Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's Thursday!

Once again it's Thursday--did that week go by crazy fast for anyone else? We had record highs here last week, and freezing drizzle this week. Thank you Kansas. My 1 year old is now so confused, can I go outside or not?! Anyhow, with the cold weather this week I busted out my torch and worked some more in my super fun recycled/organic medium of choice, Aluminum!!!

Random facts, did you know aluminum is crazy lightweight? Of course you did, if you've ever picked up a soda can. That being said, did you know that aluminum never, I mean NEVER rusts? Really, how can you go wrong with this for jewelry? You can't. So, here's our runners for Week Three's Design Challenge....

Week 3 Option 1--Simple statement cuff. Because I know that not everyone wants to be clad in chunky jewelry, but sometimes a little fun can't hurt...

Week 3 Option 2--My Favorite Earrings. I was just complaining to my husband this week that I have lost one of each of my favorite pairs of earrings. I didn't plan it, but these did usurp both former faves...

Week 3 Option 3--Middle Ground Bracelet. In case you were turned off by the 7 links and the Simple Statement wasn't quite enough, this guy is for you.

Each piece in this collection starts out as a plain aluminum recycled sheet. They're hand worked down to the tiniest ding of a hammer, sometimes with flame to create unique reticulations that are truly one of a kind. Enjoy, vote, let me know what you think of this medium. Are you crazy about it? Or am I just crazy?!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ring By Spring

When I was in college the "Ring by Spring" motto was all too alive. And the closer we neared to graduation the more men seemed to be popping the question. And whether this phrase was coined for the women who were scared to leave college single for fear of never "settling down" or the men scared to leave college single for fear of having to do their own laundry...I'll never know. But I'm several years removed from college now and for those of you who might be ring-less or ring-bearing this spring, let me assure you, either way, there is plenty of life past your Sr year spring in college.

So why you are asking am I talking about Rings by Spring this far past college? Well I have 3 younger brothers and 2 of them popped the question this fall leaving this spring full of preparations for 2 summer weddings a mere 3 weeks apart. I'm super blessed to be helping with random details for both of these weddings and terribly excited to add some females to the family count. (Mom and I are currently out numbered 2 to 6). Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon with Kayla putting together her flowers and I remembered back to all the fun details I've done for other weddings and thought I'd share. And if you are a ring-by-spring girl I'd love to help you with your jewelry, bridesmaids gifts, hairpieces or veils. Weddings are my favorite because I get the opportunity to get to know the bride, design specialty pieces just for your day and perhaps most important, work within your budget! Email for questions, set up a design meeting, or see more photos.


These were the Carlson's Save the Date cards, Heidi brought them along to help see colors and styles they were in to. She wanted a delicate bauble necklace for each girl in the wedding colors. She also wanted copper chain.

These were so fun to make, each one slightly different. Baubles are my most popular bridesmaids jewelry, sometimes brides like to add little charms that tell about their friendship (ie, a basketball for a teammate, a high heel for a shopping buddy, etc). Side note, I miss that old tile...


Desi requested something simple and personalized. We decided together on a vintage crystal and a hand-stamped charm with their wedding date.

Because of their handmade nature, each piece came with a signed handwritten note explaining it's significance.

And of course, for such special orders, free gift wrapping is available. Because who really wants to worry about wrapping gifts before their wedding?


Yes, this is my wedding. Can't it be one of my favorites? And I'm sorry all the photos are black and white. But since those were also my wedding colors, you're not missing much...

My necklace is made from antique crystal remnants of jewelry from several of my "greats" (Grandmas, Aunts, etc).

I wish I had a better shot of my veil, but please ladies, don't buy veils from the wedding shops. They are highway robbery. Mine was a two-tiered ribbon trimmed fingertip. I also did this hairpiece. I still wear it because it's just so fun!

One of my BFFs opening her bridesmaid's gift.

And don't forget your sweet flower girls! Isn't Brenna beautiful? She and my other darling cousin wore these fun tie-on choker necklaces. The tie on style lets them choose the length making them comfortable for photo after photo after photo.... Not to mention they can also be worn as wrap bracelets.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Design Challenge

For those of you who do not have facebook, every Thursday I put up 3 new pieces of jewelry and have people vote on their favorites by commenting or "liking" the photo of the piece. It's helping me pick out what to do more (or less!) of and then I will periodically pick a winner from the votes and send them a piece of free jewelry that they have commented on, or something similar. So, that's the background, it's been 2 weeks running and I've gotten a lot of good response, so I thought I'd throw up the last two weeks worth of options over here and get your insight as well! Happy voting!

Week 1, Option 1--Custom Crystal-The centered crystal in this necklace was brought to me from a friend who has had it for a long time. It is the last remnant of a crystal bell saved in the aftermath of a tornado clean up at her Great Grandmother's house.

Here's the full view of the same necklace, it features the crystal center pieces with hand forged aluminum wire and linked crystal chain with a toggle clasp.

It's a fairly long necklace

Week 1, Option 2--Aluminum Bracelet--This is an aluminum process that has been in the works for the last year. A huge statement that has been described as "light as popcorn." As far as I can research, I am the only one doing this particular type of Aluminum work through a process I developed through lots of reading, seeking, and good old fashioned trial and error!

Here's a better shot of the colorizarion. I use recycled metals and organic compounds to create the oxygenized colors and patinas. Truly one of a kind.

I love wearing it. Lightweight with a heavy statement. Unbeatable!

Week 1, Piece #3--Riveted Necklace. The main piece is removable and interchangeable through the double toggle clasp. This first piece was done for my mother, but it's being considered for an entire series.

That wraps up Week 1...and the Winner was... The Crystal Necklace, Option 1!

Week 2 Option 1--Memory Bracelets, Prov 16:3 I love the idea of memorizing passages and quotes but feel a little weird as a grown up with Bic pen written up my arm while I work on my memory. This was a pretty alternative....

Memory Bracelet Close Up--"Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established" is stamped around the outside.

Week 2 Option 2--Stained Glass Recycled Ring

A Set of 2 pre-purchased by a client for her and her sister.

Don't you wish you had a sister who did cool things like that?! Buy you matching jewelry.

Week 2 Option 3--Vintage Button Ring in Sterling with texture and satin finish.

Vintage glass button, sterling silver, cool texture, satin finish, nasty band aid, nastier cut on the back of my thumb. My apologies, I'll be more careful next week!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Covering My Alls..

It's winter here in Kansas and if there's one thing Kansas knows how to do, it's Winter. Snow, ice, negative temperatures, high winds. The works. And I get through the winter with heated seats, pre-warmed cars and lots of brisk walking to and from one indoor building to the other. And lots of coffee. I'm obviously high maintenance, that's quite a list. Meanwhile ever outdoor working man has one thing that gets him through the winter--coveralls. My husband got a pair for Christmas. Here's my men looking at the snow--the big one's sporting his coveralls, the little one sporting his Grinch doll. Aren't they handsome?!

Have you ever seen coveralls? Like close up? They're incredible. They have more pockets and zippers and neatness than I can handle. Just look!

And suddenly my winter survival kit wasn't enough, I wanted them. I wanted them bad. So bad that my husband would catch me staring at them and repeatedly tell me that I can not have them. You see if I wanted to wear them out and shovel the walk he would have gladly obliged. But I wanted to chop them up. I wanted the pockets, and the zippers and the snaps... oh the wonderfulness!

So the hunt began...and apparently most men have a similar attachment to their coveralls because have you ever seen a pair at a thrift store? You may have never looked, but they're rare. So after 3 months of searching, I found them. They were perfect. A size 4XL--short. I could have worn them while being 9 months pregnant (and I was HUGE, seriously, 200lbs huge) with my 2 bffs and went sledding like Siamese triplets...come to think of it that would have been really fun. But now they're chopped...and they are my new tool bag!


I love the detail on this little zipper pocket. Love!

Look at all those pockets! 11 on the outside :D

And a built-in hammer holder!

Oh and here's my very favorite...

Wait for it...

A tool roll!

Finally, all my favorites in one place!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

the Cross stitch

Hanging in my parent's entryway is a delicate cross stitching my Grandma Brown made for my mother one Christmas. It's an intricate needlework that runs the names of our entire family in a crossword pattern. Years later when Jesse arrived, Grandma added his name with pride right into the work. It's beautiful. And while it's not the cross stitch work that makes us family, it reminds us as we come and go that we are. The small town I still call "home" is a lot like that cross stitching.

If you ever been blessed enough to live in a small town you know that life in such extraordinary places is just so--knitted together in simple stitching that links us all in some way--and life is our constant reminder of our connectedness. In that same small town my junior year, the high school put on Thornton Wilder's production, "Our Town" which I have always found both odd and oddly appropriate. Often since that performance I have reflected on on particular line from the play, "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?--Every, every minute?"

This week I reflect on that as my small town had not one but two sudden deaths strike the intricately knit cross-stitch. And as I live far away from both families most directly hurt, my heart still aches for them because of the connection we all share. Not only in living in Our Town, but also in another Cross stitched connection. One that brings hope to our hurting and rest to our restlessness and peace beyond this earth's understanding. While we mourn for ourselves as we miss those gone from us, we rejoice for them who's names are written in the Cross through which we all can receive life eternal.

For the families I pray Phil 4: 7 "That the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will keep your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus."