Make Yourself A Happy Little Easter… Crane!

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If you find yourself stressed out a little too much this Easter (or any other!) try making this simple traditional origami crane. The legend has it they bring good fortune, but it could take about a thousand paper cranes to make your wish come true (caution – unconfirmed!).

Even though I attach a little crane to every lampshade I make, I’ve plenty to fold to test this yet.

Still, there’s something so relaxing about folding, meditative almost, if you imagine making a thousand of them (woo ha! – anyone?). You may find your inner peace with your crane no. 500.

Speaking of origami as a kimono fan – it’s hard not mention the various papers  and printing techniques developed over time. I love Yuzen Chiyogami, with its gorgeous and intricate gold highlights throughout patterns, many of which simply follow designs on kimono fabrics.

To enhance the experience, try original Japanese origami paper like this, already cut into handy square sheets:

For an absolute paper pamper and visual bliss, try one of these from Paper Source:

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Thank you for viewing and happy browsing!


In case you haven’t read it yet…

Sitting at my desk (own design), trying to write an email, I suddenly felt I could no longer sustain any position other than horizontal.

Colds in high season!

Had to take a break. Doing the bare minimum during my working hours, I spent evenings in bed, with Lemsip. And a book…

Now, I haven’t mentioned yet that for the last 3 years I have participated in book club meetings. Let me explain – about 5 of us meet once a month in the local library (which happens to be the most beautiful building in Waterford) to discuss a book we all agreed to read a month before.

During these last 3 years one of us became a mother, one a grandmother, 2 of us got married and 1 of us got a degree in counseling.

Around Christmas we meet for a drink or go to a restaurant, where literary discussions get even more sidetracked by current affairs and personal musings.

Our choice this month has been The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, the author’s first published book. And this just happened to be a book I picked when shivering in bed.

Have you read it? I was hooked from the very beginning. The great thing about this book is that you turn and turn the pages – and you don’t want to miss a single sentence – but there’s still plenty of reading left til the end! I still haven’t finished, but probably will this evening.

The book has a magnificent atmosphere to it – populated with novels, antiquarian booksellers and libraries; letters and secrets are intertwined with regular meals and tea, you get a bit lost in big houses, multiple gardens – even though the weather is always gloomy – in fact the book’s been described as a gothic novel.

I find the structure wonderfully comforting – it has the beginning, the middle, and – I suppose the ending also – clearly marked.

It’s like this great 19th century novel, only written in 2006, with buses running and photographs being taken.

But best of all is how it transports you into various centuries and places in England, where the author herself comes from. It is a novel about writing a novel, the storytelling in it so powerful that at first I just envied Margaret Lea, the girl commissioned to write a biography of a famous writer her room with a bed and a desk plus the peace and quiet to do the job.

By day three of reading I found myself making a cocoa, Margaret’s favourite drink. And today, feeling almost fine I can’t wait until the evening to grab the book again.

Do you remember the first books you’ve ever read yourself that made you join the library? This novel is pure pleasure of reading as discovered at a tender school age, revisited. A readers dream.

Here’s a link to an interview where Diane Setterfield talks about her circumstances when writing the New York Times No. 1 Bestseller. Just like in the novel, her voice is so precise, if slightly old fashioned, never hesitating or failing to paint the indescribable. She talks about her need for a break from academic life which involved reading French literature for years. No doubt my book club friends – three of whom are teachers – one a lecturer – will be brimming with comments on that!

Reading The Thirteenth Tale

Reading The Thirteenth Tale

I’m coming to meet you my lovely stockists!

On the 14th of February I got into a car and drove to Dublin. On my own. For the first time.

I know, nothing special. But to me it was a major undertaking. My driving license should specify ‘for driving in Waterford county and south Kilkenny only’. You get the sense, I hope.

I did a careful research (thanks googleness for google maps and street view!) until I became a virtual expert on Red Cow Roundabout and still wouldn’t go anywhere near it without – in my case – many a life saving Samsung mobile phone sat nav.

Just think about it: I was going to meet the manager of a major lighting showroom in the capital and all I could think of was how to get there safely without bothering any of my supportive and generous friends. Like the last time, going to Dun Laoghaire when it snowed most of the way, with snow in Ireland so rare it causes a national havoc/holiday every time.

And I did. The day rose gorgeous. Perfect driving conditions. Dry, with sunshine (a national holiday!). I was surprised how easily I got there. Met both the manager and the friendly staff who all loved the shades and ordered some from me. Delighted with myself on the way back, I was home for lunch with the feeling that wherever I kick, roses sprout and birds tweet. And with all the love-themed tunes that day I hummed and danced all afternoon stitching kimonos fabrics for lampshades.

Came the evening, I spent it in a friend’s restaurant by the sea with the two men of my life, one of whom has recently turned 2 and gave me his first valentine card!

Japonica ‘bring on Spring’! finds

japonica I’ve found myself drifting into spring already. My inner one, of course, with rain here and snow elsewhere. Last week couldn’t even drive back home stuck in a flooded village.

So, Spring!
Presenters of my favourite radio station ambitiously trying to bring it on with the right choice of music only to apologise profusely for unsuccessful attempts.

Here’s my spring selection: velvety black quite prominent in it, as well as colourful blossoms.

From top left:

If this hasn’t changed the weather for you, the good news is you can still run home from the cold and wet (like I did from the flood) and make yourself a cup of tea. In your own time, in your own space. With your book of the moment. Isn’t that what we find appealing about cold places? – The ‘tea, quick! ‘ moments – think all day lashing Ireland versus cosy fireplace; outdoor Sweden versus Ikea fitted apartment.

And that’s even before the biscuits!

If this post hasn’t yet, this sure will make you smile: click and enter your name to see what Swedish furniture would you be;-)

Happy New Year Everyone!

sale blogAnd here’s to a great 2013 – enjoy the sale!

Thanks to all Kimono Lamps customers and viewers of these sites. You are an inspiration to try new ideas and pursue new horizons. Bear with me in 2013! May your homes shine and welcome you and  your loved ones when you open your eyes and when you come back exhausted. When you invite your friends over and when you find a moment of peace. Whether you sit down to relax, to work or to entertain – may you always enjoy what you see.

Winterval Waterford 2012

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Winterval 2012 in Waterford city.

Many thanks to all who helped to keep the stand going despite my absence; especially to Paul Kirby and Grace Kiely, who shared the hut with me and to my friends Aska and Edyta.

Really enjoyed Winterval and it looked like the city was back to its glory for the duration of it. My little samurai had a great time on the train and visiting the toy museum. That he also nearly fell off the carousel – didn’t seem to bother him as much as his parents and the staff…


Listen if you dare;)

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Had a great experience on the radio for the first time in my life yesterday, interviewed by Ian Noctor, on WLR fm – local Waterford radio station.

I didn’t realise just how nervous I was until I actually heard myself later that day.

After the interview, Ian Noctor showed me the consoles and explained a little bit about the process. He also switched the ‘On Air’ button on my request while I was documenting the experience. A radio lover like myself enjoyed it all thoroughly. I couldn’t stop looking around, peeping into each little studio as I walked along the corridor, carrying the lampshades in a bag.

What’s all that about ‘not having a telly at home’ I stumble on in the first sentence – you want to ask? – I just wanted to say not having a telly (though being internet dependent to the core), I listen to the radio all the time instead.

But I panicked when I saw the giant microphone in front of me and only gradually regained composure in the process.

Still, I’d love to do it more often!;)

Oh, and thank you for all the texts, phone calls and Facebook likes and comments afterwards!