Sunday, March 31, 2013

Are You Ready for Some Baseball? Go Baltimore Orioles!

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It is time for that wonderful time of year -- yes, Spring in Maryland -- and opening day for Baltimore Orioles baseball.  I am happy to see the daffodils and tulips peeping up through the ground.  

For all those O's fans out there, I've made these earrings with MLB licensed heart shaped enameled charms, and hyacinth and jet Swarovski crystals.  They are available in my Catju Handmade Jewelry shop at Etsy. 


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beaded Cabochon Mania

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I came across some gemstone cabochons (cabs) during my studio organization.  A few years ago I tried beading cabs and made some pins, but found that the tiny seed beads are often problematic and make me crazy (or crazier, depending on how you look at it!).

So my friend Devolyn immediately came to mind.  You might remember her from some previous posts; she also makes jewelry.  I bagged up the cabs and gave them to her.  A couple of weeks later she surprised me with these beautiful beaded cabs shown below.

I think you'll agree that she did a spectacular job, each one is a very lovely work of art. She did an amazing job matching up the seed bead and accent beads to bring out the colors and personalities of the gemstone cabs.

If we study the turquoise cab a little closer, you can see the intricate work on the back, and how the beads are stitched together to hold the cab.
I was inspired to use the beaded turquoise cab and turquoise beads and silver round spacer beads to make this necklace and earring combo.

Oh my word!  I am not sure that I'll be able to part with any of these lovely cabs.  They are all waiting to be made into pins, necklaces and bracelets.  Special thanks to Devolyn for her lovely beadwork!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Book Review: Grow Your Handmade Business by Kari Chapin

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I recently read Kari Chapin's new book, entitled "Grow Your Handmade Business - How to Envision, Develop and Sustain a Successful Creative Business." You can find it at at this link.

Ms. Chapin is also the author of the book "The Handmade Marketplace," which I read previously and enjoyed, so I wanted to see what she had to offer in this book.

The book is divided into two parts - Mapping Your Dream and Planning for Success. There are 20 chapters in the book, some of which are Goals and Intentions, TLC, Business Plan Preliminaries, Putting it All Together:  Your Marketing Plan, and Professional Support and Where to Find It.

The book starts off by offering ideas on a successful business, such as "helping you set goals, defining your personal successes, dream up plans to take your company where you want it to be while taking care of yourself, and making sure your business doesn't become all there is to your actual life." These last two points are very important as you need to make sure you have work-life balance and not become consumed with your business. Having your own business and making it be whatever you want it to be is something we all aspire to, and this book provides lots to think about.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the entrepreneurs (called "Creative Collective") from all types of business who share their expertise, lessons earned and best pieces of advice.  There are nuggets of information sprinkled all throughout the book that are useful hints and tips for all types of businesses.  Many can be adapted to your business no matter what it is.

The advice and suggestions that I found helpful and thought provoking are:

1. Keep a journal to jot notes, ideas, make lists, etc. while reading the book to keep everything in one place.

2. Do you want to spend more time on the creative side of your business?  There are lots of ideas on how to do this.

3. The budget chapter was extremely helpful, and made me realize how important having a budget is to your business.  Also, the chapter on money and how to get some provided good sound advice on getting a loan, grant, investor financing and using personal credit cards.

I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in taking their handmade business to the next level.   


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Wordless Blog Post

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Today's post begins a new series where the only thing posted is a photograph.  Here's your chance to comment and tell me what you think.