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'an atelier of sorts'...

well it has been nearly 2 weeks since i turned our Mossy Shed upside down and near on 3 since a serendipitous moment led me to the epiphany which led me to my 'turning everything upside down' mode...

i have quite the journey still to take but i am doing a little something towards it each and every day

and on the days when i feel a little overwhelmed i step back and remind myself that all good things take time and this is part and parcel of creating 'an atelier of sorts'. and quite honestly if all i have in life to feel overwhelmed by is shifting my business to a different location in my shed and online, then i should count my lucky stars.

as much as i had hoped, and indeedy i came tres close to signing on a dotted line, my atelier of sorts is not outside of Mossy Shed but inside, shrouded by yards of lace and fabrics and i will do muchly of my atelier businessy busy stuff upon the world wide web. 

at the moment, my man is spending short bursts of quality time finding just the right place to call home, where upon we will work at building an online atelier of sorts for dottie angel. 
(that's quite funny really, because if you were to read the first part of that sentence and no more, it would imply my man has had enough, can no longer deal with living in a world of florals and lace and is looking for a new home. and who would blame him, especially now the 'walls' have gone up in the middle of our downstairs living area) 

my new online home will house the three things which make me most happy, 
and i am hopeful this step is but a small step in the right direction, so when i do sign upon the dotted line for a bricks and mortar atelier of sorts i will be already up and running online, ready to make a jolly good go of things

of course there are days i have looked at the jumbly bumbly which surrounded me and declared i was mad to think i could ever do this. and the days when boxes have turned up filled with eclectic goodness and i wonder if others will wish to purchase what makes my little heart sing. 
again i note, Mr Doubter sitting on my shoulder causing me to stumble.

and then there are days which lead into late nights, where i am in my happy place, choosing only to have high hopes and see through rose coloured specs. yes those are the besty best days and the ones that will see me through to september and the launch of dottie angel's 'atelier of sorts'...

with a little help from my clan and my critters, of course :)

A Tiny Reflection of the Glory of God

Last night here in Orkney we had some of the most spectacular Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights that I have ever had the privilege of seeing.  It was very difficult to capture what we were actually seeing with the camera.  It was like a light show of flashing strobe lights.  The closest I can come to describing it is if you imagine looking into the bottom of a swimming pool on a sunny day and seeing all the shimmering patterns on the bottom caused by the light shining through the water - It was something a little like that only slower, really something to see!  Also what we saw with our eyes was slightly less of a bright green than what the camera captured.  Please find below a tiny reflection of the glory of God:

a 'country living spring fair' tickets giveway...


i have never ever in all my born days been to a Country Living Fair. i would very muchly like to go one day just to see. my mother~in~law kindly gives me a prescription to their magazine for my birthday and i do look forward to the day it arrives in my mail box so i may rest a while upon the couch with berry tea in hand, small critter on lap and breath in a bit of my home country. indeedy this is why i call it a prescription and not a subscription because it truly is a remedy for my aching 'missing home' heart at times...

recently i was asked if i would like some tickets to go, well being across a pond it was not to be, but i did think perhaps a reader may like them instead. and then the very nice folks at CL Fair Headquarters said they had a spiffy code which gives a discount off the cost of a ticket for everyone. oh hurrah hooray! well that seems quite fine and dandy i thought to myself.

so for all the nitty gritty on the CL Spring Fair in london this coming March 19th ~ 23rd you may wish to visit over here where you can read all about the peachy things that go on at the fair. things like crafting workshops, garden features and theatre, along with lifestyle theatre. 

(alas Mr Spell Checker is not happy, he wants me to write theater, but i note CL has theatre. i am confused, i have lived too long in a foreign land with foreign ways to spell the non foreign words i know. it is all a little confusing for someone of my grand age, things blur and time has erased the knowledge i once had for spelling the english word)  

from having a jolly good ganders at their website myself, i noted there are many folks to visit, listen and learn from and also quite the spectacular array of stalls to browse. a true jolly day out i have no doubt.

if you would like to win a pair of tickets then please leave a comment along with your contact details so me and my trusty buddy from CL Fair Headquarters may pick a winner on Monday 3rd March.

and if you cannot wait to see if you won, then you can book tickets now using the spiffy special discount code Blog10 to save. tickets are available by calling 0844 848 0150 or you can find everything online here.

of course this isn't the most thrilling of giveaways if you happen to live miles away, or in another part of the globe, a bit like moi. but none the less, i do feel it is quite a cheery one for those living in the old uk who have had quite the terrible time of late with the wintery ways of weather. 

righty ho, i think that is is, if it is not, then it is what it is and will have to do...

oooh! no that is not it. not in the least... please note i moderate my comments so you only need to leave one comment and i will check comments once a day. please do not fret if you do not see your comment appear straight away, i promise you it will not get lost, it is safely waiting patiently for me to check and publish :)

a rare sort of dumptie...

on monday i had quite the marvelous good fortune to stumble across a dumptie at the thrift store. 

it has been quite the while since a dumptie has found me and i must confess i have no excuse for entertaining the thought of rescuing a dumptie from the shelves of despair when our shed overflowth with dumpties

please note, this may look to some like i took the picture of the dumptie in the thrift store but i did not

however when one is faced with a dumptie of the utmost rarest kind, what is one supposed to do, "walk away from the dumptie" the little voice wisely advised me. "tis a rare old dumptie and so terribly useful" the other little voice wisely tempted me. this was so true for how often does a dumptie become a handy dandy basket to house all manner of crappity crap. 
(actually i am quite sure its not as rare as i have told myself but as i have never stumbled upon one such as this myself, i conclude it is rare to me, thus justifying my need to rescue a dumptie such as this)

upon arriving home with dumptie in hand i noted in the good old days i would have rushed to the drawer, seized my trusty paint brush in my mitt and got busy with a lickity lick of paint. but no, not now, no sirree, my wild and wielding paint brush days may be behind me! shock horror! oh how far i have come, or fallen, i do not know, nor do i care... for i have decided to ponder the fate of my dumptie, i cannot deny my attraction to his 'au naturelle' attire and am thinking he may just stay as he is.

so far together we have passed a few moments considering a roundie cushion for maximum comfort, 
moving onto thoughts of a tray  

to make him into a handy dandy side table dumptie

and of course finding something to fill up his inners, whilst i ponder his fate

ah yes, indeedy quite the rare on he is

The Passing of a Friend

On 3rd February our very good friend and benefactor, Mr John Friel passed away after a long fight against cancer.

John was our first parishioner and supporter on Stronsay and had lived on the island since the early 1980s.  Over the 15 years since our arrival here in Orkney, he provided invaluable assistance in the building of our monastery as well as being a regular at Holy Mass on Stronsay.  One of our priests was with him for the hour leading up to his death repeating the prayers for the dying, and encouraging his soul in its last agony.

It was John's great wish to be buried on Papa Stronsay.  His body was brought to Papa Stronsay the day before the ceremony and laid in the chapel.

After the sung funeral Mass the procession made its way to the Monastery cemetery.

There was something very beautiful and special about the procession as it made its way along the beach, the sun setting as the day began to close.

Fr Yousef Marie conducted the burial.  John's two brothers, Philip and Glenn, were present also.

As is our custom once the burial ceremony is over the grave is immediately filled in.

All the men present take it in turns to do their part, while the rosary is prayed.

It brings finality and a sense of completion.

Br Nicodemus Mary plants the funeral processional Cross.

John's dearest wife, Marilyn, lays flowers on his grave.  Our prayers and our deepest sympathies go out to her.

A final blessing upon his final resting-place.

We owe a great deal to John Friel.  We hope we will continue to be the beneficiaries of his solicitude in the form of intercession from his eternity.

Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Superhero Birthday Party: The Favors

When we decided to do a superhero theme for the twins birthday party, I knew immediately that I wanted to make capes and masks for all of the kids as party favors. I mean, seriously, what three year old doesn't want to be a superhero? I started sewing right after Christmas, and much to my surprise (thankfully) the whole prcess went pretty quickly. The key was definitely cutting all of the capes en masse and then sewing, ironing, sewing through each step also in bulk, rather than doing one cape at a time from beginning to end. *Although* I did sew the first two capes one at a time to make sure things were coming out right, and I am glad I did, since the first cape I made ended up being Lola's cape, since it was about 7" too short for the big kids. Oops.

The twins were little hams, modeling their capes in the weeks before their birthday party. And it cracked me up to watch them chase each other around their house with their capes flying behind them. We had a few capes leftover, plus the capes that the kids each got at their party and they still request to be a superhero and wear the capes around the house over a month later.

Keeping a dozen three year olds entertained is no small feat, so when it came time to decide on what activities to have at the party we decided to do cape and mask decorating stations. Joe and I spent several nights leading up to the party cutting out felt stickers into lightening bolts and circles and stars. Just last week I saw a bunch of felt sticker shapes at Hobby Lobby and I was kicking myself for not checking there first. I bought silver sticker letters from Michaels. The decoration stations were a huge hit with the toddler crowd.

I really loved this party, the kids were so into it. Especially Reese and Ryan. They LOVED being superheros and having superhero shirts and capes. They wore their masks for hours and it was really the cutest darn thing I have ever seen. So much work and thought goes into these parties that we throw, and that's definitely my choice. But it is so awesome to see the kids so happy and loving their special day. It makes every crazy night crafting a million percent worth it. 

A few friends asked me to post resources for making the capes and masks, so here they are.

For the capes I used a combination of this tutorial from How Does She and this this tutorial from Serving Pink Lemonade. Honestly, I liked using a plate and having a curved neckline. But the How does she tutorial was helpful in determining length. I want to say my capes were 15" folded wide and 32" long before I sewed them with a 1/2" seam allowance. I used sticky velcro on the tabs to shut them and make them easy for the kids to take off and on by themselves.

Here is the template for the masks. I just printed it on regular printer paper and traced it by hand onto felt. Then I cut little snips on the edge near the eyes and strung them up with silver elastic.

I hope they are helpful, as always if you have questions leave a comment or email me directly.

Upon the Ocean Waves

Today the wind has been quite high in Orkney, but the sun has been shining for most of the day.  When you don't see the sun very often, you have a much greater appreciation of it when it does deign to show its face! 
There was occasion for some of us to travel to Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney today and I would like to share some photos I took of the beautiful return sailing.

 Fr Michael Mary speaking with a Catholic from Glasgow whom we met on the ferry.  She was visiting the Orkney Islands for the third time.

 The island of Sanday on the horizon.

 Before reaching Stronsay, the boat makes a stop at Eday, another of the islands of Orkney.  Here we are just departing Eday for Stronsay which is a good 30 minutes further.

Another view of the pier at Eday.

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