Tuesday, September 27, 2022

St Mary's Chapel and headstones

 Last week we visited the 12th Century St Mary's Chapel. It was a lovely day for a wander, with a big blue sky and no wind.

As ever, I am taken by the centuries old carving, the labour of love of the person who did it, the accommodations they made, the errors they rectified, and the beautiful hand of the maker seen so vividly.

This was a very early one - and the ligature between the N and the D in AND caught my eye.

This one had a lot of loveliness going on.

The spelling of Stone. Henderson is shortened with two lots of ligatures and the absence of a second E. And always, the beautiful ampersand on its side. The spelling of July - with the very old I instead of J, and the addition of another L.

A detail, with the spelling of Wife, with a U.

The three-way ligature with TH and E in MOTHER, and the lovely R tucked into farmer.
The spelling of DIED also appealed, as does the shortening of September.

Another upside down/sideways ampersand.

The ligatures between N & E in STONE, and H & E in HEAR (here). The spelling of LYS (lies)... 

I could spend hours looking at old headstones and thinking about the people who carved them.

Sunrise during the week on our way to the cove.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Craft Fair and a new studio nook

 Barry and I had the opportunity to take part in the Watten Craft and Produce Fair on Saturday, and we had a really good time. The Fair was busy! Loads of good products and produce; excellent crowds and plenty of folk to chat with and share our work with.

Barry setting up.

Fiona setting up.

Table set up!


My solace stones...

In the afternoon, the sun streamed in...and all in all, a great day was had.

Meanwhile back at the cottage...

After our most recent visit, when I had begun to feel like Virginia Woolfe, and the need for a room of one's one, I had thought a lot about how to create studio space whilst sharing the cottage with Barry and Dad.

Grand dreams of a stand alone lovely little timber structure out the back turned more towards reality and I began to think of the only spare space we have - on the upstairs landing between the two bedrooms.  The space is approximately 1.9m long, but only 30cm deep. Tricky, but not insurmountable.

As with everything in the cottage, IKEA came to the rescue and we found a desk that was 1.5m long and 30cm deep, two stools which could tuck underneath/alongside it and a storage system that was also only 30cm deep! They arrived last week and were immediately made up.

Coming up the stairs...

Standing in the upstairs 'powder room'.

How wonderful is that!?!?! Already I love it and have used it. I have unpacked everything from my art boxes and files and piles and they have tucked away brilliantly.  And I have started making some small things. So very chuffed.

After yesterday's sunshine, today, the wind was blowing a gale, so we threw a wash on and it spent less than an hour out there (some pieces were dry in 15 minutes).

And came inside and stewed some of our very own apples, and some brambles we had picked this morning.

Not pretty, but delicious!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Thursday Thoughts...

“When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.” 

Margaret Atwood

Of all the authors who can take you on a ride through a house being torn apart in a whirlwind or a boat crushed by icebergs, it is Ms Atwood.

 The way she describes it here make its feel as if you are on a roller coaster, with things coming at you from every direction as you grapple to take this bit and make it make sense; then adding it to that bit to see a slightly clearer picture. Breathless I am.

And then in moments of quiet, after you have finished, you can sit back and reflect on it; join all those dots together and see how the whole thing makes sense.  Oftentimes you wonder as you make your way through a book or a story how things fit together and does this go with that? At the end, you sometimes learn that things you thought might be important weren't, that some events were not in fact portents of anything or that subtle mentions were the things that held it all together.

Sometimes you can only make sense of books and stories (and life) backwards...

Monday, September 19, 2022

International Day of Peace

Once more we celebrate and promote the UN's International Day of Peace on 21 September in a few days time.

We have sent our peace pieces out into the world; and have hung our weathergrams in Maleny and at the cottage.

My Dad collects these cutlery holders for us all through the year so we can re-use and recycle them as peace weathergrams.

This year the notion of us always dreaming of peace (wishing, hoping) made me think about these words I wrote some time ago, that suggests we can meet in the middle somewhere.  That whilst we are dreaming, so too is peace and we really want to get together. 

We have hung weather grams and peace doves in our magnolia tree at the front of our Maleny home; and have brought them with us to hang at the cottage too.

Time again in Scotland

 We have returned to the cottage, as Autumn begins its ease into winter. A long journey but always wonderful to arrive, home again.

On the drive North we stopped at Carn Liath broch and had a wonderfull wander around in the sunshine.

The sung glittered on the sea, beyond a field of wheat I think.

My daily photos from the headland are of sky, sea and land, and here are a couple of favourites so far.

Being back has meant some wandering around and discovery of 'old stuff' like these ropes within an old abandoned boat.

Rusty nails are forever favourites.

And I did begin to play with some art ideas. Here are some swatches of some watercolour pencils we have here, as I begin to think about an abstracted landscape image.

You can see where I am trying to go...

Roughly coloured in, and now to just add water!

And of course, a visit to the cove means more beautiful stones - these are the starting point for more solace stones I hope...

Apologies for the lack clarity on a few photos - working on the laptop and still sorting things out!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Thursday Thoughts...

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” 

 Pablo Picasso

This quote has sat in my long list of possible quotes for years and I like the way in which he succinctly explores both the meaning and the purpose of life.

I daresay that if you asked a business person or a farmer or an astronaut for their thoughts on this they may respond differently - yet as I look at it,  perhaps they all understand that their skills are gifts too?

As ever the balance between a search for yourself and what matters to you and/or is unique, and a self-indulgent focus on yourself to the exclusion of others, is at play, but I don't think we are at the extremes here.  

As well, I like the approach that says once you have found it, your purpose is to give it away.  Picasso probably did that in spades, but for the rest of us it may mean sharing it. Giving things away isn't always possible for a whole bunch of reasons, but I do like that the generosity of spirt is at the heart of his thinking here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022


 I do love a bit of hand stitching, and in particular making useful things with just hand sewing.

Not yet making my way into full on dressmaking by hand (insert startled emoji), I have been having fun sewing pencil cases and small pouches.

I mentioned my replacement jewellery purse here but when I went to use it, I found the small flat tin I usually put my small pieces in; didn't quite fit. I wasn't all that surprised as at no point in time had I thought to check if it would! Mmmm no points for planning there.

So I began again and got into quite a few bits and pieces. 

I made several lovely needle cases, using the handprinted linen remnants from Ink and Spindle.

And some lovely pencil cases

And some extra purses/pouches.

And a jewellery pouch/purse which does actually fit my little jewellery tin -yay!

Apart from my personal pouch/purse I will have the other bibs and bobs for sale at the Watten Market on 24 September.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Flowers, threads, and moons

 It has been a bit of a hither and yon week - bibs and bobs this way and that as we prepare to head off for a while.

It is Spring here and the garden is bursting (as Barry's post earlier this week shows) and the house has been filled with flowers.

Whilst we were weeding down the back I discovered three different types of magnolia which was an unexpected delight.

And given there were flowers galore and the sun was popping its head out a bit, I thought I would try to solar-dye some threads using some blooms I hadn't played with before. Our neighbour joined in and dropped in more flowers, so we have tested quite a few.

White camellias, and snapdragons to the left; lots of pink camellias in the middle, and a purplish daisy and red geranium on the right.

The boldness of this red geranium made me very happy,.

And the blue from the purplish daisy was also looking promising.

As ever, things fade in the rinsing. This time I rinsed in salted boiling water, which didn't seem to make any difference. This pale flecked pink that remained was still lovely.

And the blue had softened almost to sage - also quite delicate and lovely.

The pink camellias gave a really strong, warm brown which will work well with the pink I think. So lots of fun has been had; with more to come with summer flowers I hope. 

And an almost full moon as we walked late last night. The sky was dramatic and rather wonderful.