Saturday, March 29, 2014

This is my life :)

 One of my most favourite things EVER has got to be that I am lucky enough to have a hobby that is incredibly portable - my crochet tends to go pretty much everywhere with me. So here are some photos from the last few days; yesterday was the first day this year that I've been able to sit out in the garden with my 'work'. In the spirit of honesty I have to tell you that I did have two hot water bottles on my deckchair but I did sit out for a good hour or so.

 I'm at my happiest though when I've got my crochet with me at one of the beaches I like to haunt - the ones I go to are the ones that don't get a lot of dog-walkers and other people: I really enjoy the feeling of it being just me and the sea and whatever birds and other wildlife want to join me :) This time of year (and through the winter) we have the great Northern divers in the bay - you usually just see one lone one, or sometimes too - they are one of my most favourite birds and I love sharing the tranquility with them.

This last photo is a hat that I made recently - the colours reminded me so much of Skittles (sweets) - it was a really fun hat to make and I hope it will go to a good home soon!

Some more photos from my life...

This is our Henry! He's been in our lives for over 9 years now and turned 11 last month, which is pretty good going for a greyhound. In the last few months he's started to deteriorate and it turns out that he has a kind of arthritis in his spine which sadly affects the mobility and power in his back legs. He's on two types of medication for this but it's something that will eventually get worse over time...but as long as we can keep him happy and comfortable then it's all alright. He's such a gentle soul and is bullied by our cats every day, but he never stands up for himself, it never even enters his head.

Talking of cats, this is our Dinah looking very adorable!
and this last one is just a photo I took on the way down to the beach one day last week, it was a lovely day :)

I'm so thrilled about how successful my greetings card sales have been this month - so far I've sold 31 of them which works out at about €80 for the gift fund for my sponsor child's community. Considering that the average yearly wage in Vietnam is approx €300 I'm hoping that my donation will go a long way out there.

In other Etsy related news I've started to list my beach pebbles again click here  in my Etsy shop - so far I've got nine listed and now I've run out of the very fine cotton so I will have to either buy some more or make do with fine 4-ply cotton instead -- I'm going to try the 4-ply and see how it works out for the wee bags. I just love it whenever one of these pebbles sells - I get excited whenever ANYTHING sells but the pebbles are really personal to me.
 I love it best of all when it's a glorious day and I find the prettiest pebble and have my crochet cotton and trusty hook with me in my beach bag and can make the little bag in situ on the beach :) It just feels so right and then whenever someone finds them on the internet in my Etsy shop and buys one it's just an amazing feeling.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Life and other stuff...

Well, in just a few weeks I'll be back in my 'proper' job on the Valentia Ferry (this will be my 9th season there!) so in the meantime I'm using every chance to go beach combing!

My beach combing got covered for an online newspaper in Maine as so much of what I've been able to trace backwards seems to come from Maine -- beachcombing in the news :) I think it's a lovely piece of writing and pretty much catches who I am and what I do :)

I am just so lucky to be living where I am (back home, after about 13 years away) and having the life that I have.

There is so much rubbish still coming in after the storms; I really think it has stirred up stuff that was stuck on the bottom on the seabed or washed up on other beaches (we're finding lots of old lobster pot tags from the 1980s etc) but at the same time as finding 'trash' you also find 'treasure' too - like this teeny tiny green sea urchin :)

Recently I keep finding tiny plastic figures like these...

Who knows where they have come from (I'm guessing a lost cargo load somewhere out to sea?) but they make beachcombing even more fun.

And then I found this!  I thought it was just another plastic figure at first but it's made of china - isn't it so special??
I'm in two minds about whether to keep my lovely white horse or whether to list him in my Etsy shop...

In other news.....some time late last summer I won a night's bed and breakfast in Castlewood House in Dingle on facebook and it's only now that we finally managed to get there!

Dingle's only a couple of hour's drive away so it was perfect for a night away - this is definitely something that I would love to do again -- maybe for our wedding anniversary in September?

The bed and breakfast is just out of this world -- we had the biggest bed, the softest, snuggliest bathrobes...everything was just perfect: they even had a sachet of hot chocolate in the bedroom (as well as the regular teas/coffees etc).  We'd heard that their breakfasts were amazing but we weren't prepared for just how good it would be - I wish I'd taken a photo now. Their 'buffet' tables were just loaded to bursting with freshly made breads, different juices, cereals, name it - and then there was the menu to choose from too -- I opted for the pancakes, which came with fruit compote and maple syrup! :D :D

While we were in Dingle I was determined to finally go and visit the Seal Sanctuary (on the outskirts of the town) -

The sanctuary got a really bad battering in the storms so they are closed to the public and will be relocating in the near future; so we had a real 'behind the scenes' tour from Ally. I even got to help with tube feeding one of the seals (little Anthony) - it was just an amazing experience...since we visited he's now able to feed himself so he doesn't need to be force fed anymore. They do just the most amazing work in rehabilitating the seals and then when they are ready, they release them back into the wild.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Trying to Pay it Forward

A while ago I placed an order with Moo (lovely Moo!) for some more greetings cards for my Etsy shop and sadly they made a printing error on one of the designs, so I sent them an email and was hoping that they might perhaps reprint the affected cards for free or give me a small discount on my next order with them. Amazingly they very kindly reprinted the whole order (100 cards!) for free. I was really impressed with this - they always have seemed like a really lovely company but I felt that this was above and beyond what I would have expected as good customer service.

So I now have all these lovely cards sitting in a box in our house and I was wondering how I could try and pay their generosity forward....

It finally dawned on me after I received the ''Quan Ba Community Newsletter'' in the post. You see, for the last few months I have been using some of my 'selkie crochet' money to sponsor a little girl in the Quan Ba region of Vietnam, through the wonderful organisation Action Aid Ireland. It's only €23 a month but makes a HUGE difference out there. 

My sponsor girl was born in 2006 and attends kindergarten. She lives in the second poorest province in Vietnam where there isn't any running water - people have to store water from the river or rain water in buckets; there are often severe water shortages in the 'dry season' (November to March). People really struggle to live there, with limited health care and less than one fifth of the land being suitable for agriculture.

Twice a year I receive a drawing from Si (my sponsor child) and also a handwritten letter from the local field staff to inform me on how she is doing and what's happening in the local community. As her sponsor I can send her postcards from here in return.

Action Aid also have a 'gift fund' where you can donate extra funds and the money will go directly to your sponsor child's area and will be used for items such as sports equipment, helping fund a playground, organising community events and even things that we all take for granted here like warm winter coats .

Reading in the newsletter about the gift fund really sparked something in my head and suddenly I knew just what to do with the 'extra' greetings cards :)

So for the whole of the rest of this month I am selling my cards on a 'pay for two and get one free' offer on all the cards in my Etsy shop - please click on the link below and it will take you right there.

All you have to do is purchase two cards and then in the 'message to seller' box please let me know which one you would like for free.The price is in US dollars (as most of my Etsy customers are American) but it works out at about €2.50 I think per card - so you will get three lovely, great quality, greetings cards for just €5! --- and even better, you will know that you are helping support such a great cause.

At the end of the month I will then donate all of the proceeds to the Action Aid Ireland gift fund for Vietnam where it will go to help the local community.

p.s. I'd like to say a big big thanks to Jo-Ann at Action Aid Ireland for providing the photo of all the school children in their lovely new coats.

action aid ~~~ please click here if you would like more information about sponsoring a child yourself; or just more information about who Action Aid are and what they do.

edited to include ~~~ if you just want to buy one card that's fine too - the money will still go to actionaid