posted in: General


Beautiful evening but very cold. Thank goodness the snow has retreated to a much higher level than it was earlier today. Everywhere was white this morning, including our lawn.

Walked around the golf course this evening, looking for drains. Yes, drains! My water divining skills are being put to use in order to locate some of the drains that are in sore need of attention. Primroses magnificent, gave two Roe deer a fright and heard the cuckoo for the first time this year.

Snowing again!

posted in: General

DSC01814 DSC01806

High tops were white yesterday and again this morning. It is so cold – again! And after all that lovely Spring warmth.

Snowing as I write this so no wonder our little red squirrel friends are back at the feeders this afternoon.

Miserable outdoors so photos taken through the kitchen window are not ideal but OK on a day like today.

Not looking forward to the dog walking – all the winter outdoor clothing will be coming out of the cupboard!




Greater Spotted Woodpecker(s) are everyday visitors to the feeders in both front and back garden. This one zoomed in after the squirrel had left.

The snow must be making them all extra hungry!




Serious snow falling. Big fat flakes.


And now blue sky!!



And a snowy dog walk.

Loch Cleavag Clock

posted in: General


Inspired by Ian Lawson’s wonderful photos in his book ‘From The Land Comes The Cloth’ , about Lewis, Harris and Harris Tweed, I created this landscape using left over pieces of Harris Tweed. The photo inspiration was  ‘Bothy, Loch Cleavag, Isle of Harris. Hubby (lovethewoodenbox.com) then made it into a clock. More to follow.

Shimmering Landscape

posted in: General




Been on a course at kareliahouse.co.uk today and this is the result. Great day and new technique acquired. May add some more machine and hand embroidery in due course.

My interpretation of a summer sunset, looking towards the Cuillins from Elgol.

Garden treasures

posted in: General

DSC_0767 DSC_0768 DSC_0763 DSC_0775 DSC_0757 DSC_0782


Trillium grandiflorum – two photos, different exposure, to show the wonderful patterning on the leaves. Several of these plants are now in flower in the garden. Other Trilliums all in leaf and showing flower buds.

My favourite – Sanguinaria canadensis flore pleno. Beautiful  little flowers that appear before the leaves and last only a day or two. They love to be planted up against the edge of something like the side of an old sink like the one this plant is in. They spread slowly and can be easily propagated once established.

The Hellebores are fading now, with lots of flowers showing the formation of seed pods, but this one is so beautiful I just had to take a photo.

The Camellias in the garden are in full flower – fingers crossed the clear and frosty nights are not going to spoil them. Fortunately, ours don’t get the early morning sun and that seems to save them from frost damage.

We came home to a full pot of beautiful Pleione pogonoides blooms. The only one of my five pots of Pleione that shows any signs of flowering this year.


West coast landscape

posted in: How to

DSC_0036 DSC00212 DSC00217DSC00219


A couple of years ago we were holidaying on the north west coast of Scotland and one evening, as I was working in the kitchen, I saw this strange reflection that was actually on the window glass but appeared to be out in the garden among the vegetation. I had to photograph it as I thought it would make an interesting embroidery/quilting project.

A few months later I saw the fabulous fabrics and that gave me the idea straight away for the ‘landscape’ project. I stitched together the three pieces of fabric that make up the sea, land and sky features and then basted them to wadding. I then machine quilted the panels, following the varying colours in the fabric design. The little croft houses were made with hand coloured, pelmet vilene and glued to the background fabric. Embroidery stitches were added by hand to give the indication of vegetation around the buildings.

The background of the ‘window’ panel is made with various fabrics for the sky and vegetation, with the wall fabric added last of all. The croft house is made of white paper and glued to the background fabric. The panel was then over embroidered with a combination of machine and hand embroidery to both quilt and emboss the surface. The wall fabric was then added and machine quilted along the lines of individual stones. The ‘window’ panel was then attached  to the main panel by stitching on a border of matching flat, hand dyed thread, which formed a frame for the piece.

Extra 3D effects were added to the bottom right foreground of the main panel using had painted and heat treated Tyvek, couching textured threads, adding hand embroidery stitches and then glueing on some tiny shells. The finished panel is 44 inches long and 15 inches wide.

Family history

posted in: General

DSC_0612 DSC_0617 DSC_0623


Ellingham Church is a lovely spot to visit and several members of our families are buried there. It also holds happy memories for us, as we were married there.

The splendid avenue of Yew trees is at Alnwick Cemetery. Ancestors from two branches of my family are buried there but we have failed to locate their headstones on previous visits. This time I contacted the Town Clerk’s office and they were incredibly helpful. They gave me the burial plot numbers and the Town Clerk even went, early one morning, to locate an actual grave for me and then emailed me the precise instructions to find the headstone.  How refreshing to find people who will go that ‘extra mile’ to help you.

We also visited the Bailifgate Museum in Alnwick. This has had a complete make over since our last visit and is an interesting place to spend an hour or two. The volunteers have always been very helpful and after a conversation with two of them, about the Ritchie family, they are both going to see what, if anything, they can discover to add to my wide knowledge of the family. One of them emailed me some photos that same evening. Right now, Alnwick is top of my “most helpful people” list!


Seaside fun!

posted in: General

DSC_0607 DSC_0689 DSC_0692 DSC_0721 DSC_0722 DSC_0731


Blue sky, blue sea but blue fingers from the rather cool easterly wind! Spectacular coastline that becomes more popular every year with visitors but, thankfully, we know where to go to escape from the masses. However, I am not divulging that location!

Bamburgh must be the most photographed castle in the UK ( apart from Dunstanburgh Castle) and the beach becomes very, very busy at any time of year. However, there are other equally beautiful stretches of coastline to walk and explore. Great places for dogs to have fun. Good job they don’t seem to feel the cold.

Hay Farm Heavies

posted in: General

DSC_0532 DSC_0533 DSC_0547 DSC_0551 DSC_0552 DSC_0568 DSC_0589 DSC_0594


Met up with friends on Wednesday and after a splendid light lunch at the Lavender Tearooms, Etal, we went to Hay Farm Heavies, located between Etal and Ford. Apart from the horses, the views are spectacular and we could see for miles and miles and miles in every direction. Hay Farm is a wonderful place for all ages to visit. Entrance is free but they do ask you to consider giving a donation and we couldn’t imagine anyone visiting and not wanting to make a contribution.

There is a wonderful collection of old implements on display in one of the huge farm buildings. All these implements were once pulled by horses on the farms. Everything is clearly labelled, with the occasional misspelling to test you!  There is another display of harness and a collection of horse brasses that were/are used to decorate the harness.

Then there were the horses – beautiful, gentle giants. Each one has its own spacious stable area and you can wander around at your leisure. Outside there was Teddy, the Stallion, and what a splendid animal he is. He came galloping across the field, as soon as visitors appeared, accompanied by his very fat and woolly friend. Teddy towered above husband, who is 6 foot, and his coat shone in the sunlight. Such a kindly face and obviously loves the interaction with the human race and the bag of carrots they inevitably bring to feed him and the others. Carrots can be purchased at the farm!

In another field there were four youngsters, who were equally as friendly. There are picnic tables set up next to that field and on a good day it would be the ideal spot to sit and enjoy your picnic, take in the panoramic views and enjoy the horses at the same time.

You could combine your visit with a trip on the Heatherslaw to Etal Light Railway, a look around Etal Castle, watch the miller at work in Heatherslaw Mill, Lady Waterford’s paintings in Ford Village Hall and lots more.

Howick Hall Gardens

posted in: General

DSC_0508 DSC_0514 DSC_0627 DSC_0629 DSC_0637 DSC_0641 DSC_0651 DSC_0679 DSC_0682 DSC_0686


Visited the wonderful gardens at Howick Hall, Northumberland, this week. Beautiful place to wander around and the Tearoom is worth the entrance fee alone. And there must be some very clever Hares and Rabbits as there are signs that tell them to keep the gate shut!!

Masses of daffodils everywhere and the tulip meadows just coming to life. The Magnolias were magnificent – not seen them in flower on previous Spring visits – and there were some stunning Camellias. Cherry blossom just beginning to open up and some interesting trees coming into leaf. Loved the little curly twirls on the orange leafed tree – now need to identify it, as we could not find a label. The arboretum at Howick has many trees grown from seed collected in the wild by Lord Howick and his head gardener Robert Jamieson.

1 2