My parents wedding June 18,1949.
Wedding season is upon us, and that means picking out everything amazing for your special day. I like to remind Brides that, quite likely, your jewelry is the only thing you will wear again after the wedding. For that reason, you really want to take your time and find that perfect necklace, earrings and/or bracelet that you are absolutely in love with and will want to wear over and over again. If you are sentimental like me, you will enjoy wearing your wedding jewelry for anniversaries when you celebrate the day you declared your undying love and commitment to each other.
Consider the family heirloom you will have to pass down to your own daughter some day. I still own the strand of pearls that my mother wore on her wedding day. Over the decades it became worn out and thread bare. The coating on some of the pearls wore off. Eventually the string broke and Mom asked me to re-string it for her. Some of the tiny pearls at the back were lost, making the strand too short. In order to lengthen it, I needed to add more. Since I am the Queen of Nostalgia, I felt it was important to always know which of the pearls had actually adorned my mother's neck as she walked down that aisle to my waiting father. She was a beautiful bride, wearing an elegant silk gown and floor length, trailing veil and the tiara I loved to play with as a little girl. My solution was to add clear seed beads to the back by the clasp instead of adding more pearls, so that Mom would be able to tell where her pearls began and ended. In her later years, Mom gave that strand of pearls to me and I cherish it more than words can convey. I hope that, in sharing this you are able to capture the vision of what your jewelry will one day mean to your own daughter.
Mom wearing her pearls on their wedding day
Some brides have gone so far as to purchase their jewelry first and find what they absolutely love! They then took it with them dress shopping and built the rest of their bridal attire around the bling.
Stunning bride wearing bracelet and earrings by Vintage Bling
Make sure you don't save your beautiful, timeless jewelry for only dress up occasions. The more glamorous your bling is, the more fantastic it looks with your shredded jeans, little black tank top and a great pair of shoes! You will get lots of opportunities to wear that keepsake jewelry and when all those complements come your way (because you will turn heads every time you walk in a room) you will be able to explain that is is your wedding jewelry, amid visions dancing in their heads of how glorious and radiant you must've looked!
Wearing earrings by Vintage Bling
Jewelry is also a very popular gift for bridesmaids, flower girls, candle lighters, guest book attendants and mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom. I will work within your budget so you are able to show your deepest appreciation in a way that they will also cherish forever.
Lovely Bridesmaids wearing earrings by Vintage Bling
Bracelets by Vintage Bling
Mother of the Bride wearing necklace by Vintage Bling
Mother of the Groom wearing bracelet by Vintage Bling
Guest Book attendant wearing ring by Vintage Bling
I wish you could've known her. She and I were very close my entire life. Mom was the most caring, loving human being I have ever known. She noticed you. If you seemed to be having a bad day she went out of her way to uplift you. If you were the checkout clerk being given a hard time by a customer, she walked around the checkout stand, gave you a hug and told you, you were doing a great job. If you looked downcast she would tell you, you were beautiful. Mom had a special gift of encouragement and a heart of compassion.
Mom loved to sing and was known as the most senior member of the church choir, and most beloved. She was a tiny woman with an enormous heart. Mom was a woman of faith who prayed unwaveringly for her family and friends. She emulated love and kindness. All who knew her said she was such a SWEETHEART.
I flew 1,400 miles to say my final farewell to my dear, sweet Mother. When the time came to leave her side and return home, I held her hand and placed a gentle kiss on her brow. I said, "Mom, the next time I see you will be in Heaven. We will sing in the choir together." She opened her eyes and with one final loving look, smiled weakly and said in a barely audible voice, "We'll sing a duet".
On February 3rd the call came that congestive heart failure had won the battle and I made my way back across all those miles. As we made arrangements, I realized that we were to lay her to rest on February 14th, Valentine's Day. My brother said, "It is so fitting because she was such a sweetheart." He was right. Valentine's Day has a whole new significance now.
In my grief, I went home and made necklaces with vintage heart lockets. As I sold them, women told me stories of why the piece they chose was significant to them for their own mothers. One lady was the mother of a preemie in the NICU and the necklace she bought represented her own mother heart. She would put her baby's picture in the locket. Each person was touched in some way by the significance of the necklace they chose. My mom was still reaching out and touching the hearts of others. Of all the necklaces I made, there was one I could not part with. It was a small gold heart locket with 2 hearts entwined on the front. I had suspended it inside a rhinestone teardrop. Somehow, all of this helped to soothe my heart.
My heart entwined with Mom's resting inside a teardrop.
The following year I found myself making jewelry with every heart I could find. I believe that Mom gave me the inspiration to use them to help others. As I pondered the analogy of congestive heart failure, Heart and Stroke month and Valentine's day, the SWEETHEARTS for Heart and Stroke concept materialized. I knew this is something that Mom would love. This is to honor her memory as the SWEETHEART she was. She is the inspiration behind each design and I visit with her as I create them. So you see, when you purchase a piece from this collection, you not only contribute to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. You also receive a piece of my Mother's heart and mine, entwined.
This is one of my favorite pictures because it's how I view Mom now, watching over me.
No doubt many of you can relate to losing someone you love to heart failure/disease. Together, we can make a difference. Purchase a Valentines gift for yourself or someone you love and support The Heart and Stroke Foundation.
General donations for the Heart and Stroke Foundation are also gratefully accepted through the SWEETHEARTS campaign. If you would like to match or add to Vintage Bling's donation, email me for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details, please visit my Special Feature page.
(This fundraising effort is registered with the Manitoba chapter of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. It runs from Feb 1 - 28.)
Here are some of my original heart necklaces:
The monogrammed initial is an 'A'. The woman who bought this said her mom's name started with an 'A'.
The mom who's baby was in the NICU said she would put baby's picture inside and wear it till baby came home.
This woman's mother had been a cameo lover.
Each of these heart necklaces found their way to the dear ones who were meant to have them. I think my mom had something to do with that. It moved me to tears every time I heard their stories because I knew how much Mom would have cared. Her heart lives on.
September 2014 marked ten years since Vintage Bling took it's first breath and I think we need to CELEBRATE!! I thought you might enjoy hearing how it all began:
The very first piece of jewelry that I made was a stretchy beaded bracelet. However, not just any beads would do for me. This girl started collecting vintage jewelry as a teenager. I always loved the look of these old treasures, even in my youth, and would never shy away from wearing a brooch or necklace no matter if it had imperfections due to age. Back in the 70's and 80's, vintage jewelry was tossed into yard sales by the baggie full. I could never leave it behind, even though I didn't know what I would do with it all. I was way ahead of my time, embracing the nostalgia of bygone eras long before it became so popular. As a result, by the time I decided to make my bracelet, I had amassed quite a collection of vintage beaded necklaces and rhinestone studded bling. There was no running to the bead store for me. I was immediately drawn to the glorious vintage beads adorning the multi-strand necklaces in my collection. These are not beads you can buy in a craft store.
My friend Jane had started making stretchy bracelets and that is what inspired me to try making my own. My vintage beads and I went to her house so she could teach me how to make them and I was pleased as punch with my creations! As you can imagine, when I wore my bracelets to work they drew a great reaction from my co-workers. Everyone commented and wanted to know where I got them. Immediately I was hooked on creating these bracelets and set to work making myself an extensive array of colors with a variety of beads. I loved stacking them and wore multiple combinations every day. It wasn't long before the girls at work were asking to buy them. Some days I sold them right off my wrist and came home after work with none left. Oh well, that just meant I got to make more. It was these girls from work who encouraged me to find a way to market my wares.
Here are some of my earliest stretchy bracelets.
This is my first work studio. A tiny little corner in a tiny little bedroom. I have seriously outgrown that space. VB now occupies two rooms in the next house we moved into.
So much pretty bling to play with. This is some of my current stash.
Around this time the term "bling" was becoming popular in our culture. Myself and 2 girlfriends started calling all my vintage jewelry "vintage bling" and it became our catch phrase. Ironically, when I decided to try my hand at selling jewelry, I asked Laurie and Denise for suggestions of what to call my line. They just looked at me as if it was the most obvious thing in the world and both blurted out "Vintage Bling"!
And that, my friends, was the inception of Vintage Bling. The first bracelet I made was 10 years ago. I'm excited to have reached this milestone! In the past decade, Vintage Bling has certainly evolved and come a long way from the original stretchy bracelets. I still run into the girls I worked with back then and they are still wearing their bracelets. Those beautiful vintage beads are so timeless.
Vintage Bling would not be where it is today without you, my peeps. Thank you so much for being loyal followers and customers, as well as my encouragers. I do it all for you! ... well, maybe for me too. After all, it is my happy place. ...but mostly for you.
My way of saying THANK YOU is to offer you a 30% discount on any purchase of Vintage Bling jewelry from the website, Exchange Uporium or in Studio. So shop on line and enter 10YEARS into the coupon code spot at check out, or hop on down to the Exchange Uporium where the discount will be applied at check out, or book your personal shopping appointment with me in the Studio, OR do all of the above. The Anniversary sale is a limited time offer, running from Oct 20 - Nov 3, 2014.
My thanks to YOU! HAPPY SHOPPING!!
Winnipeg is a city full of incredibly talented artists. I am always so inspired by the innovation and creativity around me. This is why I am so excited about a fantastic art show that is coming up on Thursday, June 19th. It's called RAW Natural Born Artists ( http://www.rawartists.org/winnipeg). If you enjoy art and creativity you will really enjoy this! RAW is an international organization that showcases emerging talent in art, fashion, music, film, photography, hair and makeup in over 70 cities worldwide. It is an indie arts organization by artists for artists. They focus on spotlighting underground talent to the public. Winnipeg is bursting with very talented people, so this is perfect for our city.
I am one of the artists that will be featured at the RAW Winnipeg Show on June 19th, which is called Panorama. You can check it out and see some the artists involved. I have created a profile on the RAW website for Vintage Bling.
Besides all these various forms of art being showcased, you will be treated to performances throughout the evening by musicians, live bands, dancers and performers as well as fashion shows and even a film screening. It will be a fantastic event!
If this is something you'd like to attend, purchase your tickets directly from my profile in support of Vintage Bling. Also, If you know anyone who would be interested in attending this event please send them my link and ask them to purchase their tickets directly from my profile as well. Maybe you or someone you know would be a perfect fit to showcase your art form in the next RAW show. You may want to attend this time to check it out for yourself. If you end up deciding to go last minute the tickets are $20.00 at the door.
Here's what you need to know:
RAW Natural Born Artists
Thurs, June 19, 2014
7:00 - 11:00 pm
Liv in the Exchange, 140 Bannatyne Ave.
This event is in support of the Girls and Boys Club of Winnipeg.
Thank you in advance for your support and I look forward to seeing some of you there.
Graduation is a huge, important milestone and such an exciting time. I work in a high school and, throughout the Spring, there is always lots of buzz as the grade 12 girls pick out their gowns and hunt for shoes and book their manicures. I have also had 3 children graduate, 1 of which was a daughter, so I know first hand what this experience is like for girls. I love having them come shopping for their bling or place an order for that perfect custom piece. Their excitement is palpable as they find the finishing touches to complete that perfect look to be a princess for a day. So much time and effort goes into finding the right dress, but it can be a very difficult and daunting, if not impossible task to sleuth out the right accessories.
Last year Kaitlyn came to me wanting jewelry to complement the gorgeous gown that she had purchased on a trip with her family through Europe. It was so stunning that the bling needed to be subtle enough to not detract from the beauty of the dress itself, yet make a statement and draw attention to her pretty face. We decided not to add color but pick up on the clear embellishments that were sewn into the dress. I designed a double stranded necklace, earrings and ring using all clear vintage Swarovski crystals with a beautiful shimmering aurora borealis finish to pick up the rich coral color of the fabric. Only in the earrings did I add that little pop of coral. The result was absolutely stunning, as you can see in the photos.
A few weeks ago I received an email from Maria, who was looking for some very special grad bling. She explained that she was having such a hard time finding jewelry to complement the dress she had purchased for graduation.
Maria was very specific, as far as colors, and sent me pictures of her gorgeous dress and shoes and some examples of necklace designs that she liked. I set to work searching the internet for vintage pieces that would work for the design that came into my mind. I was thrilled with what I found and as the shipments arrived, the design formulated into one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever made. I will tell you more about this story in another blog after Maria's graduation, since I don't want to give too much away ahead of time. Maria will have her moment to shine before I spoil the surprise.
Vintage Bling is the perfect solution for your special day. Send me pictures of your dress and an idea of your budget, then I will set to work creating the most beautiful bling you can imagine. Or bring your gown over to my studio and I will help you pick out something that you will absolutely love. The nice thing is that, though you may not ever wear your gown again, your jewelry will last a lifetime to be worn and enjoyed again and again.
This is Kaitlyn, such a beautiful princess for her 2013 graduation.
My first introduction to Sabrina was an email from her requesting to use my jewelry for a creative fashion shoot.
I often collaborate with photographers on projects for all kinds of reasons, so I was happy to oblige. When Sabrina came to the studio to pull pieces I found her to be very personable and engaging. She also knew right away what she wanted and had no trouble zeroing in on the jewelry that would perfectly fit her vision.
The images that were sent to me a short time later were breathtaking. Sabrina has a natural eye for lighting and color and contrast, as well as details that complement every aspect of the finished product. All those involved with the shoot - hair stylist, MUA, clothing provider/designer, jewelry designer - come away proud of the collaborative work.
Sabrina offers all kinds of photo shoot options for anyone interested in being in their own creative shoot. See her website for details and prices. One of the opportunities she offers is a photo shoot called "Something a Little Vintage" where you get to choose any pieces of Vintage Bling you would like to be photographed in. You can do your own glamor shoot, or go totally retro. Dress up in roaring 20's attire and do a Downton Abbey or Great Gatsby shoot. The jewelry rental is included in the cost of the shoot. This is such a fun opportunity to live out your fantasy of living in a different era.
Book your fantasy photo shoot with Sabrina at Photography by Sabrina. I promise she'll take good care of you and you will love the results!
Here are some example of her beautiful work. All jewelry in these photos is Vintage Bling.
Jewelry: Vintage Bling
Jewelry: Vintage Bling
I am SO excited to present to you the New Face of Vintage Bling. This has been quite a journey planning and preparing and collaborating with Yoko Chapman and Ayame Ulrich of Ayoko Design Inc., creators of my new website. These girls are truly amazing to work with and I would have been totally lost without them. I am eternally indebted. I hope you enjoy the easy new format for navigating, perusing and purchasing Vintage Bling.
First thing on the agenda was a photo shoot with the beautiful Shyla Goertzen, who just happens to be my lovely daughter! We spent a very fun evening in a photography studio in Winnipeg's Historical Exchange District. Special thanks to Sabrina Naayen of Photography by Sabrina, MUA Melinda Gulbinski of Make You Up Beautiful and hair was by Monique Morissette Andrew of Style Hunter Fox.
Sabrina Naayen of Photography by Sabrina.
MUA Melinda Gulbinski of Make You Up Beautiful.
Hair by Monique Morissette Andrew of Style Hunter Fox.
Bling is all lined up and ready to shoot.