Jun 29, 2013

My Country, Of Thee I Bead, BLOG HOP: Mexico-USA

Centeotl , the Aztec Deity of Maize

Welcome to "My Country, of Thee I bead" blog hop hosted by the lovely Nan Smith of Wired Nan. Today, we are beading or jewelry making in honor of our country. 

I'm a Latina, but most specifically, I'm a Chicana. A Chicana is a Mexican-American woman. A third generation USA born Mexican-American, my grandfather came to the United States longing for education. He became a farmer, and learned English by listening outside the door to University classes. His seven sons all became college educated professionals: doctors, professors, business persons. His dreams were actualized through his children, and his courage is a legacy for all my family. 

Orlando, Florida!
Orlando is known as "The City Beautiful"! Florida is full of sunshine, warm and blooming all year long. It is a tropical paradise with palm trees and flowers and sunshine galore! 

My home, the city of Orlando, Florida, is a world-beloved vacation destination, and a wonderful place of diversity, abundance, affluence, jobs, beauty, warm climate, sunshine and happiness! The sunshine lifts spirits and almost everyone is happy here. People from all around the world come to Orlando to visit Disney and Universal, and people from all over the U.S.A. move to Orlando. It is certainly the wonderful "mixing pot" that America is known as; I feel grateful and I belong here.

For my country, of thee I Bead, I'm celebrating being a Chicana American living in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. by using color. I created jewelry to reflect the Sunshine State and my childhood memories of farming corn.

 A-MAIZING-ING MAIZE and Sunny Florida!

Mochica Corn: 400 A.D. Larco Museum Collection
(Sculpture in Gold)
I grew up playing on my Grandparents' farm, running through the fields of corn. As a child growing up in the U.S.A, I called the maize "corn"  but the term "Maize" is preferred internationally because it refers to a specific grain, unlike "corn" which has complicated and diverse meaning and references in different regions and cultures of the world.

A Minnesota water tower painted to look like a cob of corn, or maize. Farm country celebrates maize :) 

In Mexico, almost every dish is made with maize. Maize is at the center of Mexican food. Virtually every dish in Mexican cuisine includes maize! Maize is the main ingrediant in tortillas, tamales, tacos, qusadillas, enchiladas, tostadas. Below is a photo of Mexican corn cakes by Martha Stewart Living. Follow the link below the photo to try them. I recommend tweaking the recipe by adding a salsa of avocados, cilantro and heirloom tomatoes to the cakes. 

Martha Stewart Living shares a recipe for Mexican Corn Cakes
made with masa harina, Mexican corn flour.

My Chicana celebration is based on gemstones: yellow labradorite from Mexico. An unusual, glowing gem, yellow lab is a form of traditional labradorite. However, yellow labradorite is considered an exotic, often cut and faceted as a fine gemstone. 

My treasured yellow labradorite rough, spiral wraps, drusy quartz.
For my jewelry, I've used the last of my rough of yellow labradorite. 

The pieces are wrapped in golden wire, like presents; rooted in ancient tradition, they are gifts of the earth, Mexican folk art, a celebration of maize and my Chicana ethnicity. 

The focal is a beautiful yellow quartz briolette (some may prefer to call it citrine). I've added Swarovski crystal drops to add focus to the briolette. Cascading wrapped labradorite stones accent the yellow quartz. 

The gold chain becomes rosary chain made of special edition Swarovski beads and Czech champagne rondelles. 

I love the pretty colorway, the warm tones, the soft glowing golden labradorite. The rough seems to glow from within, as does my spirit, creating with maize as my theme. The gems fill with light. 

Thank you to the talented Nan Smith for hosting this fun and thoughtful blog hop! Making Chicana jewelry is completely new to me, and I'm so grateful for the inspiration! The Mexican gems, the briolette drops and the rough yellow labradorite wraps, and the gold maize motif is all very uplifting and happy. Beading as a Chicana, in honor of my North American and my Mexican ethnicity, has been a joy. Gracias, Nan! 

Enjoy the other countries to whom we bead! The participants are:

Nan Smith (host): http://wirednan.blogspot.ca Canada

Dini Bruinsma/ The Netherlands: http://angazabychanges.blogspot.ca 

Stephanie Weiss/ USA  http://uniquelymebwd.blogspot.com  

Ana Cravidao (ACBeads) /Portugal :http://acbeads.blogspot.com

Vera/Germany (USA): veradesigns.blogspot.com   

Jessica Murray/USA  http://whimsicalweavings.blogspot.com 

LiliKrist/   Indonesia: http://http://pcbylik.blogspot.com  

N Vakentine Studio/Canada :  www.nvalentine.blogspot.com  

Karin/Calgary, Canada: maverickbeads.blogspot.ca                                

Diah Anggreni/ Indonesia : http://pernik-manik.blogspot.com        

Karen/Australia : www.overthemoon-design.com                                 

Cath Thomas/  Switzerland : http://samohtac.blogspot.ca                  

Asri Wahyuningsih/USA : http://asribeadwork.blogspot.com     

Crysalis Jewelry Design                                              Denmark ( Canada)

Jasvanti Patel/USA www.jewelrybyjasvanti.blogspot.com        

Lola/USA: http://beadlolabead.blogspot.ca              

Beccy Peterson           Sweden (USA)

Inge von Roos/Germanyingetraud.wordpress.com                

Laurie Vyselaar/USALefthandjewelry.wordpress.com.     

Toltec Jewels/ Mexico-USA: www.jewelschoolfriends.com    <<<< YOU ARE HERE :) 

Anindita Basu/USA: www.alankarshilpa.blogspot.com  

Toltec Jewels is an author by day, jewelry maker by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Fransisco MOMA and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for literary and jewelry arts. She is happiest making handcrafted jewelry with her entire family, snuggling with her doggies and grandkids, sewing, singing, reading, and learning jewelry techniques. She is the host of Jewel School Friends, an online community of expert and emerging artisans taking inspiration from each other and Jewel School. Join her on Facebook for networking, fundraising for Beads of Courage, jewelry making challenges, contests, give-a-ways and of course, cool beads and jewelry!


  1. What a wonderful post Rita!!! Love the history and backstory!! The necklace is amazing and I love gemstones so this is even more special for me!!! Have a Blessed Day!

  2. I love your necklace, TJ! So glittery, warm and delicate. Your style is wonderful. I love your inspiration story and how you told us about the gemstones. Did you know that labradorite is named for Labrador in Canada?I've never seen the Mexican yellow lab before. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Gorgeous necklace, Rita! Love the backstory as well.

  4. Wowwwww...... love your labradorite necklace very much.... soooo beautiful.....
    And love the mexican food too... and I just know that they're made from maize...wow....

  5. love your post.....
    and your necklace is gorgeous.....

  6. Your necklace is gorgeous, and full of light. I love it.

  7. What a beautiful post. The words and the jewelry. Your necklace is the essence of sunshine, the warm glow that nurtures all life on planet earth.

    You have such a kind heart. I read your posts for summer elements and just wanted to thank you. You give a gift with your kind words and depth.

  8. I love your post and how you chose to represent Chicana woman! The intricate design, sparkle, and the color of the stone is a nice combination. I'm bummed that I missed this hop but I'll keep my eyes open for the next one. Keep Creating!

  9. I like your necklace very much. I love Mexico. I have only been there twice and can't wait to go back. Check back to my blog. I finally finished it.

  10. Ohhh I love the blink effect =)

  11. Your writing is very touching and the jewelry you made - very beautiful, very meaningful. Like your writing it has depth.. Dita.

  12. Great pictures, I've been looking at them for quite a while... Such a beautiful story of your background and especially about your grandfather... Your necklace is fascinating, there's liquid sunshine in it :-)

  13. I love your jewelry,the colors are stunning. Very well done. I really like the wire wrap


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