Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School

I suppose it had to happen. Every year (since the beginning of time, apparently...), summer comes to an end and we find ourselves settling into the reality that fall is just around the bend.

I most often write about my jewelry business, but at this time of year in particular, my "day job" responsibilities inevitably return. In addition to designing and creating upcycled vintage jewelry, I am a speech-language pathologist at a suburban elementary school. It is a career that I absolutely love, mostly due to my absolute and unconditional passion for my job and my school. As I prepare to once again pack my lunches, iron my dresses, and brew my morning decaf, I am reminded of just how fortunate I really am. Tomorrow, I will walk into my school and welcome 59 brand-new faces into our kindergarten class and will calm down the parents of these 59 newly liberated children. I will talk about the things these children will learn, the experiences they will have, and the joy we as teachers will have in educating this fresh new crop of students.

In my world, it is the end of the summer, not January, that marks the new year. The commencement of a new school year wipes the slate clean and gives us all renewed hope. This year, I will have the opportunity to teach children how to communicate, how to learn, how to make friends. We will count money, play games, and learn lessons every minute of the day. I will dress them up for Halloween, trace their little fingers for Thanksgiving turkeys, and hand them ornaments to hang on my all-pink holiday tree. I will take them on a hunt for Leprechauns, fill plastic eggs with erasers and plastic bunnies, and help them paint flower pots for their mothers. Then, in June, I will once again pack up my classroom, exhausted yet (hopefully) thrilled with the year's accomplishments.

People often ask me how I am able to balance my energies between being a speech-language pathologist and running a (pretty darn nice!) small business. I can't lie: it is, at times, completely exhausting. But, after thinking about it for awhile, I think I can safely say that focus is the only answer. When I am at my school, I am Miss McClure the Speech Teacher 100% of the time. Between 8:30am-4:00pm Monday-Friday, my entire world revolves around my role in the education of these wonderful children. On the other hand, I am fortunate enough to have a balance that allows me to leave work at work, and I return home at the end of the day to pick back up as Lucy, the artist behind bel monili. I create my wares with love, keep up to date with my online matters, and happily pack up my Subaru to head out to the next wonderful show.

So friends, tonight is my New Year's Eve. I wish you all health, happiness, and prosperity in the year to come, and I hope that when our paths cross, we will each have joy to share.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flea Marketing!

Here we are, another week gone by, another Sunday to cherish. Again, I find myself preparing for a day of creating, beginning with my weekly trip to the local flea market.
Most Sundays I happily peruse the aisles of the flea market, peeking through piles of junk and pulling out what I would call treasure.
It's something I have come to crave: The Thrill of The Hunt. Many of us feel it; it's a primal lure that calls to us like a siren, begging that we come with our dollar bills and sift through the seas of castoffs and rescuing the beautiful and the brave.
I have a special love for these kinds of things; the old, the unwanted, the items destined for landfill. It is these things I seek out so that I can bring them home, clean them, re-work them, and turn them into new works of art that will once again be loved. These bits of broken history are, by my hand, given a new lease on life.
Those earrings, the ones that hardly anyone wears, are rescued.
Broken necklaces and brooches, once cast aside, are again brought into the limelight.
So friends, there it is. Another week gone by, another haul of treasures, another group of misfits to be cared for and loved again!
I'd love to hear your stories and see your treasured finds!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Summer is the season of love, and bel monili is a friend to the brides! This summer, I had the distinct honor of creating goodies for 5 beautiful brides and their respective bridal parties. This is truly a favorite for me; I LOVE the idea that one of my creations will have a place in someone's family history.
A bridal sash, custom created with satin ribbon, lace from a vintage bridal gown, and antique rhinestones and pearls

As you know, bel monili items are created using vintage materials, meaning that these beautiful bridal pieces are created using materials rich in history. Perhaps it was a brooch from the mother of a bride in the 1920s, the earrings of a blushing bride in the 1950s, or the necklace of a bridesmaid in any of these magical times.
Custom collage style necklaces featuring antique rhinestone components

bel monili bridal can make your dreams come true. I hand-craft items that are uniquely designed for each bride's specific needs, meaning that each special day is truly one of a kind right down to the last detail.

bel monili signature vintage component cluster bracelets, designed to compliment a wedding's theme colors

Gifts for bridesmaids will be cherished (and actually worn!) for years to come, giving the recipient of the special piece a reminder of that special day, and her friendship with the bride. Custom designs for the bride offer a unique compliment to her gorgeous gown, and each piece lives on as an heirloom quality work of art.

signature collage style necklace featuring antique rhinestone pieces

Brides, bridesmaids, mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers...take notice and get your thinking caps on. bel monili will work with you to custom design the bridal accessories and gifts that will add the perfect touch of sentiment to your special day.