Monday, September 29, 2008

we're back!

Larry and I have just returned from a wonderful cruise down the Danube River. Planned for almost a year, the trip was a much-needed vacation from the shop, but certainly not a veg-out, sit on your duff kind of trip. We were busy!! We started off in Prague for a few days and then went to Nuremberg, Germany to meet the boat. Sailing down the Danube, we visited Weltenburg, Regensburg (home town of Pope Benedict), Passau, Melk, Vienna and finally Budapest. It was a whirlwind of history lessons, spectacular churches and art, good food and fun new friends. We're tired but refreshed (sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn't) and still adjusting to the time change. It's back to work tomorrow and special thanks to Suzanne for holding the fort at the shop while we were gone.

Here we are in Prague with the castle behind us.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

yummy new yumi chen designs

Yummy new designs by New York City artist Yumi Chen have arrived at JOOLZ. Full of sparkle and color, they catch your eye in the store and certainly catch the attention of our customers. Yumi's work has been a hit from opening day. These are just two of our new additions.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

special delivery

I had the thrill this morning of hand delivering a special order piece to one of our frequent customers.

This only child had inherited several loose gemstones from her mother and was looking for a way to incorporate them in a more contemporary piece of jewelry. Her mother had worn a favorite dinner ring every time she went out for a special occasion and our customer especially wanted to use the ring's large stone in her new piece. Both the customer and I thought that Craig Hagstrom, from Sequim, Washington, might be the right artist to work magic with her stones.

I had found Craig's work in a catalog full of handcrafted jewelry and contacted him last summer. We arranged to meet in NYC and I jet-setted down for an afternoon of joolz shopping, choosing several wonderful pieces. I wrote about the day in my October 2007 newsletter. Craig has become one of our most popular artists and had already created a custom piece for another JOOLZ customer.

We sent off the stones to Craig and he worked up three different designs. The best fit seemed to be the bracelet, which included all of the customer's stones and some provided by Craig. And by wearing the joolz on her wrist, the customer could see her favorite stones whenever she looked down, something she would have been unable to do had she chosen the pendant designs.

Craig was so excited to see the design come to life that he completed the work in about 24 hours, mailed the bracelet off to me and I delivered it to the customer this morning. Craig was thrilled, I was thrilled and most importantly, the customer was thrilled with her very special delivery.

Friday, September 5, 2008

read all about it

Our September 2008 newsletter has just been posted on the website and should be arriving in subscribers' e-mailboxes soon. If you want to add your e-mail address to the list, you can subscribe through the JOOLZ website. The communication and cross-pollination effort continues.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


We try to have new joolz arriving all the time - keeps our repeat customers interested and gives us a lift when we see new pieces in the mix.

Here are some fun rings that are new to our inventory. Artist Kathryn Pearce of Lancaster, PA has combined sterling silver wire with large, faceted Swarovski crystals in a panoply of colors - bling...bling...bling at its best!

Monday, September 1, 2008

last weekend of summer

While summer doesn't officially end for another few weeks, Labor Day weekend at the lake is always considered the last weekend of the summer. The weather on this family-oriented weekend has run the gamut from bone-chilling cold, windy and rainy to spectacularly gorgeous - blue skies, a light breeze, glorious sunshine and calm seas. We were blessed with the beautiful version of the weekend this year.

On both Friday and Sunday evenings we attended the last two concerts of this year's Canandaigua LakeMusic Festival. Friday evening Jon Nakamatsu and Juliana Athayde played to a large, appreciative audience - certainly the largest audience in the 4-year history of the festival. Standing ovations were the order of the day and then we were delighted to be included at a reception for the artists at the home of a festival supporter.

The grounds of the home beckoned to us, so we took a stroll outside, walked out on the dock and looked back at the house. The plantings around the house were just magnificient, all lit by subtle yet skillfully positioned low-level lights. A woman approached after she heard me make a remark about one of the beautiful plants. She introduced herself as the gardener for the property and asked if we would like a little tour of the yard. She showed us huge white blooms that only come out at night and also pointed out the completely hidden dog run - hidden by climbing, flowering vines that would be cut back down to the ground before winter. A fabulous concert and then a behind-the-scenes garden tour -- what an evening!

Saturday was a busy day at the shop, followed by our traditional family gathering for Flare Night. That's what we call it, but most everyone else calls it the Ring of Fire. A bonfire was lit high atop Bare Hill at 9pm, signalling to those around the lake to light flares that had been placed along the shoreline every 10 feet or so. The 16-mile long lake was rimmed with the red glow of the flares for about 30 minutes. Fireworks (illegal in New York but somehow smuggled in to many lakefront homes) exploded from neighboring docks and beach bonfires sent up smoke and crackling flames. Another summer season at Canandaigua Lake had come to an end.

Sunday evening we returned to Zion Fellowship for the final LakeMusic concert. Included on the program was the husband/wife duo of Maya Hartman and Noam Sivan. Sitting side by side on piano benches, they mesmerized the audience with their 4-hand playing of Stravinski's Rite of Spring. It was like watching a ballet of hands on the piano keys. Following intermission we were treated to Copland's Appalachian Spring performed as a suite for 13 players. Magnificent! The second standing ovation of the evening followed and the festival was over for another year.

Today was a day of rest, sort of - reading on the porch overlooking the lake, digging a few weeds out of the garden, placing an order for some new joolz and just enjoying a perfectly beautiful day. Sure wish all summer weekends could be as spectacular as this one has been.