Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Creative Courage -Bring it on!

I mentioned previously that my New Year’s resolution was to take part in some creative courses this year. I recently completed Blogging Your Way 2.0 hosted by the lovely Holly Becker which I really enjoyed and was happy to find that the ecourse format worked very well for me as I could fit it in around my usual schedule and didn’t feel under any pressure. I'm really excited to be getting ready to start another ecourse next week called Creative Courage by Stephanie Levy. This is how Stephanie describes the course
'My Creative Courage e-course is an international, fun, holistic, hands-on online course, full of colorful activities, resources, quotes, and 12 fresh inspirational interviews with several of the most successful, amazing artists, writers, designers, coaches, and crafters who are thriving today.'

Two of the 12 super talented creatives include Heather Moore of Skinny Laminx and Victoria Smith of Sfgirlbybay both of whom I have followed and admired for many years and I can't wait to hear what they have to share.

Thankfully our house renovation is nearly finished (well all the big bits anyway) so I will be able to uncover my crafty/office room which is currently under a pile of boxes and paint tins just in time to get started.

I'll keep you posted on how I get on.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our house renovation project; The Before

We have finally started renovating some of our house, hurrah! Regular readers will have heard me talking about our plans to renovate since 2008 when we first moved in. Back then we hoped we would be able to start work within the year but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. It's amazing to finally be able to put our plans into action. The kitchen has always been a total disaster zone, it was installed partially under the stairs and whatever genius installed it decided to basically ignore that fact and hang full wall presses complete with doors that basically could not open due to the obstruction of the sloping ceiling. The counter top ( a lovely bottle green colour!) was sloping allowing pools of water to gather, the corner press under the sink was badly cut out to fit around some dodgy piping so that the water from the sloping counter top would drip down into it, there were no drawers at all and the floor was tiled in my least favourite of all tiles ...Terracotta! Arrggghhh I have hated living with this kitchen. It was so exciting to rip it out a few weeks ago. The overall plan we’ve had is to pull down the wall between the kitchen and living room to create one open plan room. We are doing as much of the work as possible ourselves, so it is taking a long time to complete as we are relying on evenings and weekends. Here you can see the very first steps taken about 12 weeks ago!

We are in the final stages now so keep an eye out in the next few weeks for some proper 'before' and ‘after’ pictures!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Highly Recommended-Blogging Your Way E-course by Holly Becker

As a sort of New Year’s resolution I decided I would indulge in a few creative courses throughout 2012. For the past four weeks I have been taking part in an e-course for bloggers called ‘Blogging Your Way’ The course is run by the uber successful Holly Becker of Decor 8 alongside some other crazy talented bloggers/creative’s, Jeanette Lunde of By Fryd, Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely and Katrina Tan of Pugly Pixel. I hovered over the purchase button on this course several times before I actually signed up, I wasn’t sure if was going to be a bit of a gimmick. I was relieved on day one when I logged in to find that I instantly loved the course and knew it was going to worth every penny.
As well as practical how to style lessons the course aims to dig a little deeper, to push you discover more about yourself, your dreams, yours ambitions and the tools you need to help find the path you want, stay on it, stay motivated and ultimately succeed. Holly is very very open throughout all the lessons, she presents everything in a non formal yet professional way that puts everyone at ease and encourages them to participate in the same way. I can definitely recommend the course, and I think it is especially beneficial for those who have a blog for their business or those who want to become professional bloggers.
One of the great parts of this course is getting to chat with the other students in an interactive forum. It was lovely to find so many other people with similar interests and I was taken a back by how open and helpful everybody was, I learnt so much.
Thanks to Holly, her team and all the BYW2 students for such as great experience.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Foxy Designs

Foxes seem to be popping up more and more lately in all sorts of home and fashion accessories.  I was looking through my Flickr favorites and was reminded of two foxy favourites I'd marked some time ago.The first is a set of felt badges from Alina of  Hanaletters  Alina makes all sorts of fabulous felt badges in many cool kawaii style designs. I don't know how she manages to get so much detail into such small little badges, amazing! If you like these foxes you will love her other collections, take a peek at her shop or on Flickr or her lovely blog.

The second flickr favourite is another cute badge this time a pin badge from The Little Drom Store in Singapore owned  by Stanley Tan and Antoinette Wong. The store definitely looks like another for my must see wish list, I love the simple white walls and natural wood shelving filled to the brim with all sorts of knick knacks and quirky items. The shop regularly showcases work from local artists this month it's the turn of illustrator Mary Bernadette (you can see her painting the Little Drom shop window in the picture below). For those of us who can't make it to Singapore you can visit the The Little Drom online store or find out more about them on The Little Drom blog.

Art, Craft, Design

What do you think about Foxy home and fashion accessories? are you a fan? They've definitely caught my eye, here's few more of my current favorites..

Fox, Design, Art, Craft, Buzz and Lola

Top row (left to right):
Hand screen printed Pillow from Robin and Mould
Origami Fox Hand Painted Brooch from Papiki
Necklace from bbel
Bottom row (left to right):
Wire Fox Head from Bongo Designs
Bushing Fox Tote Bag from Gingiber
Japanese Folklore Print Illustration by Vireo

Friday, June 29, 2012

Must See Shops: No.1 Skinny Laminx

Over the next few weeks I'd like to share with you a few shops outside of Ireland that I would love to get the chance to visit in person one day. First up on my virtual tour is ‘Skinny Laminx’ located in Cape Town, South Africa. It's owned by talented illustrator and designer Heather Moore.  Heathers brick and  mortar shop  only just opened  last year but she  has been creating and selling her beautiful designs for many years through other outlets including  her Etsy store. It's great that I can still purchase her products online but I'd really love to be able walk around the actual shop.

I love the shop front, the simple white font of the name against the black background, the wooden frames, the window boxes and then a gorgeous illustration on the glass with the tag line 'You make me smile', how could  you walk past all that without stepping inside!

Here are a few sneak peeks of the shop, I love the way it is styled, the grey and white walls and the pops of colour from all the gorgeous products, it's all so inviting. Heathers studio forms part of the shop and to make a distinction between the two areas she has hung a fab oversized metal sign of one of her trademark designs the 'Eep' bird, you can see it below. I think it looks gorgeous and it's a great way of separating the areas while still leaving the whole space open.

I think Heather is a great stylist, from the shop layout to the beautiful online catalogue she has created showcasing all of her products. Everything is styled to make the products shine out as stars of the show.

My personal favorites from Heathers collections are the 'Eeps', 'Duikers' and 'Herds'. Regular readers may recall I made a cushion from an Eep tea towel some time ago, I just couldn't bring myself to use it to dry dishes-too pretty! I think I will
definitely be making a purchase again soon once our kitchen/living renovation is complete.

I was lucky enough to go to South Africa in 2001 with a group of friends on a hockey tour. It is such a beautiful place with so much to see and do. We visited vineyards, went on safari and whale watching, journeyed along the garden route, took a trip to Robben Island and a hilltop tribal village, bungee jumped (okay well I was too chicken but the others did!), oh and we played a bit of hockey too! It was amazing. I'm not sure that I will get the chance to go back again, but if I do Skinny Laminx will be my first stop. Thank you to Heather for letting me share her work with you here.

(Images used with permission from www.SkinnyLaminx.com)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Sanna Annukka Prints

Sanna Annukka, Buzz and Lola, Art, Screen Print, Scandinavian

I was so excited this morning to see a mailshot  announcing the release of some new Sanna Annukka prints to her online store. As regular readers will know I am a big fan of Sanna Annukka's work.  I love Scandinavian style and her designs are always so beautifully full of colour and patterns.  I was delighted to finally get my hands on one of her Screen prints 'Spirits of the North'  last November as a first wedding anniversary gift from my hubby (you can see it in our home here.) Sanna explains that these new prints are a  range of fantastical birds based on areas of Finland.  These fabulous screen prints will be screen printed by Sanna herself in her new studio in Brighton and she promises more wonderful designs will hit the store in the coming months. I for one will be keeping a close eye on the shop and saving my pennies to make another purchase soon.

(Images used with permission from http://www.sanna-annukka.com/)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Graffiti by Miss Van

Miss Van, Graffitti
I love collecting free promotional postcards that I find around the city. My favorite in the collection is a postcard I found years ago in a cafe in town, its a picture of some street graffiti by Miss Van. You can see the postcard sitting on my desk above. I recently found some photos of the piece on Flickr showing more of the wall in Barcelona that it was painted on. I'd  love to have the picture enlarged to put on my wall, that chick has some serious attitude! 

(Photo used with owners permission 'Miss Van, a photo by Anuko on Flickr')

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pretty Little Things

Stationary, paperchase, craft, washi tape, buzz and lola

My good friend Rachel is getting married in three weeks time....eeekkk excitement all round! Last night was her Hen Party (A.K.A Bachelorette Party) and everyone had to bring a little gift that reminds them of the blushing bride to be. I knew exactly where to go for this...Paperchase! Rachel  like me loves all things cute and/or pretty and stationary and gift wrapping are definite weak spots for both of us. Heres a peak of what I picked up for her!

Friday, June 8, 2012

'Handmade Fashion' Magazine

Handmade Fashion Magazine, Buzz and Lola, Craft

Looking for a good Mag to chill out with on the couch over the weekend?  Well a couple of weeks back I headed to Tenerife on holidays and needed a few magazines to try and distract me on the plane as I tend to freak out when flying-every little noise, bump slightly strange looking passenger has me convinced we are about to fall out of the sky..! Anyway I was browsing through the usual celeb mag trash when I spotted 'Handmade Fashion' on the racks which describes itself as a 'fashion-led, craft magazine'. I was sold on it straight away, its packed full of lovely with articles on current fashion trends, interviews with crafty experts, tips on shopping for vintage and loads of DIY projects and patterns to try and do yourself . Having had a quick snoop online I see its only just launched this February and  there will be just two publications a year to coincide with the fashion seasons. Its a little bit pricey but I think its definitely worth treating yourself to and I look forward to the next edition. You can find  Handmade Fashion Mag on Twitter @HandmadeMag. Happy Friday everyone...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Social networking: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Everyday it seems there is a new way to share our images; blogging, Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, Pinterest the list goes on. We search through these images looking for inspiration, ideas or just for the pure pleasure of seeing them, but sometimes don’t you look at them and find yourself
comparing them to your own world? Doesn’t your world look a bit dull in comparison? and aren't you just a tad bit jealous of how everyone else's world seems to be?

I have been prompted by other recent conversations to think about this and the thing i’ve come
to acknowledge is that this picture world we scroll through each day is a hyperreality, a
simulation of the real world. You never post the bad pictures do you? You pick the best
shot and delete the hundreds of rejects. You don’t snap the ugly in your life, no, you target
the fresh cut flowers or the newly painted living room, not the ever growing pile of undone
laundry in the guest bedroom or the botched bit of wallpapering now strategically hidden
behind a pot plant.We don’t share the good, the bad and the ugly of real life do we? just
the good. The bad and the ugly is photoshopped out of the way and we are left with a perfectly shiny world! 

On Instagram everyday I see pictures of beautiful breakfasts, lunches or dinners that
are fit for framing. Luscious colorful salads in beautiful china with a handcrafted coffee on
the side, I look at them and then turn to the two dry pieces of sliced pan in my hand with
some questionable cheese stuffed in between and i think 'no amount of styling is going to make this
baby camera ready' ! Of course we don’t post the bad and the ugly, thats not what any of us want to see is it? We want all the pretty things to cheer up our day and to distract from the bad and the
ugly and thats okay, thats the way i like it dont get me wrong but its good to remind yourself that these pictures are just a snap shot of the good parts of  everyones life, its not that the bad and the ugly doesn’t exist for them  its just that they’ve been carefully cropped out of the picture!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fabulous Cakes from Jens Party Cakes

My Sister in law Jenny is a super talented cake maker and owns her own business Jens Party CakesJen can make literally anything out of icing and cake from beautiful intricate wedding cakes to  crazy quirky bespoke cakes for all sorts of occasions. As well as looking amazing they are delicious, chocolate fudge cake, carrot cake, biscuit cake...nom nom nom.
Here is the tiniest peek of some of her creations. You can check out more of her fabulous cakes or contact Jen on Facebook and Flickr
For any interested Irish readers Jen is based in Kilkenny.

All photos owned by Jens Party Cakes

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bring Me Sunshine

A little Etsy Treasury I put together with gorgeous colourful art to brighten anyones day. As for me I am off on holiday tomorrow to Tenerife for some REAL sunshine...wohoo..so excited. Speak to you when i return , Happy Friday everyone.

(Click link into Etsy Treaury to see details of all art included in this treasury)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pleats Pleats Crochet Style Sofa

I spotted this little baby on pinterest today. I love these oversized crochet and knitting products that seem to be popping up more and more lately (like Claire Ann O'Briens gorgeous knit stools blogged here). This 'Pleats Pleats' Sofa is from the Imaginary Office  and designed by Daniel Hedner.

Photos from Imaginary Office

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In the neighborhood

I have to admit when we bought our house I barely acknowledged that there was a little park right at the bottom of our road. Since moving I am so appreciative of this little urban oasis, its great to be able to throw my work bag in the door (literally!!!) at the end of a day grab the furbabies and be strolling around the park two minutes later.

Orla Kiely Sample Sale -Dublin

Aaahhhhhhhhhh why am I stuck in work....I want to be here..

Via http://www.orlakiely.com/


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Embroidered Apron

I finally got the chance to use one of the lovely designs from the 'Sublime Stitching Embroidered Effects' book (by Jennifer Hart). I decided to make an Apron as part of  my mums birthday present and thought this gorgeous peacock pattern would make it that bit more special. Heres a few pictures of how it came together.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our Living Room

I posted back in October about how excited I was to be getting a Sanna Annukka print (Spirits of the North) for my anniversary. Here is a little peak of where it now lives! I absolutely love it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Amigurumi Cupcake

My sister in law is a fabulous cake maker, it was her birthday this weekend so i crocheted this little Cupcake to go with her gift. The pattern is available for free on Nimoe's blog and is quick and easy to make.

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Home

I  thought I'd put together a little round up of my house, i have bits and pieces of pics saved here and there, some i included on my old blog (Blacklashes) but they didn't transfer to this blog. As i keep going on about (and realise i have been talking about since 2009, before the recession kicked in!!)we plan to renovate and knock the kitchen and living room in to one open plan area, it looks like it will finally happen later this year..beyond excited.. so change is on the horizon.  Until then this is what its like, first up -the Hallway

and this is what it looked like when we first moved in
Some sources:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Lost Granny

Dont you hate when you get stuck into a project and then loose interest in it? I started this Granny Square blanket back in September and just got sick of it..its been sitting in a bag ever since. Now that its coming into Spring  these bright colours are inspiring me to pick it up again and I'm thinking of making it into a picnic blanket...Watch this space!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Buzz and Lola at the Seaside

To finish off the Paddys Day weekend we headed down to the sea today with Buzz and Lola. Heres a few quick snaps. Buzz is all action as usual, Lola on the other hand manages to keep her paws dry, little nervous nelly. Lovely day :-)

Dont drink it Buzz Buzz!

Can hardly spot Buzz here in her camouflage..

Lola keeps a safe distance!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Abigail Ahern on new TV show 'How to get your House in Order'

Looks like there is a great new show coming up on Channel 4 with Abigail Ahern. From the  promo it seems that she helps obsessive collectors and hoarders to transform their chaotic overladen houses into beautiful stylish homes. I have her gorgeous book A Girls Guide To Decorating and love her style so im really looking forward to seeing the transformations she makes. Read more about the show here

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Amigurumi Spring Bunny

I just finished crocheting this little bunny following the Spring Bunnies Pattern from the super talented Stephanie of 'All About Ami' . I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, of course its a zillion times bigger than the pattern as i haven't quite mastered the smaller crochet hooks yet but it still works. A bit more practice and ill soon have a tinier friend for this guy

UPDATE: This little guy was featured alongside loads of other Spring Bunnies from around the world on All About Ami-check them out here

Launch of Dublins Creative Quarter

I've just seen the announcement of the launch of Dublin's Creative Quarter...sounds exciting right?
It is the promotion of the area of South Great Georges St and South William St as a creative hub and they are kick starting the initiative with some events over the St Patrick's Day weekend.
Read the official press release here and details of the St Patricks day events here

It all sounds very positive, I'd especially love to see Georges St Arcade become fully occupied again, oohhh id love to have my own little spot there, each time I've walked through there recently there seems to be another empty space a sign of the times of course. I hope this initiative gives the place a real boost and why not there are loads of great spots in that area old and new, Designist, Project 51, Article, The Loft and This is Knit in the Powerscourt Townhouse, Murphy Sheehy Fabrics...the list goes on, identifying the area as a Creative Hub makes total sense and I hope it attracts even more exciting places in the near future.
Georges St Arcade

Friday, March 2, 2012

Grey Felt and Yellow Chevron-Etsy Treasury

I have a real thing for both grey felt products and yellow chevron print at the moment and the two together are a great combination. I'm hoping to work this into the decor of our new open plan living/dining room later in the year, fingers crossed we'll be finally able to start this renovation project during the summer...so excited :-)

Monday, February 6, 2012

'Free Stitch' for the Furballs

 I have just drooled over almost every item in this shop 'Free Stitch',  a gorgeous Japanese Dog clothing and accessories shop featured today on Dog Milk .