Archive | September, 2010

Cloth Napkin Curtains

30 Sep

Another one of the articles that I’ve had hanging around forever…  I thought this was such a clever idea that I actually used it on my friend, Kirstin’s apartment about 10 years ago.  Since September is the month of Kirstin’s wedding to Kevin, I thought it would be apropos as today’s post. 

The idea is to simply sew cloth napkins together to make a bed cover and, even simpler, when stapled to a 2×4 board cut to window length, make a custom window treatment.  While this might not be the lavish look you want for your home, I think it’s perfect for rented accommodation and college students.  And it’s oh so easy to do.  Thanks Kirstin for letting me try out a little cheap chic on your apartment all those years ago and best wishes to you and Kevin!

Happy circumstances

29 Sep

I was in Sestri Levante, Italy for the CREA 2010 conference when the Icelandic ash cloud interrupted air travel across Europe.

While it was a serious pain trying to get back to Dublin and I was pretty lonely being completely on my own for the days after the conference when I was trying to get home, the luckiest thing was that I had my camera with me.

Because of the size of my camera, I wouldn’t often take it with me on a business trip and this is a pretty busy conference with very little down time — another clear reason not to bring the camera.

But…for some reason I did.  So while I was making my way across Italy, France and then England to get back to Dublin, I managed to take a few snaps.  Here are some of the shots from that week.

Hello Monkstown!

28 Sep

Okay, I’ve been here for a month but I’m finally getting around to sharing some pictures of Monkstown, where I’m currently living… 

This is such a picturesque part of Dublin.  Just south of the city, Monkstown sits on the Irish sea and I’m fortunate enough to have my room situated on the top floor of a house on the hill so I have views of the sea from my room which I’m looking at right now.  As I look back toward the red-and-white-striped “stacks” at Poolbeg, I’m practically in view of Tilly’s Cottage (okay, well if I had superhuman eyesight I would be…) 

Clodagh V., who owns this beautiful home, is one of the people who recommended to me that I could put a note in the door of homes that I had my eye on and see if the owners were interested in selling.  That’s the way she and her husband found this great house more than 20 years ago — albeit in need of serious updating at the time, apparently.   So I took her advice and that’s just what I did to get Tilly’s Cottage…it’s a great formula for finding a house and avoiding the agents (sorry, Beck!) 

In sitting down to write this post, I thought I’d look up the history of Monkstown.  I was really hoping to figure out how it got its name — I wasn’t sucessful — but I did find out that, like many towns and cities in Ireland, there is another Monkstown in County Antrim in the North.  I also found out that the town used to be called Carrickbrennan (and I know “carrick” means rock). 

Here’s another interesting tidbit that Petra was telling me about the other day… Monkstown was the site of one of the worst sea disasters in Irish history.  In 1807, two sailing ships were blown up on the rocks and over 400 people died and were washed up on the Monkstown shores.  Most of the victims are buried up the road at the church so that will need to be one of my weekend adventures to go and visit the graves (I know — a bit morbid, but I love visiting graveyards). 

Miss Tilly settled in more quickly than I did — she loves the big screen TV, walks with Clodagh and her dog-friend, Shaun, by the sea during the day when I’m at work and she’s fascinated by Bella, the cat.


Features of a Georgian home…

27 Sep

Staying in an antique home for any extended period of time is like peeling the skin of an onion — features just seem to unfold as you begin to take them all in.  I had visited this house many times in the past but actually staying here has made me see and appreciate so much of the home that I never noticed before.  Clodagh and her husband were fond of Buckley Galleries in Sandycove and picked up a number of pieces here and there which fit perfectly within these four walls.  Here are just a few photos of the house — one of my favorite features is the dinner bell because Clodagh’s a great cook…

Ode to a coffee mug

26 Sep

It wouldn’t be a Saturday morning without my trusty cup of coffee which is why I’m dedicating today’s post to my coffee mug.  I have three favorite mugs but I have different uses for each one.  This one is just for coffee…how silly is that?  I can’t even really say why but it’s been that way for a long time. When I packed up my bags to move from Boston to Dublin with just two suitcases and the shirt on my back, this coffee mug was among the carry-on luggage.  

Before starting this post, I far and wide to find the name of the little ceramics shop where I bought this mug and I finally found it:  it’s called Lasser Ceramics and it’s in a great little town, Londonderry, in Vermont.  The website leaves a lot to be desired but this pattern is called Planet Green (good to know in case I ever need a replacement).

So, as one of my most trusted “companions”, here’s to my Planet Green coffee mug for helping me rally more times that I can remember.

Boho Dining from Anthropologie

25 Sep

I’m so digging on the “Boho Dining” tableware from Anthropologie — oh, money fairy, please rain down on me beofre it’s time to buy dishes…these puppies are on the list.

Perfect for my mix-and-match style and great in the event that soemthing gets broken as you could easily throw in a different pieces without skipping a beat. 

And since these are essentially little works of art themselves, I think they would look fabulous on those open shelves in the kitchen which I’ve been planning.  And yes, they ship internationally to Ireland…phew!

For the love of quilts

24 Sep

Sometime back around 1992, I mentioned to my mother (who has always been a proficient seamstress) that I would love for her to make a double-wedding-ring quilt for me. I had been visiting a friend’s house in Connecticut for Thanksgiving and his mother was making a beautiful double-wedding-ring quilt for his brother’s upcoming nuptials and I was inspired.  My mother laughed when I put in my request saying that knowing how to sew and knowing how to quilt are two different things.  Luckily for me, she moved out to Oregon about the same time and got involved in quilting.  Sadly, once she did, she explained that quilting on a curve is difficult and so it would take a bit more time for her to advance to the double-wedding-ring level.  But persistance paid off and she eventually made the beautiful quilt you see here.

I guess you could say my mom’s quilting skills advanced pretty quickly — about as quickly as her passion for the art of quilting did.  She and my father now have an online business selling quilt supply, patterns, block-of-the-month-club subscriptions and lots of other things for the quilting enthusiast (  It’s for this reason that I’ll probably be shot for not doing a post about them sooner as quilting is a big part of our family!  Here are just a few of the quilts from their website including their very popular “Garden Patch Cats”:


Purple Doors and Jessica’s Project

23 Sep

My friend, Jessica, has recently purchased a project of her own (well, technically, she and her husband are buying the house together but she keeps referring to it as “my house” so I keep calling it “Jessica’s House”). 

So…back to the project.  Since the day Jess first saw the house, she’s been dreaming of getting rid of the outer door and painting the inner exterior door purple.  I love this idea because it’s very Jessica — she’s full of color and personality herself so I think all would be right in the world if she had a door to match.

Photoshop and I couldn’t help but try this on for size and I think it has a lot of potential.  On the left is the house, currently, and on the right is with a little Photoshop help.

What do you think?

Grandma’s treasures

22 Sep

Over the last number of years (I like the vagueness of just saying “number” as opposed to quantifying it), I’ve lived in probably a dozen different apartments between Boston, Texas and Dublin.  Molly’s been to most of these and has even been a roommate in a few so it was funny this past Autumn when she was here in Dublin and she asked me what was up with this little plastercast piece that I think I’ve hung above the kitchen sink in every home I’ve lived in since I was 21.

This little piece used to honor the same spot in my Grandmother’s kitchen.  When I was younger, I always thought that this was actually my grandmother’s house — it’s not, but it does still remind me of her house (which I remember to be yellow but who knows if it actually was). 

This photo to the right is the spot in Leavenworth, Kansas where I spent so many fun times in the summers as a kid growing up.  The house is now blue and it’s hidden in the back there just behind the barn.  This was a GREAT place to visit — my grandparents had cattle and corn crops.  That red barn was dusty and full of cobwebs and stray cats and smelled of cattle feed.  There was a well with a genuine hand-press water pump just outside the barn.  I felt really lucky that I got to go and visit my grandparents’ farm while other friends’ grandparents just lived in a house on a street like anyone else.  My grandmother used to make lovely homemade bread and yummy strawberry shortcake.  We often had watermelon and corn-on-the-cob sitting outside under a big shady tree in front of her house.  She used to pop the top off of Dandelions and we’d dip the stems in a mix of Dreft and water and blow bubbles as if they were straws. Seriously, on reflection, very idyllic. 

She passed away when I was about 11, but this post is a salute to the quintessential grandmother — Ruth Parsons.  And it’s because of her that the little plastercast yellow house will always grace wherever I call home.

More on Snow Farm

21 Sep

It must be the time of year because I’ve been thinking a lot about the trip out to the arts program at Snow Farm.  So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite photos from our weekend. 

I also thought I would include a photo from the first time I went out to Snow Farm in 2004 and took Richard Moss’ mosaics class.  I found a really cheap bamboo bowl in IKEA and covered it with blue and white mosaics from old plates — with just a touch of yellow.