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Baby Series

Posted on 28 February, 2014


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After much indecision I decided to share my baby bump photos.I feel very self-conscious about the collection because I took them ever before I thought of having a blog. They were only meant for me and I considered keeping them that way.

When I was pregnant I really enjoyed looking at maternity series. In the series I choose to follow the women or their partners were photographers and the beautiful women in them looked so perfect with wondrous hair, a glowing tan, toned arms and shapely legs.

Looking at their photos was my way of eagerly anticipating the fullness of pregnancy that was yet to come but sometimes the perfection of the women and their images left me feeling lacking.

So I thought I’d share my less than perfect photos, snapped in supermarkets, car parks, in front of the bedroom mirror, at a fancy dress party and anywhere I remembered.

They are random photos ranging from when I was fascinated by the size of fruit or vegetable the baby was, all the way to pre-eclampsia ending in the best outcome I could ever have hoped for, beautiful healthy baby Ewan.

Click on any of the images above for the full set (apologies if it doesn’t work so well on a mobile!).

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The Abandoned Garden

Posted on 26 February, 2014

Last year I was very pregnant and bought 100 bluebell bulbs for planting. I then used my extended size as a reason for not being able to plant them myself. Generally, I didn’t use pregnancy as a means of not doing things I was perfectly able to do but when it came to gardening I felt it perfectly acceptable to make an exception!

Feeling duped Steve dug 100 holes and I placed the bulbs in the holes. This was as close to gardening as I get!

My dream garden scenario is something like this.

One spring afternoon I will meet someone local who loves gardening and yearns to create a meadowy space. They dream of filling it with wild flowers, perennial growth that requires no maintenance yet brings an abundance of colour all the while maintaining functionality by having little nooks and crannies for wining and dining.
“Well you could do that in my garden if you want.” I will say.
“Really” the local gardening lover will ask, almost disbelieving that I would give up the task of creating a garden myself.
“Sure, drop by at 11ish” I’ll say and from there a fruitful partnership is formed.

When it is sunny I will of course bring them tea  and engage them in animated conversation while they work on transforming our garden. And needless to say they will of course come back regularly to maintain their creation but not so often as to intrude!

I’m optimistic that “my” bluebells will make an appearance later this year and hopefully a meadow-making fairy will appear but for the moment the garden is looking a little rough around the edges.

I went to the garden with the intention of planting a few bulbs I have bought. Now that Ewan is ten months I really can’t play the pregnancy card. This planting urge passed quickly though and instead I took pictures of Ewan dressed like a fisher man.

The fisher man resemblance was accidental but welcomed.

The sum total of my work involved taking Alfie’s  (the gnome’s) face out of the dirt and pulling up two parsnips that had been left in the ground too long.
While not the most fruitful expedition I did enjoy spending time outside with Ewan and watching him pulling grass, throwing it in the air only to start over again.  This is much more fun than real gardening.

Since it is unlikely that I will find a garden loving philanthropist I will be attempting to grow things all by myself so stay tuned for further gardening adventures!

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Seeing the sea

Posted on 26 February, 2014

At the weekend I heard a story about teenagers from a theatre group who came from Croydon, London to Waterford, Ireland. Before they came to Ireland they had never seen the sea! They were 16/17 years old and had never seen the sea!
I can understand people not seeing the sea when they live in the middle of a huge continent but it never occurred to me that people in London would not have seen the sea.
I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I’ve even looked at travel arrangements and Croydon is only an 1 hour 40 minutes from a beach using public transport (I presume teenagers in London don’t drive).Then I thought about it a little bit more and thought I only love the sea because I have associations with it.  Why would I travel an hour and 40  minutes and make two transport changes if the sea had no draw for me? I can’t imagine living without it because it has always been there.As a child I grew up in Tramore, a seaside town in county Waterford. I took it for granted that I could walk to the beach in 15 minutes.

When you come from a seaside town you learn to appreciate the beach on wild days when the tourists are gone and you have your town back again. Some of my favourite times in Tramore were walking with my parents on a wild windy day when the waves would crash over the promenade and Dad would inevitably say “I should have brought the camera”.
Now I’m much further from the sea but I also have a car. So yesterday before leaving for a well needed trip to the sea I double checked I had the camera a warm hat for Ewan and off we went.
When we arrived we were greeted by this.
In my enthusiasm I forgot that the storm  from the night before might have caused some damage. It turns out it had and the council workers were out trying to clear the roads. Sand, shingle and some rocks had been blown up on to the footpath and made the boardwalk and part of the road impassable.
Undeterred we shortened our walk and took time to enjoy the sea from the promenade instead.
The three photos below look very similar but I just couldn’t decide between them and is there really such a thing as too many pictures of the sea?

One last one…

After becoming obsessed with the idea of people who haven’t seen the sea I found a short documentary called “Never seen the sea”! I am still searching for the full version but here are two extracts that I love.

Never Seen The Sea: Iran from bryce licht on Vimeo.

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Food, drink, a box and a print

Posted on 24 February, 2014

Last weekend contained a birthday party, mountains of green tea, two sets of grandparents visiting, a rugby match that has knocked years off my life, amazing food both at home (thank you Steve) and in the lovely Market Lane where I even snuck in some wine (thank you babysitters)! Steve’s current favourite “eating-out treat” is Market Lane and I am more than happy to go anywhere with nice food and shapely cutlery.
In between eating and drinking time was made to visit a car boot sale. There was only one in the county this weekend so I packed my wellingtons, two euro coin for the entrance fee and canvas bags .
As it turned out this was unnecessary. The car boot sale was held in a parish hall so there was no need to trail across a field in wellingtons. So few traders turned up that the organisers did not charge an entrance fee and the two items I did pick up didn’t fit in the canvas bags!
So while my preparations were unnecessary and the turn out was poor I am nevertheless pleased with the two items I did get.
First up is this wooden box. The lady called it a tool box but it’s so heavy empty I can’t imagine how anyone could lift it full of tools. I’m going to use it at home for some extra storage, it is much too heavy to put in the shop which is a good excuse for me to keep it!
I was debating the purchase while the seller talked with another customer but the more I looked at the detail of it the more convinced I was that I needed this very heavy box.
Once decided I tried to negotiate the price. But this seller was not for turning and she looked me square in the eyes and says “you know it’s worth it.”  While struggling to get words along the lines of “it is worth what someone will pay for it” I stopped and thought, actually she’s right, it is worth the asking price. So I stopped myself before I spoke and paid full price.
I often feel out of depth in the bargaining department, add that to the fact that I really want everything I buy the result is sometimes I pay more than I would like to for items. This time I think the price was fair and sometimes I even get bargains. My thinking is that it all balances out in the end and if you want something bad enough then sometimes then you have to put your hand in your pocket to secure it.
I also picked up this print from the Japanese Gallery in Islington, London. Despite the glue stain on the front this lovely print still caught my eye.
Rather than making or buying a new mount I plan on painting the current mount. Any colour suggestions? 
This week I’m sharing with A Living Space Sir Thrift A lot and We call it Junkin.

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Adventures in embroidery

Posted on 21 February, 2014

I bought this book in a second hand shop a little while ago…


After a quick study I decided to give the free form embroidery a go. The description of cross stitch confused me. Sentences like “it should be worked on a fabric with the weft and warp threads the same size and woven evenly” made me think I was out of my depth. With free form embroidery you transfer the pattern on to material and sew around the pattern. This sounded much more straight forward and didn’t require any degree of accuracy.

So I picked a free form pattern bird motif and decided to make a table runner from white linen with a single bird at each end.

I did not read the section about the things you need and instead focused on my colour choices.So with about half the amount of equipment needed, the wrong sized needles and too little thread I started.

While the design is passable the thread-filled mess on the back was not so I decided to add a backing ( more white linen) and I added a trim. One side of the trim is very wobbly but when you finish a hand made present the morning of the birthday party some sacrifices have to be made:)

Surely handmade things should be a bit wonky if only to prove you didn’t buy it!

This Cinderella must now go to the ball so if you’ll excuse me I’m must change into clothes that don’t have food and/or baby fluids on them.
Hope you have a lovely weekend,x

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Shine on

Posted on 20 February, 2014

Today I set about cleaning some silver. I have a long list of things I want to do to update the stock in the shop and this was one such task. So I started the long over due tasks of cleaning these silver forks.

I also threw in a few spoons that I have from my great-aunt Kathleen.
After a little internet research I came across this video. So with some tarnished silver, aluminum foil, baking soda and boiling water I was ready.

It’s amazingly simple and quick. You get a large bowl. Make sure the foil is touching the parts of silver you want to clean and you pour in the boiling water and add your baking soda!

I decided to ignore measurements and just used a kettle full of hot water and kept pouring in the baking soda. Not exactly technical but it worked.

You then fish them out and dry them and de da it’s done. They turned out so lovely and sparkly! It also makes a fun fizzing noise that made Ewan very curious!

I am not generally someone who cares a lot about how these things work but when I couldn’t find out easily it bothered me. So after a bit more research I found this man..
The reason that this process works so well is that it acts electrochemically. There is a flow of electrons between the silver object and the aluminum foil, and that’s what removes the tarnish.” That’s as much science as I need but if you’d like to read more try you can here  and here.
But for me it’s definitely as simple as not shiney, fizzy fizz fizz, shiney.

I’m now trolling the house for more silver the more tarnished the better!

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A book that got me thinking…

Posted on 19 February, 2014

A friend recommended this book to me..

I generally approach any book with the word success in the title with suspicion but since I wholeheartedly trust the person who recommended it I dove in.

Firstly and importantly it is short. I read it during Ewan’s nap time which means the book gets big bonus points for brevity.

I think it’s a book I’ll revisit but on the first reading I took from it that in order to be fulfilled you give your energy to the things you enjoy. Easier said than done!

It used to bother me when talking about careers that people would say ”  just do what you love”. I would feel like exclaiming, what, what is it?You know me just tell me what I love doing and I’ll do that.

I would envy people who knew exactly what they loved doing and follow that path regardless of how hard it is. All I could think was that I have no idea what I love to do.

When my mind was so caught up in what I was doing it was impossible for me to think about what I could do.

I haven’t read the book and seen a light but the book talks about when your expressing your talents you are happy and lose track of time and for me that really helped me think about what I enjoy doing.

I think firstly I needed time to be able to lose track of it. When I was working full time I didn’t have this. Now with Ewan I might have less free time but I feel like I have much more space in my mind when I do have time. That’s not to say I have stopped thinking!

I mean I spent so much of my brain power on work that I didn’t have any silent space left. I used to think about the rights and wrongs of things that happened at work, the things that happened to people I worked with, what I thought about the people I met through work, how I was treated by these people, how I treated them, what they thought of me. All of this left very little room for anything else.

Now that I have moments of silent space in the day I have thought about when I do lose track of time and that is definitely when I work on the blog and when I take photographs.

When I think about what I’ll take photos, how it will look or when I keep looking trying to make it better I lose all sense of time. I love that things look bigger, more focused through a lens. I might like how Ewan’s hand looks on Steve’s but when I pick up the camera to take a picture of it I get lost in that little moment and I get to keep it for a little while longer than a glance.

I also get lost writing or reading something I care about. In college I would get lost in research and I loved it. Even the dull tasks of typing up interviews would absorb me. Equally I would get lost in blogs, peoples stories and photos would draw me in. Design blogs did the same. I have seen more painted hallways than you could ever imagine!

All of this thinking made me consider the blog. I have stayed away from too many photographs because the thrift posts get viewed most. I have not really given myself the time to write longer pieces because I have been trying to do too much at one time.

I don’t have any radical answers about how things will pan out with the blog, staying at home, my career, but for the moment I’m grateful my friend recommended a book that made me think and I intend to take a few more quiet moments.

With all of that in mind here are a few moments from this week…

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Oh Brother!

Posted on 17 February, 2014

This weekend, my mission was three car boot sales in three hours. Armed in my my wellies and rain jacket I wolfed down breakfast and hit the road. On entering the first car boot sale the gate attendant greeted me with his views about how weather forecasters only tell you the weather for Dublin (this is not true) and how no -one had turned up to the car boot sale. This was technically false too, I had turned up and was trying desperately to pay him to get in.

He did have a point about the poor turnout , I arrived ten minutes after it opened and some sellers were already packing up and leaving.

I left empty handed and kept going to the second car boot sale. This was to be my last one of the day. The plan of 3 out of three was put to rest when I spent all my money on this…

A Brother 210 typewriter in it’s original box with a hard case, instruction manual and guarantee!

Oh yes the World famous, precision built fully featured portable typewriter was in my possession. I considered going to the third car boot sale but with no money and starting off in the wrong direction I decided to quit while I was ahead and race home to enjoy my new purchase.

I was so excited. I have the same Brother typewriter I picked up a few years ago and get such thrill every time I use. Winding the paper in, the noise it makes at it clinks on, the ding as you reach the end of a line.

Of course part of my obsession with typewriters is that advertisers got to me when I was young.

I loved this ad with a passion.

While it seems a little strange now at the time I thought she was the coolest! I still remember the excitement when it came on the tv, only to be matched with the excitement of getting my very first typewriter. I still remember playing office, taking notes, one fingered typing and of course filing but mostly it was all about the attitude. At the “office” I was brisk, efficient and very matter of fact indeed!
Today I let the serious office persona go and just enjoyed making silly over sized paper and playing with my new purchase…
It gets even cuter when you read the manual, it’s encouraging! It provides lessons to help improve your typing and tells the reader not to let errors discourage you and instead to ask yourself are you improving day by day!
Not many instructional manuals manage to be so up lifting:)
This beauty is now in the shop,I have a feeling I’m going to miss this guy!

This week I’m sharing with A Living Space Sir Thrift A lot and We call it Junkin.

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