Saturday, 30 April 2016

Saturday Scribbles - April 2016

Little feathered friends flit madly round my garden seeking out the food I just put out - I love watching them at this time of year as they busily feed themselves before flying off with food in their mouths for the "she who must be obeyed" sitting on the nest! Their great flurry of activity excites my special feathered friend who shares my home - as he flies from window to window to watch them - he chirrups and tweets just like the sparrows before coming back to "help" me type - and then flitting off again as he catches sight of the blackbird. He does love to "help" me when I am at the table crafting - though Bertie is quite the little demon for pinching cocktail sticks - I am always finding them at the bottom of his cage!

He is such good company though - and he is so funny - he isn't very tame really, I can't get him to stay on my finger for more than a second or two  - but he can't resist the craft stuff or my fingers on the keyboard of my 'puter.

I am NOT a tidy crafter though - I have everything I think I might want - along with loads of tools all over my table - my work space just gets smaller and smaller - LOL - but I do have to try extra hard NOT to leave anything really tiny visible that he might be tempted to swallow - self adhesive gems and pearls particularly worry me - especially as they often"ping" off and then I can't find them!! Oh the joys of getting older!!

However I am enjoying the sight of our cherry blossom against the sky as I look out the window  - it is so very pretty - so there is no doubt that our island will soon be visited by incredibly high winds - and I will then have a carpet of palest pink instead of my gravel in the garden - it's no wonder the Japanese celebrate the flowering cherry - when mine is festooned in blossom it is a delight to the eye and there is no doubt in my mind that Mother Nature can decorate better than any interior designer I have ever come across.
April has been a busy month for me - a trip across to my parents - now BOTH Nonogenarians - my mum is another gracious lady who celebrated a special birthday this month. We had a lovely meal out - with as many of our small family we could muster and I think she enjoyed it. We certainly hoped so anyway -
 - -and as this post is the end of the month -a few numbers - Julie of Notes on Paper has a regular post featuring her own "Month in Numbers" - and it's always worth a read! So - from my month
APRIL - when our family celebrates 2 birthdays - Mum and my youngest daughter both have springtime birthdays.
3 days off island with my sister to celebrate mum's special birthday - 90 years young  - though mum said "I didn't DO anything - I just keep breathing". Which did make me chuckle I must admit.
126 minutes catching up with a very dear friend who I see so rarely these days. A highly valued friendship - it doesn't matter that we see each other so rarely - it is always as if we could still see each other daily when we do managge to meet up - so special.
4 hours (approximately - en route for our flights back to the island - transport links from mums to the airport always mean we have time to kill) with my sister in Manchester's Northern Quarter, exploring quirky artisan studios and shops in what was the old fish market, lunching in a cafe serving quality produce, (different, perfectly cooked and great value) and seeing this awesome street art - - - - - - - - - a real 1 OFF!! (Check out the artist, - Akse P.19 - here and also on facebook). The Northern Quarter is definitely worth a visit - not at all as I remember it from childhood - though the streets and buildings are still the same.

April was also the month in which Craft Club had their Spring Allday crafting session - so I put together 16 kits, made up 3 boxes and 12 cards - as demo pieces. We had a lovely day with 11 of  our members making it to the day. We used boxes by Candy Box Crafts as our base for our projects - and were really pleased with the quality of them and how easily they went together
I was also asked to make 1 Wedding card - which I was really pleased with when it was finished, so hope I might get a few more commissions - I love making a special design
Of course I can't do crafts without a bit of shopping can I  - so this month my treat was receiving
 in a selection of wonderful packs from Julie's Etsy shop - from her selection of Plundered Pages, Serendipity Packs and Interesting Bits - always somethingof interest - and always just a bit different! And my parcel arrived so quickly - containing and enormous 96 different items - papers and more! and that was not counting the wrapping which I have very carefully hoarded!!

Well this has turned into a very long post - an essay even - so I will finish with the 201 photos taken with my iPhone - a few more from our visit to Milntown - the colours were irrisistible. As always - thanks for dropping in - do drop in on Julie at Notes on Paper if you have the time , for her Month in Numbers -

'til later,
Bannaghtyn,  J x

Saturday, 23 April 2016

And I love a garden - -

- - in the spring -and today is beautifully sunny - even if there is still a chill to the wind. We went on our usual drive this morning, though this time we didn't stop in Purt Ny Hinshey as would be the norm - I think the car knows the way!!
Instead we carried on to Rhumsaa - specifically to Milntown - just to take in the beauty of the gardens. It is after all - the nearest we have to a National Trust property - though it is run by its own  Charitable Trust. It is a gracious house and used to be a hotel I believe.
I love the gardens and woodland - such a tranquil place to visit - and there were lots of lovely 'secrets" to discover since our last visit. And of course - it has a lovely cafe - who serve the most delicious lunches - from sandwiches on home made bread to a full blown 3 course lunch often made with produce from the garden - and the rest locally sourced.

Camellia, Tree Fern and tree trunk carved into a Fairy House - I just loved it!
There were so many unexpected treasure in the woodland that we hadn't seen before - perfect for the child in all of us!

And of course - we did have a lovely lunch after our wander round the grounds -

 Thanks for dropping in - I  know it has been a while!
'Til later,

Bannaghtyn, J x

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Merry Month of May - - - in numbers

Hello friends and welcome - - I have been  - - as you know pretty much absent from the blogosphere for many months - - but an unexpected, and lovely email from Julie gave me a much needed prod - -  
As you probably already know Julie hosts her Month in Numbers at the end of each month and as May has had a few activities I would like to remember I participated in - recording them this way seems a good place to start.

  •  2 craft club meetings instead of our usual one, this month - the first time we have had to do that - and all because my island home hosts the TT Races - which this year take place between 30th May to 12th June - meaning that road closures in the evenings would prevent our members being able to attend for our monthly "crafty get together".
Picture from IOM TT Official Site
We didn't want to miss our June meeting entirely - so we moved it back to May! Good job May was a long month, eh? This year we have had card making workshops as a theme, with cards made using a different folding technique each month, which is proving rather fun.
"June's" card designs

a sneak peak of July's design
  • 4 days of the month were accounted for by taking a trip with my sister to visit mum & dad. 
  • 1 of those days we spent taking mum out to Chatsworth House to visit the part of the gardens. It proved to be a lovely day - including the weather, which is always a bonus.

  • 1 trip to Ikea - perhaps not of great note to those of you who have access to such stores on a daily basis - but for us islanders - a bit of a treat - and it is all too easy to get carried away, as everything seems to be such a bargain!! Our last day was spent in Liverpool - shopping - and enjoying the vibrancy of the city with sand scuptors and street entertainers - and that can't be bad can it? before getting the evening ferry back to our island.
  • 6 friends who helped to make up a team of 8 people to try to solve a Murder Mystery - Murder in the Alps was performed by a local group - WASP - who offer their services as the entertainment for Fundraising Events, for local good causes. We managed a 2nd place for our team - and won the raffle. It was a really great evening,  good company and great entertainment - what more can ask of an evening out?
Photo from WASP Official website
  • 29 years of married life - The 21st day of the month saw us celebrating with a trip out and lovely lunch - more details here - but this is the waterwheel in the grounds of Milntown.

I am not quite sure where all those years went to  - - - -
  • 6 performers - who made up the Flamenco Dance company who entertained us royally - on the 28th day in fact,  when we went to our lovely Frank Matcham designed theatre to see traditional Flamenco music and dance performed to the highest standard. I was so pleased that the theatre, though not full, had a considerable audience ,who all seemed to enjoy their virtuosity - and at least one of the dancers could be classed as "eye-candy" for the ladies - just a little something to add to mine and my daughters pleasure in the evening!
 I'll finish here - thanks so much for dropping in - and don't forget to head on over to Julie's Notes on Paper for her numbers - it's always worth a visit.

'Til later,

Bannaghtyn, J x

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Sunday Scribbles - Notes from a small island

Hello my friends - and welcome,
I have neglected you so badly of late - so do please forgive me. I really hope all is well in your worlds - with all your friends and loved ones keeping well.

Early summer has arrived here on my little island and it is just festooned with flowers, in spite of the north winds – everywhere I look the hillsides are clad in gold as the gorse opens its flowers to welcome the sunshine, even though it is still accompanied by those cool - not to say cold! winds - the warm spicy perfume of the gorse is carried on the air and combined with the scent of the sea embodies the aroma of summer here on this little island, whilst the sky itself is so intensely blue that the only way to describe is cerulean - - - just a great pity that it isn't warm!!!

As I say,  it has not been as warm as previous years  - but my cottage garden is a lovely place to sit - it really is a suntrap, and I often have no idea just how cold the wind is until I climb the steps to head to the village. I can't remember a May that has been so cold since we moved to the island - and have often had to return home to put a coat on within minutes of leaving the sunny sanctuary my garden has proved to be. I hope your sunshine might have a great deal more warmth in it than ours.

My garden is looking pretty well really - though it is not what you would call tidy, as I am one who likes the jungly look!! I'm not a very good gardener really - being more of the "pop it in and hope for the best" kind of planter! The Manx Palm is now pretty big - we have had it some 12 years now I think, and the old milk churns we found in the garden when we moved in are filled with  French Lavender, summer bedding and pansies, so we have lots of flowers. The Clematis on the shed is in full flow - with the massive blue flowers all beginning to open, though I can't say the same of the Pink Clematis climbing up the cottage walls - it is way behind, no flower buds even - which gives an indication of how cold the winds have been, since it is at the base of our steps - the only place the wind gets into the garden really. The Honeysuckle has fared better as it does have flower buds, and we have added red lupins in big pots and Pinks too this summer and they to fill the garden with perfume. The flowering cherry has finished pretty much but the Wygalia is in full bloom so it fairly hums with bumble bees, surrounded by trees as we are, the garden is filled with birdsong - and robins, chiff chaffs, bluetits, great tits finches, thrushes, blackbirds and sparrows are regular visitors to the feeders.

Last weekend was our Wedding Anniversary - so we took the coast road to Rhumsaa - to spend a little time in a much larger garden than ours, as we visited Milntown. This is the nearest house to a "stately home" that we have - - and the grounds are truly lovely - indeed it is one my favourite places to visit. We strolled round the grounds and gardens at our leisure - we almost had them to ourselves since the other visitors viewing the garden were few at that moment - (most seemed to be having having lunch in the cafe) though there was a gardener about. I was able to chat with him to find out the name of a shrub I have in my own garden - I was delighted to finally find out its name - since we inherited it when we moved in -  and learn something of how best to prune a "Wygalia". Fortunately for us we hadn't done too much damage with our lack of knowledge over the last 12 years!!The house is open for tours and as well as the beautiful gardens it has a lovely cafe -- where we had a delicious lunch after out wander round the grounds. It was so warm in the courtyard - a testament to how sheltered it is from those cold winds we have here, that we elected to eat "Al Fresco" - we could imagine it was really summer - there is something so English about lunch and tea in a garden isn't there?

Well I feel as if I might have wittered on long enough - I don't want to bore you as I can't really call my outings and my so very English obsession with the weather exactly exciting! I hope all is well with everyone - and as always it is so kind of you to call, so thanks for stopping by.

'Til later

Bannaghtyn, J xx

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Made it Monday - Featuring Fans - Cards Corner

Hello dear readers and friends, I hope all is well in your world. I really meant to set this as a scheduled post for last Monday, but after all my hard work drafting it I forgot to hit the publish button!! I do have a lot on my mind - I was just beginning to get my sense of equilibrium back - but now I have stuff in my life going on that is very hard to cope with, - but enough of that. 
On to happier things - -
We organised a "Die cuts" Swap at our Craft club at our last monthly meeting - and all those ladies who wanted to participate cut some dies of their choice - a set of Nestie labels, 5/6 of  a "Topper" type die or a set from a collection - and I cut a set of fans from my Marianne Dies as my contribution - but when I was getting them out to cut them  - to my shock/horror  - I discovered that I have 9 dies which cut fans! To be fair one set are background shapes for the delicate lacy tops - but I felt so guilty!!! As a result - I thought - I really ought to use them!! So here are a few of the cards - in varying sizes that I have made using them. I am obviously an addictive purchaser of shapes/dies which I like!!! - I succomb to the same things time after time.
This card was made using a dies from Joanna Sheen - and it really cuts well  - it is very dainty and delicate and a small die - but so pretty. There are 2 in the package - the other die has a heart as a focal point - it is also very delicate and dainty - as you can see below on the on the 3x3 cards - and the heart cut out is a very acceptable size to use elsewhere - so don't discard it!!

   This die is also by Joanna Sheen and is one of her larger fans - also very dainty and delicate in design which cuts beautifully!

and finally I have a card made with with my Marianne fan dies

Thanks for stopping by, as always it is kind of you to "call".

'Til later,

Bannaghtyn, J xx

Monday, 5 May 2014

Made it Monday - A Baby Album

Early in March this year I was invited to a "Baby Shower". Now this was something very new to me - as though I know " Showers" are very popular with our American friends across the pond - I felt quite out of my depth! What would be expected of me? Should I go? - J----- was at school with my Ben and she was a friend of my son's - a lassie I don't know especially well - yet she has constantly kept in touch since I lost my son. A friendly email, a quick text, a message on Facebook - often just saying she was thinking of us - and so I felt that perhaps I should go - It was their first baby - it was to be an Afternoon Tea ( a favourite with me!) and so I decided to make a Baby Album for them. I would liked to have made one for my son's first baby - but that can never be now - so I made this one for J----- & her husband instead, and as you know dear readers - "making stuff" keeps from falling apart too often. It did occasionally reduce me to tears when I was making it - but I am glad I did it.
As they knew their baby was a little boy - I used the Mother Goose collection by Graphic 45 - and used the only 8x8 pad and white card. The album is 6x6, I made a box for it to keep it nice and the pages are 5.5x5.75 inches. Here are a few photos anyway - I hope you like it - I think they did.

 There are lots of flaps and pockets - and each page is a top loading pocket with photo mats in each, and I included an acetate photo template she can use to cut her photos to size.
 A page to fill in the important details!

 This page has two small pockets to add the hospital
bracelet and any other small treasures
she may wish to keep
The final photo is the lid of the box, which I made from 2 sheets of Bazzill cardstock  - to strengthen the box slightly I lined it with smooth white card - which made a surprising difference to how sturdy it felt. The bright primary colours in this paper collection were a step out of my comfort zone - I really like vintage and shabby chic - but I was really pleased with the way it turned out.

Thanks for stopping by -

'til later,
Bannaghtyn, Jen x

Friday, 2 May 2014

Letter from a Small Island

Greetings my friends,
I do hope all is well with you all - and with your loved ones. I have been fortunate this Easter holiday time to have my both my girls home - so my family is as complete as it can be now, sadly there will forever be a hole in it, but I do the best I can to keep positive. It hasn't been easy of late, hence my neglect of you (and my poor blog) - my friends across the world - but I do keep trying.
It has been a beautiful Easter Weekend here in my little corner of the world. The sun has shone and the skies are blue - and even the wind was warm on Easter Monday. My cherry blossom is in full bloom  - its delicate pink blossom and fresh green leaves bringing colour to the garden and is tempting me outside to actually do a bit of gardening for the first time this year and its ethereal beauty stirred me into picking up my camera - which has been largely unused for a goodly length of time - to my shame!
The fuchsia hedge has fat, bright pink teardrops appearing on the branches so soon I will have some little "ballerinas" as well! The blue bells are all out - not only in the Glen but in my garden, and I love it when they appear - reminding me that really my garden is a woodland clearing - on loan from Mother Nature, since I planted none of them - they just sprout and flower - always popping up in a different place. Sadly they are not our true English bluebells - they are very "upright" and don't have the same intensity of perfume, nevertheless they are pretty to look at. I did manage to find a few true "English" bluebells - though how long they will remain I do not know.
We have taken a few strolls through the Glen, it is always such a lovely walk, on the one side the sea with the occasional seal surfacing,  and the Herring gulls in and out from the shore and across the bay soaring with such grace and beauty that one forgets what a nuisance they can be at times! Me and L---- stop to take advantage of the many strategically placed benches to just take in the stunning view towards the Sound and the Calf of Man. A Gannet circles round and round in an ever widening arc, endlessly searching for the flash of silver beneath the waves which, once spotted sends him plummeting to earth in a dive which accelerates with such speed that if you blink you miss it - before plunging into the shimmering sea like a huge silver arrow - and then just as suddenly - there he is on the surface with a laden beak! Out across the bay the Sailing school is in full swing - the little yachts skimming happily just off the shore - a sight that always brings sad smile as Ben had made plans to  learn to sail.

It was such a lovely day on Monday that we took a little drive - the road over the Sloc climbs ever higher so that soon we are surrounded by moorland - It is a wild open landscape up here - not unlike Dartmoor, or the Lancashire Moors - with very different plants - heather, cotton grass and bracken - yet always looking bare. You can see a long way from up here - out over out to the south the sea shimmers through the haze - twinkling in the sunlight and here and there I spy a stonechat on a spike of gorse, whilst inland the derelict chimneys of the old pump houses from the lead mines stand tall and imposing in the distance - the only sign of habitation in an empty landscape.
Signs of spring were everywhere - even though the trees still sport bare branches - a misty haze of green is begining to make an appearence in between. Golden gorse separates the landscape into a patchwork of colour, green and brown and some dotted with the white or cream or black of grazing animals - cows or sheep and others ploughed and planted or left fallow. Fields closer to the road are full of ewes with the newly born offspring gambolling happily - so gangly legged and waggly-tailed that I have to smile when I see them.
We drop down past the Plantation and towards Niarbyl  - from this road I can see my very favourite view from my island home - out across a silvery western sea to the Sound and the Calf of Man before driving through Dalby then dropping into Glen Maye. This route is a favourite drive of ours - as the sea is often visible - and we all love coast roads. I wonder sometimes if I will ever get blase about living so close to the sea - some of those born here never, never, ever go to the shore!I don't think I will - but maybe future generations might - should I be lucky enough to become a nana someday.

Our destination is Purt Ny Hinshey - or our Sunset City - Peel - for a walk around the castle, a cup of tea at the Harbour, a visit to the Charity shops and antique centres and an icecream on the Prom - one cannot visit this tiny city without doing all those things! I have to smile when I think of Peel as a city - it is no Manchester or London - believe me, but it is the home to the Island's Cathedral - and cathedral are only found in cities I believe!
It was a very, very busy day - all through the winter we have had the carpark at Fenella to ourselves and today we struggled to find a park! Never mind - it was lovely to see so many families out just enjoying the spring sunshine. It is getting time for me to stop now to make our evening meal - so I will say bye for now.

Thanks for stopping by,

'til later,

Bannaghtyn, Jen x


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