Tag Archive: jewelry

NOLA wrap up


I just returned from a fantastic trip to New Orleans…the weather was hot…the food was hotter…and the music was hottest! I would like to share some of my guilty pleasures from this wonderfully decadent city…



Relaxation is just a way of life down in the Big Easy, and I find the Garden District to be one of the most tranquil parts of the city. To get there from the French Quarter, head north on Royal Street and cross over Canal Street – Royal becomes St Charles Ave. – and hop on the historic St. Charles Street Car. The most picturesque houses are located between Jackson and Washington Avenues. When finished your leisurely stroll, be sure to visit one of NOLA’s Cities of the Dead, Lafayette Cemetery #1, whose entrance is right on Washington Ave. One of the city’s oldest cemeteries, it is also featured in several movies, including Interview With a Vampire and Double Jeopardy. To finish a relaxing afternoon, stroll down Magazine Street for some of New Orleans’ best shopping.



These gorgeous earrings from ReStrung Jewelry are made from recycled guitar strings! They were an amazing and unique find at the French Market in the French Quarter. Owner Naomi Celestin creates these beauties from strings donated by local musicians and also donates a portion of her sales to the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation. Here is ReStrung’s website for more info or to purchase:

ReStrung Jewelry

If you are interested in local handicrafts, a great place to shop is Dutch Alley Artist’s Co-Op, on 912 N. Peters Street, just south of the famous Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter. Another fun place to peruse the work of local artisans is the Frenchmen Art Market, on 619 Frenchmen Street – right next to The Spotted Cat – in the Marigny just south of the French Quarter. It is a wonderful outdoor grassroots evening market and is open Thursday through Saturday from 7 PM to 1 AM and on Sunday from 6 PM to midnight.

Dutch Alley
Frenchmen Art Market



If you leave New Orleans hungry, shame on you! This city truly has some of the best food. My favorite breakfast spot is The Ruby Slipper Cafe on 200 Magazine Street in the CBD. Their Bananas Foster Pain Perdu is life changing! For dinner, I like Oceana on 739 Conti Street (between Royal and Bourbon) for their Crabcakes and Ralph & Kacoo’s on 519 Toulouse Street (between Decatur and Chartres) for their blackened shrimp.

The Ruby Slipper Cafe
Ralph & Kacoo’s

If you happen to be walking by 334 Decatur Street and are completely overcome by the delicious wafting aroma of freshly made caramel, it is pointless to resist. Stop in Southern Candymakers and allow yourself to indulge in the best pralines and turtles the city has to offer!

Southern Candymakers



The best place to listen to original music in New Orleans is Frenchmen Street in the very bohemian Marigny section of the city. To get there from the French Quarter, head south on Decatur and you will run right into Frenchmen after you pass Esplanade Ave. This three block stretch of music clubs has a refreshingly mellow vibe and lacks any of the tackiness of Bourbon Street. I really liked both TheSpotted Cat and DBA. The Spotted Cat, on 623 Frenchmen Street, is an intimate music club that features funky jazz and roots music every night. I enjoyed a fun performance by the newly formed Dr. Sick & the Late Greats and some spontaneous swing dancing by some very talented locals. Shows start nightly at 6 PM and 10 PM. DBA, on 618 Frenchmen Street, is a larger club with a huge beer selection and large stage area, perfect for jamming to the fabulous Treme Brass Band.

The Spotted Cat

The best place to take home some local music is The Louisiana Music Factory on 210 Decatur St. They have an extensive collection of local jazz, blues, zydeco, and any other genre you can imagine. The staff is both knowledgable and friendly.

Louisiana Music Factory

I hope you have enjoyed my New Orleans wrap up. Please feel free to share a comment on anything you particularly love in the Crescent City. Thanks for stopping by!





I love shopping at boutiques. Not only do they typically have more unique items than larger chain stores, they also take such care in packaging your purchases. Etsy is basically a huge online collection of individually owned boutiques and, in my many Etsy purchases, I have found some very creative packaging ideas. I just recently received a necklace I acquired through one of my regular BNR’s. The artisan recycled a full color ad from a magazine (it was a higher end publication with thicker pages) and folded it into a fancy pouch, tied with raffia. Another purchase yielded a lovely handmade pillow box. More fragile items have come in jewelry boxes of all sizes and colors. When I first started selling on Etsy, I wrapped my jewelry in turquoise organza pouches and packaged them in glossy sea green boxes with a blue mermaid seal. It was a beautiful look, but really did not match the rustic quality of my jewelry…


This is one of my newest Betty’s, Brandon Bay. It is named for one of the most popular surf spots on the Emerald Island. The vibrant green recycled glass beads and antique brass rose toggle make it a perfect accent for any Irish beach bum (like me!), introduced with St. Patty’s Day in mind. If you would like to view details and more photos of this bracelet, please fee free to click on this link:


A great deal of care was taken in the execution of this bracelet. Matching the right toggle and leather to the beads to give it both an Irish and a surfer feel; researching and finding the perfect name; and taking just the right photos to capture its true beauty. Not taking care in the packaging of this item is really quite comparable to skipping dessert after a delicious meal. While it is not necessary, it is an appreciated finishing touch.


After I completed my branding exercises, I determined my image is beach-rustic. An appropriate packaging theme for this image would utilize natural colors and textures. I wrap each item in these unbleached cotton muslin bags – I like that these bags can be re-used – very eco-friendly! I decided to continue to use traditional jewelry boxes since most of my jewelry is made with chunky glass beads and I want to be certain it arrives safely at its destination, but now I have chosen a kraft finish (made of recycled materials!) to better complement my theme. I also tie a fun bow around the box with hemp cord for a finishing touch. I then ship it in a padded kraft mailer (also made with recycled materials).


In my previous post, Building a Brand, I discussed some of my marketing material. These three items are included with each and every purchase. Of course, I always include my business card (these square ones are from Uprinting). I also tie one of these Dolphin Bead Designs kraft jewelry tags around each bracelet with hemp cord for a personalized and professional accent. I also always say “thank you” to my customers with a coupon card for a 10% discount on their next purchase. These free (only pay $5 for shipping!) mini cards from Moo printing are such a great deal, I am including the link again:



I love when I receive an Etsy package with some free goodies in it! Most suppliers will often send a few loose beads as a way of saying thanks. I was looking for a unique freebie to say thank you to my customers who make a sizable purchase ($50 or more). This magnet evolved from several ideas. When I recently attended a marketing mixer with some of my fellow Etsians, one artisan suggested I turn my business card into a magnet since she felt it was such an attractive photo. I then started to toy around with the idea of a magnet as a free gift – it is wonderful advertising for my shop. In my branding post, I made a graphic to illustrate the words that describe me with an image of one of my bracelets in the background:


I really liked the vibe of this graphic, but I was not sure that I wanted to use an image of my jewelry. I decided to be a little more abstract and feature an image of the beach since I market to beach lovers. I chose a photo I had taken at my former home, Ventnor City, NJ, during sunrise. I always loved the soft colors of this image:


I ran this photo through my Image Chef iPad app to crop it to a square and to add the fun text. I finished with my FOTOLR HD iPad app to add my website address and a little distressing around the edges. I ordered one magnet from Zazzle to test the design, and, I am thrilled to report, it came out beautifully! I also received a discount code with my order for 10% off my next order. So here is the math: I plan to order 24 magnets for $2.17 each after my discount. Zazzle also offers free shipping on orders of $50 or more, so my cost per item will not increase. I think this is a great price for a free gift that really doubles as advertisement.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope I have offered some inspiration in designing your packaging for your craft. I would love to hear about any creative ideas anyone else has through the comments section.



I have had my Etsy shop, Serendipity Blu, since July, 2011. It started as more of a hobby, my creative outlet. I have had moderate success with very little effort, or as I like to say, lolly gagging through the whole Etsy process. This year, I decided to focus and exert some effort into marketing and planning. In addition to my virtual shop (my little cyber beach shack as I like to call it!), I also plan to exhibit at some local craft shows this summer. Jewelry is definitely a saturated craft category, and it is challenging to find innovative ways to make your work stand out. I decided to share my business planning journey with my fellow jewelry artisans. Please feel free to comment on this post if you have any ideas or inspirations that you would also like to share.



This should always be your starting point. Did you start as a hobby? Was it a skill you learned from an older family member? Was it to fill a void? Or is it simply to feed your creative spirit?

I began weaving friendship bracelets when I was a teenager many, many moons ago. I would buy embroidery floss in every color. I would make them for all of my friends. I would often wear several at a time on both wrists. Shortly after I discovered the art of macrame, I turned my attention to beading. Do it yourself bead stores became all the rage, and I visited them frequently. As I got older, I drifted away from jewelry making until my dad passed away a few years ago and I revisited this old hobby as almost a stress therapy. I also started to make jewelry as gifts for friends and family, and after much encouragement, Serendipity Blu was born.



Where do your designs come from? Why do you choose certain colors? Why do you gravitate toward certain materials?

I love the beach! I am soothed by the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide. I am invigorated by the scent of the salt air. I choose to create jewelry to capture that laid back lifestyle that I adore. I use softer colors; many of my pieces are in ocean hues of blue, turquoise, teal, aqua, and green. I feature eco-friendly recycled beads in my work for their soft seaglass-like finish. I also work with distressed leather for the way that, when leather wears, it almost becomes a part of you.



For many of us, we are our first customers. Crafting often results from filling a need for something particular. My boho beachy creations are a direct by-product of being unable to find non-massed produced original jewelry when shopping on the boardwalk.

Do you value your work? Are you willing to spend what you price your jewelry? Could you see yourself wearing what you create? If not, it may be difficult for you to see others purchasing your work and could have a negative impact on your marketing.

Describe your typical customer: My typical customer would probably fall between the ages of 25 and 55. She is starting to or has developed her own style rather than follow all of the trends. She may shop at Lucky Brand and would prefer a Fossil bag over Coach. She lives in flip flops. Her weekend style is casual and she, of course, loves the beach! She is looking for unique boho pieces at a moderate price ($25 to $50) that remind her of her favorite vacation spots and inspire simple pleasures.



When I first started to sell on Etsy, I worked in several different mediums (macrame, decoupage, wire work) and utilized many varied materials (recycled glass, Czech glass, Swarovski crystals). While I enjoyed having such an eclectic assortment of beachy creations, it did pose some problems. As I stated earlier, jewelry is such a saturated craft. I have found more success carving my own little niche with a few unique designs, rather than have several styles. It is about creating memorable pieces to appeal to your focused target customers instead of producing many generic pieces to appeal to the masses. I have learned that not everyone likes my vision, but those that do not only love it, but are also very loyal customers!

I decided to go with my first instinct. The initial pieces I listed on my Etsy shop were leather macrame bracelets accented with recycled glass beads. I called them Betty Bracelets because they were created with grown up surfer girls in mind. After experimenting with different pieces, I settled on the Betties and now they make up the bulk of my shop. They are a simple design, but the combo of materials I use have made them a unique find on Etsy’s vast marketplace.



Now that I have defined my style (beach-rustic), targeted my customers (grown up surfer girls), and found my niche (leather macrame bracelets), I am ready to take the next step in marketing my art. Stay tuned for part 2 of my GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS series which will focus on building a brand for jewelry artisans.

Thanks for stopping by!


african surf safari


I am so excited! I recently acquired some amazing African trade beads for some new spring designs. They are made by the Krobo People of Ghana, Africa, using a centuries old technique. The process begins by pressing glass into a fine powder and heating it until the particles fuse together. The glass is then poured in clay molds and the stem of a cassava leaf is used to make the bead hole. The beads are then baked in an oven, causing the glass to melt together and the stem to burn. The end result is a soft matte finish very similar to seaglass that just POPS in direct sunlight!


The colors are just incredible! I am very much in love with marbled effect on some of beads. I also love that these beads are not only crafted with recycled glass, but are also fair trade.


The beads I chose for this series of Betty Bracelets are larger than what I normally work with – a whopping 14mm! I decided to use thicker leather (1mm instead of .05mm) in a soft distressed shade of honey brown. I spaced the beads a little further apart using the above pattern, which is a variation on a basic square knot. The bracelets are then terminated with a bold button to complement the beads. Here is the roundup of the new collection:



Named after a very challenging surf break in Cape Town, South Africa, this Betty features stunning cobalt blue & seafoam green marbled beads with a white-washed copper dragonfly button. More details are available here:




Named after the capital city of Sierra Leone, an up and coming surf destination, this Betty features earthy brown and clear swirled glass beads with a white washed brass tribal sun button. The full listing can be viewed here:




Named for a popular surf beach on the southern coast of exotic Morocco, the Betty features delicate blush pink beads and a brass nautilus shell button with a verdigris green finish. Item details can be found here:




Named after another impressive surf break in Cape Town, South Africa, this Betty features cobalt and clear swirled beads (together they create the hue of a perfect summer sky!) and a pewter tribal artisan button. It is available here:




Named after an archipelago off the Atlantic Coast of Africa, this Betty features seafoam green beads and a fun daisy pewter button. The full listing can be viewed here:


Thanks for taking the time to view my new Betty Bracelet collection! Be sure to check often as I am adding more great new designs for spring!



Searching for unique Valentine’s Day gifts? Trying to go green? Want to shop locally in the South Jersey area? Here are some amazing hand-crafted finds for your sweetie!


This lovely pendant begins with a broken piece of vintage china, which is then shaped to fit an oval sterling silver bezel. A black satin cord completes the look. Very shabby chic! It was created by Kim for her Etsy shop, Kimagine and is available here:



This beautiful wall hanging began with reclaimed wood, and was hand-painted in a delicate cherry blossom pattern. It has also been treated so it can be hung indoors or out. It is just a perfect rustic accent! It was crafted by Monique for her Etsy shop, DuTill and Daughters and is available here:



Think pink with this whimsical recycled paper bead bracelet! The handmade beads began as a special edition pink newspaper to raise breast cancer awareness. It would make such a loving and thoughtful gift for any breast cancer survivor! It was created by the mom and daughter owned Etsy shop, rbcreation and is available here:



Want to heat things up for you and your sweetie? This incredibly unique red hot cinnamon scented fire starter is sure to get things started! It can also be used as yummy “potpourri.” It was created by Kim and Mark for their Etsy shop, three1seven and is available here:



My Playa Rosada Betty Bracelet also makes a wonderful Valentine’s gift! The soft blush pink hue of the recycled glass are accented by an artisan pewter heart button. Delicately bohemian! It is available from my Etsy shop, Serendipity Blu here:



Are you smitten? Perhaps love struck? These rustic wood coasters are a perfect gift! They are created from discarded tree branches by Lisa for her Etsy shop, Rooftop Creations. They are available here:


Thanks for supporting your local crafters!


snow betties


How do beach bums stay fashionable during the cold, blustery winter? I live in my Uggs and comfy sweaters, but I always feel the need to accessorize with some fun boho pieces. When I am wearing short sleeves, I like to layer 2-3 bracelets, but when I am wearing sweaters and thermals, I like to adorn my wrist with one bold piece. My Limited Winter Edition Betty Bracelets, with their cool colors and chunky beads fit the bill perfectly. The accent toggles are amazing artisan pewter pieces crafted in rustic Vermont. These Bettys are only available in limited quantities for a short time…


This frosty blue beauty is Sola Beach. The bracelet is named for a popular surf spot in Norway – just imagine riding the waves so close to the Arctic Circle! The recycled glass beads are a gorgeous rich shade of blue. They are woven into deep brown distressed leather and accented with a lovely snowflake toggle. Complete details are available here:



Ollie’s Point is a delightful bauble for chilly days! It is named after an epic surf break on beautiful and breathtaking Iceland. Wintry aqua blue (think glacier!) recycled glass beads and rich brown distressed leather combine with a whimsical snowman toggle. Check out the full listing here:



White Point, a major surfing beach in Nova Scotia, is the final bracelet in this Winter Wonderland collection! The recycled glass beads are an icy green – so pale they are seem like translucent icicles! They are surrounded by rich brown distressed leather and completed with a beautiful snowflake toggle. Hurry with this Betty – there is only 1 left! You can purchase it here:


Each of these polar beauties is hand crafted by me and retails for only $26! Shipping is also free for all U.S. and Canadian orders! Don’t wait on these perfect winter accents – they may be gone before you know it!

Thanks for stopping by!


mystic maidens


I would like to introduce everyone to three very magical ladies! As with all of my Betty Bracelets, they are crafted from Indonesian recycled glass beads, which have a soft quality reminiscent of sea glass.


This is Mermaid Beach. She is named after an actual surfing beach on the Goldcoast of Queensland, Australia. She is created from deep distressed brown leather and rich Pacific blue recycled glass beads. She is accented with a stunning artisan mermaid button (note how she is brushing her long hair!). The full listing can be viewed here:



This is Llangennith. She is named after one of the most consistent surf breaks in the mystical, craggy land of Wales. Soft, misty lavender recycled glass beads are woven with deep brown distressed leather and finished with a fanciful fairy artisan button. The complete listing is available here:



This last lovely lady is Cloudbreak. She is named for a famed surf spot on the magical & breathtakingly beautiful island of Fiji. She is crafted from deep brown distressed leather and gorgeous aqua blue (think tropical lagoon!) recycled glass beads. A seductive artisan mermaid clasp is a perfect accent to the stunning beads. The entire listing can be seen here:


Each bracelet retails for $29.00 and ships for FREE in the U.S. and Canada. Thanks for stopping by!



Crunch time…only 9 shopping days left! Should I order online…only to have expensive expedited shipping charges eat away at my great sale prices? I think a better idea would be to shop locally. This post features some beautiful recycled items from my fellow South Jersey Etsians:


This amazing frame is made with recycled floorboards and chicken wire. Add some photos attached with vintage clothes pins for an extra special gift! It is available from three1seven at this listing:



These fantastic coasters are made from fallen tree limbs. They are sliced, decorated, and finished for a beautiful rustic finish. They make a wonderful holiday gift accompanied by a bottle of wine from a local vineyard. They are available from Roof Top Creations at this listing:



This gorgeous tote is made from a recycled coffee sack! It is completely lined inside with a fun chili pepper fabric. It makes a memorable gift when filled with handmade baked goods and, of course, some fair-trade coffee. It is available from Back Alley Chic at this listing:


I often give gift cards, which I like to accompany with a small handmade gift. A piece of jewelry crafted with with recycled components fits the bill perfectly!


These fabulous earrings are made with tagua nut beads and recycled sterling silver. Very fashionable and very green! They are available from Twice Creations at the following listing:



And, of course, I love to gift my own Betty Bracelets. Bonzai Pipeline, as with all of my Betty’s, is created with recycled glass beads and is available here:



When wrapping gifts, I often prefer bags to paper. I also look for bags that can be reused, like these great shopping totes from Whole Foods Market. They are small enough for most gifts and are only $.79!

Please remember, please support your local independent crafters when shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts!


time is running out…


Time is running out to purchase my Limited Edition Betty Bracelets! They make great holidays gifts for any beach bum on your shopping list. As with all of my Betty Bracelets, they are woven leather accented with recycled glass beads…very green! This collection is then completed with winter themed artisan pewter buttons made right in Vermont! A truly special handmade gift!

Each bracelet retails for $26.00. (Check out my Nerd Wallet Indie Coupon for a great deal! Click on the link in my sidebar.) That price includes packaging with a holiday themed box and first class mail with tracking. I also offer a priority mail upgrade, available on my website. All of the Limited Edition Betty Bracelets can be viewed here:


Thanks for stopping by!


grassroots holiday bazaar


I joined four of my fellow Etsians today for our home-grown craft show. We each set up a table of our wares, served some munchies & wine, and welcomed our guests for a relaxing afternoon of shopping & socializing.

Our hostess was Jaime, and she makes beautiful jewelry:


Jaime is very skilled in wire work. I just love her earring designs!


You can visit Jaime’s Etsy shop, Jewelry by Jaime at the following link:


Monique creates gorgeous home & garden accents. Her display featured beautiful wooden signs, stunning garden balls, and sweet holiday ornaments.


You can visit Monique’s Etsy shop, Du Till and Daughters at the following link:


Linda makes really fun resin jewelry. Her designs are vibrant & youthful!


You can visit Linda’s Etsy shop, Pink Milkshake Kiss at the following link:


Lisa loves to recycle & upcycle. Her display featured coasters made from both wood slices and ceramic tiles (which were emblazoned with images from old books!)


Lisa also makes clocks and bowls from old records. She only uses scratched vinyl that can no longer be played.


Lisa sells her wood coasters on her Etsy shop, Roof Top Creations. You can visit her here:


I had my display of Betty Bracelets and Seaglass Pendants. This was my very first craft show outing, and I appreciated the opportunity to work out any little snags. I will have to get some small spotlights (borrowed from Jaime for the day) to really make the colors of the glass pop. I also need to leave some Betty’s loose on the table so potential customers can easily try them on. I think I would like them to appear to be just strewn about with the loose seashells.


All in all, it was a great outing. We had a nice showing, we each made a few sales, and we had a lot of fun bartering at the end. I walked away with some amazing one-of-kind gifts (garden ball for my mom, crystal earrings for my sister, Bruce Springsteen clock for my boss) and a great experience!

Thanks to Jaime for opening up her home to all of us!


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