Skip to content

#jewelryboxstories: conclusion

Moving through the grid from left to right:

Grandma Beatrice’s Brooch
School ID Card
Figure Skating Pendant
Last Letter from Gram
Locket Necklace
Fake Plastic Teeth
A Ring from Auntie Lyd
Grandpa Pud’s Keychain

I’m going to wrap up these little stories for now.  I find that I get bored if I keep doing the same thing over and over.  I will continue to look through my jewelry box every now and then, to see if there’s another story I can write for the kids.

I do it because I think it’s important.  Yes, they will know the stories behind the items in your jewelry box, but they will also learn a little bit more about you in the process.  What you care about.  The memories that are important to you.  Those little items actually tell a lot more – they give insight into what you value in your life.  Seem a little deep?!  Maybe.  But it is interesting to think about.

I just don’t know how to encourage others to write.

We wait to write down the things that matter.  We think we have so much time. It gets pushed aside, avoided, or we don’t see ourselves as writers in the first place.  Been there.

But we all can write and we should do it for our kids and our family members.  Maybe it’s because of my past experiences with death, but I feel a sense of urgency around writing down what matters to us.  To tell people that we care about them.  To write down stories before there’s no one to tell them in the same way.  Death happens and unfortunately, it’s not always when we’re old and grey.

My four little cousins died when they were 2, 3, 8, and 10 years old.  A girl from our hometown died in a tragic bus accident on the way home from high school one day.  My aunt died in her late 40s after becoming a grandma for the first time.  It’s important to write now.

We should write not because we are fearful of dying but because it creates connection. It can piece together parts of our past.  It can bring us closer together.

We can learn about our partner and see a different side to them.  We can empathize with that person from work who we totally misunderstood.  It’s a way to learn more about yourself and to see how you tick.

You might be surprised by what you learn just from writing a few jewelry box stories….


Note from Lainie:

I apologize if this sounds like a bit of a rant or has any condescending tone at all.  I don’t write all of the time either but I am trying.  I’m also learning to have a backbone and to share my opinions more openly.  I just need to learn how to do it in a way that will keep people open to the ideas.

#jewelryboxstories: Grandpa Pud Keychain

Grandpa Pud always carried coins in his pockets.

As a kid, I can remember dumping Pringles cans full of pocket change out onto the floor. Grandpa, my brother and I would begin the task of separating the coins – dimes with dimes, quarters with quarters…

The quarters were then stacked in fours, so we could quickly count dollars.  Dimes were grouped in tens… I don’t know why we counted his change, but we were excited to see so much money.

When Grandpa Pud passed away, he had a pocket full of coins.  Grandma Lainie kept them. One Christmas they appeared in our Christmas gifts.  Each grandchild was given a key chain with one of his coins attached.

Our family holds onto things that seem insignificant to others.  But to us, they are little reminders of those we love.

when things seem timely, pay attention.

Two little gifts arrived in my inbox this week.

A newsletter from Alexandra Franzen and another from Radical Creative Sanctuary (written by Danette Relic).

I say gifts because both have already made a difference for me this week, and I’m so thankful.  I thought I’d pass their tips / advice along to you…

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 1.32.25 PM.png

Alexandra Franzen & Tiny Goals

Alex describes tiny goals as those that feel simple, small and easy to complete.  They are almost like little confidence boosters that make you feel energized and competent.  And once you finish one tiny goal, you’re ready for another, and another.  Before you know it, momentum has built and you have tackled a bigger goal.

The idea of a tiny goal helped me finally get started on a really big project that I’ve been avoiding.  Deciding to work on tiny pieces each day has made the project feel less overwhelming and I’m actually excited to keep going.  Tiny goals for the win.

Alex also included a free template in her newsletter:

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 1.12.10 PM.png

If you’re interested in seeing more of her stuff, check out her website or subscribe to her newsletter.

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 1.25.02 PM.png

Danette is a creative who inspires me to reflect on my progress and to be kind to myself.

In her newsletter this week, she posed the question:

If you keep living the way you are living now, where do you think you’ll be by the end of this year?  (and if you’re not in love with the answer, consider this…)

Where do you want to be, by the end of this year?  What would make you so damn proud and grateful?

Great questions to think about.  I love how the idea of goal setting and creating intentions isn’t something left until January 1st.  At any time, we can consciously think about where we want to be 3 months from now and start putting pieces into place to make it happen.

To follow Danette’s work, you can find her on Instagram or her website,


Lainie Note: I hope that I have written this post in a way that completely credits others for their work.  I chose to share because I think their work is impactful.

#jewelryboxstories: Grandma Beatrice’s Brooch

I used to sneak into her bedroom and look through her treasure chests.

They sat on top of two long dressers, draped in intricate doilies she had crocheted herself.  One peek inside and I could see the handfuls of sparkly jewels.  Grandma Beatrice had brooches with clustered gems and necklace strands that glimmered. I thought she was rich (I had no idea what costume jewelry was).  She had quite a collection – with most of the pieces bought for her by Grandpa.

I would look at my reflection and tilt my head slightly as I held her earrings up to my ears or draped a necklace across my front.  She must have known what I was doing, but she never said anything.

When Grandma passed away, somehow I got this brooch.  It reminds me of her.

Adam J. Kurtz at OCAD

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 2.56.02 PM.png


This post is for anyone who dreams of creating something meaningful.

I wish I could have videotaped Adam J. Kurtz‘s talk for you.  To share some of his key messages, here are the notes I wrote down in my phone…

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 3.01.18 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 3.00.34 PM.png


I am so tempted to expand on each note, but it’s Adam’s work.  It feels wrong to regurgitate something that he so thoughtfully put together.  If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, go.

And with my notes (e.g., “I’m a fucking witch” – his words, not mine), feel free to ask if you have any questions.  Just leave me a comment and I’ll reply.




What’s in Your Jewelry Box?

What if something were to happen to me, would Eric be able to tell the kids what was inside my jewelry box?

Could he say, Charlie, these are the diamond earrings your Mom wore on our wedding day. When her Grandma Beatrice passed away, she wanted her to have them.  Eric doesn’t know this, only I do.  I want Charlie to have them and to know where they came from.

It may sound a little dark to consider what might happen when we’re not around anymore, but it’s important to think about. These items lose meaning and value without the stories.

And whether it’s a nice piece of jewelry given to us by a loved one or a random thing that has sentimental value only to us, each is worth talking about.

Over the next few days, I’m going to share pieces from my jewelry box and the stories behind them.  I’m also going to post on Instagram through my account @verylainie using the hashtag #jewelryboxstories if you’d like to join in and share some of your items and stories too.

It’s Funny what Sticks and What Doesn’t.

You think you’re so good.
You think you’re so much better than everyone else.
You’re fat.

Why do we hold onto these things?
Yet we let go of the good.

The kind words spoken
The compliments received
We shrug them off for some reason.
A few may stick
but the rest are discarded.

What if we became the ultimate bulletin board?
Holding onto
And collecting
Everything positive
thrown our way.

And all of those other pieces,
The negative, nasty stuff
would go in the garbage
like useless receipts.

Not needed.