Friday, March 27, 2009

March Birthstone - Aquamarine

Aquamarine is the birthstone for March.

Zodiac sign: Pisces (20 Feb - 20 March) & Aries (21 March – 20 April).
It is also the 18th and 19th wedding anniversary stone.

Aquamarine is a "stone of courage." It helps people to learn quickly and to use knowledge in "always being prepared." The energy of aquamarine is both flowing and structured. It cna protect against polutants. Aquamarine helps in achieving higher levels of consciousness and in the ability to understand complexities. It brings order, tolerance and moderation.

Folklore and Mythology of Aquamarine
Aquamarine was traditionally worn by sailors to protect them from the water and against storms. Aquamarine has also been used to protect against gossip. In medieval Europe, aquamarine was beleived to re-awaken love in a marriage and to make soldiers invincible in battle. The Greeks beleived that aquamarine would absorb the energy of young love and was considered the best gift for a groom to give his bride after consumnating their marriage.
It was popular among European royalty to wear aquamarine as an antidote to poison.
Ancient Romans used Aquamarine in treating ailments of the stomach, liver and throat.

Healing Properties of Aquamarine
Aquamarine is beneficial in the treatment of swollen glands. It can also be used to strengthen glands, teeth and bone structure. Aquamarine is especially excellent in treating the eyes

Amethyst - Gemstones Care

To clean your amethyst, avoid harsh detergents.
Wash with warm, soapy water.
Ultrasonic cleaning is usually safe.
Never steam clean.

Facts: Amethyst is used as faceted stones or polished cabochons and is carved in various shapes. Amethyst beads are used in necklaces, earrings and other jewelry in both rough unpolished forms, smooth glossy shapes, faceted beads and briolettes.

One of the largest cut amethysts in the world is 343 carats and is housed at the National History Museum in London.
Very dark stones are sometimes heated to enhance color.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Aquamarine - Care

To clean your aquamarine, avoid harsh detergents.

Wash with warm, soapy water.

Ultrasonic and steam cleaning are usually safe ♥

Monday, March 23, 2009

unique metal art jewelry designed for the adventurous woman

Let's meet Cyndie Smith and what she says about her journey that lead her to design jewelry designed for the adventurous woman.

I currently live in Florida, near Tampa Bay. However, my father was a military attache, and I spent most of my life, including a portion of my adulthood, in Europe and the Middle and Far East. I've never lost my wanderlust, which may be why, as National Director of Sales and Marketing for a large healthcare corporation, I traveled outside of Florida five days a week for many years. I finally gave it up in 2003 to pursue my dream. I started with classes that same year and never looked back.

In September of 2007, I opened my first on line store, allowing me to show off my creations to someone besides my husband and friends. I prefer to make one of a kind designs, mostly of an organic nature. When asked to replicate a design, I never make it an exact duplicate, so the wearer can feel that he or she has something truly unique.

I am a professional artist. Since opening my first store, it has been my only job, apart from that of wife, daughter, mother, and now - grandmother.
I'm a self taught computer nerd. Probably if I'd been born of another generation, I would have chosen digital imagery or digital art in one form or another as a career. I own two computers and a Blackberry and though I still struggle with it, the majority of my marketing is done on line. The advent of social networking has opened many doors and I do gallery shows and a small amount of paid advertising. I've found the best source of marketing is word of mouth. A happy customer almost always refers friends and family! If I was to give any advice to fellow artists, it would be to make sure the product is good and the customer service even better.

I think growing up in the diplomatic service influenced me greatly. Not so much the type of art I produce, but more my tolerance of the differences in people. I see fellow artists as comrades rather than competition. I freely share what I know and appreciate others who do the same. United, we can teach the world about art and share the beauty. It doesn't matter what the craft or medium is, if it took a creative mind to design it, it's worth sharing.

I think the most inspiration I've received came with the death of a very dear friend, much before her time. It inspired my "life" series, which I dedicated to her. My avatar on Etsy is the first from the series. I've actually taken the listing off the site for a while, and the story that went with it, because in the course of 6 months after listing it for the first time, I had (and made) 49 requests for variations of it, including one for each of her two sisters. Each request wanted their story told of triumphs and losses. It took an emotional toll on me..I may relist it eventually, but I think it's run it's course for me. I do still produce additions to the series, but not as frequently as before.

I don't really think of myself as a jeweler. I'm a metalsmith who loves to make art...and usually it's wearable. I'm hoping to spend this year developing some new skills, such as glasswork and enameling, to incorporate into my metalwork. I'd also like to try my hand at some larger pieces, like metal sculpture and wall hangings.
I'm a book junky with an extensive library...and I read them all. If someone is starting out, I would highly recommend "The Complete Metalsmith" by Tim McCreight. His revised edition has helped me tremendously.

Lastly, if given the opportunity to speak, not just to artists, but to anyone who'd listen, I'd say "Follow your passion!" If it's not fun, and something you love, it will show in your work.

Thanks so much Cat, you're a peach!

Her site and blog

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Birds for my Cat

MyCatLulu likes Birds and features one of my pairs of birds earrings.

I hope they will not end up in the kitty's mouth :)

To see more earrings, click here

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A LOVE for fabrics

Let me introduce you to Chio Bloom, whose website is bloomwoosie

She is going to tell us about her adventure.

How do I get started....
I grew up in a small coastal town in southern Japan. As far as I remember, I was always making things with my mom. My mom taught me everything I can think of in terms of what you make and do with your hands. As I wrote in my "profile" section at my Etsy store, my sister and I liked to stay home doing crafts in my mom's kitchen. By middle school and high school, I was making lunch bags, gym bags, and small cute things all by myself, that by the way, my mom still keeps in her drawer.

After I worked for a major American company in Tokyo for four years, I decided to study business here in the States. I was supposed to go home with my MBA, but I didn't - I got married to my husband. My older boy was born soon, and I just made so many things for him in my 6 months maternity leave. The crib bumpers, bibs, pajamas, blankets, diaper bags, anything you can think of for the baby. I discovered my destiny - making cute things for little people! My friends, neighbors, and other mommies from music and swimming classes kept asking me where I bought my stuff - this certainly gave me some confidence and put a little "seed" for my future Etsy adventure in my heart.

I became a full time stay-at-home mom when I had my littlest. He took a great nap every day - I came downstairs after he fell asleep and had so much fun making cute things for him. But there is only so much he can use and wear... I started to make things for other babies around me, and soon after, I decided to open up my shop at Etsy.

I make what I think other moms also like, using the fabrics I fell in love with. I just make sure to use high quality, comfortable materials as my items are for little, delicate people!

I opened my Etsy store in May 2007. Since then, I am having just a GREAT time.

Are you a professional artist?
I am a professional full time mommy, wife, and an artist (I am so honored to be called an "artist!"). I actually have other hobbies, too.

What inspires you?
Anything. Anything around me. My boys, their friends, my friends, books, window shopping, swimming pool, anything. Most of all, I love spending my time at bookstores just browsing books. I get really refreshed and visually (and intellectually?) inspired by the atmosphere.

What is your favorite piece?

My favorite piece is Mommy's One Mile Bag. I feel very special about this piece. When my littlest did not need a huge diaper bag anymore - maybe he had just turned one - I made this bag for myself to carry what I needed for a quick trip to neighbor stores and parks. I made several different sizes in different materials until I came up with the current design, and I am really confident that this bag WORKS. It is just the perfect size for anything - not too big, light, but carries a lot more than it looks.

Favorite materials?

Cotton fabrics - softer the better!

Any tips for fellow designers?
I am not in a position to give any advice... but one thing I have been most serious about is to make my customers happy. I have a baby gift business - people come to my store to buy gifts for themselves or someone they love. People think about their family and friends when buy gifts and every single gift is special for the person who buys and person who receives. I want everyone 120% happy with what they select as a gift, because that is what I want when I buy a gift for someone.

Any special promos?
I am not currently running any special promotion on my website, but please tell me by sending an Etsy conversation, if you found me through this blog. I will give you a secret discount...

What would you like to be when you grow up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian. My mom did not think my science grade was good enough for that dream, and I was too easily convinced.

Favorite jeweller?
I love visiting the Diamond District in NYC - spectacular!!!

Favorite website...
I like "Secret Agent Josephine" 's blog at She is an excellent graphic designer, blogger, and a wonderful mommy. Her blog that often talks about her daughter "Baby Bug," is so honest, lively, and sweet. She actually reminds me of my mom a little bit.

My older son is a big boy now - he puts my customer packages in his backpack and bikes to the local post office for me. He is the biggest supporter of my website. I started making baby things for him, and I would never even have thought about doing what I am doing now without my boys. They are a bottomless source of my ... trouble, gray hair, and joy!

Arigato gozaimashita Chio :) Subarashuii !

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Silver with a pinch of Salt

A new exhibition of works at the Goldsmiths
The entrance is Free

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


A little selection of jewelry selected by Cindie, including my Dotty Spot sterling silver earrings with Citrine gemstones cabochons

Thank you Cindie for showcasing my work :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Alibali plays with Fire

Alison has recently opened a very nice little shop on artfire
Lovely work, all handmade in Scotland, UK
Are you thinking of going to Edinburgh? Apart from visiting teh castle and listening to bagpipes, you may meet Alison in one of her many exhibitions.

Here, she talks about her work:

"All Ali Bali Jewellery is designed and carefully handcrafted by me, Alison in my home in Edinburgh. I love working with a variety of materials, predominantly sterling silver, semi-precious Stones and freshwater pearls. I also love beautiful lampwork beads and have developed an addiction to David Christensen furnace glass beads.

Some of my work is made with Silver Art Clay which is a silver product made from reclaimed silver. It's made by a Japanese industrial recyling company. It is manufactured in clay form with tiny particles of fine silver suspended in the clay. Once the item has been moulded and carved to the desired form it is fired. The clay burns away and the fine silver particles bind together to form .999 silver. It's a fantastic material to work with, look out for it amongst my items for sale."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Coutts London Jewellery Week Awards winners

Coutts London Jewellery Week has announced the winners of its inaugural Coutts New Jewellers Awards. Sixteen up-andcoming jewellers have been awarded the opportunity to draw
on Coutts’ unparalleled wealth of expertise working with SMEs and entrepreneurs via the Coutts Business Development Forum. Created to support and nurture new talent in jewellery design and craft, the Coutts New Jewellers Award-winners will receive advice on how to remain resilient during these testing economic times with a series of inspiring talks by industry and financial experts.

© Catherine Marche, Blum RingsAll sixteen winners have unveiled exciting plans for the Week, ranging from first-time exhibitions to collaborative shows and even jewellery recycling classes. These include Secret Garden - an exhibition organised by The Garden Studios of London celebrating Elizabeth Powell’s first collection of sumptuous colours and delicate beauty – and sparkling showcases by Ana De Costa and Zoe Catherine Kendall at independent designer store Kabiri.

Elsewhere, Missoma and SHO Fine Jewellery will be forming an exciting collaboration with fellow designers to launch Rising Gems – an exhibition held at a chic cocktail evening in central London - representing the new faces of the London jewellery industry and casting a spotlight on what’s fresh, fashionable and directional.
Coutts London Jewellery Week’s annual Treasure showcase gives some of this year’s Coutts New Jewellers a chance to sell direct to the consumer. Nina Koutibashvili and Ring Leader Urban Jewellery will be exhibiting new collections of inspirational, unique pieces at an event that is a platform for visionary design and new talent.

A number of Coutts New Jewellers will also be hosting individual exhibitions of their collections, including Alexandra Simpson’s Wow! Jewels for London, who will be exhibiting with 7 other designer jewellers including Yours Truly Catherine Marche.

CJS Inspired Design’s “Inspiration”, Ruth Tomlinson’s “Love Ring” collection at
Cockpit Arts, Holborn and Bex Rox’s limited edition African showcase at Brown’s. And Francesca Sibylla Augusta will be hosting Golden Age - a fun and flamboyant jewellery exposé which is one
of a number of events planned for the Burlington Arcade.

Showcases aside, Leblas is inviting guest speakers from Vukani-Ubuntu, the largest
mineral-beneficiation organisation in the Jewellery sector in South Africa, while
precious gemstone and diamond setters Roque will be offering guests the
opportunity to ‘try on’ their collection using Holition’s revolutionary 3D virtual

Representing the Coutts New Jewellers at the recent media launch for Coutts
London Jewellery Week were Jessica de Lotz and Rachel Galley. Very different in
style, both jewellers have exciting plans for the Week. Recent Central St Martin’s graduate Jessica is offering a week-long schedule of events, ranging from daily demonstrations to “make do and mend” workshops. Meanwhile Rachel’s jewellery will be available for preview at Cockpit Arts Open Studios and will include a new men’s collection and a high end gem-set cocktail collection of bespoke items.

Sarah Deaves, Chief Executive, Coutts & Co commented: “This year, our involvement in Coutts London Jewellery Week is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to supporting the world of entrepreneurs and contemporary art and design. Today, we can count one third of our client base as successful business owners and we recognise the importance of supporting entrepreneurs of the future, through the early stages of their career. We're excited to be nurturing these 20 promising new jewellers, through the creation of the Coutts Business Development Forum, and we hope that the course will provide the delegates with a great insight into building a successful and resilient business through its time of most need."
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Board Chair of organisers the City Fringe Partnership, added: "This is a great opportunity for up and coming designers to be part of Coutts London Jewellery Week and have their ideas supported by a major financial institution. The Coutts New Jewellers Awards is a timely investment into the Jewellery industry in the capital and into the future of London's small business sector."
More information about the Coutts New Jewellers can be found on the Coutts London Jewellery Week website:

Friday, March 6, 2009

In the press - Holts Academy of Jewellery

I signed up for a newsletter with Holts Academy of Jewellery, of which I have been a student.What a good surprise this morning as I opened my mail and saw this loveley feature.

I am just very pleased and delighted and would like to thank Holts Academy of Jewellery for featuring my 3 gold rings with diamonds.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

a feature in Deviant art

A great little feature of my work on Deviantart, thanks to Sweet Irie.

She is an art student going to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online. "I absolutely love it! When I am not doing school work, I am spending time with my family, many animals, church, and making jewelry and accessories. "

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Aquamarine - a Definition

Definition of Aquamarine - the March birth stone:
The word Aquamarine is derived from the Latin words "aqua marina" which means "sea water" . in reference to the color of the crystals.

The Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl (beryllium aluminum silicate) family, used as a gemstone in jewelry.

Its crystal structure is hexagonal.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Child of Privilege

I discovered Heather's work while looking for a present for my newly born niece.

Great products, elegant, well fisnihed and a nice change from the usual pink for girls, with even some brocade items.
Here she talks about her work for us:

My name is Heather and I create practical accessories for posh tots.
My site's are: &
My blog is:

I got started because I had my 3rd son and wanted unique and fashionable baby items that weren't covered in bears or trains or typical "baby" things. I made him a Shopping Cart Cover which led to me giving a few to people for baby shower gifts, they said I should sell them and before I knew it I had orders. I started selling word-of-mouth, then at Farmer's Markets, expanded my product line, and then on the web.

I was born in Hawaii and raised in Southern California where I currently reside.

For most of my items I only make a few of each pattern, some only one. It depends on how much of the fabric I can obtain.

I have had my business for 2 years.

I grew up in a very artistic home, my parents created and sold woodcrafts at fairs. My grandma recognized and encouraged my interest in art by buying me top quality supplies from the time I was really small. We had no TV and were encouraged to create and experiment with all types of artistic mediums. I took various art classes whilst growing up but no sewing classes. I'm a self-taught "seamstress" through much trial and error. :) I like to say that this is my favorite hobby and people actually pay me for it.

I am inspired by what I would like for my son and by color combos and styles that I'm attracted to.

Right now, my favorite item is probably my Peppermint Dreams Mary Janes, they just make me feel happy.

I promote by word-of-mouth, Etsy forums, Neatostuff, Twitter, my blog, and Facebook.

I sell my items on Etsy, my site, my blog, and in the summer at the Lake Arrowhead Market Night. I'm also going to launch a home parties venture in mid January.

I don't really have a favorite material but my Serger definetly makes my life easier!

When I started out, I wish someone would have told me that I needed to spend roughly the same amount of time promoting my business as I did creating the items.

There's a wealth of great info on Etsy, I would advise reading as much as you can and implementing the ideas that work for you. Twitter has been a wonderful resource for me, but I try to limit my business promotions so that it's not one constant advertisement all the time.
All of my Hide N Peek Nursing covers are on sale right now!

Some days I feel VERY OLD and grown up, other days I enjoy being a kid with my kids.

There are SO many incredible jewelers on Etsy, I'm always amazed at the beautiful work I see displayed and one of these days I'll poke around a bit more. One that comes to mind is she creates these amazing pieces from Origami.

Right now Etsy is my favorite website, there's such a wealth of tremendously talented people and their creations.

Again, thank you so much! Your jewelry is beautiful by the way

a Yarn Obsession

Ever heard of a Yarn OBsession? Meet Sedruola Maruska aka "Sedie", owner of

- website:
- shop:
- twitter:
- Facebook page:

- blog:

- How did you get started? I started crocheting about 7 years ago after I met my husband's grandmother who did so many crafts I felt I could at least do one. Then about a year after that, I decided I wanted to learn to knit at well. So I now knit and crochet and have been designing patterns since 2004.
- Where are you from? I'm originally from Queens, NY

- Are your creations limited editions or unique? Yes, usually my creations are limited editions, because I don't like to keep doing the same thing over and over again for too long. I think the longer I design and work on developing my skills, the more unique my items are and become.

- How long have you been doing it? For about 7 years

- Are you a professional artist or is this a hobby? I'm working very hard these days to make my yarn my profession. I have lots of ideas of how to make it work, but time is elusive. I'm thinking that in the next 4-6 months I'll be well on my way to having established a business presence and therefore on my way to making yarn my profession.

- What inspires you? Becoming my own boss and being able to be flexible enough to spend time with my family is what inspires me and motivates me. Secondly, the yarn inspires me. When I have yarn, I spend quite a bit of time looking at it to see what it should become. I also love to look at the fashions that come out each year to see what can be re-created in yarn or what can be "improved upon" by being made with yarn.

- What is your favorite piece (that you still have for sale) and why? Right now my favorite piece is one that I created to sell the pattern. It's the cropped top that can be found here This is my first "fashion" piece and I love the way it came out. I kept the sample for myself because I felt I'd made too many "errors" on it to sell, but it's so soft and drapey and wonderful! I really look forward to having people try the pattern and tell me what they think of the design.

- How do you promote your work? Via all my online sites, I talk about it all the time to those I know and I donate items to various charitable events. I also give out business cards and do a few craft shows a year.

- Where are you showing your work? Right now my showcase spots are my Etsy shop and my website.

- What is your favorite material? After creating my cropped top, I'm in love with bamboo yarn!

- What advice you wish someone had told you when you started? Be patient with yourself and your work. Keep steady, do what feels right for you and your art, learn all you can and things will work out in the direction you set your sites.

- Do you have any advice for fellow artists? Just what I said above.

- any special promos? Right now I have a contest to give away one of my most popular items, you can find the details on my blog. I also have a few items in my shop marked down 25%. And finally, for March, National Craft Month, I'll be running several small contests at random times to celebrate and educate my customers on the benefits of handmade.

- what would you like to be when you grow up? LOL, I love this question because I'm still always thinking about that. . . but my answer is "I'd like to be a knit and crochet wear designer with my own shop and several books under my belt"

- favorite jeweller/artists/designers? I do love Debbie Bliss for her timeless, classic designs and Candy Jensen for her fun and funky designs for everyone. Both are yarnwear designers.

- favorite websites? Mine and Etsy!
Thanks for answering these questions and inspiring other crafts people.

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