Resonating Words

I was sent this poem this morning and it is so powerful.

I now have it printed and on my notice board.

Perhaps it may help you maybe not today but perhaps in the future.

Sinead from Appletree Craft( https://www.appletreecrafts.ie/) thank you for this powerful poem.

 

When You Meet Someone Deep in Grief

by Patrica McKernon Runkle

 

Slip off your needs and set them by the door.

Enter barefoot this darkened chapel

Hollowed by loss hollowed by sorrow

It’s grey stone walls and floor.

You,congregation of one

Are here to listen not to sing.

Kneel in the back pew, make no sound.

Let the candles speak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day?

 

With world Poetry Day in mind I thought I would share some poems which I have recently come across.  World Poetry Day is 20 years old.  One its aims is to celebrate linguistic diversity.

A tongue can accuse and carry bad news
The seeds of distrust and hate, it can sow,
So unless you know that it is the truth,
Be careful of stones that you throw.
( Larry ”Dutch” Woller )

During my school days we had to learn poetry by rote.  It was something I could never do.  Each and everytime although having spent at least an hour memorising the various poems by the next day I had totally forgotten every word.  I dreaded being asked to recite the homework.

Choosing Shoes

by Frida Wolfe

New shoes, new shoes,
Red and pink and blue shoes.
Tell me, what would you choose,
If they’d let us buy?

Buckle shoes, bow shoes,
Pretty pointy-toe shoes,
Strappy, cappy low shoes;
Let’s have some to try.

Bright shoes, white shoes,
Dandy-dance-by-night shoes,
Perhaps-a-little-tight shoes,
Like some? So would I.

BUT
Flat shoes, fat shoes,
Stump-along-like-that shoes,
Wipe-them-on-the-mat shoes,
That’s the sort they’ll buy.

This poem on shoes I came across on https://suth2.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/new-shoes-new-shoes-red-and-pink-and-blue-shoes/

 

However, not being able to remember poems has not hindered my love of poetry.  I really enjoy finding a new poem.  Reading it a few times to listen to the rhythm of the poem.  For me it does not matter that I might not know what the poet intended by the poem.  I do not need to delve into every line and stanza to enjoy a poem.

 

the sun
and her flowers

this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom

Rupi Kaur

I have enjoyed the poetry of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill for years. This is one of my favourite of her poetry.

An Crann

le Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

 

Do tháinig bean an leasa
le Black & Decker
do ghearr sí anuas mo chrann.
D’fhanas im óinseach ag féachaint uirthi
faid a bhearraigh sí na brainsí
ceann ar cheann.

 

The following is a poem which I came across in an anthology of poems. I often wonder how it would sound in it’s own language. Is there a difference between today’s language and when it was written in 619?

 

Flowers and Moonlight on the Spring River

Yang-Ti, Emperor of Sui Dynasty

Translated by Arthur Waley

 

The evening river is level and motionless —

The spring colours just open to their full.

Suddenly a wave carries the moon away

And the tidal water comes with its freight of stars.

 

Have you come across a poem which has stirred something in you. Perhaps you might like to share?

 

 

A Quilting Day?

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My favourite type of quilt top….totally random

A friend just emailed me and asked me what I had made on International Quilt Day? International Quilt Day… Never heard of it.   Her email went on that, “traditionally the third Saturday in March is International Quilt Day when quilters make a point of working on a quilt on this particular day.”

This year she was notified that the third Saturday would be the start of International Quilt Week.

Now I like this idea a lot. It is only in the last few years that I have become interested in making quilts.  I have always loved the tactile nature of fabrics but paper and card have always been my first love.

However, through classes and the generosity of spirit of so many quilters I am beginning to enjoy this art genre.

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Mustn’t have been wearing my glasses when I was making this!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My very first quilt..used old shirts, table cloth and fabric which I had collected over the years.
Now I don’t think I will ever make a quilt for a king size bed nor will I make a quilt built on  blocks made of triangles and little squares.  I tried a 12 inch block and to say I was frustrated  is a total understatement.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for those patch workers and quilters who do make the most intricate quilt blocks. I can admire their work knowing how difficult it is.

I have sat in front of quilts at quilting exhibitions and been totally in awe.  There was one quilt of a night sky which i vividly remember because initially I thought it had been done with oils but in fact it had used fabric.

There are so many artists in the quilting world and then there are people like me, very late to it but enjoying the journey it is taking me on.

So if you are a quilter or ever have been enjoy Quilters Week.

 

 

Where does it lead you?

What does the word “book” conjure up for you today as we celebrate World Book Day?  

I don’t know about you but I certainly would find it extremely difficult to survive without a book.  What am I saying?  Just one book?  Oh no, that just isn’t me.

I have been taking stock of my craft room having had to remove all my paper/card stock together with the numerous items needed to make a greeting card.  All this stock will find good homes but I can no longer work with the card stock.  However, as a result shelf space is gradually emerging.

I think that at long last I may just, find space for a library of sorts.  I am afraid to actually say the word library just in case it doesn’t happen.  However, space seems to be appearing for those books over the years I have not been able to donate, give away or sell.

These are the books which I have read so many times that they have become part of my life. They are many and varied. Some would have been used on a daily basis at certain times of my life.Some are what I call dippers.  Those books I dip in and out of.

Then there are my poetry books which have meandered into my life.  Craft books which have helped me through those endless sleepless nights.  Cookery books which in turn have led me to travel books.  Sports books where I have been led to take part but from a distance.  Computer books in the hope of my mastering my laptop ( which has never happened!!)  Novels which have allowed me to escape: which have allowed me space to imagine.

Authors have invited me into their make-believe worlds and I have gladly accepted those invitations.

I love this piece of art by  Rae Andrews entitled “Comfy Chair”.  It was the book which caught my eye as I wondered what the title was.  Perhaps a comfy chair is what i need in my “library”…..

 

Books: tactile, warming, questioning, inviting….

                                  A Book

by Adelaide Love

A book, I think, is very like
A little golden door
That takes me into places
Where I’ve never been before.

It leads me into fairyland
Or countries strange and far
And, best of all, the golden door
Always stands ajar.

National Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

Did you know that some countries celebrate Fairy Tales today. No? Me neither. I am probably one of the minority who really don’t like fairy tales.

I always found them sinister and really frightening.  I could never get away from the evil images. Nightmares usually ensued after reading a fairy tale. My son was deprived of many fairy tales as it was his father who read them to him and not me.

Give me Winnie the Pooh any day or Peter Rabbit but there is no room for fairy tales on my shelf.  I do have one exception…..Tinkerbelle.

A Reminder

Do you ever find that you sometimes need a reminder? That sometimes unwittingly you fall back into old patterns?

I came across this yesterday in last years journal

 

 

Image may contain: text that says "Dear Self In 2019 Don't get worked up over things you can't change & people you can 't change. It's not worth the anger, build up or the headache. Control only what you can. Everything else...le go! Love, Me. lessonslearnedinlife.com"

 

 

 

 

 It made me stop and breathe.

It made me stop and realise I was reacting in an old manner which wasn’t healthy for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So just in case you may need a reminder….

 

 

Can You Overwhelm the World?

 

 

I think  we sometimes forget just how powerful the smallest act of kindness can be. It doesn’t have to be an all blazing flashing lights act.

Simply saying hello to someone whom you meet as you take your daily walk can change someone’s day.

Having the courtesy of not answering your mobile/cell phone at the check out in a shop. The person at the check out deserves that little bit of courtesy.

How about saying “thank you” a little bit more often. They are two powerful words which lead to overwhelming kindness if we all took it on board.

Although sometimes it feels as if it is only a minority of people who are showing kindness it is still powerful.

So today start the battle of kindness you just never know where it might lead to.

 

Image may contain: sky, cloud, text and outdoor

 

I think why this is resonating with me is that I called to a travel agency a few days ago and although the agent wasn’t overtly rude the over-riding feeling I got was of being dismissed. Thinking it was only me I didn’t say anything  but on leaving a few minutes later hubby, who is generally the quietest gentlest man you would meet, said ” never again and I would definitely never recommend that travel agency. I will not be dismissed like that again”.  Wow I was taken aback.

This called for an immediate cuppa.  Well the young staff in the nearest coffee shop were the total antithesis of the travel agent and totally restored his faith in human kindness.

As my waistline, well really all of me if I am to be honest, has greatly increased in size. Sooo, I decided to join a slimming group. I have done it before but never found the groups overly friendly especially if attending on one’s own. Yesterday back after the initial week and two people engaged me in conversation. I was so delighted that they went out of their way to speak with me. It may not have meant anything to them but it made my day.

So perhaps we can all do our bit to overwhelm the world in a good and positive way. The strange thing about showing kindness towards others is that it comes back to you. So it is a “win win” situation.

Have a good day.

 

I am Excited

 

Oh my goodness but I do have to share. I am so excited..

I don’t know if anyone lives with psoriasis which is a pesky skin condition which can be genetic or triggered by the environment and to which there is no known cure. So it is a case of managing the symptoms.

What I have found very hard to deal with is the itch that is attached to psoriasis.  Especially when they occur on the face.  You can image you are talking with someone and then your nose starts itching and you suddenly turn into Samantha from Bewitched ( the TV programme for those of a certain age). Or inside the ear starts to itch and there is no way one can just start scratching and making things worse.

I have found something which relieves the itch and it is made right here in Ireland. It is called Emmy’s Balm and made in Lucy’s Soap Kitchen in county Leitrim.  I am on a high! Oh my it is so great.  I can use this balm at any time and it really soothes the skin.

Now I am just so happy to have a balm which has eased my situation. Perhaps it may be of help to you. https://www.lucyssoapkitchen.com is the web address.

Now on the website there are other products among which is absolutely beautiful soap. Yes I know if one has psoriasis one is not supposed to use soap.  But sometimes I just have to break out and am I glad I did.  “Bleating Soap” just called to me.  It is unscented which is great and it is made from goats milk.  It is so soft and so gentle.  In fact it is a little piece of luxury.

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The other product which I have now used is a mosituriser. Oh but it is soooooo soft and gentle. It is absorbed very well even on my patchy, pesky skin and the beauty of it is that I can use it as often as I like.  The other thing I really like about it is its colour which is Avocado green!! Personally avocados and I are not soul mates.  I cannot stand eating them but in this mosituriser we are in a totally different world.  It feels so luxurious. It is also nut free, gluten-free and preservative free.

Now before anyone asks “No, I have not been paid for writing this blog post.” I just am on a high having found products which I can use on my skin without causing further discomfort. But, as I said before psoriasis is a pesky condition so it is wonderful to have products which are easy to use, made from natural products and the added bonus they are made here in Ireland.

Now just to be perfectly clear anyone can enjoy these products.  One doesn’t need to have a pesky skin condition. Anyone can enjoy these wonderful products.  I have only tried tow products so far but maybe I just might try a few more.

So if you would like to try something different but soothing and so good to feel on the skin why not visit http://www.lucyssoapkitchen.com

Have a good day.

 

 

Our Female Patron Saint

Today is Saint Brigid’s Day, February 1st, one of the four patron saints of Ireland.  This day is known as Lá Fhéile Bríde.

February 1st is also the day of the Celtic Feast Imbolc.  It was also associated with the Celtic Goddess Bridget.  Many of the Celtic feast days were adopted by the early Christians.

Traditionally on the eve of St. Brigid’s Day a cross would be made.  It was said that Brigid was converting a dying pagan to Christianity and in order to explain the faith to him she needed a cross.  The only thing to hand were some rushes which she made into a cross. and then proceeded to explain certain aspects of Christian faith to the man.

 

St. Brigid’s Crosses were traditionally given to neighbours and friends as gifts.  If a St. Brigid’s Cross was placed above the door it meant that everyone was welcome.  It was also thought to protect the home.

Brigid had been a milkmaid prior to becoming a nun.  It was said that she could get more milk from a cow than anyone else.  She used travel the country as a nun converting the Irish to Christianity accompanied by a white cow with red ears.

A piece of white ribbon was left outside for the saint to bless.  This was then kept near the hall door for the rest of the year.  It was also the day when food was given to those who didn’t have any.

The special meal on the day always had pancakes to signify the dairy link to St. Brigid. These pancakes however were served with butter or fresh cream as opposed to the tradition of lemon and sugar on Pancake Tuesday.

In case St. Brigid on her travels calls to your door it is traditional to leave bread and butter on the window sill and some corn for the cow.

Lá Fhéile Bríde shona dhuit. Happy St. Brigid’s Day.

 

 

A Word or Phrase

I was asked recently what phrase or word, other than “I love you”, would I consider to be of paramount importance. For me it is “Thank You”. Those two words can lighten my day. They can bring such a feeling of worth and can at times validate me.

This means that when I receive a “thank you”, I now know it is genuinely meant and thus making it so much more important than ever before. Today when I held the door of a shop open to allow someone to exit that person said “Thank You” and it certainly made my day as there is generally no acknowledgement.

In fact fairly recently I held the door, open as I would, to allow a young lady to exit  rather than barging my way into a shop only to be greeted with “It is no wonder that women are still looked down upon, when we still have women like you holding doors open.” I was so stunned that what to me was politeness would be seen as putting down women.

I hadn’t realised that things had changed so much that a gesture of thoughtfulness would be seen as an insult.  Things have changed.

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I hadn’t realised just how much value I put on those two words. Does it matter then when people do not express their thanks? For me it is important but for others it is way down their list of priorities.  I have come to realise that I have to accept that difference, but with the proviso that the phrase “Thank You” is important to me and perhaps others need to respect that. Or am I asking too much?

 

thank you inscription 05 hd pictures

Today It means something.

 

Isn’t it strange how sometimes one gets absolutely no response from reading a quote, thought or poem? Then a day, a month even years later one reads the same thought or quote and it just blows one away. Now that is exactly what happened to me.

I have developed an allergy to the dust that arises when cutting card and paper. Which has turned out to be a bit of a pain considering that paper and everything related to it has always been part of my life. Over the last  I have been boxing my paper stash.

I was clearing another shelf this morning when a tag label I had made,  floated to the floor. It read“Start where you are and use what you have”. It stopped me in my tracks. I have such a stash of paper and paper related items. Then my phone tinged with some notifications and before 10 minutes had elapsed I had found homes for my paper stash. I love the concept and so my boxes are destined for a number of groups who don’t have the money to use on craft items. So definitely recycle and reuse are to the fore.

Over the years I have accumulated fabric. Well I found if I photocopied some fabric it made brilliant back drops for cards!!! Yes, my mind works in mysterious ways. During the last three years I have gradually become interested in quilting. Now I am gradually able to see what fabric I have.

Now before anyone may suggest that I am just replacing the shelf space, which had previous stored card stock, with fabric I would have to disagree. It may in time but for now poetry books have meandered in, journals duly followed, then the cookery books seemed lonely and just needed to be seen and looked at. I’m sure you know how it is!!! Or at least I am hoping there is someone out there who can empathise.

But to get back to the tag label “Start where you are and use what you have”  So, I am starting where I am at this moment with the fabric and books and I will see where it leads me. Mmmmmm there are just so many avenues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letting go

 

 

Sometimes it is very hard to let go of the past. To let go of that hurt which in reality is bringing one down. It is hard to take that brave step and saying I don’t need to carry this hurt as it is only empowering the person who has hurt me.

“Don’t let the darkness from your past

Block the light of joy in your present

What happened is done.

Stop giving time to things which no longer exist,

When there is so much joy to be found in the here and now.”

Karen Salmanshohn

 

It takes courage to let go but goodness it is so liberating. And I am now wondering how I could have been so stupid to carry it for such a long time.

Perhaps I may suggest that if like me you are carrying a hurt, write it on a large piece of paper expressing the hurt in words, in a picture,in any medium but express it. Perhaps you may need to name the person perhaps not. Then with a shredder or by hand, or perhaps burn the paper and with it let all your hurt and resentment burn or shred. It is a liberating experience.

Don’t let the darkness from your past

Block the light of joy in your present

Have courage and let it go.

Traditions

During the last few weeks I have been hearing about Christmas traditions. I have been hearing about how baking is an integral part of the Christmas period. That decorating the tree is a special night. That getting that first Christmas card heralds the start of Christmas for others. The Christmas Movie is a night for chilling. The Christmas music is separate to Christmas carols. The Christmas poems. The Advent calendar and essential part of the Christmas. Visiting the crib in churches. Putting up the family crib.

The thing which has struck me is how diverse the traditions are yet there is a link. Practically each household has a different emphasis for each of the traditions. Each household is unique in this regard.

What I have learnt is that each household whether there is one person or twenty people living there have over the years absorbed traditions which suits that household and those traditions have developed. Some traditions have remained while others have been dropped for whatever reason.

Dropping a tradition can be hard especially if it is out of your control. However, it is amazing how quickly one can adapt to what is in essence a new tradition. Also adding in a new tradition can enhance the traditions of the household. Being open to new traditions and gradually absorbing them can re invigorate the meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is a unique experience for each individual. No one tradition is more important than another but the meaning of a tradition can be very personal and last for a long number of years.

 

A Milestone Overlooked

I definitely believe my brain has gone on holidays or a least part of it. There are so many things I have forgotten about during these last few weeks. It really is embarrassing.

Forgot national book lovers day even though I love books.  Nearly forgot National Girl Friends Day. I have missed two art exhibitions and a few other things have just slipped past. Really it is very irritating. I am normally on the ball but this year the concept of remembering seems to have disappeared. Now if just one person says it is to do with age I think I will scream.

But the icing on the cake is that I totally overlooked in fact I totally forgot, that on July 31st I set up my blog a year ago. Wow I can hardly believe  that yet again I have forgotten something which I really shouldn’t have. It had taken me years to take the courage to even think about setting up a blog.

The actuality of naming, writing and publishing the blog was absolutely mammoth but with the backing of my other half, the practical help from Kerry at http://www.fabuliciousfifty.com and the voice of Marion resounding in my head I took the plunge. Nervous just doesn’t come near to how I felt when I hit the “publish” button.

Now over a year later I overlooked the date and didn’t celebrate.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

A friend of mine who died during the year always said it was important to celebrate. To acknowledge achievements irrespective how big or small those achievements were. So Bernie here it goes, although it is a few months late I am taking heed and celebrating this first milestone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Gift

I came into the kitchen to be greeted with a myriad of colour. The winter sun was shinning in the garden but the kitchen was awash with different colours and patterns. Standing there it was as if someone had thrown splodges of colour around.

I suppose in one way that was what had happened exactly. My husband enjoys working with stained glass. It is something which he has only recently discovered and he is slowly finding out how he is enjoying putting shapes and colours together.This morning, through the various pieces of stained glass which he has hung in our kitchen, he gave a totally different meaning to “winter Sunlight”.

This morning the kitchen was awash with vibrant colours which could only bring a smile to one’s face.The colours were a reminder of the colours of the long hot summer we experienced this year. However they were also a joy to experience after days of rain which had emphasised the dark colours of winter.

Sun filtering through small shapes of glass brought a sense of vibrancy and vitality into the room. There was an energy in the kitchen this morning.

It was a totally unexpected warm and vibrant gift.

Beginnings or are they endings?

There is a beginning and an ending for all experiences. Sometimes it is hard to end such experiences. This is about knowing when to let something go which is no longer relevant to our lives and is just taking up valuable space.

Now it may be as simple as realising that the book we have had since our twenties and which we have never read again is actually only taking up space on our precious book shelf. Some might say it has seen them through life but has it really when it has never been taken down from that shelf? Why is it some people just don’t hold onto things while others seem to get solace from having them?

I have a copy of all Shakespeare’s plays. It was given to me as a twenty first birthday present. So on my shelf is a book I received nearly forty years ago and which I never read as the cover makes my teeth “water” and the pages make my fingers itch!!! Really how inane is that? Why do I need to hang onto something which I have never and will never read?

So today the Shakespeare tome has been moved to the box which will make its way to the book exchange. Surprisingly it was not as difficult as I thought it would be to remove this book. Having developed a skin allergy to paper and card dust and certain other fibres, the need to hold onto this book was not as strong as I thought.

The practicalities far out-weigh, the nostalgia I had attributed to this books. This is definitely an unexpected ending. Or perhaps  a new beginning?

brown book page
Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

While Stirring the Porridge

 

 

Don't sweat it....keep moving! #STAYFIT

 

What attracted me to this picture wasn’t the saying but the gorgeous scarf.  I wonder what the actual print looks like?  Is this scarf a long rectangle of silk or perhaps a large square of cotton?  It took a few moments before I read the writing.

I normally read the back page of the newspaper while stirring my porridge.  Yes an actual newspaper. I have tried reading the paper as an e paper but it was just not the same thing at all.  Now the paper is delivered in the morning well in advance of breakfast.

Anyway, this morning having already read the paper I started to read the Saturday Magazine while stirring the porridge.  I came across an article about accessories.  The article was highlighting just one company and its accessories.


However the main photos were highlighting scarves!  As I have mentioned in a previous blog I love scarves and how they are an essential part of me. (The Simple Scarf?)  So my blog  was little ahead of the Irish Times. (This is said with tongue in cheek)

Then I saw yesterday, that Niamh Daniels a wonderful silk scar designer,   https://niamhdaniels.com,  is showing her beautiful Silk Scarves in the Dundrum Centre, in Dublin today.  But, not only are her scarves been modelled she is also demonstrating the different ways of wearing a scarf. That is an art form in itself.

So what a great way to start a day, porridge, an article on scarves and a pot of tea.

Sleep that elusive concept.

“A little stretch and yes it feels good. I must have been asleep for hours. Then looking at the clock realise it has been all of three hours.”

Quotes About Not Sleeping At Night

 

So what do you do when sleep eludes you? What do you do after you have gone through the list of things to be thankful for? What do you do after perhaps saying prayers? What do you do after quietly reading using a soft light not to awaken your partner? What do you do after turning and twisting for another hour?

For years the answer to my irregular sleep was paper crafting. It was quiet, interesting and at the end there was something to show for the hours where sleep eluded me.  Paper crafting brought me into contact with so many other paper crafters. Other nights when I needed inspiration it was to the internet and that good old friend Google to find new ideas for paper crafting.

One of my fellow paper crafters then introduced me to Pinterest which broadened my interest in paper further.  When out for a walk I would see things which I photographed and then turned into background paper. The inability to sleep at night was no longer a burden. It had been turned into something very positive.

What does one do when one can no longer papercraft? I know I could crochet but I have found that it is not holding my interest as it used to.  Reading is an option but it is not what I  am looking for.

I suppose I could hand quilt but if you knew how bad my hand sewing is you would be quickly telling me to put the sewing needle away. I know there is that say “practise makes perfect” but there are exceptions to every rule. Machine quilting is just not an option as there are other people asleep in the house.

I have tried baking but really that is not fair on the rest of the family who are trying to keep an eye on what they are eating so I am either scuppering their eating habits or I am freezing the cakes and lets face it there is only so much food one can freeze.

So what do you do when sleep is constantly eluding you? What do you do with your early morning or nighttime wakeful hours?

time clock sleep count
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise?

Exercise or the lack of exercise has suddenly hit me in the face.

You see I used to walk every day . Even if it was snowing( which very rarely happens in Ireland) or raining (more the norm here) I walked. Sometimes it was indoors following Jessica Smith on YouTube but I was regularly walking. However during the recent awful hot summer  my exercise routine went out the window and disappeared into the stratosphere or somewhere similar and my quilting increased somewhat.

 

Oh yes I really do need to exercise. These ladies are fitter and slimmer than me. Now it isn’t that I don’t start to exercise. I do. I have given myself the 30 day challenge and have got as far as day 10, 18 and on the last occasion got to day number 23.

Now I have noticed those bat wings , which had trimmed up have now got flabby again so at least I have gone back to those 15 minutes of arm exercises. But really that isn’t enough. When crafting I will make sure to set my clock so that on the hour I will move and do some stretching exercises. But I have also noticed that my the number of WIPs  (work in progress) has steadily increased while my mountain of “to be read ” books is now a small hill. Hmm I wonder is there any correlation?

So any tips on how to keep motivated. I do not do the gym; been there and fled. I detest swimming. Cycling is ok provided there are no cars ( and I live in a traffic congested town). I have tried horse riding but if I tried it now it would be called animal cruelty. I tried line dancing which proved to be fun but the only drawback was that I could never remember the steps from one week to the next.

So seriously any tips to keep going at this exercise lark? What is your motivation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Simple Scarf?

The scarf is really not just a simple piece of fabric which can be used as just a cover. It is much more.

81 years ago last month the iconic Hermes 35 inch square scarf was launched. Today there are over 800 designs. It was launched for the newly emerging emancipated woman who still had to keep her hair “in order”.

 

When Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly Grace Kelly, visited Ireland she wore a leopard print scarf  as she climbed Croagh Patrick.  I can remember as a child thinking that she was the most beautiful woman in the world.  She moved the head scarf in Ireland from being the ordinary every day wear to the “Sunday Best”.  The head scarf became as grand as a hat.

Audrey Hepburn was noted for wearing scarves.  She turned the scarf into a style icon. She loved wearing scarves so much, that instead of the traditional lace wedding veil she wore a scarf instead.  She is quoted as saying ” When I wear a silk scarf I never feel so definitely like a woman, a beautiful woman.”

The French fashion designer and children’s author Sonia Rykiel once described a scarf as “to be the most beautiful thing ever invented to wear”.  Wow, that is some claim.  Perhaps you mightn’t agree with the statement but a scarf can add to an outfit, it can make an ordinary jumper into something special. I t can add that needed splash of colour.

I adore scarves.  I have scarves which are over thirty years old.  A scarf can be the colour link in an outfit.  Of course scarves can be quite ordinary but do a great job of keeping one warm.  These are what I call the “essential” scarves.  Then again any scarf I wear is essential for me.

I enjoy making my own scarves but not however in silk.  I leave that to the likes of Niamh Daniels https://niamhdaniels.com absolutely beautiful silk scarves designed by Niamh. However, if the occasion occurs when I don’t have a scarf to tie in with an outfit I will make a scarf. This occurred recently when I realised I had no scarf which matched both my coat and the outfit underneath. Some cotton fabric was turned into the ideal scarf.

I couldn’t imagine not having scarves in my wardrobe. They are as important to me as bags, gloves and of course shoes.

National Author’s Day

Today in some countries national author’s are celebrated. Who would  be the national author I would like to be celebrated?

The first name which immediately comes to mind is Ruth Dudley Edwards as she is a crime fiction writer but she is also a historian and biographer, Then there is Maeve Binchy, who was a fiction writer but it was her column with the Irish Times on a Saturday which had me hooked.

What about Sara Breen and  Emer McLysaght?  Or perhaps A. O’Connor, the author of “The House”  (please see blog post “The Start of a Book Series” for a review)?

Eilís Dillon, John B. Keane, Brendan Behan or Frank O’Connor? these authors bring me right back to my childhood together with Patricia Lynch.

I would find it so difficult to choose just one author to celebrate National Author’s Day if we indeed we did celebrate it in Ireland. However, I know I will not be able to sleep until I have found some books written by these authors and reread them. The difficulty is which one?

So who would you recommend if you were celebrating National Author’s Day?

How a Sound Can Lead Us to …

My craft room sounded differently and felt different.  The colour on the wall had changed. I looked up from my megga sorting to find the rain had stopped and the sun was out.

I like the sound of the rain on the roof.  There is something comforting about the rhythm of rain.  Each shower has  a different rhythm and funnily enough there is a totally different sound to rain after a long dry spell.

However, let me explain something.  A long dry spell for Ireland is perhaps 7 days. Yes really seven days.  This year was a heat wave which lasted from June until August with record low levels of rain throughout the country.  Ireland has not experienced such a dry spell since 1976.

Today’s rain had a very soothing sound and it had a constant rhythm which gave a great background to a sort out.  Yes it was time to sort out my fabric stash.  Or that was the idea. Yes, I did start on my Christmas fabric. This lead me to taking down my “Christmas Journal” and choosing fabrics for people. Then I just had to think of items I could make for them. Which in turn lead me to a different selection of fabric.  You know how it goes or perhaps not? Perhaps it is only me who goes off on these tangents.

It was the sound of the rain stopping which put a halt to my gallops and I realised that I had accomplished little or no sorting but had a great few hours thinking of people.  So definitely not time wasted.  Spread around me was a sea of Christmas colour with ideas for Christmas presents.  My journal had new ideas with many word maps in varying different colour pens.  (That reminds me I must try and see if I can get colour cartridges for my fountain pen.)

I know it is only October and I am thinking of Christmas but if like me presents are made then it does require numerous weeks to plan and execute.

 

 

Comparison

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I was sent this today and it is so true. There are so many times when we compare ourselves to others. Sometimes we don’t say it out loud but saying it privately to ourselves can be even more destructive.

It is the last line which has struck me as being very powerful “Gratitude turns what we have into enough”.

Wow, just take a second and think about it…..

 

A not so traditional pub meal

I have just returned from spending a great holiday with my husband.  Choosing a location was easy enough, in the sense that as airports are not our favourite places it was a holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or England.

England won the toss and deciding on a journey from the ferry of not more than 3.30 hours led us to the county of Shropshire and the town of Ludlow.  Well we ended up staying in the village of Claynham about 3 miles outside Ludlow.

The house we rented was just beautiful.  It was a converted byre which was stunningly restored.  The original beams were retained.  modern décor throughout which highlighted the oak beams and showed off the oak floor throughout.  But the modern kitchen was just a dream.

One of my biggest worries when away is where to eat and trying food.  I don’t fancy being ill so by renting a house and cooking in, I have found a way of enjoying a holiday.  However, it is not always feasible and sometimes I just do not want to cook.

So, when I find an eating establishment which serves good food, well cooked I love to talk about it.

“Inn at Shipley” (http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/innatshipley)

It is an old pub which has been tastefully renovated.  There are airy areas as well as small nooks.  The toilets are spacious.  What I also liked was the photographs which gave you a little piece of history.

It has a great menu that is traditional but with modern twists.  The staff are extremely friendly and knowledgeable.  One word of warning if you do not like dogs in food establishments then avoid the inn.  While there, we decided on a selection of starters rather than a main course.   Chicken Liver Pate with carrot and apricot chutney; homemade Black Pudding with poached egg and shallot puree; a selection of granary breads; Beetroot humus and portion of traditional chips.  I can honestly say that every plate was practically wiped clean the food was so delicious.

Although this is just one of many in the Brunning and Price Pubs it is very unique and well worth a visit.

A Little Unexpected Learning

 

I was scrolling through comments on a group I have recently joined  on social media.  I came across a comment and thought that like me someone had typed too quickly.  However, on reading further I realised that no this was a word I had never heard before.

Off to my trusty dictionary, yes, I am old school; dictionaries before Google every time. Our son added a “Bloomsbury English Dictionary” to the “Reference Library and I just love it.  It has encyclopaedic features which for me just adds to the dictionary.

Yes, I have gone off on a tangent yet again.  Back to why I was searching in the dictionary.  The word I was looking for was “persimmon”.  I can hear so many of you laughing wondering how she could never have heard of a “persimmon” but there you go I never had.

Just in case there is a slim chance that there is someone else out there who has never heard of “persimmon” let me give you the definition:  “a juicy smooth-skinned orange-red fruit that is sweet only when ripe”. 

Really, I had never heard of this fruit which led to further investigation.  Whenever I have a query regarding plants it is to The Farmer’s Almanac that I turn to.  Persimmon is a berry which is also known as “The Divine Fruit”.  What a wonderful name.

According to folklore if you open the persimmon seed it will forecast what type of winter is to come.  A fork shaped seed indicates a mild winter.  A knife-shaped seed indicates it will be bitingly cold and “cut like a knife”.  A spoon-shaped seed indicates a large amount of snow.  How accurate this forecast is I am not too sure?

There is even a “chocolate” persimmon.

I didn’t realise that today I would be learning about an exotic fruit which originated in china, is widely grown. In the is U.S.A. it is grown in areas from Florida to Connecticut and Iowa to southern Texas.  The two main areas in Spain are Valencia and Huelva.  It is grown in New Zealand and as their harvest is a few weeks in advance of the Californian harvest they now export to California for that short period. It is grown in Japan, Korea and China.

The saying that education never ends is certainly true. So I am on the lookout for “persimmon” in my local greengrocer an eagerly waiting to try one!!!!!!

The Perfect Present

except make that coffee or a glass of wine!

I have to agree with C.S.Lewis. I have been trying to find a cup or a mug large enough to last a chapter of a book never mind a complete book.  However, the shape was wrong, or the pattern was wrong, or it wasn’t china which for me is a prerequisite for any cup of tea. Fussy?  Yes totally.

Then I got a present from another tea loving friend.  Yes, a mug which I can wrap my hand around: the tea stays warm in it and it is CHINA.  How lucky can one get?  Then there is the little extra.  When I get to the bottom of a wonderful mug of tea there at the bottom of the mug is the question “Another cup?”  Now that is what I call a thoughtful present.

Do you find there are people who have this uncanny knack of choosing just the correct present?  They seem to know what would stir the heart.  They have this uncanny knack of picking up something which you didn’t even know you would like.

Now I could spend months thinking about the gift, but I don’t really think I get it right or if I do it really is a fluke.  I do however like the process of trying to figure out a good present for someone.  I have concluded, that having put the time and thought into the gift, irrespective of how it is received, is more important to me.  This way it is not a chore but a delight.

So are you the perfect present chooser?

What is Time Telling You?

 

I certainly am one of those people who over thinks situations.  Does it help?  Like heck it does.  It just sends my mind into a whirlpool of uncertainty.  I thought this was an aspect of my personality I had under control but just like the weeds in the garden I had forgotten to keep a wary eye out for falling back into an old thinking habit.

I suppose it is like everything else in life there is a constant need to keep practising good routines.  Although it is said after 12 weeks of making a new habit it will start to become part of one’s life, when I am changing a habit which has been part of me for sixty years then getting reminders is not just a help but a necessity.

This afternoon an email popped up from a blog I follow and the following is what greeted me.

 

How do you know when it’s time?

Time to go Or time to stop

 

How do you know when it’s time?

Time to fight Or time to give in

 

How do you know when it’s time? Time to listen Or time to speak

How do you know? How?

Only time will tell 

 

charlottescornerblog.wordpress.com

 

What a brilliant poem.  Time is telling me to stop the second guessing. What is time telling you?

A Small Gesture

What are the little things which give you a lift? What are those things which make you stop and feel thankful? Now I am not talking about those grand gestures I am talking about those small gestures.

I was in the middle of the clean up  getting ready for the weekend and all those household chores just had to be done.  It was an ideal morning for it.  The sky was grey but with a hint of blue.  The sun hasn’t really got it heat going yet so the house was cool ideal for getting those floors cleaned.  Everything was ready for cleaning.

Andy Williams accompanying me as I set to in the shower room.  The washing machine was given the bass beat as it came to the end of the first wash of the day.  The kettle and teapot, however, were calling to me that I needed a break, but I like to get the work done before breakfast.

While lugging out the hoover I heard the letterbox click.  Although there were no up coming birthdays, anniversaries and no celebrations in the offing there was always the hope that the post might, just might, include something other than bills.  It was my lucky day. Among the bills nestled a hand-written envelope for me with a foreign stamp.  Now that is what I call post.  I put the letter into my pocket and returned to the house work.

Suddenly mopping the floor wasn’t so bad.  Dusting the skirting boards wasn’t going to be ignored as it was just another little job.  Then I found myself with my steps clearing out the top of the china cabinet.  Singing along with Andy.  It was a good day.

Two hours later, chores completed, clothes washed  and hung out, hoover put away for another day and steamer stashed neatly away; the tea was made, and the tray brought out to the garden now that the sun was giving off some heat and it was time to open the letter.  The anticipation is part of receiving a letter in the post. IMAG1051

I slowly opened the letter and I was soon transported to Washington State through the letter writing of a new friend.  So, for me a little piece of heaven was to receive a hand-written letter.  It totally brightened up my day.  It totally gave me a lift.  I felt so thankful that someone thought enough of me to take the time to hand write a letter and then post it to me.  I felt special.

I hope you have experienced something similar and I would love to hear what it was which lifted you up.

Goals or Dreams

This is my last post with the theme “goals”.  Perhaps the use of the word “dreams” rather than goals maybe more appealing  to some.  However, for me dreams are intangible.  They cannot be touched and so cannot come to fruition.

But when I began to think about the goals I have set for myself I realised that they started when I noted down, without any rules , those funny, impossible, madcapped, and personal dreams in my trusty journal.  They were outlandish, they were trite perhaps to others, they seemed impossible or some were just wishful thinking.  BUT they were my dreams or aspirations.

 

“Keep your heart open to dreams.  For as long as there’s a dream there is hope, and as long as there is hope there is joy in living”.  Author unknown

 

The dreams were personal but once they were there in front of me having been given colour they began to become achievable.  Well, perhaps not all of them.  Yes, I still have those dreams that I will never see come to fruition but hey that’s fine with me.  I still enjoy the dreams.

I will give you an example.  One of my dreams which has become a constant in my journaling is to dance.  Now let me explain, I may have the rhythm in my head, but it never actually reaches my toes.  It is official that I have two left feet.

This doesn’t stop me loving and admiring the beauty and strength of ballet; the rhythm, costumes and history of national dances: imagining myself dancing on Strictly come Dancing or Dancing with the Stars; watching young people performing modern dance with such innovative moves; trying to do the moves from Hairspray on the Wii; or imagining me attending a 1940s themed dance and dancing the jive, the jitterbug  or the swing.

(I am sitting here typing amid tears of laughter as  my dream of dancing the swing ends in me standing on my partners toes, missing the swing totally and bringing everyone around me crashing to the floor.)

I have enjoyed the process of trying to turn those dreams into attainable goals.  Researching how I can do something and through that research perhaps realising that the goal is not something I need or want.  Sometimes the research has led me down a totally different path which has proven to be far more enjoyable and enlightening.

One thing I have learnt is that I agree with the quote from C.S Lewis “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”

These dreams or goals do not have to come to fruition; sometimes just starting the journey is enough.

 

Goals or perhaps….?

The recent post on Goals dated August 7th has led to me receiving more emails than for any  other blog post.  I was amazed and humbled that people would take the time to post a comment or to send me an email.  It was a surprise to me that the topic was engaging with so many.

Three different emails voiced their concern over the use of the word goals.  It is a word I have and difficulty with myself.  For some people the word goal sends shivers down their backs and it certainly used to with me.  Goals can sometimes seem to be these insurmountable objectives  or aims which cannot possibly be achieved.

There have been many times when the goals I have set for myself have not been achieved and I have beaten  (verbally) myself up over  the failure.  However many times those goals were not my goals but goals which others thought I should be aspiring to.  One lady always perceived the word goal as being a “male” word.   She doesn’t know why but it has led her to ignore the word and use the word “objective” instead.

Yet another lady wrote how once she substituted  the word project  for the word goal and since doing that she has achieved much more.  While another lady  uses a journal to tease out what she would like to achieve.  She usually starts this in September and uses word picture and together with actual pictures to set up what she would like to TRY and achieve.  She states that it is the trying that is so important to her.

Now I must admit I really like the way this lady thinks.  I like the idea of word pictures but I must say I really like the idea that it is the journey that is so important.  Many times I have found myself deviating from the goal I had set and finding something so much more enjoyable or something more important to me even though I hadn’t realised when starting out.

One email had me laughing right out loud.  This lady wrote that at age 60 she retired and only set one criteria for herself.  That was, that she was having a year without setting targets, goals or whatever.  She is now 72 years of age and still doesn’t set any goals  but on reflection has achieved so much that she ” couldn’t possibly list”.  She is busy, lives life which has included hospital stays and burying her partner but she states ” that I will never be confined again by goals.  I am a happier person without them.”

All the correspondence I have been privileged to receive, has shown me that first and foremost we are all different.  Secondly, goal setting is not the prerogative of any one age group.  Thirdly the title “goal” has different meanings for different people.

The Oxford Thesaurus  gives the following variations to the word goal: “object”, “aim”, “purpose”, “end”, “objective”, “target”, “ambition”, “ideal”, “aspiration”.

The last suggestion has led me to the word “aspirational” which according to Bloomsbury English Dictionary means ” a desire to achieve something especially self-improvement”

Thank you for reading. A special thanks to those who have posted comments on my blog or who have emailed me directly. Thank you.

Goals Again

I received an email from a lady who follows this blog. This is the first time I have received an email from her.

Her email refers to my recent blog on goals and she queries how I can possibly say that goals are for everyone irrespective of age. I quote with her permission “ how can you possibly infer that goals are for everyone. I can honestly say that goals are only for the young in order to make the most out of their lives..”

She saw goals as huge life changing ideals. They were to be set, worked upon and accomplished in order to progress in one’s career. There was no need for anyone to make goals otherwise. She did not see how retirees or stay at home mums, could possibly have goals to make, as these people were “not contributing to society”.

I was taken aback by this email. Firstly , that goal setting was the prerogative of the young. Secondly, the idea of stay at home parents could not possibly have a contribution to make to society  nor could retirees which is an idea I totally reject. Where did these ideas come from?

Wow, I was flabbergasted. After exchanging a few emails I learnt a few things about this lady. Firstly, she is articulate with a great turn of phrase. Secondly, she is a retiree of two years having been a teacher for over forty years. Thirdly what I would have thought of as setting goals she saw as mere trivial dreams. She also concluded that I must have more time on my hands if all I could really blog about was dreams but she would still continue reading my blog.

I think I will keep to my goal settings and just show the world I can do it even if I am a retiree having been a “stay at home” Mum. 😊

What do you think? Are you a goal setter? Do your goals help you to get the best out of life? Or perhaps you don’t need them. I would love to hear what you think.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Image may contain: text                                                                                                                     courtesy of Sue Gaskin.

Did I Really Miss It?

How did I miss it?   August 9th was National Book Lovers Day.  I mean I love books, adore reading, have some perfect places in which to read.  I have the snuggler for when it is cold and of course have the tea-tray with all the accoutrements for the perfect cuppa.

So how did I miss it?  i totally forgot to note it on my calendar!!

If you are a book lover I hope you enjoyed your day.  I hope you had time to read.  I hope you enjoyed the book.  I hope you are enjoying your reading if you are still reading your book.

What book do you have on hand?  At the moment, I am reading a series of books by P. F. Ford.  They are a British Police detective series and which I am thoroughly enjoying.

 

 

Where My Books Go

By W.B.Yeats

 

All the words that I utter,

And all the words that I write,

Must spread out their wings untiring,

And never rest in their flight

Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,

And sing to you in the night,

Beyond where the waters are moving

Storm-darkened or starry bright.

Goals

I don’t know about you, but I have the habit of noting down sayings, adages or words which evoke a response.   It may be years months or days before I reread them or even remember them.   Then there are the quotes which keep on appearing in various reading locations.

I found the following quote when I found a journal buried in the bottom of my Christmas fabric box.   The quote I had written on the first page, but I had also found it written on numerous other pages in the same journal.   Obviously, it had resonated with me years ago and it is really resonated with me today.

Don’t let others define you.

Don’t let the past confine you.

Take charge of your life with confidence and determination.

There are no limits to what you can do or be.

(Michael Josephson)

Can you imagine what a world we would have if we could instil this into our young people?   Can you imagine what the next generation could achieve?  However, I believe that this idea is something any person could take on board at any stage of their life.   That this quote could enhance the quality of anyone’s life.

I really like the line; “take charge of your life with confidence and determination”.   Wow that is so powerful.   Taking charge of my life is something I have been trying to do but to do it with confidence, now wouldn’t that be something else.

Confidence grows with accomplishments.   Instead of setting impossible goals I have set goals which I know I can achieve.   In fact, this year on reflection I have set and achieved numerous goals.   And yes, my confidence has grown in the sense that I know that I can accomplish goals which are important to me and not to anyone else.

I do not need others to endorse what I have achieved but with every goal achieved the confidence which leads to the determination to set more goals.   Personal goals have ignited passions within me and together with the determination I have scrapped some goals.   And that is liberating.

Sometimes we may set goals based on what others think they should be rather than being true to ourselves and the goals which we know are good for us.   Sometimes we need to have the confidence and determination to listen to our inner voice and ignore those who really don’t know what ignites our passion.  “Don’t let others define you”.

Sometimes it is difficult to let go of the goals which were set 20, 30 even 40 years ago.   I have found  the goals of years ago which I had  set but had not achieved had been hanging around me like this big ball and chain.   This year I realised that one goal in particular was not going to define me.   I actually admitted to myself that I had felt a failure for not having achieved it.   However , on reflection I realised that it hadn’t really been my goal but instead I had thought that it should be and it would give me a sense of worth.   The relief of finally saying that I didn’t need to take on someone elses goal was immense.  It was also liberating.

It is good to set goals but it is even more rewarding when the goals are one’s we set for ourselves and follow through with confidence.  Sometimes as we grow older we forget that goals are not just for the young.  Setting personal goals keeps us going. It adds spice to our lives and enriches our lives.

 

 

 

 

Imperfections

 

 

The beauty of handmade lies in the imperfections”

What a great thought.. by keeping this thought in mind it immediately removes the pressure of “having to make something perfect”.

A few months ago, I purchased a bundle of fat quarters.  I wouldn’t normally but I decided that the colours would make a lovely quilt.

Before I go any further let me explain what a fat quarter is.  Fat quarters are pre-cut pieces of cotton, which are taken from a yard of fabric which has been cut in two length ways and each piece cut again width ways.  Each fat quarter measures approximately 46cm by 56cm or 18 by 22 inches.

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I decided I would make a quilt top by sewing eight fat quarters together and then I cut those fat quarters into strips.  Any blogs or books which I have read on quilting constantly talk of measuring three times and cutting once.  So, this time I followed that rule!!

The first cuts went great and I joined up those strips and everything looked pretty good.  I returned to the quilt top a few days later and cut those strips up to form narrower strips and again joined them up.

Now I haven’t a clue what I did but I ended up with a quilt top that did not have one matching square, but I did have a few marching rectangles.  How I got rectangles I have absolutely no idea.  It certainly was not what I had intended.

I was very disappointed as I thought I had been very careful with the cutting.  What I have now is a unique lob sided quilt top.  It is very quirky.  Now could I gift to any one?  I honestly don’t think so.

I don’t mind that corners don’t match.  What am I saying? There is absolutely nothing which matches never mind the corners.  So, I have decided that this will make a great reading quilt.    1531125420651

A reading quilt is one of those throws which one needs during winter, when one becomes engrossed in a book and one needs to be cosy.  If the skies are grey outside this quilt will bring a bit of colour indoors and enhance the reading experience even more.

Saying all that I must admit I love my wonky, lob sided quilt top and need to quilt and bind it in readiness for those hours of reading during the winter.So for me the quote ” the beauty of handmade lies in the imperfections” is very apt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Early Morning Dance

Standing on the back step, underneath an umbrella, mug in hand watching the rain.  It was a beautiful scene.  The wooden garden furniture had taken on a different hue.  In the rain the wooden seat seemed to glow as it was washed by the rain.

The rain drops were dancing on the glass table, making a dance as they tapped their way along to the edge.   A bucket had been placed strategically to catch the encore of the dance.

Looking up at the seomra or man shed a spider’s web glistened in the early morning light.  The gossamer web was bejewelled with drops of rain.  There was magic all around as this suburban garden was dressed by the rain.

The air smelt so differently.  It was so fresh and clear.  It was as if the rain has rejuvenated everything.  There was a richness abounding this oasis.

It reminded me of a blog post I read recently written by Honey Barapatre which talked of being rich https://inspireart.in/2018/07/15/being-rich/.

I realised that this morning I was so rich with the sights, sounds and smells brought by this shower of rain.  I have always loved the rain but perhaps because of the long hot dry summer which Ireland has been experiencing this shower of rain was even more special.

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Encouragement

A few years ago, I was introduced to machine quilting.  Let me say from the outset it wasn’t something I would have chosen for myself and I will always be indebted to my husband for purchasing the machine for me.

Quilting will always go hand in hand with the concept of encouragement. In fact, it is not the concept but the reality of encouragement.  Firstly, my husband, getting the proper advice for the sewing machine; secondly the encouragement from two friends to book quilting rather than sewing classes; and finally finding the right location for those classes.

Four, two-hour classes and I had a lap quilt, having learnt how to cut with a rotary cutter, to thread, sew, change bobbins and importantly not to be afraid to make mistakes.  Since then the most important tool I have is a Jemima.  Jemima is a ripper so as this ripper has a name it just shows how often I use it!!!

I have begun to understand how friends have been so absorbed in occupations and hobbies fabric related.  It is so tactile.  From choosing the fabric, treads batting to the actual making of the quilt top each step is tactile.

However, I have digressed here from writing about quilting and encouragement.  Every step along the way I have been encouraged. Roisin telling me get a piece of old fabric and sew.  “Put the foot to the pedal and sew”.

Then there was the utter magic of those four quilting classes with three ladies whom I am telling you have the patience of Job.  Honestly it amazes me when looking back how they survived me and kept their cool.

So, who were these angels?  They inhabit Appletree Crafts in Newtownmountkennedy in County Wicklow.  Their names? Marie, Sinead and Trina.  Now neither their halos nor wings are visible but believe me they are quilting angels who constantly encourage.  Their shop is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of fabric.  So, if you are visiting the garden of Ireland drop in, even if quilting is not your thing. Or, on the web http://www.appletreecrafts.ie

I have continued to try new adventures in this my 60th year.  I am writing this overlooking the Aughrim river on a sos beag (small break) from a Quilting Retreat.  Yes, I am attending my first Quilting Retreat.  It is an absolute blast.  A retreat led by Trina, Sinead and Marie from Appletree Crafts and attended by ladies who have offered nothing but support to each other .  The tips and generosity of spirit has been so special and uplifting.

Friendship

 

Friendship can mean many things.

Friendship can be transient as our life develops.  Sometimes friendships fade as our lives take us apart.  That is ok.  Those people came into our lives for a short period and gave the gift of friendship when it was needed.

Friendship can be a gradual process.  Sometimes it flows and ebbs like the tide but there is the knowledge that with a letter, card phone call even a text that friendship will still be there.

Some friendships have lasted decades and have seen us though happy, ordinary and devastating times of our lives.  It is as if, those friends have been a part of our lives since forever.

Some friendships have developed when we least expected them to.  Perhaps through the joining of a group perhaps from a shared interest. Perhaps going through a difficult time. Perhaps at a time of happiness.

Some friendships develop despite age differences.  It is the age difference which adds to the friendship and gives a different perspective on life.

Some friendships developed in the time of pen pals

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

while some friendships have developed in the digital age.

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Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

Each friendship adds to our lives.  Each friendship is unique.  Each friendship is special.  Each friendship is unique because of what we put into it.

This poem was written by Robert Frost, has always reminded me that time with friends is special.

 

 Time to Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Where Have I heard that Line?

Do you ever find that a poem, piece of writing, a song lyric will resonate with you one day and on another day will have no impact?  A word, a phrase, a memory will trigger a need to read the entire poem, read the entire passage or listen to that song.

 

“Sing and the hills will answer:

Sigh it is lost on the air;”

 

These lines have been reverberating in my mind for the last few days until last night when I decided to start a search to find the poem from which they come.  This time I didn’t want to use a google search.  I don’t know why but it seemed important to browse through poetry books and books of “sayings and quotes” to find the source.

It was an inexplicably comforting thing to do.  It didn’t feel as if I was the only one wide awake and on a search at 2.43am when I began my search.  It felt just right.  There were many stops along this search when I was reacquainted with long forgotten poems.

I found “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann again.  This was a popular prose poem when I was in secondary school in the 1970’s do you remember the opening lines? “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

The sun had risen and with a mug of coffee sitting on the back-door step I started browsing another book of poetry.  This book was given to me to celebrate my recent 60th birthday by a friend who knows how I love to hop in and out of poetry books.  She gave me two books.  “A Poem for Every Day of the Year” edited by Allie Esiri and its sister book “A Poem for Every night of the Year”.  Anne chose well and through her I have become reacquainted with some old forgotten poetry but also, I have been introduced to new poems and poets.

It was in one of these books that I found it.  I found from where those few lines came from.  I had found“Solitude” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 

Solitude

Laugh and the world laughs with you:

Weep, and you weep alone;

For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,

But has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;

Sigh, it is lost on the air;

The echoes bound to a joyful sound,

But shrink from voicing care.

Ironing During Summer Hibernation

So, it’s official Ireland is in the middle of a Heatwave.   Temperatures reached 30C yesterday.   Now this hasn’t happened in a long time.   So many young people in Ireland have not experienced a long period of dry weather never mind a heat wave.

Still the chores needed to be done.   The mound of ironing had morphed into a mountain and the world cup was calling to me so ironing in front of the TV worked well.

That was until the final scores when Senegal were knocked out of the tournament.   They had played well although yesterday their finishing let them down.   I was delighted that Japan had got through.

I then watched the Japan v Poland match.   What a shock to see so-called professional footballers passing the ball to one another with no attempt to play it in the oppositions half for a full 15 minutes.   It was obvious that the teams had decided, that if the score remained as it was with Poland having won by a single goal, then Japan would go through to the final 16 and there was no need to actually play football.

How dare these so-called professionals do this?  Do they not know, that their supporters would have had to save for perhaps a year to travel and purchase tickets for the World Cup?  Do their supporters not deserve to see their national team playing until the final whistle?  I would have been ashamed if the Irish Republic’s team had played in such a manner.

Thank goodness I didn’t scorch any clothes while I ranted and raved.   But it was a very disappointing way to end a football match no matter what the reason.

Summer Hibernation

 

Yet another hot summer day is over.  It feels rather strange to be constantly seeing blue skies.  Eight o’ clock in the evening and the sun is not just shinning but still has heat.  I am glad of our shaded back garden.  Paper, pen and a glass of cool water is a nice novelty.

This afternoon I spent hibernating from the sun and totally enjoyed the time.  A beautiful lunch followed by the world cup in the company of my son.  Now I was sure that Germany was going to win and had a book ready to hand just in case.  The book remained where it was.

The game was great to watch.  Having German friends and just recently back from a short break in Wurzburg I was up for Germany.  In fact, I was sure they were going to win as I think most people were, except perhaps the Korean team.  Korea played football from the very first minute.  It was great to see.  They ran at the German team.  They played as a united team with the determination not to be intimidated by the World Cup holders.

At the same time Sweden were playing Mexico.  Until this tournament Mexico would not have been one of my favourite teams all because they put us out of the World Cup 1994 in the USA by beating us 2 goals to 1.  This year though, they have played great football especially in the match against Germany.

So today I have had mixed emotions while watching the football; sad to see Germany departing while at the same time admiring the way the Koreans played.  I was delighted to see Mexico through  though today they didn’t play well and if they continue in the same vein they will not progress much farther.

 

Image result for mascot of the FIFA World Cup 2018

 

Today’s hibernation took a different root to what had been planned but….

Summer

 

I am not a summer person.  I think I spend more time inside during the summer than at any other time of the year.  This year has been so warm that I have hibernated and enjoyed my hibernation.  Books, books and more books interspersed with football, rugby and the odd film.  The anticipation of Wimbledon and the World Cup followed by the Tour de France it is just a pleasure to hibernate.

 

Now, I do have to admit that there are some lovely aspects to a dry hot summer.  It is wonderful to be able to sit out in the garden in the evening with sun gone and the air still warm.  It is wonderful to be able to go for a walk in the evening without having to carry an umbrella or coat.  No need to plan for those showers of rain.

 

A sound which epitomises Summer for me is the sound of bees. There is a hedge in the back garden which attracts the bees. It is covered in tiny flowers at the moment and the bees just swarm around it. There is also woodbine in the hedge and the sound of bees is just magical.

 

Honey Bee

This photo was taken by my husband John showing a honey bee in the garden hedge.

 

However, what I enjoy the most is being able to wash the clothes, peg them out and know that they will be dry in a few hours.  There is a different smell from clothes which have dried in the air.  And what about getting those duvets dried? Sheer bliss.  A little piece of heaven when folding those winter duvets after drying in the sun.  That smell of sunshine seems to linger.

background blue close up clothes
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

 

Just one word of warning, if you are washing pillows please check that no minute tears have mysteriously formed before washing pillows.  I did not take adequate time to check and ended up with an empty pillow and a washing machine full of fibres.  Such is life.

 

So yes, I suppose I do enjoy summer but in my own way which perhaps is not the norm.  then again  who says what is the norm? Enjoy your day wherever you may be.

 

Possibilities

Have you ever received a birthday card/ greeting card and just read the inside of the card without registering what was on the outside? I certainly have.

During the last 12 months I celebrated a significant birthday and the other morning I was struck by one card I received.   The greeting said “Happy birthday! Wishing you a year of endless possibilities.”

I started to look back over the months since receiving this card to see what I had done but stopped myself.   This card was all about possibilities from now not for looking back.   Now that is so positive.   Possibilities are endless.   It gives permission to try things.   To have more and more possibilities in one’s life.

So, it was back to my trusty journal, fountain pen and list.   Lists help me to focus but this list was slightly different as I put the word “possibility” into the centre of a clean new page and from there using different coloured pens let my mind have free rein.   Then closed my journal.

Today I looked at the word list and I was amazed.   What I was looking at was a totally positive list which was bright cheerful deep and different to any list I had made before.   The difference this time was that I hadn’t allowed myself to edit.   I hadn’t allowed myself to think what could prevent… I hadn’t shared it with anyone.   Sometimes I have found that sharing my ideas has led me to scrapping those ideas.   Yes, and I have so regretted giving away those opportunities.

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But this is not a time for lingering on “what might have” been.   This is definitely, a time for possibilities.  This list now requires further lists.  Oh yes.  I took one possibility and again using a fresh page and coloured pens and worked how it could be achieved or in one case how I could get information in order, to start the process.

My journal is now expanding into pages of possibilities.  Brightly coloured pen pictures with some very dubious art work.  Artwork! I never use art work but yes, my style of artwork is decorating many a page wow.  I never knew.  No that is not quite right I never allowed myself which is totally different.

I am so glad that I decided to hang up each birthday card I received in my room and to keep them there for the year.  One never knows just when or where inspiration will find one.

 

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Thanks Nonie for reminding me to open up new possibilities.

 

 

 

A Forgotten Memory

 

I have been experimenting with dairy free cake recipes.  Some have been successful and some not so.

My biggest problem is that I do not take note of ingredients I use, telling myself I will remember the next time.  Yes, you may laugh.  As I have a head like a sieve it is most unlikely I would remember a recipe accurately.

During the night when sleep once more eluded me I decided to read through some old recipes which I have collected over the years.  Some go back to the 1970’s some even further back.

Would you believe there in front of me, decorated with many spillages was a recipe for Sultana Loaf which uses neither dairy nor eggs.

It was given to me by my boss in my first “office ” job. She had had major surgery. Subsequently she had to adhere to a very strict non dairy diet. This was in 1975 when the alternatives to dairy was very limited. I remember her saying that her sister would send her the oil as she could not purchase it in Ireland.

I had totally forgotten about that job and the people who worked there.

 

Sultana Loaf

225g/8oz Self Raising Flour

75g/3oz Castor Sugar

125ml/4fluid ounces Coconut Milk

4 tablespoons of Orange Juice

100g/4oz Sultanas

50g/2oz desiccated Coconut

150ml/5fluid ounces Olive Oil or whatever oil you prefer to use

 

Set oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

Grease and line a 900g/2lb Loaf Tin

 

Mix sugar and flour together in a mixing bowl.

Beat in milk, followed by orange juice until combined.

Beat in oil.

Fold in sultanas and coconut.  Mixture should fall off a wooden spoon easily however if the mixture is too moist add in more coconut.

Pour into loaf tin.

Bake for 45 minutes in oven until loaf is golden in colour.

Leave to cool in tin then turn out onto cooling rack. 

Enjoy warm or cold

 

Enjoy warm or cold.

Keeping Warm

 

Tea is a universal beverage which warms the body, heart and mind.  It is strange how in the winter a cup of tea can warm a person and during a hot day it seems to cool a person.

 

Then there are the different methods of making tea.  The strength of the tea is very personal.  The variety of tea perhaps depends on the time of day.  Now one can have an infusions of fruit teas. In Ireland, some people have their preferred brand of tea.

Tea is such a personal taste. In the morning my preferred tea is an Irish Breakfast Tea. It has a strong definite taste and I have a preferred brand – “Lyons Breakfast Tea”. Much of the tea would be grown in plantations in Kenya and Indonesia for this particular brand.

There are many ways, to make tea but it all starts with boiling hot water.  It is so essential that the water is boiled and the tea infused immediately to allow the flavour to develop.

But how to keep the tea warm for that second or third cup?  At home I have a tea cosy which surrounds the teapot leaving the handle and spout free for pouring.  It was one of my earliest quilting projects long before tea became part of my every day.

My sister prefers a tea cosy which covers the entire pot and is lifted off to pour the tea.   A friend prefers a knitted tea cosy as she firmly believes that it is the only way of keeping the tea at the correct temperature.

Now my friend Christl, who lives in Wurzburg,  Franconia in Germany uses a totally different method.  Once the tea has been made in the tea kettle, it is placed on a trivet containing a tea light.  This keeps the tea at the perfect temperature.  It is an amazing utensil and so very practical.

It is called “Stovchen” in German.

IMAG1118

 

Perhaps this will be my new method for keeping tea at just the correct temperature? Thank you Christl.

Be Present

Be present, it is the only moment which matters

I do not know where I got this quote or to whom it can be attributed to. It is one of those quotes which has been with me through many journals.

Every so often it comes to mind and makes me stop. It is good to stop and savour that precise moment.

This morning I was busy with lists and the things I “HAD to do.  It was the only thing I could think of.  You may know that feeling, when the rush of life overtakes?

I was hanging out the clothes and suddenly stopped.  It hit me that I was so lucky to have a place to hang out the clothes after washing them.  I was so lucky to be physically able to hang out those clothes.  I was lucky to have clothes to hang out.

I found myself carefully hanging out those clothes and being aware of what I was doing.  It was a surreal experience.  From the mundane to something special. Too often I am caught up in the things or jobs which must be done, without experiencing the joy of being able to accomplish those jobs.

Sometimes, it is good for the spirit, the soul, the person to take time to notice what it is we are doing.

To savour that moment and appreciate it.

Those Little Irritations

Do you have a pet hate?  You know what I mean, that little something which just aggravates?  Now I am not talking about major hates that just is a waste of energy.

No I am talking a bout those little niggles.  Perhaps it is those Blonde jokes or those Paddy jokes.  Perhaps it is someone chewing gum with their mouth open.  Perhaps it is someone pronouncing your name incorrectly.  Perhaps it is someone wish you “happy holidays” instead of “Happy Christmas”. T hey are not major things just annoyances.

Well one of mine is to do with Saint Patrick’s Day.  As most people are aware, March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day which celebrates one of the national saints of Ireland. It is a national holiday here and it is celebrated worldwide. The day itself is known as St. Patrick’s Day or Paddy’s Day but NEVER EVER Patty’s Day.  The reason why is rather simple.  A patty is a piece of minced or ground meat mixed with seasoning and fried😂      ( it tastes very nice).

Then I came across this today and it says it all

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May I wish you a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day wherever you may be.