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Lulu as fresh as a daisy on the summit of Fyrish.
I've decided to force myself out for a hill run/walk on my work-free days. I've neglected this part of my life recently and suffered for it. My fitness levels are down and my weight up. My little heart was straining from the extra effort today but as the endorphines ripped through my system I felt like I was coming to life again. What's more, I love going out with Lulu - she takes it all in her stride. While I lay on the ground puffing and panting at the summit monument, she sat elegantly waiting for me to get up, inbetween bouts of foraging for little rodents in the heather - one of her favourite pass-times. A fantastic little companion!

 
 
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Julia and Theresa engineering their pocket books.
We had four participants turn up for the first Creative Bookmaking workshop at the Beauly Gallery on Monday, including Cherry herself (the Gallery and Kirk Coffee Chop proprietor). Although nervous to be teaching a couple of my colleagues, I think it went well.  
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Cherry reflecting on her work in progress.
 
 
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Mr Owl bag and other fluffy creations
My life is filling up with fluffy stuff, in various forms. I have been spinning, knitting, weaving and, most recently, making bags out of (accidentally) shrunken sweaters. You'll know if you've ever put a favourite woollen item in a hot wash that garments come out more felted than knitted. These are ideal for turning into fabric accessories. Mary-Anne and I have been working on samples, in preparation for a workshop we are both running at The Crafters this afternoon. I'll focus on the chopping and Mary-Anne will instruct on the more specialised side - embroidery and embellishment.

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Mary-Anne potato printing onto cotton using water-based acrylic ink with a fabric-printing medium. We had great fun that day with potatoes, metal stamps and Indian wood blocks. More on those projects to come.
Mary-Anne and I have been getting together on a weekly basis to do arty/crafty things, as well as chat and eat homemade cakes. We even made it out for a drive in her gorgeous little Fiat 100 "Pixie" last week, losing one of the L-plates in a gust of wind on the Beauly straight. A small price to pay for freedom, I do believe.
 
 
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A recent book scultpture of mine, now at the Beauly Gallery, along with a number of other pieces.
After years of exploring various professions, I can now say: "My name is Lesley and I am a book artist". All I want to do is look at books, bind books, rebind books. Oh, and I like teaching too. My web activity has been somewhat sporadic over the last few years. I aim to tackle that, with at least a once-weekly blog entry. I don't feel like I have anything interesting to share, but I believe it's important not to become isolated. One disadvantage of working at home is that I lose touch with other people, and that isn't always good for the creative process, I find.
So, here we go - launching my new business, with a name that should be easy to remember, spell and find - Murray Books. Any book ideas - send them this way. I do love a challenge.