Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday to Cyber Monday Coupon




Click on the image to enter Handmade by Amo'r Etsy store

Click here for simple instructions from Etsy's main site, for how to use coupon codes when purchasing: INSTRUCTIONS FOR COUPON CODE USE

*10% will automatically be deducted off the listing price of the item(s) in your cart when you apply this code

 *The discount does not apply to shipping costs, but please note the my shipping costs are quite low as the items are generally light weight.

*This code is not valid for other Etsy shops, only  Handmade by Amo'r

*This code is not valid against custom orders, only items that are already listed in the shop

*Minimum purchase of €9

Any queries? Send me a message via my shop and I will attend as fast as I can. Thanks!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Customer's Story

If there is one thing more heartwarming than a review from a happy customer, it's a personal note from a shopper who tells me their story and why they chose my Etsy store.
(Irish scenery, own photo)
Many who drop by my store are of Irish extraction or perhaps their spouse would be from Ireland and they feel that same affinity. These particular customers would often share a little of their story. For me, this is one of the highlights of being present on Etsy - it's about the personal experience not just for customers, but sometimes for the seller too. I'm not a faceless machine churning out mass produced goods, but an artist putting heart and soul into the few individual pieces I make. Equally, those who choose my creations are not just a name and address on the envelope. 

Yesterday a friendly, Irish American lady, who had chosen a Connemara marble pendant from me in February 2013, returned for a pair of earrings. I was delighted to see her return, but even more so to know that the pendant is still a well-loved piece of jewellery. She has kindly allowed me to share her story here. 

Her parents originated in Ireland and she still has relatives in Dublin and in the South West.

'...I've been meaning to get earnings to match my pendant, but just never got around to it. I love the pendant. Many years ago my mother gave me a pin with Connemara marble which I have passed on to my daughter. She loves having something of her grandmother's. Hence my attachment to Connemara. Someday I'll pass on my pendant and earrings to my daughter. We are very sentimental.' 

(Well, thank you.) I too am a bit sentimental and hearing stories like this makes me feel like my jewellery is sometimes more than just adornments. Some pieces, especially those in Irish marble can become a symbol, a connection to family and heritage. For me, the privilege of knowing where a lovingly made piece is going and why it will be cherished gives more meaning to what I do. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries get Festive

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies put together by fellow members. They are an art form in themselves. This week, As ever, I am thankful to be included. 

It's always interesting to see how the tones and mood of Etsy treasuries change with the seasons and the weather. This week the Christmas season has come in with  a bang......
Carrie of Oh Cherry Blossom and fellow Etsy Ireland team member, has put together this traditional yet tasteful collection of festive goodies from Irish Etsy shops. Thanks Carrie for including my wire wrapped Connemara marble ornament.
You can see more of my holiday ornaments here in this previous post Stocking Up For Christmas

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I is for Iolite, Iron Ore, Irish Materials etc ABC of Jewellery

I've reached the letter I in my ABC of jewellery. This  is a rough guide to jewellery materials and techniques I use as well as designs and inspirations. I is for Iolite, Iron ore, Inspiration and Irish materials.
Iolite gemstone is a form of cordierite. It is a transparent, most often indigo or deep sapphire blue stone that can be confused with amethyst. However, if you hold it to the light you can see it is a cold blue and sometimes a bluish violet, unlike the warmer purples of amethyst. The name derives from the Greek 'ios' meaning 'violet.' Specimens in the deeper shades of blue can look like tanzanite. Some rare varieties are a yellowish gray or brown. On occasion, like these stones here, a blue version can have a hidden, golden-grey flash that appears unexpectedly like a rainbow in a puddle.

Iolite teardrop earrings, Indigo Sky
Iolite is not very common and though it was popular in the 18th century, it can be hard to find contemporary iolite jewellery. These beautiful little teardrops make a pretty pair of earrings. Typically, they will change colour with the light and as the wearer moves about, from deep indigo to paler blue to a very transparent golden-gray.

Metaphysically, iolite is the stone for vision and creativity. Healers believe it treats ailments of the eye as well as insomnia and failing memory. It is sometimes used in meditation and hypnosis to help travel back to one's roots and find that inner self.


I is also for Inspiration. Craft artists garner much inspiration from what we see around us. Like many fellow artisans, I find nature, in particularly the sea, generates creativity and ideas. You will find evidence of this in previous posts under the tag 'Inspiration'.  Or why not pop into the blog section 'Inspiring Walks'  if you are in Ireland (especially Dublin) or planning a trip and want to get inspired by our lush countryside too.

Irish Connemara Marble Pendant. Sterling Silver Celtic Spiral. Optional Sterling Silver Chain. Meadow Irish Jewelry. Cork Red Marble Pendant. Red Heart.  RĂ³sanna
Though I buy some stones and findings from the UK and beyond, Irish materials feature prominently in my jewellery. The most well known is Connemara marble but our other rare marbles, such as Cork Red and the fossilised Kilkenny black are just as ancient and special. 

I also use sea glass and sea pottery plucked from local shores. Though these may sometimes have originated as imported bottles, vases, crockery, tile etc, generally speaking, sea glass and pottery usually would have fallen into the sea locally or within a short radius. Rarely do these pieces travel across the ocean from distant shores. 
As well as Irish glass and pottery we do find a lot of English china and European terracotta quite simply because these would have been commonly found in households of a busy port like Dublin. The English specimen on the left was found on the same Dublin beach as the Irish, Arklow Pottery shard on the right. As they have been buffed for decades by the Irish sea and were found right here, in my heart they are both local materials.

Iron ore, also known as hematite
Iron ore is also known as Hematite. This mineral was already covered under the letter H.

If you'd like to read more in this series, please see the links below

Previous posts in this series
A  B  C  (plus C for Crimping D E F  (plus F for Findings) G1 and G2, H

All of this series: ABC

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Stocking Up for Christmas

Nope, I don't have my Christmas stocking hanging up already. But I am stocking up my Etsy shop with festive Irish ornaments as fast as I can. Quite a few have gone already, some before they even reached my shop, so grab them while you can! 

My store will be closing for the holidays a little early this year as I commence a night course in a couple of weeks. So seriously, if you like what you know what to do!

I have only a very limited stock of mini Connemara marble trees left already. Going, going ...... 

My Irish sea glass fairy / angels would make a very unique gift. They are not just for Christmas as they double up as sun catchers when the festivities are over.
This is the last of the flat, round disc ornaments. in Connemara least for 2014...

....and you will also find a few very unique, OOAK ornaments too. Please do let me know if purchasing as a gift.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries, Autumn turns to Winter

 Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies put together by fellow members. They are an art form in themselves. This week, As ever, I am thankful to be included. It's always interesting to see how the tones and mood of Etsy treasuries change with the seasons and the weather.

Although sea glass is more popular in Summer, Pendentif Marron (brown pendants) by Reriros in Lithuania is distinctly autumnal in flavour. There are some lovely gemstones in the mix too, but what really grabs me about this list is the different styles of wire wrapping on show. I'm very proud to see my Irish sea glass pendant among these beauties.

Once again, uncrowned Treasury Queen, Lynn Corrigan of Lynn's Creative Crochet, has been kind enough to spend time putting together a chic treasury. Thanks Lynn for including my Kilkenny marble heart pendant in this noir mix titled, 'Dark Beauty.'

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Beach Combing in Jersey, Channel Islands

Late August, I spent a week in Jersey, one of the UK Channel Islands, off the North coast of France and a place I've always wanted to visit. It's a popular destination for walking holidays with stunning cliff paths in the North, easier coastal walks along the entire perimeter and green, country lanes in the interior. Its many beaches also throw up a  fair share of sea glass and sea pottery to delight collectors of beach treasures like me.
beach treasure found in Jersey, UK
Although I had insider information that I was staying near an excellent strand for beach combing, Green Island Beach in the South, I'm afraid I didn't find all that much. Then again I was too busy sightseeing to spend enough time actually searching. The photo above shows the best of the crop. The photo isn't great, but the triangle of glass in the middle is a beautiful shade of baby blue, one of the rarer shades. 
This brown scenic shard of sea pottery was a cool find, despite the extra wear and tear at the edge. I wonder if anyone recognises the pattern?

Some day I will  have to go back and search for more treasure.....

You might like:

How to Clean Sea Glass
How to Care for Sea Glass Jewellery
Sea glass items from my Etsy Store

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Easy Way to Untangle a Necklace Chain

It's all too easy for necklace chains to get in a tight knot but untangling them can be pretty frustrating. Pulling at the knot only makes it worse. The thinner the chain, the harder it is to free it from the mess.
knots in chain
One of my friends (kindly) presented me with one of the worst bunch of knots I've ever had to undo. As you can see, it had a cluster of knots together near the clasp and another, simpler one, further along. This is the result of throwing chains in together with other jewellery, something any of us can be guilty of when in a hurry.

To make untangling a knot in a chain easier you need some baby powder, a straight pin or two and a little patience. The secret is of course, the talc.

First undo the clasp if there is one then lay the chain flat. Try to keep it flat throughout the process.
smother the knot in baby powder

Cover the knot in plain baby powder. Give it a good smothering and dip the pin into the talc too.

Find a way into the nest with the tip of the pin. Once you've got a good purchase on it, wriggle the pin around and gently test if any part will respond to a gentle pull. With a bit of patience and wriggling of the pin, the chain should straighten itself out pretty quickly. 
use a straight pin and find a way into the knot

The largest tangle fell away almost instantly, separating the two strands. Under it I discovered another knot. Surprisingly, the apparently simpler knot further along was much tighter and required a second pin - one to hold and one to unravel.
Wash the chain in mild soapy water and pat dry with kitchen paper.  If it is sterling silver and you also wish to brighten it, you can use hot water and bread soda following these instructions.
Get more tips on caring for jewellery HERE

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries, November

Like most crafty Etsy people it's always such a compliment to see one of your handmade items featured in a treasury. Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies put together by fellow members. They are an art form in themselves. This week, As ever, I am thankful to be included.

 'Tiny Bubbles' by Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet is full of frothy fun! Thanks Lynn for including my champagne pink and aqua bracelet in this cleverly thought out treasury.

And here's one I made earlier....

I don't often get the time to put together a treasury myself, but I made this Irish one yesterday. 'Warming to the Idea' is a selection of handmade goods and craft supplies availabe from Etsy shops that are based in Ireland. I'd like to give a shout out to one of my oldest and bestie friends who has set up Crafty Elfie. That's her card on the bottom row. Please check out her shop for some witty and unusual greetings.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bog Oak at Boora, Caught My Eye no. 33

Caught My Eye  is a series of blog posts showing scenes I found interesting, odd, curious or beautiful. I am artistic and therefore an observer but I am not a photographer by any description. So if you expect top quality photography I'm afraid you will be disappointed.  But please do enjoy a snap shot glimpse of the world through my creative eyes. 

Working with Connemara green, Kilkenny black and Cork red marbles as well as local sea glass, I am very fond of native, Irish materials. I have yet to get my greedy little hands on a piece of bog oak to see if I can fashion it into something wearable. Bog oak is the darkened remains of ancient oak, pine and yew which have been naturally preserved in the acidic, anaerobic peaty soil for hundreds,  even thousands of years. Irish bog oak can be from 3000 to 8000 years old. It can be stained brown from tannins in the soil, or be as black as ebony.

bog oak, Boora park, Ireland. Own photo

Several weeks ago I visited Lough Boora Parklands in the heart of the Irish boglands. (Click HERE to see inspiration I gained from the visit.) The above photo is one I took of a huge specimen of bog oak - a beautiful tree trunk with the beginnings of the roots. 
Irish bog oak. Own photo
I got in a little closer to check out the textures. It might be a bit of an old tree to some, but I think it's beautiful. If you have Irish roots, so might you... teehee...
bog oak 'Stonehenge' at Boora. Own photo

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries

Like most crafty Etsy people it's always such a compliment to see one of your handmade items featured in a treasury. This week I am so happy to see mine in two. As ever, I am thankful.

Angie of Vintage True has compiled this wonderfully subtle combination, 'Saturday Bliss' . The air of lightness is stunning. Thanks for including my Irish sea glass pendant Angie!
Gabriella of Knot by Thread Alone has curated an atmospheric list with clever colour choices, titled 'Unique.' I'm so pleased to see my clear quartz earrings in there and chuffed they were considered unique enough.  You can learn about the stone clear crystal quartz HERE.
I apologise for lopping this gorgeous photo by Petite Pastiche off the bottom of the treasury in favour of symmetry, but unfortunately some of the listings were gone by the time I saw the list. This scenic photo deserves to be seen!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Inspirations from the Irish Boglands in Autumn

Like many an artist or craftsperson, I gather much of my inspiration from nature. This summer, I spent much time out and about in the countryside  both while on holidays in Jersey (UK) and also here in Ireland.
bog oak sculpture, Boora Parklands, own photo
Early September, I spent a few relaxing days visiting family in county Offaly in the heart of Ireland, where my mother grew up. We visited Lough Boora Parklands, a most unusual area of natural beauty, deep in the Irish bog. I must warn you, it is not well sign posted. We were not the only ones driving up and down the same country roads in frustration as we tried to find this mysterious site.

And mysterious it is indeed. The sculptures created out of ancient bog oak and industrial relics from the turf cutting industry seemed abandoned and ghostly in this eerie place . The early Autumn haze lent an ethereal atmosphere to the marshy landscapes and the stillness was so deep even the birds dared not break the silence.  I doubt any artistic soul could leave this moody park without taking inspiration with them.

old bog train art installation, Boora parklands, own photo

yellow serpentine pendant on brown cotton crochet chain
This yellow serpentine stone pendant on a brown cotton chain (chain by Huggle Knits) was inspired entirely by the old bog train! The colour combination may not be to everyone's taste, but will appeal to someone who adores Autumnal tones. It will go beautifully with a chocolate, beige or cream outfit but would really come into its own with petrol blue or navy.