February Highlights
Part 1 of 2
February is not just the month for lovers. February is also Heart Month whereby international Heart Associations/Foundations hold their annual fund raising campaigns. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the US, Canada, England and Wales. It kills one person every 34 seconds in the US! There is still much to be done to vanquish this killer disease. Remember, medical doctors and research scientists don't work alone. They need our help so that they can find better treatments and possibly cures for many potentially deadly diseases.

Azure Island Designs
Heather Cote makes beautiful jewelry. She says heart disease has taken its toll on her family. That is why a portion of her proceeds from some of her designs go towards the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Canada. One gorgeous piece is her sterling silver Broken Heart necklace (above). It is so appropriate because the whole point of fund raising is to help medical researchers find ways to fix heart problems.  I also like her Argentium silver Twisted Heart Earrings. Heather also has an Etsy store and writes a lively blog too.

Ida Jefsen Design
Ida is a Danish jewelry designer now living in Portland, Oregon. Like Heather, heart disease in her family motivated her charity drive. Shown here is her  lovely heart pendant necklace with a front closure clasp which was donated to the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women luncheon. Ida also has an Etsy store.

Anna Ruth Henrique
This Jamaican jeweler's work goes right to the "heart" of the matter. Her Mini Heart sterling silver pendant is actually shaped like a real human heart and is studded with ruby accents and embellished with 18 K gold. It costs $395 and part of the proceeds benefits Doctors Without Borders . The medical staff of DWB deliver medical care to those in dire need and under the most trying of circumstances. The pendant on a cord can be bought at Barneys in New York besides through her online site. Via

Hearts for Haiti on Etsy
People everywhere have opened their hearts and wallets to help Haitians after the terrible earthquake. Aid workers are still struggling to provide just the basics let alone what is needed by surviving Haitians get back on their feet. The situation is critical because diseases now threaten the crowded camps.  It's heartbreaking to see such suffering and much still has to be done to mend the broken hearts in Haiti. I have seen a number of craft groups raising money but Hearts for Haiti on Etsy live up to their name. Many of their donors give items with a heart theme to encourage Valentine's Day buyers. 100% of the net proceeds go directly to Doctors Without Borders.


There really is a broken heart syndrome otherwise known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or stress cardiomyopathy. It mimics a heart attack. The heart muscle temporarily weakens and the lower part of the left ventricle balloons. The trigger is often a severe emotional stress like a loss of a loved one. For unknown reasons, the syndrome is more commonly seen in post menopausal women. No one yet knows what actually causes the broken heart syndrome but the prognosis is good - 95% of patients recover.

The syndrome was first described in Japan - "tako tsubo" means octopus trap or fishing pot whose shape the damaged part of the heart resembles. Here is a news clip on the syndrome. Via

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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