Sunday, September 29, 2013

scenic Scotland

aye, it's scenic alright...

we took the train to kyle of localsh on the west coast, just across from the isle of skye

a two hour plus train ride from inverness, but a country apart in scenery...

the hebridean sea, the islands, and of course, the mountains, the latter covered lightly with heather and bracken, wearing it like the lightest cloak, it smoothed out the edges, adding a softness to them you just can't find in our rocky mountains

we spent the better part of five hours hiking up to the lookout, walking the path that followed the highway, going halfway to the top of he bridge before my nerves gave out - crazy high with no guard rail between the sidewalk and the roadway, with cars and trucks blasting by at highway speeds... beautiful views though!

i find i can't get enough of the heather... so glad there is still some in bloom... if 
i had to pick only one symbol of scotland, it would be the heather

half-way through the day the sun came out, and we sat looking out over the water, watching the various ships and boats, and  feeding tidbits to the little guys below... aimless enjoyment of a beautiful afternoon with nothing more important at that time, on that day, than just to be there

i think of all the days we have spent here in Scotland, that was the one where i felt like i was seeing scotland as i imagined it would be  

so far...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

land of tartan and whiskey

and so we've come to he place I was waiting for most...

we're in scotland now and it is just as i hoped it would- so many things i've been wanting to see, and now to finally see them in their right and natural place

they call it provenance... the truth of where a thing originates


a beautifully situated city, the river running through it, hills in the distance

to see the castle, with the scottish flag flying straight and true was a grand thing

today we went to culloden battlefield

to see the clan stones, and walk the moor, and imagine what it takes to fight for what you believe in, dream of, and to wonder what we are doing now, that people might care about in 250 years' time

it took a long time, almost the whole of the battlefield, but i finally found one last, lone thistle blooming

even though all the rest of the plant was long dead, this one tiny, sturdy flower was brilliant in it's bloom

i was so happy to find it - it seemed sad to me that i could come all this way and not see a thistle... thankfully shortbread isn't a seasonal thing...

this trip has been so wonderful in so many ways, on so many levels...

the food has been fabulous - from the mushy peas, to the fish and chips, cakes, yorkshire pudding, and b&b breakfasts, we have enjoyed it all - except marc ate haggis - ick

travelling by train has been brilliant - sitting back, sipping on hot chocolate, and enjoying the countryside

but the best part, by far, is the wonderful understanding that has come from seeing the place that shaped my grand-patents... so many things, from what they wore, to how they talked, to what they ate; how they lived, really - it all came from here

it's like finding them again...

a ways back, right before i left i announced a wish list give away for those who commented before my feet landed on english soil

the winners are lynne and deanna - so please send me your addresses and i'll do my best to get your parcels sent by royal mail!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

blow wind blow

and oh, did it blow...

we're in haworth today, on the yorkshire moors... my idea to come here, part of my overdose of english literature as a child


it isn't so much that i am a huge bronte fan, as a fan of the land she wrote about

and of course the yorkshire of james herriot's tales

yesterday we did a two mile hike through fields, hopping the stiles and walking along the stone fences - the land access laws help to make all that possible...

so much fun climbing over these...


streams and old stone bridges dotted he landscape


this was my favourite...


narrow pathways between stone walls


the reward for the effort was the view... the hills and dales


it was cloudy, windy, cold and I wouldn't have had it any other way...


the scene below summed it all up and if this is all i had seen, iit would have been enough...


it would have been more than enough... the moor, the heather, the stone cottages, the lonely trees and the howling wind... the sense of absolute aloneness... just as written, just as imagined, just as dreamed of...

{having a little trouble formatting posts on the mobile blogger platform - text and photos aren't quite as i would like- click on any picture to see a larger version... and the monica of the last post is monica of the white bench blog.... blogger won't let me provide a link but if you google her, you will find it and you will love her!}

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

come walk with me...

come walk with me, if you have some time...
 there's a lovely path we'll follow

it winds along, turning here and there...

but the grass is green and the way is clear
and we shall know no sorrow

through the gate and on we go

past clumps of scented frailties white

with stairs that beckon, do climb them well

to behold their charming vista view

and in green glory, may you find

a place where joy and peace reside

today I met with monica 

we met through blogging several years ago and today we met in person

what a delightful, kind and beautiful soul

she took me to see my very first english garden

bourton house, at bourton-on-the-hill, in the cotswolds

what an amazing day; what a kindred spirit!

we toured the garden, went to an arboretum for lunch and then shopped the charity  and antique shops in stowe-on-the-wold

treasures were found

{we agreed it was likely a good thing we don't live closer or we might be a very bad influence on each other!!!}

sharing our thoughts on living a creative life, our mutual need for solitude, what it means when you find the place where you truly belong, and the joy of following your dreams

she took me to my first english garden, and his alone has been a thing that has changed me... the contradiction of a well-laid out, organized space, with spaces large enough to allow a tangle of flowers and shrubs to provide a beautiful, pastoral view

order allows freedom - they can go hand-in-hand,  side-by-side

mutually compatible, ying and yang, curves and straight lines

i feel as though i am finding myself on this trip, to the place of my roots

I feel the land slowly moving to envelope me, covering my feet, as if pulling me down, taking root...

so much that is familiar to me, so much like going home

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

random beauty

so here we are...

and what a wonderful place to be

everything i expected and hoped for and then some

tower big ben

if you read my post announcing this trip then you would remember me mentioning big ben

it was a timex moment when we first laid eyes on it

ten minutes to two...

a short time later we heard it mark the time - so cool

we spent part of sunday evening attending an organ recital in westminster abbey

the walk out was as awe-inspiring as the music... so very old... so very beautiful

this gate in hyde park was striking in it's design

everywhere I cast my eyes there was something magical to see - it was like landing in my very own mary poppins movie...

hyde park was a little different than I expected - beautifully green, big trees, wilder areas

a park for people to be in, move through and enjoy

a place to sit

also on my list was trafalger square

to see lord nelson's lions of stone

dreams coming true

and finally, the street I lived on in london... if only for a short time, it was mine

Monday, September 9, 2013

almost there...

and so here we are...

many things have been done, many yet to do

but the days have all but run out and my next post will be from London!

remember how i told you i had turned into a listing person?
(not the "on tilt" kind of listing, the writing things down kind!)

i have been working on more lists than you can shake a stick at

what to see, what to do, what to eat, where to go, what to buy, what to dream of

and in all that listing, i have learned 'tis much easier to list lists on pretty paper than on....

five and dime notepads from the stationery store on hudson st, mr. wickett, propietor

last year whilst in calgary visiting the children, i made a foray into papyrus and found some lovely anna griffin stationery

the very thing required to convert a non-lister to the other side

post it notes and note pads

and i today i transposed all my lists from various bits

and compiled a record of hopes and dreams

 a lifetime of reading has yielded many desires on the book front - not that i intend to get all of them, but it gives me a guide to remember by

"shop-bought broderie anglaise"

karen has said that so many times in her classes that i simply must find some for myself...

 "i dinna ha' the gaelic, but i mun do my best"

do you think if i drink a wee dram and nibble on a biscuit of shortbread it might come easier???

 i have made all of the above
(excepting for the mushy peas)

but have a hankering for the real mccoy


and with the following list of destinations, i expect i'll be able to knock off everything on my list

 high hopes?

maybe, but without a dream, or a plan, or a list, i'm not sure i'd get beyond heathrow

so tell me, oh loyal blog followers,

if you were packing your bags to go to jolly old england and the land o' tartan, what would be on your list of souvenirs?

you have until my feet touch english soil, which will be thursday morning about 11:00 am uk time to tell me your list

i'll choose two winners and put together a little parcel for each of you, to be delivered by her majesty's postal service

in the meanwhile, there's packing to be done!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

how tos and must dos..

i am pretty sure some of you already know how to do these button chains I have used to embellish the spines of the books i have made lately

but i am also pretty sure many of you might not...

 gather up a selection of buttons and beads... buttons with shanks will work, as will beads and charms - really, anything you can string will be just fine and i myself prefer a mix...

perle coton #12 is my favourite thread and a super fine crochet hook... you'll also need a large eyed needle, big enough to thread the perle coton through

begin by selecting a certain number of buttons, beads and charms in various sizes, shapes and colours
(for a large book i like my certain number to be about 10 - 12)

thread the needle and string the beads etc

don't cut a length of thread; just pull it from the skein/ball

 using your super fine crochet hook, chain 12

(super fine being a hook so fine it will make you mental trying to actually use the darn thing - i would get up and go look at the actual size but i'm pretty happy here at the moment with my glass of milk and toasted bun dripping with butter and honey...)

 pull the first button-charm thing to the chain stitching, and then chain stitch over it

 it's kind of awkward, especially if the button is a bit big but don't worry if it's kind of loose and floppy - it will get sorted when you attach it to the book

 chain two 

pull the next button forward and chain stitch over it

 chain one, or chain two, depending how big or small the button or bead is

keep bringing the buttons forward, chain stitching over them and then chain stitching one or two stitches before bringing the next one forward

when all the buttons have been chained in place, chain 12 again

 bring both chain ends together and tie in a knot


 you can pull the knot tight as it really doesn't matter how "clumpy" this gets

 lay this in place on the spine of your book where you want it to go - i added one at the top tape, and one at the lower one - you can also add one in the centre if you like

thread a needle with strong sewing thread - i usually colour match it to the thread i used for the crochet, and sometimes will use the perle coton although it can be a bit heavy for this part...

go under the button chain, between the signatures of the book and pull the ends up, tying tightly with two or three knots

i repeat this several times, back and forth, along the binding tape, going down into the book block between the signatures and always tying two to three knots

tie the two chain stitched ends together in a knot and trim ends

 i'll warn you though - they are addicting!