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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cousin Creative Circle Projects: Make The Connection: Project Number 2

Cousin Creative Circle Projects: Make The Connection: Project Number 2: This month's project for Cousin was to do a review of their new "Make the Connection" line making its debut on HSN tomorrow, September 13th...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Exciting News from Cousin Corporation

Received this just a few moments ago and wanted to share the excitement!

New Approach Lets You Create a Style Then Interchange Pieces for a Different Style the Next Day


LARGO, Fla., September 10, 2012 – Imagine instantly changing your jewelry to fit your mood, style or wardrobe with just a few pieces at your fingertips. The Make the Connection line, a new approach to customized jewelry, will let you effortlessly switch up your look when two exclusive kits premier on HSN, HSN.COM and via HSN mobile on Thursday, September 13, 2012.

The Make the Connection kits contain several different jewelry components with a simple ring clasp on each end that instantly connect the components, creating a seamless necklace or bracelet that can be changed again and again, reflecting your personality, style or outfit.

The two Make the Connection kits making their debut on HSN and are Everyday, designed to be colorful and on-trend, and Formal, designed to have a timeless, elegant feel. More than 30 combinations can be created from each style kit for only $19.95 each kit.

Make the Connection designer Michelle Simpson knows being stylish can be time-consuming and expensive and created the kits for HSN to help solve the ongoing fashion dilemma.

“Imagine putting on an outfit and knowing you can create a complementing piece of jewelry in seconds, and then creating a different piece every day for a month, all from the same kit. Make the Connection is about simplicity and variety at a value,” says Simpson.

Make the Connection will inspire jewelry lovers of all ages who want to complement their wardrobe with personalized jewelry without the expense of buying multiple bracelets and necklaces. For more information about Make the Connection on HSN, join the conversation on Facebook at Make the Connection on HSN.

Monday, September 3, 2012

This Week's Featured Designer

This week I am featuring author, jewelry blogger, and bead enthusiast Lisa Crone.  Lisa is also a Cousin Creative Circle Ambassador for this 2012-2013 session.

 Meet Lisa:
"I've been happily designing beaded jewelry for over 20 years. Yes, I'm a serious bead fanatic and enjoy learning new techniques from other bead enthusiasts through books, magazines and classes or improvising as I go!

I've started this blog as part of writing my jewelry making book, A Bead in Time, as requested by the publishing company, F+W Media (North Light Books). I never knew it would lead to years of daily blogging and so many wonderful new relationships! I'm eternally grateful!

I love sharing in the fun of the online beading community! I typically showcase beads, techniques, projects, bead artists, designers and crafters."
You can connect with Lisa through her blog A Bead A Day and on twitter.

About Lisa's book: "A Bead in Time: 35 Jewelry Projects Inspired by Slices of Life"

A Bead in Time is perfect for beaders of all skill levels who want to make their jewelry more personal. 
A wealth of step-by-step projects offers clear instruction on a wide range of beading and jewelry techniques, including wire wrapping, peyote stitch, using memory wire, macrame and more! 
Each project begins with a discussion on the inspiration for the piece, including a photo depicting that specific inspiration. 
Tips and tricks will show you how to design pieces based on your own life - a unique twist to most beading and jewelry making books.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ellie's Bijoux: Meet My Fellow CCC Ambassador Shelly Owen…

Ellie's Bijoux: Meet My Fellow CCC Ambassador Shelly Owen…: I interviewed Shelly Owen one of my CCC fellow ambassadors and here is what she had to say… Me…How long have you been making je...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Fall 2012 Colors Brought To You By Pantone

As a jewelry designer, one can become comfortable with certain colors and color groupings and allow them to hang out in all new designs. Pantone is really stretching the designer this year with the release of the Fall 2012 Fashion Colors. They are different, vibrant, sultry, and mysterious. The combinations of these colors push the envelope to new possibilities and ideas. Today, I found myself stuck in a design rut. I pulled out the color chart from Pantone and sorted my beads accordingly. Rich chocolate brown, vibrant tangerine and pink, smokey rose, gray and lavender, lively greens, brilliant deep yellow, a strong blue fill the color palette and fuel the imagination. We see the return to the fashion world of Tangerine again this season. "Tangerine Tango" is now Pantone's Color of the Year. It showed up for Spring and is sticking around for a while. The vibrancy of this color makes for some interesting new color combinations especially when mixed with the deepness of "French Roast". A new color for this fall is "Pink FlambĂ©", a striking pink that stirs images of Miami and a life lived out loud. We see the rise of "Olympian Blue" this season as well. It is a brilliant blue that is not too bright and not too dark. I love the sultriness of "Rose Smoke, "Rhapsody" and "Titanium" that have comeback this Fall. "Honey Gold" sparks this season's color palette giving it the perfect Autumn feel.  We see the additions of what is usually a spring color, "Chartreuse", and a summer color, "Ultramarine Green".  These additions brings a lovely balance to the palette.  These colors in any combination bring vitality to this season and I for one am looking forward to using these colors.

Today I am incorporating some of these colors in a new design. Mixing and matching the colors to bring drama and intrigue is proving to be more fun than daunting. Try out some of these colors for yourself today....and as always, Happy beading!

*NOTE:  All images are from the website.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Featured Designer of Week 8/27/12

This week we are featuring Patty Matrone-Squillante, owner/designer of My Picture Windows Unique Jewelry And Accessories and Unique Jewelry & Hair Accessories By Patty.

 Let's meet Patty:
Patty lives in New York with her adoring husband Anthony.  She is the proud mom of two children and ecstatic grandmother to four grandchildren.  Her family is her biggest supporters.

Patty's fascination with jewelry began when she was a child. She would played with her mother's costume jewelry all the while wanting it all apart to make something new. At that moment, her love for jewelry making was born.

Jewelry making is very uplifting to her, providing a greater sense of purpose. Beading and instructing are her passions. Patty teaches at her local Michaels craft store as a Certified Bead Corner Design Academy Instructor. Her mission is to demonstrate to others that making jewelry is rewarding and ever-evolving. Patty is grateful for her students because they allow her to share her passion with them.

Patty's style and technique is ever evolving.  She is a wire wrapping artist as well as venturing into resin and crystal clay jewelry making.

Recently, Patty Squillante was chosen by Cousin Corporation of America as on of their Creative Circle Ambassadors.  As an ambassador, Patty will have the opportunity to share her unique take on jewelry designs with the product development team at Cousin, preview upcoming programs and and provide feedback on products before they are available to the public.

You can find Patty on Facebook.  Click each of the links to go to her Personal Page, My Picture Window's Fan Page, Unique Jewelry's Fan Page, and her Instructor Fan Page.

Featured Designer of Week 8/20/12

This week's featured designer is Dr. Gail H. Devoid, Ph.D. of Need for Beads.

Let's meet Gail:

Gail began jewelry making by learning to loom with beads.  She is proficient in a variety of seed beads stitches as well as bead crochet, chainmaille weaves and wire wrapping.

Gail has had one of her patterns published in Issue 4 of magazine. also recognized Gail as a designer in May 2006 by naming her Designer of the Month.  She has also co-hosted a live Internet radio show called The Jewelry Connection.

Dr. Devoid teaches techniques at the Bead Society of New Hampshire and has taught classes at Michaels as well as private classes.  Gail not only offers designer jewelry on her website, but includes beads, beading supplies, and patternsShe also has free tutorials on both her website and YouTube.
Gail was chosen as a Cousin Corporation of America Creative Circle Ambassador this year.  Her place as an ambassador has positioned her to have a platform in which she can share her knowledge and expertise with the Cousin product development team.  Gail will also be able to preview upcoming programs as well as provide feedback on new products before they hit the market.
You can connect with Dr. Gail H. Devoid with the following links:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Featured Shop of Week 8-13-12

This week we are featuring ElliesBijoux from

Meet Suzette Bentley, owner/designer of ElliesBijoux:
Suzette Bentley is a self-taught jewelry designer and is the inspiration behind Ellie’s Bijoux, an online jewelry gallery. Her creations have received rave reviews, and has recently been published in Bead Trends, Bead Style and Stringing magazines. She lives in Waxhaw, North Carolina, a quaint little town just south of Charlotte with her husband Scott, their daughter Isabella and Ellie, the little family dog. Ellie is a small black and white Papillion who tips the scales at 9 pounds. She is very elegant in nature and has an exuberant personality.

Suzette designs and creates each piece of jewelry in her home studio. All of her designs are one-of-a-kind and made from quality stones to create truly unique masterpieces. Some of her favorite materials to work with are chains, charms, crystals, enamels, semiprecious and precious gemstones, glass, metals, and pearls.

Suzette has also been chosen as a Cousin Creative Circle Ambassador.  This is a high honor.  She will be able to have a platform with Cousin Corporation of America, a premier manufacturer of jewelry making supplies, "to share ideas with the product development team, receive Cousin products to incorporate into their work, preview upcoming programs and provide feedback about products before they go to market."*  You can also find out more about Suzette from her website:

*Quote taken directly from Cousin Corporation website. All photos used have been used from ElliesBijoux's website.  Learn more about Cousin Corporation of America's Creative Circle by visiting

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cousin Creative Circle Ambassadors

Cousin Corporation of America, a premier manufacturer of jewelry making components, has chosen a select group of jewelry makers for its inaugural Creative Circle ambassador program for the 2012-13 year.

Cousin received an overwhelming amount of applications for the coveted slots and the vetting process took five weeks in order to review all of the submissions. The ambassadors were chosen by the selection committee based on their unique contributions to the program, commitment to jewelry making and social media and networking savvy.

The 2012-2013 Creative Circle™ ambassadors are: Suzette Bentley, Lisa Crone, Dr. Gail Devoid, Shelly Owen and Patty Squillante. The five ambassadors will have a platform to share ideas with the product development team, receive Cousin products to incorporate into their work, preview upcoming programs and provide feedback about products before they go to market.

“We are excited to launch our inaugural Ambassador program with these highly talented jewelry makers,” said Jeff Cousin, President. “Cousin is an industry leader with a strong reputation for providing quality products and unique inspiration. Together with our ambassadors we look forward to growing the Cousin brand and keeping the craft of jewelry making relevant, enjoyable and innovative.”

The ambassadors were officially welcomed by the Creative Circle™ team on August 2nd and are currently highlighted on Cousin’s website, and their Facebook page,

It seems one can wait whole lifetime for something like this to come along.  I have to say, I am completely humbled by this opportunity. To my fellow ambassadors, I look forward to working with and getting to know each of you.

The generosity of this company is amazing.  They sent us all a massive amazing goodie box full of beads and findings.  Also we all received a beautifully framed certificate, a flash drive, a coffee mug, an inspirational book, a lovely necklace, a leather bound journal with a pen and pencil, and a personal letter of congratulations from Jeff Cousin, owner of Cousin Corporation.  All of which arrived just two days before my birthday!  What a birthday present!

I am looking forward to working with the Cousin Corporation and will be keeping you all updated along the way!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Featured Shop of Week 7/30/12

Once in a great while one comes across a breathtaking artist, a visionary of sorts.  This week's featured shop is run by just such an artist.  The way he captures the imagination with his paintings is absolutely amazing.  I hope you enjoy meeting him and seeing his work as I have.

This week's featured shop is Matts Art on Etsy.

Meet Matthew Hamblen, artist and owner of Matts Art.
I'm a self taught artist, and have been one all my life. I started selling my art back in 1999. I try my best to create art that is all about love. Love for nature, life, color, fantasy, beautiful dreams, energy, hope, karma, good times, and even some bad times, all the feeling and emotion that life has to offer comes out in what I do.

I love painting and people pleasing with all my heart, and the best part of my job is seeing people happy with what I put out there. Nothing in the world is better than sharing the joy I get from my work with others, and I thank each and every one of you for your support. 
Every painting you see is an improvised original artwork. If a piece really strikes you, I advise you to grab it if and while you can. Please know that once it's gone, it cannot be reproduced the same way ever again. Similar pieces can sometimes be done, but each is different, so it won't be the same as the one you love.

Every original piece comes to you signed on the back, pre-wired and ready to hang right from the box, with sides painted black and varnished. Open the box, hang and enjoy!

Make sure you check out Matt's facebook page too. Click here to visit his page.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Featured Shop for Week of 7/16/12

This week I am featuring a fellow Sheffield School of Design alumni, Debbie Bruce.  Debbie, runs a successful jewelry business via Etsy.  Her shop is Beadiful World.  Debbie has also been featured on the Sheffield School of Design blog.

Meet Debbie Bruce, owner and designer of Beadiful World:

Welcome to "It's a Bead-iful World", my online Etsy store. I've always had a passion for jewelry. When I would buy a new outfit, I would immediately head right over to the jewelry counter to find just the right pieces to compliment it. In an attempt to find a hobby, as Oprah would say, I had an "Aha!" moment. Jewelry had always been a vital part of who I am, and it made perfect sense for me to make my own jewelry. As I began to perfect my jewelry techniques, my hobby and passion grew. I am now retired and a full-time jewelry designer. The majority of my pieces are one of a kind (OOAK). I enjoy creating all styles of artisan jewelry, but I do lean toward an eclectic style. I especially like hand-forging wire (pounding with a hammer is great for releasing tension!). I use all types of beads, from semi-precious and artisan lampwork beads to less expensive plated beads.

 I like to make accessories as well. For example, when I was working, I was required to wear a badge on a horrendous plastic break-away lanyard. Well, that plastic lanyard definitely did NOT define my style so I made my own. Also I am at the age where I occasionally need glasses but don't want to wear an eyeglass holder that looks like something my grandmother would wear, so I make eyeglass holders for those of us that still like a little spice in our life :-)

I am a Self-Representing Artist Jewelry Designer (SRAJD), Member #1478, and a graduate of the Sheffield School Jewelry Design Beading & Wire Working.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Featured Shop of Week 7/9/12

This week we are featuring Unkamen Supplies from Etsy.

Meet Ralph Helmrich owner of Unkamen Supplies:

I love making chainmaille jewelry, but was unable to purchase jump rings that met my standards, so I invested in the equipment and started making them myself. Over 40 years engineering experience paid off! I love them! The weight is substantial and my customers love the feel when they pick up my products.

Check out my family's and my finished products and see the endless possibilities my findings will bring to your chainmaille weaves and other jewelry and craft designs:
I offer high quality commercially made supplies; items that I use my self in my own finished goods.

While I can do everything, I no longer can AND meet all of my customers' needs, so I get by with a little help from my friends...and family:

Karen, my wife. She lists, photographs, ships, stocks, sources materials, collaborates with designs, manages, organizes and rubs my shoulders every 10K jump rings!

Leah, my daughter. She lists, ships, stocks, collaborates with designs, assists with production and is apprenticing with me in my machine shop. She has taken numerous classes and plans to make this her life's work.

Byron, my son. He prints orders, ships, makes bookmarks, stocks and is learning about Excel and Quickbooks and bakes me treats to keep me going!

Travis, my friend, who apprenticing with me, keeps chopped wood piled high next to my stove and keeps me chuckling with his quips and quotes.

Ian, my friend and Travis' brother, keeps my wire inventory up to date, cuts custom lengths and whistles tunes to keep me amused!

Denise, my friend and another homeschooling mom, helps fill commercial orders, ship and when I am lucky, brings her newborn son along for the rest of us to oodle over!

Hanna, my friend and Denise's oldest daughter, who is apprenticing with me, helps with jewelry orders and drives my Basset Hound crazy with the aroma of her pizza slices-her standard snack!

Find my family on Facebook:

Follow my family on Twitter:!/unkamengifts

Learn more about my family on our blog:

Find Videos here:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A First for Raziela Designs

I can't be happier!  One of my designs has been featured this week on the Cousin Corporation of America's Fan Page on Facebook.  Click HERE to view the page.

If you recall, we featured the Cousin Corporation as our Company of the month back in May.  Cousin Corporation produces beads, findings, charms, inspirational booklets and project guides for Walmart, JoAnn, Michaels, and Hancock Fabrics.  Among their line are Crystazzi, Elegance Metal, and Jewelry Basics.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Looking for the perfect hideaway?

For our 6th wedding anniversary, my husband told me to pick a place to get away for the weekend and we would go. We knew we wanted to escape the regular hustle and bustle of most tourist places. We definitely wanted more seclusion and time just to enjoy each other even though we only had the weekend.  I didn't want the whole hotel/motel experience.  I wanted something different.  We began stalking Bed & Breakfast spots.  We settled on a little place in Long Beach, Mississippi.  The little place was called Long Beach Getaway Coastal Retreat. It is a small, 9 bedroom bed and breakfast that is nestled back off the main road with still a great view of the Gulf of Mexico from the beautiful veranda.  Still within in walking distance of some very nice restaurants. I can tell you The Long Beach Getaway Coastal Retreat was the most serene place I have ever been.  Just above the dining area was a lovely library with a full view of the Gulf.
Our room, bedroom view
Our room, living room view
We checked in on June 9th a little before lunch time.  From the moment we arrived, our host Dinuhabi Patel welcomed us like family.  He made sure everything was perfect for us when we arrived.  He even had a welcome message for us on the bulletin board wishing us a happy anniversary.  Dinu, or Dean as most people call him, took the time to get to know us.  He was truly interested in our happiness while staying with him in his home.  Our gracious host offered us the choice of two different rooms, and we chose one we just absolutely loved.  Our suite was complete with a very comfy king size bed, separate living area with a fold out couch, large screen TV with over 300 channels, (but we didn't watch much TV...wink wink, nudge nudge).  The private bath included full sized bottles of lotion and body wash with a Spa shower.

That night, Dinu prepared the most amazing meal for us.  We had the dining room all to ourselves and he not only cooked for us, he served us as well.  He called it a Colonial dinner.  It was served the way it would have been in India to the royals.  There was a beautiful bouquet of various white and pale yellow flowers on the table for us. Our meal began with Champagne.  Our appetizer consisted of a half of sweet pepper with marinated local Blue Crab and a half of a Key Lime.  Next, he served us Saffron rice with huge fresh Gulf Shrimp, a baked tomato stuffed with sweet potato and eggplant and various spices.  Our main course was locally caught Spotted Trout in a Coconut CremĂ© sauce over Saffron rice and a blend of English Cucumber, tomato and onion.  For our dessert, Dinu prepared a lovely ice cream dessert consisting of an orange slice, local produced vanilla ice cream, strawberry syrup and a few drops of rum.

Dinu in his element.
Dinu shared with us the rich history of India and the way he served the meal.  The rice he prepared was once only available to the royal families of India.  His grandfather owned one of the few rice farms in India that produced that particular type of rice.  He shared with us all about his family, where he was from, how he came to be there.  He had came from Iowa with the Red Cross right after Katrina.  He knew the then owners of the facility and helped them out a few months out of the year.  He now leases the property and runs it on his own.  He is in the process of adding a new larger kitchen and dining area to accommodate a full service restaurant.

Me and Dinu
David and Dinu
The morning of our departure, June 10th, he created the most amazing breakfast for us. We were served hot coffee, orange juice and a plate of fresh fruit consisting of kiwi, oranges, and cantaloupe. A large three egg omelet with large fresh gulf shrimp, sweet peppers, baby portabella mushrooms, three strips of bacon and two sausage patties.  We were completely stuffed!  We hated to leave our little bit of paradise we had found.  But all good things must come to an end.  We are already planning another trip back!  Make sure to visit the website for the Long Beach Getaway to see more information.  Click here to go to their site.

There is plenty to do and see while in the Long Beach, MS area. Visit Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home.  Take an hour drive west on I-10 to visit the Infinity Science Center. Just north on Hwy 49 is the Gulfport Premium Outlet Mall.  It is a fairly large mall and loads of great shops.  If you are in to the casinos, Gulfport and Biloxi are home to several.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Featured Shop of June 4th, 2012

This week I am featuring a relatively new shop from Etsy, Paper Movement.

Meet Amberley, owner and artisan of Paper Movement:

I guess you could say we're almost still newlyweds, my husband and I got married a year and a half ago. We don't have any children just yet, but we'd definitly love some in the future. We both love kids.

My husband had the idea of creating cards because he works in a print shop and because of that he has also become quite good at graphic design. I also enjoy designing, and that works out great because we help each other design our products and then Korey can print them himself where he works!

We started designing cards about half a year ago and have been slowly building up our collection. We just joined Etsy less than a week ago! My husband read about Etsy on the internet and he thought a community like that would be a great way to market our cards and posters.

Our name Paper Movement comes from the idea that paper can be used to glorify Christ. The movement idea behind our name is the idea that we want the paper we use to make a difference. This works in designing God-centred products, as well as in how we respond with what our paper can bring us (money..also made of paper).

We talk quite a bit about Untouchable Children, which is what we're moving to help. We first learned about them after reading Revolution In World Missions by K.P. Yohannon. It's a very gripping book by Gospel for Asia's founder.

The Dalits, or ‘Untouchables’ are the lowest class of people in parts of Asia under the Hindu caste system. The caste system has actually been made illegal, but unfortunately the devastating effects still remain. The majority of these people are desperately poor, exploited and powerless to change their destiny.

- The word “Dalit” means “ground”, “suppressed”, “crushed”, or “broken to pieces”.
- There are more than 240,000,000 Dalits in India, 70,000,000 of them are under 18
- There are about 2,000,000 sex slave children in India, almost all of whom are Dalits.
- Their illiterasy rate in some areas can be as high as 90%
- Every hour, two Dalits are assaulted, three Dalit women raped, two Dalits murdered and two Dalit houses burned, according to the Human Rights Education Movement of India, yet only one percent of those who commit crimes against Dalits are ever convicted.  Because these children are denied opportunity, these children are likely to remain in this vicious cycle of poverty, just like their parents.

We want to help support GFA - Bridge of Hope rescue these children with Jesus' love, quality education, a daily meal and medical care. 50 cents, and one dollar at a time...add it up and we could really make a huge difference!

For anyone starting out crafting I'm just recommend that you do something that you love and are passionate about. If you're just in it for the money it'll be frustrating when things go slower than you wish they would. Have fun, and be persistent!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Featured Shop of May 28th, 2012

This week I am featuring D.M. Design from

Meet Doran Merav, owner and creator of D.M. Designs:

I am a 29 year old artist, designer and architect. I graduated from the Technion, Israeli Institute of Technology. I have been creating all my life.  I am self taught and have been mostly painting and carving in wood (mainly because of availability of tools and materials).  In 2006, I started studying architecture which significantly expanded my physical and mental arsenal of creation.  New materials and ideas started showing themselves in my work, but the basic concept has always been achieving beauty through motion, volumes and general composition testing the materials and reinterpreting it in anyway I can think of.
My jewelry is NOT for everyone.  The jewelry I make does not try to hide on your body as a thin line of gold that just says "this is a gold ring". My jewelry is about color, textures, and composition. It wants to be seen. You will not find a simple loop of hammered metal in my shop because that does not interest me. Instead, you will find architectural compositions as well as nature inspired organic flowing forms and jewelry that are more of a statement or a concept.

I do not like writing long stories about each piece unless absolutely necessary.  I rather give basic, important information about materials and size and let the pictures do the talking. Most of my designs are made to order in any size, material and finish you choose.

You can also see Doran's designs on his website: