Sunday, November 20, 2016

An Interview with Avanti Morocha: the Paper Flower Princess

Oh, Pinterest, that great, big, colorful bulletin board in the sky! Recently, I've been doing a lot of pinning for my niece's upcoming wedding spectacular and I started to fall in love with GIANT PAPER FLOWERS (visit my board to see more!) Paper flowers are popping up everywhere from weddings to baby showers and since they're made of paper, they fit just about any budget. Plus, they're BIG, bodacious, and extremely versatile, making them the perfect choice for photography backdrops, props, centerpieces, bouquets or wall d├ęcor. For the allergy folks - which I have a lot of in my family - paper is a sneeze-free alternative to the real thing. Plus, you can recycle them when your event is done with no trouble at all. Hurray for eco-friendly design!

One of the most outstanding paper flowers designers who is making a huge splash on Pinterest is Avanti Morocha, the owner and founder of AvantiMorochaDIYs. She is a wizard when it comes to creating easy-to-follow DIY patterns for passionate crafters. I couldn't resist reaching out to Avanti to learn more about how she got started making larger-than-life flowers and what her experience has been like selling on Etsy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Student Work: Laser-Cut Votive Candle Holders

On October 29, 2016 students who attended my Votive Candle Holder Workshop at Catylator Makerspace did an amazing job creating beautiful, one of a kind, and very pretty, laser-cut votive candle holders! We began with a pattern from, which was then digitally manipulated in Corel Draw X7 to be a 5-sided, finger-jointed open box with no lid. From there, each student added their choice of autumn themed designs ~ trees, leaves, pumpkins, haunted houses, spooky spider webs or quotes. Using 1/8 inch Baltic birch plywood, we sent our designs to the VLS4.60 Universal Laser Cutter & Etcher and watched in a amazement as they came to life!

We used watercolor paint for a quick dose of color, then sealed our candle holders with aerosol polyurethane. I love the pink ombre effect and the honey colored wood! I can't wait to do this project again in the springtime! Enjoy your candles everyone :)

xoxo jamillah

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

10 Gorgeous Geode Wedding Cakes That Will Rock Your World

One of the most exciting wedding trends gaining traction this year is...yes, you guessed it...GEODES! If you've been following the blog, you now I'm crazy about crystals, stones and all things lapidary...but eating them? Count me in! I'm dancing in my chair right now because my mind is literally buzzing with ideas for jewelry inspired food. Just look at these delicious druzy wedding cake toppers, marbleized fondant masterpieces, sugary crystal cake pops and OMG gold leaf that melts in your mouth. These cake designers are taking rock candy to a whole new level! They're almost too pretty to eat!

#1 - Artisan Cake Company

Saturday, October 15, 2016

How to Add a Hovering Pinterest Button in Blogger

For the non-computer whiz bloggers like me, figuring out how to add my pop-up Pinterest heart was no easy task. First, I have to give it up to the ladies over at Pish & Posh for offering tons of great FREE blogging add-ons. Even my site template is from P&P's amazing shop! Second, it only takes a few minutes to upload the button, so don't get discouraged. Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it too! And trust me, a friendly little icon hovering over your blog post covers adds a nice, finishing touch. Plus, it encourages visitors to click or repin your posts, which boots your visibility on Pinterest and increases traffic...something we all look forward too!

Ok, here we go:

Step #1 - Open your Blogger dashboard and go to Template >> Edit HTML. Backup your template just in case. I keep a folder on my desktop named "Blog Backup" and stash the files in there each time I make a change. A little organization goes a long way!

Step #2 - Find the </body> tag near the bottom of all that coding mess. I know it's a little hard to find, but keep scrolling, it's in there.

Step #3 - Copy & paste this paragraph of HTML code from Blogger Sentral exactly one line above the </body> tag. (It's okay to press enter to make a new line for this step.) If you need some visual hand-holding for this step, like I did, watch this video.

var bs_pinButtonURL = "http://thisistheurlforyourimage.png";
var bs_pinButtonPos = "center";
var bs_pinPrefix = "";
var bs_pinSuffix = "";
<script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script id="bs_pinOnHover" src="" type="text/javascript">
// This Pinterest Hover Button is brought to you by
// Visit for details.
// Feel free to use and share, but please keep this notice intact.

Step #4 - See the words in red? Once you have downloaded an image for button you would like to use, you will need to create a url address. Upload your button to an online photo album service like Photobucket. In the sidebar window, select the DIRECT LINK and copy & paste that code in between the quotation marks back inside your blog template.

Step #5 - You can change the location of your button by replacing the word "center" with either "topleft", "topright", "bottomleft", or "bottomright".

Step #6 -  Save your changes. Now view your blog and watch the magic happen! Your button should appear on every picture you've posted...even old posts you've probably forgotten about. This method worked for me the very first time. How'd it work for you? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo jamillah

Friday, October 7, 2016

Sewing DIY: How to Hem Your Jeans Like a Pro

Short girl problem #1 - finding a pair of jeans that not only fit, but are just the right length.

Unless they make a store called "Short and Sassy" I will forever be doomed to roam the petites section of every clothing store hunting for that perfect pair of jeans. My inseam in 29 inches on a good day, but with shoes on, I prefer a nice round 30. It seems the pants that are supposed to be my size always run about 32" at the shortest. That's a cool length if I was still stomping around in platform heels, but I have to run after toddlers. I need my pants to work with my new 'get-up-and-go' lifestyle and frayed, dog-chewed hemlines are just not my thing.

Recently, I purchased a pair of jeans from a fancy-shmancy store that shall remain nameless. They fit like a dream! Nice high waist, cute flared style, moody dark wash ... but long as ever ... from the petites! And I had been waiting for flares to come back in style for a loooooong time. Having been mistaken for a boy on multiple occasions growing up, flares gave me real confidence through those angst-ridden, soul-searching teenage years...and now they're back! I love the way they cover most of my shoe, but are still fitted enough to give my body an actual shape. Imagine a five-foot, three inch graham cracker...then poof, I'm a lady! Magic, right?

Unfortunately, when I asked the shopkeeper, "Hey, do you guys offer hemming services?"
he answered my question with a raised eyebrow and an enthusiastic "No!" I left the shop disgruntled and disappointed. No hemming, no alterations, nothing. I was on my own. As soon as I came home, I frantically searched for a pair of pants that I remembered having taken to the dry cleaners. I flipped them inside out and decoded their secret method for hemming that keeps the original hem intact. Lucky you for finding this post! Now go grab all the pants that drag and let's take back our wardrobes! Who needs a tailor? We got this.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October Workshops

Hellooooo Fall!
It's been a long, long journey slogging through the summer heat, battling hordes of mosquitoes and uneven tan lines. FINALLY it's time for cozy cups of pumpkin spiced lattes and even cozier oversized neck scarves! Woo-hoo! I love everything about the fall ~ the aromas, the jewel-like colors, the finely-tuned fashion details that appear only in cold weather clothing...brass buttons, turtlenecks with ironic brooches, lace-trimmed boot socks, all boots in general, buckles. Not only that, but I finally have a great excuse to wear flannel and jeans on a daily basis and not feel like the only lumberjack on the beach who didn't get the memo.

again with the knitting many options. And who ever said knitting a scarf was "boring" or "basic"?:
knitting pattern ~

Monday, September 19, 2016

COLOR CRUSH : Pastel Pink

Pastel pink, tea rose, blush, 13-1406TPX ... call it what you wish, Pantone's 2016 Color of the Year is not your grandmother's "mauve". I have to admit, I was an avid Golden Girls fan long ago when the m-word was as rampant as Mr-T on roller skates, Captain Planet and guys with Richard Simmons afros. Back then, I totally hated it! You couldn't pay me to wear light pink, let alone grapefruit.
Killer pink leather boots from Just Fab

Monday, September 5, 2016

Name Necklace Workshop

Click to register!
Cute. Timeless. Feminine. A personalized name necklace is a seamless addition to any jewelry wardrobe. If you have an exotic name like me, good luck hunting through the racks at Claire's or Charming Charlie's searching for a match! I still cross my fingers sometimes, hoping just once that maybe...maybe, I will find a "Jamillah" among all the Jenny's, Jan's and Jamie's. 

Lovely layering from Zeba at

Those days are SO over! Working with metallic acrylics, in this workshop, participants will follow along with me using step-by-step instructions in Corel Draw X7. Then discover how to modify text and contour letter groupings before sending the proofs to the laser room. Not a computer whiz? Don't worry, I will be there with plenty of tips & coaching to help you make something beautiful!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

LASER 101: Learning the Basics of Laser Cut Jewelry Design

Making laser-cut jewelry, or rather laser-cut anything is a beautiful + careful + mysterious + intriguing process that I am so happy and grateful to be a part of. These past few weeks have been amazing journey, learning alongside my students at Catylator Makerspace what the VLS4.60 laser can do.

The VLS4.60 has three main functions - cutting, scoring and etching. The machine works by directing a high powered beam of light at an object and vaporizing the selected areas away, leaving a clean-cut finished edge or a detailed surface image.

Catylator founder Stephen Morris prepping the machine for the first batch of etched beauties during our Laser-Cut Jewelry Demonstration & Workshop (June 2016)

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Top 100 Lasercut Jewelry Designers

Necklace designs by Shkoof

Little Miso

Victoria Contreras Flores
Amazing things start happening when you combine artistic talent + technology. has compiled a list of 100 Lasercut Jewelry Designers for 2016. They have everything from metal to wood, leather and acrylic. Get inspired!

Want to see how the process works? My 'Laser Cutting & Etching Jewelry Demonstration' is this Saturday at 1pm. Remember to register to reserve your space!

xoxo jamillah

Sunday, June 5, 2016

An Introduction to Laser Cut Jewelry: New Workshop on June 25!

Mother Wolf Necklace by HavokDesigns on Etsy or visit

Laser cutting is one of the fastest growing methods for producing precise, detailed and nearly flawless reproductions of your digital designs. With the help of technology, jewelry artists and crafters alike have built a bridge between mass manufactured accessories and the world of handmade wearable art. Inside creative hubs like Silver Spring’s own, Catylator Makerspace, artists (like you) now have access to advanced equipment that was once unavailable to public use.

On Saturday, June 25th, join me and the founder of Catylator, Stephen Morris, for a one-day 3-hour demonstration and hands-on workshop all about LASERS! Discover how to digitally transform ordinary wood into jaw dropping, modern jewelry. Participants will choose from one of 10 designs and watch the entire process unfold from computer to completion. Then enhance your pendant with color, beads and chain in the craft room.

If you have ever dreamed about learning how to create your own pendants from scratch, how to digitize your art or even wondered how items like this are made, this is one workshop you don't want to miss! Visit the Classes & Workshops page for more information.

Mama Leather Earrings

EdmoniaSimone Leather Earrings on Etsy

Wooden necklace - abstract necklace - made in Australia - eco women - olive
OneHappyLeaf Abstract Bamboo Necklace on Etsy

xoxo jamillah

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Student Work: Wire Wrapped Found Object Pendants

Thank to you all the wonderful attendees from Saturday's Wire Wrapped Found Object Workshop at Catylator Makerspace!

Wire wrapping a found object or a keepsake treasure is no easy task. Whether it may be a stone or a seashell, each individual piece has unique characteristics that may make them difficult to transform into wearable, functional pendants. Slippery-smoothness, craggy details or even odd sizes may stop some jewelers in their tracks and leave them asking, "What do I do now?"

In my 3-hour Wire Wrapped Found Object Workshop at Catylator Makerspace, we answered that question and more, transforming a host of citrine stones, antique buttons, vintage earrings, shells and river rocks into AMAZING works of art!

Friday, May 6, 2016

DIY: How to Gold Leaf Seashells...the Easy Way

Gold leaf highlights are quickly becoming one of the hottest trends in summer jewelry. You can find them everywhere from pendants to druzy earrings, even surrounding those lovely, miniature agate geodes we love so much on Etsy:

Gold dipped purple gemstone necklace // 14K gold vermeil chain // Raw agate pendant

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Secret Wood

Image of Rocky Lagoon

I'm SO obsessed with My Secret Wood rings! Aren't they gorgeous? Using beeswax, resin and wood, the artisans create stunning designs, sculpt miniature scenes or preserve tiny flowers inside each one. Head over to their site to see more!

xoxo jamillah

Image of Mystery Forest

Image of White flower forest

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Technical Skills Workshop : 4.23.16

Thank to you all the wonderful women who attended yesterday's Technical Skills Jewelry Workshop at Catylator Makerspace!

As jewelers and craftsmen, when we finally put down our tools and say, "I'm finished," what does the term finished actually mean? Is it ready for sale? Is it ready to be packaged as gift? Is it photographable? Or are you just so fed up with making it that you throw your hands in the air in frustration and shout, "I'm SO done!" Alas, every now and then we all experience technical hiccups -- slippery crimps, too-wide loops, links that pop or knots that just won't stay no matter how many times you tie them. Those incomplete, unnamed jewelry items end up hiding in the shadows of our inventory never to been seen again. We promise ourselves that one day we will pick them up and tend to them properly, but it never happens, and we end up taking them apart.

For this very reason, together with the creative staff at Catylator Makerspace, we designed a workshop to address the most pressing technical issues our students were experiencing. In three jam-packed hours we reviewed:
  • Tools & safety
  • Measuring, planning & layout
  • How to hide messy endings with calottes/ knot covers and crimp covers
  • Findings - what they are and how to choose the appropriate ones for your project
  • Wire wrapping
  • Stringing
  • Making links
  • Uniformity & sturdiness
Questions were answered, problems were solved...and all the lovely, yet sadly neglected, Quasimodo jewelry items the attendees brought to class? They were refashioned, repaired or completed! Finally! (*Applause, whistles, cheering, confetti!!*) I'm so proud of everyone who came! See you next time for Wire-Wrapped Found Objects!

xoxo jamillah

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

SUGARLOAF Craft Festival 2016

The Sugarloaf Craft Festival at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds was amazing this year! If you've never been to a craft fair...this is the one to attend. With over 100 vendors, food, live music and on-site craft demonstrations, Sugarloaf is like Woodstock for handmade artists. And don't be fooled by the name, the festival isn't strictly reserved for the folks up on Sugarloaf Mountain....they get around -- spreading the joy up and down the east coast.

Personally, I have a soft spot for handmade art and carnival food -- deep fried funnel cakes + fresh squeezed lemonade. The weather was fantastic, the company was even better and the crafts? My photos are just a fraction of what was on display. I must have wandered in and out of the barns for at least six hours...11-5pm? Let's just say my legs were like jelly when I finally collapsed on my sofa with armloads of goodies from Joyful Bath Co. and Berkshire Bags!

Visit Sharon London on Facebook
Carl Mateo was there representing my newest favorite dress collection by Sharon London. You have to try them on to believe how beautiful + feminine + flattering these dresses are. 

Handpainted nesting dolls.
Traditional Mexican leatherwork by MexicaCrafts
Handmade Berkshire Bags
The pottery displays were filled with gorgeous colors. These mugs make me want to cozy up with a gigantic bowl of coffee ice cream and binge-watch Netflix!

The best part about visiting craft events like Sugarloaf is that you get to meet the artists face-to-face and learn about their processes. Hannah specializes in heated brass hair ornaments and sculptural jewelry inspired by anthropology + nature. She also teaches metalsmithing workshops in Grantsville, MD at the Spruce Forest Artisan Village. Hammers + torches? I'm there!

Hannah Jean Metalworks

Watercolors by Priscilla George

Jewelry by Volang Boutique

Scarf Wraps by Cloz's

Jewelry stands and wall mounted mosaic jewelry holders.

Wooden flowers 

xoxo jamillah

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