Tag Archives: Jewelry

Tales from the Thrift – Part Two

J Crew statement necklace for $1.99 – thrift store find!

As you read in Part 1 of Tales from the Thrift – I love a bargain!  I’ve been perfecting my thrifting “style” over the years and I believe I’ve turned a new leaf this year when it comes to the hunt.  This happened when I began photographing my finds and keeping track of these new-found treasures.  When I find something these days, I ask myself a few questions…(1) do I really like the item?  Sometimes it’s a name brand item but it’s not my style.  This could be clothing, dishes or glassware, jewelry or collectible items.   (2) Will I use it?  This could mean, does it go with any of my collections or is there a spot in my house that needs sprucing up and this would make the difference?  Will i wear it?  and finally (3) Is this something I can I’ll use while entertaining or for an event?  For instance, I host an annual cookie swap party, so is it something that I could use as a theme for that party or another?

This past year, I’ve lucked up on a lot of great jewelry at the thrift stores!  Last year, I wrote a post about all the vintage Christmas pins I found.  I have a collection so this fit right into my criteria and I do love using them during the holidays.  This year it’s been about silver jewelry and pearls with a dash of statement necklaces!  During one trip I found two very different pearl bracelets…one gray wrap bracelet ($2.99) and the other a white pearl and gold cuff ($3.99), still with the original tag on it, I might add!

On another trip, there were a multitude of silver jewelry to choose from and I walked away with another bracelet and 3 pairs of earrings.  The bracelet was really an exciting find for me.  It’s a Mexican Cabochon link bracelet with all the markings on it.  I paid $9.99 for it which was a steal when I’ve seen them for as much as $80 on Ebay and other online places!  I have two others already, one from my mother and one I found in an antique store.  I paired all three together for a beautiful look recently.  The earrings I found are all very vintage looking and very timeless.  One pair is a drop pearl, and you can’t go wrong with pearls!  The other two can be change based on your wardrobe – casual or dressy.  I like stuff like that!

Finally, I love a good statement necklace!  I have several I’ve collected over the years and I look for unique pieces that you don’t see coming and going.  This amber stone necklace has a Chico’s tag on it and if you’ve been shopping at that store, you know these are rather pricey!  When I saw this one I knew it would be a great fall piece because of the color.  It was $5.99!   The other statement necklace is from J.Crew and was $1.99.  I plan to wear this over the holidays because it has bling! (This photo is posted at the beginning of the blog post.)

Chicos statement necklace – great fall color!

Finding Mexican made items is also something I’m always on the lookout for, especially talavera pottery.  It turns up here and there and I’m always thrilled!  Recently I found this planter for $2.99.  I have several in various colors and designs and I love adding more to the mix.  I also walked into the thrift store a few days before Day of the Dead this year and found these punched tin lanterns.  They were perfect for my dining room altar and are marked Mexico.  Timing is everything plus when I find things like this I always have the belief that they were there just waiting for me to come and get them!

Fiesta dishes are also a love of mine!  A few years ago I decided I wanted a set in every color I could find at the time and Kohl’s had a great sale and I took advantage of THAT sale!  I’ve been able to find various Fiesta vintage pieces while thrifting.  A few weeks ago I lucked up on bowls, mugs and plates in three colors.  Each were priced individually at $1.99.

Wow…I still have more to share so I guess there will be a Part 3 after all!  Stay tuned for more Tales from the Thrift tomorrow!

Sojourns Fair Trade Store

IMG_0007This afternoon I stopped by Sojourns Fair Trade Store in downtown Birmingham.  This place is such a treasure!  I mean,  I seriously never leave this store without dropping a chunk of change but I just can’t resist all the beautiful things!  From jewelry and clothing to lovely pieces of art from all over the world…if you are looking for unique gifts, this is the place!

When I arrived, Melissa Kendrick, my friend and owner, was busy getting new clothing merchandise ready to display for sale.  She greeted me with a big hug and began telling me about the clothing and a pop-up shop she is preparing to open in Montgomery.  I still remember the first time I met Melissa.  It was at her first location just down the street from her current location – 2017 Third Avenue North.  I went in at the recommendation of two friends who worked nearby and immediately fell in love with the place!  I remember having the nicest conversation with Melissa and thinking how wonderful to have a store like this in Birmingham!


Sojourns was the first wholly fair trade store in Alabama.  They offer unique items produced under fair trade standards from 57 countries.  For more about what fair trade is, visit the Fair Trade Federation website.  A sign in the store shares that fair trade wages are designed to provide fair compensation based on the true cost of production and are not based on any developed world wage standards.  Fair wages are determined by a number of factors including the amount of time, skill and effort involved in production, living wages where products are made, the purchasing power in a community or area and other costs of living in the local context.


Over the years I’ve purchased quite a number of items for my home and as gifts.  A few years ago, I took my daughters with me and I was oohing and aahing over a wooden salad bowl set and they surprised me with it for Christmas!  I was recently in the store with my mother and bought quite a few Day of the Dead items to add to my growing collection.  I have a collection nativity retablos too.  Today I was looking for a few more nativities and there were quite a few from all over the world.  It was hard to decide!

One of the Day of the Dead items I bought recently at Sojourns.

One of the Day of the Dead items I bought recently at Sojourns.

Melissa told me today that she wants to maintain a Day of the Dead section in her store as well as a Christmas section too.  She is expecting quite a few large shipments just in time for Christmas.  If you are looking for something different and something that you can feel good about purchasing, stop by Sojourns and take a look around.  I guarantee that you won’t leave the store without an item or two!  Here are a few photos of the store from my recent visits in a slide show.  Seriously…go visit Melissa at Sojourns soon!

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Gathering of the Clans

Zuniga family reunion 2003 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Zuniga family reunion 2003 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The 2003 Zuniga Family Reunion in Albuquerque, New Mexico was so wonderful!  We had a huge turnout that year and I loved spending time with everyone and hearing their stories.  Looking back at the photos of that reunion makes me both happy and sad…we’ve lost a few family members since them.  That’s why these reunions are so important and we make every effort to attend every two years.  We alternate these gatherings between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Denver, Colorado.  Next year we will be in Albuquerque and we’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Zuniga Reunions.  It’s sure to be special…

When we left the 2003 reunion, we had a little time to spend in the Albuquerque airport before our flight.  My kids wanted to pick up souvenirs so we wandered into a few stores and they found a few little trinkets to bring back home.  There was a gift shop that had a lot of Hispanic art and Day of the Dead items for sale that got “my” attention though.  As I made my way through the store something else drew my attention too.  There were these pins on the counter near the cashier.  Petroglyphs.  Ancient folkart…they were beautiful.  Each one was on a card and had a saying.  I stared at them for the longest time and then selected the one that kept drawing my eye.

It was called “Gathering of the Clans.”  I turned it over and began reading…

My people came this way.  They welcomed those who joined their journey.  We tell their stories:  The stories of the gathering of the clans. 


Petroglyph Pin - Gathering of the Clans by Alice Seeley, New Mexico Artist

Petroglyph Pin – Gathering of the Clans by Alice Seeley, New Mexico Artist

I remember thinking…wow!  Here we were at a family reunion and this was the pin that I picked up.  It was almost as if it had selected me!  I bought this pin…and a few others that day.  Each of their sayings hit close to home .  Each spoke of family, ancestors and stories.   I wore this cluster of pins for quite a while on a favorite jean jacket.  They were always a topic of conversation and it always took me back to that particular family reunion.

NOTE:  These pins were created by New Mexican artist, Alice Seeley.  She is a painter turned jeweler and she creates these designs in lead-free pewter.  All jewelry is marked with her name and the year.

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Sugar Skulls are a Girls Best Friends!

Day of the Dead sugar skull red earrings found at Charming Charlie - they had red ribbons on them but I took those off!

Day of the Dead sugar skull red earrings found at Charming Charlie – they had red ribbons on them but I took those off!

I am always on the lookout for cool and interesting Day of the Dead jewelry.  I have a  growing collection at this point and pull it out every October to wear a few pieces through Day of the Dead.  Not that I haven’t worn some of these pieces throughout the year…I just like to preserve most for the actual celebration period to keep them special.

Turqoise calavera earrings with fuchsia floral eyes...found at Charming Charlie.

Turqoise calavera earrings with fuchsia floral eyes…found at Charming Charlie.

Interestingly, the first place I began finding sugar skull jewelry was at Charming Charlie.  I found a pair of red skull earrings with the small dangling silver chains.  They had red bows on them too but I removed those – that made them a little TOO over the top for me!  I also found a small pair of turquoise sugar skull earrings with fuchsia flowers for eyes.  I wore these last year with a sugar skull scarf I found at Claire’s Boutique many years ago.  Finding DOD items at Claire’s Boutique was another surprise store!

Brown sugar skull with rhinestone and yellow accents....makes the sugar skull look like he can fly!

Brown sugar skull with rhinestone and yellow accents….makes the sugar skull look like he can fly!

Charming Charlie’s has great sales on their jewelry so I always head to that section first and a few years ago I found these funky brown sugar skull earrings…the rhinestones make the skulls look like they have a body and the yellow pieces remind me of wings.  I picked these up for $4 on sale – actually I bought a few and gifted some to friends who have a special interest in DOD.

The last item I found that particular day was a necklace with white sugar skulls, silver, turquoise and cloisonné beads.  I like it because it’s very subtle and the colors go with a lot of things I own.

Long sugar skull necklace with cloisonné beads, and silver beads.

Long sugar skull necklace with cloisonné beads, and silver beads.

On our way back from a family reunion in New Mexico a few years ago, I hit the gift shop at the airport and found so many interesting things.  The jewelry was kitschy like the black Day of the Dead stretch bracelet I picked up.  I also got a few sugar skull and beaded stretchy bracelets that have turquoise accents.  I generally wear these every year during our local DOD festival.

Day of the Dead bracelet I found at the airport gift shop in Albuquerque, NM.

Day of the Dead bracelet I found at the airport gift shop in Albuquerque, NM.

Earthbound Trading at Brookwood Village Mall always has some unique DOD items.  As for jewelry, I spotted some Sugar Skull lapel pins a few years ago and bought one of each design.  I left with 6 and wore them on my jacket to the DOD festival.  They got a lot of attention that year at the festival!

Sugar Skull (calavera) pins found at Earthbound Trading Company store at Brookwood Mall a few years ago.

Sugar Skull (calavera) pins found at Earthbound Trading Company store at Brookwood Mall a few years ago.

My Frida Kahlo stretch bracelet was discovered in a little shop in Forest Park.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that shop is there anymore…  I love the many faces of Frida on this bracelet.  I used to wear it quite a bit but decided to put it away for a while.  It may be time to “resurrect” Frida…

Frida Kahlo bracelet...

Frida Kahlo bracelet…

These pieces are mainly “novelty” type items however I DO like finding interesting artistic pieces too.  I’ll share those pieces and the stories behind those in a future post.