It’s a Harry Potter Day!

We woke up to a rain and winds and this was the day we were to take the ferry to Mallaig to get the Harry Potter train. Unfortunately it was too windy and the smaller ferry that we were to take was cancelled. Our amazing bus chauffeur, Simon said he would drive us there to get the train. Awesome! I admit that I would be rather disappointed if we didn’t make the train.

We made it with time to spare and even with enough to grab some hot soup!

I must thank Google photos for their fabulous shot. It was too rainy for me to get any pictures that would be anything close to this.

We were riding the Jacobite Steam Train from Mallaig to Fort William. I was immersed in the history of Harry Potter while in Scotland and I must admit that I never read a book or saw one of the movies! I did buy a t-shirt that says 9 3/4 and I get so many comments on it. Maybe I should ask Santa for a Harry Potter book?!

Beautiful scenery! I was sitting on the wrong side of the train to really get the best views.

My sistah Meredith Willett, my seat mate was taking pictures! It was a very fun ride and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

It was over all too quickly and soon Simon would whisk us away in our coach as we head for our last stay at the Perle Oban, home of Oban Scotch Whiskey.

When in Oban, I of course ordered an Oban Scotch, neat!

There was no stitching today! Tomorrow would be another exciting day as we tour the Dunollie Castle and view the original slips of embroidery that inspired our pieces.

There are only 3 nights left in this beautiful country of Scotland. I can’t believe how fast it’s gone by! I am going to try and finish up by Thanksgiving, or maybe not?! The kids are napping right now, so they gave me a chance to write. No guarantees what the next nights will bring.

Miss Meow loves jumping up on my shoulder and sitting there or even across the back of my shoulders as she is here. It is challenging to get a picture of them together unless they’re curled up!

Where Skye meets the Sky!

Last I left you we were in the gardens of the Dunvegan Castle as we continue our trip with The Crewel Work Company Tour. Please do follow their blog which is the first one on my blog roll. They have been doing some exciting things lately, like another all England trip and recreating beautiful embroideries.

Just gorgeous it is! With the waterfalls (and there were several of them!) I guess with all the rain in Scotland, that it’s just a natural…with no pun intended. Hydrangeas is every color imaginable. So peaceful and relaxing to be in the gardens.

Notice the bumble bee in the lower left side of the picture! This photograph was shot by my sistah, Meredith Willett and she was nice enough to share with me.

It was time to move on and as always I could have stayed there longer. We were headed to Waternish and the magic begins with the Fairy Bridge. It is actually a peninsula that was originally planned as a fishing village.

There are artist studios and of course SkyesSkins, the only tannery in Scotland… and that’s where we were headed next!

A most fascinating tour through their operation! Meredith is checking out what skins she wanted to add to her collection. There was a gorgeous grey skin with curl that I fell in love with, but it went home with another lucky lady on our tour. The skin color was a perfect match to her dog Daisy! so she needed to have it.

Another fabulous day on the Isle of Skye. Tomorrow will be a travel day as we head to Mallaig via ferry for the Harry Potter Train Ride. So excited!

These are my morning supervisors! Notice the cartoons of Mooch on my wall?! Thank you to the talents of Nancy, the owner of New Creation Picture Framing in Pasadena, who never ceases to amaze me with her creativity!

Dunvegan Castle & Isle of Skye!

We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning on the Isle of Skye. It was glorious! There was no scheduled stitching today, well unless we wanted to work on our tartan plaid on the bus.

The views were just breathtaking!

Gorgeous hydrangeas and we would see even more in many colors when we would get to Dunvegan Castle.

We had a local guide that we would spend the day with as we were soon on our way!

Dunvegan Castle is located on the Isle of Skye, seat of MacLeod of MacLeod, chief of this clan. This castle was built in the 13th century.

They opened up the doors early for us, so we had the entire castle to ourselves with a private tour guide!

The views within the castle were just as fabulous as they were outside! Notice the sampler thrown over the chair.

The Fairy Flag of Dunvegan Is an heirloom of the Chiefs of the Clan MacLeod, along with others. The flag is the most precious treasure of the MacLeods and known for numerous traditions of fairies and magical properties associated with it. It is rather tattered, made of faded brown silk and carefully darned in places. You should Google it and read more about it.

Soon we would find ourselves outside to tour the gardens, which were amazing! There are just too many pictures for one post, so I will continue this next time. I promise I won’t take that many days off in between…but I did have Tony Minieri teaching in the shop for 6 days and the the week before it was reading the thread kits and putting together a little giftie for the students. And the week before that was Susan Portra.

My kids are growing up! They’re 15 weeks old and still quite the handful.

And you wonder why I can’t get anything done? Well Miss Meow wants my peepers!

A Stitching Day and a Little Skye

Okay this has nothing to do with stitching or Skye, just wanted to show you my supurr~visor Miss Meow. She loves being on me, wether it be my neck, shoulders or chest. If she’s on my chest, then Mooch climbs up there too! I’m holding him now while the motor races and let’s see how long I can do this one handed.

We’re on the Isle of Skye, which is the largest most northern major island of the Inner Hebrides. It is the top location in Scotland famous for scenery and landscaping.

As you can see by the clouds that it is quite a rainy day. That’s okay as we’re going to spend the morning stitching!

We all shared the same room irregardless of what we were working on. Phillipa’s Dunollie feathers or Meredith’s Dunollie Rose.

Meredith was actually stitching on her piece that she would teach on the All England Trip with the Crewelwork Company tour. Check out her tartan chicken frame weight!

Here’s my tartan chicken that is keeping my bear company! I will tell you about his tartan in a few days.

After we had ample stitching time in, we were ready to head to Portree, which is the capital of Skye. It is a bustling port, boasting a natural harbor and it’s is also a thriving cultural center. Very quaint and charming.

We would shop, have lunch and shop some more. I took no pictures in Portree as it was raining way too much! It was a great day and soon would head back to the hotel. We had some time to ourselves to rest, explore around the hotel or stitch!

Tomorrow would be a busy day as we head to Dunvegan Castle on the Waternish Peninsula and Skye Skins. Time is going too by too fast and quickly I am falling in love with Scotland.

I’ll leave you with another picture of Miss Meow…can you find her?

Travel Time

We would leave the fabulous Muckrack Lodge hotel and travel north today. New adventures and new things to see! A quick stop along the way for a cuppa and to preorder our lunch for later. Check out this clock that was in our luncheon spot.

First stop was Lochcarron Weavers in of course Lochcarron! It was raining lots on our way there, but I still enjoyed the scenery through the rain drops.

The tartans, the plaids, the clothes, capes, coats et al were just beautiful. I tried on a few, but I realize living in San Diego that I wouldn’t have that much opportunity to wear it, so I just settled for a scarf. My sistah Meredith and I both bought a tartan chicken! She would later make a frame weight out of hers by stuffing it with English coins. She is so clever! I will need to take a picture of it later.

This was the old loom and pictures of the older loom that was displayed in the back room.

Not only did we shop for tartan, but also lamb skins. Meredith is always up for posing for a picture! They opened up just for us today and so nice to have a private shopping excursion. I believe that we more than made it worth their while! They were so nice to us in there and actually shipped our purchases at no charge. Wow, now that was customer service!

All that rain makes for everything to be so nice and green. The sky would clear and the sun would shine, but not for very long!

As you can see from the clouds, it was raining again! Our next stop was Eileen Donan Castle. The rain and the color of the sky really added to the aura of the castle.

Just beautiful! We didn’t tour inside, just photographed the outside and enjoyed a little more retail therapy. Next stop was Skye and we would check into the Cullin Hills Hotel for the next 3 nights.

This was the view from Collins Hills, located in the hills high over Portree.

Just beautiful!

And this was the view from inside the hotel, the Scotch selections and I would try a few different ones while we were here. The food was great here, but not as spectacular as our last spot, nor was it “photo worthy” so I will leave you with the Scotches. Tomorrow would be a stitching and shopping day…what could be better than that?

This is Miss Meow checking out the orchids. I’m learning that I can’t do the blog when they’re in play mode. I tried last night and earlier this morning and it just wasn’t happening! I haven’t yet tried to stitch!

A Scottish Day!

So incase you haven’t been following my Scottish posts since the start, it’s been a wonderful trip around Scotland with the Crewelwork Company Tour. We will way travel up thru the Highlands before all is said and done. Like I said from the beginning, it has been the perfect mix of stitching, sightseeing, wining, dining, laughing and so much more.

Today would be our last day at the Muckrack Lodge Hotel. It’s been a fabulous stay with great accommodations, food and Scotch of course! But first we would be stitching today.

This is my accomplishment with the silk shading of the leaf, the poppy and working the ladder stitch. I wasn’t thrilled with how the stems met, but this gold doesn’t work well with reverse stitching, so I may have to live with it. Meredith complimented my leaf, which thrilled me!

I love this picture of Phillipa, so of course I had to share it with you!

This is the hotel dog, and can’t remember his name. Quite a sweetheart and he knew that if he searched us out, that there was lots of attention for him from us!

Our Scottish evening would start with this wonderful piper. He was handsome and full of wit and charm. Check out all the silver work that he sports. He played the pipes and the young Highland dancers entertained us with their routines. We were told that the dances keep them in shape with the amount of jumps that are part of it all.

It was time to be piped into dinner and the piper leads the way!

This is my absolute favorite picture of the evening! My sistah Meredith with the piper! Time for another amazing dinner, a Scotch and some wine.

Tomorrow we would hit the road for some new adventures. We are half way through our tour, but there are many more amazing memories to be made yet.

My kids continue to make life full of fun and very interesting! It has been very challenging doing the blog tonight with them stepping on the keyboard, swatting at it and biting it. Love these kids!

Stitching and More!

We stitched away on our Dunollie Rose and Pansy under Meredith’s superb tutelage!

Always demonstrating and answering all of our queries.

This was Phillipa’s class in the lovely sitting room. They could stitch here as they were doing the crewel work piece which didn’t need the light and magnification that we did.

Stitching is hard work and we had worked up quite an appetite for lunch which was served buffet style. I did not get any pictures of the table, but trust me it tasted as good as it looked!

After lunch it was time for a little adventure outside the hotel. We loaded onto the bus with Simon, our fabulous bus driver and off we went. We passed by the Carrbridge, located in the Scottish Highlands. I was rather thrilled that I got this great picture from the moving bus! It is the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands located near an ancient pine forest. Maybe that’s where an episode or two of Outlander was filmed?

We traveled onto the Highland Center Scottish Center where we viewed some fine textiles and assorted embroideries from private collections that we couldn’t take pictures of. A beautiful afternoon which we finished up with a little retail therapy!

Back to the hotel to partake in a wee bit of Scotch and to see what the chef had planned for us for dinner.

The meal was fabulous and the chef is really spoiling us!

This was from a few nights ago, but Mooch seems fascinated with the movement of the baseball game, so he needs to get up close and in person!

I do miss AlleyCat, but these 2 characters are really helping to heal my heart. I feel that I hit the jackpot with these two.

A Stitching Day in Scotland!

I was up very early the next morning and went outside exploring. Everything is so green as it is always raining! Well not really, it just seemed that way.

These gorgeous animals all added to the scenery, especially the highland cattle. We would see them everywhere, both the real ones and little stuffed ones, which will show up later!

Soon it would be time to go in and start stitching! This was our beautiful room and we were warmly greeted by Meredith.

Meredith created the Dunollie Tudor Rose and Pansy based on remnants from the original pieces that reside in the Dunollie castle. We would stitch with this English flat silk and a fabulous gold metallic which surprisingly really did behave for me.

With this good thread we learned the “ladder stitch” as the back of our fabric had very little gold showing, basically a row of lines looking like the rungs of a ladder. Thread was too precious of a commodity to waste any!

The baseball game is getting too good and the natives are getting restless, so I will say bye for now…

I came home from work the other day to find the Mooch and Miss Meow sleeping on top of the cable box. We were going to the vets and funny thing is they really did weigh 4# 8oz!

Back to Scotland!

Last I left you we are traveling through Scotland with Lady Anne’s Needlework Retreats hosted by Phillipa Turnbull and The Crewelwork Company. We had just left Blair Castle where we were lucky enough to view part of the private collection of Lady Evelyn Stewart Murray’s lace.

We are now at our next stop The Muckrack Country House Hotel located in Granton-on-Spey, where the food, the ambiance, the Scotch and the stitching would be fabulous! We were in time for cocktail hour and the young barkeep was quite charming as he walked me through a few different ones. I wanted to try those that weren’t imported to the States. This Knockando wound up being my favorite!

This was my room which were by names rather than numbers. This is a dear friends last name, albeit with a different spelling, so I had to take a picture of it!

Dinner is served! I’m not sure what was better, the presentation or the taste!

We would be here for 3 nights and the next day would be a stitching day in which we would start our embroidery piece with Meredith.

On another note, life with 2 little kittens is rather different! Everything is a toy to them and I don’t know who’s having more fun…them or me? Speaking of toys, I am sure that all of my stitching stuff will be a toy, so I don’t see myself doing much of that for awhile! So I should have more time to blog… well maybe not so much this week as we have our Fall Getaway at the shop this weekend. I need to ready the daily trinkets that I love leaving for them every morning at their seats and wrap a few door prizes.

So I will leave you with a picture of the kids. Miss Meow it is and it so fits her as she’s a talker! Missy for short.

FraidyCat, ScaredyCat is not so much anymore and too many people said ooh he won’t be like that forever! So the other day while I was looking at my email, My daily “Mutts” cartoon was sitting there and it hit me, Mooch! which is then main cat character in the strip.

On Another Note!

So…you’re thinking it was going to be Scotland? More is coming, not to worry!

Well it was very, very tough coming home to no one to greet you. No purrs, meows, wet noses and antics in the morning to wake you. No reason to hurry from work and when I was home all I wanted to do was sleep. It has been well over 30 years that I had a cat or 2 or 3 that allowed me to share their home.

I will always grieve the loss of AlleyCat, always! But I needed to heal my heart and soul and what better way than to rescue a few?

Meet the tortie, and she is a real love bug! The black one is a male and a real scaredy cat. We are still deciding on their names… Fraidy-Cat or Scaredy-cat for him and either Miss Meow or Chatty Cathy/Catty for the tortie!

And now I’m off to work, even though I would rather stay home and watch kitty antics!