by mary June 29, 2014

Meet another of my favorite models - Athena.

I found Athena years ago in a small antique shop in Onawa, Iowa that I used to stop in on my way home from Sioux City.  I thought she was absolutely beautiful -- with her arms stretched out & her arched back.  She looked so ethereal & graceful to me. I named her Athena (goddess of wisdom) because I thought the name suited her.

Athena was also somewhat expensive, though.  As a reault, I probably looked at her & thought about buying her a half dozen times before I finally broke down & decided she needed to come home with me.  The next time I drove through Onawa, the antique shop had closed & I was so glad I had bought her!

Here she is modeling a couple of necklaces for the website (

When she's not modeling jewelry, Athena stands on top of a cabinet in the living room that holds our audio-visual equipment, next to a vintage store displace for hair color.


Filed Under: Meet My Models

Chain of Fools

by mary June 25, 2014

Do you remember the Aretha Franklin song "Chain of Fools"?  The song started with  "Chain, chain, chain, (Chain, chain, chain), Chain, chain, chain, (Chain, chain, chain), Chain, chain, chain, (Chain, chain, chain), Chain of fools. 

That song kept running through my head when I picked up another big bag of vintage/scrap chain at the June Fairgrounds Flea Market.

I use a lot of vintage chain when I make jewelry & my husband keeps telling me you just can't have too much chain.  I guess I really am a fool for chain!


Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

Beaverdale Farmers Market - June 10

by mary June 22, 2014

I signed up as an "occasional vendor" this year at our neighborhood Farmers Market, and Tuesday June 10 was my first market day!

It was a beautiful spring evening & my booth had a great view of the musicians & of kids & families relaxing & having fun at the market.

And I had great neighbors -- the family on my left was selling Norwex products, & the family on my right sold fresh produce.  I was able to pick up some radishes & green onions from the latter; & at the end of the market, they gave me a bag of lettuce!

The people managing the market were super helpful & made me feel really welcome.

And, lots of people stopped by to visit my booth, which made the event fun.

I was a little leary at first about how it would work to do a Farmers Market, but it turned out to be very relaxing & fun -- I'm eager to do my next night at the Market on July 8!

For more info on the Beaverdale Farmers Market, go to

As always, thanks for reading & thanks for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: Shows

June 8 Valley Junction Antique Jamboree

by mary June 18, 2014

I had a great time treasure hunting at this year's spring Valley Junction Antique Jamboree!  The weather was great -- cloudy & 60s, after rain most of the day before & in contrast to last year when it rained all through the event.

And, best of all, I found several fun things!

First, I found these really cool vintage cards!  Even though I really liked them, I walked away from them at first.  But after about 50 feet, I turned around & came back for them.  I think they will make great back-drops for jewelry!

Next, I found this great dress form.  I have one already, so again I hesitated at first & kept walking.  But this one was in great shape & a good price, so a bit later I went back & she was mine!  She's so little, I'm thinking of naming her Twiggy -- here she is modeling one of my necklaces (available on the website at

Then, I found a bag of dice -- including a great mix of colors & sizes -- as well as jumping jacks & tiddleywinks, so this time there was no hesitation!

Here's one of the charm bracelets I've made with dice -- also available on the website,

Lastly, I found this chain of silver hearts, I really like the detail on these -- can't wait to use them, perhaps on one of my steampunk pieces!

Sometimes I haven't found anything of interest at the Valley Junction Antique Jamboree, but this time I felt like I hit the jackpot! 

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

Someone Else's Trash is My Treasure!

by mary June 15, 2014

Another fun find -- this time, someone else's trash becomes my treasure! 

Earlier this week, my husband Steve & I found these cool wire mesh pieces out on the curb while we were out walking our beagle, Belle. 

Steve immediately recognized their potential & starting picking them up -- there were 11 in all -- & carried them home!  Fortunately, we didn't have that far to go.

After we got home, he found some black ties to hook them together; & I tied a few of my smaller frames to them & hung a necklace & a couple bracelets in the frames.

This was only a test run, but I can tell already that they're going to work great for displaying jewelry! 

The best part of this find is that I've been looking for something like this & wasn't sure where I could find them -- turns out the best place was on the curb!


As always, thanks for reading & thanks for supporting small businesses . . .



Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

Booth Set-Up

by mary June 11, 2014

As I've written in the past, I'm not entirely satisfied with my booth set-up, & have been collecting things to try to make it a bit more interesting.

This afternoon, I spent some time working on my booth for the up-coming Beaverdale Farmers Market (I've signed up this year to be an "occasional" vendor & will do 1 day a month & this coming Tuesday June 10 will be my first time).  I want everything to fit entirely under my 10' x 10' tent with a little room to spare just in case it rains, so I decided to go with a single table plus a small collapsible cocktail cart.

Given the smaller space for display, I decided I definitely wanted to use the vertical wire mesh unit that Steve made for me.  I also decided to use a couple of old wooden boxes to add some variation in height.  And, I thought I'd hang earrings & key chains on little plastic frames to again vary the height & make it easier to see them.

I also thought I'd try laying some of the bracelets on backgrounds, including a sheet of music, bingo card, piece of driftwood, & book -- to add a bit of interest & break up the white of the tablecloth.  And I added different backdrops in the little frames that the earrings are displayed on -- including music, sewing pattern, newsprint, map segment, & colored paper -- again to break up the otherwise all-white background.

(This week, we're going to get little weights to stick on the back of all of the necks & little plastic frames, so they don't blow over in the wind.)

I'm liking this design better than previous booth set-ups, but am also going to keep working on other ideas & posting our progress!

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!



Filed Under: Shows

Annual Garden Art Show & Sale - June 1, 2014

by mary June 8, 2014

 I recently set up at my husband's cousin Ken Keiran's annual Garden Art Show & Sale.  It was his 5th year of doing the show (my 4th) & a great day!

Initially, the weather was a bit threatening (possibility of severe thunderstorms), but it held off & turned out to be a beautiful day, with a great turnout of artists & people coming to enjoy the artwork.

My space was the same as last year, tucked nicely into a corner of their driveway/patio area that helped to shelter me a bit from the occasional gust of wind.  I did set up my tent this year -- just in case the weather forecasters were right about the rain, & even had the sides up & ready to drop down if necessary.

Ken's daughter & sone-in-law set up a table with Chelsea's little book jewelry & Shane's wire & rock sculptures; and, of course, Ken has his Barn Birds on display & his WhirlyThings scattered around the yard.

There was also pottery.

And copper geodesic dome yard pieces.

And ceramic tile pieces.

And paintings & blown glass beads.

After the show, it occurred to me that I have a sort of "love/hate" relationship with shows.

I love visiting with the people who stop by my booth -- hearing what they look for in jewelry, getting to know a little bit about them, connecting with people I haven't seen for awhile, getting contacts to add to my mailing list & building what my on-line marketing instructor called a "sense of community", & the affirmation you get when people find something you've made that they get excited about.  And I love seeing what the other artists bring to the show & catching up with them on what they've been working on.

On the other hand, I hate the anxiety I experience before the show -- about the weather (especially if it's outdoors, when I check the weather forecast several times a day & worry endlessly about what the weather will be like - will it rain, how windy will it be, etc.), about my booth (I still haven't developed a booth set-up that I'm really satisfied with), about weather Square (my credit card processor) will work, whether I'll have enough new pieces of jewelry (I have this "thing" about always having several new pieces at each show), & whether I'll have everything I need (I'm particularly bad about remembering to bring a pen!).

In the end, though, despite all the anxiety I feel before the show, I'm always glad to be there once I set up & people starting coming by.  I love being part of something that always turns out to be fun & exciting (even when it's windy or there's a bit of rain), & the good feeling that you get from people walking around enjoying the artwork they're seeing.

This was especially true for Ken's show, which is probably one of my favorite of all the shows I do, in part because of the great vibe that I always feel at his show.  A special thanks to Ken for letting me be part of this really fun event!

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: Shows

Treasure Hunting at Garage Sales

by mary June 5, 2014

I love going to garage sales -- like flea markets, you never know what you'll find.  I started out today helping my mother-in-law & father-in-law with their garage sale, & picked up a couple of fun things for jewelry-making while I was there -- including this road atlas & silver knife & ladle.  I'll use pages from the road atlas for resin & silver foil frame pieces, as well as background for photos of other jewelry.  The silver pieces will work for either a necklace or bracelet.  I love the graphics on the atlas cover too, so will have to think of something fun to do with that!

On my way home, I stopped at a garage sale just around the corner; & picked up this vintage set of dominoes & another old frame for my "collection".  The dominoes will be great for necklaces & maybe a charm bracelet.  I'll use the frame to display one of my charm bracelets, & possibly as a back-drop for photos. 

I still had a little time, so checked out 2 more garage sales on the way home.  At the first, I didn't find anything for myself, but I did find 18 jello molds for a friend that makes whirleythings out of them, so picked those up for him.

Then on to my last garage sale for today -- this time, I found some vintage black beads (possibly jet, although I'm not sure), & a really cool beaded purse that I think is from the early 1900s - 1920s & possibly hand-made.  The lining is shattered, but I just loved the bead pattern!  At first, I wasn't sure I should buy it & drove away; but by the time I got a few blocks away, I knew I had to have it so I turned around & hurried back before someone else discovered what a great bag it was!

I won't use the purse for jewelry-making, although I may try using it as a back-drop for photos.  For now, it looks lovely hanging around the "neck" of one of my mannequins that is wearing a 1920s dress.

That makes a grand total of 4 garage sales today, & I found one or more fun treasures at every stop -- it doesn't get much better than that!


Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

About the author

Pauline's Jewelry Box was founded by Mary Nelson in 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa.  I chose the name Pauline's Jewelry Box because my mother's name was Pauline & I have many fond memories of looking through jewelry box & playing with her jewelry

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