Foxy G's Den of i-KNIT-quity

12/28/2009

Monday Morning Musings: A Most Interesting Character

Char Anderson – A Character of Olympian Proportion

Brown Orbital Earrings by Char

Char is a woman for all seasons. To date, she has or still swims, scuba dives, rock climbs, snow skis, water skis, rides horses, plays tennis, cycles, lifts weights, and has studied karate and gymnastics.  Char grew up in Hemet, California, on a Thoroughbred horse ranch.  She raised pigs, sheep, cattle and horses for Future Farmers of America while in high school. Char majored in Animal Science in college. It will be far more interesting if she tells you herself…

I was into gymnastics in high school, but was too tall to be any good. (I am 5’8” and was that height at 12 years old!) At the time I was in high school, gymnastics was the only sport in which a girl could letter, and I wanted a letter. So, I joined the gymnastics team, worked hard, got my letter, and it currently resides on the wall in my office.  I was a really, really good swimmer, but somehow lacked the commitment it took to get to the Olympic level.

I think I had the potential to be an Olympic swimmer, and am lucky to have many friends who are quite famous Olympians. I met Mary Lou Retton on a cruise in 1999. There was “Olympic” competition among the guests, and with Mary Lou Retton and her husband, Shannon, participating, you can imagine that the competition was especially fierce. I beat Mary Lou for the gold in the three events in which we competed against each other.  After the final tennis match was over, she said to me with that great smile, “Boy, you are competitive!” What a compliment from one of the best athletes America has ever produced!

Char and Mary Lou

In September 2000, I met many more Olympians. One of the major sponsors had chartered the ship as their headquarters in Sydney during the Olympics, so the cruise line made an Olympic-themed cruise to get the ship from San Francisco to Sydney. As part of the onboard activities, there were competitions in many events, including tennis, triathlon, running, cycling on stationary bikes, swimming, and basketball free throw.

Olympians on Ship

The Olympians on board were kind enough to make me an “honorary Olympian” (as swimmer John Naber wrote in a book he gave me) and we hung out and got to know each other over the three-week trip to Sydney. Two days before we arrived, I was asked, “If we can get you a free hotel and free tickets, do you want to stay for the Olympics?” (I had no intention of staying in Sydney and had an airline ticket home for the day after the ship arrived!)  But twist my arm!  

I spent six glorious weeks at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney with the likes of Nadia Comaneci, John Naber, Bart Conner, Dwight Stones and Louis Zamperini (a 1936 Olympian!). It all happened on the spur of the moment, and I am so thankful that I trusted my gut and went for it!  I met so many of my heroes at that Olympics (including a 15 year old Michael Phelps and his lovely mother, who gave me a handmade button to wear in support of her son) that I can honestly say it was the best six weeks of my life.

Japanese Weave Bracelet by Char

Now, it’s my turn again with a non sequitur: After growing up in California, Char spent twenty years living in Hawaii (sea level) before moving back to the mainland in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (6237 feet above sea level – oxygen tank optional). She lives at the base of a mountain with her British import husband, Ron, and her Hungarian Vizsla, Arazi the Wonder Dog.

Char’s website: http://charanderson.com

Follow Char on twitter: http://twitter.com/char_anderson

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/charleneanderson

10/12/2009

Monday Morning Musings: A Most Interesting Character

Londi Mathieu – Jewelry Designer, Mushroom Hunter, Philanthropist

Londi

Londi

In a word, Londi is an experience.  You can feel her presence long before she arrives.  And when she does finally arrive, you are immediately caught up in her charm, energy, passion and creativity.  There are absolutely not enough hours in the day for this jewelry designer-artist-philanthropist.

First – a little background in her own words: I was lucky to be born in to a family full of talented artists and grew up with both a jewelry shop and potter shop in my home.  The feeling of melting or manipulating metal, touching stones or having my hands dirty with clay has always stuck with me!

You are a 3rd generation jeweler.  Who else designs and makes jewelry in your family?  My father is a master goldsmith; his mother was a jeweler and her father as well. I started making jewelry at a very young age.  When I was little, my mother bought my brother and me little pocket knives and bars of Ivory soap for us to carve.  By the time I was 16, I was soldering, sizing and wax carving, to which I took a real liking. I grew up in the US but live in France now. I return every summer and work closely with my father and Mark Webb who has designed one of the world’s most beautiful diamond cuts. http://www.libertystardiamond.com/  I’m very honored and pleased to sell this diamond!

Precious Primrose Necklace

Precious Primrose Necklace

Please explain wax carving. Carving wax can be a very intricate process that involves many different wax types, tools, files, dental tools, knives and a flex shaft. The wax model is used to create the finished metal product through the lost wax casting process.

WaxCarving

From where do you get your inspiration?  I am really just a kid at heart, inspired by tradition, nature, lighting, flowers, anything from a rock to a grain of sand – a piece of gold to a piece of glitter! (You will see what I mean at Christmas!)  I love to cook and bake (don’t like the calories), and it is reflected in the work I do as well as my titles. I like my jewelry looking like “eye candy” and my Christmas ornaments looking and smelling edible – with sweet touches of cinnamon, punchy peppermint twist and delicate forms of nature!

Teddy Loves Cranberry Wreath

Teddy Loves Cranberry Wreath

What  prompted you to open a second shop?  I’m opening CranberryDreams because my bulbs have been a success here in France for the past ten years with a faithful cliental! I am actually know around here for my Christmas and glow-in-the-dark bulbs, but ventured into jewelry because of my love for it! When I opened LondiCreations, it was with all intentions of being ready for Christmas this year. Cranberry Dreams will feature Christmas items, but during the off season will feature home deco and children’s deco.

Holly Berry Baubles

Holly Berry Bauble

Your children’s sand bulbs are quite unique.  How did they come about?  About ten years ago, I was feeling a strong need to get back in touch with jewelry fabricating; however I was lacking the tools and space to start such an adventure. With the holidays approaching, I decided to experiment with making bulbs, but still wanted something that would fulfill my desire to touch and look at metal. I started working with glitter, but still needed to feel something more natural; this is where sand came in! I developed a mix and a technique and got busy creating!  After years of trial and error, I ventured into the world of craft shows, where I was successfully received!  I also have a shop on Craftiz, an online venue like etsy that features high quality, handmade goods.

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Loving color as I do, I started playing around with children’s cartoon characters and took the bulbs to another level with glow-in-the dark paint.

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

 Making these bulbs is a very time consuming and intricate process, often requiring 20 hours each. That is why I prefer to do them now by special order.

Baby Photo Christmas Bauble - First Christmas

Baby Photo Christmas Bauble - First Christmas

My best selling bulb is the personalized “My 1st Christmas” with baby’s name and date!

By Special Order

By Special Order

By Special Order

By Special Order

In addition to jewelry design, you also do volunteer work with children and adults with disabilities and homeless children and adults.  I love volunteering my time! I work with an organization call VSArt, an international nonprofit organization founded 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts.  This is a hands-on effort where we supply the materials and help them children and adults with floral composition, jewelry making, painting and music! Out of everything I do, this is the most satisfying!

VSArt

You have some very interesting hobbies, yes?  I have many hobbies – my favorite being mushroom hunting! My most favorite mushroom to find is the Morel. I also love going much higher in the French Alps to find chanterelles and cep mushrooms! When it is mushroom season, you often won’t find me at home.  I am always out looking for a new patch to discover! In the evenings, I’m busy preparing four-star meals!

MorelMushrooms

Morel Mushrooms

My other hobbies include photography, hiking, refinishing furniture and painting.  And when I have time, I’m on twitter where you can find me “FLYING BY” (my next hobby!), blowing you kisses and wondering “How was your day?!”

flying

Need a nap?  I do! But before you go, Londi is giving away three of her fabulous handmade ornaments to one lucky winner.  To enter, all you need to do is go to CranberryDreams, and post your favorite item in the comments below.

Giveaway

To gain additional entries:

1)      Tweet about this giveaway, using the hashtag #londi. Post in a separate comment, and get one additional entry each time you do this, up to ONCE a day.

2)      Become a friend of Londi Mathieu on facebook, and post in separate comment below.  If you are already a friend, post in a separate comment below as well.  One additional entry.

3)      Follow LondiCreations on twitter, and post in a separate comment below.  If you are already following, post in a separate comment as well. One additional entry.

4)      Blog about this giveaway with a link, and comment below with the URL.  Three additional entries.

The more times you enter, the better your chances of winning!

This giveaway will begin October 12, 2009 and end at 11:59 pm EST on October 21, 2009.  Random.org will be used to pick the winner, and he or she will have 72 hours to get respond.

This giveaway is open worldwide! Good luck!

10/08/2009

Art from the ♥

Artist: Cheryl Nall

Until November 2005, I lived a fast-paced stressful life.  It was then that I was diagnosed with epilepsy.   While trying to get my epilepsy under control, I ended up losing my job with the Department of Motor Vehicles.   As I started to gain control of my epilepsy and my seizures decreased, I felt a strong need to make things.  I’ll be honest; I was the child who failed art.  Back then I couldn’t create anything, nor did I want to!  But now, I began envisioning things that I wanted to create.  It seemed that the more things I created, the better I got.  And the better I got, the stronger the need to create became. I started playing with different crafts and techniques to see what my potential. I went through many different crafts and eventually started beading and making jewelry. 

Pink Awareness Anklet Dee Dee

Pink Awareness Anklet Dee Dee

For the past three to four years, I have been giving most of my pieces to family and friends as gifts.  Almost everyone that saw my jewelry urged me to try to sell my creations. It took a while for me to get use to the idea that I could make something worth selling.

Eventually, I had the motivation to open my shop, but the shop needed a name. I wanted the name to be something to which I could connect. Earlier this year, I learned that March 26th is “Purple Day.”  Wearing purple on that day supports Epilepsy Awareness. Purple has always been my favorite color, so I decided that the name of my shop would include “purple.”  Now, I had one word, but I still couldn’t figure out the name. Then one day out of the blue, I remembered a gift I received in junior high from my best friend, Dee Dee. She had given me a purple cow with a poem attached:

“I never saw a purple cow;

I never hope to see one.

But I can tell you anyhow:

I’d rather see than be one.”

I had completely forgotten about that purple cow!  I began surfing the web looking for a purple cow and found a book titled “Purple Cow” that was based upon this popular poem. The book offers tips to succeed in business by being the purple cow among all the regular cows. The purple cow represents something extraordinary.

Purple Awareness Ribbon Bracelet Donna

Purple Awareness Ribbon Bracelet Donna

CherylsPurpleCow features awareness jewelry and hematite jewelry, as well as items that are completely metal free. In addition to epilepsy awareness, my husband and I support cancer awareness. Both of our mothers survived cancer early in life and were taken by it much later, within six months of each other. 

Hematite Bracelet Green and Purple

Hematite Bracelet Green and Purple

I support Family TIES of Nevada with my art.  Family TIES of Nevada is a statewide nonprofit organization directed by people with disabilities and their family members. My donations are earmarked specifically for families that are dealing with epilepsy. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I will be donating 10% of the sales of any pink item to Family Ties of Nevada to help families affected by breast cancer.

Pink Earrings

Pink Earrings

I speak publicly to help support epilepsy awareness. Before each engagement, I have a practice run through with my speaking coach who is in Virginia. We use the web cam so that she can watch my facial expressions and body language.

Non-Metal Delicate Seed Bead Bracelet

Non-Metal Delicate Seed Bead Bracelet

I have also volunteered time to help provide transportation for people with epilepsy.  As I was unable to drive for two years, I know first-hand how much of a burden that can be. Epilepsy is a condition that affects each person differently. The effect depends on the area of the brain involved in seizures. I have right temporal lobe epilepsy and it affects my memory. Thanks to technology, I have a Palm to jot notes and to keep track of my contacts and appointments. I also have a cell phone that I carry with me so that if I get lost, run into problems or have a seizure, I can call my husband.  Living life fully with the daily challenges of disability and chronic health concerns takes courage and endurance.

My best friend Dee Dee was never ordinary, and neither was I. We are both still purple cows. I never realized how wonderful it was to be different. When I located Dee Dee her through the Internet, I found out that she has Lupus. The Awareness Ribbon for both Epilepsy and Lupus is purple. Strange coincidence?  I’ll let you decide… 

Awareness Ribbon Bracelet Jana

Awareness Ribbon Bracelet Jana

Cheryl’s blog

Cheryl’s facebook biz page

09/02/2009

Art from the ♥

Filed under: Art From the Heart — foxygknits @ 11:58 pm
Tags: , , , ,
Artist: Kat Rogers

I met Meaghan, cancer survivor and creator of Spirit Jump, online when she first began her quest to help lift the spirits of cancer patients.  She told me about going through her own treatment – how down she would get after visiting doctors or waking up in the morning feeling depressed, but how special it was to her if she’d come home from a doctor’s visit and have a card or little gift waiting for her.  It really lifted her spirits. As a cancer survivor, she wants to help others get through their battle by lifting their spirits.  

Be Here Now Bracelet

Be Here Now Bracelet

Her story really got me thinking about how neat it would be to see love pouring into your mailbox from people you didn’t know – people just wanting to give you some hope, some light. I wanted to be one of those people and thus became a “jumper!”  I have had the same experience as many others involved with this organization.  Both the person giving a gift (jumper) and the person on the receiving end (jumpee), are  lifted spiritually.

Amazonite Charm

Amazonite Charm

Kat explained how Spirit Jump works: The organization e-mails out a list of people that need “jumps,” or lifts, and you reply and let them know that you want to send something to a particular person(s).  They will then send you the address, and you mail your card or gift directly to the person. It is so easy, and you can participate as much or as little as you like.  Even sending a handmade card is great! 

Jade and Turquoise Necklace

Jade and Turquoise Necklace

Through Self Symmetry, I design and sell necklaces, bracelets, earrings and charms.  I use semi precious gemstones, because gemstones come from the earth and hold healing energy. They heal physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually; rebalancing and realigning energy. Each piece that I make is created with specific elements to inspire health and well-being in its wearer.  They are one-of-a-kind and arrive with tags that describe their purposes and properties.

Chakra Necklace

Chakra Necklace

Self Symmetry is all about balance within Self. I believe that our inner being should be just as nurtured as our outer being, and I am in favor of anything that helps facilitate that.  My intention is to help others realize, and connect to, their inner and outer beauty!

Blog: http://www.selfsymmetry.com/blog-events

Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/selfsymmetry

Follow on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/selfsymmetry

Kat’s Yoga Schedule: http://www.selfsymmetry.com /get-balanced/calendar/

06/25/2009

Art from the ♥

Artist: Ginny Headley
Ghanaian Meets Bohemian African and Czech Glass Necklace

Ghanaian Meets Bohemian African and Czech Glass Necklace

It all started with daisy chain chokers in junior high school, and I’ve been hooked on beads ever since.  I love “rocks” the most, but glass and crystal are fun too, especially funky-beautiful beads from Africa.  I share my designs through That’s Headley, my shop on Etsy, which serves as a stress-reducing supplement to my “real” life as a public health consultant in infectious disease and emergency preparedness.

I have designed the Hope for Whirled Peas Collection, a limited-edition series of jewelry pieces, specifically to honor veterans by donating a portion of each sale of these pieces to the Fisher House™ Foundation.

Three Peas in a Pod Earrings

Three Peas in a Pod Earrings

The Fisher House™ Foundation recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House™ Foundation donates “comfort homes” that are built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at a most stressful time – during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease or injury. The homes are normally located within walking distance of the treatment facility or have transportation available. 

Five Peas in a Pod Necklace

Five Peas in a Pod Necklace

The program began in 1990, and to date, it has offered nearly 2½M days of lodging to more than 110,000 families. This lodging is made available free of charge to these families in need. Regardless of the politics of war, our wounded soldiers and their families need our support, and support of the Fisher Houses™ is one way we can lend a hand.

Five Peas in a Pod Peapod Earrings

Five Peas in a Pod Peapod Earrings

My hometown of San Antonio has become the nation’s center for medical treatment for amputees and has seven Fisher Houses™ in operation to support these families. So as a charity, this is doubly attractive to me, living with a veteran and also living in San Antonio.

Mountain View Necklace

Mountain View Necklace

The other amazing thing about this organization is their stellar reputation as a charity organization. Major supporters include Newman’s Own and Gary Trudeau of “Doonesbury” fame. They have received a 4-star rating for three consecutive years from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of charities; the Independent Charities Seal of Excellence , certifying that they meet the highest standards of public accountability and program and cost effectiveness; and an A+ rating from Charity Watch. I feel that I can not only support an awesome cause, but also give with confidence, knowing that the funds will go exactly to where they were intended.

Seabreeze Necklace

Seabreeze Necklace

For more information on the Fisher House™ Foundation, please go to their website at: http://www.fisherhouse.org/

 Editor’s Note: It started with a daisy chain, and now that daisy chain is all grown up:

Caged Blossom Necklace

Caged Blossom Necklace

Etsy Shop: http://thatsheadley.etsy.com

Blog: http://thatsheadley.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/thatsheadley

05/28/2009

Art from the ♥

Artist: Sharon Paradiso

Company Name:  Seedlings: Jewelry Because.

Etsy website: www.seedlingsjewelry.etsy.com 

Peas and Carrots Earrings

Peas and Carrot Earrings

A friend recently asked me, “What does because mean in your company name.” The meaning is two-fold.  First and foremost, I want what I make to be natural and easy…something you can wear any time “just because.”  The second meaning has to do with why I give a portion of sales to Heifer International.  Although I feel strange getting paid for doing something I love, I don’t feel strange turning that into sustainable resources and education for a community.

Ghana Sky Earrings

Ghana Sky Earrings

The mission of Heifer International is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth.  For more than 60 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income.  Since 1944, they have helped 48 million people through training in livestock development and livestock gifts that multiply. Heifer currently works in more than 57 countries, including the U.S. 

Every gift of an animal provides direct benefits such as milk, eggs, wool and fertilizer, as well as indirect benefits that increase family incomes for better housing, nutrition, health care and school fees for children. Recipients “pass on the gift” of offspring of their cows, goats and other livestock to others in an ever-widening circle of hope.

Sharon explained how she came to support Heifer International:  My first encounter with Heifer International was Christmas several years ago when my sister purchased a portion of a heifer as a gift in my name. The next Christmas she gifted beehives, which I thought was really special since our maternal grandmother had been a beekeeper, and we grew up with honey.

When I started Seedlings: Jewelry Because., I didn’t want it to just be about selling jewelry. One of the joys I get is watching people get excited when they discover my jewelry, put on a pair of earrings and love them, and know that their purchase is going to help communities to become self-reliant.

Crazy Moon Earrings

Crazy Moon Earrings

My parents raised my sister and me to be self-reliant (raising a garden, learning how to sew, etc.) so it is very important to me to support groups that can do the same on a larger scale. We have been fortunate to be blessed with resources, support and talent, and if we don’t share whatever we have at our disposal, it is then not a true blessing.

Seedling Leaves Earrings

Seedling Leaves Earrings

To meet other artisans in the area, I recently joined the North Georgia Etsy Street Team. I was thrilled to discover they sponsor an etsy shop that donates to regional charities picked by team members.

Across the Universe Bracelet

Across the Universe Bracelet

Seedlings: Jewelry Because. features handmade jewelry inspired and created from natural materials (including recycled materials wherever possible). I work mostly in silver, copper, shell, pearl, glass, and I’m branching out into stones such as aventurine and turquoise. Additionally, I’ve set three green goals for myself this year:

  • move to 100% recycled or ethically sourced materials
  • use fair trade or recycled beads when possible
  • be mindful about toxic chemicals, and replace them with less harmful ones where possible

Twenty percent of sales go directly to Heifer International on a monthly basis.  Keep track of our progress on our own Team Heifer Page: https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=178641&lis=0&kntae178641=CDCA2333C7554BB38C09D08B9DFB1187&supId=249504257

Blog: http://seedlingsjewelry.blogspot.com 

Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/seedlingstweets

Seedlingsjewelry Fan Page on Facebook: http://bit.ly/AujVA

E-mail: seedlingsjewelry@gmail.com

05/21/2009

Art from the ♥

Artists: Kim & Joe Plunkett

Company Name: Plunkett Designs

EtsyWebsite: www.plunkettdesigns.etsy.com

Blog: http://www.plunkettdesigns.blogspot.com

E-Mail: theplunkettfamily@comcast.net

Kim and Joe Plunkett are a creative couple, who grew up and currently live just outside of Chicago. Their three little Plunketts keep them very busy, and in their free time, they love to work on new projects.  Their specialties are automotive art and jewelry design.

Original Custom Car Art

Original Custom Car Art

Millefiori Heart Bracelet - PIF

Millefiori Heart Bracelet - Pay it Forward

Through PlunkettDesigns, Kim and Joe support The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Kim explained, “I have been very inspired by so many people here on etsy. Many are using their talents to support good causes, and I have decided to help support a cause which is very close to my heart.”  She continued, “You will find several items in our Pay it Forward (PIF) Section, where 50% of the sale price will go to research and support for children with brain tumors. We will use the other 50% to purchase more supplies for these listings.  I hope to expand the range of items I offer, and have plans for heart-shaped earrings, as well as butterfly-themed items.”  Kim has raised $160 in just the past two weeks and has just sent in her third donation to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

Set of 3 Necklaces

Set of 3 Necklaces

Research and support for children with brain tumors is very important to Kim, because her younger brother was diagnosed with an Astrocytoma in June 2001 when he was ten years old.  (According to St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, Astrocytomas account for the majority of pediatric brain tumors.) Within days, he underwent surgery.  That was followed by a month in the hospital and over a year of weekly chemo treatments. 

In early 2005, he underwent another surgery and several weeks of daily radiation. He is seventeen now, a junior in high school and doing well.  Kim explained that the tumor is still there, but not growing, and he goes for regular check ups and MRIs.  She went on, “I know that I may be biased, but he is a very cool kid, with a lifetime of wisdom.  His perspectives on life are more profound than most adults I know.  I really enjoy spending time with him, I love him so much!”

I Love Ice Cream Bracelet and Earring Set

I Love Ice Cream Bracelet and Earring Set

In addition to The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Kim has previously donated to St. Judes’ Children’s Research Hospital and would like to expand her fundraising efforts to include them as well.  These organizations were chosen after conversations with her mom, as well as with etsy shop owner, artistmelody, who son also has a brain tumor. 
Midnight Floral Bracelet and Earrings Set

Midnight Floral Bracelet and Earrings Set

Puzzle Pendant - Pay it Forward

Puzzle Pendant - Pay it Forward

Kim also supports Autism Speaks. She knows two families with children who have Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Also, a classmate from her husband’s grade school has a child with Asperger’s Syndrome.  She believes that being a parent is a tough job on its own, and being a parent with an Autistic child presents even greater challenges.  Kim feels passionate that the numbers of children affected by Autism are so large that every parent should be educated.  She summed it up beautifully, “I hope we can see a future where children with Autism are 1 in a million – rather than 1 in 150.”

Sweet Lavender Bracelet and Earrings Set

Sweet Lavender Bracelet and Earrings Set

Grape Soda Bracelet and Earrings Set

Grape Soda Bracelet and Earrings Set

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