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.

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.