Author Archives Mary

beading project

Beading ideas for summer …

If, like me you love beading I think you will enjoy these few pieces I made recently from a fabulous bag of beads I was sent by Fiona Fewer of Dink Design.  Fiona is a jewellery designer herself and had her own very successful jewellery business.  She is now selling beads and jewellery making components and is […]

Mary Jun 06, 2017 News 2 Comments Read More

Rings for summer – mosaic jewellery design challenge

recycled glass rings

recycled glass rings

So in keeping with the design challenge for May I am continuing with my ring buzz!  I think rings that are full of colour and sparkle could possibly be the only piece of jewellery you will need for the summer!  Are you heading off to a few festivals?  Do you have a wedding to go to?  Or are you planning a holiday in the sun?  If so you may need a ring and I may just have what you are looking for!  The great thing about wearing a statement ring is that the ring is all you need.  I love the summer not just for the warmer weather and blue skies but what I wear and how that makes me feel is so different from the other seasons.  Wearing brighter colours, painting my toe nails and filling those piercings in my ears with lots of little studs all become part of my summer. Not forgetting those long dresses,  floaty cardigans, wedgey sandals and then, always a nice big chunk of armour on one of my fingers!!  Yes I am a self confessed ring junkie!  The obsession goes way back to my childhood and being in total awe of a beautiful older cousin and her jaw dropping, larger than life rocks she wore not only as rings but dangling from every limb.  The first piece of jewellery I bought as a teenager was an ivory coloured band.  It was some sort of resin or hard plastic.  It was chunky and I loved it.   Although in my early twenties in this pic I was still wearing that ring!   I have just recently purchased a mould to try and recreate that first ring ….

Mary Drea

But for now I am using hematite, recycled glass ‘blobs’  and recycled glass glitter.  These elements will be the basis for a new collection of rings which are now available in my shop and I will be adding to them over the next few weeks.   So what are glass blobs?  These are lumps or spheres of glass that are used mainly in mosaics. They are flat on one side with a nice dome on the top side. You might often see them at the centre of a flower design or any small pattern that needs a focal accent at the centre.  I have had these for a long time and thought I could put them to a different use! 
recycled glass for rings

glass drops 

For this gold glitter ring I used a clear glass blob.  Rather than pouring resin over these rings I decided to fill the bezel first with a small amount of resin and then I placed a row of hematite bugle beads into the resin.  In bead land we call this tubular shape a bugle!  I sprinkled gold glitter (made from glass) into the centre of the ring and placed the clear glass blob onto the glitter. The glass slightly magnifies the glitter and it really looks spectacular!!  It is a lovely ring to look in to.  
gold glitter ring

gold glass glitter ring

Still using the blobs and the glitter, for this ring I have chosen a beautiful oval hematite bead.  This is particularly glorious because it is faceted and has a beautiful rainbow finish.  This is the ‘take the eye outta yer head’ ring …. should I give it that name???!!  As with any stone,  bead or piece of glass that is faceted the sparkle and flash of light reflection is intense.
rainbow recycled glass ring

rainbow hematite ring

Seeing as we are celebrating green this year with Pantone announcing it as their colour for 2017 I decided to add a green to the collection.  I made one of these last year and it sold within seconds of going on Facebook!!  I have used an apple shade of green, one of those granny smith apples, with a green hematite (super metallic sheen) all the way around the edge.  This is also available in gold and there is a pink version too.  All available on my site.
glossy green ring

glossy green ring

And just for those of you who might like something a bit calmer and classic but perfectly summery, I have made this really beautiful and delicate square pearl ring.  These tiny little natural pearls are a gentle grey colour with a very slight hint of lavender.  I have had these little pearls in my gemstone stash for quite some time and I am loving this ring!  Believe it or not square rings can be very flattering on the hand.  They give a nice balance to most hand shapes and are a lovely alternative to the round shapes.  Give it a go!
Pearl ring

Square pearl ring

In an effort to do it all a bit differently, I decided to sit the various components INTO resin as opposed to pouring resin over the various beads and glitter.  This way the resin acts as a very strong adhesive.  These beads or pearls are not going anywhere.   This allows the rings to be a more tactile experience.  You can touch and feel the glass drops and the little hematite beads.  The pearls too are nice to touch!  This is in essence true mosaic.  Earthy, tactile and colourful.
All rings featured in this post are available in  my shop.  Feel free to contact me anytime here with any queries or special requests for jewellery.  If you would like to be kept up to date with new products and all future news, including future workshops and tutorials, please sign up to my newsletter here.



In the words of IMAGE…..are you following me? PLUS 10% off your next purchase!

irish design - addiebeads


Just as the title says IMAGE gave me a very nice little mention on Thursday!  The title of the piece being ‘Five Irish jewellery designers you need to follow‘. Their Facebook post reads

‘These Irish designers have us drooling for some new neck and arm candy”.

What a lovely suprise!  Being referred to as ‘one to follow’ is like a reward after a few years of plodding along through the noise of social media.  I never thought anyone would ever notice me or my work.  I do have a following going back to my beading days (when I was also selling supplies) but when I got into designing my own collection of jewellery it was like starting all over again. For nearly 18 months now I have been working on, designing and developing a range of mosaic jewellery.  My inspiration comes mainly from anything small, colourful and made of glass.  My life long fascination with collecting trinkets, beads, tiny ornaments and anything with a glint or sparkle has led me here.  I love to work with the tiniest czech glass beads, venetian glass cane and nano ceramics to bring together a blast of colour in the form of wearable mosaic.   Even though I have a passion for colour I actually wear quite a neutral palette.  My jewellery too would be quite classic in style, always gold or antique silver.  This is the perfect canvass for my jewellery.  I have found adding a splash of colour to either gold or silver jewellery works beautifully!  The square and circle pendants hang on the end of 24 carat gold plated chains or .999 silver plated chains.  I have purposely left it as simple as this as the pendant speaks for itself.  I am presently adding leather to a shorter length and this too is proving popular and also works well when worn with a longer necklace.

As I was coming up with the idea for a jewellery collection and figuring out who would wear it and how, I managed to create my customer in my mind.  I would visualise her, imagine her wearing it as she goes about her day.  I always imagined her buying one piece, one pendant on a long chain and layering it with her own chains and necklaces.   Her job or career was irrelevant. But her style would be relaxed, almost a boho vibe.  Then I realised I was designing for myself!!  My customer is ME!!  Is that a good thing? It is very hard to design or work on something creatively if you do not like it yourself.


For me mosaic is a gathering and collecting of glass and ceramics and the challenge is to get these tinies nicely into bezels.  I am still working on how to cut glass and ceramics into tiny pieces for a whole other collection coming soon.  Like all creatives the design process never stops.  I am always thinking of the next idea and how to put it into action.  But for now the millefiori range is selling well.


green circle pendant



floral rings


heart pendant


gold bangle

mosaic bangle with heart and sea star charms


My focus for now is to continue creating handmade, quality jewellery that will last, is timeless and above all will bring colour into your life.  My website hosts mainly the millefiori range and a small selection of the ceramic pendants and rings but if you would like to see a bigger range along with glass beaded jewellery you will find me in the CHQ building in Dublin on Fridays and most Saturdays I am in Kilruddery Farm and Craft Market in Bray, Co. Wicklow.

For anyone who would fancy making a purchase please enjoy a 10% discount on all products on the website.  Simply use the code TEN at the checkout!


millefiori bangles

bangles with handmade charms


I can be contacted at with any queries and if, like IMAGE has recommended, you would like to follow me,  you will find me on Facebook Instagram and Twitter

Using beads in mosaic …

czech glass

Czech glass beads

I stopped selling beads a couple of years ago and I would have thought by now my stash would be long gone.   But instead of my collection diminishing it has grown …

I have continued to indulge.

At night I shop online

click click while himself snores…

ooops! my basket is full

a few days later the beauties


through the letterbox

like magic.

Sparkling and glistening in a little bundle of crisp bubble wrap.

Of late I have been indulging in lampwork beads. Lampworking is a whole new world.  A combination of glass making skills and creative design.  Some of these beads are like tiny little monuments.  Each one handmade and designed by some devotee to the glass heavens.

lampwork beads

lampwork beads

Lampwork beads are a secret passion.  Not a lot of people get it … ‘I bought some lampwork beads’  you might say to your friend , who may even be a beader,  and the response is always indifferent.  Some bead hoarders are not too bothered with the quality or the source, as long as they shine or sparkle and are the right size that will do for them.

Nothing will ‘just do’ for me.


This is what Addiebeads has been built on. Quality, beauty and handmade.

With my bead stash growing and an ever increasing collection of small mosaic tiles I have decided to take on a project. I have this very large wooden ADDIEBEADS  ‘sign’ which I am going to mosaic using beads and tiles.  It comes in two parts, each part measuring about 4ft long and when its finished and joined together I really don’t know where I will put it!!  This sign was ordered in error.  Between myself and the company involved at the time I think we got our cms and mms mixed up!  You will see from the painted smaller sign what I was actually looking for at the time….




I am thinking a mixture of lots of colourful tiles and glistening glass beads!  All my tiles have either a pearlesque, iridescent or glitter finish so my vision for the finished piece is something that almost glows in the dark! There will be no swirls or circles or the usual mosaic shapes (which I normally love).  This will have more of an abstract tapestry feel.  No patterns within patterns …. just everything there but in an ordered way …. the beauty of mosaic is that you can use whatever materials you want and do whatever pattern or design you want.  It can be a total indulgence of everything that you love about colour and shape.

As the piece is the name of my business I guess if nothing else it has to feature colour (lots of teal and gold) and lots of earthy shiny glass.

So I will be using a selection of these ….

czech glass beads

czech glass beads

and these …



and lots and lots of these ….


mosaic tiles

The only problem I can envisage for this project is finding the time!!  Please check back for regular updates!

Something new – wearable mosaic

I have just added a new category to my site called Ceramic Pendants and I thought I would just write a short post about what they are exactly.  I came across these tiny little mosaic tiles when I attended a mosaic workshop with Smidirini Mosaics a couple of years ago.   I have always loved mosaic and had dabbled with […]

Mary Nov 05, 2015 News 2 Comments Read More

Putting a price on your work….

This topic continues to plague me!!  But for once I have decided to down tools and work out cent for cent exactly what it costs to make a piece of my jewellery!  The internet is swamped with formulae and diagrams and infographics on how we should be doing this.  For the most part they are merely a guide to follow.  If any of them were to be followed exactly, I doubt if I would ever sell a piece.


How much?

It is so hard to place a value on time and I now understand why so many of us just work out the cost of materials and triple it to come up with the RRP.  I am guilty myself of this easy way out solution. It has allowed me for years to be in denial about the reality of not making a profit.  We get caught up with the sales figures and the money coming in.  Yes it is great to be busy and to secure those orders but it is a worthless task if you are not earning a profit.

The pricing question really comes to the fore when you are considering the wholesale market.  Because now you have to sell at a lower price because the retailer needs to make a profit too.  The profit margin for the retailers varies considerably.  But at the end of the day you have to have your own pricing set up in such a way that you make a profit whether it is wholesale or retail.

But I need to make a point here about the wholesale scenario.  It is a huge opportunity for small designers and crafters. It allows you to get your name out there. It gives your product an opportunity to be seen.  It is exposure for your brand.

You will also get orders for multiple pieces so if you are clever and work out your time well you should be able to spend the one time slot putting together the entire order.   So take this into account when working out your mark up for wholesale.  If you are not selling online this will be easier.  If you are selling online your prospective wholesale customers will have to sell at the same price.

The most basic formula for working out pricing seems to be MATERIALS + LABOUR = COST or a variation thereof.  This will literally just give me the cost of a pendant.  I then have to work out a ‘mark up’. But if you are selling wholesale AND retailing via a website (like I do) you will need two prices – a RRP and a wholesale price.  According to one formula I found online, the wholesale price is twice the cost price and then the retail price is twice the wholesale price!  Ideally this is the way it should go but remember this is just a guideline.




VAT is optional.

So what do you include under the heading MATERIALS ?

mosaic jewellery

millefiori selection from addiebeads

I include everything – every link of chain, eye pin, head pin, jump ring, resin, glue.  It is actually shocking when you list all the components needed to make a piece.  Dont forget to consider VAT, import duties and delivery charges on all those items you have bought to make up your jewellery.  Dont forget the packaging! Tot it all up and this will be your material cost. To this you must add in your time…


how much do you charge?

You will have to work out what you want to pay yourself.  And then how much of this time was spent on making an individual piece.  What would you pay someone if you were able to employ someone?  What would you expect to get paid if you were working for someone else?  This is a very hard figure to come up with!  When you have that worked out you will have an hourly rate and this will be what you will use for the labour cost figure.  If something only takes 10 minutes to make then simply work it out and add it in.

I have concentrated mainly on labour and materials.  Dont forget you can also include electricity and other overheads you may have.  There are lots of ways of working out these costs and I have found the best way to do it is NOT to do it!!!!!  If I ever end up working away from home I will have to consider these costs but for now I am leaving them out.

The mark up is the next difficult decision!  Here you will have to work out whether you want to double your cost or go less.  Personally I think doubling the cost figure is too much!  So I always consider this 200% mark up to be the absolute limit!  Likewise with the markup for retail.  Whatever you decide to charge just make sure you are making a profit.  If you are not making a profit what is the point?  Unless of course your business is a hobby and is something you just adore doing.  If that is the case you have nothing to stress about!  But whenever you want to take that hobby to the next level PLEASE make sure to charge properly.

If you are finding that your wholesale ‘cost’ is too high for prospective wholesalers then maybe wholesale is not a viable option.  This will continue to be the biggest challenge for anyone handmaking their products.  And sometimes the figures will just not go in your favour.  The only part of the equation you can reduce is your mark up and as many of us have this so tight there is just no further reductions possible.  For me this is the ‘walk away’ moment.  Retail outlets can be difficult to deal with but do your best to negotiate the best possible deal for you and your brand.

As a result of a day well spent with the calculator all my prices will be getting a considerable hike on October 1st.  For the first time in three years I am feeling confident in both myself and the handmade pieces I make to finally stand up and say this beautiful piece of jewellery I have made is worth it!!  Hopefully I get to actually turn that corner and make that profit!

Wish me luck!


Charge what you are worth



Would you like to win a pendant….?

Fancy winning one of my millefiori pendants?  If so read on!

Facebook makes it hard these days to run competitions and because I have such a loyal following on Facebook, I am always afraid of breaking the rules and running the risk of losing my page. I dare not tempt fate!   Apparently you cannot ask for likes or shares bla bla so I am going to place my giveaway here where all is safe and out of the prying eyes of Mr Facebook.  You could say we all live in fear of him!  Well certainly those of us with a business page ….


If you want to be in with a chance of winning the multi mix pendant you just have to sign up for emails.  I promise you I will not be bombarding you with daily mail.   I am so bad at regular emailing that there will be no fear of you being harrassed by Addiebeads!  I am however coming into a very busy season.  I am planning a few new ideas and I will have various discounts from now until then so make sure to sign up to keep in touch!

The sign up form is here in the right hand margin (up a bit)  >>>>>>>

Or if you are on a mobile device please click here and you will be brought straight to the sign up form.   Dont forget to let me know on the FB post that you have entered and if you want to share the post that would be very much appreciated!   Lucky winner will be announced on Wednesday 26th August which will give everyone a chance to see this post and the one on Facebook.  I will have it pinned to the top of the page.

The square pendant measures 23mmx23mm and is made using the tiny millefiori glass.  I place each tiny piece into the bezel creating a mosaic of tiny flowers.  The pendant itself is cast in pewter and has a .999 pure silver plating.  This particular pendant also has an antiqued finish.  Each pendant I make is unique.  No two are ever the same.

Best of luck!

Please note all names already on my mailing list will be included.

Winner will be selected using a random selector app.

Patience! Handmade takes time …

I get asked a lot why do orders take so long! I guess a lot of people visit a website, make a purchase and expect it to be delivered the next day.  Well I am sure some products can be bought in this way but here at Addiebeads HQ things can take a little longer […]

Mary Aug 14, 2015 News 2 Comments Read More

The heart pendant is back in stock!

My top selling piece has consistently been the heart pendant!  Along with the heart being the most popular shape so too is the multi mix of millefiori glass. So it constantly runs low on stock.  I am now delighted to say that the multi heart pendant is now back in stock!  I love making these pendants […]

Mary Aug 04, 2015 News 0 Comment Read More