East Coast Exploration
On our recent trip along the east coast from Palm Beach, FL to our home in Mohnton, PA, I was on the lookout for shops that were advertising unusual beads and shells. Quite a few of my customers have expressed an interest in “beachy,” so that’s fine with me; I like beachy! Since I was a little girl, my favorite places were along the New Jersey shore. We found several places in St. Augustine, FL., our first stop from Palm Beach, and also in Virginia Beach, VA.

It was fun walking the narrow, old St. George Street in St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city and checking out the oldest city blocks that are 450 year old, this year. Located in this area is the Saint Augustine Crystal shop with many exquisite, finely cut and polished crystals and agate slabs. A few blocks away and near the Fountain of Youth is the Bead Chick, which has an extensive array of handmade artisan beads, shells and unique classes.

In Virginia Beach, there is the Beads and Rocks store which offers quite a selection, complete with a working, very old and interesting stone cutting machine in full view. But my personal favorite of all was the Pier Shells on the Promenade at 7th Street. The “Shell Man,” Matt, who runs the place was born in England, lived in San Diego and has been in charge for nearly 20 Years. He really knows shells and with over 220 varieties of shells on display. I found many for creating new necklaces and earrings.  I was surprised to learn that he had a natural blue abalone shell from New Zealand that is no longer harvested due to the scarcity. There are imitations produced on the West Coast of the United States by soaking them in petroleum. I did purchase several of the natural blue, so look for them in my newest creations.

David and I so loved the town, about seven hours away just south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and also enjoyed the Shell Man, that we plan to visit again soon. Summer is here, so look for my “beachie “creations in the shops. If you need to know where to buy, please send me a note. jafeick@comcast.net

Bluebirds of Happiness

So we made it through another winter with lots of snow, about one or two snowfalls a week. That was enough to keep the shovels handy all winter long, but not enough, except for one or two times to call out the heavy artillery (snow thrower or even the electric sweeper). Now all winter gear is stowed securely away and the seedlings have developed. The lettuce and spinach are thriving, along with the blooming early spring bulbs.

 

Among my favorite spring things are watching the birds enjoy the bright, sunny sixty five degree days while they change colors and build nests for hatching their eggs. The goldfinches turn a vibrant yellow (look at me filling their feeder) and the cardinals are turning a brighter red color. The bluebirds have returned to occupy the box where I peek in and monitor their well being. Hopefully we will have two broods as we did in 2013. Last year we had only one brood because the house sparrows decided to take over for a time. We dealt with this issue by placing fish line adjacent to the box opening. The bluebirds can fly between the lines and the sparrows cannot.

Bey's
One of my favorite places to purchase crystals is only about 15 miles from our home. Bey’s Rock Shop has been in business for over 51 years selling crystals, Minerals and Fossils, as well as gifts created from these gems. James and Jean Bey are the original owners and remain very active in the business, although their daughter and her husband are very significant players.

Years ago, James was actively prospecting in the western US and providing quite a few of his own merchandise pieces. There were times when he and Jean would attend 25 private shows a year to display and sell their pieces. Their shop of 33 years located just north of Boyertown along PA Route 100 attracts customers from New England, New York State and New Jersey.

Today, James and Jean purchase their natural and very exciting materials from all over the world. He has established relationships with representatives from Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Pakistan, and knows that they know he is not a novice.  James carefully selects the merchandise for sale in his establishment and tells his representatives “Don’t bring me your trade show leftovers!”

The things I look for when I visit there are new and unusual pieces that will compliment my creations.

I especially like this shop because I appreciate quality merchandise, a friendly atmosphere and am grateful for their invaluable knowledge.  Not only do they have 2 rooms of jewelry making supplies, but several rooms of fascinating  rocks, geodes, petrified pieces and fossils. Should you be traveling through this area, it is well worth your time.
Our New Offices
So, for many years, we’ve had a third bedroom that did not have a bed, but had a variety of things, mostly computer related. It once was a very nice bedroom, but over time, the space gave way to keyboards, monitors, printers, scanners, an antique sewing machine and filing cabinet. This past fall, David and I decided enough was enough! We now call this third bedroom our home office. The arrangement is much more useful than laptops on kitchen counters that are connected wirelessly to scattered devices. David can do my invoicing in a more proficient manner and I can easily find photographs of jewelry pieces where matching jewelry is requested. I think David’s retirement (2 years without an office!) was an inspiration. It is a very comfortable and productive space. By the way, the wall décor is David’s photograph of the “Lone Cypress” from one of our two 2014 California trips, touring the “17 mile drive” just south of Monterey. He had it mounted on three canvas panels.
Sea Glass
Exciting news is that while we were in Cape May I noticed a flyer about a Sea Glass Festival this weekend, September 27th and 28th. Researching it further and finding this happens very seldom in our area, in fact this is the first time it has come to Cape May and that it is sponsored by the North American Sea Glass Association. Quite impressive as people came from Washington State, California, Conn., Florida, Prince Edward Island, Canada, Puerto Rico and everywhere in between! Not just sea glass, corals, but lake glass too! It was very informative and complete with programs, serious collectors willing to share their knowledge, a panel for those posing questions concerning their shard finds and a Sea Glass Shard Contest. Experts were able to identify what type of glass it was, where it was found and other very interesting facts. Many exhibitors had wonderful ideas how to use and display sea glass in very creative ways, but of course jewelry was the majority and the highlight. Although the weather and time element did not allow a long walk on the beach searching, it certainly peaked my curiosity and I was anxious to come home and re-examine my finds from throughout the years.
Pasadena Bead and Design Show
Pasadena Bead and Design Show was a busy fun packed three days for David, our daughter Sherry and myself! While David surveyed the entire area to get a better understanding of the various vendors and their locations and photo journal our adventure, Sherry and I took four workshops learning new techniques and fine tuning old ones. The vast amount of vendors, designers and classes filled the whole first floor in every crook and cranny of the Pasadena Hilton. The excitement and enthusiasm of the registration committee,and the public and wholesale attendees was phenomenal. I found many new, unusual textures, patterns and shapes in semi precious beads and items never before presented and am excited to create beautiful one of a kind jewelry pieces for the Fall.
Blue Birds
For his birthday, March 19th, David suggested we spend the day at Capistrano, a short drive away from where we were staying in Pasadena with our daughter and her husband. Although we had a lovely visit, we found that on this day, the day the swallows return, there was no sign of them. It is thought that the construction restoration of the mission has deterred the swallows from returning, as they had for many years.

Back home in Pennsylvania, It is very fun to see the bluebirds return to us again this year. After a long, cold winter and a late spring, David and I were concerned that our very fine and blue friends found another spot to hatch and raise their young. We are watching them build their nest and look forward to tracking their progress. There may not be two broods this year as there was last, but we are happy for this and the hummingbird activity.We are thankful that the bluebirds have returned to Arborplace again this year.

Sunny Florida


We no sooner returned from California and had a message from our son and daughter-in-law that they achieved final settlement on their beachfront condo in Palm Beach, Florida! So off we went for five days to help them celebrate; we like celebrating.


Florida is new territory for David and me; we have been to Miami once in the past. The beach adjacent to the condo is filled with jewelry making treasures and within a few hours, I was able to find 3 types of coral, a variety of sea glass, cockle, tulip, scallop and cats eye shells, all great for creating a variety of collage focal pieces. Snorkeling (new to me) also provided an inspirational experience just beyond the surf where the former Dixie Highway, overtaken in a hurricane, provides a natural reef for many beautiful creatures.


I look forward to attending the Pasadena Bead Show in late July and to walking the California and Florida Beaches as a way to enhance jewelry creativity.

Monterey Bay

Last time I spoke about our visit to look (again) at the Cape May Diamonds in New Jersey. Recently, we were able to visit the other ocean; the left one! David and I have been visiting our daughter and her husband in Pasadena for over 12 years and enjoy visiting different places while there, like San Francisco, the wine area, San Diego and the Zoo, as well as many LA features. This time after being in the Jeopardy audience for three tapings to be aired this summer: Monterey Bay. It was our first time in the Monterey Bay area, and how gratifying was the experience. John Steinbeck’s classic novel, Cannery Row, takes place in the city of Monterey. The Pebble Beach Golf Course is on the peninsula.


We had a lovely beach front condo and our own golf cart at the Sanctuary Beach Resort Inn. I highly recommend this place to anyone who truly loves the ocean! With waves that towered over those of the Atlantic, as viewed from our condo porch, the Pacific waves were majestic. After several days and after taking in many sights, as we left to return to Pasadena the ocean was quite calm. Somehow, experiencing the ocean contrast between majesty and peaceful calm significantly inspires my jewelry creating abilities. This contrast certainly influences the differing elements of a single jewelry piece or those from one piece to another. Somehow, it seems there is a spiritual component to my work and observing the differences in the two oceans was for me definitely spiritually significant.

Beautiful Cape May

So, this past weekend in the middle of February 2014, David and I visited one of our favorite places, Cape May, New Jersey. We have been visiting there since before we were married 45 years ago and on this visit, we were treated to 60 degree weather, a delightful change from the sub-freezing temperatures we have been experiencing at home, about 130 miles to the northeast. This very historical town, located south of the Mason Dixon Line, has seen visitors from Philadelphia since the mid 1700’s. Many arrived by ship to the area at the mouth of the Delaware Bay known today as Cape May Point, the farthest southern location in the state.


The western shore, Sunset Beach, of this southernmost place is about three or four miles from the city of Cape May and has, since before the time of the Kechemeche Indians, a part of the Lenni-Lenape tribe, been the depository and therefore the source of quartz crystals from the Delaware Water Gap, about 200 miles north in the Delaware River. Many local gift shops polish and cut these gems known as Cape May Diamonds into very lovely costume jewelry pieces. Although my forte has not really been cutting and polishing stones, finding these “rough” small stones and thinking about possible color combinations has always been an inspiring thing for me to do at “The Point.”

Winter of Weather
With temperatures below freezing for extended periods of time and significant snowfalls at least once every week since December, this has been a brutal winter season.  That has not stopped David from beginning the vegetables for outdoor planting when the weather is good for gardening. In addition to the tomatoes and peppers and other assorted veggies, last year we enjoyed a long thin eggplant variety called “Long Purple.” This mild flavored variety does not seem to be available in our stores and is a real treat with pasta and tomato sauce. With less than 30 days to Spring, who’s counting? We are!
Berks County's Best Kept Secrets are secrets no longer.
Berks County's Best Kept Secrets are secrets no longer. Many people commented on what a great idea this is and my trunk show proved just that! What a fun way to meet new people and for people to discover shops they never knew exsisted. Christmas shopping was made easy with many of my signature Spiral Bracelets to choose from for that hard to fit recipiant! No wrist measurements needed, one size fits all! Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings for fun and festive occassions were in high demand, and my metal scarf slide designs complimented beautiful handmade scarves.
RSO Luncheon and Fashion Show
It was very exciting to see my jewelry professionally modeled before an audience of about 400 guests attending the recent RSO(Reading Symphony Orchestra) League, 13th annual “Symphony of Style Luncheon and Fashion Show.“ There was a special moment when Janae Sholtz Scroggs, dressed in a green formal evening gown along with my floating crystal necklace and matching  earrings, drew oohs and aahs from the audience. I am grateful to the Carriage House for the opportunity to combine our fashion ideas in support of this event.
142nd Diocesan Convention
It was good to see familiar faces and meet many interesting new people at the Diocese of Bethlehem Convention. 

How gratifying to see my prayer boxes, crosses, and spiral bracelets so kindly and well-received.

We had a very enjoyable weekend.  It was especially good to see Bishop Cronenberger celebrated. 

David was honored to be elected to join the Diocesan Trustees and looks forward to serving.
Fall Festival of the Arts
What a great time we had at the Fall Festival of the Arts!  There was so much to see and enjoy - so many gifted artists and performers.  It was a real delight to get to meet and talk with everyone.

The organizing committee did a wonderful job as always in making it a great success.

You can see some highlights from the event here
As Summer Turns to Fall

This time of year is always a unique one.  Fall seems to embody a more somber, stately progression.  There is the satisfaction of the harvest of a bountiful gardening season, the rich beauty of the foliage as it turns, and the anticipation of the many coming festive holidays.

I especially enjoy the chance to reflect on the beautiful colors and inspirations all around me.

This fall is especially exciting for me as I have several upcoming events, including sharing "Featured Artist" status with Merri Bengtson at the 29th annual Fall Festival of the Arts.

For more information: 
www.fallfestivalofthearts.org

WRTI

Last November, my husband of more than 45 years and I were “on-air guests” with the morning classical music host of WRTI, Temple University in Philadelphia.

David and I have been supporting this station since 1993 and were delighted to have an opportunity to be selected from many pledging their support last fall for this honor.

Here we are with Gregg Whiteside in the studio. It was so very inspiring to spend 2 hours on the air, sharing our experiences and home town tales with this wonderfully gifted morning host of our favorite classical music and jazz radio station. It was an experience we will always cherish.

The Pantone Colors

Each year, Pantone releases their Seasonal color reports for fashion.  Their exact color matching system suggests hot trends for clothing and accessory designers. 

This colormatch system also ensures that print, online, fabric, and other media all align to present a perfect collection of marketing materials to represent you (and your style) best.

The 2013 color of the year is "Emerald Green" .  You can view their seasonal palette here.

Though most of my jewelry designs are inspired by the natural beauty of the places and things around me, I also make sure to include seasonal designs based on these color announcements to coincide with current fashion trends.