29 Aug 2012

Painting Limerick Craft and Design

It's been a busy couple of weeks for me and the craft co-op that I'm part of, we've been painting the shop space and all of the units. I'm a total novice when it comes to DIY, or rather I was until I got a crash course by being thrown into the deep end.

We are at the very end stage when just a few bits need an extra lick of paint, the floor needs clearing and darned good hoovering. It's been a great experience seeing this coming together so well, it's been such a long time at the planning stage I can't quite believe it's happening. I must say though that I had no idea how much hard work painting is!! I feel like I've been in the gym 24/7 with all the stretches and squats that I'm doing.

For anyone who is a new reader this 'project' I'm talking about is Limerick Craft & Design, a craft co-op made up of 35 different Limerick based crafters and designers. I've been heading the project for about 9 months trying to get everything organised, and we will be opening very shortly on Sarsfield St. For more info head over to the website and Facebook page.

Update: We are running a competition on the page at the moment where you can win a €100 voucher, just like Limerick Craft & Designs page and share this photo to gain an extra entry...easy peasy!

Ericka and John working hard!

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27 Aug 2012

50% Off Sale in My Etsy Shop

It's that time of the month...no not that one! Rather it's when all of my bills have arrived at the same time, in an effort to surmount this mountain of costly paperwork I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop. I've never done this before, but it seems like a good idea to help boost sales. Instead of changing all of my prices and lsiting descriptions I'm offering a coupon code to you guys here for being such loyal readers.
Just enter the code 'crazysale' when you are at the checkout and you will receive 50% off. I'm only running this offer for a week so get in there quick!

Pop over here to go shopping! I have cards, wine charms, badges, and mirrors!!

Note: this offer only applies to my etsy items, it does not apply to my real life market sales.

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23 Aug 2012

Blog Worthy Nails

I watched this hilarious nail art video the other day and I decided I wanted to try my hand at some blog worthy nails too. If you don't already follow Love Elycia and The Dainty Squid head over to their blogs now, they are brilliant!!

I've been seeing more and more elaborate nails on Pinterest, and most of the time I think 'oh how pretty, but I don't have the time'. But I have noticed I've started lots more nail varnish than I used to, so I thought I try doing some posh ones. The tutorial above explains everything, while being pretty funny too. 

Here are my pretty spiffing results!! Unless I decide to have a movie night for myself where I have to do absolutely nothing I doubt this will become a regular thing, they took too darned long to dry. I think the trick might be to use a very good quality base colour so you only need one layer.

Unfortunately I chose a week that I'm doing lots of filling/painting/sanding, so they only had one day of glory before they turned to this mess!! 

Ps: I used normal sticker paper cut into strips instead of buying nail stencils, it worked perfectly. 

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21 Aug 2012

Egg and Quinoa Cups

I get very bored eating the same food all the time so I'm always on the lookout for new recipes, that's why Pinterest is a goldmine for new ideas. I have a food board called 'Tasty...nom,nom,nom' where I save the most delicious looking things(and also things I would feasibly make), I also have another board especially for Crock Pot recipes as I'm still learning how to use mine. I've tried quite a few things that I've pinned but I never remember to take photos, so they don't make it as far as my blog, but for once before diving in I thought to take a couple of badly lit pictures.

When I saw these quinoa cups I knew I had to try them, I'm a little obsessed with quinoa at the moment, it acts as a carb as part of your meal but it's a protein so it's much better for you. You get that nice full feeling like rice, but without the bloating, like a light satisfying fullness that gives you lots of energy. It's quite similar in texture to cous cous, but better since it's not made from wheat. It's a little bit more pricey than things like pasta and rice, but it's totally worth the extra money. I usually cook mine with a veg Knor Stockpot, and it's delicious. I got the original recipe here on Iowa Girl Eats, but it can be easily tweaked to whatever you have in your fridge, just like an omelette.

Basically they are like an omelette that you cook in the oven with added quinoa. The original recipe made little mini bite sized pieces but I used my muffin tin instead for dinner sized portions. As I said you can put in whatever ingredients you like, but this is what I used.
Quinoa Cups:
3/4 of a small cup of uncooked quinoa
1 veg knor stockpot
3 eggs
fistful of grated cheese
1 finely chopped red pepper
1/2 red onion finely chopped
6 cherry tomatoes finely chopped and de-seeded 
2 slices of cooked ham
black pepper
dash of soy sauce

Cherry Tomato
Grated Cheese
Mixed Seeds
Linwoods Flaxseed mix(super food,I would highly recommend getting this, I add it to loads of things like breakfast, soup, salads, pasta etc)

Cook your quinoa with 2 1/2 parts water to every part quinoa, then add in your knor stockpot to add flavour, bring to the boil, and let it simmer. While this is cooking preheat your over to 180 degrees. Then chop and grate your ingredients. And mix in a bowl together with your 3 eggs. Liberally grease your tin with oil/butter/non stick spray. When the quinoa is cooked add it to the egg mixture, and divide evenly into your cake/muffin tin. I got 4 servings from this mixture, but I'd say if I added another egg (I had a little extra quinoa left over) and made the portions a little smaller I would have gotten 6 out of it. Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes, wait until it's golden on the top and cooked through.

This may not look like the most filling dinner in the world but I was totally stuffed after it, I will definitely be making it again!

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20 Aug 2012

Button Hair Clips

It's been a while since I posted anything crafty on the blog. I made these button hair clips last week, I had previously made hair slides but I got a bunch of the snap clips a while back to expand the range. I'll be sending a bunch of them down to Truly Gifted and I'll also have them at my stall and in Limerick Craft & Design. The are €4 for a pair.

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18 Aug 2012

Researching Irish Based Tattoo Artists

I've been  getting the itch again to get a new tattoo. This time I want to get a stack of books on my upper arm. I always do loads of research before I choose a tattoo artist, checking out their website and facebook pages. I'm really happy with the one I got last year, but I like seeing what different artists can do, so I've been looking around Ireland to see who is doing good work. If you are planning on getting a tattoo don't just listen to peoples recommendations, I had people recommended and when I looked at their work it was awful. Pick the artist that suits what you are going to get, there is no point going to a tribal expert when what you want is a portrait tattoo.

The three tattoos above are by artist Robert Witczuk, who is originally Polish but traveled to Ireland after getting a Masters in Fine Art. He now works in Tat24You in Co.Meath. I'm in love with the converse runner one, and would love it in red!

Marcin Soski is also Polish, he works in Zulu Tattoo in Dublin. I was blown away by his drawing work, and then when I saw the colour work on the Bacchus piece above I decided to email the shop. It turns out that they would like an face to face chat rather that go over the details via email, which is a bit frustrating as they are in Dublin.

Norbert Halasz is Hungarian but he is currently working in Dublin Ink, it was my friend Donna who recommended that I check them out, she had heard very good things. 

As impressed as I am with all the amazing artists that i found working in Ireland I'm still gutted that I probably can't afford to go to Berlin to get a piece done by Peter Aurisch, I love the texture and comparative simplicity of his work. Maybe down the line when I'm rich I'll head over. I even tried emailing him a couple of times to get an idea of costs but i got no reply.

I've also been drooling over the work of Xoil, but he is based in France. You can see that the style of the last two artists is totally different from anything else that I've shown. I can't seem to find anyone based here working in that loose collage style. If you know of anyone or have suggestions please leave them in the comments below.

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17 Aug 2012

A Feminist Celebration

I've been seeing lots of diet plan and thinspiration posts lately on Pinterest and it makes me really sad. Something like 90% of the users are female and it seems like a large majority of them are pinning quotes, diets, workout regimes, and 'look at how skinny I am now' stories. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get healthy but we as women need to stop being our own worst enemies. In answer to all of these posts I thought I would show you some women and articles that have inspired me, and made made me feel more beautiful and accepting of myself.

I love the fashion blog Advanced Style, it's a real inspiration to women who are older celebrating their age and their beauty in a really expressive way. You can see that they've spent a lifetime developing their own independent taste and don't feel under any pressure to conform to fashion norms(whatever they are anyhow??)

Speaking of having confidence, this is Rachele, a style blogger who is leading a movement online to change peoples attitude towards weight. She is a size US 26 and talks about being proud of her size, and celebrating herself, she runs a campaign called 'Proud of my size' that invites people to post outfits on their blogs declaring their size whether it be 0 or 30. I love what she is doing, there is no much negativity online it's great to see someone championing women.

Women drinking pints of Guinness/Beamish seems pretty normal to me as I worked in an old man bar for years. But it occurred to me the other night when I went for a drink by myself and sat at the bar to read a newspaper that this might have come across as very strange to some people. The image of a young woman in a dress,with a broadsheet newspaper plus a pint of Beamish at 10pm on a weekday drew quite a few wry looks from the locals. Why is it perfectly acceptable for a man to go for a drink by himself and not a woman? My sisters for years ordered glasses of beer instead of pints because they weren't 'ladylike',I know I'm not the only one who thinks that's crazy, but I thought that kind of attitude went out with Jack Lynch.

When I went Googling for an image of a woman drinking a pint of Guinness I got loads of warnings for alcohol abuse, drinking while pregnant, muffin tops with measuring tapes. When I Googled the same thing for a man I got picturesque tourist photos! The pickings were fairly slim, but thankfully I found the above picture on this blog talking about the same divide between the thirsty sexes.
(funnily enough I actually came across this image of myself in my Google search!!)

This is a brilliant article on The Vagenda(if you don't subscribe to them do so now, it's a fantastic feminist blog) about underarm, leg and pubic hair and the social pressure to be as hairless as a baby's bum. I have total respect for women who don't shave and wish I was brave enough. I'm not so strict about underarm hair as I am about legs. If I find myself out and a bit furry with a vest on I'm not going to walk around with my elbows pinned down for the day. 
What I do find a bit disturbing is the pressure to have a constantly trimmed bikini line, I heard of friends being asked by a guy in an amorous moment why they aren't waxed, seriously?? Personally I think it looks a little weird and it freaks me out a bit. Ch4 did a good documentary on the proliferation of porn and what it has done to peoples expectations, they linked the rise in the demand for Bazilians to our consumption of porn, following the hairless aesthetic. 

There is about 1000 things in the Sex and the City films that really pissed me off, but the scene where Miranda gets stick from Samantha about not being waxed really annoyed me, I know it was meant to be funny but it rankled me that we should all conform to this one type( a sentiment that seems far more to do with pleasing others than that of self confidence).

I mentioned this article 'you don't have to be pretty' already earlier in the week but I thought it fit very well here too. It's about feeling beautiful and stylish in your own way no matter what you choose to wear, and not always having to put the best foot forward. I used to watch 'How to look good naked' and thought it was great for helping women feel good about themselves no matter what shape. As far as tv makeover shows go it was really great, but I always thought there was too much pressure on cinching waists, propping boobs, and teetering heels. All that can but fun to do sometimes and it can look great, but I felt that a little bit more self acceptance would have been more constructive. It was only ever a niggling feeling in the back of my head, but when I read this article it cemented those thoughts. 

I saw this stunning Celtic bust tattoo done on a woman that had a double mastectomy, what an inspiring way to reclaim your sense of beauty and womanhood!She looks like a warrior queen who has come out the other side of a battle and won.

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15 Aug 2012

What I'm Wearing: Check Shirtdress

This is a bit more casual and sloppy look than my normal outfit posts, but I was quite hungover and I just wanted to wear something really comfy. Also wearing the headscarf meant I didn't have to wash my hair, this made for a pretty good 'feeling delicate' outfit. I know it's not the most flattering shaped shirt in the world but I'm not always concerned with the idea that I should look like the slimmest version of myself at all times. There is a really great article that discusses this pressure to always look 'your best', often times at the expense of self expression or feeling comfortable. I like dressing the way I want, on some days that might be a waist hugging dress, other times it's my knee length Beno jumper with clompy boots, what's important to me is feeling happy in my own skin and having fun with my clothes.

I got the shirt for only €5 in a mad 'everything is a fiver' sale in The 'Design Outlet' on William street. They also had jeans for only €10 that I very nearly bought, but after reading this article on how to get great pair of jeans I didn't give into the temptation of the bargain. When I was really honest with myself I could see that they were nice on the ass and legs but the waist was way too low for my shape, I never would have been comfortable in them. 
Runners- fake converse from Pennies €8
Sunglasses- Pennies €3
Shirt- The design outlet €5
Belt-Pennies €3
Nail varnish-L'Oreal (602) free from my friend Casha 
Ring- from the Milk Market, it crazily only cost €1!!
Head Scarf- free, I made it from a scrap of fabric and I made the button clips myself
Earrings- free to me as I made them, but I normally charge €10  

Whole outfit only €20( or €30 if I was to buy the earrings from myself??!)

You might also like the What I'm Wearing Series

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9 Aug 2012

Lazy Hazy Sundays

Image courtesy of Kenart Corp
As you know I've been doing the Sunday market for years, it's gone through fits and stages of being great and then very quiet. A few weeks back the guys from The Blind Pig took over the entertainment at the market, and have labelled it Lazy Hazy Sundays. There have been a mix of live music and Dj's and the combination works really well. I was delighted when I heard that they were taking it over as they run one of my favourite bars in Limerick The Blind Pig and Dr.John's. 

Even though I was 'at work' I had a super chilled out day. While I was setting up I could hear the really relaxing music that was being played for the Yoga and Tai Chi classes(it's only €2 per class, yoga at 11am and Tai Chi at 12pm). I got the most amazing crepe from Bon Appetit; buckwheat crepe with spinach, feta, pesto, olives, sundried tomatoes and bacon, it was heaven on a plate. Then I had a good old natter with some tourists who were passing through who also loved buttons and books! It's quiet enough that I can read my book at the stall guilt free(Wrong About Japan by Peter Carey), but busy enough that I still make money, the perfect balance! I then gave into temptation and had some yummy chocolate from The Limerick Chocolate Shop with a cup of tea from Mari's
Image courtesy of Kenart Corp

My friend John Greenwood was DJ-ing on Sunday and he hit the perfect balance of retro laid back jazz with more lively funky tunes. I found myself bopping about a bit while I was reading or chatting. The week previous the weather was so nice a bunch of us stayed for a glass of wine in Mari's after packing up the stall, it's was just so lovely(she also sells amazing cheese plates as pictured above...nom,nom!). There was a moment when I thought to myself with a chuckle 'this is my job', and I had a warm fuzzy feeling at how lucky I am.
Image courtesy of Kenart Corp

Hopefully more people will cotton on to the fact that it's a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, which in turn would mean that we could get more traders. At the moment it feels like the seeds to something pretty special.

This Sunday there is a record fair which will have over 30 vendors selling vintage vinyl, cds and music paraphernalia. My friends John cowpar and Doc who owned Blackspot Records at various stages are organising the event.  I'm really looking forward to it, I'll just have to restrain myself from spending too much money!

Thanks a million to my college buddy Ken from Kenart Corp for the super images!

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