Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rusty Bridge, Caught My Eye #26

Caught My Eye  is a series of blog posts showing scenes I found interesting, odd, curious or beautiful. I am artistic and therefore an observer but I am not a photographer by any description. So if you expect top quality photography I'm afraid you will be disappointed.  But please do enjoy a snap shot glimpse of the world through my creative eyes. 

There's something spooky and atmospheric about this rusty old bridge seen at Bohernabreena Reservoirs where I was out walking on Paddy's Day. The lakes are a beautiful spot for a country walk incredibly close to Dublin city. On a duller day they'd make a great location for a ghostie film.  Or maybe I have an over active imagination. But you can't have creativity without imagination...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Inspirations, Black and Golden Honey Bee Earrings
Honey Bee, yellow citrine & onyx earrings
'Honey Bee' earrings were partly inspired by their namesake, but several ideas were in my head when I chose to put golden sunshine citrine teardrops together with black onyx bicone stones. The result was an elegant pair of earrings that, although made with modern wire wrapping techniques, have a classic, vintage feel.

This is the mood board I had circling my thoughts:

   Pantone 2014 fresia                                     Honey bee

Yellow is a super hot trend for Spring/Summer 2014, on its own or found in geometric prints with  dark or royal blues, black and/or grey. 
File:Gold Bars.jpg
courtesty Wikimeida Commons
Golden jewellery has also been creeping back in of late. I tend to stick to silver and copper so the citrine stones presented another way to introduce a touch of gold without using actual gold or golden coloured metals.
yellow gorse
Much of the Irish countryside is covered in yellow gorse. I took this photo out walking in Bohernabreena lakes on St Patrick's Day and decided to dig out the yellow citrine stones from my stash the next day. 

I've used similar citrine teardops in earrings before, but on their own, not teamed with any other stones and never with black.

Sam Sparro Black and Gold. 

However, I went to see a cover band this month and 'Black and Gold' was one of the numbers in the mix. I neither love nor hate the track, but it got stuck in my head for 3 whole days, which began to grate on my nerves..but hey, inspiration comes from the strangest sources sometimes!
Black and Gold citrine and onyx earrings

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am grateful to have been included in a couple today. Thank you!!

I can't seem to get the handy Etsy treasury generator (courtesy of White Shark Websites) to work today so I just took screen grabs instead for now.

So please click on the link to the atmospheric treasury, 'Darkness and Light'. Thanks Rosemary of Selkie Crochet for including my larkivite bracelet in this elegant list featuring Irish shops.
Please click on the link to this zesty treasury, titled 'Coco Lime', which was beautifully put together by MagnifiScent Creations. Thank you for including my Irish seaglass pendant in this fresh and zingy mix. Anyone else getting a whiff of summer...?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries, Spring Fresh

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am grateful to have been included. Thank you!!

'From europe...' by BabauBarcelona

Stud post earrings golden ve...

Turquoise protection 24k gol...

Personalised Leather Journal...

Abstract painting - Green Pe...

Brooch branch with green and...

Handmade women's retro w...

Irish Jewelry. Sea Glass Pen...

1070s Modernist Spage Age Pe...
Thank you Babau Barcelona for this Spring fresh list and for including my Irish sea glass pendant with these goodies from Europe. Stunning colours!

'The wearing of the green' by MaggyMorrissey

A selection of items from shops in Ireland to celebrate St Patricks Day!

Heart pillow cover in green ...

Small Green Silk Drum Lampsh...

Impressed Bowl Small

Bridesmaid Clutch, Wildflowe...

Vogue Green Polka Dot Dress ...

Green Retro Irish Bus Little...

Original Garden Herb Waterco...

Felted scarf, felt scarf, wo...

knitting yarn bowl, modern, ...

Sea Glass Necklace. Irish B...

Buttons Green Sewing Mother ...

Aventurine with Tibetan Silv...

Pair of 1950s Table Lamps. C...

SALE 50% OFF! Green Retro Po...

Vintage light green asymmetr...

Wood candle holder, green, t...
And thanks to local photographer, Maggy, for this beautifully subtle St Patrick's Day list. I'm delighted to find my pale lime sea glass pendant in this tasteful mix.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Don't Forget Your Greens! Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Dublin, Ireland!
Don't forget to paint the town green!
Howth Hill, North Dublin. Own photo 2013
Aside from our lush countryside, we Irish are also the proud 'custodians' of Connemara marble and it's 40 shades of green. I thought I'd share some more up close and personal photos of this native stone.

Irish Connemara marble is a heavily variegated stone and it really does come in a wide range of verdant tones from white-washed grey to deep forest green with every shade of lime and leaf in between.  

Amazing isn't it? The 'serpentine' streaks in the 600 million-year-old marble are one of the factors that make it so special.
Detail on Connemara marble pendant
To learn a little more about this stone click HERE
To view Connemara marble jewellery in my Etsy store click HERE

Thursday, March 13, 2014

C is for Carnelian, Chalcedony, Connemara Marble.....

So we are (still) on the letter C in my ABC blog series (a not-so-comprehensive guide to jewellery materials and tools I use, care of your jewellery etc.) Deserving a blog post of its own, I recently separated out the subject of Crimping, a technique for finishing beaded strings. Part 2 looks at Carnelian, Chalcedony, jewellery Cleaning, Chasing hammers, Connemara marble, Cork Red marble, Copper and more. 

blue chalcedony earrings
Chalcedony is a family of quartz stones. Here comes the brief science bit so look away now if it's not your thing... Chalcedony mineral is a cryptocrystaline form of silica and is waxy in appearance. (That wasn't too painful, was it?!) This group of quartz includes Carnelian, blue chalcedonyonyxagate and some other less common varieties such as aventurine and chyroprase.

Chalcedony has been used for decorative and practical purposes as far back as the bronze age. It was the initiation stone for Egyptian High Priests while Renaissance magicians believed it had protective qualities and, curiously, designated it their stone for health & safety. This gem is the symbol for creativity, calm, peace, well-being and banishing fear.

Carnelian is a variety of chalcedony very popular for jewellery. It is reddish brown in colour and semi transparent in appearance. Known as the warrior stone, historically, it was incorporated into the armour of Roman soldiers. This fiery stone is associated with successful careers, passion, stamina and sporting acumen. Natural healers believe it to be a cure for nose bleeds. Carnelian is also one of the birthstones for October.
close up of a piece of Connemara marble. Own photo
The best known, local gemstone is Connemara  marble. This 600 million-year-old stone is found only in the West of Ireland. It is a very rare marble and comes in a range of greens from a white washed grey-green to darkest sage with every shade of lime and leaf in between. Many specimens are heavily variegated with several tones in one small piece. The 'serpentine streaks' are what make it so special.  I am very proud to use Irish Connemara marble and also Cork red marble in my work. I have previously posted the following articles on these indigenous Irish stones if you wish to know more:
Connemara marble and copper pendant
Connemara marble happens to go very well with another traditional Irish material, Copper. This pliable metal has been mined in Ireland for millennia. It is a durable, reddish brown metal that lends a warm look to jewellery. Copper is the symbolic gift for the 7th wedding  anniversary. Said to help with inflammatory conditions, copper bracelets have long been worn by sufferers of arthritis
Turquoise jasper and pre-oxidised copper pendant
This beautiful metal is stunning when new and shiny but I love the rustic patina copper takes on with time.
C is also for Cleaning! If you don't like the oxidised patina you can brighten natural copper with a solution of water, lemon juice and salt. A few drops of the citric juice and a few shakes of salt in a breakfast bowl half full of water is enough to brighten it up in seconds. Note: not recommended for gemstones or pearls wrapped in copper. Sea glass and other glasses are safe. 
To brighten the copper wiring on the Connemara marble piece above,  I would slide a sheet of plastic or kitchen shrink wrap under the wiring then dip a cotton bud into the salty lemon solution, or even just ketchup, and very carefully clean the wire. Then I would dry it with kitchen paper and dunk the whole piece into a bowl of water for a quick wash, before drying very thoroughly.

For more tips on cleaning and care of your bling please visit the Jewelry Care section of my blog.


One of my most prized jewellery tools is a Chasing hammer. This type of hammer is used with a steel block or an anvil for flattening and hardening craft wire but also for creating texture.  I use a hammer on my wire charms and my own hook and eye clasps etc. Notice the bevelled texture on this silver spiral, achieved by using the smaller rounded side of the hammer head and tapping it along the wire.

Irish Sea Pottery Pendant. Dazzling Blue Porcelain Necklace. Sea Bird 

Did you know C is for Fabulous...well it is when it's a fabulous Cotton Crochet Chain made by HuggleKnits - just perfect for my sea pottery and beach glass pendants. I love love love this hypoallergenic alternative to a rubber or ribbon choker as it is durable, washable, comfortable and so easy to throw on as it closes with a button. Don't you agree the dazzling blue really lifts the sea pottery pendant??
Clear Quartz Crystal Earrings. Vintage Style, Glamorous Dowton Abbey Inspired. 'Ballroom' 
This is where I park the letter C, with a link back to posts about Clear Crystal quartz and November birthstone, Spanish Citrine. Back soon with the letter D, which I suspect will be much shorter.....