Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lone Flower. Caught My Eye 6

Caught My Eye is the section of my blog that I reserve for scenes that struck me as curious, comical, wierd, or aesthetically appealing when out and about on one of my walks.
wild flower on Howth cliff path
 I'm not a photographer and have neither the skills nor fancy camera to capture them as well as I would like. I find that taking my humble 'point and shoot'  with me on a hike makes me open my eyes wider and really notice what is around me.  For all the other non-photographers out there, I'm sharing these glimpses to enjoy them for what they are. Perhaps they will inspire you to open your eyes wider too.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shades of Blue Seaglass

Blue is one of the rarer shades of seaglass, especially the darker or more unusual varieties. On Dublin shores it can be quite hard to find decent blue beach glass,  including cobalt. I have mostly found the very tiny pieces that are beautiful for mosaics or display purposes, but too small to wrap in wire.

 Cobalt seaglass and sterling silver pendant (sorry, SOLD to a friend)

 I gather that historically, white, brown and green glass have been more commonly manufactured in Ireland. Indeed, cobalt is a shade associated more with imported sherry bottles or perfume and apothecary vials. Having said that, it was around, if to a lesser extent. For example, a common staple in Irish medicine cabinets would have been  Milk of Magnesia and the original bottles were made of cobalt glass up until the mid 70s.

I wonder if this very weathered, and obviously old, chunk came from a bottle of this traditional laxative or perhaps from a vial of scent or a decorative piece of tableware? The piece is too rugged for jewellery making, but I may use it for an interesting keyring.
If purchasing seaglass, beware of fakes or at least be aware that 'tumbled' does not mean it was found on the shore.  Natural seaglass that has been leached and frosted by the sea for decades is more uneven in texture and usually has tell-tale 'c' shapes etched into it by natural weathering.
artificially tumbled seaglass ie. Fake seaglass
This piece was given to me by wonderful lady in the US. It was sold to her as 'tumbled glass', which is exactly what it is; smoothed artificially in an electric tumbler. It is smooth and even the whole way round and if you were to study it beside a piece of seaglass from the shore you would see with the naked eye and also feel the difference. Because of its rarity, cobalt glass is one of the more frequently shades of seaglass to be tumbled artificially. 
I found this medium sized piece recently when out beach combing with fellow Etsy friends. The shade is somewhere between paler cobalt or sapphire and darker cornflower blue. It is frosted through, but is still a little smooth so perhaps it is only a few decades old. I haven't captured the natural frosting very well on camera, but I can still feel and see the difference between this piece and the fake one above. 
natural cobalt seaglass from Ireland
This is a really stunning piece of cobalt glass I picked up the same day. The ridges will make it fun to wrap. The natural frosting is very clear. It must be quite old. Sealgass this frosted can be 100 years old or more.
I recently sold this pendant made with pale blue seaglass. The glass possibly came from a very old 'clear' glass artefact that is so thick it appears aqua blue. Minerals in the sand used to make the glass can cause colourful effects. Iron, for example, gives a greeny-blue  or 'seafoam' hue to glass.

rare shades of blue seaglass found in Dublin
These three beauties were really special finds. The one on the left is a very rare shade of petrol blue. The back is only mildly frosted but it is still, technically frosted through. It just hasn't been in the sea quite as long as the others. 

The one in the middle is a gorgeous shade of cornflower, also quite rare, especially in these parts. It's a little small, but I will still be able to wrap it. It just might take a little clever wire work to show off its beauty.  
Rare seaglass piece with faint letters DUBL

The piece on the right is a very popular shade of aqua blue that I also found a couple of weeks ago. I only discovered after taking this shot, that the underside has almost invisible letters on it. I thought at first it was a number but moving it around the shade, as opposed to the light, I can make out ''DUBL' - from the word DUBLIN I guess!  It is really hard to see, as if it were invisible ink on paper, so I almost missed it entirely. It is like a secret code, that I have had difficulty capturing on camera. I had to sharpen up the image and play around with contrast to get it on film. Elusive as the letters are, this is a very exciting find indeed!

I am still cleaning, studying and photographing the beach-worn pottery and seaglass from my recent trip to the shore and will share more pieces of interest as I get to them.
seaglass bookmark
I will of course be wrapping many of the pieces into jewelry, bookmarks and keyrings so watch my Etsy shop for these!

To purchase seaglass jewelry and accessories click here  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More July Treasuries

Thank you so much to fellow Etsy members who made these recent treasuries and for featuring one of my items:

Don't you wish it could be Christmas every day? Thanks Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet for feauturing my Connemara marble star in this Christmas in July collection, 'Christmas Ornaments from Around the World.'

 Thank you Nancenet Designs for this ecclectic mix of Irish art and handcrafts, Ireland's Got Everything. (And it has!) I'm honoured to see my button pendant in there with all these wonderful goodies.

I love the atmosphere in Storm Crows by Puffin Patchwork. Thanks for including my Irish seaglass pendant in this Crafty Ireland team treasury.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Beach Treasure.

 I've just reaslised that my joy at wire wrapping seaglass jewellery may have surpassed my love of gemstones. 
(Irish seaglass bookmark)
Capturing a nugget of irregular shape tightly, but prettily, presents a unique challenge. The aim is to make it secure without covering up too much of the frosted glass. 

I prefer the piece to look light and effortless; not easy when you don't follow standard wrapping patterns. Each piece holds its own secret and provides a new puzzle to solve. Sometimes I study the contours and bumps of the nugget carefully and work out a vague design before I start. Just as often, I let the piece show me the way as I go. I am often surprised by the results.

(lime seaglass pendant - SOLD ITEM)

Part of the joy is knowing that this is recycled treasure that is decades old. The heavily frosted pieces can be over 100 years of age. 

 (Willow pattern sea pottery - sorry, also SOLD)

 Beach-worn pottery can also be fascinating. It's usually local and I've read that most sea pottery found in these parts pertains to the 19th and 18th centuries.  (I have an inkling that would exclude the terracotta tile and most certainly, the sea-softened red brick pieces!)

(plastic comb spotted on a pebble beach...did somebody take it literally?)

And then there's the beach combing. It's highly addictive and can leave you bent over in two with a sore neck for a day or two. But the rewards are worth it if you find something that is fully frosted with no sharp edges. Once in a blue moon you might find a rare or exceptionally beautiful piece.


Last weekend I met up with Mo of Huggle Knits and Heli of HeliMG for a day out searching for beach treasures. I was looking for rare and beautiful pieces I could wrap.

Mo was seeking out small and dainty pieces of seaglass and tile to use in mosaics and other projects. Heli was searching for anything lovely or unusual, perhaps for table decor or the garden. (CLICK HERE for an idea for a candle display.)

If I tell you exactly where we went, I'm afraid I might have to kill you. Serious beach combers tend to jealously guard their favourite strands and coves and keep them secret. However, location isn't necessarily the most important factor in this pass time. It's not so much where you search as  when you go.

The day after a stormy night is best as the choppy sea will probably have washed up a lot of bounty. For once, the Irish weather did me a favour. As you can see, I yielded a massive haul. Once I have it all properly cleaned up and dried I will show you the best bits. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Simon the Travelling Gecko...a little Etsy Ireland Nuttiness

Click on the photo to jump to Cherry blossom Tattoo's blog and read about Simon the Travelling Gecko's arrival in Dublin. Perhaps we've all gone mad, but this little fella seems to bring out the inner child in anyone who has hosted him.....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Alien Planet? Caught My Eye 5

Last month on Howth Cliffs I came across a brush fire near the Bailey Lighthouse .  A fortnight ago I returned to the lower cliff path for another walk. The firebrigade had got the fire under control and it seems that a relatively small section of the shrubbery burned away in the end. The charred remains are somewhat spooky. The terrain is almost like an alien planet.

The living, bright green ferns make a very striking contrast against the blackened vegetation. As you can see from the colour of the sea in the distance (on a dull day), I have not ramped up the colours to exhaggerate how it looks.
I was a bit startled to find this photo on my camera. Perhaps I had been abducted by aliens up to their space craft after all?? Or maybe I just shoved my camera in my pocket while it was still on.....

For more curious, , funny or artistically beautiful scenes, oddities etc that caught my eye click HERE

Friday, July 13, 2012

July Treasuries

Thank you so much to fellow Etsy members who made these recent treasuries featuring one of my items:

Thank you yet again to Lynn Corrigan of Lynn's Creative Crochet for Red Moon Rising treasury. Thanks so much for featuring my flame necklace in this hot hot hot collection.

Thank you Mandy of Siog Designs for this lush purple treasury , aptly named Purple Purple Purple, and for incuding my berry coloured, stone pendant.

And also a big thank you to Agnieska of Good Moments for this ecclectic, Irish mix 'Simply Unique.' I am honoured to see my red tiger eye pendant featured among these quality, handmade goods.

Thank you Pat of  Pat's Paraphernalia for featuring my seaglass bookmark in 'The Celtic Man'. Cool idea for a treasury!

 And I just love the seafoam colours of 'Though the Sea be Soothes the Soul' by Jules Vernon Vintage. Thank you for including my Irish seaglass pendant.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Green & Black Necklace 20% OFF

Quickie update. I just added this green and black gemstone and sterling silver necklace to the Christmas in July Sale

'Bewitched' necklace 20% off this month. Usual price: €30 ($36.70 on July 11th 2012). Now €24

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Inspirations. Bohernabreena Reservoir

Hiking, trail walking, rambling, hill. walking...whatever you prefer to call it, it's something I've been doing a lot of this past year. I'm very lucky to live in Dublin, which has many great walks within easy reach of the city providing a wide variety of scenery. I've trundled up hills, across cliffs and around lakes in the past few months, getting creative inspiration from nature as I try to get fit.
The smaller reservoir at Bohernabreena
 I find the fresh air, exercise and closeness to nature very refreshing. The beautiful Irish landscapes fire my creativity. Water, whether it be from sea, lake, river or canal, particularly inspires many of my designs.

 A couple of weeks ago I explored the Bohernabreena Reservoirs with a friend. I haven't been there since I was about twelve. I hadn't realised just how close the lakes are to the city so will go back again and again.

 To get there from the city centre, I took the 49 bus to the Old Mill Pub, Tallaght.  There I met up with a friend who led me on a 10 minute walk up the Kiltipper Road to, most unexpectedly, the Kiltipper Woods Care Centre (nursing home)! It turns out though, the centre's coffee shop, Cafe Woods, is open to walkers and passers-by so it's a handy little pitt stop.

The trail starts from here with a path that takes you straight through Kiltipper Park and out on to the Bohernabreena Road, almost opposite the car park for the Bohernabreena Waterworks at Glenasmole Valley. Turn right when you come out of the park and walk just a hundred yards or so and you will see the entrance. (If you're not used to country roads, take care to walk against the traffic as far in off the road as you can as there is no path. The road is not as quiet as it seems.)

The path takes you up to a smaller reservoir first and then on to the larger reservoir. The brown tinge of the water is caused by peaty soil. This is commonly found in rivers and lakes where there is bogland.

We took the tree-lined path to the left of the larger reservoir to follow the loop all the way around. Once you get to the upper end of the lake, you pass through a gate, turn right and walk a few yards to another gate. Here, you pick up the return path leading past both reservoirs and all the way back to the car park.

The river Dodder runs alongside this path. The peaty water is a striking chestnut brown colour and looks like a river of Guinness! It also reminds me of the colour of bronzite, an artificially weathered stone that looks like metal.

Bronzite pendant from my Fondelifair shop inspired by similar peaty waters of Lough Dan

Some jaspers can also be a rich, chestnut brown, like the stone in this brown jasper necklace found in my Etsy shop. After this walk, I made a friend a pair of earrings using similar stones. I have a small disc of bronzite that I want to fashion into a pendant, or perhaps a keyring, next.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Simon the Traveling Gecko

Yay he's here! Simon has finally arrived!

If you are not already acquainted, allow me to introduce Simon, the travelling gecko. Simon is the 'ward' of the wonderfully talented, Carrie of Cherry Blossom Tattoo. However, he set out from her home last year and has been travelling around Ireland and further afield, for several months, visiting Etsy artisans and artists to see what they are up to. Among the places he's visited are London, Finland and the USA. And now he's back in Dublin, visiting Handmade by Amo'r (eh, I guess that would be me so.) Here he is crawling out of his comfy sleeping bag, a bit jet lagged and shell shocked after his long trip. I hope he enjoys his stay and maybe he will pick up the basics of wire wrapping while he's here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Christmas in July

Each July Etsy shops can take part in a 'Christmas in July' sale. 
(Sold yesterday)
The concept of Christmas in July struck me as a bit bizarre when I first heard of it. Now I understand that it is an actual, unofficial holiday celebrated by fun-loving people, perhaps a little miserable that there are no or few official holidays in the summer in some parts of the world. (I guess we are lucky in Ireland so as we at least have the August Bank Holiday.)

I don't always take part but this year I have a few Connemara marble ornaments already made up, some lurking in the back of my shop, so I decided to take it literally and offer them at a reduced price this month only. 

 Sage green, Connemara marble star ornament with silver plate wire work. Original price: €13 (app $16 on July 8th 2012). Reduced by a little over 15% to €11. 

 Unique Connemara marble icicle ornament with silver snowflake detail. Art ornament. Original price: €17 (appr $21 on July 8th 2012) Reduced by 20% to €13.60.

 'Snowflake' Connemara marble Christmas ornament. Usual price on Etsy: €12.50 (app $15 on 8th July 2012). Sale price: €10.50 (sold 10/07/12 similar designs will be listed for real Christmas)

 The Christmas in July sale on Etsy continues until 22nd of the month. I will be adding more items to the sale shortly, not all of them Christmas-themed.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Relax, Recharge with Crafty Ireland

 Yesterday evening I came back from overnight power break at a spa hotel just outside Dublin. I use the term 'power break' as I view this type of mini break much like a very extended power nap.  It's a chance to empty my head, relax tense muscles and clear out the ol' cobwebs. It's also an opportunity to spend quality time with close friends - an increasingly difficult thing to do as we get older and our lives get busier and busier.

Relax and enjoy this collection from Irish crafters that I put together on my return, wishing I could  have stayed for longer:
Relax, Destination Spa