Thursday, August 30, 2012

Treasury Time Again

I've been away a few days on a much awaited short break in Rosses Point, Sligo, hence the 'silence' on my blog since last week. But I've come back refreshed and full of creative ideas and can't wait to get down to a bit of wire wrapping.

Time to share a few Etsy Treasuries once more and to say a big Thank You to those lovely Etsy colleagues from around the globe who featured my items.

Thank you Elettra of  Elettrarossa for this very elegant collection of 'Little Things' and for including my Spanish Citrine Charm with all these pretty little luxuries.

What a cute collection by Ekaterina of  Baikal Graphics ! Thanks for including my lava earrings in your treasury titled August 22.

And once again, Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet has been kind enough to include me in one of her many wonderful treasuries. I cannot thank her enough for featuring me time and again. I am honoured to see my seaglass fairy bookmark with all the cute back to school items n 'Tick tock - Time for School!'

Back to school is big on Etsy at this time of year. Thank you too, Raphaele of LaCreature and you for including my red bookmark in 'Some of my Favourite Things: reading and writing.' Plenty of eye-catching items in this collection to help you prepare for college!

And here is one I made myself to promote the European Street Team, of which I am a member.
 'Shades to Come' was inspired on two shades from Pantone Fashion tones for 2012: Rhapsody and French Roast.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crafty Co-operation

They've arrived! 
I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of some new handmade supplies: 18 inch, cotton crochet chains to hang my seaglass and sea pottery pendants

 Last month I mentioned I was experimenting with samples my Etsy colleague and friend, Mo of Huggle Knits had made up for me. I wore one of the chains with various pendants for a couple of weeks to see how it felt and if it would stretch. It is really comfortable and lightweight and has kept its shape, though I have only tried it on seaglass and also button pendants, not heavier gemstones.

I used one of the samples to hang this pretty, teal seaglass pendant. The seaglass necklace sold very quickly to a lovely lady in the USA. 

The samples worked well so I decided to order a bunch of brown and black in hypoallergenic cotton. They arrived on Tuesday, all wrapped up in a little red crochet rose. Thanks Mo!

Each has its own cute mini button, easy to use and very secure.
I found the button sits snugly on the nape of my neck. I forgot it was there in fact.
Irish Sea Pottery Necklace
I used one of the chocolate brown chains to hang this sea pottery pendant, 'Storm in a Teacup,' which I listed in my Etsy Store today. I hope it finds a happy home somewhere.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

30 Shades of Pale

There really seem to be several shades of pale when it comes to seaglass. Here is a glimpse at some of the lighter and whiter pieces I have been wire wrapping recently: I have not played with the colour in the photos.  All the specimens were found on Dublin beaches.
 Pale aqua and seafom seaglass pendants  

None of the above are exactly 'white seaglass' as they all boast aqua or seafoam undertones. The greenish, seafoam shade is caused by the iron content of the sand used to manufacture the original glass. Though I often see very pale shades like the one on the left being called seafoam, I wonder if 'white-washed' wouldn't be a bit more accurate.

The second from the left has more than a tinge of  bluey-green to it, which comes up even deeper and richer in low lighting.  

White seaglass ornaments or pendants

Above are examples of true white seaglass for comparison purposes. If you'll grant me one pun, the difference is clear.

To learn about shades of BLUE seaglass click: HERE
To learn about shades of GREEN seaglass click: HERE

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August Etsy Treasuries

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

 Thank you Iza of Szalonaisa's Wonderland for featuring my green and black necklace, Bewitched, in this lush, green treasury, Shades of Green.

I love the theme of this treasury, 'A New Lease of Life' nicely put together by Aisling Designs. Thanks so much for including my button pendant in there with these wonderful, upcycled goodies.
A massive thanks to Lynn Corrigan for featuring my items so frequently in her treasuries and this week she has been so kind to feauture me in two:  'Walking into Autumn with my Friends' is simply gorgeous. Thanks for featuring my carnelian heart earrings.....
....and thank you also Lynn for feauturing my unisex seaglass pendant in 'Still Playing on the Beach.' . I agree, Summer is not over yet...especially as we are still waiting for it to start here in Ireland! 
Brigitte of Purls of Colour is also still holding onto summer. Thanks for including my beach glass pendant in this light and bright treasury, 'Clinging to Summer as long as I can.'

And finally, here is one I made myself to promote fellow members of the international Top Treasury Team:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Simon the Etsy Gecko Moves On

Recently, I've played host to Simon the travelling gecko. It's hard to understand or explain how a wee plush toy has come to be such an important figure among the Etsy Ireland Team, but he has. He is part ambassador for the team, part mascot and in more grown-up terms, I guess he's a marketing tool.

 He is the ward of Carrie, owner of Cherry Blossom Tattoo. Last year she sent him on a voyage of discovery and he has travelled far and wide visiting Etsy people and checking out their work. (Read about his beach combing trip with me by clicking HERE) .
Before waving farewell as he moved onto the next leg of his journey, Simon did one more thing for me by introducing me to a fellow team member. Next in line to host the little fella is Karo of Karoart. I was about to post him off to her, when I realised she lived about 10 or 15 minutes walk away. We decided to meet up so I could hand over Simon in person (he gets a bit travel sick in the post anyway) and so we could have a chat about our work and Etsy. We each took along a sample of our art. Karo showed me the beautiful bowl in the picture. For more of Karo's ceramic bowls click HERE.  No doubt, Simon will have a very interesting time and will get to see how these bowls and other artwork are made.

Farewell Simon and thanks for introducing me to another member of the team!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

More Fairies Listed

This summer I introduced whimsical fairy ornaments and buttterfly and angel charms into my Etsy shop. This week a few new ones have fluttered in:
This pink butterfly fairy charm is made with real coral. She comes on a cell phone charm and can be hung on your bag, used as a zip pull or ornament or attached to your rear view mirror.

This larger, cobalt blue fairy or angel is just as versatile. She would make a stunning sun catcher too as the light really picks out the deep sapphire of the vintage glass beads. She comes on a rubber tie for hanging, but I can remove it if you prefer to use your own ribbon or to wear her as a pendant.
And this seaglass butterfly fairy is very special as she is made with vintage, Irish seaglass that I picked up on the shore here in Dublin. Again, she can be used as an ornament, sun catcher, rear view mirror charm or worn as a pendant.

Watch this spot as more will fly in over the next couple of months......

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Aslan!

I'm straying completely away from Handmade crafts, seaglass and all the usual stuff that makes up my blog to wish a Happy Birthday to Aslan. These 5 lads from Finglas are one of the best bands ever to come out of Dublin, and possibly the best live band, in my opinion and I reckon I'm not alone in that. Last night they brought the house down at the Olympia theatre, celebrating 30 years of honest, rock music. Go on ya good things!
 A loyal fan of the band since I first saw them live in a Dublin pub back in the early 90s it was a night I wasn't going to miss. And they didn't disappoint. Tight as ever they played with the passion always associated with Aslan. They had us all in the palm of their hands as we sang along and lifted the roof right off the theatre. In the words of lead singer, Christy Dignam himself, it was 'Rapid'!

Hit after hit, sung soulfully by Christy, pulled at our heartstrings. Though Crazy World has got to be their best known and loved song, it's truly hard to pick a favourite. I'm already in love with every single track on their new album, Nudie Books and Frenchies. For the first time ever at any gig by any artist, I had hoped to hear a generous helping of the new material as well as the old, treasured anthems. The band got the balance right and it was a night to remember for a long time to come. I hope they enjoyed their birthday as much as we did.
Now if you will allow me a tongue-in-cheek moment, I'd like to pinch one of my favourite golden oldies, Chains, and make it an unofficial anthem for jewellery making ;-p

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Upturned Roots. Caught My Eye 7

Caught My Eye is the section of my blog that I reserve for scenes that struck me as curious, comical, weird, or aesthetically appealing when out and about on one of my rambles.
Up-turned tree near Powerscourt Waterfall
 This up-turned tree displayed its roots from an unusual angle. I'm not sure I will be using it as inspiration for any of my jewellery, as my wire work tends to be a bit lighter and airier than this, but it just caught my eye as a natural object of beauty and curiosity.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this photo is that is wasn't raining! In fact it didn't rain at all that day ( Sunday 22 July); a truly rare occurrence this summer. My photos of nearby Powerscourt Waterfall didn't turn out brilliantly, but I will none-the-less, share them in a future post for my blog section, 'Inspiring Hill Walks and Rambles'

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Seaglass Pendants in Progress

I've finally had a chance to sit down and wire wrap some of the seaglass and beach pottery I found on the shore last month. Here are some of the pieces I have been working on.
Wire wrapped seaglass and sea pottery from Dublin

 When wrapping seaglass I rarely set out with a pre-determined pattern in mind. I prefer to let the nuances of each piece show the way. Sometimes I am surprised with the result. Some nuggets can present a real challenge and I may decide to study the curves and contours of the seaglass first and plan a way to go. Of course, it rarely goes exactly as planned as each bit of glass is unique.
Olive green, beer brown and dark teal seaglass pieces
 The real challenge is to capture the piece tightly without covering up too much of the glass.  It can be tricky to get the pendant to look light and airy and to keep the wrapping neat and attractive at the same time as secure. I confess that there are times that it doesn't work and I have to carefully cut the wire away so as not to mark or scrape the surface and then I have to start all over again.

There is little or no margin for error when it comes to wrapping beach-worn pottery, however. It is so easy to mark or damage sea-tumbled porcelain and tile as it can be relatively soft and even 'chalky'.  If I'm not 100% happy with the result I have to live with it rather than risk damaging the piece by starting all over. Tweaking and nudging the wire to tighten it can also be very tricky, like walking a tightrope. One wrong move and it looks wrong or worse, you've scraped the surface. It might look simple and easy but it takes a lot of patience and practice.

Watch this space for more seaglass and beach pottery pendants coming soon!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Recent Etsy Treasuries


I haven't made a treasury in a few weeks so I put together this list of items by the Crafty Ireland Team and called it Blowing Hot and Cold. I guess I was thinking of the Irish summer.

Thank you to fellow Etsy peeps for featuring my work in their recent Etsy treasuries:

I love this nautical theme! Thank you Puffin Patchwork for featuring my unisex seaglass pendant in your beautiful list, 'Seawashed'.

Thankyou Meynenz from Turkey for this beautiful collection, 'Pines on the River.' I am honoured to see my brown gemstone necklace in there with all these chic items.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Simon the Gecko goes Beach Combing

Simon the travelling gecko is the ward of Carrie. He has spent the last year or so visiting Etsy people to see what they are up to. Most recently, he has been a guest at my home. Here is the second installment of his stay with me. Click Here to jump to Carrie's blog post about Simon's beach combing trip:
Simon goes beach combing

Monday, August 6, 2012

Not My Granny's Teapot

Just listed this brown sea pottery pendant in my Etsy store. This is another one of the pieces that I plucked from a shore near Dublin recently. The changeable weather has washed up lots and lots of beach treasure along the coastline. Yesterday was so wet I didn't feel like going out so I stayed in and wire wrapped several pendants, including this one:
brown sea pottery pendant

It does look awfully like a dinner service set my Granny had. I assure you it's not. My Mum is the custodian of said china and I doubt very much that she hauled it to the coast and chucked it in the sea!  I'm sure the pattern will be familiar to a lot of Irish and English people. The piece has no sharp edges and I'd say it's been tumbling in the Irish Sea for a few decades. I can't help but wonder whose kitchen it might have come from.
sea pottery from Ireland
 This is another piece of brown pottery with what may have been a floral pattern. The swirly design I made fills in a blank spot where the pattern is completely missing. The swirls represent the movement of the sea.  This piece is more 'chalky' and faded than the larger one above. I reckon it is twice as old. Very worn sea pottery found in these parts is often 100 years old or much more.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Teal Seaglass Pendant. A Little Help From My Friends

Recently I was out beach combing for seaglass and beach pottery near Dublin with my talented friends, Mo of Huggle Knits and Heli of Heli MG. Click HERE to read about our day out.
Teal seaglass pendant, BREEZE
 Here is the first of the pieces that I made from my haul of pirate treasure.  'Breeze' is pale teal seaglass pendant. The seaglass is a piece of an old bottle neck. The sea has tumbled it nicely, softening the edges and leaching it of minerals, achieving natural frosting. It is a beautiful bluey-green colour, one of the rarer finds in beach glass.

Our day turned out even more fruitful as I may have found a new way to hang my pendants. When not using sterling silver chains, I hang the more affordable, seaglass necklaces and button pendants on rubber, cotton or suedette cords but I wanted to try something different.

When Mo was showing us one of her new crochet necklaces, I had a Eureka moment and asked her would she make me a few crochet chains as an experiment.  She sent me a few different types and colours and I have been testing and playing around with them ever since. I decided to try out this black wool chain on 'Breeze' pendant and added a satin-covered button to complete the necklace.  Mo and I will be discussing fibers and options etc. I'd love to hear your opinions please?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Herby Ice Cubes

Fresh garden herbs. Own photo
My Mum has a fantasic herb garden. In fact, it's overflowing with all sorts of aromatic greenery and she always gives me huge bunches to take home.  

I have childhood memories of bundles of herbs and flowers hanging upside down in the attic for months. They would dry in the warmth and would then go into sterilised jam jars for use in the winter. But did you know you can get super fresh herbs out of season by freezing them in their own little ice cubes?
Simply chop them up and fill up the compartments of an ice cube tray. Then top up with water and freeze like an ordinary ice cube.

rosemary ice cube. Own photo
Et voila! Take one out before you start to cook. The ice will melt quickly and the tasty rosemary is ready for that chicken dish. The herbs will be as fresh as the day they were frozen.

More handy hints:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Connemara Marble Charm

Just listed on Etsy: Connemara marble charm, a small piece of Ireland to treasure.
Connemara marble Celtic charm

Attach this Celtic charm to your phone or handbag. Hang it on the wall, or on your Christmas tree. Perhaps you'd prefer to tie it on your rear view mirror. Made with genuine, natural Irish Connemara marble, it will remind you of Ireland. Connemara marble is a rare stone mined only in the wilds of West Ireland. This charm was handmade by me in Dublin. Connemara marble symbolises serentity, calm and luck.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fun Piece of Sea Pottery

I promised to show more pics of the seaglass and beach pottery I picked up a few weeks ago on a Dublin strand.  I laughed when I found this piece of sea-worn porcelain:
What a wonderful phrase to find! I am pretty sure I will wrap this as a unisex pendant. It would make a fun gift for father's day or on graduation day perhaps.