Saturday, March 24, 2018

Today ends Irish Way freebie

As always, the final zip of a series contains a lot of miscellaneous things and this one is packed. Included are a last paper (#30), a square frame, 2 borders, a decorative corner, another Claddaugh, hat, pipe, charm, a dressed up Irish setter (and plain version), triquetra knot, Celtic sun and a few more symbolic Celtic animals. The bull as Celtic symbol has multiple meanings. The most obvious is that of strong will, stubbornness, and uncompromising behavior. Second, the bull is seen as a sign of virility and fertility. And finally, the bull is a symbol of riches and wealth. Our little Celtic bull might also be useful to you if you know a Taurus. The dragon symbolizes what you might imagine: power and magic; also fertility. The raven is often considered a trickster and is associated with mystical knowledge and death. Hope you have enjoyed our Irish journey.

I'm going to take the last week of the month off, although I will post an Easter freebie on 3/31 which is my brother's birthday. Sort of expecting him and SIL to show up that last week. Be back after Easter with something new.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Next to last Irish Way freebie

Getting down to the end of The Irish Way. I imagine by now some of you are quite tired of it. Today we have a couple frames, some metallic lace, some jewelry and a horseshoe for luck. A horsehoe is often hung above the front door of Irish homes for luck. Be sure to hang with ends up so the luck doesn't run out. Most Celtic brides also carry a horseshoe (in ends up position) in their bouquet. It might be a small porcelain one, or a silver charm. (I gave my son's bride a vintage silver horseshoe charm for her bouquet.) Sometimes a horseshoe charm is sewn to the garter.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Irish flowers freebie

Mostly flowers today with a couple badges and a shield thrown in. Those tall green things (see vase and border) are called Bells Of Ireland. The Yellow Flag irises you've seen before. The swan holds Irish wildflowers: shamrocks, bluebells, and Iris Moss orchids. The orchids also appear on a flourish that doesn't show well in the preview. 2 more days of The Irish Way.

No snow here, or at least none that stuck but with wind chill factor it feels like the 20s and once again rain and snow are predicted for next couple of days. Fortunately, there is no need for us to go out so just doing a little of this and that. Hubby made chicken Parmesan for dinner - yummy.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Freebie - one for the lassies.

Yesterday's zip was for the lads so you probably expected this one for the lasses. Just a few domestic goodies today. Couldn't resist doing a sketch of the doll clothed in traditional garb. There's a piece of lace similar to four leaf clovers, a vintage photo mat, a stylized flower. No Irish household is complete without at least one teapot. The utilitarian Brown Betty teapot used in most British homes, is typical of what you'd find in your average household in Ireland. Those more wealthy families might, of course, own a silver tea service for company, or the highly prized Belleek porcelain. I love the delicacy of Belleek and own a number of pieces - smaller pieces - and watch for it in thrift stores (never found any there), antique shows, and search for bargains on ebay. My daughter-in-law loves it too and looks forward to inheriting what I have. Now it doesn't do to have a good cuppa (which my Mama claimed was good for any number of things) without a little something to nibble. This something can be as simple as a nice slice of bread and butter, scones made from Bannock loaf, or a fine cream scone. Tea is also served at meals, of course, unless something stronger like stout is desired. The woman of the house, often referred to as Herself, a term of respect, is likely to wear a Claddaugh wedding ring like the one shown. The ring originated in an Irish fishing village of the same name in the 17th century. It symbolizes friendship (hands), love (heart), and loyalty (crown). I believe the saying goes: With these hands I give you you my heart and crown it with my loyalty. The Claddaugh is my favorite Irish symbol and I wear several pieces of jewelry based on it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Freebie - one for the lads

Today The Irish Way becomes a little more masculine. Included in this zip you will find a rough sketch (from an action) of a Celtic hunter. Yes, Irish men sometimes wear kilts too - not just Scots. The man needs his trusty dog, an Irish setter, and no doubt has a dirk (knife) tucked in his gear somewhere. Perhaps he will encounter a wolf. In Celtic mythology many tribes claimed to be descended from wolves and considered them sacred. Rather than see wolves as threats to their hunting, Celts believed them to be guides and helpers. In Celtic astrology, wolves are treated much like dogs in that both are considered to be fearless, brave, loyal, and powerful warriors who don't back down. Also included are the boar and stag. Either might be hunter's prey but they are also strong Celtic symbols. The wild boar is fearsome, dangerous, stubborn, and their meat was prized by the Celts. So prized that if you were served boar meat as a guest, it meant you were highly honored. Boars could symbolize war and chaos and sometimes their likeness adorned war helmets. Additionally, because of their mating habits, boars were a symbol of fertility. The majestic stag, represents the masculine side of nature. It is the totem animal for the antlered deity Cernunnos, who was the protector of nature, animals, and water. Because the antlers are shed and regenerated every year, they represent the tree of life and are symbolic of spiritual regeneration, abundance, and prosperity. You will find both animals appearing in many Celtic stories and legends. Finally, there is a representation of Cu Chulainn and his hounds. Cu Chulainn is a mythological hero who appears in the Ulster Cycle stories. Read this to learn more:

Hoping you are not in the path of Winter Storm Toby. We've been told to expect rain and/or snow here. I suspect it will just be rain for us. Stay safe and warm.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday freebie of The Irish Way

So much for good intentions! I'd said I had planned to give you two zips on St. Paddy's Day but only had the one finished and got that out late and into 3/18. I'd also said I'd have the second one to you Sunday but as you know, I didn't make it in time. Running behind. The zip I had mentioned about Ireland's religious traditions has become your Monday freebie. I've tried to give a nod to the major spiritual/religious items in Ireland's history (sorry, poorly written) and here's what is shown in zip. First, there are some standing stones, also known as Menhirs. These vertical stones were placed by Neolithic people and it is believed there was a spiritual intent. The Druids, a high ranking order of mystical priests is often connected with the standing stones so I have used them here to represent early pagan forms of spirituality. Next we have two of Ireland's patron saints: Patrick and Brigid. We've talked about Patrick before and most know for what he is revered. St. Brigid/Brigit/Brighid is less known except, perhaps, to Catholics. Her feast day is February 1st and her story is more complex than Patrick's. No writings exist from her time to serve as proof of her existence and background. She is thought to have been a former slave who found her vocation in caring for the poor. As such she is credited for having made crosses of reeds to give to the poor as she explained Christianity to them. Such crosses are made every year on her feast day and are still hung over the doorways of many Irish homes today and used to bless a household and its family and keep them safe from harm. Additionally she is said to have founded the first female religious order in Ireland and, as Abbess, started an art school famous for its illustrated manuscripts. However, there is ample evidence that Brigid is most likely a continuation of the earlier goddess Brigid/ Brigantia who was worshiped around the country and beyond. It was fairly common when converting pagans to Christianity to adapt some of their customs and beliefs to ease conversion. As such it is scarcely surprising to find that St. Brigid's feast day coincides with the pagan festival of Imbolc which was the start of Spring in the ancient Irish calendar. I've included a Celtic cross (the one with the circle) and a regular cross as well, a goblet, and finally, an angel meant to represent the famous Book of Kells, an incredible illustrated book of the Gospels. If you aren't familiar with the Book of Kells, you might want to try this link:
That's the Google result for Book of Kells images which will give you an idea of its splender.

Many thanks for all the lovely comments on this series.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Happy (belated) St. Patrick's Day & freebies

Good intentions sure can go astray as mine did with a bad sinus headache and severe fatigue. I'm embarrassed to say I'd already completed one of the zips for 3/17 but hadn't packed it up. That was the sort of traditional Irish American take on the day. I'd meant to also have ready a zip related to the real purpose of St. Patrick's Day but I'm still at it. March 17th is meant to be the feast day of St. Patrick, one of Ireland's patron saints and the celebration there differs from that of Irish-Americans. Here we pretty much use the date to celebrate anything Irish and it's primarily an excuse to party. We dye fountains, even rivers green. We wear green but often it's tee shirts and hats with comical, satirical, even nasty captions. And there is a lot of celebrating with green beer. Now you won't be finding any green beer here today because I'll not contribute to the image of Irish as drunks. Sure, many enjoy a pint now and then, perhaps an Irish coffee, or a nip of Irish whiskey. Truly, Guinness and Jamisons are major exports. But on St. Patrick's or St. Paddy's (never Patty's) day in Ireland, churches are celebrating the feast of the saint who brought Christianity to Ireland and bars tend to be closed. No green beer around. A little extra Guinness might be consumed but there isn't wild bar hopping. Nor are families likely to be eating a dinner of corned beef and cabbage; that is an Irish-American tradition. More likely families are sitting down to a Shepard's Pie (most often made with lamb),or perhaps a nice roast.

I myself had planned to make something authentically Irish on 3/17 but not dinner. No, I'd thought I'd make some scones from Bannock loaves to have with my tea in the morning. (If anyone is interested, I've an easy recipe that makes wonderful crumbly Bannock.) But that didn't come about. We had a dinner of spaghetti with mild Italian sausage and that wasn't totally out of line as St. Patrick was not Irish atallatall. Nope, his father was Roman and Patrick came to the British Isles as a slave. My intentions for that second zip, (which is going to have to be completed later on Sunday) were to touch on St. Patrick & St. Brigid, two of Ireland's three patron saints. The third is St. Columba and I confess I know little about him. Yes, I know discussion of religion in a public forum is frowned upon but can you really discuss Ireland without doing so? Trust me, I'll keep it simple.

Anyway, my more Irish-American take on St. Patrick's Day (minus green beer) is a nod to a favorite Irish legend most everyone knows - the leprechaun. I learned about leprechauns at an early age from my maternal grandfather who was a great story teller. As Pappy described the leprechauns, they were nothing like the malevolent beings Hollywood has recently portrayed. Oh, they are mischievous to be sure and greedy for gold but not ugly or violent (except perhaps when threatened?). We were told they were child size - about three feet tall. Only males and no one seemed to know how they had come about. Some said they were defective children of the fairies. I can't remember precisely how Pappy described them other than that but I always had the impression that they looked rather like small, wizened old men. In this zip you will find lots of leprechauns, 3 papers, a hat and a shillelagh (walking stick & also cudgel), a word art about that (not shown) and an Irish toast which basically wishes health (and is pronounced like slawn-cha) and another word art about the end of the rainbow. Oops - forgot a rainbow!


Friday, March 16, 2018

Freebie - We must talk about the sea

You can hardly talk about Ireland without discussing the importance of the Atlantic Ocean, the Irish Sea, and all the other waters that flow around and through the Emerald Isle. Putting aside the importance of these waters on the nourishment and financial benefits, today let's look at water creatures and their place in Irish myth and legends and how they are used as symbols. Of course, I've only created a few elements of these: the kelpie, seahorse, dolphin, salmon, and sea lion. The kelpie figures strongly in Scottish as well as Irish myth. A creature that lives in the rivers and lakes, it is generally considered malevolent. In some myths it can transform into a human (usually a beautiful woman) and lure people to their deaths. In others, it tempts humans, especially children, to ride on its back and drowns them. The seahorse is considered to have all the properties of water and is connected to the sea gods. Therefore it is connected to imagination, creativity, and luck. Also, because it has a strong tail which allows it to cling to seaweed and remain in place despite tides, it is a symbol of strength. The dolphin too has positive connotations. Since it is most commonly sighted when the weather is fine and seas are fair, sailors considered it lucky. Additionally, it is a symbol of friendship and intelligence. Many are the stories of dolphins acting in a protective manner towards humans. The salmon, besides being an excellent food source, figures in a myth called "The Salmon of Wisdom." You can read about it here: And then there is the myth of the selkie which I tried to represent by placing a human outline in the seal. Here is my explanation of the tale as told to me: The selkie is a creature native to the coasts of the British Isles who spends most of his or her life as a seal or sea lion. However, the selkie can choose to shed it's skin and take human form. It must hide its skin carefully for whoever finds it has power over the selkie and can keep it from returning to the sea. If a man finds the skin of a female selkie she must become his faithful but lonely wife. If she finds her skin, she will flee to the sea, even leaving her children behind. Male selkies cause storms and shipwrecks when seals are hunted.
My dear maternal grandfather used to tell Irish myths and fairytales to me and my cousins: I've forgotten more than I remember.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Another Irish thing I love & freebie

I love Irish crochet! Intricate motifs are made up individually (usually flowers and leaves), crocheted with cotton thread that may be as fine as that we put through the eye of a needle. The motifs are then joined together to create strips of lace trim or lace fabric. I've made a few pieces myself including a drawstring bag with roses for a wedding but have only used a reasonable size of thread. I have a vintage piece of lace, not quite a yard long and less than an inch in width that features roses. It was hand crocheted with the finest of threads and it boggles my mind imagining how anyone could see properly to make it. Here are some lovely examples of Irish crochet.
Are you drooling yet? I tried to extract a few motifs for today's zip but it's difficult. Included today you will find a lace frame and lace background. Last week when I gave you the step dance costumes, I really wanted to include a doll. I wanted to do it myself - stubborn me - so played around with bits and pieces of art doll parts and scans and what not and finally created the little lady you see here. She could better but is the best I can currently manage. Hope you like her.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Connemara marble freebie

Found only in Ireland, Connemara marble owes its unique green colors to the combination of minerals found there. Used in buildings (see the pics of Galway's cathedral floor as example), home decor (fireplace mantels for instance) and jewelry, this green marble is much sought after. Tourists love to take home souvenirs made of Connemara marble - everything from "worry stones," to coasters to jewelry - especially jewelry. Today's zip is all about this Irish product.

Running late with Tuesday freebie

Today some basics: 2 papers, a frame, a corner bow cluster, and some of Ireland's wildflowers. The yellow iris is called Yellow Flag.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dreary day with freebie

We've got a wintery mix today with gusty winds. Might turn to snow later. Went out first thing this morning to get taxes done. Now all I need to do for tax season is gather all of Dad's stuff and take to attorney.

Last week we ended The Irish Way with a zip on Irish step dancing. Can't have that unless you've got some Irish music so we are looking at that today. For Irish music you need a bodhran (drum), tinwhistle (flute), fiddle (violin) and sometimes a harp (which also happens to be a national symbol). And beautiful voices like those of Celtic Woman who sound like angels.
Especially love these:

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Just got home & freebie

Turned 67 today. My Aunt Sissie & John E. took me out to dinner at Outback. Yummy! My husband gave me a beautiful bracelet. With all that good food, I'm sleepy now lol.

Today in The Irish Way I've featured one of the Irish things I love: step dancing. Loved Lord of the Dance as I saw it on film and got to see Riverdance in person. That was wonderful and uplifting. So for you I have some Irish dance costumes and some ghillies which are the soft dance shoes used in Irish step dance and in Scottish dance too.
And I'm off to watch basketball.

Friday, March 9, 2018

I'm a Hibernophile and freebie

"She's a what?" you ask? Hibernia is the ancient Roman name for Ireland and anyone who has a love of Irish culture, Irish language, or Ireland in general is a Hibernophile. From comments, I'd say many of you are Hibernophiles too lol. Do you know what the colors in the Irish flag stand for? The flag has 3 vertical stripes as seen in today's preview. The green represents the Catholic population of Ireland, the orange for the Protestant Irish (orange as in William of Orange of England) and the white strip between represents the hope for harmony and unity between the two. The flag first appeared in 1848 and symbolizes the hope of the people for political peace.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Love March Madness (college basketball) & more of The Irish Way

Quick post 'cause I'm watching North Carolina against Miami in men's college basketball. Favoring Carolina's Tar Heels of course. Anyway, here is today's zip:
Today's zip includes an Irish symbol I've just learned about. Called Awen, the symbol shows 3 rays of light. It's another example of the Celtic love of threes. It's said that one of the side rays represents male energy, the other female energy, and the center ray is the balance of the two. Sort of a Celtic Ying/Yang. As a symbol of unity and harmony of opposites in the universe, it can also be seen to represent mind, body and spirit or earth, sky, and sea.
Here is the link:

Happy to read that you are enjoying this kit. Thank you for all the lovely comments. I love hearing from you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mid week and more of Irish freebie

Just got home from showing Dad's house again. Think it's going to be another low bid. I know the city's assessed value is too much because the place needs updating but so far the bids have been about $80,000 less than the assessed value and about $40,000 less than we are willing to take. My parents put so much time, effort and love into that place and it is sickening to have it valued so low, especially when you know that the buyer is going to make a good profit on turn around.

Finally got around to changing January blog header out. This new one features two Irish things I especially love, the Claddaugh symbol (more on that later) and Belleek tea ware. In today's zip one of the papers is a try at mimicking the soft pale yellow interior of a lot of Belleek ware; the other is a dark background of shamrocks. Also included is the first frame and a Celtic design. I can't quite determine what the design is supposed to be but I liked the look of it. The heads of the creatures that form it look like hounds but then the rest is all sinuous lines so it could be dragons or serpents. As we go along, if you are familiar with Viking designs you will notice that there is similarity with the Celtic and for good reason. There were Viking settlements in the Northern British Isles and for a long time Vikings and Celts existed peacefully along side one another.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Shamrocks today in freebie

Yes, you will find a few shamrocks in today's freebie. If you don't know already, you are going to learn that the number 3 figures largely in Irish culture from the 3 colors in the flag (more about that later), to the shamrock (the national flower), and many Celtic designs. The Celts believed that everything important comes in 3s like the three ages of man, the phases of the moon, and the three dominions of earth, sky, and sea.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Irish Way freebie series begins

The shamrock is a symbol of Ireland and of St. Patrick. This:
is NOT a shamrock but often mislabeled as such. It is a four-leaf clover, a rare mutation of the clover plant and, because it is rare, considered lucky. A shamrock is a clover with the customary 3 leaves:
. The shamrock is associated with St. Patrick and Ireland because St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the holy trinity to the pagan tribes of Ireland. Just as the shamrock has 3 leaves but is one plant, so God has 3 aspects: Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

After that little discussion of shamrocks and four leaf clovers, I realize that neither appears in today's zip of The Irish Way but they will show up soon. Today I've got 2 papers, one suggestive of the many colors of green that gave Ireland the nickname, The Emerald Isle. The other features the triple spiral symbol, or triskelion, which has been interpreted in many ways. Since each "leg" appears to move outward from the center, it is associated with the motion of action, cycles, progress, revolution and competition. Some see it as a symbol of feminine power, with each leg representing one aspect of the feminine: maiden, mother, and crone. Some other connotations of the three legs include life-death-rebirth, spirit-mind-body, mother-father-child, past-present-future, power-intellect-love, creation-preservation-destruction, or the 3 Celtic worlds: the spiritual world, the present world and the celestial world.

The elements today are a balloon banner (great for a St. Pat's party page), a wooden frame, a Celtic tree, and a Green Man element. Variations of the Green Man appear in many cultures, sometimes representing a nature deity, but more often a symbol of rebirth and rejuvenation.

If you have Irish ancestry, you probably know all this but perhaps it will be new information for someone.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Last of Wine & Roses freebie

Today we have the last of Wine & Roses - some borders:
Not shown at full size in preview.

Next week something Celtic for upcoming St. Patrick's Day. For lack of anything better, at the moment I'm calling it The Irish Way.

High winds continuing today but so far not as bad as yesterday. And it's sunny right now.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday and freebie

For hours now the house has been buffeted by high winds that are whipping trees around, slapping wires, and making all sorts of bumping and banging noises. Don't think I'm going out in this although there were a few things I'd wanted to do today. Have more than enough to do inside so will tackle the mound of laundry and put the tax stuff together. That should be more than enough.

Today I have some overlays for you. I put these together to make some of the papers in Wines & Roses but they can be used to create others. Have fun playing with them.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dreary rainy day

Saw my therapist today and brought her up to date about past month - Dad's death, brother etc. She seemed to think I've handled things pretty well. Eh, who knows. From there I went to Dad's house to show it to prospective buyers. They do the flip houses thing so it wouldn't be a matter of waiting around for people to try to get financing. They seemed very nice but it's a business. Should be calling my brother tonight to tell him they will have an offer ready in a couple days. My husband went over with me, uncomfortable with me being there alone with strangers, and he thinks they are going to come back with a low offer.

It's gray here and has been raining all day. At least the man and woman who came to see the house didn't make me go outside to show the garage. Told hubby we are either going out to eat tonight or ordering pizza. Just so tired and this weather isn't doing anything for my fibro.

Today last of the papers: