Homemade Christmas Gifts for Nieces and Nephews

One thing I've learned from having five children is how much they all love pillows.

One thing I’ve learned from having five children is how much they all love pillows.

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1/3 full or 2/3 empty?

The last of 2 kilos… I would’ve made more if I’d only known how good it would be.

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Crochet Tea Cozy Pattern

The Aran Fisherman Tea Cozy

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In the cool Irish climate, I quickly became accustomed to wearing a sweater most of the year. So did my pot of tea. Cozies keep a pot of tea hot for so long that they’re useful any time of the year. And they’re just so darn cute!!

The Aran Islands have a worldwide reputation for their tradition of producing beautiful knit sweaters. My love for crochet (and inability to knit) led me to dabbling with recreating the traditional Irish hand-knit stitches in the best way I knew how. This tea cozy is one of the results.

Though there are a couple of different interpretations out there about the meaning of each Aran stitch, that they each have their own meaning is never disputed. In this design, the straight cables are the fisherman’s rope. The diamonds symbolize success and wealth, and in their centre is the bobble representing a net full of fish. I’ve been told that the outline of a fish or two is visible as well. What do you think? Continue reading

Mum, how many days until Santa comes?

Rows of numbered squares sewn as pockets to a background which is then batted, backed, bias tape bound, and somewhat quilted together and, voila, an advent calendar is materialised–pun intended, obviously. Continue reading

Cliff Diving–A Bird’s Eye View of Poll na bPeist

Poll na bPeist has drawn visitors from all over the world to see its breathtaking beauty firsthand.  My husband Johnny catches our dinner there often.  The Red Bull Cliff Diving team have held events there twice in the past three years.  They did an amazing job capturing this natural wonder on video.

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Three of my children (the blondies) with some of the cliff divers at a bbq held in their honour as they wrapped up their time on Inis Mor.

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My oldest daughter with Orlando.

How to Make a Picture Pocket Pillow–Beginner Sewing Project 1

Picture Pocket Pillow Tutorial


Here’s my first sewing tutorial.  Hope you enjoy!                                                                             Continue reading

Creating time to stop and smell the roses

I’m delighted to say that I finished my lesson 1 beginner sewing tutorial a few weeks earlier than expected. Needing a gift for a birthday party, I seized an opportunity to make what was the subject of my tutorial, hence, killing two birds with one stone.  Although I’m not so fond of the image conjured up by that saying, I like the sentiment that it evokes; any singular effort that accomplishes more than one objective gives double the gratification and often creates available time. My excitement never wanes over feats like this. Continue reading

Who wants to teach sewing?

Learning to sew was the greatest gift of my childhood.  For as long as I can remember, I have been a seamstress.  Sewing is the one thing that I have to offer for sale or barter with absolute unshakable confidence and pride.  I’ve always wanted to give back to the art form that gives so much joy to me therefore, teaching was a natural and obvious choice.   Each month, starting in one month, I will post one of the five project tutorials that I have loved teaching to local children over the last year. They are each designed (and have been used) as a curriculum.  I believe others could use them to offer classes that generate income, same as I have done.  The thorough tutorials will facilitate that. Someone with a basic level of sewing could teach them.  I suggest you complete each tutorial yourself before teaching so it will be familiar–you will also have created a sample finished product which is very helpful for referring to when instructing.  If teaching is not your intent, then maybe you will enjoy making for yourself or as gifts.

What better way to provide than to teach others to provide for themselves?”

you  can buy fabric                                you can't use up creativity

I live in Aran

When I was age twenty-five, someone very dear to me died tragically in a motorcycle accident. In nearly identical circumstances my father was also taken twelve years prior. I never truly mourned the first loss, therefore I spent most of the next year grieving doubly. Hours a day walking the beach proved very therapeutic. As a self-employed seamstress I afforded this indulgence by working until the wee hours of the morning, awoken from sleep by the sunrise and my enthrallment with collecting sea glass. Perhaps someday I would make a glass curtain, the kind I remembered my dad had, only his was beads in a doorway that chinkled when we unavoidably brushed through them to enter his music room. Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Boston, and Aerosmith were his favourite vinyl choices. I more often preferred my mother’s picks of ABBA and John Denver, but they are all worthy of mention and conjure up the happiest of memories to this day.

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