Making beads is inexpensive. There is quite a bit of preparation required, but the versatility of the craft makes it well worth the effort. The students will need to be patient as there will be 6 stages of preparation as they design, assemble and package their Mother's Day Gift Set.

Preparing the Materials and the Area

For students to be able to do justice to this project, they will need a working area and some storage space. Read through these recipes to make a list of the materials needed to create the beads.

How To Make Paper Beads is a blog about a no fuss way to make extremely cost effective beads. The blog, Making Beads With Salt Clay (found by scrolling up above the post), gives directions for beads that are more chunky and rustic. Clay items, on the other hand, are durable, but making and firing them is also quite time consuming. When reading the article How To Make Clay Beads, remember that you must allow more time than you would need for the other two.

Make sure you read the instructions thoroughly before choosing which medium you will use. How much work you can manage and the time required for process will greatly influence the quality of the project. Don't cut yourself short of time.

Designing the Gift Set

Decide on the look and feel you want. Do you want an old fashioned antique feel, something rustic, modern and flamboyant, or chic and elegant? Firm decisions about style need to be made at the designing stage so that the appropriate materials can be purchased. Shape and size will be influenced by the image you wish to portray. Sleek and stylish will most likely be assembled from slim and tiny beads, while a modern look will be more chunky and flamboyant and colourful.

Have the students draw a picture of the desired outcome. Make sure you encourage students to draw the connecting threads, clasps and hooks. Leave nothing to chance, especially if the students have not experienced a project like this before.

Ask them to bring a picture of their mother to school so that they can draw the jewelry draped around her neck and draw on her earrings. This will greatly influence the way they design the jewelry. It will confirm with confidence that this gift set will be just right for mother.

Making the Gift Set

Follow the recipes cited above. if you want to add spice and flair, make several types of beads and mix and match. Make sure that you are clear about how the beads will be strung together. Items that could be fashioned into sets are bracelets, necklaces, earrings, chokers and paper mache rings. Designed from matching beads, they will look stunning when packaged.

Packaging the Gift

If the class has plenty of time, the students could make an attractive paper mache box and line it with felt. Maybe they could decoupage photos of mother onto the lid. What a heart warming gift giving idea!

If time is scant, they could simply arrange the jewelry onto a card by punching holes through the board. They could then tie the pieces onto it in an attractive arrangement. By taping clear or lightly coloured cellophane over the arrangement, they would add a touch of class to a beautiful display.

Making the Card

Tying Ribbon Through Gift Cards gives other Mother's Day ideas and compliments this Mother's Day project. The ribbons would serve as one last chance to embellish the tender moment by fixing some more beads to the ribbons trailing from the cards.

People are exposed to a myriad of toxic chemicals everyday often from unsuspecting sources, including personal care products. While it is hard to believe that anything that can be applied to or absorbed into the body through skin, hair or nails could contain harmful ingredients, no premarket safety testing is required for the cosmetics industry.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “nearly 90 percent of the 10,500 ingredients FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has determined are used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the Cosmetic Ingredients Review (CIR), the FDA, or any other publicly accountable institution.” While chemicals continue to be used, recent studies have found links between additives in beauty products and health problems such as the feminization of male babies and breast tumor tissue.

Synthetic Ingredients to Avoid

An average of 126 ingredients are applied to the skin daily and are subsequently absorbed into the body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), “preservatives in cosmetics and skin care products are the second-most-common cause of skin reactions.” Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics and author of What’s in Your Cosmetics?, identifies ten chemicals consumers should avoid in the Natural Ingredients Dictionary:


  • parabens – Used to inhibit microbial growth and extend shelf life in body care products, cosmetics and food, this chemical can cause allergic reactions and rashes. Studies indicate parabens are estrogenic and may also increase the risk for breast tumors, disrupt hormones and be connected to reproductive problems. Look for methyl-, propyl-, butyl- and ethylparaben on labels.
  • diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) – These ammonia compounds are used as emulsifiers and foaming agents, and can create allergic reactions, irritate eyes, and dry out hair and skin. When used in products containing nitrates, DEA and TEA can form a by-product that causes cancer.
  • diazolidinyl UREA and imidazolidinyl UREA – Widely used despite the fact that the AAD has found them to cause allergic skin reactions, both of these chemicals are known to release formaldehyde, which can be toxic.
  • sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS) – A detergent used as a cleaning and foaming agent in shampoo and toothpaste, SLS is often made from petroleum and can be disguised on labels with the phrase “comes from coconuts.” CIR acknowledges that this substance can cause eye and skin irritation.
  • petroleum jelly – An inexpensive substance used to soothe skin. It can disrupt the body’s self-moisturizing ability leading to dryness and chapping, the same problems it is designed to alleviate. Many people have experienced this reaction when using petroleum-based lip balms.
  • propylene glycol – PEG or PPG as this substances is often labeled, is used for moisture retention. It can cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema.
  • PVP/VA copolymer – A chemical found in hairsprays, styling products and other cosmetics, PVP/VA copolymer is made from petroleum. If particles are inhaled, it can cause damage to the lungs in sensitive individuals.
  • stearalkonium chloride – An alternative to proteins and herbals used in hair conditioners and creams, it was originally developed as a fabric softener. It is a toxic ammonium compound that can cause allergic reactions.
  • synthetic colors – Synthetic colors used to create cosmetic shades and hair dyes can be carcinogenic. Avoid products that list FD&C or D&C followed by a number in the ingredients list.
  • synthetic fragrances – Also known as phthalates, these chemicals have been shown to cause birth defects and low sperm count in adult men. Synthetic fragrances can also cause such things as headaches, dizziness, rashes and skin irritation. Look for the following labels on ingredient lists: “fragrance,” DEHP, DINP, BzBP, DBP, DEP or DMP.

Cosmetic Chemicals Environmental Impact

Beyond the health risks that cosmetic chemicals pose, these ingredients also have an adverse affect on the environment. According to the EWG, ingredients from personal care products are absorbed into the body through the skin and end up in human waste or are washed down the drain when people shower, or wash the face. A number of studies have found these chemicals in rivers and streams, and have linked them to disruptions in the hormones in fish.

In addition to the impact to aquatic wildlife, these additives are also related to oil consumption. The same refineries that produce gas also manufacture petroleum-based preservatives used in body care products, some of which can be made from a petrochemical waste called coal tar. Avoid ingredients made from petroleum to protect the body and environment.

While synthetic additives in body care products are cause for concern, there are a number of things people can do to avoid these ingredients including use fewer products, research cosmetics using the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, read labels and choose non-toxic formulations. By making more educated purchases, consumers can minimize the number of chemicals absorbed by the body, and reduce potential health and environmental risks.

With the amount of options available within the world of mascara, it is easy to become confused about which one is the best choice for you. A good idea is to take a look at your lashes, figure out what they need and go from there.

Short Lashes

If your eyelashes are short you will need a mascara that lengthens the lash. The formula used in lengthening mascaras is less dense, helping the product apply smoother and easier all the way to the tips. Getting your mascara to the tips of your lashes is key to lengthening the eyelash.

A good option is the new Maybelline Lash Stiletto™ Ultimate Length Mascara. Using a Grip & Extend brush, the mascara is able to coat the lashes from all angles making them appear fuller and longer. It also has an elastic formula, which stretches the lashes for optimum length

Thin Lashes

Try a mascara which has “thickening” or “volumising” in the name. These mascaras are made to create a plump look out of even the thinnest lash. Using a Primer is also a great idea for thickening lashes as the Primer not only nourishes, but also lifts and adds length before you coat with the coloured mascara.

To save time and money, try using a two-in-one mascara like the Revlon Lash Fantasy® Lengthening & Thickening mascara. There is a vitamin-enriched Primer on one end and mascara on the other end. In two steps, you can have lashes that are triple the lift and double the thickness.

A volumising mascara will coat the lashes with building ingredients which stick to each lash, making them thicker and fuller from base to tip.

Straight Lashes

Curled lashes open up your eyes, making them look larger and more dramatic. You can get this look by using a curling wand, but if you want to cut a step out of your beauty routine simply buying the right type of mascara will do the trick. Curling mascaras come with a curved wand that helps push the lashes into an upward curl. The ingredients used are generally thicker for hold and shape. Maybelline’s XXL Curl Power™ Volume + Length Microfiber Mascara claims to curl and extend your lashes 45 degrees. This mascara has two steps, the first one being a base coat that lengthens and curls and the second being the topcoat which adds colour and hold.

Long, Dark Lashes

If you are lucky enough to already have long, dark eyelashes you can use a type of mascara that will enhance these natural attributes. Clear mascara works as a gloss for your lashes, covering them in a shiny coat, enhancing them and making them look healthier. Look for a product such as the Covergirl Professional Natural Lash Mascara which can also be used to tame eyebrows.