Saturday, July 30, 2011

Are You Ready For Another Historical Trip? ABERDOUR CASTLE

Aberdour means ‘mouth of the water' and Aberdour Castle is one of the oldest castles in Scotland.

The Mortimer family was first to build here in the early 12th century…it was a hall house … an elegant medieval strong hold. It was another Mortimer who gave Inchcolm Abbey (mentioned in an earlier post) some of the estate in 1216.

Alan de Mortimer is credited with building this keep and the nearby church of St Fillan.

The building that stands before you when you arrive is 500 years of the architectural history and it is like a puzzle trying to work it all out especially that which remains from the 11th up to the 15th century …even with a guidebook.

(If you click on the photos ...and double click on some ...most will enlarge somewhat)

This is the well from the original building.

In the mid 14th century the estate passed into the hands of the Douglas family and in the 15th century the hall house became a tower house and the huge rooms of the hall house/keep were divided into much smaller ones.

The central range, to the south and east of the tower house, was added in the later 16th century…. probably the work of James Douglas of the Angus branch known as the ‘Red Douglases’ because of their flaming red hair. He over saw Mary Queen of Scots’ abdication and became regent, governing Scotland for six years.

Flecks of white can be seen in the mortar of this part …

…these are oyster shells …inexpensive and abundant at this time and used as pinning, to help prevent the lime mortar from squeezing out. This structure also contained an unusual feature for castles at that time …corridors.

Regent Morton, a keen gardener, was also thought to have laid out the terraced garden to the south of the castle. The Dovecot that can be seen dates from the late16th century and held 600 nesting boxes.

The last major addition was that of the east range, created by the 8th Earl of Morton, William Douglas in the 17th century. This made the castle far more sumptuous than it had previously been, having ceilings fashionably painted with flowers fruit and cherubs …and walls hung with tapestries..

There was also a walled garden, enclosing about an acre, but the original lay out is unknown. It now holds the most beautiful display of plants and it is so restful to just sit and take them all in.

Panoramic view …well the best I could do …

… and the close-up glory of a few of the flowers.

Going out one of the original entrances to the garden and turning the corner one comes across the wonderful St Fillan’s church, beautifully restored in 1925. It had had its roof removed, it is said because the Countess Morton did not like the villagers so close to the castle and that their journey to worship got in the way of her hunting. In 1790 a new church was built in the High Street and that building is now used as the Church Hall. St Fillans is one of the oldest churches in Scotland and is still an active parish church.

The Castle was taken into state care in 1924 after being used as a school, masonic lodge and a barracks in the years that passed after the property was vacated by the Earl of Morton in the 18th century.

I hope you enjoyed the nose around the castle and church ....I will try and visit somewhere soon that is not in ruins.lol

Take Care xx


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WOYWW Week 112? ....Something this time.

July has passed too quickly but I find it amazing that I have managed 14 posts (a record for me), during the month … along with being a little more creative than I have done for ages.

I had some amazing luck this week....I won a brilliant gift /prize when my number was picked, randomly I stress, on DIL’s blog. My gift was a 60 days subscription to all the classes on Miss Art’s Paper Crafting School, on the net. I do not know where to start …I want to shut myself away with the computer and my stash for the whole 60 days …well 57 ‘cos I’ve wasted three days drooling over what’s available to learn and wondering if I have the right bits to do all the classes I fancy…I really don’t want to buy a lot of extra stuff as there is so much already inside these four walls. I have never ever done this sort of thing before…infact I have only done a couple of classes ... at the crop, when we have had someone there to teach. Oh yes …and what has the weather done just as I win this …switched from wet and /or overcast to SUNSHINE ….how can I stay in when its actually behaving like it should be in Summer lol.

I was trying to make this a shorter post, as I have blogged a couple of long ones this week already …..so ….

Here is my desk …

And here is a LO that I managed to do most of at our crop on Saturday.

It is of my late husband, Pete, in the early 80’s or even as early as ’79.

A group of musician friends of his, agreed to do a gig for charity in the church hall …they met together to rehearse in the afternoon… this was to be the very first time they were all to play together. Some one suggested a tune …another called a key … the keyboard player counted them in …and they produced the most amazing music. A few teenagers who I knew and played in a band, snuck in to hear them and one turned to me and said …’How long have they been playing together?’ I looked at my watch and replied ‘Twenty minutes’ …he was totally lost for words and filled with admiration … sitting in silence for the rest of the session.

Oops …sorry …this was longer than I meant….I hope you managed to get this far.

I managed to visit just over 75 of you last week …great fun...except for the stiff knees and back lol …and many of you triggered ideas and gave me help …Thanks to all of you WOYWW friends out there …what a huge band we are now.... spread all over the world.

Take Care xx

Monday, July 25, 2011

OK ….I’m Hooked ..

If you have tried Promarkers, with no success and they are now languishing at the back of your cupboard …read on …and maybe give them one more airing.

I was having serious doubts, to be honest, as to whether I really was a Promarker Gal. I had found plenty of uses for them, other than colouring in, so felt that I had not actually wasted my money, but I really could not get to grips with it …to my satisfaction.

I was always going over the edge and although others said that the blender acts somewhat as a rubber …it did nothing for my mistakes …. and any thing delicate didn’t stand a chance.There also seems to be at least two ways of shading …I tried the demonstrators way, of using three close shades of a particular colour but my result really did not seem quite right, although I think if I was more of an artist and also practiced more, I might have got there in the end….but for me that was not soon enough.

On Saturday I went to our crop and everything fell into place for the first time.

I decided to pick the brains of the ladies there …why didn’t I do that before I really have no idea. First I was told to use layers of one colour to create the shading instead. …this was SO MUCH easier … and then someone reminded that I was given a couple of the NEW Promarker fine tips, at the last visit from ‘Angel Crafts’. I unearthed them from the bottom of my Tote and put them to use …. THEY ARE FANTASTIC …a life saver for all those of us who are clumsy colourers …not sure of the pen size equivalent but I would guess, 0.2 .

The only slight problem is that sometimes they are hard to remove.

You will need at least one for every colour group, to prevent any chance of contamination when you forget to scribble out the left over colour in the nib …or if you are rich … a second set of pens, all fitted with the new tip…lol

The other big differences that day were that I was using a new card stock…a smooth 290g…. wow what a difference. I have also got some 160g to try in the printer, for down loaded images….thanks for all the tips ladies …especially the ironing of the image, one.The other difference …well this time I was using a stamped image and The Impress Ink pad seems to be perfect for these … so far. It seems that …like a lot of other things in life... you need the right information and tools.

While messing around, I made a discovery though … probably old news to you experts out there but I shall pass it on any way… in case it is useful to someone….

This is for when colouring an animal or something that needs texture ….I found that after I had finished with my layering of the desired colour, if I then covered the area again, with a much lighter tone ….using tiny circular movements …a furry appearance developed as it dried.

Now I KNOW these are not perfect but considering it’s the first time everything was sort of right at the same time…I’m quite pleased …and you can see my furry effect … I’m sure it will improve with practice …hopefully not too much practice .lol.

Take Care xx

PS … TIP …If your eyes are not good in low light …. don’t forget to read what colour you are using … I ended up with an Olive Green Cat !! lol

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In search of a craft shop ... by way of Robinson Crusoe

Just a warning ...this is another of my long .... picture heavy ...but informative ?? posts lol ...so get your self a coffe first xx

I have lived here in Fife for 6 years now and have found that there are very few craft shops within easy reach of a non-driver so I usually buy on line as it gives me a better choice. To my surprise however, while looking for something else on the net, I turned up a craft shop that had apparently been around for quite some time, in a coastal village a short bus ride and walk away, that I had not visited either. It was difficult to work out what kind of crafts it concentrated on so there was only one answer …go and find out …and have a look around the village of Lower Largo …camera in hand of course.

As I got off the bus I was met with this

This Inn was established in 1749

and this hotel is named after Robinson Crusoe …the character created by Daniel Defoe.

Pre Beeching …when there was still a coastal rail network, the trains would pass over this viaduct …high above the village….

Lord Beeching had a lot to answer for, as his axing of lines in the early 1960’s, caused the death of many small communities all over the UK.

Crusoe, mentioned earlier, was based on Alexander Selkirk, who was born on Main street in 1676 and I found where his house had actually once stood … very easily really, as there is a Statue on the front of the house that stands there now.

I have read that he deserved to be cast a shore to survive, alone, on an island for over 4 years and in contradiction to this, that he actually asked to be left behind as he felt the ship was unseaworthy .... but there are so many accounts of this man that it is hard to decide the truth….even his name has been recorded in at least two ways.

The streets were narrow and picturesque …this is main street

and this is taking a turning off

but I am not sure that I would want this at the end of my garden!!

The beach was quiet and someone had wished their Mum a happy birthday in the sand

but returning to the high street ...I came across this

And HAD to find out more …me being me.

It is the work of a local artist who was inspired by the carvings he had seen on a visit to Lithuania. This amazing sculpture was carved in oak but why, I wondered, was it standing there on a patch of grass next to the road and over looking the sea. Apparently the carver of this work of art lives opposite and the area of grass is part of his garden !!. …in fact on the way back to the bus I noticed this gate, which I can only think is his as it stands in the right position.

And

This is the Craft shop,

.....which I found, concentrated on patchwork but sewing in general was its main theme. There were beads and interesting bits and pieces … and the supplies to make cards of many kinds but sadly little for the scrapper. One of the most interesting things was that she gives lesson in patchwork, for beginners, at a very reasonable rate … something I must seriously consider, for the near future.

Hanging on the wall was the most beautiful quilt made by one of her past students …it was patched, appliqu├ęd and quilted …all by hand. …and was being raffled for charity …I had to buy a ticket of course, even though I will never win. …but some one must and it just might be me lol.

They also have an area where you can enjoy a beverage and a scone and it was here that the very chatty and charming proprietor of the craft shop related all that I needed to know about the local artist and his creation and the lessons in Patchwork. I left refreshed, with some card to use for stamping and colouring … and a good knowledge of their stock.

Mission accomplished.


Take Care xx

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lost and found …a Tale for Cat Softies.

Madison is one of our older cats being now eleven. In her younger days she was the Alpha female..taking over the role of her grandmother Georgie, who lived to the ripe old age of 21. She is an indoor cat and shows little interest in the out side world. She is a silent cat, only crying when accidently stood on, and like Georgie, she never meows.

Today she disappeared …the front door had been open to take delivery of a skip …much needed after yet another de-clutter … and there was a lot of noise. Usually she would run in the opposite direction to that loud a sound and we certainly did not see her exit the premises but she was certainly absent for breakfast and still there was no sign of her by the afternoon. Every room and wardrobe was carefully searched but there still was no sign. I thought I heard some scratching a couple of times but put it down to one or other of our numerous felines, in a litter tray. I walked up and down the garden calling her melodic name …’Maddie Paddy Paws’ in the hope that it would lure her home. Thoughts of her actually under the skip started to filter in and were hard to push away.

When DD came in from work she repeated the journey around the house and garden and came to the same conclusion …she was not anywhere inside and we would have to wait to see if she came back …not sure how, but she said that she had checked under the skip too.

It was now nearly half past nine and there was a heavey cloud of sadness hanging over us …several of the cats had not been themselves all day either…but then Vicki heard the scratching for herself. It only lasted a few moments but she managed to pinpoint its location …behind a large cupboard in the kitchen. She mounted a ladder to see if there was any way Madison could get behind it and decided that there was just enough space if the animal was scared and determined enough but not enough space to facilitate rescue or to allow her to climb out her self or even move. Jay rushed to get her toolbox and by carefully working at the problem, and calmly taking to Madison,whom we assumed was there, the back of the cupboard was eventually removed and a petrified hungry cat with damaged claws, released.

All’s well that ends well ….thankgoodness.

Take Care xx

PS This is Maddie ...after the ordeal



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Woyww ....Wk 111

Well here is my desk … not very exciting I’m afraid.

I have been messing around with my pro- markers and a down loads from Spyder at the moment, trying to conquer colouring in, but I am still having problems with print-outs running as I colour them. I think I didn’t leave this one long enough …mind you, it seems to depend on what I’m printing out ??? Text smudges even after several days, if I want to colour the background …but only sometimes??? …I think I need to try my stamps out next. Thank you Spyder for this freebie ...he is so cuddly …and fat. I need to print him …and your others …on better paper once I am happy with my colouring...and then create some cards

You may make out a shallow box behind the pens …well that is the result of my ‘crafty mess around’ on Sunday, which I thought I would share with you …and this is how it all developed ....

First find a box destined for the bin …mine was about 5” square and originally held my ‘Retired’ clock.Grab some papers…maybe those that need to be used up.... a brush and PVA glue … rip up the paper and get all sticky with the glue …great fun …very messy….love this sort of decoupage…. I have used old postage stamps (not the valuable ones!!) in the past, to great effect.

Hunt for something else that needs using up …I found white paper frills that have sat in the cupboard for ages and ages … and ages …I gave them a tea bagged look with pro markers and stamped all over them… an Impress ink pad seems to work best for pro-markers and PVA glue, which again was used liberally to stick and cover everything.

There also was the addition of a few bits of Graphic 45 ‘Farmers market’ ...but any fun scraps would have done …and more PVA …slightly watered down as a top coat ….and it was finished ….

A ’Tidy-up Tray’ …. much stronger than the original box ...to be used for odd buttons, brads and other embellishments that lie around after a project. …the bigger things go in my huge re-file box under the desk.

I know you all know how to do this technique …but for me this was an exercise in remembering and practicing how to cover an item …something I have not done for a very long time …and it was so much fun. If anyone has never done it …do try …unless you hate getting messy. I thought that if I document it, then I just might remember to do more of it …and practice makes perfect as they say …well one can only hope as there were lots of things I would have done better/differently.

Sorry I only made it to 40ish last week ...I'll try to increase my visits again but I just have to read everything and have a good look around too but the week just slips away before my eyes.

Take Care xx

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Who needs to spend money ...when you have the sea on your doorstep

It is such fun watching the young play ...and make discoveries ...thought I would share these from a visit to the beach last week when their cousin came to stay.... a very cheap afternoon ...we even took our own drinks lol



and lastly I love this effect on the sea, from the sun, .... looks like fireflies or fairies riding on the tiny creasts ...click on picture to see what I mean.
Take Care xx

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Rude Awakening

Mug shots of the culprit

As most of you know I now have a bedroom and craft room combined …well on Saturday night I gave in to Mika’s pleading eyes and let him come in to sleep. He is not a problem cat so I thought I was safe … HOWEVER…

at 2.15 am I was woken by the sound of him leaping from unit to unit while cursing a huge moth that appeared to be always one step a head of him … he then lost his footing …unfortunately while balanced on a pile of Really Useful boxes sitting on top of one of the units … and managed to bring them and a few of the surrounding smaller, pen/pencil containing boxes, crashing to the ground … and a few things managed to reach the bed.

at 2.30am it was now ME cursing as I had to then pick up all the contents that managed to empty themselves over the floor and bed …Mika, needless to say, was ejected forcefully from the room, which I later felt guilty about as I think he was in shock …and as for the moth …it fell asleep on the ceiling!

I will be posting something crafty next time....prommise.

Take care xx

Friday, July 15, 2011

Just get yourself a coffee

…you will need one… and come with me on my trip...I learnt so much researching the history ...in the end too much to post here but I have shared some of it ...hoping you will find it interesting. Most of the photos will enlarge if clicked on.

We crossed the Firth of Forth by the rail bridge …

….an amazing structure built in 1890. For those who don’t know, a Firth is a narrow inlet but this one is the estuary of the Forth River. This bridge was the largest cantilever bridge in the world and now has only dropped to second position, 120 years later. It was the first ever all steel bridge in the UK…8296 feet long with the rail set at a height of 158 feet above sea level at high tide. Our destination was Hawes Pier, almost under it, in the picturesque Dalmeny.

When alighting from the train we were to follow a set of instructions given by the Ferry company ...the boys thought it was a great adventure. These led us through a beautiful wooded area with a fenced path

and down the track to where wild flowers and raspberries including white ones grew …yes they were ripe …and ready to eat.

There was also the long flight of stair, of which I spoke in my last post. During the short…ish walk, we actually stood under the massive structure.

We emerged to see the bridge in all its all its magnitude

and just across the way was the road bridge … the largest suspension bridge in Europe, when opened in 1964.

After picking up the tickets ...the internet is a great invention lol ...we all clambered onto the boat and sat on the top …a little nippy as we set sail but a great view.

Once under the bridge we came across Inchgarvie, one of the small islands said to take its name from the Gaelic for 'Rough Island' but others say it was named after the young herrings or Garvies, that shelter there in their shoals.It has had a castle or fortification resting on it from the middle ages. During the reign of James IV a castle was built, probably as a fortification.In 1497 it and some of the other islands were used as places of ‘Compulsory Retirement’ for those Edinburgh residents suffering from Grandgore (syphilis) …they were instructed to board a ship at Leith and remain on the island “’Til God provide for their health”. The islands were again utiised in the fifteen hundreds, as a way to stop the spread of the Plague in the city.In 1779 fortifications were renewed due to a threat from the American commander John Paul Jones’ fleet but in the end, were never used in anger. It is now and has been for most of the last hundred years, just a resting and nesting place for birds.

The sea air filled our lungs as we made our way towards Inchcolm, another of the small islands found in the firth.

It is not just home to birds, as some of the others are, but has two Stewards caring for it and a gift shop. Next time we will stop off and take a closer look at the Augustinian Abbey. the most complete monastic house of that period, that survives today.

It is thought that St Columba visited the inch … or island … in 567AD and around the 12th Century it was named from the Gaelic for Columba’s Isle….Innis Choluim …which then became what it is now known as...Inchcolm. It is also mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth as ‘Saint Colmes ymch’…a place where the Danes buried their dead.

Today, birds on Inchcolm often lay their eggs on the ground, as there are no stoats or other predators to devour them …. and seals can be sometimes seen swimming in the surrounding water.

Nearby is the Oxcars Lighthouse....

which sits up on rugged rocks at low tide only for them to disappear completely at high tide. Sporting a large red stripe on its 72-metre tower, it stands out boldly during the day.

The engineers David and Thomas Stevenson completed it in 1886. These two were part of a lighthouse-building dynasty started by their father, Robert. The family designed and built this and so many other lighthouses over the generations but one famous member of the family did not join the firm and he was his grandson, Robert Louis Stevenson known for his wonderfully captivating stories most of us have read.

There were so many ships on the water and these four caught my eye ...I thought I would share the sights.

Soon it was time to pass back under the bridge and return to shore …the time passing far too quickly.

The boys seemed to be captivated by what they saw and just being a float …it was a wonderful …if tiring … day.

I hope you managed to get to here and enjoy some of the history of the place ….sorry its so long but I love to keep a record of special days out.

Take Care xx