Sunday, 14 December 2014

Hand me down...

“Time does nothing but hand you down shabbier and older things.”
Cabbages & Kings NY
It was forest green, covered in tiny flowers with an attached, white lace pinny. The skirt of the pinny had worn away or was removed because it was worn. It was made from 100% polyester. There is a photo sitting at home, in the farmhouse, of me at a family function wearing the remarkable dress that seemed to have lasted through the war and maybe still is doing the rounds. As a child, I guess, I didn’t have a voice on what I should be wearing. Those were the days when polyester was hailed for its washability and durability.

So, yesterday, quite by chance, I came across this gorgeous retail website, specialising in luxury kids knitwear. Alpaca appears to be the yarn of choice and all knitting is done by hand through a fair trade initiative, in South America. Ethics aside, its the asthetics that caught my attention. Cabbages and Kings NY is a modern, cool, re-invention of kids knits that didn’t exsist when I was growing up. We had to make do with itching powder infused Arans from Auntie Nodie or oversized, geometirc knits from Mum. I had one of those moments, where you find yourself checking out kids clothes and wishing they made them in adults sizes. This clobber is beautiful! The colour range, the style, design and workmanship is all exquisite.  The site committed me to full on retrospective envy, on behalf of my younger self, who, alas, made do with hand me downs, from the far side of  sibling number six. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Let it Snow...

Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up.
Last Sunday, I was attending and annual Christmas fair in my local town. It was great, it always is. Everything you would want and expect from a good Christmas event: tasty food, hot drinks, crafts and the airy fairy, flighty atmosphere of a good sunny Sunday when there is nothing better to do than go for a wander and see what other folk are doing.
Another day in Killarney...
And stuck in the middle of all of this magical and calming mayhem are the food and craft sellers. The same faces keep popping up and the same old chats and catch ups that you look forward to and remember why you keep doing this. My friend and I, who had met up the night previous and jokingly decided we should concoct a book of clichéd sayings that riddle every craft fair across the country. But it was all done in good taste and with our tongues somewhere skewed firmly into our cheeks. 
We met for another glass of wine, in the gorgeous Malton Hotel Bar, after the goings on and mulled over ‘what another fine day’ we had done. We laughed and jibed at the same clichéd sayings that were respun across the fair and our same pulled faces looking on willing things would never change. Whatever the draw of the fair is, both the sellers and buyers enjoy, if not for very different reasons. It’s like going home for Christmas….we all fall into our roles and somehow manage to make an annual habit (secretly loving it) but nonetheless, kicking and screaming all the way.
Keep Smiling!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Chickens for the Soul...

“Roads are no place for naive chickens dreaming of nirvana.”

I think on occasion, I have spoken of our friendly chickens, at home on the farm. We have six hens, one rooster and two peacocks. They are a great family addition, not only for their extensive egg production but they are funny. The hens are a positive in the household. They are treated well, are completely free range, allowed to eat grass, flowers, herbs, insects and freely roll around in the turf shed, whenever the dog will allow it. 
It’s heartbreaking when reading about the horrific conditions of battery hens. Well, I was delighted to see my fellow, favourite knitter, Pauline McGlynn doing her part in helping ex-battery hens, find their feet on real ground. Pauline has created a fantastic range of knitted sweaters to hens, who are recuperating and adjusting to life in the real world It’s a wonderful story and so fitting! 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Half Empty?...

That was one of the virtues of being a pessimist: nothing was ever as bad as you thought it would be.
Now, I don't personally consider myself a pessimist, however, today was a pessimists nightmare. It all started out beautifully with bright sunshine, winter warmth and fallen leaves. There was nothing wrong, the fridge was full and I felt like a good walk in the woods. Cue the change where our unique climate turned and stuck its tongue out and bawled its eyes out leaving things wet, cold and slippery underfoot as I made my way back from my walk. I had found the perfect location for a winter wonderland photo shoot suitable for that next ever optimistic day.
With the rain stopping the photography short, I recalled some images from my collection of baby wear which continue to be a super success and a big ‘yeah’ from all the Alpaca swaddled babies. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Me, Myself & Why?

“Why was I holding on to something that would never be mine? But isn't that what people do?”

As the door opened, a quick crash, smash and jump backwards happened. I had forgotten that last night, the Iron had fallen sideways, knocking over some glass jars in the opposite side of the press (under-the-sink cupboard where everything goes). That jar, unfortunately, passed to jar heaven, was given as a gift, holding Italian Hot Chocolate made with real chocolate from the cake shop, where the giver, worked. I drank the chocolate and kept the jar. Like almost everything that comes from Italy, this too, was so damn pretty.
Seeking Shade in Chocolate
Now that jar sits in the recycling bin, wrapped in newspaper.

Was I holding onto the jar? ….or the person who gave the jar of hot chocolate? Or was just holding onto the memory. I’m not a hoarder but I have kept obscure items with no rationality. Why keep them? There are photographs of benches, bus tickets from decades ago, and dried flowers. It’s like a network of memories, which keep the person. 

Keeping the memories is important if only to serve one purpose. Remind you who you are? A jar, however, may not be the safest place to hold that thought.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

I still love you Bilbo Baggins...and you, Kili

" I have no use for people who exhibit manners."
Amy Vanderbilt

Finally, I got to watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Needless to say, I loved it.  It's story about another world full of strange characters, adventures, lots of running, archery and lots of hair! Not so unlike my own world! Mind fluffy knits and orcs don't really match up. Nevertheless, The Hobbit is a great story, simple and almost childlike, and visually, the film carries itself.

And then there is the cast. Where do I start. Bilbo is still my sworn mate. He would be if I lived an alternate life, born into the world of The Shire, was a shorter lady and talked in a Northern accent. The rest just writes itself.  Despite our compatability, the damn Hobbit keeps strange company and disappears alot. What’s a girl of the Shire to do? Move on, I’d say.
Kili has been described as “reckless” by his mother and god knows that’s always a good chat up line, to get the ladies going his way. It worked for Evangline Lily and it worked for me. It may be out of the frying pan and all that, but still, I only have the attention span of a ...oh, who’s that?

It's not's Kili!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Martin on the Moon

As soon as one promises not to do something, it becomes the one thing above all others that one most wishes to do.
“I will be here a year, from next month”, I said to a colleague, just as a decent pile of folded sweaters tumbled off the edge of the table, onto the floor. “ A year well spent, Isobel”, retorted my colleague, and walked away. While my knitted Rabbits and Beanie Bears do harbour a good chunk of my day, I do also hold a part time, day job. I work in a sweater shop (though not to be mistaken with a sweat shop). Then again…
So this time management, self-analysis, micro magnetic, connecting the dots thing is not a blaring beacon on my radar but, I get there eventually.
My Dream Life
The day usually begins with breakfast and a mouthful of emails. Followed by a cup of tea. Then I check my plan for today, written yesterday and strategically try to follow it, presently. In theory, it all works out brilliantly but in reality a little bit of my life sneaks back in and creates chaos.
Like Mum rings or I ring her. A friend wants to meet up for a chat or it’s like, I don’t care, I’m already there! So, plans get messed up.
What I need is a mindset shift. If I prioritise the fun and scale back the importance of work…ta dah! Would it happen that suddenly the pile of armless teddies would soon be real Teddies? Or would I screw the system and find more loop-holes than a Granny Square? I’ve already answered that question. 

One day.... it will happen!