28 February 2008

Fred and Friends

I'm a big fan of Fred and Friends. So is my sister in law, who happens to be obsessed with her Mon-key key covers. Every time we get in her car she likes to mention them. "Look guys...Mon-keys!" I can't say I blame her. They are pretty sweet. So is most everything on Fred's website. Here's a few of my favourites. You've probably seen all these before either in Urban Outfitters or on various websites across the globe. But I really feel like I need to give credit where credit's due.
Frozen teeth are a sick joke waiting to happy. I would definitely use them to freak out the parents (both mine and his).

This little minimalist cherub is the epitome of the phrase "rock out with your cock out." Yet another little item I'd use to make my family uncomfortable.

I really wish they made these when I was a kid. Oh how my sister and I would struggle when my dad brought home chicken teriyaki for dinner. We always gave up and opted for a fork, but now the next generation of Asian food eaters don't have to.

I always thought people who wore those Velvet Underground t-shirts with the Andy Warhol banana on them were so pretentious. So seeing that someone has poked fun at that with a anti-slip shower mat has made me smile. I think that's my favourite part about Fred and Friends. It's all well designed stuff that's not afraid to poke fun at design.

25 February 2008


After being inspired by Nathalie's blog last week about cupcakes, I demanded that my husband make me some for my birthday. He's just in the kitchen now, mixing up some icing. Mmmm, I can taste them already! If you too want to be inspired by the awesome power of cupcakey goodness, here's a few books with some pretty rockin' cupcake photography that might help out with that.
Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans. Photos by France Ruffenbach.

Crazy about Cupcakes by Krystina Capella

Cupcake Heavan by Susannah Blake. Photos by Martin Brigdale

Design Sponge gets engaged!

Congrats to Grace over at Design Sponge for getting engaged over the weekend. I can only imagine how gorgeous that wedding is going to be!

24 February 2008

Mongozo Beer!

Last night I was meant to go out for a few drinks with friends to celebrate my birthday, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I ended up staying home with the husband watching South Park. However, this seemingly dull event was made much more exciting when I popped down to the off license for some liquid refreshment and discovered a range of exotic flavoured beers, including Mongozo Banana. Now normally I wouldn't buy my drinks based on how cool the packaging is, but with this one I couldn't resist. It looks like an old Cuban propaganda poster, and the little Fair Trade symbol with the icing on the cake. I'm happy to report that it's some of the best beer I've ever tasted as well. If you're not a fan of beer, but you don't want to be teased for drinking Bacardi Breezers and Blue WKDs, this is the beer for you. It's not girly or overly sugary; it's exotic and sophisticated! They also come in Coconut, Quinua, and Palmnut. The only catch is that I'm pretty sure they don't sell it in pubs.

22 February 2008

Flip that House

I've been watching a lot of Flip That House lately on Discovery Real Time. I've always thought it would be fun to take an old wreck of a house and turn it into something fantastic. I'm not even entirely interested in making money at it (though it would be nice to earn a living from something like that). I just like the idea of creating something completely from scratch and saving a property that would otherwise have been neglected. There's not too many properties like that in Dublin that we could afford, but America seems to be awash with them thanks to the recent recession. I've been thinking about buying one close to my parents so we could go over there for a few months and enlist the help of my folks to help us fix it up. I'm sure they wouldn't mind :-P

21 February 2008

Dublin Waste finds

Here's a few things I found on Dublin Waste today that I think could definitely have potential! Keep in mind that most people don't know how to take good photos of the things they are trying to get rid of. Therefore those things could look a lot better in real life.

I like the shape of this dressing table. I think it would look great if someone got some mirrors cut to size and fitted onto the sides and drawers.

This sideboard reminds me of one I saw on Jay Jeffers's site (maybe not as elegant as his). Sand this baby down and paint it a cool colour and you've got yourself a rad piece storage furniture.

I'd really like to see someone use their creative skillz to reupholster this bad boy. I'd love to have some highback seating in my home, but alas, I've no room.

20 February 2008

Etsy Finds: Birds

At Rosey's request, this week I'm featuring birds, if only to link to Matte Stephens (I'm still tempted to get a tattoo of his Giant Suburban Bear Monster). I think we could all use some bird-related visuals in house just to add some "flutter" to our lives.
First up we have a print by good ol' Matte Stephens. Abundant in colour and mid-century kitsch as usual, as well as very affordable at $35. Did I mention this one's a limited edition?

Here's a cute little note card set by Ouou. I just love the Asian inspired illustration. The little goth girl reminds me of me back in highschool (tee hee hee). A set of four will set you back a whole $8.50.

Next we have an original painting by Emma Klingbeil that is only loosely related to birds, but I think was still worth a mention. You might remember her work from a post I made a few weeks ago. For $54, this one measures 10"x 10"x 1".

And today's grand finale is an adorable stuffed owl from PlantsAndAnimals. It's stuff like this that makes me wish I had a sewing machine. Just a few more days till my birthday, so who knows? I might get one. Anyway this little guy (made of fleece and wool felt) is a steal at $22.

And there you have it folks! Keep those theme requests coming in, as it really helps me narrow down what I feature each week.

Support Local Art: Niamh Farrell

Whilst doing my rounds on Myspace, Facebook, etc. I discovered that my friend Dara's girlfriend, Niamh is an amazing artist. I've always known her for being a guitar strumming singer songwriter, but I'm happy to say that her multi-media works of art rock my socks off! She's not quite as affordable as some of the stuff on Etsy, but if you want to buy locally, Niamh's are definitely worth it.

18 February 2008

Front Door Debacle

Today I came home from work to find a couple having an argument right outside our door. They didn't really notice me trying to get in till I took the keys out of my handbag and gave them a little jangle. This isn't the first time something like this has happened and it won't be the last, as our front door is right between two businesses. We often get hoards of smokers in front as there's a cigarette bin just next to our door. One time I came home from Centra to find a homeless woman peeing in our doorway. And whilst I waited for her to finish up with her bio-vandalism, she shouted some amount of drunken abuse at me. I'm really fed up. That is why I've decided that I'm going to paint the door bright effing yellow, like the one above. I don't care what my landlord thinks and I don't know if it will help, but It will definitely make it more noticable and recognizable as a residential building.

Do any of you have the same problem? If so, what would you do to make it stop? Share your stories here.

14 February 2008

Bookcase or Staircase?

I just found this amazing bespoke staircase on Apartment Therapy. If you're one of those hyper-literate types but don't have enough space for you books, this would be a brilliant idea for your home. A book-lined staircase. Created by London's Levitate Architects, I think it's the perfect space saving solution. And you don't have to store just books there either. If your mind tends to look towards the apocalypse more often than not, you could store all you canned foods and purified water there as well. Or if you're much like the comic book guy on the Simpsons, this would be a great spot to display your action figures. The storage opportunities are limitless!

13 February 2008

Our Valentines day

As we both have to work tomorrow, I decided James and I should have an early Valentine's day. I surprised him with a romantic afternoon snack of gouda with crackers, fresh fruit, creme puffs, and sparkling wine to wash it all down. It was really yummy and he especially loved the chocolately creme puffs, but a quick word of warning. DON'T BUY THE CHEAPEST WINE AT M&S!!! Big mistake on my part.

This week's Etsy finds...

Today we'll be having a look at some stuff that involves one of our favourite things in the world: tea! There's nothing like a good cup of tea and some telly in the afternoon.

First we have a double print set by Labpartners. I'm not a huge fan of mint-coloured things, but I think it looks good here with the black. Only $22 for both prints.
Next we have a lovely mug print fabric by Cricket Court. She may be 68, but this lady's got some damn cute fabrics to sell! They're a steal at only $10 for 2 yards.

Niandra has some fun, handpainted plates up for sale. They're $26 each, but it doesn't say if they are machine washable, so if you're interested, it's probably best if you ask her.

German seller, Seasprayblue, makes these awesome earth-toned prints. I love the simple lines and font. I think I might ask for one of these for my birthday actually. Our kitchen is in desperate need of a bit of artwork. At $17 each, it shouldn't be too hard to find someone to buy me one.

And lastly, we have one of my favourites, Strawberry Luna, with this limited edition Decemberists poster. It's a bit more expensive at $75, but I think it well worth it to for a piece of brilliant artwork made for an equally brilliant band.

And there you have it folks! If you've any theme requests for next week's finds, just give me a shout!

A perfect smile

This isn't design related in the least, but I just thought you all should know. I went to the dentist today out of cavity paranoia (I found a little grey spot on one of my molars), but after a poke around inside my mouth and an x-ray, I was told my teeth were perfect. Thanks Dr. McEniff!

12 February 2008

Ikea Belfast: a review

On a mild Irish Sunday at 10:00am, James and I boarded the Ikea Express coach at Busarus. Suprisingly, there were only about 10 other passengers, which made for an incredibly quiet trip. As we turned a corner and passed George Best airport, the massive blue building appeared and cheers were let out by a few of the other soon-to-be Ikea shoppers.

After about 10 minutes waiting for the bus driver to figure out where the loading lane was, we were allowed to roam free like a bunch of freerange, bargain hunting livestock on two floors full of scandinavian, inexpensive, furniture laden pastures. The anticipation of it all was so high, but there were a few things that, when compared to the Ikea in my hometown, just didn't seem to be working out.
(photo from wonderbaby.org)

For example, it would seem that Irish people have yet to grasp the concept that it's best to leave the youngins' in the creche whilst you do your shopping. Even though the play area looked 10 times more fun than the one at the Seattle branch, we still saw hundreds of kids in the showrooms screaming and climbing and knocking stuff over, just generally doing what kids do, much to the dismay of their shopping parents.

Also, there wasn't a lot of the larger products in stock, and they didn't really have the warehouse area all that organised. This is something I am sure will probably be fixed over the coming months, but it is still slightly frustrating when you've bussed it all the way from Dublin only to find that the Lack bookcase you had your eye on is out of stock till next week.

On the brighter side though, the staff were all very helpful and nerdy as usual and the meatballs were delicious! Their dining area is huge compared to Seattle and is decked out with plenty of their own dining furniture. Also, I'm pretty sure I saw Patrick Stewart buying a plate of meatballs. I don't even care if it wasn't him. I'm still going to tell all my friends it was.

Although we weren't able to bring home everything we intended to, we still brought back some great stuff. Here's a few of them:The Norbo fold down table isn't the most stylish looking, but we really need the extra space and after I'm done making a cute little table cloth out of the Patricia fabric (see below), It's going to be totally fab.

This is the best picture I could find of it (too lazy to take one myself tonight). It's actually a bit browner in real life. I just love the large pattern. It sort of has a hint of Merimekko without the massive pricetag. This will provide me with some lovely curtains and the tablecloth I mentioned earlier.
This was something my adorably unstylish husband actually found all on his own. He loves industrial looking things with lots of metal, so this very masculine pendant light suits him perfectly. You should have seen his face when I told him I liked it!

We also got loads of Lack shelves to put around the house, a magnet board to hang our keys from, and smaller kitcheny things (a couple of pasta plates and a big, glass mug for the husband). It might not seem like a lot, but it all adds up and getting all that stuff into a taxi was such a pain in the ass...especially the shelves. My one word of advice would be to ring ahead to make sure they have the big things you'd like to buy in stock, and unless you own or are renting a truck, have those big things shipped. It's only 100 pounds per 2 trolley loads.

08 February 2008

Happy Friday!!!

The work week is finally over. Thank God, because I spent the last hour of work scribbling out floorplans of potential dream homes on paper bags. Tomorrow the band of hus and I are going up to Ikea to pick up some essentials. I'm so psyched! We've decided to take the bus, as we might be buying a few larger items and we'll need the storage space. And don't worry your pretty little head's; I'll be sure to post pictures of all my purchases :-)

07 February 2008

Robert Iza!

Ever get back into touch with old friends from highschool and suddenly realise just how cool they've gotten since then? About a month ago, James and I were scratching our heads, trying to find an illustrator to help us out on an album cover we'd been working on.

As luck would have it, a friend from school, who went on to become an amazing illustrator, sent me a message on myspace to see how I have been. After showing James some of his work, we hired him for the album immediately.
I'm actually such a fan of Robert's drawings, that I've also hired him to draw up a new banner for the blog as well. If you like his stuff too, you should check out his blog. You should also hire him to draw pictures for you, because he's pretty much brilliant!

06 February 2008

Tonight on Grand Designs

Last week's home

Tonight's Grand Designs is sure to be interesting. This week's couple, inspired by horror movies are building an Addams Family style house. How on earth would you get planning permission for a build like that, I wonder? I like when they feature strange types of buildings, but I really hope that it doesn't end up like one of those themed monstrousities on Monster House. Hmmm...I don't think Kevvy-wevvy would do that to us.

Anyway, what did you all think of last week's home? I must say, I wasn't very impressed by it design-wise (except for the transparent-to-opaque doors which were brilliant!). I think it's cool if you can take certain elements of commercial building and make it work in a residential home, but, to me, it really just looked like an office building with a few family portraits and an over-indulgent kitchen. However, the family seemed to be very happy in their corporate home, so I guess that's what counts.

02 February 2008

Interior Design Courses in Dublin.

Have you or someone you know taken an interior design course at one of the local colleges? I was looking into the course at Griffith College, and a colleague of mine has a sister that did a course at Dun Laoghaire Institute, but I'd really like to personally hear from people who have graduated or are currently enrolled. Are the lecturers good? What's the campus like? etc. etc. You can leave a comment or email me at Shawna@aaaphotos.org

Let it snow....please!

Photo by Liana Salman

It's been soooooooo cold in Dublin this week. Due to a complete lack of insulation in our apartment building (something I've been onto the letting agents about for the past year), I've suffered having the coldest feet imaginable and have woken up frozen every morning since October. In fact it's been so cold out lately that I think we deserve some snow. Unfortunately the only sign of snow we've had were a couple of miserable, five minute dustings that melted away as soon as it hit the ground. And just to rub it in, my mother emailed me photos of the 6 inches of snow they got in Washington. If you too think that Dublin deserves at least one day of snow this winter, you can sign my petition to God by leaving a comment.