Friday, 8 April 2011


Oh dear,  I just couldn't resist that! 
Several friends have asked for a puppy report, and I have to say he's certainly thriving.  He is just over four months old now, and weighs about 38lb and I think he's going to be bigger than his father.  We're doing some basic training and he's getting the hang of "lie down" and "that'll do"  which are both important sheep dog commands.  He walks well on the lead and was very easy to house train, so all in all we're pleased with progress so far.  Although he doesn't have a particularly "beardie" appearance at the moment, he has a couple of very "beardie" characteristics such as barking at nothing in particular and letting his tongue fall out of his mouth!  All very amusing!   He also has a very sweet, affectionate nature and LOVES his food.

enjoying a muddy puddle

relaxing in the kitchen


giving his Dad a hug

trying not to look at the camera

.....eventually looking at the camera

the famous tongue!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

spring is springing...............................

Over the last few days I've been amazed at how quickly the trees have started to come to life with all sorts of beautiful little buds and tiny, fresh, new leaves.  The sun has been shining and it's been quite mild although there is still snow on the higher hills and we've had a few frosty nights. 

Trees which were stark and bare a couple of weeks ago are beginning to take on a delicate, pale green, hazy look as their new leaves appear.

Even the colourful lichens on the branches seem to be brighter and I love their wonderful swirls and curls.

This lovely, big shoe has been nailed to the fence for a long time.  It turned up in the field where it was probably lost from a Shire horse working the land many years before we lived here. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

beautiful books............................

The other day I was photographing some old books for a piece of artwork and admiring the beautiful pattern on the spine of one of the books.  Looking along the bookshelves I found several books with pretty embossed designs on the covers and before long I had pulled out a pile of books whose cover designs had caught my eye, so here are some of my favourites.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

in the frame......................

Here we are over half way through March already!  Where has the month gone? 
I've been so busy over the last few weeks that the poor old blog has been rather neglected but now, armed with a huge mug of hot chocolate and accompanied by one of my Spotify playlists  I'll try to catch up.

I've been preparing a selection of my artwork for exhibition in a new tearoom which my sister is managing for an educational trust based on a nature reserve near Forfar.  They haven't opened to the public yet, but she wanted the artwork in place this week as she was cooking lunch for the trustees and wanted the place to look "finished" so I had a deadline to work to which was probably quite a good thing as I'm inclined to procrastinate!

I do all my own framing and use a mixture of new and recycled frames which I usually paint to complement my work.  Up until recently I have used either Farrow & Ball paints or artist's acrylics but I have just discovered the delights of Annie Sloan's wonderful paint.  Those of you who follow Vintage Squirrel's blog ( will have seen some of the gorgeous projects Katie has carried out using Annie Sloan paint and her sister in law Cait ( is an Annie Sloan stockist who also does unbelievably magical things with paint - do visit her blog!

I bought sample pots of a few colours and some of the soft wax recommended for use with the paint and set to work on some yellow varnished pine frames which I'd found in a charity shop.  One of the lovely aspects of this paint is that you don't need to do a lot of initial preparation.  It has a lovely thick, chalky consistency and is very easily applied.  Cait advises two coats of paint, then wax followed by sandpapering before finishing with more wax and that certainly worked well on my frames.

charity shop finds

before the Annie Sloan treatment

I also painted some smaller "gold" frames and then tackled a couple of large square beech frames which I bought in a well known supermarket as they were exactly the size I needed for two of my paintings.  However,  I couldn't believe it when I removed the backing boards to find that the glass was superglued to the frames!   Determined to use them, I painstakingly masked the glass before painting the frames, but I still had to do a bit of tidying up with a razor blade once the tape was removed.  Needless to say, I wont be buying any more of  them!

F&B James White - lovely paint!

Annie's Duck Egg Blue
Masking the superglued frame!

watching paint dry!

Annie's Versailles

I'm really excited about my first dabblings with this paint and have already started planning a few projects around the house.  We have a long narrow island in the kitchen, and I think it would look wonderful painted in Duck Egg Blue,  then there's a rather scuffed old tea trolley, and a chest of drawers, and a chair, and......................................the list is endless!

Friday, 25 February 2011

shards and fragments..........................

Many years ago , when the railways around this area were still operational, loads of waste from the towns were brought out to the country and spread on farmers' fields.  Presumably there was a useful amount of organic waste which was good for fertility building, but also, amongst that waste there were old bottles, jars, clay pipes and lots of broken china and pottery.

A local, branch line ran alongside our farm and the adjoining fields still turn up lots of interesting bits and pieces even after all these years.  When the fields have been grubbed or ploughed, it's fascinating to walk over them picking up interesting pieces which have been newly unearthed by the machinery.  A good time to look is just after a shower of rain as pottery brought to the surface is washed clean and shows up clearly on the ploughed land.

Over the years I have collected a lot of pieces, and it's interesting to rummage through them  looking at all the lovely patterned shards and fragments and wondering where they came from.  There is a lot of spongeware,  pieces of salt glazed pottery and of course masses of willow pattern in countless shades of blue!

We have a rather unattractive brick pillar which is part of  a shed at the back of our house and I'm planning to cover it with a mosaic created from my collection of pottery.  However, that's a summer project and maybe this year I'll finally get around to it.

I have put together some little collections of these finds and they are always of interest to visitors who are often amazed at what's out there in our fields!