Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Monkey watching

While we were quite happy spending two days at the craft fair, we felt that three would be pushing it a bit, so we decided to spend our last day in Dublin visiting the zoo. We were staying in a hotel within ten minutes' drive of the zoo (well, it would have been, had the signage been up to scratch), but we eventually made it after 14 minutes and paid for our tickets.

The weather had been foul during Friday and Saturday, but on the Sunday it was glorious: bright blue sky and hardly any wind. Fantastic. We walked around a bit, not only admiring the animals, but the displays of Chinese lanterns. They were used for an evening event, when they would be all lit up, but even during day light, they were very impressive. 

They depicted not only animals but characters from Chinese history as well. So fantastically done with wires and some sort of plastic over the top, but they really gave the things they depicted some definition. 

After having spent quite a bit of time watching a giraffe eat some leaves off a tree and some gorillas clamber down a tree, we needed some sustenance. It took ages to get our coffees though and by the time we had finished our lunch, the weather wasn't as nice anymore: dark clouds had moved in. 

By the time we had about seen our last animal, the first drops started to fall and by the time we got back to our car, the drops had turned into a down pour! By the time we got back to the North however, the rain had ceased again and we got home in the dry. 

All in all though: it had been a good weekend.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Absent

Not one of ours
Yes, I have been absent for the past week. The first three days were me driving to Glasgow every day, not leaving much time for anything else. Then there was the slightly easier day on Thursday, but apart from the driving I still had to do, I spent it doing laundry mainly. 

During the evening my sister came over, because we were going to Dublin on Friday. We had booked tickets to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin. Two days! Friday doing the fair itself and Saturday doing several workshops. 

My 'regular' ones aren't as clever as this sampler one!!
Once we got to the hall where the event took place, we took our big bag with us (yes, we were prepared) and headed inside. A lot of stalls selling fabric. In fact, it was called the Knitting and Stitching Show, but it should have been the other way around as the yarn was very much outnumbered by the fabric. And the yarn that was there, didn't tempt us. Nor did any of the knitting needles (they are too short here anyway) or crochet needles (wrong handles). 

The fabric however... There was one stall with so many lovely Christmas fabrics, I now must have enough for several blankets I think! And don't worry: I saved up for this event. We both came away with a fair amount of fabric and then there was the fabric cutting mat and ruler and knife (for me) as well. Plus a really handy storage box. 

I touched one and got told off as well
On day two we took the bus to the event instead of driving and on arrival my sister found the fabric she missed on day one (but which I had gotten), before we headed off to our first workshop to make a little felt pot. Well, it was a soaking experience, our pots looked just about passable, but it was fun to do and find out it wasn't for us. Oh, and we tossed the pots on our return to the hotel that evening.

Our second workshop was a lot better: we were making a fabric box. Really easy and straightforward and definitely we could do at home quite easily. With regular or Christmas fabric. We both have enough of the stuff anyway!! 

This was my little box. It does need some finished touches, but it was easy enough to do
The third workshop was completely different again. How to make your own fabric. Not sure about that one, although you can do some pretty neat stuff! It just all felt very "kindergarten" what with the cutting of paper and sticking it on another piece of paper. Or just colouring in! Not sure I would want to do it. Although the one I have made, might get made, just because I would get some free fabric out of it! 

All in all, the fair was a success for both of us, although not so much for our piggy banks. Good thing I had saved up for it!

This is the artist's mother. It is long wool threads sewn onto gauze. So beautiful!

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-28

As I said the other day I was going to make a blanket of my Christmas fabric. But the first thing I was going to make was a runner for my sister's bed. Which I couldn't mention as it was a gift. However, I finished it in a day and gave it to her last Friday, so she can use it in the run-up to Christmas. She was pleased with it. On to the other runner and the blankets next...

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Cross-eyed

Setting the table 
I have made a little start on scanning photos. Only the ones that were actually in one box and it took me nearly all day! After scanning them, I only kept some family photos, the rest was binned.

I did find some nice ones though. The one where my sister and I are screaming in a wet roller coaster. I had won some tickets and asked if she wanted to come along. And then she didn't want to go in any of the rides! I was not having that, so in the end she went in all but one of the roller coasters. On occasion screaming her pretty little head off!!

I also found a photo where we were going to the zoo. Can't remember being there (another zoo yes, not this one) with her, but hey, there's a photo, so it must be true. The shorts I do remember: they kept riding up and were quite annoying. 

We were at a wedding. Aren't we the cheery bunch?
Mind you, I didn't even empty the one box. There are still school reports, vaccination reports, baptism program and all sorts of other things to go through. If 1% gets thrown out from all that, it will be a lot!

Friday, 2 November 2018

Soooooo...

I have made a start on a blanket and I must say it looks pretty good. Of course I am quickly running out of thread, so I will have to go down to a thread store soon to get some more. As I am using Christmas fabric, I thought using red and green thread would be good. However, the red that came with the machine (thank you Gera) is doing fine, it's the green that is moving at lightning speed. 

This morning I made a little start on the photos. First of all the photos already stored on my computer, all the way back from April and May. I take the photos off of my iPhone as well on occasion and found some nice ones I might be able to use. 

Now it's the crates that are waiting, although I am not sure which photos they are. I also have several albums filled with photos of my younger years, especially the foreign seasons I did (Italy, France, Yugoslavia) and my childhood. I want to get those done as well, but as people who scan will know: it takes aaaaaaaaagggggggggggeeeeeeeeeesssssssss!

I wanted to get some breakfast this morning and I knew for a fact that I had taken a carton of milk out of the garage yesterday. But, when I wanted to pour said milk over my rice crispies, it was nowhere to be found! In the end I had to get another carton from the garage. When I then looked in the fridge (again), I found the first one. Of course! 

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Easy does it

After three days on the Glasgow Express (yes, that's what it's called), I am now off until next Monday. It's quiet at work due to it being Halloween week. Which gives me some time to do things I have been putting off for a while. 

I really need to put my mice together. I knit them on board the ferry, but will only put them together at home, as I have all the materials I need, like stuffing. I could take it with me of course, but the thing I carry on board is full enough as it is (it also contains some books to read while knitting). 

Then there is the Christmas fabric that I unearthed. I want to make a sort of quilt out of it. Not a fancy one, just squares sewn together without pattern. I have borrowed my sister's sewing machine for it, as my own has some problems that I still haven't solved. 

I have lots of photos and such to sort out. Probably not to be thrown out, but scanned, so I can actually use them on my blog on occasion. I have so many lovely photos I would love to share, but they are all still in albums and even though I have scanned some photos over the years, there are still a huge amount left!

When I have done all that, there will probably be another box waiting to get sorted. Not sure what will be in it yet, but I will get to it when I get to it. So, enough to do (and then some)... 

Photos taken on Saturday during our Mourne Coastal Route drive

Monday, 29 October 2018

Another day, another drive

A few weeks ago my sister and I had plans to do the part of a route we had started in February. However, the day had been quite advanced already and in the end we opted for Armagh instead. This past Saturday however, we were both off and we decided that now was the time!

The rain disappearing over the Mourne mountains
As neither of us actually lives along the route, we had to do a bit of driving to get to the point where we finished the last time around and when we got there, the first order of business was lunch. Then we had to get some yarn (come on, you know me) and then we finally got in the car to start our drive. 

Trying to skim a stone
We drove all of 5 minutes before pulling over and stopping. We were going to the beach just outside Newcastle (Northern Ireland). After all, the weather was fantastic: sunshine and cold. Wrapped up warmly, we made our way to the beach. Where we realised there were some heavy clouds gathering in the distance and they seemed to be heading our way. 

Sure enough, the rain/hail started pretty soon after that, but it didn't last that long, so we were okay. Not too soaked anyway. In the end we spent about an hour outside walking through the dunes and on the beach. Then however, it was back to the car. We were there for a drive after all!

We drove a bit further, saw something we liked, had a quick stop to take some photos and drove on. I saw a lighthouse and thought it was striped white and red, just like they should be! My sister however, thought it was striped white and green. Well, when we finally got close, it turned out, neither of us had been right! It was more waspish looking. 

St John's Point lighthouse
We couldn't get into it, as it was private property, but we were able to take some photos from the outside. We drove on, saw some more things we liked, took more photos and then we got to the ferry. Where we had to pay cash. Which we had. Just not.... enough! Oops. Fortunately the attendant was okay with it and he gave us a ticket to pay later (ie Monday to Friday), which my sister will do tomorrow. 

We were a pound short!
We continued on, but we realised that the route was taking us a very long way round and we had to get back to Belfast, so in the end, we cut our route short and got to Belfast at around 6pm. First off: dinner! Which proved to be a bit difficult, as there was waiting everywhere. Anything from 20 to 45 minutes. We picked the twenty minutes wait, had a lovely dinner and left on time to get to the theater. 

A Victorian bath house
Because the end of our evening was more culture! We were going to see the Ulster Orchestra playing movie themes. Psycho, Harry Potter, Gremlins, Indiana Jones and several more. A good day followed by a good night. 

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-27

Well, we thought it had some beauty to it...

Monday, 22 October 2018

You've got mail

To be returned eventually to the writer/family of...
As I live in a smallish apartment now, and several boxes of stuff are still lingering downstairs in the garage without being used, I felt some culling was needed. Like the box of letters.

I love letter writing and receiving and have done so since the early 1980's. At first it was just my cousin and I who were firm correspondents. Then a couple of school friends were added as I moved away to another town. And by the late 1980's, I had friends from Austria, Belgium, France, Morocco and South Africa. Some of them I had met in real life, others were through one of those pen pal agencies through school.

These will eventually be scrapped
When I started working abroad, I met new people and with some of those I also struck up a letter friendship, most notably Marion from Germany. She was a diligent writer, telling me about her family and her friends and her life in general, which was eventually mostly indoors as she was morbidly obese. Out of all the friends, she stuck around, others fell by the way side in dribs and drabs, never to be heard of again. 

Then came the emails and the smart phones and letter writing was changed forever. Why bother getting pen and paper when a quick email will do just as well. But where I kept the letters, I never kept any emails! 

I say I kept the letters, and I had. From 1983 every letter I ever received I kept. And took with me to whatever new home I would move into. Be it in Norway or Northern Ireland. But enough is enough. So, on Friday I grabbed the box containing the letters and took it upstairs. Determined to sort those letters out. Of course there were letters there I wanted to keep. The ones from Marion for example and the ones from my cousins and family (siblings, parents, grandmothers). But the rest? 

The top letter was from South Africa. He had a very distinct handwriting.
Old school friends, pen pals from South Africa and Austria, Japan and France: they all ended up in the laundry basket for recycling. I had to take out several letters, just to see who they were from, as I didn't always recognise the handwriting. 

There were some surprises though: Brazil and Egypt. I didn't know anybody there, so they probably sent me one letter, I sent one back and that was the end of that. An old school friend lived in Australia and New Zealand for a while. I had a pen pal in Japan. Old work friends from Italy and France who happened to be in Switzerland or Spain. And of course the Netherlands. So many from the Netherlands. 

I took off all the stamps, bound to make somebody happy with them and if not: can always be thrown out. But some of the stamps I kept. From every country I got letters from! I then stuck them on a piece of paper and the plan is to get it framed. Just have to find a frame now in one of my other 'to cull' boxes. 

Oh, and just for a game: can you spot the five royals? Have you found Hachi? Did you see the two different teddies (Brom wants to know)? And can anybody tell me who Olivia and Frederick are?

PS: the address shown on the last photo is an address I lived at over 20 years ago! No point in sending me mail there, but if you want my current address to send me a letter or a card...

Sunday, 21 October 2018