Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Beach finds from Morar and Sanna Bay

As I mentioned in a previous post, I visited both Morar Beach and Sanna Bay on my holiday.  I had a lot of shells to sort through, giving them a little soapy bath and then dusting off any left over sand. 
The main collection I've photographed is just from Morar as I couldn't stop myself from picking up more and more. Once you start picking up shells, it's hard to stop.

Morar beach has so many pieces of broken shell that have been smoothed in the sea, creating lovely abstract twisted shapes. These were my favourite. There were also a lot of cowries that look like puppets mouths or so I thought. My granny loved finding cowries and was always the first one to find one on the beach.

Beach combing was definitely something that I've always been doing. Since I was very little I'd love to find pretty shells on the beach or stones that looked unusual. I'd pop them in my pockets and every now and then I'll find a collection of stones or the odd shell in a drawer or cupboard from a walk on the beach years ago.

I particularly love the shells that I found which have tiny holes in them. I've since found that these holes have been made by possibly any number of things in the sea from sponges to tiny worms. There's a lot of different creatures out there nibbling holes in shells in seems.

I also found a shell with a heart on it. I felt pretty lucky to have found this out of all the shells on the beach. 

Below are the shells I found on Sanna Bay.  The shells here were spread out so you had to hunt for them a bit more. I was also too busy taking lots of photos of Sanna since I hadn't been back there for a while. I thought these ones were particularly beautiful though.

As a little memento of my trip I took two of the smoothed shell pieces, one from Morar and one from Sanna and made a necklace with them.  The pieces hang together perfectly and I think it makes quite an unusual but special piece of jewellery. 

Just to finish, here is myself and my granny, back when beach combing was a new fun hobby I'd just started out on.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Oh Comely subscription box: Cartwheels in a box

 Oh Comely's second subscription box popped through the door the other day and I was pretty excited to see what this one contained. The theme this time is wheels!

'This box is mischievous and just a little subversive.  It invites you to come and play.'

As always the subscription box contains the new issue.  I've yet to start reading as I've been keeping it as a treat for finishing everything I've been trying to catch up on. This time the box contains items designed by illustrator Kaye Blegvad. Kaye's work is incredibly cool. Not only does she do some pretty lovely illustrations, she also makes ceramics and runs a jewellery line called Datter Industries. I have my eye on a few pieces!

If you'd like to see Kaye's work, pop over to her website here

As with the last box there is a contents list that numbers everything and gives a little description so I'll include these here. 

'One. Between the pages of the Wheels Issue, meet Kaye Blegvad, our partner in crime.  This box revolves around Kaye's sinister-yet-charming illustration like spokes around an axle.  You could think of it as Kaye's Toy Box, even.  Become engrossed in her art and her story on page 20.' 

'Two. Spin the wheel, choose a face.  What face do you show to the world?  And what face do you save for friends and family? Move the wheel and you can be whoever you want.  Kaye's Face Changer is a nod to your secret self.'

As you can see above Kaye's created an illustrated spinner. I particularly like this rather hairy face. I can see myself pinning this on my wall and every so often changing the face with my mood.  Just for the fun of it.

'Three. Pin your heart on your sleeve.  Or your mood on your lapel.  We chose three favourite faces to adorn a trio of enamel badges and became so fond of them that each acquired a nickname: Closed-Eye Lady, Open-Eyed Lady and Snake Lady.  Send your own nicknames to hello@ohcomely.co.uk'

I love these pin badges so so much. I've attached 'Closed-Eye Lady' to my coat as she looks pretty peaceful. For me she is called 'Bus Nap Lady'. Something I'm partial to doing myself. I'm still trying to think of some nicknames for the other two.

 'Four. Shuffle a deck. There are women dancing and spinning and, quite possibly, attempting a handstand across the surface of these playing cards.  Slip the pack into your pocket for a spontaneous round of Pontoon, Snap or Texas Hold 'Em.'

Well what a darn pretty pack of cards. I really love the white and blue illustration. I don't have a pack of cards either so this is rather handy. I now want to make a card tower with them.

'Five. Twirl a pen.  Finally, the pages of this notebook are blank, waiting for your thoughts and doodles.  Take your favourite pen for a spin, and decide where the journey will end.'

A handy little notebook illustrated by Kaye, which I'll pop in my bag to take some notes or do a little drawing myself. 

Thanks, Oh Comely for another great subscription box. I look forward to the next and to delving into this issue. If you fancy subscribing to Oh Comely, whether it's the magazine or the box then you can hop over here to do so.

Camping holiday to the Highlands - Mam Ratagan, Glenelg, Kylerhea, Kyle of Lochalsh and Cia-aig Falls

So this is the last post about my holiday.  As you can see I really did need to split up the holiday into different posts as there were so many places we went that I wanted to include.
This last post starts of at the view from the Mam Ratagan pass. To get to this view you have to go up a very steep road which is a bit nerve racking in the car. It's all worth it once you get to the top though.

 We then headed along for a drive through Glenelg. I love this old ruin which is Bernera Barracks. The barracks were built between 1717 and 1723 by the British Government to keep the local population under control after they had risen up in arms for the Jacobite Rising in 1715. Some of the stone from a nearby broch was used to build the barracks.

 Below you can see the hermit's cave. I love looking for caves on the sides of mountains and this one here you can drive right by.

 We went across the Kylerhea Ferry to Skye which was very busy on the day due to an accident on the Kyle of Lochalsh Road. As we waited in the queue we spotted a sea eagle that had caught a large fish. Sadly my camera zoom was again not long enough to capture it properly. We watched a few other boats go by until it was our turn to cross.

 My dad took these photos for me as I wasn't at the side of the ferry so he got some good shots of the views for me including the house that used to be Kylerhea Inn.

 On returning from Skye we got some great fish and chips in Kyle of Lochalsh after coming back across the Skye bridge.

 At the end of our holiday we had a drive along to Loch Lochy and the dark mile to the Cia-aig waterfall. The pool at the bottom of the waterfall is known as the witch pool.  According to legend, Cameron clansmen pursued a witch who had cursed their cattle, forcing her to fall to her death over the falls. Rob Roy was also filmed here at the bridge and pool.

 Along the dark mile you can see old drystone dykes covered in thick moss, and as we carried along further I finally spotted a deer and got a photo.

So that has been my camping holiday to the Highlands. I had a really wonderful time and I'm still missing the fresh air and the peace. I'm pretty sure I'll be back again soon though. 

Camping holiday to the Highlands - Morar, Loch nan Uamh, Inverness and Eilean Donan Castle

 We took a trip to another beach I love, this time Morar. I've spent many holidays here with my family and yet again, it was lovely to come back. Morar beach is covered in so many shells and coral. I gathered up a bag full to take home so I'll post up what I found soon.

 Like Sanna, Morar beach is another peaceful place to spend some time and I could have stayed here all day. We spent quite a while sitting gathering shells and even Keira started digging too.

 We spotted this bird which seems to be a young one, but were unsure what it was. It was flitting in and out of the long grass by the beach.

 After spending some time at Morar we also stopped off at Loch nan Uamh. This is one of my mum's favourite views. I have to agree with her that it is stunning. The Prince's Cairn sits here which marks where Bonnie Prince Charlie left after the unsuccessful Jacobite Rising.

 We also headed to Inverness.  I haven't been here since I was quite young and I really struggled to remember it well. Below is a photograph of Inverness Castle and I also took photos of some of the buildings which I thought looked rather nice.  Especially for possibly drawing at some point.

 I also revisited Eilean Donan Castle which I haven't been to for a few years. The castle was closed on this day and the flag at half mast as a member of staff's funeral was that day.  They had worked at the castle for 20 years and I thought that was a lovely mark of respect.

 We had a wander around the castle grounds and took in the views. The castle was founded in the 13th century and was a stronghold for Clan Mackenzie and their allies Clan Macrae.  Clan Mackenzie's involvement in the Jacobite rebellion led to the castle being destroyed by Government troops but was rebuilt in the 20th century by Lieutenant-Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap.

 I love this little balcony that you can see in the photo below. I've always loved the tiny windows on castles too. Another thing to keep in mind for drawing.

Camping holiday to the Highlands - Glenfinnan

 On one of our holiday days we decided to have a drive to Glenfinnan. Instead of doing the normal tourist thing of walking to the monument we decided to go another walk which proved to give beautiful views. Glenfinnan was the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard, starting the Jacobite Rising in 1745. The Glenfinnan monument was erected to remember this event.

 The path has little dragonflies hovering back and forth and is lined with foxgloves and scots pine trees. We stood calling out to what we thought were deer but it turned out to just be some bushes. No one else was wandering along this path so we got it all to ourselves.

 Along the top road there was quite a lot of felled trees.  The air was full of the smell of wood and I  had to take a few photos as the colours of the trees were so rich. We also got really lovely views across the glen from up there.

 Heading back down I saved this very brightly coloured beetle. You have to keep your eyes peeled all the time on walks like these because there wildlife popping out to say hello all the time.

It was really nice to return here and not do the tourist thing.  I even had to take a picture of the monument from half way up as there were so many tourists swarming around the bottom. I find it's always nice to stay away from all that.