Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beautiful Lampwork Beads and other "Goodies" by Deronda Designs

As a jewelry designer, it is my duty (and desire) to search out the most beautiful beads and the perfect supplies - not only to create what is appealing to me, but also to create what I think my customers would be more inclined to wear and buy. About a year ago,  I came across a very talented lampwork bead artist - who creates some of the most beautiful glass beads I have ever seen. Her name is Deronda O'Neill. Her Art Fire and Etsy shop name, "DerondaDesigns", is an understatement to say the least - because not only does Deronda make incredibly gorgeous beads, but she hand draws (or as she calls it..."doodles") intricate and detailed designs that she then etches onto copper and brass.

Here is just a very small sampling of Deronda's work:

So if you are like me, and you're looking for the best and the most beautiful, check out more of Deronda's lovely glass lampwork beads, her copper and brass etchings and more at

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fabulous Friday Finds #1

Every Friday, I head over to the local thrift store in hopes of finding an interesting piece of jewelry that can be incorporated into a new design. Most of the time it's "slim pickin's", however once in a while I come across fabulous pieces that are just screaming to be purchased.  When I go thrift store shopping, I mostly look  for vintage brooches -- however several times I've come across necklaces or bracelets created with rare stones, or  a pair of sterling silver or 14k gold earrings  -- and to my luck, the thrift store literally has no idea of their real value.

Last Friday,  I arrived at the store at the same time as a  gentleman dropping off a box of belongings from his elderly mother.  The store clerk gave me the "OK" to look through it before they took the box of items into the back to sort through.  It contained mostly dishes, glassware and a few little trinkets, however at the bottom of the box were two beautiful brooches! 

One was a vintage Cloisonne piece, surrounded with rhinestones and gold filigree and the other was a sterling silver filigree tiger lily flower brooch.  I purchased them both, then immediately came back  to do some "Googling", hoping to find out more information on them. 

Here's what I found out:
The sterling silver filigree tiger lily brooch was made in the 1930's - 40's. It measures 2-3/4" in diameter and has the .925 hallmark on the back with a "C" clasp closure. It is in absolute mint condition, and obviously the previous owner took immaculate care of it. This piece is considered "RARE" and is valued at a minimum of $49.00.

The second piece is a vintage Cloisonne broach. It was made in the early 1950's (possibly a Sarah Coventry piece). It does not have a hallmark, yet still utilizes the "C" style clasp, as used on jewelry from that era. Again, this piece is in mint condition with all rhinestones firmly intact and no chips, scratches or flaws. Based on similar brooches of this year and style, this pieces is valued at $42.00.

At this point I don't have any solid plans for either brooch and if you are interested in purchasing either of these, contact me and I'll give you a great deal!

Stay tuned for the next edition of "Fabulous Friday Finds!

~ Mischelle

Friday, June 11, 2010

Essensu...I think I LOVE you!

It's plain and simple: I want to be 29 and holding.....forever. 

I know in my heart I will always remain young, however in my family, all of the women seem (at an early age) to develop deep wrinkles around our lips and eyes, with bags so large and puffy, I swear they would need to be checked at any airport terminal prior to boarding a plane. I had already spent hundreds of dollars and tried many brands of creams and lotions that claim to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. 

Well guess what? They don't. 

Each time I tried a new product, I took a "before" picture so I could really see if there were any results and by the time I was through the first bottle, tube or jar of stuff I was inventing new swear words. After several years of trial and frustration, I had literally given up on trying to have the "29 and holding" look, to match my young at heart personality.

Then I was introduced to Tami, owner of Essensu Holistic Skincare. Tami makes a Vanilla Lavender Dry Oil Spray that sounded wonderful! You see, I simply LOVE the smell of lavender together with the sweetness of vanilla. It reminds me of a warm summer day and, well...lavender is purple...which happens to be my favorite color. Wink 

So late last February, I placed an order for a bottle. When the shipment arrived, Tami had included a few samples of some of her other products too. One of the samples was a jar of her Lavender Vanilla Silky Body Cream.

The sample of silky body cream was rich, creamy and smelled absolutely heavenly...and I decided that not only would it be good to try on my dry elbows, but just for sh*ts and giggles I was also going to try it under my eyes and around my lips. As usual, I started out by taking a beforepicture of my worst wrinkles...under my eyes. 

February, 2010

When I put the cream on, I could immediately feel my skin absorbing the nutrients in it. It didn't just sit on top of my skin or feel waxy like many other commercial creams. It was light and extremely moisturizing. I used it twice a day: in the morning and before bed. After the first week I already had noticed a huge improvement and softening of my wrinkles. I was so excited with the results that I ordered more Lavender Vanilla Silky Body Cream from Essensu.

Now, almost four months later, here's the dramatic results:

June 2010

My puffiness and the extra baggage has almost vanished, my wrinkles are greatly diminished and I feel (and look) like a much younger person! My husband has just started using this cream too -- and for a 55 year old with very deep line wrinkles down his face, I can (and he can too) already see a major difference after just one week.

So, if you're like me, and want to remain "29 and holding" way into your 40's, 50's and beyond (and actually look it too!), I strongly recommend using products from Essensu!

Results are not guaranteed, but hey! Look what it's done for me!  :)

~ Mischelle "Mzz Thang" Martell

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Is Here!

Spring is my favorite time of year, and with the onset of the season, I thought I would share a few of my favorite spring season pieces from the very talented artisans at Art Fire:

From Spoiled Bratzwear - Spring Button Flowers Handknit Neck Cuffie for Dogs

From Glasstastic Treasures - A Little Frit of My Heart Mini Lampwork Bead

From Firebird Jewellery - Photosynthesis Necklace

From Kathryn Bloom - Tulip Bag in Violet

From Island Girl Pottery - Brown and Cream Butterfly Trinket Dish

Springtime brings loads of color! If you haven't visited these fine artisans before, the links are clickable to the items listed. Check them out and support handmade!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chicken and Ham Gemelli

For those of you who want a quick but tasty dinnertime meal, here's a "copy cat" recipe I created based on Pasta Pomodoro's "Gemelli", an Italian dish rich in smoky meats and creamy sauce. This was my husbands and my favorite dish -- but unfortunately was discontinued by the restaurant several years ago. After many months of testing and tasting, this is without a doubt as close to the original recipe (taste wise) as is possible. It is, to this day, a family favorite and has been passed on to several friends as well. Enjoy!

Chicken and Ham Gemelli

Creamy pasta with smoked ham, chicken, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes.

Prep Time10 minutes
Cooking Time20 minutes

Serves 4

1 pkg of Gemelli pasta (or Rotini)
Two whole chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 Tbs. Vegetable Oil
1/2 c. diced smoked ham
4 medium white mushrooms, sliced
1 small jar sun dried tomatoes, drained
3 c. heavy whipping cream
2 pkg. Good Seasons ZESTY Italian salad dressing mix
2 tsp. Corn Starch
1/8 c. water

Boil pasta per package directions (don't overcook - remember, al dente is best!)

Cook chicken pieces in oil over medium heat until lightly browned and almost thoroughly cooked through. Add diced smoked ham, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are softened and chicken is fully cooked. Stir in salad dressing mix and cream until well incorporated. Meanwhile, add water to cornstarch and mix well. Add cornstarch mixture to meat/cream sauce and stir. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.

Drain pasta and add to chicken/ham/sun dried tomato cream sauce. Mix well and serve.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Growing old gracefully

Why is it that as we get older the years seem to get shorter? Seems it was just yesterday that my youngest daughter was born -- but in reality, she'll be 24 in a couple of days. When I first joined the band that I spent 30+ years with, I was 14 years old and the youngest band member they had ever had. When I started playing darts at age 22, I was one of the youngest darters to go "pro". Now I look around me and realize that I'm no longer the youngest at anything that I do. And I don't like it one bit. At heart I'm still young, but God has not been kind to my body. I feel like a young woman in an old person's body. At least that's what I tell people anyway.

Gone are the days of "partying", drinking till I can no longer stand on my own and staying up until 5 or 6am -- knowing that if I can just manage to find where I'd parked my house -- I'd still have enough time to take a quick shower and be to work by 8am. These days my eyes start to cross and I'm yearning for sleep by 9pm. The thought of going to a party or concert -- or even to a movie means that I have to "hit the hay" at 7:30pm for at least a week prior, in preparation for staying up a bit longer on that special night.

They say with age comes character.

I want to know who this "they" person is, because the only thing that I've found is that with age comes aches, pains, arthritis, gray hair (and lets not forget the hair that begins to grow in strange places) and wrinkles. Whomever coined the saying "Growing old gracefully" must have only lived to the ripe old age of 30 something....because in's all downhill from there.

January is already half over. Where did it go? Am I just in such a rush throughout life that I've missed it? Who knows. The way the years fly by throughout my old age, I'll probably wake up tomorrow, only to find out that it's already 2011.