30 January 2008

Get yo'self a Valentine! (This week's Etsy Finds)

Valentine's Day is imminent, and this week I'm featuring some stuff that you might be interested in purchasing for your lovey dove, schnookems, or pooky bear. And like I promised last week, I have a few extra goodies for you this week. Let's get started, shall we?

First up we have a one of a kind card from AnnaLaura of Australia. It's $12, but because it's not distinctly "Valentinesy," your loved one could frame it and pop it on the wall. It's a bit of geek-love at it's best!

Next we have a rather innovative product. Massage soap! What a great idea, if I do say so myself. It's flirty, sensual, and pink! It's also only $4.20 per bar at Karen's Soaps

For the Smiths fan in your life, why not get this card that reads "The Morrissey you, the more I like you!" Totally cheesetastic, but rather funny at the same time. In the description, Olive says "I was sitting bored at work and I was thinking of making some sort of Morrissey card and it came to me!!!" A set of 3 cards will only set you back $3.50.

Get all snuggly with this "Zombies need love too" pillow by Cipolla. I really love the appliqués on this. It's amusing and looks strangely cuddly. This grey cotton pillow measures 14"x14" and costs $45.
And finally, something a bit more traditional: a piece of pretty jewellery (listen up, James!). This Victorian style, sterling silver pendant is perfect for all those who like home made jewellery. It measures approximately 1"x 1" and hangs from an 18" chain. $62 at ImogeneANDannie

Just a reminder!

Another new episode of Grand Designs is on tonight at 9:00 on Channel 4. Hopefully it will be better than last week's decagon bollox.

Design Hotel Dot Com

It's been ages since James and I had a proper relaxing holiday. Our last few attempts weren't exactly holiday-like as we were staying in either my parent's house in Washington or a flooded tent at Glastonbury. So this year, I'm putting my foot down and demanding that we go somewhere warm and relaxing. We've decided to stay in a hotel this time, as the last hostel experience we had in Barcelona wasn't that great (I can't say I'm a fan of communal showers).

Of course, knowing me, I can't settle for any old hotel. Ever since staying at the G Hotel in Galway for our honeymoon (which ended up being quite affordable), I've been inspired to seek out designer hotels to stay in. A great resource for this is Designhotel.com. They have lists of hotels in 38 countries around the world, all of which, look amazingly cool. And while some of them are unsurprisingly expensive and completely beyond our budget, many of them will cost you about the same amount or less than any regular hotel. The site also offers some promotions to save you even more money.

Here's a list of some hotels that will cost you less than €1000/week (prices based on 2 people sharing during the summer months):

-Hotel Daniel, Graz, Austria €413/ 7 nights
-Hotel Cram, Barcelona, Spain €973.70/ 7 nights
-Basico, Playa del Carmen, Mexico €990/ 7 nights
-Park Hotel Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan €900.50/ 7 nights
-Goldman 25 Hours, Frankfurt, Germany €552/ 7 nights
-Becker Hotel, Trier, Germany €700/ 7 nights

And there's loads more on that website, so be sure to check them out!


A while back James contributed one of our photos of Editors to an Australian magazine we had never heard of, called Frankie. We just assumed it was another low-budget music mag, but we were pleasantly surprised when they sent us our copy in the post. James described it as "totally your kind of magazine, Shawna," as I scooped it up off the coffee table.

It's a bi-monthly mag, very much directed towards discerning art students in their mid to late 20's. It's strange though, because it's not specifically made for guys or girls. It reviews the latest up and coming bands and visual artists, interviews young fashion designers and screen writers, and just generally inspires me to be creative. In this issue, there's even a little article on How to make a cute kitten doll out of socks. My only criticism is that it becomes a bit clichéd at times. For example, one of the contributing writers does an interview with Jason Schwartzman, and just happens to be fiddling with his Lomo camera when Jason walks through the door.

I think I can look past the little things though, because the magazine is so well produced. The layouts are very clean and simple with Helvetica being the font of choice, and the photography reflects that. Clean lines, plain backgrounds with very few props, but colourful all the same. I think it's safe to say I'll be asking for a subscription for my birthday.

Look what I found!

I just wanted to share a few photos of latest Dublinwaste.ie find. It's an old radiogram that the previous owner's father had made himself back in the 50's. He told me that the turntable still works but the radio has a couple of broken valves or something. I could take it in to have it fixed, but all the stations are AM anyway, and James says a lot of them probably aren't even on the air anymore (Radio Oslo, Radio Munich, etc.), save for the BBC.

Still, it's lovely to look at, and serves as a nice shelf for the time being until we get that flat screen tv to mount above it. Hahaha, I think I'm slowly but surely turning my house into something that resembles Darren and Samantha's on Bewitched.

22 January 2008

Etsy finds!

This week's theme will be all things Deer related. Don't ask me why, I've just been in a very deer kinda mood lately. Good thing they're pretty trendy at the moment.

Ok, to start off this shindig we have a cool 5x7" print of a deer wearing a suit. It's sort of creepy, but I like it. It harkens back to a time when dogs used to play poker and pigs dabbled in communism. The seller, Berkley Illustration, has plenty more pictures of animals in suits if for some reason you have a grudge against deer, or if you want to collect them all. Only $7.00/each.

Next up is a Deer-Squid pillow by Strangemonster. Another creepy hybrid, but I really like the colour and think it would make an exceptional conversation piece. James has just informed me that if it were real, it would be an awfully tasty creature. If it were real, though, I'd doubt you could buy it for $24.00 like you could with this pillow.

If weird animal mix n' matches aren't for you, perhaps you like this adorable little print. I love the little patterned paper in the trees and the kitschy 50's deer. It's a limited edition 5x7" at $15.00. So cute!

Hope you enjoyed this week's picks. Sorry I didn't post a couple more, but it's late and the husband is falling asleep on the couch here. I'll make it up to you by posting a few extras next week!

New episodes of Grand Designs

Oh Kevin McCloud, you tv-presenting, multilingual, designer dreamboat! How we love the way you you get excited by innovative building materials; your brutal honesty with couples when their projects are ridiculous; the way you say something is a "triumph" in almost every episode; those jumpers.
Where, would we, the discerning public, be if we didn't have you, Kevvy-Wevvy, to guide us each week, through the trials and tribulations that people face when building their ultimate kick-ass dream homes? Probably crying ourselves to sleep, as the only other alternative would be to endure Ty Pennington's voice on Extreme Home Makeover.

Thank you for bringing us yet another fantastic season of Grand Designs, so that we may continue to be inspired and know there are people out there (albeit effing loaded people), who care about building something interesting and how that structure is built. That first episode with the underground house totally blew my mind!

If you are as excited about the new series of Grand Designs as I obviously am, tune in tomorrow and every wednesday at 9:00 on Channel 4.

21 January 2008

How to get to Ikea if you don't have a car

James and I have been planning a trip to the new Ikea in Belfast since the day it opened, but deciding on a mode of transportation to get there has been kind of difficult. Each has it's pros and cons.

Bus Eireann offer a direct route from Busaras to Ikea for 25 euro. I think that's a bit expensive considering that it only runs once a day. It leaves Dublin at 10:00am and comes back from Belfast at 5:00pm. However, we reckon that there would be plenty of storage space on the coach, down below for any purchases made that day.

You could take the train. It's a bit more expensive at 38 euro roundtrip, but you'll knock at least an hour off your travel time and it runs every couple of hours. Not to mention the seats are much more comfortable and the views are to die for. Though, there isn't as much storage. You'd really only be able to take home what you could carry with you (kitchen accoutrements, textiles, picture frames, maybe the occassional bit of small flatpacked furniture).

We thought about hiring a van. Unfortunately, you have to have a full license or know someone who does. If you do, you can get a van for about 100 euro/day depending on the size. This is fairly reasonable, because Ikea charges 100 pounds per trolley load to send it down to the Republic. Bringing all your purchases home with you is an added bonus of hiring a van.

Of course, if none of those options tickle your fancy, you could always hire a private helicopter, use a speedboat, or perhaps walk.

15 January 2008

Want your home on Design in Dublin?

Live in Dublin and got a sweet-ass home? Proud of your decorating and want to share it with the blogasphere? Cool beans, cause I want to take pictures of it. Big house, small house, studio apartment; so long as you love it, I want to see it. If you or someone you know is interested in having their house/apartment/loveshack blogged, send me an email at Shawna@aaaphotos. You get extra points for being famous for something, but no McMansion owners need apply. Cheers.

13 January 2008

Devine Colour at Pia Bang Home

On Anne Street South (just off Grafton street) lies a little shop called Pia Bang Home. It's full of all sorts of little treasures. The style is distinctly French country, with pastel fabrics and washed out woods. Brushed metals and weathered furniture. It was like a smaller, boutique sibling of Restoration Hardware or Avoca. Unfortunately, the prices were similiar to those shops as well. At the moment though, their entire stock is 10% off, and their Christmas stock is 50% off. If that doesn't interest you, this next bit might.

Pia Bang carries a range of low-VOC Colourtrend paints called Devine Color. A 3 litre can will cost about 45 Euro, and that's not much more than a can of regular old poisonous, polluting, brain frying paint. They don't have every colour under the sun, but they do have plenty of pretty, nature-inspired colours to choose from. You can pick up a pamphlet of colour chips at Pia Bang like I did, or you can have a look at their website. I'd recommend going into the shop, however, since everyone's monitor is calibrated differently. Anyway, here's a few of my favourites:

Black and Blue Beans



And Green Tea.

Unfortunately these photos don't do them justice. On the chip board, they are so rich and deep, they look good enough to eat. I'm designing a friend's nursery for her new baby girl, and you can bet I'll definitely be using this brand of paint.

12 January 2008

In the Bedroom...

I just wanted to share a few pictures of my bedroom with everyone. It's nothing extravagant, but I am very proud of the way it looks, especially the effort we put into trying to hide the big dip in the floorboards. The bed and night table were the first things we purchased. We got them at Argos. The egg lamp was a surprising TK Maxx find at €30. The duvet cover is a pretty grey/blue toile pattern. I got it on sale at House of Fraser for €40 marked down from €75. The wardrobe is probably the most expensive piece of furniture we have in the house besides our sofa, but without any closets in the apartment, we were desperate for storage.

Here's a fun little decorating project that only takes a few minutes to do. I bought these 10"x 20" frames with frosted glass on sale at Dunnes for a mere €5 each. Now when I bought them, they had some tacky pictures of seashells and beachy stuff in them, but all you have to do is pull up the cardboard backing and stick something cool in front of the pictures. I chose some fun scrapbook paper that my mom bought for me at Costco, but you can use anything really: photos, your own artwork, or just paint blocks of colour over it. I think there are still a few left at the Georges Street Dunnes.

To the right, here, is my wall decal that I purchased from Blik. Unfortunately they do not ship outside of the US, but there are plenty of other European companies who do. One of my favourites is Domestic from France with their Vynil collection. Urban Outfitters sells the Blik Mod dots, but at about twice the price as the website. Decals are great for apartment dwellers, because they are not permanent; you can take them down whenever you like, but they can only be used once. However, be careful when you use them. There are good ways and there are some really really bad ways.

The last thing in my room that I'd like to show off is our little CD player from MUJI that James bought me for Christmas last year. You just pull the little cord like a lamp, and the cd starts spinning. You obviously wouldn't get the same sound quality as a regular Hi-Fi, but it's quite superb for a little bedroom mood music if you catch my drift.

Well, that's my room. Hope you've enjoyed it. Maybe next time you can come over and I'll give you a personal tour ;-) ;-)

Attention all ye wasters out there!

Having trouble finding cheap furniture? Sick of bargaining prices for dodgy futons on Boards.ie? Why not try Dublinwaste.ie instead. It's kind of like an online recycling centre for furniture and other goods. Everything on it is free, though most of it is pretty crap or doesn't have a picture with it. Every once in a while, though, you find some pretty nifty stuff like this grey wardrobe (I'm certain that it must look better in real life).

Or this storage unit, though this might look better in a larger apartment or house.

A few months ago someone was getting rid of an 1960's rosewood sideboard! I was so close to nabbing it before James reminded me that we had no car, and therefore could not go pick it up in Cork. Even if you do have to hire a van or pay a friend with a car to deliver it for you, depending on the item, you'd still be saving loads of money. In the case of that sideboard, I would have saved about €1000 (price compared to that of Wild Child Originals and Habitat 20th Century Collection).

If you fancy a little upholstery project, you can pick up one of many ugly armchairs and sofas the site has to offer. Some of them have fantastic shapes but disgusting colours and patterns; all they need is some new fabrics for the perfect pick-me-up.

Wacky, Wonderful, Weird...Emma Klingbeil

I stumbled upon Emma Klingbeil the other day while writing up my Etsy finds for the week. Her work is so interesting, however, that I thought it deserved it's own article. She's quite a rarity, a really good artist who sells her original paintings for under $100. In fact, for a 10"x 10" original, you'll only pay $50-$60, 0r $10 for a print sized 8.5"x 8.5".

Her stuff is slightly twisted, as if coming from the imagination of a child who watched too much Ren and Stimpy growing up (I can relate). At the same time, they are whimsical and endearing. If you want to add a burst of colour to a room, Emma's paintings are definitely a safe bet.

10 January 2008

This Week's Etsy Finds...

Here's a lovely Apron from Memake in London for $55/€37. Not only is it adorable and affordable, it's also customizable. You can choose whatever you'd like to be written in the little patch. I think if I bought one, it would have to say "Lovely Husband" on it, as James does most of the cooking around here.

Since we're on the topic of kitchen wares, have a look at this fun little cupcake tea cosy from MadeintheMeadow. It's such a steal for $10/€6.70.

Next up we have some vegan candles. Wait a second...did I just say vegan candles? Until today I did not realise that vegans had any beef (pun intended) with the beekeepers, but apparently they do....hardcore. There seems to be thousands of vegan candle makers out there. However, whether or not you agree with their politics, you must agree that these tinned candles, made from soy wax, are totally cute. You can purchase a set of three for $9/€6 at Purelily's shop.

And finally, here's something you can enjoy if you have children who are too young to read. Spidercamp sells these soft fleecy dolls with offensive words and phrases on them such as "F*ck Off," "Herpes," and "Pee." Enjoy them while the kids still don't get it. If you don't find colourful language funny, however, you can purchase one with a little heart on it's chest instead. They range between $8.50- $22.00

Hair pin legs

Just doing my daily browse of other blogs when I came across an article on Apartment Therapy about a guy called Ian McClean, who makes hair pin legs for all you DIYers out there who would like to add a little classic retro kitsch to your furniture. They start from a mere $14/€9.50 each. You can get them at Hairpinlegs.com. Unfortunately, I've not been able to find any Irish equivalent to compare the site too... I can't even find anyone on Ebay who sells them worldwide, so for now, Ian seems to remain our top resource for hair pin legs.

My new chair

Yesterday I purchased a new lounge chair and footstool from Habitat. It's covered in lovely blue felt and looks beautiful next to our living room rug (see rug below).

It hurt my wallet a little bit, costing me just under €400 including the taxi ride to pick it up at the warehouse. But it was marked down from €750, so I feel my purchase is justified.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

I'm so looking forward to seeing this film, though it probably won't be out in Dublin till late spring/early summer depending on when it comes out in the States. Just from the trailer, I can tell it will be an absolute design fantasy! The sets and costumes look absolutely gorgeous and Amy Adams just sparkles in that flowy pink dressing gown. Everything seems to be draped in satin, velvet, lace and fur and drenched in silver, gold, and creme. I'm so excited, I can hardly wait!

03 January 2008

Design in Big Brother

I've never really liked the show, but I have a special place in my heart for some of the furnishings in the house. While many things are still pretty tacky (ie. the diary room), I still really enjoy seeing all cool lights and prototypes. Though we didn't really get to see much in the season premiere tonight, I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the house...then quickly turning off the television.

02 January 2008

Eleanor Grosch

Let's get one thing clear...I LOVE ELEANOR GROSCH! She one of my favourite screen printers. Most of her illustrations are of animals, which makes her prints perfect for kids and adults. I think they'd look especially nice in a nursery. The designs are simple and fun and always colourful. The best part is they are very affordable. Most prints cost about $40/27 euro, and they measure 12.5"x19".

The proceeds off a few of them go towards animal-related charities. James and I own three, ourselves.

If prints aren't you're thing (though I don't know why they wouldn't be), she offers a range of adorable t-shirts, mugs, some damn cute stationary, and her own Keds shoe line which was being sold in Top Shop for a while (not sure if they still carry them).

If you'd like to do some screen printing yourself, you can even download instructions from her website. Hmmm...I might have to look into that.

If you like what you've seen here, and you'd like to see more (I would really recommend it), just click here

01 January 2008

Wallpaper From the 70's

There are a few places in Dublin to get affordable wallpaper that doesn't look like it belongs in your granny's sitting room. You can pick up rolls at Dunnes for about 20 quid each, but they only offer about 5 or 6 patterns. Habitat also offer rolls at about 40 euro each. Their patterns are a bit more avante garde, but you have more to choose from and the colours are much bolder.

If neither of those options float your boat, you should definitely have a look at Wallpaper From the 70's When they first opened up shop, they had only a few typical 70's geometric patterns that, to be honest, looked fairly dated, but during the past year, they've continued to offer more and more variety. They range from about 20-60 euro per roll, and here are some of my picks:

This is Ambrosia. It's 39.90/roll and would look gorgeous in a small kitchen!

This elegant pattern is called Boreas. It's 33.90, and I'm thinking diningroom...with lots of pretty lucite furniture.
You might recognise this wallpaper. It's been used in a few shops in town in the past year, including the Top Shop just off Grafton street. This would be a great accent wall for a bedroom. It's 48.90/roll.

They also have a few patterns that might be a bit too busy for a whole wall, but they certainly would look nice as framed A4's (8"x12"), like Labama (below). You can purchase A4's in any pattern from their website for only 50 cent each. I'm contemplating getting a few myself.
They have loads more patterns, and shipping costs to Ireland (they're based in Germany) are pretty reasonable.

Smarty Lamps

One of my favourite Christmas gifts this year was from my sister-in-law, Carolyn. She got me one of those tessellation lampshades that are made of interlocking, plastic pieces, but the catch was that I had to build it myself. The company that makes these lampshade puzzles is called Smarty Lamps, but I believe you can buy them at Urban Outfitters. These are incredibly cheap compared to some of the preassembled ones you'd find in town.
This is the one I have. You can buy them for about €30 flatpacked.

This one here is from Habitat. It's a bit more intricate, but it's about €80 and made of paper.

If you're really feeling like a big spender, you can pick up this nifty red one at Wild Child Originals for a whopping €695
The only one that's around the same price range as the Smarty Lamp is this one from Ikea. However, you'll have to drive to Belfast to get it. I assume like most Ikea stuff, that this would be flatpacked too.

If you don't mind spending over twice as much to have a lampshade assembled for you, then by all means, purchase one of the more expensive options, but if you like to challenge your spatial awareness whilst not spending loads of money, buy one of the flatpacked shades.