Friday, September 30, 2016

Crocheting and Knitting at the Library

I've been chatting with Gerard (pronounced like Jared), our local librarian, for a few weeks about how I might be useful to the library in some way. Volunteering is apparently not on for various safety, legal, and union reasons, but he thought a group of some kind would be great. I mentioned a few different ideas I had about that, and said I'd defer to his far superior knowledge of what is possible/desirable given the local community culture and the library system. He said we'd try to get a knitting and crocheting group going. This makes sense because when we first moved here and did not have our home wifi yet, we would go to the library to use the computers there. On several occasions there were also women there at the same time, asking Gerard for help finding and requesting crocheting books. I chatted with a couple of them at the time.

Of course such a group is more than OK with me so I said to go ahead. He said he would start feeling people out to gauge interest and would make a flyer to display. Today he came over for tea and muffins and brought some flyers with him.

So we will see if this goes anywhere. He had a few people express an interest before he had the flyers done. One woman lives in the retirement community next door to us and wants to hang a few there. One is a part of the Irish Countrywoman's Association and wants to bring flyers to their next meeting. He just hung the flyer today, so he wants to see what happens and talk about it again in a couple weeks. If we can get at least 5 or 6 people, we will set up a time and go from there.

This whole way of sort of meandering towards an outcome of some vague sort is good practice for me. I am not used to working this way. I would be more likely to go home from our first discussion and prepare a list of goals, times, etc, before trying to organise the whole thing as soon as possible.  But that is not how things are done here and there is no point trying to force things to proceed in the ways that suit me. So I am going with the flow. It is an interesting exercise. And who knows--at the end of it all, maybe there will be a bunch of us sitting around in the library surrounded by yarn. If not, that'll be OK too.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mexican Stuffed Peppers (Vegetarian)

The other day we stopped at one of the small grocery stores in town and saw that they had bell peppers on clearance--each package of one red and one yellow pepper was one euro. We bought some. I use a lot of bell peppers. I'd already gotten some from veg man, so I had quite a few. Bill mentioned stuffed peppers. I decided to do a Mexican vegetarian version.
I cut a couple of large carrots into chunks and whizzed them in my little chopper. I added this to some brown rice in a pot, added water, and cooked it together.

I cut the tops off the peppers and roughly chopped the top part around the stem, adding the pieces to a puddle of olive oil in a pan. I also added chopped onion and garlic. I stirred this around until the onion was translucent and then added some chili powder, cumin, oregano, and a bit of smoked paprika to the pan and mixed it all together. I drained a couple of cans of kidney beans and whizzed them in the little chopper--this makes them nice and creamy. We sometimes see refried beans here, but when we see them they are in a small can and spendy, so I make my own. Tastes better too! I added the whizzed beans to the pan and mixed everything together. I added a splash of water to make them extra creamy. When the rice/carrot mixture was cooked, I added some of this to the pan with the beans and veggies. I chopped some pickled jalapenos and added those, along with some shredded cheddar. After mixing everything together well, I filled each pepper and stuck it in the oven at 200 for 20 minutes. Then I added a bit of chili cheese to the top of each pepper and put the pan back in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt.

I always try to make extra when I am cooking--leftovers are handy. I have a container of the bean/rice/veggies mixture left and one of the rice/carrot. We can use the former in burritos for supper tomorrow and the rice will be used with some Thai curry over the weekend.
I love it when a plan comes together!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Blowin' Hard

Got a late start today because I meandered through the morning after staying up until almost 5 this morning to watch the US presidential debate and some analysis. I slept for a few hours and got up at 8, but it was slow going. After breakfast and coffee we went to get some produce from fruit and veg man. As we were loading our stuff into our bag, he asked if I could use some radishes. He said he'd ordered some, but they sent too many bags so he gave me half a bag. I guess I will make another batch of salad dressing and we'll have some salads this week.
After getting our produce we came home and had lunch. After a while we headed out again. It is windy out there--I am listening to it howl as I type. We walked down to the end of the pier and we had to work to keep balanced. I did not go too close to the edge. The water was pretty amazing--boiling and black.

It was not really cold, but was invigorating nonetheless!

In an hour or so I will throw together a quick supper of pasta and veggies and then get back to my book. It could be an early night. I suspect that neither of us will have a hard time falling asleep tonight!

Monday, September 26, 2016


A couple of weeks ago when Bill surprised me with several skeins of yarn, I saw that one of them was in a colourway called 'earthy.' Since it was close to the arrival of autumn at that point, I decided to use that one first, to celebrate. I knew I wanted it to be a scarf and I knew I wanted to knit it, so I grabbed my knitting stitch dictionary and looked through it. I did not want any busy lace or textured stitch patterns because the colour changes in the yarn would obscure anything like that. I decided on a stitch pattern that had just a bit of openwork and texture with eyelets and rows of reverse stockinette stitch. It was an 8 row pattern repeat that was easily memorized. It was not mindless but did not require extremely close attention either, so I could listen to the radio or podcasts while I was knitting. Appropriately enough, I finished the scarf with a hdc border and then hid the two ends while listening to a show on BBC Radio 4 that was a collection of poems about autumn.

It is just long enough to wrap around my neck and secure with a pin. I even have a small scrap ball left. This was a fun project and I love the end result. There is a gold thread wrap on this yarn and the colours are just beautiful. Hopefully soon it will be cool enough for me to wear it!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ballots and a Basic Beanie in Blues for Bill

Last night our absentee ballots arrived in our inboxes from the State of Maine. Next week we will print them out at the library, cast our votes, and post them back across the pond.

Also last night while listening to some beautiful Bach cantatas, I finished Bill's blue beanie.

I used two strands of sock/fingering weight yarn held together and US size 6 circulars (16 inch). I cast on 84 stitches, joined, did a couple of inches of k2,p2 rib, then knit around and around until it was tall enough to start crown decreases. I did the standard gradual decrease by knitting even on all the even numbered rounds and decreasing by 7 stitches on each odd numbered round of the crown section. There were 7 decreases in each decrease round because I opted to work in a multiple of 12 and 84 divided by 12=7. So to begin the decreasing, I knit 10 and then knit 2 together around the hat. Next round was even. Then the next decrease round was knit 9 and then knit 2 together around. I kept on knitting one less stitch before knitting 2 together in each subsequent decrease round, switching to double pointed needles when the remaining stitches did not fit around the circs, until I had done knit 2 then knit 2 together around. I did one more round even and then I cut the yarn, leaving a long tail. I threaded the tail into a tapestry needle and ran it through the live stitches on the needles, cinching the top closed.

There is a chilly wind blowing at the moment, so another hat will be useful. We were talking the other day about how convenient it is to have various hats for various kinds of weather. We were out in wind and rain at the time and when we got home, we both took off the hats we were wearing outside and set them aside to dry before pulling dry hats on. We have to go out for a bit in the morning and rain is forecast, so our hats will come in handy once again. We are waiting to see what the remnants of storm Karl will do. If he merges with a regular low pressure system things will track one way, I guess, and if he doesn't, we'll be experiencing a bit more of him. Whatever happens, some pretty strong winds are on the way and some amount of rain.

My toes were feeling the chill this morning, so I was happy to be able to rummage around in my small winter sock drawer and pull out these old friends.

I made these in Maine--scrappy socks crocheted with mohair added to the wool for the toes. As I recall I had one skein of the greyish blue sock yarn, which I used for the foot. The toes are done with blue mohair and purple laceweight wool. The cuffs were made from scrap wool and have felted some now. The afterthought heels were done with two strands of scrap sock wool held together. At the time I deliberately let the toe sections (which is where I started--these are toe-up) be a little bigger than the foot section because I knew the mohair would tighten up and felt a little bit as these were washed, and that would shrink the toe sections, as it did. Always nice to wiggle my toes around in fuzzy, warm, cushy handmade socks :-)

Cosy hats and socks--still more reasons to love autumn! Hope your weekend is cosy too!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Simple Saturday/Sunday Soupy Supper

For our simple Saturday and Sunday supper this weekend I made a pot of vegetable soup, which I ladled over tortelloni. This was accompanied by wholemeal soda bread and cheese.
The soup was very quick to make. Into a puddle of olive oil (what else?) I put sliced onion, chopped garlic, chopped red and yellow bell pepper, and diced carrots. I stirred these around in the oil for a few minutes then added some cubed potatoes. I added water enough to cover and let things cook. After a few minutes I added some basil and oregano. When the potatoes were almost cooked through, I added a can of mixed beans (brown beans, haricot, chick peas, and I think one other kind that I cannot remember now) and a can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice. I cooked the tortelloni separately, while the soup was finishing. That's it. We have leftovers for tomorrow, so I will just heat and we will eat. Soup is so great--you can toss in whatever you want/have, so it's different every time.

We are entering soup season. Hurray! Bill commented that we will be eating lots of soup this winter--as we do. We both love soups of various kinds. There is something very soothing about a nice bowl of soup on a lazy autumn day. Hope your day is wonderful too.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Growing Piles of Yarn and Yarn Stuff

I'd been planning (I use that word loosely) a trip to Buncrana and a stop at Lidl for weeks. We have done quite well stocking the cupboards for winter, which we did at Aldi, since they are more useful for us overall. That said, there are a few things that we can only find at Lidl so I had decided that the next time we went to Buncrana or Letterkenny, we would stop there. I was not interested in some of the more exotic frozen foods they have there, such as kangaroo leg steaks and ostrich steaks, but I love their cauliflower patties for when I need something quickly and their caramel waffle biscuits. The sun dried tomatoes are worth picking up too, and they have some of the basics that we use.

The reason we opted to go this week though, was that they had sock yarn in stock. Like Aldi, Lidl has a seasonal section in the store and at certain times of the year, certain things are stocked--potting soil (called 'compost' here) in spring, fire supplies in winter, and, to kick off autumn, art and craft supplies. They had paints, canvases, sewing supplies, brushes, and yarn. They had a few different kinds of yarn, but I was only interested in the sock yarn. Early in the year they had a different kind of sock yarn that was a blend of cotton, wool, and nylon. I got a bag in each colourway. Each bag contains 4 skeins of 50 grams each and all the skeins in the bag were the same multicoloured skeins with short colour changes. I used 6 skeins of the 16 that I got then, making a couple of pair of socks and a couple of hats. It's good summer yarn and I was happy with the quality of it.

This time the yarn is wool and nylon and in more subdued colours. I was also thrilled to see that the bags of 4 skeins contain 2 jacquard pattern yarns and two coordinating solids. I love the self striping and patterning sock yarns--they are fun to work with and give great results--but solid sock yarn is not so easy to find here. You cannot get an effective result when trying to combine things like self-striping yarn and cables or certain lace patterns because the stitches get lost in the colours and patterns of the yarn. And I have solid colour yarns that are the same weight as sock yarn, but they have no nylon content and would not wear well, so I could use them for cuffs, but not feet.

They had blues, browns, and blacks.
I paid 20 euro for all of that. Equivalent sock yarn would have cost me 80 euro in a shop/online.

I got two packs of blue because I knew I was probably going to be using a skein to make Bill a hat. He had told me that he wanted a hat like another hat I had made him as far as construction goes, but he wanted a blue one that was not lightweight. So I asked him about using a strand of the solid denim blue sock yarn with a strand of this vintage navy blue wool that a friend got for me in a charity shop in Donegal Town.
That was OK with him, so I began.
I should be finishing it this weekend. I should also be finishing the scarf I started with some of the yarn Bill surprised me with last week. I will be casting on a second wool/mohair winter sock once I am done with those two projects and I have a crocheted chenille poncho in progress too.

It feels like autumn now and that always makes me feel energized--and more enthusiastic than usual about making warm and woolly stuff. I suspect there will be plenty of socks in the mix.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ladies Who Lunch by the Sea

For the first time since we have been here, we saw these ladies who lunch in a field by the shore path.
On the fence there is a sign that says 'Beware of bull,' which seems to me an excellent piece of advice for everyday life, making it a useful sign even though we have never seen a bull or any sort of animal in the field until today.

The ladies have their back turned to the water--guess they are unimpressed by the view, but I like it. We brought our lunch today and sat at a picnic table between the lunching ladies and this:
Appropriately on this wonderful day when autumn arrives it feels quite seasonal out there. There is a nice brisk breeze and it is not too hot. The water was very choppy and noisy as it crashed into the rocks. The boat tied up on one side of the pier was bobbing up and down and once in a while a wave would crash into the wall hard enough to send spray over the top.

Stopped at a charity shop on the way home because they had a small lamp in the window and we'd been looking for one. Perfect for the longer hours of darkness that are coming. Tonight could be the night that I replace the lightweight summer afghan that is on the bed with the more substantial wool blanket. The nights have gotten chilly lately. Yay!

Welcome, autumn!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tis the Seasons

It begins. We got this ad in the post today from SuperValu. It is that time of year--first ad for Halloween stuff. Bottom half of the page is the first Christmas ad--get your biscuits early!

Seeing this reminded me of our early days in Killybegs. The SuperValu there still had some of the Family Circle biscuit boxes left, so they were on clearance. On several stops there during out first weeks we bought a box, and when it was clear the supply was almost gone we bought two. By the time we were finishing the last box a few months later, I was kind of sorry because they had some good biscuits in there. We rarely eat biscuits these days, but I am always happy to see these ads appear because it means we are getting very close to my best time of year. What I am waiting for is the brack. That should be out soon. You can get it in some bakeries and tea shops throughout the year, I think, and it is good. This kind is like a moist loaf cake with lots of raisins. I like this kind, but am more partial to the kind I first had, which was from the SuperValu in Ballinrobe, which is a yeast bread--it tastes like the cinnamon bread with raisins you can get in the US--and each loaf has a ring baked inside. Love the bread sliced and  toasted with butter. That should be showing up any time now and when it does, I will buy a loaf.  Funny that in Ballinrobe that first year, I bought it, tried it, loved it, and bought more. When the next loaf was gone, I bought more. I probably bought a loaf a week through October and then I was tired of it. Last year in Killybegs I bought a loaf and then another the following week when that was gone. By the time I was done with that, I had no desire for more. I wonder whether I will get beyond one loaf this year. Guess I will find out.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Mayo Curse: Update

It is Sunday evening as I type and the All-Ireland championship football game (GAA football, that is) is over. I watched most of the game online--had to see whether this is the year that the Mayo curse is broken! At first it seemed that it was alive and well, and even the analysts were talking about it during the halftime discussion. Dublin was leading by 5 points at halftime. They could not really take credit for that though--this was a gift from Mayo, who scored 2 own goals in that half. This meant 6 points for Dublin. But Mayo came roaring out in the second half and tied it up pretty quickly. They dominated the game overall. They prevented Dublin from scoring until 31 minutes into the first half and almost that long in the second, which was apparently pretty surprising. They did get sloppy for a brief time in the second half and Dublin scored a few points, putting Mayo down by 3 with little time on the clock. They scored. Down by 2. How much extra time would the ref put on the clock? Turned out to be 7 minutes, which is quite a long time, apparently! Donal from Ballinrobe scored a point. Down by 1. Then, with just a few seconds left on the clock, Mayo tied it up. That is where it ended. They replay the championship game on 1 October.

I understand more about the game now, having seen it (next I will have to try and watch some hurling, whenever that is on), though I have a long way to go before I could possibly tell you what the rules are. There is what seems like a very big pitch with goals like you see in soccer games at either end. The difference is that these also have vertical goalposts sticking up on either side, sort of like US style football. So a ball in the net is worth 3 points and one between the vertical posts and over the top of the net is one point. They play in shorts and jerseys--no padding or helmets. No tackling, although they do fall down a lot. They have a round ball and they can run while holding it, but they can only take a certain number of steps with it before they have to pass, dribble, or bounce it off their foot while racing down the pitch! Today it was raining so the ball was 'greasy,' as one guy put it. Guess they're used to that. These guys are all amateurs and have regular jobs. This GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) stuff is for the love of the games, I guess. This is a very big deal here--82,000 people were at Croke Park to watch the match today. That is in Dublin, but even so, there were a lot of Mayo fans and I could hear them chanting, 'Mayo, Mayo' a couple of times. One Dublin fan was well clothed in a crocheted blanket and a knitted scarf, both in Dublin blue.

Here we stick with Mayo red and green! Up Mayo!

Simple Saturday (and Sunday) Supper

We have been having a lovely, lazy weekend with lots of lounging around, reading, hot beverages, baseball (for Bill), and podcasts while knitting (for me). I did not want to spend too much time fussing in the kitchen, so we had a very simple supper last night--egg/red pesto/cheese sandwiches on wholemeal bread and smashed potatoes with veggies and Parmesan cheese.
I sauteed some onions, red bell pepper, broccoli,garlic and crushed red pepper in some olive oil. I boiled and mashed up some potatoes (skin on) and then added the veggies, Parmesan cheese, some black pepper, and some parsley. There are enough potatoes left for tonight so all I have to do is reheat them and cook the eggs to make the sandwiches. I briefly thought about turning the leftover potatoes into potato pancakes, but I think I won't.

I love these kinds of quiet days. I started a mystery novel just after breakfast and finished just after lunch. I might start another one. I have a few different stitching projects on the go and will pick up one or more of them as the mood strikes. I will make some tea this afternoon and later some coffee. Perhaps it will be cool enough in here, as it was last night, for me to have a cup of cocoa before I go to bed. It is raining--I love listening to the rain. It is such a beautiful, peaceful, tranquil day. May it be so for you as well.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

It Wanted to Be a Hat

Several weeks ago, when we were in Buncrana, we stopped in at a little shop that sells various stitching supplies--threads, fabric, yarn, tools, and a bunch of other stuff. I bought some forest green crochet thread there. I also had to rummage around in the single skein clearance box (of course!), which contained lots of yarns in many different textures and colours. I did not see any two alike, but I found a couple skeins to bring home with me. One of the skeins told me right away that it wanted to be a warm and fuzzy hat. It was a skein of something called 'winter cotton'--a blend of cotton and acrylic with a fuzzy halo. Ten days ago it was getting impatient and telling me that the time was right  to cast on for the simple roll brim hat I'd decided on. I worked on it a little bit each day for 2 or 3 days and I finished it last Saturday.
Because the yarn has so much going on and I did not have that much of it, I kept things extremely simple.
Using a 6.5 mm circular needle, I cast on 72 stitches, joined, placed a stitch marker, and just knit around and around. I kept checking to see how much yarn I had left and decided to add the stripe using a bit of navy blue wool from the scrap stash. I did 5 rounds with the blue and carried on with the winter cotton--I did not cut it and rejoin it after the stripe, but just carried it up inside. I knit until the piece was the same height as the space between where my wrist meets my hand to the tip of my middle finger. In her book, Knitting Rules, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (who blogs as The Yarn Harlot) gives this as a rule of thumb for hat heights from brim to the start of the crown decreases. I made sure to keep the natural curl at the bottom, since that is how it will be worn. Had I stretched that out, my measurement would have been off.

Then I began my crown decreases by alternating decrease rounds and knit even rounds as follows:
Round 1: (knit 10, k2tog) around
Round 2 and all even rounds: knit even
Round 3: (knit 9, k2tog) around
Round 5: (knit 8, k2tog) around
Round 7: (knit 7, k2tog) around
Round 9: (knit 6, k2tog) around
Round 11: (knit 5, k2tog) around
Round 13: (knit 4, k2tog) around
Round 15: (knit 3, k2tog) around
Round 17: (knit 2, k2tog) around
Round 19: (knit 1, k2tog) around
Round 21: (k2tog) around

When there are no longer enough stitches to go around the circulars, I switch to double pointed needles and continue.  This means a decrease of 6 stitches in each decrease round, which creates a more gentle slope at the top of the hat--it is a beanie shape. If I'd wanted a different sort of transition/crown, I could have knit around for more rounds before starting to decrease--this would have made the crown itself smaller, with more decreases in each round. For example, I could have started my decreases in what is round 7 above. This would give me 8 decreases in each round. Or to decrease very quickly, I could start with what it round 13. These quicker decreases make a flatter crown, as in these hats:

 I opted for the slower decreases because I wanted to make sure I had enough yarn, and more decreases means fewer stitches to knit and less yarn used. I ended up having enough, with a small ball left to go into the scrap stash. I probably could have gotten away with making the whole hat in the winter cotton if I had cast on fewer stitches to start, but as it happens, I like the navy blue stripe, so I am glad it's in there. All's well that ends well!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wandering Around on a Friday Afternoon

We went out after lunch, planning to stop at the charity shop (we try to go in every week on the off chance we spot a suitable chair or lamp, both of which we could use), then go to the library to return and pick up books before taking a short stroll by the water and calling in at the grocery store for some milk on the way home. We did all of those things, but with a trip back home to unload in the middle.

We spent the princely sum of 3 euro at the charity shop. There was no chair or lamp, but I found a pair of polka dotted pants on the euro rack; we picked up 5 books; I found a strainer; Bill added a perpetual calendar to the pile; and we asked for the lighthouse candle holder we saw in the window.

We both really loved the candle holder--not the first one we've gotten there, either. The blue candle and holder in the background was also purchased there a couple of months ago for a few cents--we got two of the blue candles. In front of that you can see the black thing with the piece of paper sticking out of it. That is actually a candle holder that we got at a different charity shop in town. It holds a tea light and is made of roof slates. We both like having candles during the wonderfully long winter nights. We had to leave a lot of our candle holders behind in Maine as we were packing to move here, but we saved one. Then the owner of the B&B we stayed at when we arrived here gave me a Galway crystal candle holder as a gift the day we left. We got one at the charity shop in Killybegs and a friend there gave us a cool tin one from Morocco. We have a nice little bunch of them now--will be lovely when we have enough hours of darkness to enjoy them.

That stuff took up most of the space in my backpack so after we went to the library and I picked up several more books there we decided to come home and drop stuff off before heading back out and wandering over to the pier.

This big cargo ship has been hanging around all week.
And there was The Fid, standing at the end of the Old Pier, as always.
 You can read more about this work of public art here.

A quick stop at Gillens for our milk completed our errands for the day. We had leftovers for supper and I am looking forward to getting back into the book I started this morning and the scarf or cowl that is on my needles--not sure which it will be yet. Reading, knitting, and coffee--yup, that's my idea of a fabulous Friday night. Actually, that would be my idea of fabulous any day or night!

Hope your Friday is fabulous too!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Mayo Curse

Yesterday morning I was chatting with a woman in town. She was talking about how different the bright sunshine was from the day before, which was grey, windy, and very wet. I mentioned that the way the sun was hitting the building made Susie's Bar stand out even more than usual.

photo by Bill Burke
She laughed and said it was not always that colour, but was painted in Donegal yellow and green when Donegal won the Sam Maguire cup (for winning the All Ireland in Gaelic football) a few years ago and it has stayed that way since. Donegal is not in the finals this year, but I commented that maybe Mayo can beat Dublin this coming Sunday and bring Sam to the west. She said everyone in Donegal is going for Mayo.

I'd assumed this to be the case since Mayo flags and buntings have been popping up in these small Inishowen towns, including Moville. Annie's Bar down the street has the Mayo flag flying.
I mentioned that we'd lived in Mayo for a year and she told me that Mayo people are so very nice. I agreed. She asked me whether I'd heard of the Mayo curse. When I told her I had not, she explained it to me.

It seems that years ago, the last time Mayo won Sam, they were celebrating and lighting bonfires along the roads, as you do (apparently). There was a funeral going on while these celebrations were ongoing and the celebrants did not stop for the hearse. Laughing, she said that the story is that the priest placed a curse on Mayo football at that time and they have not gotten Sam back since.

So, will this be the year that Mayo breaks the curse? There are a lot of people all over the island that are hoping that they will. As in some other places I have lived, the rural-urban divide is alive and well. I have been reminded of Alaska at times, where people in the interior and elsewhere would say stuff like, 'Pft, she's from Anchorage. That's not REALLY Alaska.' I could see what they meant. We lived in Fairbanks, which was very different than Anchorage and much more isolated. Then again, Alaska is so big and varied that there are simply many different Alaskas, not just one. The same mindset exists here about Dublin. People have asked me about what various things are like 'in Ireland.' I very quickly learned that it is often close to meaningless to talk about 'Ireland' as a single thing. There is Dublin and a couple of other urbanish areas and then there is the rest of the country, where things are vastly different. I have not been to Dublin yet and to be honest, I have no desire to go, although I probably will someday, I suppose. I have learned through the years that I am someone who feels at home in a rural setting. There are some small cities I can enjoy for short periods of time, but these are few and far between. I am much happier walking around in small villages. Whenever there is a competition between Dublin and Mayo or Donegal, I will go for the underdog from the west.

I made my Mayo embellished rock the other day
and I can get out the little Mayo flag I made to hang in a window in Ballinrobe--
these double as Christmas decorations--the colours are convenient. :-)

Here's to breaking the curse this year! As they say in Ballinrobe, 'Up Mayo!!'

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Enabler

The postman rang the bell this morning and asked Bill to sign for a squishy parcel. he handed it to me and said, 'This is for you. They had a free shipping special this weekend. I was going to ask you if you wanted anything, but I figured you would just tell me you didn't need anything, so I didn't bother asking. I picked some stuff on my own.'

What a great job he did, too :-)

These will be fun to work with! There is a pound of yarn here--over 1500 yards. All have a metallic thread wrap. It will be fun deciding what to make--I have a few ideas percolating.

He got this from Springwools, a shop in Dublin. They include a card when you order from them and this time there was one I'd not seen before. I love the image.
I love their springy sheep logo too, but I am quite taken with the elephant and woman. I might have to make some sort of frame for this.

He was right, you know. I would have said I did not need any yarn. Still, I am happy that he got some anyway :-)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Doily and Doohickeys

After testing my cone of thread the other night, I was still in a thread kind of mood, so I moved on to a doily I'd been thinking about.
It is a small doily, measuring about 10 1/2 inches across. The pineapple section is made with some of the gold metallic thread that I have. I was thinking it would look nice with a candle on it over the holidays--the metallic threads would look nice in candlelight, I think. It is crocheted from a chart in my pineapple lace book, but I changed the last round to something I like better. I have used this chart before and I still like the simplicity of the design. I might make another one with forest green with gold.

After I finished that last night I turned my attention to a rock I'd picked up on Saturday as a possibility for my crocheted pineapple. I used another rock, so this one was free for something else.
The motif is a slight variation of one that I came across while flipping through my motif dictionary for inspiration.

This morning I played some more, using a couple more motifs from the dictionary, a smaller rock, and a piece of sea glass.

I've put my supplies away for now. If I work on something later on, it will either be my crocheted chenille poncho or the start of sock number two in the pair of wool/mohair winter socks I have in progress. I will see what I feel like doing later. For now I have a book I want to get back to--or maybe I will take a nap!

Hope your week has started off well! Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pineapple on the Rock

Last night I felt like I needed to test drive my new cone of thread. I made a little green pineapple. I liked it. This morning I felt like it needed a rock, so after lunch we headed out for the shore path, where I veered off onto a couple of the beaches, finding a rock at each. i had to bring a few more home because even though I have an apartment full of rocks, they were all too small for the pece of lace. I decided to use this one.
I think I am developing a thing for these lacy rocks--or rocky lace. I still have plenty of rocks and plenty of thread, so I expect more rocky lace/lacy rocks in my future.

The water was looking black today. I took this around 3.
We passed this guy--his web was blowing around in the wind, but s/he seemed unperturbed.
It has been a lovely Saturday in Moville so far. Hope that's so in your neck of the woods too. I am off to make some supper--chili mac with veggies it shall be!

Friday, September 9, 2016


Still windy here.Donegal is under a yellow warning for wind until 9 tonight. It is really blowing stuff around out there!
Since we have lived in 3 different places in the 2 1/2 years we have been here, we never quite know what to expect in the weather department. There is quite a lot of variation, even though the island is pretty small. Ballinrobe was the farthest south of any of our Irish homes, and inland a bit. It is about midway down the west coast of the island. We sometimes had wind, but not as much as here. Killybegs was right on a western harbour, so had a different sort of weather. Plenty of wind there, but mild temperatures--whether or not that was because it was a mild winter or because that is just how it is there, I do not know. The Old Coast Guard Station was oriented in a way that the wind blew by our windows, with the tower house on the end taking the brunt of it. We often would not know what was going on outside unless we opened the door or looked out a window. I missed hearing the rain and hail splattering against the windows.

We are not that far away from Killybegs here, but now we are at the north tip of the island and things are different. When we first got here the wind was blowing mostly into our bedroom. At some point, things shifted and now it seems to mostly blow into the windows on the other side. Today I have shut one of them because they are strange windows on that side of the building--large, double-paned, and heavy. They swing in like a door and from the top--they sometimes seem pretty unstable, although we discovered that there is a hinged metal arm at the top, so they are not as unstable as they first seemed! It now feels stuffy in here, so once things calm down a bit I will open it back up. Except for the window in the bedroom I use as a study/studio, they seal well and seem like they will be good at keeping the cold air out in winter. The one window that is faulty has been stuffed with stuff until the curtain stopped moving in a breeze! We will be keeping doors shut anyway once the heat goes on. I do love the way they set things up here like that--doors everywhere so you can keep heat in or out as needed!

I have no idea what to expect here this winter. Several months ago I was clicking around to see what sort of stuff I could find about Moville online and I came across a newspaper article from last December. It was a report about the fact that the town Christmas tree had been snapped in half by the wind and a replacement would have to be set up! Hopefully no such problems will occur this winter!

Hope you are enjoying the weather in your neck of the woods! Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Wild Walk With Wind, Waves, and White Water

Incredible walk today! We went to put a couple of books INTO the wee free library (OK, I also took one out, but still...) and started down the path. The water was really rough today in the wind. Then it got windier and started spitting. It was wonderful! So many beautiful abstract designs in the water as it churned and crashed and the light changed.

We stopped for a few minutes in one of the shelters and then started for home. The sun came out.
The wind was still blowing, but once we were up the hill and on the green looking back, it seemed like a totally different kind of vibe.
We came home and I made cups of tea and hung my wet pants up to dry. It was a very invigorating walk. I loved it.