Michelle Cousineau of Lansing, MI

Picture of Michelle Cousineau's winning bracelet

I have been longing to create a charm bracelet for several years, after receiving my grandmother's charm bracelet from my mom. I cannot think of a better way to start than winning this contest! My grandmother's bracelet is so precious to me, and I can only hope that I have a bracelet to pass on to my children or grandchildren that tells the story of my life. This piece of jewelry can be so intimate and telling. The memories of my grandmother most special to me are those of us sitting at her sewing machine, teaching me how to sew. For this, I would first add a sewing machine charm (#0732) to my bracelet. Not surprising, my grandmother also had a sewing machine charm on her bracelet.

Throughout my life, beginning with sewing with my grandmother, I have dabbled in just about every art or craft project, including decoupage, screen printing, needle felting, scrapbooking, and even cake decorating. I could find a charm to represent each one, but most important is the person behind all the craft supplies who supported and encouraged me my whole life to be creative. My mom, a high school English teacher, instilled in me a love of learning, exploring, reading, and problem solving, and supported whatever crazy idea I had (and still have). When I think of her, I think of wisdom, so to represent her I would add a book charm (#3160) which also represents our shared love of reading.

Last year, we lost my aunt, my mom's younger sister, Robin. Robin had a brain tumor as a teenager, and part of her brain was removed. This left her with no short term memory, and did not allow her to lead a normal life. However, she always wore a smile, and had something funny to say. Thinking of her reminds me to keep a positive outlook on life, and realize just how wonderful my own life is. To honor her, I would love a robin bird charm (#3420).

Next, my bracelet must include tokens to represent the two guys I depend on each day. My husband, Thomas, would be represented by a trumpet (#0837). He is a music teacher and trumpet player, in addition to my best friend and lifelong partner who is always there for me. Secondly, my handsome dog Chet, a mastiff (#6591) who gives unconditional love, and survived a bout of parvo virus as a puppy. I never realized how attached I could be to a puppy until almost losing him.

This brings me to my profession, teaching. All my childhood exploring, questioning and looking up to my teacher mom lead me directly into science. I am a biology teacher, and love making kids excited about learning. A microscope (#8207) belongs on my bracelet for this reason.

As a biologist, I love animals, especially insects, and would love to raise honeybees one day. I have even taken a class on raising bees in a hive to bring my dream into reality. To keep my dream in sight, I must add the bee hive charm (#2336). Imagine my excitement learning that this charm even existed!
I must also add a food charm to my bracelet, which took no thinking at all. It would have to be a slice of pizza (#2492). Believe it or not, I have many a childhood memory involving pizza. My parents owned a pizza restaurant throughout most of my childhood, and I have treasured memories revolving around the place. My dad ran the restaurant daily, and would always give my class a pizza party at the end of the school year. Many a late night my mom would take me and my five siblings to the restaurant to see my dad and eat pizza. I then worked at the restaurant when I was in high school. I can make a great pizza, and for as much of it that I have eaten over the years, I am never sick of pizza!

Maybe because of all the pizza I have always had some weight to lose. Diet after diet has failed me over the years. Recently, I have begun to succeed! I have realized how important eating well (most of the time) and exercising is to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I want to be healthy before starting a family, and my weight loss over the past year has really proven to myself that I can do it! For this accomplishment, a sneaker (#6380) to represent exercise and living healthy.

Finally, a charm to represent my travels. I have not gone far, but I will definitely always relish my honeymoon train trip to Toronto in December of 2002. My husband and I bought a Christmas ornament of the Toronto skyline when we were there, which is wonderful to see each Christmas on the tree. I was thrilled to see a very similar charm of the Toronto skyline (#8007) that could have a spot on my wrist! I can't wait to return with my husband, and this would be the perfect charm to remind me of the importance of getting away to celebrate our love and marriage.

I thank you for holding this contest. It really made me think of all the special qualities a charm bracelet can hold for the owner as well as future generations.

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