19 December 2011

A Charming Gift

There is no personal charm so great as the charm of a cheerful temperament.
~Henry Van Dyke

My cousin Jane visited with me at Easter this year. We had a delightful lunch at Christian's Bistro and she brought along a bag stuffed with jewelry that she inherited from her Nana and her mother, my Aunt Elsie.

I remember Jane's Nana. She was one classy lady, always dressed to the nines.

Nana was famous for wearing her 24kt gold charm bracelet. It was laden with charms from all her travels around the world, a sombrero from Mexico, the Statue of Liberty, the Capitol building, a working German bier stein. You can imagine how jangly this bauble was. And how heavy. Being that Nana was a slight woman, at some point all the charms were transferred to a necklace so that she would wear it layered with her pearls. Jane being the only daughter of 5 children inherited this and wanted to share it with the rest of the family. Her idea was that I would create some necklaces for the women in the family, each containing one of the charms.

We decided to start with four of the great-granddaughters of Nana, Jane's nieces: Jackie, Anna, Elizabeth and Barbara.

I am most lucky that Jane trusts me to tell their story through these charm necklaces.

I had a great budget to work with and that allowed me to pick out some beautiful pieces from Nina Designs. I recently had the opportunity to play with some of their new bronze pieces through their Blog Partner program. I thought it would be hard to match all the new gold charms to the old ones, so I opted to go with a variety of brushed gold plated sterling silver, the more rustic gold plated bronze and sterling silver as well as their birthstones, and mixed metals are so hot right now. I did all my shopping at Nina Designs (aside from what I already had in my stash) because I knew that the quality and the variety of what they offered would allow me to write each charm necklace story to be as unique as each girl.

{More Than You Know}

Jackie is the youngest child of Jane's brother Mark. I have to tell this story.

I once babysat Jackie and her brothers when she was just about 3 years old and her brothers were about 5 and 6. I haven't seen her in many years but I am still chuckling over the time. I was folding some laundry in the house while the kids were outside. Jackie's brother Eddie came into the kitchen and asked me where the towels were. I directed him to the drawer in the kitchen. That aroused my curiosity. I opened the door into the garage and was sprayed with the garden hose. They were in there playing "car wash". Jackie was standing there hopping up and down in the middle of the stream of water drenched from head to toe as the cars were being doused with water. And the windows were open so it was an interior wash as well. I lost my cool at that moment and I will never forget the moment that Jackie saw me lose it and went from absolute joy to tears. It is a funny moment to look back on.

For Jackie, Jane chose the palm trees from Hawaii. To round out the rest of the charms, I selected a wave charm holder in sterling silver. I selected an initial for each girl in a 24kt gold plated over sterling silver with a pretty bright brushed finish. A bronze owl charm (they are quite silky and give the look of gold without the price!) paired with a sterling silver feather charm and a freshwater pearl for Jackie's June birthday.
I call this "More Than You Know" for Jackie, because I am sure that she is a bright and successful young woman now, but sometimes we need a reminder of how very special we are.

{Dreams Come True}

Anna is the youngest of the nieces in this group. She is a lovely young lady just younger than my son Rocket, the youngest of my cousin Paul's children whom they adopted from Russia when she was very small. I call Anna's necklace "Dreams Come True".

The sterling silver cloud reminds me that there is always a silver lining. The charm from Nana is a gold treble clef. I wanted to remind Anna that she is a star on the rise so I found a sterling silver shooting star charm and a crescent moon with star to go with her gold plated initial. To celebrate her birthday in February, three pale amethyst faceted rondelles and sterling rope spacers.

I am wishing for Anna that she follow her dreams whatever they may be and remembers to see the positive in any situation.

{Bee Yourself}

Elizabeth, the second oldest of my cousin Paul's children is a young woman making her way in the world. I found the sterling silver leafy vine charm holder for her. The cool thing about this one is that the charms are removeable if she likes. A bronze bee is seen hovering over a Bali sterling silver flower. Bees are very industrious and hard working and this opening flower reminds me that there is so much to be revealed in her life like the petals of a rose unfolding. Elizabeth goes by the name of Libby, but we decided that the "E" was more appropriate for her initial. A smooth aquamarine teardrop for her March birthday was added to two special charms. The Inuit symbol  from Alaska is from Nana's necklace to remind Libby of all the mysteries that await her in the world, and the pale blue enameled Mary medallion from her grandmother Elsie to remind her to stay true to what is important.

Libby may go around the world and experience many things, but the most important lesson is to "Bee Yourself."

{New Beginnings}

The eldest of Paul's children, Barbara just got engaged. This is such a happy time for their family as they welcome this new member into their ranks and celebrate the life journey that Barbara is starting. Symbols of new life and happy beginnings abound in this necklace.

Hanging from sterling silver branch are a gold plated inital charm, a sterling silver leaf, a gold plated bronze nest and a tiny sterling silver acorn. Barbara's birthstone for February is a faceted deep amethyst round. And this sweet little cuckoo clock charm from Nana's necklace from Germany reminded me of a bird house, and the start of her new life.

May this necklace be worn by Barbara as she embarks on these exciting "New Beginnings"!

All of the necklaces were hung on a delicate 14kt gold filled Saturn chain.

I sent all these out to Jane in Ohio last week and hope that they have been received and are winging their way to stockings, coincidenatlly, back here in Wisconsin (I could have hand delivered them for her!). Thank you, Jane for trusting me with telling the story of these lovely young ladies! I look forward to working with you this coming year to complete the rest of the necklaces!

Your turn...

If you were going to have your life told in charms, what charms would you select?


moonlitfantaseas said...

Wow Erin, the necklaces are lovely! And what wonderful stories to go with each one! Your work continues to amaze me! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

peacockfairy said...

So wonderful Erin! I love Nina designs, and the fact that you choose different "focal" pieces for each of the necklaces for the charms to hang off of. AND I like the fact that many of the pieces let you hang the charms in such a way that they will not all be clustered together, but rather seen a little bit better spread out. I'm certainly going to remember this technique!

SueBeads said...

Good Lord, Erin, you are talented! I love them - and the stories they tell! My story, hmmm, it would have cats on it, and birthstones for my children, and something that would need to signify strength, because as a single parent I have to be strong (some sort of gemstone, I guess) and palm trees because my favorite place on earth is at the beach! Thanks for the inspiration!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

More lovely accomplishments, Erin! Such a joyful post to read. Ideas abound when you know who 's going to wear it! I guess we all are wishing for a Nana like that!! You made each one so individual and unique, they will be more than thrilled! I'm also going to pay more attention to Nina designs!

Courtney Breul said...

Erin, I love these! My mom has a necklace made from charms from my Nana also. I keep hoping she will give them to me to create something like these for the three of us! So beautiful.

rosebud101 said...

Wonderful stories and beautiful jewelry!

CS said...

What beautiful pieces you created to go along with the stories. You are very talented.
I was lucky/blessed to win one of Erin's pendants through LMAJ blog. It sadly became lost in the mail as only an empty envelope came. She was dear enough to sen me another. It safely arrived today and it is a treasure. Thank you!

Alice said...

What a wonderful story! I love that each one tells a special story, and each one has a special connection to their beloved Nana.

Erin, you did a fabulous job telling each story in the form of a necklace. I love all the elements you chose, and I'm sure the recipients will cherish these forever.

How lucky are you to have been a part of something so special!

Juanita said...

Loved reading about each of Nana's girls, and how you decided which charms to choose. Nina Designs is truly honored to be a part of each story. I hope the ladies treasure their keepsakes as much as you enjoyed making them.

indigo heart said...

such lovely necklaces! i *love* the stories that go along with each of them. the recipients will feel special, indeed. i think my charm necklace would include an owl, of course, for my pursuit of wisdom. i would have to include a black bear charm for bear is my spirit animal. and a fairy, for my whimsical belief in the unseen. and something for possibilities... an acorn, perhaps?

Mary Harding said...

Lovely necklaces Erin. I am so taken with the stories they tell and your boundless imagination. I am sure they will be treasured by the recipients.Happy Holidays to you!!

Therese's Treasures said...

Erin, The idea to make the Great Grandaughters a charm necklace using the charms from their Great Nana's charm bracelet is so endearing. What a wonderful and loving gift. You did a great job at telling the story for each girl in their necklaces.
To answer the question you posed. I would have these charms in mine: my birthstone Topaz, a rabbit just because they are my favorite, a lightning bolt to represent my career as a Police Communications Officer, and I would have to throw some pink in it too.
Merry Christmas,

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

What beautiful necklaces, each with it's own special meaning! I just love what you created and the attention to detail you put into each piece. Those girls will surely cherish these for a lifetime! Thank you for providing the links too.

The charms I would select to tell my life story are: a pine cone for my love of nature, a photo frame for my love of capturing moments with my camera, a New York state charm for the state I grew up in and feels most like home to me, a letter B for my husbands name and a boxer charm for my dog Twila.

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Oh Erin! Those are so lovely, so perfectly suited to each girl. I love how much thought and emotion is in each piece. Absolutely wonderful.
If I had a set of charms... one would be a gull for many reasons, they are survivors... they are of the sea... they soar... A hope charm, because I feel hope is something vital in my life. Birthstones for my three children. A pelican for my husband. And likely a St. Teresa of Avila charm, she is my patron saint :).
I love reading your blog Erin, every post makes me think. <3

Libby Leuchtman said...

Such beautiful work Erin.

JenniferJangles said...

How fun and beautiful. Have a very Merry Christmas Erin!

Tracy Statler said...

Gorgeous Erin. I love the gold tones and silver together and the frames you chose to hang the charms. It is truly a challenge to represent someone's life with charms and you a wonderful job. Merry Christmas Erin.

Cindi said...

Wow, to receive such a beautiful and meaningful gift. You did an awesome job. Not only in the design but in putting together the charms in such a meaningful way. Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas. Maybe after the holidays we can talk about the charm I would like.

Shai Williams said...

Interesting question. Let's see. There would have to be a charm of the Goddess, a cat and a book. Also perhaps a wooden shoe and a pine tree.

Christine Hansen said...

Oh, Erin - these are scrumptious! (and you know I'm a complete lush when it comes to charms, lolol) Well done!

Kim said...

They are all gorgeous, what a wonderful way to share a family heirloom :-) and I love Nina Designs too. My charm would have to include a basset hound, a cat and a goddess. and maybe a book too.


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