Monday, 29 April 2013

Make it Monday - Arty Boys


James (13) and Calum (10) both love to draw so I thought I'd share a couple of drawings they did this past week as my Make it Monday tonight.
Firstly, Calum. He is working on this drawing for Alasdair (3). He wants to colour it in using watercolour pencils so he is waiting for me to show him how to use them as he hasn't tried them before.
I really like the way he has drawn this. It looks like the pencil drawings you get in the original Winnie the Pooh books.




James is working on this drawing of Link from the Legend of Zelda video games. He has started colouring it in now but since the colouring isn't complete I thought I would share the black and white version.


Now when he is working on a drawing he spends a lot of time detailing the eyes and the facial expression, which I think shows in this one.


And one more project of James'. He loves to get homework that involves anything arty. Recently he spent hours working on a poster about the Vikings for history and another one about Japanese food for Home Ecconomics.
This week his group in drama are to make an advert for a pretend soft drink. He volunteered to make the props for his group. This meant we had to buy some cans of fizzy juice, which we almost never do, so that he could repaint them. The other boys were only too happy to help him drink the contents so he could get to work! The background is from the original can, as is the price at the top, but the lettering and logo is his own work.
Don't they look great? I think I'd be tempted to try out a can of Pango Mango!


Friday, 26 April 2013

Things I'm loving....

A short one this week, but exciting nonetheless!


I came across this image online this week and thought it would be perfect for hanging on the kitchen wall.


You can't beat a nice cup of tea with some homemade cake. Or scones. Or a wee chocolate biscuit. Maybe with some toast first thing in the morning. Well you get the idea.


The trouble is I've kind of gone off tea!


I just haven't had the desire for it and have completely lost the taste for it.


In fact, right now the thought of a cup of strong black tea (never with milk!) actually turns my stomach.


I'm not too concerned though.


It's simply because.....


......we're having another one of these......



Expected date of arrival?

Sometime in the middle of October :0)


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Mid-week entertainment

I was hoping to share James' prize winning animation tonight but its taking forever to upload, so instead it's over to Calum again for a little entertainment.


This is his solo from the local Mòd last weekend.


His tunes are - Ye banks & braes, Auld Lang Syne and Mairi's Wedding.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Make it Monday - Crochet Shawl


I've been working on this shawl intermittently for the last couple of months. Just 10 minutes grabbed here and there, a little longer if possible! For once, it is a crochet project that I am making for myself!




Typically, I forgot to get a photo of it when the lighting was good!



It's still not finished. I want it to be nice and big and snuggly, so I think I am about 2/3rds of the way there.


I love the shell pattern in it.




I also love the wool, both it's soft snuggly-ness and its subtle shimmer. This photo is probably the best depiction of the actual colour.


The pattern for the shawl is available, for free, here.


I have a whole board full of inspiration for future crochet projects once this one is done on my Pinterest page. You can see what they are by clicking on the Pinterest button at the top right of the sidebar. Any suggestions from these as to what I should try next?



Monday, 15 April 2013

Music, medals and shinty.

On Saturday it was once again time for our annual local Mòd.


The Mòd, for those who may have missed the posts from previous years, is a sort of Gaelic Music & Literary competition. The National Mòd takes place in October each year, in a different town each time. It is obviously a much bigger affair than the little local Mòds, and there are competitons for adults as well as children. Our local Mòd only has children's competitons and has, in my opinion anyway, a much nicer and far less pressurised atmosphere than the National Mòd.


Calum (10) was the busiest of our boys on the day. He entered 4 competitons and took a placing in each of them.




He came 2nd in Reading an unseen passage from the Bible (Bible Gaelic is harder to read than your average Gaelic book!); 2nd in conversation (his chosen subject - why I want to be a crofter when I grow up); 2nd in solo accordion; and 1st with the folk group he is in with a few friends from his class.


James (13) didn't enter any solos but he did keep up his reputation of doing well in the short film competition, winning first for his animation.


David (7) didn't fancy taking part in any solos either but had an absolute ball of a day, literally. We were at the competition from about 9am - 4pm. I had a craft stall which kept me tied up when I wasn't watching Calum but David didn't mind. A few of his friends were there all day too. They too were not taking part but had siblings doing various competitons and so the friends played football outside for the whole time. There was about half an hour when David wasn't playing football and that was when he was taking part in the shinty tournament. And about 10 minutes when he came in and wolfed down some lunch. Other than that, football. All day long. An ideal sort of day for our David!


Our team were beaten in the shinty tournament but everyone enjoyed a good game.

I think David had already run off to play football again when I took this photo of the other boys! Thankfully Calum had already taken part in all his solos by this point and had another couple of hours to tidy himself up before his folk group competition.


I'll finish off tonight with a lovely little clip of Calum's folk group. The children in it are all only 10 years old and I'm sure you will be impressed at how well they play together as a group.





Friday, 12 April 2013

Little Crofters

Our Calum (10) doesn't have any grand ambitions for when he grows up.

He simply wants to be a crofter with some sheep, preferably living on Lewis, and helping out with the Hebrides Search and Rescue Team. He isn't too sure what he would like his day job to be, but he quite fancies the idea of being a Vet since he loves animals so much.

I can actually picture him fulfilling this dream too, driving about the island in his Land Rover Defender with his trusty collie dog by his side!

So he was really looking forward to our holiday last week when he heard that we would be looking after the animals of the friends whose house we were staying in. His job for 10 days was to look after their sheep and pigs. And the sheep were due to lamb too!

David (7) also proved himself to be a very worthy farmer. He, like me, loved the pigs. When I was born my father worked on a pig farm, not that I remember those days, but I like to think that this is why I have such a fondness for pigs!

Joy of joys for Calum, one of the sheep lambed early!

Sadly, because the lambs came early, and they were triplets too, one was already dead when it was born and another was quite weak. We nursed it through 24 hours (I say 'we' but I really mean my husband, Calum & David!) but it didn't make it past 24 hours.

Still, the 3rd lamb thrived and even experiencing the loss of the lambs hasn't put Calum off his dream of a crofting life!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Make it Monday

One morning last week, while we were away on holiday, we attended a Countryside Ranger led workshop on making Willow animals.
Each time we are up in this area on holiday we usually attend one of these Countryside Ranger events and they are always very good. This one was led by the same ranger who taught us bushcraft shelter and fire starting skills two years ago.
The willow animal making was a simple but really effective idea.
The children were shown how to bend the softened willow to make a frame for their animal and advised on how to strengthen the structure. Then they were given free reign over what animal to make and how to go about making it.
James took his inspiration from the visitor centre/museum the event took place in. There is a river nearby that is famous for salmon jumping and so he decided to make a salmon.
Calum was going to make a fish but then thought his shape looked quite round and so decided to make it an octopus instead!
David wanted to make an angler fish. I have no idea why!
You can see their willow skeletons below before they added the skin.


The skin was simply strips of tissue paper painted with a mix of pva glue and water. The strips were then placed over the skeleton and layered up.


Ta da! Here is the finished angler fish!



The finished octopus....


And the almost finished salmon....


A few of the children were leaving their creations for the Ranger to hang up and decorate the visitor centre. James and Calum decided that they would leave theirs too, since the chances of us getting all three animals back to our own house unscathed were fairly slim!


We went back to the centre the following day to admire their creations in their new hanging place.

I think they all did a really good job with their creations.


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Holiday tales - ancestors & traditions.

We are still away enjoying our holidays in the far north, staying in the house of friends of ours and keeping an eye on their sheep and pigs while they are away. Calum (10), who wants to be a crofter, is taking his responsibilities very seriously and has been up bright and early each morning, ready to feed the animals. I love the pigs, I think they are so funny, although I haven't yet made it up in time to see how frenzied they are at feeding time!


We are in the part of the country where my husband's, father and ancestors are from. Each year we try and make the trip, especially to see my husband's old bachelor uncle. Despite him still being very fit and able to get around, he never travels south of Inverness, although this isn't a new thing, he never has! He is a very kind, gentle man, always putting others first, visiting the sick and elderly. He is content to live in the house that he and his brothers were born in. The house has hardly been modernised at all since then and he wouldn't want it to be either.

Wouldn't it be great to live as content as he does? Happy to sit at home by his stove surrounded by good books, of which he has very many, and not to want anything more!


When we visit him my husband likes to find out as much as he can about his family history. His uncle is a great source of knowledge about his own family and many of those in the district.


This time he took us to Dornoch Cathedral and showed the boys where their great-great-grandparents were buried - the two stones at the front of the photo below.


Each time we visit, the boys' great uncle always likes to take them fishing to the local lochans.




This is about the fourth year we have done this trip to the lochans, and the first time we haven't caught anything! I think the excuse was that it was far too bright and the fish were too far down in the water. Never mind. It meant that I didn't have to gut any fish!

And the boys enjoyed the trip despite their lack of success.





Don't let those beautiful blue skies fool you though. The temperature was only a couple of degrees above freezing. It soon got far too cold for little Alasdair to stay outside so I took him back to sit in the car.
I was only to happy for an excuse to crack on with my crochet while he played with some toys in the car!