A Crafty Catch-up.

Be patient, please. This is the post where I show you pictures of my creative endeavors and ask for reassurance that I am not the only nutter who gets a kick out of making things from next to nothing and re-making things which others would throw away.

Do we all remember the haul of Doon? (There were two posts, one about the convent of Doon and one about the stuff I brought home from the auction.) Here is a reminder of Husband trying to configure everything, tetris-style, into his hatchback.

loot from Doon.

We’ve been putting the loot to good use. The flask has been to the beach and all that cutlery has been a boon to my sanity. You’d be surprised what a luxury it it to have soup spoons and never need to dispense sugar with a fork.

My ten euros bid on the tea trolley may have been the best impulse splurge of my life.


A quick lick of blue (Colourtrend eggshell) paint was all it needed.


I have romantic notions of wheeling this, laden with tinkling cocktail glasses, out to the patio for parties. For now it is the repository of all the stuff I’m forced to clear on a daily basis from the kitchen counter. IMG_0835

The chair, you might recall, was included in the same lot as the trolley. You could say I got it for nothing or paid five euros for each. There’s not much in it either way. I hoped to find some crazy fabric to cover this. I wanted skulls and crossbones or goldfish, something ridiculous that would declare, ‘this is definitely not a nun’s chair’. I failed utterly and ended up with a piece of good quality, well-behaved velvet. The very convincing lady in Galligan’s of Cork sold this colour to me as chartreuse, dahling. When I brought it home it took on a decided hue of baby poo. IMG_0682

Husband helped me to fit new canvas straps, tuck in lots of new padding and tack on the poo/chartreuse fabric. My grandfather spent years upholstering cinema seats in Dublin but it seems that upholstery is not necessarily an hereditary skill. We struggled with this, we bickered and hammered each others thumbs, but the resulting neat and comfortable chair is precisely what was needed for our tiny sitting-room. The universe does not always tend towards chaos.


I spent my very first Bookwitty pay-cheque on a new sewing machine. Wait until you see the colour of it. Ta-daaah:


Isn’t that hilarious? This was pure indulgence but Teenage Daughter and I have both got a huge kick out of it. It makes me smile just to look at it. The very first thing I made was a cover to go over it. Nothing fancy, I just copied the plastic cover that came with it.


I lined it and used interfacing for the first time.IMG_0628

It’s more like a sewing machine-cosy than a cover but it means that I’m happy to leave the machine sitting in the corner of the kitchen, ready for the day I am suddenly overwhelmed with the inspiration to whip up something fabulous. Let me dream.


Last Christmas Husband gave me two skeins of gorgeous lace weight Merino yarn from Irish Fairytale Yarns. I crocheted a shrug from the first skein. I felt even then that I was unlikely to wear this thing and it turns out I was right. Right in being wrong to make it in the first place so not much satisfaction there. Never mind, I can revel in how much the garden has grown since I took this photo.IMG_9925

With stubborn determination to make something useful from the second skein, I embarked on a knitted infinity scarf. I cast on several hundred (enough to lose count) stitches to 5mm circular needles and started knitting. After spending a fortnight trying in vain to complete a single round, it dawned on me that several hundred was far too many stitches so I ripped back and began again with 250 (I think).  And on I knit, and on, and on in endless stocking stitch with no rows to count and no end in sight. The plan was to keep going until the ball ran out but it never did. I swear to God, this ball of yarn has no end. IMG_0883

Endless stocking stitch was relaxing. For the first month. The second month was tedious. The third month was downright aggravating. The fourth month was fine because I left it in the bottom of the bag and went out to pick flowers instead. At the end of the fifth month I broke off the endless ball of yarn and declared it done. I give you The Infinitely Boring Infinity Scarf….ta-daaaah:IMG_1394

I know, that was under-whelming in the extreme, right? Look, it’s very soft and it won’t hang down in the dog’s face when I’m putting his collar on.

I’m taking a break from the expensive yarns for a while. They put me under pressure to make something more beautiful than I am capable of. I get wound up (groan).

I’m moving on to something cheap and cheerful. When I finished this blanket I started making Granny squares from the leftover scraps. I stowed them in a drawer and added more whenever I found any odds and ends of Stylecraft special DK. A  lovely friend recently up-ended her scrap basket into my lap and gave me enough yarn to finish 63 six-round squares. The plan is to add a seventh round of pink (fondant, to be exact) and put them all together. Can anyone advise me on how many 7-round squares would make a bedspread for a single bed. Also, how much yarn might be required to make a wide granny border (at least five rows? Small Girl is beside herself with excitement about this. She has been counting the squares every day and sorting them into stacks and generally egging me on.


Can you blame her?

I couldn’t sleep all night.

I couldn’t sleep all night; a fog-horn groaned incessantly in the Sound

The Great Gatsby; it’s the only book I can quote so I do, probably too much.

It’s twelve minutes past nine, I’ve deposited my children to various educational facilities and hung up a load of washing on the drying rack. I fed the dog, put on the dishwasher, took meat out of the freezer and picked the nine remaining apples from our tree (well, I left the low hanging ones for Charlie). I’m sitting at my desk, with a smelly candle lit beside me (thanks Canada), munching through my bowl of apple muesli. This is my view:IMG_6958

If I were to angle the camera to the left you would see a big mucky hole in the ground but that’s a story for another day.

The muesli campaign continues although I need to confess that the results have been a long ways short of spectacular. After two weeks of ‘being good’, eating muesli, avoiding cheese, decorating, digging and otherwise working my generously proportioned butt off I have lost the colossal sum of 0.2 Kg (half a lb).IMG_6949

I’m wavering between ‘must try harder’ and ‘oh sod it, pass the toast’. IMG_6950

Hold on. I need coffee.IMG_6953

Ah, that’s better.

I finished Jeremy Poldark last night. That’s book three of Winston Graham’s Poldark series. I am thoroughly enjoying it but I see no point in reviewing each book as I read them. I wrote about the first one, Ross Poldark, here. They don’t stand alone as novels, it’s more like reading one very long book. Not even that, it’s like reading the latest letter from a friend who happens to live in Cornwall in the 18th century. Escapism at its most romantic. Suffice to say, I’ve added the next three to my Amazon wish list. IMG_6952

I woke up in the middle of Saturday night from a nightmare that, if I could manage to relate it, would give Stephen King cause for concern. If I say dead people, half-dead people and maybe-dead people, does that tell you enough? I genuinely believe that I stopped breathing near the end of it because I woke up gasping for air. I don’t seem to have quite caught my breath since. Bad dreams are usually a signal that anxiety is getting the better of me. Time to start a new crochet project. IMG_6954

Middle Girl (our Songbird) has recently taken up guitar lessons and I’ve a notion to crochet a pretty strap for her guitar. I shall be winging it; it shouldn’t be too difficult, should it? Famous last words…IMG_6957

The fog is lifting (literally and figuratively). I have some house-keeping (bloggy and the real boring kind) to do. IMG_6955

So we beat on, crochet hook in hand, borne back ceaselessly to the toaster.

And Wake Up Where The Clouds Are Far Behind…


My very own blanket ta-daaah post, I can hardly believe it!


I started thisIMG_6604blanket back in June and have been working steadily since then.IMG_6598

I almost stopped at scarf size (read here) because I thought it would be a stunner but Husband raised a doubtful eyebrow and I carried on.IMG_6607

I’m still pondering how to convert this pattern into a poncho-type wrappy thing, perhaps in slightly more subdued colours.IMG_6592

I’ve had it in a basket beside my chair and it has become a comforting routine to sit down with a hot drink, search for my ever-escaping hook and settle to hook up a row or two.IMG_6595

The blanket has grown to a very cosy size just as the evenings have been getting nippy so I have worked on one end while the other end was wrapped around me. Crochet is such a practical craft!IMG_6603

I took advantage of yesterday’s sunshine to take some photos in the garden and ended up having way more fun than I had anticipated. IMG_6597

A big, straight-forward project like this seems to me to be the most anxiety-busting form of crochet. There is nothing at all to stress about.

I bought the yarn and pattern from the Attic24 shop and allowed myself the luxury of following Lucy’s colour choices. I did feel I was being a bit lazy but it was very soothing to just refer to the pattern and go with it.

I have needed soothing. It has been an unsettling week. IMG_6602

My dear friend and confidante departed this morning with her beautiful family to seek opportunity and adventure in a distant land. She will be an enormous success. Meanwhile I will be, well, take it away Richard…

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