Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer is the time for adventures!

 Not so long ago we took our beloved old yellow van on a trip around the coast of West Cork and Kerry. We got a tiny boat out to Garinish Island, and saw seals and an eagle, and strange exotic flowers that don't grow anywhere else in Ireland, and visited a big stone temple overlooking the bay. 

  We camped in the woods and stayed up late drinking strawberry wine beside a lagoon ringed in flowers.  In the morning I got up early and went exploring down the shadowed woodland paths and along the icy cold stream

After we had breakfast I set up studio under the trees with a tin cup of fresh coffee to make a few pieces of jewellery that needed posting soon.

When I got my parcels in the post, we carried on our way West! We visited all the cheerful little rainbow towns that nestle somewhat defiantly in the hills, out of the way of the cruel and wild Atlantic winds from Glengarriff to Allihies.

 On a day like this, you could be anywhere in the world.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Curiouser and Curiouser...

....are these little things I have been making of late. 

Introducing my new Curiosities and oddities collection! This strange and wonderful assortment was born from a particular fascination of mine with dusty old Victorian curiosity cabinets, of nature specimens and taxidermy,  of butterfly shadow boxes and miniature world terrariums and anything small and precious encased in glass. 

I have started listing these pieces in my Etsy Shop  and hope to have them all up in the next day or two!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beetroot, walnut and sage risotto

So I know this is bit of a weird recipe to come up with in the middle of July, but I am bringing tonnes of beautiful big beetroot bulbs home from the allotment these days, and have found myself needing to get pretty creative with how I cook it! Also, I have been experimenting with using the leaves too, which have a lovely rich, nutty, buttery flavour, not unlike spinach but much much tastier, so I  really recommend you buy your beetroot with green bits intact ;)

In this recipe I have combined some of my all time favourite ingredients: strong farmhouse cheddar, (Cork made Hegartys cheddar, best cheddar in Ireland in my opinion), walnuts and natural yoghurt to create a simple, hearty and incredibly comforting dish, lovely for anytime of year!

Ingredients (serves 6);

1 1/2 cups risotto/arborio rice
3-4 beetroot, peeled and cut into small cubes
Beetroot leaves (optional), roughly chopped
4-5 cups chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, diced
1 tbs lemon juice
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 generous tsp sweet paprika
3-4 sage leaves, chopped
2 cups mature farmhouse cheddar, grated
salt and pepper
sour cream or natural yoghurt for garnish


* Fry onion in butter or oil until golden, add garlic and beetroot and saute for 2-3 mins.

* Add rice, paprika, lemon juice and gradually add chicken stock one cup at a time until the beetroot is soft and the rice soft but with a slight bite.

* Season well with salt and pepper.

*Add beetroot leaves, walnuts, sage and cheddar and cook for another minute or two until the leaves have wilted.

* Serve with a spoon of yoghurt or sour cream

Enjoy :)


Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Sky Arts Portrait Festival

Last Sunday I had the privilege to be invited to set up shop at the Sky Arts Portrait Festival at the Royal Dublin Society! As I was in the process of moving house that week, things were getting a bit hectic and stressful to plan until my wonderful friend Molly, the artist and animal lover behind the beautiful Etsy shop Ewe Sir came to save the day and offered to make a road trip of it and help me out for the day. So we made some coffee, packed the car and hit the road for an action packed two days in Dublin!

Naturally, the talent of work at an event like this is going to be breathtaking, but I was still so bowled over by the array of styles and immense beauty of so many of the pieces. Pictured above are just some snippets of the incredible work on show. The picture of the little boy above turned out to be my personal favourite of the day, although it wasn't easy to choose from such an array of talent!

We had such a fun, mad and exhausting day taking silly photos (did you spot my 1950s mannequins hand?), confusing LOTS of people with our polkadots, matching mustard yellow cardis and red locks and of course, meeting lots of new customers!                        
 There was all sorts of cool stuff happening around the film set, I especially loved the work of street style artist Morgan. Not many people know it, but in another life, I spent a few years involved in street art here in Cork (before I discovered tea-dresses) and I still find this style of work, and of this beauty and skill so exciting to see!

Another wonderful artist I stumbled across was the lovely lady behind Carol Farrell Illustration. Her whimsical and colorful work is right up my street, and I love her bold use of colour and animal imagery.

I saw so many wonderful artists, who sadly, I did not manage to get around to photographing who also attended the event to trade. To name but a few: Nice Day DesignsTanya Bond and Jokamin, so be sure and go and have a look at their beautiful Etsy shops so you can see for yourself!
So between the madness of moving house (and my studio and 4 cats) and preparing for the festival, things have been so quiet around the Boutique lately, and I do apologize for being so dull! Unfortunately I only have two hands, and my kitties don't make very good employees, but I promise I will get cracking on listing some new treasures on my Etsy shop few days!

In the mean time, I hope you go out and enjoy this fabulous heatwave!