My new playground: the wild west of Ireland

cow agfaJust last week I was writing about my veggie garden. Well, I am now miles away from it, having moved a few days ago from the east to the wild west of Ireland (County Kerry). I was warned it is wild. Especially in the winter. As a matter of fact, there is an orange weather alert in effect for today. Woah! Orange only comes before red after all. I guess that’s what you get for moving so close to the wild Atlantic. sneem c I had a chance to explore my new backyard in dry and more comfortable weather the first few days I was here. To my delight, the Kerry Way, one of Ireland’s longest hiking trail at over 200 km, runs just behind our place. DSCN3179 resizedSo I got on my bike and couldn’t believe my eyes, just like a little girl realizing how vast and beautiful her new playground is. Exciting times ahead, in the rain, or in the dry.

I’d give it a 5.8 out of 10

I wouldn’t say that this year’s veggie garden failed but it wasn’t a great success either. I’d give it a 5.8 out of 10. IMG_1217A combination of late sowing (due to being away for a while) and the fierce work of millions of slugs contributed to making this adventure a lil’ disappointing. The carrot and radish shoots were simply annihilated as soon as they dared showing their fresh little heads into the world. And believe me friends, broken eggshells don’t work against slugs. I’ve seen them crawling over the shells no problemo at all as if it was butter. Well, not quite but nearly.image

The garlic kind of came as a great surprise though as the cloves had been  into the soil in the spring of 2014 and never came out that year. I know, you’re supposed to bury them into the ground on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest -or something like that- but we thought “hey! we’ll give it a go and see what happens!”. They sure are tough little things and survived 6 weeks of no watering while we were away! YAY GARLIC! IMG_1223 Just like garlic, the chives came back from the dead without me having to do anything. Perfect stuff for the lazy gardener. And it is oh so beautifully purple.

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Onions are never a problem, or are they? It is my 2nd year growing them and they always look quite happy. Can’t wait to be using them in my culinary adventures (I’m thinking onion bhajis mmm). image

You see the lettuce heads there? Yeah, go get your magnifying glass. Well, these are still quite small but I do manage to get a few leaves from various plants every few days, before the slugs eat them completely.image

The glorious and delicious nasturtiums are taking over the tomatoes. I love these flowers’ vibrant colors, ranging from yellow to deep orange to fiery red. These flowers are sure to cheer up any sad looking salad. Also perfect for the lazy gardener as they require no attention at all. imageLet’s end this with the greatest success; the tomatoes! They are sweet, juicy and delicious and don’t they look so good against the white shed wall?

I’m overall positive about this year’s crop. One can’t expect miracles when sowing happens in a rush at the end of June and when you have all the slugs of the world against you. So I’m happy. And so are they. The slugs. Again. Sorry.

I’m looking for a house

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That’s me, looking for a house, in County Kerry.

And this is where my (our) quest took me (us); in County Kerry, in the wild West of Ireland. Well, I’m not alone on this adventure; my man is on it as well. But I’ll keep using the first person. Just because.

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A few sheep, of course.

IMG_1089As some of you already know, I live in county Wexford, Ireland. Ireland, yeah! When Ireland is mentioned, people will often have this romantic idea of sheep peacefully grazing on endless rolling green hills. A leprechaun might even come running through that mental image cheerfully screaming a loud “top of the morning to you!”. That’s nice and I guess, as an expat living here, that’s unconsciously -or not- what I’m going for. 

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The green rolling hills and the narrow roads. Awhh so pastoral.

Come on! Look at these hills! And the sheep! My boyfriend (Irish) doesn’t understand my fascination with sheep. They are everywhere here. I find them kind of exotic and fun to look at as we don’t have them in such an overwhelming number in Quebec. Yep, I still take pictures of sheep. And I have learned that sheep will never take an “s”; one sheep, two sheep (English isn’t my first language, please forgive me).

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A place called Killorglin. Hint: that’s not where I’m going to live. My motto for that picture? “More sky, less cars”.

So have I found a house? Have I come to the right place? I think it’s the right place but will I find a house? I might let you know in the next episode. Or not (I’m not so good at this blogging thing), but you’ll find out eventually. Just as you do in this video. So random, I know, but I couldn’t help it.

Upcycled yet stylish

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I like contrasts; contrasting materials, colors, textures or natures. Things that, at first sight, don’t seem to belong together due to their very different natures. My vinyl record and foil collection is reminiscent of that attraction for contrasts as there is a sure duality in the materials I use for my designs. That interest for contrasts really comes to life as I combine the dark with the metallic, the discarded with the noble, the sturdy with the delicate, the sharp geometric with the uneven abstract.

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The noble, delicate and abstract gold, copper and silver foils.

You get the picture.

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The upcycled, dark and geometric vinyl record pieces. Soon to become unique minimalist long necklaces with a bold touch of metallic.

The creation process is often punctuated by that hard-to-explain deep feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction from successfully combining different materials. By “successfully”, I mean “to my taste”. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I have aborted ideas many times. When I’m happy with the designs, I just share them to the world via my two Etsy shops. Hey World! Why not check them out right here: www.danajewellery.etsy.com and www.lescreationsdana.etsy.com

A bit of aqua, lime and Nana

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Vinyl record stud earrings in the making

Tender aqua and bright lime green; colors reminiscent of warm summer days.

Lime in your drink, by the pool.
Limes on your dress, by the sea.
Lime popsicles, in the park.

The warm days are nearly here and I have been looking for brightly colored vinyl record labels to bring a bit of sunshine to my Etsy shop. So I went to my record pile and started digging for the colorful labels. Well, I know, I am not your typical record digger as you probably figured out.

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“A POPS SERENADE”, handcrafted from the BOSTON POPS ORCHESTRA vinyl record. Truly one of a kind!

Handcrafted one by one from random and rather obscure vinyl records, these stud earrings are truly one of a kind. They feature bits of design and/or names of songs from the original labels.

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Oh and there’s no need to worry, record lovers out there, as no collectible records are used in the making of my jewelry. So no Beatles or Rolling Stones or Pink Floyd records are sacrificed for the sake of making jewelry. I rather use a lot of old Christmas records and a lot –a lot- of Nana Mouskouri ones. Oh Nana, how much fun we’ve had sticking your big framed eyes into our own glasses.

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I’m using a Nana Mouskouri record sleeve at the moment as a “working board” in the workshop. Oh things happen when your work table is full of old record sleeves. Eh Nana?

My vinyl record nugget pendant is getting some attention. Yay!

(En français un peu plus bas)

*Super Yay!* My vinyl record and silver metallic foil pendant has made it to the finals of the Uncommon Goods Jewelry Design Contest. Voting is still open and you can give me the thumbs up here: http://www.uncommongoods.com/voting/product/58587/vinyl-record-nugget-pendant . At this point voting is just for fun as the judges will be the ultimate deciders on which design will be represented by Uncommon Goods. Wish me luck!      ————–

Wahoo! Mon pendantif en disque vinyle recyclé et papier métallique s’est rendu en finale du concours de design de bijoux du site Uncommon Goods! Il est encore possible de voter en me donnant un “thumbs up” ici: http://www.uncommongoods.com/voting/product/58587/vinyl-record-nugget-pendant . On vote pour le plaisir puisque ce sont les juges qui auront le dernier mot … oh roulement de tambour jusqu’à la semaine prochaine. À suivre…

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So I did it myself

So I did it myself

It’s just like the vinyl record studs I make. Except that this button serves a totally different purpose. I couldn’t find the perfect one so I did it myself. Well, to tell you the truth, I’d had this idea at the back of my mind for a while now so my search for the perfect button didn’t take very long. It’s simple and, oh, groovy, it matches my stud earrings. I’m actually considering making them available in my online shop now, in different sizes. To be continued.

The art of Erika Iris Simmons

The art of Erika Iris Simmons

I remember being very impressed the first time I was introduced to Erika Iris Simmons’ work because I had never seen art like this before. This portrait of Audrey Hepburn is made from an old movie reel. Erika, who is a self-taught artist, also works with cassette tapes as well as other materials- that are skillfully turned into beautiful portraits. Learn more about her work here: http://iri5.com/

The pretty -handmade- things, in red

The pretty -handmade- things, in red

It’s autumn and the weather can get quite nasty around here. Today was a cold and windy and grey day, which probably influenced my picks, in hot vibrant red. You will find the links to these gorgeous handcrafted accessories right here:

1. Rockabilly headband by Maple and Oak Designs in Calgary. Find it here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/168846334/dolly-bow-rockabilly-headband-red-white?ref=pr_shop
2. Polka dot 14 mm studs by me -Les Creations d’Ana-! Right here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/160136130/red-polka-dot-earrings-pin-up-jewelry?ref=shop_home_feat
3. Felted leaf pin brooch by Patricija’s Garden in Lithuania. Here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/108126564/felted-leaf-pin-brooch-red-drop-made-to?ref=shop_home_active
4. Hand knit cowl scarf by All So Cute from Turkey. Here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AllSoCute?section_id=12573067

Ain’t No Cure For Love

Do you like / love / worship Leonard Cohen’s poetry/music ? Well, you might like this “Ain’t No Cure For Love” cover from Ane Brun. I heard it for the first time last night and it’s been playing here in the studio -in loop, or almost- since then.

I had been wondering for weeks now “How, -how- the hell does one start a blog? What does a first blog entry looks like?” Blogs are so personal. But still, the first entry is intimidating. Well, it is! There ain’t no “right” recipe for a first blog entry I don’t think. So this is as spontaneous as spontaneous can be. So, hope you enjoy it. Or maybe not. It is so personal.