Tuesday, November 24, 2009

before and after pictures (the attic conversion)


guest room


christmas ornaments

little santa hat, pattern on ravelry
tiny sock (cast on 8 stitches!) the original pattern is also from ravelry, but i changed it quite a bit.

these are going into an advent calendar that us stitch and bitch girls are making for one of us, who's moving abroad. i'd say the tiny sock would be great on a card, too!
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armchair cover

here we are, the armchair cover, finally finished! it's not great though... i made lots of mistakes, and i'm not that happy with the fabric, maybe the print is a little too big, really... it's a nice splash of colour though!

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

power cut

We had a power cut last night, 9 hours! It was a nice evening actually, maybe we should voluntarily switch the power off every now and then! Emm had her first candle lit dinner, and loved it! Our neighbours dropped by for a cup of tea (gas hob, how lucky!) the stayed, so we ordered pizza, opened a bottle of wine, then we got out the cards and played '110'. It was so nice and relaxed, no distractions, no fussing or cooking (didn't want the fridge to get warm!), no background noise, just candles and friends. when they left, we looked up at a beautiful starlit sky, we rarely get to see the stars properly, because of the light pollution! i wonder will there be a baby boom in the area, in 9 months time!
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Friday, October 23, 2009

a new room!!!

wo-hoo! the builders are gone and we are left with this new room, and lots of storage, and a lot of walls and ceilings and woodwork to paint! (and still a lot of dust, i've started to get rid of it, but it's literally on every surface and with a teething baby clinging to me it's not an easy job!) am thrilled, hoping we'll get two desks in there, one for p's computer, one for my sewing machine, and a sofa bed, eventually, or a futon that can be made into a seat. or maybe just an armchair, and keep space for a blow up bed? we'll see. as we'll be pretty broke once we've paid the builder it might be a while before we get it all kitted out...
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

dust dust dust...

my whole house is covered in dust! but on the upside, the attic is nearly finished! there's plastered walls and ceilings, there's stairs, and doors and cubby holes! there are still a lot of bits to be done, the devil's in the detail, but it's great to see it progressing. i'm truly sick of tasting plaster dust. or saw dust. or glass wool when i'm stepping into the hall! can't wait for it all to be finished...

then i can move all the boxes out of the living room, and start thinking about moving books, and the sewing machine and the computer! i'll have a less cluttered downstairs (hopefully it'll last for a little while!) and i might be able to host one of the mother and baby coffee mornings (so far i haven't dared, as there's too much too break, and too many dangerous things stuffed into bags and boxes in the corners and behind the couch).

i used to not mind having a small house (1000sqft or 93sqm, i think), but since Emm came along it seems to have shrunk! the study was made into her room, so all the things happening and being stored in there have been moved downstairs. then there's all of M's toys, the buggy, the play pen, the bobby car... we'll be banning our grown up stuff to the attic, computer games and sewing sessions will take place there, and a whole lot of stuff can go up. oh, and ideally there will still be space for a guest bed!! because little Emm is nearly a year old and there will be guests for her birthday party!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

peaceful lunchbreak

as we are getting our attic converted m and i were escaping so she could have a sleep, not possible in the house, where the builders were making noise right above her head. i got myself a coffee, sandwich and cupcake (eek 10 quid! not going to be doing that every day!!), parked up at the sea side and listened to lyric fm while having my lunch. m slept for about an hour, then i wrapped her up warm and we went for a long walk, taking a break to have a cuddle and for her to have a feed. i still enjoy feeding her so much, but am getting more and more comments "you're STILL feeding her?" and "WHEN are you going to stop". Well it's national breastfeeding week here, this week, and while i didn't make it to a special coffee morning (apparently there was one in IKEA) i did nurse her on a bench, in the sun, overlooking the sea, and maybe somebody walked by and thought how happy the two of us looked, and considers breastfeeding their next baby, or encourages their wife to feed. only 55% of women in ireland attempt to breastfeed, but even this small number drops significantly as there is no sufficient support available, and family, partner and friends often aren't supportive, either... here a few links of organisations that are trying to change this and make it easier to have a good breastfeeding experience in ireland:


and these are some great sites for general breastfeeding support

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

a weekend of activity

this weekend we cleaned up the garden and the shed, and then proceeded to clear our attic (a lot of it is now in the shed, which of course you can't see in the photo! i cleverly took that before we started moving in junk from the attic). together with our neighbours we hired a skip, and it's fairly packed now! we came across loads of giant spiders, oil for a motorbike (we've never owned one!), broken garden tools, a shed door, pieces of carpet from 4 years ago... the things you hold onto... the attic especially was scary, it's where things get thrown and then forgotten... out of sight out of mind. i labeled almost every box and crate that went back into the shed, hoping we'll have more of an idea of what's there.

now i've got to clear the guest room, so we can begin the next adventure: the attic conversion! i'm so excited. we'd gotten quotes for it a few years ago, but prices then were mad, and we had nowhere near enough saved up. but we contacted lots of builders again this summer, and prices have come down! it's going to be an inconvenient 3-4 weeks, emm and i will be out of the house as much as we can, but i'm hoping it'll be worth it. i went to see some attics in the same type house as ours, we'll lose some space from the guest room, but we'll gain a decent extra room, and storage. since emm's arrival we've had no study, and we have to keep the guest room for our parents and relatives, so the computer, the sewing machine and lots of other things are cluttering up our downstairs space, making it difficult, and maybe also unsafe, for emm to crawl around. she seems to be able to reach new heights every day! i feel like i'm constantly moving things out of her reach! eventually the guest room will be in the attic, well, if we brave the adventure of trying for a second baby!
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

picasa 3.5 - great fun to be had

i downloaded the new version this eveningand of course had to try the face tagging. the pictures on my harddrive are mostly family photographs and it's great fun to see who's getting tagged as who! you get to confirm or decline. it's making me feel woozy, seeing so many versions of one person's face...


Monday, September 21, 2009

a weekend with friends

two friends from college came to visit this weekend, we had a great time! there was less going out and less hiking than during previous trips, and a lot of emm entertaining! everything is so much easier with two friends around, to entertain the baby and help with the dishes or cooking... i wonder would communal living be like that. i was surprised how i had time to finish a cup of coffee or eat my dinner while it was hot!
we went to skerries and carlingford for walks, and food, and emm came with us. i didn't take many pictures, but the girls got a few nice ones!

we went into dublin without emm, but i didn't enjoy it as much as i had thought i might. i missed her, and i just couldn't work up any enthusiasm for shopping, it just seemed quite unimportant! i used to love trawling around the shoe shops, and buying clothes and accessories. i never bought very much, or very high fashion stuff, but i used to like hunting for the perfect cardigan at a good price, checking out what's on offer and buying when i saw what fit the bill. on this occasion i just couldn't be bothered with the 'checking out what's on offer' part, i didn't really want to look at all the runners in all the shoe shops to see if there was a pair to replace my worn to bits and recently thrown out green golas. i'm actually wearing an even older pair of cheapo dunnes stores runners, and i don't mind at all! it must be part of the mother hormones...
i had been hoping to maybe go to the art gallery, but we never got around to that, with no train running we had to rely on the buses they put on, so we had to leave quite early. maybe i'll go in with emm, and visit the art gallery.
i find time runs so fast, and i still haven't any proper structure to my week, with scheduled outings or fun things, i go with the flow and it works to an extent, i get the important things done, but i fear i might fritter away my career break without making the most of it!!

my friend took this picture of the clothes line, another mother gave me lots of girls' clothes, and i did a red and pink wash, to make sure none of the rest of our clothes get died pink!

my friend's lovely scarf, i admired it greatly,

as she only just got it in her town, and she said the shop had loads more, she left it for me! what a nice gesture, now i have a souvenier of their visit!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

indian summer!

we've been granted another few days of summer, what a treat! we went to skerries, where the husband watched a football match while m and i went for a lovely walk.
there was a swimming competition on, i had contemplated a little dip myself, but then chickened out!

p joined us after the match (they lost) and we had another walk as the sun was setting, and then went for some pasta. m got little bits off our plates, she loved the tagliatelle and the peas. she's really good at sucking the tagliatelle in, it looks so cute... she behaved quite well, despite being a little noisy at times, but that's just her lively self! she always gets a very lively when she gets tired.

i had great hopes for this photo, the little flags were really brightly lit up by the sun, but i didn't catch it right.
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baby going exploring

we went to the local soccer club's family fun day, a great way to enjoy the rare sunshine! my brave little baby went off exploring, without a look back! this is how far she got before she slowed down and then turned around...
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Friday, September 11, 2009

swing night

My friend C and I went to a swing night in the Spiegel Tent, and it was great fun! it's such a lovely venue, i think it's 1920s style. lots of people dressed up in 1920s-1950s gear, i only had 2 hours notice and still had to cook dinner and look after the babe, so i just put on a dress and some danceable shoes, no strings of beads and feathered headbands for me... there were performances from The Harlem Hot Shots, Miss Dotty Pots, The Vaudeville Vamps, Dorothy Darker, The Hep Cat Strutters, and the 'Swinging Blue Cats' were playing (Here some more info). There were some great dancers on the floor, and even C and I got a few dances! I could hardly remember how to turn, it's been nearly two years since I went swing dancing!

Very few beginners and rusty ones like me dared to swing a leg,

but later on the dance floor was packed!

I love this picture i took just before we left, the abandoned rows of chairs in the coloured lights from the dancefloor! The roll of masking tape there is no coincidence, some dancers use tape to make their street shoes more slidy!
There's M waking up, gotta go! Will see can I find some youtube links to videos of the shenanigans later! Here's one from 2 years ago!
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the time travellers wife

I went to this film tonight! I loved the book, but have to say it doesn't work as well as a film. Or maybe that's just if you've read the book? There were at least two girls sobbing their hearts out, in the cinema, so maybe if you don't know what's going to happen it makes more of an impact? They had lovely sets, beautiful furniture and lamps! I especially loved the round yellow lamps in Clare and Henry's apartment...

Oops. Half eleven. Busy day tomorrow, we're going for her check up at the local health centre. Apparently they test her hearing by standing behind her and making funny noises from two sides...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

green grass

i know i shouldn't have, but i bought this nail polish today! green grass (236). i usually try and buy just one nail polish per year, because i only use it on my toes and with careful application (i do a base coat, two coats of colour and a clear top coat) the colour lasts for nearly a month, so you can do the maths. but - it's grass green! i didn't have one of those! i have 'coralicious', and a dark turquoise and a hot pink, and a more muted pink called 'frisky clover', and a nearly black purple that i never use. but the perfect green was missing.
i love opaque, non-pearly polishes, and i love mad colours, but they have to work without a tan. i like wearing my birkenstocks, which, without nail polish, can look very very alternative; and i have a few pairs of coloured sandals, that look even better with a bright colour on my nails (today i was teaming bright yellow sandals with dark turquoise nails). if i had better finger nails i would use it on them, too but mine are so thin and weak, they don't survive the taking off of polish, and start to splinter and seperate.
ah the shallowness... to get excited about nail polish!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

my little girl

...is crawling (commando), and waving goodbye, and really playing with her toys... she's learning so much every day! she's so fast, you can't leave her alone for a minute, she'll be going straight for the sockets or a paper bag, or anything else she's not supposed to have... she giggles on the changing table if i blow raspberries on her belly, she shouts angrily if i take the remote control or my mobile phone off her, she loves other children and will 'chat' to them and smile at them!

she'll be 10 months old tomorrow! 10 months ago, around this time, i was retiring from a green thai curry dinner, allowing myself a half glass of red wine, and waiting for the water to heat up, for my warm bath! dreaming about meeting my baby. 10 months ago, i didn't even know if it was going to be a boy or a girl. although i'd had one beautiful dream, where i was holding my little girl's hand.

if i hadn't been approved for my career break i would be back in work on tuesday! i am so glad that i can stay at home, to spend time with emm, and watch her grow!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I baked bread!

This is the second batch of white bread I made this week! I'm delighted, two in a row that worked out! After a very bad attempt last week (the bread was stale as soon as it was out of the oven! too dry!) it's nice to see it work out. I don't have an exact recipe, but it goes like this

1 sachet of dry yeast
mix 250ml milk - and 250ml warm water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of oil
enough white flour to make a good dough

I have a foodmixer, so I start with the yeast, half the milky water and a little flour, stirring it with the dough hook attachment to a yoghurty consistence. I then leave it until it starts to bubble up, maybe 20 minutes? Then I add the rest of the water, the salt and oil, and on the lowest setting, slowly add flour until the dough is nearly, but not quite, dry enough to handle. Turning it out onto a floured surface, I knead it some more, adding more flour if needed, then return it to the mixing bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and put into a quiet, warm place. There I leave it for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size. I knock it back, shape two loaves and put them into two loave tins, leaving them to rise for at least an hour, after that I check on them and if they look well risen I preheat the oven and as soon as it's hot they go in, 200 C in a fan oven for 45 minutes (although I think I might have done 220 for 35-40 minutes the last time... I really should write these things down...)

The loaves are nice and airy, with a hard crust on top, but squishable on the sides. There is some satisfaction in pulling good bread out of the oven! I already passed half a loaf on to my neighbour who's forever giving me thick slices of her cakes to sample! And today she brought two scones from Avoca, yummie!

Other news... we have realised Emm doesn't really need the night feeds any more, she's just waking up for a little drink and cuddle! So for the last week and a half I have more or less weaned her off the night feeds, with P's help. He's been looking after her when she wakes up, which is usually around 4. Some nights it just takes a soother to get her back to sleep, others she needed a little cuddle. Last night I tried to take over, but no luck, she could smell my milk and just wouldn't go back to sleep! When she also started to cry I had to wake P, and within a few minutes she was asleep. I'm a little sad to hand over that ability to soothe her back to sleep with a little milk, that connection we have at night, but on the other hand, I have so much more energy! I didn't just dream of going back to bed while making breakfast, I actually bounced out of bed in the morning, and getting lots done during the day! She's nine and a half months now, and becoming very aware of what she wants and doesn't want, so maybe it's a good time...
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Monday, August 10, 2009

i've got plans

involving this:

and this:

and this fabric (the second one!)

P sanded this chair down, years ago, and I unpicked the cushions and was going to try my hand at upholstery, but the cost of proper upholstery fabric and the chance that it mightn't work out has kept me from it so far. But now, that ikea is here, i got some fabric at 6€ per meter, so even if it doesn't work out, it won't be a tragedy. We sold one of our big chunky brown leather armchairs today, and this fireside chair will replace it, and give us a bit more room in the guest room. We have another one to match it, but it's not sanded yet.

The living room was just getting too crowded, with a 3 seater couch, and two big armchairs. We also have a buffet and hutch, a tv cabinet, a couch table, two little book shelves (to be replaced with one big book shelve and a tiny desk or bureau, at some time in the future), a play pen and a play mat, plus assorted baskets (for magazines, firewood etc). Oh and the ironing board is hidden behind the buffet and hutch. That'll have to change when M starts to crawl!

It feels good to have gotten rid of that armchair, we never really used it anyways! The space and light we gained is worth it. I'm trying to evaluate my possessions at the moment, what do I really like, what do I hang on to for the wrong reasons... Hanging on to an armchair just because it's part of a set and because we might use it some time in the future - wrong reasons!

When I got the call after putting it up on gumtree and emailing with a buyer, I was at first a little worried, I'd thought it was a girl looking to buy it, but it was a guy! I called my neighbour and asked her to come over with her little girls, so I wasn't alone in the house. Better safe than sorry! Of course the guys turned out to be lovely, and one of them brought his little daughter along, who went out with my neighbour's daughter to look at our ducks in the garden. They were, I think, spanish, and one of them was very dishy indeed, as my neighbour appreciated greatly, a bit of eye candy for her, after a hard day involving potty training, a 70 mile drive and tantrums from both her two little ones! In true diet coke style he was wearing jeans and a nicely fitting pristine white T shirt, tanned skin, dark eyes, shiny black hair... OK OK, I did appreciate it, too!!
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

day out in muenster

P, M and I had a day out while we were in Germany, just the three of us, which was nice. We visited Muenster. Apart from a few showers to begin with, we even got good weather!

There was an organic market on the Domplatz, we bought a Waldmeister plant and chestnut honey for my mum, and had some yummie Bratwurst, and got some white peaches for M.

Muenster is very flat, so everybody cycles!

Emm had great fun in front of the mirror while her daddy was looking for new runners...
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Thursday, July 30, 2009


i saw these cute chickens in my aunts house, i want to make some!! they are very simple, i think, cotton, ribbon, rope and filling. love the photo, it's taken in the room my aunt keeps for her grandchildren, there's always been a huge assortment of playmobil in her house, and i'm glad to see it's still there! my granddad used to make willow baskets, i wonder did he make this one...
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