Friday, July 29, 2016

New Public Art by Young People

Sitting here feeling tired, a little clogged, with a scratchy throat, and hoping I will be able to read tonight. I have been having a heck of a time lately with these allergies--stuff is definitely in the air. It is still high weed pollen season, I think. Every time I am outside for more than a few minutes I end up with problems that start out mild and usually get worse. The daily allergy pill seems to not do much, but who knows what I would be like if I did not take it. I do not want to spend one more hour in bed with my eyes closed trying to shield them from the light. I have a book to finish! I will take a Benadryl soon and hopefully that will prevent things from getting worse--it has been working to get rid of the worst of the pain and pressure these last few days--at least enough so that I can keep my eyes open. Things are more manageable when I stay inside, but I can't do that every day and I like to go for a walk most days. Hopefully this weedy pollen season shall soon be behind me!

Last week when we were walking, we saw some young people working on their public artwork. When you head down the lane across from Market Square, you come to the playground, part of the green, the public toilets, a car park, and just where the lane meets the shore walk, the wee free library. It is a hill so the building with the toilets is up a ramp and there was empty wall space ready for them to create on. They did a great job!

The ice cream man came by and parked for a few minutes--got some customers too. He was returning for a second time as we were coming back and on our way home.

There were people in canoes, kayaks, and other boats enjoying the water.

I have enjoyed watching 'my' hill across the water as it changes with the seasons. Sometimes it is behind clouds, mist, or fog. When we got here it was just rocky, but now there are green patches on it. When we return home from days in Carndonagh or Buncrana, there is a moment when the bus goes around a curve and the hill comes into view. It always makes me smile because I know I am almost home.

As always, the view is pretty spectacular when I look up, too.

Some things left from days gone by:

We cut through the car park on our way home but we went out using the way in :-) 

It was a nice walk, but I am starting to cough, so I guess I will go take that Benadryl now before I go make supper. Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Outlaw Bible of American Poetry in Moville

I love popping into the charity shops here because you never know what kind of interesting thing will be sitting on the pile waiting for you.

Today we passed one of the shops on Lower Main St and there was a sign in the window saying that everything in the store is a euro or less and must go. Tomorrow will be their last day there. We went in and I spotted this book on the pile.

This is not the sort of book I would expect to find in a little charity shop in the centre of a little village on the edge of this island, and I did not even know about outlaw poetry, but live and learn and never assume stuff. I bought it. Turns out that outlaw poetry is 'a type of marginal poetry with Beat sensibility often categorized as Spoken Word,' according to Wikipedia. I have been familiar with this as spoken word, but not as outlaw poetry. I wonder how this will come across in a book and not as audio. Guess I will find out and if I do not like it, I can always stick it in the wee free library for someone else to find and love.

I also picked up a pair of boots with a fuzzy lining--dreaming of winter. I would not walk in them, except to run to the library or something like that, but they will be good for kicking around the house in winter on these tile floors. I have some excellent hiking boots for walking, brought back from Boston by a friend, who found them new at a thrift store there. Wearing these around the house and for quick dashes to the library or a shop will help those last longer.

The bottoms look like they have not been worn much and for a euro they will serve their purpose admirably, I am sure. Here they would say they are 'good value for money.'

Here's hoping some pleasant surprises come your way today!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Walk in the Park (in Letterkenny)

We went off to Letterkenny today and walked up the hill to the park.

I am in love with these gates! Would make a great cross-stitch design. Perhaps I will graph it out tomorrow.

The park has a bunch of walking paths through various sorts of landscape--gardens, wooded areas, greens. There are benches all over and in a small wooded space, this monument to Irish peacekeepers.

There were a few benches tucked away in these spots. I love the way you could sit there and be enveloped by the trees.

I was almost giddy when we came around a curve and I saw this tree:
AUTUMN IS COMING!!! YAY!! The evidence was scattered all around:

There was still some summer hanging around though, reminding me that we are not quite through it yet.
It was a good day for a walk in the park--cool and breezy. Temperatures are supposed to be a bit below normal for this upcoming bank holiday weekend, but then there is a chance of another spell of warmer weather. If it comes, hopefully it will not last long.

Hope you are enjoying your day, whatever the weather in your neck of the woods!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Start to Finish

The shore walk here is a big thing, as I have written about before. There are two different ways in which we have seen it described. One is the Moville shore walk. This is a paved, maintained, marked path. There are km markers and Sli na Slainte markers. Sli na slainte means 'path to health' and is a program that was developed by the Irish Heart Foundation to encourage people to walk more. It is supported by the Health Service Executive and the Irish Sports Council. We have seen the markers in various towns. Most of the ones here point to the shore walk and by this they mean the 2.2 km between the start at the Moville Green and the spot where there is a car park and a lane leading up to the main road. This is the part that we walk along regularly.

Sometimes though, you see the shore walk referred to as going between Moville at one end and Greencastle at the other end--this is a 4 km walk. We had planned to do the entire walk one day, but in the past had gotten as far as the beach at the end of the footpath. We did not know what was beyond the beach, but we had some vague idea that eventually there would be another footpath leading into the village. Yesterday we found out.

A friend was visiting and suggested we take a walk on the shore path, so off we went. When we hit the beach we just kept going. On the other side of the beach was a rocky bit and more beach.

Eventually we came to a trail of sorts that was essentially just a path made by many people walking over the same spot and trampling down the grass. We came to a handmade sign that was just confusing, so we picked a direction and walked that way. We went through a rusty stile around an old building, and stood there deciding what to do next. Nothing looked promising. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a woman appeared. I asked her if we would end up in Greencastle from where we were. Turns out we were actually on the 'path' even though by then it was just a bunch of rocks--and these would not have been traversable if the tide had been in . She pointed out a crude arrow, which was not that visible, pointing towards what looked like an old stone wall and said we should go that way, then across the garden of the house in the distance, over the beach and we would eventually find a footpath leading into Greencastle, where we could get tea, a pint, or whatever. Our friend asked about the arrow and the stone wall because it looked like a dead end. She said once we got closer we would see a small opening and some stone steps.

It was slow going over uneven, rocky terrain, going up and down stone steps and watching to make sure that I did not step on the loose stone, and then finally reaching a sidewalk surrounded by tall fences with bars on either side. Bill remarked on the prison-like vibe. The path brought us to the old coast guard station there, which is now a maritime museum/planetarium with attached gift shop and cafe. It was tea time, so our British friend suggested we go have tea and sandwiches, which we did. We walked back on the road. The 2 km on the Greencastle side has no sidewalk, but there is a grassy verge and wide shoulder, so we could walk safely on the road. Once we got to the halfway point we were back in Moville territory, I guess. the sidewalk began and we reached the junction with the lane that leads down to the actual path.

We agreed that we would not be venturing onto the Greencastle part of the path in future, but will stick with the Moville side, which is nicer.

We did just that today.

Yesterday made me appreciate the Moville green and shore walk even more than I did before. These are well-maintained, well-used, well-loved community resources. How wonderful that they are here!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Simple Crochet Lace Shawl Tutorial

Years ago I needed a prayer shawl. I wanted it to be done in a timely manner so that the recipient could have it quickly. I also needed to be able to use yarn I already had in the house, which meant scraps and odd balls. So I made up this pattern. It is simple, but lovely. It is very versatile--you can use whatever yarn you have and whatever hook gives you the kind of fabric you want. Through the years I have made this in all sorts of yarns, from thin thread to bulky yarn and everything in between, including eyelash and other novelty yarns. I have made this shawl using cotton, acrylic, wool, and mohair--it all looks great.

It works well for prayer/lovingkindness shawls because it is very repetitive so lends itself well to prayer or lovingkindness meditation while stitching--or just as a soothing motion for yourself while stitching!

The shawl is a triangle that grows more quickly width-wise than in height. It drapes beautifully. I have made many of these through the years for myself and others. I have a couple like this and I wear them a lot.

So here is how I make this shawl. Please note that I am using US crochet terms throughout. In every row, the turning chain 3 will count as the first double crochet of the row.

Chain 6.

Double crochet in the 4th chain from the hook.

Chain 3. Skip the next chain. Make 2 double crochets in the last chain.

Chain 3 and turn. This chain 3 will be the first double crochet of the next row, here and throughout. Make a double crochet in the first stitch of the row.

Chain 3. Skip the next double crochet and make a single crochet in the chain 3 space.

Chain 3. Skip the next double crochet and make 2 double crochets in the last stitch (which is the turning chain on the previous row)

Chain 3 and turn. Make a double crochet in the first stitch. Chain 3. Skip the next double crochet and make a single crochet in the next chain space. Chain 3. Skip the next single crochet and make a single crochet in the next chain space. Chain 3. Skip next double crochet and make 2 double crochets in the very last stitch of the row (which is your turning chain from the previous row).
Repeat this until the shawl is as wide as you would like it to be.

You will have two double crochets in the very first and the very last stitch of each row and chain 3 loops in between. The number of loops in a row corresponds to the number of rows--so there is 1 loop on row 1, 2 loops on row 2, etc.

I usually put some kind of border on this. Often I just do half double crochets or single crochets as a frame. Sometimes I do some shell stitches. You can do whatever you want. A solid border works well with the simple lace.

Here are some examples of shawls I have made through the years.

The close-up is of one made with thread. The ones on the line are done with odd balls and scraps, including novelty yarns. The one with the pink point is mohair. The orange one is made of abot 400 yards of a bulky weight yarn and was a yarn shop sample.

Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Experimenting with Linen, Cotton, and Shells

The breeze has returned. The sky is once again many shades of grey instead of blue. Wet stuff has fallen from the sky--just a little. It is 20 degrees (C) cooler than it was yesterday. Hopefully that will be the end of 80+ degrees.

It stayed nice and cool inside for most of the day yesterday. We dashed out to get some fruit and veg from the guy who sets up in Market Square on Tuesdays. We were home 10 minutes after we left and it was great to feel the difference in temperature when we walked into the building--so much cooler inside than out. All of our places here in Ireland have stayed pretty cool in summer--gotta love these really thick concrete block walls!

By last night it was a little on the stuffy side, but I just stayed up until I was practically asleep and occupied myself with various things. I hate going to bed and tossing and turning so by waiting until I was almost asleep already, I avoided this.

While I was riding out the miserable heatwave (can a couple of days be a heatwave?), I played around with some ideas using shells, rocks and thread. I ended up with a piece that got cut apart and the rock saved for something else, but I was pleased with the shell pieces, so I kept them. I am wearing one now, in fact.

 I tried a couple of different things with the shell piece, which we picked up last week, but I ripped them out and tried again. I liked this one so decided to keep it.

 We have had the shells in the piece below for  a while now and they seemed to work well with the larger motif, which is made out of 4 strands of linen thread held together.
I think there is some potential for the pendant idea and I will probably play with that further.

Bill went out for a walk last evening and brought home a nice orangey shell with a hole right at the top. Often when we find shells that look interesting they are very fragile and break easily. he said he dropped that one on the footpath and it did not even chip. That's good. No idea what I will use it for, but I am sure it will become something.

Happy Wednesday!