I'm completely in love with the focal beads on this necklace. They come from Bead for Life, an organization that provides jobs for women in Uganda. Be sure to check out Bead for Life's web site to read about the good work that they do. The beads are made of recycled paper, and you can choose from many different styles and colors. You can order beads from the web site, but many bead shops carry Bead for Life products as well.
Here (above) is a closeup of the focal beads. Gotta love the textures and colors! I bought my Bead for Life focals at Beadniks, a shop at the Mall of America. (Crafters take note--last year during Scrap Fest Beadniks offered free beading make-n-takes at their store. I hope they will do it again for Scrap Fest 2011 this autumn!). The other beads in my necklace are vintage African trade beads, also from Beadniks. I strung the beads on nylon-coated steel wire (Beadalon) and finished the necklace with a simple crimp tube. The three beads on either side of the crimp tube are some extras that I got from a neighbor who is also into beading...sorry, but I don't know where she got them.
I've seen many great uses for these Bead for Life beads. I used a simple one-strand necklace design, but these beads would look great on multi-strand necklaces, whether multi-colored or monochromatic. If you are looking for a simpler project, you could make a bracelet or a pair of earrings.
Here I am (above) wearing my necklace. It goes with so many outfits, due to its rainbow color scheme. I like to wear it as a statement piece, so in the warmer months I usually wear it with a bright yellow tee shirt, and in the colder months I usually wear it with a black sweater, in order to make the colors of the beads really "pop." I have to giggle a bit at this photo...you can tell that I took it myself; I've got "Mister Roboto" arms, because I'm holding the camera away from myself at arm's length. *smile*
Before I go, here is one more photo (below). This is a versatile piece of jewelry, and sometimes I loop it around my wrist and wear it as a bracelet. I hope you will check out Bead for Life. Their products help the earth, help women in Uganda, and are vibrant and versatile. Thanks for looking... domo arigato!