Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...



Feed the birds (tra la la la)

During the days when I am out in the studio I am lucky enough to watch the birds visiting the feeder table. There are the ground feeders - the blackbirds, dunnocks, collared doves, wood pigeon,  They bumble below the bird-table. Furtling about the plants looking for fallen scraps or the sunflower seeds I've scattered for them.
There there are more flighty birds, the ones that flit in, grab a beakful and flit out again. The shy coal tit, the briefly stopping blue tit, the occasional great tit. Their visits are quick and I have to be equally as quick to see them - it is such a pleasure to catch a glimpse. 
Then there are the oh so brilliant visitors that make my heart skip a beat when I see them. The nuthatch - I held my breath when I first saw one. The goldcrest, greenfinch both set my heart a flutter.  Other, less showy but equally welcome are the sparrows. Once so common around our garden - I occasionally see a timid four birds at any one time. 
Regular bossy drop-ins - the robins, chase after the dunnocks and doves and sing their defiant ownership of the garden.  The more secretive wren quietly skips along the hedges and fences until she notices a cat then she sings out a trilling song.  
We do get more garrulous guests - the magpies, occasional starlings and once or twice a jackdaw - but not that often.  
Anyhoo, inspired by my feathery distractions - I decided this year that I would join in the 'Big Garden Birdwatch' run by the RSPB and sent away for their pack. Apart from all the essential tick boxes and identity sheets and very useful little calendar - a recipe card fell out.
It looked like something my hollow-legs would eat - so I tried it out. The first batch did not last long ... the final one being eaten while it was still slightly warm. The second and third batches lasted slightly longer - but only just. Himself devours them almost as fast as the woodpigeon clears the fallen seed. Youngest scoffs them as enthusiastically as the starlings and Eldest takes them to uni and has two for breakfast with a mug of coffee. (Which I am delighted about - he is not a breakfast eater and ends up feeling rotten halfway through the day - since munching these little buns of yumminess he seems to last until lunch time).

Want the recipe ?

You'll have to go here and it is free all you have to do is spend a little time and count the birds in your garden - it will be worth it :D


Random woolgathering in four short acts

yesterday : 

cold, wet and blustery. I hunkered down in the studio, 
heater on, radio on, flask of coffee,
mittens on, scarf on, thick fleecy shirt on.
yearning for blue skies and warmth, I worked on these...
Small pockets of sunshine and seas.
 A stark contrast to the dull and dreary stuff outside.
I yearn for more blue and less grey.
 last night :

Snowy wet roads causing issues for drivers,
you can hear them slipping and sliding and revving their engines
as they gently go backwards down the incline...
Fire on, knitting growing,
looking good,
feels warm.
I want it done for the weekend.
 this morning :

cold, wet slush. Bobble hatted and warmly coated folk walk to work,
mums and littlies wrapped up well, pick their way carefully to school,
cars drive past - some cautiously others unconcerned.
Pan sits and watches the world go by. 
now :

procrastinating, drinking tea, eating toast,

Jobs to do, frames to sort,
paintings to complete,
emails to write,

But first...


And you?
How is your day unfolding?
Hope is a good one :)



Knitting while waiting ...

... for soup to cook.

A pan full of vegetables. Some bought a couple of days ago, some harvested out the garden, the rest 'discovered' lurking at the back of the 'fridge. You know the type - a little past their best - nothing wrong with them..... just a little soft......
So, 'skanky veg soup' is the order of the day.

It was a particularly tasty one - the boys scoffed the lot.

And the knitting?

Well, I have knitted for both Eldest and Himself a double layer hat with Youngest preferring to don his favourite increasingly tatty fairisle bobble hat.

Until...... we were walking on a particularly crisp and cold day and Youngest realised he'd left his favourite hat behind, so Eldest, who had a spare, passed over his double layered hat.  It was like a lightbulb moment - or rather a warm and toasty head moment. He asked if I could make him one too.

Himself's hat is charcoal grey and blue, Eldest has olive green and charcoal grey. Youngest wanted the whole hat in the grey but I have quietly added a deep burgundy. He can always wear it grey side out if he doesn't want the burgundy to show but the other two happily wear either side.
And it is a super warm hat.

Any hoo - time to get back to the knitting - I gather the weather is going to cool down this week and he has had a hair cut resulting in cold ears!

Have yourselves a good start to the week xxx


Sunshine between clouds

The tree outside the window is quietly shedding the raindrops it accumulated over night. It is still dark so the streetlamp has highlighted each one like a shimmering fairy light. Pretty. Pretty cold too.

So far this year we have spent most of it under a layer of dull grey stuff, the weather stubbornly remaining sullen and driech. We have had a few crystal clear eye bright days where the sky is so blue you drown in the unending sweep of it, but they have been few and far between.

Thank you everyone for your comments about my moist studio, it seems that finally the 'tide is turning'. From the moment I found the water marks on the floor, I have been recording the waxing and waning of the water ingress with pen lines around the seepage. Finally the lines seem to be receding. Meanwhile the insulation at floor level has been removed and is presently drying out on the radiators in the house - so my home gently smells of the scent of warm and drying sheep..... not bad actually!

However, despite the dullness of the weather, there has been a beautiful and bright act of kindness that has shone through.

I have a kind and thoughtful blogafriend who lives a long long long way from me. In 2016 she and husband came over and we met up, along with other bloggers - Jak and Lovely Lady. We regularly communicate with each other, either by email or 'phone and certainly through blogging.
She'd commissioned me to paint Daisy for mutual blogafriend as a chrimbly gift and as by way of thanks she mentioned that she had UK family over for chrimbly and when they returned, she would slip a little something in their luggage as a gift for me as long as he had space.

So, a few days ago, I received a text from an unknown number however, the message soon explained that it was from Susan's nephew, now returned from his holidays in Australia. We arranged a suitable rendezvous and with a few moments of not-quite-being-at-the-correct-place we finally met and after a quick chat (the nephew was still at work) I was given the 'little something for me'.
There was nothing little about it. 
It is a beautiful work of art.
A thing of beauty!

Red heart Icon 48x48px I was touched - so much work had gone into the making of the quilt that it made my heart ache - thank you Susan - above and beyond anything I was expecting - thank you sweet lady - it is a thing of beauty.

No wonder, Susan, you mentioned 'as long as he has space'!Red heart Icon 48x48px

While I was typing this post out, I had my beautiful quilt on my lap (the room is still cool despite the fire) there was a modicum of wriggling on the floor. So I looked down.....

Somebody wanted a piece of the blankie-action... 
So - approval all round then!!

ThAnK YoU!!


Thoughts in January

Despite it being finger achingly cold today, the sun shone into my studio and warmed it to a wonderful balmy temperature - such a delicious feeling, being able to cast off the layers and working with bare hands instead of struggling with mitts. It helps to lift the spirits which can feel a little jaded during a grey January.

On the downside - my studio is still wet, we are still struggling to stem the gentle but persistent ingress of water around the base. We know where it is oozing in but stopping it seems to keep us Himself scratching his head. There are days that don't quite go to plan but a little sunshine (and mugs of tea) make that  little less troublesome :)

I am setting myself a challenge -  a sketch a day, which I should have started at the beginning of January but seeing I have only just discussed it with myself today and I am trying to be less hard on myself - I shall start tomorrow! The idea behind it? To get into a regular routine of putting pencil to paper, feeding my need to create and hopefully spark ideas and my imagination. And if when I complete my challenge, I should have a book full of sketches and doodles to look back on.  Ideally I should see improvement over the months!

So, have you set yourself any challenges?
Little goals and good intentions?
I hope to continue to grow with my art and keep letting the sun warm my studio for me x

Whatever 2018 has in store for me and for you - let the adventure begin x


And in other news ......

I did start this in the early hours just after Himself had left for work. It was that silvery grey light before the dawn type sky when street lamps are not sure whether they should be on or off and so occasionally flicker in hesitation.
The cats, having had breakfast are settling down for their first morning nap - Pepper purposefully trundles off towards the airing cupboard and Pan meditates in front of the wood-burner prior to curling up like a meringue on her chair.
Both boys, still on hols, are asleep as is Moss. Although I suspect, given the right invitation, she would gallop downstairs in one noisy bouncy clatter, do a few enthusiastic circuits of the kitchen (not easy seeing how small the floor space is for a rangy spinning dizzy dog) and briefly sit in anticipation of her breakfast.  She would, if allowed, dive into her bowl before it even landed in front of her. However we have managed to train that busy little brain of hers to sit (ok shuffle excitedly with her bottom on the floor) until she is given the command to 'eat'. This is followed by a point and and pat on her back. If not in the correct order, she watches you with such expectant eyes and rumbling tum until we get it right.
Today, after several dreadful days in the company of Eleanor, is actually bright, clear and still - fortunately our localised damage appears to be minimal but the associated dreich skies, no-go water filled areas in the garden, a leaking summerhouse and lack of sunshine does eventually make gorging on festive leftovers and binging on the internet rather appealing. I am in 'rehab' for both at the moment ....
We have had some 'proper' albeit very brief, winter weather, with frost crisp paths and icy cheeks. They have been made all the more beautiful by being enhanced by wintery blue skies and flasks of hot tea.
We are hoping to get out this afternoon and celebrate the lack of rain - fingers crossed that we can. Although I have tried to use this weather induced hibernation to some good (starting a new etsy shop/priming boards to paint a new series I excited about/knitting/eating/tinter binging) - I am feeling a little like cabin fever has set in.
Himself who returned to work yesterday and had 'lost all hope' by mid morning decreed firmly that Friday afternoon was to be dedicated to an outing of the outside variety, in whatever weather (thank goodness its looking better!) and nothing was going to stop him. 

Any hoo - enough waffle. Best get on. And if you were wondering about the images they are of my new amaryllis shoot determinedly growing, a rather damp view through the summerhouse window of a neighbour's cat looking for shelter beneath a bench, Moss playing in much anticipated but fleeting snow, a crisp edged frosty leaf up on a rough moorland pasture and the view from a clear icy walk from a few days ago. 

Ok, that is enough, all I would like to say is Welcome to my new followers, glad you popped in - lovely to see you :) Thank you too for your lovely comments over the last few posts and the promises of joining in with this month's scavenger hunt - the more the merrier! It is really nice being able to visit blogs and share links so we can all find each other :)

Thank you too for emails and phone calls and chats - blogging has such a positive vibe, some where you can let off steam, share recipes, laugh, be laughed at, moan or cheer or share something - it is great! So glad that I, and you lovely lot, are part of it :) Let's make 2018 a good year starting right NOW!

xxxxxxx blessings kate



The hawthorn tree

Dear blog,
day 1 in the year of 2018....

...let me tell you of a story of a walk to a tree on new year's eve.  

However, before I begin, the sharp eyed of you have already noticed I have added our January Scavenger photo-hunt list. This year the format is slightly different yet still the same - here, let me explain. (excuse me while I take a slurp of tea - thank you dear Himself, just what I needed)

This year's hunt has less prompts, giving you more time to find your photos. They can be freshly snapped images or some scavenged from your archives. Each photo can be a standalone story inspired by that image or the full list could be woven into one story - the choice is yours. The only stipulation is you have fun and don't feel obliged or pressured to join in.

Pictures inspired by words, words inspired by a picture - over to you!

My internet sobriquet is 'hawthorn' which is derived from my Celtic birth sign. The hawthorn tree itself has many mythical attachments to it, so, to me, it is a precious tree.

One of our favourite walks is up to and through Grass Wood, near the villages of Conistone and Grassington. 
Up through the moorland fields where the winding track goes, so did we. High above the valley bottom, leaving below the small and sleepy village.
The track took us along the edge of limestone cliffs, high above a dry valley, into sparsely treed moorland. Our destination? 'My' tree, a magical twisted hawthorn that we have visited for over ten years.
We found her, I - as I do every time - stood next to the twisted trunk and laid my hand on the rough bark.  With your back to the tree, the panoramic view over the limestone and moorland is heart breakingly wild and beautiful.  We sat near and had our lunch. After we'd eaten our path took us through a more dense part of the woods. A short while later, we emerged on the other side.
We walked away from the woods, down into green farmland fields. Stone walled, each with their own little barn. Then crossed the valley and turned up back on to the moors. The winter green grass turned to dull brown and sparse. The pasture opened out and appeared bare and exposed.... and it was. The breeze cutting and icy and on the horizon heavy clouds looking sleety and cold.
At the crest of the rounded hill, an abandoned farm house came in to view. We were drawn to explore and although the ground floor filled with pungently smelling sheep dung we stepped inside. The boys went upstairs as Himself and I stepped back out, donned more clothing, made mugs of tea and kept an eye on the weather.
As we drained the last drops of rapidly chilling tea, the sleet and rain hit us. Wrapped up as best we could we dropped off the hills as quickly as the mud and puddles would let us! Moss thought this was the greatest fun ever as she lolloped from bog to bog getting more and more muddy - but that is how she sees every walk.... a mud-n-puddle-fest.
Then as we came off the high pastures down to the village, I happened to look back, the moon was appearing through the clouds - perfect. Just perfect :)
Once home, warmed and dried with the fire crackling away merrily, I lit candles and started our new 'Jolabokaflod' tradition - handing out books for every one to read - which we did! It was a lovely evening, reading, listening to music, nibbling the last of the naughty festive food....
although not all of us did any reading ..... 

  *H*A*P*P*Y* *N*E*W* *Y*E*A*R*!*

 Welcome, 2018, may she be kind and gentle and loving x