Happy Canada Day!

Happy 141st birthday Canada! (Image by Charles Pachter, prints available here.)

Bellinter House

There's lots of talk of vacation these days. As usual, I have nothing planned. Between BFF's looming departure and the upcoming visit of one of my oldest friends, the summer is racing ahead of me. If I could slow down for 5 seconds I'd fantasize about a staying in this boutique hotel in Co. Meath (I used to live nearby). Isn't this restoration gorgeous?

Presents!

I've too long proved an enigma to my mother when it comes to gifts, so she usually gives me money. I like this arrangement for many reasons but always force myself to buy something memorable, rather than let the funds get sucked into meaningless purchases or bills. Here's what Mr & Mrs Flanagan bought me for my birthday: This photograph from Alice Olive. I'm a fan, you may have gathered. And these cute studs, because the first ones I bought have become a perfect staple.

Branksome China

In June's World of Interiors, there's a beautiful article about Branksome China, a remarkable small business that's been around since 1966 (but was new to me). I love the 1950's designs and soft sorbet colours of these pieces. If you like these images from the Branksome site, you should nab a copy of the magazine which contains much more delicious photography.

Bookshelf

Isn't this bookshelf special? I fancy it with this chaise I blogged about ages ago. It's by Kurt Ostervig and I pulled the image from 1st Dibs a while back. The listing is long gone.

Let me eat cake!

Just today. After all, it's my birthday.


Random thoughts:
- It’s mid-way through the year and it’s my birthday. I’m 32. In July, I’ll have lived in Toronto for 5 years. I’ve worn the same fragrance for 12 years.
- My BFF is moving to NYC at the end of July. When I moved here he was the only person I knew. It (I) wasn't always easy but he's the best.
I started 2008 with six resolutions and so far, so good.
- Blogging is perfect for me. I love that people I don't even know about read this. I wonder about you all the time. One time Google Analytics told me somebody from Chanel was reading. I thought, it could be Karl. Hi Karl! But even if it wasn't, that's still cool.
- Every morning I drink out of this Emma Bridgewater mug. I usually check e-mails, look at blogs, get dressed while I do this. Living alone in a small space lets you wander room to room in a special way.
- Two things I wish: That I had more room for animals in my life and that I were happier having my photograph taken because I feel like I'll regret not having photos to look at when I'm old and grey and full of sleep.

Metal tiles

I'm currently undertaking the arduous task of painting my kitchen. It shouldn't be arduous. It's a tiny galley kitchen. The problem is the bright spark who painted it before me painted a latex over enamel paint without priming. It peels if you so much as look at it sideways.

During my investigations to figure out how to deal with this, I found these metal tiles (via Materialicious). Aren't they lovely? Did I mention they're self-adhesive? And require no grouting? I like them best when they're installed in contrasting patterns. Available from Interior 51.


Godot

I could cry that I'm missing this. I know I've seen Godot once this year already. And I know I have this cast on DVD from the Beckett on Film series. But you know there's no such thing as enough Beckett for me. I wish I could explain how perfect his work seems to me. It's everything I love.

"The Gate production is definitive, not just in Irish but in global terms. It is probably the closest we will ever get to the perfect official Godot... genius is the only word and explanation for it”.


Family photos

Chelsea posted some amazing photos of her grandmother today. She's so glamourous! Just beautiful.

I don't have many of old family photos with me here (they're strewn throughout the family back home). And Dad's side weren't good archivists at all - I think it's from the Flanagans I inherited my hatred of having my photo taken. But, this one is of Mum. It's striking to me that this photo is probably younger than Chelsea's but looks so much more antique. She seems to have the photographer sussed. I think she might wallop him with that mirror she's holding...


It's also fun to line up our Holy Communion photographs. Look at the good Irish Catholics! When my sister and I were communioned (is that a word?) Mum took us back to the same photographer she was taken to for her communion, whose son was then running the business. You can see he used the same backdrop as his Dad. Mum (L) and Grainne (C) are nearly identical. I more closely resemble Dad.


The same photographer also took the only picture of me that I wholeheartedly love. Mum was standing behind him playing with a puppet that I desperately wanted.

Heath Ceramics

Remodelista featured the Heath Ceramics newsletter in a post yesterday and I meandered over to take a little look-see at these galleries and their collections. Love!

J.Crew belts

Last week I had the agony-and-ecstasy experience of shopping at Chanel. I bought nothing. My shopping companion bought more than I would spend on clothes in a year. I realized: That will never be me. Anyway, on the topic of Chanel, isn't this little belt from J.Crew quite Coco-esque? I think it's sweet as pie. I'm also sweet on this demure little bow belt.

Sisal

I'm getting sick of my own indecision. After I posted the Expedit post yesterday I started to feel really agitated. The last 3 years, I've been obsessed with purging IKEA (hangers excepted) from my place. And yet I'd consider allowing a bookshelf in. If it's upsetting me now, imagine how I'd feel staring at it. So, I'm back to the drawing board on bookshelves.

Rugs, however, I'm decided upon. It's gonna be sisal. I love the texture. I love something natural and, to boot, it's an eco-choice. I want to investigate more, but I'm thinking it might be more fun & better value to get some sisal carpet edged rather than buying a PB rug. Belgian sisal seems to be the best, but I haven't an iota why... I'd also like a greyer tone than the honey-hue you see everywhere. Ooooh, wouldn't a herringbone be fun too? Or a chevron? (All images from here).


Vipp

I'm sitting at my desk looking out at another tempestuous sky. Have I told you how much I hate thunderstorms? This one feels huge. To console myself, I'm looking at the Vipp website. Strange to think a pretty toilet brush could make a girl so happy.

Bookshelf dilemma

I've gradually been purging all my IKEA large pieces. The tulip will replace the last piece I own. It's not that I hate IKEA, it was a great solution when I first moved here and had to set up fast. But, I do tend to notice the flaws, irregularities, wobbliness etc. that develops over time. And these details drive me insane. I think IKEA photographs well, but in my experience, it doesn't live well.


Above is my current bookshelf set-up (don't worry I got rid of those lamps yonks ago). I had these shelves made locally and painted them with Farrow & Ball "Pale Powder". The problem is storage space. I have stacks of books that aren't accommodated. And, because I'm a huge bibliophile, I want room to grow. The affordable solution is something like the Expedit from IKEA (which shows beautifully in this Domino shot).


Much as I'm loathe to go back, the other options are so permanent and expensive. The Expedit is something I'd happily leave behind at any point. Ultimately, I want built-ins like those rooms from this post I did on writer's rooms... But that's not a decision a renter can justify making. One final point for the Expedit: The white will create a balance with the tulip table and the pair of chairs that go with it. Thoughts?

Happy 600th post!

I blazed by my 500th post without even noticing. But six is my favourite number anyways, so I'm happier marking the 600th. Thank you all for reading and for your kind comments. I have so much fun blogging! (Some day, for no reason, I'm going to make a champagne fountain just like this... Image from Martha Stewart).

Desserts

Oh, I haven't had profiteroles or chocolate eclairs for many many years, maybe since the early 90's. They seem like such retro desserts... let's bring it back! Images from Martha Stewart.

Yeojin Bae

Some beautiful frocks from Yeojin Bae.

Progress

My chairs are finally here and I'm delighted with the results. Lisa-Jo of Princess Perfect did a stellar job and was a treasure to deal with. The Saarinen was covered in a smelly old woolly brown and orange concoction (pardon the crappy before, shot it with my BB). The new fabric is a periwinkle blue velvet. It's blue-grey in most light...


For the second chair (which is no name Danish and cost a mere $140) I decided to get in the same fabric. I want to hug this chair it's so cute... They're both in the same room and, since I have another mismatched patterned armchair there too, I thought I would bring some unity to this motley collection by matching the fabric colours.


Suddenly, I feel like I'm super-super close to being done. Here's the (unstyled) view so far:


Still to get:
- Table (the current one is out of view but it's in front of the window, behind the Saarinen chair)
: I'm again leaning towards the tulip, but a 35"
- Pair of chairs to go with table: Either Eames molded or Bertoia or perhaps Panton
- Rug: No decision on that yet, looking at this picture, I'm leaning towards the boring Henley. Thoughts?
- Bigger bookshelf (also out of view, behind the camera): More on that in another post...
- Bits n' bobs over time (side table, lamps, can't-resist-purchases)

P.S. - Miss Olive, notice anything?

J Schatz

If I had a garden, I'd lust after the J Schatz bird feeders (no, despite appearances I'm not on a "if I had a garden" rant). But, right now I'd love to hang this egg planter in my kitchen window. Isn't is pretty? I love all the colours, but am currently on an all-white lustfest. Not as pretty, but much more pleasing to the pocketbook... from Ikea.

Des Kohan

I love this clutch. Clutch purses can tend to be too girly or over-embellished for me, but this is feminine without being sickly sweet. By 671 at Des Kohan.

Dedon

If I had a garden, this would be the first piece of outdoor furniture I would buy. I'd pull the shade completely over and read books and nap all summer long. By Dedon.

Tagged (x2)

I was tagged once by Veronica, and rudely ignored it. I felt like there couldn't be anything to share that I wasn't already sharing... But persistence pays, so I'm caving to Lori :)

1. What did you do 10 years ago?

I was taking a year off between my BA and my MA, working at Ford Credit in Dublin, chasing people who had arrears on their car payments and liaising with repossession agents. It was a soulless job.
To stay sane, I often beat a retreat down this alley. It leads to Stag's Head, one of my fave pubs in Dublin (image from Matthew O'Keefe's Flickr)


2. Five items on your to-do list today:

1. Laundry (I always put off as long as possible)
2. Read over some freelance work before submitting
3. Pick up chairs that I’ve had reupholstered
4. Take this print to the framers
5. Get a pedicure so I can wear these

3. Snacks I enjoy:

I don't snack between meals.

4. Places you have lived:
Many different towns in Ireland. Also, Vancouver , Calgary , Toronto. 6 months just outside Boston.

5. What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Renovate an epic house in the country, rescue donkeys and keep wizardly Irish wolfhounds (image from Sighthound's Flickr) and piebald horses. Attempt to write books that capture the kind of women I admire, who I currently don’t find well-represented in literature or media. Indulge my schizophrenic city-Jane / countryside-Jane whims.


6. People you want to know more about:
I’ve sucked the bone dry on Samuel Beckett, but I still love learning about him. Also, random people whose names I see on gravestones while walking in Mount Pleasant cemetery (not meaning to sound as morbid). One person I don’t want to know more about? – Peig Sayers - Ugh!


I'm going to resist passing on the tag. I'm a giver like that. But please share and link to your blog if you voluntarily submit to tagging!

Anne Black

I love the gentle hues and angles of these pieces by Anne Black. They have just the right dose of modern too.

Flickr goodness

I love this shot. I believe she believes it's a real horse... By Natasha Klimchuk

ColeyClaire

I love absolutely everything about this dress from ColeyClaire via Lost.

Secret garden

This isn't really a secret garden, but there's something special about it that it reminded me of the book. It's really a walled garden in the grounds of the same park where I took this photo. There are a kabillion things wrong with this shot. I was so disappointed when I processed the film. But I still keep willing this picture to turn out the way I saw it...



Holly Farrell

I love this painting by Holly Farrell of the book "Sewing Made Easy". Found via Dear Ada, this artwork on the website of Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Arts.

Australian White Grapefruit

Okay, I have no idea what Australian White Grapefruit tastes or smells like. But based on my love of regular old grapefruit, I'm pretty sure I'd adore it. And I'd also love cleaning with these products by Murchison Hume (the Boy's Bathroom sounds particularly cute). Via Donna Hay.

Jessica Jensen

This new collection, launched by Toronto-based Jessica Jensen, is full of lust-worthy pieces right up my alley. If you're in the mood to splurge, pick up this month's Lucky magazine first - there's a 25% off code!

Bodo Sperlein

In individual pieces, I mostly find myself drawn to a feminine sort of minimalism, as epitomised by my fave Flos pendants. It's not too cloyingly sweet and lets you keep a space neutral and modern without appearing cold. Add some natural textures (like those expressed in this post) and lots of books and art, and you have my dream space. These pendants by Bodo Sperlein fit perfectly in this vision. I just wish I had the actual space (and budget) to execute the dream!

Ports 1961

Every time I walk by the Ports 1961 store there's something unusual and beautiful in the window. Their tailoring is so unique and they never seem to pander to the trends. In many ways, I like them for the same reasons I like Comrags, though the two labels are world's apart. Their current collection is beautifully shot in Tanzania.


Eleanor Pritchard

Isn't this fantastic? You know Bridget Riley's artwork? -All dizzyingly synaesthethic and beautiful? Eleanor Pritchard's blankets remind me a lot of her work.

Austen

I've been trying to wean myself off my recent glut of Jane Austen, but via beautiful Aurea I found this. And, naturally I had to take the test... Can you guess which heroine Austen I am? Who are you?

Habitat

I really really really want this pendant. I looked at the coral again on Saturday, but I don't want to spend $500 on it. Then I looked at some Le Klint pendants, and they were nice and all, but they just weren't making me really swoon. This is by Claire Norcross for Habitat (store I miss from home!) and it's perfect. The best part is you can have it open or closed; closed it's gloriously origami-y, open it projects star shapes around your room. I like it best closed.

Lake & Stars

Isn't this the prettiest thing on Earth? I want it desperately. By Lake & Stars from Shopbop.

Etsy earrings

Found these on Etsy. Bought them immediately. Perfect and organic and lovely.