Umbrella

 

Today is National Umbrella Day.

When I read this I was delighted.  I really enjoy using an umbrella.  I own a number of them.  Why I hear you ask?  Surely I only need one?

Rain Umbrellas

No not really.  I have a silver one which I purchased in Oxford while on holiday and the inside depicts the constellations of the northern night skies. I would never have chosen it myself but my husband found it and re introduced me to the night sky.

I have a red polka dot umbrella given to me as a birthday present and whenever I use it, which is often if you are living in Ireland, I always find myself twirling the umbrella and singing to myself.  On any grey wet windy day beside the sea it is a splash of colour.  The only draw back to this umbrella is that it doesn’t fold up.

So that meant that I had to keep an eye out for a fold up umbrella for my bag.  There are the basic ones which will do the job but…..A few years ago while on a visit to the National Art Gallery in Dublin, I came out to a down power.  The Gallery shop had umbrellas, books, more books so many items that by the time I had chosen and purchased the umbrella the sun was shinning when I came out.

The umbrella is based on a Monet design and I have to tell you that nine times out of ten when I have that umbrella in my bag it does not rain, but then again there is that one time when it is invaluable.

It was the Chinese who developed the waxed leather umbrella for use by the nobility to protect from the rain in the 11th century B.C.   While parasols were used in Egyptian and Roman empires the custom fell into disuse after the fall of the Roman Empire.  I was amazed to find out that the umbrella dated so far back.

 

25 de octubre de 2014

 

This painting by Des Brophy is one of my favourite paintings.

 

Traditions

 

Have you found Christmas Traditions have changed over the years?

 

If you have been fortunate like me to have become a parent then those traditions most certainly have changed.  A few years ago, I would have been sad about those changes but now at this stage I am glad that those changes have occurred.  It shows that life is being lived and for that I am very thankful.

 

However, there are still somethings which still herald Christmas.  Preparing and making the Christmas puddings, Christmas cake and the Christmas mincemeat are signals that Christmas is coming.  The first indication I have that Christmas is very near is when I post those first Christmas cards.  The next indication is when I arrive home with Christmas purchases.  These are small items which are either made or bought then wrapped and put under the Christmas tree for distributing among friends and family.

I met someone recently who told me that she detests January and February as the weather is usually awful, people are grumpy as they have little to look forward to and she has named them the BLAH months.  Last year she changed things and started making Christmas items which could be given to various friends and charities.  For her it extended the feeling of Christmas giving.  And in a very practical way it relieved the Christmas stress that she was normally under.  Next year as Easter is early, April 1st 2018, she intends to use her three least favourite months of the year to make Easter gifts.  A new tradition for her.

 

I like the idea of new traditions and I have to agree with her that very often people seems to be rather glum in January so perhaps extending the gift of giving to Easter is a good idea.  Those charities which we may support at Christmas I am sure need support during the rest of the year. Perhaps its a tradition which more of us could embrace?

 

20 Minutes

Perhaps 20 minutes isn’t too long in the grand scheme of things.  Perhaps there isn’t much to be achieved in 20 minutes? Well let me tell you there is a hell of a lot which can be achieved in those precious 20 minutes.  A while ago I took part in a survey asking about using 20 minutes to volunteer.  It got me thinking.

What could be made in 20 minutes? What could it be used for? Could it really be termed volunteering? Twenty minutes with my slow crochet work will make a tiny premature baby hat.  Now there are others who crochet and who would make a premature baby jacket in 20 minutes. ( I am slow)  IMAG0791

 

 

Now before you switch off from this post just because you may not be a crafter can I make a suggestion here of how you might be able to volunteer 20 minutes.  Would you have 20 minutes to purchase yarn, fabric and donate it?  If you don’t know anyone directly who knits just contact your local ICA  or similar group they will definitely know.

IMAG0787

Crafting is expensive so two fat quarters of fabric would make a premmie blanket.  2 yards of fabric can be used to make a fidget quilt for a person with dementia.   Then there are the bravery blankies for children and teenagers in hospital with cancer.  2 balls of yarn would go along way to making so many things.

Please don’t think about it just head off and purchase that ball of yarn, or that piece of fabric and pass it on and put a smile on someone’s face.

An Unexpected Angel

 

Shopping! Oh, how I detest it.  Let me quantify that.  Shopping for books, pens, paper, fabric, yarn, pottery and ceramics isn’t really shopping.  It is going on a mini holiday.  The weekly grocery/household shopping is a necessity which just has to be done and at this stage of my life I have it down to a fine art.

Shopping for shoes is mildly entertaining.  Shopping for a bag is good as I look at a bag and envisage how I will fill it with pens, notebook, journals and the other necessities one requires.

Then there is what I term the Nightmare Shop and it is clothes shopping to which I refer.  It is with dread and a heavy heart that I look at clothes shopping.  Yes, I have tried personal shopper.  It certainly was an experience. I have tried just wandering into a clothes shop to browse, however it isn’t long before I am browsing a book shop instead.

Yesterday I walked into a shop to be greeted by a vista of rich autumnal colours interspersed with shards of colour which should have been discordant but in fact enhanced the whole image.  No this was not an art gallery but a clothes shop.  Not only were the colours eye catching but the texture of the fabrics was enticing.

Having spent a time just wandering and noticing that the outfits were put together using unusual colour combinations I took the plunge and “tried on an outfit”.   On showing it to my friend I was approached by a guardian angel of clothes whose name is Serena.  I call her a guardian angel because she guided me through the process of choosing, discarding and turning the experience into an adventure.  She showed how to try something and to see where it did enhance or didn’t.  To look at different combinations and to realise that with guidance an outfit can boost the confidence of a person. I tried on rich colours,different shapes and laughed. You would have too if you had seen me. It was fun, yes fun. I never thought I would say that about clothes shopping!!

So, all I can say for those of you who like me hate, dread and dislike clothes shopping with a vengeance I hope you find your clothes angel.  However, if you are in Ireland or ever visit Ireland then take a trip to Newbridge County Kildare and call into Maybell Lady Plus Boutique.  There you will find two angels Ann and Serena who will help in making clothes shopping a really good experience.

And yes I  have an outfit I would never have thought of looking at never mind buying which makes me feel 6 foot tall and a million dollars. Good shopping.