Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter Monday Escape

We headed west on Easter Monday, quite far west.

In fact as far west as you can in mainland Britain, all the way to Ardnamurchan.........it was glorious!

We set off at 7:30, 3 adults, 3 children and 2 dogs!

Glencoe was quiet, misty and spectacular with a fresh dusting of snow right down to the roadside.

By 9:00 we were sitting at Corran Ferry waiting to cross Loch Linnhe.

And by 12:30 we were at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse basking in glorious sunshine and eating our picnic!

We headed to Sanna Bay one of our favourite beaches in the world. We ran around and played in the sand.

Then everybody bundled back into the car for a snooze and the long return trip.......with fish and chips for tea!

I think I'll need two days to recover!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Welcome 2016!

All the turkey and Christmas pudding has finally been finished, the chocolate oranges are a distant memory and the only sweeties left in the super mega Quality Street tin are the ones no one likes. It's the coconut ones here in our house, maybe we should arrange a swap shop, just send any coffee crèmes my way!
And that fateful Monday has arrived when real life jumps out of a dark January morning and gives you a big damp slap in the face, or was that just me?!  I do love the Christmas bubble that we all retreat into and I slightly grudge having to return to reality come January.
In a bid to ease my return I've put together a few of my favourite mid winter (because lets face it, January and February are still most definitely wintery, especially here in Scotland) Instgram hashtags, Spotify playlists and podcasts.

I fell head over heels in love with Instagram in 2015.
My two current favourite hashtags are
#thequietwinter and #makingwinter , just beautiful......
I always have music on in my studio while I'm working and I'm a big fan of Spotify, specially their playlist section, they have a playlist for any possible mood you're in.

My bestest favourites over the past few weeks have been
The Far-North Folk,  Acoustic Winter and Electro Swing.
If I'm not listening to music I've got a podcast on.
My absolute favourites are 
Art for your ear, The Jealous Curator and Design Matters with Debbie Millman I always come away from their episodes having learnt something or with a fresh perspective.

I hope this week is kind to you all..........

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Perthshire Open Studios 2015

The countdown to this years Perthshire Open Studios is on and there are only 5 weeks to go!
5th - 13th September 2015

Monday, 16 March 2015

A random Saturday!

The weeks seem to be flying past this year, I can't believe that it's the middle of March already!
JH and a friend had a survey to do in Crianlarich on Saturday morning and the boys and I decided to go with them and we spent a sunny but cold morning in the park! 
After they'd finished we decided, on a complete whim, to go to Oban. 
No planning, no idea why or what we were going to do when we got there. 
So we went!
We visited the Barn Bar and met old friends. 
We bought fish and chips, and beer and belated birthday cake and ate and drank at sunset, looking at this view........

throwing stones off the slipway.....
admiring the beautiful shades of blue.........

It was a glorious, indulgent, stone skimming, chilly, beautiful gloaming.
A balm for the soul. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Sunday well spent.......

A Sunday well spent brings a week of content!

This Sunday we went on a mini adventure in the woods behind our house

Climbing hills

building dams and then bursting them

swinging on tree swings

splashing in streams

finding out what sinks and what floats in HUGE puddles

and then home to the wood burning stove, hot tea and yummy home made biscuits.

Monday we're ready for you!

Hope you all had a lovely Sunday

Friday, 16 January 2015

My five favourite Instagram photos of 2014!

I know I'm a bit late to the party with this post, but you'll forgive me won't you?!
This post was originally supposed to be called "My favourite FOUR Instagram photos of 2014, but it was really hard to narrow my favourites down to just four and that's why there are five!!

Paddling pool - I can feel the intense heat of those distant, long hot summer days in those blues.

The three musketeers - The first photo of all my boys together! 

A vignette of "stuff" found in my studio! I really enjoyed putting this together so I'm going to try to do this again....soon!

Paper cut - I love cutting this design and seeing all the different things that are important to people

Happy New Year - Last post of 2014 and last new product of 2014!

You can find me on Instagram, @loumclaren  Leave a link to your Instagram profile below and I'll hop over to say hi, in a non threatening, non stalking kinda way!

Sunday, 31 August 2014


I've been taking part in the Create and Thrive #CTMonthInTheLife challenge over on Instagram during August.  I've really enjoyed the challenge of representing aspects of me, my work and business in a single photo and getting into the habit of taking photos again!
The prompt for Saturdays photo was "Treasured.....anything that you treasure and has helped bring you where you are today". 

Wow, what a toughie! So many things whirled through my mind, my boys, my family and friends, my dog, my favourite tools, my most treasured possessions (too many to list!)
Inspiration finally struck when I was standing at the launch party of this years Perthshire Open Studios watching the fabulous film by Dave Hunt and I realised that my Treasured thing, the thing that more than anything else has helped bring me to where I am today, is not a "thing" it's an event.  An un-holdable, temporary, fleeting, wonderful, inspiring thing called Perthshire Open Studios! 

Although it only takes place annually for 10 days in September it's effect on me, my work and my business has been transformational!
This year will be the third year I've taken part in POS and when I sent off my application form for the very first time I'd only been selling my work for about 6 months.  I had no real "body of work" (up until then I'd only sold personalised paper cuts for wedding gifts) to the extent that I had to design a paper cut to photograph as the image for use in the POS brochure!  The birdie in a tree I came up with has gone on to be one of my most popular card designs. I didn't even really have a clear idea of what I was going to exhibit, except that it would be made of paper! paper cuts? cards? paper clay bowls? paper jewellery? layered paper maps? paper Christmas ornaments and decorations? I'm not sure if I was full of confidence or just delusional, but it's amazing how a looming deadline, panic and the idea of failure sharpen and focus the mind!
Taking part in Perthshire Open Studios pushed me way out of my comfort zone, mostly because it made me put my work in front of people and what did I get in return?  It gave me a local group of fellow artists and craftspeople, working by yourself can be a lonely business sometimes!  Confidence, in myself and in my work, the kind that can only be found by showing your work and chatting about it with over 100 visitors! A wide and varied (mostly!) new audience for my work many of whom have gone on to be loyal customers.  It also gave me a much clearer idea of what I wanted to make and where I wanted my business to be, it gave me the push I needed to get where I am today. 

So a huge thank you to the Perthshire Open Studios committee who devote hours and hours of their time (unpaid) to organise and run the event.  Thank you to the other artists and craftspeople who open their studios and make the event what it is and lastly a big thank you to the lovely visitors who come to visit us all because with out you it would just be 220+ people sitting,  by themselves,  in studios and sheds all over Perthshire! 

And here is the fabulous video that sparked the whole realisation off!

Perthshire Artists at Work from Dave Hunt on Vimeo.

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