Heard of it?

No?

Well I am not surprised – it is after all Scotland’s BEST KEPT SECRET!

A wee island, 3 and a half hours ferry ride from Oban, off the west coast of Scotland in the Inner hebrides looks like this from above:

Can you see all those long white beaches. Deserted. Idyllic.

What you can’t see are the hundreds of tiny wee private beaches and coves.

What I haven’t mentioned is that Tiree has the most sunlight in the UK! Get in!! And great surf if you are that way inclined. Also very popular for the windsurfing/kiting fraternity.

We just spent a lovely weekend there with friends who are sadly leaving for the mainland. But we will be back – oh yes, and you should go too!

I was on a teambuilding day this week with work. Usually I hate these things. I hate paintballing or anything ‘shooty’. And there is always a forced feel about the whole thing. Well, not this time!

Thre are about 15 of us scattered over Scotland, 4 in Skye, so we all converged there and went out fishing and spotting cool animals. We were on a boat called the Spindrift, and I really couldn’t recommned it more – Pam our sea-faring guide was able to spot and show us loads of wildlife (gilemots, cormorants, puffins, SEA-EAGLES, seals, porpoise) and we caught a few fish too. OK, so the other boat with the other half of the company caught 17, and we caught 5, but we were worried about overfishing….

I’d have to recommend Cafe Arriba if you happen to be in Portree. Its has a lovely atmosphere, great food and they put together a great picnic for the 15 of us!

I also did some great shopping at the Uig Pottery which you can buy in Uig or in Portree (Crocks and Rocks).

I also stopped at the fantastic Pottery Bunkhouse in Lagan on the way up, which does AMAZING home baking (think there were about 8 freshly made cakes including Orange cake filled with fresh cream and strawberries, Queen cake, Stem ginger cake, lemon drizzle, carrot cake which I had and was AMAZING…) and has a great wee shop too.

And had a delicious bowl of cullen skink and fresh baked bread on the way back again at the Invergarry Hotel. I really recommend the food there, and the kids menu is great (I have a real problem with most kids menus)

Pics to come…

… has taken some splendid pics of the bits and bobs I put together for her for the Thatlittlebit greener swap which you can go see here.

I think the lovely French sunshine makes a big difference to the random mish mash of things I sent to her!

Thanks again Floss, and big thanks also to Emma and Rachael for organising the swap!

Nope – TWO!

Ha!

Modelled here by the delightful Frankie, I appliqued on a wee blue letter F on the fron that you can’t quite see. Her dad, Guy, had a lot of fun filling up her front pocket with bananas and spoons!

Working up another for my cousin’s wee girl, Sophie, known affectionately to us as Soapy.

Outrageous…..

Anyway, let’s gloss over that (again…)

So, I have actually been doing stuff. Like the “Thatlittlebitgreener” Green Swap.

Following are pics of what I was lucky enough to receive from Floss, my swap partner.

A lovely handmade postcard using old french maps and a fabric flower.

A set of my own fabric flowers.

A doorstop ( very handy when having windows open to stop slamming doors.)

My very French very lovely apron.

Some Fair Trade Vanilla pods, and a set of napkin rings.

4 lovely, French, fabric napkins, one seen here being used this morning for breakfast (honey and butter on toasted rolls)

Shamefully, I forgot to take photos of what I sent her but it went something like this: Green and blacks Chocolate – Peppermint ; Pincushion made of old shirts ; A string bag ; some locally produced hot banana chutney : a jar of buttons ; a jar of nutmegs ; and a handmade (very handmade) case containing handmade books, some pencils and recycled gift tags.

Aren’t we clever!!!

I havent been blogging because I have become an obsessive bore….

I recently got a job teaching a night class in Edinburgh College of Art – An Introduction to Graphic Design. The job started as soon as I got it so the planning has been week to week (its Monday nights 7-9, over 8 weeks). So its is 16 hours to try and teach the basics of graphic design, plus a basic grounding in 3 computer programs! Madness. So I have been reading lots of my design books the previously just sat about looking pretty in my home office (I work from home dontchaknow).

But I am determined. And resolute.

This week I shall only spend one night sweating and pouring over design books preparing the class.

So there.

I have other pies to poke.

Like going to see The History Boys with my lovely Glasgow pal badsparklythings


(isnt he quite the hot young thing in this pic?)

I frickin’ love Alan Bennett. In fact, I was watching a dvd with Maisie, Meg and Mog, and I thought – hmmm, that sounds like Alan Bennett, but hey, thats just me being all obsessed. But no. IT BLOOMIN’ WAS ALAN BENNETT. He does the voice of Owl. And is great at it twit twoooo! I remember these as books when I was in P1, vividly, and now to see the all animated and with Alan Bennett involved is great! If you don’t believe me ( and I do detect a glimmer of doubt in your eye) the go to wikipedia….. pah!

So anyway, my other craft promise to myself is to start making a whole set of drawstring bags for keeping toys/crafty things in. I just need to work out a way of getting Maisie involved without her actually being involved. I bought some fabric paint so I might get her to do some hand prints onto plain fabric or something to use.

And I have entered a new swop here.

And here is my partner – oh la la!

So I was the recipient of a host of marvellous wonders, but what did I send to Lisa-Marie that she opened this morning  – AFTER doing the washing up. She’s good. You can read her blog about her reaction here.

Meanwhile here are some pics of what I sent over:

A packet of shortbread and some fruity Teapigs tea temples, plus a pincushion in a teacup, and saucer of course! Sourced from our local CHAS shop, I have 5 more sets if anyone is interested!!

It is perhaps a tad over stuffed, but I think it looks pretty good, especially with the wee heart pins which I got from BitsandBats. The fabric has teapots and coffee pots on it too.

A nice fat quarter of a Michael Millar fabric I thought that she would like, with a matching selection of ribbons.

Two of my little glass phials  – one with seed glass beads and one with little heart white buttons, tied with a wooden angel ornament.

I hope she likes – actually I have already read her blog so I know that she does. That was just shameful false modesty there…

My parcel has been ripped apart, and oooohed and aaaahed over. Would you just look????

Not only a finely crafted strawberry pincushion, and a set of pins, but a whole host of other goodies. Chocolate, books, a wee box of quite stunning buttons, and a hand made necklace that is just right.

Thank Lisa-Marie. Next stop Loch Leven’s Larder!

BTW for more pincushions have a look at the flicker group for Claire’s Pincushion Swap.

What to do? No nursery, no childminder, no work.

Throw yourself in wholeheartedly!

We baked, we melted chocolate, we made cards and e cut out paper into egg shapes, coloured them in, sewed them onto a ribbon and hung them up across the mantle peice.

Done.