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North Liberty mom beads bracelets to support students, teachers in return to school

Published: Aug. 9, 2020 at 10:06 PM CDT
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NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Beading is more than a hobby for Jen Bunning of North Liberty.

“It kind of just has evolved into something that I really am passionate about,” she said.

Bunning tries to reserve a couple of hours each night to her work, though she accomplishes the most on weekend mornings before her two daughters wake up.

The activity is her stress-reliever and her business, as the owner of Two Ten Designs, Bunning’s shop on the online marketplace Etsy.

But her handmade jewelry started off as a way to save money, not make it.

“I saw a bracelet at a pretty nice, expensive boutique in the area, and I was like, ‘I wonder if I can just make something like that,’ and it just kind of evolved from there,” Bunning said.

Bunning makes each bracelet herself using heishi beads, a type of small, disk bead.

Some pieces have extra significance, like bracelets featuring a small angel wing charm. Those are a fundraiser for No Foot Too Small, a local organization that helps grieving parents.

“They honor babies that have been lost in utero or after birth,” she explained.

Bunning said she’s donated $700 to the nonprofit since that fundraiser began earlier this year, setting aside $5 from each $18 bracelet for the cause.

When she found out schools wouldn’t receive extra funding to purchase personal protective equipment for the upcoming year, she drew up a new design: a bracelet with the word “LOVE” spelled out in black-and-white beads.

“It was a no-brainer,” Bunning said. “I felt like we needed to do whatever we could to empower our teachers to feel excited to come back and teach our kids. We needed to empower our kids to feel safe when they go back to school.”

For each “LOVE” bracelet Bunning sells, $5 will help Iowa City Schools buy PPE for their teachers and students. The “LOVE” bracelets sell for $18, or customers can purchase one with a custom name or word for $20.

The bracelets are available in a variety of single colors or in a rainbow design with assorted beads.

“We’ve sold 187 bracelets in the last two-and-a-half weeks,” Bunning told TV9 on Wednesday. “So my goal is that we hit 200 and I just start off by the $1,000 donation next week and just keep it going.”

The bracelets are also Bunning’s only design featuring a gold heart, which she designated for a special reason.

“We need to provide love and grace in this period of time to be able to get through this in a positive manner,” she said.

Because of that, Bunning said she’s fine with sitting at her table for a few hours every day, each bracelet she beads a reminder that people care.

“It’s showing that other people are supporting one another, and that is so important,” she said.

You can check out Bunning’s bracelet on her Etsy shop by clicking here.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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