Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en!


Here are my baby pumpkins turned into baby Jack-a-lanterns and I had to get them a mummy to watch over them. She is a normal size pumpkin so you can see how small my babies really are!! Over the years I have tried different things on my pumpkin, stars, witches, bats etc, but I keep coming back to the traditional face, sometimes smiley, sometimes grumpy or scary. It always seems to work the best.
I don't really like Hallowe'en very much if I'm honest. I have no problem with the feast of Samhain, or with the world of the dead being closer to us for a while, or even with the thought of witches and ghosts being around a bit more than normal. What I don't like is the whole firework/banger type thing, where it has become an excuse for people to make a lot of noise and nuisance of themselves for no particular reason. Fireworks don't belong with Hallowe'en, it's a far more spiritual and deep-meaning festival. Fireworks are for Guy Fawkes, and we don't celebrate that in Ireland. They are also for celebrating something like a birthday or a wedding. But for many people Hallowe'en is an excuse to throw bangers into your old neighbour's garden, or worse, their letter box. To vandalise things that you would never touch any other time of the year, and to generally go round being a pest and frightening everyone's dogs and cats.
I have no issue with the children going round in fancy dress and knocking for sweeties or treats at their neighbour's houses, but I don't particularly like opening my front door to a bunch of teenagers that I don't know at all demanding something from me with more than a hint of menace. Return Samhain to the druids I say, and let's do this festival the way it's supposed to be!!!
Anyway, rant over......enjoy your pumpkins, fancy dress or whatever it is that you will be doing. My little lanterns will be shining out and keeping the dark spirits at bay, and my warm fire will hopefully do the same for the cold and the rain.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkins


This year I planted lots of seeds for ornamental gourds (which I have grown quite well before) and pumpkins. Unfortunately because of the wet summer we had the snails and slugs in our garden came forth and multiplied like never before. So many of my carefully minded seedling were just digestive juice. Out of 2 trays of seedlings I have ended up with these 3 pumpkins. Now, in order to put this in perspective I should add that the one on the right is the size of a tennis ball. And the largest one is the size of a small Galia melon. Im not entirely sure how I will carve them, if at all, but I think I may go for my standard of stars round the edges. When I brought them into the house I was reminded of the Hallowe'en, a few years ago, in fact, many years ago, when I couldn't get a big pumpkin to make a Jack O' Lantern. I was panicking because the children would be so disappointed without their Jack O' Lantern for Hallowe'en. All the pumpkins in the shops were so small. So I hit on the bright idea (well I thought so at the time lol) of buying 4 small pumpkins, one for each child, and carving an individual face or design on it. And that's what we did. We had 4 small pumpkins on the mantelpiece, each with a different face, and each with their own nightlight inside, and each child was happy. Somehow it seemed a very special Hallowe'en.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Snoopy!



Last Saturday I went to the Cara Craft Supplies shop for a special Saturday opening and demos. It was great fun, to meet up with people and to see all the nice crafty things and I made a pretty Christmas tag too. But the best thing was that the lovely Jackie had made me a surprise - a little Snoopy to put on my bag. She made it after reading about my bag here, so thank you again Jackie, it was a lovely thing to do :D




The night before I had been out to dinner to some friends and I made this card to say thank you to them for all the hard work and the lovely evening we had. I used an embroidered brad that I bought at the shop, it's from My Mind's Eye and the paper is from Scrapbook Walls, Light Summer Flowers, it's double-sided. I carefully stamped the back with my little 'Hand Made by' stamp that Julie gave me last Christmas and then I carefully wrote the card and carefully posted it without actually adding my name under the stamp on the back! Oh dear :D

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where to be on a very rainy day

Well the picture says it all really - cats definitely have life sorted out......a nice warm bed to sleep on and a friend to snuggle up to. And when you have had enough of that you can go downstairs and eat some food and sit on someone's lap or in front of the fire.
Its a very strange day here, torrential rain for the most part, but then suddenly a few moments of beautiful blue sky and bright sparkling colour. I have made some French Onion Soup for later, and we will be lighting the fire and looking forward to Friday and a few days off school and work.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beady Bag

Anyone who knows me, knows I love my bag. Its black with purple spider webs and skulls on it and studs and rings. It used to have a chain across the front of it too, but one of the loops came loose and it kept falling off so I had to remove it. But I now have a collection of badges and ribbons, and I recently bought a piano button which I am going to sew on it. A colleague in work the other day noticed my bag and told me about beady bags. Apparently about 50 or so years ago, Traveller women used to carry these beady bags, onto which they had sewn various beads, buttons and other decorations. Each item had a special memory or significance. This button or that bead reminded them of a person, or a place they had been, or an occasion. And they used to swap with other women to add to their collection. He said that my bag was a little like that, and indeed it is, although I don't want to give any of mine away!!



And here is mine, I have tied some ribbons onto a ring at the top, these are just purple and black ribbons that I had in my collection. On the pocket I have Petra's daisy and a black felt flower with a purple centre that was made by Sian (in hindsight I should have chosen purple with a black centre as I don't think it shows up very well). The red one says 'Princess of Darkness' which I think is fun, cos although I like black and purple and punky/goth style stuff, I am a big softie and a real flowers and sparkle person! The black one on the bottom right says 'My imaginary friend doesn't like you' which is what I would love to say to some people I know but I am way too polite! Also, I would have loved to wear this when I was a teenager, but would have been too timid. Unfortunately I have lost some badges that I really liked, sometimes the pins just come loose, or get damaged and I can't use them any more. I buy them when I see them and they catch my eye, and when I have sewn on the piano button it will be the first button so maybe I am starting a new phase :D

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Dragons!

Finally I got this mirror finished, I've been working on it for ages. It's made from papier mache, built on a thick cardboard base, and done in layers. It took a while for all the layers to dry out. I sprayed it with silver paint and then dabbed black over it and then some more silver, poster paint this time. The blue of the dragon is a lovely paper I got in a kit, its like lizard skin, tho the scaley effect doesn't really show in the pic. And his tail is also scaley. I stuck some 'gems' on it to give it an old castle sort of feel. I had a bit of trouble with the back as I had built up his wing on one side and ofc forgot that I needed to have it level in order to stick the mirror tile on it! So some swearing ensued and I had to do a repair job. It's not 100% how I would like it, but it works ok. Now to make a nice space for myself in a corner of my bedroom - pics will follow :D

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Autumn



I love autumn, its my favourite time of year. I love all the gorgeous colours on the trees and the light at this time of year, on those sunny days when the sky is a clear blue. And there's something about the autumn rain, turning all the reds and oranges into sparkling jewels. In the garden you find those amazing spider webs, perfectly constructed and with the dew marking them out like veils of diamonds. I love the idea that everything is settling down for a long winter sleep, ready to wake up in the spring. And when the leaves fall off the trees, you can see their shape, all the branches and bark and how they reach to the sky. I look forward to evenings by the fire and snuggling up with a mug of tea and a good book.


I went for a walk by the canal today and took some photos of the trees and the water. The swans were beautiful and the water was quite clear, but I have to say the amount of rubbish was quite depressing. I still can't understand why people think it's ok to just throw stuff around everywhere. The sun wasn't out, but it was still lovely there.



I spent yesterday dyeing some curtains for my front room. They didn't turn out quite as I intended, as I didn't put enough ties on them for the tie dye to be really effective, but the colour is quite something!! They are bright red. At the moment they are still drying out and then will have to be ironed before I hang them up. I'm not sure how they will look, but it will certainly be different from the cream that was there before lol.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wow what a day!



We managed to raise 2,700 euro for Petra's Trust last Sunday. It was a great crafty day, lots of things to see and buy and do and plenty of cakes to eat too! I made some cards for it with Petra's daisy on them, the badge version is on my bag ofc :D They are made by Ger of LittleSnippets on Etsy. It's so great to see the total getting towards the 20k that's needed to send Petra off for her operation - hopefully the last bit won't take too long to get. Sometimes I wish I had POTS of gold lol.

Friday, October 2, 2009

So who is to blame?

I have always blamed/been grateful to my cousin for my interest in dragons and all things mythical and fantastical. He is 10 years older than me and when I was a child he told me the most wonderful stories of dragons, princesses, pirates, unicorns and knights in shining armour. He also taught me to play chess, and introduced me to yet another world full of castles, kings, knights and pawns.
But recently I took down a book from our shelves to look for some inspiration for a craft project. Its called the Book of Romance edited by Andrew Lang with illustrations by Henry Ford. I have a few other books by the same Andrew Lang with titles such as the Blue Fairy Book and the Brown Fairy Book. These gorgeous books have gold edged pages, beautiful illustrations (the colour plates with tissue paper in front of them) and embossed covers. Opening up the Book of Romance I was transported back to my childhood with pictures of Lancelot, Guenevere and of course dragons. It brought back so many memories of reading these stories with my beloved father, who, of course, also had a great love for dragons and fairies (and, I rather suspect, damsels in distress!).
Surrounded by such people, how could I hope to escape......my dreams were born, and I became a greater fantasy lover than either of them.
So thanks, Daddy and Brian, I'm a richer person for having the both of you :D

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Comments!!



Ooooh I got some comments, its exciting.....and some followers!!! Now I will have to get my act together and put some nice things up here for people to look at :D So I'm starting with a picture of Killiney Beach taken in January 2008, I like the light in this picture and I love Killiney Beach and the sea in general. My dream is to have a house where I can see the sea from at least one window, ah, that would be lovely.