I could count on one hand all the things I’ve ever created that have no purpose other than to just be. Because of this, I’ve felt less like an artist and more like a crafter, my thinking being that functional things were mostly created by crafters, and ‘things of beauty’ by artists. That thought probably says more about my urbanity than my ability as a maker, a direct reflection of my rural roots.
While admiring my star wreath and thinking how it was one of the few things I’ve made that has no practical function, the thought occurred to me that maybe functional objects that also communicate individual ideas are the very definition of arts & crafts/artist & crafter. As a well-paired couple, maybe it’s a case of them working hand in hand, not one or the other.
It’s not called ‘arts or crafts.’ Continue reading
Here on the island we have a community center, branded as ‘the hall’, that hosts the teen youth club, various sports practices, Irish dancing lessons, parties/celebrations, fund raisers, veterinary clinics, dramas, orchestras, movie viewings, ceili dances, public meetings, wedding receptions, and probably a few more things I haven’t thought of. It’s definitely the islands all-purpose space.
A view of the ocean from the island community center.
For the second year in a row, my daughter Margaret Maeve and her friend Tanya rented a table at the island’s annual Christmas Fair held at the hall. There are about 12 to 14 tables offering a variety of gift items for sale and holding raffles for a huge range of things. For the few weeks before, the girls busily create everything they sell. Continue reading
I believe we all know the feeling of when something is not quite right. The feeling grows and grows until you decide assertively (sometimes in a matter of seconds) that “No, this just won’t do.” Continue reading
Wreaths are stand-alone decorations that are quite versatile. They can be large or small, indoors or outside, ornate or modestly adorned, hung vertically or placed flat on a table top, and definitely not exclusive to holiday time.
They need not even be a circle– heart, oval, square, or diamond all work beautifully to create a unique visual display that looks custom made for a space.
This year I decided to make wreaths for our children’s bus driver and teachers to show appreciation for the care they provide throughout the school year.
Margaret Maeve 10, Adrien 9, Seán Proinsias 7, Tadhg 6, Nuala 4
Finances and food are big sources of our motivation towards inventive self-sufficiency, but there is one more reason–our future. We are planning a family business around our homefarm and that directs much of our thinking and choices also. Learning as we go along has shown to be a long and hard way of getting there. Continue reading
Sorry, no eggnog or mulled wine in this post, but all three group together so well during this festive time of year that I could not resist mentioning them. Last night I toted these soon to be nineteen liters of kombucha tea up the stairs and into the hot press where they will stay warm and cozy. Soon those magical bubbles will appear and, not long after, they will be ready for bottling. At that time they’re fine for drinking so we’ll all imbibe a little, but we prefer to second ferment them with fresh fruit, spices, and various flavorings. Cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger is one of my favorite winter warmers. Vanilla sticks make the healthiest cream soda you’ll ever taste–it is just WOW! And any berry is a must all year round. I’m not sure what other flavours we will be making, but they’re all sure to be delicious, nutritious, and just in time for the Christmas giving. And now I have a full year to concoct fermented versions of eggnog and mulled wine!
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