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.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

November Favourites

My favourite cards from November, which seems to have gone by in a bit of a blur - and yet I have found a good number of favourite cards!

I also got my own winter sampler piece made for my 12 x12" frame, as well as a Spring one for a gift.

Not many photos taken last December. I had to look back through the December 2014 archives for the photo of a wood duck on the canal. Unusually I had time to visit Phoenix Park last week (photos will follow), and was disappointed to see neither the wood duck nor even one single mandarin.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Lotus Blossom

A summer memory as winter hastens on apace - we've had several mornings with heavy frosts and an orange fog alert last weekend.

This card uses the Set of 9 Flowered ATC stamps from Art Neko. It's been coloured and sitting on my desk for a while, and I made a mess of the first background that I tried it out on. So today I simply used a stencil from TCW (it's meant to be a Navaho design, but I think it works for ripples) and misted with blue and gold sprays. The image itself is stamped on watercolour paper, heat embossed and coloured with Winsor & Newton watercolours. I finished it off with some large sequins to mimic the leaf shape (cut from a scrap of polished stone background mostly used for frogs) and some clear sequins and bling.

We had pancakes for dinner the other night - and one of them came out of the frying pan with a perfect little heart on it. We usually have them with freshly squeezed lemon juice and sugar, or warm maple syrup.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Summer and Winter (and autumn...)

A couple of cards using Art Neko stamps - I just love this snowman with his pail full of stars. I'm still trying to create a card that matches the idea in my mind inspired by one of the Mary Poppins stories - this one was for a technique challenge on Splitcoast to fill in the background with black dots, but it comes close to it.  I also feel a re-read of the Mary Poppins books coming on if I can find time.  I think the second one might be my favourite in the series but it's time to refresh my memory. I know I already shared this card in my October favourites, but I thought I'd tuck him in again into this post.

And I went for a summery feel with this sweet little mouse sleeping on a bed of strawberry leaves. It was the little teddy-bear tucked under the quilt beside the mouse that really got me here - and the nightcap!

I did a photo-tutorial for the pillow top background a couple of years ago - here it is:

And a couple of autumn photos. The tree with berries was growing in the community garden in Midleton, I was struck by the deep contrast between the glowing berries in the sun and the shaded part of the tree It almost looked like two different trees. The leaves were hard to capture as they were swirling in the wind; I spotted them on Sunday morning as I walked back from collecting a delivery of wool which was waiting for me in ParcelMotel.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

A miscellany

I spotted this utility box art a couple of weeks ago, and have been waiting ever since for a day when there was enough time between an earlier bus on a different route and my own bus for me to get off and take a photo, then get onto my own bus. Yesterday was the day. This one is called Deer Dance.

The next two photos were both taken around work. I'm assuming the black and white one is done using some sort of stencil or mask - to great effect.

And the other few photos were taken the last time I went to visit my dad, walking down the Liffey from Docklands station to get the coach. The Jeannie Johnston is now temporarily closed for refurbishment, but I'd certainly like to visit it when it opens again...the lion and the unicorn are on the Customs House. I did take a couple more photos of the Jeannie Johnston but they're not sharp enough to be worth uploading. There'll be more opportunities.

I'm not sure what those fittings are called that the boats used to tie up to. Seeing them and the bollards brought back memories of when we used to visit and walk along the quays as children when there was still a fair amount of shipping moored along there, including the Guinness boats.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

October Favourites...

I had to go back to November 2014 to find a header photo for this month. Not much happened last November in terms of photos, apart from a visit to St. Catherine's we have a mandarin drake in Phoenix Park.

And a few favourite Printy the Snowman. And I love the bottom snowman. He is from Art Neko, but he's not one of my design team stamps, I loved him so much that I bought him myself, so that I could use him as much as I liked with stamps from other companies. With his pail full of stars, he reminded me straight away of the chapter in Mary Poppins when Mary and Mrs Corry take the gold paper stars that the children saves from their gingerbread and pasted them into the sky.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Birds and a Squirrel

When I visit my dad, if the weather is fine we take a walk up to the community garden, he loves visiting the hens and ducks there. The first hen always makes me smile - I must look up the breed. I think it looks as if it's wearing trousers, and it hardly ever stands up enough for me to get a photo.
There are two ducks, three chickens (growing fast), and maybe about eight or so hens.

I was less pleased to see this squirrel on our garden wall the other day, but I think he was foiled by the squirrel-proof feeders and didn't make another appearance.

And a couple of birds on cards using stamps from Art Neko - I love the little Japonisme Owl. It was fun to turn it into a Christmas card!

I got the crane stamp because it reminded me of an embroidery I did which hangs on the wall downstairs - mine is an eagle, but still with that piney foliage.

Art  Neko stamps, Japonisme owl

Art Neko stamps, Crane Circle

I made another card a few weeks back with the little owl: there are a couple more photos and full details on the Art Neko blog HERE.

Art Neko Stamps, Art Neko, Japonisme Owl

Saturday, 15 October 2016

It's that time of year again...

and mushrooms and toadstools are springing up all over the place. C and I spotted these when we were walking to our respective bus and train the other morning.

And it has most certainly been this sort of weather this week! Unfortunately I wasn't always as well prepared for it as this; there was one morning I thought I was going to have stay on the bus for a few extra stops past where I normally get off - but thankfully by the time it got to me regular stop, the rain had eased enough that I thought I'd manage with no umbrella and very much the wrong shoes.