A Creative Mess…

May 5, 2011

“A creative mess is better than idle tidiness.”      ~ Michael J. Fox

No idle tidiness on my beading table…I am and always will be a creative mess!



Spring Fling…

April 24, 2011

Tutti Fruitti

 I am busy getting prepared for my upcoming Spring Fling at Trends and Traditions, a local shop that carries my jewelry and a ton of really fabulous stuff.  Another artist and I are doing the event together next Saturday, April 30th and I am really excited to debut lots of new jewelry!  I love events like this with great music, fun snacks and lots of interaction with people.

Gaye of Bag Lady Originals makes fabulous painted silk scarves in wonderful bright, bold patterns.  The color blocking she does is so very current in fashion right now.  She and I are combining to create a day to really promote accessorizing – how it’s not only about clothes, but how you bring it all together with accessories that really makes you stand out.

Trends and Traditions is a happy place for me.  There is a lot of unique, wonderful stuff there that fits right in with my philosophy of fashion – it should be FUN and FABULOUS!

Tutti Fruitti Earrings


When I was first in college, I was bitten by the vintage clothing bug.  I frequented our local Goodwill store.  They had a wonderful “Antique and Vintage Clothing” rack, and I bought some fabulous things there.  I also picked up oodles of jewelry.  Most of it I wore, but some I just wanted to have. I didn’t know why, but I started collecting even broken pieces if they struck my fancy.  Maybe I had an inkling that one day I would make jewelry – I’m not sure – but for whatever reason I continued to collect it even after vintage clothing became trendy and the good stuff was always gone. 

 My mother and I went to a lot of garage sales in my young adult years.  I furnished my apartments with garage sale finds, and I also came back with any jewelry I could find.  When I had children and would scour the sales for deals on baby items, I would still come home with jewelry.

Is it any surprise then, that one day while I was reading a craft magazine I came across a design for a bracelet I knew I just had to try?  It showed how to make a name bracelet with letter cubes.  Perfect!  I had 4 nieces with unique names so they could never get anything ready-made in personalized items.  I loved giving handmade items for Christmas, so this seemed perfect.  I went to the craft store and bought what I needed.  What fun!  When I was done with the name bracelets I was having so much fun I decided to make mothers bracelets for my friends and sisters-in-law.  I was forever hooked.

 And the rest is history…well, my history, anyway!

I still have tons of old jewelry with a head full of ideas to make from it.  Part of me doesn’t want to take apart such vintage masterpieces, but the other part sees glorious new ideas made from these older, worn out baubles.  Hopefully I can find a way to blend the vintage with the new into unique ways that do justice to the pieces these once were.

The image is from Andrea Singarella at www.andreasingarella.com


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!

My Mother and My Jewelry…

February 19, 2011


Ever since I was a young girl, I have been fascinated by jewelry.  I spent hours with my mothers’ jewelry box, examining and trying on every piece of jewelry in her box. I would wear my mothers’ jewelry whenever I got the chance.  In fact, I was wearing her class ring one day when my friends invited me to the beach. I forgot I had the ring on, but when I came home it was no longer there.  It was so hard to look at my Mom and tell her I had lost the ring.  We went back to the beach and searched and searched but the ring was never found.  I know she was disappointed in me and in the loss of her ring, and I am still disappointed in myself.

 The only time I ever remember being punished by my parents revolves around my kleptomaniac tendencies with my mothers’ accessories.  I was in my room playing, wearing my mothers’ watch.  I was oblivious to the commotion in the other room, but apparently there was quite a search going on for the watch.  Was my Dad ever mad when he found out I was wearing it without asking because my Mom had been so worried.  I went without supper that night for the only time in memory. 

 I think that’s when I decided to start collecting my own jewelry.

Closet Diva…

January 23, 2011


I have always blamed it on the fact I was the only girl with four brothers. Testosterone flowed freely at my house. No matter what the subject, I was overruled. My childhood was dotted with family gatherings to watch vulnerable animals being chased down on “Wild Kingdom,” and family night consisted of popcorn and All Star Wrestling on TV. My wardrobe was hand me downs from the guys (on the plus side, I had more worn-in Levi’s than any other girl in school!) I had a “pixie” haircut. We had 1 bathroom, and God forbid I should leave something girly around. Even my Mom, bless her heart, had too much to do to indulge in a lot of girliness.

It was only natural I would turn into a Closet Diva.

I started buying teen fashion magazines before anyone else. I started spending my money on makeup and sending for every cologne sample the magazines offered. I didn’t have money or opportunity to buy clothes, but I learned how to sew in the ninth grade and never looked back!

My first real job was as a retail salesperson in a mall store, and the rest is history. Can you say clothing discount???? I worked up to retail assistant manager after a stint in Cosmetology school, and yet my worship of everything fashion and beauty wasn’t quenched. I had the wardrobe, I did hair, what was left?

The answer came when my children were small. I began making jewelry. I have now been in business 9 years and have been very successful at it. I had to start selling it because I became so addicted to buying beads and making jewelry that I needed an outlet!

Now if I could just learn to make shoes…


Sometimes I am blown away by other people’s creativity.  I am amazed when someone elevates a certain art to levels I never thought could be reached.  I feel that way about my fellow artist Laurie Ceesay.  She’s from my town, and we’ve gotten to know each other from The Old Church Gallery, where we both have our artwork.  I have a wall piece of hers I have previously written about that I absolutely love.  Laurie has taken the genre of art quilting to the most amazing level I could imagine.  Every time I see a new quilt of hers, I am in awe of her talent!  The quilt pictured above is entitled “Hera and Aphrodite” and won 2nd Place in the Marquette MI “Autumn Comforts” Quilt Show held in October of this year. You can read all about her inspiration for this piece and how she created it on her blog.

She has a new website I encourage you to visit.  It will inspire you!  Laurie’s website can be seen at http://www.laurieceesay.com/

I think I need to go make some jewelry now!

I was thinking the other day while I was watching my vibrating polisher work on my tarnished Sterling Silver beads.  It’s almost hypnotic the way the process works.  Through the use of stainless steel shot of various sizes and shapes in water (and a little soap), this machine agitates and uses high-speed oscillation to polish the silver clean.  The stainless steel media, some of it pointy and sharp, some of it rounded, works it’s way repeatedly into every nook and cranny of the beads especially the spots where a polishing cloth could never reach.  The process is not a passive one – the beads and shot move continuously and wear on each other during the cycle in a frantic cleansing dance.

We, too, cannot be improved without trouble and agitation.  Trials and problems wear on us like the polishing media does on the beads.  Sometimes we may get pulled under the surface and feel like we’ll never surface again.

But we do finally emerge, shinier and polished – and better for having made it through the polishing process as shinier beads and stronger people.

Nativity Art Exhibit…

November 16, 2010

Nativity Art Exhibit

Sponsored by Menominee Area Arts Council

Saturday, December 4, 10 am – 4 pm

First Presbyterian Church, corner of 10th Ave & 5th Street, Menominee, MI

Advent season display of nativities (creche) from around the world.  Hands on art activities for the young and young at heart.  Seasonal music by local musicians.  Christmas books and refreshments.

And this year, Sweet Annie’s Jewelry will be displaying her Christian line of jewelry at the Nativity Exhibit!  I have done Salvation Jewelry, Twenty-third Psalm Jewelry and more for years, but I have been inspired to create some new designs for this year, plus I’m going to feature some beautiful Nativity Sterling Silver Charms will a Swarovski Crystal accent as a keepsake.

It promises to be an uplifting and inspiring day…join us if you can!



Tonight my good friend Renee came over for hours of (nearly) uninterrupted gab time.  She is a fabulous woman who sponsors children all over the world through Compassion International and has actually visited many of them in places such as Uganda, Rwanda, Thailand, the Domican Republic, and is always planning her next trip.  She is so focused on the needs of these people, and she was wondering how so many people could be so oblivious to the needs of people in these countries just because they did not see it.

Granted, my life is pretty tame compared to hers, and I certainly know that there are many who just don’t waste time thinking about it if it doesn’t directly affect them.  My example, however, was that for me at this time in my life, I am on a hamster wheel, constantly spinning, spinning, and even though I know there are things outside that wheel, I don’t feel able to take my eyes off of straight ahead for fear I’ll trip up and things will come to a grinding halt.  While keeping the wheel spinning is important, it is also important for me and for my children that I look beyond my narrow scope of things on occasion.

Renee was showing me the website for Another Hope orphanage in Uganda.  Ruth, the founder and director of Another Hope, is coming to visit in September to try to bring attention to her mission.  Her children make and sell jewelry, bags and hats from old magazines and recycled paper and sell them to make money for necessities.  This touched my heart, and I saw a way that I could possibly help.  I intend to reach beyond my hamster wheel and purchase beads from Ruth that I can make into some of my designs.  In addition to helping when I purchase their beads, I can also donate the proceeds from my sales to help the orphanage. 

While I can’t always take my eyes off of my wheel, I can let my heart hear what others are saying, and I can try to make a difference.

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