My Charmed Life…

February 28, 2011

I have a very classy Godmother.  When I was born, she started a charm bracelet for me.  Whether this helped mold me into a jewelry obsessed woman or she knew instinctively I will never know for sure, but I know that this piece of jewelry is intricately woven into the tapestry of my life. 

 How exciting it was for me to have a birthday, because every year would bring another charm commemorating something about me or something special that happened that year.  There is the first day of school – an engraved report card in Sterling Silver.  My Baptism, First Communion and my Confirmation are all there.  So is a slim, beautiful clarinet to commemorate the place music began to play in my life. 

 As the years went on and the charms became more plentiful, it became difficult to wear due to the wonderful but obvious jingling noise it made with every movement…I had to make sure only to wear it to somewhere where it wouldn’t cause distraction.  This was difficult because for me, it was always a distraction.  I have never tired of looking at each charm, re-living the events and the childhood joy of receiving them.

 I loved this idea so much I did the same for my wonderful Goddaughter Katie when she was born.  I hope that her bracelet means as much to her someday as mine does to me.  If you need an idea for a Goddaugher, granddaughter, niece or other little girl, consider a quality charm bracelet.  Maybe you will help mold a jewelry fanatic.  And maybe, just maybe, she’ll write a blog post about it someday!

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Awed and Amazed

December 11, 2010

Do you ever just marvel at your children?  Do you ever just wonder what part you might have had in assisting God to create such incredible people?  Are you ever awed at their gifts?  Their passions?  Their individuality?

I am regularly in the position of being awed and amazed at one of my children.  Here’s my reason tonight on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrILtIN17Mc

This is my 13 -year-old son.  His talent impresses me and his faith inspires me.  I had to share.

keyboard-ring

Cat Morley at the website Cut Out and Keep posted instructions to make this cute ring.  I was really taken with it…wouldn’t it make a great gift for your niece or a co-worker?  I thought it was adorable, and so easy to do!  I have an old keyboard downstairs that I was just going to – gasp! – throw out.  Not any more!   This website has instructions for lots of other cute things, too.  Cat and a lot of other artists post instructions on hundreds of items…check it out!  It really got my creative juices flowing. Thanks, Cat!

http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/keyboard_ring

paws & bones necklace

paws & bones necklace

Further down I tell the story about my claim to fame.  This is the prequel to that posting, so you may want to read this first!

I have a very good friend named Julie.  She is, without a doubt, the most passionate animal lover I know.  She and a group of equally passionate people worked very hard and were able to start the Menominee Animal Shelter here in town (http://mashelter.org).  She has worked tirelessly for the last five years fundraising and doing everything in her power to bring notice to the needs of the animal community.

A couple of years ago, she called me up and asked me to create a necklace and bracelet set for her mom’s birthday.  She learned her love of animals from her mother, and she wanted the jewelry to be animal related.  We tossed a couple of ideas around and I said I’d work on it.  I found wonderful charms with paws and bones, and I paired them with Sterling Silver and gold plated accents (a mixture I LOVE).  Well, to make an even longer story short, her mother loved them, and so did Jules, who ordered several more sets for gifts.  I decided it would become my way of helping the Shelter (other than adopting more animals I don’t have room for…now) and I decided I would donate back a portion of the proceeds to the Shelter.  I have been able to donate to a cause near and dear to a lot of hearts while creating the jewelry I love. 

 Someday when my children are grown I have no doubt I will become the crazy cat lady who lives with a houseful of feline companions, and I will be a frequent visitor to the Shelter for that reason.  But for now I will help in the way I can – by spreading the word about the Shelter and helping by giving back to a good cause.

Paws earrings

Paws earrings

My Claim To Fame

May 26, 2008

The View Mug

In the Fall of 2006, a local woman was going to be visiting her friend in New York. This friend just happened to be a producer on “The View.”  Since this woman was going to attend a taping of the show, she brought along gifts for her producer friend and for the hosts.  One of her objectives was to get some autographed pieces donated for the Menominee Animal Shelter auction.  Since the goal was to help the Shelter, and knowing that the ladies were all animal lovers, she decided to bring a set of my “Paws and Bones” jewelry line to each of the hosts of the show.   In return, I received a mug, signed by the ladies, which I am very proud of!
I don’t know if Barbara, Joy, or the others ever wore their gifts.  I like to imagine that they did.  But even if they didn’t, it doesn’t matter, because they made the journey.  And I have a fun story to tell…my little claim to fame. 

Amethyst

 

This week I was involved in an event called a Celebration of the Arts at Wausaukee High School in Wisconsin.  I was invited along with a group of other artists to give presentations throughout the day at their school, which includes all grade levels K-12.  The dance academy from my town was there, as was a professional musical piano team, paid for with multiple fund-raisers.  Class by class the kids came through and were shown by us what we do, how we started, and they were given an opportunity to ask questions and see us demonstrate what we do.

I was so pleased by the interest of the kids.  Girls, boys, younger, older…it didn’t matter, they were all great to spend time with.  I made tons of earrings and gave away a lot of beads!

At the end of the day, when I was hauling my stuff back to my van, a girl who had hung around with me during the afternoon offered to help carry things for me.  While we were walking out, she told me that the schools art and band program were both being cut for next year.  I shared that it is being considered at our school, also.

What is happening to our world when the arts don’t matter anymore?  I feel so badly for the students that will never know the fun of marching with the band during halftime, or having their artwork hanging on the walls of the art room at school.  What about the joy of smearing paint around?  I still love it – give me some acrylics and a pallette knife and I’m a happy woman!

I am sad for the kids who are currently in schools like these all over the country and for the ones who will never know these programs in our towns.  Being an artist is who I am, and learning to make music was one of the greatest gifts of my life.  I’ve been delighted to be able to allow my children to experience making music, also.  At least I have been up to now.  While my kids will still be in an artistic and musical home, what about the ones that don’t have exposure to things like this outside of the schools? 

 

 

I Dream of Turquoise

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

The Urban Hope Entrepreneur Center of Green Bay has announced that Diane Erickson of Sweet Annie’s Jewelry was chosen as one of the business plan winners from its recent classes.  The winners, who are from throughout the New North, were selected from 50 participants from two classes and will be awarded grants.  The sponsorship for the current grants was made possible by Morgan Stanley Investment Management. 

 

 

Truth be told, I wasn’t even going to finish writing this business plan.  The goal of the classes was to teach us practical business skills, the most essential being a good business plan worthy of presenting to a bank for financing.  Since my brother was providing the funds for my website and I really haven’t got strong financial records to show, I wasn’t planning on putting in the work to even join the business plan contest.  But since I don’t like to leave things unfinished, I completed the plan – actually putting in more time than I ever thought was necessary, and turned it into the Urban Hope Business Plan Competition on the very last day possible, hoping I wasn’t making a fool of my self with my “little” plan.

 

You can imagine my joy when I got the call saying I was one of the eight winners.  In addition to the grant to help pay business expenses, I felt like it was such a validation of my hard work on Sweet Annie’s Jewelry.  So much for my little “hobby business”…I felt (rightly) like the real deal.  Studies have shown that businesses who have a formal business plan are much more likely to still be in business several years later.

 

 

Who would have thought those Christmas gift bracelets would have taken me on this journey?

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