blessing-bracelets

Beautiful and functional — Blessing Bracelets are one of our best sellers here at Cooper’s. But what are they?

According to Made as Intended, the company which created the bracelets: Blessing Bracelets are hand-strung sterling and Swarovski pearl and/or gemstone bracelets that come in more than 20 current colors. The intent behind each bracelet is very pure, to increase gratitude worldwide.

According to company founder, Dawn Sprong:

“I wrote the tag after experiencing a major shift in my own life. I knew how important being aware of all you already have is. I wrote those words to friends that I might help open their eyes to seeing and believing that change was not a someday thing. I wanted them to know that they could change their life immediately by being aware of the world around them and all the gifts they already had. My life changed dramatically when I discovered that most of what I wanted in life I had already received, yet I had never taken the time to appreciate it. I found through the practice of gratitude, most of what I had asked for was not really what I wanted. I learned to be grateful for what I desired now; to be happy. The tag was my attempt to inspire others to slow down and look at life through different eyes. It was my way of giving to others what I had been given, a changed heart and a knowing that life is pretty amazing.” 

The bracelet has not only traveled the world, it has changed lives. We were intent on creating a spiritual company whose mission was to inspire a shift in perspective. Blessing Bracelets gave Made As Intended a gift. We, in turn, plan to continue making products with messages of hope and inspiration, recognizing that when we change, the world changes.

Sprong started Made as Intended because she was looking for more from life than the corporate days she was leading. She feels that the Blessing Bracelets are her way of helping people live more intentionally while providing her own family with a more authentic life. The bracelets are made right here in the USA — the company is headquartered in Oak Brook, IL.

The card that comes with each bracelet reads:

This is a Blessing Bracelet. Whenever you wear it acknowledge one blessing in your life for each pearl on the bracelet. Each time you are drawn to the bracelet, silently find four people or things you can be grateful for. Be grateful for: your children, a flower, your dog, a perfect cup of coffee, a roof over your head — just find something. The more you wear the bracelet and the more blessings you find, the more you will be blessed. In one year, if followed, you will be aware of a profound change in your life.

The bracelets are really lightweight so as not to be distracting but you do catch yourself noticing the large beads throughout the day. It’s a very intentional piece of jewelry. And the beads are so smooth you’re definitely drawn to touch them. Let’s just say it’s a much better diversion than picking up your phone for the hundredth time today.

We try to carry the blessing bracelets in a variety of colors including white, pink, light blue, dark blue, turquoise, and silver. We hope to see you in the store soon so we can help you count your blessings! #ifounditatcoopers

 

communition-msmhI love to support companies that give back to the community — you’ll find many such items throughout the store. One of the most generous of these is the My Saint My Hero Inspirational Jewelry & Accessories. This company is so committed to helping women rise above their circumstances that they created a woven jewelry line of blessings bracelets to empower the women of Medjugorge, a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

These particular blessings bracelets were inspired by the company owners’ 2010 pilgrimage to the town of Medjugorje, a place that has been called “heaven on earth.” Similar to a prayer shawl, women there create hand-woven “prayer” bracelets — where they say a prayer for the recipient with each knot they weave.

According to the company: The Mission of My Saint My Hero is to transform the world one life at a time through the experience of being blessed and sharing that blessing with others. With your purchases, you are empowering women of Medjugorje through meaningful work – helping them rise above war-torn poverty with the dignity of their beautiful trade.

You can learn about these women here. My Saint My Hero also gives back locally. In a BIG way. The Los Angeles-based company contributes to over ten different US-based charities.

According to the company all of their pieces are crafted in love and prayer: “Our wearable blessings empower women through meaningful work. Our prayer is that these pieces help awaken souls to live in the presence of God and know I am true, I am good, I am beautiful, I am blessed.”

We currently stock blessing bracelets, remembrance bracelets, and bracelets celebrating First Holy Communion and Confirmation. The woven bands are a beautiful statement piece on their own or look beautiful when combined with other jewelry. They’re lightweight and secure — perfect for even a child to wear.

I especially love the Breathe bracelet which reminds us, “In time of need, run your fingers along the simple string; grasp the medal and breathe. By simply focusing our attention on taking a breath and linking that breath to God, we can dispel chaos and go back to our spiritual roots.”

How can you not love a company who’s logo is a shield to signify their commitment to battle against today’s culture. I think we all need a break today from the craziness of the world from time to time. So come visit us here at Cooper’s soon and let us help you remember to breathe and that you are good, you are beautiful, and you are blessed.

Have you experienced the Camille Beckman hand therapy yet? Camille Beckman is a US based maker of hand and body lotions, bath essentials, and perfumes. I adore this family-owned company that was started in part to create jobs for SAHMs. They only use the best ingredients in their products so the results are amazing. One use of the glycerine hand therapy and your hands will thank you.

The Idaho-based company was started by Susan Camille in the late 1980s. Passionate about flowers, herbs and perfume, Camille wanted to create a “family company that could benefit women while creating a romantic, beautiful experience for customers.”

The company’s mission statement:

Camille Beckman is a family company committed to creating restorative formulas that balance scientific formulation, natural ingredients and the art of fragrancing. Personal care is our passion; peace is our purpose. In all we do, let it empower our minds, bodies, souls, communities and Mother Earth.

We view our products as a labor of love, putting immense creativity and research into each project. From our focus on local suppliers and independent retailers to our ingredients and value for human capital, we are committed to consciously creating the positive changes we wish to see in the world. Our products are more than incredible concoctions for your skin. They are an opportunity to spread light, love and knowledge to every home and heart we touch.

Beautiful, right?

We’re proud to stock the Glycerine Hand Therapy in 6 oz. as well as 1.35 ounce purse size. This lotion is light and non-greasy. The fragrances are not overwhelming so it’s perfect for folks who are scent sensitive. Our favorites are the original Camille scent and the Secret Sea fragrance. Also, the all-natural ingredients are perfect for those of us with sensitive skin. You only need a small amount for the hand therapy to work it’s magic so the tube lasts a long time. It’s the perfect accessory for New England winters and for gardeners.

We have lots of testers in-store for you to experience. See you soon!

61xax6vfwwl-_sy355_

 

 

earrings-perspective-sandjewelheartYou know that feeling you get at the end of a really great beach vacation? When you know you have to say goodbye and you won’t be able to walk on the sand tomorrow. And you wish you could take just a little bit of the beach home with you? Well one of my favorite Massachusetts-based and woman-owned businesses has made it possible to do just that.

Boston-based Dune Jewelry, the “Original Beach Sand Jewelry Company” has an amazing line of jewelry with each piece containing a bit of sand from your favorite beach. How do they know which is your favorite? It doesn’t really matter, because they’ve got a sandbank at their headquarters that contains sand from over 3,000 locations around the world.

Actually, it’s not just beach sand you can incorporate into the jewelry. According to the company’s website:

We use sand (and other materials) from your favorite beach, trail, ballpark, mountaintop, golf course and more to create a unique line of collectible jewelry that captures your favorite memories. 

Our patented fine jewelry designs are handcrafted in our studio by talented artisans who incorporate the highest quality materials from around the globe. Let us take your tangible pieces of a moment, a memory or a destination and incorporate them into artisan-crafted, fine jewelry that can last forever.

You can even send the company a sample of sand from your favorite location and they will custom make a piece for you! How’s that for amazing? I had this bar necklace made for my Hometown Hero, Pamela Murphy (you can read our story here) filled with sand from the beach where our astonishing story took place:

The rock and beach sand necklace we gave to Pam

The rock and beach sand necklace we gave to Pam

Dune Jewelry makes bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings. There are so many styles to chose from — a Dune piece makes for such a personal gift for any occasion. Our bestsellers are pieces that contain sand from Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Fenway Park.

The company was founded by Holly Daniels Christensen who is originally from Cape Cod. She started making sand jewelry as gifts in 2007 and the concept was so successful that she started Dune in 2010. The company is now based in Boston.

Another reason to love Dune? A portion of each purchase goes to support coastal preservation. Making sure our favorite beaches may be enjoyed for a long time to come. I know many of my family’s best memories have taken place at Cape Cod. We definitely don’t get to spend enough time there! But with Dune jewelry your best beach memories are never far away.

So stop in the store today and take home a tiny piece of paradise. Then you’ll never have to leave the beach behind. May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes…can we go to the beach right now?

capecodbeachbangle_beachsandjewelry_dunejewelry_capecodbeach_massachusetts_ma_usa-capecod-1000x1000

sand_heart_bangle

If you need a talented seamstress to make up anything you can possibly imagine, Irma is the lady you need to know. Irma has done countless projects for me over the years. Simple things, like hemming pants and shortening curtain panels, to more complicated jobs like re-lining my favorite wool coat and making pillows out of an old chenille bathrobe of mine for my children.

Being a person that doesn’t have the ability to properly sew on a button, Irma’s talent in her trade is nothing short of miraculous to me. Irma has also made all of the formal gowns for the Grand Colleens and Court members in Holyoke for years, and all of the Holyoke Tartan scarves, neckties and corsages. She is an institution in the City of Holyoke. This year, Irma is the proud and very deserving recipient of the prestigious Citizenship Award from the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Committee.The Citizenship Award is presented to a person or organization that may be of non-Irish descent that has made substantial contributions to the Parade and/or the Parade Committee.

From the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade website, we learn more about Irma’s amazing background:

“Irma Ilia Perez Gourde is a self-made woman and an entrepreneur. She was raised on her family’s coffee plantation in Utuado, Puerto Rico, where she learned the survival skills that accompany rural life, including how to sew.
When her parents were at the hospital due to a complicated pregnancy, nine-year-old Irma realized that her brothers and sisters had nothing to wear to a school celebration the following day. She took the fabric her mother had purchased, and in one day made three jumpers and two pair of pants. She dressed the whole family so her parents could see the doctor and the children would look respectable at the school event.
Her family moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1957, and 12 years later (at age 31) Irma opened the Suffolk Tailor Shop in Holyoke.
In 1990, a fire at the Knights of Columbus above the shop forced her to move her business to Springfield, but not for long. Less than a year later, Irma and Gladys, her sister and partner, realized their loyal customers needed them, and they relocated to 358 High Street in Holyoke to return the loyalty they had enjoyed for so many years.
The Suffolk Tailor Shop has been working with the Irish Heritage Parade Committee since the late 1980s. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve this well-respected community.
In her spare time, Irma enjoys gardening, Bible study, traveling, and spending time with her family.”

I wish to congratulate my friend, Irma, on this honor. I am proud to share our last name (Irma’s late husband was my husband’s Uncle Albert). If you have been searching for someone that has expertise in the vanishing trade of tailoring, go see my friend, Irma and her sister Gladys, at the Suffolk Tailor Shop 358 High Street, Holyoke, (413)532-0731

img_2665You can’t avoid the fact that it’s parade season here in the Pioneer Valley. All things Irish are in full force with the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day parade coming to town this Sunday, March 19. It’s one of my favorite events of the year and I love all of the preparation that goes into the event. I love the community feel, the Irish heritage, the local pride.

I’m proud to carry the official Holyoke St. Patrick’s Tartan in the shop here at Cooper’s. There are only a few places around the valley you can find it and we’re proud to stock the neckties, scarves and corsages. It’s a beautiful tartan — and registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans. Have you ever wondered where the colors come from? According to the site:

[It was] designed in 2002 by Gerald D. Healy (2002 President) & Ralf L. Hartwell Jr for the Holyoke St Patrick’s Committee in Holyoke Massachusetts which is home to the second largest St. Patrick’s parade in the USA. Colours chosen: red, white & blue from the US flag; green white and gold from the Irish flag and the Parade Committee; green & white from the Holyoke Community College; purple & white from the Holyoke High School; green and gold from the Holyoke Catholic High School and black & gold from the Dean Vocational High School.

What distinguishes tartan from plain old plaid? Well a tartan design is specifically created for a particular clan. In this case, the Hoyloke clan. According to the insert that comes with each tartan piece sold:

The Irish People were more inclined to wear the Tartan of the Country where their families originated. Our objective in creating the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Tartan was to duplicate the Irish tradition and allow us to identify fall that is good about Holyoke. The colors selected came from: the American flag; the Irish flag, the Parade Committee; Holyoke Community College; Holyoke High School; Holyoke Catholic High School; and Dean Vocational High School. The amount of color in a tartan is not as significant as having the color represented. Some colors are easily identified while other are more difficult. For example: the blue from the American flag can be found where the blue crosses the purple; the gold (orange) of the Irish flag can be found where the red crosses the gold, and the black from Dean High School can be found where the red crosses the purple. The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Tartan having successfully completed all the requirements for international tartans has been awarded certificate #5772.

img_2781

Please wear the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Tartan in sound health and always with dignity and pride as it represents all that is good about Holyoke. All proceeds from the sale of tartan products will be used to offset the expenses of presenting the annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

See you at the parade! #holyokepride

 

Many of my favorite items in the shop are the ones made right here in the USA. I love to support American manufacturers. Bonus points if the items was made here in New England. So I’m very proud of our new display at the front of the shop highlighting some of our American made products:

img_2718

Some our Massachusetts proud products of course include Yankee Candles from South Deerfield:

 

 

 

img_2749

Kringle Candles from Bernardston:

img_2752

 

And our curtains from A. L. Ellis have been manufactured in Fall River, MA for five generations:

img_2741

Dune Jewelry — the unique beach sand jewelry — is based in Boston:

img_2755

Our line of Mangiacotti plant-based personal care products hail from Attleboro:

img_2744

We also carry products made in the USA that help us celebrate our townie pride, like the Westerwald Pottery from Scenery Lane, PA and Paint the Town signs from right here in Three Rivers, MA:

img_2751

The town glassware is manufactured by Susquehanna Glass in Columbia, PA:

glassware

The Bread & Bun Warmers by Seneca Ceramics come out of Phelps, NY:

All of our Barnett Products chair pads from come from Macon, GA:

img_2740

We’re proud to support artist Darren Gygi who creates his box signs in Utah:

img_2746

 

 

The Silver Forest jewelry is made in Bellows Falls, VT:

img_2743

I’d love to add even more American made items to our inventory. In fact, I’d like to take it hyper local and add some new items from right here in Western Mass. Do you know of a local artist, designer, craftsperson or maker who whose product might be a good fit for Cooper’s? Please encourage him or her to send us an email at coopercrew@aol.com with some photos and descriptions of their items. If we see something that looks like a fit, we’ll give them a call. We’d love to offer some more products locally made so let us know your talent. #buylocal #supportyourown

Last Summer, while vacationing at the Cape, a stranger helped to rescue our 6 year old son from a dangerous situation. It turns out that the “stranger” was actually from the same small town and I am a firm believer that she was a Heaven-sent guardian angel that day. We nominated Pamela Murphy, of the Agawam Fire Department, for a Hometown Hero Award from the Western Massachusetts American Red Cross, and she will be honored for her selfless act of heroism on March 17th. Amber Wakely, Editor of Go Local Magazine, tells the whole story perfectly here in her “Hometown Hero” article in the March 2017 issue. Pam, we love you, thank you and salute you! Here’s the link, find the story on page 41-42.

https://www.flipsnack.com/7BFD6B7EFB5/go-local-march-2017.html

You can also check out WWLP’s coverage of our hero here

inisie_home_inis

It’s March and we’re celebrating all things Irish here at Cooper’s. One of our most popular products by far is the Inis perfume we carry in store. It’s a unisex fragrance that is manufactured by Fragrances of Ireland.

According to the company:

A sparkling, clean unisex fragrance that captures the coolness, clarity and purity of the ocean, Inis the Energy of the Sea is a favorite around the world. Inspired by the beauty and energy of the wild western coast of Ireland, Inis (the word means ‘island’ in Irish) instantly refreshes and brings a happy feeling.

Fresh, clean and energizing, top notes of lemon and marine bring a fresh feeling, like sunshine on your face, heart notes of lily of the valley are like a soft summer breeze on your body, while base notes of sandalwood and clove give an earthy warmth like sand between your toes.

We carry Inis perfume/cologne, body lotion, hand cream and gift sets. You’ve undoubtedly smelled the fragrance in the shop before. It’s very distinctive and someone is usually wearing it while shopping or working. It’s not only a great product but I appreciate the fact that Fragrances of Ireland is committed to protecting the ocean and the environment.

How could you not want to support a company whose core ideology is “to inspire and uplift and make people happy through their senses. To promote an understanding that we are all connected and we should all strive to make a better world.”

While there are many reasons I love this product, my absolute favorite thing about Inis is how it reminds me of the beach. Some of my favorite family memories have taken place on the beaches of Cape Cod. How about you? What is your favorite beach? Use the comments field below to share your favorite seaside escape and you’ll be entered to win an Inis Discovery Set which includes a 0.5 fl. oz. Inis the Energy of the Sea Cologne, 2.9 fl. oz. seaweed-enriched Revitalizing Body Lotion and Refreshing Shower Gel, and a 1 fl. oz. Nourishing Hand Cream ($29 Value). One winner will be chosen on Friday, March 10.

8016973-2

irish-soda-bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together. Set aside.

Mix softened butter, egg, raisins and buttermilk together.

Mix in the dry ingredients.

Divide the dough in half. Put each half in a greased 8-inch aluminum pie plate.

Bake 50 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Mix well and drizzle over slightly warm bread.

Enjoy!