A day out at The Irish National Crafts & Design Fair

My day at the Irish National Crafts & Design Fair

I decided to head to the National Crafts and Design Fair, held in the RDS Dublin over the weekend.  This is what happens when you manage to get a babysitter for the day!

There are over 500 designers and crafts people who showcase their wares at this event and its one of the largest in Ireland.  There’s food, fashion and unique products from ceramics to jewellery to furniture, all handcrafted.  There was even demonstrations for wood turning on the day we attended.

As it was Saturday, it was a busy day, but we did fit in a lot. I managed to take a few pictures but of course it was hard as people were everywhere! Here’s a few ……

Gotta love this stall and all the buttons, a serious dedication to her craft!


Hats and more hats, I loved this stall, as you know I love a hat!


ncsceramic2One of my favorites was Claire Molloy Ceramics, I confess to knowing Claire and working for many years with her Mum, but I never saw her work in person.  I was impressed, she makes these gorgeous ceramic pieces that incorporates horses hair.

ncsclaire1I purchased this little piece, its from her new collection The Equus Collection.


I found the Guaranteed Irish Village, which was impressive.  Guaranteed Irish have re-branded and I remembered the iconic logo from years ago.


They promote and lobby on behalf of their members, and build awareness of buying goods and services in Ireland worldwide.  You have to join and become a member, and there is a criteria to meet.  You can find more about Guanantee Irish here.

Here’s some of their members, but please go and have a look on their website for more Irish Designers and Businesses here

  • Irish Country Hotels –  small independent family owed Irish Hotels.
  • Jando Design – they create modern wall art and stationery, run by husband and wife team, Julie & Owen.  I like how got started, you can read about it here.
  • Burkes Joinery – they are the creators behind the Irish Telephone box. I loved these and of course I can remember the old ones back in the day!  You can read the story behind these here




Magee Clothing – who doesn’t remember them? They are a 5th generation Irish family clothing business.

  • Emma’s Soy Candles – all natural and only fragranced with pure essential oils.  My sister swears by these candles and I purchased one myself to try. A beautiful stand.
  • Donegal Socks – traditional tweed socks made in Donegal,  my mother purchased some of these, my Dad loves them!

I found Holos Skincare, and I can recommend creator Niamh’s products, as she supplies my local healthshop.  You may remember her from Dragons Den.

Two others I loved were Maple Tree Pottery, you might remember I mentioned Karyn in my previous post here , I didnt get time to met Karyn, when I called she was very busy and I didnt want to interupt.  Another gorgeous stall was Rowan Beg Design Studio, please do have a look at her website, I was so entralled I forgot to take a picture! They design and make pebble art and candles, really interesting pieces.

After I literally walked the feet off myself, it was time to go home.  I didn’t get around to all the stalls and some were just so busy it was hard to get a good look, but I did manage to nab a fairy door for the smallie.


Definitely will be returning next year

Till next time !


#ThankStitching – With Amy from Random Acts of Amy

#ThankStitching is a series of daily posts (and hourly posts on Thanksgiving) in the month of November in which needle artists from around the world submitted their thoughts on why they are thankful for their particular needleart.  The brain behind this is the lovely Amy from Random Acts of Amy.  Amy is a hand embroidery artist based in Chicago and has been featured in many places like Mollie Makes and Mr X.Stitch.

So I decided to put my name down for this and participate.   To be honest, I was a little bit apprehensive when I saw the list of names , as some of these people I recognized straight away from following them on Instagram and my oh my their work is beautiful. But I had committed so no going back!

So here’s one of my pictures I submitted, and you can read my post on Amy’s blog.  Just click here.



You can also read the other participants posts on Amy’s blog here.  She has included their social media links so you can go and stalk ….. ahem …. look them up.   A great way to find other stitchy creatives.


Till next time!


PS I have some Anchor hoops available here

My Handmade Christmas

Is it safe to mention the C word yet?! Well its nearly upon us, so this is for those of you who are starting to think of their Christmas shopping.

This year, I have decided to buy handmade items for family members, ( whether they like it or not !).  I normally try and do something myself but I have been busy with my Etsy shop and other craft events, so I made a point of buying handmade this year to support other makers.

Some of the people I found through Instagram and some through the blog, its a great way to find other makers and to be honest, its a great way to support each other.

Here’s a couple of pictures of my purchases.  I have included the relevant links to their shops and social media accounts.

First up is Kasia from The Crafty Mummy blog, she makes these amazing crochet statement necklaces.  Her Etsy shop is here.

My Handmade Christmas - Chunky Crochet Necklace

These ceramic stars are from Maple Tree Pottery , aren’t they gorgeous?!. I found Karyn on Instagram and her work is amazing,  if you want to order, click here.  I am hoping to see more of her work at The National Crafts & Design Fair.

My Handmade Christmas - Ceramic Stars

This little pin is from one of my favorite makers, Teresa from Shirley Rainbow.  I thought this would make a perfect gift for my son’s playschool teacher.  Teresa blogs here and her shop is on Folksy

My Handmade Christmas - Felt Brooch

Another favorite, and its Joanna from Adventures and Tea Parties.  I love her shop and she makes really quirky accessories.  This personalised handkerchief  is for my sons, well for their granddad, whom they call Pop. Joanna has shops on Etsy and NOTHS

My Handmade Christmas - Personalised Hankie

Next up and its Aideen.  Aideen is a Galway girl ( can you hear the song now ) and her blog is called Pieces By AideenShe has a pretty cool YouTube channel here and she also is on the Prima Design Team, please do check her out.

She is amazing with weaves and she made me one a while ago which I was meaning to gift but I loved it so much, I kept it! Sorry Aunty Mary …

My Handmade Christmas - Weaving
This really wasn’t a gift, well I suppose it was a gift to myself ! a personalized wooden sign from Things We Left Behind,  what a great name, love to know the story behind that.  Darren made this up in no length and it just makes me happy when I see it.  Like I’m legit now or something ha!

My Handmade Christmas - Personalised Sign

That’s it, I hope you like the pieces and maybe you will give them a shout out or a visit.  Of course there are loads more I could mention and I hate leaving anyone out but there is a limit to my

Happy shopping, till next time!


PS here’s my link to my Etsy if you want a peek, I have updated it with some bits, like these ….. and I post daily updates on Instagram

My Handmade Christmas - hoops by theMessyBrunette

Book Review – Romantic Motifs by Carina Envoldsen-Harris

I finally was able to sit down and go through this lovely book after a some what chaotic few months. Thanks to the lovely people at Search Press I got my hands on it.


Written by  Carina Envoldsen-Harris, a Danish designer & blogger living in the UK.  She blogs here and has written extensively on embroidery.  She also has a shop under the name of Polkaandbloom where she sells her lovely patterns.

The book’s title is

Transfer & Stitch
Romantic Motifs
over 60 reusable motifs to iron on and embroider. 

When I saw that you could iron on the designs, I was delighted because sometimes as you know its hard to get those lines exactly as you want!

The books includes:

  • 32 stitched samplers, with notes on the stitches and what DMC threads are used.
  • 32 reusable iron-on transfer sheets with over 60 designs, yes you read that right! Even when the designs are all ironed out, you can still keep them and trace with them.
  • Instructions on the stitches used
  • List of materials you need to get started
  • How to  transfer the designs
  • Project ideas

First of all, what I liked about this book was the layout.  You get the design and the actual pattern details side by side so no flicking back and forth.  She gives great details on her patterns and they are all true to size  and in colour.  At the back of the book, you have all the iron on patterns, ready to be pulled out.  These as you know by now are all iron on transfers, which can be used multi-able times and you can keep them all nice and tidy at the back of the book in the folder.

Here’s some pictures on a pattern I used from the book.  The second picture shows how clearly the iron on transfer took to the fabric.  This project is going towards a crafty Christmas project, more on that another time!

Book Review

Book ReviewAnd the final result.  Ta-dah! A lovely Autumn wreath now hanging in my kitchen.

Book Review 'Romantic Motifs' By Carina

I have to say her patterns are relatively easy to do and you can mix them up and use different stitches/colours when you get more confident. She applies the patterns to some lovely projects in the book.

All in all a good book and well worth buying.

Thanks to Search Press for supplying me with the book.  All  opinions expressed are my own.

Till next time!

Maura x

Giveaway! Giveaway!

Giveaway now closed, thanks to all who entered. Winner is Studio.Silver.Lining

As I mentioned yesterday, to celebrate the opening of my Etsy Shop and to say thanks to all my followers on Instagram.  I am hosting a little giveaway.

Here’s what the lucky winner will get ….


  • 1 Crochet Book called “Easy Crochet Vintage & Retro” 30 projects to make for your home and to wear.  Nicki Trench consulted on this book.
  • 2 balls of Scheepjes Stone Washed XL Yarn in colour 847
    1 ball of Stylecraft DK in copper
    1ball of Sytlecraft DK denim
  • 1 CraftClubBox – Making Waves Sewing Kit
  • 1 surprise gift from my Etsy Shop


  • Like & Follow my Instagram Account, its here
  • Use the hashtag #TheMessyBrunetteEtsy  &  tell me for fun if you are a last minute Christmas shopper or one of those really organised people who does it during the Summer!
  • That’s all, you can repost if you wish but its not necessary.


  • I would really love it if you would give my shop a follow or favorite a few items, click on Etsy here.  I will include another surprise gift with this option.  Just use the hashtag and say you did this ( tell me your name on Etsy so I’II know )and leave a comment either here on the blog or over on Instagram.

The winner will be announced on Monday 31st October.  It’s open worldwide too.

Just the boring stuff now, this giveaway is not endorsed by Instagram.  Its just me sharing the love.

Till Monday – good luck!



Etsy Shop Launch!!

So I did it! Yes I finally got around to opening an online store.  I have done it with the help of Etsy. I take my hat off to all the people who do this.  It’s no easy feat, well to me anyhow. From the photographs, SEO, learning the ropes, the dos and dont’s.  It’s been an interesting learning experience to say the least.

So here’s my link and I hope you will stop by and support me, even a like or a favorite will put a smile on my face.


Here’s some pictures to give you a taste of what I have, I hope to add more as I go along.  I have a mixture of handmade jewellery from embroidered pieces to glass tile pendents with prints and fabric jewellery.  Then there’s some hoops for your walls.  I hope to add in some crochet along the way too.

Etsy Shop Launch : The Messy Brunette.com


Etsy Shop Launch : The Messy Brunette.comEtsy Shop Launch : The Messy Brunette.comI am going to be hosting a giveaway to celebrate so please stay tuned for my next post tomorrow.

Till next time !

Maura x



Vintage Rainbow Crochet Blanket

This post on my crochet rainbow blanket has proven to be very popular on my Instagram.

Vintage Crochet Rainbow BlanketI have been asked for details on it, so here they are ….

I found the pattern from this blog called Happy In Red.  She calls it  the Diamond Stitch Blanket as it looks like little diamonds.  It’s basically crocheting  groups of 2 trebles across your row, You can find the Diamond Stitch Pattern here which she kindly has given for free.  Its a great pattern for beginners and great to just sit down and crochet whilst watching telly as you don’t need to watch your stitches too much.

Vintage Rainbow Blanket

I did chose different colours as I wanted it to look more vintage.  I used good old stylecraft DK which is an acrylic yarn and comes in the most glorious colours.  These are the colours I used, I have listed them as I did them in the blanket.  The colour in between each row is parchment which sets off the other colours perfectly.  I chained 200 for my blanket and did 5 sets of rows using these colours.


I have yet to decide on the border, I have all the ends sewed in and no, I didn’t do this as I went along which was a pain!

Vintage Rainbow Blanket

I will post an update on the border when I have it done, another thing to add to my list !

Vintage Rainbow Blanket

Till next time !

Maura x





Chunky Ribbed Crochet Blanket

I have been a bit slow on the blogging front lately, it’s been a hectic time and then my laptop got sick, so had to try and  get it resurrected ! So I’m back with a post on crochet …..

I was asked to crochet up a chunky blanket and was given 6 balls of James C. Brett Marble Chunky.  They wanted a simple pattern and nothing fussy hhhmmmm.

Just in time for those colder months coming our way.

This was the result …

Chunky Ribbed Crocket Blanket - Pattern

If you want to give it a try here’s a little recap of what I did ….

Yarn; 6 x 200g balls of Marble Chunky ( MC14) its kinda a very rich red wine colour
Hook; 6mm

I chained 210 (UK Terms)
R1: HTR, turn and chain 2
R2: HTR in the back loop and continue this all the way across (this gives it the ribbed look)
R3 to end: repeat R2 until you are happy with the size.

Border: I did a row of double crochet, then a row of trebles and a final row of crab stitch ( which is double crochet worked backwards , this gives a lovely effect & I use it lots on borders)

Chunky Ribbed Crochet Blanket - Pattern

That’s it! very simple and just easy enough to do in front of the telly at night

Chunky Ribbed Crochet Blanket - Pattern


Till next time!

Maura x


Guest Post on ‘Live, It Love It, Make It’ Blog for making your own Embroidery Jewellery

I was asked by the lovely girls H & Sammy from the Live It, Love It, Make It blog if I wanted to take part in their September Maker Month. They do this feature twice a year.  Of course i was only too delighted to take part.

So my post was on making your own embroidery jewellery.  A simple but lovely way to use embroidery.  Please click here to read the post or click on the image below.

A big thank you the girls for asking me to be involved.

Till next time

Maura x

DIY embroidery brooch - tutorial and pictures

My Meet The Maker Interview

Well its all happening over at the Messy Brunette Blog at the minute! I did a guest post on upcycling bedroom furniture using General Finishes Milk Paint and Java Gel over on Adventures and Tea Parties Blog, you can read about it here. Thanks Joanna!

Upcycled Bedside Lockers & Chest of Drawers using General Finishes Milk Paint & Java Gel Stain

And now an interview I did for Annie from Mrs Crafty B blog has been published.  She does a series called Meet the Maker and asked me to participate so you can have a read here.  She has a lovely feature on this and you can read about other makers.  This blanket was featured.

Vintage Rainbow Blanket

I am working on a few projects at the minute, just trying to find the time to get them done! I cannot wait for September as the kids will be back at school and we will be in some sort of a routine.  Anyone else like this ?

Here’s a peek at the project that will be coming soon ….

Brooch Making

Till next time

Maura x