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!