Mac and me

For a long time I’ve admired plant hangers, they are retro, functional, nice to look at (once you keep the plants watered!) and seem to add an extra dimension to your room. I’ve crocheted a few in my time, making it up as I go along to suit a particular pot, but I prefer the open look of macrame and that because of this it will fit a variety of pots or so I thought. Deciding to teach myself, my first attempts with some plastic clothes line worked ok, the clothes line was deceptively springy though and turned out way too big to hold a normal pot but my kids space hopper fitted perfectly. I then downloaded some online instructions (I can’t remember where but there are a lot out there!) and using parcel twine and actual calculations this time, made a more elaborate attempt that did fit a pot I had. I even incorporated a few random loom bands I found lurking around the house from various nieces and nephews, that would otherwise be making their way to the open sea, choking innocent fish. The twine looks great (I think) although it’s a bit rough to work with and so hairy that it looks like it may snap at any minute, like the bridge in Temple of Doom (or basically every rope bridge in every movie, ever) with the amount of strands used its actually very secure. The fragile look adds to the airyness of the hanging (I think). While you do feel like an old fisherman mending his nets and it takes way longer with more forward planning then I had guessed, you can get creative with materials and knots, while stretching your maths muscles (and actual muscles). I’ve invested in a bookbook M – New Ways with Macramé by Joyce Hargreaves – which even shows you how to Macramé your own dress, looks airy too but not in a good way. Can’t wait to get started on next project (actually I already have… pics to follow soon)

All ears

I bought myself a pair of earrings last summer. I’ve always been a big earring fan but had given up wearing any for fear of little grabby hands reefing them from my precious lobes. When it finally felt safe to go back in the water I found that all the chunky, dangly, shoulder skimmers that were my uniform for years didn’t seem to suit me anymore, the proportions were off. I realise now it was just an after baby funk but at the time it felt that my ears had grown while my eck had shrunk, I felt like those emo kids in 15 years time when they finally take those stretchers out, droopy and a bit silly. So happy was I then when I disovered these little discs of art down in the touristy shop in Cobh last year. Bright, light with a fresh palette of colour I got loads of compliments about them (which makes me think maybe the big hoops never suited me anyway). This lasted a week after which I left them at a friends house and that, I thought, was that until the end of January this year when she presented them to me on a night out. Yay! It was only when I got them back they suddenly struck me as familiar (not from last summer, but I had a flashback, I had given my Mother a brooch in a similar style years ago from I’m guessing a school tour). So I decided to investigate further and this is what I found out. My earrings were made by Meab Enamels in the midlands of Ireland. It is a mother and daughter operation, Meab has been crafting since the 60s developing her own open fire enamelling technique and recycling old copper water cylinders, her daughter Clair grew up and developed her craft alongside her mam, her enamel dish collection has some really lovely pieces that would make great gifts. Their designs are strongly influenced by the Celtic knot and the book of Kells but aren’t traditionally “Oirish” looking. I really like their background story having spent time growing up around different relations who crafted for pleasure, practical reasons and for a living, I hope some of it has rubbed off on me and it’s something I would like to nurture in my family. Also it’s nice to think that maybe Mam’s brooch was made by Meab (the mother) and my earrings were made by Clair (the daughter). Worth a look if you’re in the market for some unique jewellery. http://www.meabenamels.com/IMG_5368

Even better than the real thing

Take David Bowie’s “The man who sold the world”s excellent version by Nirvana, or Scissors Sisters funky take on Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” or the best cover of all The Saw Doctors crushing the Sugababes with “About you now” http://youtu.be/whciEPSghGU and it goes without saying anything by Johnny Cash. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, Kid Rock’s mash up of “Werewolf in London” with “Sweet Home Alabama” ruined a whole summer for me a few years back.

I originally crocheted a cover just to hide a stain on an old stool I had picked up from a 2nd hand furniture shop. I liked the shape of the stool itself, it had some lovely legs and it was still nicely padded but the original cover was now a slightly faded red velvet and I couldn’t get the marks out. I started crocheting rounds and then decreasing as I came down the sides, forming a Rasta hat of stripy colours. A friend then asked me to make one for her, she’d had a little stool for years that her grandmother had craftily cut up a jumper and made a cover for back in the day it but it was getting a bit worn and stretched. I decided to make a more deliberate attempt at this one and looked around for patterns on the internet, I think this is the one I most closely followed:

https://thegreendragonfly.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/a-new-crochet-stool-cover/

There are many versions out there, the biggest challenge is getting a snug fit as nothing worse than a loose stool… cover.cropped-cropped-img_4298-edit.jpg

A star is born

The star crochet blanket, pattern is adapted from the various star blankets I’ve seen across Etsy, often with a Captain America colour scheme. I’ve paired creams and browns with bright magenta and yellow for a rustic/modern feel and added a pretty scalloped edge all round to soften the points of the star and give little hands more to grip. I actually made this blanket for a friend of mine last year, well for her baby girl and she text me saying she had got more compliments about the blanket than the baby when she was out walking, which I don’t believe for a second as her baby is a little cutie, but it was really nice to hear and motivational (or I wouldn’t be writing this now). So thanks to that friend and if you’ve been “meaning to” text or tell someone you really enjoyed they’re company/coffee/latest rant on twitter, do it, it could be just what they are waiting to hear.