Monday, February 9, 2015

I Am An Everyday Abolitionist, are YOU?

I have invited a friend of mine, Melissa Watson, to write a guest post for me this week. She works for Free The Girls, an organization that works hard at a very worthwhile cause: helping those who have been rescued from human trafficking to get back on their feet, with the resources to develop the skills they need to move forward with a healthy and fulfilling life.

By Melissa Watson, National Director, Free The Girls

Five years ago, I would have never thought of myself as an abolitionist.  In my mind, slavery ended in the United States in 1865 and, along with it, went the abolitionist movement.

Enter Free The Girls with their cheeky name and catchy slogan, “Donate a Bra. Give a Former Slave a Job.”

Free The Girls is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides job opportunities to survivors of sex trafficking in developing countries by helping them establish their own businesses selling bras in the second-hand clothing markets. And, through the collection of bras in Western countries, Free The Girls inspires people and organizations to get involved in the fight against modern day slavery.
What’s the problem?

Currently over 27 million men, women and children are being held as slaves around the world—more today than in any other time in history. The majority of those slaves are women and girls—many of whom are victims of sex trafficking.

There are a number of amazing organizations that are helping to rescue these women out of a life of prostitution, but what happens after they are rescued? Free The Girls partners with established aftercare facilities to help provide job opportunities to survivors of sex trafficking selling bras.

Yes, bras. Every woman has a small graveyard of bras in the back of her underwear drawer—bras that she doesn’t wear anymore or that never fit right in the first place. By contrast, second-hand clothing is a profitable market in many countries around the world. Bras are sought after items. And even better, bras provide an opportunity for the women in our program to establish their own businesses, to have flexible hours so they can return to school and care for their families and, most of all, to work with other women—a contrast to their former lives where they were being abused and used by men.

How You Can Help

Start by donating those bras lingering in the back of your lingerie drawer to Free The Girls. Then, encourage your friends to do the same. Give up your favorite vice once a week—the double soy latte, the drive-thru dinner, or the second glass of wine during happy hour—and, at the end of the month, total up your savings and sign up to be a monthly donor to support Free The Girls job creation program. In short, resolve to be an Everyday Abolitionist.

What does it mean to be an Everyday Abolitionist?

If you are like most people, you might think that the only way to make a difference is to “go big or go home.” Free The Girls knows that real life doesn’t work that way. Becoming an Everyday Abolitionist is simple, and it doesn’t require you give up all your spare time or make an endowment-worthy donation. 

Everyday Abolitionists take a stand against modern day slavery in their everyday lives. They take advantage of opportunities like donating bras they never wear. They write a note to a survivor of sex trafficking. They buy a sweet Free The Girls t-shirt. They use social media to encourage their friends and family to take a stand, too.

Everyday Abolitionists are conscious consumers and purchase fair-trade, slave-free clothing, food, and consumer products whenever possible.  Some Everyday Abolitionists shop at e-retailers like ASTERrisk who donates the proceeds from the sale of her exclusive, handmade Free The Girls branded jewelry. Other Everyday Abolitionists hold garage sales and donate the proceeds. Many Everyday Abolitionists invite their friends to start a book club that selects books about human trafficking.

Everyday Abolitionists ask thoughtful, discreet questions to people they encounter in the service industry (such as manicurists, housekeepers, day laborers, or restaurant kitchen staff) to determine whether that person is being forced to work in return for room and board. They write to their lawmakers demanding laws which impose tougher penalties for pimps, johns, and unscrupulous employers; which de-criminalize and expunge records of those arrested for prostitution and illegal immigration; and which fund services directed at the rescue and rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking.

Small, simple steps leading to real, tangible results.

Everyday Abolitionists don’t sacrifice their own identity for the cause, they make the cause part of their identity in small, meaningful ways every day.

Ready to join us? Learn more at

Report suspected human trafficking violations to the National Hotline at 888-373-7888 or text the word INFO to 233733.

It's me, Alisa, again! Thanks for reading. I believe that turning outside of ourselves to help others is one of the greatest traits we can develop. Consider supporting Free The Girls, and while you're there you can see my cutie-patootie daughter Hailey! Try to imagine her or any girl or woman you love caught up in human trafficking. It's unthinkable.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Widow's Mite

Several years ago my husband and I took a trip to Rome, Italy, and made a side trip to Pompeii. I am fascinated with ancientness, and there are so many ancient places I would love to go! I'd love to tour castles in Ireland and Scotland; see the pyramids of both Egypt and Mexico; go to China to see the Terracotta Army and The Great Wall, just to name a few.

I have refrained from writing a history lesson. You're welcome.

I randomly came across an ancient Roman coin once, and it prompted me to look into using ancient coins in jewelry. I've made a few things over the years, and have really enjoyed shopping for coins that are interesting and meaningful to me. I've made a necklace from a coin that I've hung onto for a while because I couldn't decide if I wanted to give it up or not. I'm sure I'll buy another one at some point, because I just love it! It's not the most beautiful or rare coin, but I love it because it has significance. It's a lepton, sometimes known as the widow's mite. It's significance comes from a Bible story you can find in Mark 12:41-44.

You can read it if you like. I have also refrained from writing a Sunday School lesson. :)

If you aren't religious, it's a touching example of unselfishness, and of sacrificing to support that which one finds to be support-worthy. And if you are religious, it's a poignant example of faith.

Click on the pictures to see the listing for this necklace in my shop.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Are Diamonds Really a Girl's Best Friend?

What would you say if I told you there was a gemstone that was proven to be more beautiful than diamonds? You'd probably say, "Why, that is not possible! Ones estimation of beauty cannot be proven to be more or less correct than the varying opinions of others! It is unaccountable!" (Because in my head you speak like a character in a Jane Austen novel.) And you would be right. Sort of.

While it's true that opinions of beauty vastly vary from person to person, there are scientific measurements for things like brilliance (refractive index), fire (dispersion), and luster index. If that data defines beauty, then there is a stone more beautiful, as well as being almost as hard, and a fraction of the cost of diamonds.

Does that excite you as much as it does me?! I doubt it, but we can compare scientifically if you'd like. What's your heart rate, temperature, pupil size, etc?

This stone is called moissanite, named after Dr. Henri Moissan, who discovered it in 1893. Hang in there, this is kind of interesting. He was studying a crater created by a meteorite that hit the earth thousands of years ago, when he found small traces of an unknown mineral.... Unknown because it's from outer space! It is made of silicon and carbon, both of which are found on Earth, but the combination of the two doesn't naturally occur here.

Obviously, natural moissanite is very rare. Only traces of it have been found, certainly not enough to be used in jewelry. But some brilliant scientists came up with a method for creating it in a lab. They produced it because it's physical and electronic properties make it the foremost semiconductor material for.... some things I know nothing about, and in the interest of staying on topic, I'm going to move on. In 1995 a master diamond cutter suggested that if it were cut it would make a beautiful jewel. He was right!

Moissanite can be compared to, and in fact surpasses diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds in brilliance, fire, and luster, and is only slightly below diamonds in hardness.

But wait, there's more! Moissanite is considerably less expensive than diamonds. I'm talking in the $100's rather than in the $1000's. That's a smokin' deal for a stone that is proven to be more beautiful, right?

Are you sold yet? What do you think, should I make some moissanite jewelry?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Stamp Your Way Into Her Heart

Are you a mom? Do you have a mom? Do you know a mom? Then you might have started thinking about Mother's Day. It's a little ways off still (May 12), but I've started brainstorming about what kind of mother's jewelry I want to make.

I made a "Secret Message" ring, that can have almost countless variations.

As you can see, the outside is very simple. It could be a plain band, or an initial, or any of 100's of design stamps that are available, and the inside has the secret message; which could also be anything that fits on the ring.

I made some of these rings for a boutique I am going to be at, so I made them in a one-size-fits-all cuff style. It could just as easily be made into a full ring though.

I also came up with this mother's necklace. Another simple piece (I'm kind of leaning towards more minimalistic styles lately. Just cuz.) that allows for 1,2,3, or 4 birthstone beads.

This one could also be easily customized. It could have a heart instead of the word "mom," or a name, or whatever. The beads could also just be decorative instead of birthstones. I just had a thought... A star with a red, a white, and a blue bead. Patriotic, right?

Endless possibilities! That's what I love so much about making jewelry. Especially when it's hand stamped, because it can have personalized meaning. I recently became a distributor of ImpressArt Metal Stamps. They have such a huge variety of design stamps, and alphabet fonts - I'm really having fun with them! You can check out some of the stamps here if you're interested. (I've just set this up, so I'll be adding lots more in the coming weeks!) Even if you've never done any stamping, jewelry like this ring and necklace are so easy and fun to make! Think of the fun you'll have whipping out Mother's Day gifts, birthday gifts, YOU gifts! :)

Mother's Day is in just over a month. Better get started!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Finds

Are you an April Fooler or an April Foolee? Well, it's coming up soon, and you'd better get prepared if you want to fool more than you want to be fooled! I found an imaginative list of pranks here if you'd like to peruse through them to get your prank juice flowing.

I also found some fun ideas from the handmade arena. This one made me smile... A Boyfriend in a Bottle at Sparkly Pony on Etsy. Hmmmm, not a bad idea.

And a baby with a mustache! This baby is cute no matter what it has on its face. :) You can find your mustache at Wee Hilarity.

For this, I have only one word. Gross. But, gross and April Fool's Day go hand in hand, right? Find these matchboxes and other fun gag gifts at Dippy Lulu.

And of course, I found a plethora of fake spills; from baby bottles and melted ice cream to fingernail polish and paint. I even found a vial of fake spilled blood. I chose the picture of spilled Diet Coke, because that would be totally believable anywhere in my vicinity. You can find all this and more at Fake Food Decor.

Do you have any favorite April Fool's Day pranks? Comment and let us know!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Beautiful Bullets

This is not a political blog. But there are some things I just have an opinion on, and this opinion happens to lend itself well to jewelry. :)

Gun control. This idea scares me. Even if you don't own a gun, and have no desire to ever own a gun, and even if you're afraid of guns; this idea should scare you. Self defense, hunting, and target shooting aside, this is a human right we are talking about - a right specifically outlined in the constitution! Allowing the government to take away any of our rights is so out of our American Character, that I find it appalling that it's even being considered. The governmental snowball is rolling, and if we don't stop it, it will become an avalanche. 

I watched a video recently where a man was talking about Congressman Giffords being shot at a supermarket during a rally. He said that nearby people stopped the attack using a ball point pen when the shooter stopped to reload. I am proud of them for stepping up and using whatever means necessary to protect themselves, their leaders, and their friends and neighbors. But... If I'm ever in a situation where I, my family, my home, or other innocent people are being threatened, I don't want to stand there and wait until the shooter has emptied his gun, while I hope no one gets hurt. And I'd prefer to have a gun over a ball point pen. And if others would prefer to stand there and hope they don't die, then that's just fine, but don't take my right to protect me and mine away. 

I don't carry a gun, actually, but my husband does. He has hunted all of his life, and he knows how to safely handle a gun to protect himself and others from accidental harm. That's key, I think. I'm scared to see the general public waving guns around willy-nilly! My husband recently bought a new gun, and some of the other customers buying guns obviously had no idea how to use one. Maybe people should have to take a gun safety class when they buy their first gun, I don't think that's unreasonable. 

Anyway, that went on much longer than I thought it would! You're probably wondering how this has anything to jewelry...

I think these are awesome! You can find them in an Etsy shop called Trash and Trinkets. She has recycled, upcycled, repurposed and uppurposed (if that's not a word now, it soon will be) used shell casings from different sized bullets. She uses silver, brass, and copper embellishments and lots of different colored stones or crystals to make each one unique.

I had to try to make one myself! I looked online for some pretty embellishments... for about 10 minutes, then I got too impatient and just made one with things I had on hand. :) Mine is not as pretty as hers, but it satisfied my itch to make one, and I kind of like it. I want to be clear, though, that I won't sell these; it's obviously not my design. But I'm happy to send you to Trash and Trinkets to buy one of your own!

I do have a bullet tie tack that I'll sell you though! It's a nice statement piece. I can make you one out of a mold I already have, or I can make one for you with your bullet of choice if you'd like to send it to me.

In the second picture, the tie tack on the left is made from a bullet that hasn't been shot, and the tie tack on the right is made from the shell of a used bullet. It's kind of cool to make one from a significant shell of your own (from a successful hunt, bulls-eye shot from a tournament, etc). Feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss the possibilities!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Finds

I have been looking into the world of Etsy's edible goodness.... And I'm getting hungry! I, myself, enjoy being in the kitchen only to eat, and for no other reason, so I am very impressed with these talented and creative culinary artists.

Look at these candies! Yes, candies... They look like real seashells, don't they? Jason and Andie at Andie's Specialty Sweets make these candy coated chocolates, and many other incredibly beautiful candies for your enjoyment. 

Here's something different... Maple Bacon Cake Bites... Cake mixed with maple icing and pieces of bacon, dipped in chocolate and topped with more bacon. Oh my goodness, sweet and salty at its best! You can find these at Bite Sized Delights by Ann on Etsy.

Classic. Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. My mom used to make this stuff, and it's my "berry" favorite! My mouth is seriously watering looking at this picture. Get it at Copper Pot Traditions.

And, oh my. Organic Vanilla Bean French Macarons. Not to be confused with macaroons... Do I need to even say anything about these? Just look at that cookie. If the sight of it alone doesn't sell you on it, there's nothing more I can say that will. Mmmmm. Andrea has these and more at Salt City Bakery.