5 Nov 2017

Upcycled Comic Book Lamp

You know when you spend hours looking at Pinterest and have a million ideas? So much time on Pinterest that you don't have any hours left over for actually making the upcycled eco friendly vegan brownie, with hand painted geometric plate. Well I actually peeled myself away from the laptop to actually make a thing.

I've had this mannequin since my market days, clogging up space in my house, but it also seemed wasteful to get rid of it. Around the same time I was keeping an eye out for tall lamps in charity shops. Everything I saw looked really ugly,like it came straight out of an Argos catalog. 

The Pinterest and PVA glue came to the rescue.

It really was as easy as it looks, and only took about an afternoon to do. As you can see I cut a whole at the neck to fit in the electrical bit,which was just a cheap plastic lamp from Ikea that I snapped off to make it fit. In the last picture you can see there is a lampshade on it. This was just a manky beige shade that I had lying about that I painted with acrylic paint. 

Guess how much this cost me? Nothing at all!

1 Nov 2017

Art on Show

I started a new job recently in Bia Agus Caife in Ennis. It's a fairly relaxed,fun, no stress job. I make coffee all day, have chit chat about the weather, and switch off when I come home, a low maintanance way of keeping the bills paid, which suits me perfectly.

My boss very kindly asked if I would like to hang any on my artwork up to brighten the place up a bit. He also said I could use the frames that he hanging anyhow. The next day I brought in the author water colours that I had done over the years. This was literally the easiest exhibition I've ever had in my life-so much so it feels silly to call it an exhibition.

It's nice seeing them all together and makes me feel proud of the work that I had lying around in a dusty box. It's been a bit of a push for me to put aside more time for creating things. It is something I love doing-sometimes I just need a reminder of that.

28 Oct 2017

Selling in Shops Nationwide

It's funny how businesses change over time. When I was doing Nice day Designs full time I felt torn about selling to shops, it seemed like so much money to hand over in commission. The truth is I wasn't that realistic about the amount of hours I was spending out in the cold trying to sell my work at markets. I wasn't paying myself for that time, and I think looking back I was too exhausted to make smart decisions about my business.

Now that I've scaled things back a lot I can make the work that I enjoy making and pass on the chore of selling onto someone else. A few months ago when I went through a period of unemployment I put aside some time to make tonnes of handmade cards to send to various shops around the country. It was a lot of work doing so much all at once. I think the concentrated working time had a two fold effect, it honed my card making skills really establishing an aesthetic. As well as that it gave me a clearer idea of the true cost of in labour and materials of the cards, without a sustained run at any craft it is sometimes hard to  calculate these things.

I'm happy to say that I'm now selling in several locations throughout Ireland, and still looking for more venues, so if you are a craft shop owner please get in touch. Thanks to all of those who have already agreed to sell my work, you guys allow me to focus my energy on what I really love doing-making stuff!

List of suppliers;
Chez Le Fab-Limerick

Lucky Lane-Limerick

Sheelagh Na Gig-Cloughjordan

Baobab Cafe-Celbridge,Co.Kildare

Coffee Time-Co.Donegal

The Ennis Bookshop-Ennis

16 May 2017

Children can write Hollywood movies

This the first of hopefully many blog posts from Neil, we figured since there are so many parents who follow this blog that it might be of interest. It was first published on his writing blog, you should head over if you're a fan of intelligent sci-fi.

Children can write Hollywood Movies. I have established this fact through an experiment, which will be the basis of today's blog post. I should probably say from the offset that I think children are our intellectual superiors. Intelligence is the measure of one's ability to learn, and children learn more quickly, more effectively and more openly than their tall, cocksure relatives: adults.


So, like all the best pseudo-science, my experiment began with an expected outcome: that I could take the Hollywood Structure, lay out all of the expectations of a bog-standard, three-act story, and tell my daughters - Lilly Rose (8) and Sophia Maria (6) - to fill in the details. This exercise doesn't just apply to screenplays, by the way, a lot of novels, short-stories etc. seem to follow at least some if not all of these narrative tropes. It's intriguing to see the strings so nakedly, however if you adhere dogmatically to everything on the list, you'll probably find your story A. feels really like a story and B. you've heard it before a thousand times. Still, we had some fun, so if you're a parent and you want to encourage some creative writing in your little people or you just want to ruin all movies for them forever, here's what we did: We went to a café (Vegan, of course - we're not barbarians) and sat around a table with some coffees (they were all for me) and chocolate brownies (also for me). The first thing we needed was a PROTAGONIST. Lilly enthusiastically suggested the idea of a nine-year-old girl named Kerry. She needed a FLAW - something that she could overcome by the end of the story - and after playing with the idea of her being cowardly, we decided it would be more fun to make Kerry reckless. (Crazy and brave, as the girls put it). This married nicely with what we needed next - a POWER, or quality - which was Kerry's bravery.


Kerry needed a NORMAL WORLD to live in - a situation that could be disrupted by a sudden incident, and then reestablished for a satisfying conclusion. It also helps if this world piques the interest of the audience. We decided she lived with her father, and her mother was an archaeologist travelling the world. Kerry missed her mother (side-note to all of this in terms of parenting, storybuilding together turned out to be a fascinating insight into my girls' view of the world - their mother and I are separated, and Kerry missing her Mum was no coincidence). In the opening of our film Kerry climbs a big tree at school. All the students gather round shouting 'jump! jump! jump!' She does so, and lands on a shy boy from her school named - ahem - Joanakin Fishwin Ginnequin III, or Charlie for short. This little boy is fascinated with Irish history, and wishes he was friends with Kerry, but more of that later. Scuffed and limping, Kerry heads home to her Dad where they argue about Kerry's uniform, and the fact that her Mother won't be coming home at the end of the week as she had thought. Kerry runs off into the countryside, as the sun is setting, and finds herself in a mysterious cave... Then the INCITING INCIDENT: the moonlight shines through the cave, Newgrange-style, and illuminates an ancient Celtic pendant, which Kerry puts on - granting her the power to control gravity! Details were a bit sketchy on exactly how she figures this out but of course the first person she goes to is Joanikin Fishwin Ginn - let's just call him Charlie. He reluctantly agrees to help her, at which point there's a comedic MONTAGE SEQUENCE of Kerry learning to use her powers. This makes Charlie quite a clever double-cliché as both the WISE MAN (e.g Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars) and the BEST FRIEND (e.g Joan Cusack in everything).

Kerry faces various challenges, including the kids bullying Charlie, and - details, again, are sketchy - evil viking henchmen. All culminating in her facing off against the ARCH-NEMESIS of the piece, another wielder of a power-imbuing artifact... bum bum BUUUM... Kerry's Mother! (quite proud of Sophia for that idea) That's right, we went full-blown Freudian on your asses, but it makes a certain amount of sense, what with her being a globe-trotting archaeologist. But what Kerry doesn't realise is that her mother isn't controlling the artifact - the artifact is controlling her mother. All along, the people who cared about her were telling her to calm down and think before she acted. It was always the advice from her father and Charlie. Now, in this crucial moment at the climax of the story, she almost destroys her own mother with her awesome gravitational powers. This is the one person she's been trying to reach, to see again, to hold. But thankfully she listens to that inner voice, overcomes her anger and recklessness, and in the last moment saves her mother, and plucks the pendant from round her neck.


I finished the last brownie with the girls singing the theme music and using hand gestures to indicate the credits. Now faced with the pleading question 'But aren't we going to make it?' 'Can I play Kerry?' 'Couldn't you just film it on your phone?' Sorry kids, I was just taking advantage of your rich imaginations and superior intellects to write a blog post. I think I made my point though. Michael Bay has tried to keep this method a secret for far too long, and I'm blowing the whole thing wide open.

3 Mar 2017

New Badge Designs

With a new lease of life have come some new badge designs-actually I tell a little fib, I did these a while back, but I only posted them on Facebook and forgot to update the blog. These are just a starting point to give people an idea of what they can order. basically we can put any image and text that you want, your(and our) imagination is the only limit. For a full list of prices for party badges head over here, and to view the full album of designs head over to our Facebook album here.

I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into some new designs, and being less hampered by having to do PG rated designs, when I was trading at the market it seemed crass to sell anything too naughty given the presence of children. Hen and Stag party badges are meant to be rude and silly!

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2 Mar 2017

Nice Day just got a little Nicer

It's been another long break away from Nice Day Designs again, things have changed a little, actually quite a lot since the last time I posted a few words here. I'm still happy with the move that I made to Ennis 18 months ago, and I'm living quietly and happily in my cute little old house.

Recently I decided to wind up this business again, but just the custom badge orders, as much as I love making crafty things and selling them at markets, the endless struggle was a little too soul crushing. I now have a partner in crime to help with all these saucy hen party orders. This is Neil, who is also my partner, you may recognise him from this post last year about a music video that we worked on together. Here's him with his 'Neil' puppet that I made for him. We'll both be at the helm answering emails and sending off your party orders. He's also quite a funny guy, so expect some new whitty one liner designs to come soon. He makes me laugh, he seems perfectly suited to the haiku style of the 1" gag pin.

We also write things together, so expect some links to fun and philosophical video, sketches of fantastical worlds, and generally this blog taking a slightly different direction. It's nice to be back, it's also nice to have company, I do hope that some of you are still reading.

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