Monday, April 29, 2013

Badaxe Design is in the house!

I am so excited to let you know that Badaxedesign will be at the N's Whims Open House this Sunday from 2-5pm. For the first time ever, we will have things that are geared toward the men in your life who love to fish (although, I must say that Jonathan's wife looks adorable in his t-shirts)! Jonathan Marquardt lives right here in Waunakee and he has effectively combined his passion for art with that for fly-fishing and the results are so cool. 
One of Badaxedesign's most recent prints.

Johnathan uses a linocut block printing to create his designs. "Linocut block printing is akin to Japanese woodcuts and intaglio.  I use two gouges to carve the surface of my linoleum covered blocks upon which I sketch reverse images for my final pieces.  

Once I have finished carving, I roll the surface with acrylic or oil based ink and press artist's paper down onto the block using a hand held press (someday I'll have a rolling press.)  When the paper is pulled away, the final image is visible.  Each one is created through a hand-made process.  There are many blade sizes but I use primarily two for creating designs.  The depth and width of each cut dictates the final appearance of my image.  A skipping blade can ruin many days of careful work." You can see pictures of the process on Badaxedesign's website.

 Badaxedesign has been featured in several fishing magazines, including The flyfish Journal. Let Badaxedesign be your one-stop shopping for the fishermen in your life who don't need any more gear! 

Mike has a hat, a shirt (excellent quality, by the way) and several framed prints from Badaxedesign, and loves every one of them! To be honest, when it comes to fly-fishing, I have no idea what to buy him--but I can pick out a t-shirt ;). You should definitely head to Badaxedesign's facebook page, to see more. 

At the open house, you will be able to purchase t-shirts, hats and prints of varying sizes at Badaxedesign's table. Jonathan also has a fun series of prints that feature different states and the fish associated with that state. I am thinking that Mike might need an Illinois one for Father's day, since that is the state we lived in when we met :). Shhh! Don't tell him!

This blog in a nutshell--Open House, 1418 Blue Ridge Trail on Sunday, May 5th from 2-5pm. You don't want to miss an opportunity to shop Badaxedesign and many other local artists. Be there! 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

N's Whims Open House is just one week away!

Yep, next Sunday, May 5th from 2-5pm, you will find a unique shopapalooza at 1418 Blue Ridge Trail in Waunakee! Not only will you get 10% of anything N's Whims, you will also find some N² items (made by Nicole Mihalas and I), some Craft to Give Back items (all proceeds go to DAIS of Madison), hair accessories and other items by the MihaLutes ladies, Caroline's Vintage, A Mother's Art Photography and Cdel, you will also get to shop Dede's latest designs.

This is a piece Dede made us, I love how it reminds me of the beach--sand, baubles and blue-green ocean waters....
Dede Kauffman will be at the open house this Sunday, 2-5pm. If you have ever noticed (or heard me going on and on about) the stained glass in my windows, you know Dede does beautiful work! If you haven't, here are two of my favorite pieces that sit in my boutique windows.

Pure happiness when I walk into my studio to begin working and see the sunshine coming through my windows, lighting up the office and casting shades of orange! These two are just perfect for me--down to the swirls and the cracked glass jewels!

This is one of my favorites in my living room--it reminds me of all the jewels and blessings in my family tree....

Dede will have some abstract pieces similar to these, as well as some smaller fun pieces.

Oh, one more excellent gift idea--Dede makes crash glass collages--here is one she made for me. Bring a favorite picture or two, and if you have a favorite quote printed (scrapbooking items work great for this) and she'll design one for you, too! 

I have a few more artists to tell you about in the next few days, including some that are new to the N's Whims open house. We will have fun gift ideas for mothers, fathers, teachers and graduates (or anyone else on your list in the next few months). We will also have many fun things to update your house and wardrobe--springing new life into yours! Make sure you save some time to come and shop next Sunday.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cdel will be back for the open house!

The one pictured here is called blue/green schmear--isn't it cute!
You know the bands--those ones that don't move--EVAH! The ones that come in so many bright, beautiful colors and patterns. The ones you can wash multiple times and even (gasp) throw in the dryer! I swear I can't wear these puppies out--even my favorites that I wear ALL THE TIME! Yep, Lori from Cdel will be back again and she will have a plethora of stickybands and wickybands with her. 

Can't wait to see you all soon--I have a several more artists to tell you about, including a few new vendors I can't wait to tell you all about. Stay tuned and block off your calendars Sunday, May 5th from 2-5PM! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why it will be so hard to stop doing special orders....

Still not sure what N's Whims will look like in the future, but I know now that special orders will no longer be a service I can provide. I love doing them, but I need to get back to playing with my finds and treasures to find my passion again. Sadly, I just don't have enough time for it all! One of my last special orders was an amazing one to end on--and I just have to share it with you. Please forgive the length of this blog, because you know I am rarely brief!

About a month ago, one of my group exercise students, Karen, approached me about doing a project for her sister. Her sister will be turning 50 the day after tomorrow, exactly 2 days after her son, Zack, would have turned 16. She should have been worrying about his first time alone behind the wheel, but instead, she will be throwing another huge party to celebrate his life without him. When Zack was just 6 years old, he died tragically when a soccer goal tipped over on him. Every year since that day, his family (and by this I mean his HUGE extended family) has thrown a party for Zack, inviting underprivileged children and having a blast in his honor. Pretty cool, huh?! 

Anyway, she wanted to do something really special for her sister--and they have done many really meaningful things over the years, like making a book with his artwork, bracelets with beads he picked out, necklaces with z on them, quilts from his clothes--you name it, they have given it. This family is incredibly thoughtful and diligent about keeping Zack a part of the family. What neat ways they have come up with to make Zack known to his younger siblings and cousins who were born after his death! So, she brought me this book of Zack's artwork, some legos that used to be his and shared several stories of him and his family. Karen told me that she would like to incorporate a lego, an angel's wing and a key (to signify that he would have been getting his license this year). We decided to use his favorite colors--orange and red--on this piece.

I can't even tell you how many times I read this book, full of the lessons Zack taught during his short time here. My girls often would sit down and read it, too. I can't tell you how many times I cried--for his family, for the loss of dreams, for all the hurt in this world. No one in our house says Zack, who? anymore. It is as if we got to know him--as much as is possible, anyway.

I have to say that often I am stumped by special orders for awhile. Especially the ones that are outside the box. I think about them A LOT, and worry that I won't be able to do them justice! This one had me especially worried--I mean first of all, it was a gift--sometimes it is hard to get a sense of the recipient's style from the person ordering. Number two, his mom has dabbled in jewelry--eek! She might have higher expectations for the jewelry she wears. Thirdly, she has received so many meaningful gifts, how can I make this one more special for her 50th? Fourth of all, I have never used a lego in jewelry--how will I do that?! And, lastly, a key and angels wing and a chunky orange pendant all in one necklace--each one could be a focal on it's own. How can I do all of this and make it pretty and wearable? I prayed more than once for the inspiration to make it all work. I did not want to fail on this project--it had become too important to me!

Two way toggle, long version
Well, I finally stopped thinking and worrying and started playing. This is what I came up with. The two-way toggle is such a great design for showcasing more than one cool piece, and it is versatile (can wear it long or short), so she might be more likely to like it. But, I had never made one before with so many large parts. I picked out some of my favorite orange and red beads (Zack and I have similar favorites, so I had many to choose from). I found a small clear square lego that was red and wrapped it in filigree--it looks like a message in an envelope to me. I decided to dangle that little message on the wing, adding a pop of color to the large antique brass wing. Many times when I was wrapping the beads, my eyes were so wet that it was hard to see what I was doing. When this piece was finished, I felt emotionally drained.

Two way toggle, short version
It was then that I realized what I will miss most about special orders. It isn't the look on the face when it is delivered and it isn't being able to pull off the challenge (don't get me wrong, those things are great--and if this piece becomes her second favorite piece next to her wedding ring, it will be icing on the cake :). It is the emotional connection I get to make with a few of you. It is you trusting me enough to be raw and vulnerable--sharing your world with me. It is me being able to be there for someone, to touch back. Simply put, it is the connection. Then, I take your stories, your pictures, your hopes and your losses and sit with them. I think about you, your hurt, your joy--whatever you shared with me, while I make that jewelry. I add my hopes--for your future, for your heart, for your dreams--and make you a little piece of jewelry with love. That is what I will truly miss.

I got a chance to meet Karen's mom on one visit as well. She, too, was so open and excited to share about Zack. On this visit, they brought me a bracelet that had broken. This bracelet had beads that were the same kinds that Zack had picked out with his mom at a bead show right before he died. His mom had recently picked up the beading hobby, so she bought more of his picks and beaded a bracelet for each of the women in their extended family. One special order became two. Karen's mom wanted me to make a second piece from her. They didn't need to match, but should both have a part of Zack.

Back-side of the bracelet
I decided that for this one, I really wanted to incorporate Zack's artwork. But, I wanted to do it in a way that was grown up--I mean, he wouldn't be a little boy anymore. I also wanted to use some of his beads. I found these little, sophisticated antique silver links in my stash. I scanned some of his artwork, shrank it, printed it, scanned, shrank and printed again to get it the right size. Then I put them on the back side of the links and set it with resin. After two days, they were ready to use in the bracelet. I went to my favorite bead stash--my czech glass beads. Knowing she likes chunkier, bolder jewelry, I chose from my hoarded large czech glass beads. I have to let you know that these beads are hard for me to use in designs. They are harder to find and it isn't that I don't want to use them, but more that I worry that the piece I add them to will not be worthy. So, I hoard them. Well, I knew they would be perfect, so with joy in my heart they were added to the design. There HAD to be one with orange and red together. And, my favorite drawing, the lizard, had green in it, so I used other czech beads with green. I hope the shell one reminds her of a time collecting seashells with Zack, his tiny hand in hers. The tiny blue and green glass beads and the Z dangling from the end were his. The hand charm says, "play" on the other side, which was the message I heard over and over again while reading his book. Take time to play! Finally, I shaped and hammered the clasp from a piece of wire.
Bracelet, the view when worn

I truly appreciate the opportunity to connect that each of you has given me when placing a special order with N's Whims. I am pretty sure that on many occasions I received more from the process than you. You have reminded me over and over what truly matters and allowed me to give with love. I know now that I will need to find another way to connect with others--maybe it is volunteering for people who are going through tough times, or even joyous times. Regardless, I will be on the hunt for "Lutes love moments" as we have coined them in our house. Times, often totally unexpected, when we can reach out to others and touch them with love in our hearts--making the world a little bit better for all of us!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Change, Change, everywhere change....

NEW DATE for the Spring N's Whims Open House: Sunday, May 5th from 2-5pm.

This is a first for me--changing the date of an open house, but there were several vendors who had conflicts and I wanted a full open house with lots of fun hand-made items. So, we changed the date and I couldn't be more excited with the many fun things that will be available at this open house! I still have a few openings, so if you know of a talented artist who makes something you haven't seen here before, have them contact me!

Caroline's Vintage
Caroline Designs has been here before with her adorable sewn items (skirts, ruffle pants, purses and snack bags), which will be available, but I am also excited to introduce their new company, Caroline's Vintage 

Caroline's Vintage is a joint venture between my equally talented parents. My dad has always been able to make just about anything (seriously, while re-modeling our attic into a bathroom, his response was always, "anything is do-able...."), and my mom enjoys embellishing whatever he makes :). They have found whimsical ways to add a touch of the past to their creations, making almost everything they sell one of a kind. You will want to come early to have the best selection! I love these little fairie doors--my girls can't decide which is their favorite! You should definitely head over to their facebook page and check out all of the things they have been creating. While you are there, like it and tell them I sent you (can't hurt my attempts to remain the favorite, lol)!

 So, don't forget, the Spring Open House will now be Sunday, May 5th from 2-5pm. N's Whims items will still be 10% off. I will have open hours from 9-11 this Saturday, in case someone doesn't get this memo about the new time (or if you need to shop for something fun). I will be honoring the sale then as well!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The open house is almost here!

I am so excited to announce that Gail Clutter will be at the N's Whims Open House on May 5th from 2-5pm. You may be familiar with the name because she was recently featured in the Waunakee Tribune! She is the owner and artist/photographer of A Mother's Art Photography. I can't wait to have her do our family photographs as soon as it dries out this spring! She will have lots of examples of her work for you to look at--I know you are going to want to get your photography session on the books as well. 

Not only is Gail an amazing artist, but she has such a heart for orphans as well. Gail is the volunteer photography editor for An Orphan's Wish, which just happens to be the charity the vendors are supporting for this open house. 10% of profits from this open house will be donated to An Orphan's Wish. An Orphan's Wish is a non-profit organization of dedicated volunteers striving to reflect God's heart by caring for and improving the lives of orphans in China. Over 97% of every donation goes directly to programs for children. You have to see some of the pictures Gail took when she was there last fall--gorgeous! When I read her blog post about her trip, I knew then that I HAD to feature this orphanage at an upcoming open house. I am sure you will agree--I can't wait to see what we can do together for this amazing effort to spread love to those considered unlove-able by society!

Stay tuned for more details on the other amazing artists who will be at the N's Whims Open House on Sunday, May 5th from 2-5pm. I will be blogging all week to let you know. As always, there will be a craft-to-give back table featuring some fun items--and all proceeds from sales go to DAIS of Madison, supporting victims of domestic abuse. And, in case you haven't heard, N's Whims is having a sale--on ALL N's Whims merchandise. Only the second time ever. I want to say thank you to each and every one of you who has made my business a success!