Yesterday, I delivered 24 necklaces and two pairs of earrings to a customer.  I had the pleasure of helping her create a new generation of heirlooms for the women in her family.

In cleaning out her grandmother’s things, S. found the strands of faux pearls and beads her grandmother wore.   Seeing them took her back to her childhood, and that warm feeling inspired her to give a piece of that history to each of the 24 women and girls in the family – her mom, daughter, sisters, nieces and great-nieces.   At an annual family gathering around Mardi Gras, she would present them with something special from the grandmother some of them were too young to remember.

I met with S. and her college-aged daughter, and we talked about what they wanted.  Something simple, something that would appeal to everyone, from 80 to toddlerhood.  Her daughter thought a single pearl on a chain would be best, and S. thought that perhaps a few on the chain might look nice.  I got a good feel for their styles, and off I headed to weigh ideas and gather supplies.  I scoured the Internet for chain, and couldn’t find anything I liked that was both delicate and interesting.  On a trip to my very favorite local beading store, Ladybug Beads, I found the perfect option – long, twisted links made from very fine wire.  I had to order more, and not surprisingly, they had it for me in a week.

I created three designs – one was three faux pearls, the center one larger, strung directly onto the chain with sterling nuggets between them and on the ends.  The second was a drop pendant on a simple headpin with two faux pearls, smaller one on top with a tiny daisy separator between them.  The third was another drop on the same headpin with a daisy underneath and a nugget on top.  I hand-turned the jump-rings and small wire toggle clasps – to make sure the sterling was of high quality and add a personal, handmade touch.

They chose design #1 and #3 for the necklaces.  The first was for the older generations, the second for the younger women and girls.  I turned #2 into a pair of earrings and designed a second very simple pair with a drop and a nugget, made custom earwires and gave those two pairs as gifts to S. and her daughter, for allowing me the privilege of participating in the project.

Hopefully, the rest of the family will also love them.  Hopefully, even though they are simple and not terribly expensive, the thought and love that went into these will warm their hearts and be an ever-present reminder of the strength of the bond of family.


I delivered 16 pieces to Charm today, and while I was there, took a few pictures of the shop. The owner, Kari, is a delightful young woman, and I was thrilled to finally meet her in person. If you’re in St. Louis – or if you visit here – it is worth the trip, full of great stuff by local artists. Can’t wait to take new stuff in before too long, but right now, am working on a couple of new pieces for Etsy.

I also sent a photo of the necklace below with the rings and links to Leah, the artist who made the rings, and she was very happy with the resulting piece. All in all, a good day in my little corner of the jewelry world!

That has taken a lot of work.  But here I am, at that point in my life where I see both ends – the childhood long past, and the finite end toward which we all move.  Not that I see the end, of course not.  Far off, I hope, not yet in view.  But at 50, I no longer believe in my own invincibility, and I understand that for each of us, time is a finite quantity.

I want to make the most of it.

I’ve done that in the past, but only in fits and spurts.  Being a full-time, stay-at-home mom was my greatest achievement, watching my two daughters become the most amazing people I know.  But they are old enough now not to need me for all those daily tasks I could lose myself doing.  I finished a return trip to school, then found and ultimately lost a job.  For the last several months, I’ve found myself too often distracted, mired in unproductive lethargy by thoughts that race and careen around my brain with seemingly little purpose. Frustrating, sometimes even agonizing.

So I choose to move forward.

The one place I find myself calm and productive is lost in my wires and beads.  When I curl a piece of wire, curling and smoothing and shaping and letting my fingers guide it to its new shape, I feel . . . peaceful.  Which, in turn, energizes me, and I find myself more functional around the house, able to write and get done what needs to be done.

I’m going to track my progress here, blogging my adventures with curls.