Diamonds – and crystal – are the birthstone for April.

So the ideal birthday present for your April birthday girl would be diamonds. For your mom’s April birthday, or your daughter, or your girlfriend. But we can’t always afford diamonds. And crystal – foil backed glass, well faceted, cleanly made – can be pretty wonderful. And happily, crystal is also the April birthstone! So if you’re not in the market for “emerald cut” (octagon shaped) diamond earrings – the prices I found today ranged from $629 to $3,857 – well, you might consider these lovely octagon rhinestone jewels for your next earrings project 😉

emerald cut crystal earring jewels... crystal octagon glass gems

And you can go for the diamonds some other time. Meanwhile – pretty earrings 🙂

Emerald green glass beads – great style!

A friend of mine was talking about finding some great emerald gemstone beads recently – so I just had to show her why I loved my glass beads. Okay, I love the gemstones too, don’t get me wrong. But for the money? Glass. Totally wins.

And I’ve got some terrific “multi stone” glass beads – that have two (or more) rhinestones. The extra rhinestone adds sparkle, and even more, it means you can customize to get exactly the color combo you want. Change that tiny crystal stone for pink, or amethyst, or aqua, or, hey, emerald!

emerald green glass multi stone beads

If I get a chance I’m going to take some more pics, using different colors for the small stones – just to show how yummy some of these combos can be.

Emerald it great for St. Patrick’s Day, of course, which just happens to be coming up pronto – and it’s the “official” birthstone color for May.

But really, it always looks classy. Affordable, wearable, flattering, and classy. This is a win 🙂

The space shuttle Challenger

People don’t talk about the Challenger anymore – it’s not part of most people’s conscious lives. But it’s part of mine.

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded a couple minutes after takeoff. I’m not sure anymore of the exact number of seconds, though I’m thinking it was 80-some. We’ve found out why (a faulty O-ring, and an attitude of “it has to succeed, so shut up and cross your fingers”). And in the big picture, it’s one hiccup on the trail of human exploration.

But it’s personal to me, and it was a tragedy, and there were 7 wonderful people on board that shuttle. A divorced Jewish woman astronaut! A black guy! A Hawaiian oriental guy! It was a mixed-race, mixed-gender, wonderful crew – representatives of the real human race. They were beautiful, and heroic, and they died because we – their caretakers – were stupid.

And the world goes on. But today, I thank these people for their heroism and their lives and their sacrifices. I haven’t forgotten.

Dick Scobee
Michael Smith
Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka
Gregory Jarvis
Judith Resnick
Christa McAuliffe

Bless you all. Thank you. May you rest in peace. You are remembered.

Vintage suede and faux fur boots

Now this is the best example in the world for why we love vintage. It’s snowing outside, it’s cold, it’s going to be Red Alert Winter for a while, you know?

We want to be warm, and safe (non-skid boots!) – but we also want to look great. And we want our stuff to be special, and a little bit unique if possible, and fun. Fun is important. So! Look at these fabulous boots.

vintage suede and faux fur boots

Are those not wonderful? And they are only $35.00 plus shipping! Trust me, if they were my size, I would be showing you a different item, because these would be already sold. I found them at LesSoeursVintage, a wonderful vintage boutique on Etsy. You really and truly want to go shopping there.

Even after Christmas. You deserve a little goodie for yourself. Like the vintage floor length black dress, or the vintage 1950s Bestform lace-up corset, I’m serious, you have to see it!

Do you get the idea that this could become your favorite vintage shop? Yes. You’re welcome.

And a merry Christmas to you, too 😉

Remembering Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941, “A day that will life in infamy”. There are many dark days in U.S. history – this is a day that we will remember for the sacrifice of American lives, and the determination we displayed as a nation after this terrible attack.

I am saluting all the vets of World War II today – those we lost at Pearl Harbor, and those who went on to fight and win. Thank you for your service. Thank you for caring and for giving. Thank you for being such good guys (and women).

It sounds simple but I don’t want to grandstand. We may argue with the brass (and we should) – but our troops in every service are the finest in the world. They deserve and should receive all the appreciation and thanks we can give them.

Mother and Daughter dresses – a great Mother’s Day gift!

You know Mother’s Day is coming up – and I just lucked into finding these totally adorable, matching mother’s and daughter’s dresses at NaforA on Etsy.

mother and daughter matching dresses from NaforA on Etsy

The thing is, they are not only cute, and handmade, but they are versatile and actually wearable. They can be summer dresses “as is”. They can be winter tunics, with leggings and maybe long-sleeve tees underneath. The mom’s dress is not tight – you can use it as a maternity dress! Or a great-looking “I’m not feeling skinny today” dress. And be cute at the same time!

The shop owners, Halyna and Natalia, are a mother/daughter team themselves. They’re doing a bit of an update on their shop – and I think we’re going to love what they come up with. Go see for yourself!

And remember your mom this Mother’s Day. Really. It’s important 🙂

#Paris is about Life

I can’t do a “regular” post today. I am heartsick over the violence in Paris, all those innocent people killed by monsters. I’ll return to my ordinary, everyday posts soon. But today, I have to share a beautiful tweet I saw.

The hashtag is #Parisisaboutlife. I retweeted it here.

hashtag paris is about life.... beautiful cartoon

In case it’s hard to read, the simple cartoon says, “Friends from the whole world, thank you for #Pray for Paris, but we don’t need more religion! Our faith goes to music! Kisses! Life! Champagne and Joy! #Paris is about life”.

Paris is about life.

We don’t need more religion. We need more compassion, more love, more jobs, more education, more respect for each other and all life.

If you’re so inclined, go share your thoughts on Twitter. Tell Parisians we care, even if we don’t know how to fix it.

Royal blue…and the Kansas City Royals

Just thought I’d highlight some Royal Blue glass jewels. Not that they made me think of the Kansas City Royals, the day after that exciting ALDS win – with that 8th inning home run that is just what baseball excitement is all about! Yeah, I’m not thinking about that.

sapphire blue...royal blue...glass heart jewels

Well – not much. I don’t usually make a big deal out of organized sports, it’s not my thing. But these guys are right in my back yard, and they’ve been so terrific – and they’re a bunch of pretty good guys, I hear. So, yay Royals!

And the glass heart (pendant or earring) jewels are pretty cool too 🙂

The beauty of contrasts – DIY jewelry design

Just another example of how contrasts make all your elements look better:

black filigree ornament and clear crystal glass jewel

You see what I mean? Whether this filigree-style “ornament” or another, the drama of using black with clear jewels adds a little extra something. These clear glass ovals are nicely faceted – the light and sparkle add just enough pizzazz to this combo to make it extra fun for a necklace focal. These were on my worktable – if I was going to make a necklace, I’d use gunmetal chain – or silver – or copper.

Contrasts. Play with stuff. Don’t match all your elements – on purpose. It works!

Summer storms in Kansas City

We have been very lucky, here in KC. There’ve been some humongous storms this year – none of which have reached our neighborhood. Well this week we had one finally come through. Just a few days’ worth of interruption to “normal life” (you can define that however you want to, I figure as long as there’s food on the table and running water, everything else is gravy).

So anyway – I am playing catchup. Last Thursday (okay, very early Friday, about 2:00 am) we had part of a tree fall on our house.

part of a tree that fell on our roof

And it didn’t make a hole in the roof – talk about blessed! As it fell it came through other branches, so it was gentle. Just cumbersome and big and I do have to say, it was much bigger in real life than in the pic here.

Well, it seemed like it. We got it removed (a huge front-yard-filling pile of tree trunks, lumber, and branches as they were hauled away) and the only other problem was two days without power, which I’m not fond of. And three days without internet, which ditto.

But some people are still without power, 5 days later. And had major roof and/or house damage. We were SO lucky.

Counting my blessings!