Posted on

I heart NY

This morning I got a call from Steve, who had left before dawn for a conference in New Jersey. He had forgotten something and would I bring it to him? Sure, no problem. So I’m on my way to New Brunswick and I realize that it’s on the Northeast Corridor line. AND I was planning to place an order with a company in NYC today. AND the train station was just a couple blocks from Steve’s hotel. See where I’m going with this?

My friend Laura and her sister were spending the weekend in the city, so I called her from the train to see where they were. It turns out they were just a few cars in front of me on the same train.

I always want to cram too much stuff into one day in the city. Honestly I could probably spend about 2 1/2 days in the back room of my metals supplier before needing food or sleep. There are thousands of bins of everything from sterling silver tubing to brass stampings to carving wax. To top it off, Steve tells me that he owes me big for this favor I did for him. Any time I can put off doing what I should be doing in favor of going shopping in New York is not putting me out.

I finally have my very own cupola punch (aka mushroom former) to make gently doming things even easier. It’s a sickness, really. Becky had a Hungarian coin in her wallet while I was in Alabama and I talked her into letting me dome it for jewelry. I see Riley’s ID tags and wonder what they would look like gently domed. I’m thinking of making her a (gently domed) tag that reads, “Will work for cheese.”

Posted on

Ahhhh luuuuuuv yewwwww

So I was in the south for about 24 hours before I started hearing things come out of my mouth that surprised me. Apparently when I slow down enough for people to understand me, I get this southern drawl. Maybe it is from growing up in Virginia and then repressing my accent while living in Yankee territory.

Posted on

Small town

Becky & Jeremy (who I am visiting) live in downtown Trussville in a neighborhood of houses called Cahaba Village, a WPA Project from the 1930s. Many of the houses still have their original siding, hardwood floors, and trim – very quaint. It’s small town America at its best with tree-lined sidewalked streets and a real sense of community.

My friend Stuart from high school also lives in this little town in Alabama. Small world. We got together for dinner tonight with our spouses and Becky & Jeremy. Not much has changed in the 10 years since we graduated, other than having more life experience. Great to see you, Stu.
Posted on

Sweet home

Alabama. I’m here to hang out with my friend Becky who I dearly miss (she lived in Delaware for a few years until moving back to her home state in June). I was in Alabama for a few days one summer during college to visit my highschool friend Melanie, but I don’t remember much except that was the only time I’ve successfully been water skiing (at Smith Lake). The other times I just chickened out. Oh, and I went to my first and only college party, like with drinking and stuff. My college had a dry campus, but when in Tuscaloosa… That was the summer Deana Carter’s Strawberry Wine was on the radio a lot and the party hosts were making their own on the balcony. I think I had some Boone’s Farm Fuzzy Navel.

Steve has been traveling for work and we talk whenever we can, so I called him after I finished my dinner at the airport and he was also eating dinner at the airport. Only he hadn’t finished yet, so he offered to call me back. I was ready to board, so I told him I’d just catch up with him another time. When I turned on my phone after the flight he had left a message saying that in case something bad happened, he didn’t want his last words to me to be, “I’m going to go so my burger doesn’t get cold.”

Becky wanted to have a jewelry party while I’m visiting. It’s one thing to pack up all the jewelry and displays in my trunk and drive to another state for a trunk show, but it’s another thing alltogether to pack those things into suitcases to carry all at once. I grew up in a pilot family and we flew standby a lot, which means you pack light and carry your bags on because there may not be a seat available. So I was horrified to see how much luggage I was bringing on this trip. I finally packed like a girl.

My flight down here was pretty long because we were on a CRJ, but really fun because the flight attendant was hilarious. Good thing, because the USAir baggage mishandlers in Philadelphia were at it again, so at least I was in a good mood before finding out my clothes were not on our flight. At least I have the jewelry.

Posted on

Indian Summer

I remember posting last year about a kayaking trip the first week of November, so maybe having 70-degree weather this time of year isn’t so unusual. I spent last weekend in my hometown, catching up with friends & family and visiting stores that carry my jewelry. Monday night was the cross-county football matchup; my alma mater squeaked out a win in the last few seconds. I think more cowbell was the solution.

If you are near Hagerstown, Maryland, stop in and see the Brendas at Figurehead II. They have fabulous clothing and a new selection of AnneMade Jewelry including the new tornado pearl earrings.


Posted on

The rest…

Yesterday morning was rainy when we went down to breakfast, but many things in Gothenburg are closed on Sundays so we decided to stick to our original plan: We rode the tram (light rail) to the coast, then got on a ferry and rode through the southern archipelago. The ferry dropped us off on one of the inhabited islands for about an hour, so we romped around the cottages and had coffee at a cafe by the marina before heading back to the city. It was incredibly windy, but the only rain we had was during our ride home. I think this was my favorite thing yet. Dinner was with Steve and his colleagues. We were the only people in the restaurant, and in general there weren’t many people walking around town. People seem to stay home on Sundays.

Monday Steve was at the office, meeting with the Swedes, so I’m on my own. I walked to Haga, an artists’ community, but I think they take Monday off so I didn’t find much. So then I walked back through the park and past the the Fiskekorken (“fish church” – pictured), which was built for the fish market with Gothic arches for interior openness, hence the nickname. Then I went shopping along the avenyn until I got tired of ducking into stores and cafes to avoid the rain. Did some website work (check out the new jewelry!) and then caught up with Steve & Co. for dinner at an Indian restaurant – so good and remarkably inexpensive.

Posted on


While we’re gone, Riley is staying at Camp Kenn. He sent me an email today saying that she has taken over his place, but still allows him to stop by to take a shower or sleep on the edge of his bed. Apparently Riley and Tropical Storm Ernesto didn’t get along; Riley thinks she’s made of sugar and doesn’t like the rain at all.

Speaking of sugar, one thing I really like about Sweden is the variety of offerings for sweetening coffee & tea. I have seen granular white, white cubes pre-wrapped in pairs, granular brown, lumps of brown, rock sugar (crystals 1-2cm across, supposedly flavored with vanilla), honey, spun honey… In our hotel room we have a hot pot with a sampling of tea bags, cube packets, and milk in funny triangular-shaped packages that you sometimes see sour cream come in.

Today Steve and I checked out the Kronhuset market, where artisans sell their wares: fiber arts, a blacksmith, woodturners, ceramic artists, a glassblowing studio, and several jewelry artists with koollookingen* designs. We walked the Avenyn, which is similar to Paris’ Champs-Elysees and Boston’s Back Bay with a wide street lined with shops and restaurants with outdoor seating. We sipped coffee and people-watched at a cafe, checked out the local bead store, walked along the main canal, and had a delicious steak dinner. I am not a big fan of white fish, so I was a little nervous about what I’d eat here in the land of fisk. So far what we’ve had is not that different from what we see back home, and all of it has been good.

*I’ve been amusing myself by inventing Swede-lish words. A lot of Swedish words are similar to English or French ones if you say them out loud. It’s like playing Mad Gab, where it looks like gibberish until you say it out loud (and then giggle). I always thought it was funny how certain product names at Ikea looked like their English counterparts. Some don’t, though. I saw a rack of skimpy tank tops on the sidewalk with a sign saying Slut. Duh. But then I saw it again in a kitchenwares shop (eerily reminiscent of Crate & Barrel) and learned that it means “sale.”

The more shopping I do, the more I realize how authentic Ikea actually is. I’ve seen store after store of the same style of stuff. And there are votive jars with tea-light candles everywhere, so now I understand why Ikea sells them in bags of 100. And lingonberries are just as prolific, especially in sauce similar to cranberry sauce. Swedes put this on little crepe-like pancakes, and it is available in the Swedish market section of Ikea. Okay, enough about Ikea!

Posted on

This is your postcard from Sweden

My husband works for a Swedish company, so I’m along on his trip to the home office in Gothenburg (Göteborg), jah. For those of you unfamiliar with Swedish geography, the country is shaped like a sausage and is located between its Scandanavian neighbors Norway and Finland. Most of the action happens in the lower third of the country along the Baltic Sea. Stockholm is on the eastern coast and Gothenburg, the second largest city, is on the western coast.

After taking the train to Newark Airport, spending a short night on a Lufthansa flight (where everyone gets 2 meals, metal utensils, a blanket, & pillow) and a brief layover in Germany, we landed in the home of Saab, Volvo, and gummy fish.

Walking into our hotel room was like walking into an IKEA showroom: hardwood floors, tuxedo sofa, drum shades, curtains in lieu of closet doors, and parsons tables. Classic Swedish minimalism with a touch of nature (flower photo curtain, fake apple blossoms in the lobby). The bathroom has heated tile floors and towel bars to stave off the winter chill.

This afternoon we took a short nap to recharge a little, and then walked around the main shopping district in Gothenburg. Red tile roofs like in Italy, Dutch-designed canals, brick sidewalks, and outdoor cafés everywhere. As with many modern cities, there is a blending of old and new architecture; our contemporary steel and glass hotel is juxtaposed against the old brick arches of Central Station. The weather is in the 60s and overcast, but I’ve been jonesing for fall so this is perfect.

Quotes for the day:
“How’s your teriyaki? It’s not very Swiss for our first meal here; at least they serve quiche like this at Ikea.” (Swedish… Swiss… same difference!)
“Cool, they post the weather report in the elevator. Too bad it’s for January.” (They write the date month/day here so today it’s 1/9.)
“I’m not going to Burger King.” “It’s a Sweden Burger King; that’s totally different.”

Posted on

In my mind I’m STILL in Carolina…

Steve and I have been at my family’s cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. It was cool & breezy and the blackberries were ripe! Steve’s parents, sister, and brother-in-law were there as well, so it was nice to visit with them. On Thursday Riley took a swim in the pond and then we did some shopping in Asheville. On Friday everybody else went hiking nearby on the AT, and I spent the day in Winston-Salem with my college buddies Valerie and Casey (and Coulson who is 2 1/2 and prefers not to wear clothes). Val is 2 weeks away from Boy #2 and looks great! Casey (Boy Wonder) is in Year 3 of his ER residency at Wake Forest. This fall he’ll be applying for ultrasound fellowships including Christiana Hospital (right here in Delaware). I’m trying not to think about how great it would be to have Val live nearby.

On Saturday Steve and I went back to Asheville to see crafters at Bele Chere and get some chicken-on-a-stick. One artist was selling beads and jewelry made from paper clay, which is regular clay plus paper mixed in. The paper burns off during firing, rendering the object more lightweight than if it were made from regular clay. Very cool. (As if I had time to learn a new medium!) After that we drove to Brevard to visit my aunt Suzy and my 3 grown cousins who were also in town. I can’t believe how big their kids are! It was fun reminiscing about all 10 cousins (in my generation)being together at Grandma’s house in the summer. Crab feasts, summer sledding (on cardboard), kick the can…

Now we are back in Delaware, waiting for the A/C to cool off the house. Ugh. We’re dreaming up how we can spend our summers in the mountains now!

Posted on

Busy weekend

The Lapidary Journal’s Jewelry Arts Expo was this past weekend in Fort Washington, PA. In addition to feeding my addiction to buying lampwork beads, I took an all-day PMC ring class with Celie Fago on Saturday and a wire pendant class with Connie Fox on Sunday (pictured). It was my first time learning in person from industry celebrities, and a lot of fun to be the student in a class instead of the instructor. I didn’t quite finish my projects in class, so I’ll post pictures when I get back to my bench.

After class on Sunday, Steve, Riley and I drove up to Boston for business: he was visiting clients and I was buying beads. Our hotel in Cambridge overlooked Boston and the Charles River, offered huge down pillows, and allowed pets – great spot to stay. On rainy Monday morning we watched rowing crews and scullers on the river (pictured), and I now realize just how many groups use this water to train. Driving home yesterday was like driving forward in time because we were heading south, where spring had already sprung. One of my favorites is seeing white dogwoods with their greenish bracts just beginning to unfurl.