See How a Surprise Package Becomes SheShe’s Newest Designs

See How a Surprise Package Becomes SheShe’s Newest Designs

I’ve always loved surprises.  Suprise Parties.  Surprise Endings.  Surprise Visitors.

And challenges.  Puzzles.  Mysteries.  Sudoku.

So, when I was notified by Nina Designs that I was selected to participate in their blog partnership program, I eagerly awaited the package of components that I would get to work with.  Today, I will share the pieces I created using the little surprises that I received.

I discovered Nina Designs at the first gem show I attended after I started making jewelry.  I loved everything about their products – from the unique designs they offered to the quality of the pieces to the friendly and knowledgable staff.  And now, as a regular customer, I have come to learn about their community giving.  I am especially impressed with the fact that they regularly travel to Bali, Indonesia and Thailand to meet with the hard-working artisans there who turn Nina’s concepts into reality.  I love that they offer microloans to the artisans in these countries, empowering these craftspeople to earn a real living.  So, in addition to already being a fan, the behind-the-scenes stories of Nina Designs and their staff make be proud to use their products and share them with you.

I am honored and grateful to present to you these amazing designs, crafted from the beautiful components they provided to me.

Rock crystal earrings on candlestick Rock crystal earrings on brown



As soon as I saw these gorgeous, natural brass abstract links, I knew the perfect way to show them off would be to pair them with these rock crystals. The irregular facets and opacity of the stones set off the high shine of links, allowing these earring to make a real statement, while keeping their simple, “every day” status.



Multistone bracelet on brickWhat a great way to use a random collection of natural stones – with this double-wrap matte gold-filled bracelet.  I don’t make a lot of bracelets, but when I do, they are pretty special.  When I saw the lotus charm and this large, easy-to-operate clasp, I knew this bracelet was meant to be!  I paired the uber-shiny charm against the matte chain, and hooked a small, faceted Carnelian rondelle to the charm.  And now that I’ve found this amazing new clasp, I’ll be making a lot more bracelets.                           Multistone bracelet lotus detail

Pearl callalily earrings on tree drum Pearl callalily earrings on stump




When I design earrings, I like for the ear wire to be as much a part of the design as the “dangly” part. So I was thrilled to pair these bronze marquis ear wires with 18K gold-over-bronze callalily charms and tiny pearls.






Chinese Turq on clock 2   Since I specialize in one-of-a-kind designs, I was happy to test my creativity and use the second lotus charm in a completely different way. This necklace features a Chinese turquoise pendant, green turquoise beads and sapphire-colored jade beads. And although I’m not a real “blingy” person, I think the few Swarovski beads dangling from the lotus charm add just the right amount of oomph.

      Chinese Turq lotus detail

Glass Briolette ss swirl earrings


Remember the story about discovering Nina Designs at the gem show?  Well, these sterling silver ear wires are one of the things I purchased that day.  I have always loved the swirl motif, so I had to have them.  But I hadn’t found the right way to use them until now . . .  my package of components contained these bright, shiny natural bronze discs. I decided to pair them with faceted glass briolettes (which look like real stone).  And since the earrings are silver and gold, they are perfect for any outfit.



Lime Silk Lariat

I’d been wanting to take a stab at working with silk ribbon for a while, so when I saw the Blue silk lariatturquoise and lime silk ribbons in my package, I was excited to try them out.  After trying several different concepts, I decided to go with these simple lariat styles.  Each has an agate at the end, creating a nice weight for the ribbon, as well as a beautiful focal point. The large beads move up and down on the ribbon, making it easy to get on and take off, as well as to size for the wearer.  Fun, easy and a little boho!








Had so much fun working on this project.  Would love to hear what you think of the newest SheShe Artisan Jewelry designs!



The materials above were provided as part of the Nina Designs blogging
program. The author of this blog has not received any payment from
above-mentioned company. The post above represents only personal opinion of the
blog author.



Eco-Friendly & Home-Healthy

Eco-Friendly & Home-Healthy

                     “I feel more confident than ever that the power to save the planet                               rests with the individual consumer.” 

     ~Denis Hayes, Chair, Earth Day Network

Happy Earth Week!

I am thrilled and honored to be a featured guest contributor on this week.   Head over there to check out my ideas to Upcycle Your Way to an Eco-Friendly Home.  In conjunction with that post, and, because there is just so much info, I’m sharing even more eco-friendly tips here….  (let’s start in the bathroom :-) )

NOTE:  As often happens, I have an idea of a topic I want to share with all of you, but am not always sure how it will take shape.  Today’s post has a lot of great info, but some of it may seem a little scary to learn.  My intent is NOT to scare you, but to arm you with important information along with useful ideas and options for you to create a healthy home for your family.  We can’t do everything at once, but information is power, so I encourage you to sit back, read this overview and start, however slowly, to make your home your healthy – and still beautiful – haven.

Did you know . . .

  • . . . high-efficiency toilets use 1.28 gallons per flush, which is 20% less than an ultra low-flush toilet?
  • Pretty plumbing [Shown: Toto Vespin, Danze Cirtangular, Kohler Cimarron]

    Pretty plumbing
    [Shown: Toto Vespin, Danze Cirtangular, Kohler Cimarron]

    Tip: Look for the WaterSense Label (shown above) for all your plumbing fixtures. According to, replacing  inefficient toilets with WaterSense labeled models, can help the average family reduce water used for toilets by 20 to 60 percent—nearly 13,000 gallons of water savings for your home every year, meaning your savings could be more than $110 per year in water costs, and $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilets.


  • . . . the new energy-efficient lightbulbs last longer and have so many more options now than ever before?  The new CFLs (compact fluorescent lamp) come in choices ranging from warm (golden light) to cool (blue light) and shapes and sizes.  Check out this gorgeous designer bulb from Plumen:
Energy-efficient and archtectural.  Doesn't get much better than that!

Energy-efficient and archtectural. Doesn’t get much better than that!


  • . . . window treatments are more than just pretty?  They keep heat in during the winter, and keep you cool in the summer.  Make sure to line them to protect the fabric and give them a longer life.  Bonus points when using “green” fabrics!
Image from KC Textile

Image from KC Textile

  • Window treatments also protect your furniture & artwork from the sun’s harsh rays?  (Okay, so maybe not an eco-friendly tip, but one that certainly is good to know, no?)


  • . . . there may be toxins in your carpeting? Nylon carpet is one of the leading contributors to toxins in the home.  What  can you do?  If replacing your carpet is not an option, try a high-quality HEPA vacuum cleaner.  Cheaper vacuum cleaners, generally, are not well-sealed, so your carpet may look clean and freshly vacuumed, but you’re just distributing toxins into your air.  When you do replace your carpeting, look for natural fibers, such as wool and hemp.  And look for the Green Label Plus Certification.  When installing, make sure carpet is stapled, rather than glued, down.  Glue = more toxins.


  • . . . formaldehyde (whose fumes can cause wheezing, nausea and skin irritation, and in the long term, cancer) is present in many items found in your home, particularly products made from pressed wood, fiberboard or particle board.  Some of these items include subfloors, cabinetry, shelving.  (Sorry all you Ikea fans – I don’t think they sell anything that isn’t made from pressed wood.)

Here are some options for avoiding formaldehyde:

~ If you’re getting ready to remodel your home, or even just your kitchen or bathroom, seek out a builder who uses formaldehyde-free products, and especially FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) products.  It’s probably going to be a little more expensive, however the health benefits are priceless.

~ Instead of laminated & engineered wood floors, which for the most part, all release harmful gases, consider real wood – it’s beautiful, comparably priced, and green!  Again, look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood & products whenever possible.

~ If you’re not remodeling at this time, whenever the weather allows, keep your windows open as much as possible.  Personally, I love the fresh air, so I like to open my windows in the evening and early morning, and keep them open as late as possible.  This helps to save on air conditioning costs, as well.


  • . . . mattresses are sprayed with fungicides, pesticides and flame-retardant materials?  If shopping for a new mattress anyway, look for organic cotton, wool and natural latex; if you’re stuck with your current mattress for a while, cover it with a cotton barrier cloth, which seals in the fumes


  • . . . VOCs stand for Volatile Organic Compounds?  Sound icky?  They are, and they are likely in your paints.  Switch to no- or low-VOC paints for any future projects.  Only slightly more expensive, AND they have little to no odor.


  • . . . furniture filled with foam is full of toxins?  Try natural fill instead.

Lee Industries are innovators in the field of eco-friendly furniture production. Available not only through your designer, but also now at Crate & Barrel!



  • And that stain protector you sprayed on your furniture to keep it clean?  You guessed it – toxin central.  Try washable upholstery fabrics instead.


Okay, if you’re still with me (and I hope you are – knowledge is power), let’s move on to some ideas that aren’t so stomach-churning!

  • Surprising green tip – your dishwasher uses way less water than hand-washing!  Personally, I was raised hand-washing dishes, even though we had a dishwasher!  So I was shocked when I first learned this (during design school).  Here are the stats: your dishwasher uses roughly 5 gallons of water during a load, which is about one-fifth of what the average hand-washer uses.  Of course, you want to run a full load, but now you can save time while being energy-efficient – yay!


  • Don’t buy new; use what you have.  I seem to have an insatiable love of candlesticks.  Don’t ask me why, but I buy them all the time (I’ve had to stop), and have received even more as gifts (from friends who know me well.)  And I have amassed a lot of glass candlesticks.  Separately, not too exciting, but grouped together, I have a great centerpiece that doubles as warm lighting for entertaining.
My glass candleholder collection makes a great centerpiece grouping!

I love how the mix-and-match candlesticks work together to make a unique focal point in my dining room!


Just saw these today on, and wanted to share (ties in with my post on RonThink): 

Just saw these hand-sewn, salvaged burlap placemats featured on One King's Lane, via Facebook

Hand-sewn, salvaged burlap placemats


And, lastly, while this next image is more related to packaging design rather than interior design, I had to share:

The package from my tempeh is not only recycled, recyclable AND uses VOC-free inks, they’re also a supporter of the Humane Society. Perfect, in my book!


Welcome to the end of the post.  I hope you found it helpful and are on your way to making healthy changes for your home.  I’m still learning, too, but feel free to write in and ask me any questions and I will do my best to get you an answer!






Out-terior Design

Out-terior Design

It’s official.  With the time change this past weekend, Spring Fever has hit with a vengeance!  And I know you are chomping at the bit to get outdoors again.

While we all know Spring Cleaning is on the horizon, the sunshine and longer days also mean spending time outdoors, so I thought it would be nice to feature some outdoor spaces to help inspire you.

When thinking about your outdoor rooms, the same fundamentals of design still apply: flow, space, comfort, protection from the elements and scale.  But there’s something about decorating outside that is just so freeing.  You can let loose and dare to be wild.  Utilize bold, large scale patterns and fresh, bright colors with abandon.   So go ahead and have some fun.  Let’s peel off those winter layers, lather on the sunscreen and get ready to put your feet up. 

Whatever your springtime plans include, such as hosting brunches or throwing barbeques or just enjoying a quiet evening stargazing with your family, creating an inviting space will ensure you are the go-to locale for all the upcoming fun in the sun.  Your backyard could be a large grassy plot or a wood deck or even a small patio, but there is no end to the many options for enhancing the space and really using it to the fullest.

From a simple bistro table on your backyard patio . . . (photo from

larkins-7-de thomas loof hb

. . . to an opulent outdoor room such as this, there are no limits to what you can create. (Photograph by Thomas Loof for House Beautiful)

Even in the smallest of spaces, you can still create an inviting room with tons of seating. (Photo from

Being outside allows you to showcase color in a way you might not dare to indoors.

I am loving the new(ish) Trina Turk outdoor line for Schumacher.  (Available through your designer)

These vibrant colors and bold patterns will make any outdoor space come alive

These vibrant colors and bold patterns will make any outdoor space come alive

If you’re more of the do-it-yourself type, fear not.  There are great ready-made options for you:

Crate & Barrel has a wonderful selection of outdoor furniture and accessories, such as this bold black and white chevron stripe indoor/outdoor rug and colorful throw pillows. chevron-indoor-outdoor-8x10-rugcb

ceibo-20-sq_-outdoor-pillow cb sunbrella-harbor-blue-22-sq_-outdoor-pillow cb arroyo-20-sq_-outdoor-pillow cb   





(Apparently, I’m not the only one thinking about getting outdoors.  Over the past few days, my inbox has been flooded with spring-themed stuff.) 

One of my favorite online vendors, One King’s Lane, recently featured all the outdoor elements for making your space inviting and unique:

Andros Outdoor Rug, Multi

The large and colorful diamond motif on this rug will make quite a statement in your outdoor room (Andros Outdoor Rug featured on One King’s Lane)


Add a little whimsy with these fun rugs! I love the butterflies. (Andros on One King's Lane)

Add a little whimsy with these fun rugs! I love the butterflies. (Andros on One King’s Lane)

Throw pillows in a variety of patterns, shapes and sizes add dimension and comfort to your outdoor room (from Divine Designs on One King's Lane)

Don’t forget the throw pillows! Using a variety of patterns, shapes and sizes adds dimension and comfort to your outdoor room (from Divine Designs on One King’s Lane)


Who says you can't go formal? This gorgeous rug is only $129 for the 6' x 9'. (From

Who says you can’t go a little more formal? This gorgeous rug is only $129 for the 6′ x 9′. (From

And just as with decorating inside, it’s the little touches that make all the difference.  From a firepit for toasting marshmallows or staying warm after the sun goes down, to lighting and landscaping, you can create an environment that begs to be used everday.

When the sun goes down, get cozy around the fireplace. (From

When the sun goes down, get cozy around the fireplace. (From

Accomplish lighting and cooling in one fell swoop with this gorgeous outdoor fan/light. (Bronze Outdoor Ceiling Fan from

Dressing your outdoor table for guests: the table cloth and runners, coupled with the fresh topiary centerpieces create a gorgeous, yet still comfy-casual setting for your guests. What food wouldn’t be scrumptious in this setting? (Photo from

And don’t forget to protect your investment.  Furniture covers are a necessity. Don’t make my mistake – the beautiful furniture in the picture shown at the very top is mine, and now has to be refiinished.  (Another project to help us Spring-ify).  And keep your furniture protected with either oil or wax made for outdoor furniture.  Once we refinish, we will be waxing our teak furniture every year.

If you want to share your outdoor rooms, I’d love to see them!