I participated in another charm swap and just finished them up today. The project was "Found Objects" and I used vintage buttons.
Before I made jewelry, I was a sales rep for an IT firm, selling "business solutions" as the phrase goes. Selling intangibles can make you a lot of money, but when I left a small, family-based company for a larger, multi-national one, well, let's just say I got burned out but fast. And then 9/11 happened. Combined with the tech crash and all those dot-coms that went belly up, I found myself laid off and disillusioned.
I'd always wanted my own company, something fun and creative, but never found the time when I had a "real" job that had lots of hours of commuting and travel. So even though it didn't feel like it at the time, getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it forced me to start the company I'd been thinking of.
All that led to my starting a handmade greeting card line. I used vintage buttons, sewn onto all kinds of amazing papers and fabrics. I worked my tail off, got into some stores, and subsequently collected a TON of vintage beads. Well, maybe not a ton. But at least 15 pounds, at last check.
I don't make cards any more, at least not to sell, but I still can't give up those buttons. I've been planning on using them in my jewelry, but never have had the time to sit down and play, so this swap really gave me some ideas to work with!
To view my jewelry, visit www.lorianderson.net