Meet Jean and John.  In the very late 1960s, Jean and John and their kids Marilynn and John were stationed in Iceland at the same time as my parents.  I was a toddler then (my brother was born there on the last day of 1970). The famous story is that when my parents asked John to be my brother's godfather, the Navy chaplain tried to talk my parents out of it because John, being Army, and my Dad, being Navy, would never cross paths again.  My parents held firm and that chaplain was never more wrong.  This picture is from my wedding in 1995 :-)

Marilynn recently moved Jean to Michigan to live with her, and sent me this e-mail as they got Jean settled in with them:

My mom has four "vintage" square buttons that she has been saving forever to use when she makes a suit!  I found them when I was packing her to come back to Michigan to live with us again.  I mentioned that we could ask you to make her a necklace with her treasures.  Are you game?

Would I?  Of course!  Marilynn wrote back:

I've been thinking of the necklace that you made in honor of your dad and I've been thinking Mom's necklace should symbolize my Mom & Dad's life together.
How about:
  • The Four VINTAGE buttons would represent Mom, Dad, Marilynn & John III.
  • Five large pearls to represent the five decades that they were married.
  • Mom is thinking of using a large heart on the necklace.  (I have a large crystal heart that I think would look lovely!)
  • And, they met and married in Washington, D.C.  (Maybe something to represent cherry blossoms). 
I think silver wire would look the best with the color (at least, that's my preference)! 
I need to measure one of mom's necklaces for the length.  She will need an "easy" clasp!

I found the most incredible gold cherry blossom charm at Bead Fest Wire, I decided go with gold all around and see what Marilynn thought.  I e-mailed her a pictures and said:  

Marilynn - I have a start on the necklace finally!  Take a look and let me know what you think.  I thought I would finish with gold wire links - making it long enough no clasp is needed.  That way too the buttons can be down where your Mom can see them.  I can add crystals to the links to bling it out if you'd like. I thought towards the back I'd add a tiny black/gold or green dangle to put a small reminder of the Army.  Hope you like it - but I can totally change anything to suit.

She wrote back:  

It's BEAUTIFUL!  The more bling the better ~ Wilma Jean loves her BLING!

And here is the final product - Marilynn and Jean called me right away, gushing with happiness.  It couldn't have made me happier!


  1. This is so beautiful and meaningful with a real feeling of love and memory attached to it. Just perfect!

  2. What a beautiful piece. I love the Thai flower with the heart charm.

  3. What an awesome request to you and how beautifully you honored her! AWESOME!!!

  4. You're awesome. And so is that necklace~ the love and attention to detail are stunning. VERY well done!

  5. Ooooooh, I came out beautifully!!! You really made the story sing in sparkles!

  6. Oh, Elisabeth, what a beautiful job you did! I think gold was the absolutely right choice! The whole project, the history, etc. gives me shivers. I love that and that what is sometimes just a craft or side business, can also be building an heirloom. So lovely!

  7. What a beautidul post and what a special request. You did good, it is wonderful.


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