In the Studio :: it is safe to say, I am obsessed

It's no secret, I'm addicted to gemstones.  And my latest gemstone obsession is anything and everything mossy, rutilated, and tourmalinated.  So when I came across these one of a kind beauties, I absolutely had to have them.  Absolutely.  It's not every day that you come across brilliant-cut gems (with pavilion facets and a table front surface, usually cut for settings) that are drilled like briolettes...AND they're an assortment of tourmalinated and rutilated quartz in various glorious colors!  I couldn't resist.  It didn't matter that I really couldn't afford them or that I had no idea what I would do with them.  I just knew that if I didn't buy them, I would lose sleep (yep, that's my purchase meter).  So after receiving them a few weeks ago, they just sat on my work table, gleaming at me.  And finally...I had some time this past weekend to play with them.. and this is what I made.

I wire-wrapped each gem individually onto hand forged and hammered sterling silver wire, then wrapped the entire piece in a delicate oxidized sterling chain.  Each stone is so gorgeous on its own, but I thought they were even more brilliant together in one piece.  I also made a couple smaller pieces as well.



The thing I love about all of these pieces is that you can wear them with the flat surface forward, or with the pavilion side forward.. both ways are equally stunning.  Now they're just waiting to be finished with some sterling silver chain.  I can't decide if I should oxidize the chain or not.  What's your recommendation?  Once I finish these pieces, they'll be available in my shop.  Maybe... only if I can bear to part with them.  ;)

I also have a few other pieces that I finished in gold that I'll share with you shortly.

As always, thank you for stopping by!


sometimes words are worth a thousand pictures...

[a poem I had written 5 yrs ago for my then-boyfriend now-husband]

I used to write.  A lot.  And for a long time, it was my one and only source of solace.  But in the past few years, the ink in my pen had dried up, and it pains me to say it to myself, but I don't even know where I've placed my journal.  I have to find it.  And I need to find time again to write... because I've slowly come to the realization that I'm not whole unless my words find a place... or should I say, their place.  This seems daunting to me at the moment, which is strange because writing used to come rather easily to me.  So I'll start chipping at it.. a little at a time.  We'll see what happens.

Recently, through my random meanderings online, I came across formspring.me -- and it just clicked.  This site can help get my pen moving again and offer a place for my words, even if it's only a 'virtual' place.  It'll be my daily writing exercise, and you are an integral part!  So go on.. spark something! ...a question...a thought...or just a word...


Featured Artist and GIVEAWAY :: PoleStar

Apologies for the delay in posting this today.  But I assure you, this Featured Artist is worth the wait!  Introducing Jen of Pole Star Jewelry--a super successful mom and jewelry designer extraordinaire!  If you've been to her etsy shop before, I'm sure you've had a tough time leaving because there is just so much eye candy to chomp on.  I even had a tough time selecting the photos for this feature because there's an endless array of sparkling beauties to choose from.  I've had the delight of getting to know Jen through etsy and twitter and on top of her gorgeous creations, she's one intriguing and hilarious lady.  Now you can get to know a little more about Jen and her inspirations!

Jen is also giving away one of her most popular pieces!  So if you are a lover of sparkle, check out the details following the interview and get in your entries.

Thank you for an amazing interview and giveaway, Jen!

.......................... the interview .........................

A random fun fact about yourself:
I had my nose pierced a few times in my late teens, and I still have a little scar from it on my nostril.

The first 3 random words that pop into your mind:

rain, warm, nap. (it is cold and nasty here today, I just want to snuggle up in bed)

What's your favorite read of all time?
So hard to choose as I am an avid reader. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. It was one of those books that when you finish it and close the cover for the last time, you feel like all the characters are waving "bye" to you. I was so sad when I finished it and there wouldn't be more adventures. (though I have read his follow up novel.)

Any guilty pleasures?

The Golden Girls on DVD, pink wine I would have made fun of someone for drinking when I was 10 years younger, Oreos.

If you could be any place in the world right now, where would it be?
I have never been to the Caribbean, but after this winter it is seeming very appealing.

(Ok, now onto business)
How would you describe your work?
Simple everyday-wear gemstone jewelry and fun vintage bead jewelry, with some lampwork jewelry inspired by space and the cosmos.

How long have you been at it?
I made jewelry as a hobby for years but decided to start selling on Etsy in September '08. I had been shopping on Etsy for a year or more before that.

So for you, is it an innate talent or practice makes perfect?
I think for me it is practice makes perfect, but I think that is the case for anyone and their art or craft. Over time, you find your passion and work on perfecting your your techniques and how to get a piece where you want it to be, no matter what your medium.

From where/how do you find inspiration?
I definitely find most of my inspiration from the natural world and the galaxy. We have a lot of space books around this house, and some physics and Stephen Hawking's books. Also love watching Cosmos. I also draw inspiration from pop culture and the human experience. I usually put the beads together and go with the impression they give me once the piece is complete.

What was your most memorable creative experience?
I have dreams or as I am falling asleep, I think of ideas, sculptures, dresses, paintings. The problem is I am not trained in any kind of fine art or sewing, so I have no way to really make these imaginings come about. I wish it would happen more often with jewelry designs.

What do you do when your inspiration and creativity is tapped?
I take some time off and do things I enjoy. Go to dinner with friends, read, watch period pieces on DVD (pretty hopelessly addicted to those) or browse art blogs for new and interesting finds. They can all be very inspirational. Some of my favorite blogs for inspiration are Accidental Mysteries http://accidentalmysteries.blogspot.com/ and the Sartorialist http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/

Any memorable low points that you've learned from?
When sales are slow and I think my shop sucks. :D

What is your formula for success?
A lot of hard work and a reasonable aesthetic eye, along with caring about the quality of what I make and how happy my customers are. They give their hard earned money to me for something that should last for a long time, and I remember that with each piece I make.

Was there a moment when you realized that you'd achieved success?
I think I still don't feel this way all the time.

Any advice for those having a bad case of artist woes?
Find out what you really want to do. Do you want to do it to mainly express yourself, or making a living. If you want to make a living doing it, you will have to make some compromises.

When not hard at work on your designs, what would we most likely find you doing?
Out at a park with my 3 and 5 year old boys, or playing a PC game, reading, watching a movie with my husband, trying a new recipe or going to dinner with friends. Hopefully soon exercising more will be added to that list.

In a parallel universe where you are not an amazing artist, what would you be?
A supermodel with a trust fund or a criminalist.

Anything else you'd like to add that I didn't ask about?
Thai is my favorite food.

What are some of your favorite etsy shops?
OH wow, this could go on for a loooong time. I love your shop of course and your new Daily Dose http://www.etsy.com/shop/DailyDose
2. Sara over at ShySiren has a gorgeous shop and she is a good friend http://www.etsy.com/shop/ShySiren
3. RosyRevolver http://www.etsy.com/shop/RosyRevolver
4. LeavesofGlass http://www.etsy.com/shop/leavesofglass
5. Enhabiten http://www.etsy.com/shop/enhabiten
6. SadieOlive http://www.etsy.com/shop/sadieolive
7. I would love some blouses from ForetLA http://www.etsy.com/shop/ForetLA
8. Polpette Clay always makes me smile http://www.etsy.com/shop/polpetteclay

 What's at the top of your etsy wish list?
Right now Monica of Moonovermaize is making me a custom Moonstone ring

Any suggestions for my next featured artist? 
Any of the above :)


And, as a fun tribute to my inner psychologist, what might this be?  
Not very creative but my first thought was a black and white version of the Japanese flag.

.......................... end interview .........................

And now for the GIVEAWAY!!!  
(winner selected on Monday, February 15th)

Jen is graciously giving away this gorgeous piece to one lucky winner:
her popular Star Bright Necklace (valued at $42)!

Here's how to enter:

Leave a comment about what your favorite type of jewelry is: vintage beads, lamp work beads or gemstone? 

* you must include your contact info (email, blog, or etsy shop)

Possible Bonus Entries:
Leave a separate comment for each entry please.

1) follow Jen on twitter: @polestarjewelry
2) follow me on twitter: @eNVeDesigns
3) tweet about the giveaway (include @eNVeDesigns and a link to this post for validation) (one entry max)
4) fan PoleStarJewelry on facebook
5) fan eNVe Designs on Facebook
6) follow my blog (anonymous followers not a valid entry)
7) subscribe to Jen's mailing list
8) subscribe to my mailing list (email to subscribe [at] envedesigns [dot] com)

Your odds are in your hands!  You have one week to enter.  The lucky winner will be selected at random next Monday, Feb 15th so get your entries in before then.  Good luck! :)

**** GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED!  CONGRATS TO LILLY....winner of this lovely necklace!****

Surprise Valentine Giveaway WINNERS!

You know, after being inspired by Anna's (noblegnome's) previous giveaway, I knew I wanted this giveaway to reflect the same spirit.  And as I read through the responses that she had received from folks, nominating the special women in their lives, I thought to myself..."how in the world would she ever be able to select just one winner when everyone is so deserving??"  So yes, I should've known how difficult that task would be when deciding to do this giveaway. 


And now that we're here, I really can't bring myself to decide.  Luckily, there were only 4 nominations.. so I've decided that every nominee will receive something!  :)  Rather than having to decide, I have randomly selected one winner, who will get to choose between the Heart and Romance necklace.  Congratulations to Erika, who nominated her mother.

And because there were no self nominations, the remaining 3 nominees will receive their choice of the True Love earrings or a small heart charm bracelet. I'll be in contact with all of you shortly to get your selections.
Thank you all for your heart warming nominations!  I hope everyone has a happy Valentine's Day!

Tune in later today for another special Featured Artist and GIVEAWAY!!!  :)


Warm Hearts Whereabouts :: rockin' out to a blast from the past

Where's the traveling necklace now?

Rockin' out in Chicago, IL with Ashley!
Most definitely a creative idea to wear the necklace as a guitar strap, but I wouldn't really recommend it unless you want a pile of crumbled guitar on the floor (and a broken necklace).  ;)   Here's another way to rock it.. as a bracelet!  Super chic, my fabulous friend! 

Ashley is one of my dearest friends in real life.  We've known each other since the 6th grade!  That's like a century ago!  Our friendship started when we sat across from each other in science class.  I don't know why, but she asked if she could draw a picture of me.  I said "sure" and when I saw the completed masterpiece, I said "hey, that looks EXACTLY like Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years" (who I look nothing like).  And the rest is glorious history. :)  Just for kicks, here's a blast from the past.

At pom camp the summer before our Senior year.

 Sumo wrestling at the lock-in after our high school graduation.
Nice nipples, Ashley! hahah

And here we are a few months ago, all grown up! 
This was taken in IL during our big move from Boston to KC.

Ashley also just opened up an etsy shop (One In the Hand) a few months ago, so I hope you can swing by and give her a warm welcome!  Here is a sampling of some goodies you'll find there:


Thanks so much, Ashley!  I miss you and your squishable little bebes!  ;)

You can still sign up to participate in Warm Hearts Around the World!
Click here to read more.


GIVEAWAY time :: Surprise Valentine!

Well, it's February.. it's a Monday.. and it's cloudy and cold outside.  So to chase away these Monday blahs, I decided to have a giveaway, just in time for Valentine's Day!

Do you know of someone special without a Valentine this year?  Are you someone special without a Valentine this year?  Then here's a treat for you or the someone you're thinking of.  Enter to win your choice of the Heart necklace or the Romance necklace from Daily Dose, my new line of limited edition pieces.  It will be sent directly to the nominated person, a little surprise that I hope to brighten their day. :)


Here are the RULES:
Nominate someone you know who is without a Valentine this year (or are far from their Valentine this year) and tell me a little bit about why you're nominating this person.  You can nominate as many people as you'd like.


Nominate yourself if you're without or are far from your Valentine this year, and tell me a little bit about yourself.  Don't be shy!  We all need to treat ourselves once in a while. :)

Please leave a SEPARATE comment for EACH nomination (makes it easier for me, thanks!).  And don't forget to leave some sort of contact info (email or etsy shop is fine) so I can reach you if you're a winner.

That's it!

I'll personally pick TWO WINNERS (one self-nomination and one friend-nomination).  Winners will be announced here next Monday Feb. 08, so you have one week to enter!  What are you waiting for?  Help make someone's Valentine's Day a little more special.  :)