A Meet Up in North Carolina

I received this wonderful photo of our digusdi, Native Beads, Soulful Stuff and their respective spouses this morning and had to share it with all of you.  It is always exciting to see the results of “meet ups” of our team members. 


Here is what Theresa had to say about their visit:


“This is a little momento of my visit with Karynlee (Soulful Stuff) this morning for breakfast. This is a picture with our husbands and her son was taking the picture. They are heading into the hurricane zone but wanted to get out of the mountains first and foremost. I pray for their safe travels. She will probably be able to provide more photos later. We had a great time and chatted up a storm. She is such a nice person and was very happy to meet her.




Soul, know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as are all of our digusdi in the path of Sandy.   That is one meet up that we hope no one has!  Be safe!


Meet ups and sharing photographs are terrific!  If you have photos (meet up or not) that you would like to share, just e-mail them to me.  I will be happy to add them to our blog.

Website Development Information

This morning I received an e-mail that included a succinct and easy to follow set of thoughts to consider if one is thinking about setting up their own Website.  While it is specific for a jewelry site, it could easily translate into any artistic media.    I have considered doing my own website from time to time….but then I have considered many things that I haven’t taken the time to actually do.    I wanted to save this “road map” for future consideration and thought perhaps it may be helpful for our Team Mates who have or who are also pondering about this step in their on-line pressence.    Jewelry Business: Setting Up Your Own Handmade-Jewelry Website
by Cathleen McCarthy


How much will a website cost you? It really depends on how complicated you want to get, how much functionality you need, and how much time and patience you have for web-based puzzles. Your options include:


Setting up a DIY site. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that putting up a basic site on WordPress is not complicated. I set up my site by myself, and it didn’t cost a dime. If I can do it, anyone can. However, I wasn’t really trying to establish a brand or appeal to a specific market (in your case, a customer base). If you already have a presence on Etsy or other marketplaces, it may be worth paying a bit to have someone develop a consistent look and logo.
If you go it alone, you’ll need to have your site hosted. Many people opt for GoDaddy, the popular one-stop shop for buying and parking domains. But if you’re in it for the long haul, you’ll find a more user-friendly interface and better customer service with Blue Host or HostGator. I host The Jewelry Loupe through my husband, but I’m in the process of setting up my own hosting through HostGator. They’re pretty easy to reach by phone and don’t make me feel like an idiot when I ask dumb questions.


After you have your domain hosted, log into your control panel and ask it to recognize the platform you’re using. After I registered with WordPress, for example, I logged in to my control panel, clicked on WordPress, and followed the steps. (If you use WordPress and plan to add e-commerce to your site, by the way, make sure the to establish your site on WordPress.org, not the original WordPress.com, which does not allow commercial use.)


Adding a shopping cart. Adding a shopping cart function to your jewelry business site can be as simple as installing a plug-in and setting up PayPal, but you might want a little help with integration. If you know from the get-go that your main objective is to sell jewelry directly from your site and you can’t afford to have an e-shop designed from scratch, consider starting with a ready-made template designed for that purpose. There are free templates (or themes as WordPress calls them) available, but some “premium themes” can be had for the cost of a dinner out. As an example, $39 buys you access to all the Elegant themes including a lovely e-store.


Hiring a pro. If you want a simple online portfolio, you can probably find someone to put it together for you for $700 to $2,000. A full-fledged e-commerce site design can get a lot more expensive, depending on your requirements and the designer’s experience. An e-commerce site by boutique web designer Lisa Bacon of Moxie Pear costs about $2,200, for example, but she will create a basic informational site for $1,500. For $95, Moxie Pear will set up shop for you on Etsy, designing a shop avatar and banner.


Want to test the web-design waters? Try placing a request on oDesk, Guru, or Elance. It doesn’t cost anything to invite bids and proposals, and it will give you an idea of the available options and price range. (Web design is something that can be done electronically and remotely–you don’t necessarily need to meet or even speak in person.)


If you just need help with graphics or logo, try Fiverr. Many graphic designers on the site sell their services affordably. A custom logo with three concepts and unlimited revisions, or even an entire site design, can cost a fraction of what you’d pay a conventional designer.


Figuring out what you want first. Whether or not you hire a designer or do it all yourself, take some time to look through online portfolios and ready-made templates. Many web designers–especially more affordable ones–do minimal or no coding. They simply tweak existing templates. Increasingly, you’ll find designers who work only with WordPress, for example, and often a specific set of themes. If you find a theme you like, try doing a web search for a designer who specializes in that theme. Check out the sites of jewelry artists you know. When you find something you like, ask where they had it designed. Just make sure you don’t end up with a carbon copy. Individual branding is key.

As with any commission, the clearer you are about what you want ahead of time, the easier (and cheaper) it will be to get the job done. –Cathleen

Thank you Cathleen for sharing your experiences and guiding us through the steps.

Cherokee Prayer

The New Fab Five

The New Fab Five   Many of you may remember that Patrick and I attended The Gathering (world’s largest Pow Wow) in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2010.  We met up with several of our Etsy friends at the Beaded Iris and El Pinto Restaurant .  Here are a couple of photos from that memorable trip.


Left to Right:  Joni Stinson, Brie Chavez, Juanita Berg, Carmen Sena-Todd, Theresa Geary  


At El Pinto:  Left to Right:  Cloudburst (Juanita), Joni, Brie  


Left to Right, Joni, Juanita, Brie, Brie’s daughter, Stacey  

The Original Fab Five

We were dubbed by members of the Native American Forum Team on Etsy as the Fab Five as a result of this meet up. 


Time marches on and circumstances change. 


Native Beads (Theresa Geary) has moved to North Carolina. 

We lost our dear sister,  Brie Chavez in March this year. 

For The Brand (Carmen Sena-Todd) was apparently unable to join us.  


As one might expect, we had a marvelous time together on that day in 2010, and  I will always cherish the memories of that perfect day when we had the opportunity to be together.


The New Fab Five

Patrick, Joni, Juanita, Daniel, Jennifer


As I said, time marches on and circumstances change. 

Cloudburst (Juanita Bergs), her husband, Daniel, her daughter, Jennifer, Patrick and I carried out our  annual tradition and drove to Albuquerque for dinner at  El Pinto after the closing of Indian Market in Santa Fe on Sunday evening.   We invited Brie’s daughter, Stacy, and son, Seth, to join us but unfortunately they did not get the message until the following day. 


Thus the number remained the same, but the faces are a little different.  


Cloud reported a successful Indian Market show, we had a delicious dinner and an most enjoyable visit. 


I can’s wait for the next Gathering of Fab (number to be announced)  in 2013….only 362 days to go!

Cahoika Mounds Discovery

Caffeinated Drink from Cahokia, N. America’s First City
In the early days of our team, we selected a “site” for each new chat thread that was started.  Our wise man and elder, Kicking Bear made the site determination.  One of our sites was Cahokia Mounds.  The purpose of site selection was to pay honor to historical and sacred sites of the Native American people, to learn more about the site and to possibly be inspired to create objects from those learnings. 


When Etsy forced us into teams rather than allowing us the continue on informally in the Promotions section of the Etsy Forums, the practice of selecting a site was some how lost.  I think we may need to consider restoring it, however, we will wait for Kicking Bear to heal and return to us.

Cahokia Mounds Museum in Collinsville, IL


This may be of interest to those who remember our cyber time at Cahokia.
Mon Aug 6, 2012 3:08 pm (PDT) . Posted by:
“Simon Bao” simonbaowow
Just FYI… not a drink one wants to serve guests, but an interesting find.


Caffeinated ‘Vomit Drink’ Nauseated North America’s First City
By Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor


Residents of Cahokia, a massive pre-Columbian settlement near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, consumed “black drink” from special pottery vessels like this one. The drink made them vomit and was likely consumed during purification ceremonies, the scientists added.


The discovery was made after investigating artifacts from Cahokia, “North America’s first city,” researcher Thomas Emerson, the director of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, told LiveScience.


Cahokia existed near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers from about 1050 to 1350 in what is now in St. Louis, East St. Louis and the surrounding five counties, and inspired short-lived settlements as far away as Wisconsin. The core of this society, Greater Cahokia, had as many as 50,000 residents in its heyday living amidst earthen mounds, some more than 100 feet (30 meters) in height, making it the largest prehistoric North American settlement north of Mexico.


Even after decades of research, archaeologists are at a loss to explain the sudden emergence of Greater Cahokia and its rapid decline, but its influences on art, religion and architecture are seen as far away as Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Wisconsin, Emerson said.


Brew beakers

Archaeologist Patricia Crown at the University of New Mexico and chemist Jeffrey Hurst at the Hershey Technical Center in Pennsylvania analyzed plant residues in eight mug-shaped pottery beakers from Greater Cahokia and its surroundings. They found signs they once held “black drink,” a caffeinated brew made from the toasted leaves of the Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) that grew more than 300 miles (480 kilometers) to the south.


“We’re not sure when Native Americans stopped using black drink,” Emerson said. “I think its use went more into the closet, due to pressure from Europeans to drop pagan practices.”


For many tribes of Native Americans, the black drink was a key component of purification rituals before war parties, religious ceremonies, important political councils or other important events. Rapid consumption of large quantities of the hot drink preceded ritual vomiting as part of the purification rituals. People in South America continue to make drinks from varieties of holly, such as yerba maté and té o’ maté, albeit in more relaxed contexts. [Top 10 Extreme Religious Sects]


“It’s always described by Europeans and people who have consumed it as something tasting like tea,” Emerson said.


Cahokia trade


The presence of Cahokia biochemicals — such as theobromine, caffeine and ursolic acid — in the black drink suggests the people had a substantial trade network with the southeast. Other artifacts suggested Cahokia also traded with groups ranging from the Gulf Coast to the eastern plains and the Great Lakes, such as marine shells and shark teeth.


“I would argue that it was the first pan-Indian city in North America, because there are both widespread contacts and emigrants,” Emerson said. “The evidence from artifacts indicates that people from a broad region, what is now the Midwest and southeast U.S., were in contact with Cahokia. This is a level of population density, a level of political organization that has not been seen before in North America.”


How this early city held together for as long as it did has remained a mystery.


“People have said, well, how would you integrate this?” Emerson said. “One of the obvious ways is through religion.” [8 Ways Religion Impacts Your Life]


The black drink was used in Cahokia at the same time a series of sophisticated figurines representing the underworld, agricultural fertility and life-renewal were carved from local pipestone. Most of these statuettes were linked with temple sites.


“We postulate that this new pattern of agricultural religious symbolism is tied to the rise of Cahokia, and now we have black drink to wash it down with,” Emerson said.


Religious symbolism


The beakers appear ceremonial themselves. Many of these single-serving unglazed pots, which possess a handle on one side and a tiny lip on the other, are carved with symbols representing water and the underworld and are reminiscent of the whelk shells used in black drink ceremonies seen centuries later in the southeast, where the Yaupon holly grows.


“We think one way to connect all these people is through fertility and life-renewal symbolism and religion, and the presence of black drink ceremonial items out even in rural farms and small villages outside Cahokia more or less supports that idea,” Emerson said.


The beakers date from 1050 to 1250, the earliest known use of black drink by at least 500 years.


“This finding brings to us a whole wide spectrum of religious and symbolic behavior at Cahokia that we could only speculate about in the past,” Emerson said. “Cahokia may have been the birthplace of many of the political, social, and religious concepts that typified the societies of the southeast between 1100 and 1600 A.D. The presence of black drink supports the idea that North America’s first city was of critical importance in the future development of native societies in the eastern woodlands of the United States.


“Tracing the geographical spread and history of black drink will be a challenge,” Emerson added. “We have established its use at 1050 A.D. in Cahokia, but other archaeologists have speculated that it may have been in use as early as the time of Christ. Now that we have found it 300 miles outside of its native range, it means that we cannot automatically assume it was not exported to many areas. The testing of vessels across much of the eastern U.S. will be a slow and time-consuming job.”


The scientists detailed their findings online Aug. 6 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

You can learn more about the Cahoika Mounds at this site:

Get Well Sage Healer

I have just received news that one of our digusdi has had a serious injury as a result of a fall. 


When Sage moved from her long term home in California to her new location, she had to drive along I-80.  Omaha was on her route.  We made plans to get together during her travels.  As it turned out, she arrived in the Omaha area at dinner time. 


The Cracker Barrel sits right on I-80 in Omaha so it seemed an ideal location to meet up.  We had a delightful visit and meal.  You can tell by the looks on our faces (mine on the left, her’s on the right) just how much we enjoyed those few hours together.




Sage, our Tribe In A Box wishes you a speedy recovery!  Take care of yourself and join us when you can!  Know that we are thinking of you!

Our Very Own Lita P


Lita with some of her favorite things.

We were recently saddened to learn that our dear and faithful member, Lita Petrovic, was diagnosed with cancer and has had a very difficult time in recent days.  We were equally pleased to hear that she has been released from the hospital and has returned to her home. 


Lita is a woman of extraordinary talent.  She maintains two shops on Etsy. 

While her stores are currently on vacation….here is a little of what she has to say about her work.


“I am a silversmith/lapidary artist and I love making beautiful adornments for the body! The beauty in Nature lends me inspiration and I am driven by the natural beauty of what Mother Earth provides. I knew when I was a child that one day I would be a silversmith. My parents always told me to follow my dream and I did. It took a while before I could finally reach my goal in life, but happy to say I finally did.

Many of my creations feature my hand stamped artistry. I love to create designs with my wonderful collection of steel stamps. Some stones speak for themselves and I like to set these to stand alone. Each piece speaks to me and I visualize it first then I make it come to life. I am very proud of my beautiful stone and rock collection and work each one when they are ready to come alive. Usually, they dance and sing and at that point I know they are ready.

My silver shines like no other due to my high polish technique. A piece of polished silver that is worn will take on its own patina over time. Working silver is my love and my full-time profession and I never met a rock I did not like! I also love to work with the old Railroad Dining Car china. I just love the history behind it all.

Lita’s Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/litapsilverj
Lita’s Blog: http://www.lita-getbacktoearthjewelry.blogspot.com/

I also have another shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/casitalita
casitalita sells vintage, supplies and handmade by Lita miscellaneous bead jewelry and other items of adornment”.


Lita has kept our team mate, Carmen…AKA For The Brand…apprised of her status and Carmen has in turned shared the updates with us.


Lita, know that you are in all of our thoughts and prayers.  You say your silver shines like no other…so do you!  You say that you know when your current creation is done because they dance and sing….and so do you…… in all of our hearts.


Get well dear friend and re-join us on the thread soon!