Thursday, 1 September 2011

I'm loving... Autumn Bits

Here's some back to school random things
I'm loving at the moment.

I bought myself this yesterday in Urban Outfitters.
It's obviously completely essential.
OK, sarcasm aside.. it'll be great for impending craft fairs.
Goodbye grey boring one.
You can get it here.

I wish I had designed this little Owl - isn't he lovely?
But the next best thing is downloading him or his siblings
for free here from 3eyedbear.
He's looking down on me as I type!

I am loving these large A4 notebooks from Ikea.
I bought one and went back to get another -
and at €3.99 (less if you have a family card)
they are so handy for anybody with inky fingers like mine!
You can see them here.
I just might have bought this BABY scarf
for a new little lady that arrived last week.
It's teeny (and i'm not quite sure how safe a scarf is on a new baby)
but I had to buy it anyway. It's so cute.
You can find it here at zara.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Special Delivery

Every now and then, the postman brings something nice.
And today was one of those days.

I received my copy of the GIRL weekly planner,
the new Artists Collabration by Anke at customplanners.
58 artists have joined together to make this happen -
each providing a girl illustration to match one of the 53 Week pages.
And the result is lovely.
I'm so pleased to be a part of this and to be alongside some of my favourite illustrators.
And truly, this is the weekly planner I've always wanted.
(Here's one of my favourite illustrations by michelemaule.)
And has plenty of pages for personal information and taking notes,
and each week has a space for grocery lists, to do lists and wish lists.
And date-wise, it's blank - you just fill out the date yourself- such a great idea!
The quality is great, so durable and both creative and practical.

And at €17.50 & p&p
they would make a perfect gift for (dare I say it?) Christmas.
And they are available to pre-order by emailing at

This is just great for someone like me,
a busy girl with her feet on the floor and her head in the clouds!

Friday, 27 May 2011

My Haberdasher's Happy Place

The little of sewing I've done, I've loved.
I sat a class in creative embroidery in Art College
and it was perfect for me as I'm not perfect at sewing.
The sticky-outy threads and very zigzaggy stitch work
covered a multitude of sins and for a while
I made it my happy place of all happy places!

So, in an effort to return to stitch heaven,
I enrolled in a one day Quirky Creatures course

I mean Quirky? Creatures? Sewing bits and bobs?

I had to go.

I met the most lovely Paget Scott-McCarthy
(who is one of the founders and amazingly talented)
and with her clear and gentle instruction,
I made these (don't laugh now!)

This is Roderick Ryan O'Connor Reilly
(I think he most definitely is Irish)

and Doris the Sausage Dog.

But I've been practicing a little at home,
starting to use paper, pretty fabrics and simple designs.
I have loads to learn, but am having fun while I'm doing it!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

When I was one, I had just begun...

ONE year ago today I opened my Etsy Shop, Designbirdie.
It was a name plucked out of the air -it could have just as easily been called
Buttons, Toothbrushes & Cotton socks or
Black Eye Bags (i like that one!) or Mountains of Unwashed Clothes...

I just wanted to say thank you for supporting me, buying from me,
telling your friends, 'liking' me and blogging about me!

Anyway to celebrate, I'm having a little giveaway.
A package with all sorts of designbirdie goodies including
a Bear Hug Print (still one of my most popular), Birthday Calendar
and the cutest pair of ladybug earrings.
These are lovely to keep but make great little pressies too.
To enter, leave a comment here or on my Facebook page under this post.
A draw will be made on the 28th May (a favourite someone's birthday).
Thanks again and tell all your friends!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Moustaches and... eyebrows

A very good friend of ours
and extremely talented artist Fergus Ryan retired recently.
We had a huge party for him!
We set up photobooths to capture all his friends and famly.
And, as Fergus has sported moustaches for most of his adult life,
I made lots of different taches to be used in the photos.
It was lots of fun - and people really got into the spirit it!

Bouquet of Moustaches

If you want to do your own Moustache Photobooth -
Right click on the below image and save onto your desktop and then, print them out!
After a few days recovery, I met a writer friend
at IMMA to see the spectacular Kahlo and Rivera Exhibition.
If you love art, you'll probably love this!
Kahlo's art is piercingly honest and exquisitely beautiful...
Rivera's... i didn't love as much (sorry Diego, wherever you are!).
I couldn't help but wonder whether he meant the world to see some of his paintings..

The exhibition is on until 26th June 2011 and it's free on fridays :)

Friday, 6 May 2011

Something for the weekend...

Well, this is a special one. This is my birthday weekend!

I was born in the middle of the European Song Contest, back when Ireland won it every year...

I'm going to take a break from designing for the weekend, as I plan to be spoilt rotten for the next 48 hours! I did manage to get a new print out this week, which I'm so happy with.

One of the things about having kids is the endless amount of energy they have and inspiration they provide. Ruby (who is nearly 4) has an obsession with dandelions at the moment so i was eager to draw her up, about to tackle another 'blowing thing', as she calls them.

Here's a little of this print process!

I start with a drawing. I take my time here - it needs to be perfect!

Then I use black ink and a brush to ink it up - really wanting to focus on the line quality.
I heart line quality! Little thin lines in her hair, sturdier lines on her legs...

Then, I digitally colour in the image. I think about where the sun is, what would be shaded etc.

Then print and photograph it off to the shop with with it!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Hi. I'm Mandi. And I have a online shop called designbirdie. And my journey with my shop has naturally led me here. To start a blog.

I have to admit while this idea is so delicious to me, I have a little panic about 'blogging' vs 'making'... I don't want all these pretty inklings to replace all the things I want/have/need to create. But, I am hoping one will compliment the other. We will just have to wait and see.