Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Circle of Friends Award

I'm a happy blogger today.

I have just received my first blog award from Miriam at bubbachenille who, as well as having a really good blog, has also been ever so helpful by giving me instructions and encouragment on how to create links and to copy and paste stuff. Thanks Miriam.

Now what I have to do is tell you about 5 things I love and pass the award on to 5 blogs that I love.
So here we go.
1. I love sleeping. If sleeping was an Olympic event I could sleep for Scotland.
2. I love Corn Flakes with really cold milk and sprinkled with sugar. I eat corn flakes before I go to bed every night in case I sleep in and miss breakfast. I then eat corn flakes for breakfast.
3. I love tea. None of the fancy healthy, fruity, herbal stuff. Proper Scottish tea. Nice and strong with milk.
4. I love my Ugg boots which my husband bought me for Valentine's day. I was given a choice. Did I want a romantic card or a pair of Uggs. I chose the Uggs but I got a card as well.
5. I love my life. My family, my town, my shop, my friends......oh I could go on and on.

Now, in true Awards style..... The nominations are.....

boovake A lovely boutique style shop of art and design in nearby Perth.

handmadeheaven The name says it all. I would love to live close enough to visit.

maytheclothbewithyou A fun blog. Lots of lovely work and makes me giggle.

kootoyoo Very creative space where you can see the Creative Space of  loads of crafters.

prizmaticart Mandy is a glass artist who I went to school with in Scotland then found nearly 30 years later on blogger.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Vienna, Budapest and Prague.

I came home last night from a fabulous holiday with my husband. We spent three nights in each of the capital cities, Vienna, Budapest and Prague, and travelled by train between them. It was a super way to see the countryside and to just enjoy the experience of being somewhere so different from home. I wasn't entirely craft free as I took my current crochet project on the train with me and crocheted as we  crossed  the borders of Eastern Europe.
First day we flew from Edinburgh to Bratislava in Slovakia where we were picked up and driven to Vienna. It's a beautiful city and we were staying near the university, just a short underground ride from the city centre and all the historic sites.
Just outside the Hoffburg Palace.
We had a trip round the city on one of the horse drawn carriages, called a fiaker. It was a really lovely way to see things.

Inside the Sissi museum. What a grand staircase. I could definately live in a house like this.

This is just outside the State Opera. Vienna was just the start of a super cake eating fest.

Next stop was Budapest. The train journey took about 2 and a half hours and was very pleasant. We were staying in the Pest side of the River Danube which is still showing obvious signs of it's turbulent past. There are still loads of fantastic buildings and interesting places to visit. We went to the state Opera house one night to see Tchaikovsky's ballet Anna Karenina. I've never been to a ballet before and just loved it. The opera house was beautiful, as was the music and the dancing. Nearly had a wee cry when it was over. It was very emotional.
Budapest Fine Art Museum.
We had a lovely visit here. Saw some wonderful paintings and felt full of culture.
Next visit was to the Budapest Zoo. Believe it or not, this fine building is actually the Elephant House.
On our last day in Budapest we took a trip on the hop-on-hop-off guided tour bus. We crossed the Danube to the Buda side of the city. This part of the town is more touristy and most of the old buildings have been cleaned up and restored to their former beauty.

The train journey to Prague took about 7 hours but we travelled through some lovely countryside, had some interesting travelling companions,and the time passed quite quickly.
I think of the three cities Prague was my favourite. We seemed to slow down in Prague and take more coffee and cake breaks and just watch a lot of life around us. Spring Music Festival was in full swing and we heard everything from Jazz, Folk, Traditional and Classical being played in the streets.
We went to a concert by the Prague Radio Orchestra ensemble in St Nicholas church on Friday evening. Like the ballet in Budapest, this was quite an experience. Listening to the music of Mozart, Vivaldi, Haydn and Ravel in a 600 year old church is pretty special.

Easter markets are very popular in both Vienna and Prague and we visited the markets in both cities. This was the biggest egg we saw which is the Old Town Square in Prague.
We saw lots of Easter Trees decorated with colourful ribbons and egg decorations
Also in the Old Town Square, we saw the Astronomical Clock. I seem to have cut the top off when I turned this picture round so I will have to explain. Just above the clock face there are two windows. Every hour the clock chimes and people crowd round to watch. There are figures of a skeleton and the devil and they ring the bells, while at the top the windows open and the 12 apostles appear one by one at the windows. At the very top of the clock tower a trumpeter then sounds out a fanfare from all four sides of the tower. Perfect accompaniment with another coffee and strudel in a nearby cafe.

This just really amused me. The narrowest street in Prague (and possibly the world).This little street on the Prague Castle side of the river Vltava leads down to the river side. It's only wide enough for one person at a time to go through so there are traffic lights at either end.
Another funny one which is almost blocked out by a fellow tourist. On the Charles Bridge there are loads of statues of saints and kings to see you over the river. Now the Prague people have a thing about rubbing statues for luck. You can two shiny gold bits on this plaque. One that this man is rubbing and one on the other side (just under the man's collar). One is a dog for bad luck and one is a lady for good luck, but over the years people have been getting mixed up and rubbing both of them.

Our final night was spent on a river cruise having dinner and watching the sights of the city all lit up.
It was all really pretty, the food was plentiful, especially the desserts. Oooh so many gorgeous cakes.
I always hate the last day of a holiday when you are kind of killing time till you have to go to the airport. Our pick up was at 5pm so we made the most of the day by going on a coach trip to the town of Kutna Hora where we visited the Bone Church. I might show you some pictures of that next time. It was a bit surreal and slightly unnerving. The church is full of sculptures made from human bones.
Let me know.... should I show you the pictures.

Back to work now.
Fiona x

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Creative Space.

I'm going to try and be clever now and do some links and photos at the same time. I know this is a simple task to all you clever bloggers out there but may not be for me. Lets see how it goes.
 I was reading Kellie Christie's blog and liked the idea of showing my Creative Space. Lots of clever crafters and artists seem to be doing this and sharing links with Kirsty at kootoyoo

So here it is

Yes, that's right. It's a shop. I am really lucky to have my own lovely shop next door to my house. During the day I am able to work away on various projects whilst still being available to serve my customers. It also gives me the chance to talk about what I am working on and I have had a few special requests for jewellery to match an outfit for events such as weddings, dances, day at the races etc.

Today I'm going to be working with some of these fabulous beads which I bought on Sunday at The Scottish Bead Fair in Perth. Just waiting for inspiration right now. Last summer I made a whole cabinet-full of blue jewellery. Necklaces, bracelets, ear ring, key rings and phone charms. It made quite a striking display so there may be a pink or green collection coming soon.

And finally here's my Ooops.... Need to do something about all that clutter under the counter.
Have a great day creating, whatever space you are in.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Federation Show

At the end of last week I had my work cut out for me trying to complete a few projects for this years show which is in the Reid Hall, Forfar, on Thursday and Friday this week.
I had mixed results but finished these ones on time. Cathy, who sells her engraved glass in Buy Design, and just happens to be a good friend of mine is popping round soon to collect them so here are a few pics before they go. First is a beaded spectacle chain.
I have sold similar ones in the shop. It is made from fine wire and seed beads knitted on a french knitting dolly. You may remember these as four nails tacked into an old wooden cotton reel. We made loads of scarfs for our dolls with this when we were wee but now I use a fancy bobbin to make necklaces and bracelets.

Next up is a Fathers Day card. I used to make all my cards for birthdays, Christmas etc but don't do so much now so it was good fun getting my little scissors out again and making this one.

One of the classes for the show is a gents knitted hat. All the hats will be donated to the seamans mission after the show, so it's nice to know this one will be going to a good home.
This is my knitted, lacy scarf. It's possibly more of a shawl than a scarf but I really like it. It's really light weight and the yarn is more like ribbon.

Cathy has just been and gone and my projects have gone with her.

If you are anywhere near Forfar why not pop in to see the show. Hundreds of handcrafts on display and a nice cuppa and cake.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Spring has Sprung

Look what appeared in my garden.
Just a few weeks ago we couldn't even see the grass through the snow, then all of a sudden these little beauties appeared almost overnight. I do love snowdrops. Just a little sign that spring is on the way. The countdown is now on. I have spent the last few months wearing so many layers that I looked a bit like the michelin tyre man whenever I went out. Not a great look....

On Sunday I shopped BIG  at the Scottish bead fair at Perth Concert Hall. I was pretty much spoiled for choice. So many fantastic beads to choose from. It was wonderful and now I have loads of projects to work on. I'm planning quite a few shows this summer so now is a good time to get well stocked and not leave it all to the last minute.

Well that's the plan.. I will let you know how that goes.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Federation Show.

The Angus SWRI show is next week at the Reid Hall in Forfar. Set up is on Thursday and it is open to the public in the afternoon and again on Friday.
If you are in England, think Womens Institute. If you are anywhere else in the world I'm not sure what you would call it.
Basically "The Rural" is made up of women's groups all over which meet each month, have guest speakers or demonstrators, and have competitions based around two main areas. Housewife's and Handicrafts.
Once a year there is a regional competition open to all members with lots and lots of categories from jam, preserves, homebaking, needlework, papercraft and pretty much everything in between.
The schedule appeared way back in September and I happily ticked off a dozen or so things which I would work on over the following months and enter in the show in March. Sounds like a plan eh?
Obviously, to anyone who knows me or has experienced my cooking, I passed on anything in the Housewife section.
So am I organised? Have I completed even half of my projects? Mmmm Have I even started some of them.
Will keep you posted and let you see what I finish this weekend.

Monday, 8 March 2010

New Crafter coming soon.

Surprise, Surprise. I remembered to take photos at my craft fair at the weekend. A major achievement for me.
Sadly no photos of the crowds of customers as they were a bit thin on the ground. To be fair this is still a bit early in the year for craft fairs which really get started after the Easter Weekend.
I did have some lovely customers though and hopefully they will be coming for a visit to Alyth and Buy Design in the future. One lady in particular was very interested in the opportunity to have jewellery made to match her outfit for a Spring wedding. That will be a fun project
I also had the chance to chat with Margaret Flemming who paints wonderful ceramics for indoors and out. She will be stocking Buy Design very soon and I am really looking forward to seeing her colourful display in the shop. Here is a look at what she had with her on Saturday.

 Perfect time to sign out now. Time for lunch. x

Friday, 5 March 2010

Saturday's Fair

I've been busy today organising stock to take with me to The Dundee and District Woodturners craft fair tomorrow. This is my first fair this year and I think I might be out of practice. What a pickle trying to decide what to take and what to leave in the shop !! And of course both places need to be fully stocked so it's been a busy couple of weeks getting it all ready.
Completely new this time round is my new range of crocheted bracelets. All that crochet practice seems to have paid off and I am really pleased with the results.Here's a sneak preview.

Spot the difference !!! Can you tell which is the hand of a hard working 46 year old mother of three and which is the hand of her daughter.
Here you can see the fastening which is a small magnetic catch. These are a big favourite of mine as it makes it soo easy to put your own bracelet on by yourself. Sound silly but I do hate fiddling about with normal clasps on bracelets.

Hopefully I will remember to take some photos of my stall tomorrow and will show you what it looks like. I have a bad habit of forgetting until I am on my way home.