this day two years ago we left family and friends and all that was familiar to start a new life here in the U.S.A. two years on we are still here, happy and healthy and quietly making a place for ourselves in this vast place. it's been tough at times. homesickness can be overwhelming, but friends become family and we are so grateful to have found many good ones here.

happy two year anniversary to us and here's to how ever many more are to come.....



happy May Day everyone. boy am I finally glad to see the back of that long New England winter and happy to be enjoying the first glorious days of Spring here. May day has a special place in my heart. My mum's name is May and so growing up i always thought of it as her day....

when we were very young we would get up really early on May Day and leave flowers on our neighbours doorsteps. it was an old tradition that i think has sadly died off which is a shame. so today instead of flowers on your doorstep i have compiled a lovely collection of my favourite floral inspired designs from Irish makers.....


wherever you are have a very beautiful May Day x



today's design story comes from Fiona Snow of SNOW , a decorative homeware design and laser-cutting company based in Dublin. i have been admiring their gorgeous range of decorative homewares and laser-cut cards from afar for quite some time and couldn't be happier to feature them on design story.....

what is your background/how did you get into design ?
My formal training is from my degree - I studied Modelmaking and Design in IADT Dun Laoghaire. It is a fantastic course that gives students a very broad education in both the "why" and the "how" of design and fabrication.
However, my degree only counts for 4 years of my life, and I have been a maker since I was a very young child. The best Christmas present I ever got was a toolbox, at the age of 12, which was filled with tapes, glues, papers, card, scissors, bits and bobs. Figuring out how things are made and finding my own solutions for design challenges has always been part of who I am. I am very lucky to have found a way to turn my passion into a rewarding career.

what do you make ?
My core range of products is probably best described as decorative homewares. We (myself and my Husband, Mike) make lights, photoframes, desk accessories, greetings cards, laser-cut posters, and a very comprehensive Christmas range. We also run a laser-cutting service. So I spend a lot of my time designing bespoke items for other businesses. Most of this side of the business is focused on display and packaging solutions for other craft businesses.

where are you based?
We are based in Dublin, which is such an exciting city to be a creative in right now. I was living in Chicago until 2009 (Mike is born and raised in the Chicago 'burbs) and when we decided to move back to Dublin it was a risky time to leave secure jobs but it has been very rewarding. Dublin is bursting at the seams with small creative businesses like ours right now and the consumer support for "Made in Ireland"is fantastic.

what inspires you ?
Architecture is perhaps my biggest inspiration. I recently found myself standing on Water Street in Boston, looking at the Courthouse and Post Office- which is this classic piece of American Government Modernism and I was just frozen to the spot, staring up, fascinated by the lines, the weight and the presence of the building. Buildings like that speak to me, they are a kind of visual perfection that is perhaps overlooked by many but they take my breath away.

what is your favourite of your products?
It must be my lights. They are small paper lanterns with led bulbs in them. A collection of them turned on at night can look fantastic. I am also very proud of the packaging I developed for them.

what do you love most about your job ?
That I have the freedom to be myself and design objects that express my vision. That people like the things that I design and pay me to make them is even better.

what is a typical day like for Snow design ?
Total madness. Between the retail products and the laser-cutting service every day is busy and no two days are the same. We have a constant stream of people in an out of the studio and I receive emails every day from new and interesting people and shops who are looking to work with us. I try and take some time every day to focus on being creative but running a small business can get in the way of the design process, but when the mood strikes me to sit with my notebook and pencil nothing can tear me away from my desk.

thanks for sharing Fiona.....

you can find out more about SNOW here on their website, follow them on facebook and twitter and shop their collection online here



hello and happy monday everyone. it's been a long, long time since i have logged in here for numerous reasons and before i return to regular posting i wanted to reflect on this past week here in Boston. so many of you sent me lovely emails, facebook  messages and tweets during the week and i want to let you all know that we are safe and sound. we did not go to watch the race in Boston, lucky for us, but thank you all so much for your concern. it's really lovely to know that we were in your thoughts. we actually live far out in the burbs and so the events did not interfere with our day-to-day other than keep us glued to the T.V. in a really unhealthy manner but we are heart-broken for the victims and the families of those caught up in this awful tragedy. it's a very sad time for the people of Boston.

i had been missing in action here mainly due to one broke down laptop. initially that kept me away but as the days passed i realised that even though i could manage posting i began to feel as though i really didn't want to and so took a break from social media. no blogging, tweeting, facebooking.....i barely checked emails.  i am sure you are all well aware how easy it is to get caught up and distracted by the next blogpost or tweet and that quick look online can turn into hours of mindless surfing. in the last few weeks i have began training for a half marathon, spent a lot of time with my boys, started the spring clean on my garden and the closets ( the joy of having seasons ), worked on the webstore and basically found some balance......it's been nice.

but of course i couldn't stay away forever and do promise that regular posting will resume this week. if you do feel as though you would like to help the marathon victims in any way there is some useful information here.



i have been absent from blogging for some time now for various reasons and as i type really hope that i still have some readers left to read this post. various reasons mainly equal one crappy laptop that has crashed (taking with it two years worth of photos of our time here in the U.S.), a very short but lovely visit from my mum, sister and niece and basically allowing myself a well deserved break from social media to refresh and clear the blog block !

while I have been away a really lovely thing happened.  this little blog was featured in the very beautiful Isle Magazine, a new online Irish read that features the best of whats happening all around the island of Ireland.  I really don't like to toot my own horn but 'toot toot'....click here and hop to page 8 to find a lovely piece about Mod Erin written by Ireland's queen of social media Lorna Sixsmith. i am always pleasantly surprised to hear that others read and enjoy the blog and it was a real pleasure to be featured alongside some well known established blogs like Irish American mom, Paddys Wagon and Got Ireland. the really great thing about all of these bloggers is that like me they are all living outside of Ireland and it was a lovely nod for all of us from the homeland. the magazine is a fantastic read and after you have hopped to page 8 you really need to grab a cuppa, put your feet up and get stuck into the rest. 

it's good to be back and thanks for hanging in there in my absence. i am currently playing catch up and working on some new blog posts so do pop back in for some great design stories and more later in the week......



months ago i featured these beautiful guitar hangers in this post  and since then the creative behind those has been busy with his latest project skate frames. Dublin based designer, skater and founder of Design Jazz James Carroll has been re-using old skate boards and turning them into neat picture frames.

to find out more about James' projects or order online drop by the Design Jazz website.



i featured one of these beautiful scarves from the lovely award winning Irish designer Lisa Ryder as one of two good things for spring last week and am delighted that Lisa has agreed to share her design story with us today.....

what is your background/how did you come to be a designer?
My background is in textile Design, I got my BA in Galway, Cuilan Mhuire IT and then I continued on to get my masters at the The Glasgow School of Art.
As for becoming a designer I always wanted to work in some sort of art based career. After my Masters I traveled to London where I worked for many independent designers such as Peter Jensen. I chose these types of companies as you got to see the garments been produced from design concept to the finished runway show. After my stint in London I was firmly set on developing my own brand.

what do you make/design?
Lisa Ryder Designs is a design lead women’s fashion accessories label. Its primary focus is on producing creative, unique and elegant women’s accessories with a strong focus on print. inspired by urban and rural landscapes I love to create strong complimentary contrasts using these two different landscapes to inspire and create eye-popping prints. You could say I put everything and more into my dynamic designs,

where are you based?
My Business is based on the west coast of Ireland. I chose this location as it has excellent transport links to Dublin and the airport and it allows me to keep my overheads down for my first years in business.

what inspires you?
My ascetic is all about combining individual hand illustrations with more graphical photographic imagery topped off with layers of texture and patterns found through out both urban and rural environments. It is this juxtaposition of contrasting imagery that makes my prints so interesting to look at and wear. Each garment is hand finished and they are an ideal compliment to any outfit and you won’t find these designs on the high street.
As always I focus on the architecture of the landscapes, throwing in iconic imagery like the Eiffel tower to tease you into my world and like to include repeat patterns in the form of the iconic can dancing ladies. However, I just don't stop there, I take you on a journey. Walking through the streets noticing the weaving motions of people going about there daily routine, textures in the pavements and on the buildings, ornate patterns in mundane places such as tops of tables, bathroom walls and tube stations. Each element combined together helps to create exciting visual feast for the eyes. You are not just buying an accessory; you are investing in a piece of wearable art.

what is your favorite of your products?
I have to say I love my new range of bags. They are a new product and were launched in January and they have been greeted with great love and affection. I love the use of vegan leather and the gold metal frames. They are both functional but unique.

what do you love most about your job?
I love everything about my job. It is amazing to be allowed to do what I love being creative and I also love that each day is different.

thanks for sharing Lisa.....

you can learn more about Lisa here on her website, follow her on twitter or keep up-to-date with her on Facebook .