Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, my friends!

My hopes to get all my Christmas posts out of the way before tomorrow have been ruined due to a tall, handsome man with whom I was reunited a few days ago. It seems that I'm chilling in his house this evening, doing nothing, and that's just how I like it.

I hope you all have a lovely evening, whatever you do. Any parties planned?

xx

Fiona

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And… The rest of the presents.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

I hope you all had a good one and are looking forward to 2011 as much as I am.

So I have a few Christmas related posts still to get up and I hope to do this BEFORE 2011 starts… But I’m away to Tullamore tomorrow and not sure if there’s wireless or an internet connection in the hotel.*

To start with, I’ll round up all the presents and show you what nice things my family got this Christmas.


For my Dad:


Terrarium 2


Terrarium 5


A moss terrarium full of the cutest little ducks you’ve ever seen!

I think he liked it… Something to put on his desk in work to make him smile.


For my darling niece, Laoisha:


Crayons 5


Crayons 1


Crayons!! Laoisha’s a creative little girl and I think she’s going to love these crayons, once she’s over all her other fancy schmancy Christmas presents. Who wants a Nintendo DS when you can have super cool crayons??

To make these crayons, I bought a few boxes of super cheap crayons in the supermarket** and broke them up into pieces. Then I grouped them into nice colour combinations and put them into moulds. Unfortunately, the first mould I used was an ice cube tray I had mistaken for silicone*** and it suffered greatly.


Ruined mould


It wasn’t even my tray, it was Skuld’s… Oops! It was alright though cause I found a similar star shaped ice cube tray in my cupboard to give back to her. So anyway, back to the crayons. There are loads of variations on how to melt them flying around the Internet.

If you melt them too quickly, the colours will mix and you won’t get a cool marbled effect. So what I did was pop them into the oven at 180 oC for about five minutes. I kept a close eye on them and took them out of the oven the minute I saw that they were melted. You can find other methods on how to melt crayons here and here. The main point is to watch them closely and experiment, experiment, experiment!

I also commissioned this great hula hoop from my friend, Nelly, a super hoop maker:


Hoop!


For my sister, Emer:

I saved the best for last, the present I am most happy and delighted with. The one I mulled over for hours – how to fit it all together, how to make the decoration, how to get it perfect. And I think I did OK. What do you think?


Clutch bag 1


Clutch bag 5


Clutch bag 3


A beautiful clutch / make up bag that she loved! I styled it on the clutch bag I saw in this post on You Are My Fave. I love Melanie’s blog. Such a simple idea but it brings me so so much inspiration and she’s such a sweet girl! I’d definitely recommend that you all check it out.

And that’s that. Besides one anniversary present that I’ll put up in the new year, those were all the presents I handmade this Christmas. I like to keep my Christmas presents list down to just my family so that I can get them all really special and thoughtful presents.

Kisses to all and Merry Everything!!

Fi

*And having just got into my hotel room to finish this post, I find that there is. Win!


**If I had had crayons lying around my house, I would have used them, of course.


***I’m pretty stupid.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

For my lovely cousin, Emma:

I first heard my cousin Emma sing and play guitar last Christmas and she was wonderful! She has the most amazing voice and can play so sweetly. Her versions of Florence and the Machine are incredible.

So I was delighted to pick her name for our family’s Secret Santa this year. I knew just what she’d like!


Folder 3

A folder.


It started out as a simple blue 2 Euro thing-a-ma-jig! And I bought some lovely (LOVELY!!) wrapping paper from Pippa Blue. So with the help of my trusty Mod Podge and a paintbrush, I stuck the paper onto the folder and voilà! A beautiful decorated folder for her to hold all her guitar tabs in. I also picked her up a Radiohead guitar tabs book so she can learn some new songs to play for us.


Folder 4


In fact, I was so happy with it that I made one for myself!


Folder 1


Every year between Christmas and New Year, my Mum’s family meet in her home town, Tullamore, in a fancy pants hotel and spend some quality time together! It’s a really nice get together, full of swimming, shopping, relaxing, food, drink and singing.

I’m looking forward to going back and seeing all the family. Roll on December 28th!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas IS Coming…


But first, I must be done with this super stressful project I have going on at work. Which will be over on Wednesday, whether we like it or not! AND because I was working ALL weekend, I get to take my Christmas holidays from Thursday, instead of Friday, as was the original plan. Yay, three full weeks off for Christmas!!!

Oh, joy!

And so, to the point of this post:*

Christmas!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll show you guys the Christmas crafts I’ve been working hard at since the beginning of this month. I decided that for every thoughtful bought present I give to my family, I’d give an equally thoughtful made present. And since none of my family know I have this little blog going, I figured it won’t be so bad to start showing off what I’ve made now!

For my darling Mum, who is so selfless, she’s genuinely happy with whatever present she gets:


Teacup Candles 2


Teacup Candles 4Teacup Candles 5


Incredibly pretty teacups!!

I always complain about shopping for my Dad. He is so content with his life and his daily routine that all he EVER wants for Christmas is jumpers, socks and slippers. And what daughter wants to get her dad slippers as a present?? Since SKY TV has been installed in the house, he’s been mad for the Discovery Channel. What he likes to watch most is the building of those big constructions in Dubai and Asia and all.** So last year, I happened across a DVD box set of just that – the building of big constructions. He loved it!! And actually watched the DVDs. I was so so happy to get him something he watched and used.

I didn’t want to get him the same thing again this year and I I tried to be a little different… But my mind is drawing a blank. The one thing I thought he might like, I found out he already has and doesn’t use at all! So… What am I getting him? A jumper. And a CD that I know he will like… But still… I’m so ashamed. I’m not even buying the damn things. My Mum is picking them up this week. So ashamed… But I think he’ll be surprised that I got him what he’s asking for and at least I KNOW he’ll use these things!! I also made him something, but it’s at home in Naas so I’ll take pictures and blog about it later in the Holidays.

But… Weren’t we discussing my Mum?? Ah yes, there was a point to that seemingly off-the-topic rant about my Dad’s present. As difficult as it is to find a nice present for my Dad, my Mum is ten times more difficult! She’s just so selfless and also content with her life. Last year, my sisters and I got her a Nintendo DS, which was great!! She really enjoys it and the games we got her for her birthday too. But another thing I said this year, was that none of the presents I give will be too technological and a bit more on the traditional side. So no games for her this year!

I bought her a beautiful 1,000 piece jigsaw, that I know she will enjoy.*** One thing I remember from my childhood was the jigsaws my Mum made. To be honest, 1,000 pieces probably won’t challenge her as much as I’d like, but any puzzle I found with larger than 1,000 pieces had the most dreadfully dated picture of a French chateau or a park. *shudder* I’m excited about this present. I haven’t seen her make a jigsaw in so long and I know she’ll love it!!

But back to the teacups. They’re pretty, they’re delicate… but they’re also so much more than teacups…


Teacup Candles 6


They’re candles! And they’re my first attempt at homemade candles!! I think I did pretty well. They’re rose scented and I put in the green colour myself. But I did notice that while they were cooling and the wax was solidifying, they sunk in the centre.

Does anyone know why this is?

I also made her soaps:


Tea Soap 4


Tea Soap 3


These soaps are made from a Melt and Pour base that my good friend Skuld shared with me. I just melted the soap in the microwave and, once fully melted, mixed it with loose cinnamon and ginger tea and then poured into a mould. My moulds were thoroughly**** cleaned out goat’s cheese containers and they were perfect for the soaps. They made big chunky soaps that should be easy to handle.

Check out Skuld’s post on soap making and her accurate description of why it’s just too easy. And while you’re there, browse through her other posts! Skuld has been my friend for three or four years now and she’s as super a craftster as she is a friend! She’s a demon with yarn and has some sort of obsession with hearts. I really recommend you have a look at her blog and maybe get some inspiration for your next crafty project!!

The idea for the teacup candles, though they’re pretty viral on the Internet now anyway, came from Design*Sponge. Oh, I love Design*Sponge so much! It’s full to the brim with crafty gems. I have a stack of projects waiting for me for after Christmas!

The idea for the soaps came from Cucumbersome. I love what Britt did with her soaps, dressing them up like tea bags with cute little tags attached! I’m also loving this idea of debranding the bathroom. The idea of living so simple a life that your bathroom is filled with only three products is lovely. Unfortunately I’m not there yet, not by a long shot, but maybe after Christmas I’ll discuss what products I do without.

Wow, this is a long post, lots of writing… Which I’m mostly trying to avoid. I like pictures in posts, they say a lot more than words. But hey, there will have to be exceptions!

Have a nice week, darlings!

Fi

*Don’t worry, I didn’t just write this post to rant about work, that would be so mean!

**I am quite fuzzy on the details here…

***Although, I must admit, all credit goes to my Dad for this one as he gave me the idea.


****Nothing says “I love you, Mum” like soaps that stink of cheese!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bad Kitty!!

So…

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been painting my bedroom this weekend.

This morning, I got onto painting the windowsill with white gloss paint and I must say that I hate the stuff! It is not water soluble and really difficult to paint with.

Anyway… First coat done and I figure, I probably shouldn’t skip as many corners with this paint as I do with the matte paint I’m using for the walls. So I open the window and saunter downstairs for an hour’s relaxation.

Back upstairs after that hour and…


Bad Mittens 1


Uh oh… What is that on the carpet?!

Did I do that? I don’t think so… It looks sort of like… Like a paw print?

Em… MITTENS!!!*

He snuck onto the kitchen roof over which my window looks, hopped in the window, walked all over the windowsill and then ALL OVER the carpet.

And thus, my carpet is stained. With white gloss paint. That will never come off.**

Here’s a close up of the evidence…


Bad Mittens 3


In other news, check this out…


November 28th 2010


It’s minus ten degrees (Celcius) outside in Kildare… I sure hope it’s warmer in Galway… Oh, please let it be warmer in Galway!

Fi

*Yes, I did name my cat Mittens… I was young and impressionable and all his paws are white… And they’re even whiter today!

**I know, I know, it will come off if I use white spirits and a lot of elbow grease. I find it easier to move the bed over the stain and not have to worry about it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

SNOW!



Snowy Saturday 17


SNOW!!

Wow… Snow?!

Aww… It was amazing!


Snowy Saturday 39


I mean… I live in Ireland… Ireland!! We don’t expect snow in Ireland, let alone in November!

I woke up this morning and the first thing my tired little hungover head did was browse through Facebook. Everyone was shouting out about snow here and snow there! So I decided to look out my window, once, of course, I could sit up comfortably without a thumping head*, and there it was – snow!

And there was a cat…


Snowy Saturday 22


This isn’t my cat, of course. This is the new cat on the block that apparently steals my cat’s food and sneaks into the house… Cheeky, but oh so cute!!

And I took this photo…


Snowy Saturday 30

**


This weekend I’m at home in my parent’s house in Naas and having a great time! My Dad painted my bedroom last month and I’m just touching it up and painting the wardrobes and prettifying it for Christmassy Christmas times. I see chalkboard paint on the horizon… Ooh, exciting!

Has anyone else noticed that Christmas is only 4 weeks away?! It’s true!! I have so many ideas for handmaking and buying my family presents, but I just hope that I get them all made and bought in time… Eek!

Anyway, I’m rambling now… I should go and… Ooh, chocolate!!

Byeee!

Fi

*Em… That took about 15 minutes…


**I like the macro feature of my camera, I like it lots.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Forgive me…

While I’m fixing up this lovely blog of mine…

I don’t think I have much of an eye for design. But hopefully, soon enough, it’ll be all pretty and nice and lovely!

Anyway, back to real life. The trip to Inis Mor was pretty amazing! We certainly walked and cycled enough to gain that award*. I think we did 50 km overall… Maybe I exaggerated a little bit in the last post with my 100 km… Realistically, I had no idea how much distance we had to cover. Oops!

We saw so much over the three days – high high cliffs, ring forts, archaeological sights, cows, seals. I’m pretty sure we covered the whole island**.

Here are some photos from the trip:


Cliffs Day One 21


Cliffs Day One 51


Day Two 25

***

Day Two 26


Day Three 24


And here are some sunset photos I took with my HTC Legend on the boat home. My camera battery had died and the sunset over the water was so pretty, so I figured as a last resort, I’d take some photos with my phone’s Retro Camera app. Surprised I was to see such lovely photos!


Sunset Boat 4          Sunset Boat 5


Sunset Boat 1


Sunset Boat 6


Sunset Boat 3


Sunset Boat 2


Yay for weekends!! I really love the work I do, being in the lab and in the office during the week… And that just makes the weekends so much more refreshing! Whether I’m relaxing, crafting, cooking, at home with my family or on a trip, I make my weekends count!

Kisses to all!


Fi


*And some


**31 km2


***A rock shaped like an angry old man face… Heehee!







Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bloggy Blog Blog

I’ve been playing with the idea of creating a blog for a long time now. I love, love, love reading blogs!! I have my favourites collected here in Blogger and all Feeds go to my Google Reader, which is pretty handy! I bookmark them all so that I can instantly access any blog and peruse it at my leisure.*

One of my best friends has a blog and I’d like to be able to do that thing where people who write blogs refer to their friends who also write blogs and link back to them. You know?

I have no idea what I’ll be writing about... Probably everything. You can check the "About Me" section to see what I'm interested in, which would probably give a good example of what I may be posting about. Maybe even after this post there’ll be no more ‘cause I realise that blogging isn’t for me. That’s alright... But honestly, hopefully not.

So for now, maybe I should tell you all** what I’m doing this Bank Holiday weekend, which is conveniently starting a day early for me! Yay, the weekend has started!!

I’m off to the Aran Islands and more specifically, Inis Mor*** I’ll be walking and cycling over three days and covering a distance of about 100 km. Why am I doing this? Not only because it'll be super fun and healthy all in one, but also to achieve my Silver Gaisce**** award.

I’m really excited about it! I love the Aran Islands, they’re so so beautiful and quaint. Here are photos from a trip I made to Inis Mor two years ago:











*****


Well, it’s time to get some good sleep so I can be well rested for the ferry over in the morning... The water will be rough, the ferry will rock and I will not feel well.******

Fi

*More on these mystery blogs that interest me in later posts, by the way, I feel that some of them need more acknowledgement than a quick reference in my first post. Oh, how mysterious!

**All? Anyone out there? Hello?

***Inis is Irish for island and Mor means big.

****Gaisce means... Eh... A mixture of pride, bravery, achievement, etc... It’s one of those words that can’t translate exactly to English.

******My face is so white in this photo! I think it has something to do with being Irish and getting no proper sun all year.

*****I don't usually get sea-sick or even travel sick... But that ferry to the islands is killer!
(Heehee, linking is really fun! You may see a lot of that...)
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