An update on MLK Jr. Day….what an AMAZING community we live in!

To Evergreen Elementary….WOW and THANK YOU SO MUCH for your January 2014 crayon donations to My Green Crayon!!!   We were overjoyed with the amazing collection that you so generously donated to our project – over $118,000 crayons in all!  Your donation is a great encouragement to us, and is crucial to the continuation of this project.   Countless remolded crayons will be made from your “well-loved” crayon donations, and the sales generated will bring clean water and improved sanitation to the most desperate of children around the world.   Thank you for partnering with us this way, ensuring that we can continue our project.   We are so grateful for you!

And to Perkiomen Valley High School…YOU DA BEST! I just wanted to let you know that out of the 118.6 lbs of crayons donated (amounting to approx.  118,600 crayons!), your group peeled 48.4 lbs (again, that’s about 4,840 crayons!)….which is CRAZY and AMAZING!   Wowza…I am SO set up for success because of your time and care (and nimble fingers!).    Thank you for taking the time to help us with this project – you have truly made a difference, and helped turn trash to treasure in a life-giving way.   Couldn’t do this without you!  Below is a link to some great pix of the coolest Peeling Partners around.  Thank you for giving your time (on a day off of school, no less!) and love to our project!

http://pvsd.schoolfusion.us/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=06dbf56d31bb4fedd749e111b7a6360c&pageid=308326

:-) Kristen Kerwin & gang

“Rainbow Rescue” Used Crayon Drive @ Evergreen Elementary * January 6-17, 2014

In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, on Monday, January 20, 2014, My Green Crayon is partnering with Evergreen Elementary and Perkiomen Valley High School, to transform used crayons into clean water!

My Green Crayon is a local project that collects “well-loved” crayons – donated by schools, restaurants, churches, preschools, and more! – and then remolds them into fun-shaped new crayons for endless creative possibilities!  The remolded crayons – shaped like dinosaurs, butterflies, cars, flowers, and more! – are then sold locally, raising funds to support the efforts of Charity Water (charitywater.org), an amazing non-profit that brings clean water and sanitation to the most desperate of children and their families around the world.   50% of each crayon sale directly supports Charity Water.

Evergreen Elementary students, with the support of the Home & School Association, are invited to bring their used crayons to school, January 6 – 17, 2014.   Any and all sizes /shapes /types of crayons are welcome, and there is no need to remove the paper wrappers (unless you want to!)…and new crayons are always welcome, too.   Just place your crayon donation in a bag / baggie, and place it in the donation boxes in the Main Hallway at Evergreen Elementary.  That’s it – and thank you for your donations!

On the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Monday January 20, students from Perkiomen Valley High School will then be volunteering their time to peel the crayon paper wrappers from the crayon donations, to help prepare them for melting and remolding.   A huge THANK YOU to all of the “Peeling Partners” out there, who help this way.   A special shout out to the PVHS Key Club for their many hours of peeling help over the past few years!!!

Thank you in advance for sharing your “well-loved” crayons with my project…I love working together with “like-hearted” folks like you, to help bring clean water to children around the world.   Together, we can help a child, while helping the earth…and make a little help go a long way!  THANK YOU!   ;-) Kristen

Contact Information:

Evergreen Elementary – Mary Cook, HSA – mrc.mobile@me.com

PVHS / MLK Jr. Day Service Project – Jessica Lester – jlester@pvsd.org

My Green Crayon – Kristen Kerwin – kristenkerwin@gmail.com

Thank you for a wonderful 2013 Open House!

Ohmygoodness, friends…I have so much to say, and so few words that can adequately express how grateful I am to all of you!   You have all been such a great encouragement to me, and it was the best of gifts for you to come out and support me for this year’s Simple Gifts Open House.   As we come upon Thanksgiving this week, and the Advent Season shortly after, I am reminded that I have the best family and friends around…I’m so grateful.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
 
 
 
Here’s a brief summary of your collective awesomeness:  
 

RAFFLE PRIZES AND WINNERS:  

Cathy Pilipczuk  won the Mary Kay raffle gift – sponsored by my dear friend Michelle McFadden, MK Independent Beauty Consultant.  Thank you so much Michelle!
 
The Decadent Chocolate Cake was won by Donna Bondi & family (& small group).   Congratulations!  Lovingly made and donated by my father-in-law, Bob ‘the Baker’ Kerwin.  bkerwin@usa.net   Thank you Dad!
 
The beautiful and fragrant Bird Candle was won by Thekli Sariano.   Donated by the ‘shop girls’, Missy and Catherine, at Heart’s Desire in Skippack.   This shop is chock full of all kinds of home decor and gifts, jewelry, funny stuff, vintage items.   You will love it – I promise!   www.heartsdesireshop.com   Thank you, Shop Girls!
 
Brenda Conrad won the gift of Classic & Vintage toys from Heart’s Desire in Skippack.  If you like educational and old-fashioned, quality toys, you just have to visit this shop in downtown Skippack (behind Mal’s Diner).   www.heartsdesireshop.com
 
And the wonderful prize of a free Photo Session by Leah Reiter Creative was won by  Stacia Hang & family.  Congratulations to this beautiful family!   Please keep my dear, talented, creative friend Leah in mind for all of your photography needs and dreams!  lrcreative01@gmail.com   Thank you, Leah!
 
…and a big thank you to Jill Seitz, a friend and the art teacher of my kiddos at Schwenksville Elementary (as well as the art teacher at Middle School East, PV District), for sharing your beautifully crafted pottery with us.   So gorgeous!  jseitz@pvsd.org
 
 
FUNDRAISING TOTALS:
 
Bead for Life (www.beadforlife.org) jewelry and gifts, made by women in Uganda from recycled paper and Shea Nuts.   You raised $469 for these amazing women & their families!   Bead for Life is now partnering with Mercy Corps to provide immediate relief to the Philippines.  And your support will help them to make this a reality – thank you!
 
Through the crayon sales for My Green Crayon, plus the funds raised in the Secret Santa Shoppe, Three Below ($336.58  =  wow!)….the total raised for Charity Water(www.charitywater.org) for 2013 is up to $505.74!!!!   I am so thankful to partner with all of you, to bring clean drinking water to the most desperate of children and their families around the globe.   What a joy to partner with you!
 
Through the sales of my blingy / crafty / chocolatey creations, you raised $86.88 to support the heroic efforts of Doctors Without Borders(www.doctorswithoutborders.org), who are entrenched in the recovery efforts in the Philippines right now.   Thank you SO MUCH!!!
 
…and a little note about Holiday Shopping.   I am in love with small businesses, like Heart’s Desire in Skippack, PA (full disclosure: they sell my creations and crayons)…so I’m biased when it comes to holiday shopping!   But whether you want to avoid the Black Friday crush, or you’re just curious about what can be found around the corner, please remember that next Saturday (11/30/13) isSmall Business Saturday. Shopping locally makes a huge difference in our communities!   
 
And if you have always wanted to take a stroll through Skippack, PA, you are invited to kick off the holiday season with Jack Frost Friday on Friday, December 6, 2013.   A host of shops will be participating in this event, and the prize that you could win for just coming out to check out these small businesses is a $500 gift basket!  
Questions?  610-584-0797.   Also, please visit www.iloveskippack.com for more fun events and info!  See you there!
 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone – and thank you again for all of your invaluable support.   I’ll be in touch again when I (finally!) open my online shop on etsy.com (www.looksomethingshiny.etsy.com).   But until then – many blessings to you and your families.    Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!!!
 
Love,
Kristen Kerwin & family
 
 
 
 

Crafty Open House Goodness a-comin’…

November….WHA?!  Can’t be…let me check real quick.  OH SNAP! YES IT IS!!!

Sooooooo, you know what November brings, right?  Pumpkin pie 

The Simple Gifts Open House!

@ The Kerwin House  ** 225 Overlook Drive,  Schwenksville, PA  19473

Friday, November 15, 2013  **   4pm – 8pm

Saturday, November 16, 2013   **   10am – 2pm

We are CRAY-Z-EXCITED to get to see you, and to share all that we have been working on.   Whether you are looking to knock out some holiday shopping before Thanksgiving (without getting trampled!), or just want to come and chill, we hope to have what you need to help make the upcoming holiday season just a bit more…Peaceful.  Simple. Precious!

Admission is free, and you won’t want to miss out on a (no purchase necessary!) chance to win one of our raffle prizes.   Vintage and lovely gifts from Heart’s Desire in Skippack, Hand-dipped chocolates, a photo-session from Leah Reiter Creative, and MORE!

What’s your favorite thing to shop for?   Pottery, ornaments, original artwork, stitched gifts?  Yep, we got ya covered.   Repurposed home decor items, or recycled crayons (My Green Crayon) that raise funds for clean water?  Got those, too.   Or are you up for a mini-indoor-yardsale?   We’re on it!   And if you like things dipped in yummy chocolate…well, don’t even get me started!!!

And don’t forget to bring the younger shoppers to our Secret Santa Shoppe, Three Below – where all items are $3 or less, and 100% of sales directly supports the initiatives of charity: water, an amazing non-profit that works to bring clean water to those children in desperate need around the globe!   (www.charitywater.org)

Cash, check, or credit is accepted.   (Also hugs and chocolate.   And Pepsi.   Did I mention chocolate? :-) )

So please come on by, and feel free to bring chocolate a friend.   The more, the merrier!

Blessings!

:-) Kristen & crew

5th Annual Kerwin Open House is almost here!!!

Simple Gifts

5th Annual Open House * 2013

 

Friday, November 15  *  4pm – 8pm

Saturday, November 16  *  10am – 2pm

Where:

@ the Kerwin Home,   225 Overlook Drive,   Schwenksville, PA 19473

What:

**Handmade crafts, jewelry, and food gifts, by Kristen (www.overflowcreations.wordpress.com)   (www.etsy.com/shop/LookSomethingShiny)

I believe that often the best gifts are made by hand, and are from the heart.   I strive to make all of my handmade creations with heirloom quality, as I’d love for you to enjoy them for years to come!   (That is, until there’s a zombie apocalypse…then, all bets are off!)   My creations include handstitched and painted ornaments, painted wooden signs, fun and original jewelry, items made from recycled and repurposed games and ephemera, and delish homemade chocolates.   I have also started trying my hand at pen & ink art, and will soon have framable prints and cards in my etsy shop, too!

10% of sales supports Doctors Without Borders (www.doctorswithoutborders.org)

**Three Below – a ‘Secret Santa Shoppe, where kids, teens (and curious parents!) can buy new items for $3 or less.  There’s something for everyone on your list – family, friends, neighbors, bus drivers, coaches…and more!   All gifts are then wrapped up tightly and ready to go before you leave, so there’s no peeking!

100% of sales supports charity: water.  (www.charitywater.org)

**BeadforLife jewelry and gifts – gorgeous and colorful gifts that give twice!  This is my 6th year partnering with BeadforLife, and I just love getting to share the story and the works of this amazing non-profit.  100% of sales supports the women in Uganda who make this beautiful beaded jewelry from recycled paper.  (www.beadforlife.org)

**My Green Crayon – recycled crayons & gifts.   These crayons come in dozens of fun shapes (penguins, owls, butterflies, dinosaurs, stars and hearts..), and they are priced $1 (small), $3 (large), and $7 (for boxed sets).  They make perfect stocking stuffers, Pollyanna gifts, food-alternative classroom gifts, and more!   Since the start of the project in 2009,   #3477 crayons have been sold (just locally!), and over $5,500 has been raised…all because of awesome crayon-partners like YOU!  Thank you!!!

50% of sales supports clean water projects around the world through charity: water.  (www.charitywater.org)

Crayons also for sale @ Heart’s Desire in Skippack, PA (behind Mal’s Diner) and (soon!) on my etsy site:   http://www.etsy.com/shop/LookSomethingShiny

**New to You – a mini-indoor yard sale, featuring home decor items, craft supplies, and holiday decorations.    This is something new I’m trying…cuz sometimes, it’s just fun to find a lil’ somethin’ that’s gently-loved, and ‘New to You’!

100% of sales supports charity: water.   (www.charitywater.org)

*********************************************

Everyone is welcome!  Please feel free to bring a friend or two – no admission cost, and no need to RSVP.

So please come on over and check it out.   Pop in for 2 seconds, or two hours!   We’ll be here with smiles, refreshments, free raffle prizes, coloring pages and a ‘quiet corner’ for little ones, & lots of gifts that give twice!    We can’t wait to see you!

For information, directions, and more…

email:  kristenkerwin@gmail.com

www.overflowcreations.wordpress.com

www.etsy.com/shop/LookSomethingShiny

Simple Gifts 2012 Open House Update – and fundraising totals!!!

Dear Friends and Family,
YOU ARE AMAZING!!!  
The numbers are all in, and I just wanna shout that you did SUCH GREAT STUFF for those in need!   A huge thank you from the bottom of our wee lil’ hearts!
Here’s the wonderful nitty gritty:

**Hurricane Sandy Relief – You raised $31.50 for the American Red Cross, through your donations and purchases of items made by the Kerwin kiddos.   Thank you!   For those who may still like to help those devastated by Hurricane Sandy, either through monetary donations or items urgently needed, I’d like to share a link to our church’s website:  http://www.fairviewvillagechurch.com/hurricane-sandy-relief.   Volunteers from Fairview Village Church have been making weekly deliveries to Far Rockaway, NY, to deliver the collected items and donations to an impoverished area that literally has nothing left.   Please visit the church website to see how you can help.  Thank you so much!

**Three Below & My Green Crayon – You raised $239.53 for charity: water through yourThree Below (Secret Santa Shoppe) purchases, as well as an additional $40 for charity: waterthrough My Green Crayon!!!  This brings the total funds raised YTD to $957.41 for charity: water, and the total # of crayons sold this year to 905!   Thank you for sending me well on my way to this year’s fundraising goal of $1000!   The crayons are also for sale, year round, at Heart’s Desire in Skippack…just in case another little one’s name pops up on your gift-giving list!   (www.charitywater.org)
**Bead for Life – You raised a wonderful, whopping $676 for the women of Bead for Life in Uganda through jewelry sales!!!  Woohoo!   (www.beadforlife.org)  Some of you have asked about the possibility of adding a $5 bracelet or two to your wish list…I’ll have the beads (and shea butter products) thru the end of the year, and I’ll have them at Heart’s Desire in Skippack on 12/12/12, 6pm – 9pm.  See below for details!
**Azizi Life – Raised $40 for Azizi Life artisans in Rwanda!!!  (www.azizilife.com)
Want more???    Come visit my friend Christi Whitekettle on Saturday, December 1, 2012  9am – 3pm  @ the Whitekettle’s Home, 708 Pond View Drive, Audubon PA – christi@azizilife.com /610-631-1758
*Hundreds of artisans in Rwanda are earning a fair wage and a better life for their families through their craft.  Come hear Christi share about her work in Rwanda with these artisans, and purchase beautiful and meaningful gifts!  Refreshments served, and gifts that give back!
…..and…
Congrats to our Just-For-Fun-Raffle Winners!!!  
(I always knew you guys were winners….)   :-)
**Abby Pawling & Family – Mustache-Mania Basket, from Heart’s Desire in Skippack
**Kathy Weiss – Nesting Bird Candle, from Heart’s Desire in Skippack
**Sharon Clauhs & Family – Photography session with Leah Reiter Creative
**The Canigiani Family – Coffee Lover’s Basket, from the Kerwins :-)
**Pam Ley & Family – Decadent Chocolate Cake by Bob (Kerwin) the Baker
UPCOMING DON’T-MISS-CALENDAR DATES
Jack Frost Friday – December 7, 2012 – 9am to 9pm
*Visit my favorite shop, Heart’s Desire, behind Mal’s Diner…Shop local – it truly matters!
*One lucky shopper with a snowflake game card will win a gift basket valued at $500 from the 10 participating Skippack merchants!  Visit any of these stores for your game card:  Copper Partridge Uniquities, Floral & Hardy, Green Wolf’s Shoppes, Head Over Heels, Heart’s Desire, Hodge Podge, Merle Norman, Miss Riddle’s Candy Shop, Sharp Unique Gifts for Men, Stitchwell Fabrics
*Call for details:  610-584-0797 or 484-991-8173
12/12/12 * Gifts That Give Back *** Wednesday, December 12, 2012 *** 6pm – 9pm
**Come visit Kristen at Heart’s Desire on 12/12/12, featuring Bead for Life jewelry and gifts, My Green Crayon gifts for the little ones in your life, and explore the whole store for one-of-a-kind gifts that are sure to bring back memories while making new ones.   The first 12 adults will receive a free bracelet made with Bead for Life recycled paper beads, and the first 12 children will receive a free gift from My Green Crayon.   The streets and shops will be lit up beautifully for the season, so bring the family out for a stroll down memory lane on Main Street, Skippack.
Illuminaire Nites in Skippack *** Wednesdays and Fridays, Nov. 23 – Dec. 21, 2012 *** 5pm – 9pm each evening 
These magical evenings find the Village of Skippack aglow with the warm light of candles, hospitality, and the sounds of the season.   Luminaries line the sidewalks outside the stores and restaurants to light the way for shoppers and diners to warmly welcome the start of the holiday season.   Don’t miss this annual tradition in Skippack Village!
*For more information, visit www.skippackvillageonline.com or call 610-584-0124
Thank you all so very much for your encouragement and support.   I am a blessed woman to partner with YOU!
WOOHOO!!!  and Merry Christmas!!!
Luv,
Kristen Kerwin & family

Simple Gifts Open House – coming soon!

Christmas  Sooo much packed into that one word.   For some, it sets off a full-on state of panic.  Gifts to buy. Deadlines looming. Budgets blown. Commercialism. Guests.   These are some of the things that can make Christmas not ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’  Bah Humbug!


For others, it’s a time to share some love.  And some cookies.   (For the record, I am fond of love and cookies…)   It’s a time to remember all that we have to be thankful for.   Advent.  Joyful anticipation!  A time to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas at all, and the real ‘reason for the season’.   An opportunity to enjoy, and share, the Simple Gifts of life.  
 
But let’s face it – we still have some preparing to do while we reflect and snuggle and gather ’round…so let’s get all crazy and do both at the same time!   Presenting…
 
The Kerwin’s 4th Annual ‘Simple Gifts’ Open House!
 
Friday, November 16, 2012 – 4pm to 8pm
Saturday, November 17, 2012 – 10am to 2pm
 
@ The Kerwin Home
225 Overlook Drive
Schwenksville, PA 19473
 
What you’ll find:
 
*My Green Crayon – recycled crayons, in dozens of fun shapes (snowflakes, penguins, dinos, butterflies, girl and boy themes, owls…), priced $1, $3, and $7 (for sets) – perfect for stocking stuffers, gift exchanges, food-alternative classroom gifts, package tie ons, and more!  50% of each crayon sale helps to bring clean water to children and their families, around the world, that are in desperate need of access to clean water.   (www.charitywater.org)
 
*Three Below – Calling all kid-shoppers!   This room is a Secret Santa Shoppe, where kids (and the occasional parent) shop for new items priced $3 or less – and where 100% of sales goes directly to support clean water initiatives through charity water (www.charitywater.org).    There’s something for everyone on your list – family, friends, teachers, and more – and you can wrap your gifts up tight before you leave, so there’s no peeking :-)!
 
*Bead for Life – jewelry and gifts – I just love being able to offer the gorgeous jewelery made by the women in Uganda who serve with this amazing non-profit.   Every color of the rainbow comes into play in these beads made from recycled paper.   They are sealed, and are as strong as glass…pieces are priced $5 – $30, and each item comes with a colorful gift card, sharing the Bead for Life story.   Their $5.00 bangle bracelets are perfect, meaningful gifts!  New products made from Shea Butter are also available – something for everyone!  100% of sales goes directly to the women of Bead for Life. (www.beadforlife.org)
 
*Look Something Shiny – A new name for my personal creations (and soon to be anetsy.com site – woohoo!).   I’ve been having fun, trying out some new crafty things…and will have everything from jewelry (vintage domino pendants, fun beaded earrings, owls everywhere, steampunk necklaces, beaded key chains and bookmarks) to repurposed crafts (playing card gift boxes, wooden caddies covered in old game pieces and colored pencils) to felted and embroidered gifts (more owls, little monsters, pillows and framed sentiments and ornaments and more!) to food gifts (mustache pops, owlie pops, chocolate covered oreos and pretzels and…well, anything that can be covered in chocolate!).   
 
*New To You – This is something new I’m trying…basically, a super-mini indoor yard sale!  Craft supplies, home decor, Christmas trimmings…you name it.   Cuz sometimes, it’s just fun to find a lil’ somethin’ that’s ‘New To You’!  
 
So please come over, pop in, stay 2 seconds or two hours – free refreshments and light snackies are here for the munching, and coloring pages for the little ones.  Please feel free to bring a friend or two – all are welcome!   No RSVP required – we’ll be here, ready to share a smile and help you cross something off of your list!
 
Happy Fall, Y’all, and Many Blessings to You!
:-) Kristen Kerwin
 
www.overflowcreations.wordpress.com
 
 
 
P.S.  Official Stuff:  You are receiving this invite because of a connection with My Green Crayon, Small Steps Preschool, Fairview Village Church, Schwenksville Elementary, Middle School West (PV), Girl Scouts, we’re related, camping, the ‘hood, we met once at that store near that thing, we both love chocolate, or I’m stalking you.  ;-)  If you would like to run the other way and not receive future emails – I understand!  Just let me know, and I will keep my emails to myself.  Promise!  :-)
 
P.P.S.   And by the way, as some of you may know – My Green Crayon and LookSomethingShiny creations are at Heart’s Desire in Skippack, PA (behind Mal’s Diner) – 
Heart’s Desire   (http://www.iloveskippack.com/2011/12/15/hearts-desire-skippack-retro-toys/is my “happy place” for shopping:  vintage toys from my childhood, retro candies and decor, books and gifts, as well as wonderful handmade and inspirational gift items…as well as lots of funny signs and cards and giftables, sure to make you laugh out loud!   Please stop in and support your local small businesses – Shop owners Missy and Catherine will take great care of you!   

My Journey Bracelet

Ok, so apparently my blogging skills are akin to my focusing-on-one-thing-at-a-time-skills…sporadic, silent or long-winded, and prone to fits and starts!   But I’ve been writing this particular blog entry in my mind for almost 1 1/2 years now, and it’s time to pour it out.   Grab a drink and get comfy…here goes nothing!

Picture me sitting in my crafty space – surrounded by half-finished projects and unhung home decor items, as well as piles all stacked and shifty and threatening to avalanche – and it’s my 40th birthday.   Project-wise, I have always enjoyed the proverbial first big stroke of paint on a white wall…and have struggled with getting more than 90% of any task, of any size or difficulty, actually done.   I just want everything that I do to be worth the time and energy it took, and to be perfect the first time.  Is that so wrong???  ;-)

As I sat and stared, paralyzed by the sheer volume of the work before me (to make calm out of crazy, or to at least finish SOMETHING!), I got to thinking about turning 40…and I asked myself, “Um, self…the first 40 years have been great and all, except for the worrying thing and the perfection thing and the incessant need for significance and closure thing…but do I want the next 40 years to just be more of the same?   And if not, what can I do / change / discover to help me to transform into the person I think I’m meant to be?”   

This person that I’m thinking of, ideally, would keep some things the same.  My laser-beam love for my husband and kiddos and family would not change – they are amazing!   My passion for all things shiny and crafty and repurposed and homemade would remain – keeps me sane!    And my need for God to lead me on this journey only increases with each day – this vital relationship that I have with my Father in heaven is oxygen to me.   Well, that and Pepsi.   And Snickers.  Oh, and back scratches.  Pure Oxygen!

Oh, but what about the way I pre-worry for events and trips and stuff…just to cover all the bases?  What about the way I feel like the only way I can function well is to be prepared for everything, all the time?   And what about that perfection thing – feeling like I’m expected to have everything in it’s place, properly nailed down and life-enriching and such.   I was the kid who would cry when I got less than 100% on a test or assignment, asking myself repeatedly how I could have been so stupid!   These feelings, in particular, are not making me a better person, and they put me on shifty, sandy footing in the big picture.   Just not a sustainable path!

At 40, I could list so many things to be thankful for.   My amazing husband of 18 years, four beautiful and healthy and amazing children, family and friends all around me and a happy-place to call home…and so much more.   But on this birthday, I was missing my mom something awful.   She passed away in December 2009, very unexpectedly, and many tears and feelings of loneliness and hopelessness would follow.   And on birthdays, there’s just something special about a mom’s touch & voice & love that can’t be replicated.   Not even by chocolate!  (Please trust me, I’ve tried!  Save yourself the calories!)   

SO…there I sat, staring at my piles o’ crazy, when my focus locked onto this little glass jar that had been Mom’s.   It was an Avon perfume jar of some kind, resembling cut glass or crystal.   I use it now to hold beads.   Beads from unfinished bling projects that I gave up on.   Beads that fell to the floor before I could make something shiny with them, rescued before the vacuum ate them.   Beads – most of them – from broken jewelry and tangled dangles and forgotten bits and pieces.   Orphans.   I could relate…

The questions flooded through my brain…Do I put them all ‘away’, into the many color-coded storage containers I had, knowing it would take forever?   Do I give up and throw them away, hoping for a fresh start and a do-over?   Most upsetting – How do I think I can raise a family and maybe have a crafty business and keep things happy and smooth, when I can’t even clean out my tiny ‘junk jar’?   

And then I prayed.   And then it hit me.   And then the ‘What Ifs” (the good kind) came flooding in…

What if everything didn’t have to be perfect?   What if life was more about what we do with all of the broken pieces, and less about making those pieces fit precisely back to the way they were?   And what if, just IF, something new and beautiful and meaningful could be made from broken bits and pieces and unfinished dreams?  (sounds a bit cheesy, to be sure…but wait – there’s more!)  :-) 

My heart was broken when Mom died, and it would never look quite the same.   My approach to the way I deal with the future, riddled with fear and worry, has been broken for years.   My attempts to make everything just so, the first time and every time, is a broken way of thinking that will only bring more failure. I needed a new game plan for the next 40 years, and when I prayed, I believe God answered me in the form of bling.   It’s true!  :-)   And the Journey Bracelet was born…

My Journey Bracelet is made up of 40 beaded dangles – with every type of bead out there – from gemstones to glass to metal to Swarovski gems to pearls.   The bracelet chain and clasp came from Mom’s seriously-old (vintage!) jewelry box, as if it was waiting there for me to bring it to life.   I wear my bracelet all the time, and it’s gentle ‘jingle’ sounds keep me company.    It’s my reminder that God truly does bring good out of the bad, and that this Journey that we are all on does not have to end when the pieces become broken.   God has made something strong and shiny and beautiful in me, and my Journey Bracelets are my way of sharing that joy with YOU!  ;-)

No two bracelets are exactly alike, and each one is made with the utmost care and attention to detail.   My hope is that they would bring comfort and encouragement to those who are on a Journey – and that they would serve as a reminder that perfection is not the same as completeness, and that brokenness is not the opposite of joy.   Each little bit o’ something that we gather along the way can be a part of the ‘something shiny’ and beautiful that lies before us.   Hope abounds, and God promises that He is enough for the Journey!

What’s your Journey story?   

My Green Crayon

Click on this image to see a wide variety of recycled crayons.  Please contact me for more information.

My Green Crayon 2011

Creativity Update

Click on this image to see an album of my latest creations:

Kristen’s Creations 2011

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