Monday, 31 January 2011

Today's finds

I've just got back from my regualar traipse around the local charity shops, so here are some of my treasures. I always pick up any pretty plates I find so that I can make them into tiered cake stands. These four were only 20 pence each.

Today's hoard included 4 plates, 3 books, 2 cushion covers and 1 wacky lampshade. All for £5.50.

And the one that got away? These beautiful encyclopedias dating from 1901. They were only £10 for a set of 11 but I couldn't manage to carry any more!

Random photo of the day

Seaweed swirls in the sea at the Giant's Causeway, Co.Antrim, Ireland.
copyright Maeve Henry 2011

Toy soldier necklace

I came across this great website a while back called
Erica Domesek posts an inspiration board (above) along with super simple instructions (below) for making all manner of things, including loads of accessories and I loved this novel use of toy soldiers.

So here's my interpretation of the necklace. It was super easy - I just spray-painted the toys and threaded them onto a silk sash from a dress. Hey presto! It makes me want to start spray painting everything and turning it into jewellery!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Found: the dresser (before)

Revealed! The dressing table I scored. It isn't perfect but I can't wait to do my first furniture revamp. It has a mirror as well but we had to take it off in order to get it into the car.

I'm planning to start work on it very soon but who knows how long it could take. I'll document how I get on.
Any suggestions for colours to paint it? I've got baby pink in my head and I'm really not a pink person, am I crazy?

Random photo of the day

Longtail boats on Monkey Island, Ko PhiPhi, Thailand.
copyright Maeve Henry 2011

Wedding bouquet with vintage brooches

I got married last July and in the run up to it I was slightly hooked on the amazing website where I came across this freaking amazing vintage brooch bouquet pictured above, made by Studio del Fiore. Unfortunately their prices were a little beyond my price range (by about £800). So I decided to try and make my own.

I set about gathering brooches - from my grandmothers collections, from charity shops and from very generous friends and family. The problem then was how to go about making it. Various instructions I found online didn't work out for me but after some trial and error and much gnashing of teeth I settled on using a polystyrene ball with a fine wire mesh over it, onto which I wired the brooches. It took quite a lot of time and effort but I loved what I ended up with and I'd like to think it will be an heirloom of the future to pass on to my daughters for their wedding days.

These are the three bouquets my sisters and I carried. Helen and I made the origami flower one that she is holding on the left and Maria's butterfly bouquet was made very simply with butterflies ordered online from a florists supply company. Leave a comment if you'd like a tutorial for either. And I am willing to take orders to make a unique brooch bouquet for your wedding - and I promise to charge significantly less than £800!

last image by our awesome photograher, Ronan O'Donnell.

A lost house

By strange coincidence, a couple of years ago I found myself living in a succession of three homes which all had derelict properties next door. For a photographer with an obsession with anything old and abandoned and feeling in need of an adventure this was a dream come true.

These images were taken in the first house I came across in an area of Belfast called The Mount and it was a beautiful Victorian house with poise, balance and character. All that remained however was a sad shell, already picked over by those scavenging copper pipes, but with the odd remnants of lives once lived there.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Breakfast at Tiffanys - the fundraiser

Last saturday I went to a fundraiser for the charity I'm involved in called Barefeet which is based out in Zambia and does amazing arts based work with children and young people who live on the streets there.

The fundraiser was a charming affair organised by the very talented and hard working Maeve Connolly with pink bubbly, nibbles and a screening of the classic film 'Breakfast at Tiffanys'.
We raised a healthy £400 or so and I want to give a shout out to everyone who organised it and to those who donated. Very much appreciated!
dreamy Paul baby

If you'd like to know more about the work that Barefeet do then please visit our website on

The real life lost and found

Ten images of real items from London transport lost property. The mind boggles. Click the link below

Found photographs: sunnier days

With the chill back in the air here in Belfast I thought we could all do with a little reminder of sunnier days. So here are a few pictures taken in the magical island of Santorini in Greece last summer.


Roll on summer.

Crafternoon soon!

It's crafternoon time methinks! I feel the need for a lazy Sunday afternoon filled with crafting, quaffing and cake eating. Leave a comment if you'd like to come. It'll be at my house in North Belfast on Sunday 6th February.

These are a few of the craft ideas I've come up with so far for possible activities. The top picture is a doily cameo and would require you to bring a profile photograph of the person whose portrait you want to make. The above picture shows totally lush giant poppies made from card and the one below shows a really clever way to revamp old necklaces you don't wear any more. 

Leave me a comment to say which projects you'd like to do best so I can get the materials in. Or, we could go all playschool and make cards for a lucky valentine.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Domestic Sluts

I just have to share this most wonderful of websites. The lovely ladies from Domestic Sluttery provide posts on everything from food, cocktails, clothes, shoes, to homewares and furniture. Plus they appreciate the health giving properties of a well-earned gin and tonic. Check out their website!

Made and Found

As a wedding present to Daniel I made this pair of love is all you need/all you need is love pictures. He put me to shame with the totally rad pewter goblet below which depicts scenes from 'The Tain', the story of Queen Maeve. I love it and you can never have too many wine receptacles!

It sits on my china cabinet alongside two vintage Spanish wooden scultures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, a rather kitsch picture of the same two dudes and a little metal scrolling calendar. (all charity shop finds apart from the sculptures which my mum brought back from one of her first trips to Spain)

Advice please!

So, along with my babycham glasses I got this for 20p. I have no idea what it is, possibly a lampshade as it's circular, in concertina style panels.

One of the figures is missing its face and a few bits need gluing down but it was too pretty to pass up for 20p so I'd really appreciate any suggestions for what to do with it. Make it into a lampshade? Split it up to make bookmarks? Any bright ideas?

Also please forgive the terrible photographs for the time being. My beautiful Nikon befell a drunken accident and is waiting for me to save up some golden nuggets in order to get it fixed.

Charity shop shopping

Some people hate rummaging around charity shops and the mere mention of TX maxx will bring them out in hives; personally I get antsy if I go more than a day or two without my charity shop fix. So I'm going to pass on a tip. First you have to find what I would call an 'old lady charity shop'. You know the kind - ladies of a certain age hang out there to chat and drink tea, it's usually overcrowded and a bit of a mess - and the best bit - you can get pretty much anything in these places for under a pound.

With a bit of investigation work you'll work out which charity shops are cheap and which are extracting the Michael (naming no names OXFAM). These sorts of shops often have an offer like 5 books for a pound and if they do then search out old books with covers with character, especially ones with nice bindings. All of the books in this picture (bar 3) were bought 5 for £1. Even if they never get read they look so pretty! And they can be used for craft projects too - I've even seen old books made into handbags and pinhole cameras.

Happy searching!

Today's find

Found! 6 beautious babycham glasses for just £3 in my favourite charity shop. I must be one of St Vincent de Paul's greatest benefactors! They go beautifully in my glass cabinet. I also made a real find today - a gorgeous dresser in a skip - I have permission from the owner to collect it later today for free. eeeeeee! photos and details later.