Monthly Archives: October 2012

Memories out of Memory Wire

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Design Idea C404
Memories Out of Memory Wire
Memory Wire
by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

My dear dad died of colon cancer a few years back. I adored him and still miss him every day. It was a slow painful battle and he charged into the next realm on that white horse quite bravely, with loved ones at his side to say good-bye. He had many friends and will be forever remembered for his sense of humor, never-give-up attitude and his nickname “The Whistler.” No, he didn’t whistle birdcalls but happy songs and little ditties. He whistled his whole life and you could hear his whistling coming before he turned the corner. When my dad entered a room, it quickly turned into a party and he sure knew how to enjoy life!

His passion, enthusiasm, perseverance and strength certainly shaped my character and the way I live my life. To pay tribute to him on Father’s Day, I wanted to design a piece that commemorates the love and admiration we all feel toward him. And since my favorite expression is through creativity (can you all relate?), I decided to design a token to wear and share with each of his loved ones. As I was rifling through my studio for that perfect starting point, I ran across some memory wire. Hmmmmmmmm, how appropriate–using memory wire to make a memorial piece of jewelry? Ahhhh, yes, how perfect! I wanted to create a piece filled with meaning, yet not so over the top that it couldn’t be worn frequently. I HAD to incorporate Swarovski crystals as they’re my fave and I wanted this piece to bring some light to the topic, so what better for that than a splash of bling? I love using the “awareness” colors in my jewelry designs supporting a cause. In this case, the color is blue to show support for colon cancer. The end result was a blue memory wire bracelet I was able to gift to each of his siblings and loved ones.

In addition to honoring him and his extraordinary life, the process of making these bracelets also turned out to be quite healing for me. You know we all have our personal paths to follow during our lifetimes and although we gratefully cross others’ paths for a while, we’re committed to our own path. And if you’ve ever watched a loved one go through a painful experience, you know the feeling of helplessness that just doesn’t seem to go away. In channeling that feeling through my jewelry creations and fondly remembering my dad, those bracelets hugged my heart and I was able to release that helpless feeling. I had actually “done” something meaningful and tangible to remember a beloved’s life, his impact on me, and more importantly was then able to share with others.

There were tears and laughter as I gifted my “Tom Wick” bracelets, and we are all filled with bittersweet memories every time we wrap that bracelet around our wrist; like a warm hug! So I’d like to share with all my beady peeps my simple recipe for a warm hug, around the wrist. Create these sweet bracelets to honor a loved one going through a tough battle at this time, or a beloved who has passed. Make them together as a group experience or for your own healing. Either way, your heart will feel that hug!

Tom Wick Memory Wire Bracelet

Design Idea C404, Design Idea C405 and Design Idea C406
  1. Select the awareness color from the”Awareness Ribbon Color and Cause Guide”you will be working with.
  2. Use memory wire cutters to cut the memory wire to fit your wrist. I like a wrap and a half for my bracelets.
  3. Use round-nose pliers to form a small loop on the end of the memory wire.
  4. Lay out your design.
  5. String all the beads onto your memory wire then form a simple loop on the 2nd end to finish.

Tip: You can use the smaller memory wire to make key chains or wine glass charms.

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Additional Resources …

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article “Memories Out of Memory Wire,” as featured in an email newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

“I only wish there was a color for thanking someone for knowing just the right thing to do. My brother passed away 3 years ago and now I can make memory bracelets for all of my family in memory of him. Tim suffered quite a bit and it took a toll on all of us, young and old. He is deeply missed.

If there were colors that referred to someone with the caring and thoughtfulness of Kristal Wick, rest assured I would be the first to make bracelets to honor her.

Please pass this message along to her that Her Dad along with her Mother, I assume, have raised one beautiful human being. Sincerely,”
– Susie

“What a wonderful story and creative idea to remember a loved one by. I also have recently lost a loved one, my son. He struggled through life with a disability, his journey wasn’t at all easy for him and all those around him, supporting him through his struggles. The idea of creating some jewellery from memory wire, a medium I haven’t worked with yet, is one I will follow up on. Thanks for the ideas. Keep them coming. Regards”
– Anne

“Thank you for the wonderful idea, of the memory bracelet, my father passed away a year ago very suddenly. I had been looking for something to make to remind me of dad. This is perfect. I plan to make one for each of my close relatives that have passed away in honor of them.”
– Barbara

“Wonderful information and ideas.”
– Anni

“What a wonderful article. You’ve given me food for thought. Love the design–and the way you honor your father in your work.

I lost a dear friend many years ago to colon cancer, and on my birthday, no less. I think I might make a bracelet for her and also for my friend Filomena who left half as long ago, succumbing to breast cancer. What a wonderful memorial! You rock!”
– Charlene

“K Wick’s story and idea touched my heart–the hug to wear around your wrist will accompany any such bracelet I may gift to my loved ones! Thank you!”
– Sheila

“Kristal Wick writes beautifully. She always speaks truth to which everyone can relate. I look forward to reading her articles, and seeing her beautiful beadwork.”
– Julie

I loved this! Not only was it nice to read about how Kristal shared her memories of her dad, but it showed me that I can make memory “treasures” for relatives and friends at certain times of their lives. What a nice way to remember someone.

Thank you very much for this and for the link to the list of Ribbon Colors along with their meanings. Just yesterday my husband was asking me what other colors there were besides pink and yellow. This will give him a much better explanation than mine. Thank you!”
– Ann

“I love this article, it brings back Memories of my Mother who has been gone 26yrs this month (seems like yesterday). I now have a way to take that sorrow and turn it in to joy. I will make for my Brother, my Cousins and myself something with Memory Wire/Beads to Rejoice in her Memory. Thank You so much for sharing your Memories and Ideas. In going through my treasures, I find I have almost everything I need. It gives me a reason to go Bead shopping … 😀 I get a lot of my Beads/Supplies from Fire Mountain Gems … Your Friend”
– Glenda

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Angels Among Us

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Angels Among Us: Design Idea 890H

by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Recently, I found out one of my friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted to express my sympathy, support and love by creating a symbolic piece of jewelry to bring a smile whenever she gazed upon it. I perused the Gallery of Designs looking for inspiration and fell in love with the Awareness Angel Earrings; so simple and pretty with a splash of pink bling, just like my friend. As I was pondering my friend’s situation and what symbol to use in her creation, I immediately envisioned angels as a sign of strength and hope. Just gazing upon one gives my heart a gentle hug and I wished that for her!The origin of angels began long ago and they’ve been depicted in great art work from Leonardo de Vinci in the 1400s and Raphael in the 1500s to the famous sculpture, David by Michelangelo who is quoted saying, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” There is even an Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy where you can learn to paint angels like the masters.Angel IntrigueWhat is behind this long-standing angel popularity? I wondered. Personally I have made charm bracelets that incorporate wings with other relevant items to symbolize pet angels, baby angels and adult angels. Each of us has our own interpretation and meaning of angels. Whether they’re of a religious nature, healing or otherwise, we’ve long enjoyed the thought of angels flitting about!Songs about angels are also part of our culture’s angel intrigue. From Sarah McLachlan’s famous song, Angel to Train’s mega hit Calling All Angels; they’re both perfect examples of modern interpretations of the meaning and importance of angels in our lives:

“I need a sign to let me know you’re here. All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere. I need to know that things are gonna look up. ‘Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup.

When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head. When you feel the world shake from the words that are said.

I need a sign to let me know you’re here, ‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear. I want a reason for the way things have to be. I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

And I’m calling all angels I’m calling all you angels.”

“Calling All Angels” by Train

I believe angels give us hope, bring comfort and instill faith in those things unseen, yet deeply believed in. Whether it’s a baby cherub angel or a guardian angel creating a physical symbol such as a piece of jewelry,bookmark or backpack dangle can be a meaningful reminder for a loved one experiencing a difficult path or for your little one getting on the school bus.

Fire Mountain Gems Celebrating 2012 as the Year of Angels

I invite you to start a “stitching bee.” The concept for a stitching bee is similar to “quilting bees” in which a gathering of friends come together to work on creating a quilt, usually to commemorate a special event with significant meaning. A stitching bee could be done to commemorate an event or for when a friend needs a little support, such as mine did. To start your own bee, gather some beady friends and all take turns working on a design. Each of you can surround those tiny beads with wishes of joy and well being, bringing comfort to a dear one as well as a host of angels to their side.

“No.” is a complete sentence

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by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
I blurted this out one day while venting to a beady buddy about a seed bead deadline I surely could not meet in this lifetime! The requester kept pushing me, then looked at me in disappointment expecting a legitimate reason for saying, “No.” As I relayed this situation to my friend I said, “NO is a complete sentence,” and she ROTFLOL (Rolled On The Floor Laughing Out Loud) and sputtered, “that’s brilliant!” This seemed to me common sense, but as I looked back on scenes from my past realizing just how long it took me to say that dreaded word “NO” (minus the guilt), I realized common sense is not so common.Minnesota Nice 

I was raised in a household where we did whatever it took to keep mom happy, tied in with the Midwestern “Minnesota-Nice” credo and a splash of guilt (over nearly everything), and you end up barely able to spell the word NO much less say it out loud! I was labeled as the “people pleaser” in my family with the impossible task of keeping peace, and took that role very seriously. “Sure, youbetcha I’ll bring more Jello salad and dessert bars to the party; Okay-Dokay a ride to the airport at 3am-no problem; Oh, donchaknow, wedding jewelry for your entire wedding party of 18 by next weekend-I’m on it!” I’m sure I’m not alone here and many of you know this drill …

Most things I agreed to were not a burden and I thoroughly enjoy helping folks out but as I looked back, I realized NO wasn’t even considered an option. And in the rare cases when I did say NO, due to a conflict or the request was simply humanly impossible, I was compelled to spend countless moments justifying why I said no. There had to be enough sufficient reason(s) to utter N-O without leaving the requestor feeling rejected, and end up disappointing them! ZOIKES! That’s the true OS (Operating System) beneath this inability to spit out two simple letters: N-O. They might not like me!

I simply could not live with someone disliking me! WOW! What a tough ride this lifetime would be, volleying for this unrealistic position. Filled with insecurity and a deep, dark well of “not-good-enough-itis” I put everyone else’s needs ahead of mine and after years of numerous attempts to shift this undesirable behavior, I’ve finally arrived … well on my good days! I give myself permission to actually think before agreeing to EVERYTHING and tap into my inner “worthiness” to see how the request feels in my gut (imagine that). I ask myself, is it in alignment with my values, core beliefs and intention for a win-win situation? Am I burning the candle at both ends which ultimately ends up with bailing out ANYWAY when the deadline is not met, or I’m sick in bed with the flu due to working 18-hour days trying to please everyone AGAIN … well, you get the picture.

“NO”-Your New BFF 

Just by being here on the planet we all have the basic right to say NO without any explanation. I invite you to sit with that for a moment … how does it feel? Anything like: panic, shakiness, lack of breath or hyperventilating? If so, you may need to look at this topic, my dear, dig deeply and make friends with NO. You’ll feel a sense of strength and power by standing your ground and embracing some boundaries. Besides, saying NO more frequently will free you to be able to say “YES” to more beading (I offered this last bit as a last ditch effort to reach you, I kind of apologize for hitting below the belt but I knew that would reach you). We need to look at our precious 24 hours and decide what makes us feel good, productive and empowered. Toss out the guilt, obligation and need to please-itis and pick up your beading needle, my beady peep. You need time for YOU! And when the kids or hubby comes to you while you’re winding down and beading a puppy pattern or peyote at 10pm and says, “can you make me a sandwich?” try saying NO. It’s a complete sentence …