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!

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.

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

Crystal Kaleidescope

I absolutely love bead shopping.  I love to click around, filling my cart.  I discover a great price on the amethyst shape I love to work with…yea!  There’s a special on the wire I use…double yea!  I see the items multiplying, the discounts piling up. I only need 5 more items to reach the next discount plateau…then I’m at that point…does it get any better than this for a jewelry designer?!

Then comes check out.  Oh-oh, I can’t really afford this large of a bead order.  But just think of all the money I’m saving on quantity discounts!  And I know the sales will be high, so that justifies the cost, right?  Right.  And anyway, I’m doing all this marketing and my website is going up, so my demand will increase, so I’ll need more inventory.  And anyway, all these beads are so INSPIRING! 

With the click of a mouse the order is on it’s way.  A BEAD ORDER IS ON ITS WAY!  I love the anticipation, knowing it’s on its way to me.  I wait impaitiently until the day it arrives at my door.   Now comes the real fun…looking through all the fun stuff I ordered.  Oh, these are even better than I thought they’d be!  I can’t wait to make something with these.  Hmmm, these are smaller than I thought they’d be.  Oh, well, I’ll find something to make with them. 

Gee, I don’t have enough room in my trays…I’ll have to buy a couple more containers.  No problem.  With the shows coming up, and my website going up, and the marketing I’ve been doing the orders will be coming in and it’ll all be worth it…

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