October 30, 2007

From An Humble Beginning

Since I am so at peace when I bead, it isn't often that I make pieces of handcrafted jewelry that don't involve one or more beadweaving stitches. Here is a look at one of those pieces.

This is a substantial piece that would overpower a tiny woman. The two aquarium glass stones that provide dimension and definition are separated by an elevated ridge. The cuff is just under two inches wide. Tiny globes of glass cover the outer edges of the cuff. In spite of it's heavy look, it is light and easy to wear. Most people who have seen it, ask if it is made from bamboo.
Yes, I know, the picture is rather dark, but I am hoping you can at least get a feel for how the cuff looks. This piece is too thick to scan well and the digital camera and I are not always on speaking terms. Sometimes it co-operates, sometimes not. And life goes on.

As much as I like the compliments I receive when I wear it, I like even more that it started life as something most people would throw away. The base of the cuff is the cardboard core from a roll of industrial packing tape. Multiple layers of red, gold and copper lacquer shine with an richness that easily hides the humble beginnings of this bracelet.

Thank you, Jah, for showing me how to "Tun han', mek fashion." ("Turn hand, make fashion." Translation: Take what little I have and make something better out of it.)

More recycled jewelry

October 28, 2007

Google AdSense Account Disabled

Time out for an ugly reality check.

I have been working diligently to build a valid readership for this blog. I have followed the steps recommended to build regular traffic flow to my blog. I have joined forums, read & commented on other blogs, added links to sites I would want my readers to enjoy, sent pings via Pingoat.com and technorati.com each time I update, and have added my blog URL to my email signature.

Watching my readership slowly, but steadily grow has been an accomplishment for me. Now I get a bucket of ice cold water dashed over my head. Recently I received an email from Google AdSense advising that my account has been disabled. This is part of their post:

"It has come to our attention that invalid clicks and/or impressions have been generated on the Google ads on your site(s). We have therefore disabled your Google AdSense account. Please understand that this was a necessary step to protect the interests of AdWords advertisers.

As you may know, a publisher's site may not have invalid clicks or impressions on any ad(s), including but not limited to clicks and/or impressions generated by:

- a publisher on his own web pages
- a publisher encouraging others to click on his ads
- automated clicking or surfing programs, or any other deceptive
- a publisher altering any portion of the ad code or changing the
layout, behavior, targeting, or delivery of ads for any reason

These or any other such activities that violate Google AdSense Terms
and Conditions and program polices may have led us to disable your

I know that I have done nothing to violate the terms and conditions of their program, but am now at their mercy because you only get one appeal and if that is denied you are just kicked to the curb. End of discussion AND they keep all the money earned so far. It is frustrating to play by the rules and still be branded a cheater. I filled out the appeal form and am awaiting their response.

If anyone, in a misguided attempt to help me, has set up any type of automated clicking or surfing program on my behalf, please remove me from it. At an exchange rate of JA$71.15 to US$1, for every $5.00 dollars of Google ad revenue lost, that actually means a loss of $355.75 to me here in Jamaica. For someone without a job, that means a lot.

If you stop by one day and don't see the Google ads any more, you know my appeal was denied.

Thanks, Loyal Readers, for visiting, for reading, for commenting, for subscribing and for returning again.

October 26, 2007

October 24, 2007

Faux Jade Donut Choker

This choker incorporates multiple stitch types. The focal piece is a green faux jade donut. The right side of the choker is a peyote stitched band with picot edging on the top and a netting stitch on the bottom. The left side of the choker is alternating segments of square stitching and stringing.

The closure is adjustable since the crystals used for the toggle can be inserted into one of five different segments of the closure loop.

I am usually drawn to a more symetrical shape for necklaces, but this one just didn't work out that way this time. Each time I do something different and it works out, I feel so empowered.
Thank you, Jah!

October 23, 2007

October 22, 2007

Red and Gold Anklet Re-Do

Wearing an anklet makes me feel feminine.

The first version of this anklet looked OK laid out flat on the scanner bed, but it did not "wear well". The red picot edges stood out from my ankle, rather than hang down as intended.

I added another row of netting, alternating the length of the drops. It lays much better on my ankle now. I enjoy wearing it and I enjoy the compliments I get, too.

October 20, 2007

He Now Sings With The Ancients

The world's choir lost a powerful voice with the death of a reggae icon, Lucky Dube, in South Africa on Thursday. He was shot during a carjacking in Johannesburg, South Africa. His death leaves seven children, Bongi, Nonkululeko, Thokozani, Laura, Siyanda, Philani and three-month old Melokuhle fatherless and a world of devoted fans devastated.

If you aren't familiar with his music, a good place to start is with Rastas Never Die and Think About the Children. Over a 25 year career, he has many more albums to his credit.

Zulu Farewell - NIHAMBE KAHLE, Lucky.
English translation - GO WELL, Lucky.
Patois translation - WALK GOOD, Lucky.

No matter how you bid him farewell, please say a prayer for his widow, Zanele, and for his children.

Lift your voice, Lucky, and continue to spread your message of truth and love as you now sing with The Ancients. Walk good, Lucky, and may only good duppy falla backa yu!

October 17, 2007

More Aquarium Glass

This set was beaded for a lovely lady who is one of my technology clients. I hope she enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed creating it for her.

The focal beads are aquarium glass stones set into a delica bead net. The net is open on the front and back, so you can see straight thru both pieces. The pendant bail and the bracelet band are peyote stitched in gold and pearlescent white delicas. The magnetic clasp ends are hidden in a peyote stitched tube of delicas.

The tiny, uniform size of the delica beads give this aquarium glass set a formal, yet dainty look. The other set I made using aquarium glass has a more substantial, informal look caused by the larger, irregularly shaped seed beads.

October 16, 2007

Free Rice

Recently I stumbled upon, this website, Free Rice, which has two goals. One is to teach English vocabulary and the other is to feed hungry people. Each goal alone is admirable, but to have found a way to combine both is remarkable.

You are given a word and four possible definitions. You click to choose the correct answer. For each correct answer, 10 grains of rice will be donated to feed the hungry thru an international aid agency.

The words start off easy and as you continue to get the answers correct, the words get progressively more difficult. I found myself pulling out my Webster's dictionary so I could keep going. The FAQ's say there are 50 levels, but most folks don't get over 48. I think I will accept that challenge. How can I possibly loose? Gain for the brain and feeding the hungry at the same time.

Any one else up for the challenge?

October 15, 2007

Jamaica's National Heroes Day

Monday, October 15, 2007, is National Heroes Day in Jamaica. This is a day for honouring our ancestors whose past struggles have made our future struggles easier.

Can you name our Jamaican national heroes?

In alphabetical order, they are:

Paul Bogle
Sir Alexander Bustamante
Marcus Mosiah Garvey
George William Gordon
Norman Washington Manley
Nanny of the Maroons
Sam Sharpe

I know I cannot be the only one who noticed that not one professional athlete, musician or dance hall sensation is on the list. Who are our heroes and sheroes of today? Who are our modern day nation-builders?

There has been much public discourse on whether Miss Lou (Louise Bennett-Coverly) or Bob Marley (Robert Nesta Marley) should be designated as National Hero.

Who would you consider to be worthy to have their name added to the list of our Jamaican national heroes?

October 12, 2007

October 10, 2007

Zig Zag Brick Stitch

It seems as if the blue phase is finally over.

This brick stitch zig zag bracelet is made with matte delica beads. It is 8 inches long and closes with two snaps. Increasing and then decreasing every seven rows is what creates the zig zag shape. When worn, the two snaps disappear underneath the band.

October 9, 2007

Acknowledging MediaFire.com

I consider this to be a public service announcement for my readers. I want to share MediaFire - Free File Hosting Made Simple with you. Their tagline, Free File Hosting Made Simple, is on-target. It is simple, free and customizable. While uploading files, you can view the upload progress, speed, and estimated time to complete the upload.

When I begin blogging here, I was concerned that I might quickly use up the image storage limit imposed by blogger.com, since I post pictures of my beadwork. When using MediaFire - Free File Hosting Made Simple to host the images, I don't use the blogger.com allotment. I hope this works as well for you as it does for me.

And, don't think that only bloggers can benefit from MediaFire - Free File Hosting Made Simple . It is a great way to share pictures with family and friends around the world. Let me know if you try it.

October 5, 2007


Do you carry a cell phone? You probably have the numbers of friends, family members, business contacts and service providers keyed into your phonebook. Some of them are probably even on your speed dialing list.

But, if you were unable to communicate with police or emergency medical personnel, how would they know which of the many numbers they should call?


Use the initials ICE and the number of the person who should be contacted in case of an emergency. Use the entry ICE2, ICE3, etc for additional contact numbers.

It is not like me to ever suggest you do anything that would take you away from reading Voice From Jamaica, but for right now, I want you to get up from the computer, pick up your cell phone and program in your ICE number now! Then come on back, browse some more, read some previous posts, subscribe if you haven't already and then leave a comment. Please let the comment be your confirmation that ICE is now in your phone.

I don't remember who sent me the original email with this idea in it, but I think it is a great one. Please encourage your loved ones to consider this. Also, find out if the police and emergency personnel in your area are trained to look for ICE. If not, educate them to do so.

Your safety, Adored Reader, is important to me!

October 2, 2007

The Four Agreements

According to Don Miguel Ruiz, “Everything we do is based on agreements we have made - agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible.”

Don Miguel Ruiz, born in rural Mexico, was raised in the Toltec traditions. He pursued a conventional education, which allowed him to practice for several years as a surgeon. After an accident, Don Miguel returned to his family’s Toltec roots in the late 1970's, studying and learning the Toltec ways. During the 80's and 90’s, while healing, teaching, lecturing and writing, he wrote The Four Agreements, a code for life and a template for personal development.

This is how Don Miguel Ruiz summarises 'The Four Agreements':

agreement 1
Be impeccable with your word
- Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

agreement 2
Don’t take anything personally
- Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

agreement 3
Don’t make assumptions
- Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

agreement 4
Always do your best
- Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Seems so simple on the surface, but what emotional maturity and courage it would take to actually live by The Four Agreements. Agreements 2 and 4 will be the hardest for me, but I know the effort will be worth it.

Which would be hardest for you?

October 1, 2007

Blue Mood From A Beading Muse - Pt 4

Isn't it great how the blue phase is ending at about the same time as my stash of blue beads?

A three-bead wide ladder stitch of silver-lined clear size 6s creates the band for this bracelet. The looped embellished edge gives dimension to the piece while protecting the edge threads forming the base. The toggle clasp is made from two acrylic buttons and the closure loop is created from seed beads and the size 6 base beads.

Unlimited Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

The patterns in this one didn't scan well. There are spirals, stripes and bands of blue and crystal seed beads peyote stitched around a metal ring.

Blue Mood - Pt 1
Blue Mood - Pt 2
Blue Mood - Pt 3