Living in a Dream: Asilah, Morocco

You have to start somewhere.
In 2008, I jumped on a chance to leave the country to attend a wedding in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.  It was my first time abroad and I had no frame of reference for anything outside of North America. After touring around, visiting Tagazhout, Essaouira, Merzouga, and Marrakech, I couldn’t help but dream of returning.   On that trip, I bought a set of hand-carved, wooden dice.

Eleven years later, they still smell like the souk in Essaouira where I purchased them.  I wondered if it was all in my head.  I wondered if it would be difficult, if the language barrier would be too big of a challenge, if getting around would be too complicated…luckily, those doubts weren’t enough to stop me.

As we planned this adventure, my friend Annie and I decided we’d settle on 2 days in each place: 2 cities by the sea, one in the mountains.  Logistically, this meant meeting in Madrid (we like to meet in Spain, apparently), flying into Tangier in the north, renting a car …

Found Materials

I've been thinking a lot about the materials I use for Tesori dal Lago and wanted to share a bit of the emotional roller coaster that is working with found objects.

Aside from a little help from my friends (and family), I find all of the stones, glass, and pottery on shorelines.  The majority of beaches I frequent are between Bay Village and Conneaut, Ohio.  Two of the most frequently asked questions I get are, "Did you use a tumbler to get these beads to match?" and "Did you paint the pottery?"

The answer to both of these is a simple, "No."  I never alter the shape, color, or finish of anything that I find.  The painted pottery is found "as is" - and so many, like myself, are so intrigued by it.  Imagining the history behind these gorgeous fragments is part of the fun.

That being said, it's a painstaking process to match these materials, every pair of earrings is a labor of love, making them perfectly imperfect.  When designing, I'…

I have an INTERN!!!

Hi all!  
Happy New Year! 
 I'm a big fan of Gretchen Rubin's Happier Podcast and that's where I get my take on resolutions.  
So, here's my 19 in 2019 which (as you can see) includes monthly blog posts.

Many of my goals are centered around Tesori dal Lago, a jewelry line curated from objects found along the shores of Lake Erie.  In 2018, I was honored to present my line to a variety of audiences by showing at The Ashtabula Harbor Beach Glass Festival, The Cleveland Flea, Ramparts Gallery in 78th St. Studios, and The Art Craft Studio Show.

This year, while I'm strategically filling out show applications (and crossing fingers and toes I'm selected) I have an exciting announcement:

I have an intern!  Her name is Jessica.
Read more about Jess:

Hello! My name is Jessica Bunnell and I am a senior marketing major at Ohio Northern University. This spring I will be joining Natalie and working with Tesori dal Lago. When Natalie gave me the opportunity to work with her on this …


Traveling inspires me.  A place will come to mind, I'll ruminate on it, start to obsess over it, transition to actually researching and studying maps, and then decide it's a non-negotiable to visit.

That's exactly how I ended up visiting Portugal this summer.  My original dream was to visit small seaside towns in Spain, take the ferry over to Morocco, and then wander the coast of Portugal - what actually happened was some quality time in Houghton/Wyton, England, a few days in Barcelona, and then on to Portugal.

And, it was incredible.  Every single moment.

When talking to a friend that recently spent her 40th anniversary in Portugal, I realized that what I loved so much about the trip was the quality time with the friends I was with - the freedom from a schedule to sit outside (of course) at charming cafes, take in the sangria, people watch, and catch up.

You see, we live in an age where communication is e-a-s-y.  I valued trading the iMessage and What'sApp for good ol…