Thursday, March 29, 2012


Two of my great passions are hill walking and jewellery making .  These two activities have absolutely nothing in common with each other, and yet one often inspires the other, which for me, makes them very much connected. Even just getting out of the city re-fires my creativity. I guess it's like a sorbet refreshing the palate.

I always take my camera out with me when rambling in the countryside. I can't lay claim to being in any way a decent photographer. I didn't even have the patience to read the instructions that came with my little Canon Ixus, though every now and again I fiddle around with the buttons and functions to see what happens. When I get back home and upload the photos, I often find I have captured a scene, a colour or a texture that sends me straight to my bead stash.

Here are some of my pics and the jewellery they inspired:

A good while back, a trip to Howth harbour and this little fella sparked off a nautical theme

These lobster pots seen the same day influenced me to buy some amazonite beads, used in these earrings

 Lough Tay and surrounding countryside led me to wire this piece of green seaglass, listed on Etsy

Lough Dan - the peaty water inspired me to bead up this bronzite stone into this brown pendant aptly named 'Autumn in Ireland.'

Vartry Resevoir, Roundwood inspired me to make some very Irish Jewellery for Paddy's Day

I'd love to hear what inspires other crafters?

For more posts about inspirations click here

Monday, March 26, 2012

Preventing Tarnish on Sterling Silver (tips 3)

This is the 3rd in my series on quick tips for jewellery care. Today I am posting some snappy tips for preventing tarnish on Sterling silver.  I will look at cleaning methods another week.

Tarnish is a brownish discolouration on silver that is caused by sulphuric compounds in air. It can be accelerated by certain substances so avoid or minimise exposure to the following:

*Air pollutants such as smoke and fumes, including cigarette smoke, solid fuel and gas fumes.

*Chlorine in swimming pools etc.
*Lotions and potions including sun tan oil, hairspray, perfume etc. Let them absorb into your skin  first before putting on your bling.

*Certain materials such as newspaper, rubber (including rubber bands and latex gloves,) Cling film, Kitchen paper. Not recommended for storing any precious or semi precious metals!

 *Household chemicals including detergents and some paints.

A soap maker I know unwittingly ruined some sterling silver jewellery by wearing it while using lye (caustic soda.) Put your silver and silverware well away before using such chemicals.

 *Some foods such as egg yolk, vinegars, onions and dressings containing them. Some people     deliberately 'oxidise' their silver to give it an antique look by locking it in a plastic bag with an egg yolk for a few hours. I have never tried this so can neither endorse it nor advise against it until I have researched it. (I smell a future blog post...or is that just the egg  heheh?)

Store your silver jewellery to protect it against tarnish as best you can. It's not always a good idea to store it in the box it came in, if it is lined with dark coloured (eg black) flock or foam. In some cases, the dye in the insert can affect the silver if left in contact for long. This type of box is meant for gift presentation not long term storage. You could discard the insert and store the piece inside the box if you also wrap it in acid-free tissue first.

One of the best ways to store silver jewellery is to wrap in acid-free tissue and place in a soft cloth pouch or bag or tarnish resistant plastic baggie. Anti-tarnish strips can be purchased at your local jewellers and can be placed in the bag or in your jewellery box, but don't have them touch the silver and be sure to change them every few months. Follow the instructions on the pack.

As I need to store a lot of jewellery and silver supplies, I invested in tarnish prevention storage boxes with anti-tarnish dividers, available from craft stores and online suppliers. Shop around for the best value or watch out for sale times etc. Even a (clean) plastic lunch box will do if you place anti-tarnish strips in the box and wrap the items in acid-free tissue.

It may seem obvious, but do take off your jewellery regularly. It is not a good idea to wear a favourite piece constantly as it will get coated in sweat and soap scum plus you increase the risk of exposing it to damaging substances mentioned above. If you really do love it, when you take it off, give it a quick wipe with a dry, soft cloth before putting away.

How to Clean Silver Jewellery Quick Tips for Jewellery Care                 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Colour Me Etsy.

It's a beautiful, bright day in Dublin Ireland. I'd normally say that makes a change, but the winter has been so mild this year and the Spring sunshine has warmed us with soft, golden rays for most of this month. Long may it last!

I'm Irish and proud of it, but I think I've had my fill of green in the run up to St Patrick's Day. It appears you can have too much of a good thing! As an antidote to all that luscious 'glas' as we say in Irish, this morning I went in search of colour. Throughout Etsy there is no shortage of bold and bright, handmade creations, vintage goodies and supplies. All listings in the following collection are from the European Street Team, of which I am a member. Some are Irish, who, like me, are also part of the Crafty Ireland Team.

These past few weeks with the focus on Ireland and March 17th, I was really lucky to have my items featured in numerous Patrick's Day Treasuries. I'd love to thank everyone who featured me.

Lynn Corrigan in particular deserves a huge Etsy hug from me. Ever since this lovely US-based crafter with Irish roots purchased a gift from me, she has featured my items in several treasuries (member curated collections on Etsy.) I just can't thank her enough for her infinite goodwill. Here is her latest, beautiful treasury, which features my labradorite teardrop pendant among all these gorgeous handmade items. The cornflower and peacock blues with a hint of lime and yellow are fresh and fabulous!

So to thank her I would like to show off some colourful goodies from her Etsy shop, Lynn's Creative Crochet:

I'd also like to share this pretty treasury by Ava from Driftwood and Fossil. Thank you for featuring my Irish beach glass pendant in this stunning collection Ava. The soft colours capture the essence of Spring and Summer.

So let the sunshine in. Let's hope it's here to stay. I best get out there and enjoy it while I can.....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Esty Ireland Treasure Hunt, Go!


Don't forget to join in the fun no matter where you are. After all, as we say, Everyone is Irish on March 17th!
No matter where you are, you can join in and enter today's special Treasure Hunt run by Etsy Ireland. Just click on the logo above to hop over to the team blog and get cracking on the questions. 17 fabulous prizes are up for grabs, to be divided among 4 lucky winners in a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th prize.

Here's another peek at the handmade prize that I donated, worth €35, A Connemara marble and sterling silver pendant:

 May you have the luck of the Irish!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Button Up!

Though I've been working a lot with very Irish materials like Connemara marble and Irish beach glass lately, I've also been experimenting with buttons. They're fun and bright, readily available, and come in so many colours and sizes. The possibilities for pretty jewellery and accessories are endless.

 I had learned to make button rings on a wire-work course a couple of years ago, but after splitting my thumb in a silly accident, I had to put the ring mandrel aside for now as it is still too painful to press the wire tightly onto it with my thumb - a pretty essential technique. I still had loads of beautiful buttons to use up. This bright bookmark (listed in my Etsy shop) started out as a Christmas tree ornament, but I changed my mind midway.  It was the perfect size and weight for a jumbo shepherds hook I had in my stash. Besides, I figured the pretty buttons and flowers deserved to be seen all year round!

 Needing to introduce a few lower price points for a Christmas market in December, I wired up some pretty button pendants. They make great stocking stuffers, especially for teenagers and women who like girlie accessories. 'Trudi' is the first one to be listed in my other store on the Irish site, Fondelifair.  

'Jilly' is also now listed and more button jewellery will follow shortly. If all goes to plan I will be rolling out this young, fun and affordable line in my Etsy shop before the summer.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Re Etsy Ireland Treasure Hunt latest update

Hi there, first of all, the rules of the Etsy Ireland Treasure Hunt are now up on the team blog: Click here for an update on the Etsy Ireland aka Crafty Ireland Team blog

The photo is of the Connemara marble and sterling silver pendant that I donated as one of the prizes. 18 team members have donated handcrafted work, which will be divided among 4 lucky winners. 
 Just thought I'd give you a close up of the pendant. It is a very unique and modern, Irish, Statement pendant, yet is based on traditional, Celtic geometric design.  The triangular slab of Connemara marble is smooth and highly polished. It is a fabulous, natural mid green with pale grey and lime marbling. The stone was cut specially for me by a Galway artisan mason and is approx 1.5 inches long.

I formed the spiral using solid sterling silver wire, then hammered it for strength. All the metal components of  the pendant including the 18 inch chain are .925 sterling silver as stamped on the tag.  I incorporated clear moss agate beads into the links at the back.


This Celtic pendant was made especially for the treasure hunt. I am sure it will go to a good home. Be sure to enter the competition on the  Etsy Ireland blog on St Patrick's Day, March 17th! 

I will be listing similar (but not the same) pendants in my Etsy shop shortly. This short article about Connemara marble that I posted on my other, Fondelifair blog & Irish online store  may be of interest to you.

Wheeeee looking forward to March 17th!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Etsy Ireland Treasure Hunt

Is there treasure at the end of the rainbow? 

 Well for a few lucky winners there will be!

The Crafty Ireland team are organising a treasure hunt for St. Patrick's Day! 17 Etsy Ireland crafters, including me, are donating a prize. So follow the team blog and/or my blog for updates then join in the fun on Paddy's Day, March 17.

I'm not sure yet what I am donating to this game but will be making something special along the lines found in my Etsy store. Be sure to check back for updates before March 17th!

(And by the by, the photo is a real Irish rainbow, taken when I was hiking near Lough Dan, Wicklow last Autumn. Read about my inspirational hike to Lough Dan on my Fondelifair blog.)