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 - www.etsy.com/shop/CatjuHandmadeJewelry

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!






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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


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Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Healing Power of Gemstones

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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.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall is in the Air at Catju Designs

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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!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Artisan Jewelry is Trending

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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!










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Sunday, February 22, 2015

St Patrick's Day Earrings, Get Your Green On

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Being snowbound yesterday, with about 8 inches of snow, allowed me to make earrings for St. Patrick's Day. Swarovski emerald crystals are a great color to use with both silver and antique gold.

Here are the earrings that I made, all of them can be purchased in my CatjuHandemadeJewelry Etsy Shop.

This pair has an antique silver shamrock charm, with a cutout on one of the leaves. There are two emerald Swarovski crystal bicone beads and sterling silver earwires.
This pair is made from a white glass bead with a four-leaf clover, pewter bead cap, emerald Swarovski crystal bicone beads, and sterling silver earwires.
If you'd like your earrings in antique gold, this pair is made from a shamrock charm, emerald Swarovski crystals, and antique gold earwires. 
 Another pair with pewter shamrocks and sterling silver earwires.
All of these earrings are made with a four-leaf clover shamrock, which is said to bring good luck. I can remember sitting in the yard as a child searching through the clover, hoping to find one with four leaves. I found two or three over the course of several years, which is pretty good. According to this blog entry by David Bradley, there are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every four-leaf clover. If you are in need of some luck next month for St. Patrick's Day, wearing these earrings would be a good start.




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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Catju Designs Book Review: 2015 Crafter's Market, How to Sell Your Crafts and Make a Living

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I was very interested to read the book entitled "2015 Crafter's Market, How to Sell Your Crafts and Make a Living," as I am always looking for tips and hints to increase sales of my handmade jewelry. The subtitle of this book is "Articles, tips and advice from experienced Craft Business Owners, over 1,000 listings to sell your jewelry, papercraft, quilting, knitting or sewing!" Given that, I was pumped up to get some ideas from this 331 page book, and read about how other people were making a living with their craft.

Front cover of 2015 Crafter's Market Book

The book is divided into several sections, including Business Basics, Articles and Interviews, Market Listings, and Indexes. The biggest section of the book was the Market Listings section, which is 160 pages of Industry Shows, Shows and Fairs, Online Market-Places, Book Publishers, Magazines, and Online Communities. Each listing is broken out with the title, address, phone number, fax number, website, and lots of additional information. For example, under the Shows and Fairs section, there is a show held in Washington DC each year called Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair. The listing has the contact information of the Washington City Paper, (202) 332-8500, website www.washingtoncitypaper.com/craftybastards. It is a fine arts and crafts fair that accepts handmade crafts and other mediums made by independent artists. Information such as the number of attendees, deadline for admission, application fee, space fee, and exhibition space can all be found on their website.

Back cover of 2015 Crafter's Market Book
As another example, under the Online Market Places, there is a listing for Etsy. The website is listed as www.etsy.com, and states it is "geared towards handmade items. Shopping cart checkout feature. Products sold: handmade items, vintage, craft supplies. Setup costs: $0.20 to list an item; 3.5% fee on sale price. Listing features: user profiles, photos, shop banner."

My favorite part of the book was the Articles and Interviews section. You can find out about Tips and Tricks for a Successful Craft Business from Cottage Mama, Lindsay Wilkes, Branding Strategies for Craft Business from Tula Pink, Finding Success on Etsy from Kristen Robinson, Pricing your Work from Grace Dobush, Write and Publish a Craft Book from Margot Potter, and many more articles. Each article provides up-to-date information and was written by a successful business owner.

Article on Publishing a DIY Magazine Article from the 2015 Crafter's Market Book
So as you can see, there is current information for the many, many resources for crafters. The index was very helpful, as it was divided into a Regional Craft Show index, Subject index, and General index. This book is priced at US $27.99 and is well worth the price.

If you get a chance to read the book, please come back and leave a comment and let me know what you think!
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