Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gardening and Catch Up


I've been carrying on with the bramble and blackthorn clearing, in spite of the frost and ice on the ground! Jim came and did some too a couple of days ago and we cleared quite a large area.

An icy puddle, left by a footprint. Isn't it pretty?

That's frost on the ground! These spindly ash trees were totally buried in bramble and blackthorn - we can see that they were planted in a little clump now. Poor things have been eaten by deer several times.

Jim tugging away at a blackthorn. I did take a photo of him holding it up but it was blurred!

I had a bonfire last night, even though it was damp and eventually rained. Jim went and had a walk round there today and it was still smoking!

The Spare Bedroom

Jim has finally assembled the unit for the spare bedroom. It's no great thing of beauty but is just what's required in there. Somewhere for our guests to hang their clothes and put bits of clothes.

Here you can see it in relation to the door. The draws in it are tiny! They'll just about hold pants and socks though!

Gorgeous Lina

My daughter K and 2 Granddaughters went wedding dress shopping for Kirsty, who is getting married on 7th May. Lina played dressing up:

Isn't that just the best photo? K took it of course!


K posted a photo of Lu on Facebook on 19th January and I thought I'd show you how well she is doing.

Luisa sitting at her work computer (at home). Just dipping her toe in. She looks so well! I can't thank you all enough for your prayers, candles and good vibes. I truly thought we'd lose her.

And here's a photo from today:

In Nonna's (Chesterfield, reasonably new swanky eaterie), actually out of doors being sociable!

Gosh these photos make me smile!


I've been dipping in and out of various projects. I've made 7 woven rectangles towards the rug I'm making out of them. That will be going in the spare bedroom when it's finished. Photos then.

I'm making another rag doll for Ann Broderick, my coffee morning friend, as she'd like one for one of her Granddaughters:

What do you think of it so far? LOL! Ah well, it'll be done soon enough.

I'm off to the UK on Thursday until Tuesday to see Jason, Sam, Jack and Kitty. It seems like months since I've seen them as our December trip had to be cancelled of course. It's Sam's birthday on Monday so we (Sam and a lot of mums from school) and I are all off for a meal on Saturday night. That should be great fun.

On the downside, I dropped my hearing aid on the kitchen floor and broke it. Now I am using my old National Health one that sits outside my ear and makes my ear sore. Plus it's nowhere near the sound quality of my other one. Ah well, I'll have to get sorted out with a new one. More expense!


I had a bit of a disaster with my daily stones. I had been collecting them in a 'note' on Facebook and it's just disappeared! Luckily I'd posted quite a few on here and some on my FB profile, so I've gathered up those and put them in a document. Here's a couple:

In the darkness, the bonfire crackles. Tiny flames lick the damp wood. Yet it smouldered slowly all night long.

Sandy, our huge ginger cat, sat in my Thorntons cardboard box. But not before he'd attacked it and eaten one of the flaps. Crazy cat.

Have a great week everyone.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

General Catch-Up's Back Art, Garden, Surprises...


Through the post today came 2 lovely surprises. In our postbox was a lovely postcard made by Lisa of Greenbow

Lisa is a wonderful artist and has an interesting blog called
Artsy Endeavors

This is the postcard she made:

I just love getting art through the post. Thank you Lisa. I haven't sent mine yet - on its way very soon.

2nd Surprise

A courier driver rang to ask for directions to our house. Jim and I were racking our brains to think what we had ordered. We always find it easier to go and meet the drivers up at Broderick's Furniture store on the main road, which Jim did.

Well, the big box had Thornton's written all over it but I thought maybe whoever sent it had re-used a box. But no. Inside was this lovely box, some superb green tissue paper and a little note from my daughter K saying she had 'Supplies because you ran out - intolerable! Hope they don't take too long to get to you. Love and miss you Momma.' What a lucky Mummy I am, and here is my present:

The box contains all the best bits of Thorntons from their continental chocolates to their amazing toffee (which can remove your teeth)!! Thank you thank you K. xxxxx

Spare Bedroom

Jim came back from shopping yesterday with a 3 section storage/wardrobe for the spare bedroom. We have been wanting something like this for some time but just needed to find the right piece, the right size, at the right price. And indeed now we have it. As often happens with boxed goods, none of the instructions made sense but Jim managed valiantly to put it together, with a little help from his able assistant (me). We struggled through into the room with it this afternoon, where he is finishing it in situ. I will take a photo when it's all done.

Jim's Health

Jim is feeling much better thank you everyone. The antibiotics seem to have knocked the abscess infection on the head - I just hope it's sent it away. We shall have to see.
His heart still goes a bit weird now and then but knowing there isn't any damage to it, he isn't worrying about it so much.


I have struggled on with some of Jim's help to remove more brambles and blackthorn. It is really looking much better now and it's good to reclaim the land back from intrusive plants and shrubs/trees.

This is the path from the last post on my blog - now all clear of brambles and blackthorn. The hedge to the right is thick blackthorn and we have trimmed it back to try and keep it a bit contained. The trees to the left are mostly willow.

If you follow the path round and up in the meadow direction, there is a little entrance to our bluebell walk. This had become quite overgrown with bramble and Jim spent some time clearing the blackthorn, while I finished the bramble yesterday. Turn right and this is what you see:

In the spring, the bluebell walk lives up to its name and it also has primula and some lovely ferns and violets too.

In this photo, at the brightest part of the sunlight you can see the telegraph pole. The last section to the pole is very overgrown with brambles and will take some clearing.

This is from the inside of the entrance to the bluebell walk out onto the meadow. There is my bag full of tools as usual and a huge pile of rubbish too, in the sunlight.

We have just rediscovered this lovely tree. It was covered in grass, brambles and blackthorn.

Above is the next section of young blackthorn to be cleared. The right hand tree is a silver birch, newly revealed and just along from the evergreen in the photo above.

I took a photo joiner to show the work to be done!

If you click on it and enlarge it, you can see my hat hanging in another silver birch tree to the left of the photo. The telegraph pole is clear and all the humps and bumps on the meadow need cutting down too. Only 3 acres of that to do!! To show where this is in relation to The Deenery, I take a quarter turn to my left:

Can you see The Deenery in the distance? lol. And my shadow - the sun was very bright. All the bramble in front of me is yet to be cleared - you can see it creeping across into the meadow. To my right is the telegraph pole.

Can you see the large evergreens down by the house? The other day I called at Mrs Broderick's charity cafe up on the main road and took a photo of where we are from there. You can't actually see the house but you can easily spot the trees:

Of course the angle of the trees is different but you can see where we are!! This is taken with the camera on full zoom. Here is the same view with the zoom retracted:

Our trees are about in the centre, showing up against the background of Lough Graney. I do hope I haven't bored you with all this! I find it fascinating to see where we are in relation to the surroundings.

Daily Stones - A River of Stones (aros)

I am a little behind with my stones, but have done some since my last post.

Day 11, January 12th aros

I don't know what to say today

I've not been out - at home all day

I've looked at the cats and then the dog

My mind is in a total fog

So this little verse is today's contribution

I know - it's a very poor substitution.

Day 12, January 13th aros

I stopped the car and gazed at the stunning views; green patchwork hills, an amazing palette of colours and Lough Graney shimmering in the valley. 'Gosh' I thought, 'It's not a bad place to live.'

Day 13, January 14th, aros

Rain lashes the bedroom window. Birds cling on to the nut holders defiantly.

Day 14, January 15th, aros

I gardened until it was dark, then the light of the moon cast shadows as though it were almost daytime.

Day 15, January 16th, aros

As with yesterday, the moon's light bathed everything in its pale splendour, but neither I, not my camera, could capture this astonishing beauty

I think that's enough for today. I had a day inside today to let all my scratches heal! I'm going to start making another rag doll for Anne Broderick, who wants one for one of her Grandchildren. Plus I was determined to do a blog update. Part one completed. Hurrah.

Love to all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Christmas Cards? Garden, Artist Doll.

Oh I've been very industrious lately. Since the Christmas cards have come down, I absent mindedly did a collage with some of them:

Then I started thinking about next year's cards - yes really - and cut out a 'tree' template. I cut several trees out:

And here is my first card! It needs some writing on and maybe a bit more glitter, but the idea's there. What's the betting I can't find them by next December?

Artist Doll

A lady who saw my 'Santa's Helper' doll on Etsy shop asked whether I could make her an 'artist' one. She teaches art at school and wanted it to sit on a cupboard. Well, I had a go and haven't charged her yet. I hope she likes it when it arrives:

She wanted the smock to be plain so that she can splodge paint on him!! What fun eh? I do hope she approves.


I mentioned that we've been trying to clear some brambles from the path to and from our little wooded are (well, one of them). I took a photo just to show what we've done so far:

Not a wonderful photo as it was very dull and rained soon after I had taken this. The carrying case on the left was a present from Jim for me for Christmas. It's brilliant. I started off with 2 coats and hat, but as you can see, I shed one coat when I started to warm up. Much more to do in the other direction though. You can see a bit of the bramble in the foreground. Blackthorn has also grown up all over the path and has to be mattocked out. It's hard work but good fun.

Dotee Doll

I made this Dotee Doll for Jim for Christmas - he seemed to be the only person without one.

She was made from a Christmas tea towel and embellished with stars and sequins. Her 'tail' consists of 3 pieces of raffia with a snowman, spring and heart button attached at the bottom.


We think Sandy now thinks he is a dog and has taken to lying on the mat just like Buster, his head right down and even one leg out the back - it looks most odd!

He certainly believes in getting comfortable.

Today's Stone aros

I took Buster for a quick walk down to the lake. It was really misty and almost dusk. I noticed the following:

The farmer's gates no longer swing
Bound together now with wire and string
Young cows huddled close in the barn nearby
With curly coats and winsome eye


I forgot to mention that we had Wolf and Melanie for tea a couple of days ago. Sunday I think. Jim made hot scones again and they went down a treat. We sat in the sunroom and chatted for well over an hour and drank 2 mugs of tea each. I managed to throw the first one all over the floor. Melanie bought me a present, which I have since used:

Wasn't that thoughtful of her? I put it by the kettle when Jim had gone to bed, not feeling well and I had done just what it says here!


Today Jim took himself to the doctors and came back armed with strong painkillers and strong antibiotics. It seems he has an abscess above the tooth he had root filled before Christmas. That could be the reason for his heart arrhythmia as any infection can set it off in some people. Fingers crossed. He is so fed up with being ill. On top of everything else he is now full of cold.

As a goal to getting better, he has booked us a 5 day holiday to Athens in early March to celebrate his 65th birthday.

Love to everyone - we could do with some sunshine here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Cushions, New Projects.


I had bought a bed set a while ago for our king sized bed. It included one of those 'runners' that goes across the bed towards the bottom of the quilt - but it was pretty useless as it just fell off all the time! So I dismantled it and made cushions/pillows out of it - now we can sit up in bed and watch the birds or do the crossword puzzle in comfort.

The little one at the front came with the set, the other 4 are the ones I made. They're a bit slippery though and every time I tried to take the photo the one at the front slid down!


We've been managing to do a bit of gardening here and there. Tidying up and mostly bramble clearing. It's amazing how much they grow when you're not looking at them. I did about an hour yesterday, but was completely pooped. I need to get my energy levels back up again.

I'm off to do a bit as soon as I've finished this - hopefully I'll last a bit longer today.


Well, one of my projects was the bed cushions, so I can tick that one off. Also I need to make some bigger cushions for the Sunroom settees as the ones we have are very old and flat. I could do with being able to get some cushion 'innards' really, but haven't seen any for sale in Ireland yet.

I have also embarked on trying to make a large rug for the snug floor. The theory was to weave small sections and then sew them all together. Having said that, I have just made the first one and it took ages - so watch out for photos of the completed rug in about 2013!

I have, believe it or not, already designed my next year's Christmas Cards! I was playing around with Christmas paper and bits of sweet wrappers and came up with the idea. How crazy is that? Mind you, by next Christmas I'll have forgotten both what my idea was and where I've put the prototypes!!

My Little 'Stones'

Here are the stones I have done since my last blog post. It's getting harder to remember to do them each day. To find out about this project, click on the link over on the top right hand of my blog page.

Day Seven, Jan 8th

Fairies dancing up and down the wardrobe door through a crack in the curtains. Mesmerising

Day Eight, Jan 9th

Soft rain bathes the verdant lawns. Maghera hilltop hides under a blanket of mist

I still have today's to do


Jim's still not on top form. Now he's all achy and his heart is still all over the place. Time for a trip to the doctors soon.

I hope everyone is ok out there. Thinking of the poor inhabitants of Queensland, Oz, who are suffering so much in the floods.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Birds Galore 7 January 2011

Bird Watching

We seem to have more birds feeding in the garden than we have for ages. Both Jim and I love watching them. We can open our bedroom curtains in the morning and enjoy their little squabbles and fights to get the best place on the feeders. Recently we have had a pair of redpolls. We did have one last year but this is the first time it's reappeared - and with a mate. I did take some photos but mostly through the window, so they're not wonderful.

This is the best shot of the redpoll - you can see his red cap and red chin and chest. In shape he's like a siskin but not the same colour.

Now this one made me laugh. The redpoll is in the middle of these 2 wonderful goldfinch! How cute their red faces look. They are probably our most plentiful bird at the moment.

Here you can see 3 goldfinch, the redpoll and a great tit. He's the one on the right hand side of the left hand feeder! I like the goldfinch holding onto the top of the feeder. Maybe he's on watch duty.

Although very blurred, I love this photo of the redpoll chasing off the poor little blue tit below!

Here we have 4 goldfinch and 2 siskin. The siskin are the one on the top of the right hand feeder and the one below. As you can see, they are bright green and yellow, although the female is less colourful. They often feed upside down then lift their heads up either to swallow or check for trouble.

Finally, on the right hand feeder we have 2 Greenfinch. The one on the right is the male and on the left is the female, much more dull of course. 3 Goldfinch are there too. I'll list the birds that we have visiting most often:

Blue tit
Great tit
Coal tit
We have long tailed tits fly about but they don't come to the feeding table.
Pied wagtail
Hooded crow
House Sparrows (not often)
Hedge sparrow (dunnock)
Thrush of various descriptions. Of course other birds fly around but don't come near the house and then we have the summer visitors such as the swallows and house martins.

I must set my Canon rebel camera up on a tripod and try and get some better shots when it's warmer.

A River of Stones

I have joined this group and each day of January you are invited to write a 'stone'.

About a river of stones

A river of stones is an international project started by Fiona & Kaspa to encourage people to engage with the world through writing a short observational piece every day during January.

Join us!

So I did! I'm not sure whether the links in the above paragraph will work. Please click on the 'badge' on the right entitled 'A River of Stones' and you will learn a lot more detail about the project.

Day one, Jan 2nd 2011 My first 'Stone'

A great tit rides the merry go round half coconut to get the fatty seeds.

Day two, Jan 3rd 2011

The sun hides his face behind a cloud - but lights up the hillside with its glorious beams.

Day Three, Jan 4th 2011

A photo smiles at me - my heart leaps with joy - for Jack - a special boy.

Day Four, Jan 5th 2011

Melted cellophane, vegetable nets, scraps of cotton and paper - reborn as a usable postcard. Recycling rocks.

Day Five, Jan 6th 2011

Golden Christmas coins spill onto my desk - would that they were real - in either guise they make my mouth water.

It's an interesting little discipline to do each day. I have a 'notes' section of Facebook and am posting my stones on a note each day. If you'd like to follow them, this is the link:

I will post the next few I have written on each of my blog posts too.

Jim and I went to Limerick today to do a little shopping. Oh the excitement of it! Apart from that, life goes on. All the Christmas decorations are down and packed away. I am making cushions for our bedroom out of the useless bit of 'throw' that went across the end of the bed. It just used to fall off each night so cushions will be much more useful. I will take a photo when all 3 are done. The first one is already on the bed.

Have a super Friday and good weekend everyone.