Wednesday, December 28, 2011

BIG news! in today's newsletter

December 2011

Dear Friends,

JOOLZ has been an exciting adventure for me over the past 6 years, one year of incubation and 5 years of retail selling. From the tiny kernel of an idea, it has grown into a full-fledged, successful, well-respected business.

Recently, however, I’ve recognized that I’m missing out on a lot. Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday this year and I needed to be at the store. (Yes, we did have several male customers who had that “deer caught in the headlights” look while doing last-minute shopping). That meant no traveling to see our kids in LA and Denver for the holidays. It was a very difficult decision to be away from our young grandsons for the holidays, a decision I don’t want to have to make ever again. Life is short and I want to enjoy being with family and friends. I also want the freedom to be able to see more of the world.

In my home office this quote is framed and sits on my desk:

Design the life you want to live first
and then design your business to fit your life.

I realized that I needed to re-design the life I want to live and also re-design my business to fit that life.

After several months of agonizing, middle-of-the-night conversations with myself, it is with some sadness, but also a lot of anticipation of new adventures, that I have decided to retire. Our last day at JOOLZ will be January 28 and all our inventory is now on sale. (Most of the fixtures and furniture pieces are also for sale and may be reserved, with a deposit, for pickup after January 28). Be sure to come in early to get your favorites and if you’re not in the area, you can call us at 585.396.3520 to shop over the phone.

Later in the spring we’ll open The JOOLZ Collection online store through our website, And as a thank you to our Canandaigua/Rochester area customers, local shipping will be free. Almost like walking down Main Street and shopping in the store, right?

It’s been a true pleasure getting to know so many of you and having you come to love JOOLZ as much as I do. Thanks to you all for your support and thanks to our employees, past and present, for all their hard work in helping to make JOOLZ a success. Finally, a special thank you to my husband, Larry, for being a quiet, supportive force behind me every step of the way.

All the best,

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's been a busy couple of months and the blog has been silent for a while - apologies to loyal readers. But the busyness has been all about the business and the family, both of which vie for top billing on a daily basis. The business won out this Christmas season, as we have stayed home to oversee the store's holiday activity. Meanwhile, both grandsons and their parents are in Denver, where they ARE having a white Christmas, just like the one above. Here in Canandaigua it's been almost spring-like and today there is only a dusting of snow on the driveway.

Today in Denver they'll be making cookies, decorating a gingerbread house and getting all geared up for Santa's arrival. Thank goodness for FaceTime - we'll be able to see the stockings hung by the chimney with care right along with them. And then tomorrow morning we'll adjust our inner clocks to Mountain Time and watch the happiness and glee of a 6 year old as he first sees the goodies that Santa brought. His 5-month old cousin will be pretty oblivious to all the excitement of the day, but I know his Mommy and Daddy will be recording every smile and babble.

We wish you all a joyous Christmas and holiday season and thank you again for your support of our efforts to make JOOLZ your special holiday shopping spot. There will be lots of joolz under trees for many delighted recipients this year. Enjoy them all!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

yes, we make house calls

In today's busy world, most women are constantly juggling home, work, family and fun. That can often lead to many "I meant to ___________ today, but time just got away from me" days. What to do when you know you need/want a new piece of jewelry to go with a certain outfit and there's no time to shop?

Well....if you're like my friend, X, you mention to me at a party that you're looking for a necklace to go with some brown fall clothes. The next day, I make a trip around the shop, looking for likely contenders. Finding several, I call X and we agree to meet at her house later in the afternoon. I hop in my pink Mary Kay caddy (just kidding!) and take a collection of joolz for her to try on in the privacy of her home. She puts on her brown top and tries on several necklaces. One is just perfect. She smiles. I smile. Even her husband smiles, especially as the necklace has a finger-friendly, large toggle clasp. Totally and completely painless, minimal interruption to her day and everyone is happy.

No, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. But I do make house calls!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

good news/bad news

No posts in about a month. Ouch!

The good news is that we ended our fiscal year on September 30th and sales were double digit percentages ahead of last year, despite the rocky economy. Thanks to all our wonderful customers, those who keep coming back and those who find us for the first time.

The bad news is that the home computer is still sick. I can't find several hundred e-mails and can't upload any photos from my camera. That software seems to have taken a hike. But now that our handsome, 12-week old, grandson has left after a wonderful 2-week visit, I will have some extra time to work on that. We've had several deliveries of new joolz and I want to show them to you. Please be patient. Images are coming....hopefully soon.

Monday, September 5, 2011

brain transplant

It's a scary thing when the BSOD (blue screen of death) shows up on your computer monitor.

We kept the home computer (also known as the Mother Ship) limping along, hoping that the blue would turn back to black and we would be able to laugh at our fears. No such luck. After a couple of v.e.r.y. frustrating days, we finally took our tower to the computer hospital. Initially, the diagnosis was hopeful, but after further surgery, the old hard drive was sent off to the morgue and the Mother Ship got a brain transplant (something I've often thought would be helpful for my own body).

New hard drive in place, Larry got to work putting all the pieces back together. It took a while, but eventually we found most everything again, although the font was the size of a pin head. Further adjustments brought it up to my preferred 12pts and I hope it stays that way.

But the bad news is that my Outlook Express seems to have been emptied out completely. That means that 5 years worth of saved emails AND addresses are gone, gone, gone....despite Carbonite. We'll have to make a few phone calls tomorrow to the computer hospital and to the Carbonite cloud, to see if there is any hope of retrieving them. If not, please be patient with my questions about "conversations" we may have had in the past. I may end up needing that brain transplant after all.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

a hop across the border

Last week we celebrated our 42nd (!) anniversary and decided to take a spur of the moment trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake to celebrate. I called the Shaw Festival box office on Wednesday for Friday matinee tickets to see "My Fair Lady" and we were able to get seats in the 6th row. Amazing - as this is the show everyone is talking about this year. (And they're right - it's a fabulous production, one of the best we've ever seen. Get tickets if you can).

Then I thought, well, why not see if Lisa Ridout and her husband, Ben, could travel down from Toronto and meet us for lunch. Lisa and I had met in NOTL for lunch a couple of years ago and we both had loved the restaurant she'd suggested, Tony Deluca's Old Winery Restaurant, just outside the village. Trying it again, we arrived at just about the same time and had a delightful lunch on the outside patio.

While the food was delish, the best part for me was the extra-special dessert that Lisa brought with her....bag after bag full of gorgeous sterling silver and Swarovski crystal designs, many of which were new to me. We brought back almost 50 pieces of Lisa Ridout Jewellery (Canadian spelling, of course!), several of which we sold on Saturday before they even made it into the case.

Among the new pieces we have are this sterling silver Diamond Back necklace:

and the cream Swarovski pearl and sterling silver toggle Jackie O necklace:

As many of you know, Lisa's work can be found in Canadian jewelry stores coast to coast, but we are the only store that carries her in the US. Her work is unique and gorgeous, two words we like to use for JOOLZ, too.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Two visitors from Syracuse were just in the store. As they were wandering around, looking at everything, one said to the other, "Who would ever think such a gorgeous store would be in Canandaigua?"

While we appreciate that they think our store is "gorgeous", we want them to think of Canandaigua as a destination for LOTS of gorgeous stores. We're on our way, but there's still work to be done. Our business development manager and the City Council need to make it a priority to recruit and bring in one-of-a-kind shops that will attract buyers with disposable income. They'll spend, they'll frequent upscale restaurants and they'll generate sales tax, which will go back to the community. It would be a win-win. Let's make it happen!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

tricks of the trade

Keeping your joolz bright and shiny can sometimes be a challenge. Gold dulls, silver tarnishes and stones lose their sparkle. What's a girl to do?

What this girl does is head for the nearest Wegmans to buy a box of baking soda. A gem in its own right, baking soda is the answer to many household dilemmas. Did you know that you can:

  • use a toothbrush dipped in baking soda to scrub the cutting wheel of a handheld or electric can opener

  • remove crayon marks on walls with a damp sponge dipped in baking soda

  • add a teaspoon of baking soda to your usual shampoo bottle to help remove buildup from conditioners, mousses, and sprays, and to improve manageability

  • soak cosmetic sponges or makeup applicators in a baking soda solution overnight to remove leftover beauty products

Baking soda is also the easiest, cheapest and most environmentally-friendly way to clean your jewelry. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda and one part water and work it onto and into your jewelry. Rinse it off with lukewarm water and then pat dry. You'll be amazed at how quickly your joolz lose their tarnish and get back their sparkle. Just another trick of the trade.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

the word of the day

The word of the day is WOW! Several customers today have said 'WOW!" under their breath as they've been looking at the joolz on display. It's almost like the word just escapes from them - they're feeling it and don't even realize they're saying it.

And it feels like a pat on the back, so we silently thank them. It's good to know that what we've chosen knocks their socks off, so we must be doing something right. Hope you'll feel wowed, too!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

charlie is here!

Charles Brian Becker arrived at 12:01am this morning in Colorado, 2 1/2 weeks early. We're all thrilled that he is safely here and that he, his mommy and his daddy are all doing well. Nana and Poppy look forward to meeting Charlie very soon!

Friday, July 8, 2011

backstage at the STYX concert

Our LA daughter and grandson are here for a 2-week visit and we're loving every minute of it.

Out of the blue, she discovered that STYX was going to be performing at CMAC last night. She's acquainted with the band's Tommy Shaw in LA...and long story short...she and her little sidekick were kindly offered seats and backstage passes to visit with Tommy while they were all here in Canandaigua at the same time. Not too many 5-year olds get to see classic rock bands in action, but armed with ear plugs, off they went to the concert. What fun!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


This floor quilt says it all.


Loved being in Denver for Katie's baby shower this weekend.

Love that Katie's Aunt Jossie made this charming quilt for Paddington.

Love that I got to spend time with both my daughters together.

Love that Paddington is almost fully cooked and should arrive in just 5 weeks!!

(Sorta) love that my 5 1/2 year old grandson loves to tease me about frogs, lizards and snakes. Love that I will see him and his mommy again in just 2 weeks.

Love that I got home safe and sound.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

inside looking out

This was the view from the inside looking out today.

Numerous worker bees. Miles of yellow caution tape. Large cement truck. Orange cones blocking off every single parking spot on our block. What a mess!

For several weeks, downtown has been a full-fledged disaster area. FEMA should have been called. First all the Main Street trees were removed. Then the old gas line was dug up and replaced. Next, new laterals were installed to the individual business meters. Then the sidewalk was repaired. But not permanently. Parts of it will be dug up again next year, to replace the trees and hopefully make it look more attractive.

And the customers? Hiding, for the most part. Who wants to deal with no parking and the mess of torn up sidewalks?

But once the concrete dries (and that shouldn't take too long, since it was in the 90's today), it will be easy navigating again. Not too pretty, but walkable.

Come visit. We've missed you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

caught on the trail cam

My husband has been hoping to spot a bear on our property. He looks. And he looks. And he keeps looking.

In the hopes that the bear would be lurking around at times when least expected, my always-hopeful husband ordered a trail camera online. Now located on a tree down the hill from our house, the camera's aimed at a path that's used by the many white-tailed deer in the area. They're constantly crossing our property from north to south and then back again. The trail cam has taken hundreds of images of the deer coming and going.

This Eastern coyote, however, was an unexpected catch. He's heading north along the property line, staying near the high grass. We hear the coyotes in the night, howling at the joy of their kills, but it's rare to see one in the daytime.

Next time - bear!

Monday, May 16, 2011

three generations

Three generations of friendship - how wonderful. My good friend Lee moved in across the street when we were 7. Off we went to second grade together and we're still the best of friends, just a few short years later, celebrating all of life's big moments together.

This past weekend Lee generously hosted a baby shower for my youngest daughter (on the right), who is expecting her first child (a BOY!) at the end of July. Lee's daughter, who is expecting her second child (a GIRL!) at the beginning of July, was in attendance. Lee and I are thrilled to see three generations of friendship resulting from those early days at Twelve Corners Elementary School. And now we're both on full alert, waiting for the exciting phone calls that will tell us the babies are here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

JOOLZ online store is now open

HUGE NEWS! The JOOLZ online store is now open!

You may remember that we had an online store several years ago. The store disappeared when the server company bailed in the middle of the night without notifying its hosting customers, and all their data was lost. It had taken us (my web guy and me) hours and hours to put it up in the first place...and then it was gone. Neither one of us had the time or the energy to go through that process again, so it sat empty and closed.

Several weeks ago I made it a priority to get the store up and running again. I've measured pieces of inventory, taken pics and written descriptions. And while we have many hundreds of pieces in our Main Street store inventory, there is no way we can include them all online. We've started out with 40+ joolz and invite you to take a look. Hopefully, you'll like what you see, and if you're not able to come to the store in person, shopping online is the next best thing.

Have fun and let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

country living with a genius

We live in the country. Three acres, water from a well up the hill, septic system down the hill (good planning!), lots of natural springs in the ground, lots of wildlife running through the yard, steep driveway to the nearby county road. We get some help now with the yard spring and fall cleanups, but my husband enjoys taking care of the property, plowing in the winter and mowing in the summer.

He is, in fact, somewhat of a genius when it comes to fixings things and keeping them running. And something that has needed fixing due to its running is the connection where the well water pipe enters the foundation in the basement. Due to almost continuous rain since we returned from Florida at the end of March, the lake is at dangerously high levels and the water saturation in our already-wet yard is at 100%. The ground can't hold the water and it is seeping into the basement around the well water pipe. What to do?

The genius husband worried about it, thought about it, dreamed about it (and he claims he doesn't dream) and came up with another of his Rube Goldberg solutions:

The water comes in and drips into the first of 4 giant pails, filling pail after pail until it drips into the condensation collector from our dehumidifier. It then flows into the hose that runs across the entire length of the house to the other end of the basement, where our gravity sump pump is located. It empties out into the lower yard somewhere, far away from the house. As I said - genius!

No more trips to the basement in the middle of the night to check on the water levels. No more flooding the basement floor. No more lugging the full pails of water over to the sump pump.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

back to business

I'm finally coming down after all the excitement of the glorious royal wedding and now it's time to get back to business. As promised, I am working steadily to get the online store open after a lapse of several years. Today I spent some time photographing images of some of our lovely joolz:

Colorful, fun button bracelet by Joan Sample

Sterling silver Flower pendant by Lisa Ridout

Clear resin nugget collar with "gold" wire by Abra Gorby

Friday, April 29, 2011

THE wedding

OK, I admit it. I'm a royalty-watching romantic. I dragged myself out of bed at 5am this morning, staggered into the family room and turned on BBC America. I figured those Brits know all about their royals - why listen to American newscasters tell us about people they really don't know? (I had also dragged myself out of bed to watch the wedding of Charles and Diana years ago, before the advent of the DVR. I taped 2 different channels this morning, just in case I couldn't make it out of bed).

I thought the day was wonderful....well, beyond wonderful. Catherine, previously known as Kate and before that as Katie (we have a daughter who has also morphed from Katie to Kate), looked gorgeous, happy and serene. She carried herself with a quiet elegance, knew she was being watched by the whole world but was there for the right reason - to marry her love. You could see it in her eyes when she looked at William. And William looked dazzled when he saw his bride for the first time. Yes, beyond wonderful.

I pulled myself away from the TV and drove to Rochester where I attended a "Wedding Brunch" at a women's club where I am a member. The organizers of the event encouraged the guests to wear hats (I pulled out a beach hat and twirled a scarf around the crown, eliciting many kudos) and white gloves (tossed the last of those many years ago). We had a delicious meal while a tape of the wedding played on the big screen. Queen Elizabeth dropped in for a visit:

(Full disclosure: the "Queen" was actually my aunt, who played the part well, wearing a sparkly paper tiara along with a sash across her chest which read "Her Majesty the Queen."). The fabulous antique car and the Beefeater standing nearby added just the right touch.

Doesn't she look regal? Great job, Tay!

Friday, April 22, 2011

today's photoshoot

While there was no filming action at the store today, there were lights and a camera. I really, really, really need to get my act together and take shots of a lot of our inventory. It's (over)time to get the online store back up.

You may remember that my web guy's server company skipped in the middle of the night about 2 years ago and he had to recreate both my website and my web store. That took a LOT of time and effort, for both of us. Uploading the images into the store software again, rewriting all the descriptions, etc. etc. etc. was not high on my priority list, especially as we were preparing to move the store to California. OK, not really - but that 10th of a mile up Main Street did feel like a move to California.

But now I am making it a priority to take the pics and to get the web store up sometime this summer. Here are a few shots I took today - call the store (585.396.3520) if you're interested in owning any of them:

Hook bracelet, lampwork glass beads, sterling silver wire, by Kerry Bogert

Gold vermeil wire-wrapped earrings by Sara Silvio

Flexible collar, mint resin nuggets and silver wire, by Abra Gorby

Thursday, April 21, 2011

JOOLZ april newsletter just published

Take a look at our April newsletter, full of news and pics of lots of joolz.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


After all the walking we did on Saturday and a good night's sleep, we were ready to check out of the hotel and head north to Carlsbad, home of Legoland. Like most young boys, Q is absolutely enamoured of legos. He asked Nana, Poppy and Santa for legos for Christmas, and all came through.

He's been to Legoland several times but that didn't damper the excitement. He was rarin' to go!

We were quite surprised that on a Sunday, during school vacation week in San Diego, the crowds were very reasonable and there were minimal wait times for the rides.

Our first ride was a boat cruise through the park. Some of the lego structures are visible only from the water and the ride gave us an overall look at the park:

The Sydney Opera House overlooked the water:

Disregarding time zones, we soon passed the Eiffel Tower:

And then it was on to Times Square. Hometown favorite Kodak was right there:

You can get a sense of scale with the woman standing behind the Capitol Building. Remember, every single structure is made only of legos:

Before going off to ride on some roller coasters and other water-enhanced rides, we had to see the brand new Star Wars exhibit. Opened only a few days before, with Carrie Fisher cutting the ribbon, the Star Wars section of Legoland had both little boys and their fathers in Star Wars heaven. Q was greeted by R2D2, Chewbacca and Darth Vader, all made of legos:

This Clone Turbo Tank was just like the one Q got for Christmas, except on steroids. Notice how the tank has made tracks in the sand and has sand on its wheels. The constructors think of every detail:

It was hard to say goodbye to Legoland but it was time to return to LA. We took Route 1 north so that we could drive through all the beach towns, had a nice dinner at a Greek restaurant in Long Beach and got back home safely, tired but happy. Nana had a great time!

I flew to Denver the next day to visit with our other daughter and her husband and had my first view of Katie looking pregnant. What a trip!

Monday, April 18, 2011

quality nana time

Quality "Nana Time" is hard to come by when your grandchild lives on the other side of the country in LA. And when you own a business and really need to be there, it's a major decision to leave for a week to "play". But I did. And it was great!

One of 5-year-old Q's favorite places is San Diego, with all its wonderful theme parks, animal kingdoms and zoos. Off we went on Friday afternoon, avoiding most of the rush hour traffic. Saturday morning was bright, sunny and chilly. I was ready for high 70's, but the temps were in the 40's. Despite that, Q went swimming in the hotel's outdoor pool after breakfast. His lips turned blue but he smiled the whole time.

After warming him up (and us, too), we took off for beautiiful Balboa Park. Q was ready for action and immediately climbed the nearest tree:

Then we were off to explore the park and its many museums:

This guy was making balloon creatures and Q really wanted a Hulk balloon:

Nana caved:

The orchids in the botanic gardens were magnificent:

We left culture and sophistication behind when we took off for Sea World. The dolphin show highlighted both the dolphins and their trainers:

and was followed by the Shamu show in another arena, currently undergoing massive renovation:

After hours and hours of walking, it was time to go back to the hotel to put our (my) feet up. Next stop...Legoland!

Monday, April 4, 2011

prime real estate

In today's real estate world, it's definitely a buyer's market. How about a buyer getting the building lot for free? Even better.

We left our Christmas wreath up while we were away and came home to find the beginnings of a nest within the wreath. With a fake cardinal standing guard, a real sparrow has finished building his dream house on this free lot. Now he perches on the porch railing and tweets for a honey to come join him in real estate heaven:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

wear your veggies!

Most of us receive a gazillion catalogs in the mail, especially before the holidays. Many of them I toss without even looking at the first page, but others draw me in. Several months ago I opened a small catalog featuring handcrafted items...and discovered something so unique I needed to learn more. There were pictures of cuff bracelets - made of vegetables! And they were stunning. Completely unique. Environmentally friendly. Gorgeous. Good conversation pieces. JOOLZ material. I contacted the artist, Margaret Dorfman of Oakland, CA, and placed an initial order. The box marked "fragile", but not "perishable", arrived yesterday. Inside were veggies like you have never seen them before:

This is a 22" necklace made of slices of Thai green papaya. Margaret cuts the fresh fruits and veggies (over 40 different varieties) with an old fashioned slicer and super-sharp knives. Next the slices are cured, dried, pressed and aged in a 10-14 day process.

The slices are then fused to copper disks and finished with a non-toxic, water-resistant clear coat before being fashioned into necklaces and earrings.

The 18" necklace below features small disks of many different fruits and vegetables:

The colors and veins apparent in the pieces are not dyed or in any way color-enhanced. This cuff bracelet, one of 3 we currently have in stock, is made from slices of Mexican papaya:

Another show-stopper is this articulated necklace made of crimson-colored fruits and veggies:

Earrings can coordinate with the necklaces. These are made from blue cabbage and beets:

This Thursday, April 7, I am off to visit my daughter and grandson in LA. Marnie is a naturopathic doctor and her clinic is hosting a medispa from 5-9pm that evening. She asked if JOOLZ would like to have a trunk show as part of their evening event. I immediately thought of Margaret Dorfman's "healthy" jewelry. She's on board, and will be sending a shipment of delicious vegetable parchment joolz to LA for the event. If you're in the area, please stop in:

Balance Westside Wellness

11340 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 301

Los Angeles, CA 90064

See you in LA!

Friday, April 1, 2011

christmas in april

It's Christmas in April at JOOLZ! My many hours spent looking for new work to bring in for our spring/summer season came to fruition today with the arrival of several packages of delicious new goodies. We are adding a number of new artists to the fold, two of whom are shown here:

Jill O'Reilly, from Lexington, MA, has been making updated-classic sterling silver jewelry for a number of years. I first met Jill in Las Vegas 2 years ago and have been waiting for the opportunity to bring in her work. Her cuff bracelets can be carefully adjusted to fit just about any wrist size and her workmanship is superb. We have these and several other bracelets, along with some great-looking post earrings:

sterling 5-band bracelet

sterling cuff with gold-filled wrap

sterling cuff with sterling wrap

Also placed on display today were these fun pendant necklaces by Zillah, WA artist Cheryl Myers. Cheryl takes commonly-seen road and construction signs and makes them into resin and metal pendants on silver chains. Fun to buy, fun to wear, fun to start folks talking. (Cousin Leslee, this bike route pendant has your name on it).

And watch out that you don't get shocked by the high voltage!

The UPS guy dropped off two other packages this afternoon. The Christmas in April fashion show will contnue as soon as I shoot some more pix.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

off to "the ding"

One of our favorite things to do while on vacation in Sanibel is to visit the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. We try to plan our visits to coincide with low tide, and a low tide near sunset is even better. The many permanent-resident and migratory birds fly in to feed on the exposed sandbars and then nestle into the branches of the mangroves to roost for the night.

I caught a shot of this large, white beauty flying toward me:

and was delighted when it came to rest nearby.

We drove along the shell-packed road at under the 15mph speed limit, stopping frequently to take pictures of the birds enjoying their dinner-time. The sun was setting in the west and it was time to return home. Another beautiful day in paradise.