Runaway Spoon

Celebrate Moms & Grads With Historic Key Jewelry

May 5, 2019

 Inspirational, classy – and limited -- luxury key jewelry from The Lockkeepers Collection is making a fashion mark around town.

This custom jewelry is the brainchild of DC-Maryland-Virginia area jeweler Sherrie Beckstead.

Lockkeeper's House (Photo by: Trust for the National Mall) Lockkeeper's House

The keys were inspired by the original keys that lockkeepers of yesteryear used to open the big locks along the C&O Canal waterway. The new fashion-forward keys are smaller, of course. And, some are studded with black or white diamonds. Some are worn as necklaces, others as brooches or lapel pins.

These keys are for those who want something special for mom, wife, nana, or any important woman in your life – no matter the occasion. The beauty of the jewelry will awe new graduates. 

For the guys, there will be cufflinks for that upscale business shirt. But wait a second, these links work equally well on a woman’s blouse cuffs. The first small delivery of Cufflinks sold out in 2 weeks, the next arrival is just in time for Father’s Day.

The jewelry is available at The Lockkeepers Collection.  Price range from $1,995 to $2,495 for key necklaces of rose gold, white gold or yellow with or black or white diamonds.

 A sterling silver collections prices range from $75 to $650.

Also on the drawing board is a separate lock necklace that takes its cue from the original locks on the C&O Canal, and inspired by local history.

Beckstead’s design for the collection was motivated by the Lockkeeper’s House story and her love for American history and education. The Lockkeeper’s House, constructed in 1837 and 350 square feet in size, is the oldest building on the Mall. Sherrie serves on the National Advisory Council for the Trust for the National Mall.

The C&O Canal extends 184 miles from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland. Several years after the canal opened, an eastward extension was built to link the canal to the Potomac River and the Washington City Canal. The house was built near what is now the southwest corner of 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue to serve the extension’s lock.

(Photo by:

The lockkeepers who occupied the house worked as a toll collectors, record keepers, traffic managers, and maintenance men. Their locks, and others along the canal, such as next to 30th Street in Georgetown, enabled the canal’s narrow barges to navigate the 76-foot increase in water elevation as the canal climbed from the low levels of Washington into Maryland.

The canal was essentially a commercial operation from its opening until 1924, when it surrendered to the competition of the railroad. It then gradually became a tourist attraction, boosted by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas’ hike of its entire length, and then in 1971 by a new law creating Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park.

To help support the Lockkeeper’s House and other historic elements of the Mall, 50 percent of each sale from The Lockkeepers Collection will be donated to the National Mall Trust.


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Advocating For A More Perfect Global Society

May 2, 2019

Manuela Testolini, founder of In A Perfect World, brought her mission to the DC area Tuesday for an invitational fundraiser where she announced an extension of the philanthropic program to areas of Guatemala.

JoAnn Wllis (left), Barbara Hawthorn & guest Sherrie Beckstead (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) JoAnn Wllis (left), Barbara Hawthorn & guest Sherrie Beckstead

“We can do good together,” said Testolini.

Kennedy Center Board member Linda Stillman (left) and Manuela Testolini (Photo by: In A Perfect World) Kennedy Center Board member Linda Stillman (left) and Manuela Testolini

IAPW works with at-risk youth to advance their education and to help them become strong members of the community.

An international movement, IAPW is active in DC and Los Angeles.

Testolini emphasized that 100 percent of its donations go to projects.

In fulfilling her overall mission to educate children, Testolini’s organization has built 30 schools in developing countries.  It also provides clean water, solar power, sustainable farming practices, and the skills for women to achieve economic advancement. 

Testolini, who lives in LA where the organization is based, has created a youth “ambassadors” program that works with young people and provides them experience with community outreach in the US and globally.  A contingent of ambassadors will travel to Guatemala to aid those in need.  She said the ambassadors program is to “introduce young people to good works and to the concept of giving back.”

A video screened at the event showed a project in Malawi where IAPW develops schools and educational programs.

Among the 50 guests were Ambassador Mull S. Katende of Uganda and Ambassador Stanislav Vidovic and Mrs. Ljiljana Vidovic of Slovenia.

The reception was hosted by Barbara Hawthorn (an advisory board member of In A Perfect World), and co-hosted by Crystal and Jason Kampf, JoAnn Willis and Chip Kahn. The event was held at Willis’ Arlington, Va. home.

Youth Ambassadors speaking at reception (Photo by: In A More Perfect World) Youth Ambassadors speaking at reception



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Stomping Back To Town

April 8, 2019

STOMP, the international percussion sensation, returns to National Theatre from Tuesday, April 23 through Sunday, April 28, on its 25th anniversary tour.

The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, bottles, garbage can lids, Zippo lighters, hubcaps -- to load the stage with high-energy rhythms. There are even scenes with grocery store carts.

The return of STOMP also brings some new things, with some of the show updated and restructured, using props such as tractor tire inner tubes and paint cans.

UPDATE: The show is wonderfully refreshing for DC because there are no talking heads.  No one says a word.  It's all about movement, sounds from street scenes and odd ball things that are turned alive with drumsticks, brooms, foot stomping, hand claps and the like. Youngsters in the audience were delighted , along with the adults.

Music from garbage lids (Photo by: STOMP.(c) Steve McNicolas 2012) Music from garbage lids

STOMP is explosive, unique and provocative, and appeals to audiences of all ages. The show runs about 95 minutes with no intermission. 

Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, it won four Emmy nominations, one Emmy Award and an Academy Award nomination, among others. Purchase tickets via phone: 800.514.3849 or website.

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