Weekend Project :: Memorabilia Necklace

I was digging through my jewelry box Saturday and came across a bunch of my old letter jacket pins from high school.  Immediately, I thought of the idea to upcycle them into a charm necklace so I ran into my studio to whip it together.  After some bending and a few jump rings, voila!

I also added a few trinkets from the pieces of jewelry I wore back in high school, along with a couple new beads to balance it all out.  I stuck with the blue scheme because those were my high school colors (although they were slightly different shades of blue).  I was searching for some old necklaces that I handmade back then so that I could weave them into this piece, but couldn't find them anywhere.  I'll keep digging...

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but I may revise it a little more... like clustering the charms more toward the bottom of the necklace so they're not so spread out.  That would make it more wearable for me.

This was super simple and quick, and makes for a meaningful one of a kind piece of jewelry!  I bet you could pull together some trinkets and breathe new life into them too!

What kind of upcycling projects have you done?  Please share!


Warm Hearts Around the World :: Hearts and Hula Hoops

Where has the Warm Hearts Necklace been???

Hula hooping on the Boston Harbor Islands with Andrea!
(ah, Boston... I'm so jealous!)

Andrea, thanks for taking the necklace for a spin around one of my favorite places in the world.  I love the different ways you rocked the necklace!  It's so nice to see your beautiful face... and by the way, you still look as fabulous as you did in high school.  :) (Go Blue Aces!)

Next stop:  Belmont, MA!  (Yes, we are lingering around Boston for a little while. It's the next best thing to being there myself.) 

You can still sign up to participate in Warm Hearts Around the World
(my traveling necklace project, raising awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)

Click here to read more or just email me 
at warmhearts[at]envedesigns[dot]com to be added to the list.

It's a beautiful Friday here and I'm so happy it's the weekend!  No big plans for us, just time for me to work on jewelry.  I have a lot of new pieces coming down the pike!  

What are you up to this weekend?  Have a happy one and enjoy the remaining days of summer!  :D



Featured Artist :: WiredbyBud

 It feels like an eternity since I last posted, but I'm getting back into the swing of things.  And what better way to kick things off than with a new featured artist!  I recently spotted Bud Bullivant's Etsy shop, WiredbyBud, and his work really caught my eye.  At first glance, I thought they were line drawings, but I soon discovered that each was a unique 3-dimensional wire sculpture!  I haven't really come across much work like this on Etsy and knew I had to spotlight it.  Let's meet the artist himself and get to know more of his one of a kind work!

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

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're from. 

I am an artist living in central Minnesota. After 24 years of teaching high school I resigned from my tenured position to become a full-time artist- sounds crazy doesn’t it! It has been an amazing journey. I divide my time between creating watercolor paintings (budbullivant.artistwebsites.com) and wire sculpture. My wife, Joan and two children, Emily and David are the greatest gifts in my life. They are my strongest critics and most passionate supporters. 

A random fun fact about yourself:
I am a storyteller. It’s a skill that was passed down to me from my parents. I tell stories from my adventures, experiences and my imagination with great enthusiasm and creative embellishment. My favorite stories come from my fishing, hunting and camping experiences. I approach my art in a similar fashion; with the goal of creating a piece that has a story to tell and that connects with your own story in some meaningful way. 

If you could be any place in the world right now, where would it be?
I’ve always wanted to go to Maine, or Alaska, or the Galapagos Islands. Over twenty years ago my wife and I backpacked through Europe. I’d love to be in Amsterdam, Paris or Florence again. I never got to see St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice or the Last Supper in Milan… I’d just love to be traveling…anywhere really. 

Up to this point, what is something that you're truly proud of?
I am very proud of my career as an art teacher and the amazing students that I worked with over the years. I’m also very excited about this new chapter in my life.

How would you describe your work?
My wire sculptures are one of a kind, hand-made, three-dimensional drawings; simplifications of the intricate designs inspired by nature. They seem to delight viewers as their appearance changes depending on the angle from which they are being viewed. I find them interesting to make and intriguing to photograph. The three photos below are of one of my sunfish sculptures and you can see how the sculpture changes depending on the angle and the lighting.

I most often use discarded wire and found materials to create my sculptures. It is my hope that my work reflects my love of the natural world and that it is kind to the environment as well.

Any advice for those having a bad case of artist woes?
Being an artist is like fishing, even the bad days are better than the alternatives.
When not hard at work on your designs, what would we most likely find you doing?
There are a great many possibilities, but I would most likely be outdoors with my family.

In a parallel universe where you are not an amazing artist, what would you be?
I would be a writer and illustrator of wonderful childrens books. Actually, that may be a parallel dream in my current universe.

And, as a fun tribute to my inner psychologist, what might this be?  
It’s a night view out the porthole window of my spaceship in the parallel universe (it could be a black hole I suppose…)

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

Bud, thank you for your time and keep up the amazing work!


Warm Hearts Around The World :: EPE VIP

Where has the Warm Hearts Necklace been???

The Warm Hearts Necklace is traveling once again, with the first stop in Seattle, Washington!  Kicking off the second leg of the tour is a special group of ladies from Etsy Project Embrace whom many of you may already recognize, Cait (of barefootweaver), Ginny (of ginnyhuber) and Kristin (of loveartworks; the first fearless leader of EPE).  They call themselves three "EPE Oldtimers", but to me, they're EPE VIP.  :)  They recently had the opportunity to meet in person and I'm incredibly honored that Kristin brought the necklace with her to share in the spirit of this meeting!  

Here are a few words from Kristin:  "Cait (of barefootweaver), Ginny (of ginnyhuber) and Kristin (of loveartworks) TOGETHER in person.....YAY!!! Etsy Project Embrace is not only an amazing Team of caring, loving and wonderful people who have supported each other across the miles and the cyber world, but it's also an organization that has spawned lasting friendships and an amazing online community. It was an absolute Honor to have the "Warm Hearts" necklace be a part of our gathering and know that the Energy we have given it will be passed through many hands, over and over again, all over this Big, Beautiful World. Thank You so much Ngan for all you have done to create such a wonderful way for people to share their love, hope and strength!"

Thank you for being a part of this project, Kristin, Ginny, and Cait!  Your positive energy will travel great distances!  :)

Here are a few of my favs from these amazing artisans...

Next stop:  Jamaica Plain, MA!

You can still sign up to participate in Warm Hearts Around the World
(my traveling necklace project, raising awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)

Click here to read more or just email me 
at warmhearts[at]envedesigns[dot]com to be added to the list.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July Weekend, everyone!!! 



Finding Extra (in the) Ordinary :: A Little Luck

I found this four-leaf clover on the side of our house, next to the garden.  I hope it brings a little luck to our garden.  Hubs worked really hard building 2 big raised beds and we've only filled one.  Looking for some free time in the next couple weeks to work on the second.  It's our first official family garden and so far, so good!  We've had a ton of rain lately so it is thriving!  I'll have to post pics of it sometime. 

In my lifetime, I'd say I've found close to about 25 four leaf clovers.  Is this typical for you too?  Not sure if it is or isn't, but my husband says I'm good at zeroing in on them for some reason.. something about pattern recognition.  I think it's because when I see a clover patch, I do a quick scan to see if there are any.  I don't think many people do that, so therefore, my odds of finding the four leaf kind are a bit higher than normal, just because I'm actively looking.

How many four leaf clovers have you found???


Finding Extra (in the) Ordinary :: Silhouettes

I took the first photo during a sunset sometime in the spring.  It's of a little bird nest in a tree in our front yard.  I didn't even mean to do a silhouette photo, but I love happy accidents!

This was taken recently on one of our days at the park.  Jax and Kaili were playing at the top of a hill, with the playground in the background.  The rope pyramid thing you see is only the tippy top of it.  At one point, there were so many kids swarming this thing, it made me so nervous watching them.. it's  high up and so unsteady because it's all made of rope (except the pole in the center).  Crazy how perspectives change as you get older.  If I was 10, I'd be trying to swan dive off the top with no second thought to safety.  Now that I think of it though, the rope is in some ways much safer than the steel and splintered wood jungle gyms we played on as kids, where the bottoms were lined with sand, gravel, or concrete.  And I did flips off of those and I'm ok, I think.  Anyway, what was I talking about?...  ;)

After the playground, we went for a walk along a trail and I noticed a single little bird perched on this Tim Burton-esque looking tree in the middle of a field.  The branches looked like a hand desperately reaching for the sun.  I had to capture the image somehow and I don't think I did it justice at all.  I think I need a better lens, not to mention some photography lessons.

So how have your summer ventures been so far?


Why I've Been Missing...

eNVe Design's first local boutique appearance!

My apologies for being invisible lately.  I've been extra busy the past couple months with an assortment of things on my plate, some of which was making lots of new jewelry for three shows, and brainstorming/building my display for Runways, a brand new collaborative boutique in Leawood, KS.  If you're in the Kansas City area, you can now shop eNVe in person!  And speaking of shopping, the Runways Grand Opening Event is tomorrow night!  10% of sales all day tomorrow and 100% of ticket sales to the Grand Opening Party tomorrow night will be donated to the Young Survivors Coalition of Kansas City.  If you're in the neighborhood, stop by.  I guarantee you'll have a blast!

So back to the display.  I didn't anticipate it, but putting together this display was time intensive!!!  There were many late nights, many moments of trial and error, many hours searching for the right tables (at yard sales, estate sales, furniture stores, etc.), and many hours at home depot.  Thank the high heavens for my amazing husband for taking my crazy idea and actually making it happen!

It all began with the idea that I wanted a wall of floating frames where I'd be able to display the necklaces and earrings.  I wanted the look of it to be consistent with my art show booth, with  mismatched but cohesive frames.  But I only had a 4x5 space to work with so we needed to build up to utilize the vertical space.  I didn't know the logistics of how this floating frame wall would happen so I enlisted my engineer husband for that part of the job.

Here's a peek at part of the process, from start to finish.  I originally intended to do a tutorial, but then things got so hectic and I didn't get a chance to take more pictures during the construction.  We just had to crank it out.  So if you really want to know all the materials and supplies we used, and what we did exactly, just email me and I can share that with you.  :) 

This was our first garage sale find.  It was perfect.. solid wood, good for refinishing, small enough to fit in the allotted display space, and it had these cool brass connector pieces (a tiny detail, but I am a big fan of detail).

With limited time, we couldn't sand the whole thing down for repainting, so instead, we went with "liquid sander", which cleans and deglosses the surface all at once, making it ready for paint as soon as it was dry.

 I went with the color palette used in the boutique so the display would have a cohesive look that complements the boutique decor.  I also wanted an "industrial chic" look and knew I wanted my tables to look a little distressed.  The three colors I used were a light grey, avocado green, and dark grey.  I painted the entire table the light grey, then once dried, painted a few sections green (the areas I would be distressing later).

Once all that was dry, I went over the entire table with the dark grey.  I wasn't sure what to do about the brass pieces, but ended up painting over them as well.  Then once the paint dried, I took some sand paper and went to town.  I sanded down most of the surface lightly, then used a little more elbow grease on select spots so that the green and light grey could show through.  I've actually never painted any kind of furniture before so this was a first for me.  I'm not even sure how it's supposed to be done, but I am really really pleased with how it turned out!

This first table was originally the one that was supposed to hold up the frame wall, but the more we thought about the structure of the floating frames, we decided it wouldn't be sturdy enough for it.  So after searching endlessly for the right table and not finding anything that I felt would work, my husband ended up building one for me!  All I wanted was a 3x4 table top and some sturdy legs.  It's crazy that I couldn't find anything like that anywhere, especially anything made of solid wood rather than particle board!  My husband definitely came to the rescue.   :)

Here's the table top (upside down) with a coat of primer on it.  Next are the legs and the frames, primed and ready for paint.

Rather than doing the 3 layers of paint (light grey/green/dark grey), I just painted the backs of the frames dark grey because I wasn't going to distress it at all.  I also skipped the light grey on the table (because the primer was white and pretty close to the light grey color) and painted the whole thing green, then dark grey.  Same thing for the legs.  Those got spots of green, then covered with dark grey.

Here are the frames (front side) in the arrangement that I wanted.  Hubs built a vertical wooden support structure in the shape of this arrangement (which I didn't get a pic of) and attached each frame to the structure (much easier said than done).  Prior to attaching each frame to the support structure, hooks or wire mesh were added to the frames for hanging jewelry.  I also had a custom mirror cut to put inside the large green frame.  Can't sell jewelry without a mirror.  :)

And here's a close up shot of the finished table.  The legs were bolted on with large bolts, to enhance the "industrial" look of it.  I distressed it the same way I did the smaller table and was pleasantly surprised by how the natural wood grains showed through!  I really want to repeat this project with some furniture for our home because I had so much fun with painting and sanding it down.  I just have to find the perfect furniture... and some time!

And here I am, placing my jewelry onto the finished display in the boutique.  Done, Voila!

Here's the back view of the display.  The small table was the perfect size for the all the accent display pieces I found.  I need to figure out what to do about that black area (the backside of the mirror).  I could either do a large product photo, or adhere some sort of decorative paper/fabric to it and add more hooks to the top of the frame to hang more necklaces... or???  If you have any ideas or suggestions, please please please share!  I hate that it's just a blank black space.

Here are some more views of the display.  Some earrings.....

The centerpiece -- my Signature Wrap and Thread Necklaces..........

And some delicate sterling and gemstone necklaces.

I'm really thrilled at how the whole project turned out!  I'm also happy that it's complete because while it was fun to brainstorm and build this display, it was definitely not conducive to adequate sleep.  

What fun projects have you been working on lately?