Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Button, button, whose got the (vintage) button?

I saw some cool vintage buttons at a flea market and although I paid more for them then I would have liked, I wanted to experiment with some button jewelry. The bracelets turned out really well (at least that is my totally unbiased opinion) and I hope to find some more, but honestly, these buttons go high on E-bay or at flea markets....however, I think they are worth it. Here are two versions of my button braclets but the possibilities are endless. Thanks to Kristin who is back from Spain who got some nice shots of the finished products!

The house feels full again! Mark is happy to not be an only child for at least a few weeks until she heads back to school. Still trying to enjoy what we have left of summer...I just love it!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cigar anyone?

Today I had an order for a cigar box purse. I started to make these when I first went into business six years ago and I still have some customers telling me they stir up great conversations when they use them. A cool client who is the owner of several of the purses contacted me today about doing one for each of her bridal attendants! This request took me to the basement to check out what boxes I had to work with (good reason to save things I guess) and so I was back to varnishing and trimming up some fun new accessories this afternoon...... perfect day for it! I made and sold many of these over the years, but recently I have had a few customers asking for them again. Yay for rediscovering an "old" (but new once again) passion.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Always a favorite

Yesterday I posted what was "hot" right now and will try to make a weekely post called "what's hot" just to keep you up on the current bestsellers. But some designs and beads are always popular and this brings me to turquoise. Kate's post last week featured a turquoise necklace and I must say that for the six (almost) years I have been making jewelry, turquoise has always been popular and makes a great fashion statement. Turquoise looks so great in the summer paired with bright colors like orange, green and more. It also looks great in the fall and winter paired with warmer colors like brown and tan and of course, when you put it with red, it is a classic anytime piece! The necklaces and earrings above (earrings are for sale on Etsy---see link on right) can be worn with a sundress this summer and will look equally great with a white shirt and jeans this winter! Great versatility and a good investment, since it never seems to get outdated!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The long and short of it

Earrings are something I love to make and fortunately they sell really well, too. What's hot? A long, linear look has emerged as a new favorite. The earrings pictured here have been selling really well and offer a sleek, cool look which can be paired with anything from a t-shirt to a cocktail dress. I will get some on my Etsy page (see link at right) to see how they do over there, but out of the "store" they are flying off the rack. Several pairs are making their way down to Texas with sister Michele! The Swarovski crystal cubes below are the most requested of the bunch.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back from the Beach!

Thanks to Kate for a fresh perspective and all her cool finds up in NYC! We had a great vacation along the coast (here we are in front of the Hatteras lighthouse). North Carolina is pretty and the wedding was so fun. It was also nice to get back to Stone Harbor. Not too many great beach finds this time, but I have a few new pieces of sea glass to add to my collection. It was great to see Michele in Stone Harbor and good to know that Gales Designs jewelry will be making its way down to Texas! Now I have to get back to work here......always keeping my eyes open on the road
for some new ideas!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Guest Blog: Brooklyn Flea Market

Nestled under the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn bridge is one of the coolest flea markets I've ever been to. The Brooklyn Flea Market features some great food vendors in addition to vintage clothes, shoes, jewelry, furniture, books, dishes, glassware, pictures--anything and everything you can imagine. There's a great view of the Manhattan Bridge and the market is adjacent to lovely Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, with outstanding views of lower Manhattan and a tiny speck of the Statue of Liberty visible in the distance.

While it's much smaller than Stoudt's Black Angus Antiques Mall, and also features NYC prices, the merchandise here is very focused and very high quality. Mom and Dad will be out for my cousin Joey's wedding in October--hopefully Mom and I can make time for an excursion to the flea market before they leave on Sunday!

Below, a few pictures from my day.

Above: a few of the jewelry stands I saw today! Some specialize only in jewelry, while others have a range of different vintage pieces--a few were both clothes and accessories. Below: my beautiful view of the Financial District in Manhattan!

Mom gets back tonight... so excited to see her blogs from her trip to NC! It sounds like a great time. Thanks for reading my guest blogs while she was away! Have a great rest of your weekend.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Guest Blog: Greetings from Greenmarket!

One of my favorite things to do on a nice day in New York is head out to the Greenmarket in Union Square. It features local farmers showcasing everything you can possible imagine them making or growing--meats, cheese, produce, herbs, fish, flowers, baked goods, even wool. There's something of a social element to it as well--there are usually at least three different groups advocating different 9/11 conspiracy theories, various religious evangelists, voter registration drives, and occasionally an Adopt-a-Pet stand.

New York City and Lancaster are pretty different, but many of my childhood memories from growing up in Lancaster County involve Mom taking us to Root's, an Amish market near us that also featured a flea market portion, where she's gotten some fantastic vintage pieces. While the Greenmarket here does have some artists displaying their wares, there's not a jewelry vendor in sight. Wonder if Gales Designs should join the ranks?

A few of my favorite pictures from today...

Reminds me of our garden at home! Love the black-eyed Susans.

I don't even like radishes, but the colors here are gorgeous!

Jersey peaches... perhaps the perfect food? And in peak season now... I couldn't resist buying half a dozen.

No berries this time for me. I've also never been a huge fan of cherries. But I love the shades of red in this picture!

That's all for today--happy Saturday! Updates from the Brooklyn Flea Market tomorrow!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guest Blog: Fashion Friday

One of my very favorite blogs, Elements of Style, is mostly about interior design but does a fun feature called Fashion Friday. The entire blog is always a wonderful read, full of great ideas and absolutely beautiful things. It's also inspired me to guest blog a little Fashion Friday post here.

My closet is full of neutrals--at least 95 percent of my clothing is black, navy, beige, gray, or white. (And most of the rest of it is green, which should not surprise anyone who knows me). This makes putting together outfits before work pretty easy, but it can definitely get boring sometimes. Luckily, Mom is well acquainted with the sort of jewelry I like and always has great advice and ideas on how to make what I wear more interesting.

I have worn this chunky turquoise necklace (above) more than I care to admit this summer. I like turquoise in winter, too, but with a white blouse or black or white T-shirt, this necklace paired with small silver earrings has become a summer staple. Mom does lots of work with turquoise, but this is, to me, just the right size and just the right length for a dress, crew-neck or v-neck top, or collared blouse. It's also just the right shade of turquoise--not too blue, not too green, not too vein-y. I love the idea of pairing it with a breezy white dress--I have coveted the Esmee dress (left) from Anthropologie for something casual and summery. It just needs one pop of color (and a great tan!) and I think the roundish chunks of the necklace would work particularly well with the squarish neckline of the dress.

One of Mom's new projects is making bracelets out of mismatched vintage earrings. (You can read a whole post she wrote about these beautiful creations here!) She gave me this bracelet (pictured above) to match a green cardigan, but I find myself wearing it all the time. It's great with my neutral clothes, and when I wear green, the bracelet has enough different shades that it complements whatever color green I happen to have on. It's a great way to use color without being overly matchy, which isn't my favorite look. When I head to the flea market on Sunday, I'm hoping to find some great old earrings for her! Fingers crossed that I find some blues ones--I'd love one of these bracelets in blues. Or maybe pink? So many choices...

Mom made these earrings for my birthday (shown in green, above--they're also in white!) and they became one of my go-to pieces immediately. Sometimes larger or more dangly earrings get stuck in my long hair, so in the mornings before work I find myself gravitating to the same pearl or silver studs. No more! These are about the diameter of a quarter and are just the right size for "statement studs" that work day or night and can be casual or dressed up. I love how well they pair with a dress or top that has detail around the neckline, making wearing a necklace difficult. I have several ruffly blouses that I often wear to work (with cropped pants now that summer is finally here!) and these earrings definitely complete the ensemble. I love the Rowena dress from Calypso Christiane Celle--it's a light, breezy dress with a beachy-bohemian vibe. The detail around the neckline is beautiful, but you would need great earrings to complete the look. I'd definitely go with the white pearl flowers for the black version of this dress, my personal favorite (it's also in blue, green and pink).

What next? I am really loving Mom's new repurposed vintage layered necklaces... my favorites are this one (I'm so happy there are so many great vintage pieces in gold!) and this one (I love the ribbon!). Can't wait to go home to Lancaster and check them out--they're better than anything I've sene in NYC!

Have a great weekend! I'll be updating later this weekend from NYC before Mom is back from North Carolina. She says hi as well!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Guest Blog: Hi from NYC!

Hi everyone!

I'm Kate, one of Beth's Gales Designs employees (and oldest child!) and her official guest blogger for this weekend. I'm so excited to be part of this blog! I helped Mom set it up a few months ago and have been so happy to see it grow.

A little bit about me: I graduated from Notre Dame and now I live in Manhattan and work in the publicity department of a book publishing company. I love my job and living in city! Tomorrow, I'll be posting a bit more about myself, showing you some of the things I love right now (including my current favorite Gales Designs pieces).

I spend a lot of time walking around the city, exploring new neighborhoods and looking for inspiration to pass along to Mom. This weekend, I am going to the Union Square Greenmarket (a fantastic local farmer's market, and tomato/peach/sweet corn season is my favorite!) and venturing to Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Flea Market in DUMBO, and maybe taking a stroll through SoHo. Mom and I have been to some great flea markets in PA where she gets some of her vintage pieces, but this is my first trek to the one in Brooklyn. Maybe I can convince her to take a buying trip up here!

The picture at the top is from Tuesday's performance of the New York Philharmonic in Central Park. It's an amazing event--you can read a New York Times recap here--and I have gone for the past two years with some current and former coworkers and friends. We also watch Lost together in the winter, but this was such a great NYC night--picnics, friends old and new, and actually seeing stars (the kind in the sky!) in the city.

More to come tomorrow! (And safe travels to NC, Mom & Dad!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Time for a drink!

This is wedding season and we are happy to be attending a few weddings in the coming months of some very special people! This means lots of fun showers, too. I like to give something personal, handmade and of course, something beaded. Here is what I came up with...... wine glasses with wire wrapped/beaded stems! So fun!

My business is called Gales Designs, unique jewelry and gifts.....and if you were wondering what the gift part of that tagline is....check out the glasses above! I have beaded lots of spreaders, salad tongs, pie servers, you name it!
Speaking of weddings, we are off to North Carolina this weekend to see Sean and Jo tie the knot! Can't wait to check out the beaches there (sea glass maybe?) and see old friends. Watch for a special "guest blogger" while I am away!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bead it!

Wow, went to a bead show on Saturday. I am always trying to use up my vast inventory of beads and vintage supplies because it seems beads and jewels are taking over the house! But I couldn't resist the chance to take a sneak peek at what is out there for fall beading projects, so Charlie, Mark and I went to the York, PA Intergalactic Bead Festival on Saturday. Of course I found some really cool stuff. I fell in love with some shell pendants, some new pearls and stones, including an unusual new stone (for me) called Tibetan Agate (I am holding some in one of the pictures). Here are some pictures from the show so you can see why I was in bead heaven!

More Retro-Redo's

Here are a few more pictures of what I did with all the vintage from the flea market!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

To market, to market....

Hit the flea markets this week and found some really beautiful beading treasures. I just love to work with these unique finds and can hardly stand to take them apart to use in other creations (sometimes I really just can't)!

I have turned some of this cache into new designs for the "Retro-Redo" collection which has been so popular. I hope to get some of these on my Etsy online store ASAP, but a few are finding new homes as soon as I make them.

Multi-stranded necklaces will be all the rage for fall once again and statement necklaces are always a trend! Ribbon adorned necklaces will be staying popular, too. These are so versatile because you can change the length to accommodate whatever neckline you happen to have on!

Here is a great vintage pin on a necklace made with new beads, lapis chrysolla stones and Swarovski crystal. The pin can come off and you can wear the necklace plain and the pin would look fabulous on a ribbon belt or lapel. Vintage pins are a way to make any necklace look a little different or to jazz up any outfit!

New chain and beautiful green coin pearls with a vintage clip, also removable! The flower can clip on a plain chain for a totally different look and of course the necklace can be worn plain as well.

A personal favorite, this necklace boasts vintage chain, a vintage tassel drop and some brand new gold findings.
More fun surprises are coming as I get ready for fall shows and also to fill some orders for local boutiques. Watch for more pictures and get ready for layers! To steal a line from J.Crew latest fashion tip....get stranded!

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Shore thing

We had a great weekend at the beach! Good weather, good food, good family time. Not sure who came out the winner in all the board/card game competitions, but I think a good time was had by all. I finished reading Love Walked In (Marisa de los Santos) which I really enjoyed and recommend for a nice summer read. But the real fun for me was finding sea glass to add to my collection on my morning walks! And it surely was a great weekend for that! I got some great pieces to add to my growing collection as well as some nice pieces to convert into one of a kind pendants! All this with the help of my nephew with the self-proclaimed "best eye", Boomer (seen searching above and his hands here hold his discoveries).

Sea glass is colored glass made smooth by tumbling in the sand and surf for many years . By a great coincidence, I was reading the novel , Sea Glass, by Anita Shreve and Mark (quite little at the time) was digging in the sand beside me and found my first and favorite piece, a beautiful cobalt blue (probably an old Noxema jar I left on the beach in high school). I have been a lover of these colored pieces ever since! Most of mine come from New Jersey but I found some fabulous pieces in Bermuda. I also have been the lucky recipient of an annual supply from the Schroders who have a secret sea glass hiding spot in Rhode Island (this is on my "bucket list" to visit). So cool! I wonder about each piece and how it came to rest on the shore line. Could it have been on the Titanic?
A real great resource to have if you want to know more about sea glass is the book Pure Sea Glass by Richard LaMotte. Love the book, the pictures, the inspiration! This article gives a nice summary of his work and the collecting of sea glass in general!

I have been creating sea glass pendants with some of my treasures over the past few years (see my Etsy store ). I even did some for a bridal party at a beach wedding! I have done custom pieces with pieces from other collectors and love how each one turns out just a little different. So keep your eye out next time you are at the beach. You might find one of these gems for yourself and you can make up your own story about its journey!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

I am busy getting ready for the beach this weekend! Lots of prep goes into a weekend away! Watch for some fun posts as the cousins get to hang out and three generations of family enjoy some quality time together. I see the Rummikub, Scrabble and multiple packs of cards are sitting on the "to-go" pile! Watch out, Karen. Michael hasn't forgiven you for beating him in Old Maids 18 years ago!

I got the new Weight Watchers magazine and hope to try out the beach workout. I have struggled to keep at the diet and exercise with the summer routine getting in the way! (I know excuses, excuses). I have high hopes going into this but when it comes right down to doing it, well that is another story....margaritas might be the only exertion for me on the beach this weekend! I am counting on my sister Karen, who is much more disciplined (and obviously more competitive in the games department) than myself to keep me on track! Stay tuned!

I have a few good books packed....I am loving Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. I have my book club book to finish (Year of Wonders by Geraldine March) and might try to see what Twilight is all about!

Be happy and safe this weekend and hope you get to enjoy a little break with family, too. And if you are an ex (almost) sun worshipper like myself be sure to bring the sunscreen!

And congrats to Debbie from Reading, PA, who won the free pair of earrings! Look for another giveaway soon and thanks to all who entered! Join me on Facebook (become a fan at Gales Designs) where I will put lots of new pictures!