Never too early, I suppose

I was just chatting with a jewelry store client and she's already thinking about merchandise for the Christmas season! I thought I was getting a handle on things in a timely fashion by checking out all the new innovations in Halloween candy (have we met? Do you know how much I love Halloween? Yes, I'm that person. And so are my kids - #1 is thinking about his costume already.) I have also lightly considered the Thanksgiving menu, but I have not gotten so far as to consider the winter holidays. Yet.

But maybe you have! What are YOU thinking about for this festive season? Something new to wear to a party? Something to celebrate, something to give, something to cherish and pass on to future generations? Maybe even something you've inherited that needs freshening up. It's not too early to plan for December, so take a peek in your jewelry box and let's talk about what you need (and what you want!)

Alyssa Mandel
In which I use neither beads nor string

Sarasota, a resort town, has a measurable tourist season that starts right around early January and lasts through Easter, at which point anyone traveling north on 1-75 will invariably be caught amongst a vast sea of license plates from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Canada. Consequently, I'm often as busy AFTER Christmas as I am in the days leading up to it, and the deadlines are usually just as tight, as snowbirds who bring their jewelry down here need to have it restored and back on neck or wrist before migrating back north.

And then there's a lull for about a minute, and then I start getting orders for clients who have storefronts in resort towns up north, where their season starts around Memorial Day and finally gasps to a stop with the last hot dog of summer somewhere after Labor Day. And that's where I am right now, working on some designs for late spring and early summer.

Confidentiality prevents me from divulging the details (or posting a picture, drat!) but I am designing a series of chokers that use neither beads nor string but instead rely on memory wire to give them structure and sterling ribbon end clamps to finish them off neatly. What are they made of? Let's just say it's an eminently renewable resource. Want one? Get in touch and I'll refer you to the gallery owner and you can possess one of your very own, wherever you wear it and in whatever season you like.

Alyssa Mandel
Still here!

Hey you! I'm still here. I'm more than just a ninja of knots and thread - I'm a school librarian and teacher, too. So once that bell rings in August, my attention gets divided between the shiny things on my work table and the shiny little faces in my classroom and library. I'm about to enjoy a week's vacation from school, so that means it's back to the beads for a bit. I'll be designing a trove of new treasures for some downtown clients - look forward to seeing Sarasota sparkle a little more brilliantly in the next few weeks. At least around the neck and wrist!

Alyssa Mandel
Aspirational

There are not too many material things on earth I really feel covetous about: I'm not into cars, I like clothes well enough but don't spend a lot of time shopping, I am a good cook so I can make delicious food with relative ease - but holy cow I want a WorkBox 3.0 more than I have wanted just about any objective thing on Earth. Someday I aspire to tuck all my tools, threads, beads, pearls, glue, findings, ribbon, lace, yarn, feathers, fabrics, sewing machine and reference books into this Cabinet of Wonders and create in a state of peace and tranquility, and then close those remarkable swinging doors, roll it into a corner, and host Thanksgiving dinner with room to spare. Sigh.

Alyssa MandelComment
Other things I do with string

Well, OK, yarn. I also knit. I learned to knit in seventh grade, and while I have taken some long hiatuses in my life, I've been knitting even longer than I've been making and repairing jewelry. I returned to it with renewed vigor a few years ago when my smaller son was about to be born - I like to keep busy and taking jewelry projects to work on while I waited at doctor appointments, in the grocery line, etc. isn't practical, but I can always keep some knitting in my very large purse. Keeps my knuckles flexible, too, and I love any kind of creativity and problem-solving through design.

Today I'm blocking and sewing together the pieces of a summer sweater I just finished a couple of evenings ago. And guess what? Now I need a new necklace to go with it! I'm planning to wear it Friday night, so a selfie with both sweater and necklace is forthcoming.

New obsession

Now that I've launched the site (and made a few tweaks, courtesy of some friends with excellent taste and very good grammar), I think I've checked the analytics page once every hour since this morning. It's July 8 at approximately 8:30 p.m. and I've had 71 unique visitors thus far. And I'm here to say . . . I love every single one of you. Thanks for looking!

Almost ready!

Just putting a few finishing photos onto the site (for now - I've got more shots to take of wonderful recent pieces) and then we're ready to launch. Next up: new postcards and business cards. What am I working on?A beautiful long multi-strand rice pearl necklace with scattered garnet and gold beads for a wonderful friend who deserves something beautiful. What's beautiful in your life right now?

This site is shiny and new!

I'm launching my new website, knotagainjewelry.com, in just a few weeks (or less). Looking forward to blogging here about what I'm working on lately: jewelry problems I'm solving, trends worth noting, or any kind of creativity that keeps my world interesting. See you on the Web soon, world!

Alyssa Mandel