Photo courtesy of Kiva

There are so many desperate needs in the world today and like most people, I want to help.  The magnitude of some of the problems is almost beyond comprehension.  It is easy to become overwhelmed or to feel as though the contribution I can make is too small, it won’t make a difference.  I was feeling that way earlier today and then I saw Nora Leon’s blog and this quote:

“I can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

It helped me remember that small things matter.  I’ve assembled kits for women in Rebecca Sower’s Haiti by Hand group.  I’ll work on an instruction sheet showing them how to make the earrings as soon as I can get someone to photograph my hands.  Since we don’t speak the same language, I figure showing them is the best way.  My goal is to finish the kits and get a box to her next week.  I need to go to a craft store to get some small hand tools for the women.

I made a Kiva loan to the woman entrepreneur pictured above.  She is running a beauty parlor and needs help getting supplies.  Her name is Titilayo Ajakaye and she is from Nigeria.

Through Hope International, I purchased a hair dryer for a woman in the Dominican Republic, also running a beauty parlor.

Small things.  Done with love.  And they matter.

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I love the simple sweetness of this bracelet.  There are three red white heart Venetian trail beads at the center.  “White heart” beads are ones where a color – red in this case – is layered over a white core (heart).  In the days when these beads were made, colored glass was harder to make and more expensive so this was a technique used to keep the beads more affordable.  I find the white heart also gives the beads a touch of luminosity.  I kept the design simple – jet crystal, black glass, aquamarine teardrops and darkened sterling silver chain.

Sometimes when I make very simple jewelry, I question whether I’ve done enough.  At times, I will ask my boyfriend what he thinks.  He always says the same thing – more notes don’t make a better song.  And he’s right – there can be just as much artistry in a simple, clean design as in one with a lot of complexity.

This evening I attended a concert in which my boyfriend played with his group.  And wow, did they do an awesome job.  The music was just beautiful, it was well attended, and I enjoyed just seeing him play – alive, free, and passionate.  To be on stage, to give one’s all, and to be recognized and appreciated is no small thing.  It won’t ever happen for me, my path is a different one, and a path I am happy with, but to him I say – I am proud.

This is one of the newest additions to my bead stash – a huge strand of carnelian shapes from the early to mid-1900’s.  It’s hard not to respond to the sheer mass of the strand, it’s about 42 inches long, contains roughly 100 pieces, and it’s heavy.

What’s really special is the unique beauty of each individual piece – there are lovely variations in size, in shape, and in coloring that make each piece special in its own right.  I plan to approach designing jewelry using these beads by doing some sketches first.  I’m not sure where I’ll head yet, it will come when I sit down and commit to the design process.

Newly manufactured carnelian beads are available as well.  Many of the ones I have seen have been treated by heat and other means to enhance their color.  The resulting beads have a deep red color but often lack any variation whatsoever.  I still buy them and use them, but it’s not the same as these rustic, weathered beads.

Maybe what I see happening with carnelian and other gemstone beads is like a microcosm of our society – one where the same stores and restaurants are increasingly found in every city and town – they have their place and purpose – but tucked away here and there are unique, independent businesses – gems of our communities.


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Mom and Sister

I was watching TV the other day and saw an actress wearing shoulder duster earrings and I thought to myself – are those coming back again?  I remember in the late-80’s when shoulder duster earrings hit the scene.  They were fun and like all fads and trends, eventually made way for the next new thing.  Fashion is so very cyclical.

I love watching today’s youth discover the trends of the 80’s or 90’s.  It brings to mind something my mother would tell me – “Everything old is new again.”  Meaning that trends from the past come back, sometimes reworked with a modern twist or element.  But that very little was really new.  Of course, every generation thinks it is the first to discover things.  Just part of the natural flow of life.

Here is a picture of my mother from the 50’s.  She is holding my eldest sister.  I’m not sure about the bangs, but I would totally wear the jacket.  My Mom never did pierce her ears.  Of course you know I would have on earrings too.  Love you Mom.

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I got my hair done yesterday and when I walked in my stylist had a big smile on her face.  I also noticed she was wearing big, bright yellow earrings with the letter “B”.  I mean really big and really bright.  And she looked adorable.  I asked her about the earrings and she said she just loved bright colors and that all of her jewelry was very colorful and bright.

Big, bright yellow earrings aren’t for everyone and I think that’s the point.  Each of us has things we wear that highlight our individual style and say a little about who we are.  And we all do it uniquely, with our own personal flair.

How do you use jewelry and accessories to show your personal style?  I’d love to hear from you.  And if you want to send photos and tell me a little about your approach to style, I’ll put them up.

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I swear it does.  I don’t drop beads often, but when I do, they disappear.  Sometimes they reappear later in unusual places – how they bounce or roll where they end up, I’ll never know.  Other times, they’re gone, vanished into thin air.  Maybe I’ll never see them again, or maybe they will resurface – married to some socks lost long ago.  Who knows!