Tag Archives: Crafts

“Mum do you think…?”

Mum thinks. 

She thinks plenty.

In fact when mum hears the question “Mum do you think…?” forming, she is thinking a mile a minute and wondering what is coming next!

I am getting cute in my old age… almost two years ago The question was completed and I agreed to have a go and see what I could do.

John Button pink t-shirt

John Button pink t-shirt

Now a little explanation might help:

The pink shirt was a tribute shirt for John Button, Jenson Button’s father. Jenson races in F1. John always wore pink shirts to his son’s races, and they were usually open at the collar and showing some of his chest.

John died unexpectedly in Jan 2014. As a tribute to him, and to raise money for charity, pink t-shirts were made in his honour and sold at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone in July.

Elly and George were watching the Grand Prix, saw the shirts and immediately George knew she wanted one. It had nothing to do with her jumping up and down in front of the TV singing “I want, I want, I want!”

Time passed.

George was invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed that year by his brother and father. The shirts were on sale and my darling son in love knew he had to buy one for Elly. Then came the difficult part: Guess the size, and we all know that is not an easy task for any man.

Typically, it was a man’s t-shirt, so while it fitted Elly around the bust, it was huge below that. I had shortened tops for Elly in the past to make them suit better on her frame, so that was why the question was asked to do it again.

When I saw the shape of the shirt with the close high neck, I knew it was not Elly. She NEVER wanted anything tight around her neck. I also wanted to be a little more daring, and follow  along the line of the open neck. So the shirt came home with me to be worked on at my leisure.

More time passed.

I was thinking and planning…

If I was to follow the line of the open shirt design, I would need to find a lining fabric. Lo and behold I was out one day, not quite where the tulips grow, but in a shop with t/shirts on display and for sale in exactly the colour tone I needed. It was also a lighter fabric so ideal for use as lining. The plain back of the t-shirt was sufficient for my needs.

J'adore t-shirt

J’adore t-shirt

Over time I plotted and schemed my way. The sleeves were way too wide, so I would have to take them in and adjust the side seams to suit Elly and finally take a chunk off the bottom. So we had a live modelling session with the shirt inside out. I pinned and marked and Elly managed to struggle out of the garment with any stabbing by pins.

More time passed.

I like good natural light for working in, but the weather gods, took a very long time to open the heavy grey curtains and allow that yellow ball in the sky to shine through.

All the while I was thinking and planning. Then the stars sun was in my favour and I let loose with the scissors. There was no turning back. 

Work in progress

Work in progress


I worked so far but needed a second ‘inside out’ fitting to make sure the new front lining was sitting comfortably and smoothly before I continued with the final hand sewing. So the project was set aside until I went to Dublin in July this year. 

The fitting took place and while Elly was busy earning an honest crust, I set to hand sewing and finishing the task in hand. Not quite in hand… I needed the fabric stretched, and since the live model was not available, I used a pillow!


By the time Elly came home, the work was done and she donned the finished garment and smiled happily.

Happy Elly

Happy Elly

Art with my needle ~ A scarf.

I fell in love with the colour of some yarn, looking longingly at it week after week in Parlour yarns. I lifted it down to enjoy it more closely… the feel of the yarn told me it was just created to keep my neck warm in the winter.

It was randomly hand dyed by Lindsay from Dye Candy in Randalstown, County Antrim. The jade green really sold it to me. I have not kept the ball band, and for the life of me cannot remember the details of weight, colour and needle size. I suppose it might be because I am not necessarily a strict pattern follower. I break the rules, changing the needle size to suit my mood and stitch pattern that invades my mind at any particular time.


One skein was enough to complete the scarf in ladder stitch, working crosswise.

Ladder stitch scarf

Ladder stitch scarf

Sorry that photo looks a little blurry, not sure if my hand was shaky or my eyes are tired.

Uhoh! I spy the t-shirt that I spent a full day searching the house for last week. I have a feeling the missing pink bra might be hidden underneath it.

Phew! I am not going mad after all.

Craft with my needle ~ Odds and sods of my yarn stash.


My favourite seat for several weeks (while building up my energy levels)  was in a comfortable armchair near the window for the light and surrounded by the largest crochet project for some time – a corner to corner shrug/blanket/Afghan. Worked in random yarns to use up all the odd skeins, half used balls and odd scraps of yarn lingering at the base of my stash.

Oddments of yarn

A sample of oddments

Most of the yarn I was using had come from leftovers of garments I have made, or yarn that was gifted to me from:

  • Brighid, in California
  • Brogen, to use in memory of her late mother Emma Sharma Hayes
  • Ello in Dublin.
  • Margaret, my now late friend who gifted me some of her stash when it became too difficult to knit.
C2C Blanket - Day 1

C2C Blanket – Day 1

So not alone was I reducing the yarn stash, I was actually creating a Memory Blanket that each time I looked at it or spread it across my knees, I re-lived the making or wearing of an item I had made with a particular yarn.

The people listed above were almost in the room with me as I added their colours and textures to my work.

The original idea was to leave it in the car for emergency use, but the colours were bright & cosy and I felt I wanted  to see it on a daily basis. It is large enough to cover the surface of my double bed. But it lives on the couch so I can snuggle under it for a rest, or pull it over my knees and feet to keep my extremities warn as I work on the next new project.

I do have enough for another C2C and will make one for the car in the autumn.

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My Memory Blanket surrounds me with warm hugs from all the friends who gifted me their yarn, each time I use it.

Many Thanks and love to all of you.

A short post for my crafting friends

After my very enjoyable morning at Parlour Yarns, I drove the short distance to Craftwoman Fabrics at Kilroot, Carrickfergus.

Elly had contacted me from Israel to ask if I could watch out for something she needed and it was also a nudge for me to bring my sewing box down on my next visit. I found what she needed with no bother and then came across this little beauty:

Thread & yarn cutter

Thread & yarn cutter

Ideal for travelling especially by air the flower has a rotary blade between the petals. I tried it on sewing thread, crochet cotton and a thick yarn. It cut cleanly on all three. A small needle threader slides out of the handle and the lanyard is detachable. I can see myself using this for many years to come.

Art with my needle ~ Update

Long gone are the Wednesdays when my regular posts on needlework – either in progress or completed were shared here (I suppose you could say that about all the usual areas of posting).

Well the needles have been active in the background so look forward to a few items turning up here in the weeks to come.

To begin with, I got round to re framing & re-instating The Lady*’!

Before doing so I decided to spring clean the Bathroom. Now you have all seen my bathroom in the past so there is no need to blush.

I replaced the radiator, removed the old faded curtains, made some new ones, but before hanging them, my attention turned to some emulsion for the ceiling, cleaning the wall tiles and tackling the bath…

cleaning my shoes

cleaning my shoes

Yes. I had to clean my shoes** before I cleaned the bath

Bath buns

Bath buns

I find Bath buns*** always help! 😉 After that the bath sparkled like new. I picked some new towels to tone with ‘my lady’.

All fresh and clean

All fresh and clean

All I needed were little ties to keep my curtains in place. Little things often cause me problems, so there was plenty of  ferniggling to achieve the look I wanted.

flowers and butterflies

flowers and butterflies

I began with crochet flowers and then tried butterflies

Curtain ties in place

Curtain ties in place

With the light behind the window, it was difficult to see the new ties. The curtains are a double layer threaded over a pole and the top layer gathered into the ties. For the moment I have it solved.

Butterfly Tie

Butterfly tie

Butterfly tie on a crochet band with a toggle closure at the back.

So finally finished you can see the lady back in place.

Lady reinstated

Lady reinstated

Each of the links marked with red stars lead to the original posts where the photos appeared with explanations. 

You can find my recipe for Bath Buns here



An answer for Celi

Celi at The Kitchens Garden, has issued a challenge to her huge following who read, comment or become part of the Farmy Fellowship: The deal is to post an image of where we write their posts, our comments and responses.

In my case it varies like Irish weather, I no longer have a fixed desk. In winter it is normally in my living room where I can see and warm my tootsies by the open fire.

At the other end of the L shaped room is my dining table and if I need to use my printer, that is where I work.

In the preparation for hip replacement back in 2009, I purchased a bed table on castors. It has become the most used piece of furniture in my house. I can move it from room to room as I wish, the castors on the base frame slide in under my bed and allows me to type away to my hearts content without the weight on my legs.

When cooking or baking, I can access my recipe folder on the laptop by wheeling the laptop through to join me. It sits neatly under the counter top until I need to check something.

My corner for several weeks now has been in a comfortable armchair near the window for the light and surrounded by my latest crochet project – More on that another day.

Who pulled the plug?

Well that is what it felt like. Invisible plugs in the soles of my feet were pulled and all my energy drained faster than a full bath scented with my favourite bath oils.

No need to worry it is just a blip… CFS/ME is something that has been part of my health package for about fourteen years. It happens suddenly. Unexpectedly. Elly is one of the few people that can read the signs. She has seen the colour drain from my face and my body suddenly droop to a wobbly jelly. This time she was nowhere near me and busy with work and her own life – that is as it should be – I gave her life and not a life sentence to be tied to my apron strings for life.

Over the years I learned to read the signs, slow down and rest.

This time I had other things on my mind and blamed the ‘tiredness’ on what I was trying to do, so kept going.

  • My friend recovering from a fractured hip, returned home on 10th February. She needed some help with shopping etc., and my daily visits did mean that I actually sat for at least an hour to chat.
  • I was expecting visitors (Post for another day.)
  • I cut my finger badly. It has healed well on the surface, but internally it will never be the same. So now I have two index fingers that refuse to work on a touch screen – First World Problems
  • Regular weekly appointments to attend.

This is NOT a ‘pity me’ post, it is an explanation for my absence from blogging. So no sympathy comments or I will unfriend and block you. SERIOUSLY!! I do not need sympathy, it is energy I need.

In these circumstances the longer I push against the grain… the harder the recovery time. It took me all my time to getup, wash, dress and make my meals. Thankfully my freezer was well stocked with home prepared meals allowing me to thaw, heat and eat them.

There were aches and pains in all my limbs and back. Even reading made my eyes heavy and concentration evaporated.

Thinking. Thinking of a few words to put on a page became impossible. I actually closed down the laptop and put it away. I almost returned to pre technology days with only the odd visit to Facebook so family would know I was alive.

That might explain my lack of posting in the last few months:-

  • January: 6 posts
  • February: 12 posts

Tuesdays are when I go to Parlour Yarns for my weekly injection of fun people happily knitting or crocheting, nattering & laughing. I normally come home full of ideas, stories, high energy and good spirits.

Two weeks ago I had to push myself to attend. During my morning I managed three rounds of a crochet granny square… it was all I could do. Before I came home, Jennifer our leader encouraged and gave me an idea. A simple idea. It was just what I needed to get back on track.

Once home, fed and rested, I gathered all the odd remnants of yarn, the half used balls and all the odds and sods lurking at the bottom of a large see through storage crate. They were every colour of the rainbow and more.

I began a corner to corner (C2C) crochet throw in random colours, a first for me. Each line was a different colour and the early rows used up the little scraps of colour. The different textures and colours worked well together.

C2C Shrug

C2C Shrug

It became like a drug. I sat in my corner at every opportunity… my plan was to work to fifty rows before beginning the decreasing, with a finishing border all round the edge to complete it.  It was so relaxing and distracted me from my aches and frustrations.

I have worked the fifty increase rows and now am ten rows down on the decreases with all this yarn still to play with:

Oddments of yarn

Oddments of yarn

I feel the energy slowly returning. No way am I ready to climb Cave hill, but by the time the rain stops and the throw is finished… I might be ready to take my camera for a dander.


Special words…We all have them, and indeed most cannot be found in a dictionary.

Yesterday I learned a new one from Viv:


It was in connection with quilting and crafting. We are both avid followers of talltalesfromchiconia and were wowed by her latest creation.

In needlework of all kinds I ferniggle, adapt and cheat all the time. We are often reminded that there is more than one way to skin a cat (mind you I like to keep away from cats, so never tested it) I am a great believer in there being more than one way to do anything.

Hush will you, I am not talking about a right way and a wrong way, as if that were the only choice. I mean adapting a different way to make something fit, look, feel etc., I might use a ‘what-ya-ma-call-it’ or ‘a thing-a-ma-gig’ to help me get there.

Daddy had a phrase: Cut your cloth to suit your pattern. He might have meant living within my means, but I ferniggled it to mean fiddling about and adjusting my pattern to suit my cloth, yarn… or indeed my recipe to suit the ingredients in my pantry!

If I like the sound of a recipe that calls for butter, well, I will find a substitute for that ‘butter’ that can never touch my lips. It works for me and so far nobody has refused to eat my home baking.

Mammy was a dab hand at ferniggling a hat. In her book it was a ‘mortlar’ (think mortal sin) to plonk a hat like an upturned flowerpot on any head. She would always perch them at an angle, add a tricky feather or punch a dent in the side of chosen hat for the day. Do you think that is where I got it from?

The last hat/headgear I made was not alone ferniggled but footery into the bargain. It was well worth the effort and a great success!

Art with my needle -My hattering

You saw my jacket here a few weeks ago. At the end of the post I was playing with the left over yarn.

using the left overs

using the left overs

Not alone did I finish the project and make a beret, I completed two more.

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With thanks to Jennifer at Parlour Yarns for the encouragement each week, the coffee, laughter & humour and especially for playing photographer yesterday morning.

In the doldrums

Not me.

I have been busy making up for lost time.

My eye surgery was a wonderful success and I have found a new joy in craft work that had been neglected for the past year or so.

There was a t-shirt that Elly threw on my bed one morning, way back last year.

“Could you alter the neckline for me mum, it is far to high and tight? You know me, I hate tight necklines they make me feel like I am choking. I think it needs to be shortened about three inches… and the side seams taken in”.

I love how my non ‘needle’ daughter sees her mother! 😛

The t-shirt is well on the way now and I have a morning’s hand sewing left to finish it off… photos to follow.

I emptied, washed and refilled my heat packs and made a new one to Elly’s specifications. I use a fleece fabric.

I washed and re-corded my kitchen blinds.

Fabric that I bought over a year ago for bathroom curtains, has now reached the top of my sewing bundle. And I still have a fitted sheet to alter.

I completed some crochet items, a star knee blanket, a jacket – which you have seen, two berets and a third is at the final stage.

These tasks all take time. I am slower than I used to be and the late, but welcome Gypsy summer as my friend Celi calls it, gave us extra daylight for the past month. The first of November was a wonderful bright and sun filled day, so totally different and warmer than 1st of June – our high summer.

I am also enjoying driving again. For quite a while it was local and utilitarian. I am venturing further and even had a week in Dublin. Elly suggested their late bank holiday weekend and she stretched it by taking an extra day’s holiday on the Friday. We did Girly things – shopping, eating, visiting friends and an evening at the Movies. George worked in the background and my car was given the works, a complete Valeting – it looked like it was just out of the showroom. Pity the skies cried all the way home to County Antrim!

I do have photos, but need to sort them out.

I am back! And hope to return to regular blog reading and commenting, although I missed it, the weeks away from screens large and small, was good for my soul. I knew you would understand. Good friends do.