Tuesday, 25 April 2017

...and Owls

The owls were mostly in large cages - apart from the Little Owl (Gizmo, aged 7) who is in the reception area. I'm sure that in the previous premises he was flying around the room freely, I remember him landing on me. He's a little sweetie!

I thought the long-eared owl looked so foxy! Made me think of carnival masks.

We were also able to handle a tawny owl. I remember when I was working in Yorkshire, I could hear them in the woods beside the house almost every single night, and I spent a lot of time outside (in February and March) trying to catch sight of one, without ever succeeding. He made the funniest little sharp clicks with his beak, which instantly reminded me of Archimedes in the Sword in the Stone. He must have been very light, because the hawk only weighed a kilo and felt quite heavy in comparison.

I made an owl card to go with my owl photos...

I used the "Wise Owl on a Branch with Calligraphy" stamp - he's stamped in brown ink on linen-finish paper sponged with distress inks, and with the ends curled round an old knitting needle to create a scroll. I crimped some kraft card for the background, sponged it with some inks and then gesso. To finish I added some trailing ivy leaves, and finally a little ladybird from the "Whimsical and Kind Sayings" set. It took me a long time to decide whether to leave the bug or not - in the end I decided that I like it better with. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017


We took a trip to the National Bird of Prey centre yesterday, as a birthday outing.  We went about three or four years ago, and I was glad I looked it up because we found it has moved to the grounds of Russborough House, and is much nearer than it used to be.

Here are some of the eagles - most of them are hybrids (Lanner, Saker, Gyrfalcon crossbreeds) apart from the peregrine, and the one we were able to hold is a Harris Hawk. We weren't able to stay long enough to watch them being flown in the afternoon, but have a complimentary ticket to go back and see them another afternoon. We'll definitely do that - not least because we also didn't have time to go into the various studio workshops.

I'll be back later in the week with some owls...

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

St Catherine's Park

A few more photos from our walk in the park last Saturday.

This is a type of toothwort - the greenery is all natural vegetation, mostly wood anemones. The tall pink spikes are the flowers of the toothwort which is a subterranean parasite on the roots of trees, as it has no chlorophyll of its own.

This is taken from a high woodland path, looking down onto the river Liffey as it flows below. 

And a card featuring a lovely steampunk feather stamp from Art Neko. I applied ink to the base with a couple of distress ink pads, and then collaged on a few antique timepiece images from a collage sheet from B-Muse, then stamped and coloured the feather.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Spring has sprung...

There were some grey days this week but today was beautifully sunny - has been all day, so handknits are almost dry on the line. We took a walk in St. Catherine's Park in the morning, a few more photos to follow in another post.

For a quick peek, here's the water meadow down by the river.

And here are the Spring creatures we saw in it. We did also see the Highland cattle, as per my blog header photo this month.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

March Favourites

Some favourite cards for March.

The first two were custom made for the recipients - a lighthouse (of course) for Lorraine using an embossing folder that was in her Christmas gift to me, and a floral screen for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day.

And the rest were just made for various challenges...

I appear to have taken all of about 5 photos last April, none of which were suitable for a blog header. So instead I have used a photo from 2015, of the Highland cattle in St. Catherine's Park, Lucan. They weren't there when we visited last year, I'm glad we got to see them when we did. 

Thursday, 30 March 2017


No, not the musical. Which I've never seen, though I loved Old Possum's Book of Cats and used to know a couple of the poems off by heart - Skimbleshanks the railway cat was my favourite, followed by the Jellicle cats.

I was making a card to share this week using a lovely Siamese cat image from Art Neko, and it prompted me to dig out a couple of old memories - and photos.

As a family, we always had cats, usually three at any given time. Many were rescues, but we had a couple of more pedigree ones, and one was indeed a Siamese; Pandora. It has to be said that of all our cats she was the least likeable in terms of personality, and most like what non-cat people think of as typically feline, selfish and self-contained. But - she did love travelling in the car and consequently came on a few family holidays with us, so here's a photo of me, aged about 8 or 9, up in Donegal, the north-west corner of the country.

My own cat, whom I had from when I was about four or five till - well, she stayed at home longer than I did and lived on till after I was married, was also more pedigree than most - a Siamese-Burmese. And she was a sweetheart. My mother said that when I was very small, she always knew when I had gone to sleep because that was when Andante would join the rest of the family downstairs until they went to bed and then she'd return to my room. At one stage my mother thought she wasn't doing my bronchitis any good and tried banning her from the bedroom, but after a couple of nights when she kept everybody awake throwing herself against my door and crying, the ban was revoked. When a car hit her and broke her back leg she still insisted on sleeping on the bed, and after a couple of years recovery time was soon back ratting again. She was a devoted mother - no rats for her kittens, she managed to catch and bring rabbits back to the house a couple of times while they were still little.

Brambles was a much later addition to the family, well after I had left home. His owners were moving, and my parents took him in. He'd previously been a 100% indoor cat, and for a couple of months he lived on his own in an upstairs room while he acclimatised to the idea of living with other cats - and a dog. But as you can see from the photo below, he took very happily to spending time outdoors in the sunshine.

The card was made very simply, I inked the image with markers and huffed before stamping. A lovely line image like that doesn't need much!