Clever Cats

I’m going to have a boiled egg and soldiers for lunch. I opened the cupboard and saw this cheery face smiling at me.  What a happy chappie, eh? He or she is an egg cup and decided the meal.

Made me think – just recently there was a comment in the papers about Theresa May looking like a cat ‘coughing up a fur ball’ in a photo of her laughing. I think it’s the other way round. My cat does an impression of Theresa May laughing because she’s so clever (my cat, dunno about TM)!

Song Bird

Last night I finished off a papercut. This was designed in Illustrator and cut by machine. I’m probably putting it up on Etsy this evening to sell as an SVG. It fits on an 12″ x  12″ so suitable for most of the current machines on the market.

I want to personalise it with a name or word to be affixed to the bird’s beak. Mr Tree says ‘No’. We disagree. I’m on the fence for the moment and will mull it over during the day.

Feeling Stitchy

Le soleil brille – it’s so warm and summery it doesn’t feel like Ireland in the middle of March. It’s gorgeous. All the windows are open and the breeze blowing in is beautiful.

Time to get out some of the hand embroidery books I got for Christmas (and un-Christmas). I have a good-sized piece of linen and am looking for inspiration. I have been practising all sorts of stitches and fancy beading some of them and have six little pots of Miyuki beads at the ready for this purpose.

Trouble is, creativity just won’t be forced and it’s like squeezing the last diddly bit of toothpaste out of a practically empty toothpaste tube. It’s hard to do and the end result is usually a bit of a blob looking like a rotten potato sticking out of a cow’s bottom.

There are too many distractions. The old fire and hearth have been ripped out and a new fire with my beautiful solid pine and cast iron insert have been installed. The walls around are plastered and nearly dry at which point we can  put the new paper up and hang the matching mirror.  We’ve been shopping and bought wallpaper and have been checking out curtains and flooring so there’s enough on my mind to push out thoughts of pretty embroidery. Or so you’d think.

It’s just that the thought of sitting quietly with oodles of flosses in rainbow colours with pure linen and an embroidery needle appeals to me. The quietening of the mind; the chattering monkey in my head being soothed. The chance to sit and just enjoy the moments of making something lovely.

So, the books are out. And I want to make everything. And so the conflict of desires and possibilities and imagination run riot and nothing gets done.

But the sun is shining and it is glorious. Washing is blowing gently on the line and all is well in my world. That’s a great start to any day and plenty to be happy about.

Learned a new Illustrator Technique Today!

I love finding really neat Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials. They’re both powerful programmes capable of so many effects but it also means it’s easy to get stuck in the groove of doing only the things that you’re familiar with. Some people use Photoshop for just touching up photographs, some for artwork, for example. It’s great when you find sites that share skills that encompass a broad range of techniques.

I subscribe to blogspoongraphics  and get a regular e-mails and was taken with his ‘Digital Particle Waves’ in this week’s post. So much so, I had to have a go. Mine is very different from his – but that’s the beauty of the tutorials – not to become a slave to the techniques but to see the potential and possibilities in them.

If you want to find out how to make one yourself, visit his blog. The tutorial is well-documented and easy to follow.

Tweedy Stuff

I ordered some fabric via Amazon last week and was delighted when my tablet went ‘buzz buzz’ to let me know there was a notification awaiting my attention. Parcel Motel – something for collection? Brilliant.

It was – is – authentic Harris Tweed in a luscious turquoise herringbone. The material is really lovely and I must do it justice.

I’m thinking of making a cushion with an appliqué design using felted wool, linen, hand embroidery and Miyuki beads. I’ve also toyed with the idea of crocheting some mohair coiled roses – possibly three or five small ones (odd numbers are supposed to be best, aesthetically, I am informed). This could all be over-egging the pudding.

I’m no stranger to cushions and applique and really love making them:

Love You Two

Little Cottage Cushion

Cat and Mouse


Happy Hares

Love Bunnies

Most of the cushions were made with a rich wool mix material so weren’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination. But Harris Tweed is, well, like royalty. I have to do a good job and not futz about with it or F I Up. My brain normally fries when I charge it with the command to be creative. Too many possibilities. Too many permutations. Many wurlitzers are missing from my database kind of thing.

If you get that way yourself, maybe these words will help:

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Well, maybe not. We move on.

It came with just one Harris Tweed label, which was a bit disappointing, as there’s enough to make some hearts and some little needle cases that I’d hoped to sell on Etsy. Without a label to authenticate the fabric, it might be difficult to convince the customers that they really are Harris Tweed. I suppose I have the photos…

and receipt…

Anyway, I will give it some thought, stick it in the toaster and see what pops up.

Meanwhile, back in the bat cave… Went to Newry at the weekend (again). Last week I nearly bought a top and jeans from Monsoon but decided to walk around the shops and see if I still wanted them by the time I got back (Monsoon is near the car park). I forgot all about them and came home. Then, Friday night, I got an email from Monsoon (I rarely read the emails that follow after subscribing to loyalty schemes and such like) and it was a reminder that there was 20% off everything on the Saturday.

I decided I’d put together a shopping list: more cat food (I have a pantry full of cat food – me and he might starve but the cats could live happily for hundreds of years, lol). Added quinoa ‘burgers’ and curry style quinoa burgers. For good measure, I rang the hairdressers and made an appointment for early Saturday morning.

Lovely drive there and back. I listened to an audio recording of Michael Crichton’s ‘Sphere’ which spared me the arse dribble of the usual presenters on a certain radio show at that time of day. And was pretty gripping.

Anyway, nice cut and blow dry (choppy and textured again). Great job and very pleased with it.

Monsoon – both items were £59 so £118 for the two but with 20% off came to £94 (sterling) and some change. Probably come to about a €100 after currency conversion via the bank.

These same items were €90 euro each in the republic (see the mark up??) so would have cost me €180. If the 20% off was on here then they would have reduced to €144. So, still a very  significant saving and am I glad I didn’t buy them last week?!

Am still waiting to hear when the fireplace and new fire go in. There is some debate about fire backs, chimney linings and other details that I barely pay attention to. I think all will be sorted and work will start next week, though. The old carpet will go and am wondering about what to replace it with – carpet or laminate flooring. Having two cats makes for hairy carpets.

And now to food. The only macaroni cheese I’ve ever had before making my own, was out of a tin. It was a flavourless and slimy. These days, I make my own, cheese sauce an’ all. Then, in Lidl, I saw they had an Italian themed selection of foods going on and jars of cheese sauce. Why not give one a try? Ruddy gorgeous.

Boiled the macaroni, drained then transferred it to a baking dish and stirred in the jar of sauce. Topped it with a generous layer of grated extra mature cheddar cheese and popped it in the oven till the cheese was browned and bubbling.

Served it with lots of salad in an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing with some plain ciabatta.

Sunday morning, we finished off the ciabatta, filling it with rows of baked sausages. There were two each on a plate, both resembling toes sticking out of a sandal so we named them ‘Ghandi’s flip-flops’. These were washed down with a pot of freshly made coffee sweetened with molasses sugar while we futzed about and read the papers.

In one newspaper article there was a comment about something being a ‘mute’ point. I think this was an error and not something the journalist wanted to keep quiet about.  I read the same word again in a different article and started to wonder if the word ‘moot’ has been lost to mumpsimus – the deliberate mis-spelling of a word – to ‘mute’.

Today started with a right laugh! If you read the Peas (you will know who and what I mean.) you must have read the post following on from the ‘washcloth’ thread. Enough said but I laughed my head off. Some of them gals are so funny.

Time to get on. I’m hand dying some wool fabric I bought to make a Luna Lapin rabbit. The colour was pretty horrid. Sort of muddy rose madder. It’s steeping in an indigo dye. I might leave it overnight. The colour of the water is rich and inky blue but when I squeeze the fabric out, the wool material is a kind of bluey-grey nice but how I wish it was rich indigo. Still, it’s perfect for embellishing and for appliqué work. And for making Luna Lapin, of course.

The wool fabric was bought spur of the moment while buying some black fabric to make a pair of palazzo pants. Which aren’t started yet. Too many things on the go. Have promised myself that this coming weekend I’ll make the trousers but we shall see.

Crochet still has me in its grip. Want to see the lovely bag I got from a charity shop to store some of my wools?

It’s glittery and shimmery and satiny.

I’ll leave you with the following thought, strange and probably true for no better reason than they resonated with me quite deeply:

Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.

Sigmund Freud

Reminds me of the emperor Claudius and his ‘let all the poisons in the mud hatch out’ quote.

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