Y-Not Gift Shop
Cheryl Carruthers, owner of Y-Not Gift shop in downtown Carlisle, was right about Valentines Day. Why were all the boys fretting over gifts for their girlfriends when Y-Not Gift shop is only a few blocks away from campus? This hidden treasure of Carlisle not only offers handmade jewelry pieces for every occasion, but precious gifts from handbags, to scarves, to everyday trinkets.
Carruthers immediately took me on a tour of the store, showing off the talents of local jewelry designers. Before I begin raving about these local designers, the store itself is a must see before graduating. Every corner, down to the structure holding the pieces, is glittering and has its own story. From the “Shaken not Stirred” lamp to the beaded butterflies grasping the railings of the jewelry cases, the store is a museum of talent. Although the shop is relatively small in size, every time I took another look around I found a new hidden corner of talented handiwork.
My two favorite local designers were Donna Damgaard and Mary Jensik. If I were to name and describe all the fabulous designers, it would take up the entire March issue.
Donna Damgaard and her business Beaded Blessings create looks from young and funky to polished and sophisticated. Beaded Blessings uses gems, beads, hand-blown glass and other natural materials to create unique, “one of a kind” looks. Beyond the distinctive look of her jewelry, Damgaard supports the Kenyan Women of Africa. The details of this project are worth noting; these women from Africa paint beads that enable them to provide for their families. Along with supporting a good cause, the beads are authentic and run about $45 .
Mary Jensik, of Camp Hill, creates her pieces with sterling silver, vermeil, handcrafted art glass and semiprecious stones. These creations not only look polished, but are limited edition jewelry. Carruthers really stresses the fact that “I want my customers to have that ‘one of a kind' feeling when they leave the store.” Jensik's pieces convey exactly this message and are well worth a peek. I spent close to an hour just looking at her handcrafted masterpieces. Some of Jensik's collection may be a little expensive, but there are plenty of pieces, especially a strand of beautiful pearls, that will not overdraw your bank account. Jensik's semi-gem stones must not go unnoticed as they are the perfect accessory to brighten any outfit. These pieces really show off Jensik's talent of pairing colors and shapes to create a unique, yet subtle look.
Along with featuring local designers, Y-Not displays one anonymous designer who creates a “beachy” feel under the name Joy-Beauty-Peace-Y-Not. Pearls are a must in this collection and the numerous pendant necklaces and dangling earrings are perfect last minute must haves before we all part for spring break. The pastel colors create a dreamy, island look, which is suitable for those sunset dinners before the night out. The prices are very reasonable, and you don't have to dig deep into your pockets to afford this classic look. Along with this line, Y-Not also sells sea glass designs under White Light Productions in Downingtown, PA. The pieces in this collection are truly fascinating because not only do these earrings create another island feel, they are uniquely placed in the metal wiring, which creates a striking contrast between the metal and blue.
Y-Not Gift Shop is a true hidden treasure of Carlisle. There are certainly many more pieces that I missed during my tour, and I can't wait to return. The store does not cater to one type of person, but wants everyone to feel like they own something special. Carruthers was more than happy to assist me in the store, which shows that she will welcome any student with ideas for presents or just sudden splurges.