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The adventures of Mumsy and me

A tribute to my extraordinary mother

Sue and Sarah.  Sarah and Sue.  We go together like chocolate and peanut butter, like cats and boxes, like Sunday nights and Game of Thrones.  We’ve been more than mother and daughter my entire life – we’ve also been amazing friends!  She taught me the most important and powerful lessons about life, love, and not taking yourself too seriously.  I hope to honor her this Mother’s Day by paying homage to the woman who gave me life and filled it with laughter.

Sarah and Sue at the southern tip of Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, NY.Sue and Sarah on the harbor walk in Boston, MA.

The active Mumsy

She skis.  She gardens.  She sews.  She probably rescues kittens from trees when no one is watching, but I can’t be sure.  Really though, how else to explain the number of cats that our family has adopted over the years?

We Jordans have always led very active lives.  My mother is no exception.  Now retired from teaching, she keeps herself incredibly busy with hobbies and active pursuits alike.  She bicycles on the Erie Canalway Trail, watching out for tiny bunnies running along the path and trying not to squish any of the snakes sunbathing on it.  When I join her for a ride, we have to be careful to not pilot our bikes into any immovable objects or risk collapsing into uncontrollable laughter right there on the trail.  Although if I think about it, we run the risk of uncontrollable laughter at pretty much any moment when we’re together!

My mom spends most of her summer days gardening and letterboxing.  Several years ago, she and her friends created a series of letterboxes about lawyer and philanthropist Owen D. Young.  They planted the boxes in Van Hornesville, NY, the location of the small public school that bears his name.  The description they wrote for each box was, of course, very detailed and very educational.  Would you expect anything less from a trio of teachers?

Sewing and skiing occupy my mother’s time in the winter.  She enjoys the wide, flat, cruising trails at any ski area.  I can occasionally convince her to try (or, more accurately, I can goad her into trying!) the more challenging trails but only when the weather conditions are absolutely perfect and the stars are aligned and so forth :)

I love that my mom has a ton of interests and activities to keep her busy.  Hopefully, I will be just as active when I’m retired!

Sarah and Sue on the Trenton Falls Scenic Trail in Barneveld, NY.Sue, Nick, and Sarah at Royal Mountain Ski Area in Caroga Lake, NY.

The silly Mumsy

Anyone who knows my mother can attest to her goofiness.  It’s a kind of goofiness can’t be taught – you either have it or you don’t :)  It’s also the kind of goofiness that elicits a great deal of eye rolling from my father.  But I say, how monotonous would his life be if she were not her naturally silly self every day?

One of my favorite things about my mother is how she has to “get her feet right” when walking on rocks or trying to cross a stream.  That always makes us giggle!  When she’s not conversing with her own cats, she’s taming the stray ones that end up at her house (we call her the Cat Whisperer for good reason).  She wears crazy socks and invents ridiculous rhyming songs to sing with my niece.  She sews adorable frog and monkey pillows to sell at craft fairs and then takes photos of them drinking beers on the couch.

Sometimes, she laughs so hard that no sound comes out.  Which makes me laugh until I cry.  Which makes her laugh even harder.  And round and round we go – it’s a dangerous cycle!

Sarah and Sue at Ethel's 100th birthday party.Pretty pedicures.

The family Mumsy

My mother puts so much of herself into taking care of her loved ones.  Goodness knows how many things she sacrificed along the way so my brother and I could have safe and happy childhoods.  And to think of the countless lessons she taught us in the formative years!  From holding a spoon to reciting the alphabet to writing complete sentences, she created the foundation of who I am today.  I learned a ton of sewing tricks from her when we made two prom dresses for me in high school.  24 years later and red sequins are still mysteriously popping up around the house!

My favorite Christmas moment with my mother was many years ago when she and I were waiting for my father to put the lights on the tree so we could begin hanging the ornaments.  We found a long garland in a box of decorations, wound it around our arms and necks like a giant feather boa, and danced a two person conga line through the house while singing along with Paul Simon on the stereo.  Just another low key Jordan Christmas :)

My mom always puts in the long hours for the family.  I’ve lost track of how many times she’s helped me move.  She spent an entire summer tending a huge flower garden so my brother and his wife could have the perfect floral arrangements at their wedding.  Last year, she rode in a car for six hours with a horribly sprained back just to attend my cousin’s college graduation party.  She will do anything for her family, and her support is unwavering whenever it is needed.

Sarah and Sue atop Mount Jo in North Elba, NY.Sue and Sarah in Coxsackie, NY.

The best Mumsy

I get to know this amazing woman better every day.  She loves autumn, the color red, and proper grammar.  She prefers wide open spaces to concrete jungles and enjoys Thanksgiving far more than Christmas.  She is rarely idle, she takes care of everyone around her, and she believes that a little bit of goofiness makes life more interesting.  Though I don’t say it nearly enough, I hope she knows how much she means to me and how much I love being her daughter and her friend.

I could not ask for a better mother on Mother’s Day (or any day for that matter) because mine is already the best!  I adore her, and I admire her for all of the things she’s done in her life.  I cherish the memories of our shared moments, and I look forward to whatever adventure comes next.

There are a lot of great moms in this world, and I wish I could tell you each of their stories on this very special Mother’s Day.  My silly little tribute to my own mother pales in comparison to what’s in my heart for her, but I express my love, affection, and gratitude for her today as best I can.

She is the greatest of all great mothers.  She is the Mumsy, and I love her dearly.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Want to share your favorite mom story or photo?

Head over my Facebook page and comment on this post with a story or photo of you and a special mom in your life.  Let’s share the love today!

7 super cute holiday gift ideas

Rather than spending all of my money at the big box stores this holiday season, I ordered several handmade items from Etsy shops in support of the shop small movement.  Many of these shops are run by only one person.  An incredibly ambitious, motivated, and exhausted person, no doubt.  Someone who is chasing a dream of creativity, independence, and fulfillment.  If I can bring a little bit of happiness to both the shop owners and my circle of friends, my own holiday will be that much more enjoyable.

I’ve collected a few choice items for my 2016 holiday gift guide.  I’ve actually purchased from some of these shops myself in the past and have been very impressed by the artists’ incredible workmanship and attention to detail.  I hope that you will also patronize small businesses this holiday season.  But with Christmas only two weeks away, you’d better start shopping soon!!

For the cat mother

A set of bone china mugs with sitting cat and sleeping cat illustrations from Jin Designs.

A set of sitting cat and sleeping cat mugs from Jin Designs is the perfect gift for any cat lover.  Hand decorated on fine bone china, the black cat illustrations are original drawings of the artist’s childhood pet.  These minimalist mugs are microwave and dishwasher safe and are created by Jinny Ursell in Hove, United Kingdom.

For the dapper gentleman

The front of an engraved leather keychain from Maven Metals.

This sleek engraved leather keychain from Maven Metals is made of top grade bridle leather and tough stainless steel hardware.  The leather strap is available in three colors and the stainless steel ring can be personalized with up to 35 characters of your choice.  This item is handcrafted by Julie and Ben in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

For the teen daughter

The front of a lavender leather wristlet with a triangular hologram panel from Gmalou Designs.

This lavender leather wristlet from Gmalou Designs is versatile and fashionable with a bit of flair!  Made of high quality genuine leather, this colorful bag features a leather tassel and a detachable strap on the zipper pull.  The triangular hologram panel in the center gives this bag a fun and funky vibe.  It closes with a metal zipper and is handmade by Georgia in Haugesund, Norway.

For the jewelry fanatic

The front of a cherry and maple jewelry box from Blue Skies Homestead.

cherry and maple jewelry box from Blue Skies Homestead stores all of your favorite jewelry in style.  This one of a kind piece has a cherry box, maple drawer fronts, and a maple inlay stripe around the top and down each side.  Its eight felt lined drawers open with purple heart drawer pulls.  It is triple coated in satin polyurethane and is made by Rick in Holland, Michigan.

For the leather lover

The inside of a leather coin wallet from Mr. Lentz.

This leather coin wallet from Mr. Lentz is made to order in your choice of three colors and seven sizes to accommodate currencies from around the world.  Natural vegetable based dyes give the full grain vegetable tanned leather its rich color.  This slim wallet holds all of your pocket change, a medium size stack of cash, and up to six cards.  It is made with solid brass hardware and can be personalized with a branded or stamped monogram.  To keep your high quality wallet in high quality shape, the artist also includes a free tin of his very own all natural leather conditioner.  This item is handcrafted by a cowboy in San Diego, California.

For the little one

The front of a personalized wooden fox teether from Smiling Tree Toys.

This personalized wooden fox teether from Smiling Tree Toys is a lovely heirloom gift that the entire family will treasure long after teething has ended.  It is made of non splintering, sustainably grown hard maple and is safe for children of all ages.  The extra thick and softly curved lines of this teether are easy to grasp and its adorable fox shape will enchant any young mind.  It is made by Justin and Kathleen in Lamberton, Minnesota.

For the seasonal decorator

A four piece village ornament kit from Holiday Spirits Decor.

A four piece village ornament kit from Holiday Spirits Decor will adorn your home beautifully this holiday season.  The kit includes a cottage, a chalet, a colonial house, and a church that you can build and decorate yourself.  Precut and scored bristol board house pieces plus all of the accessories necessary to embellish your village are provided.  Tree and wreath accents are also included in the kit and are available in your choice of three colors.  This ornament kit is handmade by Carol Fisher in Chicago, Illinois.

Soft spring sunshine

My latest Etsy treasury is inspired by this warm March afternoon!  The collection features handmade and vintage items in soft shades of yellow and gold.  Have you ventured out into the spring sunshine today?

Soft spring sunshine: Leather Necklace with Sterling Silver Beads, Contemporary Geometric Jewellery, Summer Ombre Necklace, Free Gift Wrapping Soft spring sunshine: Felted Easter bunnies with eggs Soft spring sunshine: Gold Heart Earrings, Valentine Earrings, Mixed Metal Earrings, Gold Hearts, Valentine Gift, Gold and Silver Earring, Rustic Gold Earrings Soft spring sunshine: seascape_"A dot on the i"_wallpaper for immediate download_sunset sea_summer_Riviera
Soft spring sunshine: Unique Yellow Cupcake Favors - Baby Shower, Wedding and Party Decorations - Eco Friendly Seeded Paper - Plant and Grow Soft spring sunshine: Champagne Quartz Necklace / Pale Yellow Quartz Pendant / Mixed Metal Necklace / Quartz Briolette Pendant / Sterling Silver Soft spring sunshine: Light Yellow Elephant Baby Shower Tags Set of 20 - Yellow Shower Favors - Shower Gift Tags - Blank Elephant Labels - Lemon Neutral Tags Soft spring sunshine: undergrowth - hand dyed yarn, merino wool cashmere nylon fingering sock yarn, 2 ply, kettle dyed, neutral pale yellow green yarn sublime
Soft spring sunshine: Sailboat Art, Sailing Print, Nautical Art, Boat Photography, Sailboat Picture, Pale Yellow, Sea, Block Island, Ocean, Boats, Ships Soft spring sunshine: Rustic wedding country chic pale yellow bridesmaid dress Soft spring sunshine: Mixed Yellow Rabbiit Cupcake Toppers, Food Picks-Set of 24 pcs Soft spring sunshine: Sparkly Golden Swarovski Crystal Earrings, Champagne, Elegant, Gold Filled Earrings
Soft spring sunshine: Vintage Porcelain Tea Trio by Winterling Marktleuthen, Bavaria Soft spring sunshine: Phoebe Print from My Original Watercolor Painting, Yellow Bird Print Art Wall Decor, Eastern Phoebe Bird Home Decor Art Print Soft spring sunshine: Personalized Baby Blanket Chevron Gray and Yellow Dot Newborn Blanket Reversible for Baby Shower Gift, Crib and Stroller 38" X 38" Soft spring sunshine: Nursery Art, Baby Decor, Modern Nursery, Pale Yellow and Grey, Giraffe Nursery, Elephant Nursery, Balloons, Tree, Gender Neutral Baby Decor

Colorblock : Cool

Colorblock : Cool

The centerpiece of this collection is the beautiful Gracie wrap dress from Diane von Furstenberg.  I absolutely adore it!  Its black, white, and blue colorblock design and simple shape make it easy to accessorize.  As you can see, I had a hard time choosing just one look, so I threw in many options!  Paired with low Cole Haan sandals and a white pebbled leather Proenza Schouler backpack, this dress is perfect for a day trip into the city or for exploring an outdoor market.  Navy blue Gianvito Rossi suede pumps and a Cerno crocodile leather bag amp up the style for a polished, professional look.  Even my very own sapphire crystal and sterling silver fitted bracelet is amazing with this dress!  I hope that you enjoy this collection just as much as I do!

Click here or on the image above to visit this set on Polyvore and learn more about each item.

Lampwork glass chandelier necklace

Lampwork glass chandelier necklace

This handmade chandelier necklace is one of a kind!  It was born out of an abundance of lampwork glass beads and a spark of creativity :)

Four 10 x 5 mm cobalt blue borosilicate glass beads form a dramatic pendant with accents of Swarovski crystal and sterling silver.  The 4 mm crystals glimmer in a light sapphire satin color that beautifully complements the boro beads.

Lampwork glass chandelier necklace

The pendant measures approximately 43 mm (1 5/8″) from the top of the sterling silver circle to the bottom of the longest sterling silver headpin.  It hangs from a 1.4 mm sterling silver double rope chain with a sterling silver spring ring clasp.

The lampwork beads are also handmade, though not by me :)

Lampwork glass chandelier necklace

I loved designing this pendant because the lampwork beads are just beautiful.  They have great depth and amazing color.  Anyone who likes blue will undoubtedly be drawn to them.  Visit my Etsy shop to learn more about this necklace today!

Modern cowgirl

Modern cowgirl

This collection speaks to the modern cowgirl in each of us :)  It features leather, denim, turquoise, and silver items with a sexy, kick ass vibe.  I especially love the black boots and taupe jacket – they belong in my closet!  Click here or on the image above to visit this set on Polyvore and learn more about each item.

Pretty little soldiers

After several intense weeks of searching for a new job while working extra hours at my current job, I finally found myself back at the beading table last weekend.  It was a much needed break, and it felt wonderful to explore my creative side once again!  Though I admit, I did feel a bit guilty about playing with beads when I should have been cleaning the house or digging through the paper blob or working on one of a million other things on my to do list.  I think I’m this close to a complete meltdown at any moment.

Lampwork glass, Swarovski crystal, and sterling silver earrings

But the beads were calling to me!  How could I resist?  This lovely set of pink / purple lampwork beads had been patiently waiting for me since February.  They were handmade by Barbara Steffen of Fire Spirit Beads in northern California.  I snapped them up almost as soon as she posted them for sale!  I knew that I wanted to accent them with Swarovski crystals and sterling silver, but I couldn’t decide which crystal color looked best with the deep, rich hues of the glass.  Indecision finally resulted in a different crystal color for each pair!  When I lined them up partially finished, they looked like pretty little soldiers to me.  Hence, the title of this post :)

Lampwork glass, Swarovski crystal, and sterling silver earrings

Rather than the standard sterling silver fishhook earwires that I use in most of my designs, I selected smooth, flat sterling earwires here because I wanted these earrings to be extra special.  The sleek curves of the earwires beautifully complement the saucer shapes of the lampwork beads.

Lampwork glass, Swarovski crystal, and sterling silver earrings

Check out the closeup shots of each finished pair below.  I’ll post all of my new earrings in my Etsy shop as soon as I have a chance to photograph them with the fancy camera.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to order any of these earrings today.  Cheers!

Lampwork glass, Swarovski crystal, and sterling silver earrings

Lampwork glass, Swarovski crystal, and sterling silver earrings

Lampwork glass, Swarovski crystal, and sterling silver earrings

Raindrops are falling on my head

Raindrops are falling on my head

It may still feel like winter around here, but spring will arrive soon enough.  Until then, enjoy my colorful warm weather collection featuring an amazing hot pink clutch from Fine Accessories Boutique!  Click here or on the image above to visit this set on Polyvore and learn more about each featured item.

Black & white crystal collar necklace

Another new listing!

I’ve been trying (and hopefully succeeding!) to rev up my Etsy shop these past few weeks with new listings, updated photos, better descriptions, anything that will make my creations stand out in a sea of beautiful jewelry.  What do you think of my latest item?

Black & white crystal collar necklace

This elegant collar necklace is perfect for a formal occasion or special event.  I call it my “blizzard baby” in honor of its wintry color scheme and the wild snowstorm that raged outside during its construction!

Black & white crystal collar necklace

Bold black 10 x 10 mm Swarovski crystal stairway beads are the focal points of this piece.  The stairway beads are accented by grey and clear Swarovski crystal bicones and sterling silver spacers.  Additional sterling silver beads and components complete the piece.  This multi strand necklace includes a sterling silver chain extender for adjusting its length from 16″ – 18″.  It closes with a sterling silver lobster claw clasp.

Black & white crystal collar necklace

The classic black, white, and grey color scheme of this bib necklace coordinates easily with any outfit.  Wear it to a wedding, an anniversary party, a holiday function, anywhere you like.  No matter the season or the occasion, you will feel extra special with two strands of sterling silver and crystal sparkling delicately at your neck.

Black & white crystal collar necklace

Even at its shortest length, this necklace is comfortable to wear.  Its two strands of beads lay flat against the skin and move easily with you.  With its multitude of crystals, this necklace does have some weight.  It is recommended to wear this piece at or just above the collarbone.

Black & white crystal collar necklace

Visit my Etsy shop to order this necklace today!

Crystal sun earrings

Check out the new items I added to my Etsy shop on Friday!  These two pairs of earrings are perfect for the confident and modern woman.  The large Swarovski crystal sun pendants glitter beautifully in rich shades of blue and green or purple and blue.  I love the simple shape of the sun pendants because it doesn’t distract from the saturated colors and serious sparkle that will catch everyone’s eye!  The pendants are attached to sterling silver fishhook earwires using antiqued sterling silver ice pick bails.  Visit my Etsy shop today to learn more about these lovely earrings!

Bermuda blue crystal sun earrings

Heliotrope crystal sun earrings