Friday Links

Love this funny update to Richard Scarry’s traditional roles for the 21st century

I found this quite moving in an eerie way, Japanese photographer Chino Otsuka inserts her adult self into photos from her youth

Not fully “hooked” on the serial podcast yet but this guide should come in handy when I do

A magical glowing bike lane modelled after Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”

“The Knowledge”, the examination to become a London cabby is possibly the most difficult test in the world — demanding years of study to memorize the labyrinthine city’s 25,000 streets and any business or landmark on them.”The Test To Become A London Cabby

A nice examination into something most of us use every day but don’t know the history of (zippers)

Different science based gift guide for kids

Easy Christmas Wreath

For the last few years I’ve had a generic plastic wreath on my door and thought it would be nice this year to make more of an effort with it. I went into Dublin city and picked up some fancy pants ribbons from A. Rubanesque who this year even have their own custom designed Christmas ribbons in store. It cost €10 euro for 3 types of ribbon. I picked up some willow branches too to start off my circle and then added some bendy branches from a tree in my garden to supplement them. The willow was pricey – €3 a pop, hence the need for other branches to fill it out.


The willow here is the green one, the others are brown. I wanted to add some festive natural colour to the wreath and still save money, so I painted the furry catkins on some pussy willow branches I had already.



After this was done I just added the ribbons and voilà, it was ready.



Stephen Powers

I happened upon this article about Philadelphia artist Stephen Power’s work on a Macy’s car park in Brooklyn.

b545127b-4773-4a45-a451-537e139b7bee-1020x612 56b20f7e-a2aa-4eb1-9064-62d3e7baca81-1020x920

Euphoria -Photograph: Matthew Kuborn

IMG_0026 I love the way that he integrated local Brooklyn resident’s comments into the piece, both passersby and local. Imagine being able to shout up something up as they are working, then see it incorporated in later in GIANT letters. He and his team create really interesting work across lots of areas in the US, I love this one below in Syracuse – it’s so romantic.


photo by Adam Wallacavage

I was delighted to learn that his work also features in Dublin! He used a Fulbright scholarship in 2007 to create murals in Dublin and lower Shankill road area. I feel honoured that he left this mark on our city. These are in and around Tivoli car park.


See more of his work on his site –  he also has a shop – I would LOVE one of his prints around the house. This is also a good read on him if you’re interested, and more of his work shown here.

Easy Clay bowls

Every couple of months, I organise a morning in my house in Dublin where creative types get together to make something, eat some cake and have some friendly banter (e-mail me if you fancy joining) . The last one was a free session where you could work on whatever you fancied  – I used this as inspiration – – to create some clay bowls. All I needed was some air-dry clay (from a craft shop) and some leaves – it was just the end of summer so a good time to get some fresh leaves before they dry out and curl too much in Autumn. I rolled out the clay to 1/4 inch thickness, pressed the leaves in and cut out with a stanley blade. I then left these to dry in a curved shape on a piece of tinfoil for 24 hours.IMG_3205With the leftover clay I made some small bowls by pinching out the clay from a rolled ball. After these were dry I experimented a bit, some i painted, other I used a gold spray. With all of them i finished with clear nail varnish – not sure how long this finish will actually last but looks ok for now.




Air-dry clay

rolling pin

stanley blade

Rustoleum brilliant gold spray (Woodies DIY have this)

clear nail varnish



Hey presto – here’s the finished product – I wanted something handy to put my jewellery in on my nightstand. I think the gold spray paint worked out really well and was a doddle to apply.



Springtime Inspiration


It’s been a long winter so always excited at this time of year to see the daffodils come up and the cherry blossoms and magnolia trees start to bloom. I’m tempted every year to get rid of my tree out the front and plant a lovely magnolia tree instead. Took a walk yesterday around Farmleigh house in the phoenix park and lots of the Magnolia trees there were starting to bloom – how beautiful are these fluffy purple magnolia blooms?PicMonkey Collagebloom


Last year was my first attempt at growing a garden, and had varying levels of success. Broad beans and rocket were the most successful, courgettes, peppers, chard, beetroot, onions all failed.

Here’s my plot last year – broad beans to the left, rocket on the right,


So I think I’ll stick to the easier things that I know I can grow this year. – broad beans, rocket, and spinach. And will also try a couple of experimental things – goji berries and cucamelon seeds – how cute are these? Perfect for gin and tonic apparently 😉

I’m starting the spinach and goji berries off at the moment. Spinach is coming up, no sign of the goji.


Victorian Covered Market in Dublin

photo 4_smithI was excited to hear the news that this redevelopment of a Victorian covered Market between Capel Street and the Four Courts will be going forward. I’ve often walked past this historic building and thought that it was a shame that it wasn’t being used. Other cities I’ve lived in such as Cork (English Market) and London (Borough Market) have wonderful central food markets that offer a great way to develop the food culture of the city/country and provide a pleasant social experience. There are great smaller markets around the city currently such as the Temple bar market, Dun Laoghaire market etc but having a dedicated large space for this will be a great thing.

PicMonkey Collage
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Easy Art for the home

Moving to a new house and having zero funds left to buy artwork inspired me to be a bit more creative. I think I’d also prefer to let the walls grow organically and fill them over the years with art I’ve fallen in love with rather than something I purchased for the sole purpose of covering an empty wall. Here are some tips:

  1. Make your own. I keep an eye out for paintings online that I like the look of and could (relatively) easily copy. I use Pinterest to keep a record of these and then tackle some which I think might work out. Judge for yourself!PicMonkey CollagePicMonkey Collage2

2. Go to auctions – Here in Dublin Scoop is an annual charitable art auction. There is no reserve so you can end up picking up really great pieces by local artists at a fraction of the price. Also because it’s a charity if you spend more than 250, your donation may qualify for tax relief. We went to the last one in October where I picked up this by a local artist .square

3. Buy online. Etsy and Saatchi are great resources to get cheaper prints of original artwork, I’ve also had some luck using this publishers site.

4. Use technology – I got this fantastic app this week called waterlogue which transforms your photos into realistic looking watercolours, it gives fantastic results and is very addictive to use as it shows you the process from initial outlines to filling in the colours. I’ve made tons of these so far and would love to print out a few if the results are good. This is the only app i’ve ever paid for in the itunes store which says something!

61F3FADA-4BE3-4793-81E3-A82AE794E159 077409A3-38A3-414C-A202-6DBAF9388A0E