Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Beauty That is Kazuri

It's no secret, I love Kazuri beads. Over the years I have started collecting them and sharing my love of the handcrafted beads with all of you. Here's a bit of background for those of you who are new to the world of Kazuri.

Kazuri is the Swahili word for “small and beautiful” and this is just what these beads are. Kazuri Beads is located on the farm that was the inspiration for the movie “Out of Africa.” The hand crafted beads are made from clay from the Mount Kenya region and include a kaleidoscope of colors that reflect the Kenyan art and local culture. The factory acts as a social gathering spot that hums with voices throughout the day. And, one bead maker often ends up providing for an “extended family” of 20 or more. And, you should know that Kazuri Beads is a member of the Fair Trade Act.
When I work with Kazuri beads, I feel their peaceful energy and I often refer to the finished pieces as my “with heart” designs. It makes my heart sing to see the beauty of each bead, it also makes my heart happy knowing that with every bead I use, I am in some little way, supporting and encouraging people to continue doing what they do and helping inspire change. When you wear the pieces and share the Kazuri story, you are opening your heart as well and inspiring others to do so; and, I can’t even begin to tell you how that makes me feel. Together, in our own little way, we can help keep a culture and its people alive and well one bead at a time.

There are so many designs and styles to choose from -- I think my collection will just keep on growing. I love mixing them in unexpected ways -- tribal meets glam. There is always room for another Kazuri bead bracelet. I love wearing one or two on the same wrist -- and as bracelets, I get to enjoy them when I wear them. Believe me, they are like magnets. People always ask about them and and I love sharing the Kazuri story. If you haven't seen them yet -- check out my site. They go fast, but I always try to have several for sale at any given time. I'm still dipping into the new styles and colors I bought from the Kazuri folks at the Tucson Gem Show. So many choices, so many designs, and so much love in a bead.

My Blue Heaven!

Holy blueberries! They've arrived and they are yummier than ever. I had my first pint baskets, yes, I said baskets plural, yesterday. In my book, no one grows them better than Boones Ferry Berry Farm here in town. I got so excited when I saw they had the first of the season, I totally forgot to take a pix of the little berry stand on the huge farm. I'll get it later in the week when I go back to replenish my supply. Talk about your small town ways -- if no one is tending the stand, you just put your money in a big metal box. It still amazes me when I see that. Blueberries are my fav -- a fact I didn't know until I got them right from the farm. Believe me, what you buy in the store does not compare. I'm telling you, to me they are like candy...and low cal and good for me. What more can a girl want?

I have always loved iolite -- maybe somewhere back in my mind I was being told that I love blueberries, I just didn't know it yet. Maybe not -- but the color of iolite is that of beautiful ripe blueberries. Mixed with various shades of violet mother of pearl and the steely gray-blue of these glass pearls in this necklace, it's yummy. Suddenly it seems that all of my jewelry designs are influenced by food -- well, maybe not; but I do know the color combinations found in nature inspire me. And, so it is with this iolite lariat style necklace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Back in Town

My niece was in town for a brief visit - she had her niece's and nephew's graduation from JHS and a wedding (just for the wasn't one of the kids graduating from JHS that got married!). Isn't she the cutest? I know, one should not have favorites when it comes to nieces/nephews, but I think because she was the first and we all "grew up" together in those days -- I have got to admit, she is my fav. And, she scores even more points for being my partner in crime, totally getting my excitement and love of "rocks."

And, speaking of favs, while I love all the pieces that come out of my studio, I do have favorites. Sometimes its the gemstones or glass beads that totally capture me and other times it is the end product that catches me by surprise, becoming my new favorite. Fickle, I suppose, but isn't that part of being a female? The good news is that we get choices and our favs can change from day to day and no one bats an eye. Let's see -- this would be my pick of the day. A beautiful bracelet totally inspired by one of the newer Kazuri beads that I got at the Tucson Gem Show in February. Platinum is new to their beadmaking craft and the black and platinum on these beads is lovely. Mixing it with glittery Czech glass makes a statement in contrast, of sorts. As many of you know, I so love working with Kazuri beads -- it's good to know that in some small way that, along with all of my Kazuri customers, we are helping to change the world one bead at a time. You can read the Kazuri story and see (and buy) other Kazuri designs at my site, How about starting a Kazuri collection? Sounds good to me. It's a great way to spread the Kazuri word when people ask about the beads -- and, trust me, they will.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Seen on the Most Famous Women -- That Would Be You!

Why is it that I want to shout "I don't care what celebrity wore what necklace in the movie du jour?" But, I fear that saying so will come back to bite me in the butt! Am I jaded from the years I spent in marketing and advertising and fully understand the "product placement" equation; or am I simply becoming a grumpy old lady? Maybe a little of both.

I will say that when I design my pieces, I am thinking about how they fit into the lives of famous people like you and how they work in real life. While I know it is fun to be trendy -- I like the fact that you can "doll" up my designs in lots of different ways -- but I also like the idea that, at the end of the day, you'll have a collection of jewelry that will stand the test of time and not be dumped as each new season and it's trends arrive or only be able to use it as part of your costume at next year's Halloween party. That being said, I will step back down from the soapbox, eat a big old piece of chocolate and, from this day forward, cautiously enter all rooms with my butt fully protected -- just in case there is someone out there ready to snap!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Take A Gander!

I swear -- this has been a project! This is the fourth, yes, I said fourth, time I have posted this -- well tried to post this slideshow. I got the bright idea to do a slideshow of sorts because when I post pix to the image darkens and some of the detail disappears. Honestly, it makes me NUTS! So I thought that this might be a solution to the problem. So, you can take a little gander here; when you see things you like, visit me at and you can see the details and shop. What fun. Now I just need to figure out a way to put the slideshow on my site. Now, won't that be fun?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gemstones and Ribbons and Rocks, Oh My!

With all the fashionistas tauting ribbon jewelry for fall 2009 (on both the runways and the floor at JCK in Las Vegas), I thought it might be fun to see what I could create that fits the trend; but won't be outdated when winter 2009 rolls around. I am a big believer in having the basics and then playing with them to see what I can concoct that makes it uniquely my own. With my jewelry designs, that is what I want for all of you. I think it is much more fun to have a style that is all you own -- not something that 30,000 other people have. Unless, of course, you are in junior high school -- then you want to look like everyone else, thank goodness we outgrow that.

Anyhow, these pix give you a few ideas of how you can take your somewhat basic necklaces (although I hate thinking of my pieces as basic), and by adding different types of ribbons (I used organza and grosgrain) you can tie away to your heart's delight. Above, the green aventurine tied with the blue sodalite is soft yet bold. Then the combo of the clear crystal quartz tied to the black crystal quartz takes both of these necklaces to a different place. And, layered up with a bold black chain -- well, forgive me for saying it but "it just rocks in that downtown kind of way!"

I hope this encourages you to not think that there is only one way to wear your jewelry. Especially in this day and age -- mix it up in the most unexpected ways and get joy from it all. Life is too short to just wear a single strand of pearls -- don't you think?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Looking Back

When I see old barns like this I can't help but think about the hearty souls who came West with the hope of a better life. Living on the East coast I would get steeped in the rich history of New York City and all it entailed -- especially the beautiful and opulent architecture and how they stood in contrast to the six-floor walk-up tenements. Living here in Oregon the history is just as rich and I so respect the people who created a life here. Barns like this are still standing in farm fields all around me. The cemetery in town tells full and sometimes sad stories of the lives of the people who passed through or settled in this area. For me, connecting with the history of the place I am living makes it feel more like home.

Time for a Stretch

Where does the time go? June is here and I am just getting used to writing 2009 on things. One good thing about June -- roses are usually up and running. These are the first from the yard. Aren't they lovely, and, oh so fragrant.

The jewelry designs just keep coming -- I was on a stretch phase last week. So many friends have been asking for a few stretch designs so I decided it was time. I figure if stretch works for jeans it should work for jewelry, right? There is dogtooth amethyst, Russian amazonite, Botswana agate (shown here in orange), and smoky quartz. Of course they are my signature 3-strand style with sterling silver or gold-plate links and charms pulling them together. I have to say, I put a few in my jewelry box. Some days the ease of just slipping one or two on just makes sense.