Friday, August 2, 2013

The Birth of Recovery Beads Jewelry

I have been a member of 12-Step recovery programs since 1987, and--as it always does if you stick with it--it has changed my life in ways I never dreamed possible. I am now a happy, content and faithful person who takes one day at a time, knowing that all life problems thrown my way will work out for the best . . . with help from my Higher Power.

Recovery Beads Jewelry is an off-shoot of my original Etsy site, Gems By Jill Designs. I began making recovery-themed jewelry, then decided I wanted to brand it separately. My Recovery Beads Jewelry site is at Recovery Beads Jewelry.

Recovery Beads specializes in AA, NA, Al-Anon, 12-Step, and other Recovery, Inspirational and Faith bracelets, earrings, pendants, necklaces, and more. Some pieces are beaded, and some use chain work--but everything is unique, hand-made, and one-of-a-kind!

I have been creating hand-made beaded and other types of jewelry since 2005. I consider it an avocation as much as a vocation because I love making jewelry, especially recovery-themed jewelry, which has a special place in my heart.

So, welcome to Recovery Beads! Please feel free to browse my site, and I'm open to any questions, comments or suggestions you may have.

My best-selling item:

Serenity Prayer Bracelet with Sterling Silver Serenity, Courage and Wisdom Beads, Swarovski and Freshwater Pearls, and Genuine Amethyst


Thursday, August 1, 2013

How Jewelry Making Saved My Sanity!

In December of 2011 I had a routine bunion surgery. There were many complications, and long story short, between December 2011 and November 2012 I had five foot surgeries. As an active person and fitness fanatic, the mandatory bed rest and immobility restrictions were brutal. What to do? And this is how jewelry making saved my sanity.

Recovering after one of my surgeries. Looking a little groggy, huh?
Bored and restless, on mandatory bedrest, every day I'd spread my beading supplies around me on the bed. Not an ideal studio, but I was still able to create bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and other jewelry. Nearly every day for over a year! Without having this hobby and avocation that I love, I would have gone crazy!

My Gems By Jill Designs Etsy shop is at I also launched my line of 12-Step, Recovery, Inspirational and Faith jewelry at  I invite you to check out my creations, and take 15% off with coupon code 15OFF. This coupon is valid on both sites.

My foot is still healing, and I still continue to make jewelry. I'm very proud of my creations, take pride in the quality of my finished products, and I hope you like them too!

UPDATE: In March 2013, we converted a small bedroom into my studio and office. I now have a desk/beading table, filing cabinets, bead storage, and space beyond my bed! Much thanks to my loving husband, Phil, for suggesting this and allowing me to furnish it beautifully. Pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

12-Step, AA, NA and Al-Anon Symbols and Their Meanings, History and Trivia

If you’re in a 12-Step program, you’ve no doubt seen or heard about many different symbols. But what is the meaning behind them? Here is a quick summary of some 12-Step groups’ most popular symbols:


The AA Unity Symbol

Simply put, the circle stands for the worldwide fellowship of AA, and the triangle stands for AA’s Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity, and Service.

Now, some history. The Unity Symbol was adopted as an official AA symbol at the International Convention in St. Louis in 1955. In Bill W.’s 1955 speech, printed in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, he says:

Gold and Swarovski Crystal Unity Bracelet
“Above us floats a banner on which is inscribed the new symbol for A.A., a circle enclosing a triangle. The circle stands for the whole world of A.A., and the triangle stands for A.A.’s Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity, and Service. Within our wonderful new world, we have found freedom from our fatal obsession. That we have chosen this particular symbol is perhaps no accident. The priests and seers of antiquity regarded the circle enclosing the triangle as a means of warding off the spirits of evil, and A.A.’s circle and triangle of Recovery, Unity, and Service has certainly meant all of that to us and much more.” (p. 139)

The Camel

Camel, Unity Symbol and Butterfly Necklace
“The camel each day goes twice to his knees.
He picks up his load with the greatest of ease.
He walks through the day with his head held high
And stays for that day, completely dry.”

--Author Unknown

Dr. Bob explains this prayer in an analogy on how camels in a caravan kneel down in the evening while men unload the burdens the camels carried. In the morning, the camels knelt down again, and the men put the burdens back on. “It’s the same with prayer,” Dr. Bob said. “We get on our knees to unload at night. And in the morning when we get on our knees again, God gives us just the load we are able to carry for that day.”

© 1980, Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, page 229 

Keys to the Kingdom Bracelet
The Key

On page 276 of Alcoholics Anonymous (The “Big Book,” fourth edition), it reads, “Now there is a sense of belonging, of being wanted and needed and loved. In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the Keys of the Kingdom.”


The NA Symbol

In the fifth edition of NA’s basic text, Narcotics Anonymous, on pages vi and vii, the symbol is described in detail. This is a condensed version:

Sterling Silver and Freshwater Pearl NA Earrings
The outer circle denotes a universal and total program that has room within it for all manifestations of the recovering person. The square denotes goodwill and the ground of both the Fellowship and the members of our society. The four sides of the square represent Self, Society, Service and God.



The Al-Anon Symbol

Sterling Silver Al-Anon Pendant
Al-Anon's main text, Paths to Recovery, states this about their symbol:

“Al-Anon’s logo is a triangle symbol with a circle inside. The three sides of the triangle symbolize our three legacies: Recovery through acceptance of the Steps, Unity through acceptance of the Traditions and Service through acceptance of the Concepts.  All three sides are necessary for the triangle to remain a triangle, just as a three-legged stool needs all three legs in order to stand.”

The Butterfly

The butterfly symbol signifies beauty and transformation. The butterfly is sometimes described as the "kiss of God."

Recovery Beads offers an extensive line of recovery, 12-step, inspirational and faith jewelry. View the collection at Recovery Beads Jewelry.

Monday, July 1, 2013

My Studio . . . My Sanctuary

A few months back, my dear husband suggested we convert an unused bedroom into my office and beading studio. It has become my sanctuary, and I love my husband, Phil, for suggesting it. Having been through five foot surgeries since December of 2011, my previous studio was my bed. While recovering from each surgery, which seemed to come every 2-3 months, I'd spread my beading supplies all over the bed, have my laptop handy on a side table, and get to work creating jewelry, taking photos, filling orders (difficult at times due to my mobility restrictions!)-- all things related to running my business. Ahh, this is so much better. 

Here are a few pics:

The sign on my door. Note "Always Open"!
Jill Wright's Studio -- Door Sign

The studio all cleaned up. Everything put away. Chill time!
Jill Wright's Studio -- All Cleaned Up!

A work in progress. Tools, beads, and of course, coffee, are out while making a bracelet.
Jill Wright's Studio -- A Work in Progress

This side has my kids' original artwork on the wall, and my cool little black chair with ottoman and custom-made zebra-print pillows, made by Eliza Beth Design (
Jill Wright's Studio -- North Wall

Opposite wall has more kids' art, my filing and beads/supply cabinet (holds most supplies, but not all!), trash can, recycle bin, and the TV. Making jewelry is a very solitary activity, and the morning/afternoon news, The Doctors and Ellen keep me company! (There's a soap opera in the mix, but I tune that out.)
Jill Wright's Studio -- South Wall

Thanks for visiting My Sanctuary!