Friday, December 22, 2006

More about my little Tatting Tree

Thank you so much for all the nice things said about my little tree.

Would you believe that I was just watching Gardener's World on the BBC tonight, and they were talking about the history of the Christmas tree, real and artificial.

What did I see but my tree! It was one of the early artificial trees, made in the 1930's from dyed Goose feathers. I always thought they were Chicken feathers. So now I know.

Confirmation of it's age makes me feel even worse as it loses more of it's feathers and becomes even more 'tatty'!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Wishes

November and December have gone by so quickly, filled up with Christmas preparations.
One of the things I like to do is to make my own Christmas cards (I love rubber stamping! This one has layered Christmas trees in silver and gold). It's my way of saying to each person on our Christmas list, that maybe we are only in contact with just once a year that they are special to us.
This year I manage to make 65 before energy and enthusiasm really did run out.

I would have liked to have made a card for each and every friend but that's just not possible. So here is my Christmas Card to all of you to wish you a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

Every year on Christmas day morning we head to the sea to watch the sponsored Christmas swim. It is always a delight to watch all those hardy people plunge into the icy cold sea and be thankful that we dont have to!!
My idea of a Christmas plunge is a few lengths of the swimming pool followed by an extended soak in a hot jacuzzi!
Last year was such a lovely bright day, the year before it snowed on Christmas day the first time that I can remember...this year the forecast is for very chilly fog, hope they are wrong. After all the rain and gales we have had, dry and calm would be good.

A teeny little tatted snowflake snuck into the Christmas card but here is my Totally Tatting Heirloom tree, it gets better each year.

All the tatting will hopefully end up as heirlooms and the tree already is, all the way up to the glass spire on the top.
This tree has been around for as long as I can remember, it may go back as far as the 1930's when my parents got married. It is certainly pre-christmas tree lights 'cos can remember it having little metal candle holders at the tip of each branch with pretty spiral red candles. Not sure if they were ever lit in my time or when they were removed to make way for electric lighting.
When it came to me it was in a pretty bad way, and had to be carefully reformed. The foliage is made of dyed feathers now rather brittle and getting thinner each year. Each little shard of broken feather falling off it at the end of the holiday season reduces it's time left to shine...
Click on it to see the tatting, maybe you will see something you designed, treasured by me. To all tatting designers, I owe you a big thank you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween fun

Happy Halloween every one.

I think that Ireland is the home of the Halloween tradition and it's celebration is getting bigger and more commercial each year. Not many people decorate their gardens yet but I am sure this will come. I saw some super ones in America, loved the sheaves of corn with cobs wrapped round the lamposts, a real squirrel treat.Not many kids come round trick or treating round here, they've all grown up, pity cos I love it.

We always carve a pumpkin, make pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie..yummy!

This year we had our first adult Halloween party as Lindsay and Dermot were home for the weekend.

It was horrific to see what a coupla months of marriage had done to them!!!

As for me, it was time to dust off the old broomstick and see if it still worked.

We played jengo and mahjong and ate monster cakes!

All this autumnal stuff spawned this birthday card for my sister in law. Card making keeps trying to be my number one craft and I keep resisting. It is such a different absorbing craft that it's hard to stop once the ideas start to flow.

I didn't tat anything for halloween this year but here is a witch I tatted last year, she is Pointy Hat Prue by Carol Amich, a super pattern.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Chicago! Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

As soon as life began to get back to normal the next event took us away to America.

Alan was to give a talk at a symposium in Chicago on New Caledonian Geckos...his talk was first so that enabled him to sit back and enjoy the rest of the talks.

This is a map of the pacific island of New Caledonia only home of the Rhacodactylus geckos

One of his babies!
It was a great event, there are so many enthusiasts in the States that we had not met before, but we greatly missed a good friend from Germany and instigator of the symposium who died earlier this year.
The t-shirt is a beauty very wearable,showing two of the geckos that Alan keeps.

Rhacodactylus ciliatus..the crested gecko

and on the back...

Rhacodactylus leachianus...the giant gecko, the biggest gecko of all, grows to 12 inches.

The meeting was timed to coincide with a huge reptile show. I wanted to tat a gecko but didn't have a pattern that was do-able so tatted a snake instead. We are not snake people but there were some beauties at the show as well as geckos, and our favorite chamaeleons.

I was delighted with the way the stripes worked out with this Altin basak thread. the pattern is Dianna Stevens Snake Bookmark.
This Chamaeleon would have been a real challege for my variagated thread!

My second snake in variagated Flora thread looked more like this chamaeleon in his party colours!!

This little gecko was a wow!!

After the show we had a couple of days to explore Chicago an achitecturally stunning city

and then it was off to see some more of the States.
First stop was Lafayette, Indiana, where I was to meet with tatters Gina and Bette.

Living proof that tatting it alive and well all over the world. That was such a treat, virtual friends from the internet becoming 'real' friends. In almost 50 years of tatting I could count the number of tatters that I have met on one hand, I am doing my best to create as many as I can to help this beautiful craft to survive.

That was where the shopping began....for anything tatting related. Michaels and Hobby Lobby I had never been to before and together with Vons beads and others my luggage was going to burst with beads,now I just need to live long enough to use them all!

If it hadn't been for tatting friends we would never have wandered round Indiana and would have missed Purdue University campus, another Indianan treat.

During our time in Chicago the weather had been glorious, almost t-shirt weather but now it began to change exactly as forecast. After we left Lafayette it gradually deteriorated first to rain on our day in the delightful Shipshewana (handcraft heaven), and then to flurries of snow in AnnArbor Michigan.

As we drove north up as far as Grand Haven the weather went from blizzards of snow and leaves to scenes of blue sky and snow inches deep. Never have I seen tree covered in snow and leaves at the same time, it was stunning.

I couldn't believe how much Lake Michigan looked like the sea, huge waves and lots of sand and even dunes. Boy it was windy!!

Driving back down to Chicago the warm weather gradually returned and we ended our stay with a visit to the son of my best buddy, another treat.

One of the highlights of the trip was to go to Ann Arbor. That has been a name in my life ever since I met Alan some 40 years ago. he had lived there for a year in 1949 when he was 7. His parents had been part of one of the first Anglo/American teacher exchanges. It had such an big influence on their lives, they even gave it's name to their retirement house.
In the school holidays they bought a Buick and drove from Michigan to California and back taking hundreds of colour slides. On their return to England his dad was for ever in demand to show his slides, a rarity in those days. Alan always had difficulty distinguishing what he actually remembered and what he rembered from seeing the slides.
We found the street where they lived and wondered if he would recognise the house that he lived in as a seven year old. A bit of a long shot but he finally fixed on one that 'looked right', the right size with the right porch and a shed in the back garden where he remembered his host doing wood turning.

We also found his school but that sparked no memories at all, obviously tobogganing down his street was much more memorable than school!!

When we got home I looked up the number in his dad's book and whoo hoo he was right. Cool!! Quite a feat as it was a very long street, a real trip down memory lane.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The session!

So was that the end!!!

Not at all, this was an Irish Wedding and they sure know how to party!!
In true style it continued for most of the next day.

All the guests who were still around were invited to 'a session' in the hotel on Sunday hosted by The Canniffe Family. Our new extended family members sure are talented, Tony, Mary,Tim and Dermot have two CD's under their belt already. They play a plethora of instruments and all sing.

They started off singing in the car on long journeys. What do the sing ..well this is a quote from their website :-

The Canniffe Family sing and play songs and tunes from the Irish music tradition. This has not stopped them from also playing Scottish, Cajun or Bluegrass music however. People have been trying to put a label on them for years - "Fun" seems to be the most appropriate word."

They certainly had Lindsay and friend Jenny in tears of that's what wedding hankies are really for!!

We had such a good time and didn't want the weekend ever to end. The session started at noon and by 6pm there were still 35 people singing their hearts out.
Guest singers and musicians from all over Great Britain, Germany, Canada, New York.

We ended with Auld Lang Syne sung like I have never heard it before.

And that really was it!!!

Their latest CD 'Rise Again' is highly recommended. Click on the link at the side of this blog to visit the Canniffe Family website. or go straight to

What a difficult task this has been...there were so many more photos I wanted to show ....I have at least 700 from family and friends and we haven't even seen the official photos yet nor the videos. Treats still to come. I hope I have not bored you all.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Wedding dance

Traditionally the happy couple dance the first dance at the evening reception and Dermot and Lindsay had been practising a salsa routine. The dress had to undergo serious structural engineering to produce a shorter dress that she wouldn't trip over..This had been a major challenge in the choice of the dress and it didn't let us down and neither did they. They were magnificent!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Reception and cake decorations

Lindsay looked like a Princess as she stepped out of the wedding car at the hotel.

The Hotel was the Connemara Coast Hotel and was spectacular. On the edge of Galway bay overlooking the Aran islands with it's own private foreshore and viewing area with a japanese bridge it was a photographers heaven.

Jackie,had given her a bobbin lace horseshoe and this caused quite a commotion when it dropped from her wrist and slipped thro the bars of the japanese bridge in to the lily pond. Attempts to retrieve it finally succeeded with her dad hanging over the edge at full stretch. Was that an added bit of luck!!

The speeches were so funny that the only the only tears shed that day were of laughter. Alan got off to a good start and had everyone laughing to be followed by the Bride and Groom and grooms father before the best man got a look in. We were all amused that the two lads used their PDA's to hold their notes, technology gets everywhere!!

All I had to do was sit back and enjoy it all!

Horseshoe looks as good as new and the Wedding Bears and Micro the mouse in his wedding outfit enjoy the occasion!

Time for the cake, those fuchsias round it's sides thanks to Ellen. the ring and the horseshoe on the top came from our wedding cake and the Wedding Mice are an original creation of my talented daughter. Here she is putting the finishing touches to them.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wedding Ceremony

The Wedding Ceremony was just lovely. It was held in the Chapel of Saint Columbanus, a newish Catholic Chapel on the University of Galway Campus. Very simple but with lots of stained glass windows. Apart from a few chairs with backs the seating comprised square, padded stools on castors that could be arranged in many different ways.

One thing that stood out about the service is the music, so much music and nary a hymn in sight, twas all traditional style music.
Dermot composed a Canticle for his bride which was sung in Irish by her canadian friend Ellen a fabulous soprano, one of these days I may get to find out what it all meant!

His father also composed the Epithalamium (a traditional nuptual song for the morning of the wedding - typically when the bride is leaving her father's house). His father played the guitar one instrument out of his repertoire and both mother and father sang. What a talented family she is marrying into, nice too!! More friends played violin and others sang.

The ceremony contained some of my favorite bits, like the lighting of the candles. Bride and groom each light a candle before the marriage vows and later they take a light from their own candle and light a single unity candle.

That ring pillow gave up it's load...eventually.

This was the moment as he left the church when Dermot suddenly realised what he had done!!!

Confetti flew like snow as they left for the reception!