Wednesday, 29 September 2010

BESTeam weekly feature: You are my Sunshine on Etsy

Inspired by the song sung to her sons, You are my Sunshine on Etsy is a bright and lively shop stocking handmade fabric flower brooches, fabric flower hair pins, rings, earrings, bracelets and statement necklaces.  Some of the items have a particular bridal theme, but many are just beautiful to be worn at any time. You can just feel the Florida sunshine shining from this shop!

Its owner clearly takes inspiration from vintage fabrics, and many of the items are re purposed and very eco-friendly.  It's so hard to pick favourites, so I've taken my cue from the beautiful colours in the lovely shabby chic style banner which heads up this shop.  Bold and beautiful colours are the order of the day!

I just love the combination of bright yellow and gentle cornflower blue in this brooch. Would look amazing on a dark navy jacket as a corsage, wouldn't it?

These lovely roses are recycled pink fabric, the chain has a delicate patina and the feather is a perfect finishing touch.

My favourite colour, this one is described as orchid blue and was made from a prom gown.  Again, I love the feathers giving this an airy, ethereal feel. 

This necklace is a lovely combination of greens - the fresh peridot crystals and deeper emerald rose, and feathers in a lighter contrasting shade.

Follow these links to find out more:






Sunday, 26 September 2010

Chaos and confusion

Blue Forest Jewellery is in a proper maelstrom!  The effects of a busy working week in the day job, the thousands of ideas for pieces that are filling up my ideas book at a rate of knots, the fact that the dog needs walking earlier in the day because the evenings are getting shorter, the need to find somewhere to stay near Swansea for mother-in-laws imminent operation - it's all adding up to putting me in a right pickle.  And to top it all, the OH is out and I've had to navigate my way to the kitchen and explore the mysteries of the fridge!

This is my beading table.  Frightening, isn't it?  It's not uncommon for people to find WW2 bombs in their gardens here in Coventry (thankfully can't recall anyone ever been hurt as a result), and you might be forgiven for thinking that one had exploded in my living room, but no, I have no such excuse. 

Odd really, because my desk at the day job is always kept paper-free.  My shop paperwork, on the other hand, is also chaotic.  Since I decided not to list the same pieces on Etsy and Folksy and Dreamaid and set up a new spreadsheet to keep track, I've been in total confusion.  Oh, and I'm trying to launch a new 'tribal geometric' range, and can't decide which shop to put it in.

Enough moaning!  The beading table has to stay messy - though perhaps not that messy - because when I tidy up, the ideas always seem to dry up too.  And I'm sure the shops will be fine.  So long as I don't customers the wrong item, nothing can be too wrong, can it?

So how do you keep organised?  Any tips gratefully received.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Signing the pledge

 Did you sign up for the Etsy Holiday Boot Camp?  Here I go with the pledge...

I, Blue Forest Jewellery, pledge to participate in the Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp to the best of my abilities. I vow to check in every week, do my homework and support my fellow Holiday Boot Campers. I will read the weekly newsletters and blog posts, check in on the weekly forum thread, read the weekly blog post, check off the checklists and salute the mascot. I promise to share what I've learned with those who need it, support my fellow Etsy indiepreneurs and, most of all, have a positive and persistent attitude. I understand that together we can spread the word about our handmade and vintage goods, making this holiday season a more unique and meaningful one to gift givers and give-ees everywhere! 

I know, snowmen have no boots, but it's my only relevant picture!

So, this week's homework is to write a mission statement.   I need help with this one!  How about:

"Brighten up as many peoples' Christmas as possible with a unique, beautiful gift of handcrafted jewellery."

Should I set some specific targets?  That sounds too much like the day job!  I'd rather just stock up the shops, promote as much as I can, and most of all, enjoy the ride.  After all, we do this because we love it, right?

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The power of chance or how to improve your earring shots by serendipity


The whole household, even the dog, slept late on Sunday morning. We are all still pretty exhausted from the holiday! So that is how I discovered, by chance, that the lunch time light is just as good for taking photos as the early morning. But the bigger revelation was yet to come... 

Earrings have always been a bit of a nightmare to photograph. They just don't hang as they would from your ear when placed on a flat surface, and even on an earring tree, it's just not the same as being in someones ear, and the light is blocked behind the hanging beads. 


The sun had warped the piece of silver card I normally use for flat shots. Just to see what would happen, I rested a pair of drop earrings from the edge of the warped card and put my camera in close. 


It wasn't quite the angle I needed, but still it was a promising shot. I reached for the nearest book to wedge them a bit higher ("Beginners Italian" free with one of the papers a while ago!) And that was it. 


The angle seemed to be nearly perfect, with the light beautifully enhancing the semi precious stones instead of darkening them. Whether that will always be the case, who knows, but I'm pleased enough with the results for one day. 

So my top photography tip is have a good lie in on a Sunday, and let nature and the power of the sun help you out! The downside is I now have loads of photographs to retake but never mind, that's quite a nice problem to have. 

I hope you like the new pictures. Let me know what you think.

Monday, 20 September 2010

BESTeam weekly feature: As you like it by dicarlos on Etsy

It's a pleasure to feature a lovely varied and colorful shop this week: As You Like It by dicarlos on Etsy features handmade jewellery, art works, stationery and cards.  Stephanie from Woburn, MA, is the force behind dicarlos and in addition, there's another lovely shop taking off at unexpected knock with a focus on goods inspired by the works of the poet Emily Dickinson.  If you don't know Emily, you're in for a treat - she knew how to say what she thought very succinctly!  And the love poems are amazing - my favourite's below this post.

Stephanie too really is a creative person - not content with just art, jewellery, poetry, cards and so on, you can even follow a tutorial to make yourself a lovely wooden mailbox on her blog!

I love these gray bubble earrings made of white, charcoal and gray pearls - you know what I'm like about pearls, girls!

Then there are the artworks.  I had the pleasure of including Stephanie's work in my recent leaf treasury, so I've picked my second favourite, this mandala design print in a wonderful bold orange.

Any girl would feel better about going back to school this Autumn with these 'Birds of a Feather' notebooks!

And I couldn't resist this Emily Dickinson dog card- so true!!

And here's how to get your dog to model for your successfully... Mine struggles with the jewellery - perhaps I should make cards instead???

If you were coming in the fall,
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen's land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

Friday, 17 September 2010

Folksy Friday September Stars

On holiday, the stars were magical.  Now I'm back I've joined the September stars on Folksy - equally magical!  Here's some star picks from their shops...

sprinkles blue forest jewelleryeklectikfish
damselfly gemma deborah jones jewellery

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Dreamy Wednesday - colours of the fall

Time to think of Autumn colours - Dreamaid has some beauties for you to check out!

Click on any of these images to go directly to the shops.


1. This bangle by boho is a lovely upcycled creation, beautiful colours too!
2. Earthy necklace with lovely wooden beads by Nemetona - perfect with this season's tribal fashions
3. A delicate brown dragonfly by Chrissys
4. Sepia duck fine art photo by Emma in Wonderland
5. Brown tawny owl print from an original watercolour painting by a piece of nature
6. Stunning cloth shoulder bag by FFSC (Friends of Street Children)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

BESTeam weekly feature: cksilver on Etsy

A chance to feature a really beautiful shop with creations using semi precious stones, freshwater pearls and sterling silver - cksilver could really be my sister shop!  Based in Chelan, WA, I love the use of colour here, and cksilver quotes similar inspirations to my own - nature and her colours.
cksilver offers a range of birthstone jewellery as well, there are some lovely examples of these pieces on the blog Birthstones feature for Jan-June 

Check back another time for the July-December feature!

cksilver cksilvercksilver
cksilvercksilver cksilver

I've chosen some seasonal greens and browns to feature, with some luscious pearls included.  Pearls and semi precious stones are the perfect partners, IMHO!  Take those chocolate jasper and freshwater pearl sterling silver earrings, for instance, just simple, classic and elegant.

You can find about more about this cksilver on the blog here. Be sure to check out the regular Monday Musings and Wednesday's What's New features

Happy Holidays

Just back from two weeks away on Anglesey with hubby and Lucca the dog. What a fabulous time we've had!

Pre-dog, the OH and I have been to some amazing places around the world, but I can honestly say that this holiday has been one of the best for us.

Lucca relaxes in the garden after some swimming
Hubby is pretty dedicated to his music, so each day needs to accommodate his minimum of four hours practice a day. This gives me (and the dog!) chance to relax - for me, it's been beading and reading, for Lucca there's been sniffing round the gardens and dozing in the sun. Weather was fantastic and for the couple of cooler and damper days, we just transferred to indoors.

We had booked two very different cottages, one in a fishing village and the other a converted traditional Welsh 'long' house. Both had everything we needed and swooping half way through gave us a bit of variety.

The rest of the time we spent touring the island, walking Lucca on some spectacular beaches, lovely countryside and woodlands and consuming (too much!) food at various cafes and pubs!
The long house - originally home to the family and their cattle!

I spent some time before we left to put together a bag of tricks - some pieces I needed to finish or think about, together with some loose beads and the basic tools I thought I'd need.  Not only did I finish every piece I'd brought, I designed some new ones, decided on the ones that needed modifying and filled literally pages in my ideas book!

I think having the whole two weeks, together with the calmness of the island, the spectacular scenery and everyone being happy and content really combined to boost my creativity. It's been quite a challenging year with a variety of close family illnesses, so we were definitely ready for a break and a refresh.

You can really appreciate why so many people choose to retire to the island. Many of the things that occupy your mind with worry on a day-to-day basis just seem very far away and quite unimportant there.  There's definitely some good karma around!

Inspiring too. This beautiful heather on the mountains set off an idea for combining some deep amethyst and lush green malachite beads. Nature is so clever at colour combinations.

I guess if we were all on holiday all the time it would get boring, so I ought to be grateful to be back to the day job!  And at least we have some great memories and can start planning for next year...
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