The fox, the hare, the robin and the pop up shop in Glasgow’s Finnieston area

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Hello. How are you? How’s it going? I’ll bet you’ve all had a really busy week getting ready for Christmas. Over the last week-and-a-half I’ve attended the boy’s nativity (which was a hoot), got an excited girl ready for her very first ceilidh, took her to her ballet exam and went to the school’s Christmas church service which was held in the school hall this year as the church is full of the Christmas tree exhibition (trees decorated by local groups and very good by all accounts). I also met friends for lunch at Jam Jar, one of our local cafes, and had the best cheese on toast I’ve ever had: sour bread toasted and topped with crispy bacon, ham, cheese and cranberry sauce all served with a lovely salad and crisps. Oh it was to die for!

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Today, I met up with an old friend I haven’t seen for years and it was great. We went to Finnieston in Glasgow, had lunch and wandered about. We also dropped into a pop up shop called Veneer which is a shop run by Bespoke Atelier and filled with some lovely items all designed by Scottish based artists. My friend picked up a beautiful silk scarf. I now have scarf envy. The pics in this blog are all from the shop and are really lovely. My favourites, however, are these…

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They are by a company called. Joy Collection and are tree ornaments. I love all three animals – I have a bit of thing for all of them, particularly hares. Unfortunately, Veneer is only open until tomorrow, but if you go on the Bespoke Atelier website, you’ll get the names of all the companies involved.

Anyway I had a good afternoon. We ended the afternoon with tea and canoli for the first time (the pistachio one is amazing) in Panevino. I returned home to find my front garden filled with twinkling tree lights courtesy of hubby who put them up in my absence. Looks great.

Right, am going to leave you now. I will try and do another post next week, but in case I don’t get round to it, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

Dawn xxxx

There’s a pheasant in my garden

pheaasant 2Walked out to fill the bird table earlier today and nearly had a heart attack when something relatively big and fast ran into the bushes. I was just in time to see the streak of brown and the long tail. It was a female pheasant. I don’t know what she was doing in our garden, but I threw down some seeds for her. She was really shy and flew off when I tried to take a pic so I’ve had to borrow a pic of what she looked like from the web.

We get quite a lot of different types of birds in our garden. Apart from the usual crows, rooks, the odd gull, blackbirds, tits, finches and robins, we also see the odd bird of prey, ducks (in the stream running down the back of the garden) and herons. More recently, what we think was a peregrine falcon used our back fence as a resting place.

falconIt’s really nice. We’ve also had hedgehogs, neighbours’ cats, our guinea pigs and the odd feral child in the garden too!!

Anyway, how’s your week been? Busy getting ready for the festive season no doubt!! I’ve been the same. I’ve been finishing a lot of projects up for work and also completing various home-made gifts. I haven’t taken pics of them yet (apart from the bears and the hat), but I’ll do that before I give them. So there’s been a fair bit of knitting and sewing going on. I’ve also been getting food etc in for Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I hate Christmas shopping…it’s always too busy, too hot and too full of very rude people. I do most of my shopping online and in October!

This week has been interesting weather wise. We were hit by what the press are calling the ‘weather bomb’ earlier on in the week. That meant we had everything the weather could throw at us: heavy rain, very strong winds, hail, sleet, thunder and lightening (a new one for me – I’ve never known it to do that in winter), low temperatures, ice and sun. Thankfully it’s died down and it’s just very cold and icy here. Makes me glad we’ve got a cosy warm house to go into. We’re lucky.

I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve been forgetting a lot of things. I think it’s because we all have a cold and it’s making my head a bit woolly.

Went to the boy’s nativity during the week. He was one of the singers being one of the older children. The actual nativity play was called Baubles and was a take on the Christmas story. It was enacted by the Primary 1 pupils who were all incredibly cute and very good. All of us parents, grandparents and carers really enjoyed it. Well done P1-3. You all did very well.

Next week the girl is doing a carol concert, so I’m looking forward to that. I like attending these, it really starts off Christmas for me.

Anyway, I’m off to have a little read of my book – Elizabeth Hunter’s  A Fall of Water – before I start dinner.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Confessions of a writer, Elizabeth Hunter and the Hedgehog Who Froze

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I cannot believe it’s only four weeks until Christmas! Where did this year go? My parents were right: life does speed up the older you get! Just goes to show you should enjoy every minute if you can.

Anyway, how are you all today? What’s been happening in your world?

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I’ve been busy getting things ready for Christmas. I am almost there with my preparations…just got Christmas cards to write and a couple of wee things to buy and that’s me. I hate Christmas shopping, there’s nothing pleasurable in it so I like to get food etc in well before the big day so that I only have to drop round to my local shop to pick up the necessities (bread, milk, veggies etc).

I have a confession: having signed up to Nanowrimo, I have been unable to keep up with it. I simply have too much on and am too tired at night when I have any free time. I’ve decided that I’ll just write on the days I’m not at work…it’s the best I can do I’m afraid. I feel a bit guilty, like I’ve let myself down, but I have to be realistic about what I can do. I’m not superwoman after all. I’ve written around 30,000 words, so that’s still an achievement.

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Does anyone know anything about the winter habits of blackbirds? We have a mating pair in the garden and normally I’d still see or hear them around at this time of year (especially as I’ve been putting seed out on the bird table), but I’ve not see a single feather of them. I am worried one of the cats that live around here have got them. They’ve been with us for years (well the family has, not sure how long they live for). I am hoping they turn up again. Maybe they’ve just moved to warmer climes. Hmmm.

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Talking of winter visitors, the squirrels and crows (can’t say that word without thinking of Ygrit in Game of Thrones!) still raid the bird table. I also saw a hedgehog taking an evening stroll down the middle of the road the other night. I was out walking with friends when I spotted the little creature frozen in the road. My friends thought it was dead, but I’ve seen them do this before…if threatened, hedgehogs seem to freeze and pretend they are not really there in the hope that you go away and leave them alone. It barely moved a muscle apart from the almost imperceptible twitch of its nose. We left it there worried it would be squished by a car, but we didn’t want to terrify it any more. Hopefully it got home safely.

I love hedgehogs.

What else have I been doing? Knitting socks as Christmas presents. Have also a started a new book called A Hidden Fire by Elzabeth Hunter. She’s a self published, this is the first of four books and is really good. It’s supernatural, mystery and romance all rolled into one book. I am really enjoying it. Recommend it if you like a well written romantic adventure with vampires. It was my mum who put me on to her (I’ve borrowed all four books from her), so thanks mum. This book comes hot on the heels of Bleak House by Charles Dickens, which I loved. In saying that, I have loved nearly all of the books of his I’ve read (I haven’t yet read them all): the Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectations. The ones I didn’t enjoy as much were Little Dorrit (I found Little Dorrit too insipid for my tastes) and Hard Times. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked the books, I just didn’t like them as much as the others. Still have a fair few to read, but I will.

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Right, I suppose I’d better be off and do my housework. I am procrastinating, hoping the housework fairies will come and do it for me. Sigh. Still, I’ll just put on some good tunes and have a dance and a singalong while I do it.

Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

Birthday cake, a Minion and Writing Lots and Lots

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It’s the boy’s birthday next week and already he’s really excited. We’ve got him a whole load of Dr Who things (including a sonic screwdriver!) and his grandparents are coming to ours tomorrow to give him their gifts. For an extra special treat, me, hubby and the girl will also be taking him to see Nativity 3. We have the first two films on DVD and he really loves them. He wants to go to McDonalds afterwards, so we’ll take him there too. I will also bake him his birthday cake this weekend…yum!

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So how have you all been? I’ve been busy today getting on with my Christmas makes. I’ve done the bulk of the two Minion plushies I’m making for my offspring. I’ll show you the finished pair once I’ve completed them. Am doing them whilst the kids are at school, so won’t be getting back to them til next week. It’s really hard keeping something like this a secret as the two of them love to stick their noses into everything. It’s “what’s this mum?” and “can I have that?”. They are well hidden, but every time one of the kids goes near the area the toys are hidden my heart’s in my mouth in case they discover them. Here’s an image of the pattern I’m making…

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Anyway…

I’ve also been busily writing away, although not so much today or yesterday. I’ll do some tonight…the planning’s done…just need to write it up. My word count is currently standing at just under 20,000 words…only 30,000 (minimum) to go!! Hope I can keep it up…it’s not easy.

Right, that’s me for just now. My hand is aching from all the knitting and sewing and typing I’ve been doing today (bring out the violins!). Til next time.

Dawn xxx

 

Riverhill, Crafting and Back to Writing

Can’t believe how much the weather has changed since yesterday. It’s so wet I’m considering building an ark!! It was lovely yesterday too…perfect for Bonfire Night. We didn’t go to any displays – our local one is on Friday – but instead went to Riverhill Courtyard in Helensburgh to meet up with friends. George and Raymond (hi guys!) have been travelling around Scotland visiting friends and reacquainting themselves with the Old Country. They live in London now, but both are from here. Anyway, it was great to see them and the meal we had was lovely. I’m just sorry we didn’t have more time with them, but it was an evening meal on a Wednesday and the kids got tired and needed to get to bed. Was great catching up! We were working out how long we had known each other and it’s not a kick in the backside off 20 years! God that makes me feel old!

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Thought I’d show you some of the things I’ve been working on. Above are two baby Yetis and a Purple Jungle Bear (my own pattern – made from fleece and felt to be extra snuggly)  – the Yetis are for my smallest niece and nephew, the purple is for my oldest niece.

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The knitted hat is for my oldest nephew who is into rugby – I thought if he wanted to wear it he could wear for training, but it’s up to him. It’s a WW2 Watchman’s hat pattern which I got from Ravelry. I have something else I’m making for him too as a bit of a laugh.

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The knitted Tardis kindle case is from this pattern and is for my friend’s daughter who is a major Dr Who fan. Am also planning to make my own two. I love making things for other people. Hope they like them.

Anyway, have started writing again as part of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and am doing okay. Missed a couple of days, but hopefully I’ll get back on track over the next couple of days. The one good thing I’ll say about it is that it’s getting me writing!.

On that note I have to say adieu for now. Sorry for cutting this short, but have to go. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Squirrels, Dr Who and Despicable Me

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This little fella was one of three grey squirrels who decided to raid my bird table yesterday. The other two ran off, but this bold one stayed to stare at me. The lure of the seeds and nuts was too strong, I think.

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The first pic was taken with the patio door open, this one is through the glass hence the slight ‘film’ on the lefthandside.

Anyway, how are you all? Hope you are hail and hearty! What’s been happening in your lives? I successfully managed to make two hats for my kids from a pattern from Fleece Fun which is a blog by a lady called Angel Hickman Peterson and has lots of great patterns for fleece. Am going to make the matching mitts for them this weekend. Will do pics next time.

So what’s been happening at Nelson Towers? Hmmm…just the usual. My parents visited last Saturday and of course the kids were there for about five minutes before disappearing off to play. I feel sorry for my parents. It’s nearly an hour’s drive to our house from theirs and they only see the kids for all of five minutes at the beginning and then the end of their visit. Still that’s kids for you. I feel it’s better to let them go and play because they get bored and fidgety and whiny anyway. Plus the biscuit plate would be decimated!

Been trawling the website looking for ideas for Christmas makes for my kids. My boy is a huge Dr Who fan (the girl finds it too scary at times) so I’ve been looking for various things to make (for both of them…no Punch without Judy as they say). I’m going to do this Tardis kindle cosy from American Witch cos they want a tablet each for Christmas. I also want to make them an Adipose each from a pattern by Erika Kent. There’s also a good tutorial from Amanda Tepie here. And I’m going to give these a wee try…felt Dr Who plushies by Michelle Coffee (great name) of Deadly Sweet Plushes…I really love her Star Trek plushies so may make them for myself (I know I am a saddo, but they are fab). Plus on a non Dr Who vibe, I am also planning to make them a Minion each from a pattern by Hannah at We Lived Happily Ever After.  The next thing I need to see is if anyone’s making anything Monster High or Ever After High (the things my girl is into). I am going to be very busy over the coming weeks!!

Am currently working on a small gift for a couple of friends I’m seeing soon. I won’t say what cos they read this blog. Will put up a pic after I’ve given it to them.

Anyway, I must get on. Got tonnes of stuff to do. Til next time!

Dawn x

Ballet, piano and Bette Davis

Well, I’ve gone and voted and once I got to the ballot box I was under no doubt  which way I was voting. The last couple of weeks have been both exhilarating and a bit scary. Independence is a huge step and today is historic. Am waiting with bated breath to see what happens when they announce the result tomorrow.

This week has been overtaken with the Referendum. You just couldn’t get away from it. However, apart from that we’ve seen a few things happening. The boy had a really bad ear infection recently and it’s now cleared up. He also started piano lessons last week and seems to like them…so far. The girl is still in love with ballet. I bought a ballet exercise DVD so we can do something together (the boy and I have piano) plus it will hopefully get me fitter. Over the last five years I’ve put on more than a stone in weight. I don’t eat any more than I did before and I certainly am busier than ever. I think it’s the fact that I’m over 40 and have a sedentary job. Sigh. Anyway, ballet here we come!! Am sure a few plies will sort out my thighs!

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Hubby celebrated his 51st birthday last week too. Me and the kids took him out a local Chinese restaurant for a meal and various members of the family visited with presents or sent cards. On his actual birthday, I made him a special meal for every meal time. The kids insisted on having pancakes for breakfast, I made veggie tortillas (from The Fussy Eater’s Cookbook by Tana Ramsay) for lunch and we had Hungarian Ghoulash for dinner…yum. There was also birthday cake and custard…lovely.

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Am currently reading Bette Davis’ The Lonely Life and it’s excellent. Her voice and strong opinions ring through the book and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. As you know I am a huge fan. All About Eve is in my top ten all time films…she’s fabulous in that. Other fave Bette films include Now Voyager and Jezebel.

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While I greatly admire Ms Davis, what else rings through the book is her absolute determination to get to the top no matter the cost. I think she was used to getting her own way. She was a strong woman who didn’t put up with rubbish. Some may call her a bitch. I think she had to be to pursue her dreams. Anyway, she’s very inspiring and her book is full of great stories and truths.

What else has been happening? I took the plunge and bought myself a new sewing machine. My machine was secondhand when my parents gave it to me when I was 11 or 12, so it’s at least 30 years old! It’s not reliable. I’m hoping a new one will be so that I can get on with sewing.

Right, that’s it for this week. I am going to finish up here for now. Until next time!

Dawn xx

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while since my last post, but lots of things have happened!

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Hello! How are you? How’ve you been? What’s been happening in your world? There’s been lots happening here…so where to begin?

Well, a couple of weeks ago, we all piled down to the Lake District to stay in a tipi at Ullswater. It was great. We stayed at the Waterside Farm – they supplied the tipi and we supplied ourselves. The tipi was bigger on the inside that it looked on the outside – a bit like the Tardis! – and had a double futon (for me and hubby) and two single blow up beds (for the kids) plus a cooker and a whole load of cooking utensils and cutlery etc. We spent two nights there. Luckily the weather was really good for most of the time we were there so we were able to cook sausages outside on the camping stove and toast marshmallows in the firepit. The kids were in and out of the lake, paddling, feeding ducks and generally having a great time. It was a lovely place and I’d recommend Waterside Farm for somewhere to stay – the staff couldn’t have been nicer and the place was just lovely.

The Lake District itself is simply stunning and I loved it…it reminded me of the Highlands except not quite as big. Yes, I loved it there and could see why Beatrix Potter fell in love with it all those years ago.

Talking of Beatrix, we didn’t just stay around Ullswater, we also drove around Lake Windermere, drove through Grasmere and stopped off at the Beatrix Potter Experience in Bowness. What a lovely place to visit and the kids really enjoyed it…it’s full of little scenes from her books and we had fun peeping through windows and identifying the characters. The kids, of course, were desperate to buys something from the shop, but I think they felt the things on sale – although lovely – were a little too young for them what with them being an ancient 9 and 6. They got to spend a bit of money in Keswick, where I also picked up some Star Wars (original films) fridge magnets. 🙂

It was a great couple of days away and we all enjoyed ourselves. The only two things spoiled it for me: I couldn’t get to sleep and woke at 5.30am every morning due to the light. Also our last day was so wet that we just left early…there was no point hanging about. It was torrential.

Anyway, to celebrate our little holiday, here’s a couple of pics I took at the Beatrix Potter Experience. We all enjoyed it, the little scenes were lovely, but I would have liked more on Beatrix herself…

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My favourite...Mrs Tiggywinkle!

My favourite…Mrs Tiggywinkle!

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Talking of the weather, it’s generally been really good…which makes a change. Of course, it’s helped that the weather has been so good because this whole area is buzzing about the Commonwealth Games. I live within an hour’s drive of Glasgow city centre, but I haven’t been to any of the games…I’m not a lover of sport. Hubby and my dad, however, went to the Rugby 7s at Ibrox and had a great time. My friend attended the opening ceremony and loved it (I’m afraid you either loved or hated it…I watched it on telly and loved it) and various other friends have been going to other sports. I’ve not heard one bad word said about the Games, in fact everyone has been raving about it.

Last weekend, my dad also celebrated his 68th birthday so we all piled round to my parents house for a fab home-made curry (including pakora, naan and some really nice puddings). What a laugh! Was a really good day. Also celebrating their birthday last week were my father-in-law (86!) and my nephew (3)! Happy birthday all of you!

This week we’re having a quieter week. I’m off from work to look after the kids. We’re just relaxing, popping down to the shops or the library and generally taking it easy. In the mornings, I’ve been watching White Collar on Netflix…am now totally hooked!! Thank goodness for telly that you don’t need to concentrate too hard on because I’ve been knitting away…I made the girl a mermaid and the boy a robot (both Alan Dart patterns…I love Alan Dart’s stuff!). I’ll put a pic of them both in my next post. In the meantime and as promised, here’s a pic of the cake I made my friends who recently had a Civil Partnership in Edinburgh (also an Alan Dart pattern).

stuff from tablet 374 (2)Anyway, must fly. Am currently reading a biography of Albert Einstein (interesting man) and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped… they are calling! Til next time!

Dawn xxx

A gorgeous day for learning to ride his bike

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What a difference a day maaaaaaakkeess!!!! Isn’t it gorgeous outside just now?? Makes such a difference when the sun is shining and the heavy rain and hail disappears. We’ve also had really strong winds this week. There were two nights I woke up because of the noise of the stormy weather outside…not good. Anyway, today feels more like spring, which is why me and hubby prised the kids away from the telly and made them go on a long walk down the side of the River Clyde. There were a few grumbles, but they had sticks and they used said sticks to write cheeky messages in the sand at the beach near where we live, dig up shells and generally wave them around. The boy also used his to ‘shoot’ his sister a few times, but she had her ‘invisible force-field’ up so the shots were deflected. (looks bemused!) Of course, neither of us remembered to bring our phones or a camera to take shots of the said events, but not to worry!! It was a good walk, blew the old cobwebs away and we returned home in time for lunch, all hungry and rosey-cheeked.

So what’s been happening in your world this week? I’ve been quite busy since my last post. Although I’ve been off, I’ve been knitting, watching copious amounts of telly (watched all of Whitechapel…my God the first series was good! Second series not so good, but there was no way they could have topped the first series! Also, started getting into Fringe, but am reserving judgement for that!), cooking and baking, cleaning the house, looking after the kids and generally being a mum. I decided that I wasn’t using the week off to work on writing as I felt I really needed a break, so opted for the ‘see what I felt like’ view of the world. I felt like knitting and watching telly so that’s what I did. How lazy!!

Yesterday we had a couple of friends come round for lunch. Well, we went to our local hostelry and had lunch. Was nice to see both of them. Haven’t seen either for ages, so it was good to catch up.

Today, apart from the walk, I’ve been listening to music, watching yet more of Lie to Me (still addicted) and catching up on Facebook (also addictive!). I thought that I’d better do another blog so that I’ve written at least something this week. As I write, my boy is learning to ride his bike. Hubby tried last year, but the boy wasn’t having any of it. I hope he learns to do it this time round. Before he went out – the boy that is – he put in an order for tea and biscuits for him and his dad. This is something the two of them do a lot. If hubby is out in the garage doing some work on something, the boy likes to go out to his ‘workshop’ (ie the back of the garage) and do some ‘man work’ too. Always, always, before he goes out he says: ‘Mum can you make me and dad some tea and biscuits?’ and cos it’s cute of course I comply!! He’s such a wee character my boy. In case you’re wondering, the girl (also a character) is out playing with her friend.

Anyway, enough of domesticity, am away to read some blogs and maybe maybe do some writing!! Better make the tea and biscuits first though!!

Dawn xxx

Sewing little creatures and a walk around Glasgow Green

I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches to a few wee presents I’ve been making various people. Apart from crocheted lap blankets – which are super cosy for telly watching – I’ve also been making this…

Here's one I made for a friend's daughter from Rebecca Danger's Knitted Monsters books...I love him!

Here’s one I made for a friend’s daughter from Rebecca Danger’s Knitted Monsters books…I love him!

…and these…

These are from A Monster to Love on Craftsy. These are for my kids, but I mean to make one and send one to the charity as a thanks.

These are from A Monster to Love on Craftsy. These are for my kids, but I mean to make one and send one to the charity as a thanks.

And here’s a wee walk around Glasgow Green the other day. Was a really mild and pleasant winter’s day…didn’t even need gloves, which isn’t normal for this time of year here!

People's Palace and Winter Gardens

People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

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Above – the Templeton carpet factory (as was) which was modelled along the lines of the Doges Palace.

Right, am really hungry, so am going to end this short blog here. Til next time.

Dawn xxx