Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vintage Christmas Tree and Santa Cameo Beaded Cabachons, and Happy New Year

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December was a very busy month for me.  In addition to getting ready for the holidays, my son was graduating from college and I flew to Florida for my Dad's 80th birthday party.  The month just flew by, and now we are getting ready for the new year.

I wanted to make sure I showed you these beautiful vintage cameos the were beaded by my friend Devolyn.  The santa was made into a pin, and spent the holiday on my winter coat.

The santa cameo has a yellow background, yet the red and gold beads are a beautiful accent.

I have always been fascinated by this ivory Christmas tree and stars cameo, with the green plastic background.  I can't remember exactly when I purchased these cameos, but it has been many years ago.  One again Devolyn knew exactly what color seed beads to use to bring out the beauty of this cameo.  I just love the scalloped edges.  This cabochon will be made into a bracelet, so Devolyn added tube beads on the back to thread the beading wire through.

Wishing you all a wonderful new year, all the best in 2014 to you and all you hold dear.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gold Rutilated Quartz Cab Necklace

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One of the items that I purchased this summer was a lovely teardrop shaped rutilated quartz cabachon.  I then went to my go-to girlfriend Devolyn and asked her to bead it for me so that I could make a necklace, and as usual, she came through once again.  The gold beads and scallops really set off the teardrop.  She left the back open so that the light can come through and show the lovely gold rutilation.

I decided to use some honey-colored quartz beads for the necklace.  I thought at first that I would add some Swarovski crystals, but decided to keep it simple.

I added a tiny gold round bead between each quartz rondelle bead, and ended up with the following necklace and earrings.

This photo really shows off the rutilated quartz cab, just look at those colors!

This set has become one of my favorites.  I don't usually wear a lot of gold, but this combo will be one that I can wear with everything.  Look at it in the photo below with a light olive background.  Gold and olive, what more of a beautiful combination could you want?

Special thanks once again to Devolyn for extraordinary beading!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Time to Get Ready for Christmas with Swarovski Earring Kits

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It is never too soon to start thinking about the upcoming Christmas holiday.  Jump over to my Etsy destash shop VRJewelrySupply to purchase all the materials you need to make these adorable Swarovski Christmas Tree earrings.  The kits are pretty inexpensive an you get all you need to make a wonderful DIY gift.

Swarovski Crystal Christmas tree earrings made from kit
There are several colors available, these are the lovely color of Swarovski crystals called Crystal Silver Night and would look fabulous with a little black dress at your holiday party.
Emerald green Swarovski crystal Christmas tree earring kit
These kits include everything you need to make a pair of earrings, with the exception of round nose  pliers and wire cutters.

You can also finds several kits to make gemstone Christmas tree earring kits, like these shown below.

Here's what you'll get in the Jadite kit:

You'll receive the green Jadeite gemstone triangle beads, two gold stars, two tigereye gemstone cube beads, two headpins and two gold plated earwires.  You can whip these up quickly and have a great gift.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Introducing Existential Ella, Best of Etsy

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 I am pleased for you to meet Existential Ella, who I recently met on Etsy.
Existential Ella
Her shop is called ExistentialElla, and she has a blog with the same name. The name of her shop was inspired by her philosophy of life, and one of her role models, Ella Baker, a remarkable woman who inspired many regular people to do extraordinary things during the Civil Rights movement.

After working in offices for over a decade, and earning a degree in social justice, Existential Ella realized that working for someone else was no longer an option. She didn’t want to spend hours fulfilling someone else's dreams or pushing paper around a desk. Her first stop on the road to financial independence was joining Etsy, which is  super low-cost and easy.

Existential Ella began with a box of embroidery thread, and another box full of beads.  Using those supplies, she made jewelry to sell on the road while living in a VW bus, traveling the West Coast.

Fiber colors for bracelets from Existential Ella
Ella has been selling bohemian friendship bracelet wraps for about a year and a half now, making mainly fiber, and wire-wrapped, wrap bracelets. She liked the concept of the friendship bracelet, and gifts of friendship. She is a firm believer that Love between friends should be acknowledged more often. Her friendship bracelets are a way to show your appreciation and are fashionable too. Each order comes with a hand-crafted card, or a card featuring an art print that she created, as shown below.

Packaging samples
She also has several specialized lines of jewelry including chakra bracelets, and something she calls the Warrior Goddess collection. She also dabbles in necklaces and purses. Ella also has a second shop where she sells vintage books, called The Astral Library.

I asked Ella about tips to pass on to others, and she said "One of the biggest tips I can give anyone looking to make money online is do your research, set goals, and then get to it! Planning is great, but I have found that I do it way too much. The best way to learn is definitely by doing. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We are supposed to make mistakes." Additionally, she related "I’ve learned that focusing on what makes me the happiest, and letting the other things go, is a great way to prioritize my time. To figure out what makes me happy, I jump in and try different things out. Life is about change, and everything changes. You never have to be stuck doing something you dislike for very long. If you like writing, do that. If you don’t like social media, figure out a way to minimize it, or not do it at all (have someone else do it for you, or use other options). Never let yourself feel trapped. There are always options in life, even when you are bound by certain responsibilities."

Bracelets by Existential Ella

Next for Ella is a recently launched video-based, on-line class on how to open an Etsy shop that looks great and gets traffic. It's called "Etsy: Smart & Simple" and can be accessed on Skillshare.comShe's received really great student reviews on the class. The course is a "kick in the pants" for people who want to open a shop, or revise their shop, but don't want to read through dozens of blog posts or just need the support of others.

Ella has been kind enough to offer a coupon code for readers who want to enroll in her class.  Enter the code HANDMADE, and you will get 25% off, which makes the class just $15.  What a great deal!

I am so glad that I met Existential Ella, and am heading over to her shop and to Skillshare.com to see what goodies I need.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Review: A Street Cat Named Bob

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I just finished reading the book "A Street Cat Named Bob And How He Saved My Life."  It is the delightful story of a ginger cat named Bob, and his guardian James Bowen.  James saved Bob from a life on the street, and Bob saved James from a continued downward spiral from drug abuse.

This story is not always an easy read.  Bob almost gets lost a couple of times, but thank goodness he is a very intelligent cat and was quickly found again.  James' description of coming off drugs, a two-day process, was difficult.  But James' dedication to his new pet made it bearable and also the impetus for him to clean up his life for his new friend.

My favorite part of the book was when James would take Bob along with him while he was busking (to play music or otherwise perform for voluntary donations in the street or in subways), and he noticed that more and more people would see Bob and come over for a chat.  Up until that point, most people ignored James, but upon seeing Bob sitting in the guitar case, they were intrigued.  Several people started making knitted and crocheted scarves for Bob, which he wore proudly.

I don't want to give away any more of the story, you need to get a copy and read it.  I highly recommend this book, it is a heartwarming story and will lift your spirits.

Many people can related to these types of stories, myself included.  Our own beautiful orange tabby Pookie arrived in our lives just when I needed her -- the summer before my daughter headed off to college -- and kept me company and was a great source of comfort.

Here is a photo of Pookie and James' book, you can see that she isn't quite sure what to make of Bob.

Find videos of Bob and James on youtube, search on street cat named Bob.  And leave a comment to let me know how a pet saved you.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Heart Swarovski Hearts, New Colors for Spring/Summer 2014, Valentine's Day Earrings

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I got my hands on several of the new Swarovski colors for Spring/Summer 2014, in their 14mm heart shape.  The facets on these beads really brings out the colors, and these new colors are amazing.

Here we have the new color aquamarine antique pink:

The color of these earrings are more purple than aquamarine or pink, but flash both a dark blue and light pink.

Secondly, look at these fabulous light rose blue shade:

These are definitely on the pink side and have just a hint of light blue.

Thirdly, oh my goodness - jet astral pink - a jet heart with the astral pink coating on one side:

Simply stated, sparkly hot pink.

And last but not least, the white opal antique pink:

These are pink and purple opaque, just breathtaking.  

All of these earrings are much more beautiful than I can photograph them to be, just take my word for it.  You will not be disappointed.

And we can't forget Pookie the beading kitten, she approves of all of the new Swarovski colors.  The jet astral pink seems to be her favorite!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Swarovski Crystal Earrings - Nothing Sparkles Like Swarovski

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Take a look at these earrings that I made over the weekend, and you will easily see why Swarovski crystal beads are one of my favorite materials to use.

Check out these wild heart pendants in the new color Lilac Shadow, with its subtle gold coating. 

What could be more beautiful than these baroque Vitrail Light earrings?  

These Volcano teardrops flash copper, purple, dark blue and pink -- they are simply spectacular!!

Aquamarine teardrops with sparkly facets.

These large crystal AB teardrops are coated with sparkle and bling.

These de-art pendants have angular cuts and lots of facets.  They are difficult to photograph, much more beautiful in person.  The Bermuda Blues below are spectacular.

The crystal AB de-art earrings will take your breath away!

Swarovski crystals flash colors and sparkle when the light hits them, emitting lots of bling!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Product Review - Wubbers Looping Pliers

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I saw this product advertised online, called Wubbers Looping Pliers.

The idea that there was a tool to use to make consistent loops was intriguing, so I thought I would give them a try.  I make a lot of earrings so anything that can help and be less of a struggle sounded like it was worth the $25 purchase price.

I ordered the pliers and when they arrived, I saw the package included an instructional DVD.

Unfortunately, the DVD was very small and although it would fit in my iMac, I wasn't sure I would be able to eject it.  So I headed over to YouTube and found this nine minute video called "Wubbers Looping Pliers Demonstration."

It looked pretty straightforward, so I began making loops on the next pair of earrings that I made.  It was awkward at first, but I have found the more I use the pliers, the easier they are to use and that I make more consistent loops.

These Ravens earrings show my first attempt at using the pliers -- not too shabby!

Swarovski Crystal Ravens earrings by Catju Designs
I also started using the pliers to make wrapped loops, and again, after getting used to how the pliers worked, found them easy to use.

I would recommend these pliers to anyone who wants to make consistent loops.  Watch the video and get some practice and you will be good to go.  Here is another pair of earrings that I made with two sets of loops.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Update from Lirio and Her Jewelry Making Trip to Columbia

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This post is an update from Lirio, who spent 14 days in Columbia on a mission conducting jewelry making workshops for women and their daughters.  You can read her story on the June 11, 2013 posting.

Here Lirio relates how the trip went, and some of her experiences.  She said found one of the hardest things was "working with and finding beauty in those who are homeless and who have drug addiction problems. Many of them have not heard her testimony but it aligns with a family background of destruction, drug addictions and poverty and so she tried to steer away from the of reality it all by not serving in these areas…. but she could not “hide” from it all this time around. She was brought face to face with it and it hit home, reminding her of her past, of the lifestyle she watched her parents live, of the environments she was put in, of the many times she blamed God for the circumstances her family was living in… man it was hard. But HIS plans are so far greater than her own." 

Lirio originally made arrangements to work with 20 women who have made the decision to leave the lifestyle of prostitution, and wanted to live a life that was Christ-centered and make make jewelry with them. Little did she know that God had much bigger plans.  She ended up working with 35 women who are still very active as prostitutes and their daughter’s, which was not an easy task to say in the least.  All she had to hold onto during the jewelry workshop was Jeremiah 29:11.  All she could do was stand firm in God’s truth and know that I know that the LORD knows the plans He has for her.

Before the workshop was finished, many of the women provided their names and contact information so they could stay in touch. As a result of the workshop that Lirio put together, the church wanted to actively get involved and serve these women in such a way that once again verified that God’s plans are ALWAYS much bigger than our own.

News came two days after the workshop that two of the women she worked with made the choice to live a life that was honorable to the LORD! Hallelujah!!

Lirio has been asked by the church to work beside them and assist them in the organization of this project and to come back to Colombia in October 2013 for a Pastoral Conference, and to share what is taking place with the other churches, with hopes that they will grab on to what God is orchestrating with the women who are walking the streets, broken and in dire need of love!

Lirio was blessed to fall in love with Alejandro who was a heroin addict who found his salvation in her speaking to him with rough love. She was able to tell her story and pray over him like she had never done before and again simply fall in love with those who the world tends to shun and turn their backs on.  It was amazing!  God is good!

So what is next for Lirio?

Lirio is raising funds for her trip to Columbia in October 2013, and is in need of $800 for the trip. She will be going in- depth on organizing the project being put together for the prostitutes.  Praise be to God that the cost is far more less than amount needed in the summer season.  She also has plans to return in June 2014.

Here's how you can help:

1. If you want to make a donation for the missionary trip Colombia by going to Lirio’s fundraising page at http://www.evokeministries.org/colombia/lirio/, where you can make a donation through PayPal. 

2. Use your social media to spread the word.  Let your friends know about Lirio and her ministry.  She has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/in.conspectu.eius?ref=hl where she posts almost daily and shares her work, events and outreaches. Like her on Facebook, and tell your friends, family and anyone else about her work; tweets or any other social media exposure is appreciated too.

3. Selling her jewelry is Lirio’s only means of sustaining both herself and her family. When you purchase her jewelry, it allows her to focus on the ministry. You may purchase a piece she has already created or you can order a custom-made piece. Email her either through the Facebook page or through her personal email address liriodrayton@gmail.com.  Her webpage is http://liriodrayton.com.

4. If you are a jewelry maker, and want to donate supplies, Lirio is looking for wire, jump rings, toggles or ring clasps for finishing pieces, or any cool bead findings.  Contact her for additional information at liriodrayton@gmail.com for more information.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Baltimore Blue Moon

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Yesterday morning on my way to work, I heard we had a "Blue Moon." That means that this large, very round and bright moon is the second full moon to occur in a single calendar month. 

I whipped out my phone and took the photo below. The moon is nestled between a couple of evergreen trees. The photo does not capture the brightness and clearness of the moon. I wish that I had my camera with me so that I could take a better photo.

Even though it was still dark outside, I was surprised to see the blueness of the sky in the photo. The blue sky with the crisp whiteness of the moon inspires me to combine blue and white for a necklace and earring set. I'm going to check my bead boxes and see what beads I have in blue and white and see what I can come up with.

You'll have to wait awhile to see the next Blue Moon. It won't happen until July 2015.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Colorful Glass Beaded Stretch Bracelets

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There's something about the summertime that makes me think of bright colors and wearing bracelets since they can be shown off so nicely with short sleeves.  I recently made several bracelets with big chunky glass beads, most measuring 3/4 of an inch, so they really make a statement.
Glass Bead Stretch Bracelets by CatjuHandmadeJewelry
There are ruffled beads, swirled lentils, leaves, stars, squares, hearts and even a seashell.  Don't they just look like candy?

Purple, Lime Green and Blue Glass Bead Bracelets
The topaz gold beads in two of the bracelets have a lovely color and mixed with the purple are an interesting combination.
Chunky Glass Beaded Stretch Bracelets
Stretch bracelets are very easy to make and effortless to put on and take off your wrist.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Swarovski Crystal Colors, Provence Lavender Chrysolite and Crystal Montana Blends, Spring/Summer 2014

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New Provence Lavender-Chrysolite Swarovski Elements Crystal Color Blend!

As a Fall/Winter 2014/15 pre-launch, Swarovski is introducing two gorgeous new color blends for this summer: Crystal-Montana and Provence Lavender-Chrysolite!

Ethereal shades of pale greens and lavenders come together to create the beautiful Chrysolite-Provence Lavender blend. A truly unique combination of rich pastels, this blend fits seamlessly into spring and summer fashions and provides a vibrant pop of color that will brighten your wardrobe in the colder months!
- See more at: http://www.fusionbeads.com/New-Provence-Lavender-Chrysolite-Swarovski-Elements-Crystal-Color-Blend#!New-Provence-Lavender-Chrysolite-Swarovski-Elements-Crystal-Color-Blend
New for spring and summer 2014, Swarovski has introduced two new colors that are quite a bit different from their usual beads -- blended colors -- including Provence Lavender Chrysolite and Crystal Montana.  Depending on the bead, the blend of each bead shape and type can be very different.

As you can see in the photos below, there are two sets of earrings made in this blend, and they are quite different.  Each bead is unique, so I purchased a large quantity to try and match them as best I could.

Provence Lavender and Chrysolite Blend Swarovski crystal earrings
This pair has the Chrysolite on the left, and the Provence Lavender on the right

The Provence Lavender Chrysolite is a lovely blend of pastel purple and greens.  One of the more interesting beads in this color way are the teardrop faceted shaped beads, which show off the blend in a way where both colors are vibrant.

The Crystal Montana beads are one of my new favorites.  Montana is a dark denim blue color, and blending in the crystal clear color adds a lighter blue throughout the bead.  Lots of design possibilities and fashion ideas too.
New Swarovski Crystal Montan Blend faceted teardrops
All of these earrings are for sale in my CatjuHandmadeJewelry Etsy shop.  Leave me a comment and let me know which of the new blends is your favorite.

FNew Provence Lavender-Chrysolite Swarovski Elements Crystal Color Blend!

As a Fall/Winter 2014/15 pre-launch, Swarovski is introducing two gorgeous new color blends for this summer: Crystal-Montana and Provence Lavender-Chrysolite!

Ethereal shades of pale greens and lavenders come together to create the beautiful Chrysolite-Provence Lavender blend. A truly unique combination of rich pastels, this blend fits seamlessly into spring and summer fashions and provides a vibrant pop of color that will brighten your wardrobe in the colder months!

- See more at: http://www.fusionbeads.com/New-Provence-Lavender-Chrysolite-Swarovski-Elements-Crystal-Color-Blend#!New-Provence-Lavender-Chrysolite-Swarovski-Elements-Crystal-Color-BlendNew Provence Lavender-Chrysolite Swarovski Elements Crystal Color Blend!

As a Fall/Winter 2014/15 pre-launch, Swarovski is introducing two gorgeous new color blends for this summer: Crystal-Montana and Provence Lavender-Chrysolite!

Ethereal shades of pale greens and lavenders come together to create the beautiful Chrysolite-Provence Lavender blend. A truly unique combination of rich pastels, this blend fits seamlessly into spring and summer fashions and provides a vibrant pop of color that will brighten your wardrobe in the colder months!
- See more at: http://www.fusionbeads.com/New-Provence-Lavender-Chrysolite-Swarovski-Elements-Crystal-Color-Blend#!New-Provence-Lavender-Chrysolite-Swarovski-Elements-Crystal-Color-Blend

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Venetian Glass Bead Earrings

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Venetian glass beads are one of my favorite beads, they are each a work of art.  They are perfect to pair with Swarovski crystals to make a unique pair of earrings.

I purchased these beads from Anacapri, a company based in New York.  They travel each year to Venice to purchase beads.

These beads are made by bead makers who have spent centuries creating these individual works of art. They use glass rods to wrap molten glass around a hollow copper wire, then add avventurina (a shiny coppery substance), colored glass or gold or white gold foil. Lentil beads are pressed into a mold to form their shape.
Look at all the design possibilities!  To purchase these earrings, visit my Catju Designs Etsy shop.
Leave a comment and let me know which pair is your favorite.  These foiled lentils are amazing!!