Tuesday, August 27, 2013


 Some photos from Dun Laoghaire on one of the hottest evenings of the summer, back in July. It was a lovely evening and the sunset was beautiful.

The sun was reflected in the windows of the buildings as it went down, creating a funny effect from the pier with the reflections on the water on both east and west.

 And the moon rose and it was a gorgeous evening.
I'm glad it is now getting on towards autumn though, my favourite time of year!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mt Usher Gardens

 Recently we went on a visit to Mt Usher Gardens in Wicklow. If you've never been there, do go, it really is a beautiful place and a very natural garden. The river Vartry flows through it, and the owners live in a wonderful house which you can see as you walk around but the garden is so cleverly managed that although you can get close to it and feel as if you are there, the residents still have their privacy and distance from visitors.
 There are several little bridges crossing the river, and different walks to take, in woodland and in more open spaces. There is a little pet cemetry too for all the much-loved furry members of the families that have lived here.
 And there is a glorious wildflower meadow that you can walk through, with a row of foxgloves along one edge. There was an abundance of poppies and marigolds when we visited, but the blue cornflowers and Nigellas were just ready to open.
 This lamp-post reminded me a little of Narnia, it is on the path up to one of the gates into the private section of the garden.

 You can wander round little winding paths or there are bigger more open grassy spaces too, and lots of wild orchids to be found too. The original owner collected trees from around the world and it has many tall eucalpytus trees as well as wedding-cake trees and a handkerchief tree.
 It was a beautiful day, not too hot, with fish jumping in the river. This suspension bridge bounces as you walk across it, it's a bit alarming!

Friday, July 19, 2013

First Tag!

I've never made a tag before and to be honest, I'm not sure what purpose they have, except to be collected like artists trading cards, but I thought I would try one as part of a crafty swap. We were all given a letter of the alphabet and I got B so I decided to use this little blackboard that I got in a florist's supply shop and put on lots of things beginning with B. I had fun thinking of things and looking through my stuff to find anything beginning with B and then I came up with a few more like border (which I drew on) and the bow in the ribbon. I think I've got 18 things listed on the back of the tag! Hope the recipient will like it, it goes in the post on Monday.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lily-Mae's ballet shoes

Some of you may have heard of Lily-Mae, a little girl who has a serious cancer, neuroblastoma. She was 4 years old when she learned the name of this disease, and she likes dinosaurs and ballet dancing. I first heard about her because both her parents are ballet dancers. Together with her uncle, they have changed my life. The updates about Lily-Mae and her treatments and progress are both heart-warming and devastating. No matter how sick she is, this little girl always has a smile on her face. It has been a year now since the diagnosis and in that time they have raised awareness and funding for neuroblastoma research. Lily-Mae even had her own single, Tiny Dancer, endorsed by Elton John, which reached number 1 on the charts. Whenever I feel fed up I think of Lily-Mae and how she keeps on fighting, and smiling - and how her parents and little brother keep on fighting, and smiling. I was honoured to be trusted to create something to remember Lily-Mae's first ballet shoes - and yes, they are tiny! I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and not really having the right papers for what I wanted to create - but then the new Enchanted Garden series from Kaisercraft came out recently and it was perfect. I'm just waiting for a frame to arrive in the post and it will be all ready to hand over.
If you would like to follow Lily-Mae's story, they have a facebook page - Tiny Dancer by a Song for Lily-Mae - and you can donate here. Please do!

Monday, June 24, 2013

May Layout

I keep forgetting to take pictures of things I've been making, really must improve! This is the LO I made from some of my May 365 photos. It was a very busy month with ballet things and work stuff too. Some lovely evenings though, and the garden finally started to come to life after the cold spring.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

365 project

This year I decided to try a 365 project, inspired by Lou, who has documented her life for the past few years now. I am not a photographer in any way, I just have a small camera that I point and click. I have no patience for f-stops or iso or apertures or exposures. Point and click, that's me. I might manage to change the setting from simple mode to close-up but that's about it! So far, surprisingly, I have managed to take a photo a day and document it. And for each month I decided to make a 12x12 layout with my favourite or representative photos of that month. I'm enjoying it, even though some days it's hard to take a photo that isn't just the same as the previous day. But then, it makes me look at things differently, and think outside the box, and I like that. Here are my layouts so far, very simple, and with very little wording, as the photos are the thing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mixed Media

I've been trying mixed media creations lately and this is one I did to try out some chalk effects with a stencil/template (thank you Sabrina!) and to use a new stamp (also from Sabrina x). I love the tree trunk effect and I had fun playing with the chalks too. I then put a little texture on the trees with some acrylic paste and some black stickles. I really wanted some fairies in amongst the trees but I don't have the right stamp for what I wanted so I made do with butterflies. I was after a Midsummer Night's Dream effect and it's getting there, but not quite! I'm enjoying the whole mixed media thing, I basically interpret it as 'do what you like' which gives me licence to slop about with paint, chalks, fabric, buttons, whatever!! It's been a while since I posted, not really sure why, just that time seems to swallow me up sometimes. Nice to see some bright sunny days here again, even if it is still ferociously cold.

Friday, February 22, 2013

More Cards

 Two more cards that I've made for upcoming birthdays - I think February has the most birthdays of all the months - there are 3 or 4 people on the same day even!
I need to buy some more blank cards now as I'm running very low, but finances are even lower, so that will have to wait until pay day! thank goodness February is a short month!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


AHHHH, I don't know where the days go to, even when they are dragging along and January seemed to take for ever to go away, I still didn't get round to posting anything, even though I have actually been quite busy craft-wise!
 So here are 2 of the cards I've made ( I can't post the others yet until they are posted!) - the first for a 16 year old niece and the second for a friend.
I'm trying to get a bit more creative with my cards and build up a supply of painted edgings and stamped and embossed things to use on them, rather than just being paper and flowers! I spent a lovely day making all the cards I need for Feb and March and now I am doing some mixed media things and other projects - photos will follow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Take one paint by numbers........

My mum bought me this in a well-known supermarket a few weeks ago. It's not exactly paint-by-numbers but the picture was printed on it in white, grey and black.
I followed the instructions, mostly, and then decided to add a few little extras of my own - buttons, gems, and crackle paint effect. It was fun!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Book

no, not my December book, I did finish it, but I've decided not to show any more pages from it. This one is an album I made with photos from the INYB show again, this time a new ballet created for them by Stephen Brennan, it's called A Christmas Tale.
 The album is again from Kaisercraft and most of the photos are taken by me, except for a few by Ewa.
 I painted it with acrylic paint and decided not to use any papers but to put the photos straight onto to the painted board. This, for me, captures the spirit of the ballet more.
 The snow on the roofs is glittered but it doesn't really show in the photos.
 The music that Stephen used was mostly based on Christmas carols and was so atmospheric.  The set was made by Andrew Clancy and was cut out wood, lit from behind by Zia Holly, it created a little village perfectly.
This album brings back lots of lovely Christmassy memories.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


and I'm in the middle of lots of mad crafting before work hits again next week - trying to cram in as many books, films and various crafts as I can!
 This is my Fairy Castle Nutcracker album with pictures from the latest INYB show. The album is from Kaisercraft and the papers are Graphic 45 Nutcracker Sweet - couldn't have been more perfect! The glittery bluebirds are Prima and the red roses climbing the turret came from Hobbycraft.
 I took all the photos (mostly from the wings) except for the middle one on the right hand side of this page which is by Ewa Figaszewska. Ewa photographs all the INYB shows and is very generous about allowing us to use the photos. This one has to be one of my favourites, although it's hard to choose as she takes THE most amazing pictures.
 This (above) is a rubbish picture, I'm not sure what happened with the light.  The photo on the right was doctored by a friend to turn it sepia (it's actually the same photo as in the first page, left hand side) - I like the sepia as it matched these papers perfectly.
 Waltz of the Flowers - the costumes (designed by Alison Finn) represent poinsettias, and the red and green colours go perfectly with the papers, I love the richness of the costumes, and the choreography by Kilian O'Callaghan is the best Flowers I've ever seen (and the girls love it too, although it is VERY difficult to dance).
This is the back cover, I went to town with the glitter, but hey! it's a Fairy Castle :) Happy New Year to you all!