Monday 14 December 2009

DIY stand for my rosary beads

I saw a tip posted on Rena Klingenberg's great tips newsletter and website - - and sent in by Beth Millner. I felt sure I could adapt it to hang and display my various semi-precious stone rosary beads. Beth had made hers from a combination of wooden dowelling and curved and t-connectors for copper piping and was using it to hang cards for her pendants.

The incredible thing was that when I went shopping in Woodies, dowelling was actually 50% more expensive than copper piping (!!) as well as being a shorter length, so I was delighted to be able to treat myself to a long length of half-inch copper piping and make a really good-looking stand which I have protected from tarnish with a light coating of Renaissance wax.

The hardware shop was also my source for the clear shower curtain rings I used to hang the beads on; very convenient as they can be opened individually to remove a rosary to show clients.

The beauty of this design is that it can be made to almost any height and width you might require. It did a great job for me!! I can see myself making more of them!

Five great days at the National Crafts Fair, RDS, Dublin 2009

It was a big step for me, and I had such a lovely time! Set-up on Tuesday followed by five days (the first three from 10 in the morning to ten at night) on the balcony with wonderful friends on either side of me. The event organisers had created a great atmosphere with musicians and a terrific food emporium as well as a huge Christmas tree and great pennants hanging down.

I was delighted to be in stand B8 - the Aura-Soma bottle B8 is all about lightening the heart by following your joy and doing what you love. I loved connecting with those who came in to my stand, and quite a few remarked on seeing my motto - made with love, wear with joy - that they could feel the love in the jewellery.

The Aura-Soma Air Conditioners came into their own for clearing and lifting the energy on our stands. There was such a great sense of positive energy surrounding us and people seemed to relax and open their purse strings to treat themselves to something nice as well as buying beautiful gifts for friends.

The long-drawn-out two-month process of applying for a credit card machine culminated in delivery of the machine in the nick of time, the evening before the show opened! And a number of people commissioned me to make something for them in the weeks following the show, so tons of encouragement!

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Dalkey Winter Fair was good...

Dalkey was interesting. The torrential rain on the invite-only opening night kept the crowds small, and I stepped in a puddle in the dark which got me wet over my ankle, shoe, sock and all.

My wirewrapped pendant necklaces were much admired, and people were delighted to get lovely freshwater pearl earrings, both drop and stud, at good prices. Especially popular were my birds nest gemstone rings, a show special at just €19!

All very encouraging with the RDS craft fair coming up 2-6 December.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

See True Colours Rosary Beads and Jewellery at Dalkey Winter Fair

This weekend, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th November from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the DLR County Enterprise Board Winter Fair is taking place in the Heritage Centre, Dalkey Castle, opposite the church in the main street. I will be there along with several other members of the DLR Jewellery Designers network, and there will be other artisans showing a variety of crafts and other products. The poster shows one example of the sumptuous necklaces and earrings created by the very gifted Laragh McMonagle, who will be also be showing her new range of exciting pure silver rings.

At my stand, in the lower right-hand corner of the Hall, you can find:
* my handcrafted full and one-decade rosary beads in a range of wonderful stones, each one accompanied by a specially made sturdy leather zipped purse
* stunning necklaces with unusual gemstone pendants which I have beautifully wire-wrapped in sterling silver or 14k gold filled; matching earrings (I'll post a few photos in my next installment)
* wide range of freshwater pearl necklaces (some with detachable enhancer pendants), complete with matching earrings
* some great semi-precious stone jewellery
* lovely faceted heart rose quartz pendants at a very special price
* divers other pieces of jewellery lovingly crafted by me

And if you see something you would like if made a little differently, or have an idea of something you'd like me to make for you, just let me know. I love to create for a real and known person!

I will also have a stand in the National Christmas Craft Fair in the RDS from 2nd to 6th December, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will have some other pieces made for that, including some rosary bracelets and some lovely pearl and gemstone combinations. But you may miss out on the best if it goes at Dalkey...

Thursday 29 October 2009

The Christmas giveaway from the European Artfire guild

If you like the look of this collection of goodies, come on over to our European Artfire guild blog and find out how to win them! The little white pearl bracelet (handknotted with a sterling silver extension chain and clasp) is by Yours Truly, and lots of other talented artisans have made lovely things too...

Thursday 9 July 2009

Designer Rosary Beads in gentle Amazonite with St. Theresa of the Roses theme

This lovely rosary beads was gone almost as soon as it was made. I love the combination of this soft aqua colour and the bronze. I also like that the cross does not have a corpus hanging from it, something that upsets my children!

Yellow rosary beads - a ray of sunshine!

I wrote some time ago about a request for yellow rosary beads. I'm very happy with the results. My lovely online friend Francesca from Canada chose the 8mm yellow opal with brass and bronze, definitely the most dramatic-looking of the items I had made, and it will soon be winging its way to Italy to the lucky recipient.

Here are the other options I had made:

Lovely butterly yellow aragonite in 8mm beads with large silver Trinity Cross and Rose centre:

Translucent sunshine in A grade 6mm citrine with a graceful Art Deco silver cross and center set:

A similar 8mm yellow opal bead with silver and a lovely "Foot of the Cross" crucifix featuring John and Mary. The rose centre has the classic picture of St. Theresa of the Roses on the reverse. There is a matching cross which I have used in another sold rosary, in bronze, which I will post shortly.

A softly irridescent 7mm yellow-lipped mother of pearl rosary with the Hunt Museum Penal Cross:

I do love working to request, it seems to bring out my inspiration!

100 gobs!

My good friend Stephen has just completed a 100-day run of posting a caricature a day, and has combined them all in this shot. For more detail follow the link in the title.

Sunday 28 June 2009

A rainbow of rosaries

Well, the Summer Fair a week ago was a really enjoyable affair, lovely people showing their wares and lovely people coming to praise or buy. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and once again a lot of interest was shown in my rainbow of rosaries. I use lovely handpainted rainbow ribbon to attach my swing tags. I've had five long days of conferences in the meantime so I am only getting to post something now.

My lovely labradorite and silver rosary went within the first hour, my one-decade amethyst and silver penal rosary in the second hour, and as I was about to sell it to one gentleman I noticed another lady preparing to pick it up, so she has commissioned a similar one.

I hope to add some of the newer rosaries to my Artfire shop tomorrow.

Thursday 11 June 2009

Summer Fair 2009 in Marlay House

I have been busy on many fronts for the past while. Recently I have been adding to my summer collection of lighter jewellery - gorgeous pearls or stones on chain and Satincord - as well as to my range of designer rosary beads, in preparation for the fair on the solstice weekend. I hope to get some of them photographed over the weekend and posted here.

Monday 27 April 2009

I'm being profiled today!

I am a little bit excited! Over on the Europe Artfire Guild blog, my profile has been published today. Take a quick scoot over there if you want to read a bit more about me, my creative history and my inspirations...!

Friday 17 April 2009

Gorgeous Freshwater Pearl Necklace in Natural Multitones

I've just added this elegant necklace in all-natural tones of freshwater pearl to my Artfire shop.

The pearls are handknotted on silk with a sturdy vermeil clasp. The blend of natural peach, mauve, pink and cream means that this necklace complements all skin tones. I have put the matching earrings on classic vermeil leverback findings but these can be changed for stud or french wire fittings.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

The Power of the Blog, or: Blogging works for Designer Rosary Beads!

As I have been sharing here in recent weeks, my newest jewellery-making passion is making designer rosary beads.

What has delighted me just as much is what happens when I google "Designer Rosary Beads". My blog entries, and the rosaries on offer in my Artfire shop, are top of the ranking on page One of Google! It really does prove the power of blogging, the simplest and often the most effective kind of SEO.

My rosary beads are made with tons of love and the best of ingredients: beautiful semi-precious stones and sterling silver wire, chain, centres and crosses, or the same centres and crosses in bronze with Vintaj natural brass chain and wire.

It is restful, if time-consuming, to make them, they are a joy to create, and the people who buy them know they are getting a very special piece whether to keep, to give as a gift to a beloved relative, or as a special First Communion rosary. It makes the four hours or so per rosary feel worthwhile.

My latest request is for a rosary in yellow for a 95-yr old Granny.

So are there yellow stones, you wonder? Of course. I probably do not have 'honey jade', a modern name for yellow jasper, and to me a little suspect since so many dyed 'jades' come out of China. Yet in offering alternatives, I find I have a surprising choice of materials:
* expensive citrine, which chained on silver looks gorgeous though perhaps a little too much like glass, with a really crisp translucent clear yellow colour
* African yellow opal, which I have paired with brass and bronze, initially as a one-decade Penal rosary, and which I really like
* the softer yellow of aragonite, still awaiting my attention
* golden lip mother of pearl, soft in colour and yet with a lovely glow.

I will post some pictures of the results in a few days time, meanwhile I'm getting back to my silver-chained First Communion Rosary Beads: one in faceted mother of pearl, suitable for a little girl, one in small labradorite which would delight any heart. Not to forget, my gorgeous peach moonstone rosary with cherubic Angel centre, just waiting for the 20-angel crucifix to arrive!

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Europe Artfire Guild: together we are strong!

I wrote recently that I had opened an ArtFire shop to make my designer rosary beads and my other jewellery available for purchase. You can find me at True Colours on Artfire.

Artfire is based in the USA but it has many craft workers from all over the world. Within it people set up guilds which sellers can join, on the principle of rope-making: a single thread is weak but a bundle of threads interwoven forms a strong rope. I've joined two guilds, the Europe Artfire Guild and the SRAJD guild - the latter is material for another day. The Europe Artfire Guild is full of lively and extremely creative people from Holland, Sweden, Spain, Germany and of course Ireland.

I should mention (this is an added edit) that our guild master, Linda at Moonstone Creations, is based in Belgium. My list of countries was not intended to be exhaustive but it reads as if we had members only from the countries mentioned.

To help promote awareness of the fabulous offerings by European craft makers, and to assist with being found in web searches, we have set up a blog for the guild.

The stunning logo and banner were a joint effort. The final version, which brings together references to Europe and the creative purity and uniqueness of the unicorn, was made by an Irish designer and jewellery maker!

In fact, meeting other Irish makers online in this guild is one of the unlooked-for pleasures of being there. The banner designer, Gwen, lives in Wicklow, her shop is called Silver-Soul-Design . Her jewellery work is really lovely!

Another guild member from Dublin, Gillian, left a comment on my blog having found me via the European group. She has an amazing shop makes all sort of things with hearts, she sells heart and angel inspired gifts and supplies under the handle iheartcrafts; she has a really cool blog, fascinating to read.

On the guild blog, we publish an interview with an artisan member each Monday, with regular features such as crafty tips, city trivia, a look at crafters from an outsider perspective ("If only I could do that...), and it is a great way to see a range of stunning creations while supporting local (local at least in world terms)! Do visit and bookmark our blog, or become a follower so you can see the latest developments and creations.

Saturday 4 April 2009

Penal Rosary in Zingy Carnelian with Sterling Silver

I have now posted one version of my penal rosary to my Artfire shop - which you can find at

I loved the look of this penal cross, which comes both in sterling silver and in bronze, it has an almost Egyptian feel with the symbols of crucifixion reminding a little of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

It is a copy of a wooden Irish penal cross dating back to 1722, the original to be found in the Hunt Museum in Limerick, Ireland.

Penal Crosses typically had short arms as they were held in the palm for concealment because of the religious persecution of the times, and longer arms tended to break off.

They tended to be one-decade beads, with a ring to slip from finger to finger to keep track of the decade being said. I am shortly going to make some of these one-decade rosaries.

For me it is important that in praying with a penal cross one remembers the words of Jesus on the cross: 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do'. Also, the Our Father contains the words: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.'

My intention in offering rosaries with a penal cross is that they be used with forgiveness in mind. I certainly do not want to encourage anyone to hold on to old bitterness which has a corrosive effect on the soul. I think the stunning sizzling colour of the carnelian helps to underling the positive uplifting intention.

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Wearing the Green: A stone for St. Patrick's Day

I take part from time to time in the jewelry making forum. Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day so a good few of the transatlantic members had posted something in honour of the day, something green of course. Having spent that day and half the previous one in bed, green about the gills, it was only today I got to post something green of my own.

This is a necklace that drew a lot of attention at Showcase, being a stone quite close to emerald in colour. I was quite taken aback at how many people singled it out as their favourite, knowing that green denotes a need for space and direction - perhaps people are especially looking for those in the current economic climate? Green is also the colour of the heart, and there is a lot of green, so I am told, in Irish hearts.

The stone is usually known as 'ruby in zoisite', sometimes as 'zoisite with ruby', zoisite being the green (and black) matrix in which ruby so often occurs. Interesting that ruby is the complementary opposite of the vivid green of the zoisite. It is a stone with quite large particles so it appears by turn a little rough and a little sparkly. I have loved this stone for a long time but had until recently shied away from making it up into jewellery, though I kept buying strands whenever I came across a nice quality of zoisite. The strands I used came from

Sunday 22 February 2009

Designer Rosary Beads on my new Artfire Store

Over the weekend, encouraged by good feedback on my designer rosary beads, I set up and opened an Artfire store online to make some of them available for purchase.

I used the banner my wonderful son Stephen had made me for a planned Etsy shop, but I get the impression that Artfire is much more user-friendly for non-geeks like me.

They have a number of features I really like, among them there is space to write about what inspired the making of a particular product. They actually give scope to would-be authors like me who love to tell stories and love to write.

You can check out my rosary stories at

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Necklace, enhanced...

Enhancers are a fun way to ring the changes with a necklace. In late 07 I posted an "opulent orange" necklace; the person who received it as a gift returned it to be shortened and asked could the fire agate drop be removed and hung on a simple cord, in effect creating two necklaces for her. I thought of using vermeil enhancer clips that allowed the drop to be on or off the carnelian strand. It inspired me to add a carnelian/vermeil strand with fire agate enhancer to my 2009 collection.

The delicate light violet colour of the cape amethyst goes nicely with a double drop enhancer.

Grey-toned labradorite with that gorgeous blue flash and one large brushed silver bead can be worn as a classic strand, or for a longer line one can clip on the lovely silver and CZ enhancer, with labradorite and brushed silver drop.

In much the same way, the vermeil enhancer with vermeil heart-shaped drop brings more length to a strand of jumbo-size natural peach pearls while adding extra wow factor.

Definitely a year for flexibility!

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Designer Rosary Beads

Some Showcase buyers were very drawn to my designer rosary beads. I have to say, I LOVE planning and making them. It is fun to source and select stunning, beautifully crafted crucifixes, then match up colours, materials and shapes in a pleasing arrangement. And the hand-chaining is a restful, meditative activity. The range of crucifixes I use can be ordered in bronze or in silver, giving great flexibility of design and of budget.

The first picture shows a range of 6mm stones I have chained on silver, any of which could be selected for a bespoke rosary. The stones, left to right, are African amazonite, deep amethyst, black onyx, blue lace agate, cape amethyst, carnelian, garnet, howlite, labradorite, peach moonstone, phrenite, sodalite, smoky quartz, African yellow opal, white agate. Tiger eye is a popular choice for men.

The striking 6mm carnelian rosary has a sterling silver copy of a wooden Irish penal cross dating back to 1722. Penal Crosses typically had short arms as they were held in the palm for concealment because of the religious persecution of the times and longer arms tended to break off. They tended to be one-decade beads, with a ring to slip from finger to finger to keep track of the decade being said. With it I put a centre in an early twentieth century design, I think it suits it well.

The violet rosary drew much admiration: the beads are 6mm A grade deep amethyst, paters have natural brass bead caps and the whole is handchained with natural brass, which seems to enhance the amethyst, though this stone is also lovely with silver. The bronze crucifix is an elegantly simple reminder of the Celtic cross shape, the centre a modest rose.

The pink rosary is made in 7mm Madagascar Rose Quartz which is particularly translucent and fine in vibration. I have paired that stone with a large sterling silver crucifix and sumptuous large rose centre, and handchained it all on sterling silver wire. The crucifix is based on an Italian 'Trinity' pattern and depicts Father overlighting the scene, with the Holy Spirit in dove form above the head of Jesus. The pater nosters are in a larger MRQ stone and I have emphasised them further using silver bead caps.

The brown rosary has a striking bronze crucifixion scene, with Mary and John at the foot of the cross. The stone is 6mm A grade smoky quartz, with faceted 8mm paters. They are handchained with natural brass wire and chain.

Just a sample of my beloved designer rosary beads!

Thursday 12 February 2009

A most productive year

Goodness, I've been away from this blog for a full year, almost to the day. And what a year!

I've been 'crazy busy' working to establish my infant jewellery (or should I say jewelry?) business, True Colours Pearl and Gemstone Jewellery.

Heartfelt thanks for great support to: my 'in-house' designers, Aoife and Stephen; Claire and Gerry; my county enterprise board, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown (DLRCEB); friends / cheer-leaders from CEB networks; colleague, mentor, cheer-leader, Ann Mulcahy; and my many colleagues and clients from the worlds of education / colour therapy.

Commissions and appreciation from people overseas (thank you, Michigan, Australia, Dev Aura and Switzerland!) decided me to take the plunge and exhibit at the Crafts Council of Ireland's annual trade fair, Showcase 09, over four days in January.

Talk about a steep learning curve! I was fortunate in being able to access mentorship from both the CCoI and DLRCEB. Mentors of tremendous practicality, experience and generosity ensured that I was well prepared, with a respectable (self-executed!) catalogue of my 2009 collection, swing tags, a price list, and so much more. And I really enjoyed meeting the buyers in the RDS! More of that in my next blog...