did not know what to do and kept giving me ' help me' eyes! I did what any self respecting dog loving owner did ... I took photos!
 Now, squeaky clean, exhausted by her play out and her bath and recovered from the over enthusiastic attention of a loving cat, Moss sleeps and dreams of being a rocket and crash landing in mud.....

A gentle reminder that March's Photo Hunt is coming up,
pictures to be posted on Friday the 24th.
The list of words is at the top right beneath my banner picture.

Don't forget to use the linky-tool once you have posted
so we can all come and find you and see your photos!
Looking forward to the 24th :)


Belated Ta-Da! and Hap update

Finished my blanket
Although laid out on the bed
it is destined for the settee.
143 rows of lazy ripple
in 21 shades of Stylecraft.
Three edging rows, two of single crochet,
the final edging in 'bunting' stitch.** 
Crocheted by me,
test driven by cats,
loved by us.
The feather and fan pattern 
has started to really develop,
loving the process of the undulating rows.
Slow going compared to crochet
it is good to 'slow'

Feeling 'Hap'py :)

**I modified the bunting stitch from HERE

How are your wips doing?
Anything on the needles or hook?
What slow crafting are you doing?
Keep us in the loop (hehehe) I love to hear what you get up to :)


Lets get down and dirty!

Walled garden last year, crop rotation plans, lifting and moving path and plants, garden plans

Despite the present rather driech weather I am looking at outside of my window - it does actually feel a little (shhhhh going to say it quietly) a little *spring-like*.

There, I've done it, I have probably jinxed it and the tentative steps towards a bit of a growing season will be called to a shuddering halt!

I suspect what is helping this delicate spring-like feel is planning the larger of two new potager gardens as well as a meeting this afternoon with the National Trust Rangers to discuss the oncoming year for the walled garden (I am really really looking forward to returning to dibbling in the soil on the side of a high and windy hill - it cleanses the soul!)

Sunday, Himself and I with the help of the boys, cleared an area that has had to wait for winter to pass. Last autumn we removed an ENORMOUS leylandii as well as a small ratty wooden shed. We also lifted plants, cleared branches and trees from the end of our garden. Now the sunlight floods in - something that has not done so for a very long time.  We do still have a large conifer in situ and for the time being it will stay (although I have narrowed my eyes at it several times .... it feels nervous) So in order that the tree feels useful, I have now wrapped it in netting and sweetpeas will climb up and beautify that rather gnarly tree trunk.
Brick path and Moss demonstrating where she is allowed to trot ....

Another new area (the second smaller potager) is nearer the house and is a raised walled bed - I am going to use this as a salad area with quick crops such as radish and cut and come again salad leaves - can't wait!
Second, smaller potager, rosemary cuttings, spinach seedlings

The rudiments of the larger potager garden has been laid out, complete with brick pathway and central seating area. I had planned to lay out the bed shapes with string but we ran out of time and light. Never mind, time flies when you are having fun :)

Yup - all good positive growing stuff!

And you? How was your weekend?
Did you get anything done or did the weather thwart you?
Did you get any seeds sown?
Did you get mud under your nails and twigs in your hair?

Go one, spill the beans (or plant them!) and share what you got up  too - I love to hear about your day too :)


Monday morning ramblings with coffee

Sitting squinting with the sun blazing into my left eye and warming my left cheek - I am gently procrastinating. You see, I have three more paintings to complete for an order and one more waiting to be started. So what do I do? I sip coffee as I quietly sit and revel in the most delicious sunlight surrounded by two cats and sleeping dog.

I feel to have been starved of sunlight the last few months, winter has been a rather drab and dreary affair slipping for the most part from one grey day to another. Occasionally there has been a brief but delightful flash of a watery sun however as soon as it appeared, it faded and hid.

My crochet blanket has it's border, a different style for me and it (after a few false starts and a bit of crochet themed cussing) looks rather good - so I am happy :) I have no photos yet hence the distinctly low key ta da moment - that will have to wait. Eldest has both my camera lenses for the week for a uni-jolly-out that required a bit more than a cellphone camera.

I did however take some 'tablet-snaps' last night and again this morning in this most glorious of sunny mornings of my latest wip. After the methodical rhythmic and simple delight of crochet I have opted for a slightly more 'thinking' project. A feather and fan hap - in (according to the details on the label) 100% British Falkland Merino. I am not sure how 'local' Falkland wool is, certainly it has a great number of air miles attached to it, history confirms the 'Britishness' of the Falklanders and the purchase of it helps support a small island community.  Here lies in the rub - it is less expensive than purchasing a similar hank from a genuinely local supplier ....  After a little bit of research it seems that due to the climate, Falkland sheep don't have the same problems of fly strike, the fleeces are therefore in better condition and the animals are consequently not subjected to external pesticides.

Any hoo, this weekend has been a milestone in many ways, Eldest officially turned 19 last week and due to logistics of family, friends and university - this particular birthday lasted over 9 days! Two weekends of family celebrations and during the week at uni there seemed an awful lot of jollity and visiting eateries of one sort or another. My brother and fave sis-in-law moved further north, chasing jobs and although not that far away - they could be on the other side of the world, bit too far just to pop over for a brew and a quick chat, thank goodness for the internet. And I have gently returned to painting watercolours- something I am finding is not as 'flexible' as painting on slate. They are very tentative steps and I should have something to show by next week - hopefully by then I will have got back into the swing of things.

So, now,  as my wonderful wonderful (but distracting) sunshine has moved across my window and I can now finally stop squinting - I must get on and paint. Post weekend housework can wait!

Oh, before I go, I discovered a brilliant new phrase and it's meaning - 'Wool-gathering'  - the indulgence in aimless thought or dreamy imagining; absent mindedness. A vacant daze that leads to formless wool-gathering' Yup perfect.

(Thanks to J from SIMPLENATURALHANDMADE for sharing a word/phrase that I think fits me like a woolen knitted glove!)

Have lovely and Happy Monday!


The music and magic of knit and natter

There is something satisfying about the sound of the gentle clack of knitting needles as they provide the background rhythm to our conversation. The rasp of the tapestry thread as it pulls through the canvas.
Even quieter is the fluid swish of the crochet hook, which requires you to listen very carefully, providing a graceful base note.
Tuesday is our knit and natter day, where we meet and chat and although I suspect we craft less and chat more. It is not so much the creating of wips but more the creating and strengthening of bonds.
We swap stories, we sympathise and we interject our 'two pence worth'. It is our way of keeping connected not only with each other and our lives but keeping us connected with the greater world.
We hear of village news..... did you hear so-in-so's funeral was last week?, we share family anecdotes ..... The fish tank has settled down and the new blue light at night looks good,  we keep each other up to date with local politics ..... that ridiculous ruling the council was trying to slip in has been dropped! ... and so on.
In between the weaving of conversations and the looping of yarn, we drink tea or coffee, hot lemon water and hot chocolate accompanied by frequently passed around treats. Each week we celebrate a goodly selection of calorific naughties, essential and forbidden in the same breath! Fruit and nutty crunchy oat biscuits, chocolate coated digestives, heart shaped lemon shortbread,  freshly made still slightly warm biscuits, fruit cake, lemon drizzle, Viennese whirls, wicked millionaire shortbread ... the list goes on, the selection only limited by our own imagination.
 Some weeks we resort to hastily purchased treats in the haze of a busy day and others we are swamped by frenzied baking which produces tasty delights, demoting the knitting and crochet to forgotten wips on our laps as we chat and chew and connect.
We are an eclectic mix, students, housewives, retired, grannies, mothers, self employed. We are who we are and we should be proud of the magic we can weave, our knitting pins and our crochet hooks are our wands and the yarn is the spell. I look forward to our circle of friendship and the magic we bind.
Now, much later, in the evening quiet of my home, I pick up my hook to continue the undulating pattern of my blanket. I am on my last row. Time to think of a border, time to think of a new project. My blanket on my lap has been privy to many conversations and is already a guardian of memories and secrets. Soon it will be ready to keep us warm and cozy.
And I find that so very very satisfying.

The list of words is at the top right of my page.
Don't forget to grab your cameras,
write your words
and post your pictures
Friday 24th March!

Happy TUESDAY to you all


It's not just for the birds you know ...

There are some things that the weather can not stop. Knitting, eating, shopping, housework.  

And dog walking.

Sunday seemed to slip quietly, predominantly grey with streaks of ash-blue clouds punctuated by bands of rain. In the mild insipid gaps between the drizzle I gathered the boys and Moss and we set off for our 'local dog loop'. The village is fortunate enough to have benefitted from the altruistic generosity of a bygone philanthrope who left a rounded lumpy hill top field to the people of the neighbouring three villages. There had been a provisor that the council would mow the undulating grounds with the ultimate ownership being the villages.
We recently heard (due to the vigilance of a fellow dog walker) that the council were quietly trying to bring in some rather draconian measures, controlling the access of the fields to dog walkers. In an instant the dog walking community were up in arms as, though we live in easy access to the countryside, we have very little free running, ball chasing, dog playing space.
Like all bullies when stood up against, the council backed down -  the land is not theirs any way. Besides, apart from foolhardy weather worn dog walkers and weekend football leagues - who else uses this wonderfully lumpy windswept hill top? 
Actually there are some others that frequently do .... gulls. Especially after the rain. The field is most accommodating and holds large sheets of water, perfect if you are a water bird ....

Or a soggy Moss dog. 
Moss, completely unaware of the events, celebrated the reaffirmation that our field is free from petty officialdom (for now) by running and running and running. Showing mud and puddles no mercy. 

While, we flounder in wellies and warm coats, trying not to slip. 
Happy dog.

Have lovely and Happy Monday!


Now, a word from my supervisor ...

Hello hoomans,
I thought I would paw out a word or two, while she is busy planning her day with coffee in one hand and paint brush tucked behind her ear (why do hoomans do that? My ears are far too precious and busy to have something balanced on them).
I am quite good at this keyboard lark (lark? where?? I need to chatter crossly at all birds - it is an important part of my job and seeing I have such splendid whiskers I will rattle them when I grumble at those silly feathered creatures) now where was I.... Oh yes, the keyboard. I must be good, evidenced by the appreciative shrieks my hooman lets out when I saunter casually over her laptop.

I do, as the studio supervisor, insist on a tight ship - my 'nest', where I spend my day needs to be freshly plumped up and ready for me. If not, then I insist on having the warm prime spot beneath the wonderful daylight cat sunlamp.... 
That usually has the desired result and my 'nest' is quickly fixed. On the odd occasion when my 'nest' has been thieved and has another purry furry in it - I will sit on the floor and I frown and stare and stare and stare at my hooman until this calamitous situation is remedied.
Not only do I take my senior position seriously, often inspecting the work as I walk across the desk, I even taste test the paint water....I purrrfur it when it is fresh and clean but am not averse to slurping it when it is a milky grey colour. Not sure why my hooman thinks this is not a good idea, she puts it there for me, so she must freshen it more regularly!
Some days her desk is such a mess that my delicate sweet paws barely find a space where I can perch my little and purrrfectly formed furry self, I have to make do.... such is my lot as the supervisor.

I might be the smallest, in stature, in this household, 
but I am certainly top dog cat and don't you forget it!

Now, I need my beauty sleep ..... 
good bye bloggy-hoomans, 
time for my cat nap ... yawn. 
Edited to add:  I have just fallen out of my nest and she has the audacity to laugh! There I was, purring and kneading my favourite cuddly and in the throes of kitty-hedonistic-purdom, I.fell..out..of..my..nest - and she laughed at me!

March 2017 Link up Party

If you have joined in with my Scavenger hunt, please link with me on your blog :) Please add your name to the link up t...