Archive of ‘Announcements’ category

Meet My New Line of Jewelry: Glitterthorn

guinevere-necklaces-glitterthorn-jewelry-sunflareHello friends!

It’s been a long time in the making, but I’m finally ready to launch my new line of jewelry: Glitterthorn, an edgy, boho collection featuring rough, organic stones and crystals, accented by epoxy, metal leafing, vintage chains, and Swarovski rhinestones.

Here are the first 2 designs I’m rolling out:        guinevere-necklaces-glitterthorn-jewelry

{  Guinevere  Necklace  }

Clear quartz point pendant with black epoxy resin and gold leaf [sealed], on goldtone cable chain with pyramid charm at clasp. Can be worn at 17″ (between choker and princess length) or 28″ (rope length). Comes in Large or Small.

guinevere-necklace-large-glitterthorn-jewelryLarge = wider crystal point, around 1 and 3/16″ long and ¾” wide.

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Guinevere Necklace { Large } – $36

[shown worn as the long length]

guinevere-necklace-small-glitterthorn-jewelrySmall = thinner crystal point, around 1¼” long and ½” wide.guinevere-small-necklace-glitterthorn-jewelry-on-model

Guinevere Necklace { Small } – $29

[shown worn as the short length]

glitterthorn_fieldisolde-necklace-long-glitterthorn-jewelry

{  Isolde Necklace  }

Crystal geode slice pendant, surrounded by black epoxy resin studded with Swarovski crystal chatons. Silvertone flat cable chain and silvertone pyramid charm at closure. Long length: vertical geode slice, 24″ (opera length) chain. Pendant = approximately 1½” long and 1″ wide at widest point.

isolde-necklace-long-close-up-glitterthorn-jewelryisolde-necklace-long-glitterthorn-jewelry-on-model

Isolde Necklace { Long } – $42

The stones used in this jewelry are unique – please allow for natural variations on their organic beauty.

guinevere-necklace-large-glitterthorn-jewelry-on-model-wildflowersMore designs coming soon – I can’t wait to share them with you!!
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This has been a labor of love of mine for such a long time, I’ve many times second-guessed myself and felt like it wasn’t ready to share just yet. But if I keep stalling I just may never do it! I’m still working on the logo, putting together an Instagram for Glitterthorn (to share behind-the-scenes and new designs, as well as offering pieces for purchase), refining my Etsy store, deciding on packaging…etc. etc. But they say to do something that scares you every day, and to jump in feet first before you feel completely sure. I’m not completely sure what I’m doing, but I love making jewelry, and I know I want to share it with the world. Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement!

Glitterthorn Jewelry is Now Available through my Etsy store here!

Questions? Comments? Let me know!

xo

Carly

 

Announcement: New Edgy Boho Chic Jewelry Designs Coming Soon…

glitterthorn-jewelry-designs-preview-carly-j-caisHello friends!

I’ve had a ton of things going on, been revamping my life, and doing a lot of soul-searching lately, as well as diving into new, exciting (and a little scary) projects. I teased the above image out on my Instagram awhile ago, and I’m finally getting close to launching my new line of handmade, edgy boho chic jewelry.

Glitterthorn has launched!

Check out the full post here – and they’re available for purchase here.

What do you guys think?

Stay tuned for more…coming oh so soon! I can’t wait to share with all of you :-)

xo

Carly

How to Take Headshot Portrait Photos that Reflect Your Blog’s Brand

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Portrait photography is definitely not my strong suit, and it’s even harder when YOU are taking a photo of YOU. It’s so much easier to work with someone who knows what they’re doing and can make you relaxed enough to take a great fun photo for your blog headshot.

carlyjcais_2012headshotI’ve had the same sidebar headshot for 3 years (above, taken by Dave Lim) simply because I liked how I looked in the photo. I’ve also had another photo on my About Me page (if you recall, that particular photo was pretty horrible) for about 5 years. I’ve been going through a brand audit of Chic Steals and felt that my head shots didn’t really reflect my blog topic and focus. They needed to be lighter, brighter, closer – and more depicting chic, creative, crafty living instead of just my head in front of a forest.desktopcomposite_aboutpage headshot_behinddiamondSo after playing with a couple different ideas, I settled on a photo of me in my home office in front of a wall that I decorated with gold washi tape in a triangle pattern. (Similar to what I did with my DIY Geometric Bathroom Makeover wall here.) I chose on a white-and-gold palette since I felt that was in line with my blog branding. carly-j-cais-headshot-with-diamondI did make a little sparkly gold prop as the silhouette of the diamond in my logo, and utilize the DIY paper glitter diamond paperweight I made in this post here. carly-j-cais-at-deskFor the overhead and sitting at the desk laptop shots, I styled the desk with my DIY Gold Succulents in Geometric Origami planters, the origami diamond paperweights, and a variety of crafty materials to touch on the “making” theme of my blog. The only piece of jewelry I wore was the DIY Free People Wrapped Quartz Bangle that has been really popular online since I shared it.

My good friend Josh of Joshua Johnston Photography took my photos, and though we shot in the late afternoon and the light was fading inside, his lighting techniques were still able to bring out all the little details and make everything white and bright. In all it took an hour and a half, and the finished photos were awesome – and, I felt, much more fitting with the look and feel of my blog.

So are you experiencing some difficulty with deciding on the perfect headshots for your blog or website? Here are 8 steps to get portrait photos you’ll love:

pinterest-how-to-take-head-shots-that-reflect-blog-brandHow to Take Headshot Portrait Photos for Your Blog That Reflect Your Brand

1) Spend some time looking at your blog. Are there colors or elements that you could incorporate into a shoot? Do you feature the same items over and over again? What “goes together” and what doesn’t? (like using a forest background for a crafty blog…which doesn’t make any sense)

2) How can you accomplish what you want in the least cluttered, most direct way? What would make sense as a background? Can you make it, fake it, or is there a place you know that would be perfect for the locale?

3) How about props? Would they be more specific and tie a photo of you into what you write about better? Reiterate your branding or logo somehow?

4) Sketch some ideas out on paper, having in your head a firm idea of the colors and layout of the elements. Where do you want your head to appear? Should you be looking at your content to draw people’s eyes to it? Looking at the reader to connect with them? Looking away so that you’re an object of admiration and having fun by yourself? What are you trying to sell with your head shot?

5) Allow enough time to be able to properly style out your photos and capture them in the best light. Do you need to shoot during the Golden Hour? How long will it take you for hair and makeup? How about styling your props?

6) Choose a lens that has the least amount of distortion for the face: ideally, 85mm. If not, 50mm will also do quite well and create that soft blurred background. Use a tripod if you can, especially in low light situations!

carly-j-cais-funny-headshot

7) Unless you’re used to modeling (or modeling by yourself!), shoot with someone you know well and who you’re comfortable with, preferably someone who makes you laugh. That way your smiles will be genuine and your eyes light up in your photos, which is difficult to fake. You’ll also have someone to interact with which can come out in the final images, creating more of a connection with the viewer. Don’t be discouraged if you have to take a ton of photos to get any you like. Some the framing might be right, but you have a hair out of place. Some your expression might be weird. Keep them all and look at them later.

8) Go through the photos on a large screen, ideally after some time has passed. That way you can apply a fresh eye and be more objective with the ones you choose. Choose ones that you like a lot then compare them against one another. If you like them, your readers will too. Post-process, upload, and announce your new pictures!

Thanks, Josh – I couldn’t have done it without you! Check out his website for prints of cool landscape and nature photography – especially Oregon waterfalls!joshua-johnston-photography

Joshua Johnston Photography

Do you have any tips for good blog headshot photos? Please share in the comments!

xo
Carly

I actually helped Josh build the website and optimize it for SEO, learning the Smugmug platform [aff. link] in the process. I’d highly recommend it if you’re a photographer looking for a no-hassle way to sell your prints and photos as digital downloads – since they take care of all the order processing and fulfillment for you!

Chic Steal for Earth Day: A Hybrid Car

new-hybrid-car-earth-day

I’m just kidding.

Though hybrid cars are not considered a steal per se, I felt slightly eco-friendly when I bought this one. I researched them thoroughly, decided on a Honda, and met with some private sellers and a dealership to find the perfect car for me (and my budget). I negotiated, said no to a lot of unnecessary extras, and ended up driving away in a used 2011 Honda Insight, the first car that I myself bought with my own money and of my own decisions.

In the end, the disposal of the batteries with their heavy metals, and the environmental impact of mining for said heavy metals, may not make hybrid vehicles completely “eco-friendly” in a true sense. They are cars after all. But when I think of the monthly savings in gasoline (38-43 mpg vs. my current Mazda CX-9’s 18-20 mpg) hybrids are very, very attractive to me (and my long commute into work and taking my son to school).

I bought it yesterday last night just as the dealership was about to close. It runs smooth and quiet and hums along and the engine turns off at inexplicable times. Plus, it’s gray. And I love it because it’s ALL MINE.

Huge changes are happening around here, which is why I’ve been unable to update my blog lately. I’m still here. I’ll be back soon.

Once I sell my 2008 Mazda CX-9 8-seater, which is all clean and detailed and ready to be put on Cragislist.

Happy Earth Day, friends! To change…for the more eco-friendly.
xo
Carly

Happy Valentine’s Day!

chocomize-valentines-day

May you spend it with someone you love today :-)

xo

Carly

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you click and buy something through one of the links above. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

Happy New Year!

happynewyear_chicstealsHello, lovely readers – it is now January 1 of the New Year. Somehow I thought 2015 was going to be a bit more…futuristic. Like with hoverboards and time displacement vortexes. I’m a little disappointed.

As you may have noticed, there’s a bit of construction going on around here. I’m sprucing things up, starting with a new website theme for Chic Steals and new functionality. Plus new content is on the way! Still working and tweaking, though (you may have noticed my DIY Galleries are down right now as I have to rebuild the whole gallery from scratch)…so it will be a little bit of time until everything is sorted out and running smoothly.

2014 was an absolutely awful year for me, personally – not going to lie – and 2015 is not looking very promising either…can I just skip over it and arrive in 2016?? 😉 There’s been something going on in my life that I am still unable to share on the blog because everything is still completely unresolved and things are in flux. When I know more, and it is finally in the aftermath…then I can share, but right now I cannot because I could impact my legal position. Seriously, it’s THAT bad.

Onto lighter topics. In any case, I’d like to share with you a round-up of the DIY’s I shared on this blog in 2014…like I do every year around New Year’s. Perhaps you missed one or two? Check them out below!

diyalphabetearrings_done2

I was working as a Guest Contributor for WeHeartThis for awhile, until I got too overwhelmed with the personal stuff. Above are my DIY Alphabet Earrings. Made from pasta.

DIY Windowpane Shirt

I noticed that Windowpane-print was trending…so I created a boldly graphic Windowpane Sweatshirt using black trim.

diyquartzwrapbangle_done1

My DIY Free People Wrapped Quartz Bangle was a huge hit and was probably my most-shared DIY of 2014. Easy and full of impact – what’s not to love?diyamorirsunglasses_done3

I went a little crazy and decked out a pair of sunglasses with Sunglass Warehouse A-Morir style with rhinestones and beads.diyclaymacaron_done3

Finally delving into my love for Deko Sweets, I shared how to create these cute and realistic Pastel Clay French Macarons.diymacaronstand_done2

You can use those clay macarons to make cute crafts – for example, these Stacked Macaron Card Holder Stands.0.diyevileyering_introphoto

Another post for WeHeartThis: my DIY Evil Eye Ring made with clay, paint, and rhinestone trim.diyneonstingrayclutch_done2

Partnering with Tulip Neon and I Love to Create, I made a Faux Stingray Clutch using dimensional fabric paint.z.diysweatshirtsleeveskirt_done2

I refashioned a sweatshirt into a Tied-Sleeves Skirt a la Chloe.diychocolatechipcookiepurse_done1

I shared a tutorial for making a cute Chocolate Chip Cookie Macaron Coin Purse – which people loved. I have to make some more of those!!diyeastereggnails_done1

With Easter coming up, I made some DIY Gold Speckled Easter Egg Nails.diy-kit-wander-and-hunt-1-(3)

I designed some DIY kits for Wander & Hunt, namely this Anthropologie-style Rhinestone Ribbon Beltwander-and-hunt-projects-50

…And this Dannijo-style Rhinestone Pendant. (The kits both sold out!)diystenciledphotoframe_done1

For Father’s Day, I made a Patterned Mod Podge Silver Leaf Photo Frame.ChicSteals_agatebox2

I worked with Darby Smart to create this high-end-looking Agate Keepsake Box – and the kits are still available here for purchase!diydaisyapplique_done2

Noting that Daisy-print was trending, I made an Iron-On Daisy Applique Sweatshirt. Very Mary Quant!diyicecreamnecklace_done1

For Summer I crafted up another Deko Sweets piece: this Ice Cream Cone Necklace with Polyform Souffle Clay.stayfree_pillowdone2_chicsteals

I felt my home needed a bit of decoration, so I created a knockoff Handwriting Quote Pillow for my bedroom…diytypographypillows_done1

…And a couple of outdoor Ombre Typography Pillows with Tulip Tie Dye and I Love to Create.diyanthrotasselnecklace_done4

I loved making this Anthropologie dupe of a Colorful Tassel Necklace for Summer!diymexicanbracelets_done2

Making these Thread-Wrapped Mexican Bracelets with TrenDIY and their kits was super-fun.julepnightskypedi5

I made an Ombre Night Sky Pedicure featuring Julep.diygalaxyskirt4

I also finally finished my Galaxy Print Mini-Skirt, made from the Blue Star Field Galaxy Fabric I designed and sell on Spoonflower.bathroom_after5

It took me a couple months to redo my downstairs bathroom into a modern Geometric Makeover – but it was totally worth it!alteration101dress_done5

For those who need to add some fabric to a simple T-shirt dress, I shared the Alteration 101: Making a Dress Bigger how-to here.diytombinnsneoncameo_done2

Inspired by Tom Binns, I created a Rhinestone Neon Cameo Necklace. Would Marie Antoinette approve?diyglowskulltshirt_done5

Partnering again with Tulip and I Love to Create, I made a Glow-in-the-Dark Skull T-Shirt for Halloween.diy-quartz-paperweight-done3

I had my eye on quartz paperweights and objets for awhile…so I just made a Faux Quartz Paperweight out of quartz pieces and beach glass vase filler…that looks so much like a real chunk of semiprecious stone that you’d be surprised!diy-woodland-ornaments-done4

I made some stuffed Illustrated Woodland Ornaments for my mini Christmas tree.diy-illustrated-giftwrap2

I then took the illustrations I made and designed some Printable Illustrated Wrapping Paper for wrapping small presents.

Well, that’s it! Not as many as 2013…but hopefully this coming year will be better and filled with more fun, creativity, and above all, DIY’ing!

May 2015 bring many wonderful things your way!!

xo

Carly

Merry Christmas!

christmas-animated-snow

Dearest readers,

Hope you and yours had a wonderful, fabulous holiday this year.

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all the best, joyfulness, and a year of fun-filled DIY’ing,

xoxoxo

Carly

On Temporary Overwhelm…

xmas_wrappingsHello dear readers!

As many of you may have noticed, I’ve ramped down my posting schedule as of late. Not because I actually want to post less about holiday magic, fun DIY’s for the season, gift ideas, or how-to’s…not at all.

I’m just going through something absolutely awful, I don’t even know how to put it into words or share it yet. And this whole year of unbelievable insanity is culminating this very week in multiple collisions of awfulness.

I don’t even know how I’ll be able to make it through. Even one day at a time feels impossible with me reduced to tears every day, multiple times a day. I know, it’s not very cheery and happy and holiday-ish, but it’s the truth and I can’t do anything about it. Not very chic. :-/

I hope you all will understand if I’m not feeling up to making or sharing many projects right now. I will of course continue to share for sponsored posts or agreements I’ve entered into because I don’t renege on my word…but other stuff may be a little sparse right now because I mentally and emotionally don’t have the capacity for it.

Not because I value any of you any less.

Once I get through this week, things might seem a little less bleak, but not anywhere near to normal for awhile.

I’m sorry and hope you understand.

Thanks :-)

xo

Carly

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