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.