Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me!

I'm celebrating my 18th anniversary in my store this week! I opened my doors here in Cocoa Village the beginning of December 1992. It feels surreal to even say that--eighteen years. And you know what? I still can't wait to get here every day! So here's to at least eighteen more.....!


Monday, November 15, 2010

A Clean Work Space

I cleaned my desk Friday.

Such a simple statement, but if you had any idea what it looked like BEFORE Friday, you'd know what a big deal it really is! I haven't seen the top of my desk in over 4 years. I know it's been that long because that's when I emptied out my shop and painted the walls, then put everything back all organized and fresh.

It took me 10 hours. I started at about 10 in the morning and didn't finish until 8 that night. And truth be told, I'm still not quite done. The biggest issue was the years' worth of little wire scraps that were jumbled together in a giant mound covering most of the desk. In order to send the scrap wire back to the refiner, I had to separate the gold from the silver. And I didn't quite finish. I separated about 20 ounces of wire, but I've got 6 or 8 ounces still to separate. I have to wait for my poor, hunched-over shoulders and back to recuperate before I can tackle the rest of it.

But I'm SO excited that my desk is clean! What is it about a clean working surface that just inspires you to get down to business? I've been pretty productive. In fact, that's why it took me a couple days to even blog about it...I've been busy making stuff and didn't want to take time out to take a picture and write a post! Mostly I've been making ear cuffs, and you'll find some new ones listed in my Etsy shop. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to get back to work...


Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Bad

It's horrifying how long it's been since I blogged! I swear I've meant to post something nearly every day for the last two weeks. I even had things in mind to write about! There are just never enough hours in the day.

I HAVE been working, though! Since this is a quickie-post, I'll just put up a picture of one of the rings I made recently. A new style using two 8mm beads, this one with blue lace agate and moonstone (made for a special order for a customer who found me on eBay).

Friday, September 17, 2010

World Map

The shop next door to me, Village Home (see their blog link down in my Favorites), has a map of the world where they put a pin for each customer who comes in from out of town. It's a cool idea, and one that I blatantly stole recently!

Not too long ago, I was getting some packages ready to mail out and one of the packages was going to Israel. In all the 26 years I've been making jewelry, I never sent a package to Israel before. That's when it occurred to me that people coming into my store might think it was interesting to see all the places in the world where my jewelry lives. I bought a really big map, mounted it on styrofoam, and put it up on the wall behind my ring case. I only had records going back about a year, but that's still a lot of pins--took me about 4 hours to put them all into the map. And I didn't put a pin in for every single package I mailed out--there are only so many pins you can stuff into a tiny space indicating a big city like New York or Washington DC! In fact, the whole US Eastern seaboard is pretty full! It's hard to see the pins in a picture incorporating the whole map, but there are pins in every state in the United States except Wyoming, plus several in Canada, Australia, and the UK. In addition to Israel, some of the more "interesting" places are: Sweden, Norway, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Iceland, and Malta! Yes, Malta--is that cool or what?!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Uptown Magic

This is "Uptown Magic", from The Luella Collection. Just finished last week. The center pieces were a pair of vintage clip-on earrings. I've added the swirls of gold wire and the dangling pink Czech fire-polished beads. Suspended on french earwires, these beauties measure over 3" long. One of a kind and sure to get noticed! I'm parties? On sale in my Ruby Lane shop.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


This is Erin. Her "mom" is long time customer Jinny R., and I'm always delighted when Erin comes along to help with the shopping! She's an Irish Wolfhound, one of the largest dog breeds in the world. Impressively well-behaved for her size, too. What I find most amusing is when she politely lays down to wait while Jinny buys jewelry, she takes up nearly a third of my entire floor space!

Occasionally I'll get a shopper who will poke their head in my door, with a tiny little teacup-size dog in a bag or a stroller, and they ask if it's okay for their dog to come in. I get a kick out of telling them about Erin!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Child Labor

Ricky joined me at work yesterday. My shelves all got dusted and my glass cases cleaned. That's why we have offspring, right? ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another School Year

Okay, am I a horrible mother, or what? I actually forgot to take "first day of school" pictures this year! Honestly, it didn't even occur to me until the end of the week! Then it was almost another whole week before I remembered to bring my camera home from work. Fortunately, it was far less distressing to my son, who gamely posed for "beginning of the school year" pictures last Thursday.

I guess the good thing about being a couple of weeks into the school year before I post his picture is that I can also report on his progress so far. Ricky's in 5th grade this year, and will be playing trombone in band again. (He just loves the band teacher.) So far every paper he's brought home has been an A, and he tested at 9th grade, 8th month level for the Accelerated Reader program. That's the highest in his class, which he thinks is pretty cool, but it also means he's required to earn the most points for reading individual books each grading period, which he's not nearly as thrilled about. I've never had to worry his academics--he makes his mother very proud--it's his "focus" we've needed to work on. And I'm happy to say he appears to be making progress there. A little over two weeks into the school year and he's only forgotten his homework folder once! Haha!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Driftwood Backdrop

Last month I posted about some interesting display items that a friend of mine had let me borrow to use for photographing my jewelry. I showed a picture of a cameo that I had taken on a chunk of pyrite, and the same cameo on a chunk of honey onyx. At that time I mentioned the fantastic big piece of driftwood he let me borrow, but I hadn't yet shot any photography using it. Well, I have now! I'm telling you, that thing is FANTASTIC! Every inch of it is different and every inch is beautiful and interesting. The picture above is a dichroic glass and amethyst necklace draped down the driftwood. I just love it! My friend is going to let me keep it for awhile, but sooner or later I'm going to have to get one of my own. I'm told to check out aquarium-supply places, as these large pieces of driftwood are often used to decorate big fish tanks. I sure hope I can find one as beautiful as this!
By the way, this gorgeous necklace is for sale in my Etsy shop!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Participating in Customers' Lives

I had a couple come in this past weekend with their two children. The woman was so excited to have found my store; they had been looking around Cocoa Village for a couple of hours before one of my fellow merchants directed them to my corner. It seems that this couple had been in my store 10 years ago, looking for a stone to help them with their fertility issues. They had been unsuccessful even with in vitro fertilization efforts, and were willing to try something a little more offbeat.

At the time I had just gone through some fertility issues of my own, and my baby son was about 7 months old. I had been wearing a small ruby crystal point prior to, during, and after my in vitro procedure. I had a couple more unset ruby points and had the lady choose one that felt "good" to her and I set it so she could wear it on a chain.

From what she told me, this happened on August 5, 2000. On August 5, 2001, her daughter Julia was born! A year to the day--she was particularly delighted by that detail! (Apparently after the pressure was off, they were able to conceive their son without further issues.) They were back in the Cocoa Village area for a few days and felt they just had to come and find me and let me know that in my small way, I had helped them start their family! Too cool! The mother told me she had even thought about sending me a birth announcement and pictures, but they couldn't find the business card I had given them. She also said that she wouldn't allow the hospital to remove that ruby pendant, even while she was giving birth, and that she has it now safely put away for when her daughter is older.

Do certain stones actually work to "fix" certain problems? Speaking only for myself, I can say that you can't be around stones and work with them for as long as I have and NOT feel their energies. Who decided what stone works best for what circumstance?...I don't know. There are a number of books on the subject, and all the ones I've seen seem to agree for the most part. Is it psychosomatic? I don't know that either, but if the end result is the result you're looking for, then what does it matter?

The bottom line for me in this situation is that this lovely couple had their kids and they were so happy. I was happy for them, and delighted that I had had the opportunity to participate--even in a tiny way--in an event that was so important to them!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Impatient Drivers

Note to impatient drivers: riding up my rear end is not going to make the car in front of me go any faster!

(And it must be nice that those pesky Speed Limit signs don't apply to you.)


Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I think I'm starting to get hot flashes. I can't tell for sure because the heat index here has been over 100 degrees for days, and it's so humid you feel like you need gills to breathe. Either way it's a drag!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Photo Backgrounds

There is a guy who is a long-time customer of mine, who is a serious rockhound and who has a lot of spare time on his hands. He happened to come in one day a few weeks ago when I was working on photography and noticed the various backdrops I use to display my jewelry on when I'm taking pictures: a piece of wood with a light "interior" side and a dark bark "exterior" side; 2 different light grey patterned tile pieces, 1 beige patterned tile piece, and a small but very pretty piece of driftwood. (I also shoot outside on the edge of the courtyard water fountain, a cement bench, and various plants and leaves.)

The next day my friend shows up with a huge chunk of pyrite (fool's gold) for me to use in my photography. I'm not kidding, this thing is at least 10 inches long by 8 inches wide by 5 inches deep--the biggest chunk of pyrite I've ever seen. There's one section with glittering little square nuggety protrusions, and other sections where the rock is smoother but still has the "gold" flecks through it. A beautiful specimen, but my first thought was whether it would be too shiny to get a decent picture without glare from the flash.

A couple of days later he comes in with another big rock. This one is honey onyx--layers and striations of soft peach alternating with white, and an uneven, rocky face, which is perfect for displaying jewelry. Just gorgeous, and a nice neutral color that I thought would be great for a background.

Last week I finally got around to shooting some new photography using these unique pieces. You can see the results yourself--the same cameo pendant taken on both rocks. The pyrite is actually not as bad as I thought, but doesn't work well for every color of stone. With the right item, though, it's a really interesting background! And the honey onyx is fantastic--I don't think there was any piece that I tried to photograph that didn't look good on it. I'd love to get some comments on what YOU think!

Just a couple days ago, my customer brought in this FANTASTIC big piece of driftwood for me to use. It's got light and dark sections and lots of lumps, bumps, holes, and protrusions that are going to make for amazing pictures! You can see more examples of the pyrite, the honey onyx, and soon the driftwood in my Etsy shop or my Artfire studio. (Be sure to look at the jewelry itself while you're there!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Lovely Sale

I had a lovely sale yesterday. Yes, I'm here in my shop on Sundays. I don't get a lot of customers, but I usually get a bit of work done--complete a special order or two, write my newsletter, photograph some jewelry. Yesterday was really no different, up until about 3:00. This nice young man comes in and says his girlfriend's birthday is coming up, and that she had been in my shop and saw some things she loved and had been raving about them.... All that great stuff that an artisan loves to hear!

He brought me a beautiful piece of lavender sea glass to set into a pendant for her. I was so excited at the prospect of making a $20 sale on a Sunday that I told him I'd be happy to do it on the spot, rather than putting it into my pile of special orders. He seemed pretty impressed about that, and proceeded to ask if I had any chains to go with the pendant, so he could make a complete "presentation" out of it. Well, SURE I've got some chains--another $15!--let me show you....

While I was setting the sea glass, he wandered around the store looking at other stuff. It turns out he had a "budget" amount in mind, and darned if he wasn't going to spend it all! He liked a couple of my larger, fancier neck ring pieces and asked my opinion. I tried on the one that was sort of asymmetrical so he could see how it looked on a real person, but advised him that it was really a piece intended for a night on the town, not so much a wear-with-anything. He quickly decided on the other neck ring--a fantastic green dichroic glass bead set in the center of a gold wire neck ring (pictured above). Fancy, yes, but it will look great with a party dress or a T-shirt, and he loved the fact that it would accent her green eyes.

While I was wrapping that up was when he told me he was still under budget, and grabbed another neck ring off the display by the door. Fifty strands of colored steel wire in black (one of the few things in the store that is not something I personally made, but VERY cool!) with a spoon-shaped blue, black, and silver glass pendant.

He made some excellent choices, and I told him so. All unique, attention-grabbing neck accessories that are going to get his girlfriend noticed every time she wears one. (And isn't that what great jewelry is all about?!) But I also told him that the thing she was going to find equally important was that he paid attention when she was talking about something she had seen that she liked. He was pleased. I'm quite sure SHE is going to be pleased. (And I was over the moon about the size of my lovely Sunday sale!)

I know I titled this post "a lovely sale", but I think the moral of the story should be: great jewelry, and a guy who pays attention! What more could you ask on your birthday? Right, girls?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I have the worst time texting. Partly because my phone is kind of old and doesn't have a QWERTY keyboard. So if I want to type an "s" for instance, I have to hit the 7 key four times. And I have to get my reading glasses to see the darn keyboard in the first place!

But my biggest problem is that I just cannot bring myself to use text language. I have always had an anal-retentive "eye" for grammar, and misspellings just make me crazy. Typos, too, but that's not done on purpose. I CANNOT use "u" "r" for "you are". I CANNOT use a 2 for "to" or "too". I CANNOT use a 4 for "for". I must use correct grammar. I must punctuate my sentences, and begin the next sentence with a capital letter. I CANNOT not capitalize "I" when referring to myself. So it takes forever for me to send a message. And of course the person I text most often is my 10-year-old son, who has absolutely no problem utilizing all kinds of abbreviated "spellings"!

I think encouraging text-speak in children is a really bad idea. I think they should learn how to spell and form sentences correctly before they start mangling them. Some of the things my son texts to me, I can tell it's just text-speak (and I hate it!). But some words, I'm not sure if he's spelling them wrong on purpose or if he doesn't know the correct spelling. So I get on him about it. And he says, "I know, Mom." Then I don't know if he really KNOWS, or if he's just feeding me that 10-year-old "I know, Mom" attitude!

I am quite certain that text language evolved out of laziness. And that's a shame, because I'm equally sure that it's here to stay. Except for the lone hold-out. Me. Anyone care to join me?


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Later Hours

This past weekend many of the merchants of Historic Cocoa Village started staying open later on Friday and Saturday nights. For a long time, most of us have heard complaints from the locals saying they wished the stores would be open later so they could come down after work. This is a good thing, IF they have the right mindset.

My concern is this: sure, there are those people who come down to one of the restaurants for dinner, then walk the streets window-shopping. They wish the store was open. They cup their hands around their eyes and press up against the windows of the darkened store. I know this happens, because I see forehead prints and side-hand prints on my windows occasionally. And I'm not even on the main street (although I am right next to a fine-dining restaurant). So, do they really want to do some SHOPPING? Or would they just like to window-shop INDOORS with the lights on? Because window-shopping indoors with the lights on doesn't do the merchant one bit of good.
Do people take into consideration the additional labor and electricity, if nothing else, that goes into staying open 3 extra hours? I highly doubt it. So if people just come to Cocoa Village and walk around pointing and saying, "ooh, isn't that cute?" but don't BUY the cute thing, then it's having a negative impact. It is costing the store owner money. I realize it takes time to get the word out that something has changed, no matter what that something is. We're working hard to get the word out to the local community that some stores are offering later shopping hours. For me, the operative word is shopping. To some of the people who might come down, the operative word is going to be some of the stores will be open.

In a shopping district like ours, with dozens of individually owned-and-operated businesses, you're never going to get everyone on board. It stinks, but it's a fact. There are some who won't even consider staying open late. There are others who are "waiting to see what happens". There are still others who will try it once or twice and if they don't make a bunch of money, they'll say "oh, that doesn't work for me". I wish it were possible to get everyone to see that an all-out, committed, group effort is good for ALL of us, even if every visitor doesn't buy something in every store every time they visit. Just as I wish it were possible to get the visitors to see that BUYING something is beneficial to THEM because it will encourage the shops to stay open and to be open the next time the evening-shopping bug strikes.

If the shops aren't open, the public can't buy. And if the public doesn't come and buy, the shops won't stay open. Catch-22? You bet. We'll see how it goes. I'LL be open every Friday and Saturday evening until 8:00 p.m. Come on down! And bring your wallet! I won't be upset if you don't buy from me (although it would be REALLY cool if you did!), but I'll be sad if you don't buy something, somewhere.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lots of Ear Cuffs!

For several months now, a very large number of the orders I've received online have been for ear cuffs. You know, the little adornment that wraps around the outside cartilage on the side of your ear...? An accent to earrings, or an accessory in and of itself. From simple bands to ornate sweeps, for young and old alike, they're a cute and comfortable, and mostly just fun! I've got several listed for sale in my Artfire studio or my Etsy shop. Pop on over and in just a couple of clicks you can order, pay through PayPal, and have your own ear cuff on its way to you. Trendy, maybe, but inexpensive enough where you can treat yourself and hop on the ear cuff bandwagon!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Schedule

The thing I love most about summertime is that I get to sleep in a little longer each morning, since I don't have to take my son to school. Not TOO much longer, because I do have to take him to the day camp he attends at his karate school, but long enough for it to feel indulgent. The downside of that lovely sleeping in is that I get to my store later in the morning, and have that much LESS time to get everything done that I need to before I open my doors. Like this, for instance. I'm blogging, and it's already time to be opening my store. I did list some new items in my Etsy shop, but I still have to update my Facebook Fan Page. I did take care of my eBay sales and made a new listing there, but I haven't written the bill payments that need to go with the mailman today.

Adjusting to my summer schedule will require a bit more focus than I am sometimes inclined to have. Today is only the first day. I'm not totally displeased with my progress so far this morning. I'll go update my Facebook Fan Page, write the checks to pay the bills, and then get to work on the gigantic pile of special orders on my clipboard! Since my doors are now open, there's the possibility that customers might walk in, but being in business to sell to the public is what makes all those other things even necessary, right? So if I have to get up from my desk to take care of a customer, that's a GOOD thing! The rest...I'll just keep muddling along!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Another Custom Order

Sometimes customers themselves put together two or even three things that I already make to come up with a whole new design. Helps me think outside my usual "box" as it were! Donna was buying a 3-Bead Point Bracelet with clear AB Swarovski crystals. She wanted earrings to match. Now, Donna likes a bold earring, as you can see. She saw the J-Shape Hoop Earrings that I had, and held up the bracelet so the crystals were inside the earring. "Can you make it like this?" she asked. "Absolutely," I said. "I'm the Burger King of jewelry design--have it YOUR way!"


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ricky's Awards

My son is just finishing 4th grade and his awards ceremony was this morning. I can't even begin to describe how proud I was when he brought home SIXTEEN awards and achievements!!!

1st Place (blue ribbon) 4th Grade Spelling Bee
100% (medal) for meeting goal in Accelerated Reader program
1st place (medal) for Bible Sword Drill competition
Certificate--regional spelling bee participation
Certificate--regional math olympics participation
Certificate for 4th Class Level (25 points) in Standard of Excellence Band Method
Certificate for 3rd Class Level (50 points) in Band
Certificate for 2nd Class Level (75 points) in Band
Certificate for 1st Class Level (100 points) in Band--he may have been the only one in band to get this...I know he had the highest number of points
Certificate--Presidential Physical Fitness Award
Certificate--Outstanding Academic Achievement in Science/Health
Certificate--Outstanding Academic Achievement in Bible
Certificate--Outstanding Academic Achievement in Reading
Certificate--Outstanding Academic Achievement in History
Certificate--Highest Grade Point Average in Math
Certificate--Excellent Academic Work for maintaining better than 3.5 GPA

Well done, my son!!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Custom Orders

I often joke with customers that if there were about 8 of me, I could have every piece of jewelry made in every size and every color. Don't get me wrong...I have a LOT of inventory made up. But since there's only 1 of me, every size and color isn't possible, so I'm obviously happy to make any item in whatever size or color the customer wants. Consequently, I have a lot of special orders.

But I also have a lot of custom orders. Loose stones or coins or random vintage jewelry that a customer has lying around in a drawer or a jewelry box. It can't be worn as-is, so people bring or send me stuff to set all the time. This pendant I have pictured is one of those. A beautiful faceted yellow citrine and a large blue drusy from a lovely lady named Shayna. Shayna wanted the stones set together in one pendant. Not the easiest thing to do with wirewrap, but I was able to come up with this design, which I think really showcases the stones. She was thrilled with it, which always makes me happy!

I'm going to post a few more custom order pictures over the next few days. Look through your drawers and dig into your jewelry boxes--do YOU have anything I can transform for you?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Facebook Fans!

Are you on Facebook? If you've read some of my previous posts, you know I am. Probably too much! (Some of those games are quite addictive.) But lately I've been paying a little more attention to my Contemporary Concepts Fan Page. I've been posting a little something nearly every day. Not being spammy, I promise. Just little nuggets of information that I hope will be interesting. And pictures. And I finally got around to adding my Artfire Kiosk. That's a tab at the top of the page where you can instantly check out my jewelry in my Artfire studio and even purchase items without ever leaving Facebook! It's a very cool app, and it was embarrassingly easy to set up. Made me kick myself for putting it off so long.

So "fan" me today, and look for my avatar in your News's the bright orange-and-yellow sea glass pendant I have pictured here!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Ricky's Band Concert

Last Thursday evening was my son's first band concert. Well, I guess not exactly the first, as they did play two songs during the Christmas program, but that lasted literally three minutes, so I don't really count it. Plus, as a beginning band having only played for three months before Christmas, they were pretty bad.

Don't get me wrong--they certainly tried very hard and did their best, but they were at the stage where they were still learning fingerings for the notes and had not yet developed an "ear" to hear how the notes were actually supposed to sound!

This past Thursday they were much improved. They're still beginners, in the fourth and fifth grades, but you could tell they were developing confidence in their abilities. I wouldn't say they were yet good, but they were certainly better!

I could pick Ricky's playing out of the group. Not hard, since his entire band consists of 3 flutes, 1 clarinet, and 3 trombones. (Ricky plays the trombone. Which was MY trombone back in the day. And the same horn which was my FATHER'S back in HIS day! Third generation. Way cool!) Anyway, I could hear Ricky specifically. He did very well. I didn't see a single mistake. Having played the trombone myself, I know where the slide is supposed to be positioned for each note. And I know what the notes are supposed to sound like. (On occasion while listening to him practice, I would get on him about "don't just aim for the general vicinity of the slide position and blat, hoping it'll be close enough.") He hit the notes (the same could not always be said for his fellow trombonists--ouch!), his tone was good--I was very proud!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Catching Up

I often find myself composing blog posts in my head as I drive to work in the morning. And then by the time I get here, more often than not, the task of writing in my blog completely flies out of my mind. I wish I were a little less scatterbrained sometimes, but I guess that's just part of being an ar-tiste...? Hahaha!

I've been pretty busy in my store. But in a strange way. Not so many customers walking in, really, and those that do are bringing me stuff to set for them. So I've got lots of special orders to be working on. At least three weeks worth, maybe a month. Sometimes I wish people would be a little more interested in buying the stuff I actually have made up, but special orders keep me busy and prevent monotony! And it's not like I'm not selling anything in the store!

I've been getting quite a few online sales, too. I sell on 5 different online venues, and there have been a few days recently that I've sold at least one thing on each of them. I think that's pretty cool! Of course, when I sell something on Etsy or Artfire or Ruby Lane, it's often something that's one-of-a-kind, so my posted inventory goes down. That means I need to take new pictures and post new items, which can be time-consuming. But it keeps my online inventory looking fresh!

So you see that for everything I might gripe about a little, there's something positive to be had as well. And ain't that the way life should be...?!!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Little Progress

I have to admit that I haven't been doing very well with my "blog before I go play on Facebook" resolution, but I have taken some time over the last couple of weeks to fill up some of those empty necklace displays! Here's a shot of some of the completed bead necklaces: juicy red jade with red glass teardrops, dark green freshwater pearls accented with glittering tanzanite beads, lovely neutral autumn jasper, a rainbow of colored mother-of-pearl discs, and more! I'm shooting pictures of the individual pieces right now, and you'll be able to purchase them in my Etsy shop or my Artfire studio real soon!


Monday, March 8, 2010

This Week's Project

This is a picture of the table behind my sales counter in my store. Can you tell I've sold quite a few bead necklaces lately? Can you guess what my project is for this week? Did you guess stringing bead necklaces? Ha-ha!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ankle Bracelets

I've been making ankle bracelets this week. Although the weather is still very un-Florida-ish, I'm optimistic that springtime will soon be here. Shorts and sandals equal bare legs, and I think all that bare expanse of skin needs a little bling, don't you? Check out what I've got in my Etsy shop, or on my website. Big ankles, skinny ankles?...doesn't matter! Since I make them to order, I can custom-make them any length you need. I can usually have them ready to mail out in 3 days or less, and shipping is only $2.00! Treat yourself!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Sonic Boom

The space shuttle coming home is an awesome thing. The twin sonic booms as it breaks the sound barrier can be heard and felt for miles! But last night was especially memorable. BOOM-BOOM! And I thought to myself, "ah, the shuttle's home!" But then there was more. A rattle-rattle-rattle of the air itself. You could feel it in your bones. The ground shook. The windows shook. And this went on for a good 15 or 20 seconds. You might think that's not very long, but look at your watch and actually time it. The usual boom-boom reverberates for maybe 5 seconds. I started to think it wasn't actually the shuttle, that maybe it was something weird happening in my neighborhood. I had to turn the TV to the NASA channel to double-check. Maybe it was because it was a night landing and things were "quieter" than they are sometimes during the day. Maybe it was the angle of descent that took it more over my house than usual. Or maybe it was just the old girl saying, "I may be being retired, but I'm not gonna let you forget me!"


Friday, February 19, 2010

Special Orders

Thank goodness for special orders these day! The weather has kept the usual crowds from shopping here in Cocoa Village, but I still have people bringing stones to be set or beads to be restrung or other assorted special requests. I recently restrung an old set of ivory beads for one woman, and encased a large uncut emerald in a freeform setting to be added to a heavy chain for a man's bracelet. On my clipboard of Things To Do, I've got a baggie full of vintage earrings to be remade into pendants (see The Luella Collection on my website if you've got some of your own you'd like made up!), and an order for an asymmetrical neck wire and a bracelet with blue cube beads (among other things).

Sure, I've got plenty of regular inventory to be made, too, but I enjoy doing the special orders because they usually make me think a little more outside the box than my normal jewelry-making requires after all these years. Every artisan needs a challenge once in awhile--keeps us fresh!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Florida Snowball

I am SO over this cold weather! This morning I had to scrape FROST off the windows of my car. There was so much of it that my son took the shavings and made a snowball! Bear in mind that I live in Central Florida (on the Space Coast due east of Orlando), and it's the middle of February. It should be in the mid-70's this time of year. Spring break time is just around the corner. All our northern friends who are sick of shovelling out from under REAL snow are going to be disappointed if they get down here and can't take off enough clothing to get a decent, I mean suntan.

Come on mid-70's!!!


Friday, February 12, 2010

I've Got Everything I Need, Thank You

This morning on my way in to my shop, I passed by a homeless guy sitting on a bench in front of the public restrooms. He was covered with a small, thin blanket and had a plastic grocery bag with some stuff in it on the ground in front of him. And I thought "there but for the grace of God..." Yes, my financial situation, like many others these days, isn't what it used to be. But I'm walking past this guy with my laptop over my shoulder, my brown-bag lunch in my tote, and $14.00 in my pocket. I'll bet that homeless guy would trade places with me in a heartbeat.

I'm glad I had this experience. It reminds me to be grateful for what I have. A roof over my head, food on the table, a car to drive and a little money to put gas in it. Etcetera, etcetera. Lots of stuff. Not to mention an amazing husband and a bright and beautiful little boy. And I am grateful. There may be stuff out there that I don't have that I want, but I've sure got everything I need.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


Those of us who live here in Florida apparently cannot function in cold weather. Last month we had record-breaking low temperatures, and even a Florida version of snow! (Kind of mushy blobs rather than flakes, but it wasn't exactly hail--they weren't totally frozen--and it was definitely not rain.) Again today it's cold. I don't like the cold.

Granted, our cold is not the same as our friends further north. I realize that there are people digging out from several FEET of snow these days. And yes, they manage to function normally for the most part. But there is a reason that those of us who live in Florida, live in Florida. We don't like cold. And we certainly don't like snow. I'll admit it's pretty to look at, but trudge around in cold, wet, clingy white stuff? No, thank you. I don't even like wearing long-sleeved shirts. I actually only own one, and it was a Christmas gift from a friend a number of years ago. I do have a few sweater-shirts, but they're all 3/4 sleeve.

Those of you who are dealing with cold and snow right now are probably scoffing. Yesterday our high was about 55 degrees. And it's going to be around 60 degrees where I live today. I know, heat wave, right? But you would be amazed, and probably amused, to see how everyday life slows to a crawl when it's that chilly in the Sunshine State. Traffic is lighter on the streets, there are no lines at the grocery store, and the only customers I've seen in my own store in the last few days have been snowbirds! (Those are our visitors from the north who spend time in Florida in the winter. We LOVE them, by the way!)

So I'm going to sit here in my long-sleeved shirt and two layers of sweaters and whine about the temperature. Simultaneously I will be sending positive thoughts northward to those of you who are really dealing with cold, and I will be admiring your fortitude. And I won't even mind if you think I'm pathetic!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Guys' Shopping Habits

Valentine's Day is coming. Would it surprise you if I told you I see a lot of men in my store on February 13th? (December 24th, too!) That's not to knock all guys, of course. Some are pretty good about thinking ahead. (My husband is actually one of them.) But others just can't seem to get it together before the last minute. My late stepfather used to call me the afternoon of December 24th or August 23rd--the eve of their anniversary--and ask, "So what does your mother want?" I'd always try to come up with some suggestions, of course, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "YOU live with don't have any idea what she might like?" And Mom is not that hard to buy for--she pretty much likes anything anyone in her family gives her.

Anyway, for those of you guys who might be considering an online purchase of some really great, unique artisan jewelry, you can check out my Etsy shop or my Artfire shop for ready-to-ship items that I'm sure your lady will love! I ship USPS first class, and your purchase will be in the mail the next day, I promise!


Friday, February 5, 2010

The Wrong Color

I have a ton of pictures to take of new jewelry that I've made recently, and yet I wore a red shirt today. For some reason the red reflects on whatever I'm trying to shoot and even with the great photo-editing software I have, I can't get the tint out of the picture. Rats. What possessed me when I was getting dressed this morning? Maybe I can find some fabric or a towel lying around here that I can drape over my front to cover up the red. Wish me luck!


Thursday, February 4, 2010


Amethyst. February's birthstone. And in my experience, one of the most popular colored gemstones around!

Amethyst is purple quartz, ranging in tone from pale lavender to deep, rich, almost-black purple. It is the "stone of meditation", and its energies are said to help amplify intellectual understanding, as well as protect the wearer from intoxication! (Although I certainly can't guarantee you won't get drunk while wearing your favorite amethyst pendant or ring!) It can also be used to attract good luck. I have some fabulous amethyst pendants, earrings, ear sweeps, bracelets, anklets, rings and necklaces. Check out my Etsy shop for ready-to-buy items, or my website for a look at everything I can make. I would be delighted to design something just for you!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Getting Better

I have to say that my new "resolution" from last month--writing a blog post before I allow myself to play on Facebook--seems to be working at about 70% effectiveness. If you don't count weekends, that is. But my schedule on weekends is different, so I guess I'll have to work on taking that into consideration. On weekdays, I take my son to school at 8:15 and then come straight to work, even though I don't officially open my store until 11:00. That gives me an extra couple of hours to focus on getting some uninterrupted "work" time in before any customers might arrive. On weekends, I tend to treat myself to a little extra sleep, plus those pesky household tasks like doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom, so I don't get in to work until about 10:00 at the earliest. Not enough time to do all the paperwork and computer business that I should do each day before opening. So I guess my options are: 1) Don't sleep in (hmmm...unlikely). 2) Don't do the laundry or any of those other household chores (impractical). 3) Get more organized and efficient so ALL tasks can be accomplished, even on weekends (wow...wouldn't that be great?) 4) Don't blog on weekends (the most likely scenario at this point)!

You can "vote" with your comments and follow along to see how well I do!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Single Mom

At this time every year, for about a week and a half, I get to play "single mom" while my husband is away on his annual camping trip. It always renews my admiration for those single parents who have to do it full time. I've only got one kid, and for the most part he's a pretty good one, but even so I'm pretty worn out by the time hubby gets back. So...kudos to all you single parents who are doing the best you can every day!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beautiful Pearls

I recently got a shipment of beautiful colored freshwater pearls, and I've got all kinds of interesting plans for them. Plus I'm sure additional "inspirations" will strike as I'm actually working with them. But this strand just screamed to be strung right away. Gorgeous deep teal blue, spaced with small sterling silver beads. Yum! (And don't you just love that fantastic piece of natural driftwood they're draped over? It's one of my favorite things to photograph my jewelry on!)


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ear Cuffs

I don't know what the deal is recently, but 8 out of the last 10 orders I've received on my various online venues have been for ear cuffs. Apparently there's a resurgence of these little cuties, and I know from many years' experience that they're not easy to find. Well, I've got 'em, and I've got lots of 'em! From thin, simple bands to ornate, climb-your-ear beauties with lots of beads, I've got a nice selection ready for immediate purchase in my Etsy shop, and I've got more styles available for order on my website. Check them out now!


Friday, January 22, 2010

So BAD About This...!

Just about every morning as I'm getting ready for work, I'm thinking about my business, my friends, my family...all kinds of things that I could write a blog post about. Then by the time I actually get to work, it's all flown out of my mind. I am so BAD about getting on here and writing. I always feel like I should include some kind of picture ("they" say that makes a blog more interesting). But if I haven't shot any new photography in awhile, that means I have to take pictures and edit them before I can blog. So I put it off. Then the next morning I think of some cool stuff I could write, beat myself up about not writing yesterday, and forget all about it when I get to work. I think maybe I should make a belated New Year's resolution and train myself to write something on my blog before I can go play on Facebook. You think that would work...?