Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have Yourself a Sparkly Swarovski Christmas from Catju Designs

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Swarovski crystal, also know as Austrian crystal, is bar none, the finest quality crystal made today.  Their beads are cut and then faceted allowing light to reflect off the facets and create brilliant color.  When coatings are added to the crystals, sparkle is added and the brilliance of the crystals is unsurpassed.
Light Sapphire Pendular Lochrose and Copper Earrings

Swarovski crystal beads, pendants, rhinestones and pearls can be purchased in a variety of shapes and over 100 colors, 70 different shapes and a multitude of effects.  A few times a year Swarovski comes out with new colors and shapes that continue to amaze me, like the crystal luminous green color below.  Swarovski crystals have been around for over 100 years, and vintage items, including jewelry and beads can still be found in good shape.

Crystal Luminous Green Galactic Pendant Swarovski crystal and copper earrings

I spent some time this weekend putting together earrings made out of Swarovski crystal pendants and beads.  They are all so beautiful that I want to keep them all as Christmas presents for myself!

Another new Swarovski color, called Crystal Blue Shade, in a teardrop shape with German Silver hook ear wires


Sunday, December 9, 2012

5 Tips for Giving Jewelry as a Gift

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If a beautiful piece of jewelry is your perfect gift idea, you are not alone. Many people choose a gift of jewelry as the ultimate way to show recipients how special they are. However, choosing the right piece of jewelry is not always easy. Here are 5 suggestions for giving jewelry as a gift. 
Black Gold Amazonite and Swarovski Crystal Necklace Combo by Catju Designs

1. Know what jewelry the recipient likes to wear
Does she prefer drop earrings? Would she wear a bracelet? If you discover, for example, that the recipient does not like to wear necklaces, you won't want to give her one. Find out what she likes to wear.
Olivine Swarovski Crystal Bracelet and Earring Set by Catju Designs

2. Know the recipient's favorite colors
If there's a gorgeous pair of turquoise earrings you'd like to buy her, you'll first want to make sure that turquoise is a color she actually likes. It's best to learn the recipient's favorite colors before you choose the jewelry.
Copper Vine Earrings by Catju Designs

3. Know if she prefers modern pieces or vintage pieces
There are some gorgeous vintage pieces on the market. However, you'll want to make sure your recipient enjoys vintage jewelry. She may like more contemporary designs. Discover the kind of look your recipient likes before you shop.
Necklace designed by Kathy Reading of Catju Designs

4. Know where to find the best jewelry
Once you know what jewelry your recipient likes, you'll want to look for a quality gift. Cheap pieces should never be your first choice, and a quality piece of jewelry does not have to be expensive. You can find gorgeous, well-made jewelry at affordable prices. One place to look is Etsy, where you can buy original, handmade designs. Few recipients would turn down a handmade piece of jewelry that represents a one-of-a-kind.
Potato Pearl and Swarovski Crystals Bracelet

5. Know the best place to present the jewelry
Whether you surprise her with lovely jewelry or whether the recipient knows beforehand what gift she is getting, make the presentation memorable. Present her with a lovely pair of earrings over a romantic dinner. Give her a fun and funky bracelet right before a night of dancing. Make sure to give her the jewelry in a box wrapped in lovely paper with a sparkly bow. The way the jewelry is wrapped adds to a perfect presentation.
Copper Flower Necklace, minimalist design

The bottom line is you'll feel more confident in your gift if you not only educate yourself on what your recipient likes, but also take care to present the jewelry in a memorable fashion.

For lovely handmade designs, visit Catju Designs at Etsy,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's Raining Pearls

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Had some time this weekend to use several strands of lovely pearls that I purchased from the Clarksville Bead show from Beads Bagan.  If you get a chance to visit Tin Tin, she will help you select and design the most beautiful pearl jewelry.  I just checked her web site, and she is offering a Holiday Special of a $25 discount on a $200 purchase.

Here are some photos of necklace and earring sets that I made.  Look at the colors in this strand:  lavender, burgundy and peach with peach Swarovski crystals.

And how about these colors, don't they remind you of the fall?

Especially liked the rectangular shape of these golden brown pearls and Silk Swarovski crystals, the perfect compliment to all your fall fashions.

And these twist pearls, what a fantastic shape!  What fun to be mixed with copper.

Pearls are great to wear with just about everything, especially in these great color combinations.  Head over to my CatjuHandmadeJewelry Etsy shop and get some fabulous pearls to wear this holiday season!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Enamel Flower Earrings Tutorial featuring Sunroom Studios

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My favorite purchase from the Innovative Bead Expo last weekend were these delightful enamel flowers by Sunroom Studios.  They are on a long copper wire, and are assorted shapes, colors and sizes.  I had a hard time determining which ones to purchase, as I wanted to buy them all!  I decided to get some pairs to make into earrings.

Enamel Flowers by Sunroom Studios
The first thing I did was bend the copper wire flat against the flower.

Next, I selected a spacer bead and Swarovski crystal, in this case copper daisy spacers and round 8mm light green opaque Chrysolite Swarovski crystal beads.

After stacking the spacer bead and crystal on the copper wire, I made a looped wrap.  Next I picked out the copper fish hook earwires that have a fleur di lis design.

Here's the finished earrings.  The Chrysolite Swarovski crystals bring out the light green in the flowers, and are a perfect accent to the purple and copper.

In all, I made four pairs of earrings.  There is the blue pair with Montana Swarovski Crystals, the purple pair with Light Amethyst crystals, the purple with Chrysolite crystals, and the black with Jet crystals.  

Leave me a comment and let me know which pair is your favorite.

Enamel flower earrings with Swarovski Crystals by Catju Designs
Head over to Sunrooms Studios to purchase the enamel flowers to create your own earrings, or sign up for the class they teach to make your own!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Swarovski Christmas Tree Earring Kits

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Each year I put together these Christmas tree earring kits made from Swarovski crystal Marguerite Lochrose beads in 6, 8 and 10 mm beads, along with a bicone "star" for the top of the tree, and a square gemstone bead for the "trunk."  I've tucked in two silver plated headpins and two sterling silver fish hook earwires into the kit so you have everything you need.

Here's a photo of the kit pieces:

Swarovski Christmas Tree Earring kit in Peridot
So when you stack the beads on the headpin, and finish off the earrings with the ear wires, here's what you end up with:

Peridot Swarovski Crystal Christmas Tree Earrings
These kits are listed in my VRJewelrySupply Etsy shop at this link, where you can purchase the kits in the following Swarovski crystal colors:  Crystal Transmission, Crystal AB, Crystal Silver Night, Vitrail Medium, Erinite, Crystal Tabac, Peridot and Crystal Metallic Light Gold.

Hurry over to my shop and get these kits while they last! 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Spotlight Post at Jewelry Making Journal

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If you haven't found this website, it is the go to place for all aspects of jewelry making.  I have several guest postings that you can find by searching on the words "Catju Designs."  And earlier this week I have a spotlight post, which you can view here.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below, and if you get a chance, also share with your Facebook friends, Twitter Followers, and Pinterest Boards.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Breast Cancer Awareness month started on Monday.  I have been working on this project for a few months, as it takes some time to complete the peyote stitched bracelet.

A huge shout out to my beading buddy Devolyn, who put the bezel on the pink ribbon charm for me.  She is a master in working with those pesky, tiny seed beads that often just give me a headache!  I stitched the charm on the center of the bracelet, and added the filigree box clasp.

Breast Cancer Peyote Bracelet by Catju Designs
This bracelet will be donated to a giveaway sponsored by my aerobics/Zumba instructor, who each year has a Zumba party and takes donations for the Susan Komen Foundation.  The party is scheduled for October26, 2012 at the Eldersburg Merritt Athletic Club.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Part Two, Repurposed Vintage Art Deco Earrings, Indian Pink Swarovsk Crystal Necklace and Earring Set

If you recall from my July 4, 2012 post, I purchased a pair of vintage art deco style earrings to take apart and repurpose, pictured below.  

Today's posting is to show you what I made with the gorgeous pink glass drops.  I found some matching Swarovski crystals in a color called Indian Pink which are a perfect match.  Using two sizes of the Swarovski crystals and some tiny silver dotted spacer beads, I came up with this necklace and earring set.

Vintage Art Deco Style Pendant and Swarovski Crystal Necklace and Earring Combo
This color of the crystals reminds me of the upcoming fall and would compliment black, navy, and grey.  It would also be perfect to wear in support of breast cancer next month.

For more information about this necklace and earring set, click on this link.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Friend Connection ~ Pascale from France

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One of the things that I love about the internet is the ability to connect with people all over the world.  I recently met a wonderful lady named Pascale from France, who crochets and makes hairpin lace.
Pascale modeling one of her crocheted scarves
She sells to shops in Marseille and Salon de Provence, under the name "Vaimiticreations."

She makes freeform crochet ponchos and scarves.  Look at the brilliant color combinations!  

I love the different textures and colors in this freeform poncho.  This would look fantastic with a blue sodalite necklace, earrings and bracelet.

Pascale recently used an Anny Blatt knitted pattern to make the sweater below, she is very versatile!  She will soon open and online shop, check back here for the announcement of her grand opening.

And guess what?  Pascale has cats, too.  Here's an adorable photo of 14 year old Minos.

And let's not forget Canelle, which means cinnamon. 

I also got the chance to learn some french:
-cordialement - have a nice day
-coucou - hello
-merci beaucoup - thank you very much

And my favorite:  minette, which means kitten

Another photo of the lovely poncho:

Thanks, Pascale, for sharing your lovely handiwork with us.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Are You Ready for Football Season?

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There is a little nip in the air in the mornings here in Maryland, which makes me think that football season will soon be upon us.  With that in mind I present to you a tanzanite Swarovski crystal bracelet and earrings to wear to show your Ravens spirit!

Tanzanite Swarovski Crystal Raven's Bracelet by Catju Designs
Wearing this set will certainly add some sparkle to you rooting for the home team!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Halloween in August

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Yesterday I was out shopping and noticed that the Halloween decorations are in the stores already.  Yes, today is August 12.  Halloween is actually 80 days away.  I was surprised that the decorations were out so soon.  I guess that means that summer is winding down, and fall is quickly approaching.

Seeing all that orange color started me thinking about orange from a jewelry perspective.  Orange has never been a color that I have been comfortable with.  I do have a few articles of clothing that are orange, and it seems to be all the rage.  While clothes shopping recently there seemed to be much more orange choices, especially dark orange.

Astral Pink Swarovski Starfish Copper Necklace and Earrings by Catju Designs
So even though orange is not one of my fans, Swarovski definitely is.  As soon as I saw these astral pink starfish, I knew that they would look fabulous with copper.  The large starfish is on a copper chain centered between three sizes of round beads.  The smaller starfish earrings are simply on copper fish hook ear wires for a very simple look.

I guess you could say that I cheated just a teeny tiny bit because these lovely starfish are bright orange with a touch of pink sparkle.  Here's my tribute to Halloween in August.  No pumpkins, just starfish.

Astral Pink Swarovski Crystal Starfish Earrings by Catju Designs
Boo to you!!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Rivoli Madness Bracelet, Rose Swarovski October Birthstone

Check out this bracelet made from Rose Swarovski Rivolis set in silver plated settings with rose bicone crystal beads . . .
Rose Swarovski Rivoli Bracelet by Catju Designs
The smaller rivolis have an AB finish and are vintage rose stones.  I don't often make bead woven jewelry, but this bracelet has so many Swarovski crystals that I couldn't resist! 

If your birthday is in October, this would be a perfect treat for you.  To purchase this bracelet, visit my Etsy shop and view the Rivoli Madness Bracelet.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer Sunset Flower Jasper Gemstone Necklace and Earring Set

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Flower Jasper Necklace Combo by Catju Designs

The flower jasper gemstone beads used to make this necklace and earring set remind me of a summer sunset.  It isn't often that you can find beads that you can put together and then wear it with almost everything in your closet.  Here is an example - just look at the grey, black, light green, tan, rust, ivory,  and yellow complimented with the golden shadow Swarovski crystal beads.

What do you think?  Does this set remind you of a summer sunset over the ocean?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Win Catju Designs Handmade Necklace and Earring Combo at Splash of Sunshine Blog Party

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Catju Designs
Dyed Turquoise Necklace Combo
Are you ready to win the lovely handmade necklace combo pictured above?  If so, head over to Virtuous Girlhood's Splash of Sunshine Blog Party.  Look for the July 21, 2012 entry to see all the details.

This handmade necklace and matching earring set is a Catju Designs exclusive for Summer 2012.  It is comprised of navy dyed turquoise beads, Montana Swarovski crystals, silver plated spacer beads, a large pewter flower and pewter toggle clasp.  It measures 16 inches long, and the matching earrings have German silver swirl earwires and measure 1-1/2 inches long.  This set has lots of fashion possibilities -- it will look great with your blue jeans or with that cute little dress that you wear to all the summer parties.  For more handmade jewelry, visit my Catju Designs Etsy shop.  

There are lots of prizes to win, and contest runs until August 10, 2012.  Hope you are a winner!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Latest Gemstone Bead Style - Matte Finish Seaweed Jasper

One of my latest finds is a matte finish on gemstone bead strands.  Instead of the bead having a glossy finish, they have a soft, non-reflective finish.  This necklace is made of matte Seaweed Jasper that are a lovely swirled dark and light green, and are complimented perfectly with the dark green Turmaline Swarovski crystal bicone beads.
Matte Seaweed Jasper Necklace Combo by Catju Designs
At the last bead show I attended, there seemed to be a big variety of matte finished beads, so their popularity must be growing.  I'm looking forward to seeing what I can find at the Philly Bead Show next month.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Repurposed Clip-On Earrings, Before and After Art Deco Style

I bought these clip-on earrings at The Good Stuff Consignment Shop in Sykesville MD with the idea to repurpose them.  I liked the art deco style, and the interesting pink glass dangles.
As you can see, the top clip on part of the earrings are an antique silver metal with a plastic square inset that is a light yellow color.  There is also a black plastic square that is riveted in the center.

So what I did was take apart the earrings, setting aside the pink dangle for another project.  I cut off the clip part of the finding, and filed down the sharp edges.  

As you can see from the photo below, I very simply added a couple of links and antique silver lever back ear wires to the hole that was already on the top piece. 

Repurposed clip-on earrings by Catju Designs
This was a fairly easy project and should give you an idea on how quickly you can repurpose clip-on earrings.  I will post a future blog entry when I figure out what to do with the pink glass dangles.

If you are interested in purchasing these earrings, visit my Catju Designs Etsy shop at this link.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Magazine Destash Bead and Button, Bead Trends, Bead Style, Etc.

This weekend I've been going through my jewelry making magazines and listing them for sale on Etsy. At $1.25 an issue, they are a great buy.  They are in good condition, and have been a great source of inspiration, projects and for design ideas.  Check out what is available at my Catju Designs Violetray Etsy Shop, which was set up especially for destashing.  Did you see Pookie the beading kitten?

Bead and Button Magazines
Since I've been making jewelry for a very long time, I've got so many magazines that they are taking over my studio.  That means it is time to destash!

Bead Style Magazines
You'll also find some Belle Armoire and Expression magazines, which really showcase artisan jewelry and how to incorporate art jewelry into fashion.

Belle Armoire Art to Wear Magazines
 Go find some inspiration today!

Expression Magazine, Sharing the spirit of creative arts
There are also Bead Trends magazines for $5 and issue, instead of the retail price of $17.95.  I've even listed the July 2012 issue that I just got in the mail last week.  If you are interested in this magazine, click here.

Bead Trends Magazine


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Getting Ready for the Red, White and Blue - Flag Bracelet Giveaway

Since the 4th of July holiday is right around the corner, I decided to whip up some bracelets for the celebration.  Using light siam, white alabaster and sapphire Swarovski crystals, and smooth melon silver beads, this bracelet set will surely be a hit for the 4th and also Memorial day.

Red, White and Blue Flag Swarovski Crystal Bracelet Set
For the next two weeks, those readers who live in the US and leave a comment on my blog (the more comments you leave, the more chances you'll have to win), like my Catju Designs Facebook page, and/or sign up to follow my blog will be entered to win a set of these three bracelets.  

I'll be picking a winner on June 30.  

You can also purchase the set in my Catju Designs Etsy Shop.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ocean Dreams Inc.

Another bead vendor that I visited last month at the Northeast Bead Extravaganza Bead Show was Ocean Dreams, Inc.  Jade had quite an assortment of bead strands that immediately caught my attention.  I was looking for faceted black onyx, and was able to pick out very high quality strands in two sizes.

Purchases from Ocean Dreams, Inc.
Here's what I ended up with:  a 6mm strand of faceted black onyx gemstone beads, an 8mm strand of faceted black onyx gemstone beads, two strands of rondelle aquamarine beads, a strand of gorgeous blue goldstone, and one strand each of silver and gold bead balls.  Visit Ocean Dreams, Inc. website using the link above to see more of the beads, pearls, and clasps that they have for sale.

I got around to using one of the strands of faceted black onyx this past weekend to make this necklace and earring set.  Copper is a very popular accessory color this summer, so I decided to do a simple pattern with copper spacer beads and a copper spiky bead.

Catju Designs faceted Black Onyx and copper necklace and earring set
Head over to my Catju Designs Etsy shop to see more views of this  Black Onyx Necklace and Earring set

Before I go, I have to share with you one more photo.  Pookie the beading kitten was watching me lay out the beads to photograph them, so I have to include a shot of her with the blue goldstone.  Look at how the sunlight just bounces off the beads!

I can't wait to get started with designing gorgeous artisan jewelry with this lovely strand.