Thursday, 30 October 2014



These primroses are flowering in our greenhouse. Each flower is about 1".


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Variations on a Tree Theme

After a few challenging days that brought awful weather, a broken down boiler and a sickly greyhound things have improved. The boiler has been repaired, the dog is on antibiotics and the weather has taken a turn for the better so we treated ourselves to an afternoon's walk and tea at Dawyck.

Tree pictures were the order of the day as the trees were at the peak of their autumn colours. Even the stormy weather hadn't made the leaves all fall although the ground was thick with them. Our task for the photography class is to do a sort of reportage about one day in pictures and this is mine, entirely dedicated to trees in all their forms, shapes and colours.

This is the final stage of the monkey puzzle tree that I have pictured here in many guises.

This cherry tree has reach a zenith of redness. You can also see a detail of it at the top of this post.

And then there is this clump of trees at the top of the gardens. Endlessly photographed by me, I still can never resist doing so all over again at the very next visit. There is something utterly magical about them to my eye.

The sky turned to opal during our drive back home and leaning out of the car window it had to be captured too


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Folding Book 1

This is not a day for outside photography, or in fact for being outside at all. I did walk Rueben but the greyhound had more sense than to venture into the lashing rain! So an inside photography project was called for. I had several projects to blog on my desk and this is one of them. It'a a folding book or container. Not sure what to call it exactly. You may remember I bought something like this (called a Zhen Xian Bao) with wonderful Miao embroidery on the outside while at the World Textile Day back in June this year. I became fascinated by how it was made and ordered 4 home published booklets called Folded Secrets from Ruth Smith who has investigated these book/containers in depth. If you are interested you can order them from her using this e-mail: She accepts UK cheques as well as Paypal. I experimented with her instructions and when I felt I had the folding under control I made this as my first project. It is the Folded Secrets Book with 15 compartments from her Book 1.
It seemed a bit boring to use white paper so I spray painted the papers first after I had cut them to the various sizes. This is what the book looks like when first opened. As you can see I also used a small heart stamp for decoration.
 The hearts conceal twisted folded pockets and you can see one opened up on the picture above.
Underneath the twist fold pockets are collapsible folded boxes as you can see partly on the above picture. It's quite hard to photograph and give you an idea of how it works but this is about the best I came up with. At the bottom is a very large collapsible box.

I added gelli plate printed fabric to make the cover and it also encloses the ribbon I added as a closure. The folding is at first quite awkward but once I mastered the technique it was much more straightforward to make the finished book/container than I had originally thought. I will be showing you more projects from Ruth's books in future.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Leaf Page

Week 44 of The Documented Life Project brought the challenge: Incorporate leaves. I started with a previously made gelli plate printed page in turquoise and brown and used a Stencilgirl leaf stencil to add the red leaves using acrylic paint.
I used a wide variety of black and white markers as well as watercolour pens to add outlining to the leaves and stamped on the word leaf to the side, and outlined that too.
The final touch was the postage stamp to the bottom left corner to sort of balance the word. I also antiqued the edges of the page using a stamp pad.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Big Red Barn

After our lovely tea at The Big Red Barn last Sunday we decided to take our friends (and neighbours) to the place to have lunch today. It proved to be a great decision and we had a most enjoyable time as well as a delicious meal. Of course I took my camera too to take that all important daily blip but managed to include myself too on the first try. Not so bad as this is still the week for self portraits on my photography class so I'm showing it there in our Flickr group.

For my blip however I took another picture this time with no distractions from that very red barn. This by the way is how you recognize where the place is (on the A702 going south just past Dolphinton) but not where the restaurant is located. That is in a modern building right next to the barn as you can see on their website.

And finally, I discovered that I am featured on the Studio Art Quilt Associates Europe website at the moment.

Here is the link.


Friday, 24 October 2014

North Esk Reservoir

Today promised to be the best day of the week weather wise so we set off early after lunch for a walk into the Pentland Hills from Carlops to the North Esk Reservoir. It was along a good track well walked and with signs which is always reassuring.
There are houses out in the hills and this dilapidated cottage was next to a house called Fairliehope. It seems a shame it's left in this state as the views from it must be quite good. But it has to be said that the roof looks beyond repair.
 Here is the reservoir itself. It was designed by Thomas Stevenson, the father of Robert Louis Stevenson, for a group of Penicuik mill owners in 1850 to regulate the water flow in the North Esk River to facilitate their mills. The mills have now all gone and the reservoir has become a haven for wildlife. Despite this we didn't see or hear a single bird in the vicinity.
Next to the reservoir is what was once the cottage where the water board staff must have lived and it's still inhabited. What an isolated spot it must be to live in, specially in winter but I have to say I wouldn't mind living there. The peace and quiet seemed very tempting although I couldn't help wonder about broadband! Also in the summer there must be lots of fishermen and women as there is a dedicated hut for that purpose.
The jetty is no longer what it once was and we didn't venture on it, after reading this ominous sign.
Here it is from the other side and you can catch a glimpse of how windy it was up there looking at the grasses. The reservoir is more than 1000ft above sea-level although it doesn't feel like that while there, surrounded as it is by high hills.


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