Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wear it Like a Celebrity Gift Giveaway

We are pleased to announce that in honor of our participation in the GBK New York Fashion Week Luxury Lounge on the 6-7 of September and our participation in the GBK Primetime Emmy Gift Lounge, we are giving away one bracelet like the celebrities are getting in their SWAG bags in New York and one pair of earrings like the press are receiving in their gift bags at the Primetime Emmys.
One lucky winner will receive both pieces of jewelry for themselves.
We have been very fortunate to be a part of an elite group of artists that are providing handmade items to celebrities, members of the press, stylists for television and movies and charity organizations. These gifts are through the hard work of The Artisan Group, and the gifts are done through outside agency lounges and are in no way associated with the events for which we provide jewelry.
The Press is receiving this style earrings in the Primetime Emmy bags.

Our celebrity gifts for the New York Fashion Week Luxury Lounge include bracelets like this example.

Contest has closed - thank you to all who entered!

To enter, all you need to do is fill out the following entry form. No likes, no tweets, no follows and no sharing required to be entered. However, we would LOVE it if you would share this blog post with all your friends and for you to like our Facebook page.
Cannot wait to see if you win? Use coupon code GBK2013 and take 20% off your entire order from Blue Morning Expressions.
Other designs are available and the violet bracelet is specially priced until the New York Fashion Week concludes. The price will go up to $30 after the 7th of September.
Good luck!!
Julie and Blu

Spring Refuses to Leave as Leaves Start to Fall

Volume 10 Issue 9, September 2013


What's New in September?

The leaves are changing. Maybe it is not so obvious, but there is a hint of crispness in the air. The cottonwoods have a golden hue around their edges, and the sound of Canadian geese is getting louder with each passing day.

The young bucks are waiting in the corn field for the harvest, and the mallards are getting ready to try their stubby new wings.

All of these fall reminders tell me that it is time to get those last few weekend hikes in while the weather is still warm. The colors are not fading just yet, but it is only a day or two away from a night that will require the windows to be shut at bedtime.

As I prepare for the cooler weather, I have been making a lot of jewelry, which includes bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Each new piece seems to have been adorned in the spring flower colors and bright sparkling Swarovski crystals.

I know that we are getting ready for winter, but somehow I cannot seem to let go of the bright and vibrant colors of the spring flowers.

While I finish these pieces up, I am planning my fall flowers and leaves. The new canes will be ready shortly, and I will have new beads in the shop as soon as I can.

Until then, the pretty flowers are lingering, and I am not quite ready to put the spring palette away for the year.

Bracelets! New designs based on the bracelets that the celebrities are wearing from their SWAG bags that were presented to them at GBK’s New York Fall Fashion Week Luxury Lounge are all making their way into my studios.

Beads! All these new bracelets need new beads. I have a lot of new style beads that are going to be showing up in my studio. I am trying new/old techniques with inks and foils. I had forgotten how much fun those messy things could be.

I have them in my Artfire studio, my Etsy shop and my


Until next month,

Julie & Blu

These earrings have arrived in California to become part of the GBK’s Primetime Emmy Gift Lounge.

They are going to members of the press. In the meantime, I have several pairs that will be in my studio shortly!



These bracelets are the same style as those that are now in New York and will be handed over to the celebrity gifting at the GBK New York Fashion Week Luxury Lounge on the 6 and 7 of September.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Falling Colors

How is it that all the fashion designers all seem to know what colors are going to be in during any given season?

Do they all get together somewhere in a secret fashion meeting and say, “This year, we shall use cream and no other color”? If that were the way it worked, then those who design jewelry, fashion accessories like scarves and shoes or purses would never be in style.


Fashion in the Movies

As quoted in The Devil Wears Prada, maybe it is a result of hard work of those who work in the industry to ensure that the rest of us are semi-fashionable.

Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?

Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing's... You know, it's just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I'm still learning about all this stuff and, uh...

Miranda Priestly: 'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

Believe It or Not

Believe it or not, there is a secret meeting of the color wizards in the world. Twice a year, a clandestine gathering takes place in some isolated, undisclosed European capital. This secret group consists of representatives from various nations’ color standards groups. These select few are responsible for creating the palette for the upcoming season. The colors are said to represent the spirit of the time or age of the current society.  It is quoted that Honeysuckle was chosen in 2012 because the people needed their spirits uplifted, and honeysuckle is an uplifting color.

While all of these lofty thoughts are intriguing, how do the simple folks who create adornments and accessories gain the information necessary to add to the zeitgeist of the current trends?

Pantone Color System

Enter, the wonderful world of Pantone. Since they are the company that sponsors these covert meetings, they are the company that makes the declaration of the Color of the Year. They also produce a beautifully, rich book of colors that is the mainstay of all graphic designers, fashion experts and interior designers. These books are heavily expensive, and they require regular updates to stay current, but they are a beautiful way to work with color.

The Pantone Color Matching system standardized the color system for printing. This made the printing of colors true when using CMYK, which is typical in print media. This is the use of four colors, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The proper mixing of these three primaries give all the colors we see in print. The use of black is necessary in order to get a true color, since these three colors will not give a true black. When someone gives a printer a design, they could be asked to submit it in CMYK format rather than the more typical RGB format. If you are interested in more information on printing and graphic design, there is a wealth of information by googling graphic design and printing. Pantone now offers the RGB formula for some of their colors.

Pantone has insisted that they held the copyright to their list of color codes and pigment values. This is not possible because the copyright laws do not cover this type of information, and their lists are not copyrighted. They do have the copyright to their books and other print material, but color lists can be distributed without a problem.


Falling Colors

Here are the colors that are in the fall lineup of fashion. The 2013 Color of the Year is Emerald.


One thing you might notice is that the fall colors are the muted counterparts to the spring color lineup.


While the 2014 Spring colors have not been announced yet, you can be sure that they will follow the mood of the global market.

The colors are announced early in the season, which gives designers a lot of time to work on their latest creations as long as they hustle. As a designer of jewelry or other fashion accessories, you can stay on top of the upcoming mood by watching the fashion layouts in Vogue or any other true fashion magazine. Just remember, once it is published, the industry has moved on to the next thing, but you will get mileage out of those who read the magazines and go looking for those designs.

These JCUIN members are already on top of the fall color theme with their creations. They will surely find a fashionable place in someone’s wardrobe with these winning designs.


7 mm Black Pearl Stud Earrings Sterling Silver Posts Handmade


Cubic Zirconia, Freshwater Pearl and 14K Gold-Filled Earrings


Purple Spot Lampwork Bead Bracelet Yellow Swarovski Crystals Handmade


My Heart Belongs To Garnet Artisan Earrings Sterling Silver


Wrap Bracelet: Chunky Style with Fuchsia and Berry Colors


Ancient Jade Hand Carved Ritual Axe Pendant Religious Symbol Necklace


Freshwater Pearl White Beige Mother of Pearl Extra Long Necklace


Red Coral and Gunmetal Earrings with Gunmetal Accents


Orange Cinnamon Gradient Fused Glass Pendant Necklace Curved Jewelry


Gemstone Single Stack Bracelet Green and Silver Stretch


Charoite and Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings echtd2149


Rustic Czech Glass Spiral Shell Earrings, Faceted Carnelian, Copper


Green Mountain Dichroic Pendant Necklace Handmade Jade Pearls Jewelry


Temari Ball Ornament In Shades of Green Gold And Silver Home Decor



Rectangle blue lapis bracelet semiprecious stone with pewter beads

As we move into the fall season, smart designers have already begun their plans for the 2014 Spring Season as they wait for the color announcements.


Julie and Blu

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shooting Stars and Shooting Flames

I was just settled in for a night of star gazing in order to take advantage of the last night of the Perseid meteor shower and our first clear night. I had staked my claim to the bed of the truck for a great view. A couple of meteors shot overhead, and I was going to see a great show.

As I laid there in the back of the truck staring up, I heard fire truck sirens. I am out in a semi-rural area and a couple miles from a major intersection and a mile from a county highway. It is not unusual to hear sirens because of the location. There are accidents in the canyon road to Big Sky, and Interstate 90 is a about 15 miles away. This was different; the sirens got louder.

After the first truck went by, I shrugged it off as a brush fire. This is fire season in the mountains. The next fire truck sounded louder. The next fire truck sounded like it was coming from another part of the valley. Then another set of sirens sounded like they were coming from another town all together.

I drug my silly self up from the bed of the truck to take a look around to see if there was something going on. I am on a dark lane nestled between a couple hills with only a view down the lane towards the county highway. I looked down the lane and saw the neighbors light on and what appeared to be white smoke drifting down from their home. I looked harder and realized that the light was not flame, but their outside light. I decided what I thought was smoke was just a typical haze that happens in the summer.

I went back to staring at stars.

The next fire truck went by. Okay, that is enough, I went in and announced, “There is something going on, and it is big.”

It had just hit 10:00 p.m., and we flipped to the news. Our anchor was breathless while trying to tell us about breaking news.

Our news station is right down the road from us on this major county road, and as it turned out, a huge antique store that is a few doors down from them was engulfed in flames. The fact that I could see smoke, but not the flames is only due to the buildings being on the other side of the hill from me.

This antique store was huge. It was filled to the top with antiques, books, furniture and all sorts of wonderful treasures.


These photos are from their Facebook page

These photos are from the KBZK TV Facebook page. They are the station that is located close enough to have reporters walk to the scene.

The end result is a flat building, the destruction of almost all of the contents and the loss of a business. The culprit appears to be a car fire that started alongside the building where there was a small trailer and a series of popup tents for an Amish furniture shop that was also lost. They had a lot of wooden furniture outside like Adirondack chairs and swings.

As of last night, there was only a small amount of antiques and collectibles that were found among the rubble and the owner’s promise to try and start over.

However, there were 30 plus vendors who lost all of their inventory. The comment in the story that struck the hardest was that the building was insured, but the contents were not. How many of us do some sort of consignment without insurance? I know I do with my small inventory at the Gallatin Valley Mall.

Imagine if all of our hard work and collections were in a situation like this. It does not have to be a structure fire, either. It can be something as simple as a theft at an art show. It can involve a tree branch falling on our tent at an outside market. If we are not protecting our livelihood, then we work for nothing if something happens.

The antique mall fire is extreme, but any loss is still a loss.

When we operate without insurance, we absorb all of the loss ourselves. This is not just in cases where there is a fire or other disasters, this also includes product liability. Jewelry, soaps, food and other products can be the opening to a consumer' lawsuit should they decide that you are responsible for their injuries, both real and perceived.

As we would protect our assets by incorporating into an LLC, we should consider taking out a small business insurance policy on our products. Some of your business may be included in your homeowner’s insurance plan. You will need to contact your insurance company for information on the coverage you have or let them know that you have a small business at home.

There is no rule that says we must carry insurance, but as our businesses grow and we are more successful, the need to protect our interest grows.

I am including a list of interesting reading for your information.

Like all insurance, we may never need to use it, but if you had your inventory housed in a building that just burnt to the ground, you would be filing your claim right alongside the owner of the structure and not digging through rubble to salvage a coffee cup.

This fire was such a sad situation because they had so many wonderfully unique antiques in this shop. I spent hours in there on several occasions because you could not see it all, and they will be missed.


Julie and Blu

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Blog on Blogging

There are any number of reasons that someone blogs. This is not about why someone blogs.

There are a wide selection of platforms that can be used to publish a blog. This is not about where someone blogs.

There are many types of bloggers using blogs for entertainment or communication. This is not about who blogs.

There are as many content types as there are stars in the sky. This is not about what someone blogs.

There are all types of schedules that a blogger maintains. This is not about when someone blogs.

This is a blog on tools to help you blog.

- I do not know what to blog about.

Blog about what you know.

It is the basic of all creative writing. Write about what you know. Share your knowledge with others.

Decide what topics interest you and make a list. Decide what topics you want to share with others.

Do not over-think this.

If you like purple ice cream, and you want to share a great recipe for huckleberry ice cream, then do so. It does not matter if five of your eight friends do not like purple ice cream, three of your friends do, and they may know three more people who would love purple ice cream. Never underestimate the power of networking and the incredible tool that the Internet has become.

Even those five who do not like purple ice cream will share your blog post because they are your friends, and they want your purple ice cream recipe to be shared with everyone.

 - I cannot get my thoughts organized.

There are tools to help you get organized that will be shared at the end of this post. Until then, keep a tablet or notepad next to your keyboard or in your pocket and write down what interests you. If you jot down notes continually, you will find a full list of new ideas at the end of the day.

If you are going about your daily routine, and you see fresh huckleberries at the grocery store, you may decide that a bin of those will make a great purple ice cream. Write yourself a note right there in the grocery store to write about purple ice cream. Whether you decide to pick up the huckleberries or not is immaterial; the idea that you have created a topic is much more relevant.

See the end for organizational tools.

- I do not know how to organize my blogs.

Regardless of where you host your blog, you need to keep them organized if you have more than one. There are several stand alone software programs that will help in that regard.

Many bloggers write in word processing software before they publish. The articles or posts may be written in Word, but remember that Word is full of contrary coding that can blow a blog template out of the water. When you use a stand alone editor to do your blogging, you do not need to be online to write. You can schedule and connect your blog posts to your blogging platform as long as it is one of the standard platforms, like Blogger or WordPress.

When you write offline, you have a back up of your posts as long as you save them in drafts periodically.

LiveWriter by Microsoft – the editor of choice for many with support for many blog platforms. Windows. Free. – This blog editor will work with Artfiire blogs if you copy and paste the contents. That includes photos and their links as long as you insert them into the post in Live Writer.

BlogJet – the second most popular stand alone editor that works on many blog platforms. Windows. Paid

BlogDesk – good, recommended blog editor, but not as good as Live Writer. Windows. Free. *** If Live Writer is discontinued from the Microsoft stable, this will be the preferred alternative.

RocketPost – another recommended blog editor. Windows. Paid.

MarsEdit – the favorite among Mac bloggers. Mac. Free.

MacJournal – journaling editor that with blogging capabilities. It also contains an internal journal for personal use rather than publishing. Mac. Paid.

Ecto – an extremely popular editor that can post cross-platform. Mac. Paid.

Artfire bloggers: A personal pet peeve about inserting photos in the Artfire blog keeps it from being user friendly. As you enter more photos, you duplicate the photos by the number of photos inserted, which makes this a pain in the rear to use since you have to remove the duplicate photos as you work. This is why using a stand alone editor like Live Writer is a bonus. You only need to add the photo once.

- I do not know how to maintain more than one blog.

Some of the editor software will help you to maintain more than one blog across a variety of platforms. If you have WordPress attached to your website, but do all your other blogging on Blogger, you can use Live Writer to flip back and forth between blogs regardless of the platform. This makes it very easy to sit down and complete all your blog posts offline or at a time that is convenient to you. Then you simply schedule the post.


Organizational Tools

In addition to editors, there is a number of sites that offer blogging notebooks and other tools. Of course, it is all up to personal preference, but I have found that like the little notebooks that I keep, I keep a running excel spreadsheet that keeps me organized. I print out what I need and add to the list as I organize my daily notes.

If I have a mini notebook full of notes from a trip, I will come back to the spreadsheet and jot them down. My latest  venture has notes like: blueberries, spearmint, peppermint and pears – these are some of the many signs I saw along the highway as I passed through farms in Washington. I also have a note that says Forks and a photo of the red truck used in the movie Twilight. I have a note that says Sully’s. This was a hamburger joint in Forks. These are only a couple of my newest ideas.

Here is how I set up my spreadsheet.

My posts are categorized into groups.







I try and add at least one of each to the week, although I do not always manage to get that done. As you will see, most of my posts are either Marketing or FYI.

This post will be considered an FYI post, just like any post that I do on travel or other fun things.

Marketing posts include my Mother’s Day posts, mid-week posts on stones, colors or other things that I include links to studio and shop items.

Humor is simply humor.

Recipes are great things that I like to eat or create in the kitchen.

DIY is not really a tutorial, but a collection of things that I have found to try or would love to try.

Tutorial is something I show everyone how to make.

Since I have worked with editorial calendars, I use one to make up my blog post lists. I have converted an editorial calendar from Content Marketing Institute into my own editorial calendar. You can download the template and revamp it to suit your own style. Those without excel will want to look for an open source that can open this type of file.

Here is what mine looks like:


Be Careful What You Put Your Name On   BME  
Glacier National Park   BME 5/2
The Price of Doing Business   BME  
Lassen   BME 3/14
Mule Days   BME  
Mt. Whitney   BME  
Big Sur   BME  
Seals   BME 3/19
Hearst Castle   BME  
Winchester House   BME 3/26
San Francisco Seals   BME  
Carousels - Hershey   BME  
Washington DC    BME  
How To Deal with Complaints   BME 4/25
Roslyn    BME 3/21
Jurrasic 3D   BME 4/9
Wax Museum   BME 4/18
Ghost towns   BME  
Sapphires   BME  
Gold On Pants   BME  
Double Decker Bathroom   BME 4/23
Springtime in Yellowstone   BME 3/28
Shooting the commercial    BME  
Olympic National Park   BME  
Twilite and Forks   BME  
Seattle Pier   BME  
Blog Organization   BME 8/12



I lost my hilites in the paste process, but you can see my published date and which blog (BME) that I will be posting it to. I have four blogs that I schedule posts.



Sunday, April 21, 2013        
Monday, April 22, 2013        
Tuesday, April 23, 2013   Double Decker Bathroom BME - General Fun FYI
Wednesday, April 24, 2013   Mother's Day - Lavender Promotional Marketing
Thursday, April 25, 2013   How To Deal With Complaints BME - General Fun Marketing
Friday, April 26, 2013   MD-BlogHop11 Promotional Marketing
Saturday, April 27, 2013   ckdin - 4-20 update Guild Update Marketing
Sunday, April 28, 2013        
Monday, April 29, 2013        
Tuesday, April 30, 2013   May Blu Print BME - General Fun Marketing
Wednesday, May 01, 2013   Mother's Day - Brown Promotional Marketing
Thursday, May 02, 2013     BME - General Fun FYI
Friday, May 03, 2013   MD-BlogHop12 Promotional Marketing
Saturday, May 04, 2013   ckdin - 4-27 update Guild Update Marketing
Sunday, May 05, 2013        
Monday, May 06, 2013        
Tuesday, May 07, 2013     BME - General Fun Marketing
Wednesday, May 08, 2013   Mother's Day - Orange Promotional Marketing
Thursday, May 09, 2013     BME - General Fun FYI
Friday, May 10, 2013        
Saturday, May 11, 2013   ckdin - 5-4 update Guild Update Marketing


My calendar from my scheduled posts.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013   Shake Rattle and Roll
Wednesday, April 17, 2013   Oh, Snail Spit and Drama
Thursday, April 18, 2013   Wax Lips and Fingertips
Friday, April 19, 2013   MD-BlogHop10
Saturday, April 20, 2013   ckdin - 4-13 update
Sunday, April 21, 2013    
Monday, April 22, 2013    
Tuesday, April 23, 2013   5-Star Accommodations
Wednesday, April 24, 2013   Gentle Decadence
Thursday, April 25, 2013   How To Turn Unhappy Customers Around
Friday, April 26, 2013   MD-BlogHop11
Saturday, April 27, 2013   ckdin - 4-20 update
Sunday, April 28, 2013    
Monday, April 29, 2013    
Tuesday, April 30, 2013   May Blu Print
Wednesday, May 01, 2013   Give Me All Your Chocolate and No one Will Get Hurt

My calendar from my completed posts. This includes the title and date. It will correspond with the above scheduled calendar. April 23 was the day I had decided to post my topic Double Decker Bathroom. When I finished the post, I logged the title 5-Star Accommodations.

As you can see, I am outrageously anal about schedules and timetables. I have calendars for my calendars. My daytimer has its own daytimer.

I use the planner/calendar to determine my monthly planning, and I created a page for my ideas that I highlight once I have done the blog post. That way I can see what I have done, and I can do follow up or additional posts on the topic if needed.  can open and create excel spreadsheets.

My blogging schedule was whacked for the summer as I had so many other projects on the boards, but now that fall is around the corner, I will get back to my regular blogging routine.

I hope some of these things will help you in your blogging future. If you do not need these ideas, feel free to pass them on to others who may. It’s that networking thing!

Julie and Blu

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dog Days and Violet Flowers

Volume 10 Issue 8, August 2013


What's New in August?

Here we go into the Dog Days of Summer. A friend and fellow artist, did an entire blog post based on the origins of the Dog Days of Summer, The Dog Days of Summer and Seamus the Shadow Dog. She said it had something to do with the location of the Dog Star, but it looks like it has more to do with lazy dogs panting in the front yard. Either way, it is starting to feel like fall. The air is a bit cooler. There is a bite to the air that lets me know that it won’t be long before the days get a bit shorter, and the leaves start to turn yellow.

It is amazing how time flies the older you get.

In these shortening days, I am finishing up big projects that put Blue Morning Expressions into the hands of celebrities and the press. As part of The Artisan Group, I have been able to participate in GBK’s Primetime Emmy Celebrity Gifting Lounge. I am gifting 10 pairs of earrings to the members of the press. This is a September event. Also in September, I am gifting to celebrities who are attending GBK’s New York Fashion Week Luxury Lounge 75 of my polymer clay beaded bracelets. I have created four extras for my fans, so that they can get the bracelet at a reduced price the celebrities see theirs.

At the moment, the only design I am offering is the Violet Garden. This is the signature piece that was used for admission into the event. In the future, I may offer additional designs. Until then, the entire catalog of designs will be posted on my blog.


New Jewelry—I am creating all new bracelets for my website. I will be adding a lot of new things in the next month or so. I have been off on vacation a couple of times, so I am behind in production.

My website has been the focus of my attention and it is newly updated with all my latest beads and canes. Newsletter readers can take 30 percent off by using coupon code 30PERCENT

I have them in my Artfire studio, my Etsy shop and my


Until next month,

Julie & Blu

The Southwestern Fantasy necklace was worn in a national Chevrolet commercial that was just shot on the 23rd of June in Bozeman, MT.

I was part of the extras that were used to film the commercial, and I wore the necklace. The necklace gained attention from the casting secretary. The commercial has aired, and it is a great commercial. Unfortunately, I am somewhere in the blurred background in the crowd shot. I was in the corner in the arena by the light when she was barrel racing, so we all blended into the background. My DH was in the scene with her getting out of the truck; he walked past the truck just as she got out, which is the scene that is shown in the preview below. It was a lot of work, and it was a lot of fun.

This is a four-strand necklace featuring my polymer clay beads, bone beads, Czech faceted glass beads and pink pearls.