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Posted on December 24, 2015

A Gallery of Snow

For me, snow at Christmas makes the occasion that much more magical.

It becomes Narnia-esque and fragile and bright and fairytale, like being inside a snow-globe for a day.

I’m not sure if it’s going to happen this year, and for those in the Southern Hemisphere, I think snow on Christmas Day would be a definite sign that the world’s weather systems were in complete revolt!

But in Scotland, there is always a good chance that a flurry of snow will come to bless Christmas.

I’ve been obsessed with winter-wonderland images on Pinterest – check out my Winterland board for inspiration:

Follow Rebecca Johnstone (Dainty Dora)’s board Winter-land on Pinterest.

And just in case it doesn’t snow in time for Christmas Day, I’ve created a Gallery of Snow from the ghost of Christmas (and winters’) past.

Enjoy, and Merry Festives to all x


Posted on December 14, 2015

Krakow Christmas Market: Photo Diary

This time last week I was on my way to Krakow, Poland, for a few days of touristic wanderings and festive indulgence.

Market Square festive scene, Krakow

Even the airport had a beautiful Christmas tree, and the shopping centres too, festooned with baubles and lights.

Around the city oversized baubles lit the way, providing an opportunity to pause a moment and take in the surroundings. They were a good way to orient yourself in the dark too…once you realised there was more than one.

Christmas Bauble, Krakow

In the heart of the ‘Stare Miastro‘ (old town) the market square, one of the largest in Europe (the largest?) boasted the illuminated stalls and oversized barrels where you could buy the Grzaniec Galicyjski (the Polish version of ‘Gluhwein’), with its pungent blend of red wine and spices.

It was strong. It was hot. It was delicious.

IMAG3824 Polish Bread, Christmas Market, Krakow

The horses and carriages lent the square a fairytale charm, and I never tired of taking pictures of them (even the man who had to keep jumping off the back to collect the dung…!)

Horse & Carriage, Krakow Christmas Market

The image below has gone a bit wrong, but I love it. It conjures a lovely sense of movement and atmosphere, like a reflection or a glimpse of another time?

Horse & Carriage, Krakow Christmas Market Read more

Posted on November 9, 2015

Kine: A weasel in the woods

A little pencil drawing of a book cover from The Kine Saga – a story about a weasel written by Alan Richard Lloyd.

The book was originally published simply as ‘Kine’ in the early eighties, but was republished as ‘Marshland’, part of the Kine trilogy in the nineties.

'Kine' book cover pencil drawing

The cover is different now, but I still remember studying my mother’s copy when I chose to draw it as a teenager, and I read the book too, though it was probably a bit advanced for me at the time!

The image feels rather fitting for this time of year as the nights draw in (is it ever daytime right now?), and the forest/woodlands take on dark, new mysteries.

Below is a close-up of the toadstools and leaves on the forest floor as I experimented with the interplay of light and dark, one of my favourite concepts:

'Toadstools' pencil drawing

Autumn: September, October, November, woodlands, marshes, branches, twigs, the hierarchy of the animal kingdom.

It takes me back to ‘Danny the Champion of the World’ by Roald Dahl, to pheasants and traps and the dense brush of a golden-leafed copse and candles in windows and thick mists hanging in city-centre streets…

I’m looking forward to spending more time sketching and drawing and painting over the winter – a joy I rediscovered earlier this year.

Meanwhile, there’s always a place in my heart for a weasel! (And leopards!)

Do you draw? Does your subject matter shift with the seasons?


Posted on November 3, 2015

The Autumn Pages

I feel like I’m ‘missing out’ on autumn because I’m so invested in writing my novel and it has me firmly in its grip (finally).

I’ve neglected my art journaling and I miss it, collage-ing too.

But, sometimes you’ve got to ‘single focus’ to make progress with your passion-project, and that’s exactly what I’m doing (it was in my New Year Fortune Cookie manifesto at the start of 2015 – to write my novel, to write everyday, to single-focus. Tick, tick, tick).

My beautiful acer tree in autumn

My beautiful acer tree

Autumn in my local park

Autumn in my local park

Occasionally I’ve allowed myself some respite from writing to rip and glue and stick and create colourful pages in my scrapbook.

'The Autumn Pages' scrapbook pageInspiring a mood: one of my scrapbook pages 'Fall in Love Again' scrapbook page Autumn Scrapbook Page

There is no real theme for them except the beguiling season of autumn, and of course, I’ve been pinning like mad on my ‘Oh So Autumn’ Pinterest board…

Follow Rebecca Johnstone (Dainty Dora)’s board Oh So Autumn… on Pinterest.
Read more

Posted on September 30, 2015

Autumn Inspirations

I’ve been so absorbed in the arrival of autumn that I haven’t been able to write about it yet. But then today…

Misty Autumn Morning

Autumn is like a second ‘new year’ because it is a huge season of change and renewal, as well as a slow wind-down into the hibernation of winter.

The days have been surprisingly glorious and dry, such warmth beaming down from the sun and the nights ushered in by tempestuous sunsets in a cacophony of colours, mists hanging low above the ground.

Autumn Sunset

Leaves are falling in the park and it’s time to harvest little crops planted in spring.

I want to wear darker, richer colours and cosy layers and start knitting again and collect beautiful leaves.

I’m drawn to headier scents like Chanel’s Coco Noir and Hermes’ Eau des Marveilles (described: “from surprise to magic and from magic to enchantment, Eau des Merveilles wraps us around its finger on a cloud of fancy…”), the liquid is a satisfying deep orange flecked with gold.

And of course I’m wearing the beanie hat my Mum knitted for me, everywhere, and I’ve gone brunette and I’ve been wearing my new leather skirt and my wool cape and boots (I didn’t really stop wearing boots).

IMAG2344 Read more

Posted on June 8, 2015


The Collage Club theme for May was all about WILD.

And when I thought about how to interpret WILD, the first images that popped into my head were of the catwalk: WILD fashions, sets, shows and extravagance.

Patterns and prints and shoes that are almost too high to walk in. WILD hair and party make-up and trends that go viral and fights in the ‘FROW’.


I was in the fashion world once, having studied it for 4 years. I can’t say that those years were particularly WILD, but like any student, there were definitely some wilder times. So many influences to absorb, so much colour, and the chance to experiment. Going WILD.

In terms of concepts and materials, whatever you could lay your hands on went into the mix. And I specialised in printed textiles so the textile-lover in me got a chance to go WILD.

Feathers and foam and printing on lace and drawings for electronic dresses with keyboard parts in them long before jewellery and craft sellers were using keyboard numbers and scrabble tiles to make things. Staying up late to write print reports. Staying up late to party. Sleeping in late for exams. WILD times!

So here’s my WILD designs; a triptych: Read more

Posted on January 15, 2015

Industrial Glasgow – a view from The Waverley

A view of a crane from aboard the Waverley; the world’s last sea-going paddle-steamer.

I love this image; am drawn to it again and again.

Grey and dark, powerful, hard-working and a little bit iconic.

Industrial Glasgow viewed from the Clyde

It’s the skyline of anytime, but the bleak scurry of clouds is particularly suited to the whims of January.

Posted on January 9, 2015

Work in progress: knitted ’emotional’ blanket

I love knitting and it’s one of a handful of craft practices that I’ve been doing since I was a child.

Knitted squares blanket - work in progress

My Nana taught me to knit and my first project was a ‘scarf’ each for our two family cats. They hated those scarves.

I cut my knitting teeth on Jean Greenhowe’s knitted scarecrows, dolls, cakes and other characters (like the penguin with the lantern, featured on the site right now. I knitted that!), and knitting formed my ‘special project’ in Home Economics at school.

When I was 12 I knitted small squares from scraps of wool handed down by my Mum and my Nana, and eventually I had enough to make a blanket. There was no colour scheme or set pattern to the squares, but I would knit in rows of colour to form stripes, or experiment with different stitches to get interesting surface techniques.

I remember buying neon pink wool with my pocket money once. I was a child of the 80’s (though perhaps the only child to spend pocket money on wool!? I grew up in a very rural place.)

It was a proud moment when I finally finished that blanket. Read more

Posted on December 29, 2014

Frosty Winter Delight

Frosty Morning

When I looked out of the window this morning all I could was a frozen Narnia of frosted branches and white, freezing mists and fog.

It’s that strange in-between time where the days are so short and lacking any clear routine; the days meld together inspiring possibilities for great creation, making, baking, crafting, reading…or just sleeping.

When I ventured out with my camera everything was frozen and still and silent.

Ice crystals on a leaf Frosty winter foliage Frosty winter foliage Read more

Posted on December 23, 2014

Holly Leaves Watercolour Sketch

I haven’t drawn in years, but I loved art at school.

A few months ago I bought some watercolour pencils in the sale. And today I finally got them out.

Holly Leaves & berries watercolour sketch

I was inspired by the holly leaves on so many Christmas cards and on tins and wrapping paper, so I quickly sketched out this holly leaf and it’s lovely bright red berries.

I’d wanted to sketch the autumn leaves and twigs and toadstools, but time just seemed to slip away. Today I had 23 minutes left before the washing machine finished its cycle, and so I just thought I’d have a go. And that’s how long it took.

It’s not perfect and I’m out of practice, but I intend to do more!


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