About the Designer, Alysian

Alysian — Elegance with Edge

I’m excited to say that after years of designing private label fashion jewelry for national brands such as Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Bebe and more, I’m now focusing on creating one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry that resonates with my personal aesthetic, creative instincts and the value I’ve always put on self-expression and originality.

When I design, I interpret trends with a fresh perspective. I started Alysian to create jewelry for a woman who is fashion forward, yet does not want to compromise her individuality. And I create designs for women like myself who wear many hats – I’m a multi-tasking Maplewood mom of two boys, a designer, a fashion/beauty copywriter and an endless-to-do list-making small business entrepreneur.

I believe that jewelry should offer significant style — and be special, high quality and easy to wear.

Alysian jewelry is designed and handcrafted in my Maplewood home studio. I design with semi-precious elements and sleek metals — combining interesting mixes of materials and textures, unexpected details and movement — with an emphasis on fresh silhouettes.

Explore the current collection – I hope you discover an Alysian design that speaks to you, elevates your look, enhances your state of mind, and reflects your own personal style.

Check back often as new creations are always being added. Thanks for visiting Alysian at the General Store!

Jennifer Walters Anstendig


A couple things to keep in mind:

* Handcrafted jewelry, especially featuring natural materials (no two semi precious stones will ever look exactly the same), will inherently have some organic and quirky variations–this only adds to its special unique character.

* Also, please note approximate measurements listed with each item, as it can be difficult to assess scale of jewelry solely from photographs. (Width measurements are based on widest point of earring or bracelet.)

Anna’s Picks

Meet Anna Maxwell of Kids Live to Learn Consulting.

We asked Anna to provide some feedback on the toys on our site. We value Anna’s opinion because in addition to being a warm and wonderful human being, Anna has a dual Masters of Teaching in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Education, over 10 years of experience teaching kindergarten, and currently teaches at the South Mountain Nature School.

We weren’t surprised when Anna fell in love with Grace+Eve, handmade whimsical toys that spark the imagination and inspire creative play.  She tells us here about her two favorites from Grace + Eve.

-by Anna Maxwell-

Grace + Eve Play Silks

These silks are a great staple to encourage imaginative play! They are so open ended that kids can turn them into just about anything. The other thing I like about them is that they are really easy to manage. Just keep them in a shallow basket or hang them up on a hook. Especially great for small spaces – my nephew in Brooklyn is getting a set!

Grace + Eve Peg Doll Bean Cups

I’m making a conscious effort to purge the plastic and only buy play items that will last and can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of ages. I think these peg dolls and cups have great flexibility because they can be used for sorting, building, and pretending, AND they are beautiful to have on display in the house. I also really like that the peg dolls do not have faces. Children have more opportunity to experiment with a variety of emotions and feelings–a huge piece of social emotional learning.


To learn more about Anna and Kids Live to Learn Consulting, visit the Facebook page.

To shop items from Grace+Eve, visit the Grace+Eve General Store shop page.

Meet Emily

Hi, it’s Emily.  I’m excited to share my new company Emily Kathryn Paper, featuring some of the finest paper goods!

Art has been everything to me since I was a child.

Vacations were always trips to museums to see new paintings and sculptures, and college was art school, of course.  I went to Savannah College of Art and Design, and I certainly enjoy carrying that timeless vintage flare throughout my work.

I can truly say I’ve had the career that I always dreamed of.

Not everyone gets the chance to design for large national brands like Martha Stewart and Michaels and see their work hit shelves around the country. These moments have made the ups and downs of being an artist and designer so fulfilling.

Now, I’m bringing my designs directly to you.

After years of working for large clients, I decided to make my journey more personal and design directly for individuals looking forward to special events like holidays, weddings, and bat/bar mitzvahs.  I get to be part of my clients’ most important milestones as they make their mark for everyone to see.

My business has calligraphy, illustration, and graphic design under one roof, so I can help you push your ideas beyond boundaries and tell your unique story.

Please keep me in mind for your next special event, for holiday cards, or for small business branding needs. Visit my General Store shop page to view more of my work.

Gifts that Give Back

Gifts that Give Back

Sadie’s (clothing and home wares for men and women) focuses on ethical, philanthropic brands, and donates 1% of all proceeds to local charities.  Shop Sadie’s.

Eminjay Designs created  this colorful set of holiday cards.  One dollar from each set goes to charities that support brain cancer research.  Shop Eminjay.

Hope in Color is the brainchild of a nurse who spent time working with women in South Africa.  She got to know these women well and set up Hope in Color to help them sell their products to the SOMa-area and beyond.  Each purchase helps raise women out of poverty.  Shop Hope in Color.

Fidget spinners!  Handcrafted by Maplewoodshop.  $3 from the sale of each fidget spinner goes toward a fund to provide woodworking programs to children in underserved schools.  Shop Maplewoodshop.

MSK Handicrafts, started by a local mom, sells clothing & eco-friendly handbags designed by artisans from India. The mission of the company is to help women in India with skill development and empower them to live a life of dignity.  Shop MSK Handicrafts.

Experience Gifts

Give the Gift of Experience!

This holiday season consider giving gifts that bring people together for fun experiences!  Check out the experiences offered by some of our members from a craft chocolate tasting to family art lessons to delicious food.

Design your own Clothes & Accessories

At Mod Studio’s design bar, kids and adults can customize clothing or accessories with patches and trim.  Gift cards are available on Mod Studio’s General Store shop site.  This makes a fantastic gift for kids of all ages!

Knitting Lessons & Parties

Plan a special time with your little knitter or friends, with either a mommy-and-child knitting lesson or a knit-and-sip party.  Browse Kari’s Kits’ General Store page to find out more.

Family Art Lessons

Jennie Traill-Schaeffer is a teaching artist who will customize a group art lesson for you and your family or friends.  Learn more.  View Jennie’s artwork, including custom ornaments and pet portraits on her General Store shop page.

A Craft Chocolate Experience

Nadine Kerstan of Artisan Nutrition will create a chocolate sanctuary for you and your friends and guide you through the nuances of each chocolate you savor.  Visit Nadine’s General Store shop page to find out more.

Family Photo Shoot

Capture the magic of your family for yourself and posterity with a gift certificate for a family photo shoot with Live Love Lens Photography’s Jamie Meier, photographer of Purple Maplewood that graces our home page.  Visit Jamie’s General Store shop page to find out more and browse her collection of stunning photography.

Enjoy a Meal Together

Plan a family-friendly, affordable meal at NJ Monthly Magazine pick Stony’s Burgers in South Orange.  Gift cards for Stony’s are available on Stony’s General Store shop page.

Holiday Cards Designed by Local Talent

Holiday Cards Designed by Local Talent

Emily from Emily Kathryn Paper designs elegant holiday cards in several styles–some for photo inserts.  As an optional upgrade, she will address your envelopes with her exquisite calligraphy.  Visit Emily’s shop page to view all of her holiday offerings.

Photographer Joy Yagid offers holiday cards with a wintery scene of Maplewood’s Memorial Park during a snowstorm.  Visit Joy’s shop page to view more of her work.

Want to wish your loved ones Peace, Love, and Latkes?  Sharon Eisenberg Cytrynbaum of Playfully Posh Paper has created these humorous holiday cards just for you.  Visit Sharon’s shop page to learn more and view her other holiday cards.

Mike Lonardo of eminjay design has a set of 4 colorful holiday cards, perfect for writing a quick personal note or slipping a picture or gift certificate inside.  Visit Mike’s shop page to view more of Mike’s work.

Looking for an innovative way to send holiday greetings?  Try a holiday video compiling footage and photos of your family.  Ricky Cortez from media star can put together a heartwarming video to bring holiday cheer and help you save money on stamps!  Visit Ricky’s shop page.

We hope you enjoyed this selection of holiday cards.  Already sent your holiday cards?  Please keep us in mind for next year.  We hope to grow and offer a wider array of local talent.

Tanya Sway Talks Teethers

Tanya Sway Talks Teethers

Swiss-born mom of two Tanya Sway and founder of Avery and Me tells us why she started making her unique, sensory-stimulating teethers and pacifier holders.

Visit Tanya’s General Store shop page to view and purchase her teethers and pacifier holders.

TANYA:  As a parent you always want what’s best for your child. When our son Avery was born, I had all intentions of going back to work after my maternity leave. The time I spent being at home with with him, however, made me realize that there was so much to learn about child development and parenting in general, and our time together became so much more valuable.

I wanted to be there to give him more of my time, to help him grow and develop into a strong, free, happy child. The name ‘Avery and Me’ originated from a blog that I started to keep a diary of my own personal experiences and journey through motherhood. The idea of making my own pacifier holders came through a friend who has always inspired me. I began to make them for my son and soon my friends were asking me to make some for them. And this is how it all started.

Tanya with son Avery at age 1

Why pacifier holders? My son would always lose little things – his pacifier, his teething toy, his sippy cup, his snack cup… We have many pacifier holders to keep each item attached to him.

Not only are our pacifier holders a way great to keep the child’s items put, the different types, sizes, shapes and colors of our beads are also a wonderful for the stimulation of their young brain.


To shop Tanya’s teethers and pacifiers, visit her shop page.

To learn more about Tanya, read her heartfelt and informative blog about her pregnancy and life post-partum.

Mike Schloff Turns Local Fallen Trees into Treasures

Mike Schloff Turns Local Fallen Trees into Treasures

Introducing Mike

I’m an experienced local woodworker, parent of a 16-year-old and a 13-year-old, and founder of Maplewoodshop.  Our mission at Maplewoodshop is to bring the benefits of woodworking to as many people as possible.

Mike, in his vintage truck that he uses to haul wood and transport tools.

Turning Fallen Trees into Treasure

We live among many old trees that fall and are added to landfill each year. We have an opportunity to turn majestic, old growth trees into valuable and lasting objects. This is why we are saving wood and making objects from local maple, oak, beech, cherry, ash and other native species.

We’re bringing woodworking back to the schools.

To best achieve this goal, we are focusing our efforts on bringing hand tool woodworking back into schools, camps, STEM labs, libraries, and community centers. We are honored to have received four awards at the 2017 World Maker Faire in New York.

I’ve taught woodworking at Maplewoodshop, at Maker Faires, at a collective school in Montclair, and as an enrichment teacher at local schools.  I’m also a member of the North Jersey Woodworkers Association.

To learn more about Maplewoodshop, check out this video and visit the Maplewoodshop General Store shop.

Jennie Traill-Schaeffer: Marriage, Dirty Dishes, and Why I Paint Appliances

Jennie Traill-Schaeffer: Marriage, Dirty Dishes, and Why I Paint Appliances

It started with a dishwasher.

After moving in with my boyfriend (now husband) Lee 11 years ago, I discovered our “differing philosophies” when it came to caring for dishes and dishwasher etiquette. Following a particularly heated dish-care argument, I felt compelled to paint our dishwasher.

Here it is, the dishwasher.

I started viewing appliances as icons.

Lee and I started registering for wedding gifts, and I started thinking about gender roles and expectations post-marriage.  Who was supposed to use these appliances?  I noticed my friends registering for similar items, as if a stand mixer had become a pre-requisite for marriage, even if it was rarely or never used.  I felt certain appliances had become status symbols.

I even canonize some appliances by painting halos over them, and in bigger pieces I mimic the structure of early Renaissance paintings, replacing the Madonna and child with appliances.

To view more of my work, please visit my General Store  shop page.