Medal Bracelet Update

Today, I made a new bracelet for my medals.  This project has been on the back-burner ever since my previous attempts failed to stand up to the wear and tear of daily use.  I’m hoping this wired version will last longer:

I found the pliers with nylon-covered jaws pretty useless.  They might prove more useful for a different kind of project.  I did most of the work with just my fingers.

On the photo above you should be able to see a bird pendant on the left.  I’ve fitted it with a clasp so that I can attach it anywhere along the bracelet.  The idea is based on the sacrifice beads of St. Thérèse of Lisieux except I’m counting sins rather than sacrifices.  I couldn’t think of a way of making sure that beads would stay in place when they were moved along for counting purposes.  I didn’t think of looking on the Internet.  If I’d have looked I probably would have found this website – Little Ways – which seems to have lots of useful information on this whole subject.  Anyway, the idea with my beads is to provide myself with an incentive to stop committing persistent sins that I’m having particular trouble with.  Each time I realise that I’ve committed the sin that I want to tackle, I move the bird (which represents the Holy Spirit) along to the next position.  At the end of the week I count up the positions moved and this dictates the size of the sacrifice I then make.  I don’t know how effective this is going to be but I thought it was worth a try.  (I’m already praying for help, of course; that’s always the first resort.)

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Shawl Update

I finished the shawl I started last month:

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I would have liked it to be slightly bigger but I ran out of yarn.

Away in a Manger

Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
Dear Mary, his Mother, sang sweet lullabies,
as Jesus, awaking, gazed into her eyes.
The most holy Virgin, with loving caress
embraced the world’s Saviour with Love’s tenderness.
Good Joseph stood guarding the Mother and Child,
his soul filled with awe and his heart undefiled.
The birth of young Jesus made angels to sing,
but Joseph in silence kept watch o’er his King.
What once was a stable may our hearts become;
may God’s holy fam’ly in us find a home.
With Mary and Joseph and angels above
we worship the Infant, the gift of God’s Love.

Text: V.1, Traditional, vv. 2-4, Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, 1995

Music; CRADLE SONG, William James Kirkpatrick, (1838-1921)

Wet West

We’ve had a lot of rain the last day or two. Now you might well be saying “quelle surprise” since I live in the West of Ireland and quite right too. Please note however that it was only a few months ago that the Irish government was so worried about the lack of rain that they instituted a hosepipe ban. I expect visitors from dryer climates found it quite amusing. Anyway, the slightly brown grass produced by the “drought” has faded into a distant memory now that we are experiencing the usual winter downpours. Here are some photos I took today at Lough Lannagh, Castlebar:

The penultimate photo shows the path leading to a submerged jetty. As my son remarked “it’s disa-pier-ed.” (I got told off for groaning instead of laughing.) You can just about see Croagh Patrick in the distance. I’ve zoomed in for the last photo so you can see it better.

Christmas Crochet and Solomon’s Shawl

First, in line with my policy of full craft disclosure, I have to admit that I never finished the mantilla I was crocheting.

The yarn was too thick so I looked like I was wearing a doily on my head. Not a good look unless you’re going for crazy-like-a-loon. Also, I realised that the triangle was the wrong shape for a head covering; it needs to have one much longer side.

To cheer myself up I crocheted a few Christmas decorations. I made them up as I went along so I don’t have a pattern for them, sorry.

I haven’t stiffened them yet so hopefully I can get them straightened out a bit more.

Today I started on another triangular project. It’s going to be a shawl made from Solomon’s knots.

There are loads of tutorials on the Internet for making this lacy and deceptively simple stitch so I will let you find one that suits you. To get the triangular shape I worked as follows:

Start with 2 ch then dc (UK notation as always) into the first chain. (You could try just 1 ch to start because my starting point is looking a bit too bulky.) Next draw out the yarn to the height of stitch that suits you and your yarn. I’ve made mine about 1cm high and I’m using quite thick “string vest” yarn. Make four of the Solomon’s knot component (SKC) stitches (made up of a long loop and a dc) and join into a diamond shape by dc into the starting dc. 3 SKC, dc into next corner of the diamond. *2 SKC, make a chain to the same height as one of the loops (I’ve used 3 ch.), ss into the next corner of the original diamond and ss back along the chain and into the dc. Now 3 SKC and turn work to dc into top dc of the nearest diamond. 2 SKC, dc into top of next diamond. Repeat from * increasing the repeats of the previous instruction as each row grows in length, and using the chains to join up diamonds at the edge of the triangle.

Nun Nostalgia

This programme, first shown in 1959, made me nostalgic for Wales, BBC English, and good old-fashioned Catholicism. Lovely ladies serving the Lord and saving souls:

If the embedded video above doesn’t play in your country then try clicking here.

What Sin Boils Down To

Hymn to Saint Andrew

On Saint Andrew’s Feast Day please enjoy this sweet rendition of a traditional hymn in his honour:

Cat Trust

We’ve had a lot of cats while we’ve been living in Ireland.  There are lots of feral cats roaming the countryside looking for some sap to feed them or to adopt their kittens.  At one point we had four under our roof.  They were probably all related because they could tolerate and even enjoy each other’s company.  They would all sit on the kitchen window sill waiting to be let inside, then, when we opened the back door they would all run in to their food bowls like they were on rails:

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They would also cuddle up in one basket at nap time (unfortunately I don’t have a photo with all four together):
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We currently have three cats under our roof, and another who comes for food but won’t let us touch him.  Sadly, they hate each other.  They turn to us for cuddles instead.  Strangely, but conveniently, they have each chosen different people as their special property.  Minnie has always been devoted to my husband:

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Next came Tiger who adopted me:
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Then came Marshmallow who chose my daughter, who chose her unusual name:

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And last of all – king of the garden:

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Introductions over, I’d like to share an insight I had whilst watching the cats. As I said, these cats hate each other. It makes living with them quite difficult at times, and it makes them quite jumpy. Anyway, earlier on, I was trying to persuade Tiger that he could go back to sleep while I dealt with the post which had just dropped through the door and startled him. The thing is the cats don’t trust us enough. We want them to know that we have their best interests at heart but there’s no way to communicate that to them. From their point of view we’re quite unsatisfactory hosts. We’re slow to give them what they want, and even when we respond we often get it wrong. “No, I don’t want fish today!” We put them out in all weathers. Occasionally, we even hurt them; trapping a tail or treading on a paw. We’ve let invading cats into their domain, or, in Marshmallow’s case, we’ve introduced them into an environment that already belongs to someone else. If they trusted us we could minimise their contact with the other cats. But because they’d rather travel through the house on their own terms they’re constantly evading us and running up against the other cats. Whoever suggested the term “herding cats” for an impossible task was spot on.

So, it struck me, that this is somewhat analogous to our relationship with God. I’m sure that if we could trust God more it would make our lives a lot easier. He’s tried to communicate His great love and care for us through Revelation and by allowing His Son to be sacrificed for us. But we’d rather try to rely on our own feeble powers than to trust in the care of Our Heavenly Father. And that’s probably because His care can be baffling at times. God doesn’t always give us what we think we need and sometimes He allows bad things to happen to us. We don’t trust Him enough to realise that He sees the bigger picture, that He is helping us to grow and flourish. So from now on I’m going to try to be less like a cat and more like a dog when it comes to trust. How about you?

Counting My Blessings

I had the very great good fortune to be able to travel to Limerick this weekend for a Pontifical Mass with Cardinal Burke. It was all very beautiful but I deliberately didn’t take photos or videos. Some experiences are best had first-hand, don’t you think? Instead here’s a limerick I knocked up for you:

There once was a woman from Wales,

Met a cardinal and all that entails;

His ring she did kiss,

Then knelt to be blessed,

That fortunate woman from Wales

Here’s a photo of the view from my hotel room

and a photo of a bendy bus (and some cute little people) I took for someone who’s never seen one.

And here is a short video of Cardinal Burke giving some advice for Catholic parents: