Archive | April, 2011


30 Apr

I’m threading the needle between two trips – one to Umbria, Italy and the next to Budapest, Hungary and I’ve already taken way too many photos so it will probably take me a while before I get them up on the blog but I thought I’d throw up a few from Assisi — we didn’t have the most spectacular weather on the day we were there but it is an impressive spot!

Assisi was the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order, and who, apparently, was the patron saint of animals and the sick.  We went to St. Francis’ tomb and we explored the narrow and hilly streets of the town.  More to come on Umbria in future posts once I sift through a bucketload of photos. 

Wills & Kate Memorabilia

29 Apr

Well, the big day is finally here.  With all the Royal Wedding hullabaloo, it got me wondering what the big collector’s items will be.  I’m not a huge Royal watcher myself but I do have a mild amount of interest and hope to catch the nuptials on TV.  I won’t be picking up any of the memorabilia featured here but the “Keep Calm and Marry On” tea towel did give me a great giggle. 

I do my best thinking in the shower

28 Apr

I came across this and thought I’d pass it on to any of you folks who are a bit like me when it comes to deep thoughts and inspiration in the shower! This is a waterproof notepad called “AquaNotes”. You can now write down all your moments of brilliance while you’re cleaning all your bits.  These little pads are recyclable and printed with soy-based ink.

Jessica Jones Design

27 Apr

I love the designs from textile designer, Jessica Jones — some really great fabric and ribbons.  You can see more on her blog, How About Orange where she also has some great DIY sewing projects as well.


It begins…again!

26 Apr

I’ve been keeping a lid on this but I got my final planning permission – yay! And the builder breaks ground for the extension today.  It’s been months of worrying, lack of sleep combined with a lot of excitement.  I think it’s funny looking back on this blog that a lot of the ideas I’ve had for the house have changed just in the last 10 months since I started this online journal.  I had expected, when I started, that I’d be writing about changes on the house a lot more and a lot sooner in the process…but renovation projects rarely go as planned.  When this journey began in 2010, my word of the year was “patience”.  I didn’t realize that I it would be come a bi-annual term for me!

Anyway, just wanted to share both my excitement and my anxiety – please keep your fingers crossed that a little renovation angel will be sitting on my shoulder throughout this process and that my patience will be immense (plus a little prayer for lots of good hair days while we’re at it).

One of my favorite spots

25 Apr

I had the good fortune of going to Vietnam in 2003 and it’s a trip that has stuck with me ever since.  It was an incredible, 14-day trip which was a luxury most Americans wouldn’t have in terms of vacation time but I
happened to be consulting at the time.  Molly had taken year off to travel the world so she met me in Vietnam just threading the needle between Thailand and Cambodia.  

We went smack-dab in the middle of the SARS pandemic so there weren’t a lot of people travelling to SE Asia at the time.  I felt like we were in the scene in the Vacation movie when the Griswalds sneak into Wally World on the day that it’s closed.  We had the place to ourselves — no lines, special deals everywhere we went and the Vietnamese imploring us to please tell our friends in America “no SARS in Vietnam”.  Several of the resorts we went to were offering discount pricing and then, on top of that, would upgrade us to one of their best rooms or bungalows.

We really did live like princesses over the course of that trip.  And at the end of the trip when I was traveling back to the US on my own, I won 500 Singapore dollars at the airport in a “Wheel of Fortune”-styled promotion they were doing.  All in all, a great trip- I want to go back!

Ornamental vegetable gardens

24 Apr

I don’t get much opportunity anymore to garden since I left Boston (which is ironic given that Ireland would be a much easier spot to garden in) but I do still aspire to have a nice garden someday. Since I’m doing my Spring dieting, I’ve been keenly interested in fresh fruit and veg lately and longing for a vegetable garden.  And Jamie was recently telling me about ornamental vegetable gardens — I’ve always thought that vegetable gardens were more functional so it’s great to think that they can be pretty to look at as well. 

I thumbed through Jamie’s copy of Joy Larkcom’s Creative Vegetable Garden and it looks like there are a lot of good ideas and inspiration. If you want to read more, check out the link below to the article about Joy’s book in the Guardian.

Guerilla Gardening

23 Apr

I did a post about Guerilla Knitting — a trend inspired by Guerilla Gardening — and then I realized that I never did a post about Guerilla Gardening.  So, here we go!  If you’re wondering what it is — it’s a movement (primarily in cities) across the globe to plant beneficial vegetation

in forgotten, and/or neglected spaces. You can frequently find guerilla gardens in abandoned lots and derelict public spaces.  I was reading up on it online and read that it was led by “radical environmentalists” — but I happen to know a number of elderly women here in Ireland who are involved in a group that go around dropping “seed bombs” on the side of the motorway and I wouldn’t call them radical or environmentalists — they’re just having fun and creating something beautiful to look at.

Nicholas Mosse Pottery

22 Apr

I remember in 2005 when I first went to visit Jamie and her family in Cork for Thanksgiving that I thought her mix-n-match collection of Irish potter, Nicholas Mosse’s, pottery was so cute and cottage-y.  When I was back at their house recently, I was reminded again of how much I like it.  Thought I would share a few pics of Jamie’s NM and also a couple of pics of other patterns.

The style he uses is a traditional style of Irish Spongeware. Irish spongeware was the traditional pottery of Ireland used in the 18th Century. I also recently learned that Nicholas Mosse and his wife, Susan, are a part of the Kilfane Trust project which cares for the Kilfane Glen & Waterfall period gardens.  They sound spectacular so I’m going to have to take a trip out there sometime soon while it’s still Spring.  If you’re in Ireland, Kilfane is just outside Kilkenny town– about 40 minutes southwest of Dublin.

My auction find

21 Apr

There is a very well-reputed auction house not far from where I’m living called “Buckley Galleries”.  I heard all about this place when I first moved to Dublin — a great spot for lots of items — not just antiques.  I was hankering for a V.E.R. (very expensive rug) which would have cost me in the neighborhood of $2500 (which is more than the cost to fit out the bathroom — hmmm, a rug or a bathroom fitout?). The bathroom fit out won out and so I’ve been on the hunt for an inexpensive option.  As my house will be largely IKEA given my budget, I really want to get a few items that aren’t IKEA so that my place isn’t too cookie cutter.

Since I’m working during the day when the auctions are held, my auction fairy, Clodagh (pronounced Clo-dah), went down to the auction on my behalf, found this rug and bought it for 135 euros a mere 7% of the cost of my V.E.R.

Clodagh did her homework and had been tracking the prices of the rugs for a few weeks so that she had her finger on the pulse of what to bid.  This one was a song compared to other weeks so sometimes you just get lucky.  So, I highly recommend checking out the auction houses for good finds — and securing the free services of an auction fairy is also highly recommended.