Tag Archives: Swarovski

“No.” is a complete sentence


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 …

Homage to the LBD


Probably more than any other item in our closets, the little black dress (LBD to some), is the one essential garment we should all own. Like a cup of java in the morning, it’s simply a MUST. Though not much of a stretch by any means, I’m always designing with black, aren’t you?The LBD was birthed in the ’20s as a result of women tossing off their long, layered, heavy dresses, cutting their hair and enjoying a new social party life, daringly displaying more shoulders, backs, and legs for the first time in history. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel inspired the style we think of when we think of flappers, and her designs epitomized the ’20s due to their fresh, modern and updated look. American Vogue published a drawing of Chanel’s LBD design, predicting it would become a uniform; well, guess they were right as it certainly has. She worked with neutral colors and soft easy-to-wear jersey fabrics that were simply shaped and cut. What was most remarkable in her designs was the infusion of comfort and sophistication into the former prim and proper fashion world. Previous to 1926, black was reserved for funerals and mourning periods, not festive events such as the parties of the roaring ’20s. Chanel was quoted, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”One of our all time faves which has stood the test of time is the classic “Audrey Hepburn” as seen on Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This LBD was designed by Hubert de Givenchy and it epitomized the standard for wearing little black dresses. Every woman looks great in it and the LBD is the perfect default ensemble when you’re having one of those “I have nothing to wear” days.

Personally, my little black dress isn’t so “little” these days as I experience that dreaded middle-age spread and I certainly don’t attend any parties such as the caliber of those in the 1920s. I have to say, I do love designing jewelry for the LBD. The look is classic, effortless and wearable no matter the event, age or size! I try to make each piece a beautiful work of wearable art paying homage to the LBD. Often, I incorporate Swarovski crystals and pearls which speak to the “classic” and exude ease and sophistication. I like to think my designs would be worn by Audrey Hepburn should Breakfast at Tiffany’s be remade.

Please don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to design for the other end of the spectrum, which I refer to as “Gaga style” (homage to Lady Gaga), but how wearable are these pieces in my little beady corner of the world? They end up in books or competitions but are not frequently worn. And when I did wear one to a party, I could not believe how itchy it was all night! Learned that lesson the hard way!

Whether your life is filled with social events, parties or just a daily trek to the cubicle farm, LBD jewelry is delightfully appropriate. And who doesn’t like getting dressed up once in awhile? So I invite you to join me in paying homage to classic design history and create some LBD jewelry!

Go here for the full article: Fire Mountain Gems



Be Your Own Valentine

by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador,

Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Gone are the days of our youth when we handmade Valentine Boxes in grade school, laboriously embellished with red and pink construction paper hearts, glue paste (that one kid in class always ate to gross us out), and the pièce de résistance … lacy paper doilies! We’d all slip Valentines into each other’s boxes and wait with baited breath and butterflies in our tummies, hoping we’d receive a Valentine from one of the “cool kids” or the cute kid we had a crush on.

The big excitement of receiving little boxes of “conversational heart” candies, Necco wafers and perhaps a chocolate or two is a far cry from the extravagant box of Godiva chocolates I now treat myself to each year!

One year my crafty mom made heart hair clips with a hand calligraphy initial for every girl in class. She stayed up until 2 or 3am working away (gee, I wonder where I get it), and they were the hit of our 4th grade Valentine’s Party! There were probably a few boys in my class that would have enjoyed them as well, but those were different times …

Life was simpler then; no texting, emails or iPhones, which makes Valentines made from the heart all that more precious. I haven’t had a “Valentine” for a few years now (except from my little WhippaWaWa puppy, Sparkle), and I thought why not be my own Valentine? Honor and love myself by making myself a Valentine! A touch of vintage with a splash of contemporary in mind, I came up with wearable Valentine pin/pendants using antique Valentine postcards and ICE Resin®. Of course, no Valentine is complete without a dash of Swarovski crystals and pearls! I had so many compliments on my necklace, I had to make more for my BFFs! Using a ribbon, I dangled each pin from the branch of a small white feather Christmas tree and let all my friends pick their fave from my Valentine Tree. They were thrilled!

I invite you to do the same! Here is my free Valentine project for you! Let me know how they turn out; I love seeing pictures of your creations!


Click here for my free project:

Single-Strand Necklace with ICE Resin® and Vintage Paper Pendant and Swarovski Crystal Beads and Pearls