African Waist Beads

Some of us are already seeing the signs of Spring. Of course I am busy at work with my new Spring and Summer designs. And there is one old African style that just won’t leave me alone. It’s waist beads. I have designed and sold many in the past but it has been over 6 years since I sold the last design. 2012 was a year of remembering what I forgot.

I promised myself I would follow the spirit and entrust that my intuition would lead the way and open new faucets of my creativity. African Waist Belts are one of the major themes. As soon as I have completed the designs I will post a blog entry. Below I have shared a brief history of African Waist Beads, it’s significance in African cultural life and contribution to High Fashion style worldwide today.

The Yorubas in Nigeria and Egyptians of Egypt were the first to introduce this type of adornment to the world. The usage of waist beads were to represent the material and spiritual aspects of day to day life in Africa.

1) They were a symbol of success, affluence and spiritual well being. The beads were symbols of a young girl becoming a woman.

2) Waist beads were worn to evoke erotic appeal from the opposite sex. For example some women wear them and dance for their husbands.

3) In Islamic culture they are most commonly worn under the clothes.

4) These beads were also used as a type of birth control for girls.

5) For a woman to wear waist beads it accentuates her feminism and beauty. For a girl it represents her chastity.

6) All over Africa beads symbolize wealth and these beads represent a woman’s wealth when worn.

7) In other parts of Africa and the Diaspora these beads are worn for personal pleasure, to protect the wearer against evil spirits and to facilitate spiritual healing.

8) These beads were believed to help a woman keep her shapely figure after having children and are worn by a variety of tribal women for that purpose.

9) Waist beads are the foundation for the design that everyone knows today as the belt. Wow!

Holiday Style

So it’s that time of the year again. Red, Gold, Silver, Sequins, Velvet and the list goes on and on. For some of us putting together an outfit with the perfect complimenting jewelry can be a piece of cake while for others a frustrating challenge. Well here are a few tips from a Jewelry Designer-Sheinata Carn-Hall.

1) Decide if you want to go bold with the jewelry or keep it simple.

2) Do you want the colors your pieces to compliment or stand out from you outfit?

3) What natural feature do you want to highlight with your jewelry selection?

Once you have answered these questions it’s time to choose the jewelry. Remember you can wear a necklace bracelet or earrings that compliment each other. Any two of the three mentioned or a single piece of jewelry to convey the look for the event.

Statement Necklace

The days of matching jewelry ensembles have finally met their match. Today it’s all about making a statement with one signature piece. You can layer the chains and pearls in your own jewelry box or purchase a new statement necklace to create your own seasonal sensation.

Bangles Runway, red carpet or any season bangles are the go to category to take any outfit to the next level. You can layer them or keep them sleek and simple bangles are an inexpensive way to add the final wow to any party look.

Dangles

If you love fashion then I am sure you have a pair of dangle earrings. Whether you like bold color, shimmering gold or dazzling stones there is no better way to make that cute party dress work harder for this holiday season.<br/>Have fun and be safe at your holiday parties. I know I will!

Stripes and Jewelry

Glimmerings of stripes as a fashion trend have been appearing since 2010. Wednesday a friend of mine asked me to write a blog about accessorizing jewelry with stripes. I thought that it was a great idea. Accessorizing stripes requires bold choices in jewelry and many themes have emerged.

My own personal favorite is keeping my jewelry bright but neutral. For more conservative types the easiest way is to wear jewelry that is the background color of the stripes. Another way is to accessorize with solid color brights worn to create the effects of the stripes. You can create this look by wearing multiple bangles together. Accessorize with more stripes.

Mixing colors and patterns are fun. Bold multi colored jewelry and metals are also good options. Adorning an outfit with silver, gold or brass metals can add great contrast. Have fun and mix it up. If you noticed I did not once mention delicate jewelry. Multiple bangles, bold metal necklaces and pendants and bold earrings are the keys to pulling off stripes. The bolder the stripes the bolder the jewelry.

Go Bold

The holidays are over but we all have events, dinners and parties to attend throughout the Winter months. If you are like me and want to tone it down but still receive compliments. Why not focus on statement earrings. In the pic above model Megan Clifford has on a White Pea Coat and to compliment the look I decided to pair it with these big Recycled Sea Glass Earrings.

Tayte Anne our Make Up Artist and Hair Stylist added dramatic eyes and an up due style to make the look smoke. This was fun to create. Fashion is fun especially when you allow yourself to be free to express who you really are. If you don’t have a collection of statement earrings start one this year.

Happy New Year!

2012 Rediscovering Self

So it’s the end of the year. Some of us may be feeling unmotivated and inadequate in certain areas of our lives. That is a dangerous cycle of negative thought patterns and behaviors. They can sometimes be tricky to overcome.

Isn’t that what each New Year promises? An opportunity to rediscover your love of life. We all must learn to embrace our triumphs as well as our tragedies. These situations provide a boost to our ability to be positive assets to society and to overcome any obstacle. It will interrupt the negative thought processes and could shock us back into acknowledging and loving who we truly are.

When challenging your beliefs have a vision of the future. Be grateful and visualize where you would like to be, what you would like to be doing in the next two years. Then ask yourself what can you do today to get there. Small steps are the best steps because you are engaging the experience every step of the way.

Remember to keep a sense of your identity while working toward your goals. Take time to revive your individuality. Engage in activities that you love and make you feel valueable as a person. Don’t disregard the significance of your talents and gifts. Whatever they are the growth that you desire will blossom from honoring who you are. Let that motivation spill over into the rest of your life.

I am sharing this with you because these are the lessons that I had to relearn this year. The picture above was taken exactly a year ago today on a business trip to Atlanta. As I look at it I couldn’t have imagined how much wiser and grateful I would become a year later. 2012 has been a year of relearning what I already knew but forgot.

Charleston is such a popular destination so I am blessed to operate a successful business. Sometimes I travel with my jewelry but I decided not to travel as much this year. I wanted to stay close to home. Most artists are spiritually connected to their work. It is what fuels their creativity. I needed to feel that good vibration bubbling up inside of me again. The feeling that makes it all worthwhile. The energy that my customers feel when they wear my designs.

2012 gave me the opportunity to go back to the source and connect with that energy again! I was also home to support my 5 year old starting his first year of school. My children were happy to spend more quality time with mommy. Joining the gym was something on my to do list for years. My sister and I had always been into fitness in high school and at USC. I enjoy exercising on a regular basis. It makes me feel good.

Creating a regular fitness routine for myself unlocked so many doors from the past. It allowing healing to occur. I went back to the basics of life. Me! Reaffirming the love I need to have for myself and others each day and that I create and share my spiritual gift because it is my path and purpose.

I have made plans for my business and personal travel that I am excited about next year. For me 2012 will be remembered as the year of honoring thyself and retrieving the true essence of the spirit. I will do my best to honor these thoughts each and every day.

Ways To Stick To Your Shopping Budget

Do you like to shop but need to keep it under control? Well I don’t think your are alone in this love/hate relationship with keeping your wardrobe fly. I have put together 4 basic rules that I follow and want to share with you. Below is my list.

Give yourself a clothing allowance.

You should use 5-10% of your take home pay for your personal and professional wardrobe. Put the money aside each time you get paid. You could even shop every other month that way you will be able to spend more in one go. Invest in versatile pieces. Look for staples that you can wear to work, at night and on weekends. Like a pair of beige pumps or statement necklace.

The key is to look for classic and eccentric pieces that flatter your signature style.  Treat yourself to small luxuries. Little things like lipstick will make you less tempted to splurge on something big outside of your budget. It will still keep your everyday look refreshed and exciting.

Keep track of your progress.

Write down where your money is going every month and keep the list somewhere you can see everyday. I actually downloaded an app from the app store earlier this year that I use to budget my family’s monthly bills. It has been a big help since using it my life has been much easier. I included my own personal budget for shopping. It may sound unbelievable but I have been able to shop more this year than I have in the past three years. And it is all because I am budgeting. I hope this inspires you!

Break The Rules

Creating a look for a special get together or day to day self expression can be fun or challenging it’s all up to you. One of my favorite styling tricks is to experiment with wearing non traditional jewelry. Of course that would be my answer. After all I am a Jewelry Designer. I truly believe that you can have on jeans and a t shirt combine the look with unique jewels and receive compliments all day.

Try mixing opposite colored jewelry and clothes in one look or you can mix colors of the same family. It’s the one of a kind touches that will make the look your own. Details like this gives the look energy and excitement. Above I give examples with a few of my designs. Just for a day create a look where your jewelry pops. This is going to be so much fun.

Getting Ready For A Fabulous Fall

Depending on where you live the temperatures maybe dropping. So it is common to go with a light coat or jacket. High waisted skirts, fitted or loose blouses accompanied with a jacket is one of my favorite go to looks. If you wanted to add interest and elongate the body why not add a long necklace.

They are fun to experiment with. Some long necklaces can double as a wrap around bracelet too. I just love items that can be worn in a variety of ways. It just takes a little creativity. Above I included pics of a few long necklaces that I designed. Use your imagination to come up with one of a kind looks. After all fashion should be fun!

Vintage African Necklaces

Mother’s Day weekend was a dream come true. I finally got a chance to break away from my schedule at the Market to take a trip to the mountains with my beautiful mom. We attended a bead show. And we had fun. There is nothing like the bond I have with mommy! It had been two years since our last shopping spree and we were in heaven.

I purchased many beautiful African beads and I can’t wait to show you all some of the designs that I have created. Out of pure luck I came across a merchant who not only sold beads from India &amp; Africa but he somehow obtained some old African necklaces. Immediately I realized that he had no idea how precious these necklaces were.

I had never been able to touch such intricate, old and priceless works of art until I met him. The necklaces that he sold to me for $50.00 a piece I have only seen in books that shared history and pictures of African tribes. They are put together so intricate. It is evident that they were created with love. I can tell they came from the deserts of Africa because of the layers of dust I cleaned off of them. Three hours was the time it took to clean each piece.

Once finished I was happy to see the leather was still in excellent condition. I already purchased some simple tank tops so that the elaborate necklaces will be the focal point of the outfit whenever I wear them. Until Mother’s Day weekend starting my own Vintage African Necklace Collection was only a dream and now it is a reality. I wonder how I will purchase more necklaces to add to my collection? However it happens I am sure it will be an adventure.