Sunday, September 30, 2012

Caught My Eye 10 Green Slime

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. Please forgive my amateur photography and enjoy the photos for what they are - a glimpse at the world that I find so inspiring.
Who'd have thought green slime would be aesthetically appealing, but it can be such an amazing, luminous green, you'd think it were artificial.  I captured this shot ages ago on some rocks at Howth harbour. The moss looks like wool that has been dyed neon green...or has been shed by some poor alien :-)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Interesting Sea Glass

Here's another interesting piece of old seaglass I recently found on a shore near Dublin. I haven't quite worked out yet what it is and what is on it. It looks like part of some sort of crest with writing around the edges perhaps. That may be a motif of a shield on the right. I need to study it in different lights and with a magnifying glass to work it out. If I find anything of interest I will share it here. Or indeed, if anyone can shed some light on it, please do.

Click here to learn: How to clean Seaglass
Click here to see my seaglass jewelry and gifts for sale on Etsy

Sunday, September 23, 2012

How to Tie Adjustable Slip Knots

This weekend I was explaining to a friend how to tie an adjustable slip knot to hang a pendant and remembered I had posted a tutorial on it for the Etsy Ireland blog about two years ago. So I thought I'd redo the post here on my own blog:  This tutorial is a little hard to photo so I hope it's easy to follow.

This is a really simple project, easy enough for those of you who can't bead or wont bead and just want to hang a pendant, ID badge or charm. You can also apply this technique to make a bracelet.

First get a long piece of chord. I find that leather, suedette or waxed cotton tend to work best. Ribbon isn't great. You need something that has grip yet will allow the knot to slide. It needs to be long enough to fit over your head + 8 inches. About 32 inches is a decent, workable length if you are medium to plus sized. Some may need a shorter piece, or longer piece. Whatever works for you.
Hang your pendant or charm in the middle of the chord before tying the necklace. Place the two loose ends of the chord flat on the table as pictured then fold one end over the other as shown. 

 Now bring the loose end of the folded piece away from you, back under the other strands. Then wrap it back over the top of the strands, towards you again.

 Repeat this two or three times, wrapping the chord over itself, working towards the bend in the loop you've created (to the left in these photos.)
On the final wrap, bring the short loose end through the loop as in the photo.  (For simplicity's sake I have only wrapped a couple of times here, but an extra wrap would be more secure.)
Pull that short end through the loop, (to the left) while at the same time pulling the longer strand on the far side of the knot in the opposite direction. (Do it slowly to check you are pulling the correct two pieces! If the knot isn't tightening and only moves, then you are tugging the wrong long strand.) The knot should be tightening and look like this.

You should end up with something like this. Now tie the other side to create a second knot. Just mirror what you just did, working to the right this time. Then tighten that knot too.


Tada! Two knots that you can slide away from each other to shorten the chord once it is over your head and slide towards each other to lengthen.
You can trim the loose ends close to the knot, leaving a small piece free to ensure the knot's stability. Depending on what material you have used, you may seal the end to prevent fraying using clear nail varnish, a drop of glue or in the case of leatherette, by carefully singing it. (Caution!!! And not to be carried out by children). Do not get glue or varnish onto the knot itself or it wont slide.
I hung this turquoise blue stone and copper pendant, 'Temptress,' on a long length of brown suedette using this technique.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September Treasuries

A few more recent treasuries to share and say A BIG THANK YOU for:

 'Autumn #6' by Melasha Cat features stunning colours. A big thank you for including my green and black necklace, Bewitched in this cool mix.

 Thank you Lynn Corrigan for including my Kilkenny marble earrings (now sold) in your ecclectic collection titled 'Statement Piece.' It's a high compliment indeed.
I absolutely love the warming colour combo in Blood Red, Rich Cream, True Loveliness put together beautifully by Ellie Karuna Vintage. Thanks so much for including my button pendant.

Autumn Fashion, beautifully put together by Kurtulus of The Love Papers feautures a few unusual items. Go check it out! And thanks Kurtulus for incuding my Autumnal necklace, 'Nature.'

Here's one I put together myself to promote fellow members from the European Street Team, It's called 'Glowing Earth.'

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Killiney Caught My Eye 9

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. Please forgive my amateur photography and enjoy the photos for what they are - a glimpse at the world that I find so inspiring.

The sea close to Killiney, Dublin this summer. As for many an artist, writer or poet, the ocean always inspires me to get creative.

 The colour of the water was particularly gorgeous that day in August. It was a stunning shade of bluey-green I wouldn't normally associate with the formidable, dark Irish sea.

Aqua blue sea glass pendant from Ireland
We didn't spend long on the stony beach as the heavens were about to open. I found only one solitary piece of usable sea glass on the strand in the twenty minutes or so we were there. But it was of the rare, aqua blue variety, so worth it. Above is the pendant I made from it: aptly named 'Cool Water.'

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beautiful Things from Recycled, Found or Upcycled Objects

Much as I adore working with natural gemstones and in particular, Irish stones,  turning outdated, old or found objects into a thing of beauty can be really satisfying. Not only is it a very green and economically sound thing to do but it is also creatively fulfilling. You can do some very simple things with buttons, beach treasure, old broken jewelry etc.

From time to time I recycle old broken jewelry to make handbag charms, key chains etc. Most of the components of this brown mother of pearl and bead purse charm (sold) came from an old broken necklace.

Next time I'm making something like this I will post instructions.
butterfly button pendant

Stray buttons have lots of uses in jewellery and of course, for updating old outfits, handbags etc. I love to wire wrap them into pretty and affordable, button pendants.

plain black umbrella, personalised with a bright button

But one of the traditional and easiest ways to cheer up a tired-looking outfit is of course, to either embellish with colourful buttons or simply change the existing buttons to something more interesting

Last winter several of my work mates had similar black umbrellas and I kept picking up the wrong one. So I personalised mine by adding a pinky-purple button to the wrap-around tie.

While I was at it, I decided to drag out a simple black, zip up, wool coat that had seen better days and make it match my brolly.

As the original black buttons on the cuffs and neck were just a tad bigger, I decided to keep them and just stitch the purple ones on top. This 'frame' effect looks more finished and suits the heavy material better.  After a spot of dry-cleaning, this old coat has gleaned a whole new lease of life. 

 One of my favourite materials is seaglass, naturally tumbled and frosted by the sea and found on local beaches.

It's not always easy to wire wrap it so that it stays secure but remains beautiful, but getting it right can be so rewarding.

vintage seaglass keychain

Seaglass makes beautiful jewelry but I also use it for bookmarks and other gifts

And this week I listed an ornament or sun catcher that I made by upcycling a cool piece of beach-worn glass I found on a Dublin strand.  The sea and silt have softened up the edges of the glass, but I don't feel it is frosted heavily enough to truly classify as 'seaglass.' Hence the term 'beach-worn.' However, it is an aesthetically appealing find. The bubble-effect glass almost looks liquid when hung on a lit up Christmas tree. So-called trash can really turn into treasure
Candle holder made by recycling packaging and found seaglass

 You don't have to be very artistic to make beautiful things from found or upcycled objects. To see how to make the easy peasy candle holder above, click HERE.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Focus on Detail

I've just posted THE DIFFERENCE IS IN THE DETAIL 6 on the Crafty Ireland Team Blog.  It's the latest in this fortnightly series that highlights those special details in craft work, art, photography and also supplies or vintage items listed by fellow team mates. Why not go check it out, but don't forget to come back :-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bright Connemara Marble

Connemara marble, our native stone of Ireland, really does come in the so-called 'forty shades of green.' Having used this stunning stone in my jewellery for a few years now,  a colourful array of tones have passed through my hands. I find each variation as wondrous as the next.

dark forest green Connemara marble pendant
 I have seen samples of this rare stone so pale they were almost white and such dark shades of forest green that they were almost black.

In between lies a wide range of natural greens in tones of grey, browny green, yellow, bright lime, olive, sage, leaf and kale to name a few. This Irish marble is famed for being heavily variegated. You will often find several contrasting shades within one small stone. These 'serpentine streaks' are what make this indigenous resource so exotic.

This pale, citric, shade is quite uncommon. It takes a wonderful sheen when polished. Due to their rarity, the pale lime shades are highly prized and are much sought after by aficionados of this gorgeous, Irish stone.  I have not often had such spectacular specimens in my collection.
sterling silver flower with bright Connemara marble charm

For more information about this Irish stone please see my previous blog post:
 'A Little About Connemara Marble.'

To view Connemara marble jewellery for sale please click HERE

Sunday, September 9, 2012

End of Summer Etsy Treasuries

A few more recent treasuries to share and say thank you for:
Don't you just love the soft, aqua shades in 'Turquoise Treasures' by Rachel of Rachel Corcoran Illustrates?  Thank you for including my Irish seaglass pendant among all these beautifully made items.
 Brigitte of Purls of Colour put together this striking treasury, 'Once in a Blue Moon' to mark the occasion of an actual blue moon on August 31st, 2012. I did not know that a 'blue moon' refers to the rare occasion that the moon rises for the 2nd time in the same month. Thanks for featuring my sapphire glass pendant.


And a huge thank you to Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet for yet again featuring me in not one but THREE wonderful treasuries. I very much appreciate all the support and thank you for including my Irish seaglass pendant in 'Peaceful Greens II'..

 ...and then for featuring my purple jasper pendant in 'I Shall Wear Purple.' This is a stunning collection  Lynn! Love the colours!!

And if that weren't enough Lynn featured me a third time!!!:

'Orange Marmalade' heralds the coming of Autumn. Thanks for including my fiery necklace in this zesty collection Lynn.

...And I've made a couple of treasuries myself to promote the Crafty Irleand Team:

'Colour Pop', shows off fellow, Irish artists in a celebration of colour.
Irish Autumn includes several shades from the Pantone Fashion Colours for the second half of 2012. (Honey Gold, Tangerine Tango and French Roast.) This treasury also feautures fellow Irish / Irish resident artists and suppliers.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Recent Red Seaglass and Pottery Finds

 Red is one of the rarest and most valuable of colours to find in genuine seaglass. Every seaglass beachcomber hopes to come across a piece or two. This is the first specimen I have ever been lucky enough to discover. It's small, but it's complete and I love it!
When I spotted it among the shingle on a Dublin beach, at first I thought it was a sweet! It is the right size and shape and of course the bright colour does look as tempting as candy. No wonder I mistook it for a sugary treat, but that was partly because I couldn't believe my luck. Thankfully I didn't discard it!

Once I got it cleaned up in soapy water I knew for sure it is a seaglass bead. It might be one of those bright beads used on fishing lines to attract fish. There was a piece of old, rotted and rusty-looking wire or beading string inside it, which came out while cleaning.

There is still a black stain running through the centre. I'm not sure if I will be able to remove that.  I will try running some lavender oil through it. Lavender oil is usually good for removing black marks on seaglass and as a bonus, it is antibacterial. It's worth a try I guess.
Last week I took a trip out to Skerries, a seaside town, North of Dublin. Though it was a beautiful day, the beach was practically deserted and very clean. I found not one single piece of beach treasure on the super clean strand, but as the tide was out we were able to poke about in the rocks and shingle leading around to the harbour. Though I had a disappointing yield, I did find one or two very interesting pieces.

My friend picked up this red and white, semi-opaque seaglass. It's an interesting find, but it might also be worth nothing, except for its lovely colour. I don't know much about this type of glass yet.

I do know that fully opaque sea glass or milk sea glass as it is often called is considered to be a poor relation to the transparent sort. However, I can't quite classify this piece as such. It reminds me of semi frosted, vintage vases and dishes, the kind your Granny might have had. Perhaps it is better described as sea pottery. Or perhaps it is just milk sea glass that has not been in the sea long enough....something for me to research so...
On a recent break at Rosses Point, Sligo, I found this cute piece of sea pottery with a red, floral design on it. It is beautifully 'chalky' or sea-worn and is probably very old. Well-worn sea pottery found in Ireland is often 100 years old or more.

This piece is the ideal shape for wire wrapping a pendant. It's not very large, but by the time I  have it wrapped with a bail on top, it will become a decent, medium-sized pendant.

In the meantime, I dream of one day finding a really great, pendant shaped and fully frosted 'ruby of the sea.'

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