Tuesday, 29 April 2008


I can't believe I did it. Four of the Big Softees are finished and on their way to Crammed Organisms as I write.

I just love Chris' designs. I love his sense of humour, and if you look closely (or click on the images) you'll see that these are in fact Animal Parts. Yes. Severed limbs, decapitated heads. All made in fleece or plush as I think it's known in the States. If you have the time to check out some of the other artists involved you'll see that these little dears will be right at home with them!

Nearly There.

This is what my workspace looked like last night as I sewed like mad to get our Big Softees in the post on time today.

And this is the only distraction for him that worked!

Though in the end the finishing touches weren't done until this morning. And a big thanks to my parents for some last minute babysitting!

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Zoo Party.

We spent the day at the Zoo. A little friend, Amelia, was having a birthday party. Rain was forecast, but we got sun.

As a young adult I was always against the idea of Zoos, and Dublin Zoo was pretty depressing and backed up any negative feelings I had.

We're very good at changing our minds though really aren't we? Around the time The Eldest was born, Dublin Zoo, started a program to upgrade itself and over the years it is pulling itself out of the Victorian age. When the older two were little, I made a decision. The Zoo was here to stay, whether I go or not. I listened somewhat to the argument about animal numbers decreasing in the wild. I saw the effort that DZ was making and figured, ok, it makes more sense to support them so they can continue to improve and expand. It's not perfect, but it's pretty amazing compared to most other Zoos around the world.

And yes, this is me trying to make myself feel good about it, Ha Ha!

I like this sign which is up all around the zoo. Thinking of putting it up in my kitchen and changing the last two words to 'your mother'... (click on the image to see it better).

The Eldest got some great animal pictures. He was the main photographer for the day, as The Smallest was in the sling most of the time so he could see the 'woh-wohs'.
However I'll let him choose which pictures to put up over on DandelionSongs.

However, as always, I find myself haunted by the Silverback Gorillas...

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Something Lovely.

This morning, I'm taking a quick gander at some of the lovely blogs I regularly peek into, but this week have neglected from sheer lack of time. When I spotted a painting by this painter on Mrs. French's I Heart Monday post I realised it was time for Something Lovely.
I can't seem to find out much about Cassandra C. Barney, but I was instantly drawn to her winsome and lovely paintings.

This first one reminds me of my sister Emma. It's her birthday on Monday and I'm feeling blue about the fact that we live too far away to have a night out together to celebrate. Last time she was home Sweet William was only a couple of months old so it wasn't possible then either.
Still, thank goodness for the www. At least we do have instant communication these days, and while I do love writing real letters and in the past was a champion marathon letter-writer, I am grateful to not have to rely on that now in this completely hectic phase of my life.

A Happy Week-end to you all! And it's off to work I go.


Sorry it's been such an unusually quiet week here in Milkmoon. Life has been completely hectic and it's going to get worse before it gets better. Apart from the usual running around there has been a good bit of extended family things going on which has been really nice. And I've been trying to find the time to make the plush toys for Crammed Organisms which I wasn't feeling too pressured about until Chris phoned last night and said that if we want to be in the book they're producing then they need the stuff by May 2nd. Yes. Next Friday. Which means that to get them to the states by Friday, they have to be in the post by Tuesday or Wednesday.

So. I'm cramming. And trying not to feel too extended. And hoping for a miracle.

And they will get done somehow in spite of all the other things I have to do this weekend, and I'll be so glad I did!

So here's some little moments of peace and quiet before I go full throttle.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

A Normal Morning.

He's home.

We all breathe a sigh.

We all breathe a sigh. And then life resumes.


Sunday, 20 April 2008

Senses Therapy.

Yesterday, we spent in Kilmacurragh House in Kilbride, Co Wicklow. A little friend was having a birthday party there. It was a bit blustery, but the kids just legged it around and kept warm. They had a ball.

It's the best time of year to visit. The Rhododendron's were in full bloom and it was stunning. Here's a selection of photo's from the beautiful gardens.

This amazing tree stump is always a high-light for the kids. Isn't it incredible?

Beautiful trees abound. Each one more breathtaking than the last.

I don't know what it is about this magical place but the colours are out of this world. The grass is greener. The trees brighter. The flowers more intense. It has to be seen to be believed.

A healthy dose of magic and fresh air. The peaceful, exhausted silence in the back of the car afterwards said it all. All except Sweet William who beamed and cooed and sang all the way home. Dear heart...

Saturday, 19 April 2008


You may remember I featured the gorgeous prints from amazingly talented Rob Ryan a few months ago on Something Lovely. Well, there I was having a wander around the www late last night, just so I was good and sleepy before putting my head down, when, through a series of links I can't even remember now, I discovered that Mr. Ryan has a blog. And there he mentions that he has designed a skirt for Clothkits! Isn't it fab? And apparently there is more to come. Must have.

Remember Clothkits? So 70's. With a mother that can make anything but shoes I was never going to have a clothkits item, though there may have been some in a hand-me-down bag somewhere along the line. For those of you that don't remember, they are patterns for clothes, and dolls, that anyone can sew. You just pick the size you want, cut along the dotted line and sew it up. Brilliant!

I love the internet...

Big Sigh.

It's Friday.

AM: Babies, friends, coffee, chat.

PM: School behind us, quick homemade pizza, and the couch.

Thank goodness for Friday-movies and couches.

Thank goodness for Sunday. See-you-Sunday-Jay.

Happy weekend to you all!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Something Lovely.

This week's offering comes from a young artist based in London. I first came across Jessie Chorley at the Knitting and Stitching Show back in November. She was exhibiting in a show called 'Like
Mother, Like Daughter', with her Mother, Primmy Chorley.

I loved everything I saw, but her embroidered story books were definitely my favourite.

Check out her other work here.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Sugar Free Yum.

Yesterday evening we had dinner with Lisa and Bill. That's always a treat. We were smacking our lips in anticipation all day. The texts were flying back and forth during the lead-up, regarding our various awkward and inconvenient foods intolerances, with me becoming increasingly guilty and embarrassed. No sugar. No wheat. I personally find it difficult to be creative and inspired when cooking. Especially the sugar. It does take a lot of the joy out of eating.

But not for our intrepid cook, Lisa. No. She waved aside my suggestion that she leave me out of the dessert. I think she was mildly outraged at that! And I think it made her all the more determined to come up with something. I have never seen anyone rise to a challenge as she did. Then again, I can't think of anyone else who is so devoted to creating a heavenly table as Lisa is.

This is it.

A chocolate cheesecake. It was divine.

Apart from a lapse of five half-day's over Easter when all that chocolate proved too tempting, I haven't had anything that remotely resembles a dessert in...not sure how long. So it was truly indulgent.

And there was even one for me to take home. Bless her...

Check here in the next day or so for the recipe. I most definitely will.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

The Sun!

Today it's warmer out than in!

We Carry On.

Outside the door, the greening has arrived. With a new burst of enthusiasm!

And we carry on as normal.

Waiting for Jay to return. But carrying on.

Amazing! Life goes on!

Because You Are Not Here.

This morning, familiar sounds drift in as I lie in bed. The ticking clock, birdsong, grasses. A babe, no longer sickly, inches from my face, teeth beaming in fat, rosy cheeks. The childish voices in another part of the house,quiet murmurings.

But your voice does not join the weave. No humming in the kitchen, no radio drone, clink of a knife on a plate..

No footstep on the boards outside my door.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Crammed Organisms.


I'm not going to say a word about the fact that Jay has had to go away yet again.....

Instead I will keep my spirits up with something cool and exciting that has happened. Chris got in touch a while back and asked if I'd be interested in collaborating again on some toys, this time for a fair in the U.S. I said yeah, sure, as you do, and promptly put it out of my head.

So. I was amazed and thrilled when he rang today and said we've been accepted!

Have a look at their site here.

Also, if you want to see what we've done in the past see here and here.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Something Lovely.

This week I've decided to feature a family member on this regular spot of mine. Chris is one of my younger brothers. He sings, though not lately unfortunately, he paints, he draws, I could go on. Check out more stuff here and here.

So how do I choose what to put here? I have an all-time favourite.

I just hope you get to see the tiny little 'oof'. My favourite bit altogether. You can click on the picture to see it bigger.
And you can check out all his latest news here.

And watch this space for some more family trumpet blowing!

Edit: Check out this months (April) Image magazine p.44 for some pics of the opening night of his most recent exhibition in the Monster Truck Gallery in Dublin, a collaboration with Fergal Brennan. And I only found that out because I bought it to see the article on Zee over on Homebug, and there he was. Not that he told us himself...

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

A Pretty Thing.

My latest find in Avoca's bargain basket. A Rice handkerchief. I'm thinking a new cushion cover would be cute.

Or a centre piece for a little quilt maybe?


Sweet Smallest.

Everyone's been slightly under the weather over the last few days. None more so than The Smallest. He has been permanently on my hip in the sling. Won't eat. Put him on the floor and he is so sad I can't help but swoop him up again.

This evening, snuggled in the sling, we stood on the lane, with the sea in our ears, the setting sun warm on our faces, and listened to the birds sing their tiny hearts out. Hot cheeks resting on my chest, silent listening, his big blue eyes gazed over the waving grasses, awake now as he hasn't been for days. The curlews soared overhead, the sound of their cry like a distant ancient memory that makes me want to cry and also shout for joy. In spite of my exhaustion.

Whoop to the sky!


I'm fascinated. This whole growing up business is amazing. I don't remember a whole lot myself. It's all a bit of a blur. But to be able to stand back slightly and watch someone who is not you but almost is, (you know what I mean!) is incredible. The subtle but enormous changes that take place under our noses, at our sides, is mind-boggling. One of the perks of being a parent.

Almost overnight, well, ok, the last few months, The Eldest has unfolded his wings. He has suddenly looked up and realised there is a whole other world out there and HE'S not the centre of it. There are other people who have needs and wants, and abilities, or not. He is Mr. Helpful, Mr. Responsible and Mr. Thoughtful, all in one. Not that he wasn't before, that generally is his nature, it's just it's now ballooned into 'Who I Am'.

Every year we have a big Midsummer party. It's a great excuse to do some work on the house. So lately we've been painting and clearing and re-organising and the minute we mentioned the party, when we recieved complaints about the amount of DIY that's going on, it was like lighting him up. He has risen to the task in an amazing way.

Clearing the patio and tidying the garden has been his contribution, purely his own idea.

So. We'll have various updates of how the preparations are going over the next few weeks. And I am getting excited too!

Saturday, 5 April 2008


This morning I spent at the annual Home Birth Conference.
Every year it's so lovely to see the same faces, and lots of new, hopeful ones. I catch up with people I only ever see there, and others I don't see enough of. I hear amazing birth stories and outrageous tales of brushes with the 'medical' world. I see the amazing people who work long hard hours to put it on, and the rest of us who come along, listen, chat, eat and, hopefully, buy. Thank you all you wonderful people. The world needs you.

Later on I went to pick up The Eldest in Bray where he was 'peggin' around the beach with his friends.

After the last two days of temperatures up to 15C, it was COLD! The wind cut through you.

But it was refreshing after being in a crowded hall all morning.

Aren't kids amazing! The cold just didn't bother them.

They even had icecream...

Scroll For The Future.

Last Saturday I was in Daintree in Dublin, which if you love paper is well worth a visit. I can't remember when I was last in there but I could have bought the whole shop, no problem. As it was I contented myself with a few bits and bobs (tho no origami paper, which was top of my list, pity), including the cutest little scrolls that I got for the three older ones. I've asked them to write or draw on them, something relevent to Now in their lives. The Little One has done his, of course. The other two are thinking about it too much, but hopefully over the weekend they'll do something. I plan to get them whenever I'm in Daintree and when they've done something on them I'll date them and put them away.

If you do go there, you must not leave without a visit to my absolutely favourite cafe in Dublin,The Cake Cafe, which just happens to be in the same lovely building. I dream of having this on my doorstep, and find any excuse to visit. Sadly, I don't enough tho. For now.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Something Lovely.

This week, Something Lovely is from one of my favourite designers, Tord Boontje. Isn't this Midsummer curtain divine? And it would go perfectly with our Midsummer light we have in the sitting-room.

Though at 99 British pounds I reckon it's down the list quite a bit. Oh well...

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Rhubarb And Worms.

Today was like summer. The morning was me and Lisa out fooding as usual. Then I spent about two hours in the playground with the two littlest and an assortment of friends. We came home sunkissed and tired but with a spring in our step. The kind that you get from blue-skies and warm breeze after the end of the winter. We had a lovely day. I left the house at 8.30am and didn't get back til nearly five. And my camera was left at home...grrr...

But, I still have yesterday to tell you about!

The older two were off at 12, so after picking up The Little One we headed south to visit some friends who live near Gorey. What a time we had. The younger children were glued to each other from the word go.

There was homebaked, by A, pizza, and bread and rhubarb tart. Fresh from the garden rhubarb. Wow. It was something else. That first pink flavour that compares to nothing else. Sigh...

There was mud to dig in, things to climb on, worms to examine, stones to throw, and river to catch them.

And a lovely walk through fields ploughed, and fields of fat greenest grass that was too inviting for some.

Thank you lovely people for a wonderful, inspiring day!