Monday, January 28, 2013

Meet up with Fellow Irish Craft Workers

On Saturday I went along to a small meet up of fellow Irish craft workers in Dublin for a good chin wag and exchange of ideas. We also traded a few surplus supplies with each other, which was fun. I just thought I'd introduce the shop of each member who attended by showing off my favourite item from each one.
Valentines Day Egg Cosies - Handmade and ready to mail
Valentines day egg cosies
 Mo of Huggle Knits kindly organised the meeting.  Though she can turn her hand to several crafts, Mo mainly knits and crochets gorgeous, handmade accessories for children and adults. Her latest range of cute egg cosies are simply adorable.
Order your own customised Baby Ball with rattle
Patchwork ball with rattle
 Fi of  Patchwork Delights also attended. I have bought at least two of these patchwork balls as gifts for my friends' babies over the last couple of years. I can vouch that the hand stitching is tiny and so neat!
Lampshade in cotton and cross-stitch 
I was very pleased to make a new acquaintance in Margarita, of Linen Artisan, who hails from Spain. I spent over 7 happy years in Spain in the 90s and it was refreshing to chat (in my rusty Spanish) with her about her country. Margarita makes beautiful linen accessories for the home and also bags. I love the colours of this cottage chic lampshade.
Plum Ribbed Shrub
Plum ribbed shrug
 Hazel Donnelly's soft hand knits are available in Hazel Donnelly and she also sells some great supplies at The Irish Knitting Room.  Though I have my eye on the unusual buttons available in the latter, I prefer to highlight her handwork.

Lastly there was lil' ol' me. I was going to post something typical of my work to illustrate my shop, perhaps something in Connemara marble. But then it occurred to me to actually ask myself what my favourite item from my current stock was, something I'd never really considered before. Hard to know when you have a large inventory of 60 items or so and you are biased about your own work...gotta love all your creations equally, right?? 

And yet the answer was staring at me within seconds of looking at my home page:
Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides
Irish Copper & Sea pottery Pendant
 This Sea pottery and Copper piece is currently my favourite as it brings together my love of Celtic motifs and the joy of beach combing for treasure. Added to that, this design was inspired by a wonderful day out at the National Botanic Gardens with two of my Etsy friends, Mo, mentioned above and Heli of Heli Creations. So for me it also symbolises some of the things that matter to me; good friends, creativity and appreciation of nature.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Some More Treasuries

A few more recent treasuries to share and say  
I am always grateful and honoured to be included:
 Thank you to Summer of SKW Originals for this ecclectic mix titled 'A Top Treasury Team Treasury.' So nice of you to include my tourmaline beaded necklace extender.
 thank you Tomomi of Slaney Handcraft  for this cute treasury, 'Not too Girly.' How wonderful to see my rose quartz necklace in there with all these pretty finds from Etsy Ireland.
 And thank you to Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet for cheering me up with this bright treasury 'Let the Sun Shine in!' Delighted to see my Connemara marble earrings featured in this cheerful collection.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Little About Sea Pottery

Sea pottery is broken pottery, porcelain, tile and stoneware shards that have been tumbling and smoothing naturally in the sea for decades before washing up on the shore. It is also known as beach pottery, sea porcelain or sea china. It is very collectible and good quality specimens are popular for jewellery making. Smaller pieces look wonderful in mosaics and other artistic projects.  
This naturally recycled material can start out as table and kitchen ware,  ornamental porcelain, terracotta or ceramic tile, building materials etc. Often it was thrown away as rubbish or somehow just ended up in the water.

The acidity and tumbling action of the ocean smooths the edges, deglazes and leeches elements from the porcelain giving it a 'chalkier' texture. This happens very slowly over decades.

Often, the top layer of colour or pattern can have been buffed away by silt and sand. Some pieces will have patterns of leaves, flowers etc and are enjoyed simply for their aesthetics.

Even if, like me, you only start out looking for beautiful pieces to use, it can be hard not to get excited by a shard that holds a clue to its origins.

Storm in a Teacup pendant

Though it may have been manufactured abroad, as with sea glass, the source of the shard is usually local - ie it most likely fell into or was thrown into the sea on the same stretch of coast where it is found, or not a million miles away.

 Much of the sea pottery found in Ireland and the UK dates back to the 19th and even 18th centuries. Of course, let's not forget that a piece that was made 200 years ago, might not have gotten into the sea until much, much later.  It does however, take time to leech and exfoliate sea pottery to a very smooth condition. A well worn piece that landed in the sea say 50 years ago, could logically be a lot younger than a less weathered, but vintage, piece of pottery that has only been surfing for a few decades. In other words, the extent of evident weathering can give us an idea of how long a piece has been tumbling in rough seas, not how old it actually is.  There are ways that experts can date a piece by looking at materials, shapes, firing methods etc. However, it's nowhere near an exact science when it comes to sea pottery.
Irish Beach Pottery Pendant. Blue Willow Pattern Porcelain & Sterling Silver. 'Tea n Surf'    

 Specimens may have recognisable patterns, such as the famous, Willow pattern, for example, adding to their appeal. The pendant on the left (now sold) is from the edge of  a Willow pattern piece  and the shard on the right shows well known elements from the design.

If you are lucky you may find a piece that has a real clue as to its origins. To start with, this piece clearly comes from England. Clementson Brothers turned out to be easy to trace online. The company was in operation in Hanly from c1865-1916. This sea pottery shard deserves a blog post all of its own!

One thing is sure, if you start collecting sea pottery and or sea glass for whatever reason, I guarantee you'll never be able to go to a beach again without peering down. I best warn you of the possible side effects: crick in the neck, sore back, aching joints, filthy hands, tired eyes, holes in your pockets oh, and watch out for euphoria when you find something truly amazing. That will be your complete undoing!

Useful links I came across:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

More January Treasuries

A few more recent treasuries to share and say  
I am always grateful and honoured to be included:
Ahhh garnets, the birthstone for January, and a stunning gem! Thank you Roxanne of WatercolorsNmore for including my garnet pendant 'Strawberry Wine' with all these luscious lovelies in your treasury, 'Inspired by GARNET - birthstone for January.' 

(To read my previous post about garnets CLICK HERE)

 Thanks also to Fiona of Patchwork Delights for this cheerful treasury titled 'January Sales in Ireland.' I appreciate that you included my blue pendant 'Temptress'.
 Petra of Petra's Creations has made a very timely treasury with Valentines Day around the corner.  Thank you for including my pink heart ornament in this feminine collection 'Love is in the Air.'  

And my pink heart ornament has just been featured once again in this pretty treasury, 'Crafty Irish Love' by Mary of Queen of Cuffs. Much appreciated Mary!

 and today also, the Queen of Treasuries herself, Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet has included my garnet pendant in this romantic list 'The days of Wine and Roses.' Thanks so much Lynn for all the treasuries to date. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How To Care for Garnets

Red Garnet Earrings. Sterling Silver.  January Birthstone. Ruby Berries
deep red garnet earrings

Garnets are the birthstone for January. If you already own garnet jewellery or perhaps were given some for your birthday this month, looking after this stone with some simple steps will keep it in good condition for a long time.

Garnets are medium hard, ranging between 6.5 and 7.5 on Moh's Scale. Though exquisite enough for any special occasion, they are durable for everyday wear with certain care. 

However, you should store them separately to other gems so as to avoid scratching each other.

A harder stone such as diamond or topaz can mark the garnet, which in turn, can scrape the softer stones such as turquoise, opal and fluorite. If you can't store them in their own compartment of your jewellery box, then wrap them in cotton cloth.

As with all gemstone jewellery, put your creams, cosmetics and perfume on first to allow them to dry before donning your garnets. Likewise you should take them off first before removing your make up with cleansers.
Do not wear garnets when handling any type of chemicals, including household cleaners or when swimming, in the shower or sunbathing. Avoid excessive temperatures. Store them somewhere fairly cool.
To clean them, generally it is ok to use an ultra sonic cleaner, but please avoid steam cleaning. The safest method is to wash in mild soapy water. It should be lukewarm. This method is good for sterling silver, fine silver and gold too. If the stones are grimy you can use a soft toothbrush on them, but preferably not on the precious metal. Use your fingers or a sponge on the silver and gold. Rinse in fresh water then pat the pieces dry with kitchen paper or cotton.

Red Garnet Pendant. Sterling Silver Chain Necklace. Strawberry Wine
Garnet teardrop pendant
Garnets should last a very long time. Some garnet jewellery was discovered in burial chambers dating back to 3000 BC. Their beauty had not faded. So go on, don't hide your garnets,  but wear and enjoy them. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013



Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year Etsy Treasuries

A few more recent treasuries to share and say  
I am always grateful and honoured to be included:

Thank you Petra of Petra's Creations for including my turquoise jasper necklace in your beautiful collection titled 'New Year, New Necklace.'. Happy New Year to you Petra!
 Thank you Jen of Jen's Crochet and Crafts for including my button pendant in this January sale collection  titled 'Grab a Bargain Quick!' Good idea  Jen :-)

As always, a huge thanks to Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet for yet another treasury. This gracious lady has included me in a treasury at least once a month, and often twice, in 2012. I cannot say thank you enough. I'm honoured to see my Irish seaglass pendant 'Sea Flora' featured in 'Bringing Out Our Feminine Side.'

 ...and Lynn has included me in a second trearury!! 'Spice Up Your Life' is sizzling hot. I really appreciate that my fiery gemstone and glass necklace 'Flame' was included in this stunning, heart-warming collection. Thank you so much Lynn and Happy New Year.
Cheers Helena of HelenaArtSilk for this dramatic treasury 'Paint Volcano'. I'm thrilled you included in my garnet pendant. Thank you!

And here's one I compiled myself to promote fellow members of the Crafty Ireland Team:

Winter Deep

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year Discount


I'd like to thank all my customers and Etsy colleagues for helping to make 2012 a great year for me. Wishing you only good things for 2013. May the coming year bring you much joy.


To say thank you for dropping into my blog today, here is a New Year 10% coupon to use in my Etsy store this week.  Just use the special code NEWYEAR10 at checkout to get 10% off the listing price of purchases. You can use the coupon as often as you like but it expires on Sunday 6th January.


Click on the image to enter Handmade by Amo'r Etsy store
Please note this coupon code is not valid in conjunction with any other coupon and does not apply to shipping or to custom orders. It is applicable against items already reduced in the SALE section as well as anything else currently listed in my store.

Click here for simple instructions from Etsy's main site, for how to use coupon codes when purchasing: INSTRUCTIONS FOR COUPON CODE USE