An Artistic Endeavor

Melissa McCulloch goes for the unique with her FrouFrou Jewels.

Jewelry artisan Melissa McCulloch started her company, FrouFrou Jewels, at her kitchen table after seeing a bracelet her sister had made at a bead store. Inspired, McCulloch began making jewelry as a hobby, but it soon mushroomed into a full-time occupation.

Now, her handmade pieces are carried at Parchment in southwest Orlando, the Orlando Museum of Art and Scott Laurent Collection in Winter Park. She’s also creating line of wedding jewelry, and each piece can be customized with a bride and groom’s birthstones or coordinated with a wedding’s color theme.

McCulloch uses semiprecious stones, freshwater and antique glass pearls, and Czech crystal beads. She scours antique shops and the Internet for vintage charms, signed costume brooches and other unusual items to incorporate into her jewelry.

“Each piece I create is a unique work of wearable art,” says McCulloch, who lives in Atlanta but is considering relocating to Florida. “I love finding new avenues of artistic expression in my jewelry, and my work is constantly changing and evolving as I discover new materials and techniques.” Prices range from $50 to $250; you can see more of McCulloch’s work at

Gifts From the Heart


1. Hearfelt Gesture
This sheesham wood puzzle forms a heart when it’s put together, and spells “I love you” when it’s taken apart. Each puzzle is handmade by artisans in India, who use simple tools to shape, cut and polish the wood. $20, Ten Thousand Villages in Winter Park;

2. Beyond the Pail
Instead of using ribbons and wrapping paper, why not package gifts in a cute gift pail that’s a gift in itself? Persona Gift Pails come with stickers that allow you to create different character faces, including “Love Struck Lucy.” Each gift pail includes a “hair piece,” reusable stickers to create seven different “personas,” colorful shredded paper filler and a notecard. They’re $14.95 each and available at Girlie Girl Things in east Orlando (407-380-0012) and at

3. Break From Tradition
A dozen long-stem roses is the safe bet as a Valentine’s Day gift to a true love, but here’s something to consider if you’re tired of sending the predictable: JoAnn Calandrino, owner of Bay Hill Florist, took traditional blooms and combined them with orchids and lillies in a clear glass vase to create an elegant bouquet to send on Feb. 14. $75, plus delivery; 7784 Sand Lake Road W., Orlando, 407-226-7122;

4. Love Letters
Tampa sisters Christy and Caroline Chesnutt have a way with words. They enjoy collecting pithy quotations, and found a way to profit from that unusual pursuit by establishing Literary Linens. Their Love Collection linen napkins feature embroidered quotations from Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, Voltaire and the Bible’s Song of Songs. The set of four is $34.99 at

5. Fuel His Passion
If golf is his passion—after you, of course—get his emotions revved up by surprising him with Callaway Golf’s latest driver, the Diablo Octane. The club head is crafted of a forged composite material that’s lighter and stronger than titanium. Combine that with Octane’s 46-inch shaft (vs. 45 inches for most drivers) and the result will be longer tee shots, Callaway claims. Not that he hasn’t heard that before! $299.99; go to to find local retailers.

Marks of Distinctions

A grilled entrée that wasn’t cooked as she ordered led 1993 UCF grad Leslie Haywood to a “light bulb moment.” She came up with Grill Charms, stainless steel markers with serrated stems that can be inserted into meats to identify personal cooking preferences. With identifying symbols on them (MR for medium rare, a pepper over a flame for spicy hot, etc.), the markers help avoid cookout mix-ups, like serving a steak cooked rare to a guest who wanted his well done. But some markers, like those in the Charmed Life Collection, are strictly for fun and decoration. Grill Charms are sold in sets of six for $19.95 at Home and Garden Treasures in Mount Dora and at; enter the code ILOVEOMAG for a 10 percent discount on your order.

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