My Etsy shop window

Friday, 30 May 2008

6 weeks to get everything done

Well, our due date is now only 6 weeks away - Friday 11th July.
I'm actually quite calm about the whole birth thing now. Well, calmer. I'm not stupid, I still know it's gonna hurt I'm just OK about it now.

In fact I'm now able to look beyond the birth and take in information like this from Maggie Mason at Mighty Girl (she writes Mighty Goods).
"Well ladies, this is how long it took me to take off all the baby weight. Sixteen months."
It's something to look forward to!

me at 32 weeks
Anyway, we have LOTS to do to get the house finished before the baby's allowed to arrive and it all stems from getting the dining room done. We basically can't get the babies room finished until that's done as we need to store everything in there. The babies room is actually my jewellery workshop at the moment too and I can't move that out to it's new home in the dining room until you know, the dining room is done! There's nothing like a deadline to get things moving.

We've actually owned this house for about 4.5 years now and the dining room is the final job so it'll be amazing and unbelievable to actually have it finished and have a whole functioning house! It just means Ben has some hideous time stripping woodchip wallpaper ahead of him. (Being pregnant has gotten me out of it this time mmwahahaha!) Hmm there's an interesting question. Given the choice, which would you rather do, strip woodchip or give birth...

I'm going to have a lot of before & after pictures I'm looking forward to sharing at some point. Such as items of furniture that Ben's been restoring, the new fireplace in the sitting room not to mention the dining room finally being done! Did I mention that?

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Matte Stephens

I love Matte Stephens work. This image was one of the first things I added as a favourite when I registered on Etsy last year and have been staring at it ever since.
I think I mentioned before about my guilt of spending money on non-essential items. I generally um and ah for a long time before I finally just realise I'm spending so much time thinking about it I should just shut up and buy the bleedin' thing! Who'd a thought spending money could be so hard?

Well, as I mentioned here, I thought I ought to just get it seeing that I'd be giving up my spare cash soon, so I finally bought it! WooHoo! And I love it.

Matte Stephens: cat bird print
Next, I would like to own this one, and then maybe this one or this one, or perhaps this one.

Excuse me whilst I start um-ing and ah-ing.

(See also Matte's guest blog spot on Design*Sponge a few weeks ago.)

Monday, 26 May 2008

budanART - Etsy shop

Etsy is so busy and full of great shops it's exciting when you come across something a bit more unusual than the rest.

budanART is one of those shops...

budanART: Summer Birches
budanART: Storm
budanART: November Sun
budanART: Winter Hill

Friday, 23 May 2008

Say it with Brownies!

This is not only a great idea but also my cousin's business.
"Whatever the occasion Kate’s Brownies are the most unique gift, as well as arriving beautifully packaged with raffia and tissue paper with your own personalised message, they are the Best Brownies you will ever taste."

Kate’s Brownies
Kate’s Brownies: packaged

UPDATE: Kate's Brownies have been re-branded and are now trading as Gower Cottage Brownies. The new website is at

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Miranda Meilleur

Design*Sponge has an article or two about the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in New York, which in itself doesn't mean an awful lot to me as furniture isn't really my bag. However this one particular bit definitely is my bag.

Miranda Meilleur: Silver bowl & steel saucer
This is Miranda Meilleur's work. She's a Designer Silversmith from Wales and her work is so great I feel a little bit sick. Which is probably jealousy.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Let the gardening season commence

This week is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show which, having watched the opening day's TV coverage, has made me not only think that I'd like to visit one year (and one year I'll get to Wimbledon too) but it's also made me feel bad about my own garden.

I'm generally a fairly lazy gardener in that I only go out there in the Spring and Summer when it's nice weather and the rest of the year it tends to get ignored, but I do appreciate a nice garden to hang out in.
I know I have a good excuse this year in that I'm unable to reach the floor without looking like a ninety year old with arthritis so I'm not feeling too bad about it. And I have re-potted a few things (it might actually be fairer to say Ben did it) and planted some others.

We have strawberrys in our hanging basket which I'm particularly excited by - I'm hoping we get more of a crop from them than we did the 'tumbling toms' last year. We only really got one at a time which I wouldn't really class as a 'crop'.

And we also have some mystery seedlings growing! I harvested some seeds from the mini peppers we grew last year and they haven't grown at all, but I also harvested some seeds from something I can't remember and some of them are growing! Alas I have no idea in to what, but they are growing.

All I can think is that they're from either a Poppy, Allium or Aquilegia. Beyond that I have no clue - lets hope they survive 'cus I really want to know now.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Where's all the music gone

What with getting sucked in to all this Etsy malarky of late, and all things crafty, I feel I have totally neglected the music in my life.

Not only have I stopped my saxophone lessons to save money for the upcoming loss of income but I'm going to have to get rid of my piano as well!

Admittedly it's really not a great piano. Even my husband will enthusiastically tell you all about how bad it is even though he doesn't play the piano. (In fact I'm not sure how he's qualified to feel so strongly about it but he does.) It was already second hand when my parents bought it about 23 years ago. It's been through the abuse of two children learners and been moved about a few times and lost a wheel in the process (leaving beautiful scratch marks from the road side to the front door) and is only able to be tuned to itself but, it's my piano! Admittedly, I also don't play it that much either any more but, it's my piano!

But with baby coming we need the space so that's that. It will get replaced and most probably by a keyboard to save on space but let's not go there or I'll start on a rant about how it's just not the same as a piano and then I'll never let it go. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. As long as there's something with keys to push when I get the urge I'll be happy.

But, the whole point of this post was actually to mention a band I'd like to get to know better, but I've been completely sidetracked.

SO... Kings of Convenience!
I think I should like to buy some of their music.
This decision is purely based on their tunes 'Misread' and 'Toxic Girl'.
If you know which album I should start with let me know!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Following on from my recent posts about my love of art incorporating buildings and streets, I thought I'd mention one of my favourite artists come architect: Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Although his painting style is very much from the same hand as his building design, I am more of a fan of the buildings. I just love his organic style and use of colour and foliage, and the fact that these are solid structures in every day (residential) use makes them seem even more alive and exciting. I'd LOVE to live in a place like this. Imagine more streets lined with buildings like these.

There should be more buildings like these!

Hundertwasser House, Vienna

Hundertwasser House
Hundertwasser House

Waldspirale, Germany


Friday, 16 May 2008

Thursday, 15 May 2008

New items

Well I FINALLY got not just the 1, but 2 new items listed in my Etsy shop.

Resin window spot pendant (red)

Resin window spot pendant: red

Resin window spot pendant (turquoise)

Resin window spot pendant: turquoise
I originally wrote about this new design two weeks ago! I can't believe how long it's taken me to get them up there.
The delay normally comes when I have to wait to take the pictures. The best light is during the day when I'm at work so I have to wait for Friday or the weekend to come round before I can take photos - and then hope the sun is out!

However I did actually decide to recast the resin in the original red piece as I wasn't quite happy with it. And as the Etsy massive's favourite item of mine (with 1363 views so far) seems to be the turquoise resin ring I thought I should probably make another piece in that colour!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

itty bitty kitty committee

When I'm in the need for a dose of cute I go visit the itty bitty kitty committee blog. They look after teeny kittens until they're old enough to be found homes.

If you like cats, check out this funny video where one of the visiting kittens takes on the resident cat Charlene's tail.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Street scene art

My last post has reminded my of how I seem to not only have a penchant for street scene art but also of a specific style.
As bizarre as it sounds, I think it might stem from watching the Inspector Clouseau cartoons on The Pink Panther show as a child. I just love the background illustrations of France in that cartoon. Kinda loose, line drawings with a slight naivety to them and their use of colour. (If you know where I could get an original animation cell depicting one of these scenes let me know.)

These are some of the street scene pictures I've bookmarked. My favourite is matteart's and I keep promising myself I will buy something of his (perhaps this one) before I go on maternity leave and loose my pocket money.

Clockwise from top left:
"Large NYC print" by matteart (on Etsy)
"Luxury Apartments" by Julia Rothman
"April showers - London" by askey (on Etsy)
"A bit of Paris" by artquirk (on Etsy)

Monday, 12 May 2008

Julia Rothman

New York based designer Julia Rothman is the latest guest blogger on Design*Sponge this week - check out this interesting post about how to make a repeat pattern.

But it reminded me of one of her prints that I'd been eyeing up - I'd completely forgotten who it was by until I saw her name again in print. Funny thing, the brain!

Julia Rothman: Luxury Apartments

Sunday, 11 May 2008

A piece of history

My Nan is the keeper of this little piece of family history which I'm totally fascinated and thrilled by.

Both my mom and dad's family come from Ireland. Although my Dad's side moved away several generations ago, my mom's family are still there - she and her immediate family moved to England when she was 9. My mom was born in Dublin, but my Nan was born and raised in Cork, where her father (my Great grandfather) James Walsh was a political activist.

As a political activist he was imprisoned by the English on Spike Island off the coast of Cork. Whilst there, he made a few pieces of jewellery of which this Tara brooch is one - fashioned from an English coin.

Tara brooch (front)
Across the top, on the front of the brooch there's an inscription which we believe is a Gealic word (einead?) followed by the location and date (Spike Island, 1921?).

Tara brooch (front detail)
The back of the brooch still displays the coins year at the bottom (1903?) and most hauntingly, the image of Britannia with her staff at the top which has been doctored to look more skeletal.

Tara brooch (back)Tara brooch (back detail)
He apparently made more items which my nan's sisters were given but this is the only one that I have seen.

My nan remembers visiting her father at Spike Island when she was roughly 10 years old but doesn't remember how long he was actually held for or any other details. I got in contact with the Cork Public Museum to try and find out more and received the following information:
"Prisoners were renown for making some jewellery from coins, Irish Harps from animal bones or macramé bags. Macramé is a skilful art created by knotting pieces of thread and strings together. As your great grandfather was imprisoned on Spike Island, it is most likely he was anti-treaty during the civil war and therefore had alot of free time on his hands. Making items like the aforementioned was a way of passing the time.

If your great grandfather was interned in 1921, it would mean he was arrested by the British during the War of Independence. I do not know when exactly he was arrested but he would have been released in December 1921 when the British authorities released all IRA prisoners as part of the terms of the Treaty.

I did come across a handwritten record of the signatures of all those who took part in a Hunger Strike from August 30th to September 3rd 1921. A "James Walsh" from Cork City took part and he was located in Block A Room 18.

As for the brooch, "einead" could be an old Irish word for companionship. I am not sure why spike became "spice" but it could have been a mistake or simply a space issue. I can not identify the coin from the photo but hopefully I have given you some answers to your questions."

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Who's going to feed the cat?

We spent the morning at our first antenatal class today which means I'm now having to reluctantly enter the world of realisation. I was quite enjoying my stay in ignorance too. The brochures are true, it is bliss.

I'm sure you're actually meant to come away from these things feeling much better and at ease with the whole process of childbirth but I actually came out more anxious than I was to start off with (that would probably be down to my stay in ignoranceville).

I'd originally just been focusing on the pain and how I'd cope with that, but I'm starting to think that I should actually be focusing on staying calm and at ease and that in turn, that will help me deal with the pain.

So now I'm considering a home birth! Purely for the potential calming benefits.

I'd never even contemplated this for a second before, and I might even change my mind again by the morning, but right now it's a whole new perspective.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Why I love Dooce

I'll have to remember this one...
"Three whole hours of nipple twiddling"

Laura Baxter jewellery

Laura Baxter: Oxidized Sephora Necklace
I came across this gorgeous necklace a while ago on Twig. It's not just the leaf form that appeals but also the oxidized shade and use of a coloured necklace (i love reds & oranges).
I loved it enough to go on a search of this Laura Baxter person to find out more and came across her website which was a bit of a disappointment, so having gone back recently I'm excited to see there's a new one on it's way.

If I remember correctly from the original site (which is now down) Laura Baxter is a UK based jewellery designer. I've also read that she makes wall panels and decorative items using these same botanical themes so I'm even more excited to see what this new site is going to offer. I just love these leaf forms and looking at the holding page that's there at the minute it looks like there's going to be more of that to oggle at.
yum yum yum

Friday, 2 May 2008


I've just spent the last hour and a half measuring, drilling, filing, sawing and sanding a piece of silver only to drop it down a gap in the floorboards.

deeeeeeep breath

A new day a new resin piece

Well, it's a gorgeous Friday morning - my official day of the week to spend at my work bench. It's Spring, the sun is shining, I have my coffee, the baby's keeping me company by beating me up on the inside and I'm ready to go.

Last week I made a new pendant which I'm really happy with so today I hope to get it finished, photographed and listed on Etsy. Here's a sneak preview...

red resin dot pendant
There seems to be preference for bright summery colours at the moment so I'm moving away from the original brown and creams I've been using in favour of these more vibrant colours. Red is my favourite colour too so I really love this one.