Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Managing Time

This was a school year which won't easily be forgotten. I said "Yes" to more than was possible to accomplish. Here are some thoughts about each of the three jobs.

Teaching Kindergarten is a delight and I'm very grateful for a wonderful job! The benefits are many and include:

1. Making a difference in a child's life.

2. Taking them from letter recognition to reading big words and stories.

3. Finding each one's learning style and teaching them with ways in which they can relate.

4. Helping them find their strengths...and not be undone by their weaknesses.

5. Enjoying children's laughter on the playground as they let off steam and expend energy.

6. Remembering that they have a spiritual aspect for which I've been given a big responsibility and opportunity.

The school year is rewarding especially toward the end when, as a teacher, I see with my eyes and heart the benefits of time invested in these precious little ones. What an awesome assignment...Make a Difference!

Here's where I got in over my head. Teaching jewelry-making classes at a local JoAnn store through Fall, Winter, and Spring kept me very busy in the evenings. Then, designing, making jewelry, and filling orders took the rest of any spare waking moments.

Valuable lessons God taught me this year:

1. Managing time doesn't always mean making a paycheck or bringing in finances.

2. I shouldn't take an opportunity just because it's offered.

3. Priorities! Busyness squeezes out important things like lengthy God time and family commitments.

4. The BEST time can be so valuable you cannot put a price tag on it!

SOOOOO....what do all of these things have to do with a Kumihimo Necklace set? Not a whole lot, except that, in speaking about spending takes a long time to drop each tiny bead into the woven pattern. The end result becomes a work of art (in my humble opinion) which brings great satisfaction. Seeing the finished product is rewarding and worth the investment of time becoming good at it.

Next school year will be better for the lessons learned. Phewwwwww...

Loving God & the life He's given,

Juni G

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Few of the Latest Projects

Posting some pictures of recent work since there are so many time constraints at the moment. Happily Ever After and Pearl of Great Price have sterling silver components.

One supplier I heavily rely on has brought in some of the most interesting pewter beads and has more than doubled his Illusion Crystal line. Gals love bling, so the crystal is incorporated in many jewelry pieces. Enjoy the photos and feel free to email questions or connect with me for purchases. Thank you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Terry, & I Love You

My sister-in-law Terry is one supportive gal. Her encouraging remarks to Facebook buddies are constant. She's the consumate cheerleader for her family and friends. You can count on her affirmative comments. The support given to her children and grands, as well as to her mother and siblings is admirable. Terry's love for her family goes beyond words and straight to action. Terry and my brother Bill are thoughtful, kind, and giving. I'm grateful for both of them.

Once she gets on a roll, Terry can make jewelry faster than anyone I know. When she and my sister Carole came to Florida to perfect their wire wrapping skills, she caught on quickly and created an amazing amount of jewelry during our beading marathon. Of course, she was doing it in the middle of the night when the rest of us were sleeping. She understands the word "focus" better than most. Driven might even be a better word. When Terry makes up her mind to do something, she gives it her all, making me examine myself for commitment level.

Thank you so much, Sis, for being an example to your children, grands, and the rest of us. I appreciate you!

I Love You is very comfortable to wear. Hammered sterling silver hearts give it a weddingish look. It could easily be just the set for a beautiful bride. It's also pretty enough to wear with a simple black dress. Round facetted Aurora Borealis crystal stays put on each heart because the silver is hammered with it in place. White glass pearls separate each heart or allow the earrings and slide to dangle nicely. Ask my sister-in-law how it feels on. She has a set.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Time, Family Time & Three Hearts

Summertime is awesome for teachers. We have time to rest, play and recharge our batteries from the busyness of the school year. This summer has been non-stop fun with family. We are blessed to have a large one and getting everyone together is challenging at best. We were able to get together for a few days with all of them, but not necessarily in one place. It took going to TN and Maine to see just our own children and grandchildren and we still missed two of them. One of these days, before someone goes to be with Jesus, it's my dream to get all of us together for a long weekend even if it means meeting in the middle somewhere.

While in Maine, I met an adorable, bubbly gal by the name of Rachel Roberts who has been working with silver for a while. My niece Donna was kind enough to connect us with Rachel. We got together at my sister's home to learn the art of bending and hammering silver. You can find Rachel online if you search for Kouklamou Designs. The evening went fast as she showed us several techniques. Thank you Rachel for spending time with us. God bless you and your business for sowing seeds into our businesses. Carole and I are both very excited about what we learned.

Three Hearts is part of my new hammered line. It's a combination of wire wrapping and hammered sterling. The hearts each have a bead on one side to add a little interest. What's so neat about these new pieces is that I can make as many as are needed and am not waiting for bead shows to roll around (no pun intended) in order to pick up more supplies. This offers a whole new opprtunity for creativity that keeps my brain going in the middle of the night. What an adventure! Bracelet is $33. Matching earrings and pendant are also available.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friends, Bead Shows, Coin Pearls &Silver Shells

Going to bead shows is an adventure for me. I enjoy seeing the different gemstones, finding great bargains which make my jewelry more affordable, but, most of all, I like doing business and establishing relationships with quality vendors. Beautiful jewelry can't be made with ugly, low quality components.

When Leanne and I began our jewelry-making adventure, we thought our stuff was elegant. Now we chuckle at those pieces. Clasps bought at our local box stores had shiny finishes which wore off quickly. Beads looked nice but their finishes scratched or became dull. Our tastes have also changed as we've been exposed to artfully produced pieces by seasoned beaders. I've realized that this craft is a never ending journey which constantly requires searching for better components, better methods, and quality resources. It's also much more fun when we have the support and encouragement from those we love and respect.

Along the way, I've joined with a couple of compatriots, women with the same excitement and enthusiasm for beads. We share successful techniques, our little secrets, our best suppliers. We respect each other's gifting. We share the cost of shipping, call each other to see if anyone needs products, let each other know when a supplier has a special sale. We want success for each other. There's nothing more encouraging than seeing someone do well, especially in this economy.

Saturday, my sister Carole, Diana Bunten, Laura Tidey and I get to spend a few hours going to a bead show in Pompano Beach. The anticipation of introducing my sister to great suppliers and rooms full of BEADS is delicious, but this morning, I realized that I'm more excited about having her meet two wonderful beading buddies. Befriending Diana and Laura has been a God thing. My jewelry and business have been better because of the contacts. They love God, so we have an added dimension to our relationship as well. They are great examples of the saying, "Happiness is an inside job." Can't wait for my wonderful sister to meet them!

Coin Pearls & Silver Shells is an example of networking good supplier information. The coin pearls are from the west coast. They are some of the best pearls I've ever seen. Combined with Hill Tribe Sterling components, the bracelet is gorgeous with a summer tan. Matching earrings complete the set. The creamy coin pearls are over 1/2" across. A shell charm dangles from the toggle. Sold separately, the bracelet is $59 and the earrings are $25. The set goes for $79.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


The previous post referred to our family's cottage on Sebago Lake in Maine. My brother has it now...third generation. My grandfather bought the property the year I was born. !($^ to be exact. He built it himself with help from his sons. It was battleship grey with red and white trim the whole time we were growing up. He kept it rustic and lived in for most of its life. We did a lot of work when my dad inherited it. New well, kitchen, bathroom, windows, doors, shingles, roof, paint inside and out. Lots of improvements. We enjoyed the projects.

The improvements were good, but there were structural issues which needed to be addressed. As nice as it looked, it would only be a matter of time before the building's inner core would be its undoing. The camp was sitting on boulders and rock piles, shimmed up with wood, jacked up in places, and becoming structurally unsound. It needed a foundation. There were no supporting beams, and the wood used to build it was not thick enough. It's a wonder the front bedroom was still upstairs.

My brother Bill, a builder, set about making it a year round residence. I'm sure there were times when he felt like the main character in the movie Money Pit! There have been years of projects, but the place is safe, sound, and SOOOOO cute! He's still working on it, and I'm thinking it'll never be 100% complete because the man comes up with the most awesome ideas! Out comes his paper and pencil, a sketch you could frame as an artist's rendition, another check list, the table saw, boards in the appropriate sizes, hammer, nails and other tools. The end result is always phenominal. I'm proud of my brother and his gift!

Thank you for making it possible for family to enjoy water, relaxation, boating, friends, great food, fire pit evenings, the hammock on a lazy day, and breathtaking sunsets for years to come.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Love Dragonflies

When we were kids growing up on Sebago Lake in Maine, mosquitoes were a huge issue throughout the summer. Our cottage was one of seven on a small peninsula we lovingly called "The Point" which was bordered on two sides by marsh and squishy mud...breeding ground for mosquitoes. By evening, we were juicy meals for those bloodthirsty pests. But, night after night, sunsets across the water made it worth the victimization. We loved "camp".

Over the years, I remember trucks traveling the dirt roads around Sebago spraying to kill what they could as we hurried indoors holding our breath when we heard the shusshhhing sound of the machine coming near.

As the EPA came into the picture, and as PCBs and carcinogens slowly found their way into our lake's fish, less spraying was done. We made jokes about the mosquito being the state bird, and hiding our babies and small pets so they didn't get carried off into the sunset by swarming bugs.

I'll never forget the first time one of the neighbors came to chat with my grandfather about splitting the cost of a dragonfly delivery on the Point. What an intriguing concept! Dragonflies eat both the bugs and their larvae. That seemed like a great idea. We waited in anticipation for the truck to arrive that summer and enjoyed seeing the mosquito population being gobbled up by those delightful creatures. I never swatted one of them, even if it found it's way into the cottage. We were careful with all of them. They were saving us from the vampires which came at dusk.

I Love Dragonflies, a 41" Diva Length wire wrapped necklace, is full of great beads! Jasper, howlite, mother of pearl, crystals, copper hearts and rose gold are beautiful, but the best beads are the dragonflies. My daughter put this on, and I couldn't stop looking at it. Doubled (as shown) or not, it's gorgeous on. Either way, it's an attractive piece. Necklace $65

Thanks to my brother Bill Bridges who lives in the beautifully renovated "camp" and takes the most amazing pictures of sunsets. He captured the one above.