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Stamp It!

Posted on 31 July, 2015

The world of Lino printing is one that I’ve skirted around the edges of with great trepidation. This project only slightly addresses my fears  in that I’ve bought the lino, cut out a shape and used the lino as a stamp but I didn’t even consider etching out any detail. When I even think about making a lino print I get a mental block about what parts stay coloured and what stays the same. Thinking  about  “if I etch away this section what colour will it be?” makes my brain hurt and so for the moment I’m keeping it very, very simple and I cut out the shape I needed covered in in fabric ink, stamped it, no fancy stuff at all!

Lino Priniting DIY ,Stamp Lino Printing tablecloth

The project was to jazz up a blue tablecloth that I’ve had for years that never gets any use. The method was very easy.

I  drew a pear on the lino, Cut out the shape using a cheap lino cutter (a scissors would have done fine). Next cut the leaf and stalk from main body of the pear because I wanted to do them different colours. I stuck the lino to cardboard so my inky fingers didn’t touch off the cloth as I used the stamp. Next I rolled the fabric ink. I bought a starter kit with a few different colours because I have big fabric ink dreams for the future but you can buy them separately too. Then I rolled the ink on a sheet of glass, up down over and back for a minute or too until the texture got tacky. Then I rolled the printing roller  over the  pear stamp and pressed the stamp down on the fabric. After finishing the body of the pear I washed everything with warm water, rolled the green ink and gave each pear a green leaf and stalk.

PicMonkey Collage

Here are a few things I learnt:

-Less is more when it comes to fabric ink. Start with a little ink and roll it well. The amount of yellow ink that’s blobbing around in the pictures above is way too much. I reigned it back for the green ink and that worked much better.

– Print on a completely flat surface not a ridged table like I did!

-Printing outside feels lovely and bohemian but flies get stuck on your pear stamps and you make a mess trying to rescue them from an inky death.

– The project takes longer than one toddler nap time. As a guide it took an hour and a half from  drawing the shape to getting one lenght and width of the fabric stamped. Stamping itself is very quick but allow a bit of time to get to that stage.

– Start with a practice cloth. It’s simple to do but you do need a bit of practice to figure out how much ink works best for the look your after.

-If your doing a repeat pattern draw a straight line with chalk or masking tape where you want the stamp to go. I did it by eye and the pattern goes up at the ends and then swoops down when I realise, another oops!

– Iron your fabric. Ironing is against my principles ( really I just hate it) so I didn’t but I will concede it would look better if I had.

Last but not least enjoy. Rolling goey stuff and stamping has an air of pre-school about it, so enjoy and get messy (but not too messy, it is fabric ink after all so don’t go around touching your clothes:)



So there you have it, ink and lino make a very nice pear indeed! (sorry I couldn’t resist)



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It takes a village

Posted on 27 July, 2015

There are a lot of things to lament about holidays pre-toddler. Book reading, relaxing, lie-ins, slow lingering breakfasts and drinking with wanton abandonment because I could sleep in until the hangover passed. With our two year old ray of sunshine, mornings on our holidays got brought forward to 5:30am for the first week. I fear he takes ray of sunshine too literally and wakes in full vocal glory with the first break of sunlight. Luckily we have discovered  the secret to holidaying with a toddler. The answer is so simple I don’t know why I haven’t shared it before. All you need is a team of 9 people and one dog. A mixture of adults and older children works best. The key is to exclude parents of other small children. They are too busy with their children to offer  assistance towards parenting yours and therefore are an unwelcome addition.

The second week of our holiday the house filled and the answer to how do we have a more relaxing time became apparent. We figured out that the exact number of people needed to entertain a toddler for 10.5 hours a day is 9 people and one dog. The tasks were divided neatly into walking, reading, playing trains, drawing trains, falling over dramatically when Ewan throws a ball towards you, building sand castles and/or splashing with Ewan, chasing butterflies, jumping in muddy puddles (Thank you Peppa!) and bringing an endless supplies of food to Ewan. With 9 people to share around the tasks (and a dog to fill the gaps) it meant I got plenty of time to ponce around with my camera while Ewan declared ” I go play with the boys Mammy”. Win, win.

The knock on effect of mass parenting was that he was exhausted and slept in until nearly 8 most mornings racking up an extra 2 and a half hours sleep every morning. Now that’s a holiday!

Here are a few pictures from my aforementioned poncing, if you’ll excuse me I’m off to reach communes, they could be on to something!


Goose Barnicles


Sea Lavender




Alfie minding the bag


Sea Lavender

5 euro and two Charity Shops

Posted on 9 July, 2015

Very very soon we are heading off on holidays, whoop whoop. As we are staying in Ireland there is a possibility it will rain. There is a possibility that walking in the rain might not cut it for very long and there is a possibility that we might have to entertain Ewan for hours with only our wits and good humour to pull us through. This last bit made me think we needed some new books, and sharpish.

My criteria for holiday children’s books is multi-faceted: second hand, cheap,light and easy to carry, minimal scribbles, no torn pages and last but not least something different to what we already have. We headed to Ballincollig where I wanted to test my theory that outside the city centre are charity shops filled with great things at cheaper prices because they don’t have to pay city rents.  This theory will need further testing post-holiday but I’m pretty chuffed with what my 5 euro got me.

Firstly 7 books for 3 euro  and 50 cents

IMG_1715 price

Next my impromptu purchase of an Old Navy Stripey Jumper  50 cents and Mini Boden pants 50cents.

IMG_1714 better price

Before we headed for home, it turns out two charity shops is the maximum this toddler can handle, Ewan made his own impulse purchase request for a 50 cents toy bus. He loves it dearly.

IMG_1750 p

An arm full of bargains in any ones book I’d say.  I’ve only given them a cursory glance to the books (I don’t want to spoil the surprise:) but so far the “Dinosaur that pooped a lot ” has caught my attention and I’ve never read ( or don’t remember reading) Three Billy Goats Gruff so hold on to your hats this holiday is going to be mental!!

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A shocking Tuesday Night

Posted on 8 July, 2015


Image Credit

It was a Tuesday night like any other. Steve and I lay gently snoring until I woke up to a scratching noise. It was persistent and definitely in our room. This required action. I woke Steve by jabbing him in the shoulder with my index finger. Speaking was a risk as I didn’t want to give up my position. I once read that if a rat bites your neck the best way to get it to remove it’s grip is to light a match, then blow it out and put it to its nose. The reason being that rats don’t like sulphur as so they release their grip! This is possibly the most useless piece of advice I have ever stumbled across. I never carry matches and if my neck is being ravaged by a rat I am certain that I will not have the presence of mind to remember that we keep matches in a tea caddy in the shelf above the washing machine! This advice also has me full convinced that if a rat knows where I am it will immediately attack my neck therefore speaking before we had identified the creature seemed incredibly dangerous. But after poking Steve awake I felt that I needed to say something.

So in the whispered darkness I explain that I’ve heard something rustling. (Rustling is such a great word!). The noise happens, again, and again, and again. Steve and I look up at the same time. Above our heads is the creature that woke us up and is now terrifying the life out of us. A bat. A real life, flying bat, circling our bedroom celling.

Steve screams and runs for the room, turning the light on as he makes his escape. There goes my back up!  The light has the effect sending the bat into a freak attack frenzy. He starts swooping and diving, banging itself into walls then soaring up again. I dive under the covers afraid for my life. If there are two things urban legends have thought me it’s that rats go for the neck while bats get stuck in your hair. Desperately regretting letting my hair grow, I curl myself into a ball and hide under the covers all the while chastising Steve for leaving me in my hour of great need.

With a lot of bravery Steve comes shrieking back into the room, flings open the shutters and opens the window. I don’t see any of this as I’m still struggling to breathe under the covers. But when the shrieking stops I brave a peak. Steve is standing near the window, flashing any passer by’s who happen to be walking by having a staring competition with the half dead bat. He explains that the bat swooped to fly out the window, missed and seems to have knocked himself out.

The bat looked at Steve, I looked at Steve, Steve looked worryingly at the bat. The bat does not make it. The head injury proved fatal.

We barricade the chimney in our bedroom with a pillow. This is not the strongest defence but at 5 in the morning it’s the most we can manage, turn off the light and try desperately to get back to sleep. Not the kind of drama you’d expect, or want, on a Tuesday night!

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V and A Love

Posted on 3 July, 2015

Our trip to London didn’t all go as planned but there is something wise to be said about the whole trip being the sums of all it’s parts and one part I wouldn’t change is my new found love of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. When I added the museum to my wish list before our trip  I wasn’t after a rare glimpse at the creative endeavors of centuries of artists and sculptors I was more concerned with their gift shop! I have long ogled over their gift shop online and regardless of whether or not there was anything of interest in the museum itself I wanted to see it’s gift shop. It turns out the V and A is more than the sum of it’s gift shop (where incidentally I only bought a few post cards after all my talk).

For a start it’s free and it’s a absolutely stunning building. Certainly not too shabby for Ann Marie!





Plus the coffee shop is pretty alright looking!


Image Credit: Nomadic Vision


Image Credit: Nomadic Vision

When we were there it was far too busy and I was too hungry to photograph it but the pictures above do it justice. This place has the wow factor and beats a Costa Coffee any day! Being unfamiliar with heat Steve and I ate outside and talked about how much Ewan would have loved the paddling pool/ water feature in the gardens. Taking a weekend trip without Ewan had it’s merits but he was never too far from our thoughts and we talked about him ALOT!



But the best part  for me is their random collections. A room devoted to Blue and White Ceramics, yes please. This is my kind of place. Singer Sewing machines, Cornishware and William Morris Wallpaper are all on display and given the same attention as ancient metal work. But the icing on the cake was most definitely their collection of tiles. I am long confessed tile addict and the V and A did not disappoint. The buildings are full of lovely tiles underfoot but the ones on display. Oh my, be still my beating heart. I actually gasped at how pretty some of them were!

collage 2 brighter

The next time we get a chance to go to London I reckon the itinerary will be airport then straight to the V and A for some delightful tile lust, I might even have a splash in their water feature the next time!



The V&A Museum courtyard

Image Credit : Nomadic Vision