yes I have a pandora bracelet

January 30, 2011 § 4 Comments

PANDORA Store in Tampa, FL

Image via Wikipedia

There is mega interest in Pandora in the US at the moment. I did an earlier post on charm bracelets, called “The Best Memories Dangle” and just by mentioning the name Pandora, that post generated a ton of interested pandora fans.

My husband surprised me with a Pandora bracelet this Christmas which was pretty incredible since he never heard of it before. He happened to walk into a mall and there right in the middle is the sparkly, intriguing store—the type of place that I would step in and stay in for what seemed like an eternity….to him.

My husband is a hardcore, non-shopper. He doesn’t have that gene. I guess most male-types don’t, shopping would be comparable to going to the dentist or visiting a nursing home. Even though we promised not to buy each other gifts this year, (of which I abided by that promise) he managed to pick out a silver bracelet and a couple of charms. He did well.

I loved it. I love jewelry. You see, I never met a jewelry store I didn’t like. He knew my fascination for charm bracelets—my original charm bracelet is about 45 years old.

I do something a little bit different with my pandora. I decided that since the beads are somewhat “pricey,” I would get more wear out of it if I also wore it as a necklace. I have the proper fitting bracelet and then I bought the largest available bracelet (9 inch) and I hook the two together to wear as a necklace. It looks great and I feel it shows off the beads better. On the days where I prefer the bracelet, I simply unhook it and snap it on my wrist.

Here’s my, what I call a “necklet“….what do you think?

my pandora bracelet-necklace, or necklet

pandora bracelet disguised as a necklace


want a box of old photos?

January 27, 2011 § 7 Comments

As a member of my  local Historical Society and as the editor of the society’s newsletter, I had a women contact me recently telling me that she had a box of very old photographs of possible prominent individuals from our city’s history. She asked if the historical society would be interested in the photos. I told her we’d be very happy to go through them and possibly archive them in the museum. This woman didn’t know much about this old box of memories, except that it was given to her husband many years ago by his mother, who grew up in the area. This box had been sitting around for a very long time.

Inside the old crusty box, lay a vast assortment of photographs from the late 1800s to the 1950s. There were handwritten postcards, autograph books with writing from the 1890s. I felt sad as I looked through the pictures, these images were special memories for some family that I didn’t know and would never know. The beautifully hand-written postcards were so meaningful and important at the time and eventually were just tossed aside as the generations became less and less interested in their ancestors. Too much time had passed. No one could relate or remember who any of these folks were and maybe never took much interest.

Beautiful Unknown Girls...could they be the same girl?

What I found very sad was not having much documentation on any of the photographs. I guess that just wasn’t done back then. Who were these people? What year was the picture taken? I see the horse and carriage—I can guess, but I will never know. Who are all the people on the porch? What did they do for a living? Why were they gathered? Where are the descendants now?

Afternoon Picnic for the Unknown

An Unknown Day on the Porch. The women are certainly not happy.

The important lesson I learned from this exercise—DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. Write notes in your photo albums, write on the back of your old photos. Before it’s too late. Before it’s at the point where no one knows anymore.

My grandmother on my father’s side was the master of documentation. She wrote on everything. She taped notes on the bottom of souvenirs as to when, where and how she acquired the item. She went as far as to “X” out dead people in photographs. I guess they either didn’t matter anymore or maybe that was her way of keeping track of who was still around and who wasn’t. We giggled at  her intense, descriptive documentation (she often wrote her first and last name on photos of herself and in the greeting cards she would send to her own family ). We thought she was going overboard, but maybe not. Maybe she was thinking of the future generations who may find that photo or card some day. Maybe someone several generations forward who may wonder what their ancestors were like. Because they matter. Family history matters.

It’s a huge pain and takes a lot of time, but grab that old box of photos in the attic. Go through it and document everything you can, organize by family and era. If you don’t know all the information, try to find a family member that can help. Before it’s too late.

men should not sell jewelry

January 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Interior of Bright's Jewelry Store, Duluth

Image by Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest via Flickr

I hate when a man waits on me when I visit a jewelry store. It shouldn’t be allowed.

Women relate better to the jewelry environment. They understand it. Women have a special relationship with jewelry that most men just can’t comprehend. We like to look at it, we like to imagine it on ourselves, we like to touch and experience it. That all takes time. A female sales person will take as much time as you need, showing you billions of sparkly possibilities. She will insist that you try a piece on. She will try it on for you so that you can see it as an “outsider” looking in—that’s very important. She will get excited with you and for you. She is well aware that you probably already visited five other jewelry stores. She is well aware that you probably need some coaching and positive comments to reinforce your suspicion that at least one of the billions of sparkly treasures is the “one.”

Jewelry store men, however, are a completely different story. Men expect you to know what you want to the exact specification when you come in. They want to show you that one item either by pulling it out of display case or pointing to it in a catalog. They expect a yes or no answer within seconds of holding it in your hand. Frankly, they don’t understand why you even need to physically touch it at all prior to purchasing it. If the sales guy is older, you are really in trouble. You can almost guarantee he will be cantankerous and impatient.

What really frustrates me is men that can’t come up with creative suggestions. When you ask for their ideas, they look at you like you just disconnected their cable TV feed. It never fails— you gather your courage to humbly ask for their suggestions, then comes the stock answer, “that’s about it, that’s about all I can think of. ”  Sorry I bothered you. I’ll leave now.

Men especially cringe when you look at multiple items because then it’s obvious that you don’t know exactly what you want. Not to mention it’s boring them to death. Come to think of it, that’s also how they SHOP. They arrive at the exact store they need to, they pick up the one exact item they need and they leave. Simple as that. No shopping around, no imagining other possibilities, no touching, smelling and thinking. Window shopping doesn’t exist in Man World—that would be extreme cruel and unusual torture.

Men sales associates have often destroyed my jewelry shopping excursions. From now on, I only want to see them sitting in the back room behind the bench —making, fixing and cleaning jewelry. No talking, no helping, no selling. Simple as that.

the best memories dangle

January 2, 2011 § 2 Comments

my original charm bracelet, started almost 45 years ago

I love charm bracelets. I was given a charm bracelet for my 5th birthday and YES I do clearly remember that day and that special gift. The little silver bracelet had only one little silver charm dangling from it —a tiny heart, anchor and cross, the symbols of  love, hope and charity. Being five, I didn’t fully realize what that all meant, but I knew it had to be something special. I also knew that this one charm was very lonely, and that I would only be given charms on special occasions.

And boy, did I ever.

I received a charm for  just about everything that ever happened in my life—First Communion, musical instruments, birthdays, St. Patricks’s Day, ballet dancing, graduation— all those magical events, interests, and special times that happen in a girl’s life. I cherished that bracelet and it eventually filled itself with silver memories. My dad even made sure to solder each charm on for me so that it wouldn’t become loose and fall off. As I grew older and became an adult, it grew with me as I acquired charms for adult events, such as my engagement, marriage and various vacations.

I remember each little charm and its story — when I received it, who I received it from and what is signifies for me. Eventually I had filled the original bracelet and then filled a second one. A charm necklace was added to the collection with charms from different cities in Italy that I had visited. The beauty of my bracelets was simplicity. The size never had to be changed because you simply secured the clasp in the chain itself. There were charms to commemorate just about anything and they were always reasonably priced and readily available.

completed pandora charm bracelet

It’s all different now. its all about Pandora charm bracelets. Pandora is beautiful and is supposed to be fashioned along the same concept, but the jewelry is very EXPENSIVE. It is designed around beads rather than charms and has become somewhat of an expensive trendy fad. The sad part is that Pandora is WAY too costly and not designed to be given to a young girl to build upon for decades. Pandora would probably try to tell you otherwise.

I guess my old-style charm bracelets have a very dated look and probably appear “cheap” compared to what everyone is wearing now, but that’s ok. I still appreciate and love the sound it makes as the charms clink against each other as I move  around. I still enjoy it when people notice and ask about it, and I can never wear it without someone grabbing my wrist and twisting the chain around to get a closer look. It’s almost as if for that few moments, they have entered my personal world of long ago. Charms have  a way of drawing you in, one charm in particular sparks a flicker of curiosity, so you ask about it. I respond by describing its unique story, even those that have been dangling around for 30 or 40+ years. I’d say that’s priceless, and pretty charming.

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