31 Jan 2011

Featured Seller: Homespun Ireland

Mixed Media Collage Pendant -- Handmade in Ireland

Now that I've picked up the reigns of my log again I'd like to start a regular post of Featured seller, I'll mostly be showing you Irish shops as I'm all for supporting local. It may be a weekly thing, but laziness might take over, we'll see how it goes...

First up we have Jesse from Homespun Ireland, a shop I've been in love with for about a year or so. I love the romance and texture in her work, and the small details are astounding. It's beautiful how she marries traditional Irish themes with modern shabby chic styles.

Jesse is based in Ballinacurra, Cork, where she juggles her own work with with running her flower shop Bloomsday Flowers in Carrigtwohill, to be honest I don't know where she finds the time! She also runs a second etsy shop, Celtic Sea Treasures, where you can buy lovely natural Irish findings.


Crazy Quilt Covered Wooden Box -- Hourihan

Hand-dyed Wool Scapular --Handmade in Ireland

Mixed Media Cigar Box Assemblage -- Mr. Lorcan Sherlock -- Victorian Vintage Style -- Made in Ireland

30 Jan 2011

The Great Jam Adventure

Good morning all. Just a quick post today to show you my yummy breakfast, it may just look like tea and toast but there is a twist. I'm really into trying new foods lately or making myself eat things that I thought I hated, like mushrooms. When I was at The Green Apron stall looking for some jam the temptation was to go for regular run of the mill strawberry jam, instead my adventurous brain kicked me in the ass and told me to try something different. Crabapple Jelly was my tipple of choice and it's delicious, if you are in the Milk Market on Saturday you must pop by and pick some up. It's sweet but has a great bite to it, and goes really well with brown bread or scones. Say hi to Theresa if you do go to the stall, she is lovely.

So onwards and upwards for my culinary forays into the unknown!

28 Jan 2011

Art Art Everywhere

As I mentioned in this post I've been sorting out all the art I've had in boxes, envelopes, and 'safe places'. It's really nice to see the pieces on display and it really wasn't that hard to sort out. Note to self;stop putting things on the long finger, it's worth it when they eventually get done.

Firstly you might remember that I won this piece for my Halloween costume last year. I've loved Tommy Comerfords work for ages but I really wasn't sure what frame I should put it in. I wanted to keep the torn edge on the print so I placed it on some dark textured paper and contrasted it with this striking gold frame that I had in the studio. I'm really delighted with how it turned out and it taking pride of place over my mantelpiece.

My friend Mary O Dea gave me this wonderful Limerick silkscreen as a Christmas present. It's one of her own pieces that she sells at the Milk Market, and she also sells really funky silk screened t-shirts. At the moment I've hung it in my studio but at a later date I'd like to get a frame for it.

The piece on the left has a fantastic story, it's by Canadian artist Amelie Gagne, who is currently living and working in Ireland. I stumbled across her art on twitter and totally fell in love with her work; head over heels. Months ago I posted a link to her website on my facebook page, thinking nothing of it. Roll on half a year and my sister gets me for Kris Kindle and is looking for something to for buy me. Amazingly she remembers this artists and contacts Amelie looking for something in her budget. I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened my present, it was so amazing that she remembered the post, it's one of the best presents I've gotten in years, and all this effort from a woman who just became a mother 6 months ago!

You might remember from this post me talking about the piece on the right, it's from Lynn Kenny, a fantastic local artist.

A brand new gallery just opened up at the Milk Market, in one of the permanent shops, it's called Elalgallery. It features the photography of Neil Armstrong Jude, his work is strong and edgy, exactly the kind of photos I love. I can't believe a place like this has opened up in Limerick and right at my doorstep. Over Christmas I got lots of gifts in there, 3 pieces based on Dublin for my father, a beautiful sepia pier view for my friend John, and these 3 black and white scenes for myself. On the work alone I love Neils photography, but add on top of that the crazy reasonable prices and he's onto a definite winner. You can buy these small pieces at €4 each or 3 for €10, and the framed works start at €15, how crazy recession busting is that? He has tonnes of images to choose from, I know I'll definitely be back for more; I love buying presents for myself.

There is a funny story behind this. My friend Tara Whelan made this for me after a drunken conversation that I have no clue how she remembered. I was very impressed that she does cross stitch, and she explained her love for creating obscene phrases. Then very kindly she offered to make one for me to put in my studio, after much drunken pondering I came up with this strange phrase. It was conceived in a moment of anger at the horrendous cramps that I get every month, I love the violence of the caption done in such a homely craft. Apparently Tara was stitching this on a train, much the the curiosity of her fellow passengers!

27 Jan 2011

Attempts at Tidying

I got an email about a possible magazine feature, but it's all as yet unconfirmed so I've to keep shtum about it for the time being. In the mean time I've been cleaning my house like a maniac in preparation for the photos. I'm not the tidiest person in the world, and even my previous attempts at taming the beast of my studio have been so-so at best, not exactly photogenic. I've completed downstairs with the exception of my tiny kitchen.Over the past few days I've been attempting to tame the beast that is my studio bedroom. As you may remember from this post, I had to move my bedroom into my work space. It's been workable but a bit of a nightmare.

This week I bought lots of storage boxes, this great one with little compartments was only €2 in Easons and it's perfect for all my threads. I also got these lovely little baskets in a pound shop for some of my personal use buttons ( the ones I have for sale are sorted into a set of drawers), they were €4 a pop, but I think the add some character to the bland shelves.

I groan when I look at inspiring craft studios like these. But I'll show you the fruits of my labour next week when it's all done, and before it gets messy again!

26 Jan 2011

Being Human

It's been a couple of weeks since I've gone full time at Nice Day Designs and the benefits are wonderful. Yes I am a little scared when bills pop through my letter box, or when I have to go buy supplies, but that is mostly due to it being a very quiet time of year for all retail, and I'm no exception.
The two major things I have really loved are being able to work at my own pace and not always having to catch up, and also feeling like a human being again.

Work: As my regular readers might have noticed there has been an upsurge in posts, new products, and I've started listing in my Etsy shop again. I've found the fun in my work again, not that I had entirely lost it, but there was always an endless unfinished list, and a rush to get things finished-not what I had in mind when I wanted to work for myself.

Being Myself: It's so nice having a social life again, if someone asks me to go for a pint I can go, guilt free and not be thinking about the mounting work at home. I'm also not frazzled when I'm out, I found that when I met up with friends and family previously I had a glazed exhausted expression on my face, I suppose that's what an 80 hour week for a few years will do to you. Now that I'm actually engaging with my friends again I feel really lucky that they stuck it out, and are still here. I'm sure zombie Ruth wasn't much fun. I'm also doing things like cleaning my house, washing laundry, cooking lovely dinners, watering my plants, hanging up artwork I've had in boxes for years and watching films, and reading books. I only worked 20 hours in Luigi Malones but I think it pushed me into a constant state of exhaustion, that made it impossible to feel like myself.

21 Jan 2011

Geeky Love

It's so nice having the time to be prepared for Seasons ahead, usually I'm scrabbling at the last minute to get Xmas, Paddys Day, and Halloween things made. So for the first time I have Valentines items listed ahead of time, if you want to browse through my shop for gushy lovely goods for your loved one, click here.
A few days ago I spent ages perched at my computer making new Valentines designs for my badges, but I didn't want to go down the traditional pink hearts route.Instead I got my geeky thinking cap on and came up with some fun alternatives. My particular favourite is the facebook 'I 'LIKE' You' badge, perfect for the Valentine you've been stalking for the past month!

20 Jan 2011

Sterling Silver Crosses

I added a new range of sterling silver crosses to my supplies shop. I've had a bunch of them in my studio for a while (it's long story!) and it never occurred to me that I could sell them. But after doing a bit of browsing on Etsy I saw that other sellers had them listed as supplies. I'm not really sure how that works,because by just adding a chain makes them a necklace, so it's not really a supply, but other sellers seem to be doing so I thought I would hop on the bandwagon. In any case it looks like it's allowed if it's tagged correctly under supplies, rather than handmade. If they ended up selling well I would be chuffed as I have quite a few of them and it would be great to get some money for them.

19 Jan 2011

Love Day

In this post last week you saw that I bought some lovely large card in town. I've been making them into very large Valentine's Day cards; they are A3 in size. This new project was harder to do than I expected as all my of my card making equipment is designed for a much smaller scale, so all of my stamps and embellishments looked lost on the cards. I also stupidly didn't think about how much paper they would use up!!
To be honest the jury is still out on these, I might just make 1 or 2 more to sell for fun at the stall, but they take such a long time to make I don't think it's really worth my while. ....Now I just have to figure out how to make some supersized envelopes to go with them...groan!

18 Jan 2011

New Shrinky Dink Earrings

You may remember from this post when I first fell in love with Shrinkles(shrinky dinks) and I've been meaning to do more interesting things with them. Last week I got a few earring hooks off a friend and experimented with making some illustration jewellery. I only had a few earring hooks so I've ordered more from these lovely people and hopefully they arrive pretty soon.

Design template.

The shrinkle drawings before they were put in the oven.

In the meantime I've made a bunch of new designs, the hard part is thinking up new pictures, but I'm having loads of fun drawing them. I've decided to keep a design dairy, with the template for the image, so that if I sell a pair I can repeat the design easily enough. This will mostly come into play when I'm selling them on Etsy, as I means I don't have to take new shots and write new descriptions; if they sell, I'll just relist them.

I've also ordered some ball chains so I can make some pendants too, which will be fun as I can do larger images and maybe link some together. I didn't really mean to start making jewellery ,but I love trying out new things and I also wanted to use the shrinkles for something that I could charge a little bit more money for. I was only charging €4 for the handmade cards and it really wasn't worth my while making them. Whereas I'm charging €10 for a pair of earrings, which I think is still very reasonable since they are hand drawn.

17 Jan 2011

Eye Candy

Look what my amazing postman just brought me!! Wonderful delicious stamps, I can't wait to get crafty with these gorgeous letter stamps.
I'm always so excited when the postman arrives with my internet purchases, in my head I'd like to think he looks like this beautiful man to complete my ideal picture of a guy who gives me crafty supplies and looks divine. Enjoy my unashamed eye candy, I know I am!

12 Jan 2011

Supplies Shopping

Oopsy, I was bold! While I was in Msigns buying myself some elastic so I can make more button rings I spotted this lovely A3 cutting mat. My old A4 one looks like it's been mangled by a rabid glue gun. I decided to spoil myself and start this new year with a much deserved cutting mat. I also picked up some 300gm card for a Valentine's project that I'm working on...I'll keep you all posted.

11 Jan 2011

Button Rings

Part of my whole plan to deal with being made redundant this week is to start listing more of my crafts in my Etsy shops. At my stall I sell lots of little bit and bobs that I never list in my shops like pincushion rings, button rings, pincushion button jars, cards etc. I suppose I've been so busy I found it hard to make time to take photos and write descriptions etc. But now I have more time and it seems like a good idea to actually show the full range of things that I make.

With that in mind I made up some new adjustable button rings last night, and got up bringht and early to photograph them. I struggle a bit with how I should capture them, so I had a browse through Etsy to see with how people photographed rings. A surprising majority don't show them on a hand, but this is not an option for mine as they are elasticated, and they look far better when worn.

I don't think I have ideal hands for modelling but i didn't have much choice, so I slapped on a bit of distracting red nail polish and hoped for the best. I chose the retro looking polka dot blue material for my background and got clicking.
The rings are all hand stitched together, and made from my vintage collection of buttons. At only €5 a pop they are a cheap and cheerful accessory that won't break the bank. Hopefully they are as popular online as they have been at my stall.I will be listing lots of them over the coming weeks but at the moment you can browse my rings here.

10 Jan 2011

Losing My Job

My return post after all the Christmas madness was meant to be cheery and relaxed after my much deserved time of R&R but sadly it's not going to be. On Friday I was made redundant from my part time job as a waitress in Luigi Malone's. I had been planning on leaving in around March or April and go full time at Nice Day Designs so my brain was geared towards finnishing anyhow. But I certainly would not have left now during my quietest sales months. To be honest it's been quite a shock to the system and I took the weekend to mooch about the house, watch movies and allow myself some down time.
It's now Monday and I've been to the Citizens Information centre and things are not looking as bleak as I had initially thought. These next few months will be very tough financially but I'm going to choose to see this in a good light. Now I have the time to throw myself into this business 150%. I'm already making plans for a few changes to my stall at the Milk Market to freshen things up a bit for the new year. Also I plan to get my two Etsy shops back in order, with all the markets over Christmas I let things slip a bit. I also want to get back to blogging regularly too, as I've really missed it over these past few months. I have orders to complete for the shop in Kilkenny so that should boost my income a bit too.
I'll miss the structure that the work gave to my week, I'll miss the really genuinely lovely people I worked with, and also I'll definitely miss the very delicious food. I won't miss being a waitress, working for someone else was really starting to wear me down over the past few months, I was finding it harder and harder every week to switch from self employed mode to answering to a manager and demanding customers. It's a step I've needed to made for a while, and sometimes life has a way of throwing you onto the path you need to follow.

Ps: funnily enough I did actually get a plant when I was leaving, it wan't in a cardboard box and I wasn't wearing a pink snazzy suit and heels but the cliche image didn't fail to amuse me.
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