Hello and welcome. I'm glad you dropped by. If you´re looking for something a little nostalgic of bygone eras with a timeless elegance and a little modern twist – in other words, something slightly “retro” – then you should feel right at home here in my shabby chic room. Month by month, there will always be something new to see so I hope you´ll enjoy your stay and come back again soon.
With so many Campbells, MacDonalds and Armstrongs in my family tree it´s paradoxical that the the only
photo I have of a family member in Highland dress is of my cousin,
Brian Roberts, whose surname is not Scottish but originated in
England and is very common in Wales where his father came from.
However, if he shook his mother´s family tree, enough Scots would
fall out to form several Scottish regiments.
Brian joined the Argyll and Sutherland
Highlanders – an infantry regiment - at the age of 20 when this
photo was taken. Unfortunately, it´s in black and white so I´ve
shown the regimental tartan he´s wearing underneath an enlargement
of the silver badge on his hat. I´ve also shown a photo of the
regimental museum which is in Stirling Castle in the “King´s Old
Building” so-called because it was originally built in the 1490s as
a residence for King James IV of Scotland, the last monarch to be
killed in battle. The second photo shows a soldier with the
regiment´s mascot, a Shetland Pony called Cruachan. By coincidence,
or perhaps not, “Cruachan” was the traditional Gaelic war cry of
the Campbells....something worth remembering the next time somebody
nips into a parking place I´ve been waiting for or pushes in front
of me at the baker´s. Incidentally, a mountain called Ben Cruachan –
at 3689 feet - is the highest point in Argyllshire. The bottom photo
shows a drum major and a piper dressed in regimental attire.
I find it rather sad that the Argyll
and Sutherland Highlanders no longer exists. In 2006, along with
several other Scottish regiments, it was amalgamated into the Royal
Regiment of Scotland. However, each battalion maintains its former
regimental Pipes & Drums to carry on the traditions of their
I created this page using my latest
kit, From Time To Time. If you´d like a freebie QP, you´ll find it
HERE. Also, if you´d care to have
an alpha which coordinates with the rusty spatters in the kit, watch
My most recent kit
is called From Time To Time because, although it´s an art nouveau
influenced kit and therefore suitable for vintage layouts, it also
reflects the passing of time by including modern frames and elements
along with the more traditional swirls and flourishes. Also, as the
name suggests, there are many timepieces in a variety of styles
including some unusual steampunk clocks. The colour scheme is mainly
various shades of brown and sepia with copper and teal accents which makes it
ideally suited for use in combination with Vintage Whimsy and/or
Nostalgic Scrapbook which you will also find in the store. As is the
case with all my kits, there are no recoloured duplicates included.
If you´d like to
have the freebie QP which I created using From Time To Time, you´ll
find it HERE.
There are two photos of my father which
I treasure simply because they are the only ones I have of him as a
young man. In the first one he´s 16 and in the second one, which
isn´t dated, I think he´s probably about 18. I know that both were
taken in Ireland where he sometimes spent the summer with relatives
who had a farm there. Judging by the Border Collie in that photo I
can only assume that they were sheep farmers though I can´t be sure
about that. There are a lot of things about my father that are a
mystery to me. In the first photo he´s carrying a camera and yet
none of the photos he took have survived. Also, there isn´t a single
photo of him as a baby. However, the greatest mystery has always been
his mother, Helen Campbell, for whom I was named. My father himself
knew only that she died very young and that on her deathbed she
pleaded with her mother-in-law to look after her child and made her
promise not give him up to her own mother. I find this horrifying as
it would appear that my paternal great grandmother, must have been
unpleasant to say the very least if her own daughter couldn´t
entrust her child to her. Until very recently these were the only
facts I knew about Helen Campbell until Linda, a cousin of our mutual
cousin, Neville, did some research into my father´s antecedents. I
now know that poor Helen was only 23 when she died and my father only
4 which explains why he had no recollection of her. Linda has traced
Helen´s family tree back to my great great grandparents who came
from Reay in Caithness. I wish my late father had known this because
sometime during the 1960s he went north to work at the nuclear power
station in Dounreay near the town of Thurso and only returned when he
found it impossible to find a suitable house there for the family.
As the name Dounreay suggests, it´s
very close to where his maternal great grandparents, Robert Campbell
and Betsey Isabella MacDonald came from. Of course, considering how
small a country Scotland is, this is no great coincidence but if he
had known this he may have been able to find relatives still living
there. However, one thing I find
particularly interesting about Robert and Betsey is that they,
perhaps unwittingly, joined two warring clans together. Throughout
Scotland´s turbulent history the Highlanders didn´t just wage war
on the English but also on each other and the clans MacDonald and
Campbell have a particularly bloody history. I won´t go into that in
detail but I have to say that I find it comforting that now that I
can lay claim to both clans in my family tree I no longer have to
defend my middle name to any of my countrymen named MacDonald! Yes,
clan memories die hard in Scotland and the massacre of MacDonalds at
Glencoe in 1692 has - unfairly - gone down in history as proof of the bloodthirsty
nature of the clan Campbell. I say "unfairly" because, according to what I´ve read about this ancient family feud, the MacDonalds weren´t averse to slaughtering the Campbells either!
all this recent knowledge I created this page in memory of my dear
dad who passed away in 1995.
tartan on the left is the clan Campbell, on the right the clan
MacDonald and in the middle the clan Armstrong to which our family
belongs. Thank you, Linda, for making this possible.
It´s been a while since I designed a
new kit, so long in fact that I was beginning to think that Nostalgic
Scrapbook was my swansong. Being in constant pain isn´t exactly
conducive to creativity and the sudden death of a family member
lowered my spirits even further. However, just recently I´ve been
having osteopathic treatment, mostly for the persistent headaches
I´ve suffered for over a year and I´m feeling a lot more
optimistic. The headaches haven´t gone completely but at least
they´re not as frequent as they were and I´m not constantly
reaching for painkillers.
Getting started on a new project wasn´t
really a conscious decision. As you may have noticed, I´ve restored
several old photos over the past year. I thought it was about time
that I gave them a suitable setting and that´s really what started
me off again.
You may remember this photo of my
grandmother and my aunt. It´s a particular favourite of mine and I
thought it deserved a layout all its own so instead of using an
existing kit I started to design something around it.
In a way it´s strange that I´ve gone
back to shades of brown again. You probably know I really don´t like
brown, mostly because it´s a colour I absolutely can´t wear, but I do like teal a lot and I can´t think of any other colour
which brings out the beauty of my favourite colour better than brown.
What do you think?