“Fairy cakes” have been around in Ireland for a while now (lovely name, isn’t it?) but the indulgent American sister of fairy cakes, Cupcakes, haven’t really been that popular here until the last few years. You’re probably wondering how they’re different and it’s subtle but I’d say the primary differences are moistness of the cake (sorry Irish friends but have to call a spade a spade!) and the volume and type of icing! (We Americans like to pile it on!). I would say that most fairy cakes I’ve come across are more glazed than anything else (or possibly rolled icing on occasion) whereas classic cupcakes would be decorated much in the same way you would a fancy cake – yum. Anyway, there are cupcake shops springing up a lot of places around town and it was fun to see these beauties the other day!
I am really a craft-a-holic. I realize this. I admit to this. I am not embarrassed by this. But being a craft-a-holic is not an easy thing in Ireland because there simply aren’t the resources to do crafts with the same level of zeal I would have in the States. While there are art supply shops and a paper store (yes, I said “a” paper store — as in, there’s only one that I’m aware of), there is no PaperSource, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or anything of that ilk. You can find bits and bobs in different places but you pretty much have to stop in at least three different shops to get the basics. This is not really a complaint because I could spend my entire monthly salary on craft supplies so it’s probably not a bad thing that I don’t have ready access — but every once in a while, I get a hankering.
While this doesn’t exactly fall into the category of “crafts” (maybe more “entertaining”), I was bubbling with excitement when I saw the new range of items at Dunnes Stores. Imagine my surprise!?! One of the oldest department and supermarket store chains in Ireland, Dunnes wouldn’t exactly be known for exciting or innovative new ranges of products but the word-on-the-street is that they’re making changes (okay, so that’s what one of the ladies shopping next to me at Dunnes told me). It’s the Leigh Tucker Willow collection and while these are party good images, apparently, it’s more of a clothing and kid’s lifestyle line — but I love it. Very excited and hope they continue to grow and expand this range!
This blog isn’t really intended to be much more than a place to capture my design interests but every once in a while, I’m touched by something that compels me to write something a bit more personal. This week is one of those times. My dear friend, Christiana (about whom I’ve written many times because she is a design goddess on so many levels), has lost her precious 19-year-old nephew this past week to a tragic and senseless accident.
I’ve been very busy and have had a lot of things weighing on my mind and this has been like someone shaking me on the shoulders saying “snap out of it”. I can’t help but think of my own nieces and nephews and how shattered into little pieces I would be if anything happened to any of them. And I also think about my own little one and how I try so hard to protect her from scraping her knee or bumping her head. I look around my house every day and see all the hazards that it presents — in spite of the fact that it’s baby-proofed. I worry every day about how she might get hurt and whether she’s getting everything she needs, or developing the way she should…I’m sure that’s a feeling that never goes away and maybe it doesn’t even lessen over time. Is it possible it even becomes more intense? I don’t know but I do know that a parent should never have to suffer through the loss of a child and my heart is broken for the Shoop family. So, hold your babies tight – no matter what age they are. I’m going to try to remind myself to enjoy each day and not get bogged down by my thoughts or worries (not an easy thing for someone of my nature to do!). But life is precious and we really do need to enjoy it each and every day.