Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Duck. Doll. Swan.

I just can't believe the last time I posted here was June - arrggh! Between three trips to the USA and two novels to get to bed, I have been flat out. But I have been photographing and buying and I keep meaning to post my finds here. Anyway, one quick pic to rectify the neglect:

Duck. Doll. Swan.
Three finds from three separate places. Duck egg-cup: 50 cent in an Athlone charity shop. Porcelain doll (stamped Japan on the rear) $9 from an antiques shop in Amherst, Massachusetts. Blue swan, 50 cent from one of the Ballinasloe charity shops.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


I was doing final research on the Ireland-set part of my novel-in-progress (NIP) this weekend in lovely Tipperary. Seriously, that county is beyond gorgeous: lush and green.

And the walled town of Fethard may well be the friendliest place in Ireland. We were bowled over by the welcome we got in Jolly's Café (great brownies) and in the shops. Even in the church, where I was given the potted history of Saint Rita. The same woman gave my daughter a miraculous medal (on the traditional blue string) and she gave me a scapular (brown string!) for the car.

Juno & me, perched outside the fab Kyle Lane
Kyle Lane purchase - Go on the Tea plate - €10
We stayed in Clonmel so I had to go to Kyle Lane, a great shop I follow on Facebook that sells upcycled furniture and plates. On the way there I came across this cutesie shop:

Forget Me Not, Clonmel
Of course I managed to get to the famous Fethard Car Boot sale and to Clonmel's charity shops. I am trying to be more discerning when I buy, so while I saw lots of sweet things, I want to only buy what I love or what has meaning for me. And, I also operate a one-in, one-out policy, so some items have to go after this weekend's purchases.

The novel (my NIP) is mostly set in Massachusetts so I was pleased to find this tin tray at the boot sale for €2:

I am also a fan of American Fiesta Ware - I have a turquoise pitcher that I bought in Macy's in New York that I love, so it was good to find this matching Fiesta mug for €1 at the boot sale.

All in all it was a productive research trip and a nice bric-a-brac trip too. I am still thinking about two oil paintings I passed on at the Fethard boot sale but, until I get that Georgian mansion I dream about, there just aren't enough walls :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Last night saw the end of year exhibition at the Kilconnell Art Space. Artist and teacher Walter Coughlan hosted us in the Art Space where we are all usually mucky with clay. The studio was transformed into a very swish exhibition space for last night.

Local artist Lily Kelly exhibited with us and Walter had some of his beautiful ceramics on display, as had Galway city-based artist Róisín Gregory. It was great to see Group 8 member artist John Soden there and also storyteller Eddie Linehan. Alas, I could not stay for Eddie's stories.

Walter is running a summer camp next week for adults and children if you fancy getting your hands dirty and making something lovely. Contact walterceramics AT gmail for more information.

Juno enjoying juice and art
Handbuilt cottage with cutesie dogs, by Mary
Students and guests and ceramics
One of my efforts - a ceramic plaque (unglazed)with a quote from my poem Tatú
A Walter Coughlan piece
A Lily Kelly painting, with some ceramics in front
Artists Walter Coughlan and Lily Kelly

Friday, May 24, 2013


There is a sale-of-work on today and tomorrow in the local boys' secondary school, Garbally College, which has the most beautiful grounds - secluded, rolling parkland and ancient trees.

I didn't buy much. A DVD for my youngest and these two lovely bits pictured below,a bowl and a brooch. Two of my favourite things: blue and white ceramics and vintage costume jewelry (in red!!).

Monday, May 13, 2013


A Holy Haul - Children of Prague and Mary
Thanks to my friend Úna Spain for these. And thanks to her friend who is clearing out her house and passed them on. The Child of Prague waterfont has a penny sellotaped to its back. I wonder if it brought riches?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


My novel - the one due out next year - features two mysterious brown parcels. It also features a woman who is a taxidermist. I love taxidermy; I especially love modern pieces, the anthropomorphised kind.

I have long been looking for a suitable first piece of taxidermy to start a collection and I found it recently (on the net of course).

Her name is Lucy and she's a mouse. She is standing on a vintage box of tansy which is a herbal medicine that features in the novel I am currently writing. I like that she ties the two books together. So here she is, Miss Lucy Luch, made by Nimble Matters:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I keep meaning to do a blue and white post. I am obsessed with blue and white china, porcelain, pottery and glass. I will pretty much hoover up anything that is blue and white. This is a long-standing love inspired by my parents who have always collected blue and white, especially Cornishware and its Irish sister, Carrigaline.

To be honest there needs to be no white involved for me to buy something. If it's not red in my house, it is generally blue.

I've said before about the monster bargains to be had in the charity shops where I live. I got the Wade Irish Porcelain jug and sugar bowl (jug pictured left) for 50 cent each today. The blue plate they are standing on cost €1 (English Petal Ware) - also found today. It goes nicely with the Johnson Bros jug and bowl bought previously. The gold rimmed jug is Polish and I picked it up in a charity shop in Westmeath ages ago. The blue Mason jar behind was a swap with my mother - she gave me two jars for a vase I had. The advantage of being related to collectors...

Every so often I say, 'Enough is enough!' - the walls are closing in here - but then I get back out there and start buying again. Like I say, obsessed. I blame the parents.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I sold my old dresser some time ago. We have a small house and I love furniture but it was always too big for the space. I put a  china cabinet in its place but was keeping an eye out all the time for a smaller dresser to replace it. I found one - at last - in Lynn's Antiques in Athlone. It's not as old as I might have wanted but it is well and simply made and I may paint it eventually. For the moment I am enjoying its honeyed brown wood.

Before pic 1
It needed a bit of work before it would suit my needs. I got pine beading in B&Q yesterday, so I could put plates standing up on the shelves and I also got cup handles to replace the ugly brass ones that were on the drawers. My hubbie stained the beading and put it on the shelves and he changed the handles, so the dresser is in place now, looking lovely. It's great to be able to see my stuff again! Here are a few pics.

Before pic 2
After pic 1

After pic 2