Sunday, December 30, 2007

My wishes for the new year

I haven't been as good about blogging as I have been in the past. I am taking some time to regroup and figure out some new plans for the new year. I feel really excited about having a website to send people to. Now I have to let everyone know that I am here! It is the hardest part of this journey for me. I have never been the "center of attention" kind of person. I have always been the kind of person who treasures quiet, quality time. That is one of the reasons I have such a passion to create. This year, I will learn how to make other people want to share in my passion.

This past week, I met with a Bride and her Matron of Honor. This particular consultation reminded me of just how much I love what I do! It is so gratifying to me to design just what a bride is dreaming of for her wedding day. I am given the chance to create pieces for her bridesmaids' that will always remind them of their friendship. And I take part in traditions that have been around for hundreds of years. What more could I ask for? Thank you for including me in your very special moments.

And the same sentiments go for my fashion jewelry customers! I feel so lucky every time I fill an order for you. I have had the honor of sharing a moment in your busy day to design a piece that fills a certain desire. Whether the piece is for your mom or your best friend, or just a special gift for yourself, I have participated in creating the exact piece that brings a smile to your face as you wear it or give it as a gift.

I am ending the new year with some heartfelt sentiments and hoping the new year is filled with good health and peace and lots of love!!! And weddings!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back from the holidays

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas. I visited with special friends that I haven't seen in two years, so mine was wonderful! It was so relaxing and I feel rejuvenated and ready to make jewelry, which is a good thing, because I met with a bride today who ordered all of her accessories and her 7 bridesmaids' jewelry! I love the selections she made and am excited to get started on her order. I just love working with brides! It is so gratifying and sparkly! I'm going to make this style with swarovski crystals of various sizes and shades. It will be beautiful.


So, have any of you got this going on in your homes?! My boys and their friends have been doing marathon Guitar Hero sessions! It really is funny to watch. They are soooo serious and they look like they know what they are doing! My sons have never played the guitar before. Yet they look like pros! I get such a kick out of it!

guitar hero

Maggie is so funny! She stole Colby's cookie. It is almost too big for her mouth and yet she runs around and looks for the best place to hide it, over and over again! It can take her two days until she actually eats it! The big dog, Colby, is such a good sport! Here he is eating. We think it is hillarious that he lays down to eat! He usually has his paws on each side of his bowl. son eats in the same way!!!!

Milkbone Maggie

Too lazy to stand

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lightning Bug Designs

I wanted to take some time to officially thank Leila and Lauren of Lightning Bug Designs for their tireless work in creating my long awaited website! Before I signed on to have them build me a site, I researched endlessly to find a reputable company. I had been very disappointed by two other web designers who really knew nothing about working with people. At the time, I was very let down by their lack of dedication and enthusiasm, but looking back, I realize how lucky I really was!

LBD runs their company with extreme professionalism. I have never experienced a business that performs with such competence and organization! It was a pleasure to do business with them and I wanted to share that with you!

My website was developed using a template based program called Zen Cart. Not knowing what zen cart even was, put me in quite a bind! My friends at The Switchboards all highly recommended LBD. I trusted their word and dove right in, attaining a start date. I had one problem. My assumed understanding of the process was nothing like what was actually about to happen! I guess I should have researched zen cart beforehand. I thought that zc was the shopping cart part of my site. I spent so much time just trying to decipher the information that was coming my way! It was like taking a college course! I feel sorry for Leila, but thank goodness, she held my hand and led the way!

Looking back, I realize how lucky I am. In learning zc, I now have full reign over the day-to-day happenings of my site. Before, I would have had to hire my web designer to change every picture, every word, and every detail. That would have driven my crazy. I love the fact that I am free to update my pictures as better ones are available. And I am free to add merchandise as I want.

To my customers, please know that I am always working at bettering my computer abilities. There is so much more for me to learn about. Bear with me and thanks for taking this journey along with me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Geneseo bound!!!!

The holiday season has brought our family a wonderful gift! My oldest son, Joshua, has been accepted to the college of his choice! And to make it even more of an accomplishment, he was accepted on early admission! He will be going to Geneseo in upstate NY. He is beaming, as are we!! We are so very proud of him. He put his mind to this accomplishment and made it happen.

Got in04

Got in01

Josh has always been a great student and when he decided to look into Geneseo, my only opinion of the school was that it was going to be VERY cold and far away. After researching and visiting this beautiful school, I, too, fell in love with it. This college is extremely competitive and very highly thought of. Not many of the applicants are accepted. My Josh was though!

Got in02

So, we went out for dinner to celebrate and I made sure to tell everyone that I could! We had lots of fun. And my mother-in-law and I tried to take it all in.

Then, I went to bed and reality started to set in. I began, for the first time, to really realize that my baby is going to go away. I was up all night thinking. I am feeling so happy for him, but I don't know how I am going to deal with it. I know that all parents have to deal with this, but I really I guess I will concentrate on the time we still have left and worry about next September in August! Who am I kidding?!!

I better get going with knitting his blanket! I have been making him a great heavy "college blanket". I have been knitting for so long and my boys have never let me make them anything! I have always been so disappointed about that! But now Josh has an interest and he picked out the colors. I've been working on it here and there knowing that I had time. Now, the time is coming closer!. He told me to get going with it! Off to get my project started!

Josh's college blankie

Josh's blankie

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fingerless gloves

I always wanted to knit a pair of fingerless glove. Here on Long Island, it gets very cold. Having kids to tote around, I never had the patience to wear gloves. I couldn't feel what I was doing and so I couldn't be bothered! You know how it is..."Boys. PUT YOUR GLOVES ON THIS MINUTE. IT IS FREEZING OUT!" And then you run out with no coat on yourself!

When I realized that I could use gloves AND feel what I was doing, I went right to knitting myself a pair! I love them and they really suit my needs! I highly recommend them.

Fingerless gloves

I actually made these from my own design. I like to challenge myself with designing my own patterns. I can't create complicated patterns, but I am able to copy shapes of other pieces. I made these with scraps of leftovers. The arm part is chenille yarn while the pattern and hand part is wool. I wanted the arm parts to be long so that they covered my arm up under my coat sleeve!

Tomorrow, I have a craft show to do at Josh's high school. I haven't done one in awhile. I don't usually sell much because people are generally looking for $5 items, but I need to start working more and I figured that this would be a good place to start. I'll let you know how it went!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No shabby chic mood today!

I usually LOVE working on my bridal line. The colors are soft and romantic and very soothing, to say the least. Truthfully, that is really my style. I love to work with tone-on-tone and texture in everything I do. My home is cozy and very neutral, my knitting is usually soft looking, and my studio is shabby chic. I am all about cozy and soothing.

Yesterday, I woke up and decided to go bright and bold. I have been seeing many designers working with heavily darkened sterling silver and I felt inspired. I decided that I love the stark contrast of the bright colors and black. I set out to find my brightest beads from my extensive collection and went to work. Funny thing is that I have always been very drawn to natural stones. I felt like it was pure heracy to dye innocent quartz a screaming pink or turquoise color! I only bought these dyed beads to satisfy orders. I NEVER thought that I would ever come back to them! It always works that way, doesn't it?!

Well, I mixed and matched and bended and twisted and here are the results! These earrings are part of my Eye Candy Line. I decided to introduce a fun, less expensive line that I hope will attract customer's who are looking for a quick, inexpensive, handmade gift. Hope you like them as much as I do. Fun, fun, fun!!!!

Eye Candy0101 - E489

Eye Candy02 - E489

Eye Candy03 - E489

Eye Candy04 - E489

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nikon D40X for L. Stone Designs

Chanukah really paid off for me this year!!! I got a present that I REALLY really wished for. Remember the Nikon D40X that I was freaking out over a few weeks ago? My wonderful, amazing, super, duper honey surprised me with one! I am jumping out of my skin over this! I didn't think that I could ever treat myself to that camera. It takes such clear pictures. I will have to retake all of my jewelry pictures for my website. That is a HUGE undertaking, but worthwhile. Thank you my sweetie! I love you.

Jacob wins the prize for the strangest/funniest gift request this year! He said he always wanted a metal briefcase like James Bond! You should have seen the grin on my husbands face when he walked out of the store with one of these in his hand! I guess it is a boy thing! Jake had the cutest reaction to it...he said that he wasn't going to tell his friends about this gift!

My oldest son's girlfriend, Melody, enjoyed a pair of sterling and jade earrings. I made them to go with the necklace that Josh gave her last year.

I am down to the last few bits of finalization for my website. I'll let you all know when my launch is! I will be having a great sale as soon as it opens- just in time to spend all of the cash gifts and checks you received as gifts for yourself!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Jake the wrestling god!

One of the ultimate joys of being the mother of boys is that I get to go to wrestling matches. I mean, who wouldn't want to see 8th graders grabbing each other and throwing the other to the floor as hard as they can? It goes against every grain of the mommy part of me! I have to contain myself from yelling to them to get off of each other and to stop fighting...that someone is going to get hurt. I have to sit on my hands and remember not to be mad at the other kid for grinding my son's face into the mat for as long as he can! Wrestling...I love it! Oh, and they do get hurt. A lot. And by, the way, mother knows best!!!

Jacob is large. He has always been one of the largest in his class, even when he was in pre-school. He only wrestles when there is a match for him on the other team. Today there was. After they took a child away in the ambulance (he broke his wrist), Jake started to limber up and get psyched for his match. He was really uptight. You could see it as he paced. Ira gave him some words of wisdom and off he went. I don't think he won any of his matches last year. It was his first year last year. Jake PINNED the kid! I was screaming like a wild woman! Secretly, I was mostly relieved that he didn't get hurt! Shh, don't tell him! It was amazing to see his feeling of accomplishment! Love you Jake. MWAH!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Chanukah Menorahs and Traditions

I wanted to wish everyone who celebrates this holiday a Happy Chanukah ! It is already the fourth night! Boy how time flies! This year, I am having a hard time getting in the spirit because it is so early. I like it better when Chanukah and Christmas fall out closer together.

Chanukah is filled with family traditions. I grew up singing our traditional prayers and lighting the most beautiful antique menorah. I love my mom's menorah. My dad bought it for her many, many years ago in an antique shop. When I got married, my parents bought Ira and I a beautiful sterling menorah that is more modern. We have used it every year for 20 years and now my children will grow up remembering lighting it.

My kids are chomping at the bit to open their gifts! When they werE younger, they received a bunch of little gifts each night and it was exciting. Now that they are older, there are much fewer gifts, but the gifts are bigger. They have to wait for the nights that we are getting together with family to open their presents and they are having a hard time being patient! Isn't that just what it is like to be grown up?! It isn't always easy! And so it goes...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Feminine bridal jewelry

I am so so so so excited! My website is set to launch on Monday! Please stop by and tell me what you think! I have been waiting for (I'm embarrassed to say)5 years for this to actually happen! I have attempted this 2 other times and have had bad luck finding responsible people. This time, I am thrilled with the results and can't wait to share my jewelry with you!

I was making a really pretty, feminine piece yesterday for my mother-in-law. I am so happy with it that I decided to make a bridal version, too. See what you think. The beads are all Swarovski crystal and light up the room. I can just picture this delicate necklace on a gorgeous bride's neck. I hope it will have the perfect home soon. And since Swarovski is available in every color under the rainbow, I am able to match it to Mother-of-the-Bride dresses or bride's maid dresses. If you know of someone who is getting married, be sure to tell them about my website!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Herringbone stitch sweater

Be patient with me as my quest for a website is slowly coming to it's end! I seem to have no time for extras. My time is spent either typing of knitting to unwind. And the rest is laundry and cleaning and loving my boys!

My mother-in-law asked me to knit her a sweatercoat. It is made with a beautiful stitch that we both had never seen and believe me...we have seen a lot of stitches! Between us, we have knit everyday for 60 years (combined I remind you)! We both carry our projects everywhere we go. She was my mentor 25 years ago. I loved what she made and couldn't believe what knitting could actually produce. From the first stitch, I was hooked. Being in college and knitting didn't go well together. Back then, the only cool thing to do was watch Wheel of Fortune and drink. I watched Wheel of Fortune and dreamed of knitting in the open. Only grandmas did that and I was in college. Well, I'm proud to say that I am now out of the knitting closet and proudly knitting on the train, during my son's football games, and everywhere I feel like it! I even make many friends who are interested in what I am doing!

Each sleeve is 27" across and this stitch is a very slow stitch! That's why I call this a labor of love! Until tomorrow!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Zencart, Templates, Photos, Oh My!!

I'm going to give a quick hello! I am working day and night to get my website completed. I had NO idea that it would be this much work! No complaints, just surprised! I have been entering information into zencart for what seems like days at a time. I guess that means that I have lots of choices to offer. "That is good." I keep telling myself. I get a little frustrated because when I take a peek, I wish I had the foresight to take my pictures differently. I want them all to match each other as well as the site. The picture taking was happening gradually with no idea about the website so I have to remember to give myself a break and realize that I can change things as I move forward.

That being said...I LOVE MY SITE!!!! I have to admit that I had no idea what I was getting in to when I signed up. I didn't realize some of what I was buying when I signed on with Lightning Bug Designs. They are wonderful with a capitol "W"! I have learned so much and Leila has put up with so much of my nitpicking! Or maybe I just know what I want. Anyway, she always obliged.

I did not know what zencart was. I didn't realize that templates played such a large role in dictating my website. I worked around it, but I do feel like the product page looks very "all over the place". There is no cohesion to the template. I feel like all of the details are just thrown on the page. Leila worked with me to get it as best as we can without going into a lot of custom charges. That is what I wasn't aware of before hand. I thought all of the pages were going to be customized, not just the first page.

Anyway, I do love my website and I highly recommend working with LBD. They got me through something that I never thought would happen! Thank you Leila and Lauren!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Felted wool

I have a passion for wool. I always have. I've been knitting for 25 years and not a day goes by without it! It is like your morning coffee. Well, last year, I thought I'd try out felting. It was in every magazine and it piqued my interest. Like every good crafter, I went to the thrift shops and started searching. It became a near obsession! I get such a thrill in seeing how the sweater fabric comes out after it has been shrunk! I don't know what it is. I am driven. I love the search for great colors and patterns. I love the fact that I am saving these sweaters from being destroyed. I love the idea that this will be exciting fabric to someone else. And it is fun to get out and have an excuse to shop!

felt scraps
felt scraps 01

I hope that I am able to connect with those of you who have a need for 100% wool felt. There are so many applications. I'm sure you know of someone who uses felt. I cut the sweaters into smaller pieces so that I can offer an array to those of you who need them. I feel good recycling, too. So pass the word and I will keep providing what I can. If you have a need for larger pieces and less color choices, let me know. If you are looking for certain colors, I'll keep that in mind. Have fun with these scraps. There are some really pretty colors to be had! And some really pretty things that you all make with them!

Maggie got in on the fun as well!

Maggie hides a cookie
felt scraps 03

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to work! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Mine was quiet as my family was scattered. But I thoroughly enjoyed cooking with my Jake, visiting with my mother-in-law, and enjoying my son Josh and his girlfriend. We were all together and for that I am grateful.

My husband, Ira, is a wonderful cook. He loves to try fancy projects and 99% of the time, he has amazing results! This Thanksgiving, he decided to make a ham. Being that we are jewish, we haven't made all that many hams... lots of chicken soup and matzah balls, but very few hams! He loves ham and so he bought all the wonderful ingredients and set about his dish. I wanted to show off his amazing results! Here is the before and after:
Daddy's Thanksgiving 07 01
Thanksgiving 07 01

We also made all the usual and the turkey came out just perfectly! I also had great luck with my pies this year! I have a thing with pie crusts and it is not good. I tried Martha's perfect pie crust and it really is doable and perfect! It really was so easy to do. Forget the store bought kind. I was actually so happy with the results that I took a picture! This blog thing is really fun! I never thought of taking pictures of my pies before!!!
One perfect looking pie

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note! I wanted to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays and I love being with family and friends. I know you do too, so I hope you are with the ones you love enjoying lots of wonderful food and laughs!

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Fashion Jewelry

Ok. Here we go! I am going to post some pictures of my fashion jewelry because I think that I have really made my bridal jewelry my main focus. I actually have been making fashion jewelry for five years until I added my bridal line and decided that I LOVED making a better class of jewelry to offer the brides.I think the pictures will actually work this time!
And I also have some earrings...actually, I have many earrings, but my website is opening in two weeks and I should leave some reasons for you all to go visit! Here are my favorite ones! I have been in a real earring mode lately and in designing, you go with what moves you!

And here is a bracelet-one I wear every day might I add! It's funny how certain things just catch you attention! It never leaves my wrist. I had no idea when I made it that it would become my favorite. I wear it with another charm bracelet that I made for myself with Amy Peters charms that my children got for me. I chose the "create" and "follow your heart" ones. It is very special to me. I adore her work.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Now I'm losing my patience.

What's going on? I can't add pictures to my blog. It is unacceptable. I am frustrated. I keep coming back here to try and nothing. I wish I chose a different company to go through. I was just getting in to this whole blogging thing and then I hit this roadblock. I guess that I will have to find a way around it.

Well I did have some beautiful fall pictures to share with you all. My son's friend visited from Florida last week (we live in NY), and she asked if the trees were always yellow! I laughed, but realized how much I adore the colors of the fall. They seem extra vibrant right now and so I went out on a color adventure. I've been so couped up with my website assignments that I haven't been out in a few days. The air smells fresh.

I am going to post about my adventures when I can illustrate them.

Back to my website assignment.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bye Bye Nikon

Well, I had to give it back. It was difficult, but I did it. It was the right thing to do. I gave back the camera. No more crystal clear shots. I guess I'll have to start saving my pennies! Or selling lots of jewelry! Come on everyone! Do a good deed. Buy lots and lots of jewelry so I can buy an awesome camera and show you far superior pictures!!!!

Well, I promised to share some of my favorite fashion shots. I have so much fun making fashion jewelry. It seems that every time a woman walks by with a cool necklace or earring, I run home to create a new design! Does that happen to all you jewelry designers too?! I can't turn on the tv without finding inspiration! Here are some pix. (If only I could upload them...damn Blogger glitch).

Thank you Aunt Debbie!

So I spent the day taking pictures! And yesterday too. I actually like taking pictures, but in excess of 300 is a little tiring. My sister-in-law did the most amazing thing for me. She lent me her Nikon D40 for a day or two. I have been salivating over her camera since she got it a few weeks ago. The pictures are crystal clear... just amazing. Don't get me wrong! I actually love my camera! It has been a good friend to me, but for the type of close-ups that I need to take of my jewelry, it doesn't always do the job. I know what I expect of it, but it doesn't always come through for me. And I have been feeling sorry for myself.

I am adding the product information into my website and my pictures are telling my story. That is why this issue has become so personal. Thank you Aunt Debbie. You came through in a big way! I am VERY happy with most of what I took. I have come a really long way in this journey of photographing jewelry! I think it is next to impossible to get good pix of jewelry unless you have professional equipment. I have tried every setting in every possible lighting situation! I think that there is no science behind it...just pure luck! And to top it off, I am trying to capture pearl and crystal. Try taking a picture of a clear glass and see how difficult it can be!

Here are some of my bridal favorites:

Stay tuned for my fashion jewelry best pix tomorrow!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fashion District shopping

Well, I finally got to NYC to pick up some materials that I need to get. I always have such a hard time keeping my purchases to what I went there for! Over the last five years, I have accumulated the most awesome collection of beads so I usually don't need too much any more. I just have to "fill in" with the most up -to -date colors. I also have to keep my pearl stock current and supplied. I, personally, never buy pearls on line. I MUST touch them and see the shine etc. It is such an important part to me of what I do. How the beads feel is just as important as how they look. Here are some pictures of one of the bead warehouses that I shopped in. It is so colorful...and soooooooo many choices!

The amazing thing to me is that I can actually choose beads with no plan in my head and then create just the right piece with them! It is great fun! I can't wait to actually get down to work. I have so many ideas in my head and never enough time to create!

My two boys are off galavanting in NJ. This is the first time they have ever gone anywhere by themselves. They actually went on the train to meet some special friends they made last summer. Our family took a trip to Israel for my 13 year old's bar mitzvah. It was an amazing trip and they met so many great kids. A bunch of them met in NYC and went back to one family's home for the weekend. I miss them, but they will be home soon. It has made me realize how different things will be next year when Josh goes off to college...

My knitting is coming along. For those of you who are new here, I am making preemie hats to bring to the local hospital NICU. Here are some pix. Aren't they cute? It is so much fun. I'm trying to find more people to contribute hats. If you know anyone who knits, please pass my blog address along. I want to make a difference. The hats don't need to be knitted. They can be crocheted or sewn. Send them along and ask me any questions.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Website begins!

Yay! I have been waiting soooooo long to say this.My website is being made! I sent over some pictures and answered my first set of questions! I am so looking forward to seeing what it will actually look like! I'll keep you all up to date. The beginning of December is the target date for my launch. I have heard such great things about Leila and Lauren of Lightning Bug Designs. I just know that all my failed attempts at a website are going to be put to rest and I will love my successful one!

Yesterday, I spent a good part of the day over at Flickr getting acquainted. I have put a few pictures up and joined a few groups so please go take a look! If you have any suggestions, please comment. I am far from being proficient with it yet, but I got the hang of what it is all about. I am hoping to meet some new people over there that have similar interests and maybe even a bride or 10 or 20! It is so amazing to me how many people there are in the world if you know what I mean! There are so many opportunities to connect with people in so many different ways if you just have the time and the inclination.

I actually got to make some jewelry today. I don't seem to be able to do that lately with all the computer work that I have been doing. It felt great. I'll post some pictures of my works in progress tomorrow. I didn't have my camera with me today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Is computer time worth it?

It happened again! I was up all night long trying to figure out this whole business thing. I started out with my business being home parties. When I used up every favor that I could pull out of the past, I moved on to trying to sell to boutiques. When that didn't seem to be productive enough, I tried to figure out a niche and I am presently working on bridal jewelry. I am sooo excited about my decision, but with that decision, came delving into the online world of blogging and websites and Flickr and everything else I can possibly think of! It feels like I am in school all over again. I knew nothing to start out with. Now I know next to nothing! I am wondering if this part of my journey is all that it is touted to be. I feel like I am on the computer 24 hours a day, which I actually enjoy, but it feels like I am in high school gabbing with my friends!!! Just like my kids do!!!

I guess that I need to hear some feed back about the successes and failures of networking on line. I have always been very confident about following my instincts and my instincts are very strong that I can connect, eventually, with the brides out there. It is also so much fun surfing the web wedding wise! But the $ is sparse and I need to make this work soon.

If you can take a minute, share your feelings about your experiences. I would love to hear what you all feel about this. Is my time and effort worth putting into networking online? I guess I'll figure it out eventually.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Spamalot for the boys

Well, I didn't get to go shopping as planned, but I had a wonderful evening anyway! I even got to take some pictures to share with you. I am so lucky to be able to go to Manhattan as often as I like. It is about 1 hour by car and we go in at least 5 or 6 times a year. This time, my mother-in-law was so generous as to buy my two boys tickets to see Spamalot on Broadway. It has been a tough two years for her and to see her enjoy this night with us to such abandonment was a wonderful feeling.

We had a yummy dinner at Juniors, famous for their cheesecake, and then she and the boys attended the play. My husband and I had a few hours to walk around and enjoy the gorgeous weather. We walked over to Bryant Park, my favorite part of the city, and saw that the skating rink had been constructed for the season. I was so excited! We sat and people watched. It was so refreshing to see so many people having such a fun time with their loved ones and family and friends! So many smiles. It was like we were on vacation.

As we sat and enjoyed, we received a text from Josh saying they were having a blast! I was so excited for them. You never know how boys are going to like a play! The funny part of this story is that my husband bought us two tickets for the same play in February without the boys and my mother-in-law didn't even know it at the time she bought her tickets! My boys were so disappointed when we only bought two! Grandma pulled through in a big way! And it really paid off! They can't wait for us to go now! Me either. My favorite person is going to be starring in it!!!
Here is a shot of the famous Times Square in all it's glory. Enjoy.