Monday 31 October 2016

Happy Hallowe'en!

This suitably eerie looking place is an abandoned mill building along the Water of Leith in Bonnington.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Real Foods seeks baby photos to help celebrate its 40th Anniversary

Real Foods, Edinburgh's well-known ethical, vegetarian and specialist food store celebrates 40 years this weekend! There are various celebrations in-store to mark the occasion.

Real Foods are asking people to share their baby photos to help the celebrations! It doesn't matter how old you are (though you may need to be based in Edinburgh, I'm not sure), you can share your baby photo on the store's Facebook page for the chance to win a goodie bag. This competition closes at 9pm tonight, which doesn't leave long to search out that cute photo!

I shared this photo to their Facebook page

then Crafty Green Boyfriend and I thought it might be fun to recreate the photo, as I still have Peter the Rabbit (yes I know it's not really a rabbit!), so here is the present day version

Some blog readers may remember Peter from his role as host when Sylvain the rabbit from Cottontails Baby visited. You can read about that here.

Friday 28 October 2016

The Botanics Cottage

I had a training course today at the Botanics Cottage

This lovely venue was recently transferred from Leith Walk (the site of the first botanic garden in Edinburgh) to the current Botanic Garden in Inverleith. It's a great place for a training event and excellent food was provided by Social Bite, the sandwich shop with a conscience.

It was a lovely day, so I walked to the event through Inverleith Park

and enjoyed the autumnal colours in the Botanic Gardens

Thursday 27 October 2016


In the bags of unsold jewelry that I've bought recently there have been quite a few necklaces with broken pendants (I'm referring to necklaces where the pendant is part of the necklace itself rather than hanging from it). I've removed the pendants and added new ones taken from other items of jewellery that needed to be refurbished. These are the most recent examples:

I've added this to the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop here.

and this one, with the wooden pendant is here.

I've also incorporated tiger eye into a few pendants like this, I blogged about those here. I also have a few left over tiger eye stones to incorporate into future necklaces (or other items).

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Very Important Trees!

I'm currently leading a series of walks along the Water of Leith, telling people about the natural history and the industrial history of the river. It's a fascinating river and I think everyone is enjoying finding more out about the area!

Today we were in Craiglockart Dell (part of the stretch of the river that I regularly look after for the Water of Leith Conservation Trust). The autumn colours were magnificent (they're a little further on now than in this photo, which I took last week. I don't generally take my camera on these walks to avoid it distracting me from leading the walk!)

The Dell is a wonderful area of woodland, described as ancient woodland as it has been consistently wooded since at least 1750, though it's not an entirely natural wood as many of the trees were deliberately planted by the owners of the country estates that used to own this land or in the case of the hornbeams the mill owners planted them as their wood is so hard and useful for making waterwheels.

Trees are so important to our landscapes, for keeping our air clean and for their aesthetic value! That's why the Woodland Trust is calling for an official register to classify, celebrate and protect the UKs best loved trees! You can find out more here!

Monday 24 October 2016


even in the rain -
mistle thrush sings
from the highest branch.

Saturday 22 October 2016

Easter Craiglockhart Hill

We had a lovely walk today round Easter Craiglockart Hill - here are some of our photos

View from the edge of the Napier University campus to the cliffs of Wester Craiglockart Hill

 beautiful red maple tree
 view across Edinburgh from the top of Easter Craiglockhart Hill
 a bench conveniently situated at the top of the hill

lovely autumn colours in this horse chestnut tree

cute moorhen on Craiglockart Pond

this poor tree is dead already, but if it wasn't it wouldn't have much longer left being invaded by honey fungus like this!(Edited to add: Not all fungi kill trees, but honey fungus does).

Friday 21 October 2016

Sleeping with the Blackbirds by Alex Pearl

Ray Nuttersley is used to listening to his parents arguing at home and being bullied by Harry Hodges at school. To help him forget he takes up the binoculars his granny gave him and watches the birds in the garden, where he's put up very popular birdfeeders that he made himself:

"It was little wonder then, that Ray's brightly painted bird boxes and feeders were beginning to attract the attention of all manner of birds. 

The blackbirds sung Ray's praises to the sparrows, and the sparrows spread the word to the smaller birds. Before long the excited chatter was to spread from treetop to treetop."

Later the blackbirds send out a call to all the other birds to help Ray overcome his unhappiness. The blue tits become the main spies as they are small and can hide well in trees as they watch over things, while the Canada Geese are eventually persuaded to take a lead role in punishing the bullies.

Things become worse for Ray at home before they become better as his parents become embroiled in an entertainingly farcical situation. (I particularly liked the detail of his mother buying lots of cheap crockery so she could throw it at her husband).

I felt the main characters (human and avian) were drawn really well, with enough detail to make them three dimensional and interesting and with room for all of them to develop during the course of the story. The story deals with issues including family relationships, bullying and homelessness with a light touch and lots of humour.

This is a delightful and entertaining urban fantasy of how the birds all co-operate to help their friend Ray and to protect the food sources they find in his garden. It's a tale of how a young person can find his place in nature and learn to find his place in the everyday human world too. It's billed as a YA book, but with the 11 year old protagonist it often feels like a book for younger teenagers, on the other hand it's very entertaining for adults too! (And the ending is wonderful.)

Sleeping with the Blackbirds by Alex Pearl.

Thursday 20 October 2016

The glow of Tiger Eyes!

Tiger Eye is one of my favourite semi-precious stones, it has a beautiful depth of colour to it and wonderful variety in that colour too! Some people believe it to have protective energies! You can read more about Tiger Eye here.

I was delighted then to find in one of the bags of unsold and damaged jewellery that I bought from a second hand shop a beaded belt (with some beads damaged, so I needed to take it apart) a few lovely tiger eyes! I also had some ideal necklace chains into which I could fit the stones (given how they were strung in the original belt, the tiger eyes needed to be fitted into a necklace rather than hung as a traditional pendant. I'm quite pleased with how these three tiger eye necklaces turned out and they're now all in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy store.

This silver tone chain, which you can see in the shop here.

This gold tone chain, which you can see in the shop here.

and this black chain choker, which you can see in the shop here.

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Monday 17 October 2016

The trees are wearing their Autumn dresses

and when they catch the light, the leaves glow

and these puffball fungi appeared from nowhere about three weeks ago and are growing speedily!

as are these fungi

All photos from Colinton Dell, a lovely place for an Autumnal walk!

for Nature Notes

Meanwhile these butterflies just flew into the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop!

Sunday 16 October 2016

Ivy Shadows

It's another dull and drizzly day today so I'm sharing these photos from Tuesday for Shadow Shot Sunday. I love these shadows in the ivy in Spylaw Park, Edinburgh.

You can see more photos from the same walk here.

For Shadow Shot Sunday.

Saturday 15 October 2016

Autumn Changes Edinburgh - Calton Hill and Princes Street Gardens

Today is such a wet day we decided not to venture far! We started out walking up Calton Hill, where the iconic follies, memorials and other buildings looks wonderfully atmospheric in the Autumnal mist and drizzle.

and there are wonderful views over Edinburgh too

We then had a coffee break and continued our walk in Princes Street Gardens with it's views of the Scott Monument

and Edinburgh Castle 

Lovely to see the fallen cherry leaves carpeting the ground in places

Just a reminder that the Living Edinburgh Autumn Changes Edinburgh photo competition is open until the end of the month. You can find out more here!

Thursday 13 October 2016

Speak Up Week of Climate Action!

8th-16th October in a Week of Action organised by the Climate Coalition to celebrate the people, places and things we want to protect from climate change - and to make sure politicians know the strength of feeling on this topic.

Climate Change has huge potential to damage the natural world. Scientists already believe that climate change may have destroyed the Great Barrier Reef beyond any hope of proper recovery. You can read the heartbreaking Obituary for the reef here.

Closer to home, our woodlands and urban trees are threatened by climate change. You can read the Woodland Trust's perspective on climate change here.

If you love something, you want to protect it so everyone who loves nature needs to work to protect nature from climate change and we need also to let politicians know how much we care about the natural world. You can do this by joining in the week of action. You can find out what's happening in your local area here. You can also organise an event yourself, I particularly like the Woodland Trust's suggestion of inviting your local MP to 'meet a wise old tree' (use the Trust's Ancient Tree Inventory to find your nearest wise old tree)!

Wednesday 12 October 2016

What's New in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop?

Even when I'm very busy with teaching and leading guided walks as I am at the moment, I like to find time for crafting projects. It's particularly easy to find time to make simple earrings such as these two pairs, made from beads from a necklace that needed to be restrung

which are in the Crafty Green Etsy shop here and these

which are in the shop here.

These two keychains below both originated as pendants with some damaged beads, which I removed and replaced with alternative similar beads (reclaimed from other damaged items)

which is in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop here and this one

which is in the shop here. The bookmark below started life as a necklace with a damaged pendant, which I removed, along with the fasteners at the ends and I added some beads

this is in the shop here.

I also added this lovely vintage necklace to the Crafty Green Magpie vintage and supplies Etsy shop

you can see it in the shop here. Plus, there's now only one set of Christmas cards left in the Crafty Green Magpie shop, you can see them here!

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Autumn Changes the Dells

Autumn has been arriving slowly over the past few weeks but in Colinton Dell, by the Water of Leith, today it was suddenly fully autumn with many of the paths carpeted with fallen leaves

the rosebay willowherb stunning in its autumnal hued foliage

and the late flowering ivy buzzing with wasps and hoverflies (a few of which you can see in the photo below if you click on it to enlarge it and look carefully!)

Here's an Eristalis sp hoverfly, there were several of them around, though the wasps eat them! The hoverflies may well stay round until next month.

The sunshine on the ivy makes wonderful shadows (I'll share more of these for Shadow Shot Sunday this weekend!)

The pictorial wildflower meadow in Spylaw Park still looks wonderful, though there weren't many insects feeding on the flowers today.

More obviously autumnal than those flowers are these puffball fungi

Autumn is a wonderful time for photography and Living Edinburgh has set up the Twitter hashtag #AutumnChangesEdinburgh for autumnal photos of the city and its greenspaces. There's a competition too, so if you're on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and spend time in Edinburgh, why not take part?