Breakfast with an Artist in Dublin

breakfast with an artist talbot gallery

Yesterday I booked a ticket to have breakfast with an artist on Saturday morning and I don’t think I’ve looked forward to something so much in a long time. The event is taking place at the Talbot Gallery, a second floor space that looks out over Connolly Station and busy Talbot Street. Each Sunday morning on the way to church we drive by and I wonder what’s up there and this weekend I finally get to find out! And I get to learn about the work of an artist, in the company of friends who are excited about this kind of thing. Also, there’s going to be breakfast, which is arguably the best meal anyone ever invented.

There are still tickets if you’d like to come along!

Photos by Rincy Koshy.


Posted in Dublin, Irish Artists and Makers | Leave a comment

What’s the Biggest Misconception About the Role You Play?


Last Saturday morning, an American blogger posed an open question on Twitter: What’s the biggest misconception about the role you play? I didn’t respond at the time, but I’ve been mulling the question for the last few days. It’s a thought-provoking question and kind of an interesting exercise to try. Thinking about it actually dug up a whole lot of emotions and thoughts about the misconceptions I occasionally run into – from readers, acquaintances and close friends alike.

My role itself changes by the hour these days – blogger, writer, editor, tour guide, photographer, stylist. I wear many hats, all under one big creative umbrella.

What’s the biggest misconception about the role I play? 

That it didn’t take hard work and hustle. It did. 

That it doesn’t still take hard work and hustle. It does, on a daily and hourly basis. 

That it’s not exhausting. Physically, sometimes. Mentally, more often. 

That it’s always glamorous. Maybe 30/70. 

That my life is exactly as you see it online, without flaws or messes or heartache. Sadly, or obviously, no. 

That because you read my words here, you’re caught up. There is always more than what I can share here. 

In the last while, I’ve felt a little disconnected from From China Village, not because I love it any less, but because I’ve reached a point in my career and in my life where I can’t share quite everything. Sometimes it’s because project details are still being discussed and finalized, or because parts of my life are not only mine to share. Either way, some days it feels like From China Village is a narrower, more carefully curated reflection of me than it used to be, before I started wearing all of these creative hats as a full-time job.

Some of these misconceptions stem directly from sharing a smaller, more curated version of my life. For a long time, I’ve resolved that this space remain a mostly professional and positive outlet – it has served as my portfolio that has launched me into the creative career I now enjoy. And I do really, truly enjoy this job. I get to share information and opinions and posts that I absolutely, totally stand behind and love. I’ve never been happier or more creatively challenged in my life. (Well, except perhaps working for a presidential race. I don’t think I’ll ever beat that high.) But that’s not to say that this career path is without its obstacles or hurdles. And it’s not to say that there aren’t things I struggle with that are less than sparkly.

I think sometimes people, even those close to me, don’t quite understand this life – that it is a curated version of my life, for professional and personal reasons. I’ve had close friends remark that they’re all up to date with everything that’s going on with me because they’ve been keeping up with my blog. A sweet sentiment, but isolating.

I’ve never fallen too hard on one side or the other when it comes to whether bloggers should share more of their personal lives. Lives are complicated, and each person should be comfortable with what they’re sharing online. I do know that From China Village has become a smaller slice of my real life here in my little apartment in Dublin, and I hope to turn that tide slightly in the future. I want to keep talking about Dublin and amazing Irish design and DIY projects. But I also want to talk about the day to day a little more – like muddy chickens because it has been raining for weeks, how I’m more homesick now than I’ve been in years, and what my big fat scary dreams are for the coming year. I’m grateful that you’re here to share this slice of my life.

I’d love to learn what the misconceptions about your role might be. Let’s talk about the real behind the scenes.

Photo by Julie Matkin.

Posted in Me | 20 Comments

Irish Makers at Work / Interview with Fán of Fawn Print


Today I’m continuing my collaboration with photographer Christine Burns. She’s capturing Irish makers in their studios, and I’m following up and sharing an interview with each of them. In case you missed the first one, here is my interview with Hajni of Mianra Soaps.

Now, on to today’s maker: Fán Regan of Fawn Printing. I’ve admired Fán’s beautiful prints at markets for ages, and I’m excited to share a little about her process and how she came to run her own creative business today.  fawn_at_work_086_web1

Fán has always had a creative streak, and earned an art degree in fine art painting. But she actually found the critiquing process of art school crushed her creativity a little bit. She moved to London and took an office job for several years. When she was made redundant in her job in 2011, she seized the opportunity and threw herself fully into printing.  fawn_at_work_111_web1 fawn_at_work_125_web1 fawn_at_work_132_web1

Fán’s workspace is in Moxie Studios in Dublin 2, and while she works alone in her little printing space, she loves being surrounded by lots of other creatives. Fiona Snow (remember I showed you her awesome laser cut claddagh rings?) is just next door, and when Fán recently broke her leg in a bicycle incident, Fiona and her husband would pick her up and take her in to the studio, making sure she didn’t go stir crazy at home! What a lovely community to be part of! While the bicycle incident wasn’t ideal, Fán said it’s the kind of thing that “makes you feel like you’re in the right place.”   fawn_at_work_132_web1 fawn_at_work_243_web1 fawn_at_work_173_web1

Fán started with and still only uses a tabletop printing machine for her lino printing, so her operation is surprisingly compact – but heavy! She says her biggest motivation in the printing business, other than simply being able to be creative, is being able to work for herself. I certainly know that feeling! fawn_at_work_165_web1 fawn_at_work_056_web1 fawn_at_work_027_web1

One of my favorite spots in Fán’s studio is her inspiration board above her desk, filled with cut-outs from newspapers and magazines and books. When I visited, there were a lot of owls and birds clipped to Fán’s pin board. Don’t you just love the little drying lines for prints? fawn_at_work_012_web1

You find Fán’s prints online (although wait just a bit as her shop is getting a redesign!) or find her work in shops in Dublin and around the country.

See a few more photos from Fán’s studio on Christine’s website! Thanks, Fán for letting us inside your creative world!

Posted in Irish Artists and Makers, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Friday!


Happy Friday, friends! Are you tired? I am. It was a whirlwind week packed with the end of my parents’ visit, ten (!) new posts on Confetti, a photo shoot with gorgeous flowers at the Shelbourne Hotel, lots of meetings, one new pair of boots, and four (!) new dinner recipes. Thankfully, this weekend, Michael and I get to stay put. He’s been traveling for the last five weekends in a row, and I’ve been away for the last three. And we’re both so ready for a break I think we’ll just sit on the couch and watch the chickens!

How about a few links for the weekend? A lot of fun things crossed my path and entered my inbox this week, so there’s a lot to share.

I love the idea of Roads Well Traveled, an online shop with a lot of heart and lovely stories about indigenous artisans around the world.

Love everything about Isle Jewellery (ahem, take note, Michael!). I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about them from me soon!

I teamed up with my friend Ajda to create the most delicious cocktail recipe for Confetti – a rhubarb gin and tonic!

And then I teamed up with my other friend Julie to show off this really fun sushi-making class we took in Galway a few weeks ago.

I have some fun posts planned for you next week, including the return of DIY Thursday! I hope you have a restful weekend, filled with chicken-watching if possible. See you next week!

Posted in Friday Finds | Leave a comment

Cycling the Great Western Greenway in Connemara, Ireland

sheep on greenway

Over the weekend while my parents were visiting, we took a trip to the west of Ireland. The weather for their visit was a little wet and grey, but on Sunday morning we woke up to serious sunshine that was not even in the forecast! We were thrilled since we had planned to cycle 30 kilometers from Achill Island to Newport on the Great Western Greenway. It would not have been nearly such an amazing day if it had been raining!  great western greenway

Michael organised with Clew Bay Bike Hire to meet in Newport, take their shuttle to Achill Island, and then cycle the 30 kilometres back to the car. I could go on and on about how incredible the views were, but I think you’ll get the picture from the photographs. Ocean, mountains, sheep, how could you not have fun?!  great western greenway 2

greenway path

The path is really well maintained and well marked, so there’s no getting lost at all. It’s early in the season, so we were the only people on the trail for the first half of the journey which was so nice. There were parts that were uphill, but the second half was mostly downhill. It was certainly a long cycle, but that just meant more fish and chips for lunch afterward!

I should also mention that all four of us were well able for the cycle, if a little wobbly with sore seats by the end! My dad cycles 40 miles at a time and judges a good ride by how big the hills are, but Michael and I don’t cycle more than a half mile most days. And my mom isn’t so sporty but we’re thinking this cycle might have turned her – next time she’s back she’ll be decked out in all the spandex cycling gear!  peat piles connemara

Lots of piles of peat along the path! I don’t love the smell of it burning, but I love the look of a whole pile of it!  emily connemara greenway

greenway slanty

I took a few photos without lifting the camera to my eye ( I couldn’t really take a photo if I wasn’t stopped – I’m not that steady!), but I really liked this slanty one!  greenway sheep

Sadly, this was the only baby sheep I saw on the whole journey. But he was a cute little guy! Connemara sheep have black heads and black legs that look like they’re wearing stockings! And they weren’t too nervous having us cycle by them – the ones on the road barely moved out of the way for us!  connemara gorse and sky

The gorse was in bloom so a lot of the path smelled like coconut. It was pretty heavenly!

All in all, we’re now big fans of the Great Western Greenway, but we’d really suggest the Achill to Mulranny leg at the very least. It’s by far more scenic and wild!


Posted in Exploring Ireland, Uncategorized | 12 Comments

To the Loo! Four Spots in Dublin for a Bathroom Break

bathrooms in dublin

Ages ago, my friend Ursula suggested that I write a post advising visitors on the best places to stop for a bathroom break while walking around Dublin. I completely forgot about the idea until last week when I was in the city centre three days in a row and found myself in need of a bathroom break – three days in a row! Sometimes you just can’t wait!

So, without further oversharing, here are four places you can sneak in a bathroom break while you’re out and about in Dublin. And I’d love to hear your suggestions – I’m always looking to expand my bathroom map of the city – just in case!

Pearse Street Train Station – Train station bathrooms are usually a little terrifying, but as train station bathrooms go, Pearse Street is pretty okay. Not all train stations in Dublin have bathrooms, and of those that do, I certainly wouldn’t recommend all of them! But Pearse is a good option in a pinch.

Powerscourt Centre – I think everyone should go to the Powerscourt Centre anyway (check out Article and A. Rubanesque for sure), so you may as well take advantage of the bathroom break opportunity! The bathrooms are on the top floor, right next to the Design Loft Market.

Museums – Almost all of the museums in Dublin are free and their bathrooms are clean. For research purposes, I stopped into the Chester Beatty Library to check out their facilities. Neat, clean and a full length mirror (see above photo). And right next to the sweet little gift shop. Just keep in mind that museums in Dublin are closed on Mondays!

Brown Thomas – I’m sure Brown Thomas wouldn’t really love that I’m suggesting this, but you can walk right into Brown Thomas, swoop up the elevators to the top floor, and use their fancy bathrooms. You know what? A man with a top hat will even open the front door for you! Trust me, they’ll never know.

Any other spots that are good for a quick bathroom break? Maybe skip the details though!

Posted in Dublin, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Away to the West

sheep connemara

I found more sheep! We took my parents west to Limerick and Connemara over the weekend and I can’t wait to tell you about our adventures. In the meantime, I’m spending this Monday soaking up the last of their company before they head back to the States tomorrow morning. We’re heading to our favorite chipper and the local pub tonight!


Posted in Dublin | 1 Comment

Extreme(adura) Architecture


In a Pinterest rabbit hole moment, I happened upon this house. Isn’t it incredible? It also happens to be located in Extremadura, Spain, which seems so fitting as the architecture is just extremely cool! (I had to google Extremadura – it’s right next to Portugal and two hours from Madrid, not bad at all!) Also, it looks like summer in Extremadura and I am so ready for blue skies and open windows!  5866fd3eb2955e958873fd58afa44b1f I just love the way everything opens up. Michael would probably freak out since he is especially delicious to biting bugs, but I’m slightly fixated on wide open spaces lately. Just let me out of the house without having to bundle up!

92407d506b2250ea36c576ddf656ceb5 c4b015a828c5bf4a47ec8535a83f6ada ee5923df11040970cccaaf87efc35f6f f97fb049a09577903f36c7fa86de0410 And a waterfall that pours out of the house, naturally!


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Lost Forest Jewellery / Dublin Door Pendants

DublinDoors2x If you’ve been hanging around From China Village for more than twenty minutes, you’ll know two things. One, I love Dublin doors. And two, I love when Irish makers do clever things. Well, Lost Forest Jewellery’s line of Dublin Door Pendants combines both of those great things. Gillian Corcoran, the creative genius behind Lost Forest Jewellery has come up with the coolest way to showcase Dublin doors. Each pendant is a colorful illustrated Georgian door that belonged to one of our famous authors or artists – and it comes with an illustrated bookmark of that person and a little poem about what to expect when you step across their threshold. So incredibly creative.  DublinDoors

Each pendant is a hand-drawn Georgian door that Gillian then individually paints so the fanlight above the door shimmers when it catches the light. The pendants are filled with eco-resin, and you can see Gillian’s creative process on her website. It’s so cool!  DublinDoors2  Even more fun? Gillian is a twin – and you might remember her sister, Rachel, from this post about her illustrations. Isn’t it fun to think about such a creative pair of twins?

Posted in Irish Artists and Makers | 1 Comment

In Season / March Blooms

magnolia 1

A week ago, Michael and I went to a wedding in County Clare at Dromoland Castle. Somehow I managed to forget to snap any photos of the centuries old castle, but I did catch these insanely bright and giant magnolia blossoms. Aren’t they insane against the grey of the stone castle?

magnolias 2

For the record, I didn’t edit the saturation of these at all. They came straight out of the camera with that incredible pink.

magnolias 3 magnolias 4 Anything blooming in your neck of the woods? My poor family is still buried in snow back in Maine! Luckily my parents are on their way here tomorrow! I just can’t wait to show them all our signs of spring.

In Season is part of a monthly series exploring what’s in bloom in Ireland. February might surprise you!


Posted in Dublin | Leave a comment