Category Archives: Projects

Art with my needle – my latest creation.

It has been a long time and I have almost forgotten how to go about this. Was it one step at a time? Well perhaps yes, but in this case it was one stitch at a time… from an idea racing round in my head. No pattern!

So what elements did I need… a chunky cardigan with a high collar and a pocket for my phone. Could I do that all in one piece?

Today at Parlour Yarns

Today at Parlour Yarns

That much yes, but the sleeves would have to be separate,

The top piece , all worked as one includes the pockets the shawl collar the two fronts and the back. the sleeves were worked separately. Next was the fun part – fitting all the jigsaw pieces together. Testing it on my dress form, lining the pockets and sewing the pieces together.

I wanted buttons down the front with tab closures. Did you notice the difference in the last two photos in the gallery? Four tabs were in place when I left home, but two of them went AWOL!

I found them when I came home from Parlour Yarns, they were lying on the pavement enjoying the sunshine, I nearly drove over them! Note to self:- tighten the buttonholes.

sunbathing tabs.

sunbathing tabs.

Next I wondered how to use up the last two skeins of the yarn…

using the left overs

using the left overs

I have enough for a beret and it is almost finished!

I love my Tuesday mornings, kindred spirits working away, sharing knowledge, fun and laughter!



From Mrs Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management 1981 edition….

We are told on the flyleaf that it is ‘A totally revised, metricated and updated to bring it into line with the very latest developments in the cookery and Household management world’. How things have changed in the kitchen during the last thirty three years, never mind the one hundred and fifty three years since Isabella put her quill to parchment!

While searching for something else this morning I came across this entry in the household management section:


This means the cessation of the monthly periods, which normally happens any time between forty and fifty-five. Many women are frightened of the ‘change of life’, but there is no necessary reason why trouble should arise. If you are worried, go and talk to your doctor. You can be sure that the disturbances, which include hot flushes, insomnia, joint pains, increase in weight, and the general irritability, will pass: but in a number of cases the emotional upset is made worse by domestic strain or by loneliness. By the time of the menopause, children are likely to be leaving home and husbands are often absorbed to an increasing degree by the responsibilities of their occupation. In such circumstances it is sensible to try to find a new interest in life, or to resurrect an old one. Although hot flushes are unpleasant they go unnoticed by other people, and there is no reason to worry about how you look in company. As for sexual activity, the menopause need make no difference, except, obviously, that there is no longer the possibility of pregnancy.


There you go… ONE paragraph and it is all done and dusted! I actually wonder, how much of the above appeared when the good lady first published her Book of Household Management in 1861? I know it proved incorrect in relation to the ‘change of life’ in my case, but then I always claimed that I did not have a text book body.

The Book of Household Management (1861), comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc.—also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort. – Wikipedia

I think we should leave dear Isabella to her rest these days and discover more practical and up to date information and advice from a new book about to be published in September.

Letters for my Little Sister – A Fellowship Book b— Cecilia Gunther

If the group name for zebras is a dazzle, let me see what I can do to dazzle you with the group names of the animals who are regularly roaming the 5***** farmy hotel at THEKITCHENSGARDEN.

The grist of our swarm, flock to peep over the five bar gate each day, braceing ourselves for the news of brooding hens, silent sheep, droving pigs (believe me, they go for a walk twice a day!), pouncing dogs, strutting peacocks and pea hens or visiting children clutching eggs laid by plump hens.

Drooling for a knob of fresh butter, cheese or yoghurt while waiting for the bread to rise to accompany the glories of the vegetable patch for supper each day all washed down by the home-made wine. We clutter and clowder for big servings of chowder, trying not to be a nuisance as we watch with Ton-ton and Boo, the dogs, as Daisy or Queenie provide milk for the tea, the churn and the animals.

Good Queen Celi rules over her clutch of chickens, kine of cows, kennel of dogs, muster of peacocks and peahens, flock of sheep, and pigs led by Shiela, always watchful for the odd snake in the grass.

When most of us are ready to collapse at the thought of all that work, Celi finds time to bottle and freeze food for the winter, make candles and soap, before sitting to document her day with photographs from the previous twenty four hours, on her blog for the fellowship of the farmy.

A few months ago she threw us a line. An idea. A suggestion for a book.

Letters for my Little Sister began as a real letter, that Cecilia Gunther was writing to her little sister. Their mother died when they were young, so they grew up with no one to lead them through the hurdles of life or to give them any very personal advice.

Celi was trying to help her sister navigate the journey of aging and menopause. She felt there were others out there in the farmy fellowship who daily offered support or advice, and since they came from all ages & corners of the globe, they would have a wide perspective from dealing with mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters, never mind their own experiences of the dreaded word ‘menopause’.

So a book was born sixty eight brave men and true women stepped up to the plate to share their experiences. The book includes essays, letters and poems all written to share this common experience that effects no two women the same way.

Drum Roll…..

Coming soon, from Sable Books, and Pre-orders are available.

Needing distraction

The rain is washing the windows, the wind is howling like a wolf round my bundle of bricks and I am willing my roof to stay put. Well cocooned under the duvet, I am wondering if I could stay here for a week? The crumbs from toast are uncomfortable and it is difficult to navigate my way through the world of blogs with only my nose and one eye outside the covers. I better be brave and face the world outside my bedroom.

Sometimes looking for inspiration, I find it helpful to trawl back through my past life in this place. No. Not under the duvet, but to travel back through my blog.

Along the road of my blog life I have done some strange things and stepped up to many challenges.

Then one day, we beat the band altogether with a spanking new and scary challenge. It was so scary, we have not yet repeated it.

But who knows….  If the comments today prove interesting and varied, I might toss them in a drum and see what I come up with!

Two weeks ago

Yes, just two weeks ago I did something for the very first time. I managed to complete one of my aims for 2013. It was something I never tried before. Never dared to. It was way down my ‘To Do’ list, and added at the stage when I was plucking at straws.

People write these lists all the time, some without the hope of ever completing them. I was no different. In fact, I actually made fun of this particular idea.

#16 – Enter a writing contest. Anyone know of a contest that calls for no more than 100 wurds? 😉

I read on several blogs about a writing contest that called for no more than 100 words . . . in the very first month of the year! In for a penny, in for a pound, I decided to have a go at The Writer’s Desk Challenge. Just entering made me feel like a winner.

Nancy has narrowed the field down to seven very talented and worthy semi-finalists. The final decision will be by ballot, and it is open to all of us to take part in the voting.

So why not pop on over to have a read before taking the opportunity to vote. You may well discover some wonderful blogs to add to your daily diet.

Writing Desk

In the dull dead days of yearend, I wrote a ‘To Do’ list for 2013.

#16 – Enter a writing contest. Anyone know of a contest that calls for no more than 100 wurds?*

I am not a writer, I have a fear of the blank page… memories of scratchy dip pens, ink stained fingers to my knuckles and large black blobs making my writing almost indecipherable.

Nancy’s Challenge was right for me, show her my writing desk.

Anyone know how to get a picture of the inside of my head?

Where I go, my desk comes too!

*‘wurds’ – Dublinese for words.

I’m working on it.

I began working on my planned ‘To Do List‘ for the year.

Day 5 and I have taken a few steps already.

1. I have made some enquiries about a new hairstylist. I am hoping to give one a try during the week. I have a large paper bag at the ready in case it doesn’t work out.

2. Arranged for the first of the renovations – A large double glazed sealed unit has become cloudy and needs to be replaced. I am hoping to see the world more clearly in a few weeks.

3. one aim was to speak to a stranger every day.I decided to keep a tally for myself in the hope it would give me a clear idea of how I do. A page in my notebook gains a strike for each new stranger I speak to. So far the tally is looking like this:

1111 1111 1111 1

I don’t intend up-dating every week, twice or three times over the year will do, otherwise it will become boring.

All I want for…..

I might be singing, but it is not what you think.
I might be making a list and checking it twice, but it is not what you think.

I am making my ‘To Do’ list for 2013!

I see some one is trying the 101 Things to do in 1001 Days challenge. That seems a little daunting for me, but I might try stealing a dozen or so ideas from Hailey and do one or two a month.

So in no Particular order:

  1. Try something new. It looks like I need to find a new hairstylist. 🙁 For weeks the phone number at my usual salon has not been accepting incoming calls. 🙁 In thirty five years, I have only had two hair stylists. I only moved to the second one, because the first lady retired. Ah well. If I am stuck, I can always visit Jake’s friend for a short back and sides! 😉
  2. Take an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trip. By that I mean a journey and not a fall. NO MORE FALLS unless it is the sight of wonderful cascading waterfalls. I have had enough falls for a life time, so I have found the answer and I am afraid to tell you, it will affect all of you… 2013 will consist of 11 months. There will be no SEPTEMBER!
  3. Visit a cultural icon.
  4. Give a sincere compliment every day for a month.
  5. Clear out 12 cupboards of clothes and household items that I am unlightly to use again – one a month. If I do it in less time, I’ll award myself double points. 😀
  6. Make three renovations. If not to the house, then they will have to be to me! 😉
  7. Try to arrange for a coffee shop to begin ‘A Coffee for the Wall’ idea.
  8. See a play in a theatre every other month.
  9. Attending Classical concerts.
  10. Visit at least 3 museums or stately homes that I haven’t been to before.
  11. Pamper myself with a manicure.
  12. Take a picture for each letter of the alphabet.
  13. Get up and go for a walk as the sun rises.
  14. Take a moonlit walk on a beach. I would need some warm weather for this one.
  15. Write a letter to someone I admire.
  16. Enter a writing contest. Anyone know of a contest that calls for no more than 100 wurds? 😉
  17. Kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve – Come on, I might as well dream…. that there is still some life in the old girl yet!
  18. Document “A Day In My Life” in photos. This might prove difficult.
  19. Pamper myself with a foot massage.
  20. Be a movie extra. I wonder if they make films in Belfast?
  21. Talk to a stranger everyday. I think I do this already, except I don’t remember who I am! 😉
  22. Tame my garden. I might need to excavate to find the garden first.
  23. Grow some vegetables. Mung beans on the windowledge. They are veg, right?
  24. Live until the end of the year. One breath at a time!

No promises mind, but I will do my best!


Way back in the midst of time (November last year) my friend Darragh wrote to me.

Hello lovely lady!

That is how the old Plámásach (sweet-talking) young man began… I shuda known, my mother warned me… sure I never listened did I?

He was passing on information – anything that has a whiff of ‘old’ about it – is pushed my way. Well now, to be fair, Darragh was nudging me towards a proposed project. He is a hard man to say ‘NO!’ to. One of these days I might learn……

In anyways, as they say. This was the project:-

Irish based company Fitzgerald & Stapleton in collaboration with – the online site for writings on performance- are creating an online interactive performance called MINE. This project will involve Fitzgerald & Stapleton working with 4 Irish based women of different ages (12 years and under, 13-18years, 19-59 and 60+ years). Over an 8 week period we will post one question every two weeks relating to themes relating to society and life, which each participant may respond to through all mediums for example writing, film, drawing, photography. We are looking for honest opinions and responses from the participants that reflect their individual life experiences. There is no right or wrong and no artistic experience is necessary as we want to work beyond the regular artistic community and include the wider public within the arts. Throughout the process the participants may contact us at any time for help or feedback. The participants will need access to a computer, and experience of emailing – or someone who can assist them with uploading any writing film or images. Unfortunately we cannot offer a fee for the participants but all will be credited, unless they wish to remain anonymous.

At the end of the 8 week process Fitzgerald & Stapleton will collate the feedback of each participant to create four individual choreographic scores – like a choreography for the internet- which will be published online on As well as this we would possibly like to discuss the performance of these movement scores with the participants in the future, which we would definitely seek funding for to offer payment. The language scores are how we as a dance company perform our dance work, using writing and visual material as a score to direct our movement for performance.

November is a bleak month, and sure I needed something to keep me outa trouble, so I let my name go forward…..

Áine Stapleton a bundle of bubbly delightfulness was my contact, generous with her time and encouragement for me, at every stage. No matter which side of ‘the pond’ she was on the lines of communication were kept open.

The questions came and the four selected victims participants wrote their replies within their own space, under their biographies. Some of my replies appeared as stand alone posts here on my blog after they were published.

Week followed week and I posted my homework, it was fun, but for me, a little more difficult with each question…

Question 3 Compose and sing at least one version of the following song –

“Who Am I (What’s My Name)?”

Me, with not a note in my purse never mind my head…. WRITE A SONG ❗

I struggled, squeaked, even tried shoving the hairbrush in my mouth but nothing worked. I had a bath (they say that everyone sings in the bath), but the only result from that was a clean body and wrinkly fingers! Looking in a mirror was no better, all I saw was my mother telling me to get on with the job. 🙁 I finally gave Tobias the rest of the day off and shut down the laptop. Next morning all bright and bushytailed I set to work and managed to produce some lyrics. Don’t waste time looking for “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” by Grannymar in the top 100, anytime in the near or distant future. I can guarantee you that it will not be there.

Then came the bombshell.

Question 4Create and perform your own choreographic score.

Don’t get me wrong, but I thought that was what Fitzgerald & Stapleton were supposed to do. 😉 Well I struggled. Struggled in more ways than one. I was hit by nasty bugs. Tobias came off worse and needed a few days in ICU for laptops. The bug that hit me, left me in bed for two or three days of sleep, only venturing out of bed for more fluids and medication.  Circles and Feet were swirling in my head, perhaps I was hallucinating. As I recovered and thought of question 4 for MINE, the words seemed to fit so I took it from there.

Suddenly realising I had passed the date for publication, I fired off the following comment:

I apologise for being so late, my laptop was borked for over a week and I had a bug myself. I hope I am still in time to add my contribution.

I was encouraged to go ahead, so I posted my last contribution, I saw it as a skeleton of the leaf, giving the girls the freedom to flesh it out or chop and play with in any way they choose. That was back in January.

At the weekend I had an email from Áine. Their final result was posted on the site.  The piece is a combination of all our contributions. Now all they need is a Sponsor to aid in funding the performance of this movement score.

Thank you folks for the opportunity to stretch myself in directions that I never dreamed I was capable of.  I wish you every success in this endeavour and look forward to the day it is performed.


In the garden a glorious shower
Drifted past in one short hour
Then in glory was a carpet
Covering cracks and seats and baskets.

In the morning hushed and white
Had Lady Frost with all her might
Covered all with breath of gauze
Even birds have taken pause

Brushing sweeping bagging dumping
How I feel my heart is thumping
Soon before the fire I’ll sit
Drinking coffee as I knit

Clicking needles, crackling logs
The flames are rising like a dance
Now my heart is calm and warm
My toe peeps through a sock that worn

< > < > < >

MINE is an interactive online choreographic process involving Fitzgerald & Stapleton and four Irish women who live in different locations around Ireland and are aged between 8 and 63 years – Poppy Kane, Jenny Doyle, Kay O’Grady, and Grannymar.

The idea is to create four individual choreographic scores over an 8 week period.

One question will appear every two weeks (at the link above), themes relating to society and life, which each participant may respond to through all mediums for example writing, film, drawing, photography.

We are looking for honest opinions and responses from the participants that reflect their individual life experiences. There is no right or wrong and no artistic experience is necessary as we want to work beyond the regular artistic community and include the wider public within the arts.

My post yesterday and this piece today are my first contributions.

New MOO Me

I love the little mini business cards from and I have used them since autumn 2007.

As per usual I learned about them from Elly.  She has used them on many an occasion.  She has them for personal & business cards, she used them inside wedding invitations for details of Gift registry, as Christmas Cards and for change of address & phone numbers to notify her relations and friends when she moved into her new home.  For the latter she added a narrow magnetic strip so folks could keep the details to hand on the fridge!

When the young pair were gadding about Europe on their funny honeymoon I had to find ways to amuse myself since I did not have them to annoy talk to.  So I turned to investigate MOO.  The mini cards came in bundles of 100 and the more bundles you bought the cheaper the cards became.

So you pick an image from stock or a photo from your own collection and size it down.  It is possible to pick a different image for each of the 100 cards ❗  Now that was a little ambitious for me, so I picked one photo I liked from the day of Elly & George’s wedding and used it for all the cards.

You then add up to 6 lines of text on the reverse of the card, selecting your own fonts & colours.  The site walks you through the process and the order and payment are completed online.  Normally they arrive very quickly.  MOO is based in London, England, where they print and hand-pack everything for global delivery.  A recent newsletter announced the eminent arrival of an office in the US.

Well my cards were running out!  STOP LAUGHING DOWN THE BACK YOU TEKKIES!  I had handed out almost 100 mini MOOs since Podcamp 2007 and 09 Bloggies were coming up fast.  So I planned my order.  Alas I left it rather late and the cards arrived after my trip to Cork.

So did I repeat my previous order?  I ordered another 100 with a different image on the front!

So what do you think of them this time?

Now I wonder….. would the MOO card image make a nice header for my blog?  Maybe Magpie might teach me! 😉