Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finding Jewelry Making Inspiration in Nature

This past weekend, I was sitting outside near a small manmade pond when a few ducks stopped by.  It was pretty hot outside, about 88 degrees with humidity.  The mother duck and her eight babies cavorted in the water to cool off, and were looking for corn kernels to eat.

Mother duck and babies
While I was watching them, I noticed that the mother duck has a very beautiful dark blue strip on her wings.  What struck me about that was that when I am putting together colors for the handmade necklaces, earrings, and bracelets that I make, I would not necessarily consider a dark navy blue with brown tones.  It is interesting to take inspiration from nature, in this case a female large dabbling mallard duck.  You can see in the photo below a closer view of the duck and the blue stripe.
Female mallard duck and baby, inspiration for Catju Designs jewelry

So now I'm anxious to get in my bead box and see what brown and navy color combinations I can come up with based on this inspiration from nature.  I'll post the results here, so check back to see the results.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Northeast Bead Extravaganza Bead Show Best Vendor Bead Dreams of NY

African Green Poppy Jasper with Black Diamond Swarovski Crystals Necklace and Earring Combo

Next weekend is one of my favorite bead shows in Maryland, the Northeast Bead Show Extravaganza.  It is held on Saturday and Sunday May 26 and 27 in Severna Park, Maryland.  For more information on the show, you can visit their website at this link.

One of the main reasons that I visit this bead show is for the stunning gemstones for sale by Bead Dreams of NY.  David always has a vast selection of very high quality gemstones, Chinese crystals and pewter.  The gemstone strands include many types of jasper and agate, black gold amazonite, pyrite, jade, dragon blood jasper, rhiocite, dumortierite, tiger eye, tiger iron, sardonyx, black onyx, sodalite and much, much more.

I always leave his booth with more than I can carry, and am anxious to get home and get started on new creations.  The gemstone beads are waiting to be matched with Swarovski crystals and transformed into a necklace and earring set, and then listed in my Catju Designs Etsy shop.

The necklace and earring set above, composed of African Green Poppy Jasper with black diamond Swarovski crystals is an example of the lovely gemstone beads available from Bead Dreams of NY.  I added black diamond Swarovski crystal bicone beads, and silver plated spacer beads to complete the set.  This combo is available for purchase in my Etsy shop at this link.

Hope to see you at the show!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Charm Bracelet Kind Campaign Kindness Catju Designs

Today's post is a guest blog by my good friend Devolyn.  She sent me the post below, which in turn inspired me to make this Kindness Bracelet.  You can find it in my Etsy shop if you are interested in purchasing one to support the Kind Campaign, and kindness.

Kindness Bracelet inspired by Devolyn
Here is Devolyn's email:

Last night I took my amazing 14-year old daughter to a screening of "Finding Kind" - a documentary made by two recent Pepperdine graduates about "girl world" (and "woman world") since this behavior doesn't stop at graduation!), the pervasive meanness and bullying of females to other females.  They had gone on a road trip around the country, interviewing many different people.

  • The film showed that they found this bullying affected everyone - every female they interviewed had been both affected by unkind words or actions and had negatively affected others by their own unkind words or actions.
  • Frequently the girls could provide no reason for this behavior, but some was prompted by jealousy and wanting to fit in.
  • The negative words and actions affected both parties, even though the one doing the unkind things often didn't realize it (or realized it much later in life).
  • The negative effects often lasted years or a lifetime, and we're all aware of the suicides that have made the news over the past few years.  Many of those interviewed said that they just wanted attention or love.
  • The filmmakers found that these behaviors are found not only among girls, but also among women - in friendships, neighborhoods, professional job settings, or other circles of life.
  • They also interviewed young and mature men and found that most men know that girls/women are mean to each other, but don't know why, that boys/men do not usually have the same negative spirit or impact on each other.  The fight, get over it, get on with things - many times becoming better friends than before.
  • They also perceive that men are more likely to make lifelong friendships - "brotherhoods" - than women; women will have a series of friendships throughout their life, but lifelong friendships between/among women are fairly rare.  They talked about trust and lack of trust between "friends" ... and about how strong friendships need care and attention.
  • They reviewed the things that exacerbate this pervasive problem - technology, images everywhere, relationships depicted in TV/movies or song lyrics, etc.  They noted that this problem wasn't new in film/TV, but that the QUANTITY of negative images has increased from 30ish to 30,000 per day (did I hear that right?) since "our Mothers were teenagers" (is that me or my Mother?  Whatever, it's a lot!)  Studies have shown that 15 minutes of looking at a magazine will cause a female's scores on self-esteem tests to go down.  They also included the clip from the Dove commercial that showed the regular-looking person getting made up and Photo-Shopped to go in the advertisement - amazing.
Obviously, it made a big impact on me too.

These young ladies did have some concrete suggestions for the audience:

1.  If you can't say something nice, don't say anything.

2.  THINK before you speak or act.

3.  A sincere apology is very powerful and can be healing, for both parties.

4.  Understand that there will be disagreements and arguments, but there's no need to be mean.

5.  If there is a disagreement/argument/misunderstanding, TALK about it WITH that person.  Don't talk ABOUT them.

They had "interactive" exercises; namely, three cards for the girls to fill out:  

-the Kind Pledge (promise yourself something concrete "to unite in kindness in an effort to end female bullying"), 

-the Kind Apology (written to a specific person about a specific thing, then sign your name and give it to that person),

-and the Kind Card (something kind or uplifting written to a specific person, again give the card to that person).

The filmmakers said that they usually do these exercises in school assemblies and that they see rifts and hurts healed (or made better. . .).

It was very good.  For more information, visit the Kind Campaign at www.kindcampaign.com

Friday, May 4, 2012

Necklace Earring Giveaway Catju Designs Picasso Jasper

Would you like a chance to win a free Picasso Jasper Necklace and Earring set designed by Catju Designs?  Head over to Ira Mency's blog for all the details.

Here's a couple of photos of the necklace and earring set.
As you can see, there are lots of colors in this necklace.  The gemstone beads are light and dark gray, black, brown and tan.  The beads are matched with Crystal Silver Night Swarovski Crystals, which are black with a silvery sheen.  And check out the lovely pewter starburst toggle clasp.

The necklace is 22 inches long, and the matching earrings measure 1-1/4 inches long.  Good luck, I hope that you get a chance to head over to the giveaway and get a chance to put in for the free necklace and earring set.