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Easter Eggs

My apologies in advance to my vegan readers; we used a lot of eggs in this crafting session. Please see my previous post for more on the egg issue. A small consolation is that no factory-farmed eggs were used: Sally bought duck eggs and was given chicken eggs by a neighbour who keeps her own birds.  Also, after writing the previous post I went out and bought a vegan egg substitute.  It won’t be any good for Easter crafting but hopefully I can now make cruelty-free cakes and so on. 🙂
Sally’s daughter supplied us with two kits from the States; thank you Erin. I haven’t seen this kind of kit in Ireland. There were all sorts of ways of decorating the eggs. My favourite was the wax crayon used to create “resist” designs with the dyes. I hope you enjoy the photos. You might remember the bunny ears from last year; my daughter has inherited the hoarder gene from someone (not me, obviously 😉 ).

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Petrified Pomander

There is a long-running children’s TV programme in the U.K. called “Blue Peter“, maybe you’ve heard of it.  I grew up with it.  The presenters used to show us how to make lots of things, like accessories for dolls, Christmas decorations and treats for Mother’s Day.  I didn’t attempt very many of their projects but I did make their pomander as a present for my nanna.  It involved sticking a lot of cloves into an orange and decorating it with ribbon, etc.  My nanna had it hung in her hallway for a while and then it disappeared.  I assumed it had gone moldy and been thrown in the bin.  I think you know where this is going from the title, don’t you?  When we were clearing out my nanna’s house after she passed away we found the pomander in her wardrobe.  Bear in mind that I made this thing in the seventies and my nanna passed away in 2013…  The Wikipedia entry on pomanders says they last several years; they might want to revise that up a few decades!  I have to admit that it was a bit too freaky though so it did finally go in the bin.

pommandersml

Christmas Swag

swagsmlSally and I managed to squeeze in another crafting session before she heads off to the States.  She wanted to make a swag for the town crib.  We started with the same method as for the wreaths, making bundles of greenery (conifer, ivy, holly, etc.) cut from Sally’s shrubs and trees at the Mill.  We fastened the bundles with cable ties and then hung them on a piece of washing line.  We then fastened baubles and ribbons between each bundle and disguised the fastenings with beads and ribbons.  Sally will be adding a few little extras once the swag has been hung on the crib.

Easter Crafting at Sally’s Mill

We just had the most fabulous afternoon of crafting at Sally‘s.  My daughter hasn’t taken her bunny ears off since they were made.  She’s been running around outside with them on, and now she has her headphones on over the top of them.

Sally had some wonderful projects set up for us.  I brought some eggs that I had managed to blow successfully for the first time ever.  Sally also had some boiled eggs ready to decorate.  Last week Sally and I made bases for our moss gardens out of woven willow.  Today we went gathering all different kind of moss and natural objects to pile onto the bases.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed the crafting.

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New Christmas Crafting

I’m running a bit late today because lightning caused a power cut here for a few hours.  I missed my cups of tea but it meant that we could put our stove on.

fireplaceWe normally heat the house with a wood pellet burner.  The stove is much more Christmassy, isn’t it?

Yesterday I took my daughter over to my friend Sally‘s Mill and we did some Christmas crafting.  First we collected twigs from Sally’s garden.  They needed to look like miniature trees.  We took them inside, stuck them each in a base block and then drew them.  We tried to create a landscape around them.

TreeSally had glued some sticks together for us so that we could learn how to make Mexican God’s eyes.  We all loved making them.  We especially liked the sparkly yarn that Sally had in her 20-year-old stash.

Godseyes

Crafty Christmas

Last year we had a very crafty Christmas but I didn’t have this blog.  This year I have the blog but I’ve done very little Christmas crafting.  Solution: I’ll tell you about last year’s Christmas crafting.

I have a crafty friend who teaches me (and sometimes my daughter) how to do wonderful crafty things.  Last year she taught me how to make a Christmas wreath for my front door.

wreath
We also had a crafting session with my daughter. We made angels out of paper plates, snowflakes on sticks and a huge ball made out of gold plates decorated with old Christmas cards. As you can imagine there were sequins and glitter going everywhere.
ball
All that wonderful crafting gave my daughter itchy fingers. She saw the Christmas tree I hadn’t decorated yet and did this to it.
invasioncats
I thought the pictures were so wonderful that I put most of the usual decorations away. I just put the fairy lights on and a few white baubles. The rest of the decorations were handmade. We made some snowflakes out of paper and I also crocheted some.
crochetsnowflakes
Here is the final version:finaltree

Introducing Sally

I’d like to introduce you to my friend Sally.  She’s not around the Internet much at the moment but I hope she’ll be back soon.  She had surgery for cancer in 2011 followed by chemotherapy.  During all that, she still managed to create a fantastic sculpture of the poet Raftery; see her website for more details.  I admire her tenacity and determination.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t really have the energy for such big projects nowadays.

quilt

Last year I helped her with the quilt you can see in the photo.  She donated it to a group of crafty people in Mulranny, Ireland, called the “Gift of Hands“.  Sally and I do a lot of crafting together and sometimes my daughter joins in too.  We have so much fun.  In my next post I will show you some of the things we made for Christmas 2012.

In order to help her through the dark winter months last year, I helped Sally start a blog.  (That’s what got me into blogging.  It’s all Sally’s fault. ;))

Second Piece

I’ve been working on my second piece for the Mayo Artists’ Show (the first one being the magpie).  Originally I was going to do some origami but the paper weaving bug hasn’t finished with me yet.  I’ve been working on a couple of ideas.  The first one is a continuation of the paper weaving I started with in July.  Here are some photos of the work in progress.

snail1 snail2 snail3 snail4

A wonderfully kind friend from Japan recently sent me some beautiful washi paper.  I wanted to use this to make the snail pattern.  However, I found that, as I’ve found before, less is more.  When I wove two patterned pieces together the result was a mess (even without the camera shake):

snail5But when I used one patterned and one plain the result was much neater:

snail6

Even before it’s woven, the washi looks fantastic:

cutwashi

Here’s the second idea I’ve started working on:

circle knot

Getting Knotted – It’s a Human Thing

In case you haven’t been following this blog, I like knots.  I crochet and I like to draw Celtic knots.  I have also experimented with the type of knots found in Islamic art.  African - Right Side of a Double-page Illuminated Frontispiece - Walters W5563B - Full PageNow, thanks to a couple of Internet friends, I have found two more styles of knotwork which are very similar to Celtic interlace.  The first – Croatian interlace – evolved on the same continent.Hrvatski pleter  The second – mizuhiki (水引) – evolved in Japan.
Mizuhiki plant
It seems that wherever there are human innovators there are also complex knots.

The Wyrms are Woven

From this:

beforeweave

To this:

afterweaveThe thicker paper was harder to weave but I managed it eventually.  The up-side is that the thicker paper means that the pieces stay locked into this knot shape without glue.  The one I made with thinner paper falls apart quite easily.