Friday, March 2, 2018

Amazing Bead Embroidery by Loretta Fehling

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Loretta Fehling
You may have noticed some amazing bead embroidery necklaces, earrings and pendants in my Etsy shop, CatjuHandmadeJewelry. Loretta Fehling, a member of my team, made them all. She has been an art show artist for 35 years, beginning with handmade papers.

She then moved into garments, using vintage tablecloths, bark cloth and chenille. She authored two books documenting over 700 tablecloths in several price guide books, and also a book about barkcloth: 

In the early 1990’s, she was a tablecloth authority. Dealers all over the county saved tablecloths for her to use in her clothing. As the years went on, it became more and more difficult to find decent tablecloths at a fair price.

She attended a lampwork demonstration and took a few classes, and got hooked on making beads and jewelry from those beads. During that time, she went into a bead store looking for supplies, and went “Wow, so many pretties!!” She took a few more classes and started to bead and mixed in her lampwork beads.

Loretta's beautiful handmade lampwork beads
About four years ago, Loretta stopped making beads and began doing beadwork full time. She retired from participating in art shows about two years ago, and began focusing mainly on bead embroidery.

I had to have this necklace, look at the amazing beads and colors!!
“Crafts people just have to keep making things. It’s who we are” Loretta recently told me, “and now, all the pretty yarns are catching my eye. It’s all interconnected, for sure.” Lately, she has started knitting, making a pair of socks and a few other projects.

This one is for sale in my Etsy Shop! It is made from a lapis cabochon and Swarovski pearls
Loretta has a great eye for color; she is always willing to help fellow beaders pick the perfect shade or hue for their bead embroidery project. She also is a master of which sizes and shapes of beads will look best with your project.

Loretta is a member of the Gulf Coast Bead Society and also frequently comes to drop-in beading on Wednesdays at My Bead Gallery in Englewood FL.


Monday, June 26, 2017

More Bead Embroidery Extraordinaire by Devolyn

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On a recent visit, my friend Devolyn looked through my stash of gemstone pendants and picked out a few to take home to bead embroider. When I visited her in May, she had finished three of them, and as usual, they are extraordinarly beautiful. She has a remarkable eye for putting together the beads and components to create amazingly artistic works of art.

Here is a photo of the three of them together:

The first one is a jasper gemstone donut, with a metal component, lime green pearls, seed beads, mother of pearl beads, a button, and look at that fringe! Here is a close up photo:

Fabulous Fringe Donut Bead Embroidery by Devolyn
The second one is a jasper stone we picked for my sister-in-law, she wanted a pendant to wear on a plain gold chain. Once again Devolyn used a metal component, pearls, and seed beads to turn the pendant into a work of art.

Pearl Flower Jasper Pendant by Devolyn

And last but not least, is a Swarovski crystal encrusted pendant where Devolyn used the dark brown seed beads to pull out the dark brown in the stone, and set off the light browns and taupe colors with the subtlety of the crystals. 

Swarovski Crystal Encrusted Jasper Pendant by Devolyn

I have worn this pendant a few times on a dark brown leather cord, and have gotten lots of compliments. I hope to make a beaded chain for it soon.

Thank you Devolyn for sharing your bead embroidery artistry with me, I look forward to seeing your next creation!


Friday, June 2, 2017

Move From Maryland to Florida

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In July 2016, we relocated from Maryland to Florida. The house that we moved to had a big family room in the back of the house that I was able to use for my studio. It has been almost a year since we moved, and I bought new shelving and started organizing my bead and supplies. I still have some more to do, and hope to have everything in its place soon.

Meanwhile, I have been making lots of new earrings, mainly from items that I uncovered while putting away my stash. Here are a few photos, they are for sale in my Easy shop at -

Swarovski Aqua AB

Swarovski Violet Glacier Blue encircled with AB rhinestones
Swarovski White Opal Electra
New Swarovski color, called Peony Pink

Vintage Montana Topaz Givre stones
Until next time, don't forget to leave a little sparkle wherever you go!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Passing of David Smith, Haiti Mission Program, Inc. Founder

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Update on 6/2/17:

Six months after Dave passed, my dear friend and "Maryland Mother" Marsha became ill and died on February 28, 2017. She was the second half of the Haiti Mission Program charity, and visited Haiti also. She was one of the kindest people that I know, welcoming me, my husband and children into her family.  I knew that I could ask anything of Marsha, and often did.

I am at a loss in understanding why she was taken from this earth way too soon. I miss you Marsha, I hope you are having fun in heaven, making sure the angels are wearing their coats on a cold day.

Dave and Marsha celebrating 51 years of marriage

Original Post from 9/27/16:

The world lost a great man on August 12, 2016 when Dave Smith, founder of the Haiti Mission Program Inc. passed away. He dedicated his life to helping what he called "the poorest of the poor" in Haiti. And although he was unable to travel to Haiti for the past several years due to illness, he was very involved in running the charity and ensuring that monies continued to be sent to his contacts in Haiti to continue the good work there.

For more information on the charity, see the link to my website with information about the Haiti Mission Program Inc. and my previous blog post in July 2013 about the Haiti Mission Program, Inc. 

RIP, Senor Dave


Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Healing Power of Gemstones

For ages, gemstones have been thought to have amazing healing powers. According to legend, they bring their wearer mystical healing powers. Each gemstone can be used to help a multitude of problems, including improving your luck to making you more relaxed. Many people believe gemstones are powerful, and can improve your life in many ways. Is it true? Maybe you just have to be open to the possibilities. Why not wear beautiful gemstone necklaces, bracelets, and earrings and receive their possible healing powers?

If you research the healing power of gemstones, you will find each stone is unique in many ways, and has its own abilities and healing powers. Some stones are said to have similar powers to others, such as abalone and chrysocolla. Abalone is though to have soothing powers, calming the mind and body. Chrysocolla is similar to abalone in that it also has calming powers. Jasper provides protection, awareness, insight and grounding. As there are many many types of jasper gemstones, you could wear jasper over and over to get its healing powers.

Jasper and Jet Swarovski Crystal Necklace by Catju Designs
Amethyst is a very popular gemstone, as it is the birthstone for February. Amethyst is thought to have a stress-relieving healing power, and provides spiritual growth and protection. And for some, amethyst is said to enhance psychic ability, which is always a good skill to have! Another powerful gemstone is onyx, known for centering, self control, and shielding the mind and body from negative energies. I have a black onyx necklace and earring set that I wear frequently, so I will have to see if I feel comforted the next time I wear it to a funeral.  

Amethyst and Swarovski Crystal Necklace by Catju Designs
Moonstone, also known as the stone of destiny, is connected to the moon and feminine energies. So naturally, women love the many healing powers they can experience from wearing moonstone, from fertility and harmony, to protection. What could be better for health, happiness, and positivity than wearing moonstone, like this necklace and earring set pictured below? 

Try out the healing powers of gemstones with this Moonstone necklace and earring set by Catju Designs
Several gemstones are considered to bring luck and wealth, including jade and aventurine. Jade is thought to have the ability to help you achieve your goals and desires, bring harmony, peace and confidence, while aventurine is said to attract luck in love, in addition to attracting wealth and success.

Wearing this African Jade Necklace by Catju Designs will perhaps bring you wealth?
It is an interesting concept to think about wearing gemstones based on their healing powers. You may not even recognize that you are getting healing powers from the jewelry that you are wearing. Take a moment to calm your mind, protect your body from the negative thought and energies, and enjoy the natural healing powers in wearing a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Leave a comment and tell me about your experience with the healing powers of gemstones, I'm interested to hear how they work for you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall is in the Air at Catju Designs

Here in Maryland, fall is on its way. It is dark longer in the mornings, the air is crisp, and the leaves on the trees are turning. Although I am happy that the humidity has gone, I am not looking forward to the winter weather coming in the next few months. Where has the year gone?

So with the change in weather, the oranges, tans, and browns make their way to my designs. This set is made from mother of pearl shell beads, interspersed with various crystal and glass beads. There are also a couple of rhinestone studded beads with an iridescent flash. The matching earrings have a large Swarovski crystal bicone and leverback earwires.

Mother of Pearl Shell and Glass Beaded Necklace by Catju Designs

Mother of Pearl and Swarovski Crystal Earring by Catju Designs

Next up for designing are some pumpkin colored beads, along with something delightful from the new Swarovski colors. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Artisan Jewelry is Trending

Artisan jewelry is becoming a hot trend with the "Hollywood" crowd. Famous people everywhere are ditching the typical diamond jewels and are now starting to sport artisan jewelry instead. From Kim Kardashian wearing a black woven piece featuring two small evil eye pendants, to Kaley Cuoco from Big Bang Theory, who was seen wearing a necklace that featured rustic golden Pyrite (also known as Fools Gold) rough nuggets, hand wire wrapped with gold filled wire on a gold filled chain paired with simple Pyrite stud earrings made especially for her.

Pyrite Gemstone and Swarovski Crystal necklace, a 2015 artisan jewelry trend
You don't have to be part of the Hollywood crowd, nor do you have to be famous to wear handcrafted artisan jewelry. It's all about what you wear, right? You need the outfit, the shoes, and the accessories of handcrafted artisan jewelry to make it all come together and click. You want to show off that one of a kind piece of jewelry to your friends, and you love it when people notice, and remark on your jewelry. When you explain the story behind the design inspiration that the jewelry artist told you, your share with your friends about the style of jewelry, and the specialness of handmade artisan jewelry.

Long African Jade gemstone necklace, a artisan jewelry trend for 2015
Catju Designs handmade jewelry, and handcrafted jewelry in general, is meaningful because each artisan makes small quantities. You are unlikely to run into someone wearing the same piece, or wind up giving a piece of jewelry as a gift that someone already has. Because handmade earrings, necklaces and bracelets are a product of the craftsman's skill, each piece of handcrafted jewelry is truly unique. Now you can look fabulous and be the star in your circle of friends.

There's still time to get in on the artisan jewelry trend, and start wearing your very own artisan jewelry. Who knows, you may even start the next jewelry trend!