Wednesday, 25 June 2014

June Team Treasuries

To celebrate the wonderful summer weather we've been having (we never take a day of it for granted, do we?) we're starting with sunny yellow treasuries made by Nancenet, Carrie and Fiorejewellery; There would be no rainbow without the sun...
Sunshine on a rainy Irish day
Sunny Ireland
Next we go to the beach with two seaside treasuries by Mary Johanna and Fabricate Designs; I do like to be beside the seaside
Aoife has made a beautiful collection of Irish crafts in Crafty Emerald Isle
Next, a vibrant shot of colour in Sonya's Red Alert
And finally Nancenet has used my favourite blue-grey colour in My favourite kind of sky
Many thanks to all the treasury curators. Enjoy the sunshine!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Designer Profiles - Paper Craft

Good afternoon folks.
I know its been a while since I have been here - life has a habit of stopping you in your tracks sometime.  I am happy to be back today with a selection of amazing Etsy Ireland paper crafters.  So lets go.....

Let me introduce you all to

Welcome on board ladies, apologies for the delay but I happy to finally get you all together.  Can you all introduce yourselves and tell us what you do.

Hi Mo, My name is Aoife (eefaa). I am a 25 year old Graphic Designer / Baker. I live in Waterford but I am originally from Kilkenny City. 
My name is Fionnuala and I make handmade greeting cards and wedding stationery at home in Dublin, Ireland. I am passionate about everything Irish and handmade and blog about arts and crafts in Ireland.
My name is Holly, and I design and make stationery sets, among many other things! I did some training as a Graphic Designer, and have a whole host of other interests that add to my creative process – History, Nature, Books, Video Games, Drawing, Knitting, Sewing, Skating… the list goes on! I think a natural curiosity is what drives me to learn, and the creative process is a great way of processing and expressing my discoveries.
By day I work in an office - all very ordinary, and when I want to breathe, I open my wardrobe of tricks (yes, wardrobe!) and see what I can lose myself in for a while. With the weather so nice recently I got a few plants for the butterflies and made some stakes from my craft wire to keep them organised until they were planted out. When I’m not doing that I’m always trying to organise something new or fun to do or dragging my niece and nephews to cartoon films, fairs, fota (anywhere you need a child ;)
How did you get involved with your craft?

I can't remember not being involved with crafting. Paint and Paper have always been my favourite mediums to create with, so after I finished college and got my degree in Graphic Design, I opened my Etsy shop! 
I started making cards for myself in 2012 as a hobby. In order to fund my addiction to buttons and ribbons, I started selling to friends and family. I then opened my Etsy shop and started receiving orders from all over the world. I now sell through my website, through Etsy shop and through various craft fairs around Ireland during the year.
I have always liked making things, and the stationery sets? well, that’s an aspiration on my part.  I was always a terrible pen pal, but I really loved making something pretty to send through the mail! So making stationery sets for people who are far more organised and interesting correspondents than I am is quietly satisfying to me.
I come from a very creative family so imagination was always there for me but how I got involved with paper craft stemmed from my love of shopping.... I was watching QVC many years ago and saw this rotary cutter at a bargain. Really they were practically giving it away ;) so when I got my cool paper cutting gadget home, that was it, I started making cards and my love of paper craft was born.

Describe a typical day?

I have a little cat called Milo who loves to watch me make things. She tends to get in the middle of things so she doesn't get to stay in my studio for too long. I start my day by checking emails and Etsy orders and then I get down to business. I try to make a stockpile of cupcake picks and bunting to stay on top of things!
I work in a school in the mornings, I run a craft café (The Hazel House in the evenings and I run Fuzzy Irish Crafts when I should be sleeping! Oh did I mention that I paint as well!
A Typical day is wrapped up in taking care of my Family.  Up in time to walk the kids to school and often on my walk I’ll be turning over ideas in my head, design ideas, new products.  When I get home I usually do some housework before sitting down to do my “Job of the Day” be it Designing, Blog posting, Stationery set construction or something else entirely! As I have a bad habit of getting into my work and losing track of time, I have an alarm set so I don’t work through pick up time for the kids! Then its back to do Mummy things......
A typical craft day, I start with a leisurely cuppa while checking e-mails, then the wardrobe gets unpacked, I look through my orders and to-do list and dig in. I do tend to flit from project to project depending on what I find in my hand at any one time so I might make a start on plenty of cards and only finish off a few from the day before. I like to live with an idea in my head for about a week; those projects always seem to turn out the best.

Any future goals and ambitions?

I would love to work at my shop full time - that would be my ultimate goal. I want to continue to expand my Wedding Range, I love making special items for Brides and Grooms to be. Eventually I want to open a shop, where I can work and interact with my customers face-to-face every day.
My short term goal is to develop my range of wedding stationery in my Etsy shop. My long term goal is to own my own little craft shop stocking handmade Irish crafts and become a ‘brand’ for Irish crafts.
Oh, this is always changing, but at some point, I’d like to get my Stationery sets into a lovely Brick and Mortar store with lots of other lovely things – at the moment everything is made to order, which is nice because I can customise things really easily, but it’s not so good for expansion! I also want to make more stationery things – Notebooks, Wrapping paper, bookmarks, etc. and I’m slowly plugging away at that
I’ve never been overly ambitious, I’m happy to get orders when and if they come in although I do have it in my head recently that I’d like to submit to a magazine, so when I’ve got some product shots that I’m happy with, watch this space!

Aoifes wee cat Milo

Fionnuala and her pal
Are there any Designers, blogs, crafters, arty people you follow and why?

There are so many crafty people I admire. I love Paper Panda, Shen Wong Jewellery and A Drim Design. I love their use of social media to showcase their items.
I am constantly amazed at the wealth of talent that Ireland has to offer in term of crafting. There are so many Irish crafters that I have featured on my blog that I just love like Rosario at Ventry toys, Kay at Ruby Robin Boutique and Maria at Lollipops and Daydreams to name but a few.
I love How About Orange for all the resources she posts, and other amazing people she links to. Also love the work of Olly Moss.  He makes my inner Geek (Both design and regular) sing
Dawn Bibby an English card maker – I learned all the basics of card making online from Dawn, and of course I follow loads of our fabulous Etsy Ireland Team members, It really makes me happy to see when you do so well and turn up on magazines, newspapers, at craft fairs etc.
Letizia at play

Holly at work

Any advice for new crafters?

My advice for new crafters would be to start out slow and enjoy crafting. It will take time for you to find your 'niche'. Try new things all the time! Don't get bogged down if sales aren't coming your way. It will take time, and that's OK! Just remember to enjoy it all!
My advice would be to do keep doing what you love to do and what gives you energy and then you will never have to work a day in your life.
Go for it!  Listen to Advice and Ideas from other people, but always listen to your gut. 9 times out of 10 its right.  Don’t let fear make your decisions for you.
Try not to give yourself unreasonable deadlines, if you’re new to crafting you need lots of playtime to work everything out. Also don’t let one obstacle or negative incident make you quit, I read only yesterday something along the line of – Giving up after one setback is like getting a flat tire so you cut the other three.
Where can we find you .......


Wow girls, you are all such busy people.  I love your enthusiasm for what you do.  Thanks for being part of this Designer group.  I wish you loads of success for the future.   Now folks please pay these paper crafters a visit and share some love.......

Thats it for now from this occasional series of Designer blog articles.  As there has been no crafters in the spinning and weaving section who have come forward to be interviewed, the next category is Woodwork and Rushwork.  So calling all wood and rush workers on Etsy Ireland.....  If you would like to be included please get in touch.

Cheers for now


Sunday, 22 June 2014

New Members Treasury June

Welcome all and a huge welcome for the newest Members in our community.

Let’s start today journey in the ValueVintagePrints Shop for a piece of vintage printed art work:

Individually handcrafted –wood drawn with hot wire (pyrograph)-clocks from AlexisKidd Shop:

Beautiful quilts, blankets,Tooth Fairy Pillows from LoxyLoops Shop .

Unique bags ,scarves and much more, recycled textile and inner tubes from  natasjafakkeldij Shop.

Concrete planter pots hand painted with succulent plants at ailandel Shop.

Great selection of jewellery supplies from DiyForStyle Shop.

This lovely Amigurumi doll you will find in Purple Cornflower Shop.

Let’s visit their shops, welcome them and help each other.

If your shop has been featured in this post or if you have enjoyed looking through it, please leave us a comment. We get lonely here sometimes :)

Friday, 6 June 2014

How to Make Jump Rings (& Repair Your Necklace)

The following post first appeared on my own blog Handmade by Amo'r:

Has the clasp come away from your necklace or perhaps you  want  to  convert a charm into a  pendant and need a  simple  ring/bail  for  hanging it?  Whether you  are doing a bit of  DIY repair  on your own jewellery or are a beginner in beading and wire work, learning to make jump rings is a handy skill  to have. You can buy jump rings, but  if you  know how to make them yourself, you need never run short.

All you need is

*craft wire
*a round nose pliers
*a side cutter

All are available in jewellery craft stores and widely sold online.

If you are serious about wire work, a hammer and block is a recommended investment alongside a full set of pliers for jewellery making. I use a rubber tip hammer to harden jump rings, earring hooks, metal charms etc. You can also get a soldering kit to seal the rings, but a well-made, properly handled jump ring should stay shut with normal wear.

The wire needs to be hard enough to hold its shape. Look for the ga number or mm to find the gauge. A good, semi hard wire for beginners is gauge 20ga (.80mm) but 18ga (1mm) is preferable and with practice, go for harder again (16ga/1.25mm). If unsure, just ask for help from your chosen supplier. If you are a novice, it's best to practice with plated wires before moving on to more expensive metals such as sterling silver. I used solid copper for these photos:

Wrap  some  wire  a few times round the base of one prong of the pliers.  The  higher  up you go,  the smaller the top jump rings will get. If you want them the same size, only make a couple at a time and wrap them on the same spot on the prong. Make a small coiled spring as shown, slide it off the pliers and cut along it at an appropriate point. 
handmade copper jump rings
Personally, I would always harden the rings using a rubber hammer and block. Click for instructions on  How to Harden Jump rings etc. Now they are ready to use for repairing your own jewellery or incorporating into your designs.  

There is a secret to opening and closing jump rings correctly so as to preserve their integrity and keep them strong and tight. Please read How to Open and Close Jump Rings...

Jump rings are the simplest way to re-attach a clasp. If you  have a soldering kit to seal them, then all the better. However, if the ring is well-made in a hard wire and was opened and closed correctly, it should hold without soldering.
A jump ring serves as a bail to hang a charm or pendant
You can make a jump ring to attach to a small charm and wear it as a pendant, attach to a bracelet or perhaps to a zipper.

blue flash labradorite pendant with ring bail

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

May Team Treasuries

We start this month with ICAlien's collection, Love Nature, Love Ireland
and continue with Made In Ireland by Sonya Reynolds,
Nancenet has made a jolly collection of Polka Bunting
and finally Mary Johanna's treasury is Pretty in Pink
Many thanks to the four of you for making these lovely treasuries!