Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas Wishes

It's hard to find a suitable seasonal looking photo from last year, as it was so mild. This year looks like being the same - as I type on Christmas Eve afternoon I see sunshine and blue skies. So I'll settle for a card featuring a sort of robin! I actually saw three in the garden today, very rare. We had a brief visit from a pair of redpolls, too, so I hung out a second nyger seed feeder, with the result that there are now 5 goldfinches visiting regularly, but not yet another sighting of the redpolls. Last weekend as I was filling the feeders a rather gormless young (probably, small definitely) grey squirrel got startled. It fell off the wall when it tried to jump up, and then fled into the house. It doesn't seem to have been deterred from coming to scavenge round the feeders, but I hope it doesn't make a habit of escaping into the house. It didn't actually break anything, but did knock quite a few things over with its mad leaps from one perch to another.

Wishing everybody a peaceful and happy Christmas and holiday season. We're certainly looking forward to ours!

This is a photo from a couple of years back when we had snow. I've always thought the crystals looked like trees, so I painted a photo frame, stamped it with snowflakes and used the macro photo as a setting for a little snow-scene. I still have two more frames to come up with ideas for.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Whistlestop church tour

Yesterday morning was very, very foggy  - and cold and damp when we were heading into town for breakfast together before work. I walked back across the city and the fog was starting to lift, with some lovely light!

Christchurch Cathedral

St Audeon's, High Street
St. Nicholas of Myra, Francis Street

John's Lane Church, Thomas Street

St Paul's, North King Street

And one I can't identify, looking towards the Coombe from Cornmarket.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Warm off the needles...

I've been busy knitting recently; this little pink cotton jacket went postal last week, and I'm currently knitting it in a small size in a different colour for a colleague of C's who is due to go on maternity leave over Christmas. Actually, I'd got the cotton to knit a sweater for him, so I hope there'll still be enough left after finishing the jacket. It had to be gender-neutral, which narrowed the choices. Of course he wants a card to go with it - that's finished, while the jacket is still on the needles! I hope to get it finished in work tomorrow. The buttons were on the expensive side but were too perfect too pass up, and work perfectly with both the pink and the green/yellow.

I bought a couple of packs of the felt ornament kits to send to a friend in Greece who likes doing crafts with her two daughters. And I bought a couple for myself to play around with. The lower ornament is pretty much as pictured on the pack, although I added a few seed beads in. It seemed a bit plain, so for the second one I cut some felt poinsettias with a Spellbinders die, and stitched them on with gold thread, using seed beads for the centre. I was happy with how this turned out, and might see if I have time to make a couple more for gifts. The only problem I had was that if I wasn't very careful it was easy to tear one of the bracts off the poinsettia - cut that fine the felt was a bit fragile. In fact, my white felt was too thin altogether and just pulled apart in my hands, so I had to settle for cream.

Monday, 3 December 2012


A couple of Saturdays ago I was frying doughnuts out on the back patio when I saw a glimpse of red that I thought was too vibrant to be just a chaffinch, and I wondered if it could have been a bullfinch. One day last week I'd stopped off at the butchers and greengrocers after work and spotted a couple of these in some trees - and then we did indeed see one briefly on the feeders in our garden. This is NOT a good picture - as well as my normal backpack I had two bags from the butchers and one from the greengrocer so my hands were full.

On Saturday I was out at my aunts, and just as I was getting ready to leave I spotted a whole little flock of long-tailed tits on her feeder. And today, walking home from the bus stop after work I could hear them wheeting away, and was lucky enough to spot one. No extra bags this time, and a brighter day, making it much easier to take a halfway decent photo!

Also on Saturday, coming home on the train I saw the Santa Special steam train in the siding at Grand Canal Dock. I change at Connolly, and I'd gone to the mainline part of the station to see if there was an earlier train from the platforms there than from the suburban, when I heard that familiar whistle. I was in time to get back to the suburban platforms to get a couple of grainy shots and even some video. I think it must some primal sound that everybody recognises even though it's from a long-past era. We hear them going past the house every December weekend coming up to Christmas and we always notice them as being so different to the normal trains. But I'd never been able to find a timetable to take a guess at what sort of times they'd be pulling through the station here. There were a lot of crew on this one. The orange carriages were a blast from my past, since even after the DART ran to Bray, we still used to get those old diesel trains on to Greystones. I think the blue carriages were even older, they all had a crest on them which was something to do with the rail preservation society - poor light made it hard to read.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


I walked over to the sorting office this afternoon to pick up a package. It was a cold, clear sunny afternoon, and all the bare trees looked just wondeful. As I was coming back there were plenty of red clouds, and a rising moon. My camera isn't good at capturing sunset colours, but at least the moon picture turned out alright.

Not bare - I'm not sure what sort of berries these are, but I was surprised to see them in blossom as well as berry. We've been hearing about flocks of waxwings being seen on rowan trees around Dublin, and cotoneasters, so I'm going to be keeping my eyes skinned. I was hoping to go and scout out the park tomorrow because the weather forecast was good, but I have an extra day in work so that idea is a no-go.

Our robin is still singing away when I go out to put seeds in the feeders. And we have some regular goldfinches again.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Quick Snaps...

around Heuston Bridge. I like the black-headed gulls in their winter plumage.

Friday, 16 November 2012

October Cards

Looking at the watermarks, all these were made for the Hope You Can Cling To challenges last month over on SCS. I guess between being away and having one cold after another for the first half of the month, that pretty much was my card-making for October. It was certainly the first time in three years that I didn't meet my quota of 5 Christmas cards for the month. The sheep one was for a challenge to feature humour and stitching, and was one of the hardest for me. Being more of a word person, once I had a pun to work with I was able to start from there.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

On the Way to Work

We've been having an unexpected mild spell and even a little sunshine this week. But in spite of the change in the hour, the mornings have still been fairly gloomy and overcast.

Most of the leaves I see floating down the river have been there a while and are flat in the surface of the water, but this one was still dry enough to have kept its curl; however the current was taking it so fast that it was hard to get a decent photo of it.

Lights reflected in the water 

I liked this crow perched on a still-lit spotlight on top of a derelict building. I'd first seen him in front of it, and with the lit lamp it almost looked as if he were looking in a mirror. I still like the way this photo came out, though, even if it didn't capture what I first saw.

Another electricity box cover. Anybody know what the actual correct term for those grey boxes is? I need to check back too to see if I've uploaded the bookshelf one from the end of Capel Street. This one is at Christchurch Cathedral, and it was one of the guys in work who put me onto it, since he has this as his avatar and screensaver at the moment.

Monday, 12 November 2012


It's harder to take good photos of the birds since we've had to move the feeders - it either has to be through a window or I have to go and stand beside the house. But our current robin is becoming less timid, and a couple of days last week I even heard him singing away and not just making his territorial call.

Walking along the canal one morning last week I was thinking I had seen no wildlife at all, and then I spotted a grey squirrel, and a couple of minutes later, a grey heron.

Not a great photo, but probably the best I've managed yet of a wagtail. It was funny to see three pied wagtails flitting around along the Liffey one morning - usually it's grey wagtails I see there. And another heron, town cousin to the first one!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Coole - the lake

Some photos of the turlough and lake at Coole.

As far as I can recall there's always been a reasonable amount of water in the actual lake at the end of the property any time we've been there. But the bottom  pictures show the difference between the turlough part now, and in March 2010. It appears that most of my other photos are pre-digital, but I'm glad I found some that weren't. Quite apart from the difference in how green it was, the variation in the water levels is quite something. There's a moss on some rocks that marks the maximum water level.

October 2012

March 2010

March 2010

Friday, 2 November 2012

Coole - the woods

I love Coole Forest Park. I'd thought that maybe we'd visit it on the day we were driving home, but Sunday morning was beautiful and Monday was not, so I'm glad we went for a more leisurely walk on Sunday. I've divided the photos between the woods and the lake - I'll post the woods first. That will give me time to find a couple of older pictures of the turlough area. While Carran turlough this time was very low, the one in Coole was pretty full - I'm not sure I've ever seen it higher except during actual floods.
The woodlands are so lovely - down near the lake where they can get flooded they have almost a primeval look.
We were fascinated by the tree growing over one of the big rock. And the guelder roses were covered in berries and looked just wonderful. While C was off investigating a covered shelter in the woods I found traces of a pine marten - I only wish I'd been able to actually see one!!