Saturday 30 May 2015

Bloom in the Park!

I am pleased to say, this is a bank holiday weekend in Ireland meaning a much needed extra day off work! This weekend always marks the 'start' of summer for me as Bloom is held in the Phoenix Park. 

Beauty Full - Silver Medal

Beech Park Gardens

Bloom is Ireland's version of the Chelsea flower show, it's a big garden extravaganza! You can find out more and check out last years visit here.

Calor's Coast Garden - Bronze Medal

Cetriz Summer - Bronze Medal

RTE's Supergarden Winner - Silver Gilt Medal

While the weather was not exactly summer-like, the show provided so much garden inspiration. Before I show you my 'best in show' here a a few pics of the showgardens...

Contemporary Expression Garden - Silver Medal

Freddy Button's Garden - Silver Medal

'Darkness into Light'

Crumlin Children's Hospital Garden - Gold Medal

Atlantic Youth Trust - Bronze Medal

'Our origin is Green'

My absolute favourite garden was gold medal winning 
Yeats' Secret Garden in Sligo
I just love the concept behind this garden...

"This garden is purely imaginary. It exists only in the head of the poet; the private bolthole in his beloved Sligo that Yeat's dreamed of while living in smoggy, grey London. Peeking in, we are voyeurs, seeing a clearing on a wooded island, with the lake lapping on the tree-lined shore beyond. Nothing is perfect - Yeats hasn't tried to tame or tidy his secret hideaway. He has just built himself a makeshift cabin amongst the trees, and grown a few vegetables and wildflowers. His grandfather's bee skep lies abandoned in favour of the new 'Modern' CDB bee hive, but this space is primarily for writing and being at peace in a landscape he loves. He has scrounged discarded items from family and friends, laboriously rowing them to the island, along with a few sentimental treasures. Together they make a garden that is his inspiration."

This was my favourite garden for so many reasons.  Firstly it's a style of gardening that I love; wild, native and unkempt. Secondly, Sligo has a special place in my heart as my Grandfather was born there. But most importantly it's combines gardening and poetry. Poetry by one of my favourite writers, W.B. Yeats, whose face adorns my walls. And one poem in particular which I learned in national school is brought to life in this garden; 

The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

'I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattle made:
Nine bean rows will I have there and a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core'.

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Saturday 16 May 2015

Saturday Spotlight!!

Lovely Kris over at Junk Chic Cottage has me in the spotlight today!!  

She does this great feature every week where she reveals the "life behind the blogger". Well I feel quite unworthy to be included with all the amazing bloggers she has featured but I am looking forward to meeting lots of new blogger friends.

I found Kris through Saturday Spotlight when she featured a blog I follow. She blogs from her beautifully decorated vintage inspired cottage. If you haven't been you have to check it out. It's magazine worthy - literally! 

 Thank you Kris for the opportunity and hopefully you'll learn something about the life behind this blogger.
  Jen x

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Monday 11 May 2015

Irish Liquidators and a Question!

Some months ago I paid a visit to Irish Liquidators. It claims to be Ireland's most interesting store and I suspect they could be right. Their slogan is "Rugs to Rhinos"! It has everything including the kitchen sink!

They buy from pretty much anyone. From stores closing down to the guy walking in off the street who wants to get rid of something. It's a 'luck of the draw' kind of place but I usually find something to take home with me. Last time I was there I took away this vintage badminton racket in a frame which you should just be able to make out in this picture. 

Mr. Auburn was a badminton player in his youth! Thought it was okay for €5 and could be nice hung on the wall at some point!? It actually has nice subtle colours to it, creams and mint green.

This little footstool however I hemmed and hawed over as long as I was there. It was €25 which I thought was a little steep as it had a wonky leg. But I have been looking for one to go with the leather chair in our sitting room for ages. In the end I took it home for €20. Its legs are a really good match with the chair and it is the perfect height.

On the way home in the car I had great plans to get some nice fabric and reupholster it and use some nice trim. Since its been home though, I'm not so sure. Or maybe I got lazy. The fabric kinda matches doesn't it? (Please ignore the weird blue colour the wallpaper goes in photos, it really is eau de nil, same as the lamp and the cushion!?).

Is it just too tatty to just clean it, tidy up the trim and leave as is or does it need a redo?? Be honest. What would you do?

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Friday 1 May 2015

Laura Ashley Knock Off

Today I would like to share with you a Laura Ashley 'Knock Off'. It's my copy of the Palladian Wooden Panel that they are selling at the moment online for £45 down from £65. I cannot remember what it was in Euros but £45 equates to about €60. My knock off was free!!


Taken in Laura Ashley shop

I started with this wooden panel from an old kitchen door. I found it exactly like this lying unwanted in someone's garage, it was free to a good home!

I had to start by removing the dry glue which I presume once attached it to the door frame.

I gave it one coat of ASCP in Duck Egg blue and distressed it a little.

I then stencilled it using a sponge and some ASCP in Original.

I removed and re-stuck the stencil using some Frog tape several times until I got a result I was happy with and gave it a coat of clear wax.

 The Laura Ashley version....


The Sweet Auburn version...

It's a gift for a friend who is looking for some artwork for her new duck egg blue sitting room!

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Friday 24 April 2015

The Storeyard

Last week I brought a friend to one of my favourite haunts; The Storeyard

It's an antique shop/salvage yard with an amazing tea room right in the middle that serve the best desserts and cakes! We spent about three hours mooching around. It's not exactly cheap but I have never left without picking up something. It's a bit like being in a museum. Admittedly, I had to look at the tags on several occasions to determine what exactly I was looking at! It's essentially a big warehouse but is designed really well with lots of little roomsets and areas of interest. Here are a few sneaky pics from inside...

Have my eye on 'The Abbey' metal sign for a while now. The Abbey Theatre is the national theatre of Ireland. Can't understand why no-one has snapped this up already. 

On this table is a Victorian gentleman's travelling suitcase with lots of the original glass bottles inside with cologne, etc. On the outside are stickers from Dublin hotels which have long since closed. I can't help but wonder about the gentleman who owned this. This is what I love about vintage pieces.

These were being sold separately strangely enough. So cute! They were quite large pieces and had lots of lovely details, made mostly of wood.

Loved this little garden vignette. I'm thinking it's a vintage saddle rack!? Bought some of these mini terracotta pots on my last visit.

Love this royal blue upholstery. And the trumpet. I've always kinda wanted one, I don't play or anything!

My friend purchased one of these vintage watering cans. I bought one of these on my very first visit. Behind them is an amazing piece with eight drawers all hand labelled; Ironmongery, Screws, Brushes, Show-Maker...
And my all time favourites, vintage suitcases!!

This was one corner of an amazing Chinese inspired bedroom. The detail in the fabrics and the furniture pieces was astounding. Sorry it was a bit dark in this room.

Love that gorgeous wooden panelling and that feather/down filled sofa was so comfy.

And this sofa with it's lovely cushions.

So what did I buy???

This cute little book on Birds Eggs....

And this vintage wooden golf club. 

This was for Mr. Auburn as he's a golfer but I have a plan for this one... 

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Sunday 19 April 2015

Homemade Irish Moss Topiary

This is the third instalment in the 'things I want but can't get a hold of' series. I'm not saying that I couldn't get these in Ireland but I don't want to spent €150 for a pair of them! 

So I decided I was going to have me some made by my own fair hand!
These were all the things I needed....

Two rustic looking clay pots from my local garden centre, €12 each.
Foam balls (x2), foam bricks (x2) and some moss pins (free) from the florist, €26 of total extortion.
PVA glue and a couple of bamboo sticks which I already had.
Lots of good old Irish moss from the bog which I dried in my airing cupboard! Totally FOC!!

I started by cutting one of the foam blocks in half and carving both halves up a bit so they were a really snug fit in the pots. (I actually only needed one and used half in each pot.) I gave it a smattering of PVA glue and sat a little moss on top. 

I covered the foam balls in PVA and wrapped the moss around them securing in places with a couple of moss pins. I did this in two stages, sitting them on a bowl to dry before turning over and doing the second half. The moss worked really well because it came off the bog like a piece of carpet!

Once dried, I pushed both balls onto the bamboo canes which I trimmed to size and inserted into the pots ensuring both were the same height.

There you have it, homemade Irish moss topiary. 

They are rustic looking. The moss is not as perfect looking as the Finland moss you can buy in the florist but I'm not in Finland. And I think it's in keeping with the rustic pots. 

Apologies for the photos, it was dark by the time I had finished. I like how they balance out this little vignette on my landing. I needed something on either side with a little height that wasn't a lamp. I love how they've turned out. They complete this little ensemble which has been in my head for so long. Best of all they cost me less than €50 for both.

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