Sunday, August 25, 2019

Making a start

Our previous visits to the cottage in Scotland have been very task-focused.  The first time we were on a whirlwind trip to identify possible cottages; the second trip we came to renovate and furnish inside and set up the internet and telephone etc; the third time we came to do outdoor work of drains and gravelling and clearing land; and this time we hope to have fewer tasks to do (altho of course we are still doing lots of weeding and trimming to bring the yard into shape again after a fruitful summer of warmth and rain).

That said, we are both keen to focus on our art lives whilst we are here as well, and that can pose a problem for a metal worker and letterpress printmaker.  Our materials and tools are too heavy and awkward to move around the world with us, so we ponder other things.

I tried to be a bit prepared this time and have some fabric and some threads and some notebooks.

I made 8 notebooks a while back thinking I might write in one a week.  I started off OK and used the Turkish fold book to capture the week of transit - flying, stopping in Edinburgh, researching the cottage at the National Library, going to a Fringe show, enjoying the madness of the city in full festival flight and the many arts and crafts opportunities that were also on. It continues the r=train trip to Inverness, overnighting there and then the final train trip north and arrival at the cottage.

I wasn't sure how I might use this folded book but have come to the view it is brilliant for capturing a week of odds and sods and lets you dump things down without feeling obliged to write a full page.  A very friendly approach to journalling is my assessment!

And then to the cottage - the other place we call home.

We stuck to our tried and true method of being super busy and then we woke up. We slowed back down into the rhythm of the place and my mind turned to making and creating again.

I had seen a great leather purse in Edinburgh - a triangle fold and one into which I could put coins. My new wallet doesn't really work for coins so I have to find an alternative and additional option. Why not try to make one I thought?

I found the folding pattern on line OK and thought how hard could that be?

First attempt at a paper template failed.  I needed to draw equilateral triangles and couldn't work out an easy way to do it. Googling identified the need for a compass - which is not something we have on hand here; but also offered up an option for tracing around a round thing.

A mug perchance?

The inaccuracies associated with drawing pencil lines on a mug and basically hoping, thwarted mea gain and yet I was sure there must be a way.

So I fiddled and I faddled and drew one by messing about with fold lines.

Once I had done this I measured the height of the triangle and wondered if there was a formula for the ratio and yee ha there was.  I can now create equilateral triangle of any size by calculation. I laughed at my glee haven't cracked that!

I made a few paper templates and wrote some notes and called it a day.  Making a purse can wait.

I had chosen this wee notebook to use as my thoughts and ideas jotting place whilst away and it turned out to be the perfect choice.

Inside it has this extra bit which is the hinge that allows the pages to stay in place; which was just the right spot to tuck my templates.

And then to thread.

Having happily solar dyed some threads form our garden at home, I had wanted to try and dye some here as well.

I met too many stinging nettles for my liking as I weeded, but that got me thinking if they might be put to good use.  So I harvested some stinging nettles and some red clover and some purple thistle flowers and thought I would give it  a go.

We shall see what happens.

When last here, my dad had planted some sweet peas with the hope that they might be flowering when we arrived; and they were, so the dead heads were next in the pot!

 And finally after all my flights winding cottons onto pegs here i my stash from home.  All so gentle and sympathetic I think.

Stitching fun awaits!


  1. ugh ... stinging nettles are the worst ... it would be poetic justice to see you pull some good color out of them

    and it's amazing how finding one's way to a mathematical solution ensures one owns it forever ...

    last, I purchased the book of books after you wrote about it, hoping to make my own set ... if only we could move on to a new place of our own so I can pull out all my stuff and give it a go ... your folded book of travels is a delight to behold!

    1. Stinging nettles are surprising true to their name aren't they? And boy is it a powerful sting. I can at least identify them now before accidentally meeting one. They have made a nice yellow - not sunshines but soft lemon curd colour so they will be used somewhere sometime. So true about finding your own calculation - I will neve forget it and will always feel confident using it I reckon. So glad you bought that book; I have just purchased the kindle version as well so I now have it with me wherever I go - on my phone and my iPad! That little one week haphazard journal was just the thing. Go well.

  2. (((Fiona))) love seeing your work around!

    1. I sometimes think I don't have an analytical brain Mo, but I can get obsessed with solving a problem. I had to do it with my hands to start with, then the brain followed...and I am yippee happy dance happy!


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