Friday, 12 December 2014

Green Gift Guide!

Today I'm back with my colour-inspired gift lists! 

This time, I definitely went for green! Why? Because green is the colour of hope, and the coming of Christmas makes me feel hopeful. After all, Christmas celebrates the end of the dark, metaphorically ...and not: the day gets longer and longer, and in the blink of an eye, it's spring again!

Hope is surely an attitude, with tons of fabulous side effects, like...that you never give up, and keep going no matter what, because you know it will be alright.

Hope is probably a state of mind, a human emotion, a feeling, and a sentiment, because I'm quite sure it can be taught. It's like a deep understanding....the kind of understanding that makes you steady, and your fears shut up! 

Green represents all this, and who wears it says to the world: I'm clever, I'm revolutionary, potentially tough, and I'll find a solution for whatever is that is bothering us. Right now!

"...I'm already working on it"

Have a nice week end,


Sunday, 7 December 2014

National Craft Fair at RDS Dublin!

This was my very first time at the annual National Craft Fair at RDS, Dublin!

I've desperately tried to see everything! I wanted to give the deserved attention to all those great crafters! In my defense, the food area may have distracted me.

However, I left quite satisfied: the atmosphere was great! The perfect prequel to any Christmas shopping. 

Silk and mohair wrap by Saolr√® Knit Design.

Overall, the place was very welcoming, the heating was just right, and the lights too. The stalls had simple, yet eye-catching setups. 

 I appreciated the size of the event, which I'm hereby classifying as 'not overwhelming': there was no wandering without a clue, which is the part I hate about fairs. 

Pottery by Artisan Inishbofin.

The crafts I've seen were mostly original. Of course, there were some recurring themes, and products, but you could easily distinguish one artist's hand from the others'.

Paper Lanterns by SNOW.

Most importantly, I had the chance to complete my overview about Irish contemporary handicrafts, and incoming trends, as well as competences, and strengths. 

Naturally printed textiles by Nicola Brown, Clasheen

The thing I couldn't help looking for but couldn't find anywhere is the cheap merchandising, which I do not understand why was soooo missing! 'Cheap' it's not compromising. Let's get over it!

Besides, that's the reason way people were buying relish and cheese, in case you were wondering. Next time, I want to see huge buckets of affordable, handmade goods! Something I'd buy myself, a broke crafter, without even thinking about it. You know, to bring home a piece of your talent.

Sorry, I can't remember who makes these adorable chalkboards.

PS. Another thing that mysteriously went missing: the information point, possibly to be set at the entrance. Or a free map with the ticket, that would have also been fine!

Have a nice week,


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Etsy Gift Guide for Dummies.

Since we are officially entering the gift-hunting season, it's time for me to put to good use my considerable knowledge of Etsy!

Etsy is no simple marketplace, many shops I used to purchase from are now closed - maybe on vacation, maybe disappeared into a search black hole. So I'll mention only a few things I've had the chance to find, like, and buy recently.

Trendy items: the wrap watch. I bought mine from Villa Sorgenfrei, a etsy shop based in Berlin, Germany. Run by Claudia, it sells assembled time pieces, and jewelry.
What I can tell is that: the wrap is actually leather, and ages nicely; the piece as a whole has comfortable proportions, and it's easy to put on and off; eventually, it's quite resilient. The price is fair when compared to the average cost for the same product (about 22 euro), but postal charges are minimal. My watch came inside a elegant cardboard box, with a spare battery, and a complimentary stainless steel charm.

Original postcards: the 3D papercraft kit. I love frogs. But I love brilliant cards even more. So, to make a very special young lady smile, I purchased this card from Paper Wolf, and had it delivered directly to her letterbox. Run by Wolfram, PaperWolf is also based in Germany. It sells the most amazing papercraft kits, which tend to turn into fantastic 3D paper sculptures.
As for Villa SorgenfreiPaper Wolf's prices and postal charges are quite fair.
My recommendation: not to be missed!

The ultimate treat: handmade potteryL'Officina is to me one of the unforgettable etsy shop. Run by Sonia, a ceramist based in Italy, her teapots (above) are just stunning, and would do well in art galleries. Unfortunately, they are a little pricey for me! On the bright side, in her shop you'll find tons of absolutely inexpensive gift ideas!

...Gosh, I think I'm in love with that car!

Have a nice day,


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Orange Gift Guide!

After purple, the first colour that comes to my mind is orange! Orange, to me, it's a sugar rush without calories involved. Possibly not so trendy as purple, orange is for the brave. 
Nowadays it is no longer considered a spiritual colour, but it was - and maybe still is - sacred to che Catholics, together with white, and sky blue. Then I guess Buddhist monks have those nice tunics for a reason!
On vogue in the 80s, it came back as Pantone colour of the year  2012 ("tangerine tango"). Being made by adding yellow to red, it matches well with both. In forniture textiles is often found with hot pink, while we definitely prefer to wear it with neutrals, greys, or blacks.

In my shop, orange comes in a infinite range of shades and textures, solid, or combined. I especially love the polished, magmatic look of carnelian (first picture), but I also have a soft spot for burnt orange (last picture), and the shiny one (picture in between). 

Have a nice day,


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Purple Gift Guide!

With holiday season at our doorstep, it's definitely time for gift guides!

Today I've collected a few pieces of purple jewellery form my shop. I'm starting with purple because as it's very popular, and everyone likes it.

Purple is a easy combo for black, grey, and neutral outfits...and yet, can be nicely mixed and matched with greens, and oranges. It's basic colour theory, but I really love that contrast!

Here I've combined straightforward handmade designs with a huge range of material, from gemstone to wood. As purple in jewellery making may mean wood, agate, amethyst, glass, crystal, plastic, enamel...and even china!

My only recommendation during your Christmas shopping: not always prices are fair during holiday season, so be prepared to value carefully any purchase. Plus, if gemstone is cheaper than plastic, it's no gemstone.

In my shop, the price is made by beads' quality, and sometimes findings. If you have any question, drop me an email and I'll get back to you as soon as possible, with all the information you may want, or need. 

Back to purple, I think there are few colours as versatile. Trendy, sophisticated, and the very special charm bracelet below, full of nostalgic colours and images.

...Before leaving you, please check this out! There is a 20% off discount in my shop, great if you want to buy your Christmas presents this month! Plus, gift wrapping is always available for free upon request!

Have a nice day,


Sunday, 9 November 2014

La Piccola Bottega dell'Alchimista, Dinner Set.

This is a very special post. Possibly a "thank you" post. Today I'm writing about fellow Italian crafter, ceramist, and artist Annarita Petrini.

I stumbled upon her creations when I opened my Esty shop. Her stoneware is gorgeous, and her graphics would do well on a fable book!
What really enchanted me though is that she is able to renew tradition, using a timeless know-how for modeling her own art. Now, it may sound just "ok", but I can assure you it is no easy task. You must have found your voice, and be able to use it.

Anyway, I've always thought I would end up buying one of her whimsical tea pots. Instead, I happened to be looking for a dinner set. And I'm still congratulating myself for contacting her!

A huge box was delivered to me a few days ago. When I opened it, I almost passed out! There it was, my perfect country style Italian dinner set. With a fairy twist.

I find only now the time to share hints of her stunning work, and thank her for making me happy!

Have a nice day!

****Find her here La Piccola Bottega dell'Alchimista, and on Facebook****

Friday, 31 October 2014

Pyrite: of Ice and Fire.

Pyrite is known for all the wrong reasons. Possibly, it hasn't had a good PR in centuries.

For instance, when I was a child, my father introduced it to me as "fool's gold". Then, when I moved to Dublin, I found out that in Ireland it is mostly associated with construction risks, because of pyrite heave.
It doesn't even have a nice name. "Pyrite"...I can't be sure in English, but in Italian sounds kind of lame! Instead, it is Greek for "of fire" - quite a powerful word - because it can spark, and ignite fires.

This summer I bought some pyrite beads - out of curiosity -, because I had never seen them before. I thought I'd give it a try as jewellery components.

I couldn't be be more happy. Once cut and polished, pyrite looks like silver, but preserves the warm glow of gold. It has black veins, and cracks that make the beads look antique, and unique.

Being a mineral, it has a metallic texture, but it is not heavy. Basically, it is perfect for jewellery making. I made the necklace above, and the two pairs of chain earrings. I think it's nice also mixed with other gemstones, like the tiger's eye below:

My conclusion about pyrite is that as a stone, it has been mistreated! It is great to work with, and inspiring. Moreover, it looks like silver, and glows like gold: it has both fire and ice inside!

Have a nice Halloween, 
and week end!


Friday, 24 October 2014

Bags! Bags! Bags!

...yes, I'm renewing the bag section of my shop. I'm still working on it, so there's not much to see. I want to show you some of the new items though, before you start thinking my volcanic mind is entering the power-save mode. Because it's not.

I literally love shopping bags, but ours is not a easy relation. I use them a lot, and find them quite fancy as fashion accessory.
I use them because I don't have a car - well, I used to, but I chose not to have one -, and so I go from shop to shop, from market to market for my grocery shopping. 
If I gave up the comfort of a car, it's only because we decided to live in city centre, where everything is at hand. Well, it is and it is not. I mean, things tends to ignore my preposterous life choices, and weigh on my poor back!

So I generally do my shopping a bit at a time...on lunch breaks, on my way home, and of course, on weekends. It's not the most practical way of getting things done, but it is what it is.

So, it's all very European and trendy, but now, seriously, let's talk about outfits. I've been enslaved to a ugly backpack for years! It was time to get rid of it, and buy a nice, feminine bag! But how to manage bulky items?!

Eventually, I went for the combo bag/shopping bag: inside the brand new elegant bag I keep, folded, my canvas shopping bag(s). 
But here it comes the unpleasant counterpart. Shopping bags are used to promote brands, or as souvenirs. I don't like wearing someone else's advertisement.
I don't even like alternative trends of sorts: moustaches, font compositions, or deer's heads - those are the worst! I feel sorry to say so, as they're doing so well on Etsy, but I need to be honest here: there's a limit beyond which trendy becomes...creepy.
I know. I am picky. And to be fair, I think the only solution, for people like me, is to switch to DIY. So I did it. I made my own. Again. And since I was already sewing, I also made some minor alterations to the basic model, to make my bags truly good for me.

I'll add a tutorial as soon as possible so that you can Do It Yourself! Meanwhile, find them in my shop, and fell free to use the coupon code NOVELTYBAGS for purchasing one, or more! The coupon expires November 30, 2014.

Have a nice week end


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Etsy Giveaway, Please Enter your Comment!

The problem with autumn is that it falls (ah ah) between summer holidays and Christmas holidays. What a boring period can be! No emotions in sight! So, to cheer you up, I'm hosting a giveaway on Facebook. You may win this bracelet, so ....why not giving it a try?!

  •  go here, on Facebook (also by clicking the image above), 
  •  leave a comment under the image.
  • wait until monday!
The lottery starts now, and ends on Sunday, October 19, at midnight, so

. . . H u r r y   u p ! ! !

PS. If you want to enter the game but don't have a FB account, just let me know with a comment here, and I'll add you to the game!!!