Friday, July 24, 2015

What Mom Never Told You About The Steampunk War!

Whoooaaaa ....  I was going to write a nice "10 Things You Didn't Know About Steampunk" post, but from the first search, it was all guns blazing!  I had no idea how controversial the term "Steampunk" is to some high level academics (and many passionate followers)!  If you want to read the war of words, I've linked a couple articles at the bottom of this page.

So, let's do this simply.  And nicely.  Some interesting facts about Steampunk through one of our gorgeous handmade jewelry shops Anarchist Couture.

Watercolor Assemblage Gift Tag- Marie Antoinette

The dictionary definition:
noun: steampunk; noun: steam-punk
  1. a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

Those words themselves would draw swords at dawn for some steampunkers!

I mosied on over to Wikipedia ... admittedly not the high level academia of the articles mentioned, but it does describe a version of Steampunk that is understandable to the average person (and the luddite in me).

Filigree Statement Cuff with Watch Mechanisms, Wearable Art, Steampunk Jewelry

Watercolor Assemblage Gift Tag- Black Gold and Red

  • The term steampunk's first known appearance was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.

Altered Bottle with Vintage Lady Portrait, Shells, Rhinestones, Vintage Lace

  • Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures, that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century.

So, there you have it.  Five facts about Steampunk that won't start a war.  

One GREAT thing Steampunk has noncontoversially done, is brought us a lot of fabulous art in many different forms.  Anarchist Couture is a perfect example of the marriage of Steampunk and Neo-Victorian jewelry.  Check out the shop for some truly lovely pieces - including altered tag art and bottle art.

Canal Grande Wearable Art Cuff, Adjustable, Neo Victorian Jewelry

Virgin Mary Statement Necklace, Multi-Strand

Angels Among Us Statement Earrings

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

5 Reasons to Go All Natural From Head to Toe!

Did you know that the average person uses 12 different skin care products on their body every day?  My first reaction to reading that statistic was "no way" ... but then I counted the ones I use on a daily basis and found the double digits rising fast!   Those kinds of numbers also make sense of the annual $160 BILLION spent annually on bath and body, hair care, make up, fragrances, cosmetic surgeries, and gym memberships!

Within those 12 products, there are (again on average) 150 chemicals within them.  As skin is the body's largest organ, that's a lot of chemical exposure to deal with.

If those numbers aren't enough to convince you (or scare you!), here are 5 reasons to go all natural from head to toe!

1. Gentler over time: Many natural products work better than their conventional counterparts because they don't contain unnecessary fillers or irritants. And while some unnatural products may seem to work better with the first try, over the long-term, the harmful chemicals that made your skin feel cleaner or your hair feel smoother may actually cause damage.

2. Avoid irritation: Chemicals, artificial colors, and fillers in skin care products and makeup can cause redness, irritation, and breakouts. Many people are even allergic to chemicals commonly found in conventionally produced products. Natural makeup, skin care products, and body products work with your skin instead of against it.

3. Earth-friendly: Products made from conventionally produced ingredients can have a negative environmental impact. The manufacturing of chemical-heavy health and beauty products puts those chemicals, and many more, into the air and water, and even more go down your drain in your own home. When ingredients for natural health and beauty products are farmed and manufactured organically, fewer chemicals are put into the air and water.

4No strange side effects: Parabens are used in conventionally produced health and beauty products as a preservative to extend the shelf life of products. Parabens, however, are synthetic and mimic your body's natural hormones. Many people worry that this can alter the functions of your body's endocrine system. Artificial ingredients like parabens may help a product do one thing well, but there could be possible side effects that are still being uncovered. Natural health and beauty products use natural preservatives, such as grapefruit seed extract, that won't affect your body. And while some people have allergies to a few natural ingredients (lanolin, which comes from wool, is an allergen for some) the effects are much more understood than the ones from synthetic ingredients.

5.  Almost 90 percent of the 10,500 cosmetics and skin care ingredients known to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not been evaluated for safety by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, the FDA, or any other publicly accountable institution, according to the Environmental Working Group.

With all of that in mind ... let's go natural with head to toe products from Earth's Own Bath & Body created by Rochelle Witt.  Along with 5 cool facts about her!

Rochelle turned down a Fortune 500 company as an investor in her company as she didn’t agree with the path they wanted to take.  She is adamant her products stay all natural.

Shampoos and Conditioners:

There is a large range to choose from covering many hair "issues" from scalp problems, hair loss, color treated hair, or if you're just looking for lustrous locks!

             For Dry Hair and Color Repair


                                   Scalp & Hair Health    LUSTROUS Shine

That's just a small sample of what's available!   Rochelle has created an amazing range of hair care for all types ... she also offers them in different sizes.  She has A LOT of repeat customers that start at 8oz and quickly start ordering 32 oz bottles!  When you go to find the right all natural shampoo for you, check out this conditioner ... it's a fave in my home!

Rochelle started researching natural products and ingredients in 2008 and started selling in 2010.  She only uses the premium all natural ingredients which she sources from around the world.

Let's jump over to skin care, and then get to the sparkly stuff!

Again, Rochelle has created all natural products for any type of skin - creams, lotions, serums, and more.  From acne, to facial scar treatment,  stretch marks, and of course what we all want, anti-aging.  Here are a couple of her best sellers for natural facial treatments:

Fruits n Petals Natural Wrinkle Defense Peptide Serum.
Anti Aging Cell Renewal w/ Superfruits & Botanicals for Plump, Dewy Skin

Rochelle’s favorite ingredient is organic Moringa oil and powder.  It’s been used for thousands of years and has been documented to cure over 300 diseases - based on white paper lab results.  It has the highest ORAC (antioxidant report) value of any known green plant in the world!

With summer here, it's a great time to show a bit of shimmer with your sleeveless dresses, tanks, and tops!  This is excellent!

Take a browse through all the natural skin care items available in Earth's Own Bath & Body, including CHOCOLATE Body Butter, Moringa Hand and Body Wash, Tanning Oil and FABULOUS lip balms!

We hear a lot about the chemicals in deodorant ... if that's something you've ever worried about, Rochelle has you covered!

Rochelle has over 7,000 online sales with many happy repeat customers!!!  (7 out of 10 are repeat customers!)

Now for the sparkle!!  With our faces washed and nourished, time to have some fun!  Rochelle has a gorgeous range of eye-shadows, a wonderful color selection, all vegan, chemical free, gluten free, at great prices!  Here are a couple of our fave colors!

               Fairy Wings Pure
      Mineral Eyeshadow                                                                    Champagne                                                                                                                                Coastal Blue              

We promised all natural products from head to toes ... so let's get those toes (and hands!) looking tantalizing with non toxic nail polishes!  A couple best sellers - and you can see why!

Juicy Cherry -Non Toxic 5 FREE, 
Full Size 15 ml Bottle. Premium Quality.                                                                                                                 

                                                                 Fantasy Baby Blue -Non Toxic 5 FREE Nail Polish

Rochelle is an extremely hardworking single mom - her primary goal is to give natural options to people when they can’t find relief elsewhere (allergies, etc.)

If you're ready to go shopping for all natural bath and body items, Rochelle is generously offering FREE SHIPPING on order of $40.00 or more!

For wholesale inquiries, please contact Rochelle:

Thank you to:

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Los Angeles Company Reaches for Stars for Handmade Artisans

Katherine Kotaw
Published: July 14, 2015
Los Angeles Handmade Crafts Company Reaches for Stars for Handmade Artisans

The CraftStar, founded in 2012 by Los Angeles native Bethan Davies, pledges to do what no other online craft company has done: build a robust e-commerce site without losing its integrity as a handmade-only venue. And Davies, whose producing career included executive-level positions at the BBC, Capital Radio and On Air with Ryan Seacrest, brings unmatched star power to her mission.

"As other e:commerce sites are filled to the brim with re-sellers (people who buy from China and other countries overseas, then re-label and sell as “handmade”) who price the hand-makers out of the market, we’ve seen our niche: real handmade. We’re the only site out there who can honestly say we don’t tolerate re-sellers and we close them down within 24-48 hours of them opening. We are a fair and honest marketplace for sellers and buyers alike. Nobody is going to buy a “handmade” crochet piece on The CraftStar and have it arrive with “Made In China” labels on it."

The Common Thread Between Stitches and Stars

And how do you grow a business to mass-market scale if it relies on women and men toiling over jewelry, quilts and greeting cards in their studios or basements, one bead and one stitch at a time?

That's easy, Davies says with the knowing smile of a high-powered producer: you make some of them stars!

Certain artisans, artists and crafters possess the "it" factor: the undefinable combination of amazing talent, unabashed ambition, spell-binding stories and exuberant personalities that deserve to make them famous designers and outright celebrities. And, when that happens, Davies says, all handmade crafts-people will benefit as the value of handmade items will justifiably rise. A woman who engraves children's handwriting onto silver pendants will sell alongside other handmade jewelry artists, not a factory that cranks out machine-made jewelry.

Davies intends to harness her 25 years in the entertainment industry -- and a consultancy at the Home Shopping Network -- to raise the profile and profit margins of handmade items. And to achieve her bigger goal: to help those who turned to making crafts when illness, unemployment or retirement forced them out of the mainstream workplace.

Everyone benefits from star power, Davies says. For every person who lands a deal with a major company or lands another dream gig, thousands of out-of-work artists, disabled veterans, struggling single moms and strapped pensioners will earn more for their one-of-kind, handmade crafts.

Davies, who has worked with the most famous names in the world, says there's a treasure trove of entertainment talent among The CraftStar community that is unrivaled by any Hollywood casting agency.

Handmade Crafts and Handpicked Talent

Davies is actively seeking and vetting potential A-list makers of handmade crafts. Her Dream Team is not limited by number or type. Anyone who makes handmade anything is invited to contact Davies at But to give artists and artisans an idea of what she's looking for, Davies points to to a few members of The CraftStar community:

  • Claudia Bruno was a film photographer before the digital era inspired her to seek a new outlet for her artistic drive and talent. Today, instead of documenting the lives and concerts of rock bands, she uses her darkroom to chemically alter metals, creating unusual patinas that give striking color to the steampunk jewelry she creates. An animal rescuer, Bruno's work has appeared in Boston magazines and earned commendations from the Getty Museum Conservation Institute.
  • Rochelle Witt was on a quest to save her daughter's life. Witt, the mother of a handicapped child with severe allergies, spent two years researching allergy-sensitive bath and body products. She is now the owner of Earths Own Bath and Body, a line of natural, organic products.
  • Jay Richardson was an army veteran whose job took him to the top of 1,000-foot communication towers before a MRSA infection nearly killed him several years ago. He turned to engraving wood and glass as a form of physical therapy and now spends most of his days making "bike tats," handmade engravings on motorcycle parts, including windshields. Sometimes, when his workload piles up, he entertains rival motorcycle gangs in his living room, giving them a choice to drink a beer and wait their turn civilly or take their differences across the street, "and the last one standing is the one I'll serve first." To date, his clients have chosen beer over brawls.
  • Dee Bennett started selling jewelry to stores when she was 10 years old. Customers -- including world-famous celebrities -- now purchase dog-themed jewelry at her Poochy Couture store.
Handmade Crafts and Homespun Stories

Part of what makes handmade jewelry, handmade soaps and other handmade crafts special is the story behind them. There's a story behind every piece created and, whether the story is whimsical, poignant or practical, audiences connect with it. That's why, Davies says, manufactured goods will never replace handmade art and why The CraftStar will distinguish itself in the crafting industry.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

5 Cool (and True) Things About Handmade Quilts

5 Cool (and True) Things About Handmade Quilts

Quilted Wall Hanging: Celtic Knotwork Free Shipping

You don’t need to be a handmade enthusiast, or degreed art lover, to appreciate the beauty of handmade quilts!

Handmade Rose Floral T-Block Quilt

Whether used as home decor, or warmth, a handmade quilt is a one of a kind, never exactly reproduced, piece of art … and history.

The beautiful handmade work we see today has a fascinating past.  To think that the patching and weaving of yesteryear has turned into what’s being hand made today is both cool and often awe-inspiring!

Quilt: Sails and Stars

You can’t go wrong with handmade quilts as gifts.  

Whether to celebrate a rite of passage (turning 18, graduating college, etc) or as THE gift that’s going to wow anyone who receives it … for an engagement, wedding, baby shower, special birthday … you know that no one else is going to match your gift giving!

Embroidered Heart Modern Wedding  Quilt

Basic History of Handmade Quilts:

During the early years of American colonization, most Colonial women were busy spinning, weaving, and sewing the clothes for their family, so had little time for artistic quilting. 

Commercial blankets or woven coverlets were more likely to be used, but during difficult times, when money was scarce or imported textiles limited, many Colonial women had to become creative in their use of materials on hand to keep their families warm during the cold seasons.

Those early settlers could not afford to simply discard things when they wore out; necessity required they carefully use their resources. Therefore, when blankets became worn, they were patched, combined with other blankets, or used as filler between other blankets. 

These were not carefully constructed heirlooms, rather they were functional items for the sole purpose of keeping people warm. Only in later years, when fabrics were being manufactured in America and were more affordable, freeing women from the work of making their own yarns and fabrics, did the more artistic type of quilting become more widespread.

5 Cool (and True) Things About Handmade Quilts

1.  The quilt, as we know it in America, was originally a strictly utilitarian article, born of the necessity of providing warm covers for beds. Quilts were also used as hangings for doors and windows that were not sealed well enough to keep out the cold. The earliest American quilts, made by English and Dutch settlers, were so intimately connected to everyday life of the early colonists that no record of them exists.

2.  In the 100 years between 1750 and 1850 thousands of quilts were pieced and patched, and many of them are preserved. Many of these quilts were so elaborate that years were spent making and quilting them. It is no wonder they are cherished as precious heirlooms and occupy honored places in homes and museums. Those early quilts provide a glimpse into the history of quilting as well as the history of the United States.

3.  As the frontier was conquered, living conditions improved. With prosperity and the availability of more materials, quilts became less austere. The patchwork quilt was a "utility" quilt, in contrast to the applique quilt which was a "best" or show quilt, upon which time and material was lavished. 

4.  During the 1800s in many parts of the country there was a custom that a young girl make a baker's dozen of quilt tops before she became engaged. This collection consisted of 12 utility quilts, undoubtedly pieced, and 1 great quilt, which was either a pieced or applique quilt, for her bridal bed. After her engagement, she would take final steps to turn her tops into finished quilts. 

Another custom was for mothers to make several quilts for each of her children to have when they left home to start life as adults. A variation of this custom continues to this day as quilters continue to make heirloom quilts for their children or grandchildren 

5.  During World War 2, quilting was used to raise money to support the Red Cross. The “signature quilt” was especially popular. In a signature quilt, business people, store owners, and citizens of a community would pay a small fee to have their names embroidered on quilt blocks. The blocks were sewn together and quilted, and the finished quilt was raffled off with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. These quilts are now fascinating community records.

For an amazing array of handmade quilting, please check out these shops!

Want to try YOUR hand at making quilts?  These shops have patterns for very beginners to very experienced: