Finds 08.19.09

If Great-grandma’s string of pearls is just a memento mori in your bling box, here’s a way to update the look without ditching the family jewels: Craftsman Ron Stevens doesn’t just sell other people’s work; at his little jewel box of a shop in the Oil Center, he can help design a new look using old pieces. His latest creation is a Jazz Age-length necklace combining a string of antique pearls, natural crystal beads and delicate lengths of chain. No, it ain’t your grandmother’s demure necklace, but seeing the sparkle in your eyes, I don’t think she’ll mind. Ron Stevens’ jewelry shop is located in the Oil Center Gardens; call 234-3890 for more info. — Mary Tutwiler

New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas is going strong and going long, marking her 50th anniversary as a recording artist this year. For the last 24 years she’s been part of the Rounder Records family, releasing 10 studio albums on the label. To celebrate, the cleverly named The Soul Queen of New Orleans: 50th Anniversary Celebration hits the street Aug. 25. It features a dozen of Irma’s biggest hits from the Rounder years, along with three previously unreleased tracks. No quibbling about the absence of pre-Rounder hits like “I Wish Someone Would Care” and “Don’t Mess with My Man.” Irma’s Rounder catalogue is considerable, and this is a great sampler of a beautiful voice. Get it for $13.99 at and elsewhere online. — Walter Pierce

The softest 100-percent cotton T-shirt dresses to ever touch your skin are getting an updated look at downtown Lafayette’s most trendy boutique, Wa-Zoo. Due to the success of the summer cotton tanks with studded designs of crosses, fleurs de lis and angel wings, the Wa-Zoo girls are now doing the same designs on the backs of T-shirt dresses (only black is available for now but look for more colors soon). The dress sells for $45, and long-sleeved Ts are in the works as well. All of the work is done in-house; the staff has even customized the dressing room curtains with studded chandelier designs. Look for studs and grommets on everything from peep-toe pumps to bags and cuffs as a way to incorporate texture and shine into your fall wardrobe. Wa-Zoo is located at 408 Jefferson St. Call 593-8553 for more info. — Leslie Turk