Thursday, 29 June 2017


The spread I posted on Monday was the very last one in my latest A4 sized Dylusions art journal. Before I added it to all the other full art journals on the shelf I thought I would have a quick look through it and when I did I came across a spread from which the above picture is a detail. I made it in April 2016 only weeks after returning from our trip to New York. You can find the blog post I wrote about it here. The woman and her dog made a deep impression on me at the time I photographed her, from a stationary tour bus, although I had no idea why. Now I'm wondering if I had some kind of premonition of what was to come. 
Her little dog is the spitting image of Flora (seen above and acquired from Barking Mad Dog Rescue in November 2016)) and I now also know why she had that large empty bag hanging on her arm. It was to carry her little dog in should it get tired or if it should rain. Did I subconsciously remember her little dog when I choose mine. I guess I will never fully know, just like I will never know her or anything else about her apart from the fact that she loves her dog as deeply as I love mine.  Add to that the fact that she is clearly in agreement with me about little dogs wearing pink coats!

Life can be very strange and unexplainable. And totally amazing.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

I collect Memories

This month's prompt on Wanderlust 2017 was to finish the following sentence: I collect........ Truth is I collect many things such as books, paints, stencils (but honestly, can you ever have too much of any of those!!). In the end though I settled for memories. We all collect those, consciously or unconsciously. When I was young it just happened as life was going on around me. Now I am much more aware of making memories as I pass through life. So I have added a very much younger version of myself to the spread in the form of a transparency.
I am working in Finnabair Mixed Media Journal, produced by Prima, on one of the craft sheets and that inspired me to use gold gesso as the bottom layer.  I collaged with a collection of vintage images and text, music sheets,  as well as wrapping and old scrapbook paper.
 I also rubber stamped using a black Archival ink pad, and one of the foam stamps from Nathalie Kalbach's Santa Fe set, as well as rubber stamps from a stamp set by ImpressMeNow. I stencilled on some text (using stencil L267 Vintage Script from Stencilgirl Products)  as well as the petals (TCW351s Mini Vine designed by Dina Wakley)
 I also added a Dutch stamp (that's where my earliest memories were made).

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Not quite in the pink


What an atrocious day weather wise and a very wet dog walk. But at least the pinks have started to flower.

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is my very favourite out of all the beautiful New York skyscrapers and I took many pictures of it, while there. It even inspired me to make a small quilt as you can see at the bottom of this post. So when I discovered that Stencilgirl Products had produced a new stencil (L502 Art Deco Borders designed by Gwen Lafleur) my squeals of delight could probably be heard in Stencilgirl headquarters! I just had to use it.  What better place to do so than in one of my projects as monthly Guest Designer for them.
 I combined it with the Nathalie Kalbach designed stencil L469 Chicago as well as a stamp from her Urban Scribble set as well as two of my own photographs and some New York themed washi tape (I seem to have a lot of that!).
 You can find a full step by step tutorial for this spread, done in an A4 Dylusions art journal, on the StencilgirlTalk website. I was so pleased to find a quotation I liked by Walter Chrysler himself, no less. I too like to do things! Specially if they involve paint and stencils.
To read more about this small quilt you can go to a previous blog post

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Ravensneuk Castle

We decided to make it three in a row by once again climbing Cauldshoulders Ridge because I wanted to make it to Ravensneuk Castle, or rather the ruins thereof. It lays in the opposite direction to the Allan Ramsay Monument, following a path on the top of the ridge in the direction of Penicuik. The views were once again stunning.
The ruins itself were far less impressive and not much remains from what must once have been a mighty defensive structure (build around 1527) where it would be hard for enemies to sneak up to, standing as it does at the top of the landscape.
Most of the stones are so overgrown that they can hardly be seen but in some places you suddenly see enormous blocks of stone so it's clear that once a lot of effort went into constructing a safe haven in times of strife.
Flora was far more interested in the remains of a camp fire and was sniffing it out. She once again did a great job climbing up and down but she was glad of the break we took by the castle where conveniently a picnic table was placed although a very long time ago, judging by the state it was in.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Allan Ramsay Monument

 After climbing up to the opposite bank of the North Esk River in the Penicuik Estate yesterday there seemed no better way to keep those muscles lubricated than doing it all over again today. And this time we made it all the way to the Allan Ramsay monument. Hurray! I had hoped to do this during the Artful Adventures, Stroll through the Hood event but somehow that had not happened although I did feature it in some of the photographs. Although it looks a good day it was very windy but that meant it was also cooler and thus better for the exercise. It was great to finally make it up and I managed to make my way through the knee high weeds, fortunately with (hardly) any nettles, over a stile (Flora had to be lifted over as she wasn't keen on being left behind) to right underneath this impressive stone structure. It's on the long term 2015 2035 plan to be restored by the Penicuik Preservation Trust.
The views were stunning and very much worth the effort! I had brought the big camera today and so happy I did. Yes, I had to lug it around but the pictures paid off in dividends. There would have been no way for the phone to capture all this far away detail.
Inside the arch there are Latin inscriptions on both sides, describing that this monument was erected in honour of the Scottish poet Allan Ramsay by James Clerk of Penicuik House. Allan Ramsay was a frequent visitor to the house.
On the picture below you can see the Chinese Gates, the Lime Walk and the southern facade of the house, all of which are in a direct line from the Monument. You can see the tower of the stable block where the Clerk family still lives, as well as the Pentland Hills in the distance. It also gives you some idea of how high up we were on the Cauldshoulders Ridge
We had the entire ridge to ourselves apart from one horse rider. I envied her the magnificent ride but doing it on foot was also very rewarding.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Pentland Views

Today we went over the Roman Bridge in the Penicuik Estate and climbed up the hill. From there we enjoyed the glorious views over the estate and beyond to the Pentland Hills. Above you see the walled garden just touched by a rare ray of sunlight with the hills behind.
At the top there was another great barley field, now almost ready for harvesting. You can tell it was a very windy day!

It was a wonderful walk, quite a bit longer than usual and I was a bit worried about whether Flora would cope, but in fact she seemed to relish the climb as well as the return journal along the side of the river. We will return and try and venture in the other direction at the top to enjoy more estate views from on high.


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