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Getting there

Nothing finished but getting there. Sums up where I am with Everything at the moment!

The blanket is growing. I’m going to continue until the whole ball of wool is used up (providing there’s enough to complete a ‘block’ of pattern). I swear the ball gets no smaller no matter how many rows I do. It’s like when Prometheus stole fire from the Gods. Zeus had him bound to a rock and an eagle ate his liver… every single day. Imagine eating liver EVERY day! I swear the ball grows back every night and will never diminish.

** Update: Finished the blanket!!***

I posted the pattern here.

I tried a new recipe and made a bakewell-flavoured bundt cake. Bundt cakes aren’t the easiest to make. You have to cook the cake for longer than in conventional shallow cake tins. They can end up crusty and dry on the outside and still mush on the inside. The recipe came from Dolly Bakes: Bundts on the brain

The cake molded beautifully; I coated the Bundt tin with melted coconut oil followed by sieved icing sugar (turned upside-down and tapped to dislodge the excess). Perfect. The flavour was really nice but I confess to finishing it in the microwave because I wasn’t convinced the middle was cooked.

The Christmas Pudding mold came in useful to create a Chocolate Biscuit Cake to look like a Christmas pudding. The holly is real and pinched from Shouty Man – his holly grows over into my garden. Not complaining – it’s lovely.

And getting more and more into the Christmas spirit, I made some Coffee Cream Liqueur. I posted the recipe a long time ago, you may remember it. If not, here you go:

And tree decorations! Love finding pretty new decs for the trees! These lovely hearts came from The Flying Tiger:

The reindeer are from Penneys – little and cute!

A robin on a post box (from Mr Dunnes – I added some red to his breast as he was a bit orange).

Am in love with this glass robin. It is far prettier iRL; my photo doesn’t do it justice at all.

And that’s about it!

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Looking forward to Christmas and looking back on the year a bit

Mr T treated me to some flowers today. Like a little bit of summer in a vase. The garden is falling asleep quite and looking a bit bleak. The heady, hot summer is long forgotten as hoolies swirl round the chimney pots and howl like banshees in the skies.

Been quite an eventful year. It started with what is now called Shingle bells. Yes. Boxing Day last year was the start of the ‘little tingles become shingles’. It was no fun. But, I was fairly stoic. Took extra strength Olive Leaf extract, rubbed the affected nerve path and horrible blisters with Vetiver, coconut oil, lavender and tea tree oil to minimise the scarring, encourage healing and it passed relatively quickly.

In March I was working in France for a while. A little outside Paris. The building I was in was a big tower block and gave a great view all around. You could just see the Eiffel Tower – you’ll have to zoom in but I’ve circled it for you:

Not what you’d call scenic, but there you are.

We went to see Jerry Fish. Mr T is one of the men he got up on stage….  We also saw Sarah Millican and Rob Brydon for shits and giggles.

We popped over to the UK a couple of times and met up with family and friends. Shopping in the UK seems so much cheaper. Stocked up on lots of things while we were there.

We had visitors and spent a week going place: Dublin Zoo, Brittas Bay for a picnic, Glendalough and Newgrange – an iron age monument. It looks quite large from the outside but when you’re actually in, there’s only a narrow chamber with three alcoves.On December 21st, the winter solstice, the rising sun lights the chamber up. The tour guides went to great lengths to simulate this for us by using a dimmer switch so we could immerse ourselves in the great darkness of the chamber without light then turned the lights up so we could see the chamber ‘flooded with light’. Do I sound a little snarky? Let’s just say the dimmer switch wasn’t very effective though I’m sure the real event is spectacular.

 

This could be anywhere, I know! But this is a view from Glendalough as the day was darkening over with stormy clouds.The walks were wonderful. We got up very close and personal to a beautifully irridescent-winged dragonfly… Unfortunately, the other pics all have pictures of my visitors in so I can’t really show you Glendalough but it was beautiful…. the lakes, the mountain views. Tremendous.

I made a poncho for the little one. It’s just waiting for a fringe, here.

And now the trees are bare. The rains are back with a vengeance! The hosepipe ban is lifted (lol). The cats enjoy their fireside beds.Gracie likes to stretch out and extend her back paws over the side towards the fire and toast her little toes. Jess likes to curl up and do some serious snoozing.

This was also the year someone or something happened to Gracie’s tail.  It was raw and nasty when first injured. Luckily the vet soon had her tail bandaged and gave her shots to minimise inflammation and pain. It healed nicely and her fur grew (still not as thick as the rest of her tail) back.You know what someone I think happened to her tail. Shouty Man. As an update, shouty man doesn’t speak to us now. We are obviously NOT on his Christmas card list. Oh dear. What a pity. Never mind. The last couple of times we’ve seen him, he’s been getting out of his car. He spots us then dashes in like Billy Whizz wanting a poo – his face does a very good impression of a cat’s arse…

The Pope came to Ireland this year! Joke shops filled their windows with lots of dodgy stuff:

 

Our Halloween pumpkin. I drew the design with a Sharpie and Mr T cut it out – star!

I sat module one of an essential oils aromatherapy diploma. The training was delivered at the Courtyard Hotel in Leixlip. They had outside seating made from old barrels. Clever! Next module is January.

I’m currently decorating a plant pot:

Not sure if this is the back or the front. The other side will have a name and a date with some flowers, scandi-style, which I haven’t started yet but need to get a wiggle on cos it’s for next weekend.

And now Christmas is looming! I saw these glass bauble rabbits at Ikea and loved their quirkiness.

And, in honour of my mum who loved Christmas robins, I look for robin ornaments every year. This year I found four. All from Mr Dunnes. I’ve only taken pictures of the felt ones so far but might get some snaps of the other two and post later this week.

I walk past this pub most days – it’s getting ready for some ‘great Christmas craic’. Lots of the shopping centres have their lights up now and shop windows are full of Christmas stuff. I like it. It makes me feel all jolly inside. The nicest are the ones in Stephens Green. It’s really, really, pretty but for some reason they are always late (imho) in putting up their Christmas decs.

This year will be just the two of us, we’ll do some visiting and probably get visited back but Christmas Day itself will be just us. That means we get to do anything we want. Sit around in pyjamas eating chocolate, drinking Baileys, clinking with ice. Eating what we fancy. Crisp sandwiches. Chips with tomato ketchup. Classy stuff! We don’t do the big Christmas dinner if we don’t have anyone coming.

So, a mixed bag of a year but interesting. Lots of family stuff – lots of happy times. Next year will be better still. It always is. I really can’t stand Jeremy petrol head Clarkson but one thing he said stuck with me; after Top Gear got rid of him, he said “Something good will come along; it always does”. That’s my kind of motto.

You might be wondering why the photos from the year? My phone was dying. Behaving quite strangely and I suspect getting ready to conk out on me so I bought a new one and copied my galleries onto the PC and gave them a looking through. My tablet is also starting to suffer droid rot. What is going on? For info, both my phone and tablet were Samsung…I generally find Samsung are pretty OK…

And Mr T called me to listen to a strange noise the washing machine was making. It was making some kind of odd sounds but they stopped and didn’t come back when I washed a second load…. maybe the stern looks and warning tone in my voice when I spoke to Miss Wendy Washwoman (our washing machine name) made her behave and think about her behaviour. She’d better not think she’s going to give up this side of Christmas!

Do you have names for your appliances? My car is called Miss Markle. The tumble drier is Rumbly Tumbly machine.

Well, time to go wake Ms Wendy Washwoman up and get her to do a load for me. Bye for now.

Chat, Free

Vintage blanket free crochet pattern

A blanket with the pattern above was on an episode of call the midwife and inspired me to have a go at making one. It also makes for a lovely scarf if you stick to 3, maybe 4 blocks, depending on the yarn you use.

I tried a pattern found online but just kept falling foul of it and was frogging every five minutes. I gave up on that one and worked one out for myself. I’m about half way through and think another 5 or 6 blocks will make a useful sized blanket for a little one.

Want my pattern? Here you go find it in your downloads!  Crochet blanket

I’ve been very busy and am pursuing an interest that I’ve had for many years – I’m taking aromatherapy classes! I took module one last weekend – Friday evening, then all day Sat and Sun. Met some lovely ladies and enjoyed the training. Last thing on Sunday, we sat in pairs and practiced hand massages. Heaven. The room was full of soothing and healing smells and the massage was wonderful. Glory be – I mean wonderful!

I booked Friday and Monday off work so I could have some down time (barring washing, cleaning and ironing… lol). I have to find some guinea pigs to practice hand massages on and write up the consultation, the aromatherapy blend and send back to the training centre for assessment. Next module is January so a bit of time to do that. Also have to take anatomy and physiology classes to be eligible to take the aromatherapy diploma exam. The course finishes with an exam next October, I think, when I hopefully, will be a qualified aromatherapist. Yay me! What will I do then? Really don’t know! It’s far, far removed from what I do now and have no idea if I could make a living from it.

Now then, who will be my willing victims clients?

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Indulgence

A very indulgent chocolate drip cake. Three tiers of Victoria sponge, sandwiched together with buttercream icing, covered with buttercream icing with white chocolate ganache poured over the top with lots of Maltesers for decoration – oh – and some edible glitter as well.  My dripping went a little too far but stopped short of running over.

Pink, green and purple. Not brilliant but am getting used to the food colouring gels – they don’t match the colour of the label on the pot.

The cupcakes and chocolate sponge with coffee buttercream topping.

Here’s little Gracie. I recently posted about shouty man who said ‘He’d know what to do about her if she came into his garden again’ after finding a dead bird and believing her to be responsible and how less than a week later she had a length of her tail degloved. She is, of course, the only cat for miles and miles – said nobody round here ever. He obviously doesn’t see the 50-odd cats line dancing round his flower beds and plant pots every day.

Anyway, the fur is growing back now, just as the vet said it would. I thought she was going to have a bald patch. You can see where her tail looks thinner in the middle but it’s so much better now.

The winter nights are drawing in, as my dad used to say, and it’s getting colder. Every day we have the heating and fire on to take the chill out of the rooms. The biggest signs of winter are that I leave the house in the dark in the mornings now and am having to scrape the frost off the car windscreen. How quickly we forget these things over the summer – especially this last summer which has been fabulous! On the plus side, The Apprentice is back on the telly. And GBBO has a bit of a run left.

This is Gracie in front of the fire.

Her and Jess have a comfy, squashy bed right beside the hearth.

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I went hookey again and made another pair of these dolly-sized bootees. The wool is a mohair mix with sequins. Sparkles. Seen the sparkly socks in the stores lately? The magpie in me had to buy some. I put them on and feel epic, lol. I’ve also started on a ‘Call the Midwife’ blanket. Coming along nicely. Pics for next post. I’ve to finish a crocheted poncho – the crochet work is done but it needs a fringe. In fact, I’ve several projects that need finishing so I’d better get a wiggle on. Tara for now!

Chat, Illustrator Tutorials

Adobe Video Fun with CC

The graphic above was created in Animate – I saw a video that used this effect and wanted to have a go myself. I ended up doing mine quite differently but the end result is the same. Check out the inspiration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuUjUDGAqt8.

Adobe CC

I am upgraded to Adobe CC! The previous version was CS6 and a few years old. The new features across the whole suite is a lot to learn but I’ve been trying my hardest.

The video I’ve posted is a synergy of Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Character Animator, Animate and Premiere Pro. It’s a work in progress with a lot still to do (the audio is awful – dunno why that’s so bad) but you get the idea. Stitching all the individual bits and pieces present sits own challenges and am still trying to work out how to include the Animate file (Adobe Fun posted above)  into the video I’ve posted. Hannah is obviously looking and pointing in the wrong direction for the glass ball particle explosion so when I re-do it will reverse the background picture and ball (the picture is taken from Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins – I love the sweet graphics).  There are a ton of things to correct but I’m getting there. It all helps me learn and that’s the objective.

 

This mountain landscape was a happy little play in Illustrator to get used to the latest interface and icons. It was based closely on this tutorial: https://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-create-mountain-landscape-in-flat-style–cms-28759

 

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