“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Friday, 5 February 2016

An Eclectic Mix for PPF

Today I have an eclectic mix for Paint Party Friday
I've had a busy week once again and therefore haven't spent a lot of time being creative. 
So I thought I'd show you a picture that I hung in my dining room earlier in the month. 
It's special for numerous reasons. 
Firstly, because it was drawn by my daughter (if you'd like to see more of her art you can go to her website Nic Allan by clicking here)
Secondly, it's a tree and anyone who knows me, knows how much I love trees and thirdly it's an autumn scene. 
The frame hasn't shown up properly (yet another grey wet day here... so not the best for photography) it actually happens to be a warm gold colour.
I think it actually looks like wood in this photo.
But I adore the pencil work... I think the shading is spectacular.
(I maybe shooting myself in the foot because if she sees it here, she may want to take it to her new apartment)
Here's a closer look but once again I apologise for my photographic inability to do the drawing justice. 
(If you notice a pink tinge to the bottom of the frame above... that's the reflection of my jumper. Pretty in pink today. 
I'm determined to bring colour into my day in whatever form I can).
I can't resist the opportunity to show you another artistic creation from a family member. 
This time it's my nephew and his new hobby... wood turning!
He's taken logs from my sister's wood burner store (thankfully with permission) and creates amazing wooden bowls.
I mean how clever and talented is that?
He's the proud owner of his own lathe now and turns a chunk of wood into these beautiful bowls and candle sticks. 
The first picture shows a type of log off cut but obviously for a bowl he uses larger pieces.
They are beautifully smooth and the grain varies, depending on the piece or type of wood. 
I had this one as a gift, but I'm putting in an order for a larger bowl plus candlesticks.

And finally a little something from myself.
As I mentioned I didn't get time to play this week, but because it's Chinese New Year on Monday, I thought I'd draw a little monkey picture, whilst waiting for dinner to cook.
It's the year of the Monkey (Fire Monkey)
Enjoy your weekend especially if you are celebrating the Chinese New Year.

Here's the link to join in with the Paint Party Friday if you'd like to see more artists work.
Paint Party Friday

Just before I sign off I want to thank Jennifer McLean over at Just add water silly
for my new signature below. She very kindly came up with the design and led me through how to attach it here. I'm not sure whether it might confuse with it being my real name. 
Denise and not Neesie... let me know what you think. 
I used Neesie in order to rename anonymous when I first started blogging. 
(It's the name my brother used to call me when we were young) 
But quite a few followers have started using Denise now. 
Thanks once again Jenn... but I think you might be the star and not me!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

My Sunday Photo... Winter Sky

It seems that since we have started a new trend recently of naming storms that come to our shores, they have taken on a new force. It's like with their new identity they are more powerful. 
Take for instance the latest one that arrived in the early hours of yesterday....Gertrude.
She was obviously very full of herself and vented full anger on us. 
Maybe she was menopausal or had had some terrible misfortune because oh boy was she angry!
For the first time I could actually feel the house tremble whilst she whipped herself up into a frenzy. We have large trees on our property and I had some very vivid thoughts about them coming to call, quite literally, especially with having had so much rain recently... I mean that came weaken roots and softening the ground surely?
Frank ... the storm before Gertrude brought floods like Aberdeenshire has never seen before. 
So maybe we should stop this new trend and revert back to the old ways.
Let's concentrate on saying farewell to winter and welcome spring.
I captured this winter sky whilst out walking one crisp cold morning last week.

If you'd like to see more photo's then click on the camera and join us over at Photo A Life 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone

Friday, 29 January 2016

Get your lovely Mango's - PPF

After a few weeks of creating black ink drawings, I needed a blast of colour for this weeks link to Paint Party Friday. 
So when I came across Tracey Fletcher King's latest video illustrating her technique for painting a mango, I was thrilled because it's no secret that I'm a huge fan, but also that I had a mango to hand. 
As you can see it's rather dark for painting, but what can you do during winter in Bonnie Scotland. You have to work with what you're given. 
With desk lamp and overhead lights switched on I dubiously started.
For those of you that like to know details of what supplies were used, then here they are...
I used the Kohi-I-Noor watercolour paints as shown in the above photo on Daler Rowney 300g/m2 
Aquafine paper, outlining with uni-ball eye waterproof black pen and white corrective pen.
I like the texture of the paper which gives the effect for the mango skin,
And here's the finished mango. 
It was such fun to paint and gave me my colour fix. 
If you'd like to take a look at the video of  Tracey painting a mango then click on her name, or nip across to the Paint Party Friday link, then click here.
Paint Party Friday
and for Sunday Sketches 
Also Express Your Creativity

Right... now I can actually eat the mango.... Mmm 
Have a fantastic Friday and wonderful weekend everyone.
Hope to see you again soon

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Letters Of Note - Shaun Usher

If you enjoy a good book, writing and receiving letters, then here's something that might interest you.
Before I go any further, I need to say that I am in no way being paid or receiving anything for writing this blog post. 
There now that's out of the way... let's get to the really interesting stuff.
Last weekend I received a wonderful birthday present of a hard-backed book
 'Letters Of  Note' - correspondence deserving of a wider audience.
'Letters Of Note' is a collection of over 100 of the worlds most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters. I'm slowly working my way through the fascinating letters and with each turn of the page there's the power of the written word. 
They capture the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives.
I don't want to give too much away, but I can honestly say it's one of the most interesting, page turning and fascinating books that I've ever come across. 
There are copies of Virginia Wolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, Queen Elizabeth II recipe of drop scones sent to President Eisenhower, Gandhi's appeal for calm to Hitler, to Leonardo Da Vinci's remarkable job application letter along with many more.
Each page has a detailed synopsis of the letter, details of the sender, recipient, date and reason for the note. Then a typed letter (which with some of the historical hand-writing is necessary...well it is in my case) and finally a photocopy of the original letter or note.
The handwritten or typed letters and photographs have all been collated by Shaun Usher who is a writer and sole custodian of the blog http://www.lettersofnote.com
The popular website has been visited over 100 million times to date.
'Letters Of Note' is Shaun's first book and was published by Unbound in 2009. 
The follow up volume of 'More Letters Of Note' was printed last year.
It obviously must be a labour of love, to be the sole custodian of these amazing snippets from history and it's a real privilege to see and read such an entertaining, unusual and inspiring collection.
I will now put the second book on my wish list.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

My Sunday Photo... Melbourne

I've been watching the Australian Open Tennis Championship in Melbourne during this past week and it's set me off thinking about my time spent living in this amazing city... 
...so I thought I'd pay tribute by posting a picture for my Sunday Photo.
There's such an eclectic mix of architecture within the city that there's sure to be something for everyone.
Happy Australia Day for 26th January.

As usual I'm linking up with My Sunday Photo 
Enjoy your Sunday everyone and thanks for stopping by my place

Friday, 22 January 2016

Paint Party Friday... Signs of spring

I just can't believe that it's Friday once more. 
I've got a busy weekend ahead, but I've actually managed to finish the autumn tree drawing, and as promised I've come to the Paint Party Friday link to show how it turned out.
Not only that but I've actually managed to started a new design.
I must be subconsciously thinking of wonderful springiness and lovely summer days because butterflies (or flutterby's as my daughter used to call them) appeared in my drawing.
Maybe it's the appearance of sprouting daffodils, crocus and much to my surprise Iris, that has set me off. Some positive signs of lighter nights, warmer days and the smell of cut grass.
I can't wait...
Paint Party Friday
I'm also linking to Sunday Sketches
So I'm off now to put on my glad rags, a little lippy and then to enjoy Friday night!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend and perhaps if you'd like to see more art, then click here.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Animal Tales

I thought I'd bring you a little something different today and this little fluff ball is definitely different!
When I think about what she's seen and experienced over her little lifetime, it really is quite remarkable. 
She's traveled to three continents, been in temperatures ranging from +50C to -5C (so far), been reported as having leishmaniosis and given a death sentence, which thankfully was overturned when the tests were repeated and proved to have been an error. She's had a little fracas with a staffie in the park and had to be rushed to the emergency vet, served a month in the penitentiary quarantine, and these are just a few things that come to mind! 
But the main thing about Muffin is that she's been the best friend anyone could wish for! 
 I know some of you may have seen these photo's if you follow her account on Instagram,
(the_world_according_to Muffy
but I've been asked to remember to include them here too, for readers who don't use Instagram.
See I do listen.
These photo's were taken once the floodwaters had receded, but the cold snap had descended. 
Muffin, (Muffy, McMuffy, Mufftypup or whatever name you know her by... don't worry she knows them all and will respond no matter what you call her) needs an extra layer at the moment, so we've go this 'ADIDOG' jacket for her. It fits like a dream and even manages to keep some of her tummy dry, which is a major achievement. 
But then there's still need for a bath after every walk... well more like a doggy dip really than a full bath.
Don't worry that she looks so unhappy in this photo because although she hates being cold, she's working it so that she makes me feel guilty and she'll get a treat.
I personally think she likes this part because after the lovely warm soak, she's wrapped into a towel and transported to sit on top of the Aga for a wee whilie.
Isn't that what Aga's are for? 
I mean just look at that face now.
The next part is her favourite... she gets a little chicken treat. 
And then finally a little grooming.
I don't normally put anything in her hair... I'm not one for dressing up a dog, but she needs to go to the groomers and they don't have an appointment for another two weeks.
I'm not sure purple is her colour, but at least she can see.

Enjoy your Thursday everyone and if you'd like to hear some more Animal Tales then why not nip across by clicking here
Thanks for visiting my place and I hope you'll come back soon.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

My Sunday Photo... Stonehaven Sculpture

For my Sunday Photo this week I've chosen a nautical sculpture from the waterfront at Stonehaven. 
Stonehaven is a town on the North East coast of Scotland.
It's about a thirty minute drive from Aberdeen. 
I came across this sculpture a few months back whilst walking along the sea front, after indulging in a beautiful full Scottish breakfast. 
I've tried to find out details of the artist who created this incredible trawler (fishing boat) to give them a shout out and credit, but I'm afraid I can't find any details. 
It's about a meter long and the fishermen are actually all fish and their catch are matchstick men! 
The artist obviously had a sense of humour. 

As usual I'm linking up with My Sunday My Sunday Photo and My Captured Moment 
OneDad3GirlsRunning in Lavender
Why don't you come over and join me.
Enjoy your Sunday

Friday, 15 January 2016

Two T's... Trees and T2 Tiny Tin of Tea

I was feeling a little smug with myself last weekend because I actually managed to visit all of the linked artists joining in with Paint Party Friday.
It's something that I've tried to do each week, but then life happens and I'm afraid I fail abysmally. 
If you linked up after my visits, then I'm sorry I missed you... maybe I'll catch up with you this week.

So as my last post mentioned the rain finally spotted and we saw not only the sky, but some sun too. 
The temperature has dropped and there is talk of possible snow... oh yes and as the weather presenters have mentioned (numerous times)... "we'll have minus double digits this weekend"!
This must be the latest buzz word in the meteorologists office, or from the office memo, because all the news presenters are using this new turn of phrase. We would normally be given the actual temperature ie -3 or -32 (ha) or whatever, but obviously we've moved into a new phase and this is the up to the minute phrase.

Anyway... here's my desk this week (or kitchen table actually)
I decided to go back and revisit a previous design.
An autumn tree...
Here it is in more detail from my old journal.
But I've decided to draw this new one as an A3 design.
I used a uni-ball eye which is one of my favourites.
I do find these kind of drawings incredibly relaxing.
I can leave it at any time and also pop back at random times to carry on, which is perfect for me just now.

Before I go I must mention this gorgeous T2 Tiny Tin of Tea that arrived in the post recently.
Happy post... don't you just love it when surprises arrive.
(I've had quite a few lately... so feel very lucky and I smile for the rest of the day)
I decided that today was the day that I would dive in (not literally) and try it out.
I must say that I've been intrigued since it's arrival, but you can't rush these things. 
Patience is a virtue and all that.
I have to say I loved the tin as soon as I saw it, even before it was opened to reveal the delight within.
A blossom opens up along with the green tea. 
It's beyond fascinating to watch... I did video it, but it was a slow process and my available space is very tight, so I decided just to show you the still photo.
How cool is that?
And that's before you even taste the peachy tea!
Well, now that I have my cuppa it's time to start visiting all of Eva and Kristin's Paint Party Friday blog.
Paint Party Friday
I'm also linking to Sunday Sketches
Have a brilliant day and a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Finally the sun came out...

Finally, the sun came out and no-one was more pleased to see it than 'moi'!
After what seems like months weeks of rain, wind and dark grey days, we're finally able to see the sky... so that's definitely worth writing about in my book blog.
I know you've possibly seen news coverage of the floods that have caused such havoc and mayhem throughout various parts of the UK, so I'll not dwell on them today.
But suffice to say I've never seen such huge amounts of water, river banks bursting and road closures everywhere due to the weather, since we first moved to Scotland.

Here's the scene today of the back field.
Yep we've got our pond at last!
It has been iced over so now we can go ice-skating too.
I wouldn't be surprised if a swan, ducks or even pelican landed. 
Oh you may laugh, but we've had ducks already!
Never say never I say....
Obviously with the sun coming out to play we'd like to be able to see it, which meant that the windows needed cleaning... nothing for it, but to get out there and deal with it.
I thought at first that due to the winter in-activities (ie hibernating) my bones were creaking, but I'm happy to report that it was only the little step ladder I was using. Phew!
A beautiful robin kept me company singing that spring is on it's way 
(hey a little kidd-ology never hurt anyone) 
This photo was taken a day or so ago when M&M were assessing the situation... to walk or not to walk. They decided that 'yes' they would?
Fun was had and the heaven's opened just as they returned... so the timing was perfect.
Right... I must away now because as you know the sun highlights not only dirty windows, but every surface covered in dust and muddy paw prints everywhere.
No rest for the wicked and I must have been really bad in a previous life... that's all I can say.
Have a wonderful Wednesday and thanks for popping into my place.
I hope to chat again soon.
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