When I was growing up, I would visit my grandparent’s large farm outside of Baltimore. On weekends, my Aunt who I called A.J. would pick me up after she got off from work and we would spend the quiet days roaming the farm. One of my favorite pastimes was walking the winding stream by the swimming hole. I became completely enthralled with all the pretty colors and the shapes of the different stones we would find. A.J. and I would always put our collection of stones in our pockets to show my Grandparents when we got back to the house where I would play with them for hours.
As I grew older, A.J. expanded my horizons on stones through books and by taking me to local stone shows and rock shops in the area. Soon I began to identify the stones we would find on our farm excursions.
When I was nine, A.J. took me on my first airplane trip and bus tour. We visited Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Red Creek Canyon, Zion Canyon, and Yellow Stone National Park. When everyone else would go to the different stores shopping, A.J. and I would take off our shoes and socks and walk the rivers, filling our socks with all the precious gems of the area. Back on the bus, our finds were surely the hot topic of the day.
After High School, I attended college in Elkins, W.V. While there, as often happens, other things would catch my attention, but I still carried the love and appreciation for gemstones. I would always have some kind of stone around me, either in my pocket or on my desk. When I was not feeling well or out of balance in some way, I was always drawn to my beautiful stones. Somehow, those gems would always make me feel better.
I pursued my goal of helping children after college, armed with a BS degree in Elementary Education, Child Psychology and Social Work. I enjoyed this work, but I had a feeling something was missing.
After many years, I met a gentleman, who created beautiful necklaces and rings by wrapping stones in gold filled or sterling silver wire. Watching and talking to him for hours as he created his jewelry, I finally asked him to teach me how to make the beautiful pendants and rings. Although he only taught one or two students every couple of years–both not wanting to saturate the market with the art or for it to become a dying craft–he agreed to teach me. His teachings have changed my life forever and MJB’s Gem Wrap was born.
“Mother Nature did the artwork, I just put a frame around it.”
I did around 37 craft shows a year on the East Coast for about five years. One day while in Lewes, DE and I saw a quaint shop with a sign that read “space available“. I decided that it was time to settle in one location and opened Just For You, Unique Gifts.
Several people have asked me why I changed the name of the store from Just For You Unique Gifts to Sand N Stones, Delaware and Nature Shoppe. Right now in my life, I am at a cross roads, I am finding that I am re-creating myself once again. Perhaps it is because I reached a mild milestone in my, life hitting the big 40, or perhaps it is just because the world today is a very different world then what it was just five years ago.
Today, I am enjoying simpler things, like spending time with my love ones that includes my two Yorkies, Topaz and Jasper, wire wrapping, spending time walking the gardens and beaches of Delaware picking up Sea Glass, Sea Pottery, Cape May Diamonds, Beach Stones, and Shells.
I want to provide my customers with a store that they could come and educate themselves about the area through books and reference guides on Delaware and Mid-Atlantic wildlife and nature. Sell my one of a kind custom wire wrapped jewelry that I do on site while they wait and local photography on note cards and matted prints.
When I think of Lewes, I think of Cape Henlopen State Park where I spend countless hours walking and photographing my surroundings. I also think of the rich history that Lewes has to offer. I knew that this would be the perfect place for Sand N Stones, Delaware & Nature Shop.