The Gift of Giving

I’ve attempted to write about this topic several times, but this time, it finally stuck.

For a period of time, during what I like to call “one of my other lifetimes,” I designed, created, and sold beaded jewelry. I actually had a website, set up tables at craft fairs, and spent a lot of time and money at my local bead shops.

Fast forward 10 years and I am long past “owning a business” and now only make things for gifts. I really missed the excitement of discovering new beads at bead shows, getting wholesale discounts on all of my supplies (silver was CHEAP back then!), and every night, laid out my latest ideas for Ken to check out. It was fun. It still is fun. Now that my sisters’ birthday (they are twins) is coming up, I have an excuse reason to start squinting, measuring and gluing.

Here’s a sneak peek of what I’m working on now. Two hints: Sterling Silver and Swarovski Crystals.

So many tiny pieces and sharp tools!

So many tiny pieces and sharp tools!

Over the years, I’ve made necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, eyeglass chains, key chains, and even Rosary beads for each of my nephews and nieces when they received their First Holy Communion.

Carnelian pendant with various stone beads and gold-plated chain.

Carnelian pendant with various stone beads and gold-plated chain.

One of my sisters loves autumnal colors, and I used a Carnelian stone ring as the focal point hand-wrapped in wire, with various other Carnelian beads and a gold chain.

My favorite creation - I called it the Grapes of Wrath and someone paid $45 for it at a craft show.

Green, clear, and purple crystals and green vine beads, hand-wired onto a silver plated charm bracelet.

This is my favorite creation of all time. I called it the Grapes of Wrath. I used a silver-plated charm bracelet and attached green, clear, and amethyst crystals, along with green leaf beads, to represent the grapes on a grapevine. It was the first piece I sold at a craft show.

Beaded watches were big in 2003, and for this one, I weaved several strands of smaller beads around some stunning blue cat's eye beads.

Beaded watches were big in 2003.

I believe that I created this one for my other sister. I weaved several strands of smaller beads around some stunning blue cat’s eye beads.

One of 14 necklaces I made for a friend's bridal party. Each one used the same color scheme of Swarovski crystals and Sterling silver components, but the design differed with each one. I also made earrings to match.

One of 14 necklaces I made for a friend’s bridal party.

Each one used the same color scheme of Swarovski crystals and Sterling silver components, but the design differed with each one. I also made earrings to match.

The Rosary Beads I made for my youngest niece.

The Rosary Beads I made for my youngest niece.

The Rosary Beads I made for my youngest niece, using Sterling Silver components and Swarovski Pearls.

Part of my craft table, set up.

Part of my craft table, set up.

Many times, I’ll order supplies to make something very specific, but end up re-designing on the fly, which always works out in my – and the recipient’s – favor. There’s something about holding the beads, seeing how they reflect the light or enhance other colors and materials in the piece that makes my mind light up with new ideas. That’s how I ended up with so many different iterations of similar pieces.

Screen capture from my old jewelry website.

Screen capture from my old jewelry website.

Those days are gone, but I kept all of my tools and enough supplies to still make things when feel like doing so. It’s as much fun for me to make the gift as give it, and I can only hope that the recipients feel the love I put into the work.

Thanks for checking out one of my “previous lives”. I think that every path we venture down is important to our overall journey. I found a way to make beautiful things to give to other people. How awesome is that?? A gift – a talent – that allows you to give gifts to others. You can’t ask for much more than that!

Do you have any “crafty” talents? I’d love to read about them! Share your story in my comment box below.

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