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.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bead Show Loot from Bead Dreams of NY

Check out these photos of my favorite bead vendor, Bead Dreams of NY.  I attended the Northeast Bead Extravaganza a few weeks ago, and David was kind enough to let me photograph his booth to be able to share with you all of his amazing gemstones.  Here I am in bead heaven!

David from Bead Dreams of NY and Kathy from Catju Designs
Here is a rack of large hole beads in all colors imaginable.  I like to use these 8" strands just as they are and make them into bracelets on elastic.
Large Hole Beads
Now we are getting to the gemstones.  Here is the section that David has deeply discounted.  He usually has a section of very reduced 16" strands.  These were $4 each.  Look at the variety!

$4 a strand sale
Move around to the next section, and look at all the colors and shapes that Bead Dreams of NY has available.  I can always count on David to find the coolest colors, shapes, and impressive quality of beads for his customers.  A lot of these bead strands are just so beautiful, like works of art.  

Bead Heaven I
For some sparkle, David has an assortment of 8" strands of Chinese crystals.  And look at these prices!  The more you buy the better the deal.  With the great variety of these crystals that I have purchased from David, I am using more and more of them in my jewelry designs.

Chinese Crystals 

Here's another view of Bead Dreams of NY amazing gemstone strands.  Bottom center is Sodalite, which is a lovely denim and white mixed color, and left center is Mookaite, a very colorful rust, tan and pink.
Bead Heaven II
 And still yet another part of the table to explore, with lovely jaspers, purple Charoite, Black Gold Amazonite and Jade.
Bead Heaven III
Needless to say, after visiting David's booth, I had more gemstone strands than I could carry.  They are quite heavy!  But I managed to get them to my car, and have been sorting them and dreaming of designs to use for my Catju Designs necklace and earring sets, which you can find in my Etsy Shop.
Bead Dreams of NY Booth at Northeast Bead Extravaganza, May 2012
If you get a chance, visit the Northeast Bead Extravaganza website to find out if there is a show in your area.  Stop in and say hello to David, and tell him that Kathy sent you!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Orange and Pink Necklace of Five Strands, Colors for Spring


Czech round beads, mother of pearl "teeth" and orange striped beads handmade necklace

Today we have a guest post from Devolyn on her thought process to make this awesome five strand necklace.


My daughter is graduating from Middle School, and we talked about the teachers that she wanted to give a gift to at the end of the school year.  One of these is her art teacher.  She has always been extremely positive about any artistic attempts that we make and has always been VERY nice about pieces that I've made.  But she's the art teacher; she's an artist in multiple mediums; she is ...arty.  This is intimidating to me, but it makes me want to be arty, too.

I went to my bead board and found some pretty, sparkly beads - the bigger pink Czech rounds.  I then looked for other beads that were close in color.  I pulled some pink and some purplish beads.  I grabbed the MOP "teeth" because I love the unexpected and organic shapes, and I thought that would maybe be a little arty.  I pulled the orangey-striped beads because (1) they make me happy and (2) the color wasn't too far off.  And putting unexpected colors together is a little arty, too, right?  Then I found some more orangey-pinky-goldy beads that seem to coordinate with both colors - a smaller Czech round and some glass Druk beads.  The seed beads seemed a good filler, and they're more a heavy cream color than white.  (I think white would've been too stark.)  The purple beads were just all wrong, so I put them back.  Now the colors are light and happy and not too horrible together, although I'm still trying to convince myself that pink and orange will work together.

I ended up with quite a pile of beads, and I fairly quickly decided that I want to do a multi-strand necklace so that I could use more of them.  My goal was a balanced visual mix of color and weight, but I kept the MOP "teeth" to the front to avoid unwanted poking from the side or back.  (I should probably mention that the teacher is a petite lady with very fair skin and light colored hair and eyes.)  My goal was at least 5 strands, with the possibility of 7. (I do most things in odd numbers.)   I used each of the primary beads  - large pink Czech rounds, MOP "teeth", and orangey-striped beads - in two strands of different mixes.  I used the filler beads as it made sense.  I would frequently look at the strands together to make sure I wasn't too heavy toward one color of the other.  I was finally able to put the large pink Czech rounds with the orangey-striped beads, but I had to work my way up to it!  There was one bead - the pink MOP disks - that I used only once since my daughter didn't want them in the necklace at all, but I did.  After I did 5 strands, we decided that it didn't need any more.  My daughter wanted less of the seed beads, but I think they add lightness.  Our compromise was no strands of just seed beads.

Completed necklace.  Check out the lovely butterfly clasp!

She chose the 3-strand sterling silver butterfly clasp, and I usually do the clasp ends of the strands a little skinnier to make more room for them and make the back a little lighter.  I don't add the clasp or crimp anything until all the strands are done.  Because I wanted a less organized look, I kept the strands all at about the same length, but I wasn't overly obsessed about it.  The strands can be kept straight, twisted, or even braided a little (by turning one clasp end over in between the strands but this is not easy to undo).
We're both pleased with the way it turned out, and I hope the art teacher likes it as well.  I think the colors look very nice together, and it doesn't seem glaring that this is PINK and ORANGE, OMGosh Looks more like sherbet or something.