Monday, August 31, 2009

Good bye summer!

School starts this morning and I can get back to work. It has been a great summer, filled with family and friends and lots of memories to keep us warm all winter long. Now it's time to get things cleaned up a bit and organized. I was checking out some blogs on this very topic and loved the craft room that Emily at Perfectly Put Together organized here. Is there hope for me? Hopefully I will have new studio pictures to post soon, but right now it still looks like a bit of crafting chaos.

Went to deliver some jewelry to a customer who showed me something she did with her vintage treasures from her aunt and mother. Love the idea. She covered a wreath form with velvet and pinned all her vintage pins to it. Since they are simply pinned on, if she ever changes her mind and wants to wear a pin or do something else with it, they are still in their beautiful, original form.

Best wishes to everyone for a good school year!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Booking it

Charlie's recent trip to his alma mater took him to the bookstore (where daughter Kristin dropped lots of cash on her textbooks). He poked around in the sports section with all the books on ND lore. This is of special interest because daughter Kate is a publicist for a publisher in NYC and as luck would have it, she is getting to do the PR on a new ND book that comes out next week. The book is called Resurrection and Charlie gave it two thumbs up since he was able to devour an advanced copy.

Reading is one of my favorite pastimes and I have been reading up a storm this summer and had some great finds. I thoroughly enjoyed The Help; it really made me look into how we treat others around us who we view as different, no matter what that difference might be. I found Anita Shreve's book, Testimony, to be a page turner, albeit very disturbing, especially to this mother who just sent a child off to school.

An interesting book our book club did last month was A Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks, and although it was a tough subject (the plague) it gave insight and discussion into the upcoming season with the Swine Flu. Now I am about to start the new Wally Lamb book, The Hour I First Believed, for book club once again. We are reading it in anticipation of going to hear the author speak in November.

What book have you been enjoying this summer?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fall is fast approaching and I went to the Bead Show of Philadelphia and found some fun new things to work with. At the same time, I just can't stop playing with all the vintage jewels I've discovered. I just love this old bling and can't wait until the new studio is finished so I can work without distraction!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good bye and good luck!

Well, the nest continues to empty as Kristin left to head back to Notre Dame for her Junior Year. Charlie made the 9 hour trip to his alma mater to get her set up. As you can see there was no room for anyone else! Yikes! That is a lot of stuff, and her room doesn't look all that empty. In fact, she is the third to move out and all their rooms look rather full.

My lonely only child left was so sad to see her was what better cure than to head to the beach for one last hurrah! There we were greeted with lots of cousins to keep us busy and what better fun than a picnic, planned totally by an 8 year old.

This was the view that I woke up to yesterday....makes it hard to come back to PA, but we did. We brought a few cousins in tow, and the chatter is most welcome.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Very Vintage

Ahhhh, vintage pieces! I love to work with them. I find myself wondering where they once were. Did someone wear this brooch to a special wedding? Did these earrings make it to an Inaugural Ball? Did someone buy these to look pretty for a soldier coming home on leave? There is a past and a history for each piece that makes me nostalgic when I create something new with them. Here are some pendants I made for someone using their mother's and grandmother's old earrings.....what will their legacy be?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Falling in line

Today Mark and I made our almost daily trek to to the farm stand near us to get some fresh produce. Corn was down to $2.00 a dozen because it was yesterday's corn! It tasted as fresh as I have ever had it! What do you think we are getting at the grocery store? Hmmmm..... But then out of the corner of my eye, I spotted it, and Mark did , too. A pumpkin! We all know what that means! *sigh*

Then I got to the mailbox. Crammed full of mail and catalogs (fall ones, I might add) was my big fat fall issue of InStyle! I was suddenly feeling a little better about school starting, crisp days, sweaters, jeans, and oh so cool accessories. I devoured it on the spot (comforting Mark with the thought that he does have a fall birthday after all).

Then, I saw them...everywhere....multi-strand "vintage-look" necklaces! Not at all unlike what's hot at Gales Designs....only each one of mine is unique and made from real vintage parts! I have been creating lots of different styles and the hardest part is having to sell them. But then I have a good excuse to get out and comb the flea markets for more treasure, right?

Here's a peek at a few of them.............

Silver, pearl and crystal on a silk ribbon.....

gold pearls and chain with a removable clip............

Lots of baubles and a chain for a modern flair.....................

Art deco rhinestone pendant on pearl and crystal with silk ribbon................

gold chains with crystal and topaz strand.................

gold chain and glass beads with flower embellishment......
Check out Elements of Style to see what is hot for fall....look how the necklaces complement the rest of the looks for fall, and head on over to Etsy to get your original pieces!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time for some work!

Mark is at the pool with friends and Kristin is getting ready to go back to school which leaves me free to get some work done! Earrings are selling well and so I got right down to business. Here are a few samples of the results:

Vintage earrings with new sterling earwires......these will make a statement!

Soft and sweet.....that describes these pearl on gold filled circles with earwires......

Classic.......champagne glass pearls on sterling rings with a little sparkle added in........

Another vintage mix.....vintage beads on new gold filled loops......

And always popular, black briolettes on hammered sterling.... a staple for the jewelry box!
Earrings like these will work for any and all occasions! But now back to make some more....and get some of these listed on Etsy and uploaded in Facebook, too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Here comes the Bride

Saturday was spent at a bridal shower that was so lovely and unique. I have blogged before about weddings but this one is especially fun to be a part of. The bride and groom are getting married in Manhattan (read more about it here) and that alone will prove to be an exciting weekend. Nice for us, too, since daughter Kate (and guest blogger, shown left with Joey and Pam) lives there and we will get to see (aka help move) her into a new apartment.

Bridey's shower had the feel of the big city in good old PA because of the atmosphere at Winedown, a cafe and wine bar in West Reading. Yummy food, festive decorations and good company added to the fun flair for the event. Hats off to the maid of honor and her mom for all their great ideas!

We designed jewelry for the attendants a few weeks ago and went over the details this weekend as well. I wish I could post the pictures here, but don't want to ruin any surprises. Everything has a retro/vintage flair, so you can't go wrong with that! And to top it off the bride showed me some very chic accessories she will be donning on the big day and she got them at none other than ETSY! Love to hear that these young fashionistas are out there supporting all of us who make custom handmade or vintage treasures.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Let the renovations begin!

I talked the fam into helping me get organized in my studio which is a lovely sunporch off the back of our house. I had painted the walls a warm yellow (after lots of trials finding the right color) and had plantation shutters installed but kind of quit the re-model after that.....until now!

I am painting some of the old oak furniture white, updating the shelves, touching up the paint and (boo hoo) getting rid of some toys and games my kids have outgrown in favor of some of my favorite things.

And trash to treasure (or junk to junque) will add some whimsy to the new look (I hope)!

Hmmmmm, a little droopy maybe?

But why do these projects take a half hour on HGTV and we are into day 5 and well, let's just say we seem to hit some roadblocks. (I did not expect the door to fall off the hinges of the old pie safe, so now before painting it we need to repair it.) Also, since all the furniture is out, all the beads and jewels re-located, what better time than to have the floor tiled? I just can't stop,hehe. But it will be done and soon I will have a studio that is a dream to work in! Hooray for Do it Yourselfers! It's always worth it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Big Birthday

Yesterday, my hubby surprised me with a camera for my 39th birthday (OK, the camera part is true) and here are my experiments so far! Yay for mother nature hooking me up with beautiful things to photograph (making me seem a little more proficient than I am). Here's to better blogging with my new tool at my side! Hooray!
Here's some black-eyed Susan's from my garden....

One of my favorite hydrangea bushes......

An indoor home for my starfish friends .........

another home for a starfish.......
(am I going overboard?)

My first attempt at jewelry photography (more help needed)

And thanks goes out to the most thoughtful man ever!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Starfish

I have to credit Mom's buddy Mike with introducing me to her beautiful decorative starfish collection in Florida and I have been loving playing with them here at home. I can adorn anything with sparkles, and what better than the starfish?

These are decorated with other shells and (what else?) VINTAGE pieces! I have been making some to hang and some to sit on a ledge or next to a candle or in a name it. They are all over the house, bringing me the beach all week long and of course inspiring good beach karma inside. I made some bigger ones but have given most away! A special one is on the mantle in Stone Harbor, overlooking the window to the ocean, maybe looking for some of his friends out there!

I also love the poem called "The Starfish" (author anonymous):

Once upon a time there was a wise man
who used to go to the ocean
to do his writing.
He had a habit of walking
on the beach
before he began his work.
One day he was walking along
the shore.
As he looked down the beach,
he saw a human
figure moving like a dancer.
He smiled to himself to think
of someone who would
dance to the day.
So he began to walk faster
to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw
that it was a young man
and the young man wasn't dancing,
but instead he was reaching
down to the shore,
picking up something
and very gently throwing it
into the ocean.
As he got closer he called out,
"Good morning! What are you doing?"
The young man paused,
looked up and replied,
"Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked,
why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out.
And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But, young man, don't you realize that
there are miles and miles of beach
and starfish all along it.
You can't possibly make a difference!"
The young man listened politely.
Then bent down, picked up another starfish
and threw it into the sea,
past the breaking waves and said-
"It made a difference for that one."

Make a difference today for someone! I know I have my own special starfish!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blogging for Bliss

Well I have been blogging for two months now and about the same for my Facebook and Etsy store! Things are rolling along, and as of this writing I have 218 fans at Gales Designs on Facebook (become a fan if you haven't done so already). I can't thank everyone enough for their support and encouragement. I have enjoyed the new chance to get my jewelry out there through blogs and social networks and have reached many fun new customers.

In reality, I get to know so many exciting people through the business that many of you have become good friends. Through our contact I get to catch up on what is going on in your life and you get to know more about mine! Thanks for that--it has netted my daughter a great internship, given me a great new pediatrician, helped me understand learning disabilities better and much, much more. I admire and respect those of you with your own blogs (some for family adventures, some for business ventures) but all so informative and inspiring.

I want to start to link you to some of my favorite blogs out there and no time like the present. A new book on blogging that has hit #1 in crafts on Amazon is Blogging for Bliss by Tara Frey. Check it out for yourself!

Summer is flying by!

We are back from another weekend at the Jersey shore. It was a great weekend of family and fun and mostly good weather, too.

This morning a truck whizzed by and it sounded eerily reminiscent of the school bus. I got goosebumps! We have a few more weeks to hang on to a loose schedule: eating from the garden, fresh picked raspberries by the handful, twilight tennis and dinner on the deck. Not to mention weekend getaways. Can you see why work isn't getting done like it should?