Tag Archives: jewelry

Uncommon Jewelry

Have you heard about Uncommon Goods? It’s an online marketplace that showcases unique items from artisans and designers around the world. I’ve shopped the Uncommon Goods catalog in the past because it’s a fantastic place to find gifts—especially ones that are handmade, recycled and organic.

I had a unique opportunity to work with Uncommon Goods and style a couple of pieces of jewelry from their catalog. I chose a cuff and a pendant. Finally something for me!

necklace and bracelet

Pendant and bracelet c/o Uncommon Goods

Artisans in Namibia made this tribal-inspired upcycled pipe cuff (yes, it’s made from actual plastic pipe!) I love it looks like ivory, but is cruelty-free. I learned that all of the Uncommon Goods items are green and sustainable and that they’ve never sold products made with leather, feathers or fur. You know how important that is to me!

Cuff from Uncommon Goods

The mini rock stack pendant on a silver chain reminds me of the cairns I sometimes see on hiking trails or by the beach. It’s so calming, and I love that I’m supporting artists with this piece. People should make a living wage through their work, and Uncommon Goods advocates for that.

Necklace from Uncommon Goods

As for styling these pieces, I went with a monochromatic look. The pieces were so nature-inspired, that I thought my black and white leaf-print skirt would work.

black and white outfit

Top: Swapped
Skirt: Nordstrom Rack
Shoes: Aerosoles

leaf-pattern skirt

If you’re looking for gifts for others—or treat for yourself—check out the Uncommon Goods site. Besides jewelry, you’ll find art, home goods, garden items, and things for kids.

Uncommon Goods jewelery

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Filed under Ethical, Fashion

Flouncy Skirt and Turquoise Tank

Here’s my first H2T outfit from Germany. I picked up this flouncy skirt at an outdoor art market in Berlin. I was drawn to the 70’s, Pucci-inspired print and great colors. It’s a great travel piece too. It packs small and doesn’t wrinkle. I met the designer herself—another reason why I liked the piece. I was supporting a small, local business.

turquiose top

Top: Tranquillo
Cardi: Thrifted
Skirt: Karo und Punkte
Shoes: Aerosoles
Jewelry: Markets in Berlin

Later in my trip, I found this terrific tank. It’s designed by a German company, made in India, and is fair trade. I loved the asymmetrical woven details on one shoulder.

flouncy skirt

Next to Karo und Punkte at the market, I saw a vendor selling this neat puzzle-piece necklace. My mom got one as well. I forgot to check to see if the pieces fit together. I bet they do.

silver jewelry

Also in Berlin, at the Mauer Park flea market, I met a wonderful vendor who sells silver jewelry from Turkey. I bought three rings from her, two of which you can see here.

summer outfit

It’s funny how when I’m not trying to buy an entire outfit, all the pieces just come together.



Filed under Fashion

Turquoise Summer Dress

I bought this dress so I could enjoy simple, one-piece dressing. In summer, it’s great to just throw on one item, stay cool, and not worry about what to wear it with.

turquoise dress

Dress: Target
Jacket: Betsey Johnson
Belt: Marshall’s
Boots: Cri de Coeur
Necklace: DIY

I’ll also be able to wear this with leggings or over skinny jeans in the cooler weather–but I’m not jumping on the fall bandwagon yet. The weather is still in the 80s and it’s still technically summer.

silver and blue

Today I brought along a denim jacket so I wouldn’t freeze in the office. Yes, this is a short dress and it’s borderline work-inappropriate. But I don’t mind showing bare legs. And the neckline is high. Nothing to see here, folks! Gotta love a casual work environment…

dress and denim jacket

The booties ground the outfit and bring it into September. But if you’ve seen my New York posts, you’ll know I love short boots all summer long.

I wore my doll-shoe necklace again today. I thought I’d pair it only with black outfits, but I think it will go nicely with solids in any of the shoe colors.

necklace detail

I’ve joined The Pleated Poppy and Transatlantic Blonde for linkups. Check out what everyone else is wearing!

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Filed under DIY, Fashion

The Return of the Pink Skater Dress

Last year, on my trip to NYC, I saw a cute skater dress. However, it was in Old Navy–and I didn’t fly across the country to shop in a national chain! When I got back from my trip, I found the dress at my local store (no sense filling my suitcase with things I can buy at home).

This year, I packed my skater dress for my trip to NYC. It made its east coast debut in Chelsea.

skater dress and boots

Dress: Old Navy
Pleather boots: Diba (from DSW)
Purse: Crystalyn Kae
Cuff: Brooklyn Flea

I packed light this year. Four dresses, four pair of shoes, a skirt, a pair of pants, two tank tops and a cardigan. Not bad for two weeks away! However, no matter how light I pack, I can always go lighter–especially when travelling to a shopping mecca like NY! I bought 10 dresses on my trip (many at thrift shops) so I could have arrived with an empty suitcase. By the time my trip wrapped up, I had a wardrobe that would last all season!

posing in Marimekko

I wore this dress to my appointment at Ted Gibson Salon. I thought having my hair cut in The Big Apple would be a treat. Ted Gibson (from What Not to Wear) was out of my price range, but his stylist Sherilyn did a great job.

My parents joined me on the trip again this year. My mom has been much better about blogging about the trip, so check out her latest post (my skater dress makes an appearance–and she has one in houndstooth).

Oh, and the cuff? Genuine made-in-Brooklyn artistry at work. It’s made from a fork!

fork cuff

Stay tuned for more posts from New York–my favorite home away from home.

I’m linking up with Fashion Informant today. Check out what al the others are wearing!


Filed under Fashion, Thrifty, Travel

Interview with Jacquie Bird of SilkWire Jewelry

On my very first day in New York, I serendipitously met Jacquie Bird, the owner/creator of SilkWire Jewelry. Jacquie is a radiant woman who will draw you in with her smile. I brought my parents over to the booth she was running at a flea market in Harlem, just around the corner from where we were staying.

Jean, Jacquie and Carmen

I bought a ring from Jacquie that day (it’s been on this blog once already) and wanted to learn more about her and her business. She accepted my request for an interview, and here it is:

How did you get started as a jewelry designer?

It actually flowed out of an idea I had for hair accessories for locs. Didn’t have the energy or push to see it through at the time so I ditched that idea but had all this inventory. What to do with it? In a few days an idea was fully realized in my head, I just had to figure out how to do it, what was my voice? I had always worked with my hands from childhood and have worked jewelry in periods throughout my life but along the way in looking for my next passion, (I had a career as a dancer-singer-actress who worked on Broadway and the stage with a few trysts on TV and film in my first life) I was taken aback when I found it was creating JewelryArt.


What are the biggest challenges of working in such a creative field?

There are ten baZILLION jewelry creator/designers out there—how do I get folks to pay attention to what I do, to hear what I have to say through my JewelryArt? When your stuff is a bit off kilter, it is a huge challenge to hold your ground in the field; when your prices are a bit higher because you are firm in what it is you do and offer, staying true to self comes into question a LOT. There is a spiritual aspect to what I create, it isn’t just about jewelry. Gemstones, Crystals and Copper have power and amazing properties, I write about this in A Bird Blogs About Gems using my own experiences and that of others, along with research. Some folks get it, some do not—they just wanna rock the jewelry and that’s ok too. But I know what I’m about and why I do it.

And the biggest challenge? To be patient and to keep the faith that I will find my audience and they will find me. When I can laugh about this part of the journey I think, “well Bird, you danced, sang, and acted for a living, getting discovered as a Jewelry Artist should be a piece of cake just chill, keep on pushin’ and keep your chin up!”


All your pieces are one-of-a-kind, but is there a certain style or stone that’s popular with your customers?

People dig the rings and the stones they are familiar with like Amethyst, clear Quartz, Moonstone, Rose Quartz and some not quite so familiar stones like Chalcopyrite (because of the rainbow colors and shine), Rhodochrosite, and Pink Tourmaline. Oh, almost forgot Amazonite which is what you have. The Stone of Harmony 🙂

I do value harmony! Can you tell me a bit about the jemstones you use and how they affect wearers?

Some who are aware notice the subtleties; I had one woman tell me she noticed the Moonstone ring she had amplified her moods. One of the properties is that it can amplify moods both positive and negative. But the negative comes out with the intention to show you where you can change it and not act recklessly when you are not your best self. She realized this and when she was feeling crusty and ready to lash out, she would check herself.

A man told me he noticed he was more hyper when he didn’t wear his Rose Quartz and Lepidolite Neckpiece. Now this was someone who was not at all interested when I tried to tell him about the properties of the stones so I stopped in mid-sentence. After about a month of owning the piece he told me his discovery that the stones calmed him down. Lepidolite has Lithium in it and both stones have calming and soothing properties.


When I visited your booth I had a hard time deciding on a ring. You told me to go with the one that first caught my eye. I did and it was a good decision. Do you make decisions based on what initially attracts you to something?

Tee hee I LOVE to hear that! And yes, I do ultimately remind myself to go with my first instinct whenever I find myself in the deluge of “what to buy, which one oh my oh my OH MY????!!!!!” When I don’t do that, I always end up asking, “now why didn’t you listen, you know better??!!” Lolol!

What do you have planned next? Anything you’d like to share with readers?

I am planning to get my jewelry on someone like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, India Aire, Esperanza Spaulding, Drew Barrymore, et. al.  And also on TV shows and film—the gemstones would really sing on a show like American Horror Story, Coven. So if there’s anybody out there that can help me do that, contact me please! 🙂

In all seriousness, one of my missions is to let folks know there are many natural ways to healing, peace, energy and balance; that working with gemstones, crystals and copper are gifts of Mother Nature that have power and can assist us greatly. They are made up of the same things we are and they took millions of years to cook. We place value on the foods we eat but lump these beauties into “oh they’re just rocks! Oh it’s just copper and it tarnishes!”

My copper JewelryArt is easily cleaned by dropping it in lemon juice or vinegar. And our body needs copper, which it doesn’t produce therefore we must get it from our diets and wearing it also helps. And “rocks” are energy which vibrate on frequencies. Just like everything else in our Universe. It’s ALL energy and vibes.

Thank you, Jacquie!

You can learn more Jacquie’s work in several places:

Jacquie Bird


Filed under Art, Crafts, Fashion

Window Shopping in Snohomish

Snohomish, to me, seems like quintessential small-town America, with its picturesque views, mom and pop shops, and quaint diners. I recently took a Sunday drive to Snohomish with Mr. Jean of all trades so we could window shop.

white and denim
Shirt: Bébénoir
Shorts: Calvin Klein
Boots: MIA
Bag: Matt & Nat
Necklace: Elma Blint
Ring: Silk Wire Jewelry
Cuff: Lauren Harkness

I’m still on my boots and shorts kick, so I paired my new white shirt from Bébénoir in NYC with my faded denim shorts and caramel boots. My shirt works for both big city looks and small town outfits.

neutrals and denim

Today, my jewelry is all so special. I got the cuff at a craft fair in Seattle, my ring at a flea market in Harlem, and my necklace from another flea market in Brooklyn. All three pieces are one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces by local artisans.

jewelry detail

I liked getting design ideas from the beautiful window displays. Seems like an eclectic shabby chic look dominated the designs this season.romantic


I found a clothing store called the Natural Clothing Company and found a couple of cute, sustainable dresses (blogged about one here). And we stumbled across a pub that served Schӧfferhofer, just like I had at the Harlem Tavern. Hubby and I each had a glass to remind me of my fun trip to NYC.



I’m joining Style Elixir, The Pleated Poppy and Transatlantic Blonde for linkups. Have a look at what others are blogging about!


Filed under Crafts, Decor, Fashion

Back to Bootcut

I like skinny jeans, but I also like boot cuts. The nice thing about the 21st Century is that anything goes. I wouldn’t have dared wear wide legged pants in the 80s (where would I even find a pair?) and I would have shunned skinny jeans in the 90s. Now, I wear what I feel like wearing. Is that a sign of the times or just me getting older and not caring?

sweater and jeans

Sweater: Target
Jeans: For You
Shoes: Goodwill
Necklace: Sue Huston

This is a simple sweater that I dressed up with a long chain necklace. I like the elongating effect, so I add long necklaces to my outfits a lot.

simple outfit

Coincidentally, this pair of thrifted shoes that I’ve had for years matched. Turns out this was a good casual work outfit that did double-duty for a night of billiards.

wine and blue

Is there a go-to piece of jewelry you have?


Filed under Fashion, Thrifty

Anjolee Diamond Hoop Earrings

Today I have a special review. I’m taking a pair of beautiful, diamond hoop earrings by Anjolee on a test drive. They are gorgeous–and make me feel like a star!

Jean wearing Anjolee Earrings

Each item at Anjolee is custom-made. That means you can select your metal, shape, size, and the quality of the stones. Anjolee is a U.S. company that employs over 100 people in San Diego. They’re committed to ethical sourcing and environmental responsibility. All of which are values I can get behind.

And did I tell you that I feel like a star?

close-up of earrings

I chose the Must-Have Diamond Hoop Earrings because I was looking to try something that I could wear every day and for special occasions. Anjolee has a lot of necklaces and pendants available too, especially diamond pendant necklaces. But I also like their bracelets. There’s something so timeless about a diamond tennis bracelet.

tennis bracelet

I asked the people at Anjolee a few questions about their company and products. Here’s the interview:

Jean: Anjolee custom-makes all its pieces. What does that mean for customers?

Anjolee: We offer the ability to custom build all jewelry designs by metal type (gold or platinum), diamond quality, carat size and length. Our easy to use customization feature allows customers to purchase exactly what they want rather than settling for a stock item in a retail store. Our customers have raved about the ability to modify these components! Our customer feedback section is full of real testimonials discussing this point.

Jean: Diamonds are an investment and can cost a lot. Is there a good entry-point for the first-time diamond buyer?

Anjolee: The best advice we can offer is to do your research on the four c’s of diamond buying. For smaller carat size stones, it is recommended to focus on a good cut, color, and symmetry. For larger sized diamonds, imperfections have a better chance of being visible to the unaided eye, so you will want to look for good clarity ratings in addition to other four c’s.

Jean: The holidays are coming. What items are the most popular gifts? On that note, what holiday is the biggest jewelry-giving holiday?

Anjolee: Holidays are a popular time to give the gift of jewelry. Christmas, Valentine’s and Anniversaries are the three biggest occasions for gift giving. One trend we noticed is choosing an anniversary ring with the exact amount of stones for that anniversary year. For example, if it is your tenth anniversary, choosing a beautiful diamond anniversary ring with exactly ten stones is a great sentiment. For Christmas and Valentines Day, we sell a lot of our diamond and gemstone pendants as well as classic diamond tennis bracelets.

Jean: A lot of my readers are women. Do women buy their husbands and boyfriends jewelry too? What pieces are popular for the guys?

Anjolee: Women definitely buy jewelry for their companion. We carry many men’s bracelets that are heavier in design and can be crafted in gold or platinum. Some men wear this as a statement piece on the opposite wrist as their watch.

Jean: What trends do you see in wedding sets and bridal jewelry?

Anjolee: Right now, the biggest trend we are seeing with bridal sets and jewelry is the new halo design. A halo design typically features a center diamond surrounded by many smaller diamonds creating a halo effect. This modern design intensifies the diamond sparkle. A halo ring can make the center diamond appear larger, since it is accented by many smaller stones.


Even if you’re not planning to buy yourself any jewelry, the holidays are just around the corner. Now’s the time to start hinting! And if you’re hoping to get engaged, leave this post open on your PC. Anjolee has beautiful engagement rings too!

Anjolee is even offering a discount for readers! Use the coupon code MP591 for an extra 5% off your order.

Anjolee hoop earrings

Keep an eye out for these earrings in future blog posts: I’ll be showing how I style them. Of course they’ll look classic and timeless with dressy attire, but I’m going to wear them with casual outfits too. There’s nothing like fine jewelry to take jeans and a t-shirt to a new level–it adds an element of luxe that nothing else can.


Filed under Fashion, Product Reviews

Black and Seafoam Dress

dress and cardi

Dress: Shop in Canada
Cardi: Smart Set
Shoes: Timberland
Necklace: Santa Fe street vendor
Bracelets: Various places

The dress is sleeveless, low-cut, and short, so I wore it with a coral cardigan and casual sandals. I didn’t need to vamp it up. I added a bunch of inexpensive stretchy bracelets for an impromptu arm party. These are from places like Claire’s, and shops around town. If it fit with the color scheme, it went on my arm.

arm party

I might try this with a blazer too.

tie dress

Do you hang onto clothes or is your closet lean and mean? According to many people, “if you haven’t worn it for a year, toss it.” But I really like this dress; I just don’t always get to things in my closet. I tend to prefer collecting clothes, and I keep them as long as they’re in good shape, fit well, and suit me.

Oh, don’t forget to check out the other Visible Monday posts. I added this to Not Dead Yet’s linkup.



Filed under Fashion, Thrifty

Thread: Exploring Indie Design

Yesterday the Fisher Pavillion at Seattle Center was transformed into a pop-up shop hosted by Thread. Dozens of local, eco-friendly vendors set up booths and displayed their wares. Cheryl invited me to the event after she got a Daily Candy coupon in her inbox. We bought discounted VIP tickets so we could get in early, peruse the goods, and of course, get a free cocktail. We have priorities!

There was a lot to see and buy. Thread had a manicure bar, hair style lounge, art, and a DJ. Let’s start with him:

thread DJ

The music was a fun mix of 80s and chill out. Lots of beats to get people in the mood to shop. And shop we did!

Cheryl and I checked out all the vendors first and then went back a second time to buy a few things, I bought earrings from Sosie Designs. She specializes in sterling silver jewelry. It was a tough decision. She has gorgeous necklaces too. Fortunately, she has her goods in stores all over the country (and beyond). Check our her site to find a store near you.

sosie designs

Cheryl and I each picked up knitted caps from DeCe. They are a micro enterprise (part of the not for profit organization, Sperantsa). Sperantsa is an organization started by college students here in Washington. The DeCe hats are handmade my Romanian women. I love how, through a network or women working out of their homes, Sperantsa avoids factories and enables women to be with their kids while they work. Plus, the hats rock. Get one online for each of the cool kids on your Christmas list.

I bought more earrings, this time from Amy Bengtson. I’d seen her work at Velouria in Ballard but couldn’t decide what to get. Today, I figured it out. As you can see, it’s hard to decide. She has a lot of beautiful, lightweight wooden earrings and necklaces. She has an online store too. No excuses!

Amy Bengtson

Lauren Harkness had amazingly tempting bauble rings made with twisted wire. I had to decide between them and her hammered metal cuffs. It wasn’t easy. Ultimately, I chose the cuff, but I might take advantage of her site’s $5 flat-rate shipping offer and order a ring soon. Check out her Facebook page for up-to-the-minute happenings.

cocktail rings

hammered cuffs

I bought a denim pencil skirt from Sofada, a line of clothing by Alice Dobson. I rummaged through her sale bin and picked up a couple of cool shirts too. I adored the wrap dresses, lacy tunics, and tweed skirts she was selling. I think I’ll create an outfit made entirely of items I bought today. If I can swing that, I’ll post it soon. The pencil skirt will be in that look.

Finally, Cheryl and I each bought a t-shirt and scarf from Wildlife Works. They make graphic tees for people who don’t wear graphic tees. They are subtle, sophisticated, and can be dressed up with jewelry. Look how Wildlife Works’ creative director wears hers:

wildlife works T

I also snapped a photo of her associate wearing an organic cotton scarf. Cheryl literally bought that scarf off her neck. It was the last one in that color.

Wildlife Works scarf

Wildlife Works is an amazing win-win situation. Workers in their carbon-neutral factory in Kenya use organic fabrics to make amazing clothes. By being gainfully employed in textiles, the people don’t have to survive by killing wildlife or working in industries responsible for deforestation. Wildlife works has established sanctuaries for endangered animals, and has helped reduce poaching. They’ve created schools, funded healthcare, and helped improve agriculture practices.

After spending all our money and saving the world, we grabbed a coffee and wandered home. I’m not sure what Cheryl did, but I had a nap and dreamt about all the ways I’m going to wear my new finds.

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Filed under Fashion