Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thankful Thursday #66

I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

I love Christmas season.  I have so many wonderful memories associated with this time of year.  I am thankful for my childhood memories and those I made with my children.

My mom has always really decorated for Christmas.  We lived in a subdivision that was so much fun when I was in elementary school.  Everyone knew everyone and the women had a group called The Garden Club.  They had a contest for the best decorated house.  It wasn't in the style of Clark Griswald in Christmas Vacation, there were rules.  Most houses had floodlights to shine on the outside of the house.  We would go get pine tree limbs or anything to cover up the light because the judges would count off for seeing it. Also, when they rode by we had to have all lights out inside.  You got a better score for the house being dark.  I remember sitting in complete darkness until the judging was over.  No TV or any kind of lamps or lights.  My mom would usually place and she always made Christmas so special it wasn't too much to ask for us to sit still for a couple of hours.

This club would also take small brown paper bags (lunch bags) and fill the bottom with sand and put candles in them, line all the streets in the subdivision, and put lit candles in them on Christmas Eve.  She would be gone for a little bit working on them and waiting on them to get done was a little hard, but knowing the roads were lit for Santa to find his way was worth the wait!  As a kid, you always worried about Santa finding you so this was also worth the wait!

Then, there was always Christmas Eve service at church. It was just a part of Christmas. There was a shorter message and a lot of music, but remembering what Christmas is really about was just part of Christmas Eve.

My favorite part was the end when we would sing "Silent Night." We would hold candles and the preacher would light his, usually by the advent candles, and we would pass the flame around and by the time we were on the last verse the sanctuary lights would be so dim they were almost out and we sang the last part in candlelight.  I have always been afraid of fire so when I was little I don't think I took my eyes off the flame and when my kids were little they always wanted their own, but I watched them closely!

I remember my kids' eyes glowing in the candlelight.  All the excitement and being anxious about Christmas morning while sweetly singing and remembering why we celebrate Christmas.

I just got in my new charm yesterday.  It is inspired by my favorite memory of singing "Silent Night" and the fun of Christmas Eve.

The bottom is gold glitter for the sand with the dark blue for the desert night sky and, of course, the star of Bethlehem with a crystal in the middle.  The crystal is for the bright star guiding to the manger.  It is also for those bright eyes in the candlelight.  Christmas is always a magical time of year in so many ways.

I also just listed these two pairs of earrings a few days ago.  One pair looks like holly berries and champagne!  They look like Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Mexican Red Opals and Imperial Topaz Sterling Silver Ear Threads Earrings

This pair looks like Winter and Christmas to me.  The white of the Rainbow Moonstone and red of the Mexican Red Opals look so pretty together and are perfect for holiday parties.  They would also be beautiful for a bride in a Winter wedding.

Rainbow Moonstone and Mexican Red Opal Rose Gold Filled Earrings

I am going to be listing the necklaces with my new charm in my Etsy shop.  They will also be on my new necklace cards with the inspiration behind the design.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Early Thanksgiving

I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving!  Time just goes way too fast.

I am working really hard getting things in my shop for Christmas shoppers.

I love making all kinds of jewelry, but I am most proud of my charms.  It has only been a little over a year and I have created a great collection and have worked hard trying to "get them out there."

I am so thankful for the support I have gotten from family and friends and the people I have met making these little treasures.  From the company who produces my charms to the companies I get my supplies from, I have made some really nice friends this last year.

I have also "met" a lot of wonderful people selling my jewelry.

This is especially so with the charms.  I love the messages I get about why someone bought the charm to  how they love it when they receive their order.

I had a sweet lady buy two charm bracelets with one of my traditional church hymns.  She had recently been widowed and it was the song played at her husband's service and she was buying the bracelets for a sister- in- law and close friend who supported her through the tremendous loss.  Someone bought a charm necklace for a friend who lost her home in the California fires.

I get the sweetest stories from customers and it makes what I do so much more rewarding.

Something else has happened that wasn't intended in the beginning.  A lot of the family I talk about have passed away.  Through the memories that inspire my designs, I have something for my kids and nieces and nephews to learn about family and where they came from.  I didn't create a link from the past to the new generation on purpose, but I sure am glad it has happened that way.  Heritage and tradition mean a great deal to me so any way I can help pass that down is wonderful.

I have a lot of great things going on with my charms and I know I have just gotten started.  I hope they spark a positive memory for others.  Maybe take them back to their childhood or even strengthen faith for someone who has lost his/hers a little bit because of life and tough circumstances.  I know creating the charms has helped me look deeper into my faith and it is even stronger.

I want to be successful, but I also just want to make a difference.  I want to do something good in a world that is hard and cruel at times. We need faith more than ever.

I am having an early Thanksgiving this weekend because I am reflecting and thankful for the past year and the great things that have happened because of my charms.  There is a list of states above.  They are states that someone has bought a charm.  Some states have multiple sales and people walking around with my creation on necklaces and/or bracelets.  It is just a great thing.  It is an honor and humbling to know they are in so many places.  I hope to keep adding to the list!

In the meantime, I will just be very thankful.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Thankful Thursday #65

I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

I love sugary things, I think everyone does, but, growing up and even today, I would usually go back for seconds of real food than dessert.

My one downfall, though....... jelly beans.  I love them.  All of them.  Even the wacky flavors like popcorn and the black, licorice flavored are my favorites.  Most people pick them out of the bunch to throw out, I pick them out to eat them first!

My favorite brand of jell beans (although I wouldn't turn any down) is Russell Stover's.  I only see them in a few places near Easter.  A couple of grocery stores and one pharmacy is where I usually see them.

When I was growing up we would drive all the way to Atlanta (about 45 miles) to the Russell Stover's store to get them.  We went for my grandmother, they were her favorite and you couldn't get them anywhere else.

Today, I can order them online and have them delivered any time.  Being diabetic, I can't have them any time I want them, but I have bags in different places and they are my go to with low blood sugar.  I had gestational diabetes with all three kids and it came back about 13 years ago.  Leaving off sugar isn't fun, but that has never been a problem, except for jelly beans. Today, I am thankful for jelly beans and the memories of my grandmother getting excited to get her hands on some!  I am sure that has something to do with them being my favorite brand.

I made this pair of earrings this week.  The big, red, orange, Indian, Carnelian nuggets remind me of jelly beans.  The big, blue, gray, Opals are really pretty too and are a great compliment to the Carnelian.  They would look great with a casual top or sweater and with a dressy outfit.  A pair to easily go from day to night.

Carnelian Opal Earrings

I also made these!  I am working on so many things and adding to my Etsy shop!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Thankful Thursday #64

I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

Sundays growing up were so much fun!

We went to church on Sunday mornings, well, the kids started with Sunday School. My mom would start getting ready, then drop us off, with rollers in her hair, in a robe, and go back home to finish getting ready. She would take us to school like that too.  I did the same thing, maybe not in rollers, but my kids will often times call me or text me before they come in with friends to tell me to put pants on.  If I am home, I am in my gown and bedroom shoes.  They get embarrassed, but I have told them I would be less covered in a bathing suit and they let me out in that.

After church on Sundays we would go to my great grandparents' house.  They lived across the street from the church and we would fill that house with aunts, uncles, cousins, and tons of food and, of course, endless amounts of sweet tea.  The kids would always be in the back yard playing or on the porch in front of the house.  We could see if anyone rode by.  There are certain foods that just take me back to their house.  Everyone kind of had their special thing they made.  One of my grandmother's sisters would make chocolate pies with toasted marshmallows.

We lost my grandmother right before my youngest was born.  She sang in the church choir and I seldom went a day without seeing her.  Right after my son was born, my aunt asked me if there was anything she could do.  I had gestational diabetes with all three kids and with the third it returned immediately so I took her up on her request and said, "Will you please bring me one of your chocolate pies with the toasted marshmallows."  She did.  It was right before Christmas and the comfort of it brought back so many memories. I am a lot like her, but cannot make pies like that.  My mom can, but I can't.

On Sundays after being at my great grandparents' house, we would go back to church for Sunday night service.  This was casual, we had children's choir, something kind of like another Sunday School lesson, and we would play outside or play games inside.  We also had a lady that was an amazing cook (she was best friends with my grandmother and aunt) and she would fix something for all the kids to eat.  The church service was short and mostly music.  We had this sweet, little man with a big voice that would lead the hymns.  We had a big red hymnal for Sunday mornings and a little brown one for Sunday nights.

We could request songs.  My favorite song was "Love, Mercy, and Grace."  My mom would always look at me when I or someone else requested it.  It was just a fun song with a wonderful message.

This is the inspiration for my next group of charms.  In this world today we need more love, mercy, and grace. I am thankful for all of them and especially the love, mercy, and grace we get from God every second of every day.  They may be harder to find today, but they are always there with God.

I chose to do the gold because of the popular necklaces right now with round gold pendants and the coin pendant craze.  I will be making these in different combinations from single charms on a necklace to different combinations and on bracelets.  These would look great layered.  I have some really pretty Stainless Steel chain that is gold, but I will be mixing up metals too because I really like the way it looks.

This is a link to the song and the lyrics below:

Love, Mercy, and Grace
Piano- Christopher Tan

Sunday, November 4, 2018

November Rain

I love the song, "November Rain."  I love anything from Guns 'N Roses, but that one is my favorite.

Yesterday  was beautiful outside, but Georgia welcomed the first two days of November with rain.  I thought maybe the weather would help the line to vote early.  That might have worked had I not decided to go at lunch time, on Friday, the last day!  It wasn't too bad, but it was yucky weather to have to be in line.

I had a productive day yesterday  and made a few new pieces.  It takes some time to make them, then make pictures (partly because I am not the best photographer), then list on Etsy.  The fun part is posting on social media and getting feedback.

I had some beautiful London Blue Topaz and Imperial Topaz.  I made a necklace with them then I also had Madeira Citrine so I have a necklace to list tomorrow with them and a blue Topaz bead.  I think they really turned out pretty!  Topaz and Citrine are November birthstones so they will make great gifts for birthdays, OR, as Christmas presents for someone who happens to love Topaz. Who doesn't love Topaz?  And, Guns 'N Roses? And, the song "November Rain?"  Seriously, the best part of the song is when you think it's about over and you are surprised with more great music.

Well, thankfully it isn't raining, unless you count the Topaz raining on my Instagram page!

Click on the titles to go to the listings:

London Blue Imperial Topaz 14k Gold Filled Necklace

Imperial Topaz 14k Gold Filled Dangle Earrings

Madeira Citrine Sterling Silver Earrings

And just when you thought that was it, here is a whole new look!

Iridescent Coated Kyanite 24k Gold Vermeil Style 924 Sterling Silver Earrings

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Thankful Thursday #63

I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

Halloween is over and now we move on to Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for a season of counting blessings.  It's easy to get overwhelmed with life and forget the things that are going right.

I just love this time of year.

I have always loved Halloween.  I grew up with my dad, grandfathers, and uncles teasing me and pranks were something they did "to make us girls tough."

It worked.  It also helps to learn not to take things too seriously at times and to just have fun.  I was telling someone the other day that my dad and two uncles loved to tease my grandmother.  She worked in the real estate office with them and was the secretary and she didn't get paid enough some days!

They loved her dearly and she knew it, but they definitely liked to tease her.  I remember one year for Thanksgiving she made a couple of mistakes with dessert and, of course, they teased her about it for years.

My dad loves egg custard.  My grandparents divorced when I was little so my grandmother didn't cook much.  She would eat at our house or my aunt's and would go with whoever was going out to eat. Cooking a big meal had to be a little overwhelming when she wasn't used to it.

She made an egg custard that year and a sweet potato pie.  My dad and uncle took a bite of the custard at the same time and just looked really funny at each other.  At first, they didn't know what to say.  It must have been obvious because she asked them what was wrong and then it immediately came to her.  She said, "oh no, I forgot the sugar!"  They had a really good laugh and went onto sweet potato pie instead.

Again, they tried to get a bite and they both just started laughing so loud.  She forgot to remove the paper liner from the frozen crust!  Everything else was great, but dessert was a joke for a long time!

Halloween is always a fun time for tricks.  I got my own last night.  I was working and had the TV on, there are always such good shows on, especially the paranormal ones.  Well, we had an outtage of internet and cable for a little while.  I called it in and I guess I was the only person in the house watching TV while working on the computer because they thought it was just my house.  I will admit, that was a little eerie until I found out it was out in the area.  My sister and her family got home from trick or treating along with my parents coming home from my brother's house and theirs was out too.

Well, this is all treat and no trick, but I have a sale going on with my new Harvest Moon and Church Steeple Pendant Necklaces.  I have them 20% off.  There are a few listings, but I have more chain so if you see one you like just message me.  I am going to keep listings going and adding a few more.  The sale will go from today until the end of the month.

These would be the perfect necklace to wear Thanksgiving Day or as a gift for the hostess of Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are some listings with different chain.  Just click on the photos to go to the listing.

Harvest Moon Necklaces

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Survival of the Fittest

I have said many times that this can be a cold, cruel world and I don't know how people make it without faith.

I seriously don't know how.

There are things that bombard us everyday that can try to shake our faith and question it so if someone doesn't have it at all how in the world do they cope?  I couldn't.

I believe God wants us to more than survive in His world, He wants us to make a difference and every single second of every single blessed day gives us opportunities to do just that.

But, we don't always use our time wisely and we fail.  We fail to do the right thing or misinterpret something or we are just human.  God knows we are just human and that is why He sent His son to die for our sins.  He made the ultimate sacrifice so we could make mistakes but still be given His love and grace.

Guilt is a big, bad word.  We have guilt and, often times, regret.  It can get in the way of the work the Lord wants us to do.  It's part of our real humanness, though.  It's a natural emotion, but we are forgiven and should move forward.

My kids are very into fitness and healthy eating.  I am too, but this generation has gyms on every corner, sections of grocery stores with better food choices and apps and websites with all kinds of information of what is considered healthy and unhealthy.  We had health class in school that was a few weeks of PE class when I was growing up.  We learned the basic food groups and basic information.  My kids talk about macros and micros and low carb and carb loading and thankfully they grocery shop for themselves because I wouldn't know where to begin.

It's important to feel good and be physically healthy to do everything we need to do in a day.  It's also important to be able to enjoy things because if we run out of steam on the things we need to do there's no time left for fun things and that's the heart of life and where memories are made.

I created my latest charm from these ideas.  It is inspired by my kids' love of fitness and working out.  They also impress me by their strong faith for young ages.

I did a cross with weights.  The idea is we need to give the "weight" of our sins and burdens to God.  I am a worrier and I know it does me no good, I need to give my worries to God.  I have the part of the cross with the weights and bar with the Bible verse Hebrews 12:1.

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

To "run the race" set before us and live the life God wants us to live for Him we need to give those things to Him and live the way He wants us to live.

The eagle is for strength.  I love the verse Isaiah 40:31:

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Eagles symbolize strength and "to soar" or excel and achieve we need to be strong in our faith and confident that God forgives us and wants us to move ahead.  He wouldn't offer forgiveness if He wanted us to dwell on human mistakes.

I am going to be including this charm in my shop this weekend.  I will have it on Stainless Steel chains and I will have some leather pieces to make with it also.  I think it will look really great with leather.  I will come back and add some of the listings.

I also have three more new charms coming in soon and can't wait to show those.  And, as always, there are more coming in behind those!  I absolutely love creating these charms.  They are beautiful and a symbol of my family and memories but they also give me a deeper look into my faith. I think about a lot of different things creating them and it is rewarding and so much fun at the same time!  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thankful Thursday #62

I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

I love making jewelry.  I love connecting with people and creating these charms that mean so much to me. Each charm is inspired by family, family memories, and the special people throughout my life.

I am thankful this week for special occasions.

Some of my "sisters" and I got together for a special lunch this week.  Tuesday would have been my Meme's 100th birthday.  She passed away 8 years ago.  She was every bit of the strong, independent, Christian women I talk about.  She was my great grandmother and when my daughter was born we had five generations on that side.  All women.  We had five generations on my dad's side too. On that side it was special because he had both grandparents living at the time.

My great aunt got us all together to have lunch to celebrate Meme's birthday.  It was me, her, my mom, my grandmother, my great aunt Cecilia, my cousin Laura, and my daughter.  We have spent countless hours around my grandmother's kitchen table talking.

It was always fun and you never knew where the conversation would go.  We could talk about anything, and we did!  I think it's so important for women, and young girls, to have a safe place to talk about whatever they want and need to.  We had the benefit of different generations and the ideas and opinions from those different ages.  We had the wisdom of my great grandmother and the youth and new ideas of me and my sister and cousin.  Even as a little girl, my now 24 year old daughter, loved talking with us women.

My great grandfather passed away in a car accident when I was little.  My great grandmother never even dated.  My great aunt was a single mom with my cousin so they lived together until my great grandmother passed away.  I can't imagine how hard it was for my aunt because she not only lost a parent, but it was like losing a spouse too because they had lived together for so long.

They were a great support for each other and my cousin had the benefit of two strong, independent women raising her.  She's strong and independent herself so it was a great example for her.

I am so glad my aunt got us all together.  It took about a second for us to remember how much fun it always is when we sit together and chat.  Everyone stays so busy but it's so important to nurture our relationships with other women.  There's so much to be said for being able to take the daily walls down and be open, honest, and ourselves with others.

An interesting fact.  My great grandfather passed away on July 7th and was buried on my mom's birthday, July 10th, years ago.  When we knew Meme was at the end it was late June 2010.  She held on a little longer than we expected.  I kept telling my mom I thought she was waiting for July 7th.  She was.  She passed away on the 7th and was also buried on my mom's birthday.  Another interesting fact, while we celebrated what would have been her 100th birthday on Tuesday, my great grandfather's 104th birthday would have been on Monday.

This is a picture I posted about our lunch celebration this week.

These are the pictures from the newspaper when my daughter was christened at church.  It was a very special thing to have five generations on both sides.

My dad's side.  That is my grandmother in the white jacket that sang in our church choir and is the inspiration behind my traditional church hymn charms. My sister looks so much like her.

And, this is my mom's side with the generations being all women.  That is my Meme holding my daughter.

Meme had this picture put in the paper with the history of the christening gown.  This isn't the gown my daughter wore the day of her christening.  My mom bought a gown that all three of my children wore and that I can pass down for my grandchildren.

I am sharing all of this as part of my Thankful Thursday but also because the whole idea behind my blog name and business name, Sweet Tea and Sisters, is because of the women on all sides of my family and my relationships with them. All of my charms are inspired by family. 

***Two more interesting facts: My kids had their last name changed to my maiden name, Robinson.  They wanted the name of the family raising them.  Also, Meme was a Robison, without the "n."  My sister's married name is Smith and I remember Meme telling my sister on her wedding day that they had something in common.  She was also a Robison before becoming a Smith.