Atlantico

I discovered Atlantico products through the Karkula website and am really loving their hefty pieces. They exhibit a similar aesthetic as BDDW, though not as rich, but also more accessibly priced.

I need to figure out exactly what I want to do (back to floorplans). I'm thinking of giving over my table completely to a desk space and concentrating on coffee-table entertaining more, which is always what I do anyway. This means more seating and a slim discreet desk.


Re the tulip: It's all over with the tulip and me. I still love it, I just can't bring myself to buy it right now. I walked Queen on Saturday and every store had a real or "inspired" one. It's really hitting that "Barcelona chair circa 2004" ubiquity. I also am worried about say, buying a 42" and moving somewhere that calls for a 56", or whatever... you get the picture. I think the whole chair dilemma and never finding a suitable answer was symptomatic of this uncertainty.

Instead, I'm searching for a really awesome coffee table, since I spend more time around this. I was thinking again about the Martha Sturdy, but we're talking mega-bucks for that... So, this will be my new research project.

Recipe of the week: Smoothie

I used to drink an Innocent Smoothie every day. Their branding is uber cute and the smoothies are delish and readily available in grocery stores and newsagents at home. I've been craving them lately and went to their website to remind myself what was so great about them.

And this is precisely the kind of thing I like about this company: They have the recipes for their smoothies posted, right down to the number of berries to be included. It takes balls to give away your recipes with such precision and leave no "secret ingredient" component. My favourite was always the Mangoes & Passion Fruits.

Here's how to make it:
Blend...
- Half a mango
- Half a mashed banana
- Half a freshly squeezed orange
- Half a crushed passionfruit
- A dash of lime

Some photographs

I've always been on the fence about this shot. I love it, because I know the spot well, but I think it's hard to "get" out of context. The scene is set in St Anne's Park in Clontarf, a large park and gardens, once owned by the Guinness family and later donated to Dublin Council. By the duck pond, sits this ruin. I imagine it was a boathouse... The roof, as you can see, has collapsed now. And the local kids have graffitied the ruin. It's a popular hangout for young rufians to get up to high jinx after dusk.

But the pond it looks out onto, remains as verdant as ever. There was a lone swan who used to pine there and Baggins, our dog, would run around taunting the ducks. I always loved the juxtaposition of this ruined grandeur and the seedy, lush liveliness of the pa
rk and its visitors.


I'm on the fence about this one too. I wish the sky had been livelier when I shot it. Normally, Irish skies are full of cumulus, but it was an uncharacteristically clear day, so I feel like there's a whole lot of grey. But then I look at the same shot some days and love the simplicity.

I think I fail as a photographer because I can't judge my work beyond my love of certain subjects. This shot was taken at Powerscourt in Co. Wicklow, and the mountain is the Sugarloaf, which is an extinct volcano (you can see the crater shape still though).

Favourite possessions

Despite my product-lust seeming at an all-time high, I've been good at managing my purse-strings lately. And sometimes, that sense of constantly wanting (that lamp, the tulip, the right chairs) leaves one wanton. So, instead of showing you some new razzle-dazzle product I've recently found, I thought I'd carve out a somewhat regular space to tell you about some of my favourite things I already own.


You may have garnered from my previous post that BFF is the KING of ultimate ultimate gifts. For my birthday one year, he wrote to Alex Colville, and told him how much I admired his work. And I, in turn, received a hand-written letter from Mr. Colville. Receiving a letter, out of the blue, from an artist you love is surreal and wonderful and the most perfect idea, and somehow beautifully wide-eyed and innocent. Simply put, the best gift ever.

(For obvious reasons, I blocked out Mr Colville's address from the letterhead. And I've also blocked out BFF's name just cause he might like some privacy too)

David Trubridge

I've frequented Camilla Engman's blog for some time now. It's fabulous and she makes me want to move to Sweden and get a dog and acquire artistic skills that seem inherently lacking. This morning I was browsing her Flickr when I should have been getting dressed and saw this amazing picture. The light made such a strong visual imprint I felt that little obsessive feeling pang in the pit of my stomach.


Then later I was browsing Studio Home Creative (I did get to work despite all this early-morning surfing) and followed a link to Eon. (I was rather smitten with the Dom Hall Table she blogged about. What can I say? -It was a lusty morning). There, I clicked on lighting and found these pendants by David Trubridge, which come in this kit.


Now, home after work, I have time to google NZ-based David Trubridge. What a talented designer!

Domino

Time flies, except when you're waiting for Domino: The months seem to whip by, literally disorienting me at times. Deadlines flying. Projects being tossed and swatted frenetically. Whirlwind weeks without seeing friends... Holidays a pipe dream for a slower time.

And yet... it seems yonks, eons, ages between issues of Domino! I literally stalk the newsagent waiting for it to hit the shelf. My eye is honed on the spot on where Domino sits and my mind instantly deflates when it's still the same issue.


And the worst part is when you've seen snippets of what's to come and it completely spoils the joy and then there's only catharsis before the wait starts again. And yes, I'm a sad sad creature and you'd think I'd have other things to do. And I do! I do! It's just that time slows down around this one event and it seems to drag on forever.

So, Domino editors, please take your magazine out of this odd time-space continuum and keep up with the real-paced world. You seem perpetually tardy and I don't like being a stalker and I sometimes end up buying some overpriced import just to fill the gap.

Alice Temperley

Alice Temperley creates some of the most achingly pretty dresses you've seen. But on a recent drop-by her site I was also won over by the photography for the latest collection. Aren't these images divine?

Designer's Guild

Are you sick of me and wallpaper yet? My new obsession wallpaper is this Roquelaire pattern from Designer's Guild. I've typically felt that Designer's Guild was a little too colourful for me, though theirs is a style I wholly adore. But I could definitely embrace a wall of this.

Dan McCarthy

I bookmarked Dan McCarthy's site a while ago and I'm sorry to say I don't recall where I originally found the link, though I know it was on another blog and I've searched some of my most frequently browsed but to no avail... so apologies to the fabulous blogger who found this originally!

I was smitten, but most of the prints I fell hardest for were sold out. Last weekend, I looked again and found this. It's filling the spot above my bookshelves. Although I've complained a lot this year about snow, I absolutely love this.


Recipe of the week: Dairy & wheat free chocolate roulade

I think we've all either ourselves been, or had a friend who is, observing a wheat-free or dairy-free diet. Chantal Coady of Rococo Chocolates is certainly aware of this modern dilemma. The following recipe is from her book Real Chocolate. While I'm staying away from all desserts right now, this is going on the to do list...

Serves 8

For the ganache
- 7oz real dark chocolate
- 7 oz liquid of your choice (water, coffee, tea, orange water,
a bit of booze or a drop of essential oil - find your flavour!)

Break or chop the chocolate into pieces and melt in a very low oven in a heatproof bowl. When melted, make the
ganache by adding the boiling liquid to the chocolate, a spoonful at a time. It will thicken first, then become smooth. Allow to cool and then chill. Press saran wrap (cling film) against the top of the ganache so no air touches it.


- 4.5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more to dust
- 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup finely ground blanched almonds, plus more to dust


Heat oven to 350 fahrenheit. Sift cocoa and sugar together and beat with egg whites to soft peaks. Fold in the almonds and then the egg yolks, keeping as much air in the batter as possible. Spread mixture on a silicone-coated baking sheet on a large 14"x17.5" jellyroll pan. Bake 10-15 mins and then cool on a wire rack.

To assemble
Lay a piece of wax paper flat and dust with ground almonds. Turn out sponge onto wax paper. Spread ganache on top of sponge*, dusting with cocoa and more ground almonds. Roll up like a jellyroll or swiss roll. *If it's too cold and thick to spread, warm the bowl slightly over a saucepan of boiling water - this will loosen the ganache.

And just to hook, line and sinker you, here are some more of Coady's creations.

Collections

I typically resist collections because they seem to imply clutter. But, a collection offers the opportunity to coherently display en masse, in a manner many disparate pieces do not allow. Of course, art and books are collections most of us have. But, I've lately become fascinated with collections of old workaday objects.

First up, is Neisha Crossland's collection of hat blocks, shown in Old House, New Home.


Or, how about vintage typewriters hung along the wall of a 600 sq ft apartment, from Living Large in Small Spaces?


And, no post about collecting would be complete without a little Martha (have you seen the pics of her prop room?!) This collection of English and French copper moulds appeared in the Oct 2007 Martha Stewart Living.


Vicente Wolf is known for his global collections but I think this particular display is an example of the minimal
restraint that can be exhibited with collections. Image from Decorate by Metropolitan Home.


This clipping has been in my stash forever, so unfortunately I don't know where to credit it. I especially like it because BFF has a similar collection of vintage tools and I love this framed display.


A little more whimsical is this collection of colorful lunch boxes from a home featured in Taschen's New York Interiors.


My favourite magazine for that sense of bourgeois eccentricity and eclecticism is The World of Interiors and these images come from two different issues. First, from March 2007, is the studio-cum-home of Belgian architect Renaat Braem. While these objects are functionally disparate, the tone of the wood ties them together.


And although this is not a domestic collection, but a museum one, I couldn't resist including an image from
the Waterperry Gardens Museum from July 2007.


Finally, if you prefer not to collect over time, you may fall head over heels with Lost Found Art, where you can buy entire collections, as well as individual pieces. My favourites include this collection of 167 colorful and abstract shaped cast iron, steel and cast aluminum industrial valve shut offs in a wide range of colors.


But possibly the one I'm most inspired by is this collection of antique cast iron decorative building stars that we attached to end of long tie rods that ran the length of 19th century brick buildings to add additional support. I have one of these stars from a store in Toronto and love the idea of more of collecting more and displaying them in this manner.

Easter

I'm feeling a little like this bunny: Tired. Headachey. In need of some rest. Hopefully I'll be the chipper bouncy bunny if I get some sleep. Happy Easter! Image via Toast.

Trees

Scanning some of my old negatives, it turns out I have quite the tree fetish. There have been some trees that I've been head over heels with. The one on the grounds of Malahide Castle and the apple tree in the back garden of my parent's house that I photographed way too often.

Trees, especially lone trees or circles of trees, have magical connotations in Irish superstition, but I'm not one to fall prey to hocus pocus. I think I just like the skeletal forms and the sheer heft of them.


Chaise

1st Dibs is an endless source of fabulousness, one of those sites you can never get done searching, so you resolve to hours of browsing and lusting, browsing and lusting. I love the slim, clean lines of this chaise. I've heard of people who find these kinds of pieces at used furniture stores. I'm never one of those shoppers, I'm the kind that ends up forking out full value for it. I secretly resent people who find deals on pieces like these. They should be obliged to share with the rest of us...

Playsam

A few weeks ago I nipped into Hollace Cluny (I know, it seems like I basically camp there, but for good reason). Anyhoo, on an adorable tulip side table was perched one of these fabulous Playsam toys.

You can imagine, it takes something special to distract me from the table, specially since I'm generally oblivious to all things baby... But these are so epic, so at home with chic design, that I could imagine having a little tyke who played exclusively with toys like these. (And such thoughts are precisely the reason why I should not be allowed to have kids.)


Banff postcards

Yesterday, BFF gave me this amazing gift. He found it at St Lawrence Market on the weekend. The packet contains eight photographs from Banff National Park in the 1920's. The idea was that you'd mail the entire packet to your recipient. I adore the art deco styling of the cover. My favourite photo of the eight is the Castle Mountain shot you see here. I have a magical fixation with that mountain. I love the idea, the execution and the perfect photographs. Thanks TWJ!

Beannachtai na Féile Pádraig!

I couldn't not do this for March 17th! Here are a few of my favourite things from Eire:

Literature: No shock here. If I had to pick the singlemost thing that makes me proud of home, it would be our literary contributions: Beckett, Joyce, Wilde, Shaw, Behan, Swift, Bram Stoker, Iris Mur
doch, Colm Toibin, William Trevor, Roddy Doyle, Sebastian Barry, Anne Enright... the list goes on. And to mark the day that's in it, I'm going to see Waiting for Godot tonight! (Image of Beckett by John Minihan)


Landscape: Yes, it's as green as they say, but it's also varied, rugged,
wild, barren and lush. I love it all, from the Connemara bogs to the limestone karst of The Burren. Most of all I love the stretch of road that runs around the coast from Ballyvaughan to Doolin.


Banter: Dubliners in particular are ridiculously witty. The old man at the bar might spontaneously quote some random passage from Finnegan's Wake. The barman can pull out a dictionary to argue some point of etymology. And the most ordinary of people can knock your socks off with ingenious phrasing and random wit. Everybody has a favourite pub
and I'm loathe to name mine (so far the tourists haven't much happened upon it and we want to keep it that way). But, I will tell you about Stag's Head, which is also a fave. Image via.


Shops: For yonks, we eyed the UK with envy for their stores. Then the Westons revamped Brown Thomas, British highstreet stores invaded Grafton St and Irish stores stepped up their game to hold on to their share of it. The booming economy has had its impact on retail, but Grafton Street and its sidestreets still hold their allure. Favourite shops include Avoca, The Pen Corner (12 College Green) BT's, Rhinestones (18 St. Andrew St.) and Cathach Books.


Georgian Dublin: I absolutely crave a sit in Merrion Square or the Iveagh Gardens some days. These fenced-in parks create little oasis in the midst of some of the best Georgian architecture. Filled with abundant flower beds and precocious robins and ducks, they're a popular destination for lunchtime office-workers and tired shoppers.


Museums & National Gallery: Our prized Caravaggio is l
ike an old friend I like to visit. And, Jack B. Yeats' (W.B.'s brother) intense expression is a treasure to behold. Up the road, our Natural History Museum is an astounding and somewhat surreal example of the Victorian fascination with collecting and classifying natural species. But, above all, I love the small and impeccably curated Chester Beatty library. Who would expect that one of the best collections of Qu'rans, Biblical papyri and illuminated manuscripts (some items dating from 2700BC ) would be housed in a museum on the grounds of Dublin Castle? Shown here, Yeats' "For the Road", via.


Powerscourt: My favourite day-trip from Dublin is to head down to Powerscourt. The gardens are huge and varied, overlooking the Sugarloaf mountain. We lived in Co. Wicklow for a while when I was young so I have a gazillion memories tied up with this place.


Trinners: Right in the heart of Dublin, my alma mater had a huge influence on me. I loved my time there, everyday loved walking through the Front Arch into the cobblestoned Front Square, knowing the likes of Beckett and George Berkeley had worn these same stones. I don't visit the Long Room every time I go there, but it is worth seeing. Image via.

Supermarket carnations

My grandad used to grow carnations in his front garden, so I still loved them even when they weren't chic. While I usually make time to go to the flower markets and build bouquets of mixed flowers, once in awhile I can't be bothered with the expense or resent that they don't last long enough. This week, I couldn't resist two bunches of carnations at the supermarket, one white and one pink. And they're still going strong.

Innocence Mission

I'm still listening to Hayden and rooting back through old CDs from The Frames. But today I'm mostly listening to The Innocence Mission. I discovered them through Natalie Merchant (Karen Peris accompanies her on When they ring the Golden Bells on Ophelia). I love her quirky, charmingly inchoate, voice and soaring melodies.

Recipe of the week: Irish Potato Farl

What better weekend than this to introduce the Irish Potato Farl?! At home, I'd buy this pack from Paul Rankin, but on occasion I have actually cooked them from scratch too (I have a compulsive need to know how everything I eat is made). Like all peasant food recipes, these are simple, hearty and easily overlooked.


- 2lb / 1 kg / 2 cups mashed potatoes (something nice and floury)
- 4oz / 125g / 1 cup plain flour
- 2 tbsp butter*
- salt

Melt the butter and mix into potatoes with the salt. Work in the flour and knead quickly but thoroughly. Divide into two. Roll each half on a floured board to for a circle. Cut into quarters (farls) and cook in a cast iron skillet with butter. Eat for breakfast with eggs and sausages etc... (vegetarian or meat!).

*Check out Saveur's latest edition for butter recommendations, including my fave Kerrygold!

BDDW

BDDW has been much blogged about and featured in magazines. Like others, I've quietly loved that mirror and those rugged, yet modern, pieces. But I think I must be undergoing a little mini-renaissance because my wishlist is taking a subtle turn. These are pieces I used to admire but wouldn't whole-heartedly lust after. But now I love their meaty looks. In particular, the Flower Bed, a beautiful feminine accent on a swarthy hunk of wood.

Dream kitchen

Desire to Inspire posted this a few weeks ago and I have not been able to stop thinking about these delectable kitchens. I'll let the image speak, and the original post, for themselves. I've never met a herringbone floor I didn't love. But the kitchen is beyond anything I ever dreamed. From Hansen.

Favourite things

A long time ago, when I planed my migration to Canada, I was trying to size up the life I was going to have. It was impossible to do, so instead I focused on the more abstract things I loved and that I'd love no matter where I lived... I wrote a Janey version of "a few of my favourite things" and this list has become a constant touchstone. Not all of things in there are part of my life now, some of them are in another tense, but still carried with me and some I plain want.


There's materialism in there, because I would be lying if there wasn't, and there's some some that is more purely sensual. When I'm drawn to images or artwork it's often because it resonates with this list, either representationally or abstractly. And I guess, this all gels somehow to be my personality; is the thread, real or fantasy, running through my days.


Water, horses leaning into the crook of my neck, wet earth & sweat pea, walking, galleries, shopping baskets, friends for dinner, favourite store obsessions, markets, Beckett, clean sheets, picture-taking, old university campuses, solo dance parties, coffee pots, darkroom evenings, park benches, cookbooks, mary-janes, blankets, errands, ink and paper, house-keeping, bookshops, sea-swimming, leaning my head back, changes in weather, magnolia trees, being kisssed, baths, art books, kitchen utensils, yoga-high, herb pots, dogs, Sunday newspapers, cracking up with laughter, bicycles, leaving.

All images by Chris Everard via Sarah Kaye Representation

Godot

Although I wince every time somebody calls it "St Patty's Day" I'm really looking forward to March 17th. I always take the day off, a ritual I don't observe for my birthday or any other day. I like thinking of everybody at home enjoying the parade on telly or the funny movies they put on (The Snapper or Into the West or War of the Buttons).

This year, I've got the most epic plan of all. Lunch at my fave place with BFF, a stroll downtown, cocktails at the Rooftop Patio and some evening entertainment courtesy of Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot is playing at the Young Centre!


Banana Republic

I've been lukewarm on Banana Republic the last few seasons, preferring J.Crew's collections, but I feel like BR are back on their game this season. I just wish they'd open up their e-Commerce to Canada. Here are a two of the current pieces I really like.

Book report: Saturday

My fondness for Ian McEwan started when I read Enduring Love. Immediately after that I read Atonement (it took me a long time to shake off both of these books). I liked Amsterdam a little less and started and stopped Saturday a few times. Though I didn't articulate it as the reason for abandoning Saturday, I wasn't ready for a book that revolved around the war in Iraq. It can be hard to digest the news presented in fiction too quickly.


But I've been resolved to get through my unread books before buying any more and Saturday is one of the last. This time it wasn't hard to latch on. I don't always revel in the suspense of "what happens next?" stories, but I do love the momentum that builds in McEwan's stories. He's not simply working the suspense, he's building an intelligent argument, an gentle existential thesis and always painting the most sympathetic characters.

Odds are most of you have read one of his books, possibly this one, so you likely know if you like him already. I always enjoy his clarity, his precision, the due diligence he takes with his research and his humaneness in the face of all those facts. After taking so long to start, I finished the book in under a week.

Dandelions

I really like the Edun dandelion dress (new at Shopbop this week) and it got me noticing dandelions elsewhere.


Products: Edun, Moooi, Michelle Brusegaard, Angie Lewin, Chair Couture, Tiles to Di For, Satsuma Press

Pedestal tables

I've been looking long and hard at the Saarinen. Yes I love it. But more than the materials I love the shape. It got me rooting through websites looking for similar tables. I always recall this zinc-based marble-topped one from Oly. And I've featured this Julian Chichester before too.

Cabbages & Roses

One of my favourite floral arrangements is cabbages and roses (with some sweet pea!). And I've been a fan of this company of the same name for a long time. While their fabrics may be too shabby chic for me, I would, however, try to find a use for their oilcloth. I have vivid tactile memories of oilcloth tablecloths growing up, pressing my fingernails into its waxiness. Their catalogue is full of that springy country lushness that I always makes me imagine I could quit the city.