The Nesting Magpie

Saturday, 8 February 2014

"I fell flat on my arse trying to take one of these pictures". Alternative caption; "Anthropologie, King's Road, Chelsea, London"

These were actually taken during a trip to London in November, when it was all lit up and Christmassy. I wasn't going to post these because I know the quality isn't great (camera phone= not cool, I know). I was actually only taking these for my own nifty little inspiration file, but it felt selfish not to share. I know Anthropologie is hot with design bloggers and I figured since most of my traffic comes from outside of Europe, a lot of you won't have seen one of the London Anthropologie stores. So please, enjoy! PS, When I was taking one of these, I tripped and, in my usual embarrassing fashion, fell down like a rag doll. I thought being the creep taking pictures in a public place was bad enough..? Story of my life.
"Outside, the frost has cast a magical spell..."
The whole Urban Outfitters corporation (which includes Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN) has always been very suited to my own arty, vintage-loving, bohemian, "found" style for both clothing and homeware. I know people think it's overpriced flea-market-looking junk, but honestly, I don't care, I love it all! I mean, I'm 23 and broke so I don't frequent their stores often but really, I think if I had some dough, this is where it would most certainly get dropped. Fortunately for my bank balance, we only have Urban Outfitters in Ireland. Unfortunately for it, there's always online shopping.
Having said that, even going into one of their stores is so exciting. They're noted for their quirky visual merchandising and store displays, which is an area of the design world I've always been really interested in. A lot of their display units encompass a lot of 'everyday' items such as wooden pallates and crates, chicken wire, chalkboards and old baking equipment. And for their artistic installations? Millions of teabags, lollipop sticks and wine corks. Anything and everything. So really, the main ingredient is creativity. It's amazing what you can do with a little bit of creativity.
My first ever post on this blog was actually another Anthropologie fan-girl extravaganza featuring pictures from, coincidentally, the other Chelsea Anthropologie store I visited! That time was at Holly Becker's New York book-signing for her first book Decorate. I actually wrote that post a year after the signing, but it felt appropriate that my first blog post would be written about the founding father of interior design blogging. Wanna check it out here?

Sunday, 5 January 2014

I hope your new year is happy.

Post image for Happy New Year!
(via bldg 25)
I've never really made much of New Year's Eve. Probably because for about 8 years straight I babysat every New Year's and celebrated with a glass of 7 Up and some 6 years olds, excited to be staying up past their bedtime. I suppose I got into a habit of having time to myself to think back on my year, and to fantasise about all the wonderful things I'd do in the year coming. But, I never learnt guitar or dyed my hair turquoise, and most other things I wanted to do never quite worked out. And during my university years, I would become frustrated that another year had past and I still hadn't made any headway in my career. Okay so I was 19, but I felt like it was still one year into adulthood, and a lot could've happened in one year.
In 2013, a lot did happen in one year. Much more than I imagined when I moved into my first big-girl-in-the-city digs. I mean, I knew I'd go back to college and that I'd have to get some kind of work afterwards, but in such a depressed economic climate and with such a downturn in the interior design industry, I wasn't counting on getting much. Well, dare I say it, I've found there's a lot to be said for really wanting something. And loving it, and having a dream and being willing to work for it. In my case, that has mainly meant unpaid and unsteady, but something nonetheless. After I finished up my studies in Interior Architecture and Design at Griffith College Dublin, I handed out what felt like millions of CVs, which felt like a terribly unsuccessful exercise. A couple of days later I got a call from the owner of a homeware store I had applied to. He explained that he didn't have a long-term post available, but that he remembered me among other applicants as being enthusiastic, and that he wanted to give me some experience in visual merchandising. Just to help me out on my way. So off I went with my nifty staple gun and wallpaper and transformed what was a storage area into a pretend dining room. I learnt how to merchandise and style a store for website photography and I learnt how to conceptualise with customers. A week or two later I began my summer internship with Martin-Hudson and Gibson, which I blogged about here. It was probably the best and most relevant experience I've got to date.
It was nice to feel my boss, John Gibson, have some faith in my ability and encourage me to learn as much as possible. So when I got a chance take a couple of weeks to help out on a cookery book shoot with the lovely Sharon Hearne-Smith of Blueberry Pie food-styling and TV cook and photographer Donal Skehan I jumped at the idea. I had worked with Blueberry Pie before for a grocery store Christmas catalogue as well as some magazine contributions and found I really enjoyed working with props (Finally! A use for all the Moroccan tea glasses I lugged home to Ireland from Brooklyn thrift stores! I knew I needed to have them!). You can be sure to check out my handy-work when this bad boy gets released. I also can't wait to also have a game of "Which props are mine?" when I get my hands on Sharon's finished product. Come its June release date, you, too, can join in the fun!
When the shoot finished up, it was back to Sandycove to complete my internship, and after spending the first part of my internship hearing about connections made and workshops attended through the Interiors Association, I decided to become a member. I attended each of their Continuous Professional Development courses for the rest of the year. And so now, if you need somebody to explain feng shui, or advice you on Gerberit sanitation, I'm your girl!
There were many things I learnt from my summer experiences, but I suppose the most important was that THIS is definitely what I think I should be doing. Better still, it's what I WANT to be doing. However, I did realise that there is a lot of business in the design business, and if I want a career in it, there was a lot more I needed to learn, and so, I found myself a 'Start Your Own Business' class. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that part of the syllabus wasn't how to decorate your office, or what stationary to choose for your tax returns, because I would have been f-ing amazing at that, but even still, I found myself really enjoying it. Starting my own business isn't something I want to do right away, but I wanted to take the class now to provide a basic understanding of what I may come across over the next few years.
Which brings me to my next point; the next few years. What do I want to do, see and go to? Simply put? Lots. As much as possible. Learn something new everyday. Lucky for me, I'm set to do just that, as just recently, I was offered pretty much a big-deal dream internship. It's a bit of a 'To Be Continued...' situation as I haven't started yet, but I'm excited. Not only for the internship, but for the kinds of experiences I'll, hopefully, be writing about in this blog, the 2014 edition.
And for you, well, I hope your new year is happy, and healthy and that you do something you enjoy.
With Love... Louise

New Years Rulins

I came across this the other night- on New Year's Eve- the night when my Twitter feed was abuzz with people pledging to stop drinking, work harder and save money. These were folk singer Woody Guthrie's list of 'New Years Rulins' from 1942. 72 years since Woody resolved to "Drink scant, if any. Wash teeth, if any.", I found myself reading similar resolutions from people all over the world online. Some things never change.
If you've made resolutions, good luck. If you haven't, good luck too. We all need it.