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Bead of the Week

ornate heartsTwo ornate 'puffy' silver heart beads, hollow in the center with holes at top and bottom for stringing. Each is about 1" wide and lightweight. Sold as a set of two. I will consider selling them separately -- so let me know if you'd like to buy only one.

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king cakeThis year, the famous (& infamous) Mardi Gras celebration of New Orleans takes place on Tuesday, February 28. I'm a Cajun, so naturally this is a great excuse for me to party. Pictured here to the right is a King Cake, one of my favorite things. King cakes are a vibrant part of the Mardi Gras tradition. It reminds us of the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child -- so as a symbol of this Holy Day, a tiny plastic baby is placed inside the cake. The custom was brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. Today, the baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in his/her slice of cake. In some traditions, the finder of the baby is designated "king" or "queen" for the evening. That person is also responsible for purchasing next year's cake, or for throwing the next Mardi Gras party.

Then, just as living in New Mexico always makes me hungry for green chile, around Mardi Gras time I think of mouthwatering things like seafood gumbo, jambalaya, oyster po-boys and those monster 'Hurricane' drinks made of fruit juice and rum. Believe it or not, there are still places in Southern Louisiana that sell frozen Hurricanes out of drive-through windows. And they are not for the faint of heart! I will reserve my story of buying one such drink for a future article, but suffice it to say that this season is all about FUN, and it couldn't come at a better time than the tail end of winter.

We've done a couple of previous posts on this bead-intense event (Time for Mardi GrasThe Beads of Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras Beads), so check those out if you're in the mood.This celebration can also be an excuse to create something new, fun, vibrant, and party-oriented. There are some truly inspiring jewelry pieces in the previous 'Time for Mardi Gras', especially. This year, I thought I'd expand on the previous posts by sharing some fun Mardi Gras bead supplies and jewelry found on Etsy.

Princess Bead Supply fleur de lis 2offers great cunky bubble gum beads for designing your own custom celebration necklace. The colors are perfect -- purple, lime green yellow -- with solids, rhinestones, polka dots, stripes, pearls, faceted, crackle beads and more. In the context of Mardi Gras, purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power.

You'll also see lots of 'fleur de lis' designs around this time; it represents a stylized lily or lotus flower, and has many meanings. Traditionally, it has been used to represent French royalty, and in that sense it is said to signify perfection, light and life. Etsy's TIJC has some sweet Fleur de Lis charms and pendants if you want to check them out -- this was my favorite - a large one antiqued with shades of blue and gold. 

maskThis year I found an inspiring piece of Mardi Gras jewelry not discovered previously. Lisa Albridge of New York is the designer (from merryalchemy of Etsy), and she made it of a brass theater mask hand-painted red and rubbed for an antiqued look. It features a resin red rose, deep wine colored and red glass beads enhanced with gold-plated bead caps, and completed with ornate gold-filled chain. I love the way it conveys so many things -- the mask of the traditional 'Mardi Gras Ball', the wine for celebration, the rose for romance.

 

These are just a few of the fun ideas our colleagues have had; I hope they inspire you and get you in the Mardi Gras mood!

Until Next Time,

Sheila

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