This past weekend, Ailleas Designs took part in an Exclusively Highlands Christmas Fair at beautiful Castle Fraser in Aberdeenshire. It was a wonderful event and I did very well (helped, to a great extent, by my having my very own card reader!). It was terrific to meet new stallholders, along with seeing others who have become great friends. I highly recommend Blackbird House, the site belonging to the talented Emma Evans. Her art is charming, sweet and innocent and I adore it. I can also recommend, for those of you in the UK, the Rose Cottage Kitchen. I can personally attest to the incredible deliciousness of Katrina's creations. Her green tomato chutney is, in a word, amazing! I can't move on until I also mention the lovely Katie and her Tweedie Bags. I bought two of her adorable Harris tweed brooches. Lovely and well made. And last, but not least, Eileen Smilie, with whom I shared a large, antique table, brought her stunning silk dyed scarves, felted scarves, felted bead necklaces, and myriad other creations of beautiful colour and texture.
|Castle Fraser near Kemnay, Aberdeenshire|
I can also recommend, should you ever visit the area, the wonderful B&B West Mains Steading. Anne was a wonderful hostess and we enjoyed the charm of the building, the fire in the guest lounge and the comfy bed that welcomed us each night after the market.
What was perhaps the most lovely part of the weekend was the drive home. Not simply because we were anxious to return home, because we were. But because the drive itself was so beautiful. From the moment we left Inverness heading to the west coast, everything became almost magical. It was after nine in the evening, but the moon, not quite full, reflected against the snow at the tops of the hills. From the darkness below, these shining crowns of white rose and illuminated the sky. And on the sides of the road, as we traveled toward Little Loch Broom, we saw the car lights reflected in the eyes of deer - we lost count, but we surely saw more than 30 last night. From groups of young stags, each with a dramatic crown of antlers, to the groups of does with their growing young, it always lifts my heart to see them. By the time we reached home, the clouds that had rained down on the northeast of Scotland were a memory. Small balls of fluffy white clouds basked in the moonlight and twinkling stars winked as we looked up. So very beautiful here. So lucky...