Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Maryland Bead Shop Review - The Twisted Bead

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I recently had the pleasure of visiting The Twisted Bead in Edgewater Maryland.  They have been in business since 2010, but this is the first time that I have gotten a chance to visit. My friend Devolyn and I took a few hours off at lunchtime and headed to Anne Arundel County.

This delightful shop has many unique beads, including gemstones, pearls, Swarovski crystals, and wire and tools of all kinds. They also carry Venetian glass beads, amber, Green Girl Studios beads and pendants, seed beads and findings in many metal colors.

My favorite part of the store is the huge variety of beads that you can buy as single beads, or in a pair for making earrings. I make a lot of earrings, so it was great to have such a large selection of beads to purchase to make earrings instead of having to buy a whole strand of beads and then having a lot of leftovers.

Here is part of the items that I purchased, as you can see there are a lot of single beads that will be made into earrings.

Bead Stash from The Twisted Bead
Michele was especially helpful while we perused every nook and cranny in the store. One strand of beads that I could not resist were the mini turquoise nuggets in the upper right hand corner. And check out the Venetian glass tube directly to the left. The colors are hard to see, but it is black, gold and olivine. I am still mulling around in my head what I want to do with it, some sort of necklace, I believe.

Here's a pair of Venetian glass beads that I bought there and paired with Swarovski Emerald 2XAB crystals and copper spacer beads and earwires. They were recently listed in my CatjuHandmadeJewelry Etsy shop and are available for purchase

Teal Blue Venetian Glass and Copper Earrings by Kathy Reading
Devolyn found a fabulous strand of green Kyanite needle sticks. I've seen lots of blue Kyanite, but this is the first time that I have seen green. Devolyn made me a pair of earrings, look at their beauty. Needle sticks are often problematic on how to get them to lay correctly. Devolyn's design is just perfect!

Green Kyanite Needle Stick Earrings by Devolyn
If you are looking for something unique, head down to Edgewater to The Twisted Bead. Or you can visit their website for some of the 6,000 items they have for sale.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Swarovski Crystal Paradise Shine, New Color for Fall/Winter 2014, Earrings by Catju Designs

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Swarovski has outdone themselves once again, with the introduction of one of their new colors for Fall 2014. Called Crystal Paradise Shine, this crystal has purple, light blue and green undertones, and is packed with plenty of sparkle.

I have been able to find a few shapes in this new color, and made these three pairs of earrings.

Crystal Paradise Shine Teardrop Earrings by Catju Designs

Crystal Paradise Shine Baroque Earrings by Catju Designs

Crystal Paradise Shine Triangle Earrings by Catju Designs

I am looking forward to using other shapes as they become available to combine with gemstone beads to make necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Another Amazing Beaded Cabachon - Dichroic Beaded Pendant

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This lovely dichroic cab was purchased by my friend Devolyn at my favorite bead store in Florida, called My Bead Gallery. She made it into a pendant for me, and I then made it into a necklace. The teal dichroic in this cab was amazing, and Devolyn picked out the seed beads which matched the teal color, wove in some tiny Swarovski crystal bicones and added some black seeds to pick up the colors of the black onyx round gemstone beads that I used for the necklace.

Amazing dichroic beaded cabochon by Devolyn
The resulting pendant is amazing - I think you'll agree - and these photos do not show the true beauty of the pendant, but come close. Look at these close up photos to get an idea of the colors and true artistry exhibited by Devolyn in her beadwork.

I especially like the swirls coming off the pendant, what a lovely design. Too bad this necklace is already promised to someone dear, or I would have to keep it for myself!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Perfect Pearl Custom Jewelry Set for My New Friend Joy

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One of the great things about Etsy is that you have the ability to meet people from all over the United States.  I recently worked with Joy from California, who contacted me to make a necklace, bracelet, and earring set to match a particular jacket.

Joy contacted me through my CatjuHandmadeJewelry Shop to see if I could make her a pearl necklace, bracelet, and earring set in the colors of sea foam, peach, yellow, pink and white. She had very specific colors in mind, as she wanted to wear the set with a jacket. I was able to send her photos of the pearl colors, so she could see what they looked like and if they were close in shade to what she wanted.

While emailing back and forth, all of the colors fell into place, except for the pink, peach and yellow pearls. I had to order several strands to get yellow pearls -- not gold or golden -- in color. The pink and peach pearls were very close in color, so I ordered a few other strands to get those correct. After sending the photos to Joy for approval, I then got started on putting the set together.

The pearls were interspersed with round Czech glass faceted crystals to add a little sparkle. Both the necklace and bracelet have a chain extension so the length can be adjusted.

Here is a photo of the necklace and bracelet.

Pearl and Czech Crystal Necklace and Bracelet by Catju Designs
Joy emailed me when she received that set to tell me that she was so pleased with her purchase, and that it matched her jacket perfectly. She even sent me a the below photo, and I have to agree with her that the jewelry looks awesome with the jacket.

Joy's Jacket with Pearl and Czech Crystal Set
Since June, we have been emailing back and forth, getting the details worked out for several more jewelry sets. Joy is the best kind of repeat customer, as she knows exactly what she wants, and can tell me if the photo samples that I send her are on target or what she'd like changed. I am happy to have made a new friend on the west coast, and look forward to working with her on future projects.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Japanese Tensha and Swarovski Crystal Earrings

I normally do not use acrylic beads in my jewelry, as there are so many beautiful gemstone and crystals to design with.
Blue Rose Japanese Tensha beads and Dark Indigo Swarovski Crystal Earrings
But when I came across these Japanese Tensha beads, I knew that I had to get some, and pair them with Swarovski crystals to make amazing earrings.
Red Rose Japanese Tensha beads and Light Siam Swarovski Crystal Earrings
These beads are handmade, very lightweight, and are made by applying a beautifully detailed decal to an acrylic bead.
Peacock Japanese Tensha beads and Light Turquoise Swarovski Crystal Earrings
The beads are then sealed with a protective acrylic coating, and then gold or silver highlights are added for sparkle.

Some of the acrylic beads are frosted, which add a different look to the beads, as shown in the two photos below.

Flowers, especially roses, are a common theme for these beads.

How can you pick one as a favorite?  They are all so colorful and pair very nicely with Swarovski crystals.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Here Comes the Bridesmaids, Vintage Swarovski Crystal Earrings for Your Wedding

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Are you ready for some sparkle?  Yes, nothing sparkles like Swarovski, and these earrings are no exception.
Bermuda Blue Vintage Strauss Octagon Earrings
I was recently able to purchase a large quantity of these vintage Swarovski crystal Strauss octagon pendants, that were originally made for chandeliers.  I've repurposed them into super sparkly earrings.  These earrings could be the "something old" for the bride too.

Vitrail Light Vintage Strauss Octagon Earrings
Each earring is 1-1/4 inch long and hangs from a German silver hook earwire.

Crystal AB Vintage Strauss Octagon Earrings
The colors available are:  Bermuda Blue, Crystal AB, and Vitrail Light.  Find them for sale in my Etsy Shop CatjuHandmadeJewelry, where you can buy one pair of earrings, or save some cash when you buy three pair.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Amazing Light Rose Volcano Swarovski Crystal Earrings

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I continue to be amazed by the breathtakingly beautiful colors and sparkle that are associated with Swarovski crystals. There are also the different shapes that are very different, for example the baroque shape.  The facets allow for the reflected light to change when the light hits them.

Light Rose Volcano is the color of these baroque shaped earrings.  Need I say more?

Red, orange and purple colors are reflected, reminding me of a rainbow!


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

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Mother's Day is fast approaching on Sunday, May 11, 2014.  As I have gotten older, I try to find something out of the ordinary as a unique gift for my Mom.

So what is something different to get your Mom for Mother's Day?  Etsy is a great place to find the perfect handmade gift, even if you don't make it yourself!  Each and every item in my shop at CatjuHandmadeJewelry is made with special care and a touch of love.  I have met lots of people who have an Etsy shop, and I think they would all agree a little something extra goes into all their handmade creations.

A search on Etsy using the words "Mothers Day" returns over 402,500 items on 250 pages.  That is quite a lot of things to look through.  I looked through a few pages and here are a few of my favorites.

1. Your Grandmother's Recipe in her handwriting on an apron, from LindsayBurkDesigns, $33.00 - Scan in your Grandmother's recipe and it will be printed on an apron.  How cool is that!  I know I have a few recipes from my Grandmother's that would be perfect on an apron.
Apron Printed with Grandmom's Recipe from Lindsay Burk Designs
2.  Custom Milestone Pillow for Mother's Day, Wedding Date, Anniversary, from ThreeLilStitches, $60.00 - These pillows are a unique keepsake, they are customized with any information that you want on the pillow.  What a great way to commemorate all the dates of importance in your life, and also have a great pillow for the couch!
Milestone Pillow from Three Lil Stitches
3.  Hidden Message Cuff "i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it" from DandLDesigns4U, $25 - this lovely saying from e.e. cummings is stamped on the inside of this aluminum cuff bracelet.  I just love, love, love this bracelet, the saying really resonates with me.  I'll be ordering one of these soon.
Hidden Message Cuff from D and L Designs 4 U
4.  "You Are My Sunshine" Picture Frame from CrystalCoveDS, $32.00 - This adorable frame is the first line of a song that I sang many, many times to my children when they were small.  You can get it customized with a name, and it comes in 19 colors.  This would be a perfect accent to the guest bedroom, I just need to decide what color to get!
"You Are My Sunshine" Picture Frame by Crystal Cove DS
Do you have a favorite handmade Mother's Day gift idea?  Leave me a comment with a link, I'd love to see what you've found.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mega Bling Earrings, Swarovski and Precoisa Rivolis

Are you searching for earrings with a ton of sparkle?  Perhaps a larger pair of earrings that make a statement?

Look no further!

How about these earrings with super comfortable leverback earwires?  They come in a variety of colors, including the birthstone colors of amethyst for Febuary, Sapphire for September and Rose for October.
Amethyst Mega Bling Earrings
The rivoli crystals are set in a rhinestone encrusted circular setting, which adds to the sparkle factor.
Rose Mega Bling Earrings
And how about the sparkle in these Bermuda Blue Swarovski rivals? I think these are my favorites.
Bermuda Blue Mega Bling Earrings
I also found the crystal in these new Precoisa colors of green Sahara and orange Marea. Aren't they delightful?
Sahara Mega Bling Earrings
Which color is your fav? For those of you in the U.S., leave me a comment (including your email address) and let me know, I'll pick one winner and send you a pair of the Marea ones just in time for Spring! Winner will be selected on March 21, 2014.
Marea Mega Bling Earrings

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lampwork Beads by Karen Leonardo

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I am always on the lookout for unique supplies to make earrings, and recently purchased several sets of lampwork bead pairs from Karen Leonardo. Karen is an accomplished lampwork beadmaker and jewelry designer. Sprinkled throughout this blog are several pairs of earrings that I made with her amazing lampwork beads.
Karen Leonardo from Leonardo Lampwork
 Karen has been very busy since 1996 when she began her lampwork beadmaking journey.  Here are some of her accomplishments:
  • She is also the feature artist writer for an online beadmakers magazine called Soda Lime Times, where she writes various articles and edits jewelry tutorials.
  • She is the former regional director of the Mid-Atlantic States for the International Society of Glass Beadmakers.
  • She has received honors in both the art and business world, with many nominations and awards, including Pennsylvania Artist of the Year and International Who’s Who of Business Women and Entrepreneurs. 
  • Her beads and jewelry have been featured in many books and magazines, she teaches lampwork classes and is a consultant on lampwork and business issues.
Amazing Lampwork Beaded Necklace by Karen Leonardo
Karen started making beads in 1996 when her youngest son went to kindergarten. She saw beads being made at an art show in 1992 and was truly amazed. As a kid, she thought all glass was made in a factory until she saw glass ships being made at Walt Disney World. Her dad bought her a set of 2 swans and her interest in glass began.
Earrings made from Karen Leonardo's lampwork beads and Swarovski crystals
Jewelry though was Karen’s first love as a young girl. Her grandmother had an endless collection of jewelry and she couldn’t wait to stay at her house to go through the endless drawers of trinkets. When she realized people actually made lampwork beads, she delved into everything she could find on the subject, which wasn’t much in the mid 1990’s. She bought one of the only books on the subject by Cindy Jenkins to learn how to make beads, studied it for a couple of years and once her son went to kindergarten, she worked half days learning to make beads.
Earrings made from Karen Leonardo's lampwork beads and Swarovski crystals
Karen and her husband sold beads on eBay for about 10 years as “JustLeonardo,” but in the mid 2000’s eBay changed their policies and allowed imported beads into the lampwork category. At that point she had been featured in 4 books, and the author of the books suggested she send in a book  proposal to the publisher.  Her first book, Creating Lampwork beads for Jewelry was published in 2007 and two years after that came Art Bead Jewelry: Seasons in Glass.
Earrings made from Karen Leonardo's lampwork beads and Swarovski crystals
Karen has always loved sculpted flowers and needed a way to make the perfect petal. Her neighbor made the first prototype and 2006 she introduced the Leonardo Petal Pullers, which easily pull petals from glass rods to be used in the sculpted glass flowers. She also created Leonardo Petal Pressers to allow for sculpting of petals directly on the bead. Next came the Leonardo Featherbone (shown it the photo below) and Fishbone tools that create feathers and leaves. There are also Leonardo Imprinters to stamp designs on the surface of the beads, and she makes custom logo tools upon request.
Leonardo Fine Featherbone Tool
These days, Karen is focused on running her successful business, including selling her beads to jewelry designers and collectors online and at shows, as well as, selling her tools for beadmakers.  You can see her beads, jewelry, books, tutorials and tools on her website, www.leonardolampwork.com. She can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LeonardoLampwork and https://www.facebook.com/karen.j.leonardo.
Earrings made from Karen Leonardo's lampwork beads and Swarovski crystals
If you’d like to meet Karen, she will be at the Innovative Bead Expo in Clarksville MD on March 8-9, 2014.  I’ll see you there, as I will be stocking up on more beads to make earrings.
Earrings made from Karen Leonardo's lampwork beads and Swarovski crystals

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Swarovski Crystal and Pearl Starfish Statement Necklace by Catju Designs

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If you are looking for something to wear to make a statement, this necklace and earring set is just the thing.  Whatever you are wearing, people will notice this set first as soon as they see you.

This necklace and earring set includes a starfish pendant made of Blue Zircon Swarovski  crystals, gold Swarovski pearls and teal seed beads, made by my friend Vicki.  Look at the detail and beadwork involved in this amazing pendant.

The pendant is centered on a necklace composed of Blue Zircon Swarovski crystals, teal jasper gemstone beads, Swarovski gold pearls, and tiny gold plated round spacer beads.

The matching earrings are made from the teal gemstone beads, a pewter bead cap, and Blue Zircon Swarovski crystals with gold filled fish hook earwires.

If you are craving Spring and the beach, this necklace set will fit the bill.  To purchase this one of a kind statement necklace, visit my CatjuHandmadeJewelry Shop.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jewelry Show at Objects Found

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On Superbowl weekend, I participated in the 10th Annual Jewelry Show at Objects Found in Catonsville, to benefit the Soroptimist International of Arbutus.  If you have never been to Objects Found, it is a delightful consignment shop that is chock full of all things imaginable, including furniture, glassware, vintage clothing, jewelry and everything under the sun.  You never know what treasures you may come across.

As you can see from the photo above, my table was tucked in the "Roseville Pottery Room."  If you are not familiar with Roseville Pottery, it was a company in Roseville and Zanesville Ohio that made pottery from around 1890 to 1954.  There are many patterns and colors, especially with a flower motif.  There are many pieces, all of which are very beautiful, so it is understandable why this lovely pottery is  very collectable.  It was enjoyable to sit in an area with such beautiful colors and functional pieces.  The flower designs were especially intriguing, and I am sure to be inspired by the color combinations and designs.

Swarovski Crystal Lilac Shadow Heart and Copper Earrings
I met quite a few people who were shopping and stopped by to make a purchase.  And even though the Baltimore Ravens were not playing in the Super Bowl this year, I sold quite a few Ravens earrings, and a few Orioles ones too.

There were many women there from the Soroptimist organization.  One of their goals is to improve the lives of women and girls in the local community and throughout the world.  I am very happy to report the Jewelry Show raised $600 for their very worthwhile organization.  

Pink Crazy Lace Agate and Fuschia Swarovski crystal
necklace and earring set
For those of you who entered the drawing for the Tigereye gemstone and Czech crystal necklace and earring set, the winner was Elizabeth K.

Mark your calendars for the next event at Objects Found -- their yard sale at the Arbutus location -- held the second Saturday of each month.  More details can be found on their website, so be sure to head over and get some bargains.

And if you need some earrings for Valentines Day, or St. Pat's, check out my CatjuHandmadeJewelry Etsy Shop for these shamrock enamel hearts and the Swarovski crystal hearts in the photo above.

Shamrock Enamel Heart and Emerald Swarovski crystal
Antique gold earrings