{Me, trying to grow into my teeth}
When my first daughter turned one, a friend gave me a card that wished her a “Happy First Trip Around the Sun.”
I’ve always liked to think of birthdays as space trips ever since. It takes the earth one year to complete it’s orbit around the golden sun and I’ve just logged in another lap.
If you think about it, you have to admit, it’s a pretty cool ride! There are chocolate cupcakes baked by my husband on the counter, and sticks of butter too, getting to room temp for some frosting. I’m looking forward to a sweet day!

{43rd Street}
Let’s go back to my NYC trip pics! 
{Wanda and I outside the 45th Street Theater. photo:Shaye Strager}
Let me introduce you to the fabulous Wanda Mann who pens the blog  The Black Dress Traveler! I met Wanda at a performance of “Women Playing Men as Women” (to watch our mutual friend Duvall OSteen!) at the 45th Street Theater.
Wanda’s blog covers “Saucy Snippets about Destinations, Fashion, Beauty, Food & Wine, Events & Everything Fabulous” from her home base of New York City. As soon as I met her, I was blown over by her infectious smile and the zing in her voice.
{source: The Black Dress Traveler}
I adore her attitude that the “little black dress” is a reminder to live life with a dash of flair whether you are traveling to work or circling the globe. Wanda implores everyone to have a little black dress approach to life no matter where you are or what you are wearing. She writes fluently on topics from trendy spas in Austin to her favorite Argentinian wines.
{source: The Black Dress Traveler}

Here’s a photo from a recent Black Dress Traveler post that shows Wanda’s roots – her grandmother Bertha, a performer and recording artist who, in Wanda’s words “loved big furs, big jewels, and had even bigger love affairs…” Now we can see where a bit of Wanda’s fabulousness came from!

{neon Johnny Cash lyrics overhead at Southern Hospitality}

After the play (which was awesome and based on Edward Albee’s Zoo Story), I headed with Duvall to celebrate the performance and her co-star’s husband’s birthday at Southern Hospitalty BBQ bar and restaurant on Second Avenue near 76th Street. Owned by Justin Timberlake, Eytan Sugarman and Trace Ayala, it was my chance to try fried chicken livers, but I passed.

me: “What is that, that looks SO good”
he :”Fried chicken livers! Try?”
me: “Ummmm….”

Great pulled pork, though! We were all in a clubby room in the back, away from the bar scene in front.

{back room at Southern Hospitality – love the paper towels on the tables!}

I had to snap a picture of this room – the black and white plaid wallpaper against the tufted seats is fantastic! Have you ever seen plaid look so graphic?

{Duvall was so kind to drag my luggage}
Then it was off to catch the E train to Queens. I’ll write about Queens, soon!


My friends Antoinette and Karen are organizing a fantastic Craft Show at the beautiful historic Woman’s Club of Albany on April 1 & 2. It’s part of Albany, New York’s 1st Friday schedule. I’ll be showing my new Spring pieces from Loretta Fontaine Jewelry, and am excited to meet some of the artists who will be there:

Teresa Berger – felted accessories
Meredith Butler – handmade boxes
Cinderloop – clothing
Pam Demers – accessories and more
Loretta Fontaine – jewelry
Karen Greendale – jewelry
Ali Herrmann – original artwork & jewelry
Ben Karis-Nix – printed t-shirts (& music)
Nancy Miller – jewelry
Katie Nare – jewelry
Sistahs – vintage aprons
Sugi Pickard – mosaics
Lorre Smith – knitted textiles & collage cards
John Visser – pottery
Barabara Weingart – painted silk

10% of sales from the cafe benefit Hope in the Boat, the Capital Region breast cancer survivor’s Dragonboat team, and the WCA.


Mar 21


{my crocuses in their snowy blanket}

Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox, so does that make today the first or the second day of Spring?

We welcomed Spring with two inches of snowfall this morning in Albany, New York. I keep forgetting we still get snow here in March. I keep forgetting I can’t put the snow scraper away just yet. But I am remembering green grass and flowers! Just a little patience…


I’m a new subscriber to Southern Living Magazine, and no, I don’t live in the Southern United States.

This New York girl is subscribing because of the sheer talent of two people – Southern Living contributor Eddie Ross and Associate Decorating Editor Anne Turner Carroll.


First, let me talk about Eddie Ross, because, unlike me, if you DO live in the South, Eddie is looking for rooms no bigger than twenty feet by twenty feet to makeover for future Southern Living articles. Send images and a brief description of your room to: submissions@eddieross.com

Why have Eddie redo a room in your southern pad?


1. He’s got fabulous taste.  Eddieross.com is a must-read blog for editors, stylists and design lovers of all stripes. Above is a great makeover of a 1960’s ranch.  Can you believe how he tricked out the wall of windows?

{my battered copy of Elle Decor picked up at a doctor’s office, September 2008}

2. He’s a TV star. Or so I’m told because I don’t have cable and lack HGTV and Bravo.  But I do have the the article from Elle Decor that shows proof he was in Top Design… Did he win? I don’t know and don’t care, because like in that telling photo, he’s tops in my book!

{source: re-nest.com}

3. Eddie is an expert shopper of all things vintage. He will fill your made-over room not only with impeccable style, but with the personality and gravity that his one-of-a-kind finds can bring. (Read the New York Times article on his renowned flea market adventures here.)

{Anne Turner Carroll, photo Rex Perry}

Now, the second reason I subscribed to Southern Living Magazine was I found that Anne Turner Carroll has landed there after Cottage Living magazine sadly folded. And let me tell you, I adored all the articles Anne worked on at Cottage Living. Three reasons why Anne is fabulous?

{…the before. I give Anne credit for smiling in this picture because in her mind’s eye she sees…}
{…the after!}

1. Her kitchen makeover is seared into my brain. The most amazing real-life before and after kitchen you have ever seen! Anne’s Birmingham, Alabama kitchen, profiled in last issue of Cottage Living (Nov/Dec 2008), is all over the blogosphere as it should be.

The best post on the amazing renovation is written by Anne’s friend Erika at the fantastic blog Urban Grace Interiors. See all the amazing views of this space, including the stunning dining area adjacent to the kitchen, on Erika’s post A Kitchen Intervention. (You’ll get the name of the smashing paint color on those lower cabinets, too!)

{Anne Turner Carroll’s den makeover, photo Laury W. Glenn}

2. Anne is the best (like Eddie) at getting the most bang out of a small budget. She works major magic.

{Southern Living bed makeover by Anne Turner Carroll, photo: Laury W. Glenn}

3.  I am in awe of the way Anne uses color and mixes pattern. She has an amazing eye! Could it be from her two years with the firm Diamond Barratta Design after getting her degree in interior design? I can’t wait to get my first issue of Southern Living to see what’s up her sleeve next!

Let’s recap: If you live in the South, email Eddie Ross at submissions@eddieross.com and suggest he choose YOU for a room makeover. If you live in the South, North, East or West, get more Eddie and Anne with a subscription to Southern Living Magazine. You can preview 2 free issues here!


{passing the Catskill Mountains on the train ride down. Love to watch the majestic Hudson River!}
Yesterday I got back home from my four day stay in fabulous New York City. Awesome trip! I met so many folks who flew in to the events, but lucky me – New York City is a fast two and a half hour Amtrak trip from Albany. If I catch a 7:00 am train, I pop up in New York City bright and early at 9:30 am!
{busy pen!}
I was at the MJSA (Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America) Expo and the Jeweler’s Resource Bureau DESIGNERday conference, both held at the Hilton on 6th Avenue. Most of my trip was spent listening to days of business seminars and taking lots and lots of notes!
{Times Square}
I’ll be writing a bunch of posts on inspiring bloggers I met, wonderful ideas I leaned from the seminars that all bloggers (not just jewelry designers) can relate to, and share some more of my travel pics. I’m sure you may have been to Times Square, but I’ll take you to Queens as well!
Nothing like a trip to a vibrant and bustling city to get my creative juices flowing! I still feel the wild energy of the streets and subways in my blood.

March weather in my neck of the woods of upstate New York is often a “wintery mix” – which brings ice. In my neighborhood of majestic towering trees it also brings blackouts when the branches fall.

{the thermometer on the stove top read 350 degrees}

Last Monday the schools closed for bad weather, and the kids and I started baking banana bread to celebrate the snow day (it should have been called an ice day!). But then the power went out and we tried to bake it in a cast iron griddle on the woodstove…

{Rosie being a good sport}

It came out quite burnt but we ate some anyway! Luckily our kitchen stove is gas and works during blackouts, and husband added some milk and oil to the remaining banana bread batter and made some really tasty banana pancakes! Power finally came back at 9:00 that night, and although the woodstove did not cook well, it kept us toasty all day.


correction – I’m sure the woodstove would cook well if I knew how to do it!

I’m heading to New York City for a jewelry conference soon, and am designing a printed portfolio book on blurb.com to bring along with me.

{a screen grab from the blurb.com site}
Lauren Liess of Pure Style Home introduced me to blurb.com, (see her gorgeous portfolio post here!) and the site seems pretty easy to use.  I chose a seven inch square softcover book.
{press hits}
I’m treating the book like a little press kit – An introduction, images of my work with captions, and two pages of press hits in the back. The hardest part is knowing when to stop – I could tweak the pages all day! At the NYC conference (for jewelry designers), this little book will be my foot in the door!
{lots of customization!}
It’s all designed and ordered, and I can’t wait to get it in the mail! The 20 page book will cost about $15.00 plus shipping and handling. I’ll let you know how it comes out!

It was a long week last week. I had the stomach bug for all week, and husband left town with the High School Robotics club for a competition in New Hampshire last Thursday through Saturday.

Thursday night I woke in the middle of the night feeling really disoriented, dialed my sister in Oregon, who told me I was freaking her out and to call 911, and she’d call my parents across the river to come over to watch the kids.

I wasn’t scared, but I was nervous and by the time the paramedics came my hands and feet were numb, and my body was tingling. Did I go to the hospital? No, I was hyperventilating – breathing rapidly –  and just needed to breath slowly.

{these hands and feet are VERY numb!}

I’m writing this post in case you come across someone who’s hyperventilating and hands and feet are feeling funny.  The paramedics had me hold my breath for a second and then breath slowly in and out counting to five in my head for each cycle.

I had to Google hyperventilation afterward and the numbness I felt was not not from a lack of oxygen (what you might think!), but from a lack of carbon dioxide in my blood.

from wikipedia: “Counterintuitively, such effects are not precipitated by the sufferer’s lack of oxygen or air. Rather, the hyperventilation itself reduces the carbon dioxide concentration of the blood to below its normal level because one is expiring more carbon dioxide than being produced in the body, thereby raising the blood’s pH value (making it more alkaline), initiating constriction of the blood vessels which supply the brain, and preventing the transport of oxygen and other molecules necessary for the function of the nervous system.[2]”

I had hyperventilated once before in my life, and it was so different then what I felt that Thursday night that I didn’t recognize it. I was a teenager and had just joined my high school track team, and the team was running sprint triages in the parking lot. I was completely out of shape and all of a sudden I was just gulping and wheezing rapidly. It felt like I couldn’t get any air into my lungs. Back to wikipedia, this is what I think happened then:

“Hyperventilation can also occur when someone exercises over their VO2 max, when they’re unable to transform oxygen into energy beyond a certain level but hyperventilates in an effort to do so.”

Ugh. I so admire people who know medical stuff, which is not me! I am feeling great today and getting to the huge pile of to-do stuff that has backed up all week. Ugh again!


Feb 28