29 Sep 2008

Blog Finds

This week Juicey craftyjuicebroker did a nice write up on my etsy shop, I just wanted to say thanks to her. She has a great blog and a really cute shop, filled with bags and accessories.
In other blog discoveries this week I stumbled across Decor8, a fantastic blog for anyone who loves all aspects of design, it full of stylish picture and it written excellently by
Holly Becker. With 18,000 viewers per day I'm quite obviously not the only fan. It's well worth checking out.

Another Blogger who will be featuring me in the near future is Avie Designs. I must say her designs particularly tickle my fancy, they are so crisp and clean while still having colour and a sense of fun. I also think it's really cute that she has photograhed her designs hanging from a wooden clothes peg.

27 Sep 2008

Merry Market


As you may already know I have a stall at a weekly craft and food market in Limerick city. It's held every Sunday between 12-5pm on Bedford Row and it's been running for over a year. My first hesitant steps were made last Summer when I got a stall selling my handmade cards, and then later I had paintings and illustrations.It was only in February, when we reopened after our extended Christmas break, that I started selling my customised recycled clothes.The clothes have been a great success and people have really come around to the idea that they can recycle and still be wearing funky and unique clothes. Since I started this blog I've been meaning to do a proper write up on the market, and last week I was blessed with the happy coincidence of sunshine and a last minute remembered camera...put the two together and you get bright and enticing pictures.

Vinnie Wall
It's not the biggest markety in the world but Tom, our main man, has ensured that there is a wide variety of quality stalls to choose from. On a leisurely amble down Bedford Row you can find handcrafted jewellery, clothes, gluten free foods, handbags , hand printed t-shirts, beauty skincare products, fresh veg, vegetarian foods, heavenly brownies, fairtrade clothes and products, fresh fruit and veg, beautiful cheese, freshly made crepes, Korean sushi and a whole lot more.
Ginger Girl

There are too many temptations for me every week that I'm there, I try to restrain myself from spending any money I make buying stuff at all the other stalls. In particular I have found Flourish-natural cometics to be really excellent. Basically I'm allergic to pretty much everything in the world, and had resigned myself to a life without moisturiser until I came across Flourish's moisturiser, it's fantastic,there are no nasty chemicals in it,it makes my skin look great, and my face doesn't disintergrate afterwards...a revelation indeed. I also have an addiction to Connie's Forbidden Foods, my sunday brunch involves tasty veggie Samosas, or if I'm feeling adventurous some falafel in a wrap with spicey humous.If I feel like making a complete pig of myself I have a mouth wateringly yummy brownie from Ginger Girl, to go with a much needed warm coffee. Other stalls that have helped in last minute birthday present shopping have been Edele's beautiful handmade silver jewellery, high quaily pieces at a really reasonable price. For the a great present for they 20 or 30-something guy in your life Vinnie Wall has some funky handprinted t-shirts of iconic figures and musicians, I haven't met I guy who doesn't think they're great. Do you know anyone who is a celiac? Well Crunchy Granola has a wide range of delicious gluton free breads,cakes, and savoury products on offer, so tasty that even the gluten tolerant among us would be more than happy to munch away on them. Another stall that I call to on a near weekly basis is the fresh fruit and veg from Paul Bradley, he a a great selection at competitive prices, and don't forget to try the chocolate covered strawberries, they are truely addictive.
So if you're in the area pop down, there is a great atmosphere, some fantastic food and crafts to be had.

24 Sep 2008

Back to Life,Back to Reality

I just want to let you know that I haven't choked and died in my sickbed. I'm well on the way to recovery but I'm still prone to a cough that makes me sound like a fourty a day kinda gal. I went back to work, and back to the market this week. A strange and welcome feeling being outdoors,I was kind of getting used to my tv fuelled hermit life. I was going to have photos of the clothes that i made last week but yey for me I sold them on Sunday! I good sales day is always good for the soul, it makes me feel more like a business person and less like a crazy lady with an obsessive sewing habit.
I will be posting a write up on the Sunday market inclusive of picks and links to lovely things to purchase, in the meantime here are some photos of the recycled cards I've been making lately.

18 Sep 2008

Tv or not Tv

So this is my 4th day in the flat being a sick spluttering layabout. It's been kinda fun,I've watched way too much tv, drank endless bottles of sparkling water, cosumed a rainforrest in my use of tissues, coughed out a spare lung, and done lots of blog reading. I also managed to fit in some useful activities, I made 3 skirts and a t-shirt. Photos will follow shortly, as I don't want to invite any models over to the flat for fear that they will catch the plague off me. I also cut out lots of clippings from magazines for my new series of cards that I've been doing. I know I should be thinking of making christmas cards but I really like making these ones so I'm gonna procrastinate a bit more. I was also thinking of doing some hand drawn cards, any opinions?
Since I haven't actually interacted with the real world in days I don't really have much to write about except for tele,so here it goes,the pick of the past few days.

The Family: Ch4 Wed night 9pm. I had been seeing the ad for this all week and lamented the advent of another car crash reality tv show based on a real family. Thankfully I was wrong. Yes it is another fly on the wall,'let's record them day and night for 100 days' nonsense,but this is actually really good. I don't know if I will be bothered to watch to much more of it as I find this kind of tv a bit stomach churning, but what I saw last night was great. There is a central crisis situation between the parents and their 19 year old daughter. All very familiar to our screens but the reality of the struggle between all of them is what make it really effective. Maybe I get it because I remember screaming and shouting at my parents in a similar way,albeit at a much younger age.
Stargate SG1 and Atlantis: Sky1,on all the time: Now to set down some history I must put my hand in the air and say I'm a trekie. Not the kind that goes to conventions or speaks alien languages, but I'm a fan. I would be pretty surprised if there was an episode of next generation that I hadn't seen, or of voyager. So this gives you some idea why I am drawn to Stargate in the first place. But I'm not a regular watcher, so the plot is a bit all over the palce in my head. But it's great, in some ways dare I say it better than star trek,it's written better,not as self important,has the ability to mock itself and has a better central plot. It doesn't give me the same warm fuzzy feeling inside that a new episode on next gen did but I can live in hope. My point is that I'm sure that this show even though it's vastly popular,probably gets tarred with the same nerdy brush, but it shouldn't. It's smart and funny and far more entertaining than most things on tv and it has kept me happliy sane this week with all the numerous repeats on sky1.

May I just stipulate that I have a strange relationship to tv. I'm very much binge and purge. In college I went 3 years without one, and would happliy do it again once I had a dvd player. I think 75% of what is shown is filler, which is a shame because there has been great shows made down through the years; Father Ted, Seinfeld, SATC, Six Feet Under, Star Trek, Antiques Roadshow, Countdown. Maybe it would be better with less stations,less crap, and we all watched the box a little less too.

15 Sep 2008

I'm Under the cloudy weather

After a very wet Sunday Market I have ended up with a nasty cold. So I called in sick today and have spent the afternoon shuffling about the flat coughing and hacking my lungs out.I don't think I can face the massive pile of sewing waiting for me in the studio. I think a bath and then a dvd will have to be my medicine instead.

Treasury on Etsy

I just got my first treasury slot on etsy,which was lots of fun and people have had a very good reaction to it. To those of you not in the know a treasury is an area on etsy that satifies the inner currator in all of us. Etsy members patiently wait for a free slot which they can fill with a selection of goods that they have seen on etsy,usually grouped by colour or theme. Up until 5 minutes ago I didn't know how to do a screen shot but thanks to this lovely person I can give you a pic of my treasury in all it's fabulous glory.

10 Sep 2008

Twitchy Fingers Syndrome

I was showing someone my website last night in work,and I realised with all the market and clothes stuff that I'm doing lots of people don't know that my background is actually in visual art. I studied fine art printmaking in Limerick School of Art and Design. I really loved it it there,it was like a warm safe bubble where all I had to do was think about myself and what I wanted to make:an artists dream. Even though I worked really hard I still look back now and think I didn't take full advantage of the resources; the library,the print studio, the endless tech skill of the tutors. But these insights come with a few years of experience out in the real world and I suppose I was very young at the time. I still don't think I would choose fashion as my discipline if I had the choice now, I'm glad that I happily landed in this, rather that fretting over technical issues. I think I'm freed somewhat by my ignorance, I just look at the clothes and fumble through until I get where I want-it makes for some experimental and interesting results.I'll definitely go back to doing fine art and graphic design, diffent projects always seem to pop up randomly. My boyfriend accuses me of being too scatty and that I should focus on one dicipline, but I think all the diffent creative threads feed each other. My graphics is not slick and cold like others because of my art background, and sometimes my clothes feel like drawings.I would be afraid to stick with one thing for a few years for fear it would get stale. On top of the fact that I don't think I could stop myself endlessly tinkering with different things. If I have a few projects on the go at all times it keeps my twitching fingers happy.

So here are a smattering of pictures I've created in various media over the past few years.

9 Sep 2008

Andrea Joseph...just stunning

I just stumbled across this blog last night and just thought I had to share,I was so blown away by the work that I saw. As an endless doodler in school I can see the massive amount of work that has gone into the drawings by Andrea Joseph,and all of them in bic pen! She has a great little link where you can buy her Moo Stickers,which I did almost immediatly. All I can say is enjoy and marvel.

New Work and Progress

So I think I have eventually recovered from the picnic. Lots of sleep and a close relationship with my sofa and dvd player helped with that. I made two new jackets this week, one of which I have some poor photos of.
After being away from my studio for so long I wanted to make something pretty intricate. So I spent all of Thursday making this jacket, firsly I attached the letter cubes to the front buttons. They read 'My Funky Recycled Jacket' in four lines,there are two circles of red felt hand sewn onto each sleave. On the back there is a collage of salvaged slogans and patches.This new piece got a really positive reaction on Sunday when I was at the market, it just needs to find the right person to love it,ie someone size 10. After being away from the market for nearly a month it was great to come back to such positivity and enthusiasm for my clothes. So from what I can gather people want more jackets that are a bit out there, so that will be my task for this week. I already started on a new denim one last night,but after 4 hours of hand sewing my fingers gave up.Photos will be coming soon.

Remember the badges that I said I was giving away free at Electric Picnic...well here are some pics. I should thank the boyfriend here for helping me to attach them to the cards the night before the picnic. A big task as we got through about 1,000!! I got a great deal at this shop for the badges, I just handed in my designs, of which there are 50, and she made and sent them to me, and far cheaper than I had priced them in Ireland. If you want some of my pretty badges and you live in Limerick then just pop down to the Sunday Market ,12-5pm on Bedford row, they're free. Or if you live outside Limerick and really want some I could create a listing for you in my shop and I would just charge for postage.
In other Nice Day Designs news the Limerick Leader called over to my apartment this week to take photos of me in my studio, and also of my clothes. An interview will be following sometime this week and they will be printing a feature on me, which is all very exciting and a little embarrassing. The girl who called over to model my clothes was really nice and the photos came out great, so hopefully it will lead to a rise in business.

2 Sep 2008

Electric Picnic!

This weekend just past I went to one of, if not the best music festival Ireland has to offer, Electric Picnic.To those of you not in the know the Picnic spans 3 days and has hundreds of acts, events, and installations, it's a festival of music and art with great spirit. With all the crazy busyness lately I only managed to get my ticket the night before the concert, a whopping E245, but still worth every penny. Last minute lifts were arranged and myself and my boyfriend joined Ann and Helen in a tiny Ford Fiesta crammed to the brim with camping essentials.Unfortunately we left a little late and were stuck in torturously slow traffic, we averaged about 15 m/hr for the journey. After endless confusion of which entrance to use(Ann was a performer and had a different ticket), and a grueling walk to, and search for a camping spot, our Friday did not really begin untill 9pm.Sadly we missed great acts like Fred, and The Stunning, but lessons were learned for next year-leave very early.Our painful day was made up for by a truely stunning performance from Sigur Ros. They had been the act I was most looking forward to but was quite cautious about building too much enthusiasm for such a quiet band, main stage can be a disaster for such an ambient sound. My expectations were far exceded as they put on a spectacular show of light and swelling soundscapes.

Sigur Ros
After a couple of hours of restless sleep we cooked up some tasty sausages on the stove-we never go camping without creature comforts of chairs and a stove, it can make all the difference to a trip.On Saturday I was more than a little hungover but I dragged myself into the Body & Soul area to watch a great performance from Windings. Being a Limerick act, I was delighted to see such a large and appreciative audience. The following couple of hours I spent distributing free badges with my website address on them to ladies who I thought would like my clothes. I was a bit apprehensive at first to be bugging people, but everyone was so nice and interested it soon became pretty easy,even with a hangover! A trip to see Cathy Davey, and then The Breeders followed, both well worth seeing,especially The Breeders. Me being in the delicate state that I was I went for a wee nap. Which gave me some energy, that unfortunately was sucked right back out again by a boring and unengaging performance from Tindersticks.We retreated to the comfort of Body & Soul, with it's amorphous scultures and light installations.

Brad Pitt Light Orchestra
One of the highlights of the weekend was seeing my friends the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra(BPLO) playing on the Pod Stage in Body & Soul. A great crowd turned out to see the 7 piece band squeeze onto the tiny stage. It was a perfect billing for the Sunday afternoon, suitably chilled out sweet numbers mixed with cabaret humour, and they were even blessed with some sunshine. Other highlights included a debate in the Leviathan tent,on the role of art in the current economic climate,and White Cholera( featuring David Blake of the BPLO in an angrier more political incarnation). The Sex Pistols on main stage were a sorry disappointment, nearly resorting to begging for applause, I couldn't bring myself to watch their slow and painful death.

The vibe of the picnic is what makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest. It's not about pumping big money into huge names to get ticket sales. It's their determination to create a welcoming and loving atmosphere, there are none of the aggression and trouble you would see at other events. Kids are welcome and inventively catered for, that's how safe this place feels. There is a wide range of clothes stalls, and a welcome variety of food catering to vegan, veggie and alchohol free needs. There are obvious downside, the toilets being the main complaint for everyone. They were a slight improvement on last year, but you still need an iron resolve and hearty stomach to survive them. It was a fantastic weekend but it was with a little relief that we bundled back into the fiesta knowing we were driving towards ceramic toilets and warm showers.

1 Sep 2008

Edinburgh Holiday

So I'm back at last. It's been a hectic couple of weeks ,but fantastic, how can anyone complain of tiredness after a couple of weeks of having fun. Last weekend I went to Edinburgh with three school friends. We left all worries of work, other halves and rent money at home and set off on an adventure of indulgence and shopping. It just so happened that the weekend we booked (to accomodate one of the girls having to go to a hen party) was the last weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which brings an otherwise lively city an extra burst of electricity.

Curios Tales
We arrived on a very early Friday morning flight to be greeted by four floors of grueling stairs, only to be delighted by the most beautiful apartment twice the size of the one I live in, in Limerick. So the only cure for 2 hours sleep and a typically hideous ryanair flight was a bacon sandwich and some shopping. There was the usual high street small thrills on Princes St, but I found a genuine gem in the stall of Curious Tales. This lovely girl from northern Ireland was selling beautifully hand made and recycled clothes. I was a particular fan of her jackets, of which she does custom orders. While I was there I picked up one of her t-shirts for my politically acerbic boyfriend( it depicts a beheaded Gordon Brown with the slogan 'Things are not always as they seem'), I also got a charming necktie broach.

Laura had booked tickets to go see the old reliable Des Bishop, having seen him before I thought I might have been a bit disappointed on second viewing. To the contrary, there were a number of moments that I was struggling for air I was laghing so much. His show deals with a wide range of subjects, from immigration, speaking as gaeilge, testicular cancer, alchoholism,gay rights, to life in Ireland. It was on his recommendation that we went to see his brother Aiden Bishop the following night. A regular performer in Dublins The International, Aiden delivered a very funny show to a rather unimpressed audience. I'm not sure whether it was the wrong crowd or they were expecting something else, but it was frustrating to see someone so obviously talented getting such a lukewarm reaction. Fuelled by enthusiasm from our two positive experiences at the festival we went to see the play 'Mummy and the Minister', quoted as being an hilarious and unmissable gothic pantomine.But.... It was quite possibly one of the worst plays I have ever sat through. It has a promising start with beautiful lighting and set design. But 5 minutes in I realised that the script was over indulgent pap that never should have gotten past the drunken night it was concieved. The hammy acting went from bad to worse, as the play progrogressed at a tedious directionless pace. My only sense of joy was during the gruesome death scene because I knew the atrocity was drawing to a close. As someone who has been involved with theatre over the past few years I found this gauling to watch knowing that it had been accepted to the fringe festival.
(L-R)Jacqui, Donna, and Laura at Edinburgh Castle

Thankfully Edinburgh had much more delights to offer and nothing as bad as mummy and the minister( although the nightclub 'why not?' does come close). Highlights were an amazing burger in The Tron, a place that made me long for the days when the high stools bar was stil open, a 1 hour shopping spree in Armstrongs vintage and costume shop in grassmarket,and mostly spending time with great friends chatting till the wee hours. ...time well spent.I'll definitely be back, next time I'll bring the boyfriend and maybe spend a full week there. Verdict: Lovely people,great shopping,beautiful city, value for money, bad taste in theatre.
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