Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review - The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

The Success Principles How To Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield was given to me when I was visiting a friend's office and found it on the bookshelf.  I started looking through it and liked what I saw, so she told me to take it, they had all read the book already.

This is not just a business book, it's a change your life book. The thing I like about it is that Jack Canfield gives clear principles and how to put them into practice. Then he gives examples of how other people used the principles and what happened as a result.  He talks about goal setting and overcoming obstacles and boosting your self-esteem  This book contains practical advice.  I've read other books that are so complicated that there isn't an easy way to use the advice in daily life (like the very complicated The 7 Habits of  Highly Effective People).  Jack Canfield talks to you in an easy to understand way. He even gives a web address where you can download forms that can help you.

At the back of the book are resources and suggested reading to add to your knowledge. He doesn't claim to be the only authority on the subject. It seems that he really wants to help you get where you want to go.

There is one chapter on saying "No". That was always difficult for me, if someone asked me for a favor, to volunteer for a committee or to help out with a project I couldn't say no. Then I would get behind on my own scheduled things to do and I would get stressed out and sometimes get physically ill from the stress. After reading the chapter on saying "no" I realized that it's ok to say no if you do it the right way.  Life got easier.

This book has impacted my life in other ways too but you don't need to hear all my stories.  Read the book, change your life and make your own stories.

Please feel free to make comments about this book. I would like to hear what you think.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book Review - Live Your Dreams by Les Brown

The book review for this month is Live Your Dreams by Les Brown.  Back when I was in sales working for a major insurance company we would go to sales seminars once a year.  They were usually in beautiful places like Hawaii or Palm Springs or Aspen and that's where the sales leaders would receive reward plaques and we would have speakers come in for the morning sessions.  One year the speaker was Les Brown.  He was incredibly motivating. That seminar changed the course of my sales career and the next year I was one of the sales leaders up on stage receiving an award.

This book isn't just for sales people, it is for anyone that wants to improve their life. Les Brown gives you a personal formula for success and happiness.  He says "My mission is to get a message out that will help people become uncomfortable with their mediocrity. A lot of people are content with their discontent. I want to be the catalyst that enables them to see themselves having more and achieving more."

I love his approach to life. He says "when life knocks you down, you should always try to land on your back...because if you can look up, you can get up!"  Is that great or what?  He was an inspiration to me because he had a very difficult beginning to his life and so it is very easy to believe what he says because he lives what he says. When he was a child he was adopted, along with his twin brother, by a 38 year old single woman, cafeteria cook and domestic worker, who had very little education or financial means. In fifth grade he was classified as "educable mentally retarded" and he let the label dictate who he was. Then a special teacher made an impact on him that changed the way he looked at himself.   He has many successes in his life and I'll let you find out what they are by reading the book. It's an excellent book bound to inspire you to Live Your Dreams, to be a better person and to realize that anything is possible because there is greatness within you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Review - ReWork

Being an entrepreneur I like to read business books to keep up on trends and to give me ideas on marketing and sales.  I've decided to review the books I've read so you can decide if you want to read them also. 

The first book I'll review is called "REWORK" by Jason Fried and David Heineeier Hansson.  The authors are the founders of a very successful computer software company called 37signals.

I really enjoyed REWORK.  Yes, enjoyed a business book, who knew there was one out there that one could enjoy.  This is not your typical business book. These guys are down to earth, keep it simple, use your common sense kind of guys. The chapters are short, only a few pages long, and they write in language you can understand.  They go against the typical advice that every other business book says, and I love their advice. They take a no-nonsense approach to business that is refreshing.

The line on the inside cover that got me to buy this book was, "... artists who don't want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages" and I agree 100%.  I think even people in big corporations should read this book.  There is too much red tape in Corporate America.  I worked in the insurance industry for a good part of my career and there were more meetings than there was work.  There were meeting to plan other meetings, meetings to summarize what happened in previous meetings, and meetings that just didn't seem to accomplish anything.  In this book, the chapter on meetings is titled "Meetings are Toxic". 

I think we all tend to get bogged down in the mire of "the established rules of business". Like having to write a business plan and finding investors and having meetings. Basically they say to stop talking and start working.  This book will make you think  and look at things in a different way. It's not just theory, these guys have built an extremely successful company using the wisdom that they share in the pages of this book.

My favorite line in the book, and also a title of a chapter, is "Build half a product, not a half-assed product". Good advice, maybe another well known software manufacturer should take that advice. There is so much that I like about this book, well actually I like everything about this book, so it's hard not to quote the whole thing while reviewing it. Anyway I don't want to give away anything.  It doesn't matter where you are in your work life, whether you work in the corporate world or have your own business or you are just thinking about starting a business, the advice these guys give will work anywhere.

If you have read this book, please let me know what you think of it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October Birthstone

This month's birthstone is the Opal.  The opal is the perfect stone for October because of the explosion of beautiful colors, not unlike those of a magnificent rainbow or the changing colors of the leaves on the fall trees.  The Opal derives its name from the Latin word "opalus," meaning precious jewel.  Having the unique ability to refract and reflect specific wavelengths of light, the Opal was valued by the Romans and called "Cupid Paederos" meaning a child beautiful as love.  One legendary explanation for this gemstone's origin is that it fell from heaven in a flash of fiery lightning.
A gift of Opal is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence.  And the powerful energy radiating from this fiery gemstone will surely illuminate any occasion! 

If you are interested in a custom made piece of jewelry, possibly made with an Opal, you can contact me a

Enjoy your October and the changing leaves.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall Is Here

Yeah!  Fall is here and the weather has cooled off and the leaves are starting to turn.  It's my second favorite time of year; spring is my favorite.
In honor of fall and my friend Regina's birthday I made the vintage look earrings shown at the left. 

The stone is an amber color Swarovski Rivoli crystal.  The picture makes the metal look different colors but the earring is all one color metal. These earrings can be found at my store, and here is the link to them  My Best Friend's Earrings

I hope you will visit me at one of the craft fairs listed at the right.  The one that I'm doing on October 9th is an all hand made craft fair called BarronFest at Parker Press Park in Woodbridge. This will be my first year doing this fair and I look forward to being there.

Have a great fall and I look forward to meeting you all at one of the craft fairs.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Changes Coming

It's almost the official end of summer, only a few days away and I'm excited about the upcoming fall. I like fall a lot, if only it didn't lead to winter I would like it even more. So many things are going on with my business I can't wait to tell you.

First let me tell you the big news. As you may know, I discovered while doing some craft shows that there are other jewelry sellers out there with the business name Designs By Denise. So I did some research and compiled a list of new names, then put a survey on my newsletter and website to get opinions on what the new name should be.  As of September 1st the new name will be:

McLachlan Design Studio

I'm so excited about the change, but it was a lot of work getting all new business cards and post cards printed, having a new banner made, etc. I wanted to get it all done before the upcoming craft fair/holiday season.  I'll have a new banner on the website, here on my blog and also on my  Etsy Store.

I've also opened a new store at 1000 markets and will eventually phase out jewelry in my Etsy store. My jewelry business won't change, just the name. In addition to the current jewelry I'll be adding more sterling silver bracelets and a new line of rings. 

In addition to craft shows and my online presence I am starting to do Home Parties also.  This way I can come to you, so you can shop from home.  I realize that sometimes it's difficult to get to a craft fair, you work all week and want to get errands done on the weekend.  Shopping online is sometimes difficult because you want to see the piece in person, touch it, try it on and that can't be done online. If you want me to come to your home or your office just let me know. My email address is - tell me what date and time and leave your phone number.  I'll call to get directions and answer any questions.

So, you may be thinking, "Why all the changes?" That's a good question. First is that I want to make shopping for jewelry easier for you, give you more of a selection and be able to keep my prices reasonable.  Etsy is costing me a lot and for some reason I am not selling on their site. 1000 Markets is much more cost effective which will help to keep my prices down and less overwhelming in terms of the number of sellers.  The price of silver and gold just keeps going up and I want to keep my overhead down so I don't have to pass it on to you. That's why I'm changing my sales venue. Doing home sales will be much better for you as a customer, saving you time, as I mentioned above. And adding more jewelry selections will give you a broader range of jewelry to choose from and help you with your holiday shopping.

I look forward to seeing you at one or all of my craft shows (listed in the box to the right). Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have a special order. I'm always willing to work with you on that special piece of jewelry that you need for an outfit or a gift.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Finds

Instead of writing a Team Tuesday I decided to do a Friday Finds this week.  It's still a NJ Team Member that I'm featuring with a different angle, I choose one item in the store.  My Friday Finds pick is Autumn Witch ORIGINAL by The Vintage Sister.  This piece caught my eye because it is so original.
I love the way several different types of media are used to create the picture, and the Halloween uses of this are great, but it is such a fun picture you could use it all year round.  The piece is signed by the artist, Tracy. One good thing is the piece measures 8 x 24 inches, so it's a nice size and can fit in lots of places. Look at the details of the picture, even the spider, which is made of vintage buttons, is so unique. 

Here is a link to this item in The Vintage Sister's store:
Autumn Witch ORIGINAL

Check out the other items in The Vintage Sister's store, she has some really cute things, her store link is The Vintage Sister

I hope you enjoyed Friday Finds and will leave a comment. 
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gearing up for the Holiday Season Ahead

Yes, I know, it's been a while since I've blogged. Life has been a bit overwhelming. February 26th was my official last day at a traditional job, since the company that I worked for closed and put 100 of us out of work. Oh well, it happens, that's life. So I've been spending a lot of time on my jewelry business, trying to get it going so I don't have to go back to work. I've also been looking for a job, my plan B. Or is building my business plan B? At this point I'm making slow progress on both fronts.

I do however have a great plan for this holiday season, and that's doing the craft fair circuit. So far I have 4 shows lined up and I'm very excited about doing them. Last year I started doing craft fairs in November, and had so much fun. I am looking forward to this year and have some great shows to go to. Here is my list so far:

October 9th - Barron Fest in Woodbridge, NJ this is a juried craft fair
November 13th - Sgt John F Basilone Columbiettes craft fair in Raritan, NJ
November 20th - PTSA Holiday Craft Fair in Brick, NJ
December 4th - BRHS Band Parents Association Craft Fair in Bridgewater, NJ

Come out and visit. If you tell me you are a follower of my blog I will give you 10% off of your order total. I'm even including free gift wrap.

There are great new pieces of jewelry for you to get for yourself or for people on your gift list. I'm excited about the new techniques that I've learned using sterling and 14K gold wire and can't wait to show you. I also picked up some new beads at the bead show recently and have been working hard to make some new pieces for you.

September I will be announcing the new name for my business, so if you took my survey, watch to see if your suggestion was the winning name.

Happy crafting, I hope you see you soon.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Team Tuesday for August 3rd

Happy Tuesday!  Today my featured Etsy NJ seller is Living Vintage.  This is the first vintage shop that I have featured, and that surprises even me because I love vintage. I collect Nippon china and depression glass (that is, when I have a job to support my collection bug).  Lynn the owner of Living Vintage has 2 shops, I'll list them below, but today I'm focusing on her vintage collection.  She has some great finds, so please check out her store, and right now she is having a 10% off sale.  My favorite piece in the store is the vintage blue pressed glass dish, it's so pretty.  Here are the links to her shops:

Here is an Etsy mini of her store:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Team Tuesday, July 27,2010

Today's Team Tuesday features Visual Punctuation. Liz is another jewelry maker and she has very cute, unique items. Her cuff bracelets are so different, I have never seen anything like them. Being a jewelry maker and beader myself I appreciate all the hard work that must go into her bracelets. She also sells earrings and necklaces which are very pretty. Here is a few of the items from her store. For more, check out her Etsy store at

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Team Tuesday - Robyn's Nest

Today on Team Tuesday is Robyn's Nest Boutique.  Robyn has some unique soaps to offer, they are not the usual square shapes.  You'll find popcorn, pickles, gummi bears, lolli pops; all so cute and they would be great in gift baskets. My favorite is the longevity knot.  Find her store at  and here is a peak at some of her items.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Team Tuesday featuring Accessoryholllc

Hi Everyone.

It's been a while since I did a Team Tuesday and today I am featuring Accessoryholic's store of beautiful jewelry.  Here is her Etsy mini and if you get some time check our her Etsy store at  Right now she is having a Christmas in July sale.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What is your favorite vacation?

What is your favorite vacation?  Was it when you were a kid?  How about as a parent taking the family on a vacation?  Or maybe it was your honeymoon... Please read about mine, then tell me about yours in the comments.

My memories of family vacations at the shore are the best.  When we were kids  my parents would rent a bungalow at the shore for either a week or 2 weeks. It was probably the most economical vacation for us because there were 6 of us kids and we could eat most meals at the house.  It was great because the bungalow was usually a block from the beach, so we could walk there, Mom didn't have to pack up the car.  We would spend all morning at the beach, then go back to the house for lunch and if we wanted to go back to the beach in the afternoon we would or we would hang out at the house reading or flying kites. 

My favorite reading materials were library books, I would stock up on them before we left home.  But even better were comic books from the little shop up the street from the bungalow.  I always had enough money put aside to buy several of  "The Archies" comic books; they were only 25 cents at the time.  If they were out of "The Archies" I would get Superman or another superhero comic book.  The funny thing is that I never read comics at home, only on vacation at the shore.

Then at night we would go to the boardwalk and go on the rides or play the games in the arcades or bet on the wheels on the boardwalk.  One year I won this huge stuffed snake, it was bigger than I was.  I was so happy.  It probably cost me more in bets on the wheel than it would have to just buy it, but I was happy.  I carried that thing around the boardwalk like it was a trophy.  In the arcades we would play pinball.  I'm showing my age, but that was the big game at the time and most of the games cost a nickle, some were a dime and the most expensive were a quarter.  You only played those if you were a pin ball wizard because it was really difficult to wind free games on the 25 cent machines. 

The last thing I'll tell you about, cause this is getting long, is the food.  Oh the wonderful smells on the boardwalk..... pizza, cotton candy, Philadelphia cheese steak, peppers and onions (I don't eat them but the smell, mixed with everything else made the atmosphere).  We always had to get a box of salt water taffy, it was the best.  I've tried salt water taffy in other parts of the country but it just isn't the same as the Jersey shore.  My favorite thing and probably the worst thing I could eat was cotton candy. My mother had a fit if we asked for it, but would relent at least once during vacation. As an adult I can understand that she was probably seeing multiple visits to the dentist in that pink and blue fluff, but we were just loving the sugar rush.

Well, I could go on and on but I won't. Now I don't get to spend much time at the beach, just too busy and don't really like the crowds.  I can still remember that wonderful, feeling of being so close to the ocean, the fresh salt air, the sounds of the gulls and all the lights of the boardwalk. 

What is your favorite vacation memories?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Remembering Dad

June is a very emotional month for me, it's the month that my Dad passed away and it's the month that we celebrate Father's Day.  So, every time I turn on the TV or the radio, I am barraged with advertisements about finding the right gift for Dad.  Not that I'm taking away anything from anyone else, but it's just really hard for me to hear it.

My Dad was a great guy, he was low key, yet funny and fun and smart.He loved dogs and his cars, I found a picture of his car that my Mom sent to him when he was in the Navy and on the back  was written, "Here is a picture of your other love."

The picture is my Dad, the guy on the right and his brother is on the left. They were at a Hawaiian party.

I'm not sure that there was anyone that didn't like him. Although, I may  be biased there. He would do anything for anyone, and once he got to know you, you were practically a member of the family.  All of my friends thought he was great.  When I lived in St. Louis he came to visit me for about a week.  I lived in an apartment complex where there was always a social event going on.  When he first arrived they were having a happy hour at the clubhouse and he came along with me and fit in like he was one of the gang.  So many people came up to me and said "Your Dad is so cool, I could never see either of my parents hanging out with me".  The whole week he came to all the social events, he even met neighbors that I didn't know. When the end of his visit arrived, all of my friends tried to convince him to stay. 

Then I moved to Chicago and he came to visit and help me move. Again he fit in easily with my friends and of course they thought he should stay longer.  About 10 years later I was back in St. Louis and my Dad was living in Florida.  He had had a stroke and wasn't doing great although he was able to be independent. My brother had suggested that I move there to keep an eye on him.  I sold my house and quit my job and moved to Florida to live with him and make sure he  was ok.

We went to all of his social events, dances, bowling, and even the seniors single group happy hours every Monday.  Nine months after I moved to Florida he had another stroke and 3 months after that he passed away.  There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him.  I miss him very much.  I was very lucky to be able to spend the last year of my Dad's life with him. We had a lot of fun together, and I was able to be there for him when he got sick. 

Here is what I learned, that you should appreciate people while they are around. Let your parents know that you love them.  I know, as they get into the "golden" years sometimes they can be worse than 2 year olds, stubborn and demanding (like my Mom). My Dad was easygoing and a pleasure to be with even in the end.  But you don't have a lot of time to really get to know them, I found out a lot about my Dad that year . 

At my Dad's memorial service I got to talk to some of the guys he served with in the Navy, they had remained friends all of the rest of their lives.  They told me some great stories about my Dad, things he never thought to tell us, maybe they weren't that memorable to him but his friends didn't forget. He is an unforgettable guy and I know that I'm not the only one that thought so. I am very lucky to have had such a wonderful person as my Dad.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Emerald the May Birthstone

This is the beginning of a series on birth stones, I hope you enjoy the series and will leave comments if you want info on other stones.

Spring is a time of new growth and rebirth.  And the intense brilliant green of
the Emerald, May’s birthstone, is as refreshing to the eyes as a spring garden after a rain.  Within it’s depths are often tiny fractures or inclusions, which the French call "jardin," or garden, because of their resemblance to foliage.
The Egyptians were known to engrave Emeralds with the symbol for foliage to represent eternal youth, and to bury these jewels with their dead.  The ancient Romans associated this gemstone with fertility and rebirth, and dedicated it to enus, the goddess of love and beauty.

The Ancient Egyptians mined Emeralds in the eastern desert region 2,000 years before Cleopatra’s birth, braving extreme heat, scorpions and snakes to search for the beautiful crystals.  During Cleopatra’s reign, she claimed the Emerald mines as her own, as this was her favorite gem.  She often wore lavish Emerald jewelry, and it is said that she bestowed visiting dignitaries with large
Emeralds carved with her likeness when they departed Egypt.   

The Emerald is a member of the beryl family of minerals.  The green crystals grow slowly within metamorphic rocks and are restricted in size by the rock, making large Emeralds rare and costly.  Although this gemstone is relatively hard and durable, it must be protected from blows because the inclusions found within make it susceptible to breaking. 

Some people believe that wearing an Emerald brings wisdom, growth, and patience. And as any couple in a long-term relationship would agree, all of these qualities are essential for a successful and lasting love.  This may explain why a gift of Emerald for an anniversary -- or anytime -- is considered symbolic of love and fidelity.

The Muzo mine in Colombia is the source of the most prized Emerald specimens. Other sources of Emeralds are Brazil, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Russia. 

Now that you know a little about Emeralds your appreciation of them may bloom like the flowers of spring.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Team Tuesday featuring Crafty Katie

Crafty Katie is a multi-talented artist and is my featured team member this week. Her Etsy store is CraftyKatie6. Her store features really cute Robot characters, there are some  personalities you will recognize.

Shown at the left is Rosie Robot, one of the great characters that Katie has created.

Katie also has sewing craft classes for kids. Her website is Sewing Crafts for Kids and is a member of the SOMA Artist Guild.

Check out her store and website.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Spring-Summer Craft Fair Schedule

Summer 2010 is shaping up to be a very busy time for craft fairs and festivals. I hope you will stop by my Designs By Denise booth and let me know that you follow my blog. If you do I will give you a 10% discount on any one item. Here is my schedule so far.

May 15th - Englishtown Street Fair
Main Street, Englishtown
Starts at Noon and ends at 5:00 PM

May 16 - Mayfest
Springfield Ave, Maplewood
Starts at 11:00 AM and ends at 5:00 PM

June 12 - Celebrate South Orange
Sloan Street, South Orange - Craft tables will be in front of the train station
Starts 2:00 PM and ends 6:00 PM

July 10 and 11 - Maplewood Stock
Memorial Park, Maplewood
Starts at Noon, craft shopping ends at 7:00 PM, the festival continues to 9:00 PM

Come out and have some summer fun!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Team Tuesday is here again!

This week my featured team member is Bluepie Originals. At Bluepie you will find an assortment of unique,sometimes one-of-a-kind handcrafted bags and accessories. I featured Bluepie this week for 2 reasons: One, Deb has really cute things in her store, and two, she lives in my hometown and I have to promote local. What's more local than the town I grew up in?!

Here is her Etsy Mini:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Team Tuesday - Week 9

Welcome to Team Tuesday week 9. My featured artist is Etsy Team member Juli Artz Photography. Her store is JuliArtz

I really like her photography, She has some great pictures of nature an animals. My favorite is of Curious George the dog.

Juli also has note cards and calendars in her collection. 

Check out her store,  You will fall in love with her things.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Team Tuesday Week 8

Hi Everyone,

It's a beautiful Tuesday, the sun is shining and the temperature is mild and I got to babysit for my Grand Nephew this morning for a few hours, so it's a great day.

My feature for today is Wendy's Handmade. She has the cutest things. Her store features Quilts, Fiber Art, Wallhangings, Purses, Bags, and more. Check out her store.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Team Tuesday - Featuring Whimseys

Happy Tuesday Everyone. This week I'm featuring Whimseys. This shop has handmade totes, bags and book covers. Everything is so cute in her shop, I think the book covers are so original and I love the bags. Check our her store, you know you need a bag for the beach, and a cover for that book you are going to take with you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Necklace

Today I added a new necklace and earring set to my Etsy store. It's part of my new line and I am so excited about it.
 It is made from glass pearls and jet crystals. Jet is the name of the color of the crystal but it really looks like a deep purple. There are also crystal roundels between some of the bead combinations.  I really like the look when you wear it because it looks like the beads are floating, it's very elegant.

The earrings are 2 crystals and a pearl on french hooks and are approximately 1 inch long.

You can see more pictures of this set in my Etsy store at   There is also an Etsy mini at the bottom of my blog.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Team Tuesday

Hi Everyone,

First I want to say Congratulations to the winner of my Birthday Blog Giveaway, Kathi, her store is Hippie Fairy Lover. I like her soy candles, they come in pretty colors. She has some great eco-friendly products in her store.

This week I have a 2nd featured artist, Woolly Boo, and her store is a mother's dream. She has some great bedding products for children, made from wool. Take a peek at her Etsy mini, below and click through to her store, these are great products for kids or for baby shower gifts.

Welcome to the seventh edition of the EtsyNJ Team Tuesday blog hop! Here's how it works - write a feature about any EtsyNJ team member on your blog (as long or as short as you'd like it to be) and then add the blog hop code at the end of this post and check out all of the other great features - get to know the EtsyNJ street team!!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Team Tuesday - Week 6

My featured artist today is The Tote Trove. You can tell Tracy has fun making her bags, they are so fun and cute. Take a look at her Etsy mini below.

Team Tuesday - Week 6
Blog post must be about an EtsyNJ member shop . You do not have to be a team member to participate but you MUST feature an EtsyNJ member on your blog .
Want to be a part of this Blog Hop? Go to the EtsyNJ Street Team Blog for instructions.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Team Tuesday Weekk #5

Wow, can't believe we have been doing this for 5 weeks already!

The team member that I choose this week is AJKaartiistry.  The cards and invitations are so cute, you have to check out her store, here is the link AJKArtistry.  After looking at her store come back for the rest of the blog hop.

I really like her whale card shown left - it is a good use of a simple design that has a big impact.

Just want to remind everyone that I am giving away a necklace and earrings to announce my new line of floating bead necklaces.  There are only 2 more weeks to enter.  (See my blog from 2 weeks ago.)  All you have to do is go to my Etsy store here and choose an item that you like, then go to my blog entry here and comment on the item in my store that you like.  Deadline for entries is midnight on April 4th and I will choose a winner that week and announce it on my Team Tuesday blog on April 6th.

Now for the details of the blog hop. Blog post must be about an EtsyNJ member shop. To find an EtsyNJ shop, see the side bar of this blog or search EtsyNJ at
You do not have to be a team member to participate, but you MUST feature an EtsyNJ member on your blog.

MckLinky Blog Hop


Monday, March 15, 2010

Team Tuesday week #4

Welcome to the fourth edition of the EtsyNJ Team Tuesday blog hop! Here's how it works - write a feature about any EtsyNJ team member on your blog (as long or as short as you'd like it to be) and then add the blog hop code at the end of this post and check out all of the other great features - get to know the EtsyNJ street team!!

Blog post must be about an EtsyNJ member shop. To find an EtsyNJ shop, see the side bar of this blog or search EtsyNJ at
You do not have to be a team member to participate, but you MUST feature an EtsyNJ member on your blog.

My featured store this week is JenSan Candles. This shop has the greatest scents and soaps. I bought a lavender reed diffuser and it was so nice, better than the one I had bought at a store in the mall. Check out her Etsy store, click here for the JenSan Etsy Store , you won't be able to resist buying something for yourself and gifts for others. It's not too soon to think about Mother's day gifts.

MckLinky Blog Hop


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Team Tuesday, Week #3

Welcome to the third edition of the EtsyNJ Team Tuesday blog hop! Here's how it works - write a feature about any EtsyNJ team member on your blog (as long or as short as you'd like it to be) and then add the blog hop code at the end of this post and check out all of the other great features - get to know the EtsyNJ street team!!

Blog post must be about an EtsyNJ member shop. To find an EtsyNJ shop, see the side bar of this blog or search EtsyNJ at
You do not have to be a team member to participate, but you MUST feature an EtsyNJ member on your blog.

Check out my Tuesday pic for Team Tuesday, Kissable Kreations.  These Hair Accessories are so cute, you are going to want to buy them even if you don't have a little girl.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, March 5, 2010

Birthday Giveaway

Introducing my new line of necklaces, I call it a floating bead necklace. The beads are on a thin silver wire and look like they are floating. There are two strands, each containing silver corrugated beads, turquoise diamond cut beads and clear acrylic beads with a touch of color. The earrings have a corrugated bead and a clear acrylic bead on a french hook.  Starting in April I will post a pearl and crystal floating bead necklace in my Etsy store.

To enter the drawing for the necklace, go to my Etsy store at and choose an item that you like. Come back to the blog and make a comment about the item that you choose in the store.

The winner will be chosen the first week in April, my birthday week, and will be announced on my blog.

Last day to enter is April 2nd, 2010.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Team Tuesday - blog hop week 2

Welcome to the EtsyNJ Team Tuesday blog hop! This is our second edition and hopefully we have all the kinks worked out. Here's how it works - write a feature about any EtsyNJ team member on your blog (as long or as short as you'd like it to be) and then add the blog hop code at the end of this post and check out all of the other great features - get to know the EtsyNJ street team!!

My featured artist this week is Etsy NJ Team member Karen from Burnt Mill Potters. I met Karen at a craft fair in Bridgewater and bought a honey pot from her. Her work is so professional and so nice I wanted to buy everything. Here are some items from her store.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Team Tuesday

My featured Etsy NJ artist for Team Tuesday is Melissa of Made By Melissa. I love the animals that she makes and she also does really pretty jewelry.

Team Tuesday Blog Hop!

Welcome to the EtsyNJ Team Tuesday blog hop! This is our very first edition. Here's how it works - write a feature about any EtsyNJ team member on your blog (as long or as short as you'd like it to be) and then add the blog hop code at the end of this post and check out all of the other great features - get to know the EtsyNJ street team!!

Link to EtsyNJ Street Team

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Team Tuesdays

Today I start my TEAM TUESDAY blog feature where I feature one member of our Etsy NJ Team. My first feature is Tracey Rediker of Traceyknits. I love her store, she has such unique items. Here is a mini of her shop, now go check out her whole store. You should also go to her website at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day

If you are like me you called in to work today and took a snow day, that is if your business wasn't closed.  Snow days are a good time to catch up on all those things that you don't do on a regular basis, like cleaning your jewelry.

In my last post I promised you some recipes for cleaning your jewelry, so here goes.

Here are 4 different ways to clean your jewelry.  Try the one you feel most comfortable with, or try them all and see which one works best for you.  Just want to put a disclaimer here, don't try it if you feel that it will ruin your jewelry.

Aluminum Foil Method

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon dish detergent
1 cup water
1 piece aluminum foil

Heat the water in the microwave for 1 or 2 minutes.
Cut a piece of foil that covers he bottom of a cereal bowl.
Pour the hot water into the bowl.  Add the salt, baking soda and dish washing liquid into the bowl and give it a stir.
Place the jewelry on top of the foil and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Rinse jewelry in cool water and dry completely with soft cloth.
Discard the solution.  Make a new batch for each cleaning.

Note: take the jewelry out of the soak before pouring the water out to avoid accidentally washing it down the pipes.

This works well for gold-filled, brass and sterling silver. I have heard it works for freshwater pearls, cameos and mother of pearl, however I would be cautious with these items and may try another method first.

Ammonia Recipe

DO NOT use this method on pearl.Place 8 ounces of ammonia in a bowl and add a drop of dish detergent. Add 1/3 cup of water and stir. Place jewellry in the bowl for 10 minutes. After soaking rinse under running water. You may need to use a baby toothbrush on tough stains after it has soaked.

Note: take the jewelry out of the soak before pouring the water out to avoid accidentally washing it down the pipes.

Toothpaste Method

This is the easiest method, and it works well.  Wet an old toothbrush with a little water.  It's best to use a soft one or a baby toothbrush.  Spread alittle non abrasive toothpaste on the brush and scrub all sides of your jewelry.  Rinse the jewelry and make sure it's clean. If it isn't, scrub it again with the toothbrush and rinse one final time.  Dry with a clean soft cloth.  Be careful with soft stones using this method, they may scratch.

Ketchup Method

Yes you read that right. Using ketchup as a jewelry cleaner on your sterling silver and gold is safe, inexpensive and very effective. You can also clean sterling flatware, coffee and tea sets or any sterling silver hollow ware this way. I wouldn't us this method on gold plated or silver plated pieces.  Using ketchup is a lot less expensive than some jewelry cleaner products. This is primarily used when there is a light tarnish to be removed.

Pour some ketchup into a glass bowl and stir to remove any lumps that may have formed in the bottle.  Let stand until it reaches room temperature. Place the jewelry in the bowl and let stand for a few minutes checking frequently to see if the tarnish is being removed. This is a fairly slow method and is best for jewelry that only needs a light cleanup. If there are stubborn spots put a little ketchup on a soft toothbrush and gently scrub.
Leave the ketchup on the jewelry only as long as necessary.  Ketchup is an acid and can eat away too much of the surface if allowed to sit for too long. Check the pieces often.
Rinse the ketchup from the jewelry frequently with luke warm water to check the progress and repeat if necessary until you achieve the desired look.
Dry with a soft towel and buff with a terry cloth washcloth for a lustrous

If you have any other methods of cleaning jewelry at home post a comment here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Looking Forward to Valentines Day?

Valentine's Day isn't very far away, 12 days. Are you ready? Looking for gifts? Check out my Etsy store at You'll find earrings and bracelets made with heart charms, and lots of other beautiful jewelry.

Make your old jewelry look new by cleaning it.   Having your jewelry cleaned professionally can be quite expensive, so you might consider cleaning the jewelry yourself. All you need is a few good recipes and "a little elbow grease" (to use my Mom's expression).

Before I talk about cleaning I want to mention care.  One of the most important things to do to care for your jewelry is to take it off before you shower or wash your hands or the dishes.  Keep a ring dish next to your sink.  Soap leaves a film that becomes noticeable after a while and water exposure can loosen stone settings over time, especially pearls.  Store your jewelry in your jewelry box, or an air-tight box if not wearing it every day. Hang necklaces and bracelets so they do not become tangled, there is nothing worse than trying to untangle a chain.

Gold jewelry doesn't actually tarnish, but sometimes it can appear that way because of the other metals mixed in with it.  Because gold is soft it is often mixed with other metals, called an aloy, so it will retain it's shape. The silver and copper in the alloy may react to the oxygen, sulphur and moisture in the air and eventually turn the gold jewelry dark. That is why it is important to keep your jewelry, gold or silver, in an air tight container when not being worn on a regular basis.

In my next  blog I'll give you 4 different ways to clean your jewelry.

Have a great day!