Monday, February 9, 2015

Following My Wild Heart - Heading Toward a Dream

I'm on a wild kick lately...  lots of changes are happening in my life and my inner creative soul is being set free!  I've begun the process of truly following my dreams and listening to my intuition as a guide to help me.  And friends, let me tell you, this is a big, Big, BIG dream... like moving halfway across the country in search of sunshine to design the life I've been building toward for years!  YIKES!

So in spirit of allowing my soul to run free and to be present in all my feelings, emotions and decisions I decided this year to create something special for a few of my very dearest friends.  They are like sisters to me, so I wanted to give them something that will remind them how much I love and cherish them in my life no matter the distance between us!

The fun part is, I found these super great leopard cabochons when I was doing some homework at Hobby Lobby for Cousin Corporation of America... which also coincided with planning the amazing For the Love of Greg Spaghetti Dinner benefit we had last October.  It was a really crazy busy fall for me, so my creativity just wasn't jiving then... but these spoke to me and I knew they'd become something amazing!

I used a steel chain from Cousin Corp so it's hypoallergenic and super light weight!  I beaded the leopard print cabochons to create a delicious palette of chocolate browns, black with a pop of irridescent finishes!  I love how they turned out, my friends loved them and even better... they'll always have a piece of my heart no matter near or far! 

Spread love & joy!

P.S. Follow my journey on Facebook:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

CHA Mega Show - Wherein MEGA Means Knocks Your Socks Off

Thank goodness this isn't Twitter because I have wayyyyy more than 140 characters to share about my whirlwind weekend trip to the Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show in Anaheim, CA.

The ball was put in motion when I was asked to design a show piece to be displayed in the booth for Cousin Corporation.  Their theme for the booth was fairytales and they wanted me to design something dark, all black.  If you know me, you know I love color... bold, contrasting colors.  So all black?????  No problem mon!  I sketched up a general idea of what I wanted to create and submitted it to them for approval... because I do things Dawn's way... I had to make sure it fit with their desired effect in the booth.

The piece took me some serious time, but I love the finished effect.  A collar with beaded stays and draped pearls creating a bib-like effect!  I'd totally wear that piece... like!

Since I poured so much Dawn Love into my design, I set the goal to see it on display in a big way!  Having one of my Bella Amore designs on display for thousands of people to see... what an experience!

Having never been to CHA, I related it to my first time visiting Bead & Button... so much to see it sets your mind spinning!  Except with CHA it's craft vendors for every type of craft you can possibly imagine! Paper crafts, yarn crafts, beads, and storage galore!  It was amazing and meeting artists from so many walks of life it was incredible.

The Cousin booth carried out the fairytale theme beautifully... complete with crystal slippers.  Which I totally loved!!!!  You know my deep burning love for good shoes. . . ;)  It was amazing to see my fellow ambassador's designs on display too!

Allison Cooling - Quiet Lion Creations creating this stunning dress all with chain!  It was amazing and a true draw into the booth.

Rebecca Utermohlen - My Girlish Whims created the white pearl necklace compliment to my dark pearl design.

Check out their Facebook pages and give them a follow!  They both do some amazing designing and write great tutorials for the DIYer in you!

I'm finally unpacked, sadness ensued unpacking the 3 swimsuits I took (one for each day) not having gotten to wear a single one of them.  60's and raining was not the So Cal weather I expected... or that the weather guessers predicted until the day before I took off.  And wouldn't ya know, the day I left the sun came back out and the 70's returned.  Murphy's Law...

It was amazing to connect with my friends from Cousins again.  We always have a great time together!  I also got to meet new friends that have previously only been Facebook friends and was connected with new artists I'd never met!  We shared an abundance of laughter, creativity and made a lot of great memories together!  I'm no longer a CHA noob and look forward to staying in touch with all the great people that have made this journey so spectacular!

I'll share more of the great people I connected with and the awesome saucey tools I found... OMG... my life has been transformed with one little tool... can't wait to share!
Love & sunshine heading your way! 
Xo ~Dawn~ oX 

P.S. I wanted to design a necklace for myself that complimented my CHA piece... but wasn't so heavy.  So I created the same beaded collar, but used chain and spikes from Cousin for a wicked sassy look!  It got lots of looks and plenty of compliments! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Is 2015 Going to Be Wild?

Hello Darlings and Happy New Year to You! 

With the start of a new calendar I find myself reflecting, as I'm sure you do to some extent or another as well, on the past year.  What went according to plan... what didn't... what surprised me and what I learned along the way.  Especially from those "didn't" experiences... often the best teacher.

In reflecting, for me personally it also allows me to let go of the things, thoughts, feelings, emotions that are no longer serving me... thus allowing room for more creativity, and more blessings to enter my life.  I had a few really big projects to wrap up the last 2 months of last year... but they are still super secret, so I can't show you pictures... but you can rest assured, I didn't fall in a hole or get eaten by gremlins because I got them wet... and they were hungry, after midnight!!!  I just can't reveal those pieces yet...

But flip the calendar, plan a trip to the big Craft & Hobby Association show this weekend and the creativity comes to life.  It's like just the mention of a trip to the land of glitter and sequins just fuels my fire.  Thus I created this set, because a girl's gotta have some glam to go with her wild side as she connects with other creative people! 

Darlings.... this is my Walk on the Wild Side... until next time! Meowwwwwww! ;)

Don't you just love those leopard beads?  They're from Cousin Corporation and for sale at ACMoore Stores.  I blinged them up with Swarovski Crystals in Crystal Copper and seed beads.  The bracelet totally rocks, it's a brand new product in the Cousin line.  I love it because it's hindged at the bottom and opens just under the focal I created!  There's so many options on how to play with a bracelet like this.... I picked up a few in Silver too... stay tuned!

Would love to chat more!  Feel free to pop over to my Bella Amore Legacy Jewelry Facebook Page and say hello!  Let's make 2015 a dynamite year together!
Love & Light ~

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Custom Designed Jewelry from the Heart

This past weekend, we had our For The Love of Greg Spaghetti Dinner Benefit.  The goal of the benefit was to raised the remainder of funds needed to install a StairGlide for my brother Greg who's fighting brain cancer.  What we received as a family was so much larger... like so, so, SO much larger, than the funds needed to finish the renovations to keep Greg safe and mobile as he continues to fight!

We received LOVE in magnanimous amounts... There was literally love seeping out every doorway, from every corner of the room, floor to ceiling and pouring out the door.  We had people travel hundreds of miles, overnight to come out just to support us and show our love.  We had surprises from people near and dear to us that we never expected.  We have tender, precious family moments, the kind you cherish forever.  And we felt blanketed in a joy so great I cannot even express it in words. 

The team that helped me organize this amazing event, I cannot thank you enough.  I could never have done this without you and I will be forever grateful for your countless hours of help, sleepless nights and brilliant ideas that made this possible. 

To the local businesses and people that donated items for our silent auction and raffles, Thank YOU!  We were humbled by how many people stepped up offering to make donations of their products and services to help raise the funds needed.  My family is a huge believer in supporting local businesses.  Yes, it might cost a little more, but knowing you are helping a family pay their mortgage, put food on the table and put Christmas gifts under the tree is priceless.

To everybody that came from near and far to share in this amazing event with us, Thank YOU!  We served a heck of a lot of spaghetti, a ton of desserts (awesome!!!) and had amazing bids on our silent auction items... along with a bazillion raffle tickets sold.  THIS is what living in a small town is about, lifting each other up when we need it, not being afraid to ask for help and allowing others the joy of being able to lend a hand, make a donation or just give a hug! 

If you want to see the custom necklace I made for the silent auction, visit my website:  Bella Amore Legacy Jewelry  The woman that bid on it and won is a fellow Springer Spaniel mom.  She does countless work for ESRA where I got my first springer, my heart and soul, Brandi.  So when I connected with her after she won, I wanted to let her know if she needed the necklace sized or need any adjustments made, I'd be happy to take care of it.  Her response was "I'm not keeping the necklace.  I bought it to re-donate to the ESRA fundraiser picnic tomorrow for the raffle, so you'll be there in spirit!"  AMAZING... and can you say tears, yes I cried... for the 843rd time that day.  I'm honored and blessed to see so many golden moments as a result of this journey my family is on.

I still cannot wrap my heart around how amazing and loved our family feels after this event.  The Stairglide was installed on Monday and the security of knowing Greg can get up & down the stairs without fear of falling is priceless.  Sending love your way!

Monday, September 15, 2014

October 4th - For the Love of Greg Come Join Us

noun: gratitude
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
"she expressed her gratitude to the committee for their support"
If I could write that in 6,594,284 sized font I would because I'm so humbled and very grateful to everybody that have made donations to Greg's mobility fun so far.  (If you'd like to know more about Greg's story, click here: We're a little over half-way to where we need to be to continue the modifications Greg needs to stay safe at home.  The bathroom has been made handicap accessible now including a wider door, new sinks that are wall mounted and an ADA approved toilet and grab bars.  Operation Bathroom was an amazing success!
The front door was also replaced to accommodate the stairglide which is being built at a factory in Wisconsin as we speak.  We're anticipating a call to schedule installation in the next few weeks... which is perfect timing for the BIG EVENT we've been planning.

So I can finally tell you...we've organized a Spaghetti Dinner Benefit for my brother Greg.  The journey through fighting brain cancer has been an uphill battle.  And honestly, most of us would throw our hands up in the air in frustration!  NOT GREG!  Nope, he's a courageous fighter.  Just because he can't feel his feet isn't stopping him from riding his recumbent bicycle so he keeps his heart and lungs strong.  Seeing his courage through this journey and his humor that he infuses in everything makes coordinating this benefit for him an honor and a privilege! 

So here's the details:  For the Love of Greg Spaghetti Dinner Benefit
Saturday, October 4, 2014  11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
The Monte Carlo Room 
720 N. Wisconsin Street, Elkhorn, WI

It's a Badger Saturday, so we'll be televising the game on the big screen!  We'll have all you can eat spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and delicious desserts from the Elkhorn Pastry Shop.  Special thanks to Greg Kaplan for donating our desserts!

We'll have a silent auction with some amazing items!  WI sports fanatics... mark this date on your calendar... and be there!  We have an autographed Bo Ryan basketball!  We have an autographed football from the Big 10 dinner in 2013 with signatures from UW Alums Jared Abbrederis (now a Green Bay Packer) and Chris Borland (now a San Francisco 49er!) We'll have a show down between two amazing NFL team throws - which side loves Greg more... Chicago Bears fans or Green Bay Packer fans??  Time will tell!

UPDATE 9/19/14:  We JUST got an Autographed Green Bay Packers football with the entire 2013 team!!  

We'll also have silent auction items for the dog lover, a limited edition pheasant print and more!  

But even more than that, Saturday, October 4th will be a great time to come out, enjoy some laughter with Greg and know that your meal is truly making a difference in his life!  We've been blessed to be surrounded by amazing family and friends through this journey.  Through love and prayer, I can honestly say I feel so lifted up and cherished.

My family means the world to me, so being able to help Greg keep his mobility as his cancer wreaks havoc on his body, is my blessing as his big sister!  So here's the deal... you can buy tickets in advance for $12 or at the front door the day of the dinner ($15.)  And because we love family, anybody under 5 eats Free!    Advanced ticket sales will make big sister Dawn really happy, and will earn you an extra hug (because then we can give the Monte Carlo room a better count for how many fans Greg has!) :)

Tickets available beginning Wednesday, September 17th at the following local businesses:  

The Quilting Connection 21 Adams Street, Elkhorn
Soleil Caffe 56 W. Market Street, Elkhorn - FREE Tan with ticket purchase!
Keefe Real Estate 204 E. Commerce Court, Elkhorn
Keefe Real Estate 751 Geneva Parkway, Lake Geneva

Thank to to all the local businesses that are helping to spread the word and make this Spaghetti Dinner Benefit For the Love of Greg a Success.  It's what being part of a community is all about.  And I am so grateful to be surrounded by such an amazing community!

If you would like to help Greg's Mobility fund, but cannot be there on October 4th, we have also established an online fundraiser that would allow you to donate online at: 

And because we're still getting in so many amazing prizes for the silent auction, we've created a Facebook Page - For the Love of Greg to show you just what you can win...

And did I mention you could win cash??  Yes, we're also doing a 50/50 raffle where YOU can WIN Ca$h!  And who doesn't like a little extra dough in their pocket? ;)

If you aren't local to us and would like to purchase advanced tickets, or you have any questions about silent auction donations, please email us at and we'll make sure you get your advance tickets and answer your questions right away!

Thank you to all who have helped my family.  Each and every one of you has earned your angel wings and I am so deeply grateful and humbled to have you in my life!

Love & Light,

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just Call Me Last Minute Lucy

I stand by the old saying that "I work better under pressure!"  And before you go any further, I now present you with the following earworm!  You're welcome! :)

For years (translation - I used this as an excuse to procrastinate.  Because I loved sleep, often it won out over studying, writing term papers, cleaning (sleep is definitely better than cleaning) or doing whatever needed doing... because TOMORROW! :) Yes, I'll just get up early and get "it" done tomorrow...

Well over the last 2 weeks, I've pushed that whole "I work better under pressure" statement to the limit! I had 3 full days being a nearly-professional chauffeur taking Greg & my mom to doctors appointments... except without the tux because 80* and a tux, yeah, no thanks.  I launched a fundraising campaign to help raise funds for Greg as he continues to bravely fight brain cancer.  I also had a wedding to attend, clients to take care of and sleep... yes I needed some of that or nobody would like me anymore. Seriously, I pushed it to the point I thought I just might not get done what needed getting done.  And then I'd have some really disappointed people in my life and that just wasn't going to fly! 

And by what can only be classified as a miracle, I got done everything that needed my attention, I kept everybody happy and I even got sleep... and no, I'm not on crack or addicted to coffee (anymore... the coffee, not the crack.)

So I'm really excited to show you one of my two jewelry projects because it makes me feel all sorts of happy that I was able to get it finished and give it as a gift to my baby sister... who coincidentally got asked if we were twins when we took her kids for ice cream.  She rocked it at the wedding that she went to! (Fine Print, the second project I can't show you because it's for a big retailer and they are using it in their print ad this fall... so it would positively land me in bead jail. But I did post a sneak peak of the leopard print beads ;) on my Facebook page:

I used a titanium coated agate druzy, surrounded in aqua mirror beads from Cousin Corporation and finished with copper chain also from Cousin.  I made a dainty pair of earrings because Brenda doesn't like to have things pulling on her ears.  So these rose gold earrings from Cousin with a few mirror beads for dangles added a sparkle and she didn't even know she was wearing them!

So maybe this set did turn out awesome and just maybe I do work better under pressure... but let me tell you, creativity doesn't just come when you snap your fingers.  Actually quite the opposite, I have my best inspiration when I'm lying in bed in the middle of the night... and then I want to get up right.this.minute and start working on those projects.  Which leads to very early mornings and posting on Facebook at 3:30 a.m. And thus why I'm a recovering coffee addict...

Happy thoughts and love to you!
My sister Brenda and with her friend,the bride.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Helping My Brother In His Fight Against Brain Cancer

If you only read one of my blog posts ever in this lifetime, please read this one.  I'm opening my heart to allow you to see what my family and I are up against as we help my brother Greg's fight against brain cancer. 

See when Greg was just 20 he was diagnosed with brain cancer, medulloblastoma for those that are wondering.  Typically this type of cancer is found in children... so it was rare to see someone his age with a brain tumor.  At that time a team of doctors did brain surgery and successfully removed the tumor.  An extended hospital stay and radiation later and Greg was healing and on the road to getting his life back.

In October of 2012 Greg's routine MRI revealed that his brain cancer had returned.  He now had 3 tumors and the cancer had spread to his spine.  Due to the locations of the tumors, these are inoperable.  Greg underwent radiation and chemotherapy at UW Hospital in Madison, WI to help shrink the tumors. 

Last week we had an MRI checkup and found a new abnormal spot on Greg's spine.  It's a very small spot, so we cannot yet tell if the cancer has spread or if it's necrosis the result of extensive radiation. We have to wait 4 weeks and do another MRI to determine.  It was not the news any of us were hoping to hear. 
The only time you'll see Green Bay Packer anything on my blog... for the love of Greg!
Mom & Greg

 Since Greg's medical treatments, his mobility has been severely affected.  He has no feeling from the knees down in either leg.  Picture walking and not knowing where or how your feet are landing.  That's how Greg's feet are every day.  He has increasing pain in his hips due to avascular necrosis from prolonged steroid use to prevent brain swelling. 

Currently, Greg is living with my Mom & Dad, in their bi-level home (translation lots of stairs).  He was forced to sell his home he worked so hard to buy, and has since sold one of his cars.  He's currently in the process of selling his beloved Camaro because "it deserves to be driven like the machine that it is."
Daisy Duke loves Greg!

If I had one wish, it would be to take Greg's cancer away.  But I cannot do that.  So I'm doing the best I can to help him maintain his mobility as his body decides not to cooperate.  Right now, my parents need to make modifications to their home to keep Greg safe & mobile.  The largest of those being to installed an electric Stairglide to allow Greg to get in & out of the house.  They also need to renovate their bathroom to accommodate his walker & wheelchair.  Additionally, because of the design of their home, they need to change their front door to one that opens outward so it doesn't bump against the track for the stairglide.  As Greg's mobility continues to deteriorate, an electric wheelchair will be the only way he'll be able to get around safely. In addition to Greg's medical bills, these modifications are quite extensive and my parents cannot do it on their own.
Click photo to lend a helping hand!

Several of my friends from around the globe have personally emailed me asking if they can help.  Up to this point, as a family we've been balancing and managing through sacrifice & love.  Give & take... but together we've been able to take care of things. 

However, with these latest requirements, we are no longer able to do it on our own.  It takes a whole village!  If you feel in your heart you'd like to contribute, I've set up an online fundraiser to help Greg's Mobility Fund.  If you cannot donate, but want to make a difference, can you share Greg's story with a link to his fundraiser.  Every donation helps! The love & prayers we've received since Greg's cancer returned have been amazing!  Love can & will make a difference!  And I appreciate you for helping me make Greg's journey more comfortable and safe for as long as we're blessed to have him on this earth. Sending love & light! xo, Dawn

Donate to Greg's Mobility Fund:

September 30, 2012 - Photo by Matt Mason Photography
July 5, 2014 - Photo by Ashlynn, 6 years old. ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eye've got something to share with you!

Last week I shared the first of two project I created using these festive Halloween inspired beads & charms from the brand new Cousin Corporation 'Tis the Season collection.  The first project was a set of boo-tiful napkin rings with the instructions to create your own for a spooktacular dinner party!

Once the creative juices started flowing, my cuppeth runneth over and I had to create something with this totally funky eyeball pendant!  I rummaged through my supply of Cousin beads to find just the right compliment.  What spoke to me was the glass tear drops... and since I'm an incredibly emotional person (happy, sad - it doesn't matter, I cry at everything) I thought it most appropriate to make illusion of the eye crying... so without further adieu, my extra credit project because EYE can! ;)

You can get the entire line of the Halloween 'Tis the Season Charms at A.C. Moore stores beginning this month!  They are really quite adorable with a few spooky ones to play with too! And if you'd like the supply list and instructions for this jewelry project, message me over on my Bella Amore Legacy Jewelry Facebook Page:  Include your email address and I'll email you a word doc with all the deets!

Hugs & Love!

P.S. If you'd like to see the latest piece of legacy jewelry I've created or discuss having something special and one-of-a-kind created exclusively for you, visit my website:  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Skip straight to Halloween - Do not pass Go - Do not collect $200

I'm one that likes to relish in the summer months.... sunny days at the beach, ice cream cones (now that I found a gluten free cone,) kids playing in the park, long days, lightening bugs... so imagine my dismay when I received my package as a Cousin Corporation Ambassador this month to see... HALLOWEEN beads & charms!  YIKES!  That's way, way, way to fast-forwardy for this sun goddess.

But I had to complete the mission, so I put on my best thinking cap (and I'll admit, that cap seemed full of hot air and not so many brilliant ideas) and I stared at all these really cool but Halloween (translation FALL, specifically October... END of October as in getting to the point where Dawn becomes a goose and flies South for Winter because it's too darn cold for this girl.)  So I had a mental block about even thinking about life after summer.

But when the inspiration struck, two projects came to mind.  First we were encouraged to making something other than jewelry... so something crafty.  Since I like to eat... napkin rings came to mind!  I used some of the new 16 gauge wire from Cousin Corporation and two sets of the charm from the 'Tis the Season collection which AC Moore stores will be carrying and voila!  Skip the eye of newt and your dinner party will be fabulous with these fun napkin rings!

And as part of my homework, I had to write instructions as to how to make these... I'm so not the verbose instruction writer.  I just make things... inspiration comes from the heart and I just create.  SO actually writing step by step how to do something... let's just say I might need therapy for that! ;) 

So if you'd like the instructions, send me a message via my Facebook Page - Bella Amore Legacy Jewelry Include your email address and I'll send them right over to you.

And heck, even if you don't want the instructions, you can still pop over, spare a friend a "Like" and say hello! I'll be sharing the jewelry portion of my project soon!  Stay tuned...

Have a boo-tiful day loves!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Freedom Fun and Family - F Yeah!

As we're heading into the 4th of July holiday weekend in the US, I want to take a moment to share my gratitude to all those who have given so much for our freedoms.  To the brave Veterans that stood on the lines and fought for our freedoms, thank you.  To those currently serving, we pray for your safety and we appreciate your service.  To the families that are celebrating this Independence Day without your loved one, we bow our heads and give you our hearts.  Your loved one is a true American Hero.  How can we help you honor and remember them?

While celebrating America's birthday, we're also celebrating my niece's 6th birthday!  And what a firecracker she is.  We'll be cherishing every moment with our family and hope you are creating memories with yours as well!

Happy 4th of July with Love,

And next week we're fast forwarding holidays as I share my latest project I did as a Cousin Corp brand ambassador... it's featuring their brand new Halloween charms.... 

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