Necklaces for the Papillon dog mom

My mother has two Papillon dogs, Stash and Wager, who are stars of the agility ring (not to mention stars of lazing around on the couch). The name Papillon (which is French for butterfly) comes from their butterfly-like ears. Naturally this leads to any number of gift possibilities, including my necklace creations.


For my mom’s birthday gift, a few days before Christmas, I ordered a couple of dog bone-shaped stamping pieces and stamped them with the dogs’ names, then added a butterfly charm and pieced it together with some chain taken from a Goodwill necklace.


And for Christmas, I was delighted to find a gorgeous butterfly centerpiece at an estate sale. Then I chose white, black and rust beads to match the dogs’ colors.


She was thrilled with both. The personalized one with the dogs’ names was the biggest hit, which tells me I should put some focus on upgrading my stamping-and-personalization skills for future use …


What’s ‘Dreambox’ all about?

It occurs to me that in explaining our “Dreambox Discoveries” name,  my description of Dreambox origins lacked a few key details: Why boxes, and why call them Dreamboxes?


Part of my mom’s Dreambox. Horses were a big part of her life as a youth, so we included several of them. Also a watch part in tribute to her father.

I’ve always loved boxes of all sorts. On the outside, they can take on a vast variety of appearances, shapes and sizes. On the inside … well, who knows what’s inside? Boxes carry a bit of mystery that I’ve always found alluring.

The idea of these boxes was to adorn them with random trinkets conveying bits of history. We didn’t know precisely what the history was. That simply added to the enchantment. We wanted to spark our recipients’ imagination. To inspire them to … dream.

To get people started, each box included a “Dreambox Starter Kit” filled with more little trinkets and odd bits.


My mom’s Dreambox Starter Kit included several butterflies, in honor of her two Papillon (butterfly) dogs.

Since none of this was exactly self-explanatory, Tim wrote these words, which we enclosed with each Dreambox:

You may not know what to make of a Dreambox. You might also question the meaning of that dream you just had where your Aunt Ida chased after you with a carpet beater. Simply embrace the dream. You don’t have to fully understand it. It sprang from you and colors your existence.

Just as in dreams, we encounter things as we drift along in life that tug at our imagination. It might be a fortune from a fortune cookie, a rock, a found little knickknack of any kind. Embrace these things. The Dreambox can hold them. Perhaps knowing that you have a Dreambox at the ready will help you keep an eye out for the things that inexplicably resonate with you. Snatch them up, put them together and see what develops in your collection. And keep dreaming.

The making of our name

Once we realized that vintage jewelry and finds at estate sales and flea markets would keep growing as passions in our lives, we needed a name for our adventures.

“Dreambox” was part of some of the initial ideas, as homage to the creations that first fueled our passion, but none of those early ideas rang true. Other ideas played on “links” or “chains” or “circles,” because of their connections both to jewelry and to life in general. We also thought about invoking the names of our cats — Phoebe and Sebastian — because, well, what’s not to like about those names, when you think vintage?!

But nothing seemed quite right.

Early one Saturday morning, I surveyed the mess that my board had become.


Mainly just to clean it up, I decided to piece together a necklace drawing only from the beads, bits of chain, random findings and random stuff that was already on the board. No plan, no centerpiece or particular beads in mind. Just the serendipity of how what was already there might fit together, in an unstructured sort of way.

I liked the result. I didn’t love it. But the process was fun and the result was interesting enough. (Though I do have to fix that jump ring in this quick-hit piece!)


Then I got in the shower. (This detail is notable because, of course, most good ideas come in the shower.) I thought about the name some more. I thought: Dreambox Journeys.

Hmm. Close, getting at a lot of the philosophies, but it still wasn’t quite right.

With shampoo on my head, I turned my thoughts back to the “random” necklace I’d made that morning. I thought: “What I really liked was the joy of discovering how those pieces could come together.”

That in turn prompted contemplation about loving estate sales and flea markets partly because of the discovery — the discovery of cool things, the discovery of people’s lives and histories.

Then I thought: Discovering. Discoveries.

And our name was born.

But I still have to clean up that board …