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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Love My Soap From A Slice of Delight!!

I love, love, love handmade soap!  Just recently I was browsing in the lovely soap shop on Etsy, run by Hillary Goldman called A Slice of Delight featuring handcrafted glycerin soaps that are fun to use and ruffles your senses.

Here's some great information about her wonderful company:

PRODUCT PHILOSOPHY -------> I enjoy designing soaps that are bright and cheery, ruffle your senses, fun to use and makes you feel good (or someone else if you give it as a gift).

ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING ------> Soaps are packaged in cello bags certified biodegradable and compostable. The ingredient tag and raphia tie can be recycled.

PRODUCT INGREDIENTS -------> Product ingredients come from reputable soaping industry suppliers. One supplier is so local I am able to ride my bicycle to pick up the products :+}. 

I had a hard time choosing between all the lovely soaps and I even enlisted the Twitter Universe to help me with my choice! Here were some of the contenders:

Yellow and Green. Fresh and Clean. 

This Lemon Verbena is a delightful blend of Italian Bergamot, Lemon Verbena, Primrose and Violet. It is then rounded out with Amber, White Musk and just a little drop of Peppermint for an energizing surprise!

With a mixture of toasted almonds, sweet cake flour and drizzled chocolate fragrance notes, this almond biscotti soap slice will have you walking (no running) to your nearest cafe or bakery for the real thing (to eat!)

Well, as you can see by the top photo, I chose Petals of Spring soap!  Lovely having a garden in the palm of your hands!  AND as you can also see by the photo...Hillary gave me samples of my other choices and they and they are rich and creamy and smell out of this world!  And thanks, Hillary, for the jelly beans...probably so I wouldn't be tempted to eat the biscotti soap!!

You owe it to yourself to take a look at this wonderful Etsy Shop! You will be glad you did!! You can also follow A Slice of Delight on Twitter and check out her Facebook Fan Page!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Indie Junction Featured Artisans for the Week of March 28th!!

Let's end the month of March right with these wonderful Indie Junction Featured Artisans:  Terrie Ijams of Ugly Gerbil, Jessica Wagner of  Metal Reign, and Trudy Hylant of Art by Trudy!
Let's start with Ugly Gerbil, your source for amigurumi Cthulhu Babies, Sock Monkeys, leafy lariat scarves, freeform handbags, neckwarmers and many other spiffy things.  Home to the Original Cthulhu Babies!  What are the Cthulhu Babies you might ask?  In the artists own words: "Very similar to Muppet Babies,. but 10X more likely to chew your face off!  Or at least they would be if they weren't painstakingly hand-tamed and guaranteed not to attack anyone unless they really, really deserve it.   Probably… On second thought, guaranteed is probably too strong a word."  You can see these Cthulhu Babies and all of Terrie's other wonderful handcrafted things on Flickr or follow her tweets on Twitter!
Take a look for yourself at some of the wonderful things you can find at Ugly Gerbil!!
Our next Indie Junction Featured Artisan Jessica Wagner of Metal Reign featuring gorgeous handmade chainmaille jewelry.  We have been fortunate enough to follow the progress of Jessica honing her craft and it's been wonderful to see how truly talented she is with chainmaille!  In the artist's own words, "I loved making beaded jewelry as a kid so I went on Amazon and bought a book on beaded jewelry--or so I thought. When the book was delivered, it was on beaded chainmail jewelry. I thought 'This is so  awesome!' and I've been hooked ever since."  You can follow Jessica on Twitterand you can become a fan of her page on Facebook!
Now take a look at some of the wonderful work at Metal Reign!
Our third Indie Junction Featured Artisan is Trudy Hylant of Art by Trudy is a wonderfully colorful shop featuring mixed media originals and Giclee prints.  In the artisan's own words: "Painting is my passion and the oxygen that courses through my soul. It is with great pleasure that I present my collection to you. I am a self taught artist who has embraced the vibrant colors that are found on my tiny island in Florida..Enjoy!"
Take a look at some of the wonderful artwork you will find at Art by Trudy!
We hope you have enjoyed this week's Featured Indie Artisans! Indie Junction is a place where artists across all mediums join together to Create.Love.Explore.Collaborate.Support.Learn.Grow!  If you would like to join us here at Indie Junction, simply click here!  Have a wonderful week!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Learning Something New!!

So a friend of mine is helping me learn some metal work techniques.  He has a full bench with all the tools needed to do excellent metal work.  I only have...erm...a hammer and jeweler saw so far so this is like a really great opportunity!!

I love the process of metal work!  Taking a piece from a hard lump of silver and making it into something so beautiful! So far I've made some simple sterling silver bands as presents for my nieces and this last visit, I took a sterling silver spoon from 1913 and transformed it into this magical ring!!  So, do you want to see it?

 This ring is available at my Etsy Shop; it's a size six but can be sized up or down.  If you're interested in a custom order, perhaps you have an old sterling silver spoon that you'd like to make into a special keepsake, you can convo me through Etsy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Featured Indie Junction Artisans For The Week of March 14th!!

This week we have another fine group of Indie Junction Artisans!  Paul and Kate Studios, By The Bead, and Magpie Mine.
Let's start with Paul and Kate Studios featuring unique, handmade ceramics with a life of their own!  This husband and wife team bring different strengths to the process of creating their ceramics: "Paul focuses on the tactile qualities of clay- basing most of his work on pinch formed shapes and burnishing for a natural and organic feel. He enjoys the unpredictability and randomness of pit firings. Kate's work is biologically inspired. Sea life, microorganisms, and anatomy all visibly influence her choice of shape, texture, and color."  The couple was recently featured in this Storque article! And become a fan of Paul and Kate Studios on Facebook!
In the meantime, take a look at some of their wonderful ceramic pieces:
Our next Indie Junction Featured Artisan is Nancy Jones of By The Bead featuring lampwork glass, polymer clay, natural stone and other unusual beads formed into unique, colorful earrings, pendants and bracelets. All inspired by the bead.  In the artist's own words: "I have always had a passion for all things decorative. I've always worked in the artsy fields- display, interior design, faux finishing -I've had lots of exposure to many beautiful things, most of which, being in an artsy field, I could not afford.   I collected beads, which seemed affordable at the time. Finally, ten or so years later, I began to make earrings for myself, but I only have 2 ears, so I needed another outlet. Here we are."  You can follow Nancy on Twitter to keep up with what's going on with By The Bead.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the unique and wonderful jewelry you will find in her Etsy shop!
Our third featured Indie Junction artisan is Maggie Nemetz of Magpie Mine where you will find high resolution, copyright-free digital collage sheets to use for mixed media, collage, altered art, jewelry, crafts, and more — Use collage sheets for that inspired beginning to something creative that's yours alone!  In the artist's own words: "I am a graphic designer and artist.  I am like that most curious of birds, the magpie, always on the lookout for interesting, shiny objects. I love to collect things and squirrel them away in case I need them someday. I am in heaven browsing through Etsy! I love making collage sheets, and have discovered that I have too many ideas and not enough time! I find inspiration in everything I see around me."
Places to find Magpie Mine:
Take a look at some of the wonderful work for yourself!
I hope you have enjoyed taking a look at all of the talented Indie Junction artists featured this week!  Indie Junction is a place where artists across all mediums join together to Create.Love.Explore.Collaborate.Support.Learn.Grow!  If you would like to join us here at Indie Junction, simple click here!  Have a wonderful week!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My First Treasury

So I created a treasury called Lavender Blue during the time when about three hundred other people were creating and uploading treasuries too!!  I wanted to feature some of the talented artists on Indie Junction.  I was just about done; just searching through our team tag (IndieJTeam) one more time to make sure to give as many members a chance as possible...and the whole thing disappeared!  Then I could not get back in to recreate it...until the following afternoon!  So my little treasury may have a limited shelf life but I am very proud of how it turned out!  It has already expired so I saved it for posterity here:

Time to start filling up the poster sketch again!!  So stay tuned!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Handmade Artists Forum Etsy Team Sale!!

I have been participating in the Handmade Artists Forum Etsy Team Sale!!  There are so many wonderful artists involved in this sale offering wonderful discounts on their handmade items!!

You can find out more about the sale and participating members here!

As for Zur Designs...I am offering 10% off all items in my shop and as always there is FREE SHIPPING!!  If you are purchasing for a gift for someone special, each purchase will be beautifully gift wrapped and ready for giving!

Take a look at my etsy shop for yourself!  The 10% discount will be refunded through PayPal upon purchase!  The sale goes through Monday, March 15th!!  There's still plenty of time to reap the savings!!

Buy Handmade

Monday, March 08, 2010

Handmade Rocks!!

I come from a long line of people who loved to do business with shop owners they knew and trusted and who made their living serving the needs of a other words...Mom and Pops; where customer service came from the owners of the shop and you established unique personal relationships with the people you did business with.  There was Tony the Laundry Man, Frank who ran the local clothing store, and Ray the Butcher who ran the local name a few.

I can remember my Dad bringing the entire family into a shoe store, that's six kids mind you, and waving a mighty hand toward the owner and saying "shoes for all of them!" or "skates for all of them" in the sporting goods store. To my dad, this was a point of pride.  Both he and my mom worked hard and the reward was to be able to provide all of us with everything we needed.  It also gave him great pride to give the shop owner a large amount of business because they had a personal relationship and were both invested in the success of the business.

Those were my early lessons in how business was done...and they never left me.  When I chose business as a career, I had corporate offers but stuck to small business and either ran them or accounted for them for a large part of my career.  I simply loved how small businesses operated and became part of a community of like-minded individuals who believed in quality, a high level of customer service, treating their employees fairly, and relationship building and considered those the building blocks for success.

But then, small businesses and small business opportunities began to disappear because of the K-Marts and Wal-Marts of the world.  The Mom and Pops, in my corner of the world anyway, are nearly extinct now...and the few that do exist have developed a niche market that keeps them going, but often they do not flourish.

That trend made me turn my attention to nonprofits because for awhile I could find the same elements of community collaborations and quality service that I would never find in a large private sector corporation setting.  But soon, due to increased competition for funding, nonprofits too were forced to adopt a more corporate model and somewhere along the line, the soul of these institutions began to disappear and with that, their capacity to serve the community was often compromised...that really broke my heart.  There are, of course, exceptions but yet another end of an era had come.

Fortunately, I have discovered the handmade industry which has many of the same qualities as the old time Mom and Pops and the old-school nonprofits... coalition building, quality over quantity, and superior customer relations.  And most importantly, a shared fundamental belief in the benefits of choosing handmade...that there is no other sensible choice.

I have experienced with my customers, what those shopkeepers experienced long ago and I can go back to those basic principles of quality products, a high level of customer service, and a feeling that I am part of something larger than one small etsy shop...I am part of a community...with a very strong voice!  I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with each and every one of them and say, "Handmade Rocks!!"

Another Sunshine Blog Award!!

Thanks so much to Top Floor Treasures  for nominating me for this award!!

The conditions when accepting this award:

* Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
* Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
* Link the nominees within your post.
* Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

I'd like to nominate the following blogs:
  1. Jewelry by Nala
  2. Dale B Craft
  3. Bizzarios
  4. Julie Magers Soulen Photography
  5. By Your Side
  6. Runway Crochet
  7. T. Rusk 4 U
  8. Laffing Horse Crafts
  9. Link Love Success
  10. Paper on Parade
  11. Maureen Cracknell Handmade
  12. Organize Me and You

Indie Junction Featured Artisans for the Week of March 7th!!

March comes in like a lion with these three wonderful Indie Junction Featured Artisans!!  This week we have Lapis BeachCrocheted Little Things, and Little Fish Like Green and second shop In A Beautiful Daze.
Let's begin with our first Indie Junction Artisan, Lauren, from Lapis Beach.  In this shop you will find, original jewelry utilizing czech glass beads, semi precious stones, freshwater pearls, and metal elements knit on soft thread or fine wire.  In the artist's own words: "I have been designing this jewlery for the past two years and I have developed over 15 mixes. All of the color choices can be knit in many different styles. You will find cuffs, GLAM size (double widths), thin cuffs, rings, necklaces and pendants."
Places to Find Lapis Beach:
Take a look for yourself at some of the wonderful things you will find at Lapis Beach!!
Our next Indie Junction Featured Artisan is Luisa from Crocheted Little Things!  Here you'll find a vast selection of crocheted pieces: cupcakes, faux food and spa items!  Luisa's inspiration comes from little daily her own words:"... Sometime I use pattern from magazine or from the web, thought I never literally follow them. I just used them like an inspiration, elaborating my own personalization. Some other times, the personalization come along while I'm working :) Or again, like my crocheted jewelry I just created by my self."  Luisa is having a big sale in her second shop, Crocheted Little Things Two, up to 50% off some items, so you might want to browse over there and save!
Some places to find Crocheted Little Things:
Take a peek for yourself at all the beautiful things you will find at Crocheted Little Things!!
Our third Indie Junction Artisan is Michelle from Little Fish Like Green an eclectic shop filled with wonderful handcrafted items such as jewelry, journals,wallets, and bags, and In A Beautiful Daze featuring Michelle's original artwork and photography.  In the artist's own words: "Sometimes in the simplest things we can find beauty & joy. ♥"
Places to Find Michelle's Work:
Take a look at some of the wonderful things you will find in Little Fish Like Green:
And here's some of her original artwork and photography from In A Beautiful Daze:
I hope you have enjoyed your visit today with these three fabulous Indie Junction artisans!  If you would like more information about Indie Junction simply click here.  Indie Junction is a place where indie artisans across all genres form a synergy that helps each individual achieve their goals within the handmade industry.

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    I am an MBA Jewelry Artisan and owner of Zur Designs.  I create handcrafted jewelry using only the highest quality materials such as sterling silver,semi-precious gemstones, swarovski crystals, and pearls.

    My designs are inspired by life, love, and the beauty that surrounds me from the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts to the wonderful beaches in Rhode Island...both I consider my home.