Friday, 17 March 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Recently read:
A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart -  written by the father of an autistic boy, about an autistic boy. It has an implausibly happy fairytale ending but I really enjoyed it.
Dead Man's Blues  by Ray Celestin- set in gangster-era Chicago, with Louis Armstrong in a cameo role. He has another previous book  in the same series which I have ordered from the library. Slow-paced  but some of the most lyrical and beautiful writing I have come across recently.

Friday, 10 March 2017


Two cards using images from the set of 9 Flowered ATCs from Art Neko: the daffodils are really breaking out all over the place now and it's lovely to see. They brighten a grey day and make a brighter one shine.

Both were made with fun backgrounds - the daffodils was done using spray starch on glossy white card, sprinkled with Brushos and with cling-wrap laid over. The poppy was done for a direct-to-paper challenge, simply swiping some distress ink pads onto the paper, then embossing and dusting with the soft pink. The orange butterflies were a failed first attempt - I used an eraser while they were still damp, trying to removed excess chalk from the background. I did that alright, but I also caused the surface of the paper to pill so it was no longer suitable for use as a focal image.

The flower sentiment is also from Art Neko, and the Happy Birthday letters were formed by stamping a vertical birthday sentiment twice - the spacing between the letters was just enough to allow me to punch them out, so long as I edged the circles in black .

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

February Favourites

It's been mostly a dull grey month and not many photo opportunities, although I should upload a couple of photos of a tree that came down in the storm last week...I think the lack of colour in the weather has had me adding more than normal to my cards, looking at the selection I have made.

Anyway, here are my favourites from February. I know the poinsettia one is made for Christmas and I don't normally add Christmas cards, but...

When I went to the local € store near work, I wasn't expecting to find a simple white frame as perfect as this one, I was expecting to have to do some altering. The clean white was perfect for framing the sentiment and adding the paper shells on a washed background.

And given that I have absolutely nothing Alice-related on hand, I was very pleased with how this card turned out after my initial "where on earth do I start" reaction. I started, in fact, by downloading a wonderful set of Photoshop brushes, but it was so hard to preview each one that I gave up and resorted to simply downloading a couple of the images (since they are royalty free) and printing a quote. I thought the pop-up book format suited the theme well, and I had just received the vintage playing cards and time-piece collage sheets from Art Neko, who are now also handling the site.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Spring is on the way...

We've had a sudden snap of cold weather again, but it's lovely to see the days lengthening already. When I left for work yesterday morning there was a rainbow - even though that meant it was raining, it was just so lovely to realise that although I'd left half an hour earlier than normal, it was still bright enough to be able to see and enjoy the rainbow.

I pass a coffee shop along the quays from time to time, and have always noticed this sign outside. Yesterday I had time to stop and take a photo...

I've been suggesting to C that we could get an Aeropress for making coffee when we go camping this year, but he says he likes our old-fashioned stove-top pot like the one in the sign. 

Since my framed winter sampler was very Christmassy rather than just winter, it felt like time to switch it out, so last weekend I created a Spring sampler with my favourite spring colours. Thanks for the forsythia, Lorraine, it was great!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

January Favourites

It's hard to believe that January is already over, I feel as if I blinked and it was gone, and I haven't achieved that much.

There weren't even all that many cards to choose from, but these are my favourites:

This one is a type of Z Box Fold card. When it's closed, the rainbow and rainbow sentiment are entirely hidden, so that you just see Sending Sunshine - luckily both those words are in a similar font.

C is not particularly (not much at all) romantic, and I have no use at all for Valentine's Day or love type cards - but I still had great fun making this one as one of my Art Neko cards for January. I know I had black paint, I used it for this - but it was nowhere to be found yesterday!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A Miscellany

It feels as I just stepped right back onto a merry go round after the Christmas break, and I still haven't even edited photos from our December Paris trip.  I wish it's something I could do while travelling down to Cork!

A few photos - the first one I took on the 2nd of January meaning to upload it as a New Year photo. They are always very prompt in changing the date over the main gate at Guinness.

It's been a very, very grey month mostly. The photo of Heuston was taking one of the mornings when I was availing of Irish Rail's seat sale to travel by train instead of bus. I know I have plenty of photos of the facade, but I've never seen it lit up in the Irish colours before.

It was also very, very murky when I spotted a grey wagtail on the mudflats the other morning. I had to up the ISO a lot to get the photos, but it's always a welcome splash of colour to spot one of these.

I spotted this little dwarf goat (actually there were two of them) walking home from the shopping centre one day. He had a wonderful thick coat, I wish I could have patted him. He was quite small, I don't think he'd have been even a metre high including his horns.

With all the grey gloominess I felt in need of a little floral  summery lightness, so I made this card for the Art Neko blog, full details in the link. There are some lovely floral images in a set of 9 ATC-sized stamps, and I'm looking forward to making time to stamp and colour some more of them.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Favourite Christmas cards

I made very few cards at all in December - it was a mad rush of a month from the start right up till Christmas Eve night, when I was rolling out my cinnamon buns for Christmas breakfast at quarter to one in the morning.

So instead of favourite cards for December, here are my favourite Christmas cards from the year...

The Baah humbug was made for C, who is a bit of a Grinch, and I asked him to give me the one with the little owl on the tree stump as I loved it so much. It was for a challenge to use plaid, hence the sheet of DIY alcohol-ink plaid in the background.
I ended up making another four of the stable shaped cards, slightly smaller and with the star lower down so that they would fit in a regular envelope...

This month's header is a photo from Farmleigh last January, out by the smaller pond.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy Christmas

The last two weeks here have been absolutely hectic, I feel as if I hadn't stopped since we got back from Paris (not even any time to edit the photos, that's a holiday task).
As I write this it's Christmas Eve afternoon and I have been baking all morning - melon soup, chicken pot pie and the Bûche de Noel for tonight at my aunt's house, fresh bread for lunch with half the dough being saved for cinnamon buns for breakfast tomorrow, and a Bailey's cheesecake for tomorrow. Now it's time to start winding down...

The first photos are from Midleton on Thursday, all of the library. Thursday was a beautiful day, not too windy and even a little warmth if you stood in the sun in a sheltered place.

Bûche de Noel for Christmas Eve - thank goodness there is some of the chocolate buttercream frosting left over because I would hate to think that I had used an entire four 125g bars of chocolate. At least the cake this year is lighter than the chocolate roulade I normally make, since I came across my mother's old recipe on a filing card somewhere. We had the dinkiest little miniature ones in Paris, complete with tiny little sugar toadstools and little plastic saws/axes for decoration.

Merry Christmas to all my cyber friends.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Crane Circle

I shared a card on the Art Neko blog today which uses a crane medallion stamp. One of the reasons I chose the stamp is because it reminded me a lot of an embroidery I did many years ago, and since I didn't want to add a photo of the embroidery to my Art Neko post, I'm putting here. Don't look too closely at the matting - at the time I couldn't afford professional framing and even with a proper mat cutter, it ain't easy! Anyway these days it hangs in our bedroom because I got C a piece of metal wall-art for his birthday with a clarinet, so the embroidery had to be moved from its previous place.
A peek at the card - the full card is on the Art Neko blog, and the embroidery.

I really wanted to add colour to my sun, as in the embroidery; since it's a sold image I just used a q-tip to carefully remove all the black ink before stamping. I should have taken a closer look at the colours in the embroidered pine - I just went for a sort of pine-needle green. Next time I use the stamp I will remember to use two shades of colour!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

On the way to work...

Me, myself, I.

One day last week - when we had glorious bright sunshine and blue skies, I happened to cross the road a few meters earlier than I normally do, and was surprised to see a triple shadow of myself.
Looking around, it can only have been the strength of the light reflecting from the apartment block across the road, but it was certainly unusual to see.

By Friday, when I had decided to walk home from work because I had a dental appointment at 2, it was already starting to get more cloudy and overcast. This week has been very dreary and dull - it's felt as if there was no daylight for taking photos of cards today or yesterday. But on Monday I noticed this splash of blue lobelia.