Monthly Archives: December 2009

Art with My Needle ~ Week 19

A few weeks ago I was showing you some Carrickmacross lace.  It was produced in the traditional way – working to the rules.  The piece below was a more modern interpretation using machine stitching on layers of randomly placed overlapping tulle in three colours and grades – blue, green and pink as well as sequin offcuts.

The tulle layers were held in an embroidery hoop and the stitching used this time were chosen from the pre set embroidery stitches on my sewing machine.  Once satisfied the outline was trimmed close to the stitching and some or all the layers were cut away in different shapes.

The piece was further embelshed with fabric fibers and handstitched beads.

My all seeing eyes

From the moment I wake up in the morning to the time I try to sleep at night, my eyes are working non stop acting like a camcorder. Everything I look at is then sent to my brain (do I really have one?) for processing and storage much like on a DVD.

Our eyes are a very complex part of our bodies and nature has provided many features which protect the eyes. The eyebrows are the strips of hair above your eyes which prevent sweat from running into them. Eyelashes help keep the eye clean by collecting small dirt and dust particles floating through the air. The eyelashes also protect the eye from the sun’s and other light’s glare. The eyelids sweep dirt from the surface of the eye. The eyelid also protects the eye from injury. Tears are sterile drops of clean water which constantly bathe the front of the eye, keeping it clean and moist.

Did you know…..

Most people blink every 2-10 seconds.

Each time you blink, you shut your eyes for 0.3 seconds, which means your eyes are closed at least 30 minutes a day just from blinking.

If you only had one eye, everything would appear two-dimensional. (This does not work just by closing one eye.)

Owls can see a mouse moving over 150 feet away with light no brighter than a candle. The reason cat’s and dog’s eyes glow at night is because of silver mirrors in the back of their eyes called the tapetum. This makes it easier for them to see at night.

An ostrich has eyes that are two inches across. Each eye weighs more than the brain. A chameleon’s eyes can look in opposite directions at the same time.

A newborn baby sees the world upside down because it takes some time for the baby’s brain to learn to turn the picture right-side up.

One in every twelve males is colour blind.

Food Monday ~ Parsnip Soup with Potato and Pancetta

Parsnip Soup with Potato and Pancetta

  • 225g parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 225g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 175g onions, chopped
  • 50g butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 850 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 150ml cream
  • 225g pancetta, torn into strips
  • sprig of flat parsley

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the parsnips, potatoes and onions, season with salt and pepper and stir to coat the veggies in butter. Tuck a sheet of greaseproof paper neatly on top of the vegetables to keep in the moisture (I do this with all soups). Put on the lid and sweat the vegetables over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and continue cooking until the vegetables are all soft. Liquidise the soup either in batches in a blender or with a hand-held blender, add the cream and season to taste. While the vegetables are cooking, fry or grill the pancetta until nice and crisp.

Decorate each serving of the hot soup with cooked pancetta strips and flat parsley leaves.

It was cold

Christmas dawned one cold and frosty morning!

That looks like Elly’s handiwork!

The view behind the car

Silent beauty of the fruit garden

No snow. we had -11°C frost!

Looking down the Avenue from the house, watching for the children to arrive.


Week 25 of the Loose Blogging consortium amazingly falls on Friday 25th December giving us the opportunity  to share the latest helping from the LBC Family  I urge you to take a break from all the hustle, bustle  and eating that is part of this time of year to check out contributions made by Anu Ashok, Conrad, Gaelikaa, Ginger Haag, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria, & RamanaHelen is taking a break for a few weeks but we look forward to the day when she can return.
The topic this week was chosen by Gaelikaa


The stairs were very steep but they had only fifteen steps. The first ten were straight before reaching the bend. That bend involved three fan shaped steps as the stairs turned 90º, the points were next to the banister rail, and it was difficult for short legs with hands full to negotiate them and balance before attempting the final three steps to the landing.

Crossing the landing was more difficult, the arms were growing tired and tray with a plate & two cups and saucers rattled and shook  eager to splash their liquid over the tops of the cups, but thank goodness the buttered bread escaped the raining liquid.  Pushing open the bedroom door with my foot I timidly carried the tray to the bed. Mammy and daddy sat up as I approached.

“This is a lovely surprise!” said Mammy taking the tray and resting it on her knee. I was so pleased with my effort that I was unaware of the look that passed between my parents.

“How did you light the gas?” She enquired.

“I didn’t!” I answered cheerfully.

“Well where did you get the hot water?” Asked mammy.

Ever positive, I told her:  “Out of the hot tap!”

“I think we need a little more sugar” said mammy. “Will you bring up the bowl please…. and don’t run!”

When I arrived back up the stairs with the sugar bowl, daddy was getting back into bed and the cups were empty! They must have been very thirsty….

I was all of five years old and the water in the tap seemed very hot to my little fingers!

Seasons Greetings

Go Gcuire spiorád ná Nollág

Suaimhneás I do chroi

Agus ceol ar do bheolá

May the spirit of Christmas bring

Peace to your heart

and music to your lips.

Since this is Friday the Loose Bloggers will be around later for some Mince Pies and trifle.  See you then.

Thursday Special ~ Listen up!

A man who went to Church with his wife was always falling asleep during the sermon. The wife decided to do something about this and one Sunday took a long hat pin along to poke him with every time he would doze off.

As the preacher got to a part in the sermon where he shouted out “… and who created all there is in 6 days and rested on the 7th..” She poked her husband who then came flying out of the pew and screamed “Good God all mighty”.

The minister said “that’s right, that’s right” and went on with his sermon.

The man sat back down, muttering under his breath and later began to doze off again when the minister got to “… and who died on the cross to save us from our sins…” the wife hit him again and he jumped up and shouted “Jesus Christ”.

The Minister said “that’s right, That’s Right” and went on with his sermon.

The man sat back down and began to watch his wife and when the minister got to “… and what did Eve say to Adam after the birth of their second child” the wife started to poke the husband but he jumped up and said “If you stick that damn thing in me again I’ll break it off”!

Now wipe that smile off your face and go finish wrapping the pressies!  With a special thanks my ‘annnnony mouse’ friend for this weeks humour.

Art with My Needle ~ Week 18

Being Christmas week I will go lightly on the work end of crafts.

A few samples of patchwork will suffice.

A simple machine worked sample.

Two samples here: Suffolk Puffs on top and a hand stitched sample below.

Cathedral Window patchwork given two different looks.  The lower one representing the four seasons, has the centres worked in hand embroidery,

For the life of me, I am unable to remember the correct name of this form of patchwork (my reference books are all at home).  All the pieces are folded and placed.  The edges are left free to give the idea of petals or raised work.