Friday, May 29, 2009

a prosaic post about tea towels

Today's post is a prosaic one about tea towels and glass cloths. The world may have its trendy owl tea towels, its inspiring slogan tea towels (what if I don't feel inclined to keep calm and carry on?), its remarks about Daniel Craig, but these are the ones I prefer: plain and beautiful in linen union and cotton.

I discovered these tea towels and the catering supplies websites that sell them in the olden days when I ran a restaurant in Dublin. In catering, tea towel performance is vital... They are available in various colours from (worth a browse for most kitchen goods) very inexpensively in packets of 12, or from various home & lifestyle websites at several times the price.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

blanket wishes

Have I been reading too much about how resurrecting old household items rather than buying new is the way of the moment? Now I want one of these: a Foxford blanket, trusty companion of my youth.

I think the idea is that I should have some carefully stashed in my attic ready for craft projects (a patchwork quilt with a centre layer of warm blanket?) and general retro charm, but no, I don't. But Clerys do.

Monday, May 18, 2009

thrifty chic

Thrifty Chic (Interior Style on a Shoestring) was a particular delight because the pictures reminded me of houses where I spent childhood holidays before the world of Irish interiors turned generally wood-coloured.

It’s a book that’s more about the photos than the text, and the look achieved is individual, charming, and serene, rather in the French country style. A few good ideas among quite a few are a bench built of plastered blocks and scaffolding planks, and kitchen shelves covered with plasterboard so as to appear like part of the walls.

Some projects are presented at the back of the book, and they made me inclined to get out my sewing-machine and paint brush again, and think twice before I go shopping.

Hope & Benson

The bags, purses and flowers in the Hope & Benson online shop are so pretty. Made in Leitrim and Bristol from natural materials. And Daniela Benson designs lovely clothes too.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lola Rose

Today I discovered the new Lola Rose shop on Middle Street in Galway. Lovely cards, wool, books on d├ęcor, mugs, all kinds of pretty bits and pieces that I had never thought to want until I left the shop carrying them in a bag. 

Plenty of Orla Kiely goods for any fans of hers (she's over-exposed now, I reckon, so I won't go beyond the red wellies from her range I was given a few years ago).  But I want some of these lovely Djeco lanterns

My daughter was most impressed that the nice woman behind the counter was knitting a funky orange scarf on oversized needles.  A lovely place to browse in, and they seemed to have more stock than their website, so well worth a visit, especially for present-buying.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Thoughtful Dresser

The Thoughtful Dresser is a series of essays on the importance of clothes, a defence of fashion as a social pursuit and as an art, and a delve into the author's personal wardrobe.

Linda Grant writes with authority and enthusiasm, and her own vignettes of outfits worn give the essays fascinating detail. I was fascinated by her description of 19th century department stores as empowering public spaces for women, as it's easy to extrapolate from them to etsy, ebay, and indeed the predominantly consumer-focussed internet as a whole.

I'd question Grant's persistent need to defend fashion, to take issue with the notion that a fascination with clothes is the mark of an inherently frivolous mind. Better to pass such issues off with more dismissiveness, or indeed to note how essential frivolity is. I also thought that the book showed its blog roots a bit too clearly - it could have been strengthened by paring it down to cater for the reader who goes through it in one or two sittings and doesn't want so much reinforcement of opinions.

But it's a diverting read, and I haven't been able to leave the house since finishing it without remembering that "a good handbag makes the outfit".

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Karen Hollingsworth windowscapes

I've been a fan of Karen Hollingsworth, an Atlanta-based artist, since I was introduced to her work a few years ago by casapinka. One of her windowscape prints hangs on my wall and it has a serenity and a quality of airiness which bears much looking. Her prints are available online at $600-$800 dollars each (I look at her website whenever the euro-dollar exchange rate is favourable...), and she is currently represented by these galleries.

Karen says of her work

I'm trying to recreate the experience found when a room is bathed in strong sunlight, transforming simple human things, chairs, beds, paper bags, into objects of beauty.
(Image from the Paintings by Karen Hollingsworth website)

Friday, May 8, 2009

storming off

From the Australian tummymountain shop on etsy. I framed some of these charming prints simply in aluminium for a child's bedroom. But why, Mamma, is she in a huff?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

glittery kitchen floor tiles

My friend Tara has had her kitchen floor tiled with these wonderful black and white tiles (yes, they sparkle - there are little pieces of quartz in each tile). I have my eye on something similar in sea-green and white for a clean, classical look in the bathroom updating project that's lined up next.

And it's so nice to see oilcloth that isn't in the usual cottage style (much though I like a very minor touch of Cath Kidston).

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