on the 1st day of chookooloonks ... secret reminders of your awesome


About a week ago, I had an idea for a way I could celebrate Christmas here at Chookooloonks:  I wanted to showcase the work of some of the very talented folks who live out there on the internet.  I put out a call, and my goodness, how you answered:  for the next 12 days, in addition to my regular posts, I will be featuring the art and work of artists, writers, photographers and even a musician from around the world, and -- here's the best part -- giving away a sample of their work to a lucky commenter!  The works of these amazing people are breathtaking (you can see links to their sites in the sidebar to the left), and I can't wait to share them with you all.

To start things off, however, I have a story and an exciting announcement:

Several months ago, when I was speaking at The Creative Connection, a young woman ran up to me.  "Are you Karen?" she asked.

"I am!"

"I'm Whitney," she said.  "I own Bel Kai Designs.  I've been wanting to talk to you -- I think we could work together."

And this, my friends, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  I never thought I would ever be in the jewelry-designing business (even to the small extent I am now), but Whitney generously asked all sorts of questions to determine what she could create that would feel most authentic to me.  As we talked, I described the sorts of things that were important to me.

"I love jewelry that has secret messages," I remember telling her.  "You know, things that show something pretty to the world, but inside or underneath there's a secret message.  Something that reminds me that there's beauty in the world, or beauty in me.  Does that makes sense?"

Apparently it did.  Many conversations and mailings later, I am so excited to introduce to you Bel Kai's new Beautifully Different Collection!  These very awesome necklaces and bracelets feature pendants containing some of my favourite images from The Beauty of Different.  But even more wonderfully, the back of each pendant contains some of my favourite lessons from the book.  Things like:

"Adventure begins when you embrace possibility."


"Create your own story.  Don't let others create it for you."

Messages to remind the wearer to be her best beautifully different self -- for you to wear, or to give a friend who doesn't realize how fantastic she really is.  And to make it even more awesome, Whitney has made them available with a small moonstone charm as an add-on:  moonstones are incredibly important to me, since my engagement ring is a moonstone.  Also, I've recently learned moonstones apparently enhance in developing intuition and inspiration -- and goodness knows I'm a big fan of intuition and inspiration.

And so, on this very first day of the launch of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks, I'm so thrilled to give away a Beauty of Different gift pack, featuring the beautiful work of Bel Kai designs. 


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 Welcome to the very first day of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks!  Today we're featuring a Beauty of Different Gift pack -- one lucky commenter will win all of the following:


Photograph courtesy of Bel Kai Designs

 A choice of one of the Beautifully Different necklaces from Bel Kai Designs, with an added moonstone charm.  Your necklace will be carefully packaged, adorned with an additional gift:  a LoveBand bracelet inscribed "beautifully different" from Mudlove -- how cool is that?

Here's more about Bel Kai from Whitney:

Artist's statement:  It’s hard to remember when my love of jewelry began.  I do know that the reason my favorite ensemble has always been {and I’m fairly certain will always be} a crisp white top and a pair of great-fitting jeans is due to my love for jewelry.  I love to accessorize – especially with color - and dressing simply always seemed like the easiest way for me to experiment with all different styles of jewelry.  Another clear memory is my desire to create & own a business.  As a teen, my dream was to own a little boutique in Paris – full of fabulous finds & treasures – and live in an apartment above.  I've moved in a different direction...two moves across the country, 7 years of designing & making jewelry and the birth of my two sons, I became inspired to make my dream a reality — and I started Bel Kai Designs in the Spring of 2007.

Since opening the online shop, we have had the joy of collaborating with talented artists and skilled photographers to create beautiful pieces of jewelry.  Many of the designs have been inspired by you, our customers…from your creative ideas.  We love it & are so appreciative of the opportunity to play a part in making a special piece of jewelry that will be a lasting keepsake in your family’s story.

A little about the name...Bel Kai Designs ::  ‘Bel’ means beautiful.  ‘Kai’ means ocean – the beach is just about my favorite place to be and Kai is also my first sons’ middle name.  I thought it had a nice ring to it!

A signed copy of The Beauty of Different, inscribed to whoever you'd like; and



A 2012 Chookooloonks desk calendar.  A couple of years ago, I put together and sold some desktop calendars, featuring my favourite images from the previous year.  They were very popular, but to be honest, it was really hard to manage all of the sales and deliveries during the holiday madness at home.  As a result, I haven't sold them again.

However, I did love making them.

So this year, I made a new calendar for 2012, featuring 13 of my favourite images of 2011.  I will not be selling these calendars -- I only made a limited number.  However, every day of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks, I will be giving a calendar away with each gift.  The individual pages are printed on professional photo paper by a pro print shop, and come in a CD calendar case that folds open to sit on your desktop. 

Just my little way of bringing some chookooloonksy sunshine to your workspace.

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Cool stuff, yes?  So here's all you have to do for a chance to win:

Simply leave a comment below, saying whatever you'd like, before 12:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 13th, US Central TimePlease leave only one comment.  Also, it doesn't matter where in the world you are.  I'll choose a winner at random using Random.org, and update this post when that person is chosen.

(For the duration of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks, please note that there is no guarantee that you will receive any items before Christmas.) 

Thanks guys, and good luck!


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AND THE WINNER IS:  Thanks so much for participating, everyone!  According to Random.org, the winner is Rebecca, who said, "What a wonderful idea!"  Congratulations, Rebecca!  Check your email for a note from me on how to claim your gift!

Still 11 more days going, folks -- lots more cool stuff to win!



SongWinter song as performed by Sara Barielles with Ingrid Michaelson