Jewelry and gems are my passion and I share it by giving handmade gifts made of very special beads. I look far and wide for the unusual so I can combine them creatively for a novel look. I am always delighted if I get a good reaction and I customize these bestowals to achieve the right effect. I work with my understanding of the recipient’s personality and basic style. Adornments are always a matter of taste so I hope to zero in on the right offering that will complement a friend’s lifestyle. What is common to everyone is a love of jewelry as a form of self-expression. This is what makes it an art like painting, ceramics, sculpture, wood carving or metal work. Recently it gave me particular pleasure to make something for a sick friend. I thought it would cheer her up and to make it even more special, I decided to put a necklace together in her house so she could watch and even participate. I brought a bunch of beads and spacers so she could pick and choose the arrangement that suited her best. It would be a fun communal project. I hadn’t done this before so little did I know what would happen. She had a cold and was feeling okay except that now and then she would sneeze a really big one. As you can imagine, because she was near the groupings of beads, they went flying everywhere including the floor. Because it is wood, they started rolling into little nooks and crannies. I couldn’t begin to pick them up. Bending over was not great for my back. I should have stayed in bed today! As sick as she was, her brain was functioning and she remembered that she had a great little inexpensive vacuum tucked away in the hall closet. It would be perfect for gathering the loose items and we could open it and retrieve them all at once. Brilliant! The problem was that the beads were everywhere and as tiny as they were in many cases, we missed some. Nevertheless, the task was accomplished but at the last minute, I heard a grinding noise. Some beads got stuck in the motor because her inner bag was torn and they wreaked havoc with it until it stopped. The vacuum was dead. We sighed with regret. Fortunately it was a cheap model from The Clean Home and the loss wasn’t significant in monetary terms. She showed me that a new vacuum wouldn’t cause a huge dent in her pocketbook and while I offered to pay for the new one, she refused. She would happily accept the finished necklace, which was exquisite, as payment enough. The order was placed and the new budget vacuum would arrive in two days. The Internet is amazing about delivery. The good part of the story apart from the machine’s demise was that all of the beads had been found intact, except for the few mangled by the motor. So my bead working goes on.