Thursday, 28 July 2011


At this time of year our hillsides and roadsides here in Scotland are swathed with Rosebay Willowherb making beautiful patches of pink everywhere we look. I can see lots of it from my window here in the cottage.  

This little cottage sits at the end of our track and looks adorable no matter what the season. I day dream about doing it up as a craft bothy.
I have used it loosely as inspiration for this piece below.

I thought it would be nice to feature some items from other crafters inspired by Rosebay Willowherb so I put together this Treasury on Etsy.

At first I struggled to find items by other people until I found out that Willowherb is called Fireweed in the USA. We call it Wildfire here in Scotland.
It turns out it grows in abundance in Alaska and I found this great shop making all sorts of interesting things with it including tea and jam!
Salmonberry Origins

I also listed these two new pieces featuring a similar shade of pink to Wildfire.

And talking of Wildfire, doesn't this look like fire in the sky!

Don't forget that you can find me and my work at Muddy Boots Farm Shop and Cafe on Saturday 20th August. Scroll to the bottom of my last post for a map. Muddy Boots is located on the main road at Balmalcolm.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

5.30am on the north east coast of Scotland.
The promise of a lovely sunny day.

We didn't spend all of our holiday sitting on wind swept beaches. Having children aged 6 and 13 can be quite a challenge on holiday as they both like doing different things. The beach is usually a good option for both but some days it's nice to go and find other things to do. 
Scotland is great for museums and places of interest.
While my husband took our daughter to the 'Tain Through Time Museum' in Tain, I took my son to visit an old friend of mine from college. 

Brodie Nairn and his partner Nicola Burns run the contemporary glass studio 'Glasstorm' in Tain.
It was great to catch up with Brodie again. We haven't seen each other in nearly 20 years!
My son and I were delighted to be able to watch Brodie at work and he explained to us about his latest commission pieces. 

You can follow this link to see some superb glass work and read more about the Glasstorm Studio.

I also met Fiona Byrne who works at Glasstorm. Fi makes her own glass jewellry and has an Etsy shop which you can visit here 

Below is one of my faves from her shop.

'Summer Anchor Pendant' by FiFi Loves Jewellery

Another highlight of the holiday was visiting the lovely village of Dornoch.

Lovely cottages in warm sandstone with beautiful gardens.

A castle on the main street which is now a hotel.

Ahh.... the relaxing scent of summer roses.

And where did this inviting door lead to?

 A peaceful and enchanting walled garden.

It was so nice to just amble around and wander in and out of some lovely shops.

Since we got back from holiday I have been busy making small framed felt landscapes and felt bookmarks for Room 15 in Oban.

Today would have been a good day to be in Oban. They set the World Record for the longest 'Strip The Willow' ceilidh dance this afternoon! Some german tourists apparently thought they were going to witness some nudity!

I have also had a couple of orders for 'Highland Coo' pictures.
Not difficult to find the inspiration with a whole herd living next door.
I went out to lock the shed the other night and heard lots of munching and snuffling going on behind the hedge.
I turned round to see this little cutie peeking through.

Just look at the length of those lashes!

It's easy to order something from me. Just send me an email telling me what you are looking for and we can work out something unique to suit your budget.

'Wee Chubby Coo'
SOLD but you can order similar.

Last but not least on my list of things to share is that despite the dreadfully wet weather we've had for the last while, it dried up enough to go out picking flowers this evening.

These are all from our garden or the verges beside the farm track.
Can't wait for the honeysuckle to come out and fill the house with it's heavenly scent. I also can't wait for the sun to come out again....maybe tomorrow?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Doorways and Shoreways

Just back from a weeks holiday around the Moray, Findhorn, Dornoch and Embo areas of Scotland. Very much a beach holiday although we went from basking in bright sunshine in summer clothes to wrapping up in woolly jumpers and hats.

We stumbled across quite a few interesting doorways which I thought I might use as inspiration for a textile piece.

I love getting in the sea at every opportunity and a bargain buy of a wet suit for a fiver at a car boot sale meant getting a lot less chilly. The invasion of these squishy jelly fish though put us off going in the sea up at Embo but we enjoyed a good bit of body boarding at Findhorn.

The beaches up there are glorious and endless with hardly anyone on them. I took a walk at 7.30 one morning and apart from a few joggers and dog walkers, the beach was deserted. As you can imagine, I soaked up lots of inspiration for my work. The dunes at Findhorn are fascinating with beautiful purple heather growing in profusion alongside low growing rosa rugosa  and pink sea thrift.

This is a very quick sketch I did with my daughters paints after my early morning walk. I'm hoping to interpret this in textile using the embellisher machine sometime this week.

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All contributed content © Aileen Clarke