What shall I bend your ear about today?

Well, I tried to stage the photo but I don’t have the eye – yet… maybe never… I’m sure some of the techniques can be learned so I will study magazine shots and see how they achieve that ‘look’. Anyway, it’s supposed to be showing off the crochet heart – a new and gorgeous addition to my crochet heart pattern hoard.  It’s  quick to make and has no complicated stitches to deal with and you can find the pattern by Nancy L Drew here and here on Attic24’s blog.  You may remember, I crocheted a little wooly sheep for Yarndale last year. The sale of the sheep was to raise money for hospice care for terminally ill children. This year the Yarndale exhibition in Skipton is raising money for Mind, a mental health charity in the UK, and the organisers are asking all us knitters and crocheters to make ONE heart for them to sell to raise money for it. If you are interested, the details are here: yarndale.

I also made these little daisies – slightly blurred…. lost in the depth of field a bit. You’ll notice the  leaves are nicely in focus and sharp. If you want the crochet pattern for these, you can find it here.

This is a better shot of them.

My wooden froggy still hasn’t had his crochet hook adjustment and still sits around looking like he’s smoking a fat Churchill cigar. Then again, the large dresser that I want chopping up (it’s too big to get out of the house – originally there was an extra door which got blocked up and has fitted cupboards on the other side so can’t just be opened up again) is still sitting there like a leviathan in the living room. Sadly, someone would love it and I’d gladly give it away for nothing but it just can’t be taken out. Because it feels so criminal, and breaking it up an act of vandalism, it has stayed our hand for a long, long time. Now, I just want it gone and get on with finishing the decorating and getting new flooring down.

My daisies continue to proliferate and will one day take over the world.

And Gracie wanted to be in on the action so here she is. I haven’t taken a picture of Jess for a while. She likes to have long sleeps on the bed and doesn’t run in and out like Gracie does. It’s certainly not favouritism, they are loved equally and I’m crazy cat lady about both of them.

My halo has had a bit of a polish. The train I catch from Dublin to home terminates in Newbridge and as I got off  I saw a bloke fast asleep having a little snore. I gave him a bit of a shake and told him the train was at the terminus – he said ‘Good on you!’  Now I know I’m going to heaven! Not that I know what it’s like to fall asleep on that very  same train, that empties at Newbridge then is ‘Out of Service’ till the next morning and flew like the clappers, like the devil was chasing, back to Heuston station (for example). No, I wouldn’t know anything about that. Or banging on the driver’s door to let him know there was someone on the train and worrying where the train was going to end up… Nope. No clue…

This weekend, I have been technology terminator. First my phone went totally bonkers – time was wrong then it said there was no something-or-other service, then it popped up an alert every two or three ruddy seconds – grr. Try typing a message when you have to click OK to dismiss the stupid pop up that frequently. Then my keyboard died. Then the mouse! Talk about Internet of Things! It was like they’d ganged up on me and decided to go on strike. Anyway, this afternoon I went into Harvey Norman (always declaring War! on prices) and bought a new keyboard and blew a fat wedge of cash on an impulsive buy. There was this honking monitor, a 32″ HP Envy with Bang and Olufsen speakers built in. OMG. For a very long time I’d been whinging about the size of my monitor and how the screen was too small for Photoshop and Illustrator work, well, not comfortably. I’d thought about two monitors. At work I have three, although one is a tiny postage stamp sized laptop that I use as a hard drive. Having multiple monitors is useful but you can lose the mouse. The cursor disappears off the face of the planet and goes handbag shopping for a while and drives me mad. Two –  more manageable but still a bit of a PITA – AWOL cursor troubles…

This single, huge monitor presented itself as THE solution to my problems and here I am typing on my new (but not brilliant keyboard) with vast digital real estate in front of me. The monitor is a joy. I watched some You Tube stuff – Habibi Lal at one of the Tribal Fests, Feeling Good by the Muse and some other stuff. Superb. The keyboard is a bit Meh. The keys don’t always depress – I think it’s if I catch the keys on a corner instead of pressing more centrally. Unfortunately, I don’t really type too brilliantly so am a bit fat-fingered in the typing department.

I bought a new phone – not expensive for a phone – Galaxy J5 but all in all I have spent a lot of money today. So, great and super but an unexpected expense and then there’s the setting up of various things on the phone – a chore but not too awful. As expected, the installed ring tones were lame. Luckily, I have a machine with Linux on and a lovely application called Audacity which edits audio files. So, the opening riff of Gimme Shelter by the Stones will soon be clipped and installed. (I don’t like that track beyond the intro, imho, I think it’s boring).

So there you have it – weekend millionaire! Lol. I’ll be eating baked beans for the next 6 months!

I will, however, enjoy getting on with a papercutting that I’m in the middle of designing on Illustrator using my fab-u-lous new monitor!!!!!!!! I’m lovin’ it!

Naughty Naughty

I popped in to Boots get some VO5 gel spray and was checking out the price. There was a raft of ‘special offers’ on the VO5 range but the labels were slipped behind some clear plastic on the edge of the shelf and overlapped so you couldn’t see the details. I prised the plastic away from the edge to slide the labels along a bit so that I could see better and spotted this great deal. So great I slid the label out so that other shoppers wouldn’t jump to take advantage of it.

Buy one and pay €3.99. Special deal, buy 2 and Boots will charge you an extra 52c. What a great deal!

Out with a flea in my ear

The Dublin Flea market was on today (every last Sunday of the month) down by Merchant Quays in Dublin. There was tat, dat and gimme that every which way. You have to root around and poke through piles of things to see it all but the thronging people make it hard to do it easily!

Anyhow, I bought the lovely – or bad like a rotten tooth, enameled jug for €5.00. I got it to take those lovely vintage effect and shabby chic photographs that look so great in magazines… not sure I can do as good a job but I’ll try. I can dangle crocheted doodahs off it – in appropriate old-fashioned colours – and see how it goes.

Then there was the wooden frog. It’s actually some kind of percussion instrument – the wooden dowel in its mouth is used to make sound by running it up and down the ridges on its back. I’m going to use it to hold a crochet hook or two. Mr Bird is going to see about actually inserting the throat of a crochet hook into the tapered end by drilling a hole down the shaft and securing it with Gorilla glue.

A felted wool bag was also quickly mine. Acquisition. Material girl, What more is there to say?

So, these were my purchases at the Flea. There were some lovely things I wanted but were too expensive.

Like this Bentwood rocking chair. The seller wanted €250 for it.

There was a lovely black iron umbrella stand for €45 and a beautifully old door knocker at €35. Too expensive for a quick acquisition especially when bought on a whim.

And there was other stuff that I liked but had no need or ornamental use for, like this old iron:

A bit blurry, unfortunately, due to the jostling. It’s very sweet but not for me.

So, home again and timed it just right. As we turned into the car park the heavens opened and  it heaved down, big wet slapping rain pounding the car as we drove home.

Since I last posted, I bought a couple of spools of T shirt yarn called a Jolly Good Yarn and some fat crochet hooks via Amazon. All Tulip in sizes from 9 to 12. No 11 – oddly enough. It’s to make a hanging crochet basket – seen some lovely patterns from the internet people and Wooly Wonders has a video to make one. Not a hanging basket for planters – these hang off a door knob and are little storage items. Just look so … nice. I bought the yarn in cream and ‘Grey Suit’ – isn’t that a great name? It really does have the colour of dark grey Worsted.

These hooks aren’t very expensive but are a good brand and very smooth, no burrs to snag and catch the fibres. They look like sprouting mung beans, don’t they – except the colours, of course!

And so to my little cutie pie, Gracie. This was her last night after tucking herself underneath the throw on the sofa.




So back to things I must do – a bit of tidying up, sort out some washing and ironing then indulge myself with some crochet for a little relaxation.

A sunny side up, cherry on top, kind of day

Today is a cherry on top kind of day even though the sun has stayed in bed and left the sky looking like a big bruise and ready to cry at the drop of a hat. So following doctor’s orders, I’m having more fruit and fibre and crocheted up a little bunch of cherries with leaves and stalks based on a vintage pattern called Cherries Boutonniere #2249.  You can see them in the pic above. Juicy and plump. And popped them onto a wooly hat and gave it a new fruity lease of life.

These squares are still a favourite – you can get the free pattern on Ravelry. I like them to have at least one colour change in them as they can look a bit dull.

You see what I mean? Dull Square. A plain Jane in her best frock.

Then I found these plumpy dumpy bobble tops. A double row  of popcorn stitches – worked in trebles rather than DCs for really boppy bobbles.

Pop them onto a plain Jane and the bobble tops bring her to life! She’s no longer a wilting violet withering away in the corner – she’s  gone all flirty and vivacious in her pastie bobbles –  ‘look at meeeeee!’. (Does anthropomorphising a crochet square make me sound a bit bonkers? It’s okay though, am yarned but not dangerous).

Anyway, these bobble tops are worth the time and effort for the F.A.B they bring to all sorts of projects.

And now you want to make some? The pattern is on Ravelry: Lily Pad Hexagons so go get! I left off the final few rounds that give the design a hexagon (or square – she gives both options in her pattern) shape. They are so gorgeous I’ve become a total and complete bobble head and loving it. For information, mine are made with a 4mm hook and Baby Bamboo which is so soft and comes in a lovely selection of colours.

What did the hat say to the afghan? You stay here and I’ll go on a-head…

Sunny side up but must run. I have to be ready to the last button in 30 mins! Time to get a wiggle on – byeeee

Birds and the Bees

Glorious weather, so good I ran out of fabric conditioner. If seeing a colourful line of washing all a-dangle on the line is a joyous sight, then I was in raptures. The bed got stripped, washed and hung out. I just absolutely love an evening shower and a freshly made bed. Sweet dreams.

The heat made any real exertion too daunting for me although Mr T is out there now mowing the lawns but it is evening and much cooler.

Nothing stops the bees from being busy though.

There was enough energy to sit an crochet a few squares today:

Butterfly Garden – I’ve done a few of these now and posted the link a few posts ago.

I can’t remember what this one was called!

The Victorian Lattice Square (again, I posted the link to this one a few posts ago)

The latest one to catch my eye was this one from Haafner. I think she calls it her Smitten blanket (she made several squares and joined them together). She based the pattern on a vintage design she saw. It’s really lovely. Lots of popcorn stitches, lots of yarn. Luckily, it measures 6″ square like my others so will join up with them eventually when I make my blanket. That way, I can mix and match it with my favourite designs. For information, my square is made with Baby Bamboo (Sirdar, I think) and a 4.0 hook.

I was also asked to make a pot for somebody moving into a new home. This is something I love doing and I keep a box of metallic acrylic paints at the ready for these happy commissions:

I used lots of copper and gold to give it lustre and  contrast against the cream paint on the pot (it’s an ordinary terracotta pot beneath its makeover).

While I was painting I dropped the paintbrush onto my new jeans so had to dash to get them under the tap and into the washing machine. Luckily that hot sunshine soon had them dry and no evidence of paint on them anywhere. No rest for the wicked, they say.

I work in Dublin close to a little park and like to go sit there on a warm lunch break. I’d love to know what this shrubby thing is that grows there – the leaves are so pretty.

When the weather isn’t so great but not raining, I go for a walk and explore little side roads. The main roads all lead to the Quays and are very busy. I’m just minutes away from the Facebook office block. On my wanderings one day I came across a cafe called Lolly and Cooks and it has the most wonderful windows:

They look like paper cuts. Super funky designs.

They look like they’ve just come off one of our cutting machines. I love the bee having a cuppa and the snail carrying a cupcake on his house.

Talking of creepy crawlies…

When I was in the the land of Bakewell Tarts and Yorkshire Puddings, I noticed my host’s cat staring out of the French Doors at a slug, of all things.

Just what was so fascinating? Here he is in a close up for you. I’m not a fan and they eat my lupins every year. One year I followed the advice of my neighbour to make a beer trap. Disposing of the slugs caught was gruesome and disgusting. I won’t tell you what I thought the fat, swollen slugs looked like.

I remembered that I’d bought this little thing in the UK as well. I collect hearts. I think I’m a not-so-secret romantic.

I thought I’d show you an accidental photo of the contents of my pencil case at work. Just looks a kind of cool shot. The ‘Made in Japan’ pens are from Muji and are 0.5 gel pens and come in lots of colours.

Reading is big with me at the mo. Have re-read several Philip K Dick. Have just finished The Obesity Code – well, quite an amazing tectonic shift in my core beliefs, I can tell you. If he’s correct, and I am persuaded by his evidence, then it truly is a diet revolution and a total paradigm shift. For decades I totally believed that all calories were truly equal regardless of their origin, they all represented energy and energy in should equal energy out for homeostasis. Net gains or negatives in either direction resulted in fat stored or fat lost. Now, it seems, the whole system is much more complex, physiologically, but paradoxically, supremely simple, in terms of actually managing your physiology and allowing your body’s systems to get back into a healthy state.

I’m just starting The Owners Manual for the Brain – so far, it’s very interesting. I’ve also skimmed the beginning of The Game of Logic by Lewis Carroll or, by his real name, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. I want to have a go at the games – they are intriguing.

TV is so dull. Nothing but reality shows and many of them with the usual panel of celebrities. Gah. That said, I do like project runway. That whole fashion forward stuff has a language of its own – I just don’t understand it and secretly think they speak pretentious sweaty dangly things but it’s entertaining, nonetheless. Best comment this week was that an outfit looked like something a gay priest would wear on a yacht. Loved the expressions on Fabio and Jay (?) faces when they were told they would be designing outfits for a gay couple’s first date. Had to rewind and watch a couple of times and laughed out loud at them. I think Fabio or Dimitri is going to win, btw.

Well, that’s me about done. Nothing more to see here, folks.

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