Thursday, 23 December 2010

Santa Clause is coming to town....

I'm not about to show any more snow and icicles here today. Not because there isn't an abundance of snow and icicles just waiting to be photographed, simply because we're getting a bit bored of them now.

It's now four weeks since our first snow fall and the novelty has worn off. I'm missing grass and black roads and walking the dog without having to worry about her getting lost in a snow drift... And just simply walking without fear of landing on my bum when that sneaky black ice hides under innocent looking snow.

However, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I have many reasons to be happy. Snow has definately had a beneficial effect on business and shopping local is 'the new black'. Why would anyone willing trek all the way to Dundee or Perth in this weather when my little shop is so much easier to get to.

So.. one more day in the shop then it will be time to sit back, relax and enjoy Christmas with my family.
The Tree is decorated, the cupboards and the fridge are well stocked. Presents are all wrapped, with the exception of my sister's which I haven't quite finished making yet, but we won't be seeing her till next week so no need to panic.

All that remains is for me to wish all my blogging friends a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a successful and happy New Year ahead.
Lots of love from Fiona xoxo

Friday, 10 December 2010

Reasons to be cheerful

Two weeks since the snow started falling on Alyth we are enjoying (???) a bit of a thaw today.
With temperatures soaring above freezing point to the dizzy heights of 2 degrees it's a great chance to get the paths and drives cleared up a bit. Icicles have been falling steadily off of door and window frames. My son 'helped' to dislodge a massive icicle yesterday from the back of the house, which in one way was good, ie it's not threatening to pull the drainpipe away from the wall. However it landed on my rotary clothes line and left it totally mangled. Hey ho... I wasn't planning on hanging my washing outside anyway.
The big reason to be cheerful though is that I won the Christmas Window Competition. Yoo Hoo..
If you didn't see my previous post then click HERE 
I'm really chuffed to have been picked as the best window in town.
Now that the streets are getting a bit clearer of snow I will get out and about and show you some of the other window displays over the weekend.
Wherever you are, stay warm xoxo

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday

During the summer.... ahh seems like a long time ago.. I came across the blog of Hey Harriet with the lovely challenge of photographing shadows and posting them on Sundays to share with shadow followers around the world. I really enjoyed looking at everyday things in different ways and trying to improve my photographic skills along the way.
So in a bid to get away from talking about snow I decided to look for shadows here in Alyth this morning. The sun was very weak, but any sun at all and no snow is a blessing so I did my best.
That's me, in the middle. My shadow looks like the Bishop in our chess set. A bit bizarre as I'm pretty sure I look nothing like a Bishop but then they do say that the camera never lies...

It was just a quick walk through the wee park and it looks so pretty.

So far the burn hasn't frozen over as it did last winter. It was lovely to see the sky so blue and the hills in the distance. I'm going to have to try and get some shots in the evening when the lights along the burn are lit. We have been adding to them over the last few years and they now go all the way up to the second bridge and look gorgeous.. so Christmassy.

No excuses for this shot which I took yesterday.
He's a Fireman.
One of the local volunteer firemen to be exact.
They came out to remove some massive icicles hanging from the roofs. We were all a bit concerned that someone could get hurt if the icicles fell off.
So that's it for now.
and Firemen.
Have a look over HERE for more shadows x

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Two sides to every story..

On the inside of My Creative Space is a lovely fluffy snowflake.

And on the outside.... real live icicles.
Visit lots of creative spaces at kootoyoo.
Just click HERE

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Day 5 in the Winter wonderland

There's not much "going out" happening around here as we reach day 5 of the Great Perthshire Snow of 2010. So there has been plenty of time to crochet hats for the family. Rhona wanted one with ears and that's just what she got.

Night time photography isn't my best achievement but you hopefully get the idea here.
Despite heavy snow on Friday night there was still a great turn out on Saturday evening to see the switch on parade. Here comes the pipe band leading the parade.

Not really going that fast but somehow I got a nice effect as the band passed the shop.

And here comes Santa on the four wheel drive which all self respecting Santas will be travelling in this year.
Last year he travelled by tractor but this year the tractors were a bit busy digging cars out of snowdrifts further up the glen.

And then came Sunday. Such a lot of snow.

The drive was cleared on Saturday to get my car into the garage and now look at it.
Going to be a big job getting out of this. Thankfully we don't have to be anywhere for a couple of days.

I decided against hanging my washing out on the line. Good choice I think...
Besides which, the tumble drier is in the downstairs toilet and while it is tumbling away it makes the toilet really warm and cosy..

Nearly lost my wellies in the snow.. In some parts it came up over the top of my super Jelly Bean Wellies.
Ha.. in some parts it came up over the top of my wee dog.

No wonder she is so keen to get back in the house before it starts to snow again.

Time to get crocheting more hats for the shop I think, and maybe a couple of dog coats.

Monday, 29 November 2010

We're walking in the air......

So here it is in all it's glory.
This years Christmas Window display is The Snowmans Christmas Ceilidh
Good old Santa sitting in the corner waiting patiently for his guitar solo, while Jock Bon Jovi, the famous Perthshire Piper plays 'Highland Cathedral' on his pipes.
Tough competition this year with some really good windows around the town.

Judging isn't for another week or so, so I will keep you posted on how we get on and show some more of the windows just as soon as I get them photographed. Bit tricky to do that today as what feels like a mountain of snow fell over the weekend. But hey ho.. at least it feels Christmassy around here.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Victorian Day

Saturday 27th November was the date for Alyth's Victorian Day
A quick recap if you weren't here last year.
Victorian Day is the day we switch on our little town's Christmas Lights. We are very proud of our Christmas Lights as they aren't provided by the local council, but have been built up over the last few years by enthusiastic fundraisers and many many coffee mornings.
The day starts with shopkeepers in Fancy Dress, endless photo opportunities, a charity Victorian Style Market in the afternoon, then the switch on parade up the main street and into the Square for music from Perthshire Brass and Alyth Pipe Band.
There are certificates for the best 3 fancy dress and a shield for the winner as chosen by the Citizen and Young Citizen of the year.
All round, it's just a lovely day to be part of.

Big thanks to 'my man' for tackling the job of clearing the path in front of the shop. We had our first snowfall on Friday night and the morning was freezing cold.

Me and my Boy. Since Megan went to Uni in Aberdeen my son Calum has been helping out on Saturdays. He is studying drama and quite enjoyed playing the part of distinguished young gentleman.

I loved my Mary Poppins outfit. Not quite the weather for a '...jolly holiday..' but I kept singing Mary Poppins songs throughout the day. It was ... supercalifragelisticexpialidocious.

Heather in the paper shop spent the morning dressed as Paddington Bear. Sillly girl, ate all her marmalade sandwiches in the first half hour.

Young Kirsty, Super Kirsty helps out in the Tee shirt printing shop next door to Buy Design.

Michael was not a great advert for the Barber of the town in his big affro wig. He was too busy reliving the '70s to care that his hair and moustache were different colours.

If you watch Scottish Television, you will no doubt recognise Isa and Jaavid from 'Still Game'.
If not, then just take my word for it, these two were great.They came 3rd in the competition.

These cool hippies were kept busy in the Co-op. Serving customers and posing for photos.

David in Hobbies tried shouting 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' but it was Muriel's day off so he just had to work.

Pirates took over in the chemist shop but they seemed to be working pretty hard so we let them carry on.

Audrey and Bill looked just like the Victorian Post Master and Mistress.
They were chosen in 2nd place. I love Audrey's dress.

The staff at The Alyth Hotel came 1st and get to keep the shield that they also won last year.
I can't get over that the Boss is in the Scooby Doo suit.
My favourite though is Wee Jack in the Scrappy Doo outfit.

So those are the highlights from my camera.
More about the parade and the switch on next time.
Fiona x

Thursday, 25 November 2010

My Creative Space.

It's been all go in here this week.
It started on Sunday morning, bright and early with a collection of tractors and cherry-pickers on the street as the 'boys' of the town started to put up the Christmas lights.
The average age of the 'boys' can only be imagined but they are a hardy lot who work really hard every year to make our little town gorgeous over the festive period.

I was hoping for an action shot but got out with my camera just in time for tea break.
Believe me though, they worked really hard and we are all really looking forward to the switch on parade this coming Saturday.
Saturday 27th November is Victorian Day. This is the day when the shop workers (and anyone else who feels like it) get the chance to dress up in fancy dress and just enjoy ourselves and be a little bit silly. I can't wait to get our costumes out this year as we had such a good time last year.
The end of the day sees the torchlight parade up the street and the switch on of the Christmas lights.
There is a prize for the best-dressed staff on the day, but really it's just good fun.
Victorian Day is also the target for getting our windows ready for the Christmas Window Competition.
I'm just about there now.
A quick break now for dinner and I will be back with the results of what went on in My Creative Space today. In the meantime have a look at other spaces HERE at Kootoyoo.
( little confession here.... I can't get my photos to load just now and I really want to hit the computer... so in the interest of my sanity I will leave and come back later..)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

You can tell it's nearing Christmas when.....

....... you attend a cake decorating demonstration and find that the cake is made of florists oasis and that the decorations aren't made from sugar paste.
Now I'm all for trying something different but floral art and cake decorating are not high on my list of accomplishments. Visions of some of my confectionary creations still horrify my kids who would plead for a 'bought cake please' whenever they were inviting friends round for birthday tea.
Likewise, give me a bunch of flowers and I will stick them in a vase, tweak the occasional bud to face the front, and feel like I have created something wonderful.
So I hope you enjoy the one and only floral / confectionary creation which is ever going to be seen around here.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

My Creative Space

If you have been reading my blog for a while you may remember me telling you about the Christmas Window competition here in Alyth. If not, then have a look HERE
So it's that time of year again and my Creative Space has been taken over with plans for this years window.
I seem to be knitting and crocheting non stop with stuff for the window and for customer orders.
I am having a Christmas Shopping Evening with ginger wine and mince pies on Wednesday 17th November which is less than a week away..... and really want to have my window dressed nicely for the occassion.
Most crafters and makers are really busy at this time of year but still seem to find the time to share their work on kootoyoo . Well worth a look if you can spare the time from your busy schedule.
Love from Fiona x

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Dear Buy Design

I am sooo looking forward to your Christmas Window Ceilidh.

I got a lovely wee tartan shawl to match my favourite hat.

Is it true that Jock Bon Jovi will be playing his pipes ?
See you soon.
Love from Maisie McSnow x

Monday, 8 November 2010


Dear Buy Design,
Thank you for inviting me to your Christmas Window Ceilidh.
I can't wait to see all my friends again.
I have my outfit sorted and all I need now is a bit of lipstick.

Lots of love from Sally McSnow.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Neighbours....everybody needs good neighbours..

I thought I would shame my photographic skills and tell you about my neighbour at Abernethy craft fair last Saturday. Her name was Jo Cound and she is an amazing photographer. No digital cameras for Jo. She is a proper photographer with proper cameras, real film, negatives and her own dark room where she develops and prints all her own work. I have seen her work before at other fairs but we have never been neighbours and so this was the first time I got to chat with her and to hear more about her work. She is soo enthusiastic about her work and can tell the story of every photo she has taken. Her work mostly features landscapes and nature and every one is a work of art. If you fancy a look click HERE and visit Jo's website.

 I felt a wee bit inspired to try some nature photography myself and took my camera (digital of course) with me and Angel on our walk yesterday.
Like a proper artist ( ha ha) I thought I should name my shots.

Come back Angel, I want to take your picture.

COME BACK ANGEL.. oh never mind.

Forget Angel.
It's beginning to look a lot like autumn.

Mmm... nice wellies.

Rooting around. Is that a mini waterfall ?

I may as well admit that I will never be a photographer, but I did enjoy looking around a bit more than usual. It's so easy to take for granted that I live in a beautiful part of the country and sometimes it's good to remind myself how lucky I am.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

My Creative Space

I finished knitting a scarf for myself. Maybe not a major achievement for most people...
However, these days everything that I make is destined for the shop so it's a bit of a novelty to make something and keep it.
I used Can Can yarn from Rico Designs, which has to be the strangest yarn I have ever used, and a little bit quirky to work with, but the results are amazing.

The colour doesn't look as gorgeous in this photo as it really is which is a shame but never mind. The ruffles look really complicated but it's actually really easy to knit. Just 7 stitches and knit for150cm.

You have to knit into the yarn rather than wrap it round the needle, and as if by magic, a super ruffled scarf appears.

I thought you might also like to see this mini granny square, crocheted with 0.2mm wire.
This is for a customer of mine who wants to disguise an unsightly button on an evening bag.
The purple is the same colour as her dress so it will coordinate nicely with her outfit.
I'm off to visit some more creative spaces at kootoyoo and see what everyone else has been doing today.
Fiona x

Monday, 18 October 2010

Busy Monday

Today I decided to do something that I haven't done for a very long time.
A bit of card making
I have a craft fair on Saturday at the Museum of Abernethy, which is a really nice setting for a spot of Christmas shopping or for just treating yourself to some handmade goodies.
I haven't done many shows this year and fancied trying something a bit different for my first outing of the season. It's nice to feel that you have something new to show and that customers won't be looking at your stall thinking it's just the same as last year.
Soo.. a bit of something different.

I have a natty little template for a hand-shaped card which is perfect displaying bracelets. There are times when you want to give a wee present to someone who is going to say "aww you shouldn't have!"
Jewellery cards are the perfect solution.

Managed to finish off a dozen of these cards today. Lots of different colours and with simple crocheted wire and bead bracelets.
Along with some necklace cards and ear ring cards these will be on my table top card stand on Saturday.
I'm going to have to think out just how this will fit in with the rest of my display but it will certainly be a new look from last year.
Fiona x

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Happy Sunday

I think my get up and go might be on it's way back from wherever it went.
I got a new super-duper phone today and I can't wait to take some photos in the shop tomorrow (once I figure out all the mysterious apps there will be no stopping me)......
In the mean time I'm relaxing in front of the telly, watching Taggart, drinking coffee and catching up with blogs I haven't had time to read for a while.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Bloggers block ???

I wonder if there is such a thing as Bloggers Block or do I just have too much going on in my head these days that I never seem to finish anything.
The ironing basket is taking on a life of it's own and may soon reach ridiculous heights.... ha ha too high for me to reach without the step ladders.
The top two shelves of the book case are perfectly tidy... the bottom two have stuff left over from tidying the top two.
The living room is lovely and tidy but somehow the hoover got left upstairs. Upstairs is hoovered but not so tidy.
I think I may be needing a holiday but since that is not about to happen any time soon, I think the next best thing would be a kick up the backside and a stern 'talking to'.
And so, having thought about blogging, and having blogged about nothing, I shall have a word with myself and get back on track again. So many things to do, so many things to plan for..... Ah it's tough being creative somedays.
Fiona x

Thursday, 7 October 2010

My Creative Space

My Creative Space today has been mostly Green. Green isn't normally my colour of choice which is probably why I seem to have so many green beads in my box, all waiting patiently to be turned into something lovely. I've spent a lot of time looking at my green beads and have been fairly uninspired by them. I don't wear much green myself and so I felt at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them. However, there are lots of green accessories in the shops this autumn and wanting to keep up to date with current trends I made today Green Day.

While I was making this one I had some customers in who loved the antique look of these beads which work really well with this gold coloured chain. Possibly my favourite 'make' today.

These are similar to the ones above but more oval in shape.

Now I wish I knew the technical name for what I'm about to say but Hey Ho I don't know everything. Can't believe I just admitted that though. These beads have wiggly black squiggles on them. It might be called scrifito. But that might not be how to spell it. Whatever it's called though they are very effective and just a little bit quirky. 
And yes.... there are still plenty more in the box so there may be another Green Day very soon.
You can visit more creative spaces with more colours at kootoyoo

Thursday, 23 September 2010

My Creative Space.

It's seems like ages since I joined in at kootoyoo and shared my Creative Space.

I started off this morning with two fingerless mitts and one ruffled wrist-warmer.
There is a definite Autumnal feel to the mornings around here which means that in just a few short weeks we will be layering up with woolies and looking for lost hats and scarfs.
Or..... you could just crochet new ones.
Or.... you could pop in to Buy Design.

I have been crocheting up a storm in the last few weeks and now have loads of hats and scarfs in the shop.
What I would really like to make now is an earwarmer. A bit like a wide hairband that keeps your ears warm. I think I last saw one being worn by one of James Bond's glamorous assistants but I can't find a suitable pattern. I may have to make one up myself, which may or may not end in tears.
The reason I have 3 different gloves is down to my tinkering with an existing pattern whilst trying to decide which one is the right shape/size/style.
The pink one is nearly the same as the pattern but has a few less rounds as the pattern seemed huge.
The green is nearly the same as the pink but done on a smaller hook as I have tiny hands and wanted it to fit snuggly.
The grey one is supposed to be a wrist-warmer and I stuck to the pattern on this one, but I'm not sure that it's the right size. It's still seems pretty roomy to me, which may just be because of my skinny wrists, but it might be a bit rude to ask someone with big wrists to try it on for me.
So today in my creative space I am trying to decipher my notes at the side of my patterns and trying to make neighbours for each of my mitts.
Does anyone know if matching mittens are compulsory?
Click the link at the top to visit creative spaces all over.
Fiona x

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Back to normal..or as close as it gets.

When you don't know what to expect do you overestimate or underestimate ? Do you hope for the best and prepare for the worst ? Or are you totally relaxed and prepared for anything ?
Perthshire Open Studios is over for another year and I am now trying to assess how successful it has been for us. I had been hoping to be really busy with loads of visitors and fantastic sales and that didn't quite happen. We did however have a lot of lovely visitors who seemed to really like Buy Design and who said they will definately be returning in the future.  Hopefully this means a busy Chrismas for us.
The general feedback from other participants is that it was very quiet compared to previous years, but since this was my first year I don't really have anything to compare it to. What I do know is that in my experience ( not vast as I have only been open for two and a half years ) September is generally a quiet month. It's too early for most customers to be thinking about Christmas and they have just paid out for summer holidays and new school uniforms.
I seem to have spent the last week talking, talking, and talking again about how I started making jewellery, and how my hobby has developed into my business. I do like talking but I was starting to feel a bit talked out by the end of the week. So this week I am back to the business of making again and looking forward to the next challenge.
Oh... and we have just seen our daughter off  to Aberdeen University to study psychology. It's been quite a week all round.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Perthshire Open Studios

Tomorrow sees the start of  Perthshire Open Studios  Hopefully all the hard work this week will be well worth the effort. This is my first year taking part in the Open Studio week and so I'm not really sure what to expect. Many thanks are due to Ali, Maureen, Mary, Mark for restocking their spaces this week and to Cathy who will be minding the shop and showing her glass engraving next Saturday. Also to Sylvia who's husband distributed brochures in Dundee this week.
No time for photos this week as I have been busy making instead of blogging about making.
Have a look at the link above to see a bit more about the Studios and the artists taking part.
Fiona x

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sunday Shadows in Montrose

When I got up this morning it was very grey with not a hint of sun in the sky. I thought I would have real problems trying to find shadows of any kind but it's Sunday which means joining in with Shadow Shot Sunday at Hey Harriet so I just had to see what I could find.
Just after church we headed off to Montrose and were happy to see the clouds burning off and the sun breaking through. By the time we had reached Montrose, about 40 minutes from home, the sun was shining and the shadows were out in force.
Crossing the railway footbridge to get a better look at the sea, I just had to get my camera out for the first time. Lovely lattice work shadows and my man looking out to sea.
We stopped off for lunch in The Picture House, which is an old cinema, converted into a pub/restaurant, and had a lovely meal, then set off for a walk along the harbour and down to the beach.

Along the way we spotted this..
...which belongs to this..
Isn't he fabulous. His name is Mamse and he belonged to the Captain of a Norwegian Naval ship during the second world war. The ship spent long periods of time docked at Montrose and Dundee during the war years and the fabulous Mamse was pretty much adopted by the people of Montrose. According to the information board...
... he was a very brave dog dog and received the doggy equivalent of the George Cross.
It seems that he also had his own bus pass hung from his collar and whenever the towns bus drivers saw him they would stop and let him on board. Can you imagine sitting on a bus, minding your own business, and being joined by an enormous St Bernards dog ?

Further along the way we thought about going down this staircase with the wibbly-wobbly shadows,

but the swelling waves kind of changed our minds.
Nobody wants wet feet on a Sunday walk.
Not even this guy.
There are fabulous statues and sculptures all over Montrose. Some are historical figures, important to the town in some way, and others like this one are related to ordinary seafarers.
No beach would be complete without some colourful bunting around the children's play area.
So much for my hazy morning. It's been a lovely day chasing shadows.
Have a wee click HERE to see some super international shadows.
Have fun.
Fiona x