Saturday, February 7, 2009

Contest Winners, and a Few Findings

Greetings All!
It's been an interesting couple of weeks.

Let's take our Jewelry Challenge which included a little scroll-filigree ring and the beautiful shades of purple. As you will see, we had not nearly as many entries as in past events. Perhaps we all had a case of winter blues, I am not sure but entries were slow coming.

We did receive four beautiful pieces of handmade jewelry. Carol gave us a gorgeous necklace design which someone commented to me should be a necklace worn by the new First Lady. Truly -- that comment was received! Deborah created a bracelet with sweet little fleur di lis and purple ribbon. Loved it! Maureen took polymer clay, inks and other potions of her trade and made some really unique, OOAK earrings with her scroll rings. Kathy dazzled us with swingers of hoops, scrolls and gems.

All are winners! First place winners receive a $25.00 gift certificate from the Brass Bouquet. The most votes for earrings came in for Maureen. Kathy receives an Honorable Mention. Thank you all for entering and applying your gifts of creativity to this project.

MORE JEWELRY CHALLENGES AWAIT YOU! If you do like jewelry challenges. This one might intrigue you. You will receive a kit of beads, baubles and "the Muse." This kit asks you to explore what all the pieces mean to you and create something that is unique and yet based on the same materials as everyone elses!

Scarlett's "Use the Muse" Contest can be found at her website/blog: "The Beader's Muse". The cost to enter (the kit you will receive) is really reasonably priced and the prizes are incredible!

Speaking of Kits: This month, while February drags on into the winter, I am working on jewelry kits which I will soon feature at the website, The kits will come complete with all "ingredients," and complete directions for a fun and easy project.

Personally, I love kits like this especially when I'm in the mood to do something totally different than the norm but don't want to spend a fortune getting set up to do one project. It's an economical way to explore a new style or use of beads or crystals....I get one or two charms and don't need to buy 12 when I only needed the one or two to begin with. So, I'm hoping by March 1 to have a few of them posted on the website.

So....that's about it for now. Do what you can to make the world a better place. Oh yeah...and keep beading and stringing! -- Jill

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Votes are Needed!

Who would have thought?? I hold a jewelry challenge -- have good prizes to give away and we get four entries! Well, kiddies, that's what happened. Interestingly, after the jewelry challenge date closed, I began getting inquiries on how to enter, etc. But, alas too late.

I have been getting some wonderful comments about the jewelry -- more comments and votes than entries, as a matter of fact.

So, here's the deal. There's a winner for the necklace division, the bracelet division and the earring division. What happens between now is up to those readers who want to send in ( their vote on the best earrings.

We had one necklace entry. The good news is -- the necklace is GORGEOUS!! We had one bracelet entry. Again, beautiful work! Those two are winners. They've received a $25.00 gift certificate to the Brass Bouquet. Congratulations to both Carol and Deborah. Thank you for entering and making some really beautiful pieces.

Thanks to Kathy and to Maureen....again both great entries. Help me choose which is the winner on the earring entries. I'll be waiting to see your votes!

Until next time.

The earrings are still up in the air until Friday, February 6th.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jewelry Challenge Entry-Necklace Category

NECKLACE CATEGORY: This beautiful necklace was created by Carol from New Jersey. Below the photograph is Carol's comments about her creation:

"PurpLe Rain" Charm Necklace:

Eclectic blend of old & new materials. Brass Bouquet "2 Scroll Filigree Rings", filigree ring for clasp, ladder chain & smokey topaz chain links. Vintage buttons, chains, beadcaps, 1920's purple pearls & faceted glass beads, glass flowers, antique brass filigree balls, czech glass beads, shell, Melitzania mykonos Greek Ceramic bead chips, and mykonos Greek fine silver coated beads (I oxidized).

Entries are due by January 31. Get yours in today! Email your photos to:

Three categories are available: Earrings, Necklaces and Bracelets. A $25.00 Brass Bouquet shopping spree will be awarded to winner in each category and voting is done by the viewers!

Visit the website at:


-- Until next posting, Jill

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jewelry Challenge Entry-Bracelet Category!

BRACELET CATEGORY: This entry comes from Deborah, in St. Louis. When I opened up the photograph, the first words out of my mouth were "OH how fun!" She's used the Purple Passion Ribbon!

Deborah says about the bracelet: "I love the way it came out. Your items are stunning, it almost looks medieval and not just vintage. "

The items Deborah used from the Brass Bouquet for the contest: Jump rings, Ribbon yarn: "Purple Passion," Love knot toggle, Scroll filigree ring, Fleur de lis drop charms and Rollo chain.

Thanks for your entry, Deborah.

Visit the website:
Email me YOUR entry:
Until Next time.....Jill

Brass Bouquet Challenge Entry!

Here is another entry into the Brass Bouquet Jewelry Challenge. Deadline is January 31 -- so get to snapping those photos and sending them in.

EARRING CATEGORY: This entry is from Kathy Noda of Florida. Kathy has used the Scrolled Filigree Ring in a layered affect which moves and swings along with our hammered rings as the earrings are worn.

Kathy's description: Garnets Accent Earrings With Round Filigrees and Pounded Brass Rings. Beautiful Deep Pomegranate Red 6mm Garnets are showcased with Lacy Brass Filigrees and Pounded Brass Rings.

Email your photos to:
Visit the store at:
And, until next time: "Pay it forward." -- Jill

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Scarlett's Style" Jewelry Challenge!

So many jewelry challenges -- so little time! I was recently contacted by Scarlett Lanson, a contributing editor for Beadwork Magazine. She is an incredible beading artist who has a column in Beadwork each issue.

She has begun a most incredible opportunity for those interested in getting in on Jewelry Challenges! It's called "Use the Muse."

SO WHAT IS THE MUSE ANYWAY? The MUSE is the central component in Scarlett's contest! Each participant will purchase a contest kit, with an assortment of stunning beads, from crystals, to pearls, to seed beads, and more. From this kit, they will create their own design entry. They are allowed to use as much or as little of the kit as they choose, and are encouraged to incorporate their own beads and elements to create the most unique piece possible. The main rule however, is that they must USE THE MUSE. The MUSE is a mystery component that participants do not get to see until their kit package arrives in the mail! It is a design element that is carefully chosen to be interesting and usable by both stringers and beadweavers. The element complements the rest of the contest kit and may be a focal, pendant, art bead, or unique design component.

The Prizes are INCREDIBLE! Click into Scarlett's Website to see the prizes she has put together. Tons of gorgeous Swarovski crystals, palettes to make the eyes pop! Along with some very specially chosen Brass Bouquet elements.

If you are interested in challenges and have always wanted to join in -- don't be intimidated....this one is easy, inexpensive and FUN!

Until Next time....keep on Beading, Stringing and Creating!

Visit the website:
Email me at:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Contest Entry -- Beautiful Earrings!

Here come the entries for our Jewelry Challenge! I will begin listing them as they come in.

EARRING CATAGORY: These are very unique! Sent in from Maureen, she has made some beautiful earrings with our Scroll Filigree Ring (the starring element) and purple (the starring color). She has used Polymer clay, alcohol inks, Swarovski crystals and the Rings to create amazing danglers! Thanks for your entry Maureen.

Jewelry Designing Contest! Don't forget our contest! Closing date is midnight, January 31, 2009. There is a winning spot for each category: Earrings, Bracelets, and Necklaces.

Rules: Create an inspiring piece of jewelry using any shades of purple, along with Brass Bouquet brass findings and components -- using at least one of the new Scrolled Floral Rings. Purple must be pronounce -- you know me, purple is my favorite color -- but burgundy, plum, even deep red can be used. Email your photographs in 500 dpi (jpeg format) to for submission.

All photos will be posted on the blog and available to the public for voting purposes. Each winner will receive a $25.00 shopping spree at the Brass Bouquet, be featured in the Brass Bouquet Blog and a link will be available to their website or sales site. And one of the winning entries will be featured in an upcoming Brass Bouquet advertisement in one of the major national beading magazines.

Submissions are due no later than midnight, by January 31, 2009. Final voting tally will be completed by February 5th. Winners' names will be announced on February 6th, here at my blog and in my newsletter.

Enter as many times as you'd like or in each category -- the voting is done by the visitors to my blog. Get those entries in!

Until next time.....Pay it forward. -- Jill

Visit the website at
email me at:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Color Forecast for 2009

If you want to find out about the new color trends for 2009, you might like to check out this video clip. It's primarily for the home furnishings industry but it does incorporate the elements of clothing designers and the colors which will be hot this coming year.

As predicted, the "going green" influence is huge and in everything you'll see on this video, you will note how the colors really do come from nature.

As we incorporate these colorful influences into our jewelry designs, we are able to keep our designs fresh and up-to-date while still holding on to our own personal signature styling!

I hope you enjoy this video! -- Jill

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Another Star is Born!

I have the greatest friend near Atlanta who constantly amazes me with her energy, stamina and ability to market and sell. And she's another success story I'd like to tell you about! When I had expressed an interest to "officially" interview her and write a story about her, the businesses she operates, etc., she saved me the work. Lori sent me a wonderful write-up about herself, her busy life, family and all that she puts into Cherry Matador Designs and Lucky Lather Soaps. Here it is....I hope you enjoy meeting and learning about Lori. -- Jill

My name is Lori and I live near Atlanta, Georgia. I am the owner/artist of Cherry Matador Designs (jewelry) and Lucky Lather Soaps. I wish I could say that I lead a glamorous life but that would be a bit far-fetched. In truth, I am the mother of a 4-year old son and a 7-year old daughter, one short-legged dog, and a very anti-social hermit crab.

I run my household, take care of my kids and run both of my businesses from home. In my spare time (when is that again?) I love to cook, read anything I can get my hands on, watch old movies, make people laugh, write poetry, draw, and explore the great outdoors.

At my core, there is a serious multi-tasker and an incurable perfectionist. Each and every day is like a game or challenge to see how many things I can do at once and how much I can accomplish. I push myself pretty hard (too hard at times, I am sure). However, I always have ideas floating around in my head to experiment with, goals to accomplish and a perpetually long ‘to do’ list. There’s that old saying, “You never know until you try”. I’ve sort of adopted it as my motto…as in, “Could I make this happen?” or, “Can I really do this or that?”. I figure, why not? I’ll try it!

I have always had a great appreciation and love for the arts, creativity, and self-expression. I went to college and, ironically, majored in Geology. I worked for a bank, an investment firm and a few law firms over the years and developed quite an impressive resume. Once I had my first child, I began to realize that the long office hours didn’t seem to agree with me anymore. I truly longed for something different. Thus, I left the professional world to stay at home full-time with my children while still pursuing some of my personal aspirations and dreams.

I began making jewelry about two and a half years ago. My mother already owned a very successful hand-crafted jewelry business (that took at turn for the worse like many other small businesses after September 11th). My best friend, Tara, often used to help her during craft shows and festivals and soon became interested in making jewelry herself. Tara bought some supplies and gave jewelry-making a try but decided it wasn’t really her thing. She handed her supplies down to me thinking I might be interested and things pretty much started there.

With a few, helpful hints from my mother, I was stringing beads and creating beautiful jewelry while enjoying my new creative outlet and hobby. Over time, I have taught myself many new techniques and refined old ones to develop my own unique style. In the beginning, I worked mostly with sterling silver and any type of beads that I could get my hands on. Then I discovered amazing brass supplies from Brass Bouquet. They were exactly what I was looking for. I absolutely love the vintage feel and look of Jill's brass. It is timeless.

About a year ago, my hobby turned into my flexible profession. I have a successful shop on Etsy. I also have jewelry on consignment in shops around the Atlanta area. My jewelry is purchased and carried by two local boutiques. These boutiques also carry my luxurious, handmade Lucky Lather Soaps. I have had an amazing response in the boutiques and at craft shows and festivals.

Also, I cater delicious desserts, from time-to-time, for friends and family. I have always dreamed of attending culinary school (as my best friend did). I may pursue it in the future when my children are older and I have more time to dedicate myself to it. For now though, I am giving my jewelry and soaps everything I’ve got. In a way, they are still very much like cooking, too. You choose your ingredients, toss them all together, and see what you can create. I strive to create what is in my heart and head. I honestly don’t want to be doing what everyone else is doing. I want to be original.

I am doing what I love to do and am passionate about. I am constantly brain-storming, trying out new ideas, and getting feedback from friends and family. I truly believe in what I am creating. I pour my soul into it and take great pride in the quality of my work.

Life can be pretty crazy and this business can be extremely slow and discouraging. But I have discovered that, no matter what is going on, everything has this magical way of working itself out. I just try to be as productive as possible and remain focused on the positive things going on in my life - the things I love and am passionate about - and keep moving forward as much as I possibly can. Most importantly, I want to keep creating. I want to take in all the world has to offer and be inspired by it. And, hopefully, along the way, I will inspire other people to do the same.

(Above: A piece from Lori's jewelry collection, titled: "Little Dragonfly's Lilypad")

Time for YOU to become a Star in the making! Write me at and tell me a little about yourself. You could be chosen to be blogged about. Hey -- you get a $20.00 gift certificate at the Brass Bouquet, so it isn't all that painful, now is it?

Jewelry Designing Contest! Don't forget our contest! Closing date is midnight, January 20, 2009. There is a winning spot for each category: Earrings, Bracelets, and Necklaces.

Rules: Create an inspiring piece of jewelry using any shades of purple, along with Brass Bouquet brass findings and components -- using at least one of the new Scrolled Floral Rings. Purple must be pronounce -- you know me, purple is my favorite color -- but burgundy, plum, even deep red can be used.

Email your photographs in 500 dpi (jpeg format) to for submission. All photos will be posted on the blog and available to the public for voting purposes. Each winner will receive a $25.00 shopping spree at the Brass Bouquet, be featured in the Brass Bouquet Blog and a link will be available to their website or sales site.

Submissions are due no later than midnight, by January 20, 2009. Final voting tally will be completed by January 25. Winners' names will be announced on January 26, 2009, here at my blog and in my newsletter.

Until next time.....Pay it forward. -- Jill

Email me at:

Visit the Website at: