Archive for Inspiration

Alternative Giving for the Holidays

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or something else, the season of gift-giving is upon us. If you’re socially conscious, are fed up with the commercialism of the season, or just want to explore alternative gift-giving, here are some of my favorite causes that you can use for inspiration.

  • Heifer International provides livestock and training to people in developing communities so that they can feed themselves. They have a special gift-giving brochure to help gift-givers with ideas during the holiday season.
  • Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency.
  • Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) provides emergency medical care to millions of people caught in crises in more than 60 countries around the world.

In addition to the international agencies mentioned above, there are also a number of local causes worth giving to – either for yourself or on behalf of others as a gift:

  • Central Union Mission provides food, clothing and shelter to the homeless in the DC area. They run a Thanksgiving Food Drive and are in need of different types of donations. For a full list, .
  • The House of Ruth helps women, children and families in greatest need with an emphasis on ending homelessness and chronic abuse.
  • Outreach International has an online catalog of sustainable gifts in a variety of categories and price points to satisfy the fashion-conscious as well as the socially-conscious. The organization’s mission is to provide sustainable solutions to help end extreme poverty around the world.

If you are so-inclined to give gifts for the holiday or are looking for a gift that keeps on giving, you have plenty to choose from. What are you giving for the holidays? Comment below and let me know.

Evolution of a Style

I was looking through my designs and thought it interesting how they’ve evolved over time. Here’s a glimpse:

First I was focused on beads, beads, beads. I still am to a large degree. But then my focus was beading, pure and simple:

Turquoise Blue Necklace

Turquoise Blue Necklace – Handmade turquoise-colored 10mm recycled glass beads from Ghana

Desert Flower Necklace

Desert Flower Necklace – Fulani wedding beads, trade beads, seed beads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I started varying my techniques with beads by using waxed cord, knotting and playing with a variety of closures.
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Recycled Glass Knotted Bracelet Recycled Glass Knotted Bracelet
Suncast recycled glass necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suncast recycled glass necklace

I started to get bored with just beading and wanted to take my craft to another level so I started dabbling in metalwork and wire wrapping.

Trapezoid copper and recycled vinyl earrings

Trapezoid copper and recycled vinyl earrings

Trade bead hoop earrings

Trade bead hoop earrings

Copper wrapped swirls and Fulani wedding bead earrings

Copper wrapped swirls and Fulani wedding bead earrings

Variegated oval hoops

Variegated oval hoops

metal clay pendant

metal clay pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still have a passion for beads, but I’ve grown from just beading to incorporating metal work and wire into my creations. Learning new techniques keeps me fresh and keeps the work interesting. It’s all a part of my journey and …..Who knows where it will go from here?

Tell me what you think about how my style has evolved as well as how your own creative journey has evolved.

Emancipation on the Eve of a New Year

January 1st is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the decree signed by President Lincoln that freed those slaves living in states not under Union control. Though it did not abolish slavery (the Thirteenth Amendment, passed in January of 1865, did this), it was significant in that it paved the way for African Americans to be enlisted into the federal army. It also turned the dialogue from the war being one to “save the Union” to one being fought against slavery.

To commemorate the 150th year of this document, the National Archives will display the original document through January 1 in the East Rotunda Gallery where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are displayed.

Years ago, I stood at the door of no return at Goree Island in Senegal, West Africa – a door undoubtedly that my ancestors crossed to come to these Americas. DoorofNoReturnGoreeIs
As I stood at the threshold of that door of my own free will, I wondered what those who have stood here against their will would have been thinking, the fear of the unknown, of the horrors that lie ahead.

The Emancipation Proclamation was not perfect document, but I will be at the National Archives to commemorate its 150th year as well as its place among the other imperfect yet significant documents that have formed this nation.

[flagallery gid=4 name=”Emancipation Proclamation”].

For additional information on events being held to celebrate the 150th anniversary at the National Archives, click here. For additional information on the Emancipation Proclamation, follow this link.

Here’s to freedom, justice and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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