Monday, November 28, 2016

Louie's got some new clothes

Ok so I wanted to make a new Harris Tweed harness for the wee man.  This one is based on his cheapo one from Dealz.  The tweed I've had for over 10 years, leftovers from a handbag I made for a friend.  There is a lot left over and I had planned another bag.  But I've moved so many times and even changed country, that it was forgotten about....... funny how I brought the fabric though!

So I drafted the pattern from his cheap one, which is getting a little holey.  I reinforced the inside seams with black webbing tape I had in.  I thought I would have enough bias tape to do the edges, which I did, but not to do the lead ties and when I went to get more the shop has zero bias tape, let alone the colour!!!  Arrgh, so after traipsing around a number of shops I finally found a close match fabric lining and mad my own for the straps.  So it's finally done, even if it is a little rough with the sewing of the bias around the leg holes. (I need practice).

He will look rather dapper when Santa brings it to him this Christmas ;)  While I was at it I drafted a pattern for a waterproof jacket.  Since Ireland is particularly cold this year I decided to insulated it.  This one is all using recycled materials. Waterproof fabric from an old jacket, padding, velcro and trim from a broken heat pad, D rings from a worn out harness.

I had a bit of debate as to where and how to attach the lead ring, because I don't want the rain getting in through the sewing (I know you can tape the underside, but having to source it was too much hassle).  I ended up going with inserting into the front side seams and fixing in place to the insulated lining on the chest, so it's doubly secure as he likes to pull on the lead. Here he is just back from our walk.

It was a nylon trim and a bit of a nightmare, I did my best but missed one or two spots and had to put a few hand stitches in other places to stop it from curling..... mostly on the underside you can't see... phew!  It may not be perfect but it does the job and keeps him warm and mostly dry.  As you can see, he's not happy about putting it on again for a model shot so you can see it in all it's glory.

I have to make a second one for summer and my friend says to put a hood on it......sou'wester she shouts at me, you need a sou'wester on it!  I need to buy the trim for that one though.  I'm thinking I might use a clip and thinner strap around the chest.

The Mutt and his new foods

I think this is the month of change for my mutt.  He got some new raised dinner bowls, which he wasn't quite sure what to make of at first.

I've also changed his diet, hopefully for the better, after a friend said that he should be avoiding wheat and carrots...... he doesn't think much of veg anyway.  But his current food contained wheat, as did the treats, all of which come from the pet shop not the supermarket.  I hunted down a couple of options and requested samples, 1 didn't respond. 1 sent them but they were too big and the 3rd sent a whole box of samples (same flavour).  He liked the last lot so I went with them and ordered the different flavour for small dogs.  I got great value and delivered to the door..... much excitement ensued, my dog loves deliveries, oh how he adores the postman!! Of course he can smell the good stuff and was dying to get into the box.

As you can see he couldn't wait to get stuck in! Now this is a dog afraid of boxes and he jumped right in there on his own and wouldn't come out!!  Josera Miniwell all the way from now on.  It was a smooth transition from one to the other over 5 days.  Wheat, soya, gluten, yeast free and no artificial colours, preservatives or flavours.  You can check out Josera Ireland here to see what they offer and find out more.

Next step was to find treats.  In the end I decided to try my own.  I made cheesy biscuits using violife cheese for pizza, which were a hit. Here's the recipe

1 cup of doves gluten free self raising flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon margarine
1/4 cup of violife cheese for pizza

Rub butter into the flour and mix all ingredients together except water until it forms a dough. Add water if needed.  Roll our to 1/2cm thick and cut into bitesize pieces or use a cutter.
Bake at 180 C for 15 - 20 mins until risen and lightly golden.  Once cooled store in a plastic container.

I also made Tuna flatbreads the recipe I found here, I baked in the oven at 180 for 15 -20 minutes and used a 50/50 mix of gram flour and doves plain gluten free, with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.

OMG! the tuna smell drove him nuts when it was cooking and he goes totally mental for a treat,  I tried one and it was super tasty........ and it didn't upset his sensitive tummy.... hooray!!  That's them ready for the freezer.  I can take out as many as I need every couple of days and they defrost in no time.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Chips and Dings in your Delph

There's nothing I hate more than getting a chip in my favourite plate.  I've always thrown the said dish away when this happens.  However this is my one and only dinner set!  It's also just to groovy and I adore it.

After much searching on google, I came to the conclusion that my best option to fill the hole left, way epoxy putty aka Milliput.  I chose the Superfine white.  Perhaps I shuld have added some paint in with hindsight as it's a bit whiter than the dish.  But I followed the mixing instructions and it mixed and hardened perfectly.

It reminded me of using clay in school, and can be moulded in the same way.  So with wet fingers and a bit of tissue to wipe off the mess I managed to get a decent match to the shape of the plate.  Once dry it can be sanded down, but I thought best to keep it to a minimum.

Now my problem is how to glaze it.  I did a vase I picked up for a euro in the charity store at the same time.  I can just varnish that and I think it will be ok, but first I will need some gold paint as you can see in the picture above.  But the plate I'm toying with the idea of enamel if I can find the right colour, as I'm afraid the varnish will flake off.  Perhaps it will sit there for another 2 years before I get around to it again (I hope not)!
I'm open to suggestions as what to do next to give an almost perfect finish.

I have plenty Milliput left and it seems to have a multiple uses, so it may come in useful in another crafty or practical way.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Home grown in a bag.

This year I decided that I would try and grow a couple of vegetables.  I used have a patch at mum's back home where we would grow a selection of veg.  However these days the garden area only permits growbags or perhaps a raised bed.  I had bought a tarp growbag last year and only dug it out this year to give it a go.

I think I was a little ambitious as to how much I could grow, as I stuck potato, carrot and cauliflower into the bag.  What I didn't plan for was night time nibblers! The whole place is walled and fenced except for one bit, which would be quite an obstacle course for a rabbit or a hare.  However it seems that it may have been determined whatever it was. 

So I ended up having to buy wire fence and just to be extra sure, I bought avian fencing, with the idea it would protect the seedlings.  It worked wonders and even my parsley has recovered from the nibblers, although all but one Cauliflower survived.   Which is probably just as well, because it's gigantic.  I call it my mutant cauliflower, I've grown some before, but never have they been so leafy and big.

As you can see, it's the boss of the bag!  I've lifted half the potatoes, some of which were a decent size, which were bigger than I thought they would be considering.  You can just see a couple of stalks to the right.  Hiding on the left under the leaves are some carrots, but they must have been a poor lot of seeds as only a few grew.  Or maybe I'm just out of practice!
In the blue box on the right are some leeks which appear to be doing quite well, first time I've grown them and I've a long wait until they will be ready.

We had forgotten how good new potatoes tasted.  As you can see the wee furball has to be in the picture because he helped and everything is so interesting!!  I think we will harvest the rest in September when our guests arrive.

I know to some this is little attempt is laughable.  It seems silly to me too, but with no plot and forever moving house it is the only option for me to try.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sweet Dreams

As you may know my beach walk doesn't throw up much in the way of 'treasures'.  But that doesn't mean that my creative mind isn't at work somehow in the background.   A few weeks back, whilst strolling along the beach and having it to ourselves (the dog & I), There were a few feathers strewn here and there.  
What does my brain do?  Says oh, perfect for a Dream Catcher. So I gathered a few to add to the striped ones I'd picked up another day, I think they are Curlew feathers.  Which is great, but you need a hoop to make a Dream Catcher, which I didn't have.  That is until I went to town and picked up a bag for €2 with wooden hoop handles.  Well you wouldn't get the handles anywhere near that price, so I grabbed it along with some black needle cord fabric for €3.  

I then did a google search and found the Native American Technology & Art site instructions on how to make a Dream Catcher.  I thought if I used some embroidery thread and one of the beads that have been sitting in a jar for years, it might turn out a little respectable.  

I made 2, the first exactly as the instructions and the second the same way, but added extra feathers and a couple of beads on either side for decoration.  I also wrapped the thread around the feather, with a little glue and knots to hold them in place  I'm rather pleased at how it turned out and is hanging above the bed, making a lovely feature and giving me sweet dreams.

The big Six O

This card incorporates 2 things I'm not good at, mathematical equations and German.  So I had to do some online hunting to find what I needed.  I could ask the in-laws, however I know they wouldn't keep it secret.

I know the person will appreciate the effort I put into this (hopefully).  He's always quoting theories and physics etc in everyday scenarios, so this should humour him.  I was lucky to find 2 old German stamp images with 60 on them.

Last year I picked up a 6 and 0 cake sparklers on sale, especially for the occasion.  I've never used them before so not quiet sure if I should light them at the top or bottom!?

Whilst his birthday isn't until October, I can't see me having the time to make this in the next couple of months, which are going to be quiet busy.  Getting ready for the in-laws visit, other birthdays and an anniversary.  Or whatever else life might throw in for luck.  Plus I've a pile of pressed flowers that need to be used up before they get passed their best.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Almost 2 Decades Together

I can hardly believe that I've been with my partner for almost 20 years.  Two decades!! I won't say it was easy, with all the challenges we faced in life.  But we faced them together, and were all the more stronger as a couple for it.  We had to make some difficult choices, but now, we are at the happiest and most content stage of our lives, so far.

I spent all yesterday afternoon coming up with the idea, finding the right bits and cutting out the numbers, hearts and swans.  Honest to goodness, I swear he interrupted me at least a dozen times, with me having to hide everything I was doing!  Like any other time, I wouldn't even hear him, let alone have him stand in front of me discussing technical computer stuff.  Eventually he noticed I was a little annoyed (I suffer from chronic pain and the chair was not helping).  Asking if he was not supposed to see what I was doing....... Well NO sir you're not! I really, really need a Woman shed/cave to lock myself away in.

So today I managed to get it assembled, without any interruptions, and it went really quickly.  This is what he will be presented with on the 19th.  He says he's cooking me dinner and I think I'll make dessert (it's been years since he cooked a meal).

I just have to think of something suitable to write inside it, which will be the hardest part for me.  But I've got 18 days to come up with something that sums up our time together.

Upcycled Cards

I hate throwing cards in the bin or fire after the event is over and find it wasteful, so I try and reuse as much as I can to make new ones.  Sometimes you can mix and match, other times not.  Here are 3 I made the other day.  Mum's birthday is this month so that's pretty perfect timing.

Now I just have to find or make envelopes to fit the bottom two.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Driftwood Swan

I walk the dog at the beach when I can, so I'm always on the lookout for inspiration and things to use.  To be honest there's not much that washes up there except junk.  Fortunately one day I found a rather inspiringly shaped piece of driftwood one day this winter.
I brought it home and let it thoroughly dry out.  In other words took it home and forgot about it, well not forgot, but more kept glancing at it and thinking I must find time to sit and do that.  Only not actually getting around to it.... until recently.
I used acrylic paint (I don't expect it to hold), then varnished it. I didn't like how the varnish glazed, so I used black enamel paint and white gloss for the main part. 

The image is before the glaze.  I then drilled a hole in the base and glued a wooden rod in, so I could stick it in the bushes in the garden. 

Yes that is a crazy heather bush, that has grown out of control.  Not much I can do with it, except keep it as it is and trim it every year.  Which is obviously something that was never done until I moved in.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pencil Sketches

I didn't realise how long it is since I posted anything here.  I've had a tough couple of years health wise and it's taken it's toll on me both physically and mentally.  Recently I've started to draw and dust off the paint brushes again (the good weather has lifted my spirits I guess) ........ that Rooster painting is STILL waiting to be finished off .. sigh.   With my absence it would appear that the spammers are trying to post on the blog, so I'm glad I've moderated the comments.

I'll share a couple of pencil drawings with you in the meantime, not sure if I put the Pirlo sketch up before, but here it is.
He's a soccer star that used to play for Juventus (Italy), for those of you who don't know.  Now he's playing for NY city.

The next one is of my wee dog Louie.  I really wanted a pet portrait of the little rascal, plus I have a lot of empty wall space in the new house.  So it's good to get pictures up and make more homely.

I was lucky enough to find the perfect frame for it too, which I picked up in my local Mr Price store.  I have to admit it's not easy drawing an all white dog.  But I think it was worth taking my time to do it.