A Little Gift For Me

Contributor post by Mairi from mairidesign

All too often, we spend our time thinking of others and buying gifts for family and friends and, we all know, the next few weeks are going to be hectic. Perhaps now, is the time for a little self-indulgence before the chaos. The Christmas In July team would like to share all their fabulous items with those who are looking to buy themselves a little gift.

Margie Sarrao from ZenCatPottery says

At only $11.00, these small earrings are a perfect way to gift yourself! Featuring lampwork glass and Czech glass beads, they will add a pop of color to your day. The beads are wired separately, so they will sway prettily as you move.
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Red Czech Glass & Silver Dangle Earrings

Karen Hafel from timetalentjewels says

My treat would be a cute little bracelet! This little bracelet is made of Turquoise Russian Amazonite which has Silver Plated Shells between the beads. I feel like I am ready for the beach and but I live in the Midwest, which is about 3000 miles from the ocean. Maybe some day! But this one is for sale!

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Turquoise Gemstone Beaded Bracelet

Elisabeth Perez from LizPOriginals says

My treat would be a nice book mark to go with a great book for relaxing times.
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Pink Gemstone Bookmark

mistycat1234 from carolinagirlz2 says

I think any crafter would love a new pack of purple beads to stitch up into something wonderful…maybe peyote, cross stitch, jewelry, or something else?
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Antique Glass Beads

Richard and Tatiana from DesignstheLimit says

Give the gift of personalization, especially when shopping for yourself. It is better to enjoy a glass of wine less often and in style, than to overindulge. At Design’s the Limit, we encourage the responsible enjoyment of spirits from the safety of your own home. Design a wine glass which suits your personality, we have a variety of glass and crystal stemware and stemless glasses to choose as a canvas for our designs. Once you have selected a glass, choose the font and design which suits your tastes and include any text you wish to including name, monogram, single initial, or popular sayings in the public domain!
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Stemless Personalized Wine Glasses

Sue and Misty from shabbyshopgirls says

Enjoy some “me” and “family” time by reading your favorite verses from The Bible and sitting down with the family to fill out the numerous pages for recording wedding information, birth records and your family tree! A great way to spend some down time before the Holiday season arrives!
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Precious Moments Bible Family Edition

Cindy Humphrey from Cynhumphrey says

All of us experience the concept of the yin and yang in our daily lives. It always seems there is something positive pulling against the forces of something negative and we are forced to pull it together in unity and “work things out”. I also think that “making it through” whatever comes your way on any given day largely depends on your frame of mind and attitude about life in general. So, with this little butterfly yin and yang compact (pill) storage jar, you would have the constant reminder that no matter what happens, things do get better and can become beautiful, just as the bling this item offers!
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Pill Storage Box

Carola Bartz from CarolaBartz says

I would buy a hand knitted hat to keep me warm in winter. It’s such a nice accessory.
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Hand Knitted Slouch Beanie

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#CIJRoadTrip – Indonesia: Bali

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Let’s travel to Indonesia – with Katrina from DonBiuBali

1. What city do you live in? What makes it special?

I live in a jungle on a beach on the Island of Bali, Indonesia. It is special because I had to adapt to a different way of living than Vancouver, Canada where I am from.

My Wedding - Indonesia

My Wedding – Indonesia

2. What are several places everyone visiting your country should see?

Ubud is a beautiful and spiritual part of the Island with rolling rice terraces, vegetarian restaurants artists. Amed is beautiful for diving and coral reefs with beautiful fish. Celuk is famous for gemstones, silver and gold. Lembogan is a beautiful Island best seen on a scooter, I like the underground house there and the cliffs with waves four stories tall. I love finding secret beaches and finding small villages off the beat and path.

Lembogan - Indonesia

Waves 4 stories Tall – Lembogan – Indonesia

Women Carrying Fish From The Sea - Bali - Indonesia

Women Carrying Fish From The Sea – Bali – Indonesia

3.  How have the customs, traditions, geography, nature etc. inspired the items you create?

In absolutely every way, my husband is Balinese and a huge part of our life is devoted to meditation and spirituality, Being surrounded by quality, handmade items and living a minimal life reflects in the essence of every piece we make. We don’t have much but what we do have is quality, beauty, paradise, we make our jewelry from absolute scratch, mixing, pressing, making, polishing, every aspect is done carefully, painstakingly and with love just as everything we do is done. I could go on and on, we are our art and our life we created from scratch together is the same.

My Husband Designing His Own Tools For Custom Jewelry Making - Bali - Indonesia

My Husband Designing His Own Tools For Custom Jewelry Making – Bali – Indonesia

Making Sterling Jewelry By Hand - Bali - Indonesia

Making Sterling Jewelry By Hand – Bali – Indonesia

4. What are you doing this fall to drive your business in your community? Are you doing a festival or show? How do you reach out to your community?

I don’t do business in my community but I help businesses in my community. I do a lot of trades, someone owns the banana patch we live in, I help him market his home stay. I am also building three websites for local businesses. As much time as I can spare I like to give to others, there are so many beautiful people here who desperately want the chance to connect with the world and don’t have it because they don’t understand the technology and places like Etsy that can make their art seen and their dreams come true. I wish I could multiply myself to help more amazing artisans here.

Local Artisians - Bali - Indonesia

Local Artisians – Bali – Indonesia

Hand Woven Hand Dyed Sarongs - Bali - Indonesia

Hand Woven Hand Dyed Sarongs – Bali – Indonesia

Wearing My Own Jewelry Creations - Bali - Indonesia

Wearing My Own Jewelry Creations – Bali – Indonesia

Armlet 7 Chakra Solid Sterling Arm Cuff From DonBiuBali

Armlet 7 Chakra Solid Sterling Arm Cuff From DonBiuBali

Moonstone Pendant Personalized Sterling Silver  Necklace  From DonBiuBali

Moonstone Pendant Personalized Sterling Silver Necklace From DonBiuBali

Turquoise And Sterling Silver Cocktail Ring From DonBiuBali

Turquoise And Sterling Silver Cocktail Ring From DonBiuBali

5. What are your social media sites?

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/donbiu
Blog: www.katzwalk.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/donbiu
Tumbler: don-biu.tumblr.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/donbiu

#CIJRoadTrip – Belgium: Leuven

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Let’s travel to Belgium – Leuven with Wezz from cyberwezz

1. What city do you live in? What makes it special?

I live in Leuven. If you look on a map it’s about 20 miles east of Brussels, our capital. Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant.

It’s a vibrant student city with the oldest Catholic university in the world. It was founded in 1425! Thanks to the mix of students from all over the world we have an amazing variety of restaurants and bars. The nick name for the Old Market is “longest bar in the world” with roughly 40-50 bars siding around the square. Since the square has been made pedestrian area it is the best place to enjoy a drink and go “people watching”. It’s also a place where various free concerts and other events take place during the summer months. We have a sublime patrimonium of classified architectural buildings, lots of them belonging to the city or university, especially the city hall and the university library are worth mentioning. Leuven is also called “Little Bruges” for it’s lovely architecture and everything is within walking distance. Lots of shopping streets are for pedestrians only. Lots of walking tours are organized, ranging from a historic walk from when the first stones of the city were laid, architectural tours, the seven wonders of the city, and of course this year especially the commemorative tours on the first World War when our city was bombarded.

Leuven is also the home town of the Stella Artois beer, brewed here since 1366. Beer is Belgian heritage and lots of new micro breweries are starting up again, and produce good beers!

Then, of course, there’s Belgian chocolate…. Need I say more?

Leuven Stadhuis - Belgium

Leuven Stadhuis – Belgium

Old Market - "Marktrock" - Belgium

Old Market – “Marktrock” – Belgium

2. What are several places everyone visiting your country should see?

– Leuven of course!!

– Brussels, it’s our capital city, the heart of Europe and has an interesting architecture. There’s the lovely old buildings contrasting with the modern office buildings. Belgium is a kingdom, and the Royal Family resides in Brussels. You may have seen one of the quirkiest buildings ever in a picture, the Atomium. It was build for the World Expo in 1958 held in Brussels and is THE tourist attraction of our capital. It represents an elementary iron crystal, but enlarged enourmously. The top ball has a 360° view restaurant.

– Bruges, the Venice of the North as it’s also called. Particularly look for the famous lace. (also Brussels is known for its lace work) Very touristy, very busy in the summer months so remember Leuven is called Little Bruges!

– Waterloo for those interested in history there is the site where Napoleon lost his battle. It’s not far from Brussels or Leuven. Well, actually, nothing is ever far in our country as it’s so tiny you can drive 2 hours in any given direction and be in another European country!

– Ieper with the Menengate where they still play “The Last Post” every evening at 8pm and they have been doing so since 1928 to remember the fallen soldiers of the first World War. Over 54000 names are carved in the stones of the gate. While you are there you should also visit the museum of the Flanders’ Fields and make a trip to at least one of them, the poppy fields look amazing and the white crosses will make you silent and reflect on what never should happen again.

– Antwerp, the Diamond city. Do visit the Diamond Museum. It’s also our fashion capital with a fashion academy that has produced some famous designers; like Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs and more.

All I have told you so far is mostly about Flanders, the northern half of our country. The north has a coastline with vast sandy beaches and dunes, and borders the North Sea, the great divide between Belgium and the United Kingdom.

In the south, we have a more hilly landscape featuring the Ardennes where many battles have been fought during the second World War. The Battle of Bastogne is a famous one, and was fought under very harsh winter circumstances. The series “Band Of Brothers” is worth watching, for this alone, to see what our people and the allies went through. Now, the region is very pretty, and many go there to spend their holidays.

Our country may be a tiny speck on the globe, but we do have 3 official languages. In Flanders, we speak dutch, the same language as The Netherlands although there are some significant differences.

In the southern part we speak French, like in France, but again, with some differences. The French usually can tell.

And then there is a smaller German speaking community. With Brussels being a tourist attraction, a home to a tremendous amount of international companies and having the headquarters of the NATO based there, English is a good language to learn if you want to stand a chance on getting a good job in the capital.

We learn all those languages in school. Depending on what direction you pick, at the very least you’ll be taught the basics.

Our main national sports are cycling and football. And not soccer as the US calls it, this one is actually played with your feet!

Oh and when we were traveling in the US we noticed that what is sold there as “Belgian waffles” doesn’t even come close to the real thing. What you really want is a Brussels waffle, or a Liège waffle. In fact, there is no such thing as a Belgian waffle! Each region has their own specific version and is very different from any other.

I’m sure I did not cover even half of what I could have told you about Belgium!

There is so much to see in our little country, I can never give a complete list!

Brussels - "Atomium" - Belgium

Brussels – “Atomium” – Belgium

Flanders Fields - Belgium

Flanders Fields – Belgium

Menenpoort in Ieper - "Last Post" - Belgium

Menenpoort in Ieper – “Last Post” – Belgium

Antwerp - Belgium

Antwerp – Belgium

3.  How have the customs, traditions, geography, nature etc. inspired the items you create?

Since I live in a student city and in a country with an abundance of greenery and flowers thanks to the soft climate, I very much like to use vibrant colors, but also quality materials for “easy to wear with every outfit” jewelry. Recycling is a big thing here, so I try not to waste anything, and this works especially in the glass fused jewelry I make.

Ardennes Region - Belgium

Ardennes Region – Belgium

4. What are you doing this fall to drive your business in your community? Are you doing a festival or show? How do you reach out to your community?

I’m working on a line of commemorative glass jewelry with poppy fields as well as a line of sterling silver combined with pearls and gem stones.

I will be doing a few shows in the fall, some of which are small and very close to home.

Since about 5 years there is an active community in our street and we organize quite a bit of events. Last winter we did a “street talent” month where everyone could show their talent to everyone else. The idea was that behind each door lives someone with a talent, no matter how big or small, everyone has a talent. Let’s open our door for others to see that talent. I was amazed at the diversity! There was music, theatre, pizza baking, italian cooking, painting, sketching, green thumbs, trip organizing, beer brewing at home and more. And that’s just our street alone, imagine what would happen if this was done on a bigger scale! (I gave a few workshops on making your own earrings, so much fun!)

Glass Fused Earrings from cyberwezz

Glass Fused Earrings from cyberwezz

Heart to Heart Earrings In Matte Gold From cyberwezz

Heart to Heart Earrings In Matte Gold From cyberwezz

Cretan Stone Pendant III From cyberwezz

Cretan Stone Pendant III From cyberwezz

5. What are your social media sites?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/The-World-Of-Wezz/145042285605164
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/cyberwezz/
Twitter: twitter.com/cyberwezz