May 30, 2008

Wine Glass Charms

This was a special order placed by a visitor from England. She wanted a unique set of wine glass charms. The top photo shows the charms attached to the holder that goes over the neck of the wine bottle. The bottom photo show the individual charms. No more confusion at her dinner parties about whose wine glass it is.

May 27, 2008

Equadorian Leaf Bracelet

This bracelet is from a design that is an adaptation of a Saraguro beading pattern. The August 2002 issue of Bead and Button magazine featured an elaborate beadwoven necklace that inspired Kelly Lightner to create the pattern for this bracelet.

The clasp is made from two acrylic buttons that I fastened back-to-back. The black accents on the buttons go well with the black seed beads. I am trying to figure out now if I have enough beads to make a matching anklet.

May 26, 2008

May 24, 2008

My Three New Beading Books

Because there are no local bead stores where I live, my bead shopping is restricted to the once or twice a year that I go up to the states. My recent trip didn't yield much in the way of new beads or findings, but I did get three books that I have wanted for some time now. I trust that Jah will provide the beads, if it is His will that I continue to bead.

Carol Wilcox Wells' second book, The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving, from Lark Books, has been on my wish list since it first came out. I have enjoyed her first book, Creative Beadweaving, since 1994. It was my best source for beading lessons, since I couldn't stretch the budget far enough to include the cost of private lessons. Thank you, Jah, for giving me a teachable brain!

Diane Fitzgerald's book, Zulu Inspired Beadwork, from Interweave Press, shows the traditional Zulu beadworks that inspire her modern translations. She has traveled to Africa to study both Zulu and Xhosa beading techniques. I have already learned the Zulu Flowerette stitch and will probably try the Switch-Back pattern next.

Valerie Hector's book, The Art of Beadwork, from Watson-Guptill Publications, keeps me enthralled for hours at a time. The tag line, Historic Inspiration, Contemporary Design, says it better than I can.

No matter how much time I spend on the computer or with my beadwork, I always love to pick up a good book. Especially ones as well written and illustrated as these three.

Faux Pearls with Black Seed Beads

The bracelet is constructed of a netted cage of black seed beads enclosing faux pearls ranging in size from 6 to 10mm.

The pendant uses the same seed beads and faux pearls. The piece includes brick stitch, peyote stitch and picot stitches. It is strung on 2mm satin rattail cord.

May 21, 2008


May 18, 2008

Hematite and Seed Beads

Feel free to critique the photography as well as the beadwork. I am still learning both.

The centerpiece of this bracelet is a hematite-coloured piece of aquarium glass. It is encased in a netting of pearlized seed beads and hematite beads. The band of the bracelet is a base of 3mm hematite cylinder beads stitched in right angle weave, then embellished with the pearlized seed beads. The clasp is a silver base metal toggle clasp.

This is a gift to a friend. She is very high on my prayer list just now. Life has been giving her some rough punches lately. But she is a survivor and will bounce back to higher heights.

May 16, 2008

Life Instructions


May 14, 2008

Taxing, To Say The Least

Jamaican payroll taxes are a confusing mish-mash of multiple statutory deductions, nil rates that change with political whims, differing percentages of contributions and little or no public education on how the process works. Why do I believe that it is confusing on purpose as a way to allow working Jamaicans to be samfied (tricked)?

Since January 2006, Jamaican workers have been allowed to earn up to JA$193,440 annually (approximately US$2,764) without paying Income Tax (AKA PAYE or Pay As You Earn).

That seems pretty straight forward, nuh true?

If it were only so simple.

First there is a deduction called NIS or National Insurance Scheme that is paid by employers and employees at 2.5% of the first JA$500,000 earned, with a monthly cap of JA$1,041.66. That amount must first be deducted from the gross emolluments before applying the nil rate. If employed Jamaicans reach the age of 70, this deduction ceases the following calendar year.

Next step is to determine the cumulative nil rate based on where in the calendar year you are and whether or not there were any nil rate earnings from another employer during the calendar year. Now you deduct that amount from the gross amount less the NIS deduction and any pension deductions. That gives you the TAXABLE income for the PAYE deduction.

The PAYE tax rate is 25% of the TAXABLE income for individuals.

The Education tax is also calculated on TAXABLE income at the rate of 3% for the employer's contribution and 2% for the employees' contributions.

Then we have the NHT or National Housing Trust deduction that is paid at 3% of the gross amount by employers and 2% by employees. This ceases the calendar year after employed Jamaicans reach the age of 65.

Employers also have to pay a HEART (Human Education And Resource Training) contribution at the rate of 3% of the gross employee pay.

So we have five statutory deductions, (PAYE, HEART, Education, NIS and NHT) that have varying percentages, one with a capped amount and some that are applied against the gross amount and some that are applied against TAXABLE income.

Is it any wonder most Jamaican employees have no idea if they are being paid correctly or not?

I won't even make mention about the heartless employers who withhold statutory deductions from their employees' pay, but never hand it over to Inland Revenue. (OK, so I did make mention of di rahtid teef, dem.)

The reason I mentioned any of this nonsense is that I will be doing the programming changes for a nil rate threshold change for July 1, 2008 and again for January 1, 2009 for several of my clients.

Thank you, Jah, for gift of beading that helps restore my sanity in the midst of this insanity.

May 13, 2008

Silver and Gold?

Not really silver and not really gold, either. Just two bracelets that were created with silver-lined gold and silver-lined clear glass seed beads. I remember being told that it wasn't "proper" to mix gold and silver jewelry. As usual, I don't put much stock in that kind of advice. My "style" has never been fashionable, but it has always been mine!

The lobster claw on the looped bracelet is a reddish gold base metal.

This one has a center piece of gold spiral stitch along a core of the clear beads with a beaded toggle clasp.

May 12, 2008

May 11, 2008

Coming Home Is So Sweet

Thank you, Jah, for Your guidance and protection of our going out and coming in.

We have returned home to Jamaica safely to find our home standing and all the animals alive. That is one of the things I prayed for each day we were in America. Now I am giving thanks for answered prayers.

There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home. Can you tell I am glad to be back home?

I give thanks to Jah for the four generations of family that got together to hug and kiss and eat and drink and remember and sing and laugh and love and enjoy each other's company. This time, thankfully, there was no death that brought the far-flung family together.

There is so much I want to share with you about our trip, but that will have to come in future posts. Now it is time to start responding to comments left while I was away. Then I need to catch up on what's happening with Sistren Irie Diva. She has been on my mind and in my prayers while I was away.