Think Green

As St Patrick’s Day and Irishness has been celebrated recently in Ireland and all over the world, what better time to think about green in all its tones, shades and meanings!

Green is omnipresent in our daily lives, especially in this country. Inside the home, it might be chosen as a main colour in a room and is associated with safety and harmony. Green is a colour that soothes the mind but it can also work well to create a dramatic effect. A mix of houseplants may also be used to instantly bring in variations of the colour around the house.

Green also represents growth, renewal or rebirth especially as this time of the year when nature wakes up and the shoots, flowers and buds start to appear.  If we look at renewal with the environment in mind, we can make a beneficial impact by adopting a ‘greener’ attitude. Reusing, repairing and refurbishing contribute to a more sustainable way of life. The traditional linear economy based on a ‘take-make-waste’ production model has started to be questioned.  By contrast, the circular economy focuses on the most effective use and reuse of materials and energy. That goal is primarily achieved through creating long-lasting designs, repairing and reusing items, as well as re-purposing or refurbishing things where possible rather than chucking them out! 

You can embark or continue on your own green journey by restyling or upcycling a piece of furniture that you might have at home or even pick up in a second hand shop. Using the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, an organic decorative paint that works wonders on furniture. Check our Workshop page for details and dates.

Let’s go “Greenery”

botanical-amsterdan-greenGreenery is the name of the fresh and vibrant new shade made by Pantone for this year. It is a truly Irish colour, symbolic of the undulating hills, the grazing land and dramatic landscapes of the Emerald Isle.

Foliage and botanical patterns are very much on trend at present and are reminiscent  of William Morris’ textile and wallpaper patterns. Greenery shades are revitalising and make me yearn for nature’s imminent revival in springtime.

Being aware of the natural world, and being conscious of sustainability, another useful trend is the idea of ‘upcycling’. This is a great way to reuse materials and reduce our collective carbon footprint. Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, did you know that here in Handmade Design Studio we can refresh and redesign any item of furniture for you?

We discuss the ideas for the style you like, the colour and finishing and you will be guaranteed to have a unique, individual hand-painted piece that breathes new life into your existing furniture and doesn’t ‘cost the Earth’ in every sense of that expression!

Craft & Creativity


One possible upside of the recession is a renewed interest in all things handmade and homemade. As a maker and designer, I think it is great to see people taking up craft, be it needle crafts like knitting, stitching, sewing or crochet or other textile crafts like felting or weaving. Others again that are making a come-back are soap-making, gardening and baking.

Making something yourself from scratch is not only very satisfying but it is relaxing and a lot of fun. It also means that you are being creative using your own sense of style and imagination. Inspiration comes from many sources whether it is from the natural world, travelling, art, architecture or fashion. But I also think that it has a deeper significance as well in that drawing on such sources of inspiration says something about our values and our identity. It points to the originality of the individual who creates a piece of craft and taps into the genuine personal meaning we give to the things we make.


tote cranberry rose


The renewed interest in craft connects us to the values of community too as many crafts can be practised in groups and clubs and in classes making it as much a social experience as it is a form of personal expression.

I am always delighted to welcome established and aspiring crafters to drop into Handmade Design Studio to chat about and share crafty, creative ideas. See you soon!