Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Its been too long! Carlow Made and Dresses

Hello,

Its been far too long since I had a chance to blog, shamefully long! I have a nice long list of excuses but I'll save them for another time... I can't believe it is mid December already, the last couple of months have literally flown in. Won't be long till the big day!


I have been busy making lots and lots of little dresses for girls which has been so much fun!

 I've also been involved in setting up a pop-up shop in Carlow town called "Carlow Made" (www.facebook.com/CarlowMade) with Liga of Valg Studio (www.facebook.com/ValgStudio) and eleven other very talented people in Carlow. The shop is filled with work from thirteen Co. Carlow Ireland artists and craftspeople and everything is for sale has been made in Carlow.
 Here is a little picture of the interior, some of my work on the right and on the left is some beautiful scarves and homewares by Catherine Sothern Designs and at the back you can see some wonderful knitted toys by Woolly Pig Designs.
 Below is some of Siobhan Jordan's incredible artwork and some beautiful crochet pieces by Ornat of Pure Hooked Crochet.
I'll show you lots more my next post (honestly a few days this time).
Hope all is well with you!
Have a great evening,
Maria

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Birds and Dresses

Hello,

Another rainy evening in Ireland, what is with the rain this week? Had to empty out water from a few pots on the patio, they were so waterlogged. Baby and I had a time this morning watching birds flying at the front of the house.

One tiny little thing  with a blue body (maybe a finch?) was flying around and next thing disappeared into the bricks, we have Irish stone bricks at the front (you can see a pic with the Christmas bunting on my older posts). And we waited and waited. No bird came back out so I think they must be nesting inside the blocks. Is that even possible? Not sure if that's a good thing either. So we went out to investigate but no sign of the bird. Will have to buy a bird table this year.

Making lots of dresses and Christmas bunting this week.It feels a bit strange working on Christmas things but not as strange as the supermarkets selling selection boxes and Christmas food. Now honestly there is no way I could buy a box of chocolates and leave it in the cupboard for two months without eating it. No way, I guess that's the point of selling the food so early so we'll buy it, eat it and buy it again!  Just finished the John Dere "rag" bunting today, will take a pic tomorrow, it is so simple to do and very effective.
Have a lovely day!
Maria

Friday, 18 October 2013

Newbridge Silverware and the Museum of Style

Hello,

Recently we visited the Museum of Style, part of the Newbridge Silverware visitors centre. Newbridge Silverware is famous for its heirloom cutlery. In recent years the brand reinvented itself as a jewellry maker and more. I have a serious love for their Christmas decorations. As part of their gorgeous visitors centre in Newbridge, a town in Co. Kildare they have a Museum of Style. Free to enter it is always filled with the most amazing clothes from either Hollywood past and celebrities.
Most recently it had a Elizabeth Taylor exhibition, this is a sneak peek at the 1970s more casual outifts which for some reason were my favourite of them all.
This is one of Grace Kelly's costumes which had the smallest waist I think I have even seen on a woman's dress! Seriously tiny. She must have been so petite.
I love love this pink dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's. When I think of the movie I think of the little black dress but now I'm all about this dress. They have a number of Audrey Hepburn's gorgeous clothes, from movies and from her personal life.

Now they have a Lord of the Rings sign outside so I'll have to go back to investigate! My two oldest (but still small) each bought a little something in the shop while we were there and I have to say the woman at the till treated them as though they were spending a fortune, customer service to be proud of.
Must not forget the ceiling that changes colour and the super sparkly lights. I had to tell the children not to lie on the floor, they had settled in quite comfortably for the light show!!!
Well worth a trip!
Have a great weekend,
Maria

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Planning a Tractor Party

Hello,

Another lovely sunny day in Ireland, I am getting a little confused with all the sunshine this year. No longer feel the need to squirt Vitamin K into the children's drinks! Small boy and I have been busy gathering inspiration for his birthday party next month. It might seem like I am planning too far in advance but this is one important date, so he keeps reminding me. Small boy here loves, loves tractors and combines and all things farms and fields related. While no one in our immediate family farms, our house is at the side/section cut out of a field that is farmed and we live in the middle of the countryside so tractor viewings happen many times a day. Hence tractor birthday parties. We set up a board on pinterest to gather ideas:
http://www.pinterest.com/lollipopsday/small-boys-party/
How brilliant is this? Picture is from pinterest, link above. Apologies but I can't seem to see the original source but will add it in if I can figure it out.


Picture courtesy of Visit blogs.babycenter.com
How great is this bunting? I will have to try something similar! And the balloons, what a great idea to tie in the John Deere colours. In case you have no idea what a John Deere is, its a green tractor with yellow wheels!

And of course the cake has to be considered. For the past two years small boy has ordered various versions of a farm themed cake. Age 3 we had a field being harvested:

Next up was ploughing and harvesting:
He has mentioned a sewing and ploughing cake!! Better get doing up lists asap!

Any tractor theme tips send them my way!
Have a great day,
Maria


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Yarn Bombing in Kildare Outlet

Hello,

Busy sewing this week. Yesterday I realised I had work in progress in three rooms of the house! Dining room tables are for fabric aren't they? Maybe not! So I spent at least two hours folding and tidying.
Last weekend we visited Kildare Outlet, an mini Irish version of an outlet village. It always reminds me of a little Woodbury Common ( from back in the days when I got to travel a lot more!). Its a beautifully maintained centre right next door to the National Stud (Horses that is!) and the Curragh in Co. Kildare.



We found this time they'd gone a little mad with yarn bombing. Not an attempt to keep the trees warm as small boy suggested. One could forgive him for thinking that.

These wolfhounds don't look too impressed. I think it was the colour combination!
Any yarn bombing in your area?
Have a great day
Maria

Friday, 4 October 2013

New Logo and Baby Boys Bedroom Makeover

Hello,

Did you ever have one of those weeks where nothing works as it should? I'm in the middle of one of those this week. You tube solved my sewing machine tension issue (thank you to all those people who take the time to post on youtube!) and the broadband eventually came back on (yeah!) but now the sd card from the camera isn't reading. Hmm. Not to worry, worse things can happen! On the bright and cheerful side I got a fab new logo. Thanks to Mary in Nettepatch Design for your patience and skills.

I love it as its so girly and pretty! Will have to wait very patiently now for my new clothes labels to arrive.
I've been working on lots of little dresses and I have to order a few small dressmakers dummies soon as the children here are refusing to try on any more. In fact they only try them on if I promise there is no pins in them (fair enough!). If anyone can recommend a good source in Ireland or the UK please do let me know!!
Baby boy is getting a room makeover this week, below are some frames I painted before for his room, I am using the old airfix toy planes as my colour inspirations, so lots of grey's and greens. I've framed some airplane fabric and I will pop up pics as soon as I get this card problem fixed.

Here is the before picture of a chair which is painted grey now and waiting for me to add the new fabric today
I am using Annie Sloan grey paint which I got in the fab Handmade Design Store in Mullingar. Right back to work and looking forward to catching up on all the blogs now my connection is back.
Have a great day!
Maria

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The big one!

Hello,

Baby reached the big one this week. Of course this makes him officially not a baby but he's always gonna be my baby!
Baby a year ago!
All grown up, well sort of ! He's getting a big boy room makeover this week, Annie Sloan paint at the ready.

On the work side of things I've been starting to get things made for Christmas and listing a few on my etsy shop. Christmas stockings at the ready! My studio/craft room is fast turning into a little Santa's grotto.

Have a great day,
Maria

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Foraging in the Garden, apples & blackberry time

Hello,

What a glorious day today, where did that heat come from? A perfect day for some foraging for food in the garden! We planted a few apple trees two years ago and this year is the first year there is something worth picking. I choose a variety of apple trees, cooking and eating, early and late season. Hopefully in a few years we'll have a huge crop!
Next up berries, I am not sure what these berries are called, like yellow raspberries? If you know be sure to tell me the name.
Finally, we found some hidden blackberries. As we live in the countryside we have a native hedgerow that produces a bountiful supply of blackberries. Before we built the hedgerow had been cut back roughly every year and it had four huge gaps in it that had served as building site entrances. We planted a small number of plants to help it along but in the most part the plants have spread naturally, especially the blackberries.
We've been eating them for a month and a half now so this will probably be one of the last batches this year. Blackberry and apple crumble in the oven right now, oh yum. This is the inside of the eating apples, oh my the taste!
So patience is the key when growing apple trees, but totally worth it.
Next up I am trying to re-organise our composting. Between being pregnant and then baby being small and now he is nearly one its time to get things in order again. We have a composter , one of those big blank plastic things which I find to be totally useless. If anyone has any composter tips please do let me know! We were thinking about building one out of wood?
Have a great evening and happy foraging!
Maria

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Daytrip to Dublin

Hello,

We had a great trip to Dublin at the weekend. There was an airplane show called Flight Fest on so a day trip was in order. I can't pretend to know the first thing about airplanes and helicopters but it was an impressive display even for me!
Next up was a walk around town whilst the boys checked out Marks Models on Hawkins Street, we admired some of the buildings including the old Gas Building, nearly 200 years old!
You just have to ignore the monstrosity that is the Dept of Health building opposite (seriously how did that building not get demolished during the boom years?).

Onto Trinity College, note to self, start college funds asap.
The flight fest was still on so it was very surreal to see planes flying right over heads and so close to the buildings.
Southside over, time to go back North and over O'Connell Street to try to spot the bullet-holes in the Daniel O'Connell Statue. I remember doing that as a child too!
Just enough time for some window shopping, check out the windows in Arnotts if you are walking by. Nice to see a change from dressed mannequins, I think they have been watching Mr Selfridge!
I love living in the countryside but there is days when you gotta miss Dublin!
Have a great evening!
Maria

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Dress Patterns - New and Vintage

Hello,

I've been a little caught by the dressmaking bug! In my search for patterns I treated myself to this gorgeous book this week
It is beautifully done, contains five patterns including one top which is very like one of my existing favourite tops so that has to be fate! The book ends with this dress below, I am dreaming of it in many colours and patterns.
And of course not to forget the vintage. Here's a Diane Von Furstenburg pattern, I can't see a year on it, but I am guessing 1980s. 
Next up another oldie but I really think this is very Temperley London. 
Now all I have to do is figure out how to make all these dresses and my wardrobe will be smiling from ear to ear!
Have a great weekend,
Maria

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Nominated for Blog Awards

Hello,

Every year in Ireland they have "The Blog Awards" and look I got a badge! It's pretty fab to be on the long list for Best Craft Blog and in such good company too!!

Yeah, Blog Awards!
Take care,
Maria

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Clothes Recycling

Hello,

I saw this article yesterday in the http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/sep/06/picture-of-week-clothing-recycled# , kindly shared by Claire in the Handmade Design Store in Mullingar.



It reminded me of the huge (at the time) television documentary /expose on a few years ago all about how so many clothes found in may of our beloved clothes shops are made in sweatshops, sequins sew-on by children in refugee camps, people basically working incredibly hard , in horrendous conditions for next to nothing. At the time I had a lovely vest top from a certain shop which had the most beautiful design in sequins on it. When I bought the time I honestly did not give seconds thought to how on earth it was possible to make such an item for a few euro. Then I watched the documentary showing small children handsewing on sequins in refugee camps. I could never bring myself to wear the top again.
Food for thought!

Have a great evening,
Maria

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Girls Dresses and the search for inspiration continues...

Hello,

I was listening to a speech recently and the guy giving it was speaking about inspiration. He was urging people to seek inspiration everywhere and to travel. With three little people and a wonky budget, just talking off to say Barcelona for the weekend is in the past (for the moment only I hope!) so I was a little skeptical. Until of course I realised you don't have to look too far for inspiration, you just have to look around, as simple as that! Then I remembered I had a small collection of vintage patterns and magazines so time to take another look at them.

This is a French magazine from 1923. I bought it a few years ago when I was thinking about making girl's dresses and that was put on the back shelf. I love the 1920s style so this magazine is a treat, all I need is a translator!!
And possibly the patterns.
How fab is this?
I also came across a cool Diane Von Furstenburg pattern for a dress which I am going to have to try, might have to work my way up to it!
I also did a little research on 1960s dresses for children and completed this one, and here's my 1960s style dress for girls. Its made from Cath Kidston fabric (a little different to her usual ones!) and a contrasting blue inside the sleeves. 

Next up a stripey number.
Have a great day,
Maria


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Craft Room Makeover Part One

Evening,

My craft room/studio/sewing room makeover is well underway. I have this habit making an absolute mess in order to create calm! Nearly there now.
Mid way through debating what do with my newest (old) piece of furniture, I scrubbed it until it sparkled a little. I was debating whether to paint, what colours to paint it but now I kinda like it the way it is so I decided to start filling it. Its a new home for buttons and threads and lots of lovely cards and postcards.

Here's a close up the treasures on top of the cabinet. There is a fabulous piece from Clare Jordan on the left (www.ClareJordan.com) which I love love. The little padded bird is from Seasame and Lily who creates the prettiest vintage style cushions and little treasures. The flowers picture is a charity shop find, the original print was completely faded so I had fun repainting. The gingerbread man is a prototype for Christmas.
Next to the cabinet is a little table which I sometimes take to fairs. I got it in Woodies in Lucan for ten euro about five years ago and hadn't factored in the whole fitting it into the car thing. With the help of three other people in the car park I fitted it in and received very wise advice about measuring tapes!!
I am still working on this little area. I did have some ribbons wrapped around long paper tubes but the little people here seemed to constantly mistake them for swords so I am working on a new solution.
More pics to follow!
Enjoy the rest of the weekend,
Maria

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Girls Dresses & Craft Room Clear out

Hello,

Nearly back to school time, can not believe how quickly summer has gone. Last blog I was doing a little giving out about school bags etc so I solved the pencil case issue by deciding to make some myself! Hopefully they will last a bit longer than the ones I buy.



I have finished a grand total of seven dresses now, all different styles and fabrics. I am loving it. Am going to try a few 1950s/60s ones next week. I think I'll have to lengthen the dresses though, the 60s ones are very short!! Needless to say you might find some Lollipops & Daydreams dresses on sale very soon.

I been inspired (or shamed!) by the fabulous Tori Jaynes blog and her gorgeous craft room into giving my own space a bit of a makeover. I got this piece of furniture in Carlow yesterday, if you were stuck behind me driving I do apologise, the glass was making me drive about 10 miles an hour.



 I am debating what to do with it, just totally scrub or to paint? In the meantime I have turned my sewing room into a completely upside down. I am on a budget of zero so using lots of imagination, I'll post some pics when it is finished.
Have a great evening,
Maria