This post from Grandma Coco's blog led to a really interesting email conversation between us, that inspired this blog post! She's a wonderful designer, and fellow postcard swapper, and it turns out that we both use solar power, in different ways, in our homes and lives. She's also a jewelry artist, and just started making her own beads. Our conversation got me thinking about my other hobby (which has kind-of been put on a back-burner), and thought I'd share a bit of it with you!
Many years ago, WAY before kids (when we were "DINK's"... double income, no kids), I decided to start making my own jewelry, mainly because I have a horrible skin allergy to Nickle, and got tired of far too many ring-around-my-neck rashes caused by mislabeled necklaces or earnings that were supposedly 100% silver or gold, or hypo-allergenic. Learning to make my own jewelry gave me control over what it was made out of.
I started with simple stringing beads.
After my boys were born, though, I quickly realized that I could no longer easily go to bead stores, and after their tiny hands spilled a few too many expensive silver, gemstone, and Swarovski crystal beads onto shag carpet, I decided it was time to put away this hobby for a while. I also had to temporarily stop wearing the dangly earrings that I was fond of, as they also proved to be irresistible to their little hands. I started wearing necklaces made out of stronger (and cheaper) leather and simple glass beads, and just plain had much less time to pursue any hobby.
After I left my job, I didn't have as much reason to wear my jewelry, but did have a lot of occasions to start making quilts (nieces, nephews, my own boys). This new hobby kind-of took over.
Once my boys got older, I did break out the beads from time to time, and my husband even gave me a glass lamp working class at Delphi Glass, in Lansing, MI. If you EVER get a chance to go to this place, please don't pass it up. It's incredible! I've always loved glass, and really enjoyed the class. I even made a bunch of beads, but since moving to Oregon, I no longer have a good place to work. Here's a picture of me in Michigan, a few years ago.
This last necklace is my most recent creation, and my most favorite, and special. I made it a year or so after my dad passed away, from beads that he brought back for me from a trip he and my mom took to Italy, a few years previously.
Just as in quilting, many of my necklaces have stories behind them. I think of people and places and stories each time I wear them. I think that's probably the thing I like most about making things myself with my own hands. They each contain personal stories and memories, which make them so special.