Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries May Flourish

I'm afraid this week I've missed out a couple of posts due to a lot of other commitments and a whole 7 days have gone by. So we are back to Tuesday, and that can only mean it's treasury time!

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am thrilled to have been included in a really stunning list this week. Thank you!

'Cat Peeping Birds' has to be one of the cutest treasuries I've seen and it's pretty clever too. Thanks Mara of Mad Rab for including my blue, beaded eyeglass chains in this cool mix.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries, May is the Month for...

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am thrilled to have been included. Thank you!

May is officially the start of the Irish Summer, and if you don't  believe me, you will find more info HERE on an old blog post I wrote on the subject.  The change in seasons certainly shines through the brighter, lighter treasuries seen on Etsy.

'Just Because' by Erinn , creator of Off on a Whim Jewellery  evokes the very essence of May for me- cool seas, a fresh breeze and that first hint of Summer warmth, and sandy beaches. Thanks Erinn! I'm so happy to see my Tiger eye pendant in the mix.

I really love the subtle tones of 'Merci', tastefully picked by Mara, owner of Italian shop, Mad Rab. Thanks so much of including my Connemara marble pendant with these gorgeous finds.

Thanks once more to Rosalba of Dream Up Graphic, for including me in a beautiful list for the second week in a row, 'Home is...'  So glad to see my amber purse charm in this elegant and tasteful list. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

ABC. F is for Fairies, Fluorite, Feldspar and Fan Necklaces

Continuing my ABC of Jewellery, (a not-so-comprehensive guide to jewellery, jewellery making techniques and materials I use, design inspirations etc) F is fun and fantastical with Fairies! In terms of materials it includes Fluorite, Feldspar and Findings and in design it brings us to Fan necklaces.  Encompassing a huge array of crafting supplies,  'Findings' will get a post all of its own next.

Fluorite is a semi transparent gemstone. It is the mineral form of Calcium Fluoride and comes in so many hues it has been nicknamed 'the most colourful mineral in the world.' The most common shades are blues, purples and greens, and next is yellow or clear. Often it boasts more than one tone and can have gorgeous banding.

The ancient Egyptians and the Chinese have carved the mineral for decorative purposes for centuries. In the 1700s the mineral was believed to cure ailments of the kidney. Apothecaries would grind the fluorite into a powder to be dissolved in water and ingested as medicine. Please do not try this at home folks!
Feldspar is a large group of rock forming minerals. Forming approximately 60% of the earth's crust, it is the most plentiful mineral group on the planet. (You  can find the science bit HERE on Wikipedia.) The name comes from the German 'feldt spat,' meaning field stone. Seemingly when it erodes, it releases nutrients such as potassium into the soil, enriching plant life.

The feldspar gemstones most often used for jewellery are amazonite, moonstone, labradorite, obisidan and a black tourmaline (schorl tourmaline.) 

Of these, labradorite is my favourite. It is a feldspar found mostly in Labrador, Canada and is famed for its blue flash when it catches the light. Metaphysically, the stone is associated with the delaying of aging but let's not tell the skin cream companies.

red gemstone fan necklace
F is also for Fan necklaces, a currently popular style of chunky, statement neckwear and a cousin of the collar neck piece. As the name suggests, it is designed to fan out and is therefore, an excellent choice for breaking up a wide area of skin when wearing low necklines. It also can create a little drama worn over a high, plain neckline. The style has origins in tribal, African jewellery and other ethnic cultures including Native American, Amazonian, Aztec, Egyptian and more. The fan shape in this carnelian necklace is created with petal-like stones, drilled laterally at the top.


Ireland is a land associated with Folklore and Fairies, so they naturally belong in my collection.You can find 2 types of Fairies (and/or angels) in my inventory; larger sea glass ornaments and smaller, beaded charms or pendants.
sea glass fairy angel ornament or sun catcher
I wire wrap more unusual sea glass fairies, which are a type of art doll or home decor and usable as sun catchers, Christmas ornaments and large pendants for adults. They are not suitable as toys or as pendants for children but do make pretty nursery decorations to hang out of reach. 

Genuine sea glass has been tumbled, smoothed and frosted by the ocean over several decades. I believe the wire work should be just as aesthetic as the glass without overwhelming it. I have developed my skills to create a style of wrapping that is lightweight and pretty in appearance but very secure. This shows off the glass and makes for very light and airy looking sea glass fairies.

Irish belief in fairies goes back to, at least, Celtic times and is much more complex than our love of whimsy and story telling.  I found this interview with Dr Jenny Butler, Folklorist and Lecturer, very interesting from a social history point of view. Be aware, it's not short, so pop the kettle on.



or by letter:
A  B  C  (plus C for Crimping D E

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fresh Greens. Connemara Marble and Irish Sea Glass

Handmade by Amo'r Etsy store recently got a fresh injection of green as it was running low on Connemara marble  and other lush verdes.

rare, Connemara marble pendant
Found only in the West of Ireland, Connemara marble is unique to our island. This ancient stone is over 600,000,000 years old and comes in a wide range of greens from the palest whitewash, through the limes, grasses and sages to the darkest forest green. Often, you will  find several shades in the marbling, even on the smallest specimen. To read a fuller article I previously wrote on this native, Irish stone click HERE


This is a rare piece of Connemara marble cut into a coin shape. It reminded me of my photo, taken in Lough Dan, Wicklow. So when looking for a matching round bead, I carefully selected one with brown veining to gently represent the distant mountains. Naturally, I had to name the finished pendant  'Wicklow'

kelly green, Irish  sea glass pendant

Bringing in a more intense, kelly green, I also recently listed the above sea glass pendant wrapped in silver wire. Sea glass usually changes in colour intensity according the light source so it can be a bit chameleon-like.

 'Ocean Jewel' is made from genuine sea glass found on a Dublin shore. It is fully frosted so must have been tumbling in the water for a few decades at least. It is part of  a bottle neck. I wonder was it beer or wine?  If it came from a beer bottle, then it is quite possibly, close to 100 years old. 
(Borrowing from my own previous post about sea glass bottle necks) 'Around 1930 it was discovered that brown glass did a better job of preserving beer and so green glass was discontinued for this purpose. Yes, we use green bottles again today as we have better refrigeration and nowadays beer rarely needs to be stored for a terribly long time at that. However, if this were a modern piece of sea glass it would be smoother, with very little of the tell-tale, crystalline frosting that occurs only after decades in the sea.'

The genuine 'crusty' frosting appears only after a long period of time exposed to the ocean water. It leeches the soda and lime creating the more opaque appearance. While smooth frosting can be faked in a tumbler, the 'C' shaped pitting in the surface cannot. Whether this rim was from a beer or wine bottle it has been in the sea for an extended period. 

I'm  slowly replenishing my stock of Connemara marble earrings. I try to have a few different styles in my Etsy shop at any given time. 

And coming soon, something a little bit different....
Connemara marble star earrings

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am thrilled to have been included. Thank you!

Thank you Joelle of Joelle's Emporium for this atmospheric treasury, 'Dark Green.' I'm delighted to see my Connemaraa marble pendant featured.

A big thank you to Rosalba of Dream Up Graphic for this cool blue treasury Giro D'Italia- Thanks Ireland!! This was made in rapid response to my Etsy Ireland meets Etsy Italia treasury. Thank you  so much for including my blue earrings. It's really nice to get a reciprocal treasury for the team.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Under The Dandelion Clock,. Caught My Eye.#28

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. 

Last time I posted under the heading Caught My Eye, I had slid my wee cannon camera under a yellow dandelion and taken a shot as if from an insect's perspective. (Click Here to see it.) Not being able to see what I was capturing in the frame, it was a pot luck shot. When out walking from Bray to Greystones this weekend, I decided to try it again from under one of the many wispy dandelion 'clocks'. The seed head is so light and barely there, I had no idea if I was going to pick up anything at all.
Nature is amazing, isn't it? The structure vaguely reminds me of an upturned jellyfish I once saw on the shore. As it's not a super crisp masterpiece, I couldn't help but mess around with the image afterwards - the digital equivalent of doodling for inspiration:

I doubt I will be using any of these photos as inspiration for my jewellery, but perhaps they will inspire a reader in some other craft. The last one looks like a pompom. Haven't made one of those in years. I've seen them used as keychain ornaments and earrings etc, but personally, I'd rather wire wrap a bit of sea glass.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries May Come...

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am thrilled to have been included. Thank you!

There's a fresh and colourful, early summer feel to these treasuries that I've been lucky enough to be featured in this week:

Thanks so much Leilani of Gypsydancers for this tasteful homage to  Hibernia 'Out of Ireland.' I'm honoured you chose to include my Connemara marble pendant. Hmm...intrigued by that Baileys scented oil.....

Thanks Aggie of Aggie's Handmade for this very pretty pastel list, Watercolour Romance, which feels very much like May is here.  I'm thrilled to see my eyeglass chains with all these gorgeous goodies.

Thank you too, Intercontinental Alien, for including my Connemara marble disk pendant in this local list, 'Love Nature - Love Ireland.' Well, I love this!! Great to see you promoting Irish Etsy shops too.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Something Blue

May heralds the beginning of summer in this part of the world so I thought I'd welcome it in with some fresh Summery jewellery using faceted, Austrian crystals in pale sapphire blue. The crystals are the same shade but look slightly different in each photo as the intensity of the blue depends on the light. Both pairs of earrings are perfect for a summer bride or for her bridesmaids. But of course, you don't have to be getting married to treat yourself to these ear candies. You will wear them all year round to any occasion, day or night.
blue crystal and white pearl earrings
The first, 'Yours Forever', is a simpler pair, matching the stunning crystals with white, freshwater pearl and Czech glass seed beads in a baby blue. These dainty earrings are very discreet and suitable to wear to work once the honey moon or summer vacation is over.
Blue crystal and clear topaz earrings
The second 'Yours Truly' are matched with tiny, clear topaz gemstones and solid pewter, hexagonal beads. The wrapping and hooks are a little more elaborate. If you can't decide which you prefer, if your dress is very simple, I'd go for these ones. 

If you are getting married this summer, I wish you every luck on the day and in the future.


Blue chalcedony earrings.  Turquoise dangle earrings.  Blue flash labradorite earrings

Thursday, May 1, 2014

E is for Earrings, Emerald, Eyeglass Chains...

We've reached the letter E in my ABC of jewellery making. This is a not-so-comprehensive guide to jewellery materials, tools and techniques I use as well as design influences. E is for Eyeglass chains and Earrings of course. It is also for Emeralds (well, of the Swarovski kind) and how could I forget, my Etsy store!!
E is for Earrings and recently I went on a bit of an earring making binge so have plenty of ear candy listed or coming soon. I bead and wire wrap mostly short and medium length dangles though I sometimes have fun with big earrings. I always use solid .925 sterling silver hooks, never silver plate. On occasion solid copper is featured. I have a nickel allergy myself, though can tolerate some plated silver pendants, but my earlobes always know the difference. Therefore I choose nickel-free or hypoallergenic hooks for my customers.

If you are unsure about the metal when buying earrings online always ask the seller first and stick with reliable sellers with good feedback or customer reviews. Sterling silver hooks are usually hallmarked with  .925, which refers to the minimum amount of real silver in the metal (92.5%.) Fine silver (.999) is purest. Here is a good silver purity guide from Wiki - but don't forget to come back to me! Of course, people vary in the metals that they can or can't tollerate. There are other hypoallergenic and/or low nickel metals such as argentium, surgical stainless steel etc. Sometimes it can be a matter of trying out what works for you as an individual.

 Click here a peek at the Earring Section of my shop.
Connemara marble and Emerald Swarovski Crystal earrings
Emerald is a precious stone I'm afraid I do not use. Mostly, I work with semi precious gems, Irish marble, sea glass and pearls (but not the 4 precious stones which are diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire.)  But I do use Emerald Swarovski crystals and that counts. Right?  This rich green and sparkly crystal is a stunning match for Connemara marble.

Blue Eyeglass Leash. Beaded Lanyard for Spectacles or Sunglasses.
Blue and russet, beaded eyeglass chains
E is also for Eyeglass chains...and the Elastic ends on them too, for that matter. From time to time I get a yen to bead one. I fess up I do tend to complicate it for myself by creating a tedious pattern. I say tedious because you need to concentrate hard when beading a pattern, and by its very nature, beading can relax me so much I forget what I'm doing and lose count! More than once I discovered the next day that I'd made a wee mistake and had to start over again. So I've learned never to bead a long string like this above when I'm tired!
I was recently asked to make these special eyeglass chains based on the Emerald Isle itself - or to be more specific, based on the colours of the earthy landscapes of Ireland. The dash of purple is meant to represent heather, which grows abundantly in the bogs and hills. You can read more about this project HERE.

I shall leave the letter E at the door to my Etsy Store. Perhaps you'd like to pop in and see what's new?


or by letter:
A  B  C  (plus C for Crimping )  D