Until we Meet again…

I’m suffering from a touch of feline paralysis tonight and let’s see how far I can get…well that was last night and this is this morning and I didn’t get very far last night. So I’m trying again.

Someone stopped in the shop the other day “yes I follow your blog and your trip to Scotland” which made me feel very guilty that I haven’t finished! Well blame it on the new cats in my life, Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating and so much more!

So our very last stop was Stirling Castle located in where else? Stirling, Scotland. It is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally. It sits atop Castle Hill and is surrounded on 3 sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. It was guarding, well until the 1890’s the farthest downstream location crossing of the River Forth. If you want to read more about it, Google!

Notice the butterfly?

And the bee?

I never got inside as we only had a few hours and I was enjoying the grounds and especially the gardens!

The end! I loved Scotland, I loved the trip, the food, the Scotch, the sightseeing, the shopping, the stitching, Phillipa, Laura, Meredith, Richard who made the trip so extra special for us and of course my fellow tour attendees. We had a great group!

Until the next time…

Where Does the Time Go?

Has it already been 2 weeks ago since I said I wanted to finish the Scotland tour before Thanksgiving? Wow where does the time go? Sooner or later I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Then I caught a cold right after Thanksgiving, not a bad one, but bad enough. I have a severe NSAID allergy, which means I can’t take anything but Tylenol, making it a longer get better time. So I would come home from work and go to sleep with the kitties. Then Laura Taylor was in the shop this weekend teaching, so no days off for me. I still need to write my Christmas cards, wrap and ship which could be very interesting with 8 little paws that want to help.

We were in for quite a treat today! This will be our last day in Scotland, but because of the amount of pictures it will take 2 posts. I will admit that a few days back in the trip, I was really ready to go home, but by now I didn’t want to leave!

We said goodbye to Oban as we headed south to Edinburgh. Our first stop would be Dalmally Railway station, which is a wonderful place to visit and is the last remaining station house on the old Callender/Oban line. It was built in 1877 for the Duke of Argyll.

It is a hidden gem from both a historical view of Scotland with such traditional arts such as weaving, spinning and dyeing.

There was so much to look at and so much to take in. Later in the morning, we sat outside having our tea and waving to the trains as they left. Such great hand made items that it was really hard to make up your mind as to what you wanted!

Thanks to Caryn who was a great sport and posed with her hat! She actually did purchase it. I think she wears it well, don’t you?

My favorite were the bears and many of these left with our group!

it was hard not to buy a bear, but I know that they all found good homes! After we finished shopping we were treated to a cheese tasting, which was fabulous!

And then the scenery was just as fabulous!

Richard and Caryn posing their hats! All too soon it was time to get back on the bus and head for our last stop.

My kids are growing up too quickly! They’re almost 5 months old now!

A Time for Thanks!

This was AlleyCat in all her glory a few years back. I have always loved this shot of her, and actually there was a series of pictures in her antics. Never was sure what she was after?!

I really had hoped to finish up the trip to Scotland before Thanksgiving, but not enough time for that! Busy decking the halls and getting ready to spend the holidays with some wonderful friends.

My kids are growing by leaps and bounds! I can really see it when they try to squeeze themselves in spots they did when I first brought them home. For all that ask me, yes they are litter-mates, they are BFF’s and trust me they do almost everything together! Play, sleep, eat, drink water, get into mischief, get on me and share theIr love (they are very lovable!) purr, knead and even use the litter box at the same time. Yes, seriously!

I am thankful everyday that we found each other. They make me laugh everyday! Entertaining and ooh so love-able. I give thanks for my family, friends, my stitching, my travels and so much more. And you, what are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

We’re off! We would take a ferry to Mull with a delightful tea break at Ffionport, with another ferry ride to Iona.

My sistah Meredith is always ready for a photo! Gotta love it. Also in the picture is Richard, a Scotsman and Phillipa’s husband, Caryn and Simon our bus driver.

I was sure glad that I bought that sweatshirt is all I can say!

I’m sure that the color of the sky gives you an idea of the weather!

This was our view at lunch time! And speaking of lunch, I enjoyed a little local brew. Well why not? I was on vacation! It was very good BTW.

a fabulous picture of 2 very special people Meredith and Phillipa. Thank you for making this trip so wonderful!

I was able to get in a fair amount of retail therapy, mugs, a tea cup, shortbread, Scottish salt and a little wool. That was until Meredith and I ran into the local felines!

And all too soon it was time to leave!

It was quite an enjoyable ride back as we ran across these roadside surprises such as these “coos” that were enjoying their tea. Thanks to Caryn who shared this pictured with me. You know you just had to be on the right side of the bus.

We would have our last night together at a restaurant down the street from the hotel. A very delightful evening! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw how great these pictures came out of Oban at dusk.

a few days ago I will admit that I was anxious to get home, but now I really don’t want to leave this beautiful country!

Later that Day…

There is a Harry Potter movie marathon on and being that I really did let that phenomenon pass me right by, I thought I would tune in. It really got me thinking about our trip to Scotland and the Highlands and even though I am not sitting and watching it, it’s on.

We pulled into Oban late afternoon and it was very cloudy and cool. We could’ve stitched or gone sightseeing and I picked the latter. I wanted to explore!

It was a quaint little town and I enjoyed exploring. I walked around and enjoyed a bit of retail therapy and ended up at the Oban Distillery, which was my plan. If you’re a connoisseur of single malt scotch, you recognize this name! I used to enjoy Scotch many years ago, but had not yet fallen in love with single malt, well until my trip here!

I wanted to go on their tour, but the last spot was just filled, so I was out of luck. I did buy this exclusive to the distillery bottle to enjoy with some great friends at the holidays. I also did purchase an Oban sweatshirt for tomorrow’s trip to the Isle of Mull and as it turned out, it was a very wise decision!

This picture was just taken 2 months ago of Miss Meow and Mooch sleeping on top of the cable box. Many of you thought it was a scale, but no that was the time. They love sleeping there as it’s warm!

This is Mooch this morning saying sorry Miss Meow, no room for you now! Even though most times they are curled up together.

okay just 2 days left and I still have so many pictures to share! I look forward to going back to Scotland…

Dunollie Castle!

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day today. But one thing I’ve learned while being here in Scotland, is the weather is always changing, especially here in the northern part. Trust me, it wouldn’t stay this way all day!

We were met at the door of the castle for a private tour. First it would be the grounds and later on we would enter the castle to view some amazing textiles, including the pieces that inspired the creations of what we are working on.

We had quite a hike up the hill and were rewarded with the some magnificent views!

Each way we turned the view was just more breathtaking!

Wow! So blue and so green!

Trust me I have lots more pictures of the views, but I tried to pick the best of the best!

Soon enough it was time to hike back down the hill and enter the castle for our tour of the embroideries. This is the back and doesn’t really evoke what I think a castle would look like!

Our docent was most knowledgeable and entering the castle, no purses, no jackets and no jewelry and no photography! Phillipa and Meredith would take the pictures and for me that was just fine as this way I could concentrate on looking at the embroideries.

We saw the original Dunollie Feather that inspired Phillipa’s crewel work piece that she was teaching us. Also we saw the Dunollie Rose that Meredith’s embroidery piece was based on.

All that hard work of walking, hiking and viewing the textiles really made us hungry!

Lunch was to be on the lawn under the canopy that had set up for us. A most delightful lunch and do you notice that the sky was darkening? Well soon it would open up!

A little retail therapy was in order! It really is important that we supported the gift shop. I found this hand made teddy bear with this Dalriada plaid that had to come home with me. Read all about this tartan.

The original plan was to walk back to the Perle Oban, but the rains hindered our walking thoughts. Instead the bus brought us back to the hotel. Many of us stitched and I went sightseeing about the town, most specifically to go to Oban Distillery. I should’ve gone there first as I would’ve loved to do a tour…but the last one had just sold out as I got there. And I will finish this day next time!

Miss Meow and Mooch sat thru a photo shoot with me yesterday morning. Right now they’re sleeping on my lap and being very good kids!

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?