Friday, February 27, 2015

February Jewelry Challenge - Cabin Fever Part 2

Hello again! In yesterday's post, I shared with you the first four entries in our February JET Team Jewelry Challenge. You might recall that participating members were challenged with creating a new piece of jewellery based on the theme of Cabin Fever - and imagining that they could go anywhere in the world they wanted to, on an all expenses paid vacation!

After creating their entries, team members had to list the item for sale in their Etsy shops, making sure their descriptions included the dream destination that their piece of jewellery represented. Needless to say, going somewhere warm and sunny was a unanimous choice for yesterday's candidates, and going to the beach was a recurring theme! The challenge closes at midnight tonight so entries are still coming in, but here are four more gorgeous creations for you to drool over:

Pink Bridal Earrings by RoughMagicHolidays
Mollie of RoughMagicHolidays is a homebird at heart, but is happy to jet off to the beach with these pink shell earrings (and her husband Joe, of course!)

Blue Shell Pendant by malves1009
And Michele of malves1009 is jetting off to the beach too, with her sea shell necklace.

Turquoise Green Blue Earrings by BellaVeaJewelry
And Gaiana, of BellaVeaJewelry is also yearning for blue sky, warm sun, turquoise waters and lush greenery. Methinks that beach may be starting to get a bit crowded!

Flower Moonstone Earrings by CapitalCityCrafts
Barbara of CapitalCityCrafts is also weary of the cold winter, but rather than heading for the beach, she has been dreaming of the desert and its elusive cactus flowers!

So, yesterday 3 of the 4 entrants longed to be on a beach by the ocean, and it seems 3 of today's 4 entrants would love to do the same! What about you? Where would you go? What jewellery would you make? And what other piece of jewelry would you take with you? Do tell us, we'd love to know!

I'll be back again soon to share the rest of the entries. Have a great weekend!
Erika

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Jewelry Challenge - Cabin Fever Part 1

Our latest JET Team Jewelry Challenge is called Cabin Fever. The idea is that each participating member creates a new piece of jewellery based on this month's chosen theme, so we're now daydreaming about our dream vacation... daydreaming that we can go anywhere we want to, on an all expenses paid vacation. How cool is that?!

Wishful thinking perhaps, but at least we can dream! After creating their piece, participating team members list the item for sale in their Etsy shops, making sure their descriptions explain the dream destination that their piece of jewellery represents. Here are a few of the imaginative entries we've received so far (and yes, they're all for sale!)

Tropical Oasis Necklace by SatinDollCo
This howlite, glass and leather design from Gaetana of SatinDollCo represents a tropical island, with clear blue ocean and white sand beach, and palm trees swaying in the warm tropical air! Ah, yes!

Red Coral Hoop Earrings by BrookeJewelry
These hand hammered sterling silver earrings from Brooke of BrookeJewelry represent a dream jaunt to the beaches of Santorini! Oh, to be on a Greek Island!

Bridesmaid Necklace by UrbanPearlStudio
Lynn of UrbanPearlStudio is tired of the winter, and her Osmena Pearl necklace represents being on the beach at the ocean, feeling the sand between your toes! Sheer bliss!

Spring Green Leaf Earrings by AdroitJewelers
These lampwork glass earrings by Ida of AdroitJewelers represent the fresh green shoots of spring. She doesn't really mind where she goes on vacation, as long as there is no snow! I know just how she feels!

So, if you could go absolutely anywhere on vacation - all expenses paid - where would you choose to go? And what piece of jewelry would you make to represent your dream location? We'd love to hear your ideas - please share them in the comments below!

I'll be back tomorrow with some more of our JET Team Cabin Fever creations. Until then!
Erika

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

JET of the Day - YourDailyJewels

Welcome to the JET Team blog, I’m so glad you stopped by!

The team member we feature today is Norah from YourDailyJewels. I’m so very pleased that I have the opportunity to feature Norah today, because of who she is and what she represents to me and the team. I am pretty sure if we held a vote for 'team sweetheart', Norah would capture that title quite easily!

Without getting too personal, I can tell you that day in and day out Norah deals with a very debilitating disease, and does so with a grace that is astounding to witness. Outside of running a very successful studio (or three!) she also maintained a profession that clearly shows her loving spirit and kind heart - working as an Equine Therapist. She puts so much love into everything she does, and it emanates through her sweet spirit.



With her beautiful offerings, Norah stays true to her love of nature and the need to lead a life that is 'green', by using sustainable and/or ethically sourced materials, and nothing that is extracted or mined in a way that is derogatory to the earth. I know you will love the stunning array of Personalized Initial Jewelry in her shop, as well as her Wax Seal Jewelry and pendants.

I adore her Gemstone Initial Bracelet (1). It is THE perfect gift for anyone, because you can choose the initial, the gemstone, the font and more! If you wanted to be even MORE specific, what guy or girl wouldn’t want their first and last initials? A timeless keepsake, eco-friendly and handmade with love - AND you can have a clear CZ or a birthstone added!!



Some of you may be starting, or be right in the middle of, planning for a wedding and looking for the perfect gift for your bridal party. So I can assure you that a Bridesmaids Gift Set (2) will be so loved by your attendants, they may never want to take them off! One very popular piece of jewelry is the Yoga Silver Initial Silk Wrap Bracelet (3). Indeed the style is very popular but this bracelet wrap is like nothing else you will find out there that is as beautiful and refined, with a classic design that will be stylish forever!

One of the things I like best from Norah’s studio is that her classic designs will suit many tastes and interests - like this Men’s Silver Horse Pendant (4), which is just perfect for a Father’s Day gift or the Equestrian Lover in your life. I am a butterfly lover, so the Silver Butterfly Gemstone Pendant (5) is a piece that I know I’d love to receive. And the Musical Note Pendant Necklace (6) is a perfect gift for a music lover or musician.

Regardless of what you might be looking for, making the choice to support handmade, eco-friendly, ethically sourced jewelry is one that you can not only feel good about, is a decision that will be so much more cherished by the wearer, because of what it supports and represents!

Thanks for stopping by today I hope you have a chance to do a little window shopping in YourDailyJewels and find something you will take home for yourself or give as a gift.

Until next time!
Donna



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

JET of the Day - WanderingJeweler

Hello and welcome once again to our JET Team Blog. Did you miss me yesterday?!

Today I am delighted to introduce you to Kerry, our WanderingJeweler. Kerry, her husband, and their furry friend, Kodi, a 5 year old Black Lab, hail from the beautiful province of N. Delta in British Columbia, Canada. If you take a look at the lush natural landscape of this area, you’ll probably see why Kerry enjoys the sport of biking so much.

Kerry uses bicycle chain and other bicycle parts in her unique style of industrial jewelry. This style is THE most creative use of bicycle parts I’ve ever witnessed. I’m sure this requires much preparation and planning of the assemblage, as it has such a distinctive look all on its own. One of Kerry's most iconic creations is her Square Bike Chain Pendant (1). But just as brilliant is her Hardware Store Arrow Pendant Necklace (2)



Another wonderful example, the Pink Agate Bike Chain Necklace (3), combines the beauty of nature with a bike chain component that acts as a bail to attach it to the chain. I can promise you, you are NOT going to find such an interesting and unique piece of jewelry anywhere else, no matter where you might journey to!

I was quite thrilled to find a pair of Fuschia Bike Chain Earrings (4) in the same bright color, to either compliment the necklace or stand beautifully on its own.

While learning more about Kerry’s tastes and style I discovered she follows a TV series called “Haven”, and developed a whole line of jewelry inspired by the symbol that is tattooed on all the members of “the guard”. The Dark Haven Guard pendant (5), like the others in this collection, was created from hand drawn images that Kerry then etched into the metal before attaching it to chain. She has a variety of colors and patinas available, so you can get it in your favorite metal!



You might think that Kerry’s style is pretty specific, and if so, you’d be wrong! For example, Kerry describes her Brass Triangle Necklace (6) as "industrial goes tribal". If you were to ask any other jewelry designer to mix those two styles into one piece, I doubt they could EVER come up with anything this clever!

When you happen to come across a designer with this much creative muscle, you should really consider a purchase of their handcrafted genius as it could become "design history". At the very least Kerry's designs are (in MY words, not hers) a "delightful deviation from the dull and dreary"!

I’ve really enjoyed featuring Kerry as our JET Team member of the Day and I hope you’ll stop by and check out her unique offerings at WanderingJeweler, as there is so much more than what we have room for here!

Until next time!
Donna



Monday, February 23, 2015

JET of the Day - VenusVelvet

Hello and welcome to our JET Team blog once again!

Donna is taking a well-deserved day off today, so it's Erika here inviting you to join me in one of my favourite Etsy jewellery shops, venusvelvet. Owner Carolyn handcrafts truly unique and covetable contemporary jewellery in her Toronto studio, making each piece of jewellery individually by hand. She uses only high quality materials including sterling silver, gold and mixed metals, and prefers to use ethically sourced and recycled materials whenever possible.

Carolyn's most popular designs are characterised by a minimalist aesthetic, which reflects her love of nature, sculpture and architecture. Her formal art training is also evident, in the distinctive lines and deceptively simple beauty of much of her jewellery.



One particularly striking collection (and my personal favourite) is Constellation, which features dots carved into the surface of the metal, giving an effect that Carolyn describes as looking like "sparkling stars in the night sky". And they really do! For the romantic at heart, how about a unique set of His and Hers Wedding Bands (1). These matching sterling silver rings have a refreshing contemporary feel, and are specially designed for star struck lovers! Carolyn's rings are available in a widths from 3mm band to 18mm, so she is certain to make a ring to suit you.

The Constellation collection is available in a choice of 14k gold, sterling silver with a brushed matt finish, or sterling silver with a mottled black oxidized finish. The black finish really does make the pieces look like the night sky! This is especially true of the convex Night Sky Pendant Necklace (2), which looks like it is covered in randomly twinkling stars. There are several co-ordinating earring styles to choose from, including the Square Stud Earrings (3), which have an industrial feel to them.



You will also find modern classics in venusvelvet, like Carolyn's effortlessly chic Simple Modern Leaf Earrings (4), made from recycled solid 14k gold. In addition to being kinder to the environment, these minimalist earrings will look fabulous with any outfit, daytime or evening. Another stunning modern piece is the Sterling Silver Wave Bracelet Set (5). This set of three bangles is made from random ripples of sterling silver, designed to be worn stacked together. As Carolyn says, "the more you stack the more dramatic the look!"

This innovative designer's work also reflects her Baltic ancestry. Amongst many pieces in her shop showing Baltic, Nordic and Pagan historical influences is the geometric Brass and Sterling Silver Amulet Necklace (6), which reinterprets ancient Baltic design elements. This mixed metal piece has gold and mustard patinated brass pieces alternating with sterling silver, and triangular shaped charms to catch the light and create fluidity of movement.

Very few minimalist jewellery designers can tempt me away from my preference for Regency to Victorian designs, but Carolyn's work does - in spades! To me, her pieces demonstrate a tangible affinity with nature, and a wonderful timeless quality. I do hope you've enjoyed this quick look at Carolyn's jewellery, and I suggest you drop by venusvelvet soon to see her work for yourself!

Donna will be back in the hot seat tomorrow, so until next time!
Erika



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Homemade Apple Sauce

Happy Sunday everyone! My name is Michele, and today I'm going to share with you one of my favourite apple recipes. Now, I don't know about you, but I can buy apples and tell everyone in the family to make sure they eat them, but the apples just lay there uneaten in the fruit bowl. Yet, whenever I make apple sauce, they all ask for more! Go figure! My sauce is so easy to make, and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Sometimes I sprinkle coconut flakes on to my apple sauce as an extra treat - as shown in image 4 below. You can also add ground flax seeds or even granola for that extra treat, or eat it just as it is. Whichever way you choose to eat it, it sure is yummy - and it also makes the house smell good while you're making it!


Ingredients:
3 cups of apples
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon
small saucepan

Method:
  1. Skin and core the apples, and remove the seeds
  2. Cut up the apples into chunks (not too small) and pop into a small saucepan
  3. Add all the other ingredients, and place the pan on the stove on a low light/heat
  4. Stirring every so often, bring to the boil and let simmer until the apples become soft
  5. Mash gently with a potato masher - but not too much if you like your sauce chunky!

I'm no expert, but I do know that apples are good for you. Whether whole or as sauce, apples contain both fiber and vitamin C. Apple sauce can supply as much as 80 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, and it also contains fiber in the form of pectin - dietary fiber keeps your digestive system functioning regularly.

A cup of unsweetened apple sauce only contains about 100 calories, so it's a much healthier option than eating sugary treats. Not only that, but the other ingredients in my apple sauce are good for you too! Cinnamon has great health benefits - did you know that just one teaspoon of cinnamon packs as much antioxidant potency as a half cup of blueberries?!

Cinnamon has also been shown to slow down stomach emptying, which helps to curb the sharp rise in blood sugar following meals and may be beneficial in helping diabetes. Finally, vanilla acts as a sweetener so is better for you than sugar, and vanilla extract can also be used to help calm the stomach if you are feeling nauseous.

I'm sure there are many studies out there on the benefits of all these ingredients, but for me personally, apple sauce is simply one my favorite snacks to eat. If you have a favorite recipe for apples, please share it with us. I do hope you will try my recipe, and enjoy it too!

Michele