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Have a beautiful weekend!


Recap of the KC Blogger Meetup Workshop :: How to Beautify Your Blog

Last weekend, I attended the first KC Blogger Meetup workshop. The topic was How to Beautify Your Blog. It couldn't have come at a better time because that's exactly what I'm trying to do...breathe some new life into this old blog of mine. If you haven't been here in a while, you'll notice that I've given it a little make-over! I wanted to match the look and feel of my main website, but ultimately, I wanted to have a fresh and airy space that would inspire me to write and blog more. So one step in the desired direction!

First to speak was Sarah of One Sparrow Creative. She is a Kansas City lifestyle portrait photographer whose work I've been admiring since I discovered her on instagram. She covered photography basics, including lighting, editing, and manual mode. As someone who takes about a million pictures a day, you would think that I would've ventured into manual mode by now, but nope. 

I have taken a couple of intro photography workshops in the past, but for some reason, my brain can't make sense of the counter intuitive (to me, anyway) settings for ISO, apperture, shutter speed, depth of field....or are two of those the same thing?? Ugh..see?? And for a couple of those settings, the higher the number, the smaller the opening or the shorter the depth or something opposite of what my brain wants to think it is. I'm not sure why I have to think so hard to process that information, but there seems to be a black hole in my brain where manual mode skills are supposed to be. So naturally, I gravitate to the wonderful and easy world of auto mode. Plus with the magic of photoshop, I can tweak the light balance in the levels setting and voila--a decent enough photo to get by on. But yes, I realize that if I want to take the next step into beautifying my photos, I need to switch to manual.

I'm so glad Sarah shared some of her photography tips and tricks, and am very glad I took notes. Hopefully I'll be able to share some of my ventures into manual mode in a future blog post, because that would mean that I didn't chicken out again and finally put things into practice.

Next up was Karrie, creator and artist of Happy Habitat, who then shared her success story. For me, it's always such a treat to meet local artists and small business owners that have found a way to keep doing what they love. And she was so sweet to chat with me and answer my business questions. I have zero technical business knowledge and often feel really intimidated by it all. So I really appreciated the fact that she took the time to give me some really useful and truthful pieces of advice. I'm trying to soak it all in and apply everything that I can.

To close out the afternoon, Lauren of Creative Reasoning laid down the laws on how to achieve a visually pleasing blog. I never gave much thought to font type, size, and color, or the colors used on a blog background beyond whether or not my color palette coordinates nicely, but as it turns out, these elements are pretty crucial. Less is more. I will need to go take another look at my layout and potentially make some more edits.

So with this refresher, I think I'm on my way to a better blog! And lookie here--I actually created a blog post! ;)

Thanks to the ladies of KC Blogger Meetup for a wonderful afternoon! If you're a KC area blogger and aren't yet a part of this group, you should definitely join!


Blog Tour

A few weekends ago, I was invited by Andrea of Style My Way to take part in a blog tour, where each blogger on the tour introduces themselves and a few of their favorite bloggers. Of course I agreed to participate! And what a perfect opportunity for me to get blogging again!

Photo courtesy of Style My Way
Andrea is a fashion and style blogger right here in KC. I first met Andrea at the last KC Blogger Meetup event and have been admiring her style ever since. She makes looking chic and flawless look so easy! And to top things off, she is so personable and sweet. If you have a moment, do stop by her blog for some fab style!

As a continuation of this blog tour, here are some tidbits about me:

me in my studio --photo by Orangepeel Photography
What am I working on?
On my work bench, there's always a scattered array of jewelry parts in various stages of completion. Currently, I'm creating new jewelry pieces for the upcoming Holiday Chick Event. It's in November (13th-16th..you don't want to miss this one), which seems like a while away, but it really isn't a whole lot of time to make at least one hundred original pieces of jewelry. I like to be prepared!

How does my work differ from others?
With so many incredible jewelry artisans out there, it really is difficult to stand out from the crowd. But I feel that I do offer something in my designs that my customers love, and that is versatility. Since first starting my jewelry line in 2007, all of my original Signature pieces are designed with versatility in mind, which means they can be worn a number of different ways. My most versatile design, the Wrap and Thread necklace, can be styled up to about 20 different ways! At least that's what I could come up with. Perhaps my fabulous customers have come up with other style possibilities I hadn't thought of before! I also feel like my work differs in that aesthetically, it is a nice blend of elegance and edge! Edgy elegance...the two "e"s in eNVe.  ;)

Why do I create what I do?
I have a ton of creative energy. This can sometimes be a curse because if I'm not directing it somewhere, I feel completely out of balance. Jewelry design offers an outlet for me that hasn't really been matched by anything else that I've dabbled in. It might have something to do with my addiction to natural gemstones and all things pretty.  :)

What is my creative process like?
Usually, I treat each piece like a painting. I start with a blank slate and just let the stones and materials speak to me. It sounds a little silly, but honestly, that's where my best work comes from. It's organic, and just really exciting when it all comes together and I have that "eureka!" moment. I'll know when I've hit it because it's almost like my hands and fingers can't move fast enough to execute my vision. And at times, it can be frustrating because I don't have the right materials to complete the piece as I envision it. It's a thrilling roller coaster ride for sure! And oh my gosh, the icing on the cake is seeing a customer gravitate toward a particular piece of jewelry that is just perfect for her, like it was created for her. That's actually my favorite part of this whole process.

So there you have it, a little bit more about eNVe Designs and my creative process. 

To continue the blog tour, here are a couple blogs that I have discovered and really love: 

Olive Bites Blog -- A wonderful resource for the independent, handmade artisan. The woman behind Olive Bites is Cat Ivins. I met Cat through etsy when I first started my shop over 6 years ago (the good ol' days of etsy when it was more of a community of handmade artists, rather than the conglomerate entity it is today that seems to have forgotten the little guys on its rise to fame and fortune...anyway, that is a soapbox for another day). Cat is a brilliant jewelry artist, but so much more! Her blog is overflowing with positive energy, useful advice, and extremely thoughtful and real posts that I've really connected with. She is business savvy and environmentally conscientious, characteristics I feel are vital in this day and age. On top of it all, she is a genuinely nice and wonderful person. Go check out her blog already! ;)

KC Moms Blog -- This blog is a recent discovery of mine that I'm still exploring. I'm wondering what rock I've been living under these past 5 years that I've been living in KC! Their team of bloggers is a gathering of moms across the area, from a variety of professions. They cover many different aspects of being a mom...from nutrition to discipline, to all the fun things motherhood and KC has to offer. Their posts are easy to relate to and such fun to read. I'm hoping to attend one of their future MNO events and get better acquainted with this community of moms in KC!

There you have it.. just a couple of my favorite blogs. I'll be sure to share more in the future, as I do have more favorites!

What are some of your favorite blogs and why? translation: keep me in the loop and help me emerge from this rock I'm living under!  ;)



Sneak Peek :: Statements in Stone


My absolute favorite thing about jewelry making is working with natural gemstones. I love them all...from rough and raw, to polished and refined. It's so true that they carry their own unique energies. I can't explain it, but something about stones just draws me in. I often hoard them, not having a real clear vision of what I will make with the stones I buy {the stones used in the necklaces above I've had for at least 3 years}. If they call my name, I buy them. I usually store them in various places around my studio, just so I can soak up their energy and admire them each time I pass by. Eventually, they make their way onto my workbench and I stare at them until something happens. I work with them, arrange and rearrange, combine them with a mixture of metals and materials, step back, undo, redo, add more, subtract, revise, and repeat. Often, it's a frustrating process. But in the end, the piece created seems {to me} to take on whatever form it was meant to be. I especially love that each final piece is one of a kind and as unique as the stones themselves.

Some more lovelies I made over the past week. I've been busy this month, digging through my supply of gemstones to make all one of a kind pieces. It had been far too long since I had done that and my creative side was screaming for attention. The result--statement pieces in stone and mixed metals. I can't wait to share more with you!

If you're in the Kansas City area, you can come see them in person next weekend! I'll debut these babies and other lovelies at the Handmade & Vintage Chick Event. It's a pop up marketplace for all things handmade and vintage by local artists and artisans, complete with good eats by local restaurants and good beats by local musicians.

I'm really looking forward to it and hope to see you there!


In the Studio :: Metalsmith 101 with dad

One year, ten months, and nineteen days--the amount of time it takes for a lot of stuff to happen.. and I have zero blog posts to show for it. What can I say, life happens much faster than my speed of blogging! But one of the highlights of recent months is finally getting metalsmith lessons from my dad. For many years during my childhood, my father worked as a goldsmith. He did not immigrate to the states with this trade, but somehow taught himself soon after settling here. And all the equipment that I'm now using to learn this trade are the same pieces of equipment that my father worked on decades before. Rusty, dusty, and so full of history.

There is something very meditative about playing with a torch and some metal. I'm not sure what it is about it that I'm drawn to, but I'm enjoying every minute of it. And it is much harder than it looks. Good thing practicing is fun...and I have so much to learn!

Here are just a few preliminary pieces I made while practicing my soldering techniques. I've been using a lot of copper to practice with because it's more affordable than sterling silver and I have to say, I really love the look of it! Not so much a fan of the shiny copper look, but when oxidized and textured, copper really adds a nice rustic quality and dimension to jewelry. I've worked with copper in the past, but haven't used it much until recently and I've already incorporated copper into a lot of new jewelry pieces. They're not listed online yet and I'll probably debut them at my upcoming show next month!  Details soon.

It feels great to be blogging again. I'd love to hear what you think of my new layout and look!