Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thankful Thursday #21

I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

     Don't you just love when others tell stories about you when you were little?  We have the blessing of not remembering it, only to have others tell their version.  Evidently, I was as my dad says, "a little pistol" when I was little and if I am honest, not a lot has changed.

     I have always referred to my personality as independent and strong willed, but I think some, especially my parents, might call it stubborn and hard headed.  They say you pay for your raising and I have one child just like me.  I won't say who he is.  ("He" gets my daughter off the hook.)  He knows who he is.  Or, maybe not.

     I have never liked authority or being told what to do.  I have no problem with rules in general and I get really frustrated when others don't follow just basic manners, but someone TELLING me what to do has always ticked me off and made me want to do the opposite.

     My grandmother, Betty, had two favorite stories of me growing up.  One was me oinking at a policeman who pulled over my grandmother with me, my mom, and two aunts in the car.  I do feel bad about that one but I was only 2.

     The other was when we went to see Santa Claus when I was 2.  (Almost 3.  My birthday is in February.  I have only met one other April who wasn't born in April. Maybe my name started me off defying what is expected.)

     Anyway, I am the oldest grandchild on both sides so this was a big deal to have me go sit in Santa's lap.  Only I didn't want to. I did it to my own kids, but it really is a crazy thing.  We are taught when we are little and then teach our own kids not to talk to strangers and nowadays there is even more kinds of stranger danger we warn little kids about.  THEN, we take them and tell them to talk to a stranger who sneaks into our houses during the night.  He's bringing toys, but we tell them not to accept candy from strangers.  No wonder so many kids go nuts when they are forced to sit in his lap.

     I didn't like it and was mad that I was made to sit in his lap.  He kind of holds you still for the picture which probably reminded me of being held down at the pediatrician which I have been told I didn't like either.  Anyway, you can tell from the picture I am good and mad! I have him by the beard and finger. After the picture I walked away, turned back around, and called him a "Dummy Asst."  I don't know where I heard it from, but thought there was a "t" at the end of ass.

     That attitude has followed me my whole life and my stubborness and mouth have gotten me into trouble at times, but I am thankful I have never been afraid to stand up for myself or others.  I just don't always use good sense with the specific people I get mad at!

     This picture is a little later when I learned to contain myself a little better.

In the spirit of being individual and not always going with the norm, I made these big hoop earrings.  They are stainless steel hoops and have sari silk tied with stainless steel chain and Czech glass beads.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

It Went Too Fast!

I get so excited when my kids are out of school for a week.  I don't know why, because now that they are older school isn't the only thing that keeps them from home.  They have friends and activities and if that weren't enough, time just moves so darn fast!

I did get to see more of them than usual.  I am glad I enjoyed it because with the last two weeks of the semester and finals, I probably won't get any quality time with them until they are finished!

I miss when they were little and this time of the year was just magical for them.  Now, they help me decorate and for some reason that just doesn't seem as much fun to them as they thought it would be when they were little!  They would try to help me, bless them.  It was fun, I wanted them to be a part of it and have the memories, but now that they are actually more useful they are less enthusiastic about it!  It went from exciting to work.  We don't decorate as much as we used to but my sister has moved back in to her former house on our street and I have teased that she makes up for it.

She has five kids ages 15, 13, 10, 8, and 6.  They are the Smiths, but for the next few weeks we have renamed them the Griswalds.  Christmas Vacation is still one of my favorite movies.  They were worried about having too much, but when you have kids I don't think that's possible!

I am adding to my Etsy shop while trying to make it look like Christmas here.  My Thanksgiving sale is still on through tomorrow with 15% off each item.  I have added 3 new pieces.  I thought they all three turned out really pretty especially the earrings!

Orange Peach Moonstone Moon and Stars Sterling Silver 24k Gold Vermeil Style Earrings

Black Silver Leaf Jasper Karen Hill Tribe Sterling Silver Necklace

Red Czech Glass Karen Hill Tribe Sterling Silver Necklace

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankful Thursday #20 Happy Thanksgiving

I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

I am so graciously blessed and humbly thankful today and always.

My prayers for those not feeling quite so blessed today. I pray they feel God's love and comfort.

I am having a Thanksgiving Sale on Etsy and my Facebook page.  15% off each item on both sites.  The sale is already applied on Etsy. Use code THKSGVG17 on Facebook when you check out. The sale is today through Monday.I added a new custom charm this week!  I will have a new design with a new traditional song in soon!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thankful Thursday #19

I am thankful for so many things everyday.

Have you already decorated for Christmas?

Time goes by so fast, but it seems stores rush it along.  Before all of the fourth of July things are removed, Halloween and Fall items are in stores.  Christmas decorations are out earlier and earlier every year.  Christmas in July is going to be literally Christmas in July if we keep moving up decorating and putting out things to sell.

I do like to decorate early because it's so much work and it goes so fast I like having time to enjoy it!

Today, I am thankful for Christmas music.  Every year there is a debate about how early is too early to hear Christmas music.  All of the decorations in the world don't get me in the Christmas spirit like Christmas music does!

For me, there are so many memories attached to them.  Some are considered party music, some remind me of church, and some are just fun!  I have posted before about me singing in our church Christmas program when I was little.  My grandmother and a close friend of hers was in charge of the children's choir when I was little.  I think in my post before I said I was around 7, but I am thinking I must have been more like 5 when I sang a solo.  My dad always jokes and says if he had sang a solo it would have been SO LOW you couldn't hear him!  He's so funny!  I cannot sing.  At all.  My grandmother let me sing the second verse of "Away In A Manger" when I still had that cute little kid voice.  I didn't have any solos when I got older.  In fact, in my dad's words, I would sing so low that nobody could hear me.  It was a small church and my pitiful voice would have stuck out if I had sang very loudly!

I just listed these earrings in my Etsy shop.  They look like little Christmas berries!  I have been working and doing some things around my house this week so we can decorate and enjoy the week next week while the kids are out of school.

Apple Jasper Karen Hill Tribe 24k Gold Vermeil Style Earrings

I will be done tomorrow with house stuff and I will be listening to my Christmas music and making as many new, pretty things as I can!

What is your favorite Christmas song and does it have a special memory attached to it?  When is too early to start playing it???

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Not A Fan Of Change

I don't usually like change.  I get comfortable with things and big changes are a little scary.  They can be good, I just get nervous.

When it comes to my jewelry and my shops, I am much more comfortable with change!  I have learned that things like mixing metal colors can be really pretty.  I grew up with the idea you wore one kind.  If you liked gold, you didn't mix white gold or silver.  I love mixing it up and it can be such a pretty look.  It makes me feel a little rebellious too!

The issue with having two shops is that most of my designs are one of a kind.  Even if I have a design I duplicate, beads like Karen Hill Tribe are handmade so no two are exactly the same.  Gemstones made in nature have all kinds of various colors and shapes so they too are impossible to get an exact copy.

I have never been one to follow the crowd or want what everyone else has.  I have always wanted different things.  I call it independent and unique.  I am sure my parents have called it stubborn!

Back to the issue of two shops is having an item you might want to buy, but it isn't in the shop you want to purchase from.  If you see something, I can easily swap it out for you.  That goes for ear wire too. (Or chain or clasps.)  I have different kinds I use and if you like a different style just send me a message through Etsy or Facebook or my email

I added these to my Etsy shop, but if you would rather make a transaction through my Facebook shop just let me know!

Black Tourmaline Pink Sapphire Sterling Silver Earrings

Saturday, November 11, 2017

It Is Well, With My Soul

I started this blog to express the inspiration behind my designs and the name of my business.

Most of my jewelry is inspired by my strong faith.  My raising and my family have given me such a strong relationship with God.  The name Sweet Tea and Sisters is because I am from the south, (and we know how much southerners love sweet tea!) and I have very strong women on both sides of my family. I have memories from both sides of my family of women sitting around a table after family dinners and drinking tea and just talking. We did this at great grandmothers homes and both of my grandmothers and now at my moms. I am blessed to have grown up with the message instilled in me that I could do anything.  Being a girl never stopped me from thinking I could do whatever I wanted.

Most of my designs have Karen Hill Tribe beads.  I think the way these beads are made and the history and tradition for generations are clearly seen in everything they make.  They are beautiful, but knowing the story behind them makes them even more special to me.

I wanted to make my custom charms with my artwork.  I love traditional church hymns and they have so many memories of church when I was growing up.

I had different ideas about the designs, but when I started, they just kind of came about and I love the way they turned out.  I have more with other traditional songs coming in.  I want these to be a collection that can be worn together.

The first design I did was "Amazing Grace" followed by "It Is Well With My Soul."  I love the song "It Is Well" and the meaning behind it.  I however didn't know about the inspiration behind the song.

It was written by Horatio G. Spafford and the story behind it is one of the most meaningful testimonies you can hear about.  He has been compared to Job because of the things that happened to him and his wife, Anna.

He was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago.  He and his wife had 5 children.  The had one son who died of pneumonia in 1871, and the Chicago fire happened the same year and he lost most of his business.  His business did recover and he began to be successful again.

In 1873, he and his wife and 4 daughters were going on a trip to Europe.  He found it necessary to send them on and he was to take care of an unexpected business problem and follow them there later.  The ship his wife and daughters traveled on was the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre.  There were 313 passengers on board.  After four days of crossing the Atlantic, it collided with an iron-hulled Scottish ship.  Anna went to the deck with her four girls and they prayed to be spared if it was God's will, but if not make them able to endure the worst that might happen.  Shortly after, the ship sank carrying all passengers with it.

Anna was found floating on a piece of wreckage and taken to Cardiff, Wales.  From there, she wired her husband to tell him of the tragic loss of their four daughters. Spafford left on the next available ship to get to his grieving wife.  About four days crossing the Atlantic, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where the ship along with his daughters went down.

"It Is Well With My Soul" was written on that journey.  Spafford and Anna went on to have three more children.  One of those also died at the age of four from pneumonia.  In 1881, the family moved to Jerusalem and that is where he is buried.

Knowing the story behind the song just makes it even more meaningful.

I have added this bracelet to my Facebook shop.  I will be adding more like it.  The chain is Stainless Steel as well as the lobster clasp.  The clasp can hook onto any part of the chain so it will fit just right.  I have a pretty little Karen Hill Tribe flower bead  hanging on the end so as the chain hangs the bead with be on the end.

***Update:  I am adding more bracelets to my Facebook shop.  I added a bead to the new ones and think it really looks pretty so I have added it to the red posted here. I updated the picture to show the change, but there is no change in the price of the listing.  I just thought it looked prettier!

I am really excited about this charm, my Amazing Grace, and the others that will be in soon.  I want a collection of traditional hymns with fun artwork that is significant sybmbols to the song on the charm.  I can't wait to show you my next song!  Traditional hymns have so much meaning behind them and the charms are a fun reminder of those messages.

The words to the song, "It is Well With My Soul" are:

1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.

2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.

3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

4. And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.

  • Friday, November 10, 2017

    Facebook Store

         It is so convenient to be able to shop online.  Too convenient sometimes!

    I love ordering and having it sent to me.  I enjoy the mall at the holidays with the decorations.  It really gets you into the spirit. I remember going to see Santa Claus and shopping when I was younger.  We would make it a really fun event.  Back then, though, you had to go to the mall.  The atmosphere is fun, but the crowds are not.  I can't take crowds anymore.  With the world we live in and the bad things that happen, I don't think I am alone in worrying about public places.  You can't stay home.  You have to get out and enjoy life, but things are a lot different than they used to be.

    I have my Etsy shop, but I realize not everyone likes to shop there.  I have my Facebook page and I am in the process of adding things to it.  There is a link in the sidebar along with my Instagram page, but this is a new link:

    I will still be adding to my Etsy shop, but using Shopify on Facebook allows for more ways to pay and have items shipped to you.

    I will do all the work and you just click and shop away!

    Thursday, November 9, 2017

    Thankful Thursday #18

    I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

    Do you need a November birthday gift or a Christmas gift with November birthstone???

    I am thankful for comfort food and the memories that go along with it.  Comfort food is just that, comforting.  But, sometimes the smells and memories make it more special than the actual food.

    I am blessed to have been around and raised by very strong, spiritual women who are and were great cooks!

    One of my great grandmothers is a legend in our town for her steak sandwiches.  These were steak with gravy and I love when a post gets going on our local city Facebook page about her sandwiches.  My great grandmother who lived across the street from our church and where we spent many, many Sunday afternoons was a great cook too.

    My grandmother who passed away 19 years ago used to make a meal that was so good, but the memories of eating it at her house with my aunts, uncles, and cousins is what makes it so comforting to me.  I make this meal once a year for my kids and it is always around this time of year.  Usually, I make it in October at the first hint of Fall.  I am a little late this year, but I made it yesterday.  All of my kids were home early yesterday afternoon.  I don't usually have them all here until bedtime!  They all have different schedules so an afternoon with them all here was all the reason I needed to cook their favorite meal.

    I know when they are married and have their own families, this is the one meal I can get them all home for!  Of course they don't have the same memories I do with the meal, but we have made our own and it has just added to it.  We are getting into the time of year that is all about family and making memories so it fits right in!

    The main dish that makes it so special is Russian chicken.  My grandmother used a Russian dressing that they don't make anymore, but it is still really good.  I use Wishbone.  I only find it in the small bottles so I have to get two for one recipe, but it seems to be the best and gets that original recipe taste.  This is the french, dark red dressing, not the almost Thousand Island dressing. For a family pack of chicken I mix two bottles of dressing, one can of jellied cranberry sauce and one envelope of Lipton's Onion Soup together and pour it over the chicken.  You can double, triple the recipe according to how much chicken you are making. It is good either in the crockpot or cooked lower and slow all day in the oven.  I used boneless, skinless chicken, but my grandmother used pieces of a whole chicken with the skin and bones.  It is definitely better that way, but my kids love this so much they eat leftovers for 2-3 days so I make A LOT of chicken!  It is great in a sandwich and my goodness the house smells wonderful cooking it so long.

    I make sides of broccoli and cheese casserole, a cheesy hashbrown casserole that has butter, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and cheese.  They like to pour the sauce the chicken makes over the potatoes!  I also bake sweet potatoes and I make a layered salad that my aunt would always make and bring to go with it, but any kind of salad would be great with it.

    It is so good, but it also makes me miss my grandmother even more than I already do.

    Also, it was our younger little dog Maggie's 2nd birthday.  I got accused of making it for her birthday, but that was just coincidence.  It is so rich, I gave her and Mia a little taste of the chicken and some of the sweet potatoes, but I didn't want to make them sick.  Their tummies are so little!

    That face! And, when she looks at you it is like she is looking into your soul it is so intense sometimes.

    I made pictures of the dinner.  I use pans that I can throw away and that are easy to keep the leftovers.  By the time I go to the grocery store, prep, and then cook I sure don't want dishes to deal with!

    This was all that was left from one pan of chicken!  I have another big one for leftovers!  I think that's why I only make it once a year.  When I do make it, we eat so much of it we aren't ready for it for another year!

    I have a necklace with the November birthstone citrine beads that would be great for a November birthday gift!  I have the yellow charm I had made with my original artwork, but the charm can be easily traded for another color.  I can do that with anything you see in my shop.  Just message me on Etsy or at and I would love to work with you on a look just for you.  That's why I don't like to finish the necklaces until I know the length the buyer would like.  Sometimes it is an odd number of inches or even 1/2 of an inch that makes a difference in how it hangs on someone and I want it to fit the buyer just right.  My pieces are one of a kind and because of the beads, even if I duplicated a design, no two pieces would be exactly alike.

    I also have a sale going on Nov.8-Nov.13 in honor of Veterans Day.  It's a great time to buy Christmas gifts!

    This November necklace is also in memory of my great grandmother, Nanny, who lived across the street from our church.  The memories from those Sundays with so many family members are just so precious to my heart.

    Nanny's birthday would have been next week.  We are having a really cold, rainy day today and it reminds me of her.  She was always cold.  Even in the summer, you would go visit and she would have the space heater on in her bedroom.  She always said it was such a cold November day when she was born. It was so cold she said she never warmed up!

    November Birthstone Citrine Custom Charm Sterling Silver Necklace

    I hope you have a great, blessed Thankful Thursday!  Maybe have something comforting to you that brings back sweet memories.

    Monday, November 6, 2017

    A Ruff Monday

    All Monday mornings can be crazy, but they really are after the time change.  I don't like it getting darker earlier.  The prettiest part of the day, to me, is from about 5:00-7:00.  It's definitely the best time for me to make pictures of my jewelry.  When it gets dark during that time, we miss that pretty light of day.

    It just shows how our bodies are in line with daylight and darkness when we have to change.  We gained an hour of sleep, but the time change can make us so tired!

    I think knowing what all we have going on with the holidays can be a little overwhelming and make us tired just thinking about it!  I love this time of year, but it does come with some stress!

    My dog, Mia, doesn't handle stress well.  She has anxiety and is better than she used to be, but a car ride just messes her up!

    She had to go to the vet first thing this morning for routine shots, but she gets so nervous she just gets all out of sorts!

    To top it off, I am one of those germ freaks who used to put their kids right in the bath after being at the pediatrician to knock down some of the germs they were exposed to. So guess what happened to poor Mia?

    Yep, I get teased for treating her like a child so she got a bath.  Poor Maggie cried when Sydney left to take Mia.  I know she missed Mia, but she is so different in that she loves to ride in the car.  I don't know if she was crying for Mia or because she wanted to go too!

    Mia is not happy with me.  And, neither is Maggie who looked at me after her bath like, "What did I do?"

    Oh, well.  It was a RUFF morning for us all! At least they love each other.  I caught them kissing each other.  I think they were saying, "I know, I got you sister!"

    Speaking of the holidays, this would be beautiful worn during Christmas or for a Christmas gift.  It is Emerald with a Herkimer Diamond (double terminated quartz from Herkimer County, NY) and 24k vermeil style Karen Hill Tribe bead.  It hangs on a 14k gold filled chain.

    Emerald Necklace

    I also added these pieces to my Etsy shop that would be great as Christmas gifts!

    (Click on Etsy shop to go directly to my shop or the titles to go to the listing.  If the lettering is in black, it is a link.)

    Gorgeous!  Garnets, Black Tourmaline, Ethiopian Opal, Pink Sapphire and Karen Hill Tribe Beads on an oxidized Sterling Silver chain.

    The charm is Karen Hill Tribe.  The silversmiths are in northern Thailand and use traditional tribal methods passed down from generations.  Each piece is handmade by primitive tools so there is a lot of work and detail that goes in to each bead and piece.  The silver content is higher (97%-99.5%) because of the methods used.  I absolutely love these beads and what they represent.

    My custom made charm with my original artwork accented with Pink Tourmaline and Karen Hill Tribe beads on a 14k gold filled chain.

    My custom made designed by myself charm with Pink Sapphire and Karen Hill Tribe Beads on an oxidized Sterling Silver chain.

    Kyanite Earrings with Karen Hill Tribe Beads on 925 Sterling Silver Ear wire.

    Thursday, November 2, 2017

    Thankful Thursday #17

    I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

         We had a fun Halloween!  My day was scarier than I intended on it being.  I had my mammogram last week and I thought since I hadn't heard from them I must be in the clear.  They called me Monday morning and needed more images so I went on Halloween.  I felt like it would be ok, but you just never know. I was fine, but they took me and asked if I wanted my mom to come back with me for the results.  We were in a small room and I got really scared and my mom said as soon as we walked out that she was very nervous too.

    For this week, I am very thankful for good results for me, my mom, and sister.  We always make our appointment on the same day. It keeps us accountable and is a reminder.

    To me, one of the worst things is when you walk out and you see other women in the waiting room and you know according to statistics not everyone is going to walk out in relief.  I am sure that's why they take you somewhere else for the results, good or bad.  There is always some feeling of guilt because you know the fear you just felt before the results is only going to increase for so many.

    I have calcium deposits.  That is very common and harmless most of the time, but mine are in my skin so they needed more pictures to line up.  I saw in the paperwork what looked like an order and I could tell the radiologist was taking specific pictures so I knew they were looking for something.  My body is so strange and does the more uncommon things so this wasn't shocking to me.

    To all my sisters out there, make sure to take the time to get your screening.  As scary as it is to go and it's so, so uncomfortable, but it is so important to get checked.

    We went to my brother's house for Halloween.  He cooked out hot dogs and my mom and his mother in law made chili.  We had a great time and I got to see all of my nieces and nephews dressed up.  One of my nephews loves Halloween.  When I would go crazy decorating my house, he would remember year after year and would notice if something was in a different place.  My youngest niece knows how scared I am of clowns so she decided to dress up as one!  As cute as she is, she was still a little scary looking.  For me anyway!

    I also want to say I am thankful for my sister!  Her birthday was last weekend.  She is 3 years younger than me.  Sisters are God's built in best friends.  We had such a fun childhood and we are having even more fun raising our children together.  We named our girls after each other and we are godmothers to each other's kids.  I can't imagine not having her in my life, especially being a single mom.  She has such a special relationship with my kids.

    I wish my daughter had a sister.  She is so close to her cousins,though, they are like sisters.  My brother only has one girl so she and Sydney have each other!  Sydney is really close to my sister's younger daughter.  She is 8 and acts like she is closer to 23, Sydney's age!  She loves Starbucks, selfies, and just has the funniest sense of humor.

    I tell Sydney that when the boys get married their wives will be her sisters.  She is so close to Stratton's girlfriend and her sister.  I hope and pray his girlfriend is Sydney's sister-in-law one day.  I don't consider my brother's wife my sister-in-law.  She's just my sister in my heart!  (That goes for my brother-in-law too!)

    I saw tons of picture on social media.  It looks like it was a great Halloween for many!  Costumes have come a long way, haven't they?!

    I love this picture of me, my sister, and my brother.

    This was the Christmas before our brother was born.  We had such a fun childhood.  I remember my mom doing needlepoint and making the hanging behind us.  It had sequins and was so pretty.

    I love this too!  It was in the parking lot of the Daytona Hilton where we spent so many summers.

    My sister with her godfather and her youngest child (the fifth!).  Her godfather was our cousin, but more like a grandfather.  He was such a sweet man and had a really strong faith.  My kids were really close to him and we miss him so much.  My sister named her youngest after him.  (My brother's younger son is also named after him.)

    My sister's wedding day.  We grew up with her husband and brother.  It was a beautful day and so was she!

    I have always loved this picture too.  We are with my dad's sister who I am pretty much her clone!  She has two sons, but couldn't have had a daughter more like her.  She was 14 when I was born so I spent a lot of time with her when I was little and was her flower girl in her wedding.

    In honor of my sister's birthday, I made a new necklace I will be listing in my Etsy shop.

    This is my custom charm and Sapphire beads accented by Karen Hill Tribe Silver Beads.  The chain is oxidized Sterling Silver and the wire holding the beads is Sterling Silver.

    I wanted to highlight a necklace already listed in my shop.  The charm used for both necklaces is my design.  You won't find it anywhere else.  I call it my Friendship charm.  The Bible verses are about the way we should treat one another.  The beads are green and white Tree Agate and accented by Karen Hill Tribe Silver Beads.  The chain is Sterling Silver and the wire holding the beads is Sterling Silver.