Friday, August 24



I keep running in my mind what I want to write about in this post.  Things we've done over the past 7 years, goals we've accomplished, changes that have happened.  I want to write about how I feel, how happy I am, how much I love my husband.

The honest truth is, I keep going to write it, but there are no words to describe what I have, what we have together. It's something only we can truly understand, something only we can really feel.  What we have is so special, so unique that there isn't something I can compare it to.

Often times I tell Dave that even "I love you" doesn't feel like enough to describe what we have. In a world where over 50% of marriages end in divorce, I feel like even calling him "my husband" isn't enough.  I personally don't believe in soul mates, but I suppose that might be the best commonly used term for our relationship.

I feel unconditionally and fully loved. I feel encouraged and supported. I feel desired. I feel heard and understood. I feel respected, valued and cherished. I feel appreciated and special. I feel fulfilled. I feel devoted and committed. I feel safe. I feel deserving. I feel challenged, inspired and driven.  I feel beautiful and confident. I feel trusted. I feel taken care of and spoiled. I feel sincere and whole. I feel free to be myself. I feel happy and so lucky to have found something people spend their lives searching for.  If I had nothing else, he would still be enough.

Seven years ago I couldn't articulate why I wanted to get married, why I knew he was the one.  I've thought about it for seven years, and I still can't tell you how I knew, but I'm so thankful that I listened to and followed my heart.

I don't know where we'll live, where we'll work or how many tattoos we'll have, but I can tell you that wherever we may be, we'll be together. I do know with 100% certainty we have what it takes to go the distance, and I know that we will spend our lives loving each other. If he happens to pass (at 110 years old) before me, I won't be far behind because living without him just isn't possible.

Tuesday, August 21


Just to get you a little excited! I personally cannot wait!


As part of me moving to working jewelry full time, Dave and I have laid out a plan to be debt free by July of 2013.  I'm happy to say that today my jewelry profits paid off our Jeep!  Part of me can't believe that something that started out as just a side hobby has not only become successful enough to actually be profitable, but is also making a significant impact in our daily lives.  The other part of me remembers how much hard work it took to get here and how much farther I have to go! But for now, we celebrate!!! One less payment a month means more money to pay down other things, less stress in our lives, and more freedom to live the life we dream about!

(oh and no this is not the exact one.... that would mean I'd have to shell out the $8.00 to get ours washed!)


Yes I live in the coffee capital of the US.  Yes I drink a lot of coffee.  Yes I'm addicted to Starbucks.  Yes Kaleb goes with me often and knows what a Chonga bagel is..... none of which I'm all that proud of, all of which are true.

Anyways, after swimming lessons today Kaleb asks if we could go.  The timing wasn't good and I'm ALWAYS trying to cut back.  In his attempt to convince me to go he says, "Do you know how Starbucks got it's name?"

"No Kaleb, tell me how?"
"You know Star because it's number one, and bucks because it costs a lot of money."

Seriously... he's 4... what next?!

P.S. On the way home he also asked if for his 11th birthday he could get a flip phone that opens up sideways for texting.

Sunday, August 19

Stepping Out of the Cubicle

Well it's been awhile since I've written one of these posts.  I'm not going to lie, I don't think it's the only thing that's been suffering from this heat wave we've been having! 

For the past few months I've had the opportunity to be out of work and home with Kaleb.  It's been an amazing experience and we've had so much fun together. I just love having the time to really be with him. Not worry about where I need to be or what I should be doing, but be present with him. 

With that said, everything is a balance, and it's been so challenging to get as much as I want to get done. I feel like since I'm  not working a day job that I should have plenty of time and energy to be setting up my new shop, listing my new items and getting my turn around time shorter. 

Every time I think we can just go home and Kaleb can play while I work things like this happen... yes my chain turns into a super expensive Anakin restraint system.

I just have a few weeks till school starts and it'll all work out, but I really think that next summer I'm going to be seriously looking at some good summer camps for him.  For both our sakes, he needs some more structured activities in the summer and I need some time to buckle down and work.

Thursday, August 16


Recently I posted a giveaway for a $100.00 gift certificate. I was only going to do it if we hit 1000 Facebook fans by the 15th.  It was touch as go for awhile there, but you guys pulled through in the past few days, and well I'm glad to say as of this post we have 1,032 fans!  Each of you 1,032 are awesome!

My little dream has grown tremendously over the past year and I really owe it all to you guys.  Not only your purchases, but your enthusiasm for the products, encouragement during this journey, and support when sometimes the road seems a little too rough! These giveaways are my way of thanking you for all that you guys do for me. A way to give a little back to the people that have given me something amazing... a dream come true!  Thank  you!

So.... with no further ado...

the winner is....


You have till Monday the 20th to email me at to claim your prize!

Thanks again everyone!

Wednesday, August 15

A ring fit for a metalsmith

I will be the first to admit that I am really good at committing to a man, but to a ring... not so much! I'm really not sure what it is. Maybe I just haven't found the right one, maybe rings just aren't my thing, but  most more likely than not, I just like them ALL and it's too hard to commit to just one!

Tonight I couldn't sleep so I made this ring that has been in my head for awhile now.  I knew the only way to get it out and stop thinking about it was to make it!  I'm so freaking in love with it and glad that I stayed up way past my bed time to make it!

I hand drew and cut the plain band out of brass. The V shape detail reminds me of the point of a crown and therefore it must be fit for this princess! Plus I added a copper band that mimics the shape and has an 8 mm pyrite stone set in sterling. 

At this point I'm not sure which I like more, with or without the pyrite! Guess I'll have to wear it for a few days to see...


Sunday, August 12


Lake house + aunts, uncles and cousins + nice weather = a great time!

We had a blast yesterday at the lake swimming, catching frogs and eating amazing food at my parent's lake house.  Proud to say that all the swim lessons Kaleb has had not only makes me feel more comfortable with him around the water, but allows him to have more fun! The dock is a good 60 ft long, so they start at the top, run full speed ahead and the result is the main picture above! (got him mid air on my first attempt and couldn't get anymore after that! go figure!)

Hope you're having a great weekend too!

Saturday, August 11


Some ideas I have are ones I can move on quickly.  Others need to stew for awhile, be fine tuned and see if they really work.  This is one of those ideas.  I've had it since before J4JCharms was ever born, but it's just never quite been right.  Recently the idea of taking the J4JCharm idea in a vintage style direction has been growing.  I released a few of the vintage botanical print charms, vintage monogram letters and the hand made copper alphabet charms.  I released them in the charm shop. With the thought that depending on how they grew they would eventually grow into my 3rd shop.


Am I crazy?!

The reality is that this was also the way J4Jcharms was born. I released a few in the regular shop, but I envisioned so many options and items, plus their popularity was so huge that I knew having the shops together would be too overwhelming.  One of the number one tips to sellers is that your shop must be succinct, have an overall theme, and be well manicured.  Having my regular charm jewelry with kids names along side these vintage style ones feels off.

Above are some pictures of what the shop would carry, ideas I have, and stuff that's already on it's way to me (inlcuding those sweet little brass lockets and vintage keys!) Not only could I add more options for vintage botanical prints but also I'd look to add some other vintage images.  Plus I'd go on the hunt for some vintage encyclopedias or books that I could highlight vintage words or phrases.

It's still just an idea I'm throwing around.  All I really know is that after making the vintage botanical print charm with my copper "C" and little pearl I haven't worn anything else, and I can't wait to add some of these super sweet charms to a second, longer necklace. 

I guess I'll let it stew a little longer, or maybe go back to the good old pros and cons list?

Friday, August 10

scrabble tile love

I'm super lucky to say that I have some amazing friends! Some new, some I've known for years. A few I see regularly, most I'd like to see more.  My friend Annie has been around for ages.  Her and I used to bead for hours afterschool together, and ultimately started our very first jewelry business (Frisky and Flash).  She inspired me to be more creative, to take risks, and taught me to love art. All these years later and a few states apart we remain friends.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to not only get to visit with her over dinner, but I also was given an amazing present.  Something that few others would really appreciate, yet to me they are tiny treasures! That's right, a zip lock bag of vintage MINI scrabble tiles! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO freaking exciting! She found them while searching for vintage treasures one day, and although the board was tattered and torn she knew she couldn't pass them up!

What did I do with them?  Add them to my charm necklace of coarse! On the left is my current daily necklace I'm wearing.  I wrapped all 4 sides in bezel wire leaving the back and front exposed. SO IN LOVE!  I have a big bag of these so I'm thinking I'll start offering them in my shop as well!


Who doesn't love them?!

Thank you again Annie! They are so awesome!

Wednesday, August 8


I'm at a really good place right now. I know where I want to be, I've worked hard to get there, I'm making significant forward progress, and really do believe that I'll be able to fulfill this goal of mine, and do jewelry full time.  However, it wasn't so long ago that I had a much different dream of being a zoo keeper.  I worked very hard and made a lot of sacrifices to try and make it in the field.  I enjoyed my time there and loved a good portion of the job, but I eventually outgrew the dream, and needed to find something else, something better, something more fulfilling than zoo keeping could ever give me, and it was at that moment that I realized that jewelry was a more fitting long term dream. 

Although life changes, you change, dreams change, and ultimately it was my decision to stop pursuing a zoo career, it's still a little bittersweet.  I really loved working with animals, hoping I wasn't only making a difference in their day to day lives, but also in the bigger picture making a significant impact in regards to conservation and environmental and animal education.  It's so strange to me that I loved so much has become just a few memories, a pile of pictures and a couple great friends.

Hopefully it's not all lost, and in the long run animals will find a small place in my life again.  Maybe working part time at a goat rescue (out of the countless animals I have worked with, goats are by far my favorite!) or possibly Red Wolf conservation efforts again, but for now these pictures will have to do.  Each and everyone of them have had a significant impact in my life, have taught me so many lessons, and really allowed me to discover who I was, who I am. Hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Tuesday, August 7





That's right I said FREE!  It's been awhile since we've done a good giveaway, and I'm DYING to break the 1000 Facebook fan mark. 

Here are the details:
If we hit 1000 FB fans by 8/15 I'll do a drawing for $100.00 gift certificate to one lucky fan!

How to enter:
Just be a Facebook fan by going to and hitting "like"

How to make sure the drawing happens:
Tell friends and family all about  my jewelry! One of the most effective ways to get new fans? Share my page on your Facebook page. This way all your friends and family can see how cool it is!

When will I do the drawing?
Thursday 8/16

If I win how do I claim my prize?
You'll have 3 days (specific date and time to be posted in the winner annoucement blog post) to email me your contact info and mailing address for me to send it to you




Monday, August 6

Metal Detecting Club

I'll start by saying, poor, poor Kaleb.  I have an irrational fear of Kaleb growing up.  I'm not sure if this happens to all mothers or maybe there is something in my personality or my relationship with  my son that makes this feeling extremely strong, but as much as I love to watch him grow and learn, I can't help but want to keep him little and innocent.

It's gotten to the point that I'm already planning (and have been for some time) some tricks for his adolescent years.  I have decided to start convincing him that metal detecting is AWESOME! This brain washing started awhile ago and he's getting a little excited about the idea.

Plus, I've promised him on his 16th birthday that instead of buying him a boring old car, that I would buy him his very own metal detector.  We're even planning to make it a club complete with matching vests and badges for who has found the coolest things while detecting.

Why would I do such a thing to my child you ask? Simple answer? GIRLS!  I am convinced that most 16 year old girls won't want anything to do with a boy with a metal detector. Especially one in a club with his overbearing mother!

As Dave succinctly put it, "No one's ever gotten pregnant in the back of a metal detector."

Game Plan

Now that the summer is coming to an end... yes I said end! I am trying to make a game plan for what I have to come, what I need to prep for, and goals I need to accomplish in the near future.  One of the things I have found is that making lists is the only way I can remember everything I have to do. I find old ones all over the house, in my car, in my purse. With so much going on in my life, lists are just one helpful tool to make sure I'm not forgetting anything!  Here's my newest game plan:

Next 2 weeks:
Apply to show
Order bulk orders for new shape charms (test runs went well on all but the large heart)
Try and source new glass or bezel cups for large heart
Restock Amore Boutique
Get new stores up and running: Ink Me, Best Loved Baby
Picture/List more of the vintage necklace styles (aka 2 monogram and 3 monogram options)
Buy and list new ball chain
List standard chain

Next 2 months:
Set up both shops on big cartel
Have Mervi change links on website from Etsy to big cartel
Make and set up "ships in a day" listings
Add Gold Filled dangle bracelets
Make open hoop earrings in copper
Pre make 12 mm charms, 16 mm charms, commonly chosen beads, standard metal charms, and chains in preparation for Christmas!
Make and list new charm shapes (this will be well over 100 new items - aka 1, 2, 3 charms per listing style per shape!)
Come up with a functioning schedule for the winter

Make 1 of each colored charm and print colors in charms for shows and help custom orders
Attempt to paint folding tables with chalkboard paint
Figure out a new space for me. Possibly move to the garage as a temporary fix until we figure out what to do
Make a standard email introducing my J4JCharm line to send to baby boutique stores
Set up standard information packets etc and start offering private jewelry parties for locals

Friday, August 3


I don't think this video really needs any explanation. Enjoy!