Making a St.Brigid’s cross, is an ancient tradition in Ireland, people young and old make these crosses from rushes of which there are plenty growing around the country. Tradition has it that the cross will protect the house from fire, hunger and evil if hung above the door. You can often still see them hanging in halls of houses. St.Brigid or as she is known “Mary of the Gael” is the patroness of Ireland, she was born in 450 A.D.

It is also suggested that this cross has pre-Christian origins and is related to the sun cross. The first of February is when St.Brigid’s day is celebrated, this is also the ancient Irish celebration of ‘Imbolc’ which marks the beginning of spring, and indeed spring starts on the first of February in Ireland! (According to the behaviour of the birds this morning in our garden, this must be about right).
Actually Wikipedia gives a real good write up about St.Brigid cross and that is why I am adding a link to it, far more information than I could know or share here, so enjoy if you are interested.

I have added some photos to show how the cross is made on request of some of my nice friends that follow my blog.  I made some of these crosses tonight. Went to pick the rushes earlier and kept them from drying out, this is important to work with them easily if not using straight away.

So here goes, I will do my best to describe:
First you hold one rush vertical in your hand, and you add another rush with your other hand bending it in the middle and sliding it across the vertical rush as seen in pic 2.  you then turn the vertical rush either clock-wise or anti clock-wise depending on whether you are right or left handed.  You keep adding one rush at the time constantly turning the original rush, you keep a tight hold of them.  When you have added enough and it becomes like pic 6 then you have to cut the ends but be careful as the whole thing might jump loose, so hold tight, fix an elastic band around the end and repeat this with all four sides.  Your cross is now ready to hang up.

I hope the explanation will do, and if you try I hope you have much fun.

The rushes or reeds used to make these crosses are called;

Soft Rush or Juncus effuses.




Sunday is my day of rest, I indulge in all sort of frivolous pastimes. Of late I have taken an interest in recycling crockery, our town here has six charity shops and there is always something to find, some treasure. I like to buy cups and saucers with patterns in blue and white, they look clean and cool. So I snapped some photos of my acquisitions.

The fine blue flowers of this cup look delicate against the shiny white porcelain, I found the cup and saucer separate from the plate, this was lucky.  The porcelain was made in Bavaria, Germany.  It’s called Winterling Renaissance Pattern China.  I use it everyday as I do not believe in saving or storing things away.

Some of the other cups and saucers I obtained were made in England, in Staffordshire and they are Ironstone.  It is a type of vitreous pottery, it was  first made in the early 19th century.  You can plainly see that it is different from the Bavarian porcelain, more robust, but I like both.  They are called Ironstone because of their durability.



I particularly like this design, it’s also Ironstone, made in England.  For some reason my grandfather in Belgium had a tea set of this, the cups are larger than average and I remember the black coffee that was poured out of the everlasting ‘koffiepot’ which was constantly on the stove brewing, the coffee beans having been grinded in a ‘koffiemolen’, and put in a cotton bag that was hanging in the pot, a delicious aroma filling the room.  Good memories.


Here is another fine pure white cup and saucer, incredibly I found both cup and saucer separately again.  It is a rather small cup and it has no markings on it whatsoever.


More Ironstone ware, all found separately and paid less than €1 for the lot.  They get used everyday, and great pleasure is got from the colour combination and a cheerful table setting.


Here are a selection of plates and saucers.  The colourful porcelain plate has markings which places it in Bohemia.  The others are English Ironstone.

I particularly like the idea of recycling as much as we can, it’s fun looking for the stuff, and it really does save resources of the planet.  Seeing that a town of 2000 people can have six charity shops where people constantly get rid of their surplus ‘stuff’ it shows that there is an enormous amount of surplus around.  Re-using things is a good idea.

Apart from all that, I must say that I really enjoy hunting around in the charity shops, having decided that I need such and such items.  At this moment I am still on the look out for blue and white patterned crockery, it will give me innocent pleasure for a while yet.



Between, the baking, the decorating of the speculaas (a Flemish/Dutch Sint.Niklaas spicy biscuit), making the Christmas stars, the story reading, and watching a video about puppies, the girls had a great time, we also sang some songs together and before we knew it the day was over and it was time for the girls to go home.  I’m just sitting down after cleaning up the kitchen 🙂 and now for a relaxing evening.  The stars are still drying and were not ready for taking home.  I also managed in-between to make my wreath for the front door, something that I should have done days ago.  A happy day had by all.

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As the evening drew in over a very productive day,  the sky became very pink and red, I could not resist taking some photos of the hills beyond the little town of Skibbereen.


Seen through the trees of the garden.


My youngest granddaughter’s Christmas present is totally finished now and wrapped up ready for the day.  The little sheep to go with it I also found in a charity shop, washed it, and all done now.


The finished product – every minute I spent making this present I so much enjoyed, now waiting for Christmas and I know one little girl that is going to be very happy!

Today I found a second doll’s bed in a local charity shop and bought it for all of €6 which is extremely cheap, and this one has got a canopy. This is going to be another great project to, when it is all finished and nicely fitted out with matras, pillow, sheets etc… will be another Christmas present for yet another two year old grand child. I am excited about it, the more so as the mum of the child was planning to get her a doll, so it all fits together. It does not look much now but it will when I’m finished with it – fun!

So today I went shopping for some material, some lace binding, and some other bits and pieces, also a tin of white paint as I will paint the grey away.  I took off all the stuff that was on the cot and washed the blanket, quilt and canopy material, using this later as a model for the new one.  I choose a pink and white check as it is fresh and yet delicate, this for the sides of the cot and for the canopy.  I already cut the material for the matrass, so all going according to plan.  Last night I made out a detailed plan of how I was going to tackle this project, an enjoyable activity in itself.  I will update as I go along.

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A few days ago I painted the dull grey away and now it’s a lovely white.  The matrass and pillow are finished too, only some stitching to be done but that can wait.  And today I made the canopy.

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Next it was the canopy to make, and yesterday I finished that.

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Today I finished making the side padded panels for the cradle, and I put it all together just to have a look, but finishing touches have to be done yet, like putting ribbons on the side panels to attach them to the cradle etc.  It is starting to look good.  Now I am going to hunt for some white material to make the sheets.



Today was a day for the fire and inside activities. After reading half the morning (lazily in bed). I shot into action. As Sunday usually is a no-cooking day, I decided to do something with the half bottle of left over red wine, and the conference pears I bought, so using warming spices like Cinnamon, Cloves and Ginger, I made it into a delicious treat. That and a bowl of nourishing homemade soup, and the kitchen could be closed 🙂
During the afternoon I finished my sewing project, that is now almost ready to be wrapped up. The little bed just needs a lick of paint and then it’s ready. It has been good.

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With presents on my mind, I came across this cute little dolls bed today at the farmers market in town. Since I have a two year old granddaughter I thought it a great idea to take on the project of making something of this item. It cost me no more than €3 ($3.75) or just over £2, a real bargain. Of course it is not new, it’s a recycled item. I got rather excited about it and started straight away with making a mattras, pillow, quilt and quilt cover, tomorrow I’ll make the sheets and pillow case. It’s funny as my daughter had been thinking of getting her a doll – this all for Christmas. It’s been a very fulfilling day and I can just see my granddaughter have great fun with it. 🙂 and it got me sewing again!

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