Christmas Traditions ~ Both Old and New

Over the years, my family has created many traditions and have adopted new ones along the way, to always make Christmas a special time with family. I want to share a few that are my personal ones and will add a few that I plan to start in the future as my family grows.

1) Christmas Sugar Cookies

I’m not sure what caused the ladies in my family to gravitate to just the sugar cookie but now it is forever ingrained in my mind that sugar cookies equals Christmas time. They are light and easy to decorate with icing or sprinkles. Plus the sugar cookie has a certain taste that just encourages me to eat more than one or two or six (am I the only one?). Here are a few recipes that I have tried that will not disappoint.

sugar-cookies     Colorful Christmas cookies on a plate

Click Here to see recipe

 

 

 

 

Click Here to see recipe 

 

2) Setting a Festive Table

My mom has many sets of china. She loves the seasons and always has a theme going through her house from her table wares to throw pillows. Our family always knew Christmas was coming when the fancy china came out. We would leave it perfect until our Christmas day feast and then we would feel like princes and princesses at a royal banquet when we got to finally use the glorious china. Here are a few pictures of her two tables this year.

 

3) Christmas Jewelry

The girls in our family always receive jewelry for Christmas. My family has always been in the business and it was a popular and very easy tradition to look forward to. My dad would sometimes drape a gold or pearl necklace in the tree to surprise my mom on Christmas morning. It was such a sweet moment when all the presents were opened and my dad would go up to the tree and say, “I think someone missed something”. Low and behold there was a delicate, pretty necklace next to the silver garland. Also, my favorite part of Christmas morning was getting to my stocking where all the little presents were. Usually wrapped up in a tiny box with a big curly bow would be a pair of earrings or a bracelet.

Click Here to View Listing for Necklace, Here for Earrings, and Here for Bracelet

 

4) Fun Breakfast Food

This is a new one. I just love these ideas for Christmas morning pancakes. What a surprise your kiddos will get when they not only get a yummy “after-present-opening” breakfast but one that is fun and festive too!

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Click Here for Recipe of Reindeer Pancakes                                        

(Photo Credit for Snowman Pancakes : http://www.doublethebatch.com/simple-christmas-eve-traditions-start-family/#_a5y_p=2338942)

 

5) Holiday Light Shows

I love hopping in the car, with some hot chocolate, Christmas music on the radio, and going to look at Christmas lights. Whether it be on a guided tour at a community event park or just in a nice neighborhood. I found this little checklist game that would be fun for adults and kids alike.

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Click Here for Printable Version 

 

6) Hallmark Channel On 24/7

This just started within the last few years but I have become such a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies. Warning: they are cheesy and predictable but it’s nice to start a movie knowing that all will end well. Plus I just love all the winter settings. Here are a few of my recent favorites but I guarantee that most of them are just delightful!

 

Want more fun traditions? Head over to our Pinterest (click here) to check out more. I would love to hear about your family traditions too. Please feel free to comment, I would love to connect with you!

December Birthstones

December just happens to be my favorite month. For me, it is a month that brings about time with family, bundled up movie nights with hot chocolate, outside fires in the fire pit, stockings busting with little gifts on Christmas morning, and all my favorite gemstones. December has several different birthstones that all fall within the realm of gorgeous in my book.

 

The first stone is zircon. The icy blue version of this beauty is often mistaken for other stones like blue topaz and aquamarine. The white color of this stone is not to be confused with cubic zirconia or CZs. But, white zircon has been used as a diamond substitute before. The white or colorless version of this stone is probably the least expensive. Blue zircon has a gorgeous teal blue color to it that represents the coolness of December quite nicely. An interesting fun fact about zircon is that it is one of the oldest minerals on earth! In the middle ages, zircon was said to aid in sleep, bring prosperity, and give honor and wisdom to its owner.

 

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Photo Credit: http://www.palagems.com/gem-news-2005

 

The second choice for December birthstones is turquoise. Some even call this stone the “earth element” of December. Turquoise is my all-time favorite stone. It is not classified as a precious gemstone but I think it is a universally gorgeous specimen. It looks good in gold or silver settings, compliments every skin tone, goes with black or brown, and is almost considered a neutral color itself in the fashion world. Turquoise has been around for decades and was used by the Egyptians and Aztecs. Native American jewelry often has turquoise accents and is said to have protective properties. The Tibetans believe that turquoise is a healing stone and have valued it for centuries.

 

Photo Credit: http://gregthorne.blogspot.com/2012/09/cerrillos-turquoise-from-new-mexico.html, https://www.brilliance.com, Click Here to View Brooch Listing

 

Next up is tanzanite. This stone is a more modern addition to the December birthstone list. Most of us know of tanzanite because a famous New York City jewelry store named Tiffany & Co used this stone a lot in their gemstone lines. It is only found in one place in the world, Tanzania. The color of tanzanite is unmistakable. It ranges from ultramarine blue to violet-blue. This fascinating stone continues to allure collectors and can usually fetch a hefty price tag.

 

Click Here to View Tanzanite Listings

Last on the list is the widely known, topaz. Topaz occurs in large deposits in many colors. The most important mines of topaz are in Brazil and the most sought after kind is imperial topaz. I like to associate the blue color of topaz with the December birthstone because of the icy color that is like blue zircon.

Click Here to View Blue Topaz Listings

Happy December! 

November Birthstone ~ Citrine & Topaz

November is a little bit of a unique month. It technically has two different birthstones. Citrine is the main birthstone, the one that most November babies claim as theirs when asked. Citrine is a gemstone that can come in many shades of “yellow”, from lemon yellow to amber brown. It is a hard to go absolutely wild about this stone if yellow is not your jam. But, it has a rich history dating it back to Roman times where they hailed it as a sunstone that channeled Mercury’s fiery power and was thought to bring wealth and success. I believe that the color of citrine can resemble the leaves of the mid-west fall. It might not be your favorite gemstone, but the color radiates warmth to counteract the chills starting to form in late fall air.

Photo Credit of Citrine: http://www.gemcoach.com/citrine-guide/

Click Here to View Listing of Citrine Ring

The other gemstone that is associated with November is topaz. Technically speaking, imperial topaz (yellowish-orange to reddish-orange) is the most expensive form of topaz and the one that is associated with November. It’s funny that many often mistake topaz for citrine. But, topaz can be treated to come in a variety of different colors. Blue topaz is often one of the most recognized colors of topaz. It rarely occurs naturally and in most cases has been treated with some form of irradiation to make its depths reflect blue. It can come in cool shades of baby blue, Swiss blue, electric blue, and even almost white blue. Blue topaz can often be mistaken for aquamarine or blue zircon and these three stones get confused with being December’s birthstone but we will get to the next month.

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Photo Credit: https://nodeform.com/products/

November really gives you the option to choose warm, sunny citrine or imperial topaz as your gem or if you like cooler tones you have blue, pink, white topaz.  These two gemstones are relatively durable and affordable. When you come across a piece that you love, you can virtually wear it all the time and the price tag won’t leave you destitute for your birthday. Check out a few of my favorites…

Topaz Choices : Click Here to View Listing of Blue Topaz Ring , Click Here for Mystic Topaz Ring , and Click Here for White Topaz Studs

Random November Fun Facts:

~The birth flower of November is the chrysanthemum

~This month is national peanut butter lovers’ month, national pepper month, and national good health month

~November in the northern hemisphere is similar to May in the southern hemisphere

~In the US and Canada November is “No Shave November” or national beard month

~Celebrity birthdays include Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, and Miranda Lambert

Also, we are currently running a 20% off promotion through the holidays! Use coupon code “HOLIDAY20” at checkout in our etsy store to take advantage of holiday savings! 

Filigree & Lace

My whole life I have been a girly girl. I love lacy, filigree, dainty, Victorian type pretties. I blame some of it on my mom, but in a loving and thankful way. We would have tea parties in vintage tea cups with lace doily napkins. I would dress up in old flower girl dresses with all the lace and sparkles attached and prance around with my lace parasol. My mom instilled in me that these heirlooms were meant to be used and enjoyed. If I spilled something or used the napkin she would tell me that it was ok, these little “dainties” could handle it. To this day I’ll pull out my cup and saucers and have a tea party for no reason at all, just to make myself smile.

 

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A few years ago when my husband and I visited France for our honeymoon, we visited a quaint little town famous for their lace marketplace. I came across this gentleman that made lace for a living. It was hard to capture the craft in action because his hands moved so fast. But you can get an idea of the intricate detail that went into creating such a tiny piece of lace trim.

 

 

Recently my love affair with lace has transferred over to filigree designs in jewelry. The feminine, soft, “lacy” motif is just what this girl loves! I am so thankful that vintage treasures are so sought after and popular during this day and age. It makes my quest for these types of beauties not so difficult. Also, these antique keepsakes were well made so you can enjoy them on a daily basis not just keep them locked up for only special occasions.  I have a few favorites here…

 

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Click Here to View Listing

 

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Click Here to View Listing

 

Now if you are like me, a thirty-something professional, you can’t wear a full on lace dress like the southern belles at Cypress Gardens every day. However, here are a few day to day looks that are similar to what I gravitate to, just to keep my lace fix in check.

 

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Photo Credit: http://gonchas.com/product/lacework-splicing-fashionable-v-neck-long-sleeve-t-shirt/

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Photo Credit: http://www.justthedesign.com/the-blush-pink-trend-that-will-change-your-wardrobe-outfits-and-ideas/

Thank you so much for reading, if you want to check out more lacy, filigree beauties check out our Pinterest board (Click Here)

What “Vintage” Means To Me…

My grandparents live on a small cattle farm in Florida. There is a little cobblestone drive that leads to the side of the ranch style, brick house, where the garage is. On Saturday mornings when I was younger, we would go over for some of my Papa’s pancakes. He was a cook in the US Air Force and can make pancakes that are so sweet and cake-like that you can almost feel your teeth rotting. As a kid, these were my absolute favorite! Nanny would make bacon, grits, and eggs to go along with these pancakes. (There is no such thing as a simple, small meal on a farm.) I would watch my Nanny scurry about the kitchen that she had cooked in for over 40 years, it was like a well rehearsed dance. She was always dressed to the nines, even on a Saturday morning at 8am, her ruffle apron covering her blouse. She had a gorgeous wedding ring that would sparkle even when caked with pancake batter and she always had great earrings on. She didn’t believe in having “naked holes” or no earrings. Her hair was short and permed and the perfect style to showcase a pair of statement earrings. She was always so put together and beautiful to me. Even the neighbors who would come by early for coffee before starting their day, knew that Nanny would be up, dressed, and ready to receive them.

On the days that Nanny and Papa went to the flea market to sell old tools and other amazing vintage finds, she would still be decked out it all her jewelry. With her diamonds glistening in the Florida sun, she literally didn’t sweat, she sparkled! She was a believer in being thankful for what you had, enjoying it, and not letting it just sit in a box and collect dust.

I guess you could say that “vintage” is not just a type of jewelry style to me, it’s memories of days passed, it’s the smell of pancakes sitting around a farm table, it’s excellent craftsmanship, and it’s pure elegance. Now that I get to work in a place that has tons of beautiful, nostalgic, well-made vintage pieces, I get obsessed with all the amazing jewelry we have to offer. Our boutique has everything that is precious about the word vintage to me. Each piece has been carefully cleaned and inspected. Each piece is photographed to show its beautiful details. Each piece is ready to be a part of what vintage means to you! I’m sure you will be able to find a piece that brings back some memories of childhood. Or maybe you will find a piece that just speaks to you and you’re ready for it to come home with you and be a part of your kids’ and grandkids’ memories. Each piece is ready to become a keepsake for you and generations to come! Here are a few of my favorites!

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A ring like my Nanny’s in our Etsy store… click here to view listing

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A right hand ring similar to my Nanny’s…click here to view listing

Diamond earrings that remind me of the antique ones that I loved as a child…click here to view listing

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Gorgeous Art Deco vintage watch…click here to view listing

One of my favorite antique brooches…click here to view listing

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These RARE Tiffany & Co Diamond Earrings would be my Nanny’s new favs…click here to view listing

One more cluster ring that I love…Click here to view listing

September Birthstone ~ Sapphire

We have reached the start of fall folks!

Have you had your first pumpkin spice latte? (Basic, I know!)

Have you been to your local pumpkin patch yet (in Florida that means your local grocery store has put down some hay and created a faux farm experience for you)?

My favorite things about September are the changing weather, even if very slightly, and SAPPHIRES!

Did you know that sapphires come in all colors and when they reach a certain color of red they are rubies? The most desirable color is probably blue but it is nice to have such a durable stone available in any color you fancy.

One particularly famous blue sapphire is the one that Princess Kate wears as her wedding ring. It was originally from Princess Diana. Sapphires are an excellent choice for an everyday piece such as an engagement ring or wedding ring because of their resilience. They are second only to diamond for their hardness.

Here are some other fun facts about sapphires:

~Sapphire is Greek for Blue

~Sapphire is one of the “precious four” which also includes red ruby, green emerald, and diamonds (that’s a good group to be in association with!)

~ Sapphire has industry use because of its hardness. Apple recently used lab-created sapphire in its glass screen.

~ Sapphire, particularly the royal blue color, has been associated with royalty – hence its name

~ There are even special types of sapphires such as the star sapphire and color change sapphire

Because sapphire has been so desired among the masses, cultured sapphires and imitation sapphires were created. Keep in mind that when created sapphires hit the market, they were viewed as an advancement in sparkling science. Created sapphires make it possible for everyone to enjoy their beauty and not just the royals. Synthetic sapphires feature some synthetic counter parts but virtually the same physical and chemical components as a natural sapphire, they were just assisted in a lab by man to make them “grow”.

Our store features a lot of options for sapphire lovers! Check out a few of these…

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Natural Sapphire & Diamond Ring in Our Etsy Store Click Here to View Listing

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Synthetic Star Sapphire in Our Etsy Store Click Here to View Listing

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Natural Sapphire & Diamond Custom Made Ring in our Etsy Store Click Here to View Listing

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Vintage Dark Blue Sapphire & Diamond Ring in our Etsy Store Click Here to View Listing

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Sapphire & Diamond Tennis Bracelet in Our Etsy Store Click Here to View Listing blog-5

Princess Kate Inspired Sapphire & Diamond Engagement Ring in Our Etsy Store Click Here to View Listing

A story of a “used” wedding ring set ~

My husband gave me a “used” or “pre-owned” diamond for my engagement ring. When I tell people that my engagement ring is not “new”, the typical response is usually utter shock, like my husband should be captured by the four horsemen of the apocalypse and taken to where he belongs. I want to address this topic because I have dealt with this for years. Most young ladies want their ring or diamond to be “new” so that it isn’t cursed or something. First off, diamonds aren’t really “new” unless you have a CZ or moissanite that is man made. Otherwise all diamonds come from about 90 miles under the earth’s surface and are made from extreme heat, time, and pressure. It is absurd to think that diamonds jump out of our earth and into your local jewelry retailer. It may catch you off guard to hear that most diamonds are “used” and have a history. This fact has never bothered me, actually I plan to write a book one day about the journeys and love stories of one diamond. I know what the main problem is though. Some people believe that if they get their engagement ring, wedding band, or anniversary gift from a store other than a retail store that there is some deep, dark, story associated with it and it is going to carry a hex that transfers over to them. I really am not that superstitious, even though my great-grandmother was Native American and had all kinds of superstitions that she adhered too. I guess I am more of an optimist. I have sold and traded jewelry that had nothing but happy memories attached. Just because a piece of jewelry is for sale in a second hand or estate jewelry shop does not mean it has a horrid past. Here is a story that I was a part of that may make you rethink “used” jewelry.

An older couple comes into our store and has been married for over 45 years. The sweet wife has had the same wedding set since their first year of marriage and that wedding set has been a part of raising babies, taking family vacations, Christmases, sport practices, graduations, etc. Those rings have been a part of the “American dream” love story. All those years of marriage there were many sacrifices made financially so that this lovely family could thrive. Now the time has come when the nest is empty and there is a little extra income to put a little extra sparkle on the finger of the lady who has given her all to her family for many decades. As the “old” set was traded in for a “new” one, you could tell that it was a celebration of where this couple had come from and where they were now. That loving couple walked out with a gorgeous “new” piece of jewelry and were off to continue their amazing love story. The “old” set was then cleaned, polished, and given a little check up (checking prongs, diamonds, etc) by our professional jeweler. When it was shined up like a new penny, it was put out for sale in our store. A few weeks later a nervous but excited young man walks in. He tells me that he only has so much he can spend on his future bride. They are just starting out, just finished school, just beginning new careers, and just starting their love story. He explains that one day he is going to give his bride the world and the biggest ring that he can buy, but right now he needs just a modest wedding set. One that he can afford but one that will be the apple of her eye. Instantly I knew the one! I pulled out the wedding set that had already been a part of an epic love story and handed it over to the young man for him to take a closer look. With eager hands and slightly embarrassed teary eyes, he said, “that’s it!” He went on to tell me that his future wife loved vintage things and that this little beauty would be the perfect ring to slip on her finger. I was ecstatic that this young man was going to “re-purpose” this “old” set and give it “new” life! Off he went with the small wrapped box bearing the ring that held his future! I just kind of paused for a few moments to reflect on the “passing of the torch”. I hoped that the older couple knew that trading in their rings had given this young man’s dreams a start. He was able to give his love a wedding set of quality that had stood the test of time and yet still eagerly awaited being a part of a new adventure.

I am a romantic at heart and working at a jewelry store that has these types of stories behind many of our pieces, just adds fuel to my passion for vintage (used) jewelry. I will forever view estate, antique, vintage, retro, Art Deco, Art Nouveau jewelry as a way of carrying on a legacy.

Check out a few of our engagement ring/weddings sets from the 1950s and I think you will agree with me that their simple elegance, classy look, and history give them even more appeal!

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Antique Engagement Ring Click Here to View Listing

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Classy Solitaire 1950s Engagement Ring Click Here to View Listing

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Mid-Century Square Illusion Head Solitaire Click Here to View Listing

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Ruby 1950s Engagement Ring Click Here to View Listing

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Antique Two Tone Cluster Engagement Ring Click Here to View Listing