Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas/Serene Solstice....

I am so tired. I have spent the month of December catching up on projects that got backed up from getting sick for three weeks. I got everything in the post and got most of my stuff done. Then I headed straight into Christmas baking. Fionn and I did make a lovely tree for our house, a group project. I managed to get a pic of it. My digital camera has been on the fritz and so I had *hoped* that Santa would bring me another one, but NO. So I will have to hunt for a good deal in the January sales because it will just not do the job much longer.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve at a friend's house and then Christmas Day at our house. St Stephen's Day is the Wren's Day here and we did get out to enjoy the mayhem. I missed going out with Sraid Eoin on the Wren, but Fionn is having a shy patch and would not think of going this year. But we had a great time watching and meeting friends. I got pictures on my phone, but will have to upload later as my phone acting up. I seem to have poor luck with electronics.
Goals for the New Year are: finishing my new coat that did not get finished for Christmas; finishing up lots of hand-stitching experiments that are waiting in my office; start my FETAC Textiles course in January; start using acid dyes on fibre to experiment with colour; try and keep the house clutter down!! :) And the usual weight loss and quit smoking. Sigh...
I did get my Winter Swap from the lovely Jody Pearl in Australia and her handbag is so lovely....many thanks to Clasheen/Nicola Brown for organizing it. It's so fun to open up a box and have no idea what it could be!
I am organizing a fibre order to Fibrecrafts to stock up on dyed Merino and I am going to break down and get the silver clay kit that I have been ogling. Santa didn't bring it and I have the feeling that it is going to be a rather quiet winter and so lots of time for projects and experimenting. There is a strong chance that I will not being working and so I need to line up some projects to keep me from cracking up.
More soon, darlings, as I now have time to gather my thoughts a bit more. All I seem to want to do is read books and cook, and really, how bad is that??? I have another week of holidays before I find out if I am employed or not and so I am determined to relax and not worry about 2010 too much. Some might say it's denial, but it works for me!!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a week....

I have been run-down lately, fighting off some bug or another. It has made getting organized for craft fairs very hard and I was behind schedule. And then I noticed a lump like a cyst on my neck. Strange, but the kind that just goes away on its own, so no panic. And then the cold that I thought was gone CAME BACK and I was flat out again. And two days later the lump got big and I mean BIG!

I went to the doctor and he said that I was fighting a virus and it was just a lymph node that was enlarged and that it would go away in a week on its own. Great! So I went home. Over the weekend it got bigger and red and hot to the touch. So Monday I went back to the same doctor and he gave me antibiotics and told me it was an abscess. After taking six strong antibiotics and it getting slightly worse, I was worried. I went after hours to another doctor and she said "You aren't going to like this, but you have to go to the hospital right away and get that seen to." Damn.

I organized small boy and myself and got to hospital. The doctor was kind but he collapsed the vein in my right hand trying to put an IV in, which did nothing for my nerves whatsoever. He inserted a needle into the abscess three times (I did not kick, run, or scream) to drain it, but couldn't get anything out. He got me a bed and I settled in on IV antibiotics.

I spent three days in hospital crocheting nervously. The lump was the size of my fist. They finally said that the antibiotics weren't working because the fluid needed to be drained. The infection had graduated to cellulitis. They sprayed something on me to numb the site, but it didn't work and they cut a small hole and drained it. I was shaking so hard I though the bed would start drifting. But in the morning anyone could see that there was good improvement. I was discharged with a scrip for more antibiotics and sent home to small boy who was missing me (and I him).

Soooo, I cancelled the craft fairs as I am just plain exhausted. As much as I was looking forward to it, I was relieved to let it go as I had not got nearly enough finished for sale. It will give me time for the Christmas presents that need to be completed. It's a bit boring, but I don't want this virus back again (I have a sneaking suspicion that its not totally gone yet) at Christmas. It's eating well, sleeping plenty, and keeping stress at a minimum!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Quiet Saturdays...

Another wild weather day and I am home crocheting. I seem to have some sort of virus and my glands are all swollen and I am tired. I have a rather disturbing lump on my throat that the doctor tells me is enlarged lymph nodes and so I must take all activities down a notch. So crocheting fits into that category quite nicely.

I have a blanket that must get done in the next few weeks and I am going to start a new coat for myself (yes, ME!) I have so many craft projects to get at that it makes me dizzy to think of them, but I have to ignore them at the moment and get well or there will be no craft fair. The blanket is red wool from Donegal Wools and is for my son for Christmas. He wanted red and I am going to felt alien creatures and baste in so when I machine felt it, they will be in the surface design. He is all monsters, aliens, robots these days at age six.

For myself, I was watching the live-action 102 Dalmatians and admiring Glenn Close's amazing costumes that she got to wear as Cruella de Ville. I am going to make myself a black and cream Cruella de Ville coat--long and sweeping with vertical stripes (since I haven't Cruella's sharp edges!) and perhaps a hint of red along the collar.

I have a new nephew and I must start a pram blanket for him, but that might have to wait for another time. I did get some lovely alpaca and merino wool at the Knit and Stitch Show in Dublin. If I get that done in the next couple of weeks, it will be fine.

All the ornaments and jewelry that need to be done are talking to me, but just don't see it happening unless I am in flying form tomorrow. I am hoping I will get more done during the week in the afternoons. I have beading and embroidery work to do, and that is fairly low energy stuff. Being sick at this time of year is a bugger as this is always a busy time of year for me.

Think healthy thoughts for me!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Yes, I am alive....

I meant to get a good few blogs in last week and then I came down with a cold and Small Boy came down with a stomach bug. That's was our week shot. I thought I was well when I went up to Dublin for the Knitting and Stitching Show, but obviously wasn't as I relapsed as soon as I got back. I am on the mend again and determined to stay healthy!!

Even at less than 100% energy, the Knitting and Stitching Show was fab, Fab, FAB!! I took an embroidery/beading class with the Dublin Embroidery Guild and a surface decoration class from Colourcrafts (Markal paint sticks, Procion dyes, angelina fibres). Both were great although too much was crammed into the Colourcraft class. And there was gorgeous stuff to buy and see as far as the eye could wander. I got oodles of beads from Totally Beads ( at great prices and met the lovely girls at This is Knit and The Yarn Room, where I have ordered wool previously. I am in complete awe of Oliver's Twists with her gorgeous hand-dyed silks, scrim, embroidery threads, and velvet. I bought a natural sampler pack of silks so I can practice with my acid dyes, but I could have bought as much as money (and Ryanair) would permit. The colours are/were stunning. You can buy her things through but the camera doesn't do her lovely jewel-tones justice. Buy and know the real thing in your hand will be even more beautiful!!

I had a quick bite and then went back out for another foray down the booths. As is always the way, I ran out of money before I could finish up buying. There were several excellent booths of craft books (, but I knew it would make my bag too heavy for my 10 kilo limit on Ryanair. I noted a lovely series on surface decoration that was excellent AND inexpensive for my FETAC Textiles course from Double Trouble Enterprises (Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beaney) and several books by Maggie Grey ( that Santy might have to bring me. The Double Trouble books are like a FETAC course in itself! You can get an overview on

I would have bought lots of heavenly Manos de Uruguay yarn and more Noro, but I did get some nice, soft Artesano merino/alpaca for my new nephew's baby blanket. I was sorry that I didn't buy Woolfish's great deal on Manos de Uruguay since I have been coveting that yarn for a long time. But I did manage to find everything that I needed, so there is probably a lesson there if I look at it closely enough.

Must go light fire before the rainy day seeps into the house!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I bit off more than I could chew....

Remind me why I actually VOLUNTEER for more work again??? The felting session with my son's class was madness. Most of the kids ended up with a decent felted pumpkins, but time just ran out. I thought it would take two hours and I felted flat out for three and could have gone on another hour. I ended up having to felt the pieces with them 3/4 way done and putting them in a sealed bad and sending home to finish the job with their household washing. I do this to finish my pieces, but I just hope the kids remember to tell their parents when they get home (a lot don't) and the mothers don't open up their schoolbags and find this lump of wet felt and wonder what it is!! If they throw them in the machine they should all turn out fine after a little stretch and hot iron.

It didn't go as well as I thought it would. Luckily I had a lovely girl on work experience helping me. If I am crazy enough to try it again, I will need more help. Also we had to use their desks, which are slanted, and the water tended to run straight for the old carpet on the floor. I would need a flat table....

However, the cupcakes were a hit and there were enough for all the kids and teachers. My camera is on it's last legs though, so I hope Santy wants to bring me a new digital camera for uploading.

I am tired. I was fighting off a bug most of the week and work stress did not help much. I was informed that I don't have enough Irish to continue on my work scheme and wasn't sure if I had a job at all for awhile there. Turns out I WILL have a job, but they are transferring me to a job that does not require Irish. Details to be sorted out, but all going well it will be very interesting.

The rain is running down the windows and the wind galing, so must tidy up the house and get ready to felt. It's an indoor day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

After a brief absence......

It would seem that I have been living under a rock, but no, I am still here. Work and life have been interfering in my craft progress, dammit. I did get the two pieces felted below. I need to do embroidery and beading on them both and I will post them again when they are totally finished.

The drama of the last week is that I will have my job for another year. I will make less progress felting, but I will have money to pay the bills, so there is some good and bad. For myself, the peace of paying bills seems to win out. I am heading to Dublin October 29th for the Knit and Stitch Show in the RDS. Is anyone else going? It should be fab and I am looking forward to seeing the Swishing Tent. You take in three items and swap vintage or handmade clothing. Hopefully something fun will show up! There is a small fee paid and that will go to a children's charity. I am taking a class on Lutrador and other surface decoration products and a beaded broach class. This is my first time going to the biggest textile show in Europe, but there should be lots of suppliers exhibiting, individual artists, and craft classes. I need to get lots of beads and I will go to Yellow Brick Road in Dublin ( and see what they have to add to my collection. I order some beads online but beads are a tactile thing and seeing them close up is so much nicer. It would be good if there are some fabric people there and I am hoping Fibrecrafts ( is coming over, since this show toured England before it comes to Dublin. Anyway, let me know if any Kerry people are going so we can meet up.

This Friday I may have taken on more than I can manage. I ordered merino and I am going into my son's classroom to felt pumpkins with them. All well and good, but there are 23 of them and I will be under pressure with time. I think I will have to do four at a time and get them done in twenty minutes and then start the next group. They are mostly age 7 and fairly enthusiastic, so we will hope for the best. And I am making Halloween cupcakes for them, too (will post pics), since they are getting their Mid-term Break holidays that day. I have all kinds of gummi eyes and scars and disgusting edible bits to put on top, so they should be a hit with kids and teachers.

I have been trying to get at Autumn jobs. The grass is mowed, bulbs mostly planted, sidewalks swept up and tidied, fireplace cleaned, but I need to trim hedges still. With all the rain during the summer they have grown like mad and need a severe cut to keep them from bearing down on the house. And the dreaded weeding of flower beds. I seem to have so little time for gardening now with all the craft work I have been doing. I am not creating any more flower beds and I decided to plant monbretia along the hedge side and let the flower bed go wild as monbretia will grow through anything. It will look natural and I just can't keep the weeds out because they are all thick through the hedge. I hate spraying poisons because you never know if you killing cats, birds etc.
I got the Fibrecrafts/George Weil catalog in the post and I must say that the precious metals Silver Clay is really gorgeous. I saw it online but didn't take much notice, but it is 99.9% pure silver after firing. You work it like regular clay and let it dry out and then fire it and the binding compound burns away. And best of all, you don't have to invest in a lot of equipment to start out. You can fire the pieces on a gas hob and invest in a blowtorch or a small kiln if it becomes an obsession/profitable. I think Santy wants me to get the starter pack....
Must go now, but will blog again soon, I promise....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The weekend flew....

Another weekend gone and I have been stuck in the house trying to get my first hat order ready. I have three hats completed and just need linings added. I have two more that need to be assembled but are nearly there. The red and white hat (pictured below) I made using my Solufleece that finally arrived in the post this week. I find that this process is hard on sewing machine needles, so it's good to have a gross of them on hand. I have the lining in this one, so it is technically finished, but I am not happy with it and I will take the lining out and have a bit of a redo.
Since it has been mostly wet, I have the perfect excuse for ignoring the growing grass. If I wait another week I might get away with the last mowing of the autumn. I do love gardening, but I just don't seem to have the time or good weather to do as much as I would like. I have planted some hyacinths, narcissus, and crocus for spring, but I would like to get some more tulips and dig up some of the FREE monbretia that grow wild all over.

All these projects must come to an end as the Dingle Food Festival is on next weekend, if we aren't all suffering from indigestion from the Lisbon Treaty Referendum on Friday. This is the third year and it keeps getting better and better. The taste trail will be in full swing and all the food booths. I have heard rumor of the taste trail moving out west of Dingle with a bus tour to get us all to and from. This is a fab idea and I am hoping to sample much food and beverage. It goes without saying that the small boy will be happy enough to eat his way across Kerry....

I have a big order from coming this week as part of my winter stockpiling efforts. I also discovered and they have a mad kind of website but there is a tremendous amount of fabric and notions there. Their prices are outstanding. They have the best price on Solufleece and the satin lining fabric that I need for hat linings. Take a look!

The minimal amount of house cleaning and laundry was done this weekend so we should survive without being declared dangerous or smelly. I did make lovely calzones for dinner tonight. I seem to be failing to impress the small boy with dinners lately. I thought homemade calzone was a great dinner, but he pronounced it disgusting. This, after I made the sauce and dough and baked the feckin things. I did remind him sharply that not a lot of mom's bother to make things from scratch, but I'd say that landed on the floor before it could reach his ears. He seems to want to eat nothing but crap lately, but I just can't let him get away with that. Perhaps if I starved him for a day he would have a better attitude about eating what's put in front of him...? Sigh.

I am eagerly awaiting my Eason's order in the post. It contains Embroidered Books by Isobel Hall. Hall previously wrote Bags with Paper and Stitch and both books are luscious eye candy. I have been toying with the idea of making handmade books or at least really gorgeous felted and embroidered covers. I will wait for a rainy day and sit in my pajamas and read it with a cup of coffee. It goes without saying that it will be sans child.

Now, I really don't think my newly felted flowers are going to bead themselves.....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Well here I am again on a Sunday. I am always hoping to post more often, but once a week seems to be my regular posting. I actually got a lot of work done finishing projects up. I have a commission for a butterfly grouping for a child's bedroom and I felted the pieces ages ago and have just gotten around to doing the embroidery and bead work to finish them up. I should finish the third butterfly tonight and then just the ladybird (or ladybug for the Americans) to work on tomorrow.

It's amazing that I got ANYTHING done today at all with Kerry winning the All-Ireland and my son being grounded for the weekend. It's so hard to concentrate when they need to eat every hour and want to be entertained. It would be much easier to throw small boy outside and relax, but he cannot stay out past dark on a school night and Wednesday evening found me knocking on six doors before I could locate my wayward son and get him home. Not good. So I am cracking down and I doubt that he will chance sundown before heading home now.

I am hemming and hawing about craft shows. I did one craft show last year and I made no money at all on it. The stuff I sent was good but people were just not buying. Do I go again and hope for the best or do I forget it as the time and money for prep will just not be worth it??? When you make lovely, handmade things it's hard when people do not buy, even with good prices.... I was thinking Christmas stars for tree top and ornaments for the tree and making bracelets with the children on the day (they choose beads and we can do together). It would be nice to sell a few hats and do a few jumpers, but they are all in the box from last year. I hate to spend too much time on things that may or may not sell.....Must spend time this week thinking about that.

Other than that, I have been bogged down by a cold and the postal strike in England that has hijacked supplies that I am waiting on for AGES. Give me my Solufleece!!! Perhaps I will start on more butterflies and a series of pins that may or may not sell.....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September, the transition month....

Hi folks. I have been a big ol slacker about postings lately. It seems like it has been rather hard to get back to normal after the summer. And the summer weather that suddenly arrived this week has not helped matters any! Homework for rang a haon is quite a step up and we have had great stress getting used to the spelling tests. Good news is that on the second test small boy got all words correct!

I am in transition because I am de-cluttering the house and trying to get ready for painting bedrooms and getting floors put down. How do children acquire so much crap??? I blame Happy Meals. I have two months of gardening to get done in the next few days because God only knows when we will have fair weather again, so I have gotten no craft projects done this weekend.

I am in transition because I have craft supplies en route and I can't wait to get started on new projects. I received most of the wool I ordered from and I have a separate order coming from Fibrecrafts in England. I ordered a whole load of Solufleece as I just LOVE it. I love designing my own fabric and I have great ideas to get on with if it would ever get here.

I am in transition because men are driving me a bit crazy with their inability to make up their minds. After a week of dickering around, it is clear that he is too busy for me but does not want me going out with anyone else and is not prepared to do anything to make me feel secure, wanted, needed, appreciated etc. Bloody men anyway. I need my craft supplies to keep my head sane.

And the final transition appears to be out of my job. I am told that the Community Employment scheme that I am on is finishing at the end of October and I do not qualify for the additional two years because I don't have enough stamps. I am to go on the dole for a year and then I will qualify for the additional two years work. It makes no sense at all, but I am beginning to see how this might work out a bit. I will be dirt broke, but if I stock up on wool and beads and other supplies I might need, then maybe I can use the time to work on developing products. God knows I will have to do something productive to keep from going loopy at home. I completely dread being out of work through this recession, but there appears to be very fecking little I can do about it....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Well, I have been a bit of slacker lately. I haven't had a post in over a week, but I seem to be fighting to get on my own computer in the waning days of summer holidays. School starts Thursday!!! Hooray! I love my son, but back to a regular schedule and some peace of mind for mommy is in order.

I did finish this hat over the weekend. I used a new method that I found in Crazy Felt. You use Solufleece (available at Hickeys in Dublin or online at to sandwich your fibres between water soluble fabric. The fabric is like interfacing and is really easy to sew on. Once you have your fibres selected, lay them out on top of the first piece of Solufleece in an even manner. Then spray it with adhesive so nothing shifts and cover it with the second piece of Solufleece and pin the whole lot in place. You then stitch the whole lot in a random, free embroidery kind of way on the machine. The thread must capture the whole lot to hold together. When you are done, rinse it in warm water and you are left with a fabric you have created yourself! Very exciting.

Next time I do it I can photograph the whole process, but the final result turned out pretty good. I followed the pattern in the book for the first experiment and it turns out that the side piece needs to be a bit wider, so I added a bit of denim as trim to give it that bit more coverage. Don't know why I chose pink, but I am going to do a black and silver one next. The fibres are merino in various pinks, Wensleydale, fuscia satin, and micro fibre trim. It's easy, but I must stock up on thread as you do go through quite a lot to make sure you have the fibres caught up.
It's very tempting to stay up tonight and do another!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Well, we are home and well recuperated from the English holiday. For the record, I would not recommend the earliest flight in from Stanstead as it means getting up in the middle of the night. Money is saved, but exhaustion is total.

Legoland was brilliant, but expensive. The small boy loved it! We went on lots of rides and he came home with a new Indiana Jones Lego piece to add to the collection. The London Zoo was excellent and the weather was picture perfect over the last weekend for it. There was a live animal show, a Bug House, gorillas, a butterfly habitat, a children's play/animal explore area, and all the usual suspects. We had a great time in London's parks; Holland Park had an excellent playground for bigger kids. We also caught Regent's Park, Greenwich Park, and Kensington Park. Kensington Park is the home of the Diana Memorial Park, which is the best kids park I have ever been in: a Peter Pan theme with a big pirate's ship sunk into sand, water features, tunnels, climbing, sand, swings, musical garden. It was a child's dream come true. Small Boy just stared in wonder and didn't know what to do first. Then he threw his shoes at me and ran for the ship. And it was FREE, enclosed, and people without kids can't get in and kids can't get out without parents. As an added bonus there were healthy kids meals served at the concession. To be honest, it was a lovely memorial to Diana and a bit of peace for parents in the summer. The kids just go play and come back when hungry. Why does Ireland not have lovely parks for kids???

The only disappointment was London Dungeons. We waited in line for an hour only to scare the pants off the small boy. It was just more appropriate for teenagers and a shame that they didn't state this on entry. Small boy kept saying "We are never going there again, Mommy!" Over and over til I felt truly guilty. To be honest, I could have skipped it, but I thought it was a fun way to do London history. Live and learn....In the picture of the two of us together in que at London Dungeons, the scar on my arm is all makeup. They were doing gory makeup for free and I got one; small boy was mortified as you can see from the pic.
Other than that, it was nice to spend time in the city. Small boy is a bit too independent and I had to keep pulling him back from his wandering ways. He asked me the first day "Why is everyone brown in London?" We were on Brick Lane in the Bangla/Pakistani/Indian area at the time and the comment was made in innocence, really. Kerry is still quite white and so I do want him to see that other parts of the world are much more diverse. I noticed that when he played on the playground, he never picked mates that were white, so maybe they do learn to be colourblind. Thank God.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Well, we are nearly ready to head away on holidays. I find that right before I head away, I am nearly at the breaking point with people, ready to yell or lose the plot at absolutely nothing. Of course, the small boy is excited about holidays and asking for the world before we leave town; he is six years old and full of WHOO-HOO about the whole thing. All I want is to finish packing, tidy the house for our return, and have a glass of wine so it actually feels like I am in holiday mode. I just need to purge the fridge of science experiments so that they won't be walking and talking when we get back home.

Camera ready and has new batteries-check! Phone charger and UK adapter-check! Clothes packed, London A-Z and travel paperwork all stowed. Just to throw in toiletries in the morning and away we go to Kerry International (ha!) Airport. All that is left is to CALM DOWN and actually enjoy myself. I must have the Big City Lecture with my son, as well. Living in a small town he has no idea about the dark element to life and London is a great deal bigger than Seattle. We need an If-I-Get-Lost plan just in case he goes day dreaming and wanders away. Normally I would say that I would never let this happen, but I will be shopping for fabric and, well, you know how it can get....a friend tells me on Brick Lane you can get silk for like €1.50 a metre. That alone makes my blood pressure go up.

The only possible glitch is that the neighbor boy has chicken pox. I don't care if small boy gets them, but the timing would be truly dreadful as Legoland has been the carrot that I have dangled in front of him for the last two months. No little dots yet, so I just have to watch and see. Too soon to worry about that yet!

It's time for me to start singing my holiday song....

Monday, August 3, 2009

The view of Connor Pass outside my front door. It looks fairly hazy, but the camera just isn't picking up the rain that is whizzing sideways. Fairly dirty stuff. On the other hand, there was bright sunshine in Dublin for Kerry to totally defeat the Dubs on their own home turf. Let them have the sun if we get to win!

Things to do on a rainy day

Oh, I would surely love to be reading all day in my pajamas, but people keep coming to the door and it is embarrassing to get caught in pajamas after 11am as the whole Pajama Movement has been derailed by the horrible Early Morning Brigade that must Accomplish Lots. And I have a six year old who does not understand that if someone knocks or the phone rings, you are not obligated to answer. Let the world wait.

So here I am, pajamas frustrated, and the boy has decided that he needs to eat AGAIN, having been fed four times already today and he will need to be fed at least twice more again before I declare that I am on strike for the day. A dinner must be made. I think pork chops and mash and veg, which I will make him consume entirely as pennance for disturbing my reading and afternoon of reverie. Children just do not understand the beauty of relaxation and pottering about the house. Thank God we are going on holidays soon so we can get out of our routine and do something we both would not ordinarily do and just be different people for a week.

I just finished a necklace so take a look above....