Archive of ‘My thoughts on’ category

First show of the year

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Hello friends!

The start of the year is always very quiet for me. Usually, this is time when I take stock of things, plan what shows to do for the year and other administrative tasks that are essential to the business.

This year however, I had the opportunity to participate in a show organized by the wonderful folks of Pot and Box at no less than the iconic Fisher Building.

The Fisher Building which was designed in an Art Deco style was completed in 1928 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. How could I pass up the chance to be in such a prestigious building?

I have to admit I was a bit worried because the weekend of the show was also the weekend when we were hit with another winter storm.

But storm or not, we were all there bright and early to welcome the crowd that came through those Art Deco doors.

After I finished setting up, I went for a look around and was blown away by the talent shown by the wonderful participating vendors.

Immediately, i was wowed by Project Projections, who laser cuts these beautiful shadow lamps. I loved it so much, I took home his constellation lamp!

Then there was Owen and Abbey with their simple yet beautifully crafted home furnishings and tables made from wood salvaged from abandoned homes in Detroit, Pontiac and other urban areas. Their work is proof that beauty can be found and made everywhere.

I really liked the aesthetics of Corbé

with its smooth handmade curves and a color palette designed to go with everything.

And I loved meeting Corliss from The Lowry Estate. She had funky vintage pieces at prices that won’t break the bank. Just check out the coat she had.

All in all a fantastic show!

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Shop small business

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Hello friends,

Apparently today is Cyber Monday, which means it’s deals galore all over the internet. The good thing about shopping online is we are able to support a number of businesses, including those which don’t as yet have, brick and mortar stores, myself included.

But I love brick and mortar stores. Call it old fashioned but there’s nothing like walking inside a store and finding just the right thing. Bonus, if you make friends along with way with the people in the store.

With that in mind as well as the idea of

shopping from small businesses, a friend and I set out to do our version of a pop up store.

Our “store” looked out onto this view…

It’s a pretty good view don’t you think? It certainly didn’t feel like work whenever we looked out.

Shy vs Bold, my partner in this pop up is a purveyor of wonderfully distinctive clothes and accessories. It began with a desire to offer something different from what we find in stores. And now carries a host of pretty dresses, cool jackets and funky accessories. If you want to stand out, Shy vs Bold is the way to go!

Then there’s me with my one of a kind antique charms and storied beads. I will never tire of making these pieces with a little bit of me and a whole lot of history.

What a blast we all had! But the best part was seeing our friends leave supremely happy and content with their purchases. As one friend put it “ I feel like a model after this afternoon”

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Summer stackers 

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Hello friends! Temperatures hit over the 90s this weekend and everyone was out enjoying the beautiful weather. And as summer is all about enjoying the outdoors, I’ve been making new pieces that are easy to wear, easy to layer and stack but still very pretty. As always these pieces are designed to slip right among those pieces you already have in your jewelry box. 

This first piece features a wonderful mid 19th century Venetian trade bead on a silver chain. I love the summery colors of teal blue, yellow and green on this bead! 


Nothing says classic more than pearls and this vintage French glass pearl is jazzed up with gold and silver decorative caps.

This necklace is perfect for adding just a touch of color to an all white outfit.


And finally, a necklace featuring a pretty early 20th century Venetian bead of sky blue and gold. 

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Some wonderful news

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Hello friends! Hope your week is off to a wonderful start. Mine certainly is as I’m very happy to announce that certain De Petites Merveilles pieces are now available at the Franklin Village Boutique!!


The boutique is ideally located in the historic village of Franklin. The village has cute stores and cafes as well as a cider mill that serves the most wonderful donuts and cider in the fall. 
Terri Cooper, owner of the Village Boutique opened her store 2 years ago. She bought out the owners of the store that used to be there because she says she walked in and felt something special about the space. Immediately, she knew she wanted to open her own store there.  After extensive renovations, her store opened, stocked with the latest fashions but also with local designers and artists. 


Terri believes firmly in having a welcoming and inviting space and she has succeeded admirably in this. I walked into her store and felt like this was a great place for my jewelry.  Talking to her and watching her interact with the people who walked in reinforced this feeling.  
She says the best part of being in the store is meeting all the people coming in and sharing in their lives. “People are so interesting, there’s layers to them just waiting to be discovered” she said to me.  


I love the fact that she believes in and supports local artists. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be carried by a store that still believes in hand crafted products. More importantly, my pieces are in a store that believes in treating everyone as a friend.  That’s increasingly rare in these days of efficient online shopping.

So which Petites Merveilles pieces have found a home at the Village boutique? Here are a few pieces….




I hope you stop by and check out this wonderful store!

Some details:

Franklin Village Boutique

32716 Franklin Road

Franklin, MI

248-8510055

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A match to make your day

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Hello friends, remember these earrings?


After I finished this pair I was left with two of these pink and silver foil beads. At first I thought I would make another pair of earrings but I wasn’t convinced by this idea. I want my jewelry to be unique and one of a kind so another pair just wouldn’t do.

So I put them away. Then  I remembered that somewhere in my bead box was a lonesome silver foil bead that was the only one left after I finished a necklace. Now this little orphan bead is a really pretty bead with lots of silver foiling that has remained intact over the years. Just like the pink and silver beads, this one dates back to the early 1950s. In no time, this necklace was born…


I love how these lonesome one-of beads suddenly found themselves together to make a beautiful new piece.

And look how well the necklace goes with the earrings!


The earrings are now listed in the shop and the necklace will soon be added!

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A shop update full of earrings

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I’ve been on an earring kick lately. Just check out these beauties that are now listed in the shop. These are all Venetians beads dating back to the period between the 40s and early 50s. What I love about these pairs is no two beads are exactly alike. Each bead has subtle differences that make them so interesting to wear. I like to think of it as the mark of the hands that made them. 

 


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One necklace for different looks

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When I make something, I always try to imagine it slipping into my jewelry box and getting along with everthing else that’s there. I also like it when the piece goes with lots of different looks. After all, we work hard, do different things so we want our jewelry to be equally versatile. That’s why I’m so happy with this new necklace.


Today’s piece is a simple enough necklace composed of multicolored crystal rondelles.  These rondelles date back to the early 40s and have clearly lived other lives. They’ve been well loved as evidenced by the missing crystals in each rondelle. When I saw these in Paris, I knew immediately that I wanted to make something with them. Yes, they aren’t perfect but I couldn’t bear to just throw them away. As it turns out, it goes with a  number of different looks. So far, I’ve come up with three looks to give you ideas on how to wear this beauty. 

If you’re feeling casual, it’s the perfect accessory to jazz up a shirt. Throw it over a tee, or in this case, a turtleneck since it’s still cold, and you’re good to go.


It’s also great for layering. I love it with another long chain over a simple black shirt.


This last look may yet be my favorite. When you want color and layers, it’s totally possible with this piece.


How would you wear this necklace? 

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Bookish adventures

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One rainy misty afternoon, I finally managed to make my way down to John King books. I’d long heard about this 4 story institution devoted to books and I have long wanted to visit.

Well, it finally happened and I can tell you that it lives up to all the accolades it has earned over the years.


The bookstore was founded by Mr John King in 1971 and its original location was in Dearborn. It moved to its downtown location in 1983 when Mr King purchased the Advanced Glove factory. It later expanded to have two other locations though sadly, one of these two has recently closed.

They have an inventory of over a million titles divided among its two remaining branches thought the downtown one has a much larger inventory. It’s not far fetched to think they have a book on possibly every topic you can think of. No wonder it was once ranked no 2 of the world’s 18 Bookstores Every Book Lover Must Visit at Least Once. I’m keeping this list by the way and making it one of my goals to visit as many as I can. But I digress.


In this day and age where everything is digital and online, John King books is firmly on the old fashioned side. There is no computerized inventory except for their rare book collection. They cannot look up titles for you,  instead, they have booksellers who can direct your search for titles and then you’re on your own– to peruse the alphabetically arranged shelves and get lost in the warren of musty corridors of shelves lined with books and yet more books. When you come, don’t expect to surface for air until hours later. Actually, it’s best to simply clear your schedule of all other things.


As for my book haul, I came away with a very modest one. But this just means another trip down very soon! 

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Soaking up the sun and finding inspiration

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A few days before the close of 2016, we had the pleasure of spending a few days in the sunny island of Puerto Rico. It was a welcome break from the snow and cold and a chance to soak up the sun and recharge.

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 We were greeted by blue skies and the blue green waters of the Atlantic. We could feel ourselves immediately relaxing. The island was first settled in 1509 by the Spanish led by Juan Ponce de Leon. The present site of San Juan was founded in 1510 and was  given its formal name  of Puerto Rico de San Juan Bautista in 1521.  It is the second oldest European established capital in the new world, the first being Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

The remnants of its colonial past is evident in the walls of the city and its two forts that stills stands guard over the city. In days past, the forts constituted the first line of defense against hostile powers who would storm the city and take its riches.

Nowadays, its a popular spot for those who want to take a stroll, and take in the magnificent views of the sea.

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By day, we shared the historic downtown with the numerous daytrippers from the many cruise ships that make this port, a must stop in the Caribbean. All of us were walking around holding our cameras and phones in front of us, trying to capture the vibrant colors that adorn the traditional colonial houses and buildings.

Blue, yellow, violet and pink, every hue was present and it was fun trying to capture that.

Business establishments are on the first floor while families still lived in its upper floors.

At night, once all but the few who chose to stay the night were gone, it was possible to catch glimpses of the families that still live behind the wrought iron balconies and lace covered windows.

The best surprise of the trip was discovering a strong local and thriving artistic community. Yes, there are a number of American style malls but there are also a good number of stores carrying only local artists and featuring only local and handmade crafts and goods.

Take this store which proudly refuses to carry anything other than their own handmade Panama hats…

Or this one store which carried a number of pretty bags, among other things. On the day we were there, we got to meet the artist.  Its a big family undertaking, she told us. Her mother and daughter help her make the bags and her other daughter sells them in the store.

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 Here is a small sampling of her work.

img_7989One gallery I loved featured art work  showing the wonderful old doors of San Juan.
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But my favorite discovery was a tiny shop that also housed a jewelry school.  Nothing touristy about this shop. When I stepped in, I was among residents who were having their jewels cleaned or repaired. This picture is a small sampling of the work of either professors or students of the school.  Their work features gems and stones, silver, gold, and even enamel

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 Needless to say, this was the place to find the perfect souvenir to take back home.

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An array of pretty earrings 

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Sometimes you get on a streak of making one thing and the results are like this. All are available in the eshop! 


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Something pretty and sparkly

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Hello friends, today I thought I’d share my first attempt to capture one of my pieces in action! The first I hope of many more videos to come.

This is a pair of gorgeous gold foil spiral shaped Venetian beads dating back to the early years of the 1900s. It’s designed to add sparkle to whatever you decide to wear! 

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Slow going

| Beads, My thoughts on

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Hello friends, does it ever happen to you that you’ll have a project and it’ll somehow take over your life? That’s what’s happened to me with this bead embroidery project I’m working on. I’ve somehow become obsessed with it to the detriment of other things I’m supposed to be doing (like this poor neglected blog) It doesn’t seem like much progress from the last time but this has taken me so long to do. The beads I’m using are so tiny that I’m going at a snails pace. And I want to get to a point where I can see more of what it’s going to look like but I’m not quite there yet. Oh well, I can’t really give up now right?!

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Saving art

| My thoughts on

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All too often, the news coming out of Detroit is grim. Crime. Corruption. Politics. Poverty. These are unfortunately the all too common headlines that give the city an extremely unsavory air. And to think that not so long ago, Detroit was one of America’s richest cities. Remnants of its once rich past is most evident in the Detroit Institute of Arts or the DIA. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to have such a rich and varied collection. No wonder some parties want to sell the collection to help alleviate creditor claims against the city in its bankruptcy proceedings. Is it selfish to wish that the DIA’s collection remain intact so that we can enjoy it’s art? What use is this beautiful art if there are people who have no means to live after their retirement because the city’s coffers are empty?
I don’t presume to know the answer to such thorny questions but I do feel that to break apart the collection means losing little by little the city’s soul. Yes we must have the means to live but we must also feed our soul and what better way than through art.
This is why, I was so happy to hear about the recent news pledging 330M dollar donation to save the DIA. There’s a long way to go but at least there’s hope along the way .

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Polar freeze

| Daily life, My thoughts on

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I think it’s safe to say that I’ve never been so cold as I’ve been these past few days. At one point we went down to minus 27 F with the wind chill factor. Then I heard that this unseasonable and extraordinary weather was due to polar freeze. Well, then, it’s little wonder that it’s been freezing. We got so much snow that our poor bushes have pretty much disappeared!

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So I’ve been busy cocooning myself with gorgeous jewelry books, all in the name of inspiration and research of course.

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And I’ve started to think about the upcoming first collection for 2014. I sorted out some beads from the bead box and this strand caught my eye….I’m excited to see how they turn out. Soon as I thaw out, I will start working on them!

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Queueing for H and M

| Daily life, My thoughts on

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Today I attempted to do some online shopping and this is the sight that greeted me. I’ve never been in an online queue before today and I certainly didn’t expect it from H &M. I should explain however, that the queue came about because of its much anticipated collaboration with French designer Isabel Marant. She’s the reason why I was online along with it seems everybody else.
But an online queue? This was too much for me. I’m an old fashioned shopper. I like trying things on and checking out how they’re made and where they’re made. I like to feel the fabric of clothes and turning them inside out. And yes, I’ve been known to queue for amazing sales before brick and mortar stores, but there at least, you are with like minded people. A certain camaraderie builds amongst each other.
But an online queue? Where’s the fun in that?

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Fashion friday: Blush Pink

| My thoughts on

blushing pink collageMaybe because we had a particularly long winter and we are now having some summer weather that I find myself gravitating towards the color blush. This is a bit unlike me as I tend to go for the brighter and more vibrant hues but there’s something about this color that is just very appealing at the moment.

I’m not the only one having a blush moment. Pantone has declared blush as one of the key color trends for spring/ summer 2013. Today’s post is my own small collection of crushes on all things blush.

Photos from left to right are as follows:

The color Blush from the Pantone website

My current favorite Maje top with its refreshingly cool palette  of ecru and blush

Some beautiful flowers from a park near our apartment in Paris.

My very own blush creation available at De Petites Merveilles.

A very pretty scarf from dyeproservices.

And last but not the least, a pair of gorgeous custom made shoes from SHUNAMI a newly discovered etsy seller.

Are you having a particular color moment? I’d love to hear from you..

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Where to find my table

| All things Antique, My thoughts on

Friends, I am officially obsessed with tables and desks. Remember our trip to the Midlands antique fair where I tried unsuccessfully to find myself a work table? Well since that trip, I have been dreaming about finding my desk.  I know there are other more important things to think (and obsess) about I feel hampered and unsettled by the lack of a proper work space. The fates must be conspiring too because ever since that trip, I have come across various kinds of desks, none of which are exactly what I need or want. I feel a little like Goldilocks!

First there were these adorable Florentine nesting tables from the 50s….cute but not at all what I am looking for!

Florentine nesting tables

Then there was this desk, also from the 50s with a mirror. But this one was a little too small, there would’ve been too little work space.Mirrored desk

Then there was this absolutely gorgeous carved flip up desk from the 19th century. Isn’t it just pretty?  I was literally drooling when I saw it. Unfortunately practicality reared its head–this simply wouldn’t have enough work space for me.  Believe me it was hard to walk away from this beauty!flip top desk I might have another lead which I aim to follow up tonight. I’m crossing my fingers that it’ll be the one.  But if it doesn’t work out, maybe I should just go for this one..

industrial repurposed tableThis one is by Industrial Artifact, an etsy seller I just discovered.  Their philosophy is to find old industrial artifacts or objects and give them new life by repurposing them.  I love this philosophy. Its the same guiding principle behind my jewelry.  And this table certainly fits my work requirements. So I wonder if this is actually the one.

What about you friends, any object related obsessions lately? I’d love to hear about them.

And if you have ideas where I can find my table, feel free to share them!

 

 

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Haiku day

| My thoughts on

We are on the homestretch for the Blogathon! And today has a theme–its haiku day.  I was unable to join the other theme days but I thought I would give this one a try. My haiku was inspired by yesterday’s stroll.

Park scene1 Oh the scorching sun-

what relief to find some shade

coolness in water

Park scene 2

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Who’s idea was it anyway?

| My thoughts on

One of the reasons I like twitter so much is because I get to read a constant stream of news from all over. And since I make jewelry, I follow a lot of fashion related news tweets. One of the stories that caught my interest recently is about a brewing “fight” between Vena Cava and Alice + Olivia, two relatively young and cool brands.  Vena Cava accused Alice + Olivia of copying one of their prints from the 2012 collection. (read the full story here).  This is the print in question (photo courtesy of http://www.racked.com), with the one on the right belonging to Vena Cava and Alice + Olivia on the left.

 Vena Cava Olive Alicia

But are these original prints to begin with? Its not. Both designers both admit that they were inspired by other prints when they came up with these dresses, one by a vintage dress owned by one of the designers and the other by a vintage wall screen.

The idea of being copied is something we all have to contend with but its especially true in the case of designers.  Creating a piece of art, or jewelry, or clothing is in a lot of ways a very personal matter.  It involves putting a lot of oneself in each piece which makes the issue of being copied really personal in turn.  But how can you protect yourself and your ideas from being copied? Having an online presence makes it even easier to be copied because your designs are out there for all the world to see.  Unless you’re name is Gucci or Chanel (and even Chanel doesn’t manage to win all its trademark battles as this story shows), its very hard to trademark something you’ve created.   Legal and financial difficulties aside, how can you prove that your design is really yours and is truly original? Is anything ever truly original and born without being influenced by something else?

This is something I think about long and often. I like to think that what I create is truly original and one of a kind. I take pride in the fact that no two pieces are the same and once something has sold, I cannot repeat the same piece. So you get an original in that way. But I’m also endlessly inspired by so many other artists and just about everything can be an inspiration.  These influences can’t help but filter through in my work.  I suppose I draw the line at taking someone’s design or idea and replicating it exactly or so close to the original as to be almost indistinguishable.  Is this a good line to draw? Or does it leave too much leeway?  I don’t know. What I do know is that I can (and should) get inspired but I won’t ever copy.

Now did Alice + Olivia copy Vena Cava? They’re certainly very similar to each other. But maybe its a really popular look or color scheme because look at this dress I just got from a recent trip..

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At least mine has ribbons in it!

 

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