Sep 1, 2012

Challenge of Travel Blog Hop: Take Me Away to Ireland!

May good luck be with you Wherever you go ,
And your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow. 
   -- An Irish Blessing

Today is the Olympic inspired Challenge of Travel Blog Hop hosted by TesoriTrovati of Treasures Found.  Participants were asked to choose a continent and country they'd enjoy traveling to, research the area, and share jewelry representing their dream travel location.


Treasures Found created a world wide adventure, and a cool way to explore new places from the comfort of one's home. So, grab a cup of coffee or tea and treat yourself to beautiful jewelry, uplifting photography, vast geography and dreams! Let the Challenge of Travel blog Hop take you away! Here we go: Ireland!

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Photo courtesy of seminarianvoitus, Flickr

Ireland -- at our fingertips! Literally. Ireland has organized a year long celebration called "The Gathering" welcoming all persons of the world to the Emerald Isle in 2013. special events and festivals are planned, and you can plan your entire trip by way of the world wide web. The  "Discover Ireland" campaign makes it easy to discover Ireland with interactive maps, festival listings, and a confluence of vacation get-a-ways that you can plan right on the website. Whether exploring castles, enjoying the rich Irish culture of music and dance, or experiencing the magic of the breathtaking land & seascapes, your trip will be as unique and special as you, and the memories will give you joy for a life-time. After visiting Ireland, the luck of the Irish will surely be with you where ever you go! 


 Kiss Me, I'm Irish 

  There are approximately 80 million people who claim Irish ancestry. Now, the Irish government will provide official recognition of your Irish ancestry with a Certificate of Irish Heritage. Anyone of Irish descent born outside of Ireland can be issues the official document. You need only some information about one ancestor, and a unique certificate just for you will be issued. You can preview your certificate and explore certificate designs here.  


I chose to travel to Ireland in honor of my mother, a true Irish Rose! That's even her name -- Rose! She is a lovely, rare Red Rose: a fair, beautiful red head who fell in love with my Mexican American father, Juan :) They were a progressive and diverse couple a head of their time, and I'm so proud of them! 

My trip to Ireland is a celebration of my family and a huge thank you to my mom. I love having an Irish wit and laughing all the time. The family streak of Irish humor is strong. Even my grandkids have it! (Example, my daughter was recently gifted a "have a bright birthday" card from her ten year old son -- with Justin Berber wearing crazy sunglasses on the front of it! They laughed all day long -- my silly grandson, now there's a leprechaun for you!)


Visiting Ireland, expect to encounter that same witty mischief.  In the city of Dublin, for example, is a statue gifted by the Queen of England entitled "Anna Livia Plurabelle." The statues more common name, however, is "the floozy in the jacuzzi" ! And according to "Irish Expressions" online, the Irish themselves explain:


"We enjoy the sense of humor in many sayings from Ireland,
in particular Irish jokes and limericks, proverbs, toasts and blessings."

 Landscapes and Seascapes




The beauty of Ireland is immense,  with every shade of green in the landscape.




Photo courtesy of Astrogator, Flickr Ireland Photostream






And seascapes that make legends.

Photo courtesy of Astrogator, Flickr Ireland Photostream

Old world charm and rustic countryside.



Photo courtesy of Astrogator, Flickr Ireland Photostream





Castles, magic, and lore.

Photo courtesy of Astrogator, Flickr Ireland Photostream

Ireland dates back to 6,000 B.C. and is rich in history and culture. It's no surprise that the Folklore Department at University College Dublin has over 100,000 tales, myths and legends on record -- the largest collection in the world! Ireland's people, land, and roots in Celtic culture fill the world and have inspired so many of the world's traditions. 


  Treasures, Treats & Lucky Charms 

"GemFairy in Ireland" wire work bracelet with green mosaic turquoise and copper coated wire.


For the jewelry making part of the Challenge of Travel Blog Hop, I enjoyed creating more of my "GemFairy Jewelry" and loved "going green" with gorgeous shades of green wire for Viking knit and gems and beads in every shade of green. I even learned to make a Celtic cage from a new tutorial. And then a week ago my sweet little doggy had a rare allergic reaction to medication our vet prescribed, and just as I so proudly thought myself as ahead of time on this challenge, I put my ombre green viking knit project down and spent days rushing back to the vet, going in the night to the animal hospital, and loving him back to complete and bouncing happy health! Sigh, my apologies dear travelers as you'll have to imagine how beautiful the ombre green colorway (using my beloved Css drive and all) of the viking weave necklace is!


In the meantime, my GemFairy wire work bracelet is complete, and based on a design by my dear friend Lilian Chen (step by step wire artist of the year). I love the abstract representation here: the magical sparkle on the wire is like light dancing on the the seascape of Ireland, and represents the landscape of fairies; the rich greens of the mosaic turquoise and shapes of wire form the intricacy of culture and the landscape of Ireland. A modern jewelry representation of the Emerald Isle!


Photo by "Charms Addict


Traveling to Ireland has been a complete inspiration! Thank you Erin, TesoriTrovati, for hosting this awesome blog hop and honoring our world. I'm so pleased the Olympics inspired you and color expert  Marcie Abney Carroll to create this challenge. When a blog hop keeps me creating jewelry even after the event, it's a good one. I shall complete my viking knit necklace too!Today, I count my lucky stars, envision the awe of the Cliffs of Moher in person, think of really feeling the moss under my feet and breathing deeply the Island air, stretching and reaching arms to the Irish moon, sun, and sky.





In closing, I'd like to leave you with a few fun Irish boons (gifts):


 "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" cookies.

 Kiss Me, I'm Irish cookies -- yummy, smooch! xxoo

And a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" Pinterest board by Tamara Sobczak, 
complete with Leprechaun Floats and Shamrock Chips.
Kiss Me I'm Irish Pinterest

 And an awesome Free Tutorial by Jewel School's Christiane Ross, "St. Patrick's Snakes Necklace Project" based on the legend that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. (give the link a look -- her tutorial uses silver clay, cool wire work, and it's a good one! ;)

St. Patrick photo courtesy of "Our Lady of Mercy"


And best of all, an Irish blessing for your travels today:

"May your days be many and your troubles be few. 

May all God's blessings descend upon you. 

May peace be within you may your heart be strong. 

May you find what you're seeking wherever you roam. "


The Journeys:

            Therese Frank  
      Raychelle Heath
             Joan Williams
       Sherri Stoke
              Regina Santerre
          Raida Disbrow
        Kristi Wodek
       Sally Russick
       Melissa Trudinger
          Tracy Stillman
       Sandra Wolberg
       Tanya Goodwin
         Susan Kennedy
         Beth Emery
       Lisa Cone
       Inge von Roos
       Erin Prais-Hintz
       Dee Elgie
       Carolyn Lawson
       Lisa Stukel
       Shelley Graham Turner
              Paige Maxim
       Jenny Davies-Reazor
          Sharyl McMillian-Nelson
              Evelyn Shelby
       Holly Westfall
       Rebecca Siervaag
              Lee Koopman 
       Laren Dee Barton
              Cindy Wilson
       Kathleen Lange Klik
       Jennifer Justman
       Elsie Deliz-Fonseca
            Lola Surwillo
      Kim Hora
       Leanne Loftus
       Patti Vanderbloemen
       Marcie Carroll
        Marlene Cupo
       Ine Vande Cappelle
            Tammie Everly
            Alice Peterson
       Elisabeth Auld
  Susan McClelland
      D Lynne Bowland
       Denielle Hagerman
        Rebecca Anderson
        Mischelle Fanucchi
       Kari Asbury
       Cece Cormier
       Emma Todd
       Debbie Price

Big Hugs, TJ

Toltec Jewels is an author by day and jewelry artist by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Fransisco MOMA in a permanent collection of mixed media art and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for both her literary and jewelry art. A gemstone collector and jewelry lover, she makes handcrafted jewelry with her entire family. Her store offers small gemstone bead mixes for complimenting art bead jewelry.

She is also the creator of Jewel School Friends, a community of expert and new jewelry artisans taking inspiration from each other, Jewel School, and jewelry art culture. Jewel School Friends features jewelry designers and bead artists, supports entrepreneurship for independent artisans, and hosts community events, challenges, and fundraisers. Join her at Jewel School Friends on Facebook artist features, youtube tutorials, networking, sales & coupons, blog hops, give-a-ways and of course, beautiful jewelry! 


  1. Nice post, lovely pictures!- is your piece a bracelet? Its pretty wild.

  2. Wow how unique and beautiful.. great job.

  3. Your wirework looks amazing. Your bracelet is gorgeous.

  4. Oooh Rita! I have wanted to go to Ireland for so long and NOW I REALLY wanna get there! I LOVED your post! Do you think we could get a group to go bead hunting over there? You know I am IRISH too right? and I have both the sense of humor and the temper!haha

    Those cages look so difficult but are awfully cool.

    Thanks for taking me to the Emerald Isle! xxoo Shelley

  5. That bracelet looks like it would be so much fun to wear. And thank you for all the gorgeous pics of Eire. I am also mostly Irish and would love to visit family there.

  6. Fun post, I love how different everyone's is! The wirework bracelet looks great!

  7. Love your notes on Ireland. The bracelet is beautiful!

  8. This is a great post with so many links to visit. Many thanks for the Irish blessings and info on the 2013 tours! I'm going to check into that. Love the wirework bracelet and that green bead is just gorgeous!

  9. You chose some beautiful pictures of Ireland, indeed! Love your caged wirework! You have captured the beauty of the Emerald Isle with those gorgeous stones!

  10. Rita you are a love! Thanks for the beautiful tribute to the land of my ancestry (maiden name is Burke) and your creation of the Gemfairy is so unique and inspiring. You have an amazing talent for many things! Hugs, Marlene

  11. The Emerald Isle is someplace I would love to visit. And your bracelet is beautiful. It embodies the rougb and wild beauty of this nation. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Enjoy the day. Erin

  12. Beautiful photos! I love the bracelet eventhough it is not finished.

    Thanks for the 'Kiss Me' cookie! Its one of my favorites!

  13. That first photo you used had me saying WOW out loud - gorgeous! Happy to hear pup is back to health. I love that plan B is really perfect, looks like they are dancing along the wire to me, very fitting!

  14. Thank goodness your little companion is back in health... maybe all those Irish blessings helped? You have gifted us with a wonderful selection of scenes and tastes of a truly magical land. Your bracelet is gorgeous, with its intricate woven images surrounding the mosaic of green. A fitting tribute to a people that have given so much, to so many (including me, fourth generation Canadian, with my heart in my ancestral County Kerry, western coast of Ireland).

  15. Uhm. Oh. My. Goodness. That bracelet. Speachless.

    (and thank you for your lovely journey! From another who chose Ireland ;))

  16. Very funny and wonderful post, beautiful piece of jewelry! I'm Irish too!


Gracias for your comments and for visiting! I appreciate every word :)
Namaste --