Thursday 22 March 2012


Pastels are the new black.
At least thats what I've heard. 
I don't go in for clothes shopping much..I might chuck a T-shirt in the trolley at the supermarket but usually I have to be dragged out to buy clothes for such things as Birthdays and Christmas. My Mum is an ace shopper and can usually sort me out. (She's 84)
We managed to get me a lovely coat last Christmas from M&S ..very unusual ..and then after Christmas when they were reduced and I hadn't worn it, even managed to take it back and buy another the same for half the price. I've certainly had my money's worth and I love it, even though I have to spend time with a crochet hook every time I wear it to pull in all the plucks. Its a loose tweed in pinks and oranges and black. I love it.
Anyway I digress. I haven't , personally, been near any clothes shops so my information comes from the radio and I hear pastels are in.
So I thought I'd make some brooches..or shapes anyway just to get me back into the swing of things. 

 I made some sugared almonds coloured felt.
 Dyed some pastel velvet..(I hate dying..I've had a few requests for my dyed velvet but I don't think I'll be making enough to sell anytime soon) 
 and then got going with the machine. I'm a bit rusty. A bit uninspired. Can't really be bothered.
 But I quite like these 'parma violets' .
 The round one is rather large.
 I like the yellow ochre with pink..its a bit discordant but it pleases me. 
 Meanwhile in the sewing room Hetty has almost completed her own little project. She's chewed a strip off my big 'rolls' box, attacking it form both sides which have now almost met in the middle.
When they do, and the top of the box drops off it will be a big mess.
She did me a favour though...I heard a loud rustle and discovered she'd found my roll of baking parchment. I'd forgotten I had it.

Friday 9 March 2012

Ballyvaughan Again

We were a week later this year but the countryside seemed to be two or three weeks ahead.
The hazel groves, festooned in previous years, were almost devoid of catkins.

 There were new flowers about that we had not seen before

 The ivy berries were huge, plump and black
 and here and there were primroses, 

the gorse was in bloom, then gorse always is, but the blossoms were vibrant and succulent making a beautiful bright yellow contrast against the Burren limestone.
 The grass was greener than we've seen it before

 but the in the  little overgrown abandoned cottage time stands still, 

 poignantly frozen in the year the last occupant died.

 White blossoms sprang from thorny bushes

 and elsewhere there seemed to be a programme of hedge chopping of vast scale...for Ireland.

 We walked and picked up a lovely dog along the way. He walked with us for about an hour

 until further along the way we were joined by another  and they walked ahead , together.

 We discussed the possibility of returning through the wood, instead of along the road, but the dogs were ahead of us, read our body language and jumped the stile into the wood. They ran ahead and disappeared. When we reached this area of flat stones with low hazel bushes we sat down to eat our

 and guess who reappeared? Both of them. 
Until we'd finished and they vanished again.
It made us laugh to think they must do this with tourists and walkers over and over again.

 On Wednesday we celebrated 25 years of my husband's work as a self employed freelance restorer.

On Thursday my friend and I visited Lisdoonvarna and The Burren Smokehouse where we bought some incredibly pricey handsmoked salmon, then on to Ennis and lunch in the Rowan Tree cafe.

 I recommend it , lively and friendly and vibrant with good food.
 I took my friend to the airport and then I drove home alone. I stopped at the Polnabroune Dolmen, a portal tomb high on the Burren limestone pavement just as the sun was setting.

In the evening  Noel Hill, the teacher of the concertina school my husband was attending, gave a concert with his daughter.
This was really why were in Ballyvaughan, County Clare. 
His music is sensitive and beautiful and his teaching by all accounts is excellent. A group of perhaps 20 from USA, Spain, UK, Sweden and other parts of Ireland attended to learn what he had to teach. I enjoyed their company in the evenings. 

 On Friday I met my own sort of people! I travelled to Le Gra craft studio in Claregalway to meet with Esther Kiely who has been a blog contact for some time. It was great to meet at last. She arranged it so that there were other textile people there for us all to have a chat.  Here she is (on the right) with     Breda MacNelis from Dublin , a facebook textile contact who had been to Ballyvaughan to deliver her work.
 We also saw the work of Margaret and Veronika  they both brought lovely pieces for us to look at. Thanks you so much for making it a great visit, and to Esther for making me so welcome with tea and cakes. Here's the rest of the shop. Its well worth a visit .
 Now for an unexpected treat. On Sunday we left Ballyvaughan early to drive to Dublin ferryport. We arrived at 1.15 for the 2.30 fast ferry and guess what? It had been cancelled. We didn't fancy sitting around at the port until the next ferry at 8.50 in the evening so we decided to visit Newgrange, a stone age site with a 5000 year old passage tomb. The chamber is amazing (no pics allowed) but I particularly liked seeing the carved kerbstones around the edges.

 At the entrance is a door and above it a window through which at the winter solstice the rising sun penetrates the tomb with a shaft of light. If you want to read more about it go HERE. Its fascinating.

 We drove back to Dublin via The Hill of Tara, but we couldn't see much.
 It was just quite good to be there at sunset
 watching the moon rise.

Enjoy the rest of the photographs.
I've come back with my head full of ideas.

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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