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Musings from the Bench

How to Doom-Proof your Holiday Season:

How to Doom-Proof your Holiday Season:

1.Book travel ahead of time to get the best deals. 

With much uncertainty this year around holiday travel, you might get lucky and snatch up a good deal at the last minute due to cancellations. Expedia advises:

  • Avoid traveling on December 23
  • If you’re planning a post-Christmas trip, avoid departing on December 28
  • Traveling between December 13 and 17 could save you more than 10 percent.
  • Traveling on Christmas Day can also allow you to take advantage of cheaper fares if you can swing it.

Your options may be limited, but don’t lose hope! There are still plenty of ways to get away this holiday season if you’re open to driving or Amtrak.

 2. Invite friends and family for dinner to relax and recharge.

If getting away just isn’t in the cards for you this year, bring the holiday cheer to your place. Plan a potluck and invite everyone to bring their favorite dish, or do an international theme and see how many dishes you can bring to the table from different countries. Gather around a crackling fire, or roll out your best china and silver for a black-tie dinner. Get creative and enjoy that you’re NOT heading over the hills and through the woods this year.

 3. Don’t wait until the last minute to shop for holiday dinner ingredients.

The earlier you can shop and gather what you need, the better. Even with food prices on the rise, most people refuse to forego the traditions at Christmas time. To avoid being left to improvise with a tofurky or spam, shop ahead for anything non-perishable or freezable. Even better, hire a local caterer to cook for you, and if you’re really in the mood to treat yourself, have them serve and clean up afterward! They’ll appreciate the business, and you’ll enjoy a stress-free dinner.

 4. Make a list of all the people you need to shop for.

You probably won’t forget your mom or your sister, but who else has been on your mind lately? Your hairdresser, virtual assistant, petsitter, mail carrier, your child’s teacher, or tutor? There’s nothing worse than remembering at the last minute that you forgot someone. We love this handy little app, Christmas Gift List Tracker, which allows you to budget and track everyone on your list.

 5. Save time and waiting in long lines by shopping online.

The pandemic silver lining is that you can shop for pretty much EVERY and ANYthing online now, including food baskets, jewelry, clothing, cooking or music classes, and gifts for your furry friends. Short on time or just want to avoid the crowds? You were made to shop online! Many businesses offer FREE shipping incentives, or a gift with purchase, through the holidays too, for an extra bonus.

6. Save money and plan to shop the deals on Black Friday weekend.

Black Friday shopping has already started this year, so there are plenty of deals to be had. Additionally, did you know that the Saturday after Thanksgiving is officially Small Business Saturday? If you missed Small Business Saturday, don't fret.   Small businesses are ready to serve you all year long!

Show your support for small handmade businesses that may have struggled to survive the last few years. They appreciate and celebrate every purchase, no matter how small. In fact, they depend on YOU to make the holidays a success. So show them some LOVE!

 PLUS, as an added incentive to shop small, you won’t have to worry about widespread shortages and shipping delays. That’s a win-win in our book!  

7.Check out the CSJ helpful shopping hints for thoughtful, meaningful gifting.

Wondering what she’ll love? Trying to determine her jewelry personality? You don’t need to guess because we’ve done the work for you in What’s her jewelry personality? from last month’s blog post. And if you’re still not sure? We’re here to help! Contact us to chat or set up a Zoom styling appointment. Most of all, DO NOT STRESS! We’ve got your back!

 8.Wrap gifts using recyclable bags or wrapping paper.

There are SO many creative ways to be kind to our planet while still making your gifts look beautiful on the outside. Consider re-using a gift bag you received or decorating the brown kraft paper that came in your last Amazon shipment. Purchase cloth grocery bags or beautiful dish towels and use those as you would wrapping paper. You’ll feel good knowing you did your part, and your loved one will get something a little extra special.

 9. Make a note of UPS/USPS shipping deadlines and plan for delays.

There’s almost nothing worse than staying ahead of schedule, finishing all the shopping, wrapping, and packing, only to find out you’ve missed a shipping cutoff and your gift will arrive late. Make a note of the shipping cutoff dates for all of the popular carriers so you can make an informed decision. We’re hearing that customers should plan for longer than usual lead times.

Last day shipping day for CSJ ready to ship jewelry is December 14th!

 10.Relax! Build a fire, light some candles, and kick back with my favorite spiked hot chocolate.

High fives! When you’ve crossed that last to-do off your list, and you’re ready to relax and reward yourself! Rent a movie, pick up your favorite Thai food or brick oven pizza, and put your feet up. You deserve it!


Here's a little delicious warm adult drink to celebrate the holidays:

Bailey's Hot chocolate recipe






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How to Prepare for the Best Holiday Season

How to Prepare for the Best Holiday Season

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

I’m not talking about the infamous phrase from the blockbuster hit Game of Thrones, necessarily. I mean surely, winter is coming, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it, at least not where I live.

Aside from the obvious change in seasons, the popular TV series interpreted the phrase Winter is Coming to also mean “always be prepared” or “darker times will always come”. 

Always be prepared is solid advice, but living life in anticipation (and fear) of the inevitable darker times? Hmmm, not so much.

So I wonder, does winter and cold need to be ominous?

I don’t think so.

My sweetest memories of holidays like Christmas, include spending time with family and friends, gift-giving, sitting in front of a warm crackling fire, drinking a spiked hot chocolate or other adult beverage.

Nothing about this picture says doom or gloom. Maybe it’s just human nature to romanticize the holidays until they actually happen and we remember how hectic things can get.

Set realistic expectations during holiday season:

  • There might be weather related travel delays
  • Your turkey or ham might be a little overcooked
  • Your work bonus might be a membership to the Jelly of the Month club aka Christmas Vacation

Any number of unexpected things can pop up, but why let it tank your festive mood?

This year I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with close friends and Christmas with family. I’ll be making lots of jewelry, which I love, and feverishly filling customer orders, which I also love.

Amidst the craziness of the holiday season, I’ll find time to snuggle with my pups, give thanks for my blessings and catch up on some rest (after I fill all my orders, of course). But I’ll do all of this with joy and ease because I’m prepared.

Winter IS coming!

Do you have a plan? Are you ready? 

Here's some tips to make your planning easier. 

 10 ways to prepare for the holidays

 baileys hot chocolate recipe card

 It's So easy, but oh so delicious! 

Holiday Gift Shopping

Look for gifts that fit her personality.   Jewelry is personal, memorable, and there is something to fit any personality.   So....

What’s her jewelry personality?


Confident woman wearing a pair of statement earrings


women wearing sterling silver dangle earrings


two fun-loving women laughing


All of the above?

Don’t miss holiday shipping deadlines!

Winter is coming. And so is holiday shopping.  For the early birds who are halfway done, PLEASE leave a comment and tell me HOW? For everyone else, here are some important dates to note:

At CSJ, the elves are getting ready(and by elves, I mean me). Since most of my jewelry is made to order, there are lead times of 2-3 weeks, and then shipping times as noted below.

Major shipping carriers holiday shipping schedules

CSJ Holiday Ordering/Shipping Dates

 Holiday Ordering Dates for Candace Stribling Jewelry


 CSJ Collectors - Join now for exclusive insider deals!

It’s never too late to become a preferred CSJ Collector! Join NOW to save 25%, November 15-December 14.   






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How I Design Jewelry in my Sleep

How I Design Jewelry in my Sleep

It might seem strange, but most of my designs come to me while I’m sleeping. It’s true!

 I’ll dream about a shape first, then later it becomes a rough design, or sometimes the designs are obvious, and I’ll wake up, draw a quick sketch in a notebook I keep next to my bed, then drift off back to sleep.  There’s nothing worse than losing an idea that has great potential. I’ve learned this lesson before, so when inspiration strikes, I make sure to document it; otherwise, it may be lost forever. 

My designs are influenced by architecture, modern art, geometric shapes, and nature. 

I process the world around me, translating structures and objects into small wearable pieces of art. 

I’m inspired by modern art and artists such as Mark Rothko, Sonia, Robert Delaunay, and Alexander Calder, who is mainly known for his large-scale mobiles, but was also a jewelry artist. I also find inspiration from the works of African American modernist jewelry designers Art Smith and Winifred Mason (who were jewelry designers in the 1940s and 50s). 

art smith & winifred mason jewelry artists

Art Smith was influenced by surrealism and primitivism and considered the human form in every aspect of his work, from design to being worn:

 “A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are. Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with. It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form.” 

Winifred Mason, a mentor to Art Smith, worked primarily in copper. West Indian cultural traditions heavily influenced her designs, and she later went on to sell her one-of-a-kind pieces in several premier department stores. Mason was the first commercial African-American jeweler in the United States.  

My contemporary and minimalist jewelry is influenced by many diverse sources. 

My designs are all structural, linear, and contemporary - inspired by my love of science and my affinity for art, architecture (especially mid-century modern), nature, and African and abstract objects. Buildings, bridges, or wrought-iron gates help me envision the elements that could become a necklace, earrings, or a bracelet.  

It’s not difficult to see the influence of other artists, art and architecture in my work. 

My idea for a piece often starts with a single beautiful gemstone, which inspires the design around it. After a design is conceived, I use hammers, punches, and dies to form shapes using recycled sterling silver wire or sheets. I’m always striving to design jewelry incorporating elements of movement and flow. 

Inside my Studio before a Show

When I’m getting ready for a new collection, or an in-person show, I’m usually head down at my bench for weeks, getting everything exactly as I want it. It can get a little bit chaotic in the studio when creative juices are flowing. I spend my days ordering materials, gemstones and am absorbed in designing and making.  I'm also fulfilling orders from collectors who saw my work at a show, went to my website and placed an order. 

Below is a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes pre-show chaos:


chaotic & messy jewelry studio


The James Renwick Gallery JRA Day Show 

I’m very excited (okay, I'm over the moon)  to share that I got accepted to the James Renwick Gallery JRA Day virtual and in-person shows in November and December. 

The James Renwick Alliance is the membership arm of art enthusiasts, collectors, artists, and educators for the James Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.  It is the Smithsonian museum dedicated to contemporary American craft. 

This prestigious art show is similar to the Smithsonian Craft Show. These types of shows require more artistic jewelry pieces, which are perfectly aligned with my work. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m honored to be included.  At the in-person show in December, I will be launching a new collection in 14K solid gold.    

For more information about the JRA show: 

If you’re in the DC/MD/VA area, I’d love to see you at an upcoming show:

list of art shows for Candace Stribling Jewelry


I hope you will come to one of the shows.  I would love to meet and show you my jewelry line in-person. 


Can’t make it to a show? Check back often to see what’s new in my online shop! 

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Why We Love Bloodstone

Why We Love Bloodstone

 Bloodstone promotes abundance, good fortune, and effortless energy flow. Oh, and if those are reasons aren’t enough, keep reading to learn why you need some Bloodstone in your life. 

Bloodstone is featured in my new capsule collection launching soon. 

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Five Reasons to LOVE Peridot

Five Reasons  to LOVE Peridot

There’s a lot you might not know (yet) about this shimmery, lush green gem, the birthstone for anyone born in August. Its sparkling beauty is undeniable, for starters, plus it’s got some unique healing and protective qualities. Keep reading to learn more about why we love Peridot:

 💚 Are you green with envy or love?

If you love green, you might think that emerald is your only option for gemstones, but you have another brilliant choice: Peridot. This August birthstone is made of iron and magnesium, which is responsible for its beautiful yellowish-green hues. Peridot often comes from volcanic rocks, which are rich in both iron and magnesium.

💚 Need a little mood booster?

The Egyptians called Peridot the “gem of the sun” because it appeared warm, bright, and transparent. Many believed that Peridot would protect the wearer from night terrors or could ward off evil spirits. Associated with balance and strength, Peridot brings peace and harmony to your mind and body. It also improves your mood and enhances creativity!

💚 Do you love a stone with history?

There is strong evidence that Cleopatra’s famous Emerald collection might have been Peridot instead. In medieval times most people believed Peridot to be emerald, which would explain the confusion. Historians thought that the stunning 200-carat gems at the Three Holy Kings in the Cologne Cathedral in Germany were Emeralds when there are Peridots.

Cleopatra wearing a headdress


💚Feeling Exotic?

Peridot, the August birthstone, and the 16th wedding anniversary gift come from hardened volcanic rock, meteorites, and some fancy exotic places like Peridot Beach in Hawaii, known for its shimmering green sand.

💚 Made in the USA too!

Originally mined in Egypt and Burma, did you know that you can find Peridot in the United States?

Arizona is the primary source of Peridot found in the United States. Volcanic eruptions resulted in lava spreading across the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation thousands of years ago when it was still just a barren desert. 

💎 Care Guide for Peridot: 

Show it some love!

Unlike diamonds with a hardness of 10 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, Peridot is softer, with a hardness of 6.5 to 7. Because of this, Peridot is best used for necklaces and earrings as opposed to rings which can expose the stone to scratches. Caring for Peridot takes a little extra TLC and should be done by hand with mild dish soap and warm water to preserve the stone. 

Craving something with rich color, history, meaning, and allure?

Of course, tall tales and folklore aside, if you love a luscious green stone, and the more common Emerald doesn’t excite you, you’ve got to add some Peridot pieces to your jewelry collection!


Explore all Peridot Jewelry HERE.

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Mother's Day

Mother's Day

In her eyes, you’re everything. She’s the one who’s always there for you, good and bad, thick and thin. She’s a role model, teacher, mentor, friend. She’ll tell it to you straight but loves you anyway if you ignore her advice. She’s your mom, grandma, aunt, or big sister, and you always want her to know what she means to you. 

In a world of blended families of every shape and size, Mother’s Day is not just about your biological mom. Mothers, grandmothers, and stepmothers (even fur moms) show up every day in extraordinary and ordinary ways. She’s your BFF when you want to have fun, and your reality check when life gets rocky. The two of you are inseparable, connected for life.

Even when you’re far apart, separated by miles or oceans, she’s there for you. When the road gets bumpy, or you’re celebrating a significant accomplishment, she’s right there beside you. There’s no one like her in this world, and you want her to know how you feel.  

On May 9, we’ll celebrate every type of mother figure (even fur moms).  And while she’ll probably say, “oh, I don’t need any gifts,” you’re already planning to celebrate and honor her with something that’s as special and unique as she is. 

Show her how much you love her by giving her a gift that lasts a lifetime.   



About My Signature Mobius Collection 

The Mobius strip motif, utilized in various ways in each piece, is a continuous loop made from sterling silver (some designs have 14K yellow gold rings intertwined with sterling silver). It symbolizes balance, unity, and eternity from mother to child to grandchild.  Perfect for Mother’s Day gifting! 

Shop the Mother’s Day Gift Guide  for the perfect piece of jewelry! Touch her heart, make her day, and show her how much you love her.  

Mothers Day Gift Guide

All orders Mother’s Day orders over $100 will include an extra little gift: a beautifully scented candle, perfect for wrapping her in a luxurious blend of warmth and love. 


scented candle with fresh flowers or fruit


Use code MomsGift to redeem your complimentary gift!   Enter 'MomsGift' in the coupon code when checking out.   Supplies are limited.  Don't miss out.  These candles smell wonderful. 




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Show Your Power! Wear Jewelry that Inspires You

Show Your Power! Wear Jewelry that Inspires You

Who wasn’t mesmerized by Amanda Gorman, the young woman at the podium on Inauguration Day, captivating and holding the nation’s attention as she read her original poem?

Amanda is more than an inspiration; she’s a shining example of what women can do with their gifts. On January 20, 2021, she stood in front of the Capitol building, our nation, and the world to uplift and inspired us. She commanded respect and admiration despite her age because she was empowered to do so. Amanda is a role model for all women of all ages. And did you happen to notice her jewelry?

The bird-in-a-cage ring on Amanda’s finger was gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey in honor of  Maya Angelou’s poem; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Amanda wore this ring to make a powerful statement and give herself the extra boost of confidence needed to share her wisdom before a very divided nation.

Jewelry is much more than adornment; it’s an opportunity for personal expression. It can help us make an impact, initiate action, and inspire change.


Jewelry can be used intentionally and purposefully to make a statement.

Jewelry has power!

Jewelry is more than just adornment; it’s a celebration of strength, courage, and our unique beauty.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th and Women’s History Month, we recognize our sisters doing amazing things every day...

  • The moms who have found a way to work while also overseeing their children’s education during virtual school,
  • The women business owners not merely surviving but thriving because they were savvy and smart and grew their online businesses,
  • The women scientists, doctors, nurses, and front-line workers, putting themselves in harm’s way and making monumental sacrifices to fight the battle against COVID-19.

Jewelry is a personal expression of who we are without words. It makes us feel empowered when we wear that ring, necklace, or bracelet against our skin, like armor. We send a message to the world...

As we celebrate Women's History Month and  International Women's Day on March 8th remember:

  • we are strong.

  • we are smart.

  • we are role models.

  • we celebrate each other, and

  • we are unstoppable! 

Feel the power with a piece from my Culler Lake collection.  The design is a series on concentric circles, reminiscent of the the ripples in a lake.   The circles are continuous and reaches out in an ever-growing circles just like women all around the world connecting and growing together.   Happy International Women's Day to each of you.  We are stronger together. 







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7-Reasons to Fill Your Jewelry Box with Sterling Silver

7-Reasons to Fill Your Jewelry Box with Sterling Silver

She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.


Have you ever wondered about this phrase? The term is associated with luxury and wealth, yet many people still think of sterling silver as just a cheap alternative to white gold. But, I’m here to tell you it’s SO much more than that. 

From a jewelry designer’s perspective, sterling silver is the perfect combination of malleability, beauty, and durability. It has everything I need to design and make beautiful, versatile, and timeless jewelry. 

“Sterling silver comprised of 92.5% silver and a mere 7.5% other metal alloys, brings the tradition of luxurious silver to jewelry.” 

Whether you're looking for everyday accessories or a timeless statement piece, you'll find sterling silver jewelry that seems tailored to your personal tastes.

 7 Reasons Why You Should Add Sterling Silver To Your Jewelry Box....

  1. Sterling Silver Jewelry is Durable 

When taken care of correctly, sterling silver jewelry can last a lifetime. Savvy women already know that their sterling silver pieces can still look new, even after forty years! 

True .925 sterling silver is an investment, but worth the extra cost for the quality and lifetime value of the jewelry. Some of your well-made pieces may even become family heirlooms. 

To make sure that you're getting the best quality jewelry, always buy from established, reputable jewelry companies, and look for these hidden marks on your new accessory:

These stamps indicate the purity of the silver and also sometimes the country of origin and the maker.

.925 sterling silver mark


  1.  Keep Up with Fashion Trends 

Any woman who likes to keep up with the latest styles knows that the fast pace of fashion jewelry trends can be dizzying. Keeping up with what's in and what's out is exhausting, and expensive. 

Luckily, sterling silver's popularity means it's always in fashion. The latest styles in jewelry will always include sterling silver, even if the designs change. 

Recently, for example, gemstones and uncut minerals, set in sterling silver, have become a staple of Spring and Summertime accessories. 

Keeping a few sterling silver pieces on hand in your jewelry rotation is a sure way to make sure you always look your best.  

  1. The Options are Endless 

Because silver is a very versatile metal, it's a favorite for innovation and creativity among jewelry designers. This means you’ll always be able to find new and exciting pieces to fit your personal style. 

Whether you're looking for a locket, bracelet, ring, or pendant, there are thousands of options. 

Even sterling silver loyalists are not limited to the same variations on old concepts. Innovation is constant. There will always be a new sterling silver piece to spruce up your collection! 

  1. You Can Easily Build Your Personal Jewelry Collection 

The variety of sterling silver options makes it easy to completely build or upgrade your jewelry collection. 

Want to build a look around one of your more expensive statement pieces?

Want to build a look around one of your more expensive statement pieces? 

Sterling silver complements most metals, so your pieces will all work together, giving you endless combinations and options to build your signature fashion style. 

Looking for unique high-end pieces?

Sterling silver should be on your list. Designers use it to cast their most creative designs all the time. One of the big perks of sterling silver is that it's not just popular with consumers, it's also popular with designers. 

“People are excited to buy the latest styles that designers create, and designers are happy to keep creating new things. Everybody wins!” 

  1. Incredible Versatility 

Sterling silver jewelry is appropriate for any occasion… 

  • Dressing up a casual dinner outfit? Sterling silver fits the bill!
  • PTA meeting? Yes, sterling silver! 
  • Meeting your girlfriends for brunch? Sterling silver is a perfect choice! 
  • Want to add sterling silver to a jewelry collection that already has a lot of white gold or platinum pieces? Do it! 

You can confidently wear sterling silver jewelry with a white gold or platinum piece and still create a look that is put together. The colors are close enough that you won't look like you're mixing up jewelry. Instead, you'll create a new image that is uniquely you.  

  1. Hypoallergenic Jewelry 

Unlike pieces that are made of inexpensive nickel, brass, or other base metals, which can irritate your skin, sterling silver jewelry doesn't contain metal additives that can cause an allergic reaction. 

This is especially important for accessories like earrings. You can wear them without fear that a piercing will get infected. 

Wear your silver with confidence knowing that you won't face any consequences later.  

  1. Easy to Care For 

As beautiful as silver is, many women avoid it because it’s prone to tarnish. 

It's disappointing to see a favorite piece looking dirty or discolored after sitting in a jewelry box for too long. All silver can tarnish with time, especially if it's not worn often. It’s the nature of this beautiful metal. 

Here's the good news…

  • Wearing your jewelry can actually help prevent tarnish. The oils on your skin 'clean' the metal, which means you don't have to worry about that dirty look.
  • Even if your sterling silver jewelry does dull, there are easy ways to restore its original shine.
  • By storing your pieces in individual bags, or compartments in your jewelry box, instead of sitting out in the open, you can prevent a lot of this tarnish
  • There are gentle cleaners and soft polishing cloths to return your pieces to as good as new!

 Are you ready to add to your collection? Or, just beginning? Check out my newest sterling silver pieces HERE, to get started.

 Or contact me to start a custom, one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry made JUST for YOU!


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