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

Alysian

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.)

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.

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.

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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.

Meet your Local Blacksmith Lisa Lofdahl

Meet your Local Blacksmith Lisa Lofdahl

Lisa Lofdahl of LL Metalworks melds treasures out of hot metal in her backyard blacksmith shop in South Orange’s Montrose District.  This fiery vocation is a change from her former career in a crisp air-conditioned New York City law firm, where she was special counsel in the real estate division of Sullivan and Cromwell LLP.

Lisa:  For me, it’s about bringing the same love of creating to my work today that I learned when my dad first taught me to weld on the gravel driveway of our ranch in Colorado. Custom work is about conceiving a design and shaping it into existence. I design and build each piece by hand using new or salvaged metal, often with tile, wood and glass. With each new project I look to design that is unusual but not intrusive, and with each client, I work to create unique pieces that fit their vision.

These hearts, shaped from horseshoes, are available in my General Store shop.

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Watch Lisa meld a decorative hook using her blacksmithing skills in this video.  Check out her General Store shop to view more of her work.