Sunday, 21 September 2014

Art Books

I was at an Art Book work shop in the National Print Museum a few weeks ago. Caroline Byrne was the tutor and it was a very productive enjoyable day. We did lots of different types of folded books and a hard covered book with a stitched spine, it is so good to see a demonstration rather than trying to follow instructions in a book, it removes the fear so to speak.
I did not want to waste the samples I made so I added covers and illustrations when I got home. Here are some photos.

Monday, 8 September 2014


Here is another small collage. I really enjoy making these but I will have to try making them bigger!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

September and Blackberries

I love September, the days are getting shorter but there is still enough evening light to get a walk in after tea and one wants to make the most of it before winter sets in in earnest. There is also something about the air that brings me right back to childhood, remembering back to school, newly covered books, clean fresh copies, lunch in a box, and a return of routine after the long free days of summer. I guess I must have liked going back to school!
This year the hedgerows are full of blackberries, does that mean we will have a severe winter? I don't usually make jam but with so many berries how could I not make use of them. I'm not a natural cook but I can follow a recipe and provided I don't get distracted and forget I'm cooking something (until I smell it burning) I  manage to produce the occasional decent meal.
So this afternoon I made some jam. Delia Smith is my guru, I have her Delias Complete Cookery Course for 20+ years and I followed her advice re. jam making, but I may have gone a little astray on the wrinkle test to see if it was at setting consistency! I made 2 separate pans so feel my 2nd batch was better.

All the scratches from the brambles and stirring of the jam was worth it to have my cupboard filled with these pretty pots. I cant wait to try it on some nice warm scones with cream, Ah, bliss.
Seamus Heaney wrote a lovely poem abut Blackberry Picking listen to him reading it Here

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Sunday Makeover

It is the first wet dark day we have had for ages so autumn is approaching. What better way to spend the day than painting a little piece of furniture, I only had some small chalk paint sample pots but the piece was small and people that know me will know when an idea strikes I have to go at it straight away, I won't let a little thing like not having all the supplies stop me! I also wanted to do a practice run writing with gold paint on wood. I had a cheap set of drawers that were perfect for a trial piece. Firstly as in all good makeovers I removed the knobs, then I painted it roughly with red Annie Sloan chalk paint, I had so little left in the jar that I could not cover it fully but I only needed it on the edges really. unfortunately I had this red paint on when I took the first photo so its not an exact " Before" picture.
                                                                  da dum (the drum roll)

Then I painted it with Annie Sloan graphite with some Liberon "Vegetable Black" pigment added, although after sanding it seemed more graphite than Black,  later I added the pigment again to the wax which gave me the finish I was looking for.
Here are the paints, pigment, wax and ink I used.
Now for the gold letters, I was pleased with how easy it was to use the gold ink on the wood, The first one I cut a stencil for but after that I found it easier to do it free hand, if I had chalk it would have been better I could have written it in chalk and then painted over it, but I had no chalk so I need to put it on my shopping list. I thought the gold was far too shiny and new looking for the distressed look I wanted but that could be fixed later.

In the picture above I have waxed the edges and between the drawers with clear wax that I added black pigment to..
"Bits" annoyed me as the "i" was not at the same slant angle as the other letters, this is the one I cut the stencil for, you can see as you go down the drawers my writing was improving.


 So after the wax and allot of elbow grease I have a new very distressed looking drawers. I have to get four new knobs and then its all done. I may revisit the letters again as I feel they would look better in a gloss paint, but this will do for today. Now its time to put the feet up and catch up with the Sunday papers.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Old Dublin

Saw this door the other day on a building just outside Dublin Castle, A remnant from the past.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A.L.A.W. "Place" Alphabet

At last I have finished my "Place" Alphabet. You can see the others over HERE

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


"There's something sleeping in my breast
That 'wakens only in the West
There's something in the core of Me
That needs the West to set it free"
                                                                           Oliver St John Gogarty

There is no where nicer than Connemara especially when the sun shines, I know you have heard me say this before but we all have our favorite places and mine is this rugged, westerly, on the edge of the Atlantic place where my kin are so deeply rooted we even have an area named after us "The Joyce Country". A few weeks ago I took these pictures at Dogs Bay near Roundstone. You can also find lots of nice images of Connemara both old and new over Here

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