Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Week of Beading - First Installment

I took this week off work to meet a challenge - 21 beaded gifts in 4 days.  I wish I could say I made it, but I only got to 14.  Thankfully, I do not see all of the folks who some of the gifts will be for until after the actual holiday, so I still have some time to do the remaining 7!  I wish I could say I was burned out on beading, but alas, I am not.  This is such a great craft - it is a bottomless pit of awesome.  The first day was a tad frustrating, as I tried to make things up entirely in my head after a few beading-free weeks.  That was a mistake.  I find I need to bead by pattern first, then I when I am in a good groove, I can create something unique or create my own design without as much angst.

I can't show most of what I did until the gifts are given, but I have already given out teacher gifts (and they have been opened), so I can show those.  Here are Betty, Suzanne, Mary and Carrie's gifts, all based on Glorianne Ljubich's Star Power earrings in the June 2011 issue of Bead and Button.  I post them in progression so you can see where I started, on my own, then very close to the pattern, and where I finished, making my own changes and embellishments.  Fun!

First, Betty's. These were from day one experimentation, and the were the only product that I was happy with that day.

Next, Mary's.  These are the closest to the pattern, but I did not like the length of the 3-unit version in the magazine, so I just made a little link on top and that was it.

Third, Suzanne's.  I made a 5 unit circle to start rather than a 6 unit circle, and the result is more star-like and less flower-like.

Finally, Carrie's.  I love these - also very close to pattern but with picot's instead of rounded outlines.

This project is a great "stash buster" for 4mm fire polished crystals and those peanut beads you do not know what to do with!

These were all made with love for the Toddler Full Day staff at Chiaravalle Montessori.  They are loving, professional, fun and they make magic with toddlers.  Hat's off!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Dear Fellow Beaders/Crafters/Jewelry Makers:

Most of us occasionally buy and work with gold, even small amounts.  I am proud to work at Human Rights Watch (my day job) and one of my colleagues, Juliane Kippenberg, has recently completed a large research project on child labor in artisanal gold mines in Mali.

This complements the work HRW has done on the more corporate side of gold mining in Congo.

Please take some time to watch this report on Brian Williams' program about artisanal gold mining.

If you are interested and want to learn more about mining in Mali, please read more here.

The bottom line: what can we do?


This is the best way to get word down the supply chain that consumers care.  Think of it like you would Fair Trade Coffee or Fair Trade Chocolate.

As you hear on Brian Williams' program, the United Kingdom has a new standard that allows consumers to know if they are buying gold that was not mined using exploitative and dangerous practices.

How will you use this information going forward?  Are there other fora where you can share this with fellow crafters?  Let's all play a positive role in protecting children around the world.