By Julie Lawrence Special to Published May 08, 2007 at 5:23 AM

We're less than a week shy of Mother's Day, folks. Has everyone found that something special to give to mom that demonstrates just how awesome you think she is?

Sure, a new crock-pot is practical, but this is a day to indulge her fancy and to reward her for all the countless meals she's prepared for you in the old crock-pot. It's time to get creative.

Here's an idea: handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry by a local artist. Andrea Butler is the crafty mind behind Sunshine Design jewelry and, chances are, she has something in her massive and eclectic collection of accessories that would make your mom's eye sparkle.

With a style that is both untamed and versatile, Butler's beaded work seems more like a plethora of personalities rather than just a variety of neck decorations.

Some pieces cluster large colorful chunks close to the neck, while others sweep low in long layers down the torso. Utilizing unique combinations of texture, size and shape, Sunshine Designs posses a versatility that make her wares as casual as a Sunday picnic or as chic enough for the runway (A few of Butler's pieces were featured in last weekend's Street Beat Fashion Show during Brady Street's Flower Power festival.)

"I think the best way to describe my jewelry is fun. Or experimental. Or random," she says. "I think a lot of artists can relate to the way I work -- I bead what I feel."

And just as feeling and moods can shift, Butler's necklaces, bracelets and earrings develop spontaneously, giving them a fresh, fiery look that says, "Summer is on its way and I'm prepared to look hot."

Last season's best sellers were the long, small bead wrap-arounds that loop layers over thin garments, but this spring, she says, the trend is going a tad shorter and wider with large wood beads in multiple strands.

Next up on her craft platter is melding her beadwork with art metals to create lengthy adornments with charm clusters, and work on things that aren't quite so girly.

"I've predominantly made women's jewelry because that's what I know, but I've had more and more male requests, so I'd like to expand and open my line to men."

Sunshine's participated in the last several gallery nights at the Gnoap Gallery inside the Kai Buddha Lounge above Sake Tumi, and, according to Butler, they dish free sushi during Gallery Nights. The Gnoap Gallery is only open during the four Gallery Nights each year, so in the meantime before the summer edition on July 20, you'll find her designs for sale at Moxy, 2219 N. Farwell Ave., Vieux et Nouveau, 1688 N. Franklin Pl., and in the coming weeks, at Lela, 321 N. Broadway and Fasten Co-op Clothing Gallery, 2224 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”