Friday, May 25, 2012

Dinobeadies for Diabetes

Today my daughter's school held its annual end-of-the-year Fun Run. It's a 2-mile run that, truth be told, most of the junior high kids walk. But this was the first year the Fun Run would benefit a charity - and the school chose the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. How cool is that? 
Annie is one of two kids in her school with juvenile diabetes. She was pretty excited that the Fun Run was benefitting the JDRF, and the kids raised over $6,000!

Annie and I had decided a while back that I should make a special bead to benefit the JDRF or another diabetes charity. Annie loved the idea of a "diabetes dinosaur," so she was pushing that idea. I knew that my dinosaur beads usually sat in my shop until they were, well, as old as dinosaurs. So I was hesitant because I wanted to pick a bead that people would actually buy. But Annie insisted, so I went with it. I made mini dino beads, which eventually turned into dinobeadies for diabetes. And whaddya know? They've been selling like crazy! In just over a week, these small but mighty dinosaurs have earned over $300 for the JDRF. I am thrilled! I will keep creating these little guys in every color combination imaginable until there is a cure for diabetes.

Annie picked one out for herself yesterday - it's purple, green and pink and I turned it into a charm.

More dinobeadies can be found here

Friday, May 11, 2012

Art Imitates Art Imitates Art

I've said it before, I'm inspired by stuffed animals. I've often used my daughters' favorite plush toys as inspiration for my beads. Now I've used a recent Etsy purchase (for my daughter's upcoming birthday) as the model for my first lemur bead. When I first laid eyes on the huge eyes of Leonardo the Lemur on Raven's Craft Creations Facebook page, I knew I had to get it for my daughter. She is an Etsy fanatic and always asks for "Etsy money" for her birthday so she can pick something out. She has a thing for koalas and chickens (she adds them to my favorites a lot), but I just know this lemur will find a prominent place in her stuffed animal pile. 

The lemur arrived recently and it is sooooo cute! Raven, of Raven's Craft Creations on Etsy is so talented with amigurumi animals! Once I saw it, I knew I wanted to turn it into a bead. The eyes may be what caught my attention, but the long ring tail is my favorite part. It bends! 

Here is my glassy version of Leonardo the Lemur. He was very fun to make! You can get your own Leonardo the amigurumi Lemur here. But that's not all Raven makes - baby beanies, dinosaur hats and totes are also available. But the amigurumi animals are my favorites. :)

Here are Raven's latest little critter creations ~ octo-squeedles. They come in just about any color combination you can think up, and they are so flippin' cute! Raven actually modeled these little octopus toys after another glass artist's creations:

At Everything Squeedle, proceeds from every purchase of these adorable Squeedle beads go toward funding research for Type 1 diabetes, a cause I am personally behind. See the little red spot on the far left leg? That's to show he's tested his blood sugar (something diabetics have to do about 10 times a day) to make sure he's in the safe range - good Squeedle! These are charming and unique little creatures that I'm sure bring comfort to kids with Type 1. 

Once again, it all comes full circle. :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Turtle Bead GIVEAWAY!

Time for a giveaway!!!

Here are the rules:
1. Leave a comment after this post - it can be about anything. Also, make sure there's a way for me to contact you.
2. For an extra entry - like Maybeads on Facebook and share my giveaway post there. Then leave a separate second comment on my blog saying you shared it.
Easy Peasy right?

I'll draw a name tonight, May 6, around 9pm Chicago time.

Thanks for playing!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Beads of Courage for My Girl

Life certainly can be ironic. Or come full circle. You know, like a bead. On January 2 of this year, the last day of winter break for my kids, I took my daughter Annie to JoAnne's to buy some fabric. She was using gift cards she'd received for the holidays to buy fabric because she wanted to make bags for Beads of Courage, a program that I love to support. Beads of Courage provides beads for children who are dealing with serious illnesses - different beads are assigned to various treatments. As you can imagine, some of these little fighters have multiple strands that are filled with all kinds of beads. So Beads of Courage not only depends on artists to create beads for the program, but it also relies on volunteers to make special bead bags for the kids. Annie, who loves to sew, had wanted to make these bags for a long time. So that's how we found ourselves at JoAnne's, picking out some fun fabrics on January 2. 

On January 3, I called our pediatrician's office to ask about Annie's sudden weight loss and extreme thirst, symptoms we'd noticed for the previous couple weeks. With the New Year's holiday long weekend, it was my first chance to call after realizing just how severe her symptoms were. I was told to take her right in for a blood test, and that's when we got her Juvenile Diabetes diagnosis. I first wrote about that here. Since Annie's diagnosis, our time has been filled with doctor's appointments and educating ourselves about this disease. But in the four months since she was diagnosed, Annie did finally get to make her first Beads of Courage bag. Her grandma came over and the two of them spent an afternoon figuring out the pattern and making one finished bag. Annie was so excited to finally make it! She plans on making more.

The first Beads of Courage bead bag Annie made.

Shortly after Annie's diagnosis, I learned that Beads of Courage now has a Chronic Illness program, which includes kids like Annie who have diabetes. So after a few weeks I finally filled out Annie's information and signed her up. And guess what came in the mail a few days ago? Annie's strand of beads! It's a short strand, and we hope it stays that way. :) But each bead on there stands for something she's been through - from her nights spent in the hospital to her blood draws while she was there. There are also special bumpy beads that represent learning to take her own medicine - in this case insulin shots - so I made that bead for her, as well as one for learning to use the insulin pen (which is now how she injects herself).

It hasn't been easy, adjusting to this new normal. But Annie has come so far in the last four months and we are so proud of her. She was so excited to receive her beads - and for someone who has pretty much open access to all kinds of beads here, that's saying a lot! That's because the Beads of Courage beads were hard-earned, and that's what makes each and every one so special. Thank you, thank you, Beads of Courage.