FO on Friday = Nollaig

The Big Day has finally arrived!

Nollaig is not just the Irish word for Christmas. It is also the word for the whole month of December. Considering how December gets swallowed up in preparations for today, it’s entirely appropriate, isn’t it?

After all your hard work through-out this month – knitting, shopping, cooking, baking – in preparation for today, I hope you’re getting to put your feet up finally and do whatever it is you do to relax. And if that includes “Read my blog” then good on you! Raise a glass and cheer: “Here’s to lots-more-of-this in 2010!” (Don’t worry: I scheduled this post days ago! I’m relaxing and spending time with my family today)

Nollaig Shona dhaoibh go léir agus gach dea-ghui i 2010

The Knitted Crib you see in the photo was knitted by two members of staff in the Planning Department of the Local Authority I work for . They made it and donated it to be a prize in the Raffle for the Sale-of-Work Charity Fund-raiser earlier this month. It’s fantastic, isn’t it? I didn’t win it – despite spending €10 on Raffle tickets – but the Librarian in my town did, so I’m sure I’ll get to see more of it. My guess is she’ll put it on display in our local Library the next time Nollaig comes around.

Stash on Saturday

Donations for Le Grá, Fingal

Le Grá, Fingal

One of my work colleagues came up with the idea that we could have a Sale-of-Work of items all Hand-made and donated by staff of the Council I work for. 100% of the proceeds would go towards the Crumlin Medical Research Fund, which is attached to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin – the same charity I ran the Mini-Marathon for in June. She called the venture “Le Grá Fingal” which means “With Love, Fingal” in Irish.   

It was astonishing to see the volume and the quality of the work that poured in. In our department alone, two of my colleagues do lino-cut and drypoint printing and sell their work through Etsy. Another makes homeopathic balms and essences. Yet another made cards using photographs she’d made and another made chutneys and preserves with produce from her allotment. From the other departments, there was hand-made jewelery; framed water-colours and photographs, hand-knitted and crocheted scarves and baby clothes; a carpenter in the depot made bird-boxes; someone else’s mother made candle-holders from hole-y limestone pieces.   

This was the reason behind making the Advent Wreaths that I said I’d explain later. I also donated “Mole”, some Christmas Fiddle-Faddle from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Almanac; and my Wine Bottle Gift Bag. I made the gift bag two Christmases ago and gave it to DH, but he agreed he didn’t really want or need and would be happy to donate it.   

Tree from EZ's Almanac

Who needs a Wine Cozy, it's a Gift Bag

The Sale took place last Tuesday, 15th December, and the original idea was that they would be selling to staff only. By 10:30 they had already made €1,000. When they’d whittled down the number of items to one small table’s worth they moved the display to the reception atrium and managed to clear everything by the end of lunch-time.   

In total they raised €2,083. This includes ticket sales for a Raffle, which was drawn by the County Architect on Thursday. One of the prizes in the raffle was a fabulous knitted crib. It was made by two talented knitters in the Planning Department that I’ve been lucky to get to know recently, through the Nimble Fingers Crafting Club that one of them set up.  

Star from EZ's Almanac

I’m delighted to know that Mole has finally found a new home – he was bought to be given to a baby who’s due in January. Two of my closest friends in work bought two wreaths each. I didn’t hear who bought the gift bag but I hope they enjoyed the bottle of Mulled Berry Punch, that I bought in The Hopsack last Saturday. I bought back the Fiddle-Faddle myself and put it into my Secret Swap Parcel. [Aside: I like to include a little bit of hand-knitting in my Secret Pal Parcel for the Irish Knitters Swap. In 2007, I made some wash-cloths for Sue (SusyMcQ) and last year Heather (Nearlythere) got a Moebius Cowl. It’s very conceited of me, really; but this year’s theme was The Seven Deadly Sins so “Pride” it’s totally allowed. Anyway, I can report that Mairead (Fourboys) received her package yesterday and was genuinely thrilled with its contents. Yeay! + Phew!]

In the Charity Sale-of-Work I also bought:   

  • a jumper for DS#1, knit by a member of the Nimble Fingers Crafting Club;
  • a hand-pulled lino-cut print of Bosbok Strand in South Africa, made by a colleague in our Department;
  • a jar of Green Tomato Chutney – made by another colleague of mine;
  • a jar of mincemeat, made with plums and Calvados by a friend of the organiser;
  • four cards made by three different colleagues – three of which I’ve already sent off;
  • a combination pack of lavender barrier cream and clove oil balm – made by the organiser.
  • two decorated gingerbread biscuits
  • a sachet of “Magic Reindeer Dust” – basically porridge oats mixed with glitter and edible confetti. You leave it out for Rudolf to eat – the glitter is the magic dust that helps him fly.

So the stash I’m letting you know about today is not yarn but lots of hand-made goodies, made by talented members of staff in my place of work. 

Goodies Le Grá

Muse on Monday

Classical Mythology.
any of a number of sister goddesses, originally given as Aoede (song), Melete (meditation), and Mneme (memory), but latterly and more commonly as the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who presided over various arts: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (lyric poetry), Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (religious music), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy); identified by the Romans with the Camenae.
any goddess presiding over a particular art.
(sometimes lowercase) the goddess or the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like.
(lowercase) the genius or powers characteristic of a poet.
–verb (used without object)
to think or meditate in silence, as on some subject.
Archaic. to gaze meditatively or wonderingly.
–verb (used with object)
to meditate on.
to comment thoughtfully or ruminate upon.

Muse = The genius or powers characteristic of a poet

Don’t forget my Ban-zai Bonanza. Write a Haiku and win a great* prize *even if I say so myself!   

Musing = Comment thoughtfully or ruminate upon

Don’t be expecting too much from me here. Ruminating is for cows and other four-stomached animals, isn’t it? I’ve got a busy life to lead that isn’t about where my next feed of grass is at; or how much milk I’ve produced today. Not anymore, anyway – thank goodness! However, I do think I should assess how well I did with the tasks I set myself to do in the past week.

  1. sort out my weekly meal planners / grocery shopping list so I can get back into grocery shopping regularly.  – Yeay, for me – I did this with the aid of I did a shop and cooked all the meals accordingly. I know have an empty fridge – which I think is a good thing – and I’m all set to do the same next week.
  2. Start writing Christmas Cards – Boo for me! – I didn’t even so much as pull out my list of who sent me Christmas Cards last year. However, I have bought cards so I’m well on my way…
  3. Actually do something from my list of gardening jobs for December – Errr… it was cold… the ground was water-logged… the dogs ate my shovel… and my sequtares…
  4. Knit some Christmas Ornaments for a Sale of Work in our office – Yeay, for me – I’ve made five of my “Advent Wreaths with Bling” today and a hairy fun-fur/ novelty yarn tree. Most importantly!!!! I’ve used up ALL of the skank-ey yarn in the process. So my knitting friends can stop disowning me now – okay, Caroline & Claire???
  5. Post off my Secret Santa Swap parcel (yes, I can see this one getting done anyway!) – Boo, for me – surprisingly I didn’t do this one yet. The only thing that’s holding it up was a bit of hand-knitted-Pride álà Debbie New but I’m a bit wary of whether it’s sufficiently pride-worthy. I’m aiming to post it tomorrow.

I’m giving myself a 2&1/2 out of 5 – 50% success rate. Could do better. Next week? !?! – oooh… you’re a harsh audience…    

  1. Post off my Secret Santa Swap parcel
  2. Prune something! anything! just get outside with something sharp and weild it about until things fall down!!!
  3. Write Christmas Cards – no “start” about it any more! The blummin’ things have got to go in the post this week!
  4. Christmas gift knitting – to be cogitated on in a later post. Choosey Tuesday, anyone?
  5. Christmas gift shopping – ought to be fun and festive; looking forward to this one.


A-muse = Entertaining

All credit to… Serendipity but I couldn’t help but be amused when – almost immediately after I’d published yesterday’s post about making an Advent Wreath – I opened the Magazine Section of the paper to discover this article:   

Click on the image for a link to "how-to"

You wanna Wreath???


B-muse = Confusing

The Earl is two now – how time flies?! So he’s at an age where he’s completely bemused by all these Christmas traditions that – from his point of view – we’re doing for the first time. He got over the notion of “Trees Come Inside” pretty quickly. He’s still bewildered by the whole concept of the Crib. For starters he keeps referring to the figurine of the Baby Jesus – wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger – as “Sheep”. Well… I can understand it; it’s all white and has four legs. After all, being his mother’s son, sheep are his favourite animal. It was when he decided to give the Holy Family a bath in his cup of milk that we felt we should intervene.

I did it! I did it!

Any Dora The Explorer Fans among you?

I realised the other day that I never let you know that I ran the Women’s Mini Marathon. And here’s the photographic proof, that I took on my phone, just before we started in a throng. Yes, that taller person in the middle is a man dressed “in drag” if you can call a Nun’s habit “drag”.

And We're Off...

I collected €175 for Crumlin’s Medical Research Fund – as you can see on my charity page. But the main thing for me was that I actually did it this year. At the end, I felt as though I could keep running. I will definately do it again next year.