Saturday, December 20, 2008

Inspired Design

Among our many custom orders this season, was this very personal necklace. The customer specifically chose the chalcedony briolette as the recipient loves blue. The charm, white quartz faceted gemstone and white pearl were all selected for their beauty and meaning. This double-strand design was designed to be a beautiful surprise for someone very special on Christmas morning.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pretty, Personal

So mom speaks her mind....and loves tailored classics. Here are some custom wax seal earrings that are as pretty as they are personal. The wax seal designs feature a rooster and say "While I Live, I'll Crow." (We all have a song in our hearts, don't we? So that's what the world SHOULD hear.) The sterling earrings are accented by tiny dangling "rain drops" of faceted white quartz.

Merry Christmas to a lucky mom!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just So! Modern & Just So! Vintage

See what we've been up too? We have created our own unique "spill proof" bracelets that are compatible with Pandora and Troll Beads -- but result in a look and feel that is completely at home with our own vintage wax seal charm motifs.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Out of Pandora's Box

We have had so many customers ask about whether we made wax seal charms that would fit their Pandora and Troll Bead bracelets. I knew we could do something beautiful and unique -- that added a timeless perspective to these often "industrial" looking bracelets.

I think our new TreasureDrops do the trick. They are authentic castings from antique wax seals. They have personality and charm and a little "fun" gem accent. Most of all, they look perfectly at home next to the modern glass, sterling and gold charms.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Art of the Seal

Here they are! This is the new display, showing all of our current Victorian Charms wax seal designs, their individual illustrations and an impression from each antique seal beside it. Now that we're already well into the next collection, it won't be long before there's a companion to frame!

StyleMax in Chicago

Why the long absences from this blog? Well, we've been working with our wonderful new representatives and attending trade shows and trunk shows. I had the privilege of spending Friday at Our Gallery, in the completely adorable resort town Pentwater, Michigan. The prior weekend, Cindy Quigley (of CindyGert fame) and I had a wonderful weekend at the StyleMax Show in Chicago. (Here we are in front of my favorite kitchen showroom in the Merchandise Mart.) We also had a wonderful time strolling along Michigan Avenue and exploring the Wicker Park area. Fun and inspiring!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Such is the Good Life

Here is another custom design we recently created using our Victorian*Charms. The charm on this necklace depicts a ship tossed on the seas and reads "Such is Life". (It was created from our private collection of antique Victorian-era British wax seals.) The charm is suspended on a very nice petite cable chain along side a freshwater pearl charm. This was created for a customer as a gift for a loved one who had weather a number of storms in life and always created happy outcomes for herself and those around her. That is the spirit indeed!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Custom Creations

We have been busily working on our first full wholesale line while also creating a number of custom pieces for our clients. These two necklaces are custom versions of our Do! Drops designs -- one in kyanite (a gemstone that resembles blue sapphire) and the other in green topaz. Both pendants feature the "Forget Me Not" motif from our Victorian*Charms line, based on impressions from antique wax seals.

The colors of these gemstone were dazzling and added extra interest to such meaningful birthday gifts. It's always a pleasure to work on a project like this. We thought they were terrific!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sending the Perfect Message

As my collection of antique wax seals grows, I am finding them to be endlessly inspiring -- and popular -- for our jewelry designs. I am always attracted to how much beauty, charm and humor these tiny treasure can pack within the space of about a centimeter. Two of our most popular motifs are the "Bee" Silent and Forget Me Not designs. They are conversations pieces as simple charms and are surprisingly modern when paired with bead chains and briolettes.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Messages From The Past

Make Perfect Presents!

Our Victorian*Charms collection is based on my own collection of antique wax seals. Most of these seals were created in England and France in the 1800s. I especially love how Victorian correspondents personalized their letters with beautiful, meaningful and often witty seals with charming motifs -- and sometimes cheeky remarks and mottos.

I have been working on various displays to let customers easily view the interesting seal designs that are the basis for so many of our jewelry pieces. Since the seals themselves are "the mirror image" of the stamped wax impression, viewing the seals themselves is not very useful (though it is a fascinating glimpse into history). This framed shadow box design provided a great inspiration. While our own displays will be accompanied by the specific illustrations and mottos corresponding to our own wax seals, this wall hanging shows how inspiring the seal impressions themselves can be.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bracelets That Tell a Story

When we're in the midst of designing something special as a gift, it is always exciting for us. We are eager to hear that the gift-giver and the recipient loved their custom design. Here are two pieces created to celebrate special occasions:

This bracelet was created to celebrate an inspiring friend who meant the "moon and stars" to this gift-giver:

How about genuine emeralds to celebrate the birth of an Irish lass (whose birthstone happened to be emerald):

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rock Candy: The Sweetest Thing

Celebrating life's best moments IS the sweetest thing.

When we began designing these dainty earrings with so many delicious gemstone choices and colors, one of our team members, Monica, said they look like "rock candy." We all agreed. When I was visiting Mackinac Island for my annual trunk show at the Grand Hotel in June, I saw a jar of beautiful rock candies displayed in an old-fashioned candy store. Then, I KNEW, our earrings were the perfect "rock candy" treats. Now, they are available in over a dozen "flavors" -- and we'll be adding a few new ones soon (because we just need more pink options!).

We are very proud of our new Rock Candy Collection. Not only is each pair of beautiful gemstone earrings impeccably boxed, but we are delighting our customers by providing a complimentary rock candy treat with each purchase. Our customers are telling us that Rock Candy designs are the impeccable small gift they have been looking for.

When are customers are delighted, we smile from ear to ear. That is what Just So! is all about: celebrating life's best moments.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chic New Bags: Vintage and "Green"

We are very proud to carry a new line of handbags from CindyGert, a talented designer who is on to something very good. The designer, Cindy Quigley, is a local resident whose bags began gaining success with local sales as well as national sales through and When I first met Cindy, I immediately felt that she had both genuine design talent but also a very cool and interesting story to tell. (She's also just very perceptive about details --- and extremely nice too!) Each of her bags is made from "recycled" and vintage materials, many of them with designer pedigrees. Her bags incorporate materials like chic, historic fabrics in limited editions, Coach belts, vintage buttons and trims -- and each one of her bags is accompanied by a handmade book that tells the story of each (numbered) purse and its materials. Each of her bags also bears her charming label. Her product is handmade in Michigan, chic, Bohemian, "green", vintage and modern ... all at once.

We are delighted to work with Cindy and expect to inspire and delight all Just So! enthusiasts with an ever-changing selection of bags from her amazing collection. Welcome, CindyGert! We do indeed think you're Just So!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Off to Mackinac Island!

This will be an exciting week! I have the privilege of spending some time later this week at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, where our trunk show will be taking place until June 15th. It is such beautiful environment. It is a privilege to spend time at the Grand Hotel & Co. fine jewelry boutique.....enjoying not only the wonderful staff but the elegance of the experience they provide for their guests. It is always fun to be a part of what is going on on the Island. I'll report back on my time there soon.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Beautiful Story Bracelet

A customer brought in a favorite bracelet her grandmother had given her. It was especially meaningful, as the beads' color and progress signified the life of Christ. She loved the bracelet, but didn't care for the fact that it was mainly plastic and simple glass beads. She wondered if we could reproduce her simple stretch bracelet into a toggle bracelet of gemstones and natural materials (with a few tiny Swarovski crystals just where needed for color). Indeed we could. There was a trick. She had tiny little book that told the story behind the bracelet -- in Spanish. Once translated, we could better grasp the significance of each bead station. Here is her "Beautiful Story" bracelet and the translation:

The World’s Most Beautiful Story

This book and this bracelet will show you the story of someone who loved s so much that he was willing to give his life for us. This is the story of Jesus, the most beautiful story ever told.

The explanation and the beads of the bracelet will guide you in telling it. When you have learned it, you will be able to tell it using just the bracelet.

(1) Once, the Star in the East (star)
(2) Guided three men (3 beads),
(3) Who brought gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh (gold and 2 natural beads)
(4) To the birthplace of a new king. (silver bead)
(5) When he grew up he became a carpenter (wooden bead)
(6) And a fisherman of men and souls. (fish charm)
(7) He had 12 disciples (12 colored beads)
(8) Who preached His truth (clear bead)
(9) He was crucified (cross)
(10) And his blood was spilled. (red bead)
(11) After three black days (black beads)
(12) He arose to purify us (clear bead)
(13) And now He is in Heaven (blue bead)
(14) Seated next to the Father and the Holy Spirit (3 clear beads), and
(15) He did it all for love. (heart)

This was a fun and very rewarding project!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Clearly a Match

Once again, a customer comes in looking for something she can't find anywhere else, and we find we can create exactly what she is looking for. This new necklace is a perfect example.

Our customer already owns a Swarovski crystal bracelet that she loves to wear with a pair of custom earrings (from us) of White Quartz and Swarovski crystals and rondelles. She was interested in finding a necklace that would bring together the design elements of her bracelet and her earrings. Starting with a beautiful large teardrop briolette of faceted white quartz to complement the earrings, we then created a Connectables necklace strand that reflected the design elements of her bracelet. Now, she has a stunning new necklace that perfectly complements her existing collection....and, of course, she provided us with the privilege of creating a design that will inspire and delight others!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Just So! Stories -Mothers Day - Sisters' Story

One of the most rewarding things we do at Just So! is being involved in celebrating the nicest moments of our customers' lives: from the most spectacular ones to the touching, quirkier ones. It is exciting -- and a huge privilege -- to be a part of the best moments in life.

These necklace and earrings sets have a sweet story. One of our customers came in looking for a special gift for his wife -- and for her sister. He told us that both his wife and her sister were fabulous moms. This year, they surprised everyone by saying the thing they would like for Mother's Day is to have a week together just being sisters, hanging out and being "girls" for a week at their vacation home on the South-East coast. Because they always put their families before themselves, everyone was thrilled they actually were just going to have a fun time together, just being sisters.

To celebrate Mother's Day and see them off with a surprise, our customer commissioned a GemStrand necklace for both "girls" (pink tourmaline for his wife and peridot for her sister) with complementary mother-of-pearl flower pendants and earrings. His plan was to have one of our gift bags ready for each of them to open as he drove them to the airport. He smiled ear to ear every time he talked about how they are always doing things for their families and how much fun he knew they would have on this trip. You could just see that HE was having fun with the idea of surprising them with an unexpected gift.

At Just So!, we like to say that we "help guys be heroes" with the gifts they create and select here. What's usually true is that they were heroes to begin with, and we just helped them show off a little. It's nothing short of terrific to be a part of moments like these. THAT is what we love about what we do at Just So!

Now, we can't wait until he drops by again to tell us his own Just So! Story about how the girls reacted to their surprise "goody bags".

Monday, May 12, 2008

Just So! Stories -Mothers' Day Bouquet

Around Valentine's Day, I featured a post with a photo of four beautiful shell flower necklaces, which one of our customers asked us to create for each of her four daughters. Each necklace featured a large flower TreasureDrop pendant with a gemstone briolette TreasureDrop dangling beside each flower on a heavier sterling bead chain. (A photo of those necklaces is below.)

For Mother's Day, the same customer gave each of her daughters a pair of our Perfect Petal Earrings, customized to match each of their original necklaces. We packaged each pair of earrings in our lovely enclosure card boxes with a sweet color-coded ribbon: lavender for the amethyst earrings, yellow for the citrines, antique beige for the smoky quartz. (We also popped a little candy in each box too.) It is important to us that the process of opening a gift from Just So! is an experience that is a part of the charm in itself!

With the shades of yellow and purple predominating, I wondered how to photograph these beautiful earrings and really capture their appeal. I just wasn't sure what to do with the purple and the yellow. I then looked at the beautiful pansies growing in the urns outside our door, and the color scheme suddenly seemed obvious. As we often say, our customers often inspire our best designs -- and, although you can never predict how and when that inspiration will strike, it seems to happen all the time at Just So!. It just all comes together ... and is part of celebrating the best things in life.

Voila! The Results.

Photo of the TreasureDrop Flower Necklaces from Valentine's Day

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Confetti for the Party

My favorite cut of gemstone is the briolette: those beautiful teardrop-shaped gems that allow the light to sparkle through from all angles. This "Confetti Princess" neckace consists almost entirely of briolettes: White quartz, amethyst, blue topaz, pink tourmaline, citrine and peridot (with a few white pearls). This is definitely a "special event" piece -- but can be worn with styles ranging from a Chanel-style suit, to a sundress to a ballgown. Earrings may be sparkly and dangly (like these blue topaz or white quartz briolette earrings) or something more traditional, like the pearls (on our sterling Connectables bases). From basic black dresses, to white linen to a colorful dress, this festive design can provide the "showstopping" element to the otherwise simple and clean lines of great party attire.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rosy Outlook

This photo, taken for a post card for Just So!, seems to be one many people are drawn to.

I think the tones of pink on pink toile, plus Monica's charming silver spoon, set the stage beautifully. Plus it does a great job of illustrating our theme of "Impeccable by Design." For a mom, daughter, graduate or bridal party where pink is the color of choice, this image illustrates how our special charms and gemstone designs adapt so easily to everyone's favorite color palette.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Timeless, Modern, Truly Personalized

A bride's palette and her wedding themes are a wonderful starting point for truly one-of-a-kind gifts for attendants and flower girls. Inspiration for our custom bridal jewelry designs often starts with a color or motif that reflects the celebration itself: Fresh shades of green, sweet posies, traditional elegance, timeless pearls and crystal. No matter what the color palette or the theme, these charming details add up to a meaningful message that expresses the couple's gratitude for the participants in their celebration. When a custom jewelry item is then monogrammed or engraved, the result is a true heirloom.

The photos in the large picture are based on themes of Forget-Me-Nots (with sterling jewelry made from a Victorian wax seal), delicate floral motifs, and the colors white and green. The peridot briolette pendant and earrings shown above were created as a special variation of one of our Victorian*Charms designs. For a bridesmaid's gift that is both timelessly classic and absolutely on trend, another variation of our Victorian*Charms designs is shown below, this time using sparkling briolettes of white quartz:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Who's Sooooo "Just So!"?

Our customers, who else? That is why we created our new blog, Your Just So!. Those of you have shopped in our boutique, know that we proudly display customers' photos. When we do a beautiful custom design for a customer's wedding, special event or special outfit, we love to show it off. With the new blog, Your Just So!, we are able to share glimpses of the best moments of our customers' lives. It's a privilege to be a part of it!

A permanent link to the "Your Just So!" blog is on the left. We'll be adding new photos soon too. Enjoy!

LEFT:Peggi's Wedding, Deland, FL

LEFT: Lori and her family at the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, MI

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Just So! Savannah

We spent the Easter break in Hilton Head Island -- far away from the last of the Michigan snow storms. Our family spent almost every waking moment biking, walking and eating meals outside in the wonderful, comfortable sunshine. It was super.

We also took a day trip to another one of our favorite spots, Savannah, GA, which is just an hour's car ride (or a nice boat trip) from Hilton Head. Savannah is not only historic and graceful but it is considered one of the best "Walking Cities" in the U.S. During our walk around town, my husband, Mark, spotted an intriguing store, The Paris Market. Boy was he right. The Paris Market is truly a "Just So! Destination." The Paris Market is really a world into itself -- a chic mix of modern and vintage items. Almost everything in the store is either seriously cool or exudes vintage elegance. Almost everything in its two floors would make an impeccable gift or home accent -- all guaranteed to be a great conversation-starters for years to come. They really stole my heart with the gorgeous corner coffee bar and enormous glass jars full of candies, including my all-time favorites: Lemon Heads.

The store is a testatment to the design eye of it's owner, Paula Danyluk, who bouyantly chatted with admiring customers in her beautiful shop while we were there. (Amazingly, Mark and I were watching The Big Idea program on television a few days later, and we saw Paula again -- she was a guest evaluating products on a program segment involving Savannah, Paula Deen and the Deen brothers.) Enjoy Mark's photos and don't miss The Paris Market if you plan on visiting Savannah. You're sure to be inspired and delighted.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Interchangeable Jewelry for Travel

For a beachside vacation, I love how a handful of picture jasper Connectables strands can mix and match. For all of the beiges and blacks in your travel wardrobe, the picture jasper provides a sophisticated neutral accent. Once you are at your destination and ready to have have fun, just add some strands of exuberant color (like this pink and green turquoise). This tropical combination broadcasts that you are ready to relax and soak up some sun:

But what about earrings? Yes, I love earrings just as much as necklaces. With my own Connectables earrings (which I wear every day), I can pack one or two sterling (or gold) bases for a classic look with any clothes. Then, all I do is pack a tiny pouch with a few neutral and colorful GemDrops, I have the perfect earrings for any event:

Just having returned from vacation this weekend, the only April Fool's joke here in Michigan is that we might have some snow again today! Back to turtlenecks for another week or two until Spring makes it way to our area!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pink and Green for Easter

Whether you're celebrating Easter by seaside or getting ready for a beach trip later this summer, I can't think of a more cheerful hue for fun times than sunny pinks and greens. I'll be packing my favorite neutral Picture Jasper necklace with some colorful accents to add some glamour to simple prints:

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Wearing of the Green

In honor of both St. Patrick's Day and Spring, I seem to be attracted to rich, bright greens worn with neutrals:

These dresses and suits are from Bannana Republic, J Jill and J Crew's current catalogs. I mixed a single strand with green turquoise accents with my neutral Picture Jasper Princess necklace. Now, with the addition of the green stones, this once-neutral necklace collection takes on a Bohemian-Preppy chic look. My peridot GemStrand with a sporty pendant would work beautifully with either the dress or the safari jackets.

Happy St. Pat's!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On Safari With a Princess

My last post featured my favorite Picture Jasper necklace. Its gold pearls, silver hardware and neutral tones make it a perfect "go with everything" necklace set for Spring through Fall (and year-round in warmer climates).

Here it is again:

While I often wear my own Picture Jasper necklace set with casual clothes and skirts with simple sweaters and white blouses, it provides a perfect complement for chic Safari jackets, which are so "in" right now. Here are two inspiring safari jackets from this season.

The first is an impeccably polished tailored safari jacket from Doncaster. The second is actually a knit jacket from J. Jill, but it still looks shapely and it would instantly pull together softer clothes with its belted jacket:

Here are the four interchangeable Connectables™ strands that comprise the complete Picture Jasper Princess Necklace set, when worn together:

Whether you wear a safari jacket accented with white, black, animal prints, or a splash of color, the picture jasper allows you to mix & match strands to add an accent color. Add (or remove) the flower pendant to enjoy a very paired-down or high-volume polished safari look.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Picture Jasper "Princess" Necklace

This is a photo of me and my family from last Autumn, having a fun time at the birthday party for my friend, Liz. In this picture, I am wearing my favorite "Three Season" necklace. I designed it 5 or 6 years ago, and have been mixing and matching it with neutral and colorful strands ever since. Customers have been asking about this necklace for years and, finally, we are able to reproduce it for the Spring/Summer 2008 season. This handy little collection of neutrals gets so much use because, with only a few strands and pendants, it is great with all those shades of black, tan, brown, khaki, cream and white that we all tend to wear from Spring through Fall.

My Picture Jasper "Princess" necklace consists of four "Basic Strands" and a shell flower pendant. One of the strands features white tones, one features blackish-dark brown tones and the other features light brown/tan shades. It's one of my favorite pieces and it is amazingly versatile on its own as well as in unexpected combinations with bright semi-precious gemstones.

Friday, February 29, 2008

How a Shoe Became Two Necklaces:
Part III

Voila!....Designing for the Long Term

Cathy's shoes are amazing and her colorful necklace and earring ensemble seemed to be exactly the style, shape and color Cathy wanted. Still, what about that little black dress? The basic structure of Cathy's necklace just cried out to be a modern day version of the "Breakfast at Tiffany" look....but the colorful gemstone elements would get in the way of that classic look. Well, the colorful elements WOULD get in the way if this Necklace has been built in one "fixed" style like the Neiman Marcus piece. But that isn't the Just So! way, is it. Of course not, we designed the colorful "Y" portion of the necklace to be detachable. We also created two extra pairs of simple GemDrop earrings- one with petite White Quartz briolettes and one with very significant White Quartz briolettes. Now, Cathy (who already was a fairy tale princess in our minds) can live happily ever after, creating a spark at events that that still doesn't hold a candle to the sparks Cathy sets off all on her own!

Cathy and her family on the day of the Christening!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How a Shoe Became a Necklace: Part II

The Inspiration

Voila! .... the Results

This one really seemed be worth a little suspense before unveiling! Here is Cathy's finished necklace. As you can see, the center "Y" portion features small briolettes of blue chalcedony, peridot and citrine -- picking up the motif and color of the delicate embroidery from Cathy's shoes. Whether a sleek shift dress, cool white linen or the perfect tee-shirt and jeans separate the necklace and the shoes, the shoes and jewelry will be in balance and work as a team. The coordinating colorful briolette dangle earrings repeat the pattern and color.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How A Shoe Became A Necklace: Part I

Cathy, a customer who truly became a part of the Just So! family, came to me with a request: What jewelry could we design as the perfect counterpoint to these amazing shoes?

Custom Design to Suit a Shoe
Cathy wore these shoes to her son's Christening last summer. (I saw the photos: she was a picture-perfect proud new mom, wearing a white eyelet dress and her hair up -- and smiling ear to ear beside her wonderful husband as they beamed at one of the world's most beautiful baby boys.)

Cathy's vision was to pair the shoes with exquisitely classic clothes (everything from the eyelet dress to jeans and a white shirt) and she was hoping to find the perfect jewelry to pull the whole look off. I had an idea of what would complement Cathy's style and she selected this gold and gemstone necklace from Neiman Marcus as having both the volume and "look" she liked.

Struck with inspiration based on the shoes and the Cathy's wishes, it was time to get to work on something that would suit a chic and savvy modern-day Cinderella.

Starting with heavy polished silver chain, rock crystal and white chalcedony, Cathy's necklace began to take shape......