AVD owner/designer, Anne Vaughan shares her feelings about her amazing customers who build traditions around her jewelry and give her creations as special gifts. She also talks about what she appreciates most about motherhood, special memories and Mother's Day traditions she had with her mom, Rita, and how she and her mom both had a rebellious streak!
How does it make you feel to hear people say they have Mother-Daughter traditions centered around your jewelry?
I think it's super cool that we get to be part of special events, whether it's Mother’s Day, weddings, Christmas, or birthday traditions. I love seeing familiar faces at shows; that's really special to me. I feel so honored to be asked to be part of these memories, and just that connection to so many people's lives. Because that's really what it's all about: connection. I'm energized by creating, and it gives me joy to make these pieces. I don't always know where they're going or where their ultimate home will be, but when I watch someone try on something I made and I can see the reaction on their face when they put it on, I love that connection. We have a Facebook Family page for our customers and I love when people post pictures of themselves wearing their jewelry, seeing how they mix certain pieces from different collections, and some people share stories of a special event where they wore their jewelry and so you see where your pieces end up and I love that.
What are some special pieces worn by your mom and your daughter?
It's fun to watch my daughter, Autumn, evolve with her jewelry style. She leans toward very simple jewelry. Her favorites are a little aquamarine nugget on a gold chain, and she has a rose gold choker she likes. One of our makers in the studio, Hona, just made her a gorgeous set for prom with cascading gemstones, swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls and green amethyst. My mom loved this turquoise cross necklace that I made her. I made her several one-of-a-kind necklaces, but that cross necklace was one of her favorites.
Do you have a favorite necklace or a specific style?
I definitely have a passion for turquoise and I try to incorporate it in my life however I can. I love to wear turquoise jewelry. When it comes to style, I don't wear as much chunky jewelry as I used to; I really like more simple and lightweight jewelry, but I appreciate versatility. I like to wear things several different ways, which is what I try to incorporate with my collections: layers and options with how you can wear necklaces long or short, or even necklaces you can wrap multiple times and turn into bracelets. The same goes for clothing; I like clothes I can wear in more than one way.
Did you have any Mother's Day traditions you did with your mom?
This is the first Mother's Day without my mom, so it's hard. My mom's birthday was close to Mother's Day and we would go up to Maine where my mom lived. I always had a tradition with my mom of going to greenhouses and picking out flowers and then we'd plant them together. My mom loved to garden. She loved yellow. She had all kinds of flowers that she loved. I love to garden at home, too, and that’s a way I can feel connected to my mom.
What was a quality you admired about your mom?
She was always really hopeful. Even though she struggled with her health, she always looked to the future with hope and determination. She didn't whine or complain. She had a lot she could have complained and whined about, but that just wasn't who she was. She was very independent.
What are some special memories growing up with your mom?
I grew up in Maine and it is absolutely beautiful there: mountains, the ocean, lakes and streams. There are over 600 natural lakes in Maine. Lots of outdoor opportunities like hiking through the woods. I love Maine in the fall. My mom and I would go up to the apple orchards and we'd get donuts, apples and cider. My mom would make apple crisp. She loved to cook to create a setting. When I would come home to visit, she would always cook something in the oven so there would be the smell of something baking to greet me. She would make these ridiculous peanut butter cookies and apple crisp. I’ll always remember that smell.
Were you a little angel growing up or did you give your mom a few gray hairs?
I was a bit of a hellion! All my friends were little hellions, too, and we just did fun and silly things. I would sneak out of the house just to be with my friends. My mom was a nurse and for some reason she had a prosthetic hand that she must have brought home from work. Well, I found it, and when I would stuff my bed to make it look like I was sleeping, I'd put this prosthetic hand coming out of the covers! Then I'd sneak out of the house and my friends and I would collect lawn ornaments in people’s yards like pink flamingos and corny ornaments or political signs, and then we'd go decorate someone's lawn with them!
But my mom was a bit of a rebel, too. When she was growing up, she checked herself out of parochial school and signed herself into public school. She just did what she wanted. I wish I knew her when she was young and carefree. She went to college in Boston, and just going through her photos and notes, she seemed like a completely different person. I would have loved to know her when she was in her 20s.
Did your mom have a special talent?
My mom was famous for her crepes. My friends were like, 'is your mom going to make crepes in the morning? Ok, then I'll come over.' She was a french cook and she could open up the fridge and cook with whatever was in there. That was her love: to feed people. She loved to entertain and have people over for dinner. Her mom was also a good cook. Every family get-together was a food extravaganza. If there were 20 people at dinner, there was enough food to feed 60 people.
What did you learn from your mom?
I learned the importance of a happy marriage. Finding someone you're compatible with is one of the most important decisions of your life. Making sure you are in a relationship where you feel loved and supported and you have a healthy partnership. I also learned about the importance of health and nutrition. Self-care is so essential.
What is something special your mom gave you?
My mom was an artist and she painted with watercolors. She painted landscapes, flowers; she did one of my son on the beach looking at a seashell. When I was growing up, we only lived a half hour from the coast so we went to the beach often. My mom's best friend, "Pinky," had a house on the beach and we would always go there, so her paintings of the coast of Maine remind me of home. My favorite painting of hers is a sand dune with grass blowing and a fence with a seagull...it's so simple, but it reminds me of those trips to the beach house.
What is a funny memory you have with your mom?
My mom and I discovered snapchat together! I have all these pictures of us dying laughing, it was really very funny...we used the snapchat filters to make ourselves look like nuns, punk rockers, witches, and devils with little devil horns. She just laughed and laughed, she had an infectious laugh. So I'm really glad I still have those pictures of us on my phone.
What's a meaningful mother-daughter memory with your mom?
The time my mom and I went on a cross-country trip. I went to undergrad school in Arizona and we drove my Volkswagen Scirocco from Maine all the way to Arizona. That was a memorable trip. It was the first time I was away from home and it was meaningful to be on that journey with my mom.
What is a meaningful memory you treasure with your kids?
When you have two kids, you try to make sure you give them one-on-one time, and Aaron and I really focused on that. We each took our kids out on dinner dates; I would take my son and Aaron would take our daughter, just to set aside that special time. I cherish the sweet conversations I had with my son during our dinner dates.
What activities do you enjoy doing with your kids?
My son loves to whip me around on the 4-wheeler! And we all go to Crossfit, so it’s great to workout together, to see your kids push themselves and grow. Autumn and I cook together and we go on walks, hiking, and we like to go shopping. We also play cards and we like to do different art projects together. She's really talented, she can draw really well. She started getting into watercolor and she was making these cute little greeting cards. Our recent thing is doing collage journaling. I have this treasure chest full of stuff I gathered when I cleaned out my mom’s house: concert tickets, newspaper clippings, notes and recipes; and I want to take those pieces and create a collage and use them in a special way.
How do you typically celebrate Mother’s Day?
I am so incredibly blessed. Aaron always goes above and beyond with the kids. I don't always know what he has planned with our son and daughter. Usually the day starts with breakfast in bed and it's a full day of just being together; sometimes we play cards. Last year we started with breakfast in bed and they gave me thoughtful gifts, a pedicure at home, and the kids cooked dinner. They each made their own dish, so that was neat, and we ate outside.
What are you most appreciative of this Mother's Day?
Just being a mom is one of the best gifts in life. You're going to make mistakes, but you do the best you can with who you are at the time. And you pray that God equips you with what you need to do your job as a mom. I appreciate all of the unplanned times with my kids. I love the time inbetween the things we do: the rides in the car to and from Crossfit, the moments you're just sitting on the couch and have great conversations, cooking dinners together, walking the dog, and the moments snuggling at night. No phones, no tv, no distractions. Those are the tender moments you just can't plan and I'll always cherish those times.