Friday, 31 December 2010

The Time Between The Years.

So Christmas has passed, 
and we lie quietly in the time between the years, when one year is closing and another preparing to open, when we reflect on what has passed and wonder what is to come.

And we pause.

Dawn, Christmas Day.
We have been spending our time quietly, enjoying the snow while it lasted, and now that it's gone we are glad to spend it with family, and dear friends, catching up and just being together. Celebrating a tiny new arrival in our family, a most perfect Winter Solstice gift.

I'd like to dedicate this post to my family, to these people who are my dependables, my unwavering bastions. Without them I would not be who I am today.
And I give thanks for the blessing, the honour that is mine, to share this privileged life I have been granted, with this group of incredible, amazing people. Truly, we have been touched with gold, haven't we?
I wish we could all be together tonight, this special night that closes this year behind us. So wherever you are as you celebrate, know that across the miles you are in my heart.

And, warmest blessings to YOU dearest readers,
for a peaceful New Year.
May it be shared with loved ones, 
and may this coming year bring us all magic and blessings.
Thank you all for your continued support and comments, 
it's what makes Milkmoon possible.
Love Ciara.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Safely Found And Homeward bound, At Last.

And so, the latest episode in this little Redwork story is finally finished. Nothing like a looming deadline such as Christmas to give you a little push, is there? This was very slow in the making due to my limited free time to stitch, (with even reading still on the long finger). But it has been finished, at last.

My very patient Mum finally gets a piece! And now that Christmas Day is past I can share it with you.

And as always, the minute I finish one I am keen to start the next. Hopefully it will be slightly quicker in the making than this one was. But I do believe I say that every time...

I still have no real idea where this little story is going or how I will present it in the end, especially as I keep giving away these little stitcheries. But there is something here, I believe. And I have no doubt I will know what it is when I am finished.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Bright Blessings To You And Yours!

Bright Blessings to you and yours for a
magical, peaceful Christmas and New Year.
May it bring warmth and good cheer to you all!

Look forward to catching up with everyone over the break,
and to getting back to some blogging myself.
See you here very soon!
Love from Ciara.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

And Something Is Then Found!

I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I am with the sweet and supportive comments from all you lovely readers on my last post. All you loyal and stouthearted readers! How could I possibly bow out now?

I have been disappointed so many times over the years when favourite bloggers have called it a day, and while I admire them for taking that step when they feel like that, I think, deep in my heart I know I am not there yet. 

I do love all that this wonderful world has brought to me, things a lot of you mentioned, like the ability to take tiny moments and slow them right down as they whirl by you, to seize hold of them for just a second, to take that snapshot, to imprint it in your mind's eye and tuck it away into that little corner of yourself where you hold the precious keepsakes of your days. And I love all the amazing people like you that I have met, the beautiful corners of the world I get to peek into thanks to you all taking the time to share it with us.

So for now, I am content to maybe just step back a little, and take some time to put to rights all the things that have not been as right as they should be, like my children's health, and my house, to get Christmas all wrapped up and under the tree. To spend some time by the fire with my dear ones as the year draws to a close, and reflect on the coming new year.

I will continue posting when I can, and what do you say I'll probably find I am unable to stay away. 

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Something Is Lost...

Do you ever wonder why or how you blog? I mean, how you find the time to fit it in to your busy day? I look around at all you incredible bloggers out there, and the tiny snippets of your lives that we glimpse in between the lines of loveliness you post, the little 'fragments of your days', and I wonder, how do we do it! 
And to be honest I don't know.
The week in pictures,
A poorly boy. Again.
I have lately found myself struggling to capture the everyday magic that once came so easily to me. My camera more often than not lies forgotten as I run out the door, or dash about after small people with big bellies and hollow legs that need to be filled, and then, at night I find myself lying, eyes wide on the ceiling above as I try and recall some little fragment of magic that I know was there today. If only I could find it.
And even the pictures I do take seem to me to somehow highlight what I don't know about taking pictures.  And to lack more than anything. They certainly don't inspire and excite me they way they used to.

Before the cold set in.
Maybe it's the time of year, you say. But no, it's been a long time coming. I went from blogging every day (imagine!) to three or four times a week, to now barely once a week. This is not good.
It's not that I have nothing to say, but more the beauty spins by so fast I don't have time to even try and grasp or capture it. The dizzy carousel of life I am on is just that bit too fast, it has run away from me
and I lost some things along the way.

Busy little hands at work.
And so for the last week and a half, while we had nowhere to go and time on our hands, we sewed and made for Christmas, and baked cakes and built dens, and we did our best to keep warm in an old house with no central heating, and invariably one by one we succumbed to coughs and colds.

Our time away from the world was lengthened.

What I found one morning.
I listened to music that made the snow fall, I watched films that gently pulled the blankets higher and tighter around us, 
and the snow fell. The snow fell. And the snow fell. 
Like an endless slumber we went under, we slipped away from the world...

Hipstamatic shots.

I have thought and thought about it, and no, I am not ready to give up Milkmoon. I don't think so. But I do wonder if, or how I can make all these pieces of mine fit...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

How We Fell Into A Sleepy Torpor...

We have been snowed in all week...

Something that is highly unusual for us at this time of year...

No school... 
Nothing for it but to stay in and stay warm...

And feed the birds... 
(Sorry Sparrow, you'll just have to watch from the window!)

We love it. You'll find not a whisper of 'Bah Humbug' from this household!
But as we live so close to the sea, the snow melts far too soon in our saltwashed garden, so we hope to get out and about tomorrow for some fun and games.

Hope you are having a lovely week wherever you are!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

I Was Taken Away...

Thank you all, for your warm wishes and sweet words. I've had a magical week.

Almost every day this week I was meeting with friends, breakfasting here, lunching there, being fed and spoilt, and pampered and gifted. It was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. And I'd like to dedicate this post to all those dear folk, you know who you are!

Then, after depositing the children to my most generous (and uncomplaining) parents, on Friday myself and Jay rose in the small hours of the freezing morning and drove to the airport. I had no idea, until we were at the airport, where we were going!

All photos taken on my phone as my camera was on holiday too!

A favourite place of ours, and although it's only a couple of years since we were there, it's many more since we were there without any little people along. 
And so, we spent a weekend wandering the streets, Covent Garden, Charing Cross, Primrose Hill, Portobello, Notting Hill, browsing bookshops and markets for hours.


And the highlight was a most exhilarating, spine-tingling, magical night with some dear friends, Tom  and Nina, (thank you!!!) who brought us to see this incredible performer, Jónsi, who is someone both myself and Jay love, which is rare enough! It was, I think the best show I've seen, in the best year of amazing gigs I've ever had. And the most visually stunning. Take a look here and here  to see what I mean. It was an Icelandic cornucopia of falling leaves, tidal waves, flocks of birds and butterflies, racing, chasing animals, and thunderstorms that breathlessly swept you away. I was moved to tears on more than one occasion, and the show is something that is impossible to do any justice to here. This man is a wonder. And I was left wondering just what creates someone with such vision and beauty and absolute magic that seems to explode out of his very pores.
I thought my heart would burst right out of my chest, and I was left feeling battered and bruised and elated all at once, such is the power of his music.
An amazing night, truly, and one I will never forget.

We packed a lot into our two days, and although it was cold, it was the most perfect, crisp, blue-sky kind of weather that made walking around very pleasant, once we were dressed for it!

And of course, when it's cold what do you do but eat! Which we did. Heartily. And often.
And while we didn't do much in the way of shopping, just being away, being able to sleep in, and wander and browse, is as much a tonic as anything.

...and more books!
The other highlight for us was visiting The Museum of Everything in Primrose Hill, which is holding an exhibition of the Collections of Sir Peter Blake. It was one of the most wonderful, surreal and completely Marvellous shows I have ever seen. Unfortunately photography is forbidden, with signs like "No Photography = £1000" and "No Photography = Death"! so I have nothing to show for it, and even their website, frustratingly, has no images. But it does have lots of links so if you have the time, do explore them, and be prepared to be amazed. Let's just say it is a magical, marvellous, experience, and at the same time strangely sad.
And if by any chance you will be in London any time soon, I urge you to pay it a visit.

A visit to the fabulous Pedlars shop in Notting Hill.
It was wonderful to have some quiet time to hang out together, after all the chaos and busyness of everyday-life-with-four-children and work taking Jay to the oddest corners of the world. We both agreed another two days wouldn't have gone amiss.

Thank you Jay, for an amazing weekend!

We came home to a snowy, winter wonderland, (more on that later), to happy children, to tired grandparents, and to not just a house warmed for us, but to dinner cooked for us, by Lisa. So thank you, thank you, thank you to you all! 

I feel incredibly blessed.

It was a wonderful birthday week.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Just Popping In To Let You Know...

It's my birthday.
It's a big one. 
Yep, the big 40!
(Don't I look great?)

Sorry there has been a bit of a blogging slump going on here but I will be back very soon with, I think, something rather exciting! 
So please excuse me for a little longer. I'm having a lovely time. 

I'll be right back...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Quite Early One Morning.

I took a short walk down the garden, and contemplated the arrival of Winter.

I took a few minutes to pause and breathe and wonder.

A few moments in which to gather myself.

To let go of the whirlwind of chaotic madness that took over my life for the last few days.

The running round chasing my tail driving endless forking out meeting needs hugs and kisses bumped knees shouting laughing toast and jam soup fireside stories bedtime waking up time bath time homework washing clothes friends coffee driving nagging nursing hugging walking breathing dreaming loving...

Yes. Jay is away again. And someone always gets sick!

Roll on the weekend...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Glimmer Lantern Glimmer.

I thought I would share with you another post from our now defunct blog I mentioned before. This is something that we won't get to celebrate this year on the day as we have someplace else to be!

Tonight, my man, Jay, is having an exhibition opening in Dublin, so if any of you happen to be around then do join us! You can read about it here. So in the midst of him preparing for this we have had a run of sick kiddies and storm and flood warnings, all mixed in to the general daily tizzy and winter wildness settling in. Great fun!
I do hope to actually do this lantern a walk at the weekend, or the next. I am so mindful of all the things I did with the older two that the younger two might miss out on simply because life is twice as hectic.

So without further ado...

There is a lovely tradition we try to celebrate every year which I first came across through some Steiner/Waldorf friends. It is usually celebrated on Martinmas eve which is the 11th November, although it is a lovely thing to do once the darkness draws in and the evenings shorten, a simple symbolic way to entice the light back.
The basic premise is that the children make lanterns and then take a candle lit walk in the dark dark woods! You can either make them together as part of your evening together, or everyone can do them at home and then get together.
There are so many types of lanterns to make. What we did was very simple. 

You will need:

A glass jar for each child.
A roll of thin wire eg. florists wire.
Some sheets of coloured tissue paper.
Some pva glue in a small container like an egg cup.
A small brush for each child.
A tealight for each jar.

To begin, tear the tissue paper into small pieces.

Start painting glue onto the glass jar and press pieces of the tissue paper onto it. Continue until the jar is covered.

Once the glue is dry, measure a length of wire to form a long loop, plus extra to wrap around the neck of the jar. Secure it by twisting the ends tightly around the wire where it meets the vertical lengths.
It's important to have a long loop so as to avoid little hands getting too close to the candle!

Once everyone has gathered together outside, the adults can help light the candles. Then we can set off into the dark, dark woods.
These next few photos were taken with a flash so of course it loses the candlelit atmosphere.

It was equal parts thrilling and slightly scary, even for the older children!

They really do get such a thrill out of doing something they would rarely get to otherwise.

There are simple little songs that are traditionally sung for the duration of the walk. It helps if a few people know them to start off.  But any song that includes light or sun would do. The walk by the way need only be ten to fifteen minutes long. Believe me, after ten to fifteen minutes tripping through the darkness, their imaginations start to take off, and it's not long before everyone is ready to head indoors for some warming soup! 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The World Is Awhirl...

All day and all night the sea has pounded. And as a heavy swell is foretold, the wind and rain come in as though on winter's wings.
For the world is awhirl with tempest and storm, and crashing, turbulent wildness.

Somewhere along the coast two little houses lie side by side, look there, do you see? They lie snug in the hollow, in the midst of the squall, where the mothers light fires and tend to their sickly babes,
and always, always keep on eye on that swell.

Yes, this time of year, from now until spring, we are obsessed with the sea, with it's height and breadth and depth, for the threat of a swell is a menace, you see, as we, and our neighbours, can attest. The great monstrous Swell that has been known to rage and heave itself up out of it's bed, rushing at these little houses in formidable waves.
So we put sandbags in place, and we wait. Mindful of just how small we are to the power of the sea.

So here we sit by our fires, these faithful households who endure such peril, and all for the love of living in this place of unequaled, immeasureable beauty!
And we raise a glass, or maybe a cup of tea, to the sea, with respect. For we are at your mercy. And as we lie in our cosy beds, and the freezing rain blows in, wrapped in dreams of tossing ships and stranded strangers, somewhere in the depths of our sleep we do have one ear open.

Photo of me taken by Lisa.
Our houses lie about one hundred meters behind where we stand...

For we are always, always keeping an eye...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

What The Sea Told Me...

I have a view. 
A most spectacular, ever-changing view. A view of marsh and mountains to the west of our little house. 

And we live mere meters from the sea, there it is, just to the east of us, can you see it? But no...we cannot actually see the sea from our house. For our house lies low and there between us and the sea flies the occasional train, rumbling past like a great metal horse, heading north to the city, or away to the south. 

There once were mornings, now it seems so long ago, I would take a moment to cross the tracks and have a look at the sea before my day began. Like Mole peeping his head up and sniffing the air, it was like my barometer, literally like opening my senses, yoga for the spirit, you can feel all that open sky, endless sea expand your mind. 
A great way to begin the day. And the earlier the better. 

But then a number of years ago those railway folks decided to put up a proper fence. 
So we put up a ladder to climb over. 
They took that. 
So from then on when we wanted to see the sea we had to stand on a chair, or a windowsill! Or walk to the crossing, which is fine on a fine day, but sometimes too much for little legs, and you know, it's just not the same...

But! Now I would like to share something with you. Something very special. Over the summer we acquired new neighbours. Nearest and dearest neighbours of the family kind! And oh how our lives have changed. It has been nothing but wonderful! The kind of wonderful that is the slamming of far off doors, of little footsteps running through the garden, down the new, secret path to the door. Of familiar voices ringing in the distant air, and sweet faces peeping in the door. 

And they have something. 
They have a most marvelous attic, and they have a view. A truly spectacular, ever-changing view of the sea! And yes, I am somewhat green around the gills! So finally, after months of brow-beating I have persuaded the lovely Lisa that she has to do this...

Photo of our sea by Lisa.
Taken from her attic window.

A new blog. And she has called it 'What The Sea Told Me.'

A sister blog to my view to the west. There is now a view to the east of this little bit of paradise. So do please drop by and say hello.

Photo of our sea at sunrise by Lisa.
Taken from her attic window.
I cannot tell you how this gladdens my heart...