Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Aroostook County, Maine

Big Daddy and the boys traveled 5 1/2 hrs. north this past week for their annual fishing trip. They set their sites on Long Pond in Aroostook County, which is about 20 minutes from New Brunswick, Canada.
Jon has an eye for spectacular photos, and I think sometimes his creativity takes a back seat to myself and his sister. When he showed me his photos, I just knew I had to share.
I think Lund Boats could appreciate these photos..... talk about a perfect advertisement!
hehehe.... Abby stayed home with me, but this shot was taken recently. She's the official mascott of fishing weekends. I thought some of the fam would get a kick from this.... she's huge and still growing! She is such a precious baby.... I get a huge kick from her daily.
I'm not sure if I'll squeeze another post in before Labor Day weekend, I think I'd rather take the time to visit some old blogging pals. I know I'm finally going to get a boat ride in myself over the weekend and we are shooting for salt water, so we are crossing our fingers that the weather will hold up.
I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

thoughts from the studio

Over the past couple of months I have has some interesting emails asking all sorts of questions. Mainly asked, if I would be making any more jewelry, if I'd be doing any more how-to articles, and why the switch?
I felt like my answers fell short, and I guess I was having a hard time really explaining it myself. We set up a shop on Artfire yesterday, and there you have a blog to play around with. Well what started as a little intro to our business ended up being our (my) story. It kind of all came pouring out, and I thought maybe I should copy it over to here.
I've embarked on a new whacky ride.... and I can only compare it to driving for the first time out west, we'll say on a long road in the desert with nothing but a back-pack and a few sandwiches in your car, and you can forget that cell phone folks. Really who needs to know where you're going, when you're not sure yourself, you just know you'll get there and it'll be great.

So far it has been great. Here's the story in short....

I've always had a love for making just about anything and everything, and one of those things happens to be bath products. You know, that at-home-you-better-use-it-tonight-or-it-will-go-bad-olive oil-and-sugar-scrub-stuff. But seriously, we've had some pretty fun spa nights with our homemade goops & there was a time I was becoming addicted to homemade products I could find on Etsy. Last year my favorite bath & beauty Etsy seller mailed and said she was closing her shop. Well, we went into panick mode as A) we were addicted to her sugar scrub like some might be to to their morning coffee, and B) I was planning to shop with her for Christmas gifts and hadn't given any thought to what else I could actually buy the folks on my shopping list. huh.

After digging around in the attic for some old B & B recipes, I set to work on making what I thought in my mind would be fabulously luxurious products that would have my fans (sisters, mothers and grammys mostly) weeping at my feet for more. Well I wont get into the details, but basically those first products I made weren't even allowed to see the light of day.... there would be no weeping at anyone's feet!

But I will throw that comparison out there again. I had basically fueled up the car, rolled up the sleeping bag and was heading to the corner store for a map.

And there began the journey.

I was addicted to every recipe I could find and alter. I needed to know what "emulsified" meant and what was really "all natural" and what was not. I needed to know what a "top note" smelled like, and what "evaporation" meant. My kitchen table and countertops were no longer fit for eating. I just HAD to do this.

Soon Christmas was around the corner and I threw several parties, inviting some of my best gal pals to swing by, eat, drink, be merry and make B & B Christmas gifts using my own newly revised & not so goopy recipes.

And wow. make gifts we did.
And though my sisters weren't on their knees kissing my feet and weeping with gratitude, they did ask for more, and more and more..... that's right.

Once the holidays were over and I had plenty of time to get over myself, my long-time girlfriend Jolene called me sounding very grave and serious. All she could think about was the fun we had making those scrubs! (well I had been thinking this too, and was actually wondering if any one I knew had a birthday coming up just so I could make more sugar scrub.) She had a serious proposal for me.

Now please know, Jolene has been involved in many of my artistic endevors over the past 15 years, so we knew we worked well together, and always said things like maybe one day we'd have a biz together. I remember her telling me years ago (she was sitting on my lawn in front of the barn, sanding a piece of furniture that I was going to paint & she was covered in dust from head to toe.) ANYHOO... I remember her saying, "Jessie I would invest in any business you were involved in". Well I thought that was the nicest compliment, and really only remembered it now, about 7 years later. And here we are.

Jolene's investment was not just her book-keeping skills, and cold hard cash, but the use of a wonderful apartment turned studio that she and her man were not renting out..... her feeling was, why let it just sit there? So we set up shop in our adorable above-the-garage-apartment, and for the past four months we have been playing with all of those first recipes I created until we felt (and all of our testers felt) that the product was just right. We have blended our own scents and waved them under eachother's noses blurting out words that made us think of the scent. We've incorporated Sweet Mojo, we have designed over 90 labels and have taken hundreds of photos. We've set up shop on Etsy and Artfire. We have been busy and happy and proud. We love our stuff, we love our labels and I think we actually like ourselves a little more.

Chances, I've always believed in taking chances.

SO.... friends.... I hope that maybe this all makes a little more sense. I also hope that you will still feel free to write me any questions you have about previous jewelry articles. And YES I will pick up those jewelry pliers again some day, and though it will probably be for fun and "just because", I can guarantee it will be more inspired then ever.

peace out! Jes

Friday, May 14, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010


So this afternoon, I put all of the entries in a bowl (sorry no hat) and my partner in biz, Jolene, picked the names of each winner.
We just wanted you to know that we hope you all think you are winners! All of the pieces were beautiful and each necklace had it's own hidden meaning behind it.
We'd like to give those who didn't win one of the three prizes a little treat from Sweet Mojo. I'll be emailing you all soon to get your mailing addys!
so here goes!
The first name we picked was Amy Anderson! She won five free downloadable collage sheets of her choice from Piddix, one of my favorite collage resources.
And the next name was Paige Maxim! She won our Divine Sugar Scrub, Soothing Salt Soak & Hot Oil Hair Therapy from Sweet Mojo.
And last but not least.... we picked Sheila Correia, who won a necklace and signed copy of Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine from little old me!
I really had a great time throwing this little party, and I so enjoyed seeing all of the fabulous entries! We'll have to do something like this again in the future ;)

Sunday, May 2, 2010


So I figured I have time to squeeze in one more entry for the contest...
Amy really went over the top with several different designs... I love them all, so I've got to show off each one! The way she dresses up each crystal is so unique & creative, no two are alike, and each tell a story!
Amy says:
"Since I recently purchased an old chandelier with gorgeous teardrop shaped crystals, I was instantly inspired by Jessica’s article in the most recent Belle Armoire Jewelry. I loved the idea of using dark, descriptive words from a vintage dictionary as the feeling for each piece, then embellishing with filigree, crystal, wire, and even solder! All of the pieces I made seem to have the feeling of dark, mysterious echoing pasts…
I had something else in mind when I started this piece. I had a large filigree sandwiching the crystal. But, I ended up trying to force it to work, and the filigree broke in half. I thought that would be the end of that, but using half the filigree actually worked wonderfully! After adhering and sealing the dictionary definition of “Gothic” with gel medium, I detailed the edge with a gold leaf pen. I wire-wrapped the filigree with some lovely gray Czech glass beads and made a bail using 24-gauge twisted gunmetal wire. I think it turned out very organic with a lot of texture.
I wanted to “house” each crystal in something different each time, so this time I chose to wrap the crystal in decorative copper tape and soldered it! I then hand-patinated the solder to make it look very oxidated and antiqued. The butterfly filigree just worked so beautifully for this piece. I wire-wrapped tiny freshwater pearls and Czech glass beads to the wings and as the body. After a horrible attempt to make antennae (cheesy!) I ended up with a little bit of wire left over from making the bail and it ended up as a spiral at the top which balanced out nicely. Beaded gunmetal chain finishes this necklace.
A little bit different look for this one. The crystal for this pendant is cradled in an ornate brass filigree. Then I attached eye-catching red Swarovski crystals dangles to another brass filigree and used it to create a unique bail . I think it turned out really dark and creepy. And the red and black Czech glass beads I used for the necklace were just perfect."
I just want to give a big thanks to all who played along! I have a busy day away from this computer tomorrow, but will be sure to pick the names tomorrow night!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

look how pretty!

Seriously... can you stand how cute this is??!!
Maine gal Paige who sells her jewelry at her Etsy shop sent this in for the contest. Her use of thrift store chains and vintage flower brooch paired with the pretty blue butterfly make me think of blue skies and summer.
love. love. love.
Paige writes:
"This piece is "Butterfly Wishes". I started by looking through some of my images I'd purchased previously from Vintage Image Madness, and then through Piddix's shop. The blue butterfly and Parisian ladies looking over the bridge seemed to go perfectly together, and my necklace began. I wanted to have a flower component as Jes does, and set out to search my box of vintage plastic, lucite, and metal flowers. The flowers seemed to stack themselves together as I looked through. I loved the way they looked matched with the images! I then set out to look for chain. I found some pieces of chain from various thrift store and clearance bin finds, and thought that I would go with the multi-chain, mixed metals look. "Butterfly Wishes" seemed to be a puzzle, waiting for me to put the pieces together."

THANKS Paige for being part of the contest :)