How We Kick Off Our Holiday Season Each Year!



photo credit: Bill Young Christmas Carol via photopin (license)


For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” ~Charles Dickens


Tonight our family officially kicks off our Holiday Season. Read on to see how we do it and peek into our favorite Holiday Tradition, started by my Mom as a Christmas gift to us.


Brandon Thursby: Creating Rocks You Wear and a Stone Jewelry Giveaway!

Brandon Thursby owner of Rockyouwear

    Brandon Thursby likes rocks. Apparently he likes them even more than I do, because he actually loves them enough to create amazing, custom designed jewelry that men and women can share and wear out of the stones he finds locally. I am featuring stone cutting artisan and rock loving owner of RockYouWear, Brandon Thursby with you all, and know you are going to enjoy meeting this gifted Rhode Islander. I recently had the pleasure to meet up with Brandon and his girlfriend, Sam, at a crafts show and had the chance to ask a few questions and check out many of the beautiful stones he has crafted into exquisite necklaces.

    Brandon started experimenting with rock carving about two years ago. He was inspired to design something unique for himself to wear that wasn’t overly feminine, and also derived from nature. You might say jewelry design is in the genes, as his mom also designs jewelry and ornaments, using locally found sea glass, as well as various other mediums. Initially borrowing his mom’s tools, Brandon fashioned a unique stone necklace which grabbed the attention of others, and gained him such positive feedback, he decided to create more. Not only did stone carving bring him enjoyment and satisfaction, but Brandon’s hobby offered new opportunities. As his hobby and collection grew, he decided to invest in his own tools and seek to establish himself in business.

    Brandon is inspired by nature, particularly the ocean and being a Narragansett resident offers him plenty of local inspiration! Combing the shores of Southern Rhode Island, as well as the Saco River in New Hampshire, provides Brandon with the stones he can transform into artistic jewelry pieces. Brandon commented,  “It (rock carving) is relaxing, I get to use my own creativity. I like seeing the transformation of a plain, beach rock into a perfectly shaped piece of jewelry with amazing design, beautiful designs, throughout.” He gets those random ideas for design that “pop into my head” or are inspired by his surroundings. He also tries to think of shapes that represent sea life, beach and nautical themes.

    Brandon’s work recently underwent it’s own transformation when he had the opportunity to participate in a workshop taught by Michael Boyd, a nationally renowned jewelry designer, metal-smith, and lapidary artist. Brandon showed me the stones he created before the class and his work since the experience. Although all of his work, is lovely to behold, he pointed out that he is aware of different tools and polishing techniques that have helped him refine his craft and the quality of his work. My untrained eye was able to discern a subtle difference in the sheen and shape of the stones. Artist and art are ultimately in a state of perpetual growth, change and transformation, after all.

     In addition to the designs in his collection and Etsy Shop Brandon also does custom designed work. I love the detail that Brandon brings to his work. The fact that this jewelry definitely appeals to men and women is a great aspect. My hubby already told me he wants his own necklace. My mom bought one and I have my eye on one as well. I am excited to tell you that Brandon has offered one of YOU a necklace of your choosing from his collection! The pictures below show Brandon at work at home and a few I snapped at the craft show.

Brandon’s Etsy Shop and Facebook Page. 
The Rafflecopter Giveaway is at the bottom of the post following the pictures! Be sure and enter for a chance to win and share Brandon and the giveaway with all of your friends! 
Special thanks to Sam Kraines for helping me gather information for this post. 

Here is the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

*Giveaway starts: Monday December 9 at 12:00 AM!
*Closes Friday at December 13 at 12:00 AM.
a Rafflecopter giveaway//

12/13/13- UPDATE/Q & A:  Thank you all for entering and participating in various ways! Congratulations to Debbie J. who won her necklace choice from Brandon’s Collection. Below are the questions readers asked Brandon with his answers:

Q. (Debbie) Does Quartz make a nice polished stone?
A. There are so many types of quartz and most of the quartz I’ve worked with shines up real nice. However sometimes you’ll find pieces with a lot of tiny fractures running through it and it just kinda chips away when you try to carve it.

Q. (Lauree)  If someone has a rock/rocks from a special destination would you create a piece for them from it?
A. Yes,  I could carve a rock from another place, but there is always a chance it could break if there’s fractures running through the rock. If i can see fractures running through a rock I usually don’t attempt to carve it.

Q. (Kim)  What machines to  you use in making your jewelry?  Also I want to invest in a stone polisher, do  you have a recommendation?  BTW have you ever been to the Lake Superior shore of Michigan???  If not you need to come because it’s full of STONES!!!!!!  Oh and fossils galore!!!
A.  I use a Dremel with various attachments for carving and polishing and I also use a lapidary machine with 6 different wheels with different grits for shaping and polishing. The machine is called a genie and is made by Diamond Pacific and it works great for polishing stones. I have never been to Lake Superior, but it sounds like a place I would love to visit. I have always wanted to hunt for fossils. 

Q. (Teresa) Do you hand pick the rocks yourself?
A. Yes, I hand pick the rocks I carve. I think it is half the fun, going out and searching for rocks to work with.

Linking with:
 Create with Joy
 Time Warp Wife

and my SDG Sisters:

Join Me for Java and Fireside Chat?


Here it is the Monday before Thanksgiving and all is calm, all is bright. Oh, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? It has been awhile since I shared a Miscellany Monday Post but I really was hoping you and I could have a cozy chat, like old times. Oh, and if you want to go ahead and link a recent post in the comments, I would love to see what’s been happening in your neck of the woods.

#514 November 12: I was thrilled with the first appearance of snow for the season,
although it was brief and light. I’ll take it.
 The Red Maples in our yard made for wonderful snow holders! 

#515 Hubby has made these Pumpkin Scones twice and each time they disappear!
I asked him for the Link to the Recipe to share, for those who want to give them a try. They are not too sweet, and oh so scrumptious.

#516 I thought this was too cute a picture to miss!
The couple stopped to look over the Sea Wall
and their Fur Kid was not about to miss the view!
 Smart Dog!  Adorableness defined! 

#517 Of course you know who is my Top Dog, right? Banjo, gets around Rhode Island a lot. He favors Narragansett, naturally. Here he is sitting on the rocks at Pier 5. 

#518 I’ve been enjoying making Christmas Cards this month. Below you can see some of the varieties. I like to do different creations on different days. So I might make a batch of a similar theme, style and color combination. Whatever comes to my mind. I love creating randomly. My cards are pretty simple, but I enjoy the spontaneity, freedom and surprise of winging it! I never know ahead of time what will come of these “Creative Sessions”! If you are noticing the TP on my desk- I ran out of Kleenex and my allergies were bothersome. A wise woman told me once, “If it’s good enough for your behind, it’s good enough for your nose.” OK, then…moving right along.
I will share a post with all my cards coming up soon.
 SO easy and fun!

#519 Here I am at my Blogging Station.
Hubby grabbed this pic while I was being my usual goofy self. 

Look! No hands Blogging!
Yes, I’m kneeling. No, it’s not as hard to do as it seems.
Quite comfy actually.
In December, I bring you the 12 Days of (Fitting In) Fitness. That will be a commitment to Fit in Fitness twelve times during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Simple accountability. 12 times. That equals approximately 3 times a week-however that looks is up to you. It can be 15 minutes or 50 minutes or anything in between or beyond. Get ready to plan how you can make it happen. I’m not dishing out the workouts, just getting you to think and plan ahead. What will it take for you to fit fitness in during December? 

#520 Latest book stack. See Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore? If any of you would like to get a copy and join me with working through this 10 Week Journey, I am considering starting it in January. Check it out at Amazon, or a bookstore if you get the chance. It is a 70 day prayer venture…which will be 10 weeks. Just a heads up there. Zowie. Any takers? This is a tentative thought…and a biggish commitment. Do we dare? Hmm…

*Prayers still needed for our family as we are undergoing a difficult circumstance with a loved one. 
Hanging onto God’s faithfulness during this time. Reminded of how He holds onto us when we feel ourselves sinking deeper into despair or hopelessness; when we feel ourselves losing our grip…He never loses His grip on us.
He truly is my Faith Life Preserver. 

Sunday Afternoon in the Park (Walk With Me)

I took a walk around Roger Williams Park on Sunday afternoon.
I really only walked a small part of the 435 Acres, but I drank in the foliage and enjoyed the beautiful natural exhibits. I had intended to see more – especially my fave, The Temple to Music, but my little feet were begging to stop, as I had worn boots instead of sneakers. Of course, this is the time of year when the very popular Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular happens, and there are always many things going on at the Roger Williams Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, The Museum and more…but I was just meandering and taking in the exquisite sights freely offered up on the grounds. Walk with me…

I believe in living like a local tourist! 

BUT with a few words: 

My Monday Morning Random Mind (and multitudes)


Since My Girl had an overnight last night, I am left with a free morning. Of course the first thing I did was make a To Do List… after walking the dog. The list includes the bunny cage which currently needs changing. This one fact may possibly spare you from an exceedingly long, rambling post…probably not (gag). The fact that I lost my camera battery, so have no really cool, Rhode Island pictures to share could also make this a short post. Or the fact that I have not done one of these posts in a while. It’s just me, here with you, on this lovely Monday morning. I am feeling wildly free to share my randoms today, especially since most mornings have been dedicated to routine and Homeschool. I have been spending less time on the computer, and have had to be extra savvy in my writing/blogging schedule, and most days I miss link-ups I love, status updates on Facebook, and reading my favorite blogs regularly. We have been figuring out our own New Normal. Um…not sure how normal it is, but it’s somewhere between a roller coaster ride and a zip-line on any given day. Hanging in and writing along the journey, naturally!  
Multitudes of Randoms:
#501- This weekend, I woke up to an early morning text and was whisked off to breakfast at Phil’s Main Street Grille with my BFF. There is nothing like the blessing of coffee and breakfast with a girlfriend, yes? What a treat. 
#502- I also got some Barnes & Noble time in Sunday night after dropping My Girl off for overnight. So, there I sat with a stack of 13 lovely journals and a half dozen random books. I sipped coffee, wrote in my own, ready to be laid to rest  journal; I actually wrote a poem about the journals that were stacked on the table before me…as well as random thoughts-because that’s what WE journal writers do, right? We write. On and on and on. There is no greater joy to me than being surrounded by books, with pen and journal in hand (No, I don’t have a laptop!). Serious BLISS. Oh, so a few books that I perused: The Circle Maker, My Prayer Book, Royal Britain, On Writing Well, a really cool Bible that I cannot remember but wish I could, and a few others. I could spend hours in the bookstore or library. I could live in one of those places. 
#503- How about this miracle: We made it through three weeks of Homeschooling! Whoohoo…Um, yeah just 33 more to go! Hoping to share a post about what I’m learning on the journey this week.
Prayers welcome and graciously accepted. 
#504- In October there is a wonderful crazy time for Bloggers hosted at The Nesting Place where each blogger shares a challenge, journey or endeavor to write about for 31 days. Well this year, I have decided to post 31 Days of Fitting in Fitness. Trust me, I need this as much as you do – can we journey together?  I pray this will bless you and get you moving- from where you are to a balanced perspective and a realistic approach toward moving more. Um, and right now I am right there in Bloggy Sedentary land needing to get off my duff a bit more. I was blessed beyond words when Barbie had a special button made for my sharing of this with all of you. So thankful. You can see it on my Facebook page and I will be sharing it here this week in the post announcement!

#505- Praying again with my fellow moms for our first Moms in Prayer gathering this September.
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength!

#506- SUNFLOWERS! The sunflowers are shooting up tall in our little bird feeding area and I am overjoyed in their appearance and abundance! I promise I will share pictures of these beauties as soon as my new camera batteries arrive.

#507- impromptu visit to a local neighbor’s B&B. A lovely place to visit if you come to Little Rhody and want to stay at a local Inn in Narragansett. She Home Schooled back before it was common and shared a whole lot of her thoughts with me and showed me around her lovely Inn on one of my “live like a local tourist” mornings. #everydayadventureswithdawn

#508- Love this Rhode Island Classical radio station. My preference for music is Classical, Jazz and music without words…so important to my ability to hear the still small voice. My favorite surround sound is sweet silence.

On that note, I have to say the bunny cage smell is now unbearable and I wrote thirtysomething items on my To Do List. I best leave this post and get onto the #509-513+ blessing (help me see them that way, Lord…)  that will make up the majority of my day: laundry, dishes, vacuuming, Homeschool planning, bunny cage cleaning etc. etc. etc.

BUT this is how I really feel…

This and other shirts like it found HERE
Sharing my wild mind at these fine places:
lowercase letters

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