Saturday, December 27, 2014


I did a post on eight years of Xmas tables in November when trying to decide on this year's look. I went with the blue and white in the end, as you can see. I bought some new blue tealight holders in Dunnes Stores, Penneys and the Euro 2 shop; I used two old blue Mason jars I already own. Some fake snow, pine cones and a new runner with bird embroidery from TK Maxx. I have the EPNS tray yonks. The huge plates were a great Athlone charity shop purchase some years ago. I was happy with how it all turned out.

Friday, December 26, 2014

CRIBS 2014

I like cribs but only have room for so many. Here are the ones I put up each year.

The main crib - Poundshop purchase from years and years ago
Paper crib by Paperdollz
Ringbox crib bought at Chartes Cathedral, France

Guatemalan (?) mini crib bought in Paris
Baby Jesus bought in Lisbon
Some figures from charity shop-purchased crib
Jesus under the tree - a  tradition started in our family by my Da

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Like most collectors, I am an eBay nut. I had to wean myself off it for a while but I appear to be back there with a vengeance. One of my current obsessions is woven, lidded baskets like this one that is in the Emily Dickinson museum:

Oh, how I have craved a basket like this. So every so often I go onto eBay and drool over various baskets not unlike Emily's. Most are for sale from New England and would cost $120 (€95) or so delivered to my door. I was looking at these baskets just last night on a (sidetracked) trawl for Xmas presents.

Today, my favourite charity shop called to me even though I'm nursing an injured wrist and am not supposed to be either going out or typing. Off I went and, lo and behold, a lidded woven basket!

OK, it's not the same as Emily's (alleged) basket but it's as near as, for me. And it cost just €5! It has a little table inside that comes out, which I've discovered is a pie tray.

Inside the basket, showing the vinyl lining and the Peterboro stamp
The basket was made  in New England by the Peterboro Basket Company in New Hampshire. The company was founded by a man called Amzi Childs from Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1854 so it is not outside the realms of possibility that the basket in the ED Museum was made by Peterboro too. I will investigate this more and report back.

Their site is very comprehensive and charming and it says, 'For more than 150 years the Peterboro Basket Company has thrived in the heart of historic Peterborough, New Hampshire, in the serene shadow of Mt. Monadnock, surrounded by four seasons of the world's most exquisite natural beauty.' Sweet!

Whatever way my Peterboro basket ended up in East Galway, I am grateful that it did. And I love that my favourite charity shop has yielded up another item with meaning for, and synchronicity with, my writing. After a topsy-turvy week, it was just what I needed.

And what am I going to do with it? Well, I'm going to fill it with my Emily Dickinson research archive: printouts, postcards, letters from the ED Museum, playbills etc. And the box that stuff currently occupies will be the receptacle for the paperwork for my WIP, novel #4.

(Cross-posted with Women Rule Writer.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I've just started to think about my Christmas table - what colours will I use? What candles on which candleabra? So I thought it would be fun to look back over a few years worth of tables. I'm liking the winter white theme of two years ago. Might be worth trying again. Maybe with a touch of blue.

Xmas 2006 - 1st Xmas in our house
Xmas 2007
Xmas 2008
Xmas 2009
Xmas 2010
Xmas 2011
Xmas 2012
Xmas 2013

Monday, September 15, 2014


I have been coveting deer heads since I was a child. I finally have one that suits the modest proportions of my house. It's wooden, beautifully made. I'll save the real stag until I get the dream house. Anyway, here it is:

I bought it at my beloved Lynn Antiques in Athlone for €100. I went in to buy a book case (got one!) and came out with this too. Irresistible. Made in Europe, apparently. There was still wood dust from the carving on it when I bought it and I imagined some lovely man in Bavaria whittling away in his Lederhosen...

And while I'm at it, here is the bookcase. At last a replacement for a hideously ancient Atlantic Homecare number:

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Oh Scotland, Scotland, how I love you. And your fabulous charity shops. I was in Nairn recently (I litblogged it here) and, naturally, I hit the charity shops. These were my finds:

Charles and Di cup - £1

Filigree brooch - £1.49

Caithness paperweight- £20

Handmade tea cosy by Jill Laurillard - £3

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I am just back from a short story conference in Vienna. It's a posh, upmarket city but I managed a trip to the Saturday flea market and to Humana, a secondhand shop on Alserstrasse, near our lovely airbnb apartment. My purchases were modest, but lovely:

My €4 plastic-nobbled, vintage evening bag,
which I used at our reading night at the Irish Embassy
The Saturday flea at Naschmarkt, Vienna
BEFORE: Last year in Spain I bought a silver ID bracelet for €5
at a market. I got this one 'Albert' at Vienna's flea, also €5
AFTER: 'Albert' after I had given him a rub with a silver cloth.
I dipped him since home and he's even nicer now :)
And though she is not vintage, I bought this little Swarovski lady in a department store. You can't go to Austria and leave without Swarovski. Her name is Vinnie and she is bringing me luck already :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


A trip to the UK is not complete for me without a dander into the charity shops. Their shops are so well-stocked and the prices are always great. I was in Glasgow last week and, though it was a flying visit, I managed a peek into a few shops.

For this princely sum:

I bought this beautiful watercolour of a cottage:

High Mills near Tain by Janet C. Kennedy

Thursday, February 20, 2014


My poor neglected blog. Life is just too full on at the mo for much vintage-purchases blogging. Of course I continue to buy!

Today I bought a pile of vintage Irish tea towels and have put most of them up for sale in my Etsy shop, JunoRetro. I may live in one of the sleepiest places in Ireland but, boy, it has good charity shops!