“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Friday, 28 April 2017

Emperor Penguin and Baby...PPF

If I told you that I've been trying to send this post since first thing this morning... would you believe me? Well it's true.
Here I am hopefully about push the button finally and it's well into the afternoon.
Still better late than never isn't it, especially when it comes to joining in with the Paint Party Friday gang.
I noted that last Tuesday (25th April) was World Penguin Day and as I was just about to start painting something, but hadn't decided what to paint, it seemed appropriate to paint a penguin.
I've always loved the Emperor Penguins and watched many wildlife programmes about them and how they care for their young ones in such harsh environments.
I forgot to take work in progress photo's this week, because when I started painting I went into the zone and forgot everything.
We've had such a crazy wintry week weather wise that I'm sure my penguins feel right at home.
We even had snow!
The writing isn't on the original painting, just in case you wondered.
So hopefully I'll get to nip around and check out what everyone's been up to.
Thanks for your visit and I hope to see you again soon.
Have a fabulous weekend 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oh and just before I go I'd like to let you know that my daughter is having a sale which only lasts until Sunday...so here are the details if you want to take a peek, or stock up on your greeting cards for great prices.
🙌 S A L E  A L E R T 🙌
Today I've randomly decided to have little sale in my shop because, well, why not...
Head to nicallan.co.uk/shop and use the code WELLWHYNOT for 30% off literally everything. I need to clear some space for NEW things and you need to treat yourself (and/or others)... time to stock up on greetings cards!
I've also added, by popular demand, a print of my 'Everyday Acts of Bravery' illustration which is also included in the sale. Be quick though, the code will expire at midnight on Sunday (30th April) 🙌

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Plot Thickens

It's time for an update of the veggie plot today.
Before I start let me just explain that it's quite a challenge growing certain veggies here in the North East of Scotland. For example today started off with sun, then the hail arrived and we've had quite a snowdrift after lunch and now we're on to rain! 
I think other than fog...that about covers the whole range of weather.
So let's begin our update...
The raised beds are finished and have parsnips, carrots, cabbage, sprouts and fennel.
I'll be sure to show you the plants at a later stage. 
Hopefully they'll survive this coming week of wintry weather.
The pot at the end of the middle bed is actually a collection of herbs that I used to keep by the kitchen door. We need to replant these....making sure that we keep the mint contained.
I don't want mint taking over the whole plot as it is prone to do if left without any restraints.
The observant of you might notice the new chuckies (or gravel).
We underestimated just how much was needed so we are waiting today for another delivery of 3 tonn.
The old telegraph pole that I managed to convince the authorities to replace has now found a new home. Hubby used his chainsaw and split it down the middle and laid this rather impressive edging.
And so on to the next stage of the plot...the chicken coup.
Hubby put the coup together as it was flat packed and he said it was the easiest instructions he's ever had to follow (thanks Chicken Coops Direct)
This particular coop is the Devon design.
I was surprised by how small the coup actually was when assembled, so we've decided to buy an additional run for here and also a tunnel for the other garden, so that his 'girls' will be safe, but happy.
(I actually caught him looking at a girlie website early one morning...but thankfully it was the feathered clucking kind!)
I'm not sure when his 'girls' will arrive but we're nearly ready. 
Or I think we're ready...it's like a penthouse, but the flooring is supposed to be arriving any day.
Hard wood chippings apparently are the best! 
As I said...nothing but the best for his 'girls'
I just hope they actually lay an egg!

(New's hot of the press...Gust of Arctic wind whipped through and carried two cloches and smashed them against the granite wall of the wood store...ho hum. We've only had them a few days!
Heaven knows where the little plants maybe by now...maybe on their way to Norway)

Have a great day whatever you're weather is doing...we'll just keep hunkering down for now.
Thanks for popping by my place.
I'm linking up with Image-in-ing.blogspot.co.uk apparently Elvis has been spotted over there, 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Birds and Bees

My Sunday Photo this week is all about the birds and bees, but don't worry there's nothing dodgy here, because it's not that kind of birds and bees. 
These are the feather and buzzy kind.
I've mentioned before on previous posts that we have white doves visit us every day... no matter what the weather. In fact, if they don't appear I begin to wonder and worry about them.
If I don't happen to notice them arrive...they now perch up on the decking in full view of the window and peer in.
This tactic works extremely well because I immediately put fresh bird seed out for them.
We have had varying numbers...the most being seven at any one time, but lately we have only had two.
I love to see them doing a fly by or hearing them cooing up on our chimney pots.
I do wonder sometimes what their owners must think...and if they wonder where they go to every day. I'd love to attach a little wee note on to them, to explain where they've been and that I only feed them the best quality sunflower hearts. 
The amount I spend on my bird food is quite extensive, so their owners are probably saving a small fortune!
(Dove)
We've had another new visitor this week on our kitchen bird feeder...a couple of siskins.
This is the first time that the siskins have used this particular feeder.
They normally use one on the other side of the house.
Obviously, our five star seed menu has gone out on 'Twitter' (sorry I couldn't resist) and the variety and amount of visitors grows daily.
Unfortunately, this photo was taken through the kitchen window, so it's not the best quality.
(Siskin)
This male chaffinch is wearing his Sunday best at this time of year.
He's quite stunning.
It's a pity that the sun isn't shining on him, because it really makes a difference to the colours.
(Male Common Chaffinch)
...and so onto the bees...
This stunning Rhododendon Augustinii bursts into bloom very early on in the spring and causes quite a stir with the bees. I just couldn't capture a clear photo of this busy bee....he was frantically trying to gather as much pollen as he could before the sun went down. 
(Rhododendron Augustinii)
I just love to hear the buzzing of the busy bees and have to say I've been encouraged by how many I've seen already in this early part of the season.
(Lavender)
...and finally...
I'm linking up with Photalife.com 
and Mersad's Photography Link
I hope you are enjoying a busy but brilliant weekend.
Thank you for your visit...you're always welcome.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Easter's been and gone...PPF

Phew...I'm a little late today. 
One of the reasons being that I've been to the vet's (yet again) with Muffin.
She's still not put on any weight, but there again she's still not really eating and last night she was sick numerous times, so that's not surprising.
We think that she's still loosing weight, but I haven't weighed her since Wednesday.
Basically, because I couldn't bare it if she's still losing.
Anyway, we have more medication and are due to see a consultant vet next week, if she doesn't improve. 
So obviously, she's been our top priority this week and therefore I haven't had much free time for painting, but I did manage to finish off my Easter Bunny though.
I know he's a little late for Easter, and it's a little like seeing Christmas decorations or cards in January, but I know a few people who were interested in seeing how the finished painting turned out.
So here he is....
(I thought he went well with my daffodils...it's just a pity it isn't Easter)
I think he definitely looks like a bunny caught in the headlights, don't you?
Maybe he's just in a panic that someone will take away his chocolate eggs.
I'm saying that it's a he...but maybe it's a she...because obviously she loves chocolate!

The colours aren't really showing up correctly, because it's actually painted on white paper and I loved the effect of the sky, where I used a sponge.
So how many chocolate eggs do you have left...or is that a silly question?
I'm quite proud of the fact that I have one large one still, but I think it's on borrowed time!
I will try to visit as many blogs as I can, but I'll obviously have to see how the week goes. 
But I will definitely visit all that come to call here.
Can I ask that you send some positive, healing energy our way for Mufftypup.
She sure could use some right now.

I'm linking up with the Paint Party Friday link.
Thank you Eva and Kristin for hosting such a fantastic get-together for creatives. 
Enjoy your Friday and have fun this weekend

Saturday, 15 April 2017

My Sunday Photo...The Garden Awakes.

The Easter Holiday is renowned for being the biggest gardening weekend of the year, so I thought I'd show you a little of our garden.
There are lots of activities in other parts of the garden, work in progress as they say, but thankfully this is my little bit of sanctuary.
(It's a pity that the sun wasn't shining today...typical...but it did try)
As usual I'm going to link up with My Sunday Photo over at Photalife.com
I hope you are having a fabulous long weekend... I know I will once I find those chocolate eggs!
Happy Easter to those that celebrate this holiday and for anyone else I wish you a fantastic weekend.
Thanks for visiting my place and I hope to see you again soon.

If you entered into my Giveaway draw for the Mother and Baby Giraffe watercolour print...you might like to see Muffin pick out the winning name...click the link below.
Thank you to all who entered... I'm just sorry that you all couldn't win.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Easter Bunny...PPF

Happy Easter Everyone
As it's the long Easter weekend and there are Easter egg's everywhere, I thought I'd join in too.
Mainly, because in keeping with the egg theme...I'm like a headless chicken today!
(Rather tenuous link I know - sorry)
It's the sort of day where I want to be like an octopus and have eight arms, so that I can do all that's on my extensive 'to-do' list. 
I would desperately love to sit here and carry on painting my Easter Bunny, but I've got to go outside...mainly because the day is reasonably good and I don't want to miss it.
I will have to have a painting session later...as my reward.
I know this looks a little strange in the under-painting stage.
It's like catching a painting in just it's underwear! 
As you know each time I post an unfinished work I moan, because I desperately want to only post finished pieces of artwork.
This week it's all been about Muffin once again.
We're still battling with her lack of food intake and weight loss.
We were at the vet's again this morning and they've decided to up her steroids.
Hopefully, she'll be eating everything in sight soon and be strong enough to 'Toss the Caber' or dance the 'Highland Fling'.

Well I must dash...but before I go and link up with Paint Party Friday, 
I will wish you a Happy Easter.
(or a happy long weekend if you don't celebrate the Easter holiday)

Oh yes, and one more thing...April the Giraffe still hasn't had her baby yet, so if you would like to enter the freebie 'Giveaway Draw'... be quick because as soon as the baby arrives the draw will close.
Click here and put 'yes please' in the comment below the post.
I've got nearly 200 entrants so far, which is fantastic.
Good luck if you've already entered.
Muffin will be performing the name picking (hopefully) on video as she did so well last time.
Thanks for visiting today.
Bye for now 

Monday, 10 April 2017

Veggie Plot (Part 2)

Easter Weekend is renowned for being the biggest gardening weekend of the year here in the UK. 
But we've actually been busy since February, when we decided to finally tackle the land at the side of our house, that had been left to nature and untamed for the last 20 years.
I know crazy, but I needed to give my hubby a mission now that he's retired.
(Click on the link if you'd like to see the first post about The Birth of our Veggie Plot)

But we didn't just grab a spade and start digging...oh no...hubby had to measure, draw and cogitate for a few days before any of the garden equipment saw the light of day. 
See... this is what happens when someone retires...they have time to do all this preparation and every conceivable connotation.
But there's no need to rush into anything....just so long as we actually manage to grow something before the seasons disappear.
Below is a photo of his plan. 
He insisted that I include it in the post for you.
My answer was..."you should start a blog of you own and write your own posts about the whole journey"
At this stage he appeared to go deaf!
(cough)
Anyway...let's get started.
It's been hard work, but hubby has loved being out doors every day.
I'm afraid I have to confess...I'm a fair weather gardener.
I need sunshine to inspire me.
 Here's hubby measuring the drills for the early potatoes (or tatties as they call them up here) 
I have mentioned before that he has a touch of OCD haven't I?
Here they are... the early potatoes, but he's a little disappointed because there's no sign of them now and they were planted on 1st March. 
He blames me for nagging putting pressure on him, saying that they needed to be planted as time was getting on. 
But we are in the North East of Scotland and so the ground has hardly had time to warm up yet.
Patience is needed and fingers crossed!
So with the ground bed dug, it was time to move on to the raised beds.
We liked the idea of using reclaimed timber sleepers for the raised beds.
It was a good job that our son was available to help with the muscle work. 
I have tossed a caber in the past (now there's a whole new story and not one for today) but I thought I'd let the guys flex their muscles on this lot.
Once again measurements were meticulously executed with spirit levels, tape measures and string.
And things started to take shape.
Thank goodness that we didn't do the three layers of sleepers that we first thought would be ideal. That would have taken a huge amount of soil.
At last planting could begin.
Initially carrots, garlic and onions (both red and white)
The centre cones are very technical...they're empty toilet roll holders!
Hopefully, they will protect the precious little carrots from the elements until things start to warm up a little.
The rest of the seedling are cosy and enjoying the sunlight in our study! 
Isn't that where they're supposed to be?
(I'm making a case for a greenhouse...so seedlings are crammed onto every window sill, all over the house)
See I wasn't kidding...they're everywhere!
I'll be sure to give you a progress report when these little darlings head out into the big wide world of our veggie plot.
In the meantime... enjoy getting outdoors and having fun.
I'm linking up with Image-in-ing.blogspot.co.uk and Our World Tuesday
Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon.

Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY...it's still not too late.
Click here for details

Sunday, 9 April 2017

My Sunday Photo...The Simple Things

"The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them" 
Paulo Coelho

After watering the plants this morning...these water droplets caught my attention. 
We are busy building and organising our new veg plot, which will be in a blog post soon.
But we're doing all ours by hand...watching the farmer using the plough and hearing the birds excited calls can make a pleasant distraction whilst stretching and resting the back! 
During this last week I've decided to have a 'GIVEAWAY' 
If you'd like to see what's involved then click here to check it out...but be quick because there's only a limited time for this giveaway.
Good luck if you decide to enter.

As it's Sunday I'm going to link up with My Sunday Photo over at Photalife.com
Whatever you have planned for this weekend... I hope you have a great time.
Enjoy and thanks for visiting my place.

Friday, 7 April 2017

GIVEAWAY...PPF Muffin...Pup and Pooch

 Well here we are once again...Friday.
It's been yet another sad week, having to say goodbye to Zac, but he was a fun loving little chap, so we're going to have a little fun today. 
I've decided to have a 'giveaway' but first for those who wanted to see the completed watercolour painting of Muffin from last week.
Muffin...Pup and Pooch.
I'm still not sure if it's actually finished and I must admit I learnt so much during the painting of this one. I think you might be able to see...from the puppy to the pooch... there's quite a difference.
I'm carrying on with my ink drawing of the Tiger, but I didn't want to post unfinished work...yet again. I'll hopefully finish it and let you see the outcome next week.
On to the fun stuff... THE GIVEAWAY
You may or may not know that there's a giraffe named April, who is about to give birth in a Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York any day now, and she has a live webcam on her to capture every moment.
I painted a Mother and Baby whilst I have been watching the live footage and I've decided that if you would like to enter the giveaway for an A5 print, then please press following button in my sidebar, and leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
If you'd like to enter the prize draw through Facebook, then once again press like and leave a message there. I hope to have that post up soon.
I hope to have Muffin draw the lucky winner, as she did on my last giveaway.
Here's a clip if you'd like to see that. Click here
(Oh my... doesn't she look cute, so young and fluffy too)
All names entered into the draw will go into a 'hat' (or spread over the floor for Muffin to walk over... with her taped paw, and hopefully one name will stick to her paw)
The draw will close as soon as April has her baby, so hurry and enter...she's looking like she could produce at any minute. 

I shall be linking up with the Paint Party Friday today, to carry on having fun.
Have a great day and thanks for visiting.
Good Luck to all who are entering the draw.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Wordless Wednesday...Muffin and Zac

It's a very sad day today, because Zac...Muffin's best friend from Melbourne had to say goodbye.
He was our little trooper and a hero.
These two little fluff balls had so much fun together, with lots of adventures along the way.
Although Zac loved to meet new friends, he would get so excited to see her... even squealing with delight. 
His tolerance level for Muffin was on a completely different level, to that for everyone else.
She could get away with murder...even taking the food from his dish...which if you knew Zac you'd know that that was the ultimate sacrifice and showed just how much he cared for her.
He LOVED his food!
She could do no wrong in his eyes. 

He had celebrated his 17th Birthday, but we'd have loved to have him around for many more years, but that wasn't to be. We have so many wonderful memories and if you'd like to see more photo's and see some of their antics together, write Zac into the search box in the sidebar of this blog.

We shall all miss him so much, but we'll keep his memory alive in our hearts. 
💔💔 RIP Zac 💔💔

Sunday, 2 April 2017

My Sunday Photo... Early Morning Light

This morning hubby brought my cup of tea and announced that I should take some photo's of the early morning sun on the daffodils...because of his enthusiasm and insistence that I wouldn't want to miss it... curiosity got the better of me and I just had to take a peek... even before taking my first sip of tea. 
Serious stuff!
So whilst still in my dressing-gown, I grabbed my camera and headed out onto the driveway.
I have to admit it was a delightful sight and I have to say, I'm pleased that the hours of kneeling planting bulbs back in the autumn certainly paid off. 
I actually wandered down the lane and took some more photo's facing back towards the house and garden.
Thankfully it was early and with it being a Saturday morning, there wasn't any traffic.
Only a truck came by, but thankfully I'd finished taking my photo's when he appeared and I was almost back inside the house.
I can't imagine what the driver might have thought seeing a woman dressed in a white long hooded robe, armed with a camera wandering along the country lane! 
There are lots of blooms appearing as the garden begins to wake up.
Hubby's veg plot is progressing nicely... I'll post about it soon...hopefully when the early potatoes show themselves. At the moment, hubby is a little worried that he didn't 'chit' well enough and they might not appear, but we'll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.
This is a little tribute for someone who was special that we had to say goodbye to this week.
Here's a close up of the daffodils... like our own little rays of sunshine.
As usual I shall be linking up with My Sunday Photo
and Image-in-ing.blogspot.co.uk
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.
Thanks for visiting my place and I hope to see you again soon.

Friday, 31 March 2017

An Eclectic Mix... PPF

Hello everyone... TGIF as they say, although the weekends are very much like the weekdays now.
It's been quite a busy stressful time here, with trying to get Muffin back to health. 
I've just come back from the vets yet again. 
We've been every other day for two weeks now, but we think we're making some progress.
No more trying to hide tablets in food... she sussed that one out very early on.
We now manhandle her and squirt the meds down her throat by syringe. 
It's a two man job which is quite unbelievable as she's only a mini shihtzu. 
Anyway, her weight has stopped dropping, so the 'roast chicken' and carbs with added sensitivity food seems to be working. 
Yesterday, she was more like her old self than she has been for weeks. 
I suppose this could be taken as my excuse for not having artwork to show you this week... but I have had a little play with the Muffin painting.
It's still unfinished, but hopefully I'll be able to spend a little more time on it soon.
They look a little scary with their staring eyes at the moment...but I feel this painting will be one that will be played with for quite some time to come. 
There can be so many layers added when hair is involved.

I thought I'd give myself a little treat and draw something that I can relax with... to lose myself in and my son came up with the perfect idea.
A Tiger!
I'm hoping you will be able to see the few pencils lines that I've used to get the dimensions.
I'll be using black ink to add in the details.
I drew a wolf a few years back for my son and so will keep to that kind of design.

Finally, before I leave you today I thought I'd let you see my Mother and Baby Giraffe A5 prints.
(They are available in my Etsy show...see button in my sidebar)
I'm still watching the Giraffe Live webcam of April and Oliver over at the Animal Adventure Park 
I can't believe that she's not had her baby yet... she looks like she's about to burst! 
Some people have been watching the live webcams every day/night since February! 
Hehe...I'm thrilled because I now have my own little herd! 

One more thing before I go... I must apologise to everyone that has visited me and left me beautiful messages. I'm sorry that I haven't been visiting everyone...but as I mentioned it's been quite a few hectic weeks, so please forgive me and I'll try to get to you soon.
In the meantime... have a wonderful weekend and I'm off to see the Paint Party Friday gang...why not join me...just click here
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