Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Eve Sparkle

nord tahari

Welcome 2011!

With New Years Eve upon us, it’s seems fitting to celebrate one of 2010’s top trends – sequins.  Whether you plan to ring in the New Year with a formal affair, a casual party with friends or watching Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin Eve from the comfort of your own couch – sequins can add that special sparkle to your festivities.  The key to wearing sequins is doing so in moderation.  Following are a few trends by category to help inspire you:


The Jacket

Personally, I think sequin jackets are pretty spectacular.

Needless to say, they are not for the shy at heart.  Wearing one will guarantee a noticeable entrance. 

Blake Lively pairs hers with a crisp white shirt and short black shorts.  The girl knows how to flaunt those gams.  What I love about this look is its classic style with subtle, yet stunning sexiness. 

For a more sporty style, I love the flirty sequin bomber jacket in platinum by LaRok.

The single button jacket with sequin trim from Anthropologie is a little more understated and would be perfect for a dressy evening.


revolve LaRokanthro 1

isabel-marant-jeans_400The Pant

I give great props to the girl who can rock a pair of sequin pants like this smokin hot pair by Isabel Marant.  Not the slightest bit practical – but that's the point, isn’t it? 

I love the way this pair and the  J.Crew version below (on Jenna Lyons, featured in Elle Decor)are paired with casual, unexpected tops.  Gives them a little understated feminism. 

The J.Crew pant is constructed in a slouchy, “sweats” like cut, fully lined and made with distressed sequins (individually hand applied).

mr_f650332171d139  jcrew_sequin_pant


nord dolan sweatshirtThe Sweater

If you are attending a “dressed down” celebration, but still want to bring a little holiday sparkle – a cute sequin sweater is the perfect fit. 

How adorable is this sequin sweatshirt by Dolan?   It has a tough-chic style with a hint of femininity in its inverted-puff sleeve detail.  Frayed, rolled chiffon trim lends a cool finish.

nord remain sella sequin






Another great choice is this reasonably priced cardigan from Nordstrom with raw-edge chiffon ruffles tracing the edges.   This one would look great with a pair of jeans for your New Years Eve party and dressed up with a pair of trousers for work.  Great buy. 



nord mkorsThe Top

The simplest sequin wardrobe addition is a pretty sequin top.  This classic style from MICHAEL Michael Kors has a sweet golden color and flattering draped neckline. 

Also loving the pretty layered top by Robbi & Nikki.  This blouse has a sheer overlay of pale chiffon over the sequin top, creating a nice contrast.

Ann Taylor has a great luxe short-sleeve tee with just a simple band of subtle sequins.  Very elegant.




nord robbi & nikkiann taylor


eva-longoria-1The Dress

Oh, why can’t we all look like Eva Longoria in this sequin number? 

I’m overwhelmed with the gorgeous sequin dresses out there.  Nicole Ritchie’s Winter Kate line features this sexy gold sequin dress with a dramatic cowl back.   Ooh la la. 

Also, loving this Haute Hippie dress with sequin-encrusted bodice and a skirt of plush marabou plumes.

Alicia & Olivia created this adorable strapless silk dress featuring a sequined bodice and a ruched waistband.  Super cute and comfy.

Finally, Cynthia Vincent’s Twelfth Street collection features this “nightshirt” style sequin dress that looks amazing and feels oh-so comfy.  This dress would look sexy alone with a pair of heels and also great with a pair of leggings and cinched at the waist with a belt.  Yummy.  

    shop bop winter katesaks haute hippie

shop bop alice & olivia revole cynthia steffe

il_570xN_192755508The Accessories

If you’re looking to add just a little pinch of sparkle, simple accessories will do the trick. 

Love these pretty headbands from Etsy.  The gold headband from Royale by Lucia Bella is stunning and would look great with golden locks. 

It’s silver counterpart from Fink Shop features shiny silver beads, pearls and  rhinestones.   




Happy New Year everyone!  Be safe and I’ll see you in 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Handmade Holiday: Christmas Stockings

random stuff 143

“The stockings were hung by the

chimney with care”

Christmas is filled with so many wonderful traditions.  One of my favorites is hanging our pretty stockings every year.  Growing up, my sister and I were always thrilled when we were finished opening all of the presents Santa brought us and then realized there were still goodies to unwrap in our stockings!  Yesterday, my niece Lilly was over for a visit – her 5-year-old eyes were gazing at all the pretty ornaments and she loved picking her favorites. 

random stuff 147She pointed out how much she loved my stockings and commented “Aunt Beckie, you always have such pretty things.”  My sister who was standing behind her looked at me with a wink (and maybe an eye-roll). 

Her words and eyes of wonder inspired me to write this post on Christmas Eve.  Surely all of your stockings are hung and filled to the brim, but I wanted to share a few beautiful handmade designs that I was delighted to find on Etsy.  

Our stockings (pictured above – and on our mantle below) were created for me years ago by the talented Alicia Paulson.   Alicia is a celebrated artist that creates beautiful things by sewing, crocheting, embroidering and more.  She also has written a few great books on embroidery and patterns.  I’m not sure if she still makes stockings, but to learn more about her work, visit her  web site: Posie: Rosy Little Things.   random stuff 151

 il_570xN_177087730 This adorable design is from The Thread House, a great Etsy vendor that creates all orders by custom request.  Your stocking will be a one-of-a-kind treasure made uniquely for its namesake.  The stockings are made with a soft fleece lining - you choose the colors for the main, interior and accent fabrics.  You also can choose the image/animal you would like to adorn the front and have the option of including an embroidered message. il_570xN_177086853







The designer will send you a sketch of the stocking and a photo of materials for approval before starting the stocking. 

il_570xN_199279797Dansmamaisonilya, an Etsy shop owner from Montreal, Quebec created these delicate beauties.  They are made from recycled wool fabrics – this one is my favorite, trimmed with red felt flowers and croquet.

The others shown below feature  blue and pink flowers, recycled wool blanket pieces and ornament designs.

This vendor also notes that her designs are made in a smoke-free home – a nice touch.


il_570xN_199717175 il_570xN_195724563 il_570xN_199722897


I love the rich colors in this elegant felted wool Christmas stocking by Dream Adventures

The back is a solid gray felted wool, with a strong black front mixed with reds and grays.  The stocking is unlined with a hand created flower and hand applied wool roving to create the curly-q's (see below for a close-up).


il_570xN_191859446 il_570xN_199832987 


Also by Dream Adventures, this stocking is whimsical and fun, made in a natural color felted wool.  The designer created it from a recycled wool sweater that she felted and sewed to make the stocking.  The stripes and circles are dyed felted wool and then sewn onto the body of the stocking.  Red buttons finish it off.

il_570xN_183135909There is something so regal about this beautiful plaid stocking by Peter Valentina.  The pretty ruffled velvet trim adds a feminine touch to it’s traditional appearance.  The body of the stocking is 100% wool.  

Custom orders also are available by this vendor.






Last but not least – I love these luxurious stockings by Four Monkey’s Heirlooms.  They are made with a great attention to detail with four unique, yet  coordinating  styles – a selling point that I love.  The body is velvet (available in red or green) and the top cuff, heel & toe accents are a realistic chocolate fur.  They are lined with a chocolate cotton fabric that is attached only at the top so they can easily be pulled most of the way out to clean.  Each stocking is made the same on both sides so you can turn them either way you choose. 




Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lockets: A gift that will last a lifetime


Heirloom Chic

Vintage and vintage-inspired accessories are wildly popular these days, with designers and retailers making them the focal point of their offerings. 

Ruth Christensen-Oct. 1976As a longtime lover of vintage jewels, this is great for me.  When my beloved Nana passed away a few years ago, I inherited her beautiful jewelry – an eclectic mix of colorful costume beads, vintage brooches and antique strands of pearls.  I wear the pieces often and love mixing them with my jewelry.  I treasure them more than I can possibly articulate because I adored her so much. 

Nana’s jewelry is precious because it was special to her – and will be passed down for generations.  Lockets are timeless and have the same special quality.  They make a loving, uniquely personal gift for someone special and can create a new family heirloom. 

A bit of history - lockets first became popular during the Victorian era.  The locket was meant to be worn next to the heart of its owner, either via a long chain or clipped to one's bodice with a pin.  During the U.S. Civil War, soldiers often left a lock of hair at home, which was placed into a locket by their sweethearts upon news of their death.

Lockets are fascinating because they tell a story and they hold special photos or meaningful mementos.  While searching for lockets to write about for this post, I was in awe over the number of unique pieces available.  It was so hard to choose just a few.  My favorites are featured here, but I’d encourage you to search for lockets on Etsy to see what treasures you can discover.


I am absolutely in love with the  delicate, romantic beauty of the “Juliet’s Rose” locket by The Bijou Babe.  The locket itself  features a rose guilloche center and is surrounded by tiny milk glass beads.  The locket is suspended by a hand fabricated chain of beautifully faceted rose quartz beads, pearls and milk glass beads.  This locket has such a feel of romance, that it is perfect to hide away a photo or love note from your very own Romeo.  To view The Bijou Babe’s entire necklace collection, visit her on Etsy.  


This charming locket from the Hollywood Hillbilly is so sweet and feminine.   The vintage raw brass, copper lined locket is decorated with a 1970's vintage autumn floral cabochon surrounded by a chain of vintage rhinestones.  Suspended above the locket is a facetted rust stone, a vintage copper colored pearl and a moss colored Czech glass leaf.  All hang from a delicate, 20” solid brass chain accented with a tiny golden sparrow and three vintage metallic copper glass beads.  Click here to see more of this designers collection.   


Designer, Heather Berry, calls this locket her favorite amongst all of the necklaces she has created.  The vintage locket is made of brass and its 38mm diameter is large enough to hold a good sized photograph or small keepsake.  The design features a bouquet of pressed Czech flowers in shades of teal blue and green.  The vine is also brass, aged to a true verdigris patina (not painted).   Be sure to check out the designers other vintage lockets through her Etsy shop.



This beautiful locket by Botanical Bird has an engraved floral pattern on the front and is adorned with a lovely verdigris bird and two flower vines, which all dangle in front. 

The locket comes on a long brass chain with a lobster style clasp. 

To see more from this designer, visit her Etsy shop.





This sweet Victorian locket from Angela’s studio carries a vintage style smoky glass gem and a glass pearl hanging from a screened bow.  The brass chain measures 18", but can be lengthened or shortened upon request.

See more here.



I’m drawn to this whimsical locket from 55 Maple designs.  The antique bronze and brass make it a perfect accessory for the winter months.  This necklace features a bird on a wire pendant in antique bronze with a tiny vintage raw brass locket suspended from the pendant.  The locket has a peachy orange flower adhered to the front for a feminine touch and a sweet ribbon tied to the top. 
Visit the 55 Maple Designs shop on Etsy.



This truly special antique cameo piece by Darling Jewels is very old and rare.  The cameo appears to be hand carved out of shell and bezel set.  It has a rhinestone on each side and initials on the back.

I love how the designer created this unique piece by adding part of an old rhinestone necklace along with mother of pearl beads and a vintage clasp.  It’s a stunning piece.  For more from this artist, visit her Etsy shop.    il_570xN_198559367 

How classic is this gorgeous pocket watch locket from Life Dream

The watch measures 4.7cm and actually works.  The Swarovski crystals that surround the piece make it a knockout.

Visit Life Dreams Etsy shop for more.


Jasper Hillburn created this one of a kind necklace that features a lovely vintage gold tone locket with a watch embedded into it. The locket watch hangs from beautiful rolo chain, antique crystal rosary beads and clasps together with an old timer lobster clasp.

Almost all of the designers pieces are customizable based on length preferences.

For more visit Jasper Hillburn on Etsy.


This pretty retro gold photo locket hangs from two chains and has a sweet pigeons adorned to it.  I love the intricate detail on the face of the locket and the Swarovski crystal center is a nice added touch.

This necklace is also incredibly reasonably priced at $7.99!

Visit the Etsy shop for more. 




This one is a must have for me.  “Keep Calm Carry On” is a lovely quote that was produced by the British government in 1939 at the beginning of World War II to raise the morale of the British public in the case of invasion.  The saying has taken on a resurgence in popularity in recent times.  A few years ago, my friend Hope and I first noticed it on a poster in a boutique window while in North Carolina on a business trip.  We loved it and decided to adopt it as our motto.  Since then, I’ve noticed the charming words popping up in a lot of unique places. 

So, I seriously must have this necklace.  Each locket has unique tarnish characteristics which lend to the vintage appeal – making your locket  uniquely yours.
For more from this artist visit the Amber Leaf shop on Etsy.


Last but not least, this amazing piece would be perfect to add to your holiday outfit (I wish the one in this photo could be mine!).   This vintage inspired piece features a rhinestone snowflake shaped brooch on its face adding a modern twist to the locket.  A vintage glass gem suspends the locket on a 24" chain.   This designer has many unique pieces, which you can find (where else) on Etsy.

This Christmas, think about giving a locket – a gift that will last a lifetime.