Best Bookish BFF’s and Fictional Friends Everyone Should Have

Bookish BFFs and Fictional Friends

From Anne Shirley to Dr. Watson to Winnie the Pooh, our favorite fictional characters bring a special something to the relationship that makes us wish they could be our friends in real life. So in honor of Friendship Week, I am breaking down what we love about our favorite bookish BFF’s and fictional friends and why we totally need friends just like them in our lives.

#1. Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery) – Life is never dull when you have a friend like Anne! Creative and imaginative, she brings out the magic in everyday life. She can be a bit dramatic at times and her romantic and whimsical outlook on life may get her into trouble but ultimately her good sense and ability to laugh at herself sees her through every scrape.

#2. Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien) – Loyal and dedicated to a fault, a Samwise Gamgee is the type of friend who has been with you since the beginning and will stay with you to the bitter end. Friends like Sam would walk through hell for you, encourage you every step of the way and will literally carry you when things gets too hard.

(Bonus – Since Sam is a gardener, you can totally call him up the next time you are going away and need someone to water your plants!)

#3. Sancho Panza (Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes) – Everyone needs a Sancho, the kind of friend who is willing to go along for the ride – no matter how crazy your latest scheme seems to everyone else. A Sancho never stops believing in you, no matter how many windmills knock you on your butt and is always game for the next adventure!

#4. Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett) – While the Sams and Sanchos of the world are great friends to have, you also need a Mary Lennox. Mary is the type of friend who will tell you the straight truth when you are acting like an ass. She will crash your pity party and call you on your nonsense. She may seem a bit harsh but she will always have your back, Not only can you trust Mary to tell it like it is, she will also help you get back on your feet when you are ready to stop complaining and start trying.

#5. Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White) – Not only is Charlotte a creative problem solver who is always there to help you with your problems but I like to think that, if Charlotte was a person, all that terrific web spinning would translate into hand-knit sweaters.

#6. Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald) – Everyone needs at least one friend who really knows how to have a good time and Gatsby, with his larger than life parties, more than fits the bill. (See also Falstaff).

#7, Winnie the Pooh (Winnie the Pooh by A, A, Milne)  –  But when all is said and done, it’s great to have a comfortable friend like Pooh who is always there with some laid back conversation and a little smackerel of something sweet to snack on.

#8. Dr. Watson (Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle) – Work is always better when you have a Watson in the office. So much more than a co-worker, a Watson is always there for you to bounce ideas off of. You may be a pretty big deal in your workplace, but the truth is, you wouldn’t shine half as brightly without the loyalty and support that you get from him.

Sherlock Final DSC_0621bSpeaking of Sherlock and Watson, did you hear that now you can have tea with Sherlock Holmes with the latest addition to my Novel Tea Necklace series? Check it out here!

There are so many other great friendships from books and literature that I could have written about (Harry, Hermione, and Ron from the Harry Potter series, Huck and Finn, Jo and Laurie, just to name a few), but I  want to hear from you.  Which of your favorite fictional friends do you think should have made the list? Let me know in the comments!

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Bookish Back to School Style Guide

In my last post, I talked about how to create the ultimate book lover’s dorm room. Today, your Back to School fashion gets a shot of literary chic style with book inspired clothing, jewelry, and accessories.

Bookish T-Shirts: The staple of most college students’ wardrobes, a t-shirt is a great way of showing off the books and authors you love. You can find some amazing literary t-shirts from the Literary Gift Company, Out Of Print, and Lithographs but I am partial to the great shirts made by indie artists on Etsy, including:

Literary Shirts(From left to right: Pride and Prejudice shirt by Storiarts, Ladies of Literature shirt by BoredWalk and Oscar Wilde shirt by The Mighty Squirm)

You should also check out these  cool jersey t-shirts for your favorite literary characters by Novel-T Shirts, especially the Bartleby the Scrivener shirt – unless you prefer not to.


Putting your best foot forward: I am not one of those Carrie Bradshaw – like women who have a million pairs of shoes but I am totally obsessed with these literary flats by Lead Foot Lucy. Perfect for fiction loving fastionistas, these shoes would be super cute with a little black dress to wear to parties or on dates and would also look fabulous with your favorite pair of jeans and a sweater!

Literary Shoes

Les Mis and Catcher in the Rye Flats by Lead Foot Lucy

See also: these adorable Library Due Card Canvas Sneakers, these Game of Thrones Sigil shoes and these comfy – looking Hobbit shoes for when your walk to Freshmen Seminar seems as long as the trek to Mount Doom.


Poe Hoodie

Poe Hoodie by Binary Winter Press

Literary Layers: Getting to class, grabbing dinner, clubs and activities, and hanging out with friends will most likely involve walking outdoors in all sorts of weather. Plus dorm rooms, classrooms, and libraries can be drafty, so it’s always a good idea to have some layers to throw on if you get chilly. Fortunately, with these great bookish hoodies, scarves, and gloves, you can be comfortable and express your love of literature at the same time.

My Tell Tale Heart skips a beat for this insanely cool Edgar Allan Poe Raven Hoodie. Check out the Binary Winter Press shop on Etsy to see this Poe design on t-shirts, a tie, and a scarf. Too cool!


Wuthering Heights Fingerless Gloves by Storiarts

Trust me, fingerless gloves will come in handy (if you pardon the pun) during all sorts of outdoor events and activities and for taking notes in a chilly classroom. I will be sure to get a pair of these Wuthering Heights gloves for myself when I head back to grad school in the Spring. And while I am in the Storiarts Etsy shop, I just know I won’t be able to resist getting one (or more) of their to-die for bookish scarves!


Speaking of literary scarves, you HAVE to check out  the Nerd Alert Creations Etsy Shop. I seriously cannot be trusted to browse this shop with a credit card in hand. I would be sure to spend my rent money on amazingly bookish scarves and skits like these:

Literary Skirt and Scarves by Nerd Alert Creations

Literary Skirt and Scarves by Nerd Alert Creations


It’s in the bag: One of Novel Creations’ book purses would be the perfect bookish accessory for coffee with the cute boy from your Shakespeare 101 class, hanging out with friends at the Student Center, book readings at the college bookstore or the English departments latest mixer event.

Novel Creations Book Boxes(From left to right: The Great Gatsby Book Purse, Game of Thrones Book Purse,
and The Hobbit Book Purse by Novel Creations)


But for lugging your notes and textbooks back and forth to class and to study sessions at the library, I love these literary messenger bags from Bag Chemistry.

Bag Chemistry Messenger Bags(From left  to right, Bag Chemistry Messenger Bags inspired by:
Sherlock Holmes, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter)


Bookish Bling: And last, but certainly not least, we have book and poetry-inspired literary jewelry. Of course, I am partial to the jewelry from a little Etsy shop called Ciarrai Studios, (all of which is 15% off right now as part of my Back to School sale!)  But I am forced to admit that there are some other artists on Etsy making some lovely literary jewelry too. Check out some of my favorites here:

 Bookish Bling(Top Left: Library Card Catalog Cuff by Accessoreads, Top Right: Oscar Wilde Book Page Necklace by Ciarrai Studios,  Bottom: To Kill a Mockingbird Adjustable Ring and E. E. Cummings Poetry Pendant by Ciarrai Studios, Alice in Wonderland Leather Wrap Bracelet by  C Johanneson)

Well there you have it! I hope you found some wonderfully bookish clothing and accessories to add to your back to school wardrobe and that you have a great year at school!

If you haven’t already,  check out part 1 of my Back to School blog series: Must Haves for the Book Lover’s Dorm Room.

And don’t forget to shop my Back to School Sale with great handmade literary jewelry available for 15% off.

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Must – Haves for the Book Lover’s Dorm Room

Around the country, college students are packing up to head back to school and while the internet is full of blog posts and articles about what to bring with you when you head off to college, I thought I would take this opportunity to put together a list specifically for the college bound book lovers, bibliophiles, and English majors.

If my own college experience is anything to go on, right now there are college freshmen trying to make the agonizing choice of which books to bring with them and which ones to leave at home, not realizing that the joy of getting those cartons of can’t-live-without books up three flights of stairs to their room is still ahead of them. But once you get everything unloaded, getting settled into your new dorm room and putting your personality into the place can be a lot of fun.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

Hemingway Print by Obvious State

Hemingway Print by Obvious State

#1. Posters and Prints: Make your new space your own with photos, posters, and prints like this Ernest Hemingway inspired print by Obvious State. (Actually almost anything in the Obvious State Etsy shop is to die for. I am currently crushing pretty hard on this Prufrock print myself!)

Other great options include: Bookish Posters at the Literary Gift Company, Spineless Classic Posters, Poster Text PostersLithographs, and these Redbox Designs prints

LOTR Map Pillow by ThisShopReallyRocks on Etsy

LOTR Map Pillow by ThisShopReallyRocks on Etsy

#2. Pillows and Beanbag Chairs: If your dorm is anything like the ones I lived in, seating will be scarce. Other than your bed, a dresser, and possibly a desk and chair, there isn’t a ton of room for extra furniture which means that you are going to have to get  creative about getting comfortable, especially when you have friends hanging out in your room. Bean bag chairs and big comfy pillows, like this Lord of the Rings Map Pillow from the This Shop Really Rocks on Etsy, give you lots of options without taking up a lot of room and makes the person who ends up sitting on the floor a LOT more comfortable. They are also great for when friends from back home come to visit you for the weekend or for propping up your books and notebook when doing late night studying on your bed.

(You may also want to check out these awesome Game of Thrones pillows – also by This Shop Really Rocks – for occasional reminders that finals and term paper due dates… I mean winter is coming).

#3. Coffee Mugs: Let’s face it, between late night studying, last-minute term papers, and classes that start ridiculously early in the morning, you and your caffeinated beverage of choice are going to be spending a lot of time together, so you are going to need some great coffee mugs.

I am particularly loving these:

Literary Coffee Mugs (From left to right: Protagonist Coffee Mug by Java Drive , Reading is My Super Power Mug by Lenny Mud , and Alice in Wonderland Coffee Mug by More Than Porcelain)

But there’s also The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild’s Shakespearean Insult Mug  and Banned Book Mug, which are both pretty awesome!

Oscar Wilde Flask by Drinking Buddy

Oscar Wilde Flask by Drinking Buddy

#4. Literary Libations: Of course, for those of you in the 21 and older crowd who are looking  for a beverage with more of a kick than coffee, nothing comes any cooler than this awesome Oscar Wilde Flask by Drinking Buddy, but these Literary Shot Glasses, and this Dorothy Parker Martini Glass come pretty close!

#5. Odds and Ends:  Hollow books make great places to stash all sorts of stuff. I use mine to hold paperclips and school supplies but you can fill yours with loose change, your dining hall meal card, jewelry, accessories, or whatever you want.

And not only can you hang notes, reminders, and take out menus on your message board or mini-fridge with these great Scrabble Tile Menus but you can use them to spell out weird messages to your roommate.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to put together an awesomely bookish dorm room and that you have a wonderful year at school.

Don’t forget to stop by my Etsy shop, Ciarrai Studios Literary Jewelry to shop my Back to School sale! You can save 15% on handmade jewelry inspired by your favorite books and poetry with the coupon code: BACKTOSCHOOL

I will be posting another Bookish Back to School post on Monday, this time about great book – inspired clothing and accessories, so be sure to stop by and check that out.

And for more great dorm room  ideas for book lovers, check out this Etsy treasury:

‘Bookish Back to School Essentials for Book Lovers and English Majors’

A back to school gift guide for book lovers, bibliophiles, and English majors. For more great bookish back to school ideas:

The Catcher in the Rye poste…

Sylvia Plath Kicks Metaphori…

Genuine Leather Burned Ernes…

Poster “Drinke me”…

PARIS Reader’s Nest Bean…

Literary Art Print, T.S. Eli…

Sherlock Holmes Funny Tea Mu…

Narnia Map The Lion the witc…


Hardy Boys Hollow Book Safe …

I’d Rather Be at PEMBERL…

Kipling Booksi for iPad – Re…

The Fault in Our Stars (John…

Books print I cannot live wi…

The Catcher in the Rye – Boo…

Jane Austen, Seven Novels – …

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Having Fun Storming the Castle

51CV41N4TEL._SY300_Today is my mom’s birthday. (Happy Birthday Mom!) And as coincidence would have it, it is also the day that William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride, was born. I think this is so incredibly fitting because The Princess Bride is one of my mom’s favorite movies and she would send my sisters and me off to school every morning by saying “Bye bye girls! Have fun storming the castle!”

You really can’t blame my mom for loving the movie so much. It has it all. “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, True Love, miracles” 
( Doesn’t sound too bad. I’ll try and stay awake) and is one of the most quotable movies of all time (right up there with Monty Python and the Holy Grail). 

Most people have seen the movie but never realized that it was also a book and that is a shame but the book is hilarious. But regardless of if you love the book or the film (or if you are like me and love both), The Princess Bride is simply wonderful! 

So in honor of my mom and William Goldman’s combined birthdays, I hereby declare August 12th to be Princess Bride Day here at Ciarrai Studios and invite you to share your favorite Princess Bride quotes in the comments. Have fun storming your castles and I will talk to you later!!

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O Captain, My Captain

It’s been about a half an hour since I heard the news that Robin Williams passed away today and tears are still streaming down my face. If I, who never met the man in person, am this upset I cannot fathom how devastated his family, friends, and loved ones are.

Although Robin Williams was nothing short of brilliant in so many films, the one that keeps circling around in my mind right now is Dead Poet Society. I know I have spoken of this film before as one of my favorites and Robin Williams’ performance as Mr. Keating has really resonated with me over the years but never so much as it does now – perhaps in part because the film also features the tragic suicide of a sensitive and talented actor.

In the beginning of the film, Mr. Keating tells his students that they could refer to them as “Captain, My Captain,” a reference to a Walt Whitman poem about the death of Abraham Lincoln and in the now iconic ending scene, in a loving tribute and final farewell to their departing teacher, the boys stand on their desks and call out one last time “O Captain, my captain.” The scene never fails to get to me but for all the swell of emotion as the camera sweeps over the classroom of young boys standing on their desks, the fact remains that – as loved as he was – Mr. Keating still had to go.

I know that Robin Williams was not Mr. Keating any more than he was Peter Pan or Mork or Aladdin’s genie. He was a talented man who brought such joy and laughter to others as he struggled with overwhelming sadness. (In some ways, I think the contrast of the two makes this hurt even more.) But in the face of this loss, I find myself wanting to find a desk to stand on and call out to my departing captain. I know that it will not make any change to the good-bye that must be said but in light of the many ways Robin Williams inspired me, I cannot think of any better tribute or farewell than this.

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Fictional Felines for World Cat Day

Cat-Day-GraphicYesterday was International Cat Day and since I am a lifelong cat lover, I couldn’t let the day go by without penning a few thoughts on the special relationship that cats have with books and literature. But where to start? I considered reading something particularly cat-ish but had trouble deciding on what to read. The Cat –cher in the Rye? The Great Catsby? A Tale of Two Kitties? I could do something Shakespearean with either Romeow and Juliet or CleoCATra and Anthony. Or I could fall back on a particular favorite and check out Jane Austen’s Purrrrrrsuasion.

In the end, I chose to go with the Edgar Allan Poe story, The Black Cat, because I have been on a major Poe spree lately and because several people mentioned it to me as their favorite Poe story. My only reservation was that I really didn’t want to read about anything bad happening to a cat. For some reason, I can handle nice old men getting hacked up and buried around the house (as in The Tell Tale Heart) or drunken noblemen being buried alive in the wine cellar (like in The Cast of Amontillado) but the thought of a defenseless animal getting the brunt of Poe’s usual Gothic gruesomeness really bothered me. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone else who may want to read it but, even though karma prevailed at the end, there were several parts of the story that made me a little sorry that I had read it.

So, still in search of something suitable to celebrate Cat Day with, I decided to talk about all my favorite fictional felines. Literature is full of cats. From the moment we start learning how to read, we are confronted with stories about cats who sit on mats. Then we meet Cats in Hats and Pusses in Boots and cats in any other accessory that catch their kitty-ish fancies. And eventually there’s the Cheshire Cat (or as he is called in Jasper Fforde’s delightful Thursday Next series, the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat), cats who befriend crickets in Times Square and cats that undertake incredible journeys. Aslan, Dorothy Gale’s friend, the Cowardly Lion, William Blake’s frightfully symmetrical tiger burning brightly in the forest and Kipling’s cat who walked by himself, and all places were alike to him. T. S. Eliot even wrote an entire book of cat poems called, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats which was eventually adapted into the Broadway musical, Cats.

One of my favorite literary cats is from a little – known book that I grew up loving but that almost no one I know has heard of, Tiger Flower. This picture book had gorgeous art and told the story of a tiger who was swept away to a land where everything that should be big was small and everything that should be small was big. And instead of having to worry about being the king of the towering tangled green jungle, he could spend his days as Tigre Flower, a tiny tiger perched on a blade of grass with a flower in his hair.

Another purrrsonal favorite when I was a little girl was the cat in Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. Although he had a small part in the story, he had such great purrrrsonality that he just stuck with me throughout the years. (Sorry about the puns. It is genetically impossible for me to not make cat puns when the opportunity arises.) Years later, Peter Beagle wrote Tamsin, a book that quickly became another favorite and featured two unforgettable kitties. If you love cats and enjoy reading fantasy / ghost stories, then you should definitely check out Tamsin! I really cannot recommend it enough.

Of course, even outside the covers of books, cats and literature have gone together beautifully for years. Cats have made excellent companions for many famous authors, most notably Hemingway and his many-fingered kitties but you can see more cat and writer parings here. And any writer or reader (famous or not) know that it is almost impossible to read or write without your feline friends wanting in on the fun. Experts have even discovered a 15th century manuscript with cat paw prints in ink across the pages. So here’s to cats and the book lovers who can’t get enough of them! Now, if you excuse me, I’m off to find my cat and give him some extra petting! I will talk to you all again soon but in the meanwhile, check out my T. S. Eliot Naming of Cats Necklace and my Aslan Narnia Necklace, both 10% off this week in honor of Cat Day!

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Happy Anniversary Ciarrai Studios Literary Jewelry

Today is Ciarrai Studios’ 2nd anniversary. Two years ago today, I listed my first piece of jewelry on Etsy and started my journey as a jewelry designer and small business owner. This morning, in preparation for writing this anniversary blog post, I took a peek at all the posts and entries that I shared on the Ciarrai Studios Facebook page and here on this blog just to refresh my memory of all the wonderful things that this past year has brought to my little shop and I have to say that it has been a busy year.

Over the course of Ciarrai Studios’ second year, I have:

  • Met some incredible people and made new wonderful friends
  • Participated in my first craft show, the Women’s Expo, and in wonderful on-line events like the Literary Heroine’s Blog Party.
  • Been featured in some wonderful articles, both in print and online
  • Taken poets to work
  • Read great books and stories, including: The Bell Jar, The Catcher in the Rye, Mrs. Dalloway, The Time Machine, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, Northanger Abbey, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Looking over the list, I am noticing a bit of a trend. When did my reading list get so dark and Gothic?)

i carry your heart with me - e. e. cummings poetry pendantBut most of all, I have spent the last year designing and making lots and lots of literary jewelry. I’ve made so many birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, wedding jewelry, and holiday gifts for people all over the world and I have really enjoyed hearing from my customers how much they love their Ciarrai Studios jewelry. This is the year that I created my e. e. cummings poetry pendant, (one of my personal favorite pieces), and introduced my series of book and poetry – inspired rings, brooches, and earrings to my shop.

Literary Rings by Ciarrai Studios

This is the year that I created my Petite Poetry Pearl Drop Pendants series and that both Oscar Wilde and James Joyce joined my Novel Tea Necklace series. And this is the year that I unlocked the magic of the Secret Garden with this silver key necklace.  It has been a busy, frantic, wonderful year and I really cannot thank you all enough for being part of it and I want to invite you to join me for the next steps in my Ciarrai Studios’ journey.

Over the next month, I am planning a big refresh and re-launch of my shop. There will be new book and poetry – inspired jewelry, (head over to the Ciarrai Studios Facebook page for some sneak previews), a new look to my packaging as well as my shop, website, and social media sites and there will be new sales, promotions and special events that you won’t want to miss.

Now is a great time to sign up for my mailing list so you don’t miss any of the exciting Ciarrai Studios news and announcements that will be coming out in the next few months.

Also, if you haven’t already, you can enter my Anniversary Giveaway to win a $50 gift card to my shop, Ciarrai Studios Literary Jewelry. Today is the LAST DAY to enter so head over to and enter today!!


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Christmas In July

Right now, my AC is working full blast. I have a cold soda next to me. And everything I can possibly do to beat the heat, I am doing. The cat, with all his fur, looks like he might melt into the couch and I am thinking longingly of going to beach.  Summer is definitely here, and that means that I’ve got Christmas on my mind.

I know it is ridiculously early in the year for most people to even think about the holiday season but for people like me, who make and sell handmade goods, Christmas preparations are already in motion. My friends and family all roll their eyes whenever I mention this and complain about department stores that have their Christmas trees up before the first autumn leaf falls. “What’s the rush?” they ask? “Why can’t we just enjoy the moment we are in now without skipping ahead to the holidays?” There’s no denying that they have a point but what they don’t realize is that handmade gifts take more time than mass-produced items. As any elf in Santa’s workshop can tell you, this extra time and effort is part of what makes handmade gifts so special but it also means that you have to start early just to be ready in time.

For the most part, my efforts are all behind the scenes and will stay that way for a couple of months. I know that, unless you are like me and like to stockpile gifts all year round, you are more interested in stopping the ice cream man or putting on more sunscreen than in decking the halls and putting out cookies for Santa. But I am already working on preliminary designs for holiday themed items, brainstorming the various ways I am going to “decorate” my shop for the holidays, planning sales, promotions, and special events and gathering the materials I am going to need to get your gifts done and on Santa’s sleigh as quickly as possible once the holiday rush hits.

If I listen, I can just hear a hint of sleigh bells over the sound of my air conditioner and that’s just fine by me!

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Weekend Reading and Summer Clearance

The weekend’s here, which means more time for reading! (Yay!) This past week, I have been working my way through Orlando by Virginia Woolf with occasional breaks to read

Looking back, I might want to pick something a little lighter for my next read but it has been an interesting break from my usual reading and has given me some ideas for some new literary jewelry designs. If the fates are kind and my camera cooperates, I should have a sneak peek or two over the weekend but we will see what happens.

Anne of Green Gables Sunbursts and Marble HallsSpeaking of new designs, I will be doing a refresh of my shop with new items, new packaging, new photos, and more.  In order to make room for new inventory, I am discontinuing some designs. I will also be tweaking a couple of other pieces to make them even better. And so I am having a SUMMER CLEARANCE SALE to move the last remaining stock of these older designs. Pieces like my Anne of Green Gables Pearl Drop Necklace, this Secret Garden Pendant, and the Tea with Miss Havisham charm necklace have been discounted by UP TO 40%!

Supplies are limited so get them while you can! Click here to shop the sale

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Anniversary Giveaway


It’s so hard to believe but my Etsy shop, Ciarrai Studios Literary Jewelry, is turning two years old in less than two weeks! It’s been another great year for Ciarrai Studios and I wanted to mark the occasion by giving back to the people who make my little shop possible and make all the hard work I put into it completely worth it.

So I am hosting a giveaway for all my customers and Ciarrai Studios friends to say thank you for all the support, encouragement, and great book and poetry chats! The prize is  $50 gift card to my shop so you can buy a lovely piece of handmade jewelry inspired by your favorite book or poem,  like one of my literary rings:

Rings for Spring WordPress Collage

Or perhaps this pretty poetry pendant:

e. e. cummings poetry pendant - i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

Or one of my Novel Tea Necklaces.

Have tea with Mr. Tumnus and Lucy Pevensie, Peter Pan, or Alice and the Mad Hatter with Ciarrai Studios Personalized Charm Necklaces

To enter, visit:    Good Luck!

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