Tuesday, December 29

Tag I'm it

I was honoured to be tagged by the ever inspirational Errant Aesthete, a daily source of insight and delight.
How it works
I must divulge 10 things about myself
I must Tag 7 other blogs

So, here goes.....

Chinese embroidered panel from Marla Mallet

I grew up on the grounds of A Museum of Oriental Art and Textiles, where my Father worked. I am sure seeing these ancient works of Art daily, inspired my love and obsession with textiles and is what lead me to study this at Art College.

I love to cook and in particular to bake, I read cookbooks like most people read a novel.
I make bread, cakes or cookies almost every other day, but am also partial to chutneys, Roast dinners and curries. I see it as my therapy!

I am very stubborn. This can be an asset but I am trying to learn that sometimes it's good thing to back down. .............. I'm working on it.

I am mother to 3 very energetic little boys, 2 dogs and 1 cat, so if I am not posting here I am probably changing a nappy, making a ham sandwhich, helping with homework, putting a child to bed, feeding a dog or taking a nap. ............. that is if I am not working.

One of the most magical experiences of my life was a moonlit horse ride around the Pyramids at Giza, when my parents were living in Cairo.  It all almost went pear shaped when one of the Horses bolted with my younger brother, then 8 yrs old, luckily an Egyptian Olympic showjumper was one of our riding compatriots and he rode to the rescue.

Lalique cuff via Diamonds and Rhubarb
In another life I would have been a Jewelry designer.

painting by me 2002
I have exhibited my paintings in New York, and although I haven't picked up a brush in a few years it is something I aspire to return to.

image from The Newyorker August 7 1995
I was a member of a Theatre Group in New York and acted in "Off Broadway" productions, for a while I thought I might follow this path but the lure of the visual would not succumb to a life of treading the boards.

image via indecorous taste
I love colour and am intrigued by colour theory, and while I use it continually in my work, introducing more into my own home and wardrobe is an ongoing project.

My Friends are incredibly important to me, I treasure them and hope they know it.

and the nominations are..............


Monday, December 21

Wreaths, Snow and Thank you's

Looking for a circle to make a wreath out of I came across these in Penney's.

Priced at €6 , they are silver and white balls on wire.
So I purchased a few and played with them, adding eucalyptus leaves, fir, pinecones and bells as that was what I had to hand.


I wove the branches around the circle and then wrapped the wire around the leaves to keep them in place adding a red and white gingham ribbon. I wanted a Gustavian looking wreath.


Here it is hanging on the chimney breast in the Living Room.
I do like wreaths indoors.

and on the front door

.............and we got snow this weekend, everything looks so pretty.

The garden, which was looking worse for winter wear, has a sprinkling of Christmas dust. 

The back field

The wall with the pampas grass hmmm those Pampas fronds would be lovely in the wreaths.


and quite by chance this festive combination of Silver Birch, Green Shrub and Red Dogwood.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say Thank You to all of YOU.
To those of you who have left comments and sent me encouraging emails, to the veteran bloggers who stop by and whisper reassuring words, You gladden my heart.
To all of you who believed enough to become "followers", and to those of you who wish to stay silent and watch from the corners of your world.
I have enjoyed this journey so much so far and look forward to even more fabulous experiences and posts in 2010.

Thursday, December 17

V&A Headpiece delivery

Here's a peek at a headpiece which was a special order for a shop, rushed through and popped in post today.
This is an adaptation on a style I designed last year. The customer wanted 3 the same, made smaller than the previous style.


They are made with silk, cotton, silk chiffon, lace and velvet ribbon with some beading detail.
The design was inspired by Victorian dresses and embroideries I saw in the V&A

Image via V&A Museum

Like this one from 1885

image via V&A Museum
and this one from 1890.

It is the sense of opulence and abundance I was trying to capture. I like the idea of wearing something so bursting with detail as an accessory with a really simple dress.
I am thinking I will make some more for Florica

Tuesday, December 15

Mannin Studio

Top of my Christmas wish list is a gold chain, a serious gold chain........ and on the top of that list is this chain by Mannin Studio which comes apart to create a separate chain and bracelet

One day last year I was flicking through American Vogue when this incredible piece of jewellry caught my eye.

Imagine my surprise when, on continued reading I discovered it was made by a very good friend who had re-located to LA. We had lost touch and I was thrilled to see the incredible things Suzanne was doing and also that I had a way to contact her again.

The ethos of Mannin Studio is entirely sustainable. There are two collections "Classic" which is made entirely using recycled clean gold and "Signature"  which is made using antique and heirloom pieces restructured to become modern heritage pieces.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces.

Top of the pile this carved bogwood cameo from the Signature collection dated 1870 on victorian bead chain.

Love the juxtaposition of the soft bog oak with the little gold beads

Then for my ears these gold and jet bead earrings also from the Signature collection, see the little fob closures, beautiful.

This handcarved horn, from 1870 bracelet in my stocking, yes please!

Or this recycled 18K gold, 20 inch chain from the Classic collection

Everyone is talking about "Investment pieces" and you can't get much more "Investment" than this. Pieces that have a history and a future.
Mannin Studio Jewelry is stocked in Ikram, Chicago, Barneys, New York and  Roseark in west Hollywood
Luckily, there is an online shop coming soon.

All Images Mannin Studio

Friday, December 11

A little cottage grows up

Lately I have been feeling a little less like this

Images Dave Coote Interiors

And a little more like this

Top image VOGUE living,  via newlyweds

Now while I love the first two images I am just a bit jaded of all the white chipped paint in my own home.
It's time for something a little more grown up and polished. Something warmer with more pattern and colour.
I live in a hundred year old Irish Farmhouse Cottage and not a Georgian  Mansion and while I would love high ceilings and elaborate plasterwork I must work with what I have and I can do nothing with the actual structure, The changes will have to be about furnishings, paintwork and other details.
Here are some of the changes I have made
I have added these cushions to the vintage brown leather sofa.

The front one is from IKEA, the Jack Russell  tapestry is from a local Interior shop but you can get great ones at a great price from This ETSY Shop.
The large cushions I had made from fabric I bought at a Local shop that sells Remnants. I think it is by Designers Guild, maybe one of you know?.

I also bought this fabroc from the same Remnants shop. (now sadly closed down)

This will be a curtain across a doorway that leads off the living room. It is called Poppies by G P & J Baker.
I purchased these curtains from IKEA

I am really loving stripes at the moment. I would have liked something a little wider but you can't beat the price so for now this will suffice .

And this is the little chair that was to feature in the "before and after" I wrote about in this post


Covered the seat in the same fabric as the above cushions.

and here is that Bug Print I bought in London framed in an IKEA frame.

I think the frame cost €10 so including the print this was approx €26, looks good, no?.

There are quite a few more bits and pieces I would like to do but, baby steps, and with Christmas heading our way faster than I care to think about they may just have to wait.

Tuesday, December 8

And the winner is................

And The winner of the Florica Headpiece is....................  Livia
Comment no 6
"Beautiful 1920s headpieces! Love them"

I added all comments 13, and 26 followers = 39

Congratulations Livia. Hope You enjoy your new Headpiece
Send me an email with your address and I'll pop it in the post for your Christmas Party Season!

Monday, December 7

Digital Woes of a "Before and After"

When I started this Blog I bought myself a Canon digital rebel Camera. My justification was that the best blogs all had high quality images and if I wanted to enter the blogosphere I had to do so on a par with what I considered to be excellent quality.
The camera arrived and I have since been playing with it and discovering it's capabilities, and my own. Ok, so I could read the instructions from cover to cover but who does that? So my policy is (maybe its a familiar policy to you) push buttons arbitrarily until you get desired affect, if all that fails and you have wasted hours fumbling and remaking the same mistake........THEN get out the instructions and try to discover the answer.

image from deviantArt 

There are so many positives to digital, speed and cost being two of the biggest , then editing and retouching, so yes I do love digital ...... BUT it also has negative sides!
I had taken some pictures of a little chair my Godmother had given me as a present. It was a  straightback chair with a cork seat. It was white with a very chipped shabby finish....... ie it was old and worn. I was all set to do my first "Before and After" post. This morning I placed the chair now glossy black with an upholstered seat and started snapping. Loaded the images into my computer only to discover............I have deleted the "Before" pictures! Boom, gone forever! So, no before pictures, I will battle through this Minor hiccup , You blog readers are a forgiving lot, you will understand, you are creative you can "Imagine" the before images right?
Back to snapping the "Afters" snap, snap, lighting not too good, I'll try that new "Slave Flash" that came with the camera......... batteries? steal them from the kids XBox controllers........ok, all set snap , snap, hmmmmm  change position of flash, snap, snap, no still not righ.....................!!!!!!!!!! What, where the.......... what the............. blank screen...........camera battery gone!
Not the end of the world you say but, well my battery charger is a US plug and I don't have an adapter and the pretty little town I live in doesn't sell them!!
So my lovely readers. My "Before and After" which will now just be an "After" will be coming "After" my trip to Dublin tomorrow where I will pick up an adapter and charge my battery and.......well you get the idea.
Don't forget The giveaway ends Tomorrow.

Friday, December 4

The Brides Cafe and Yell Softly

photo from The Brides Cafe

Check out the lovely post on the Florica Headpieces over on The Brides Cafe today.
The Brides Cafe is a site about all things Bridal run by the incredibly talented Florist Janie Medley.
I love the features on Real Life Brides, those Brides Cafe Ladies are a beautiful and talented lot.
There is also another chance to win a headpiece! So, hop on over there and leave a comment .

Also Thank you so much to Sariah over at Yellsoftly for the lovely feature.
I love her suggestions of pairing a headpiece with these two outfits.




photos courtesy of Style.com via Yellsoftly

Tuesday, December 1

FLORICA giveaway

To celebrate the opening of the Florica ETSY shop.
I am doing my first giveaway! HURRAY
To win this Black Rose silk headpiece, which is a silk Rose with Austrian lace headband and black velvet ribbon ties, simply leave a comment on this post.

-All Followers are automatically entered.
-If you leave a comment and are already a follower, you have two chances to win.
-if you leave a comment and become a follower, you have two chances to win.
-You have 7 days to leave a comment (ends Tue Dec 8th) Winner announced Dec 9h
-Will ship to winner anywhere in the world.

Good Luck x

Also these pieces are new listings on ETSY later today.


Teal Star Headpiece with Ostrich Feathers



Chalk Pink and Golden Cream Bouquet with silk thread and beaded centres


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