Welcome to Beads & Basil

Beads and Basil was born from my love for teaching, cooking, creating jewelry, and traveling. I spend most of my days devouring cookbooks like they're romance novels and preparing recipes for the cooking classes I teach. When I travel, I often teach women all over the world how to make an income through cooking. I also carry jewelry back from these travels with the hope that I can turn what I find into works of art. I want my work and experiences to be as authentic and as memorable as possible. - Shannon Smith

About Shannon

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Shannon Smith grew up on a small ranch in Oklahoma with her two sisters. She enjoyed tending to the pastures, feeding her family’s small herd of cattle, and riding her horse. She learned to sew on her mother’s Singer sewing machine and continuing to hone her skills throughout high school and college, ultimately earning a degree in Home Economics.

Shannon co-founded a sewing business focused on prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses and draperies. After twelve years of sewing professionally, she secured a position with a non-profit organization where she taught underprivileged kids and single mothers how to cook. While teaching during the day, Shannon took culinary classes at night. She went on to teach at Savory Chef in Tulsa for six years.

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In 2004 Shannon began traveling as much as possible, utilizing her adventures to advance her personal studies in both food and culture. Shannon quickly fell in love with the amazing people and places she connected with throughout her travels and ever since has made it her mission to travel and learn as much as possible along the way. She has visited 45 countries including India, Italy, Greece, France, Israel, Morocco, Rwanda, and Chile.

During many of her trips, Shannon visited poorer communities, and taught cooking and sewing to women who are in micro-finance programs. These programs provide the women with small loans from banks to begin their own businesses. She has also worked with orphanages and schools to help them use various ingredients grown on the school grounds. To help support these types of activities, she has raised more than $200,000 in the USA by donating dinners at charity auctions.

Shannon offers cooking lessons focused on world cuisines learned on her travels. She has helped to create a local community comprised of farmers, food writers, photographers and chefs who come together to celebrate and enjoy food every year at her home, and actively works to promote and elevate the food industry in her city.

In addition to teaching and cooking, Shannon creates handmade jewelry from beads and trinkets collected on her travels. She designs and crafts her own jewelry, each piece telling a story through the unique beads or elements she uses. Each year she hosts a popular jewelry show which sells approximately 200 of her pieces.

Shannon is a happily married mother of two and when she isn’t traveling, resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, Phil. She chronicles her stories and recipes from her travels on her blog, BeadsandBasil.com.  She is currently writing her first cookbook, which will be a collection of stories and recipes from her adventures around the world.