29 Apr 2011

Hotty But Notty: Mark Ruffalo

Hotty But Notty(Part 4):Mark Ruffalo

I know Mark Ruffalo is far more handsome than my previous 'Hotty But 'Notty' selections, but I get the feeling that Hollywood doesn't wave him about like your regular pretty boy. I never hear of anyone saying that he is hot, when in fact he really is. So forgive me for cheating a little bit on this ongoing series. I'd much prefer to see his bearded, not quite symmetrical face, with his delicious brown eyes. This is a more blatant  eye candy choice than my more intellectual ones, but I'm definitely flying the Mark Ruffalo flag.

Add onto this that he is a great actor. Just ignore the few fluff pieces that he's done, and watch films like these: My Life Without Me, In The Cut,  ZodiacWe Don't Live Here Anymore, You Can Count on Me,  and his most recent The Kids are Alright.

28 Apr 2011

Allergic to the World

53329662, George Marks /Hulton Archive
As some of you who know me from 'real life' might know I suffer pretty badly from allergies. After years of sneezing, wheezing, and generally feeling pretty lousy I went and got an allergy test. Initially I got a mini one, but after a few minutes we both realised this was not going to be enough. I went back for a full consultation this week, which tested 100's of substances. 
I'm now allowed to officially say I'm allergic to the world. If the aim was to tick as many boxes as possible in the test then I got an A+, whereas really I got a big fat F. It turns out I'm the worst case she has ever seen when it comes to the chemicals that are used the products we use every day like; make-up, deodorant, hairspray, household cleaners, plastics, etc etc,basically stuff that's nigh impossible to avoid. I still have to get the comprehensive list,I'll be getting my new food/lifestyle bible tomorrow.

AA026264, C Squared Studios /Photodisc
In the meantime I know it will be a complete lifestyle overhaul. This means giving up wheat, sugar, caffeine (which I did a year a ago), alcohol, and quite a few other specific foods, along with minimising my contact with plastics and chemicals. I also will be investing in a posh new water purifier, eco friendly and chemical free detergents and cleaners, along with replacing my shampoo, deodorant and shower gel with a soap and chemical free alternatives. Also I've started on a series of suppliments which means chomping down 14 tablets a day, which will increase to about 20 per day in a few weeks.It seems like it will be a really tough first 6 months, after which I will be slowly able to reintroduce foods into my diet. She said that I have a few core allergies that ballooned over the past few years which led me to the state I'm in at the moment.
I'm half excited and half terrified. In the past few years I've made lots of changes to my lifestyle, I've cut down hugely of crap fast food, sleeping more regularly, drinking a lot less, and I gave up caffeine.These small changes over a period of time has made me feel a lot better in myself and I know it makes me more prepared to face the months ahead of me. I know that if someone had come to me 4 years ago with this challenge I would have failed miserably.

101928940, Phil Ashley /Stone
Giving up drinking for 4 months is going to be difficult. To anyone outside of Ireland this will sound crazy, but our entire social scene is centred around alcohol, and people are not very understanding when you say you're off drink. But the suppliments I'm on will not be effective if I drink, so there is no point in spending all that effort and money on them if I just wash it all away with beer.
I'm choosing to see this as an exciting new opportunity to get healthier, to learn how to eat differently,and find new ways of cooking. My friend described it very well the other day, he said it's not about giving things up, just about making new habits, it's a much more positive way of looking at it.

25 Apr 2011

Riverfest Weekend

Thanks to Limerick News Wire for the image.
I have a pretty busy weekend coming up at the market this week. It is the Riverfest in Limerick this coming Bank Holiday and there will be thousands of people flooding into the city. Also all those people that abandon our city centre for the rest of the year in favour of the suburban shopping centres will pour back in too. There are loads of great activities including The Great Limerick Fun, The French Market, The International BBQ competition, and also an important rugby match in Thomond.

Thanks to Munster Images for the photo.
At the market we will have a fashion show during the Friday Flea Market hosted by the renowned Celia Holman Lee, with an array of clothes from independent boutique in Limerick. We will have the regular market on Saturday, but for the first time the are hosting a full nighttime gig in the venue, with The Coronas playing. They are not really my taste in music, but I'm very excited to see what other bands they book as it's a gorgeous venue.On the Sunday and Monday there will be the Artisan Craft Fair, with over 50 artisans from around the country selling their crafts. I'm looking forward to these two days as I've done very well there before, also I love having a gander at what everyone else is making...and maybe buy one or two things if I do well.

I'll also have some good friends from home visiting that weekend whom I haven't seen since Christmas. I think between work and play I'll have to transform into the Energizer Bunny that weekend.

23 Apr 2011

Let's Go Ride a Bike

1. VasilikiGoesHome-Let Me Ride - Jotter Notepad Notebook - No.1

2. AuraofLaura-BICYCLES vintage on French postcard, set of 4 Italian STONE coasters

3. AgaTigran-Lolita - 8x8 Fine Art Photography Print

4. LineDraw-H.G. Wells quote, 8x8 print

I've been really into bikes as of late. I've started using an exercise bike lately(which is really ugly and no way near as pretty as these bikes above), and I recently heard about the Garda  Lost and Found Shop, where you can pick up a bike for €20. So I'm thinking of buying one. I know it's only the long Summer evenings that are fooling me into thinking getting a bike would be great, whereas the reality is crazy city cycling and rainy Limerick days.

I'm also working on some bike badge designs which I'll have made for later in the week.

On a total side note, some wedding invitations that my lovely John did an illustration for were featured on a blog this week. Head on over and leave nice comments if you have a few minutes.

22 Apr 2011

Hotty But Notty: Alain De Botton

Hotty But Notty(Part 3): Alain De Botton

I know I'm going out on a limb with this one...this is Alain De Botton: a Swiss writer, television presenter, and entrepreneur. His books and television programmes discuss various contemporary subjects and themes in a philosophical style, emphasising philosophy's relevance to everyday life.I got into his work in college when I was doing my thesis on Beauty and the Everyday, and a lot of his work refers to this theme.

I'm gonna say straight up that the hair is horrendous, not that I mind bald men, it's just you don't often see them embracing their remaining haircut these days unless they're in there 60's. Most balding men shave their head, so it's quite a surprise to see someone so young sporting the geriatric look. What is mostly attractive about him is to see him talk, and to hear how passionate and intelligent he is. He makes a while lot of simple sense out of very complicated concepts. He has been criticized a bit for dumbing things down for television, but I disagree. I thinking he is opening the dialogue of philosophy to a wider audience.

Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success | Video on TED.com

21 Apr 2011

Draw and Make Your Own Badges

I originally bought my badge maker so I didn't have to import my badges/mirrors from the US. I never realised how much it would change and help my business. It's much easier now to come up with an idea, do a bit of magic on photoshop, print it and make the badge within minutes. It's a really satisfying and fluid way of working.

Last year my friend Mary-Rose suggested that I bring the badge maker to the market so kids can draw a picture and make their own badges.They have a great time drawing pictures, writing their name, or writing who their favourite band is. It was hugely successful last year, but then there was the large hiccup when my machine broke and had to go on holidays to Germany to recover/repair. All is back to normal now and I've built up a steady stream of regular kids who come down on Friday/Sunday. These kids below were at my stall on Sunday, I had a great time chatting with them and their Aunt, and they made loads of really cool badges.

The photo above is of one that I did of Sam Beckett, I'm starting a series of one off illustration badges that people will be able to buy in my Etsy shop. I'll try out a few and see how they sell. It's hard to gauge the price though, as they are specialist pieces, but at the same time they are only a badge.....hmmm...decisions decisions.

Draw and make You Own Badges
At the Milk Market 
(times may be changing soon as we will be doing twilight markets on Fridays)

20 Apr 2011

Bunting Cards

Today I was experimenting with making new cards in a much simpler style. While I was in 'Silks' I picked up a card making magazine( can't remember what it's called but I think Papermania are involved with it since they use most of their products). I'm not mad about the things that they make as they are a bit Mumsy, but I buy it to use some of their methods, instead using nicer paper that I got from America. But they did have a same of a simple card using paper for bunting and a stamp used straight on the plain blank card. I loved the simplicity of this. It's nice to have a card that is a bit easier to make than the others since they take up so much time.

I also made up some new stickers for myself. Lots of people have been asking for new baby cards so I made up a batch the other night and I already sold some at the weekend. I'll probably include these designs in my new stickers for sale...that is when I get around to design the rest of them.

15 Apr 2011

Hotty But Notty: Whittingstall

I'm gonna continue my homage to off kilter attractive men that I started last week, for no other reason than I think they deserve to drooled over a bit, even if it's only by a select few. This week is kind of a strange one, I first fell in love with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as a teenager when I first started watching Cook on the Wild Side on Channel.4. I do admit that he was much more attractive then, than his present incarnation but I still think he is rather lovely. He went on to make the much better known show River Cottage, and also has made prominent protest documentaries about battery chicken, and the fishing industry.

I think it's the charming bumbling mixture of Eton education, floppy hair, geeky glasses, and a never ending passion for what he is good at. I can definitely see the he is very hobbit-ish, but how bad is that really, it just means he loves all the good things in life, food, nature, beer and relaxing. I'm definitely more interested in men who have something to say for themselves, are excited and enlivened by the things that they do rather than relying on having a pretty face/body.

If you are looking more a more regular hotty selection head on over to Magatha-May's blog, as she has *lovely*   feature every Friday.

14 Apr 2011

R2D2 and Some Other Earrings

I made a whole new batch of Shrinky Dink earrings. They've gotten really popular at the stall and I think people are intrigued by the fact that they are buying hand drawn earrings. I've even gotten some custom orders lately including these really cute R2D2 earrings for Froodie. I really want to continue expanding my range, at the moment I have 24 designs listed in my shop, but I'll add a few new ones every month and eventually I'll have a bit collection. If any of you would like specific once off pieces like R2 above then don't hesitate in contacting me.

Heart Robot Shrinky Dink Earrings

Skull and Crossbones Shrinky Dink Earrings

Juicy Red Apple Shrinky Dink Earrings

13 Apr 2011

New Finger Pincushions

For ages people have been asking me would I list my finger pincushions in my etsy shop. I eventually got around to making a new batch of them this week and I decided to hold some back from the stall and list them on etsy and see how they do there. I used to have the same stock at my stall that I have online but that started to get too complicated as my two shops grew. So now I have an 'etsy box' where I keep all my one off pieces like needle books, boxes, brooches and now pincushions. This also avoids going through the whole process of photographing and listing something, then to sell it 2 days later at the market(great to get the sale, but a pain to do the listing all over again).

The pincushions are really popular at the market, as i think most people have never seen anything like them before. I use a plain bottle cap for the base and then I sew the cupcake top for it. It's a surprisingly time consuming process for something so small. I know I would make simpler ones with would take half the time but they wouldn't be as cute I think, it's the buttons, ribbon and 'icing' that makes them nice. These finger pincushions are for when you are sewing/pining on the go, like working on alterations or a mannequin. They have an elasticated ring so they are comfortable to wear for all sizes. They are €10 each and they come with a free set of rainbow pins too.

12 Apr 2011

Nice Day for a New Brooch

Lately all I seem to be spending my hard earned cash on is evil bills, rent, food and supplies for the business. I never buy anything anymore just for me, so in a moment of feeling hard done by and sorry for myself I decided Ruth needed a little treat for herself. I've been drooling over the work of ShinyJane since she joined the Etsy Ireland Team, telling myself one day I would buy something from her. I stumbled across her shop the other day again and it reminded me of my ongoing fixation with her work and I thought to myself that this was the prime moment for self indulgent spending.

I hummed and hawed between a few of her pieces, and in the end I was only able to decide when I told myself I would come back for more later down the line. I chose this beautiful poetic cloud piece because it reminds me of my logo and I couldn't help but smile every time I looked at it.
Little white cloud with raindrops brooch - April Showers

Little white cloud with raindrops brooch - April Showers

I was delighted when the parcel arrived this morning in the beautiful little box, with the most darling drawing on it (I will have to find something suitably cute to store in this in my studio). This is what I love about etsy, when you order things they always arrive with amazing packaging and lovely notes of thanks, so that you know your items was made with love ( a huge contrast with the cattle herding behaviour of the high street). I can't wait to to wear my brooch, and tell everyone where I got it!

8 Apr 2011

Hotty But Notty: Gary Sinise

My friend Mags runs a 'Pretty Boy Friday' every week which is always nice for a good drool. I know Gary Sinise is not exactly the most beautiful man in the world, but I have strange taste and I think off kilter hotties deserve a bit of air time too. I was watching The Stand this week and was surprised at how attractive he was in it....in that 'not over the top but attractive but looks like he could start a campfire and fix your tire' kind of way. Know what I mean? Real man attractive...please someone agree with me so I don't think I'm weird.

7 Apr 2011

Some Lost Art

My friends Branden and Mary-Rose were being filmed the other day in their house for Nationwide, which is really exciting. I called over to their house to help with the finishing touches and to make it look 'tv beautiful'. They asked if they could borrow some art to fill their blank walls, which meant that I went digging through my portfolio of goodies.
It was only then that I found these great prints and illustrations that I bought a few years ago when I was on holiday in Edinburgh. It seems like I put them 'somewhere safe' and then totally forgot about them. I must get some little frames for them and add them to my growing collection.

Ps: I'll let you know when the guys nationwide episode is being aired so you can see how great they are!

6 Apr 2011

Handmade Stickers

Recently I was having a wander around the 2EuroStore recently when I stumbled upon these pretty cool sticker packs. Basically they are glossy sheets you can use in your printer, then cut out the shape, et voila you have stickers. At long last a decent way of getting interesting stickers without having top pay a fortune for them.

You get 10 sheets for €2 and I fit about 10 designs on each sheet, which is 100 stickers! I printed the first few at home but saw that it was quickly eating up my ink. I then took a stroll down to my local printers where he printed the 10 sheets for €3, which is fantastic value. I may not work out being a huge amount cheaper than buying stickers, but it's more the flexibility of design that I'm interested in. For example I was able to make mothers day stickers for my cards after I wasn't able to find any in my local craft shop.

I was thinking it might be worth making up some designs and selling the stickers on Etsy for other people wanting to make cards. It wouldn't be a huge amount of work to do the designs but I think it would be quite a unique thing to sell. Yet again I have another idea that I'm totally distracted by, in my head right now I can hear Johns voice telling me to focus my business on a few things. But where is the fun in that???

5 Apr 2011

Polka Dot Ribbon Supplies

Sometimes impulse shopping can be really great, last week I was browsing through the new 'activity feed' feature feature on etsy that shows all the items and shops that people in my 'circle' have recently liked. It was there there that I spotted these ribbons at a crazy reasonable price of 5 yards of polka dot grossgrain for less than a euro in the clearance section!!I then discovered that Kinderklipz has a good secondary shipping price, so I loaded up my shopping cart and bought all this booty for about €20, remember that all of these bundles are 5 yard lengths of ribbon. Lately I've been using my more expensive satin ribbon on my handmade cards, which is a total waste as they are pretty pricey. So it was really good to find such a cheap source of super cute ribbon, perfect for the card I'll be making over the next while!

I'll definitely be back for more, especially since her shipping was lightning fast too!

On a complete side note, I've a lovely hour singing along to Gemma Hayes (night on my side)while cleaning my house. I'm not a good singer by anyones standards but I love singing really loud while nobody is home.
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