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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Breast Cancer Fundraiser

As I often say, I really enjoy making custom orders.  I like creating a piece of jewelry or a rosary with a specific person in mind; collaborating with the customer to design something that suites their style and imagination to create a special, one of a kind piece.

This custom order was a bit different though.  It's not for a specific person, but for an event.  This pink pearl rosary is going to be part of a basket auction for Andrea Topolnycky, a 34 year old woman with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.  The cancer has spread throughout her body, including to her liver, lungs, spine, and brain.  Her family and friends are hosting a benefit to assist with medical bill payments.

I chose to use pearls they are classic, elegant, and always pretty.  I love the iridescence and the subtle shimmer when the light shines just right.  Pink, of course, because it represents the breast cancer cause, unifying anti-breast cancer crusaders.  Instead of the typical lighter pink, I opted for this bright pink because it is uplifting and cheerful.  It reminds me of the tulips I see at this time of year, one of the first flowers to emerge in the spring, symbolizing new life and hope for longer, warmer days. 

The event will be held on Saturday April 28th, from 5-9pm, at the George F. Lamm Post, 962 Wehrle Dr. Williamsville, NY 14221 if you are in the area.

If you would like to make a donation to this cause, send me an email and I'll get back to you with additional information.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


As much as I enjoy having my Etsy shop and growing my business, there are some aspects that I don't photo editing.  Taking good pictures of my jewelry is my biggest challenge, and no matter how many blog posts or advice articles I read on the topic, I still struggle!  I've improved a lot (thanks to those previously mentioned posts!) but it's one of those skills that can always be improved. 

A popular picture editing site is FotoFuze. It is a tedious, time consuming program to use, but the results can't be argued with.  Take a look at these before & afters!

It's hard to believe what a difference it makes!  The "before" pictures were all posted on my Etsy shop previously, but I replaced them with the "after" shot.  Which photos do you prefer?  The before or after?  I'm considering going through all my listings in the shop and editing them all this way.  Would you??

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Custom pieces

So, what have I been doing in this interlude?  Lots of custom pieces!  (And working my day job, training for a few runs, and trying to read a good book now and then)  Here are some pictures of recent orders.

 A silver and blue necklace inspired by this necklace that I wear all the time.

 Matching beaded rosaries made in birthstones for a group of cousins including October, January, September, March, and August.

A close up of the August rosary.

Matching birthstone rosaries for the cousins' Mamas- June, September, and April


 All the rosaries- kids and adults- coordinated with the same Our Father beads and matching metal components.

Last for this post is an itty-bitty baby bracelet to celebrate Baby K's baptism.  Light pink pearls, sterling silver, and ruby birthstones.  You can barely tell in this picture, but the lobster clasp is detailed with a heart and attaches to a grow-with-me chain so that this miniature bracelet will still fit K as she grows.

I enjoy the collaborative process of creating custom pieces and developing a design specific for someone.  It makes the design process more challenging and more rewarding when the piece is completed.  Have you ever had a piece of jewelry custom made?  Was it for you or a gift for someone?  Why did you chose custom design over already made?

Monday, March 12, 2012


Thanks for your patience during the recent unexpected interlude.  My computer was working inconsistently for a while and then it just quit completely.  My husband was able to fix it, but he's been busy starting his own company and couldn't get to it right away.  But now, the laptop has been reformatted and I am back on line!

What have I been doing in my time away?  Working on my new lines for the year and custom orders!  Pictures of those will be up in a few days, but until then check out my new Facebook page- I started using the timeline layout.  What do you think?

 Once again I have my friend Natalie to thank for the amazing graphics.  She is a wonderful artist!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I want to ride my bicycle...

I want to ride my bike!

The grass is crisp with frost and the air bitterly blows my hair around when I venture out the front door.  Right now, I'm cuddled on the couch dreading the chore of taking the dog out for the evening.  I'm trying to distract myself by thinking about bicycling on flat country roads and pedaling past horse farms and vegetable gardens.

This is a collection of hand made and vintage items on Etsy that fit wonderfully with my theme!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Introducing...a hand stamped necklace line

Here it is!  The first of this year's new jewelry lines! 


I would like to introduce... a line of sterling necklaces with hand stamped messages; a simple word with a lot of meaning (peace) or an inspiring phrase (faith, hope, love).  Each necklace is made to order and will be personalized with Swarovski crystals of your choice...birthstones anyone?  The sterling pendants hang from a sterling chain with a couple of crystals.  I enjoyed making these necklaces, the process of selecting the appropriate stamp, positioning it, and hammering the imprint was rhythmical and relaxing.  "Tap, tap"  Because each is hand stamped, some variation is expected, but that increases the artistic quality and uniqueness of each piece.  I hope you agree with me! 

What do you think about this line?  Take a look at the rest of the line in my shop, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Design Time

With the start of the new year, I've decided to make some changes (but not New Year's Resolutions- no one ever sticks to those) to Peace of Grace Designs in order to facilitate growth and increase recognition of my brand.  Primarily, I'd like to increase the number of successful craft shows I participate in and I would love, love, love to have my jewelry in a brick & mortar store. 

To do these things, I think I need to improve the cohesion of my jewelry so I've decided to design a few lines of jewelry for the year and focus on creating more pieces of a similar style.  Typically, I design something and am so excited I make another one or two similar (but not identical) pieces.  Then I'm inspired by a new design and I move onto the new design- no looking back.  This has led to a wide range of pieces in my shop but a lack of clearly defined style or direction. 

I spend a few afternoons this week working on one of those lines.  Here is a sneak peak.

 A glimpse of my workspace this afternoon.  I set up a folding table on the sun porch and worked until the sun set while my husband sat on the window seat and read a book.  The dog napped on the floor between us.

Swarovski crystals in birthstone colors.  These are wonderful- a little bit sparkly and such beautiful colors.  The different combinations are endless and the way the colors complement each other are gorgeous. I like to use birthstones to personalize jewelry and make it a little more special.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Peace of Grace Designs for Dogs?!?

Since we've welcomed Yahtzee into our household, my husband and I have had all kinds of ideas for products aimed at dog owners (shhh I'm not going to share any of our ingenious million dollar ideas here! haha)  We've only had the skills to make one so far, but I have to say I'm really happy with what we made!  These were Christmas gifts for our dog owning friends.

I'm thinking about adding them to Etsy, but I haven't decided yet.  I think that I will have them at craft shows, and shoppers could order them to be customized.  I would love to make them on the spot, but I'd need a large vendor space and an assistant; I usually am solo at my shows.  And oh yeah, I'd have to have neighbors that didn't mind the loud hammering!