Archives for category: beginning

Most days of the year I struggle to sleep. I know there are numerous reasons to diagnose this burden, but I often love the peace & quiet a very late night or early morning brings to me.

I mentioned previously that I hoped to use this blog for a record of my creative development and practices. I diverged into parenting for a while but I’m hoping to focus more on the design stuff here, again. It hasn’t taken me the last few absent months to come up with this plan (I’m not that slow!), I’ve tried to prioritise the other things in life.

However, the other morning I awoke at 4:15am, not too unusual for me, and for some reason I had words that seemed like poetry in my head. The need to sleep created a struggle with these thoughts, so I did some reading to try send me back to sleep. However, when the bird singing started a few hours later I knew I had lost a small battle.

So I focused my thoughts and wrote the following words. They seemed to describe the time of writing, coincidentally. I’ve never read much poetry, or written it beyond the romantic verses of February 14th, so this is a bit of a surprise. So, here it is.


Glorious morning greets the night
with gentle touch, with new light

Hardness softens with a touch,
light caresses, a nudge, life’s such

Moisture lifts, tenuous strands
Bring forth the joys
this common land.

And so, we watch; life renew
This day fell late, I owe to you

Soft, morning, glory, dew
Bring forth this day
for me, for you

photo credit


I was a late starter to Pinterest, but have to admit that I have succumbed to it’s appeal and find it amazingly easy to search for images under any subject heading. I was regularly searching through Houzz and DwellingGawker for my interior design and architecture fix. However, when it came to art & design inspiration I had a tendency to just scroll and surf through the Google search results under those headings.

Since joining Pinterest I have many late nights looking through all the design porn I can handle. Not-so-recently, I discovered a simple image that I found appealing enough to save to the camera roll on my phone. (This was before I realised I could save it within the Pinterest app.) Unfortunately, I cannot credit the artist of this great work as I didn’t take note of those details. A few attempts to rectify that have resulted in me searching through Pinterest again, but that always resulted in a lot of other distractions!

Anyway, what I wanted to do with this saved image was to recreate it as a gift to my sister and her husband as a house warming present. It looked like it was a screen print, but it has been many years since I’ve done anything in that field, so I was reluctant to take on this process now. Instead, I chose to use cardboard and cut out the various colours to resemble the original design. It’s not an exact match in colours but I think it turned out quite well. The gift was greatly received and is already on the wall in the new home. It felt lovely being creative again, and has definitely encouraged me to keep some time to do something else again soon. I’ll keep you posted here obviously.

In the meantime, what do you think; did my rehash of the original print turn out well in your opinion? If anyone out there knows the original artist, maybe you could let me know who they are – I owe them a big thank you for their inspirational work. 🙂

Picture 1 is original, with the stages of my work to the final image at the end.


This week has thankfully proved to many of us that there is actually a season that brings sunshine and warmth to our fair land. I feel I deceive my children when I promise to do certain things outside “when the summer comes” or “when it’s a bit warmer”! Thankfully, this week, some of these promises were kept with our ability to picnic in the garden, splash about in the [birth] pool, and ‘galocher‘ ice cream several times throughout the day; and hats and coats were left in the boot of the car! It’s been a wonderful week and the kids seem happy to be around their parents; and the parents are happy to be around the kids! And it ain’t over yet…

So, feeling all positive about my stay-at-home-dad status, I was happy to discover that today – June 1st 2013, is now a worldwide celebration day of parents. So, Happy International Parents’ Day to all readers who are parents, or have parents!

So, before you start the cynical criticisms about this being another exploitative celebration from card-makers around the world – you’re wrong – this is actually a UN resolution (66/292 to be more precise) to recognise the role of parenting! Yes, the United Nations reckons we need to universally look at the positive role parents play in society. After all, would there be much of a society if there were no parents? Actually, who would provide a new generation of leaders to sit around the UN table, if parents were not here?

So, looking at it this way; us parents are very important people and therefore we should be celebrated. I know some of you are asking, do we really need a celebration day for parents? Sure we already have a Mothers’ Day and a Fathers’ Day? Why is this new parents’ day slotted in between these existing parental dates? Has the UN just placed parenting between the celebrated mothers and fathers of this planet?

This inaugural celebration day of parents is hopefully to show how “families built on the recognition of equality between women and men will contribute to more stable and productive societies.” Well, chronologically at least, the United Nations have certainly placed the day between women and men. As to how the ‘more stable and productive society’ will pan out after celebrating International Parents’ Day is probably based on the notion that men, if they clean the house more, will reap the benefits of a more amorous partner. 😉 Not sure how true that is!? [Any comments on that Irish Parenting Bloggers?] And, I have to question how productive can a parent be while being a parent – I constantly feel everything I do is only half done.

But the UN don’t seem to have the half done scenario at all. Along with the three celebration days mentioned above, there’s even an International Day of Families observed on the 15th May every year. Did you know that? It was celebrated only a few weeks ago. I can’t remember it, but it supposedly ‘provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.’ Again, I think they’re trying to point out how parents rarely get out, money seems to evaporate and the sense of crowded isolation hits several times a week. Fair play to them for this recognition.

So, looking at the work of the UN in recognising Mothers, Fathers, Families, and now Parents; you’re wondering if they have left anyone out? Well the answer is No, because on November 20th each year we can celebrate worldwide fraternity and understanding between children, and their welfare, with Universal Children’s Day. And then there’s the people who are neither parents or children, and who might feel aggrieved by only getting an single day of recognition with International Day of Families, so the UN provides International Women’s Day on the 8th March, and then there’s International Men’s Day on 19th November each year

So all in all, there are a few days throughout the year that are universally recognising our great contribution to society, no matter how old you are in the family! So, if you are a young child reading this today, remember to treat your parent well this Bank Holiday weekend. No whining, fighting, screaming or shouting at us. Like our summer, it may only come once a year, but its still real.

Peter McKee ‘The Meaning of Life’ available here


New Year has a tendency to induce our continuous attempts to follow our dreams. After all, you never work a day in your life if you are doing something you love (apparently). Well, I currently have an enjoyable and rewarding job. However, during 2012 I rediscovered a long-lost love I’ve had since childhood that made me rethink my position. This love is design.

In my (not so distant) youth, I spent many hours, day and night, creating designs and images on paper (and other surfaces), or copying stuff I saw around me. Thankfully, in my childhood, someone else was looking after the cooking, cleaning, childcare and bill paying so I had plenty of time for this creativity. Once I became the person responsible for all these tasks I seemed to have forgotten about design and focused on a more ‘practical’ role. Life hasn’t been bad over the years, but I definitely knew that something was missing in my life.

The age of the internet and the smart phone have brought more distractions, but thankfully some have been a blessing to me. Dwell, Wallpaper*, Dribbble and Pinterest are great to watch the creativity of others. It is now easier than ever before to see so many variations of design in a short space of time. The browsing I’ve done on these sites has reminded me of what I hoped to do when I was younger. Unfortunately at that time, I never realised how to turn my passion for design into a ‘practical’ income-earning task. It was easier to gain finances elsewhere and that’s where I went.

Over the last two years I have assisted my wife in (one of) her passions and it allowed me to be creative. The time we could afford within the family to do this has often been restrictive, so not giving it the commitment it needs has often been demoralising. However, in recent months I have tried to create a positive outlook on this and say some time is better than no time. We all have to start somewhere, don’t we?

The year 2012 was coming to an end and I was determined to create a design life for myself. Income from this is not essential but will be a bonus when it happens. Maybe I’ll be saying something different in a few years from now!! However, an inspiration to me during 2012 was a new magazine I subscribe to called Offscreen. The man behind it is Kai Brach and his blog post for December 29th was a good read for me, and I hope to others.

It’s a simple reflection on what he has learnt over the last twelve months as a publisher. But in the opening paragraph he briefly describes what he did to start this magazine. It’s a great achievement and a wonderfully enjoyable read. The work is inspirational to me, the content is educational. I’m using his creativity as a starting block to my dream.

The pace I will take will be more erratic, but the path to design will be followed. Diversions from this path will hopefully be interesting. I’m willing to learn how to be creative (again). I’m hoping designers I meet along the route will teach me what they know. This blog is my way of reflecting on this learning, sharing my experiences with others and hoping I can look back in twelve months and appreciate what I have achieved. Hopefully the love of the subject will still overshadow the idea of it being work. I hope you might be interested in walking with me.