Casto Creations - Elegant Jewelry Designs

Handcrafted jewelry using gemstones, glass, Swarovski crystal, sterling, Precious Metal Clay, vermeil, gold, and other materials. And some random thoughts thrown in just for kicks.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Moving Day...Again!

Okay...I think I've found my permanent Blogging home. Come visit me at Yay!!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Come Find Me!

I've moved my blog. I'm part of a wonderful group called "Reasonable Insanity" (it's really where I belong!) and as part of this forum we get our own blogs. Come join us and check out my new blog.

Casto Creations Blog

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Monday, December 25, 2006

And a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Give a Little, Help a LOT

I'm sure everyone has heard of the tragedy in OR - James Kim was found dead today. :( His poor wife and daughters must be going through a second round of hell right now.

If everyone gives just a little bit it can make a huge difference for this family.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Due Diligence

I love to give...I love to give gifts to friends, family, and coworkers. But I also just love to give to people who are in need. At Christmas I love to participate in my work's adopt a family program and I've gotten in trouble several times by my hubby for going overboard in spending. :) I can't help it. I grew up blessed with wonderful Christmas experiences and want everyone to experience something wonderful at least one time.

And I enjoy giving to charities...but am not always sure what charities are the best to give my money and get the most help to those in need.

But there is a website out there that evaluates thousands of charities and I will be using from now on to determine my giving patterns - Charity Navigator. They are independent and have all the nitty gritty details that I want to see - like the total overhead a charity takes from my donation.

Did you know that the American Red Cross spent over THREE BILLION dollars in the last fiscal calendar year? But did you also know that this is only a 8.5% overhead rate! That is a GREAT rate.

The Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has a 20.8% overhead. That means for every $1 you give to SBK, only $0.792 goes to the programs to help in Breast Cancer research. That's not a bad rate necessarily, but we should all be aware of how charities allocate their funds.

So give to your heart's content! :) Just be informed about the charities to whom you give.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Guys and Gals

Sometimes guys get left out of the gift giving process because it's so hard to shop for them. It's not like they wear a ton of jewelry or carry around cute purses.

But I found these great gift ideas from Acorn Studios. If you know a geeky guy, these geek inspired cuff links make a unique gift.

Acorn's Sparkly CD Clock is the perfect gift for a guy or a gal who likes unique and funky things.

And of course, what girl wouldn't want a fun, bright, and flirty belt? This belt is a must have from 2FreshPetunias and is on my wish list for sure!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sweets for the Sweet

For the holidays or just because, send someone you know a special treat.

Someone will savor these sweet cookies for Halloween! I love these Jack-o-Lantern cookies from Eternal Sunshine.

You can't eat this Amy Peter's original design necklace, but wearing a Fortune Cookie is super sweet and whoever receives it will always remember you.

And what is sweeter than Fudge!?! Carssi offers Spoon Fudge gift packs and samplers!

So many sweets! So little time!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What the Heck is Lucite?

I admit it - I'm a plastic snob. Even when I first started creating jewelry I would not go near plastic beads. Those are for kids!

Little did I know!

Just as there are different qualities of gemstones, there are different types and qualities of plastic. Lucite is one of the best plastics out there and the Vintage Lucite I've been blessed to work with is just stunning.

One of my favorite suppliers of Vintage Lucite beads is called Bead'in Path. From their website describing Lucite:

"DuPont Corp. introduced lucite in 1937. Since it was more cost effective to produce than the currently used bakelite, lucite was used in production of costume jewelry as early as 1940."
I love the bright colors and wonderful shapes - some of which are available for a very limited time because they're old and not being reproduced.

"...this company had not manufactured beads or jewelry components since the late
1970’s and early 1980’s. They simply had a 10,000 + square foot room stocked
floor to ceiling with these pesky beads and hoops and cabochons ... "
I'm so glad that I found out about lucite, especially the vintage lucite at the Beadin Path. I'm still a plastic snob...but only because I will ONLY use this great quality seamless Lucite.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Santa Comes Early

Who needs to battle the crowds? Sit at home in your comfy clothes and check out these amazing gifts!

I might make jewelry, but this necklace made by Rachael Sudlow makes me want to buy it for myself! You won't see me recommend jewelry very often (for obvious reasons) but this one is fantastic! Maybe it's because I'm in Washington state - of perpetual rain.

And Fierce Kitten Studios has a great keychain for that illusive creative stocking stuffer.

For the coffee drinker in the family, check out these hand carved wooden spoons by Canadian Wood Crafts. I actually bought one for my hubby's birthday this year and it is fantastic! He even has righty and lefty spoons.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas...

It's getting closer and closer...that fun, exciting, stressful time of year when the leaves start to fall and the orange decorations come out. And amazingly, stores start stocking Christmas decorations! It's insane that decorations have started showing up earlier and earlier in the year.

If shopping for gifts makes you crazy, try stocking up early this year - and do it online! There are so many great independent artists, like myself, who have great gift items for all your gift giving needs.

I thought I'd start a few posts highlighting some of what I consider the most unique, fun, and impressive gift ideas.

I am so into purses lately - and there are some great seamstresses on Etsy. Like I like her "Messenger Sling Japanese Cherry Blossom". Her "Flea Market Fancy Purse" is adorable too!

Lucky Duck Designs offers this GREAT service to remind you of important "Ducks in a Row" gift card events and sends you the card all ready to be sent! A total steal at $25.

Fairy Essence has some fantastic items - I've got several of her pendants. She made this great journal that would be the perfect gift for anyone who loves to write down their thoughts. I also love her magnets.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Vote Your Favorite and WIN!

One of my favorite gift finding blogs is Rare Bird Finds. They are holding the first annual "Rare Robin Awards" contest where you vote for your favorite site. You could win great prizes, including a $50 gift certificate to my shop!

They're giving away over $1,300 in prizes!

I'd love your vote.

And good luck!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Staying Busy

Craft shows are a great opportunity to make sales and meet new people. Getting ready can be stressful and exciting - as you hurry to set up you expect a rush of people into your booth and a busy day ahead.

That rarely happens. Most shows are "hurry up and wait" experiences. You rush to get everything set up perfectly and then sit there waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Some shows are better than others, but almost every show has significant slow periods - times when it gets so boring you wish you could just go home.

That's why it's always important to bring something to keep you occupied - and do NOT bring a book or magazine! I made that mistake one of my first shows. How likely would you be to enter a booth where the seller is engrossed in a good book? Not likely.

But customers are equally likely to walk on by if they see you desperately willing them into your booth with your stare - trust me, it doesn't work. It's one thing to enjoy people watching and smiling as people go's a completely different thing to look desperate because people are walking by your booth.

So create your own energy by working on a project that will draw people into your booth. Make sure it's something that can be set aside or moved when you do need to focus on the customer. At my last show I brought some seed beads and a needle and got to work making a Peyote stitch bracelet. I was able to keep my hands busy and at the same time focus on customers. And since I wasn't just sitting like a lump on a log people were interested in what I was doing and it drew them in. And I finished a bracelet in between sales!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Falling off the Face of the Earth

No, seriously, I haven't! But summer is slow, right? So I'm a little slow. Well, actually I've been really busy both at my full time job and with my jewelry. And I just got back from vacation - my "little" cousin just turned 21 and we celebrated for a few days in Vegas.

But I'm back and ready to get back in the swing of things. So stay tuned!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Reasonable Insanity

Don't let the name fool you! A new online forum is now running for all of you who love fashion, jewelry, and good company.

"Strange people, Good advice" is our motto. And aren't we all just a little strange?

Come on over and sign up. We're brand new as a forum, but together we have tons of information.

Join Us!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pearls, Pearls, Pearls!

Fantastic summary article on the different types of pearls. A great and quick read. :)