Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Naughty or Nice

Has your wife been naughty this year?

Give her a "lump of coal" for Christmas

Starsong Lava stone and
Sterling Silver bracelet

(We make our Starsong jewelry right here in the gallery.
Looking for a specific color or type of jewelry,
we can make whatever you need!)

Is your husband always complaining
about the money you spend?

Give him "two nickels to rub together"

Buffalo Nickel Cuff Links

(We just got in a new assortment of
gentleman's cuff links in time for Christmas)

If they have been nice we have
plenty of gifts to cover that too!


Friday, November 25, 2011

My Custom Design Experience by Taylor Campbell

I had a custom ring designed for my birthday this year at Spectrum Art & Jewelry. It is something I have been intending to do for years but just hadn't gotten around to it. I am so glad that I finally did, I LOVE my ring! Here is the story of my long road to custom design.

This story starts when I was 5 or 6 years old (did I mention it was a long road?). My parents were vacationing on St. Maarten (St. Martin if you're on the French side). A friend who was with them worked in a jewelry store at the time and knew where to get beautiful gemstones and jewelry on the island at great prices. So they set off in search of the perfect gift. My mother wanted to bring back something nice for me (I hope out of guilt for leaving me home this trip). She decided against buying me jewelry because I was so young. Instead she picked out two gemstones, both my birthstone, Blue Topaz. She bought them with the intention of getting them set for my birthday when I was older.

So for almost 20 years they have been sitting in a box, waiting for me to grow up and turn them into a beautiful piece of jewelry. There were a few times that I took them out, thought about what I wanted and talked about doing something with them. But being young, easily distracted by "shiny new things" and enticed by immediate gratification, there seemed to be so many other things I really "needed." So time and time again I forgot about my gemstones and they remained tucked away.

After I started working at Spectrum Art & Jewelry last February I began thinking about my gemstones again. I grew more and more excited about all of the possibilities! I decided to wait until December to do a custom design. With my birthday and Christmas 10 days apart it seemed like an opportune time to ask for something special from my family. It also gave me almost a year to decide exactly what I wanted (honestly, the wait was not as easy as I thought it would be). When November rolled around, after 9 months of pondering I had made up my mind.

Blue is my favorite color, it always has been, so I really lucked out with my birthstone. The two stones my mother bought me had distinct differences. One was a standard size London Blue Topaz, which is a darker shade of blue. The other was a much lighter hue, an irregular size and had a completely different cut. Both were oval. Out of the two stones I chose the London Blue Topaz. So my first step was done: beautiful gemstone, check!
(My London Blue Topaz pictured below)

My next step: what in the world do I want the ring to look like?! I knew I wanted yellow gold but that is all I knew at first.

Some background information may help you understand my decision making... I grew up in Wilmington and my love for the ocean, beaches and boats runs deep. As my mom puts it, "salt water runs my veins." As a result I love everything nautical. I also love simple, classic and elegant jewelry designs. I kept my eye out for designs at Spectrum and I fell in love with The Golden Eye's rope stack ring. It fit my personality perfectly! It all clicked and I knew exactly what I wanted.

Spectrum Art & Jewelry designer Susan Drake sat down and talked to me about my options. I wanted the stone to be bezel set. Prongs are beautiful too, but just not my style. My stone was a standard size so we were able to order a gold bezel to match the band instead of hand fabricating one (which can also be done). We wrote down the specifications for my ring and handed them over to Scott so he could work his magic!

The custom design experience was a fun process. I'm finally at an age where I know what I want and what I like, I have very decided taste, which made my decisions easier to make. Spending the majority of the last year around talented and creative people who have extensive knowledge of jewelry design really helped too. But above all the fact that I love and trust our design team made it easy for me to hand over my beloved Blue Topaz that holds such great sentimental value to me. I knew I was in the best hands.

And the result, after 18 long years? The perfect ring for me!

The only problem? I am hooked on custom design!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Bargain Box

This past Saturday, Star and I attended a wonderful event to support The Bargain Box of Wilmington. I have often heard of The Bargain Box, but never seemed to find the time to visit this unique thrift store located at 4213 Princess Place Drive, Wilmington, NC 28405. The fashion show and luncheon was held at St James Episcopal Church and an incredible variety of clothing and accessories were brought over for purchase by the attendees. Many pieces of designer clothing, some with the tags still on them, beautiful shoes and boots, fashion jewelry, hats....and on and was a sight to behold.

I was amazed at the list of local charities that The Bargain Box supports with donations from their sales. Good Shepherd Ministries, American Red Cross, Food Bank of Coastal Carolina, Lower Cape Fear Hospice, Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, Association of Retarded Citizens and Zimmer Cancer Center are just some of the charities that benefit.

They carry clothing for men, women and children, household items, toys, sports equipment, furniture and collectibles. Stop by at your next opportunity to see all that they have to offer. Consider The Bargain Box when you are cleaning out your closet or your home. Isn't nice to support a local charity that in turns helps many charities in our hometown.

Store hours are Tuesday-Friday 11-6, Saturday 10-5 and Monday - Donations Only

With the holidays coming soon, what better time to reflect upon all the gifts we are given and to choose to live a life of gratitude. I love the ending line on The Bargain Box's card - "If we share what we have, we will all have enough."

Happy Thanksgiving to all,
Nancy Noel May

The Bargain box

The Bargain Box is a ministry of Church of the Servant, Episcopal

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday hostess gifts...that guarantee you'll get invited back!

Do you have any Holiday parties to attend this season?
Do you want to WOW your hostess?
Don't want to break the bank on hostess gifts?

Here are a few ideas...

Me 2 U
Cheese Plate and Knife

(To really wow your hostess bring with cheese and crackers)

Dottie Boscamp
Oil Bottles
(To make it extra special pair it with a bottle of olive oil)

Luke Adams Starfish
(Glass flowers, twists, medium & large starfish)

Serving Dishes
(Microwave, oven and dishwasher safe.
Bring a Hilborn dish with something tasty baked in it)

For recipe ideas see my blog post
"Recipe For A Good Time"

Becky Hemby
(The inside melts away leaving the beautiful outside perfect for a candle votive)

These gifts are unique and something everyone can use!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Wish List

Just in case any of you were thinking about
getting me something sparkly for Christmas
here's what's on my Wish List...

I'm kidding, but this is a peek at some of
my favorite jewelry in the gallery right now!

Briolette Black Diamonds and 18ky Gold
Earrings and Necklace
by Barbara Heinrich
What I LOVE: Very sexy, and they go with EVERYTHING!
Especially that little black dress

Free-form cut Aquamarines set in silver and gold
Ring, Pendant and Earrings
by Symmetry
What I LOVE: These exotic gemstones seem to glow,
they make me think of crisp blue water...
I'm drooling over these as I type this and
thinking about booking a trip to somewhere with very clear blue water

Platinaire Ring with Diamonds
(Also in yellow gold and/or in a wider band)
by Conni Mainne
What I LOVE: The organic quality of the leaf motif
mixed with the round diamonds is beautiful
(Platinaire is a Sterling and Platinum mix,
the result is a metal that is harder than sterling silver
without the price tag of platinum)

White Gold Earrings with Blue Diamonds
surrounded by White Diamonds
By Spectrum
What I LOVE: They are so sparkly!
Perfect for dressing up or everyday wear

Silver and Gold Ribbon Ring with Aqua and Tourmaline
by Susan Barlow
What I LOVE: A truly unique ring that is
bold but feminine and really makes a statement

Dendritic Quartz Ring with
Gold Bezel and Silver Shank
By Spectrum
What I LOVE: The Dendritic Quartz is such an amazing and unique stone, it's definitely a conversation starter, also I love the texture of the hammered silver shank
(Dendritic refers the branching crystaline structure inside of the Quartz)


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Toss together the perfect Thanksgiving salad

Two salad's that will go perfect with your Thanksgiving menus...

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon and Apple Cider Dressing by Ellie Krieger (Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger – Food Network)

Total Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 10 min

Prep: 10min

Yields: 2 servings as main course, 4 as appetizer

Level: Easy


  • 10 ounces pre-washed baby spinach

  • 2 slices bacon, finely chopped

  • 3 ounces Canadian Bacon, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1/2 red onion, sliced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 pound button mushrooms, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup apple cider

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • Salt and pepper


Place spinach into a large bowl. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes, or until it is just crispy. Add Canadian bacon to the skillet and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Remove meat from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Drain any remaining fat from the skillet.

Add olive oil and onions to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, or until onions soften slightly. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 more minutes. Put onions and mushrooms on top of the spinach. Add apple cider and vinegar to the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir to scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until cider is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Whisk in mustard, salt and pepper, to taste. Pour warm cider dressing over the mushrooms and spinach and toss until the vegetables are well coated. Sprinkle the bacon on top and serve.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette by the Barefoot Contessa (Food Network)

Total Time: 43 min

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 28 min

Yield: 4 servings

Level: Easy


  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced

  • Good olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries

  • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry

  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted

  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoo

ns olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

To turn these salads from just a yummy appetizer into a delectable table adornment serve in a Me2U glass salad dish from Spectrum Art & Jewelry!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Recipe" for a Good Time continued...

Gallery artist Kristin Gibson sent me this delicious recipe for Holiday Cranberry Salsa!


1 bag fresh cranberries
1/3 cup red onion
fresh chopped cilantro
hunk of fresh ginger
1/2 cup raw sugar
fresh lime juice

Process each ingredient separately to a cours
e chop in a food processor, add ginger, sugar and lime to taste.

Serve cold with tortilla chips or as a garnish, it's a colorful addition to the table!

Warning; freeze extra cranberries, you will crave this out of season!

Thanks Kristin, I look forward to trying this!


Kristin Gibson is a full time artist who lives and works in Carolina Beach, near Wilmington, NC. A prolific painter and mother of two, Kristin creates spirited “alla prima” paintings stirred from elements of daily life. Color and pattern inspire the lyrical sensibilities of her paintbrush. Further influenced by the ebb and flow of a lifetime by the sea, she calls her backyard work space "Saltwater Studio".

A degree in textile design is reflected in her beautiful silk scarves; each one unique in color, form and expression. Whether on silk or canvas, this artist's vivacious personality bursts forth.

See more work by Kristin Gibson

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

5 Drug-Free Ways to Avoid a Cold

I am dedicating this blog post to the cold that I picked up this past weekend in the mountains. As the weather grows colder the chances of catching the sniffles grows as well. Statistics say that you'll catch two to four colds this winter. Hear are some drug-free prevention strategies to keep your head clear!


Sleep regulates the release of the hormone cortisol, which stimulates cells that boost the immune system, which is crucial for defending against the cold virus. Getting at least seven hours of of sleep is the easiest way to avoid the common cold. (Recent studies indicate that people who fall short are nearly three times as likely to catch a cold)


Moderate exercise (30 to 90 minutes) most days of the week increases immune function and reduces your chances of catching a cold. Key word: MODERATE. Prolonged high-intensity exercise can actually make you more susceptible to sickness. If you are already sick studies have shown that moderate exercise can also help you recover from a cold more quickly than normal.


Temperature fluctuations jump-start your immune system. At the end of a shower, stand under the hottest stream you can take for 30 seconds, then turn the temperature cold for 10 seconds. Repeat three times, finishing with cold. A steamy shower helps keep nasal passages clear and can prevent cold-causing germs from taking up residence in your nose.


(This is my favorite tip.
Lucky for us it is oyster season!) Oysters contain more of the mineral zinc than any other food, and zinc has been proven to support and enhance the immune system. Just one oyster has 13mg of zinc! Don't like oysters or find it hard to work them into your diet regularly? Look for zinc-fortified breakfast cereals, baked beans and pumpkin seeds to help you get the recommended 8 mg a day. Zinc is also effective when taken at the first sight of a cold. (Cold-Eeze and Zicam contain zinc and have been shown to decrease the duration of a cold)


Vitamin D helps regulate your immune system. People with low Vitamin D are much more susceptible to catching a cold. The recommended daily allowance is 200 to 600 IU (international units) however experts now suggest taking a 1,000 IU supplement (there is strong evidence that the RDA is too low). Multivitamins generally contain 400 IU. If you drink a lot of milk, frequently eat fatty fish, like salmon or live in a sunny climate, you probably get an adequate amount since all three increase your body's stores of vitamin D.


(I got these facts from a past issue of Real Simple Magazine)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Recipe" for a Good Time

With all of the holiday festivities coming up it may be time for some new ideas! Here are some delicious and unique recipes that are sure to satisfy this season.

The perfect party snack mix!
Here are three different ideas that will take your party mix to the next level!

Start with 2 cups (11.5 ounce can) of lightly salted roasted mixed nuts.

1. Chocolate Drizzled N
uts with Sea Salt -

Ingredients: 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, me
and 1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt

Directions: Spread the nuts on a parchment-lined baki
ng sheet. Drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle the salt. Refrigerate until set, 15 to 20 minute s.
Break apart before serving (Makes 3 cups).

2. Sweet and Spicy Nuts

Ingredients: 1 Large Egg White, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar,
2 teaspoons paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg white, sugar, pap
rika, and cayenne. Add the nuts and toss to coat. Bake at 350 F on a parchment-lined baking sheet until the coating is set, 12 to 15 minutes.
Let cool on the baking sheet (Makes 2 1/2 cups ).

3. Buttered Nuts with Rosemary and Orange

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1
tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, 1 tablespoon thinly sliced orange ze st (from 1/4 of an orange)

Directions: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the nuts, sugar, rosemary and zest and cook, tossing, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool on a baking sheet (makes 2 1/2 cups).

Perfect for Hilborn's Pinch Pot or Two-Sided Condiment Dish (pictured below)

Brie outside the box
One of the many wonderful things about living at the beach...
seafood is on the holiday menu!

Salmon and Brie Casserole

Prep: 18 min
Chill: 8 hours
Cook: 55 minutes

Ingredients: one 8-ounce round Brie,
16-ounce round loaf bread cubed,
8 ounces hot-smoked salmon (skin removed and broken into pieces),
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese,
8 large eggs,
4 cups half-and-half,
1 teaspoon seasoned salt,
garnish with slices green onion

Directions: Trim rind from Brie, if desired; cut cheese into cubes. Layer bread, Brie, salmon and Parmesan in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, and seasoned salt; pour evenly over salmon mixture. Cover and chill 8 hours. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 55 minutes or until casserole is set. Garnish if desired (Makes 10 servings).

Perfect for the Hilborn Brie baker!

SWEET Potatoes!
The sweetness of the maple syrup compliments the sweetness of the potato
and the buttermilk gives it an extra zip!

Buttermilk and Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients: 5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Directions: Cover potato pieces with cold water in a large, heavy pot and add salt. Cook over moderately high heat until fork tender, about 20 minu
tes. Drain and return potatoes to pot. Add butter, buttermilk and maple syrup, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Serves about 8)

Perfect for Hilborn's Dishing Out serving platter

Do you have any unique and delicious holiday recipes?
Please share!



Rick and Nancy Manaughton Hilborn established Hilborn Pottery Design creating wheel thrown and hand-built functional clay pieces by twisting, bending, squeezing, and curling the clay. Hilborn Pottery items include many unique serving and art forms for the home. All of their pottery is oven, dishwasher and microwave proof as well as food safe. Most pieces come with lovely hand carved wooden serving utensils.

See "Recipe" for a Good Time continued...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Save your local economy...

Save your local economy...three stores at a time.

Think about which three independently owned businesses you'd miss most if they were gone. Stop in and say hello. Pick up a little something that will make someone smile. Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around.

If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that!

For every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.

The number of people it takes to start the

Think about the difference shopping locally this holiday season could make...

There is now a FREE iPhone app that helps you locate
the fabulous "mom and pop" businesses
you'll love and won't want to lose!

LookLocal dials you into what's special nearby, featuring independent, locally owned brick and mortar businesses who have signed on as Supporters of The 3/50 Project.

(Coming soon for Android and iPad)

Pick 3. Spend 50. Save your local economy.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Make a Wish...and get 10% off!

Make a Wish

and get 10% off of your purchase!

Santa's NICE list isn't the only one

you want to be on this year.

Here is what you do:

STEP # 1

Come to Spectrum anytime between now and Christmas

STEP # 2

Fill out a wish list at Spectrum with whatever your heart desires

STEP # 3

Give your wish list to your significant other,

friends, parents, kids, neighbors, etc...

STEP # 4

A purchase made from a wish list during the holidays

will receive 10% off any one wish list item

Make holiday shopping easier on your loved ones this year

and get what you really desire for a great price...everyone wins!


Win a $100 Spectrum Gift Certificate (monthly)

Do you have a smart phone?

Are you on Facebook?

Want to win a $100 Gift Certificate?


at Spectrum Art & Jewelry on Facebook

while you are here and we will enter you into a

monthly drawing to win a $100 Spectrum Gift Certificate!

You can enter every time you visit Spectrum.

One entry per day.

Just show us your "Check-In" and we will add your name to the drawing.

The Winner will be notified by phone and email,

so make sure we have your contact info.

No Idea what I am talking about? Email Me and I'll explain!