Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A boat trip to Inchcolm island

On the second day of our staycation we took a boat trip from South Queensferry to Inchcolm Island

Inchcolm Island is a small island in the Firth of Forth, home to a mediaeval abbey

and lots of sea birds! There is a huge colony of lesser black backed and herring gulls and at the moment the grassy areas of the island are dotted with gulls of all ages.

The young gulls (the brown ones) are getting to the stage where they are starting to be able to look after themselves, but they still like to be looked after by their parents, here they're begging for food.

It's quite an experience to be surrounded by so many gulls, and earlier in the breeding season, people are advised to avoid the gull colonies as the parent birds can get very aggressive in defence of their young!

The island offers lots of beautiful views

The boat trip is very scenic too, with views of the iconic Forth Road bridge (in the foreground) and rail bridge together

there is also plenty of wild life to be seen on the boat trip, including these grey seals which seemed to enjoy bouncing around as the swells moved this navigation buoy.

Monday, 28 July 2014

North Berwick

We had lovely weather for the first day of our staycation. We're spending this week on holiday in Edinburgh, visiting nearby places of interest. Today we went to North Berwick, which has a lovely long beach to walk along, which is almost empty as most people stay on the main central beach. 

Lots to see, including lots of shells and seaweeds

evidence of lugworms everywhere - these little curled piles of castings in the sand

we saw several of this species of jellyfish, which we can't identify, so any help appreciated!

and Bass Rock in the distance, white with the gannets that nest on it. Many of these birds come quite close to shore as they dive for fish.

I made a good collection of sea pottery and sea glass

When we got back to Edinburgh we saw lots of flying ants around town. So I filled in the Society of Biology's Flying Ant Survey.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Frogs and a Sleeping Cat

Crafty Green Boyfriend's Mum has two ponds in her garden and at the moment the whole garden is full of frogs.

There are tiny frogs

and larger frogs

and hidden away in the undergrowth is an old sleepy cat, Purdey who lives in the house next door

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Greyfriar's Kirkyard

I had a wander round Greyfriars Kirkyard yesterday evening before the Walk on the Wild Side literary salon at Golden Hare Books and took these photos in the kirk's wildflower meadow.

 the thistles are mostly seedheads now
 there were several common carder bees around (such a lovely colour!), I managed to get this one on a scabious flower.
Earlier in the day I had been walking through the Marchmont area of Edinburgh and found myself surrounded by about 50 swifts, flying low over the tenements and back green gardens. Lovely to see so many of thme! 

If you're in the UK and enjoy taking photos of nature, you may want to join in BBC Springwatch's 100DaysofNature challenge - take a photo of nature every day between now and the start of the Autumnwatch series and share it on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #100DaysofNature.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Busy making jewellery!

After attending a jewellery making workshop on Wednesday, I spent a lot of time yesterday practising the techniques! I made these earrings for myself, these were really easy, I just took put the charms on earring hooks.

I'd actually wanted to make these into earrings for a long time.....

Next I made an elasticated bracelet using some gorgeous beads from a broken vintage necklace

The only challenge with an elasticated bracelet is getting the knot right and hiding it away neatly.

I then tried earrings using the same beads. I have to admit that making beaded earrings had been the most difficult part of the workshop for me. You need to put a pin through the beads, cut it and then manipulate it into a nice loop that fits neatly into the earring hook. Easier said than done and it will be a while before I can do this easily.

However, I made a few pairs of earrings yesterday with those lovely vintage beads and one pair is now in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop along with that bracelet.

I'll be making another bracelet and earrings set and then using the remaining beads to make more earrings.

At the jewellery making workshop we had the chance to buy a beginners jewellery making kit at a much reduced price. It includes pliers and cutting tools and a supply of beads, earring hooks and necklace fasteners. I also ordered a jewellery making board which arrived yesterday.

It let's you design and organise all kinds of beaded jewellery and is really quite useful!

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Jewellery Making

Yesterday I went to a jewellery making workshop at Edinburgh's Number One Bead Shop. I've made a lot of beaded bookmarks but wanted to learn how to do the fiddly bits - necklace fastenings and attaching together the different parts of an earring.

In the two hour workshop I made this bracelet and earring set for myself

and this necklace, which is for Mum, if she wants it (she specifically wants a pink necklace, but I'm not sure this is exactly what she's looking for!).

I enjoyed the workshop and I've now got lots of ideas for making jewellery for myself, as gifts and to sell in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop.

I would have liked a bit more time in the workshop to perfect those fiddly little techniques and also to spend longer on choosing beads and designing. But overall it was a very inspiring workshop and the shop is a treasure trove of jewellery making supplies (though a lot of their beads are a bit garish for my tastes). They also have branches in Glasgow and Nottingham.

So now I'll need to put my weaving aside for a while and make some jewellery before I forget all those fiddly techniques!

Meanwhile I've just added a photo of a family of mute swans to the downloadable photo section of the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Of Horses and Men

Of Horses and Men is a beautiful, eccentric, sometimes disturbing and sometimes very funny film about the relationship between people and their horses in a rural part of Iceland.

The film is made up of several interweaving stories following individual people. Everyone in the community is very close to their horses, but like all close relationships things can be marred by misunderstandings, stubbornness and anger. So things don't always go well for humans or horses. (Warning for animal lovers, there are a couple of scenes in this film which aren't easy to watch.)

The horses are beautiful and they are the real stars of the show - the most enjoyable parts of the film are where herds of horses are running through the stunning Icelandic scenery. And really I came out of the cinema wanting to find a horse and go riding into the hills.

Of Horses and Men is showing at Edinburgh's Filmhouse Cinema until Thursday 24 July