violin themed gifts

  • Talented Sisters Both Winners in Youth Composition Competition

    Youth Composition Competition Students Also Top Students in School

    This is the third year sisters, Fiona and Helena Abney- McPeek from Chicago have entered the Violettes Youth Composition Competition. This year they both received top placement awards!


    Gifts for music lovers, violin themed gifts, violin gifts Fiona, 1st Place Junior Composition Competition Winner


    Fiona Abney-McPeek from Illinois won 1st place in the Junior Composition division with "Sunlight".

    Thanks to Performers Music in Chicago for her $50 Gift Certificate.

    Currently 13 years old and in 7th grade, Fiona has been involved with music for much of her life. She started playing violin when she was a toddler. Soon after, she began her first compositions, which she played on violin with her family. "Sunlight" is Fiona's first piece for brass. In addition to playing and composing music, Fiona participates in her middle school's Mathcounts, Science Olympiad team and cross country teams. She currently plays in a youth orchestra, sings in the school choir, plays chamber music with her friends and participates in a composition workshop.




    gifts for music lovers, violin gifts, violin themed gifts Helena wins for a 3rd year in a row, but this year she is in the Senior Division.

    Helena Abney-McPeek from Illinois won 3rd place in the Senior Composition Competition with "May 14". She entered Parts I and II separately due to their length. Both Parts I and II were equally excellent, and tied for third place! Helena has won awards for the past 2 years.

    Thanks to Sheet Music Plus for the $25 Gift Certificate

    Helena, age 15, started playing Suzuki violin at the age of 4.  From the very beginning, she was interested in composing, and wrote several pieces for violin and voice when she was about 5 years old.  She is now a high school sophomore.  She sings in the a cappella choir at school and plays violin in the Chicago Youth Concert Orchestra.  She's involved in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra's Composition Seminar and has composed for her high school's musical. Her other interests include math, computer science, writing and acting.


    Music Art Cards to Benefit Youth Music Competition

    The Youth Music Competition will earn 100% from card profits thru the end of May 2016, and 20% after that. Please support our work with card purchases at this LINK. You can buy a set of all the same or an assortment. We are currently working on more cards, and love requests.

    Gifts for Music Lovers, Violin Gifts Purchase Music Art Greeting Cards, Blank inside with Practice Tips on Back                                                               to benefit our Youth Music Competition.
  • Cool (Violin) Purse -un 39 is a Tennessee Native

    Ms. Bobbie DeRidder Gives Violettes Violin Purse as a Gift Again

    Giving a Purse as a gift may be unusual, but our music purses scream of East TN with their Instrument Shapes. Knoxville calls itself the other music city. (See "Other Music City Blog"). I sit down to interview Bobbie, who first purchased a Violin Purse for a Texas violinist daughter in-law, then another Violin Purse for a Florida Granddaughter. Before I could get one of my standard interview questions out of my mouth Bobbie says she brought a book to loan me, and she launches into telling me her long TN family history. It was fascinating, so I urged her to continue.

    purse as a gift, violin purse, violin themed gifts We're so glad Bobbie thinks of our Violin Purse as a gift. They're loved by all ages, and a favorite of mine.

    Bobbie DeRidder tells that her family owned a farm property by the French Broad River in Jefferson County, East Tennessee. After the Revolutionary War, properties "stolen from the Indians" were divided up and given out. So, it had belonged to her family that long until they were forced to sell for the construction of Douglas Dam. (Douglas Dam construction began in 1943.) Bobbie says the property had tenant farms with 2 tenant farmer houses, and her grandmother grew up there, and lived with her family. Bobbie loved to farm. And she loved large open spaces where she could "roam freely". Her family moved off the farm to Dandridge when she was nine. This actually was a good move for her father who ran the road department for Jefferson County. Their new property was large, and her Mom had a very large "marvelous" garden and a chicken house. 

    violin purse, violin themed gifts, gift ideas for music lovers Bobbie, left, and her sister in high school!

    Dandridge was a place where Bobbie could "roam freely". Bobbie and her older sister each had their own paper route in Dandridge! Bobbie held this job from age 10 thru high school. After which she went to UT Knoxville to major in Accounting. She obtained her CPA license and only recently stopped working (doing taxes) due to numerous health problems. I think she's allowed to slow down at 83!

    Bobbie has so many hobbies! She used to Ballroom Dance with her husband, and still dances some. She is an avid eclectric reader. She belongs to a book club which reads some "hard" books, such as the one she brought me to read, Zealot The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. My Mother is already loving the book, thank you very much. She also enjoys mysteries. She is currently reading a mystery called The Man on the Washing Machine.

    And Violettes asks about Bobbie's music background after Bobbie says how much she loves the violin purse as a gift because it's so unique. Her mother played piano. She and her sister had

    violin purse, violin themed gifts, gift ideas for music lovers Bobbie and her granddaughter

    some piano lessons, but not for very long. Bobbie has 4 children, including a multi-talented musician son who lived in Austin, Texas and recently died, and another son who lives in Knoxville. He assists families with financial management. One daughter works for the US Forrest Service and lives in Cleveland, TN and the other daughter lives in Seaside area in Florida. She owns a Jewelry Store called "Magpie Jewelry", and her husband runs 2 restaurants which she recommends, both called "The Perfect Pig".

    I have been surprised to bump into Bobbie while hiking in the mountains! She is an avid hiker (until recent health problems). Bobbie belonged to the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club for many years.

    Violin Purse, Gift ideas for music lovers, violin themed gifts Purchase a music purse as a gift today at Violettes by Becky!


  • Sheryl McDonald Fiddles Hot Country Songs

    Cool Music Purse -un 33 needs our Gifts for Musicians

    Fiddler of Hot Country Songs, Sheryl McDonald, special orders her microphone bag modeled after our shoulder rest bags in our " Violin Shop ". She sends photos with measurements of her needs, and we send her photos of our available fabrics. Ms. McDonald plays with Highway 60 - Hot Country -  "We play classic and newer country  tunes.  We’re a band of 8 - two singers, acoustic guitar, steel guitar, electric guitar, fiddle, bass and drums."

    Ms. McDonald plays a 2003 Charles Horner Fiddle. If you have a fiddle tune you’d like

    violin shop, gifts for violin players, gifts for musicians More Mic Measurements. Sheryl keeps Mic safe to play hot country songs.

    transcribed into notes, she says to email her.  "If I can find an mp3 of the tune, chances are, I can write out the music notation." Her web site is at

    1.  Violettes: You are a professional musician that uses a violin mic. You must be in a band? What kind of music do you perform and what groups are you in?
    Sheryl:  Currently I’m playing with a classic country band.  I studied classical music in college, and have played in folk / bluegrass / country bands in addition to playing with symphonies.  I’m currently playing and singing backup with Southern Tradition – a country band based in Birchwood, TN.
    2.  Violettes: How young did you start playing? Do you play other instruments or/and sing too? 
          Did you learn on the Suzuki method or...
    Sheryl: I started playing violin when I was in 6th grade. I had started earlier playing piano and clarinet, and also sang in the school chorus.  I was taught the traditional method (not Suzuki). 
    3.  Violettes: You live in Georgia. Is that where you are from? Is your family there. Have you lived anywhere else?
    Sheryl: I was born in Madison TN (near Nashville). When I was five, we moved to Denver Colorado, then in High School, my  parents moved to the Washington DC area.  In high school, I was lucky to hang out with some old time fiddlers and learned fiddling  styles from them.
    4.    Violettes: Do you have time for hobbies or other interests? What might they be?
    Sheryl: Well, besides music (which is a job and a hobby), I do enjoy camping and outdoor sports.
    5.    Violettes: What is your favorite music to listen to? Do you have any favorite bands or musicians?
    Sheryl: I listen to a lot of music – lots of fiddling, and everything else: country, rock, pop, bluegrass, you name it!  Depending on what song I’ve heard lately, that becomes my new favorite music.
    Sheryl invites us to her show -
    If you’re ever in the Birchwood, Tennessee area on a Saturday, night, stop by the Birchwood Family Opry on Hwy 60 and come hear Southern Tradition. Shows start at 7 p.m.

    Sheryl's band playing their hot country songs (lifted from You Tube).

  • Top 10 Violin Themed Gifts

    We Love the Gift List And this Year it Features Violettes

    For many years, I have enjoyed looking at the Violin Themed Gifts recommendations from And I have wanted to read thru The Interviews, Vol. 1 by Laurie Niles (co founder of the site with her husband) ever since I read about it. We can't do a better job recommending the latest recordings or sheet music to purchase, but we can show you what we have in the way of violin themed gifts at Violettes.

    Top 10 Violin Themed Gifts from the Violettes store:

    All Violin Styles are designed by Violettes, but there are varying degrees of manufacturing  to produce them.

    1. Classic Symphony Black velvet Violin Purse that also doubles as a gig bag. Our bags wereviolin purse, violin themed gifts, gifts for music lovers specifically designed to hold the largest sized cello string pack in the back pocket. So they are perfect cello themed gifts. And for that matter, they look like basses. We would love to start an all about that bass fad with our awesome purses! A number of professional string players own this gig bag.


    2. This Brown "Retrolette" Violin Handbag is surprisingly most popular among young buyers. We

    all about that bass, its all about that bass, cello sizes Violin themed gifts or All about that bass!

    can only guess because it is brown like a real violin. Each of these comes with a small leather wallet, a key hook, pencil loop and even a special place to keep eye glasses. Well designed with 2 pockets inside and 2 on the back. the bottom back pocket has a divider in it. In addition the bottom pocket has a flap to loop closed.


    3. We have a new addition, Chic Woman Plus Violin Purse with a flashy silver lined Black and lt. grey Purse that matches outfit!

    violin themed gifts, violin handbag, gifts for music lovers


    4. So many men have told us if we got this in leather, they would want one, so here it is: A manly Violin Gig Bag. cello music, violin purse, gifts for him

    Mothers of Violin Players like the brown leather Violin Handbags.



    violin themed gifts, violin purse, gifts for music lovers5. Violin themed gifts as wearable art. Who doesn't like to show off a hand painted purse! We love requests. Here is an elegant gold painting with gold jewelry ornamentation. Browse our Violin Purse section to see more choices or request your own painted theme and colors.


    6.These bags are 100% hand sewn by Becky. They are the most special Violin Gifts we have.

    Here is our current favorite, but check our Violin gifts page to choose your own.

    Violin themed gifts, violin purse, gifts for music lovers



    7. There are some that prefer our smaller style of handmade violin purse. The are also amazingly well designed to fit spare violin strings or eye glasses in the back pocket, rosin, keys... inside. One owner of the smaller handmade violin bag says. I was in a store last summer in France. The whole store had purses over $1,000, and all I could think of is your purses are better! They're much more unique.Violin Gifts, Violin Purse







    8. We have had several people either order our violin shoulder rest bag, or a bigger version of it for violin mic storage. The requests send us required dimensions with photos of the mic. See our "Violin Shop".

    9. Our Violin themed gifts can start an All About that Bass Fad - Go all out and get our monthly gifts package.

    Its all about that bass, violin purse, gift ideas for music lovers Close up and personal of Its all about that bass.


    all about that bass, its all about that bass, cello sizes News Flash - Trending Fashion - its all about that bass!









    10. Lastly, we must recommend the book by editor Laurie Niles, with a foreword by Hilary Hahn. It is a compilation of 27 of's best interviews from the last decade, with lovely photos of the artists and a beautiful cover that looks great on any coffee table.


  • Gifts for Music Lovers - Book about Johnny Mull "Fiddler of the Mountains"

    "Fiddler of the Mountains" 

    Eva Nell Mull Wike PhD brings us personal gifts for music lovers. She is known as a storyteller and with "Fiddler of the Mountains: Attuned to the Life and Times of Johnny Mull", she won her second author's award from the Judges of the North Carolina Society of Historians in 2014.  
    In 2008, she happened to meet a man who just happened to have all her Uncle Johnny's photos from the 1950's! Clay Ivester was the man she met at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Warne, NC. Receiving these photos inspired this second book, which is written in a very personal style. Soon after the book release, Eva Nell acquired the old acetate records, which Johnny and his friends had recorded in the 1950's. She contacted the National Recording Studio in Rome, Georgia to restore the music on CD by Johnny Carter, another great musician and dedicated historian. The book includes a description of Johnny Mull playing in a skating rink for a young girl named Dolly Parton. These books come with a CD of Johnny's music, and would make great gifts for music lovers.
    Note about the author - I met Eva Nell, of all places at the Swimmin Women Group in Oak Ridge, TN. She is retired as an award winning High School Physics and Math Educator, and enjoys gardening, swimming, hiking, tennis and international travel.
    Eva Nell's Press Release for the second book is below:

    On October 25, 2014, in Mooresville, NC, Eva Nell Mull Wike was awarded the Robert Bruce Cooke Family History Award by the North Carolina Society of Historians (NCSH). Her new book is entitled "Fiddler of the Mountains: Attuned to the Life and Times of Johnny Mull."  Although Eva Nell has made her home in the mountains of Tennessee for decades, her devotion to her family and heritage in the mountains of North Carolina still holds strong today.

    According to the collective comments of the NCSH Judges: "This book will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading about life in the North Carolina mountains, who loves fiddle and banjo music/bluegrass, or who holds the memories of Johnny Mull (1922- 2008) dear to their heart. It is the kind of book we wish someone would write about us and our lives at some point ... a publication that is a credit to the person written about.

    Wike has told Johnny Mull's story in a reader friendly style and added large doses of unspoken love. She states that he was a favorite uncle and she expresses her affection for him; however, the unspoken love for him is felt throughout the text. She actually WANTS people to know about him, to remember him. She wants us to be as impressed with him as she was and is. Ms. Wike ... we are!"

    gifts for music lovers, Dolly Parton "Fiddler Book" by Eva Nell Mull Wike

    Violettes by Becky offers this fine book. Another one of our special Violin themed gifts.

    Click Here to buy ==>>> Gifts for Music Lovers Local

     Enjoy this treat.


  • Interview with Nora Germain, Jazz Violin Part 1


    As owner of a Violin Themed Gifts company, I listen to music videos of musicians I stumble upon on facebook. That's how I found Nora Germain who plays jazz violin. I love her style. I know that a jazz education on violin is not so easy to come by. I love jazz music, partially because there was access to jazz in the public schools where I grew up; and because my brother became a jazz, then a Klezmer-Jazz trumpeter, band leader and composer.


    How Nora Germain got her Jazz Violin Education


    Nora Germain is a professional jazz violin player, recording artist, composer, producer, singer, session soloist, and string section violinist. She is skilled in on-camera performance/ sidelining for TV and film, recording for soundtracks and scores, and improvising on recordings or in live performance.

    She is currently "playing a lot in Los Angeles and San Diego, and sitting in with a lot of great musicians. I've been playing in some movies as well, and getting to do some more recording soon which I am thrilled about!"

    1. Violettes:  I understand, both your parents were professional musicians, but you didn’t start with jazz violin until age 16? Did you not come across jazz in your studies until you went to the high school where Marshall Hawkins (former bassist for Miles Davis, Shirley Horn) taught? Did you specifically apply to this high school to study from Mr. Hawkins?

    Nora: I had been interested in improvisation particularly in fiddle music, like Celtic/ Irish fiddling and of course American fiddling. I had heard some jazz growing up, but hadn't become inspired by it until meeting Marshall, and around that time, I discovered Stephane Grappelli, and his music deeply inspired me also.

    I applied to Idyllwild Arts, a boarding high school, as a classical violinist and as a dancer for my junior and senior years. I hadn't focused my artistic path and was really into ballet and jazz dance at the time, so my thought was that if I could just get to a school where the whole idea is to sharpen a young artist's path, or further focus the already existing vision (and mine was rather vague -- all I knew is that I wanted to play violin!) then I would find a path. And I did!

    2. Violettes: You learned jazz violin from a bass player? Did he have a specific method? Or did you learn the theory, and just practice with people that know what they are doing on a daily basis? Can you tell us a little more about how you became so proficient seemingly so quickly?

    Nora: It doesn't seem so quick to me! Ha! There are new things to learn every day, even master players like Marshall still say that! That's the truth.

    When I started playing jazz, I had a good ear and had a wide range of musical influences. So many, in fact, that I felt a little lost. I wasn't sure what I really liked versus what was just ok.

    I used my ear to really practice improvising on melodies and also playing improvised cadenzas. It was a lot of ballads.

    For a while, and I still do this, I'd learn the melodies of ballads or play other tunes slowly, pay a lot of attention to the chords and also the sound of each chord and the feeling of the phrase. Marshall and I would sit at the piano and he'd play the chords and I'd take my time playing the melody on the violin, then repeat it with variation or embellishment, and before I knew it, I was soloing, totally improvising, but in a "melodic context," which is to say, always thinking of a melody. Not the notes, or the scales, but a melody.

    Theory can be very helpful and it is an important part of the foundation of a musician, but when improvising, the theory of what I am playing rarely crosses my mind. If there is a tune with particularly tricky chords or something, it's good to take a closer look. In general, I go from the melody. Straight from the heart! That’s swing!

    Marshall always taught us to play what we feel and to go for it. Don't shy away from dynamics, extremes in acoustic range or tempo or intensity, a new technique or approach, or even silence. He was and is a man of expression, so we all learned principally that way.

    Listening is key also! Especially important to listen to things you are drawn to. They lead you to your own sound if you keep drawing on things you like and keep making them your own. And listening helps you to sharpen your soloing, your ideas, everything! If you don’t like something and you’ve listened to it quite a bit, maybe it’s not meant to influence you, or maybe just not yet.

    Some people think it’s interesting that my first jazz teacher was a bassist, and not a violinist, but really, in jazz, no matter if you’re a singer or a guitarist or a trumpet player, you can always be inspired by or even steal ideas from one another. It’s not like classical music where each instrument has its own repertoire and if you play oboe and you want to a play a piece written for cello that it may be weird. In jazz, what’s weird is welcome, as long as it swings!

    So learning from a bass player was great. It gave me all sorts of insight that helped me develop my foundation and understand the basics of jazz, like timing, the feeling of the quarter note, the importance of intonation when playing jazz on a string instrument, understanding and feeling bass lines, using the bow in creative ways, and most importantly, learning from Marshall in particular is a school in itself. There will never be anything like it in my life.

    See Ms. Germain in action in this delightful video.


    Watch for Blog Sequel, "More about Nora Germain, Jazz Violin Part 2"

    Visit her web site at:


    Blogger Becky Chaffee is owner of Violettes by Becky making Music Purses and Gig Bags


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