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 …


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 …



Dreambox Beginnings

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It started with a grab bag stuffed with costume jewelry at the Fremont Sunday Market in Seattle, and the vague idea that one of my crafty relatives could “do something with this stuff.” But once I got home and started sorting through the bags (yes, one bag led to another led to five, all at the same time) … anyway, as I contemplated each piece, I found myself enchanted. Each piece had a story, and even if I didn’t know that story, just the idea of a story set my imagination on fire. Mystery, hope, promise, big events, mundane moments. These are pieces of people’s lives, I thought, and now they’re pieces of mine.

Those pieces percolated in a corner of my brain for a few weeks. At around the same time, Timothy and I found ourselves fascinated by vintage photos we found at the flea market and at the estate sales we’d started to frequent. Then at another flea market we found some fabulous vintage stamps. And at the Goodwill, some remarkable drawings in vintage books. We kept accumulating these things, with no thought about what we might do with them. We simply loved them.

Then, basically out of the blue, it came to me: We’d use these finds to create special boxes to give as Christmas gifts. And we’d call them Dreamboxes!

And so we set to work, spending most of November 2015 with our dining room table taken over by an ever-growing assortment of weird stuff, Mod Podge, and boxes from Michaels with their interiors painted by Timothy. It was a painstaking process, involving lots of layering, waiting for drying, and more layering. But seeing these pieces come together was a joy.

The Dreamboxes were a big hit. But look: We still had leftover flea market trinkets. LOTS of leftovers. What to do with them? The solution: BUY MORE! At the Goodwill, I found a few containers of beads. At various estate sales, more costume jewelry. More beads. Some vintage watch parts. I couldn’t stop. Finally it occurred to me: Someone should “do something with this stuff.”

Then I thought: Well, maybe *I* could do something with this stuff …

And now we have a new obsession.