Challenges and Collaborations

 UncommonGoods is celebrating jewelry this month with a call to enter their 3rd annual Jewelry Design Challenge!

I was recently contacted by an associate at UncommonGoods to share the details of their current design challenge.  UncommonsGoods is an online shop based in NYC that promotes merchandise made by artists and small manufacturers.  The company has a refreshing  focus on handmade and eco-friendly products.  You’ll find gifts to give and gifts you’ll want to keep.   Of course, my favorite section is the jewelry + accessories page right here.   I love that you can get to know the makers right on the website by perusing artist bios. There is a personal touch on the site, right down to the ability to vote on a design that you’d like to see carried in the shop.

Enter your original necklace, bracelet, earring or ring designs for a chance to win $500 and a Vendor Contract with UncommonGoods. Runners up will receive a consultation of critique of their work given by guest judges, as well as tips on marketing their businesses.  The challenge is open to U.S. Residents only, and the deadline is approaching soon –  you have until June 30th at 11:59 EST to share your designs.  For all of the rules and information, you can find the details on the website right here.

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I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review a piece of artisan-made jewelry from UncommonGoods.  As a jewelry designer myself, I have a whole new perspective on selling wholesale and partnering with online retailers after recently taking a popular course with F&TA.  Some of us choose to sell our designs on our own websites, Etsy, at craft shows, retail shops, and through catalogues.   I was honored to choose a piece of jewelry from a designer whose talent and skill caught the eye of such an esteemed online retailer.

When you order jewelry from UncommonGoods, you’ll see their eco-friendly commitment right away in their packaging.  What a creative way to use t-shirt remnants that would have likely hit the scrap pile! Here’s the clever package I received from UncommonGoods.

UncommonGoods packaging


I had a hard time choosing a piece of handcrafted jewelry from the catalogue, but when I saw these Jellyfish earrings by Catherine Weitzman, I was smitten.  My favorite season (summer = the ocean) and color were combined in show-stopping earrings.  I enjoyed reading Catherine’s artist bio right on the product page – I like how UncommonGoods shares an in-depth look at the designers behind their gorgeous jewelry.  I know we as jewelry designers are eager to share our inspiration, challenges and a bit of our histories with our customers. This sure adds value to the jewelry and sets it apart from mass-produced products that can be bought at the mall.  An artist bio is included with your jewelry purchase, right in the gift box.

Earrings by Catherine Weitzman

I found it fascinating that the little caps were made from recycled silver,  hand cast in Hawaii using a sea urchin shell that the artist found herself.  Faceted apatite rondelles were wire wrapped by hand – 23 on each earring!  There is a subtle graduation in color in the stones, from dark to very pale.  The earrings are dainty, just 1.5″ long and have a nice swing – view the product page right here.   So many little details that I can truly appreciate, making jewelry by hand myself.

I can only imagine what an honor it must be to have one’s work featured in UncommonGoods.  And so exciting to think that the opportunity is available – right now.  Consider submitting your jewelry designs to the current challenge and join the artisan community at UncommonGoods!

– Cindy


This post is sponsored by Uncommon Goods.  I was selected for this opportunity and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Cindy Wimmer is a jewelry designer with a passion for combining vintage elements with modern wire design.   Cindy is the co-founder of artBLISS, hosting jewelry and mixed media workshops in the DC area. Her first wire jewelry design book will be released in the fall, 2013.






Wellness Words Jewelry Challenge

by Cindy on February 2, 2013


Inspiring-Change_Wellness Words-Blog-Button2

Welcome to my little corner of the Inspire Change:  Wellness Words Jewelry Challenge hosted by Tracy Statler!


A month ago, Tracy issued a jewelry-making challenge and blog hop – one with a great twist, a positive twist.  In Tracy’s words, “It involves choosing a powerful word or phrase that is meaningful to you and incorporating it into a jewelry design that will serve as a reminder to make a positive change in your life.  This challenge has an introspective component and a hands on component.”  

Our challenge was to create a piece of jewelry that incorporates our inspirational word for 2013.  You may remember that I chose a word and shared it in this post.   My guiding word for 2013 is INTENTIONAL. Rather than just letting things happen, I want to make intentional decisions and intentional actions. Action versus reaction. I want to make good choices and make the most of my time.  I know it is a lot to strive for, but it is a great word to guide me.

I got to thinking about how I could incorporate my guiding word in a piece of jewelry.  I considered how long the word happens to be…. Hmm.    Around this same time, an upcoming class came to mind.  The class features a charming button, created with a lampwork cabochon and a stamped metal disc (I could stamp my word on the disc!).  My friend Kerry Bogert is teaching this class, “The Wrap on Buttons“,  this year at both Bead and Button and artBLISS.  I asked Kerry if she would give me the skinny on how I could make one of these bracelets, and luckily she was generous with the how-tos.  I think I may have provided a great trial run for her, between my bouts with leaking resin and working with the wrong type of cord (too stiff!).  I learn best when I can actually see the instructions in progress, and Kerry was kind enough to text pictures to me showing some of the critical steps.

Here are the beautiful KABS cabochons that I happened to have already, waiting for just the right inspiration!
WellnessWordsChallenge - KABS cabachons - Cindy Wimmer
I stamped my guiding word on one metal disc, and the date on the other.
WellnessWordsChallenge - lampwork cabachon buttons by Cindy Wimmer
I’m so happy with how the bracelets turned out; I’m crazy about wrap bracelets.  However, next time I will use C-Lon instead of waxed cotton for the herringbone weave!
WellnessWordsChallenge - Herringbone weave bracelet with cabachon - Cindy Wimmer_opt
WellnessWordsChallenge - Herringbone Wrap bracelets with KABS cabachons by Cindy Wimmer
Thank you, Tracy, for this opportunity to reflect on my word of the year, and create new pieces of jewelry all at the same time.  Learning a new technique was the icing on the cake.    If you ‘d like to create a piece of jewelry with your own word-stamped button, please consider taking “The Wrap on Buttons” later this year.
To see what others have created for the Wellness Word Challenge, please visit these participating jewelry desigers:
– Cindy xoxo


Adventuring into 2013

by Cindy on January 8, 2013

– Origami tops sent by one of my Uncles in Japan –



Well here we are, a full week into the new year!   With all that transpired in a week, I can hardly believe we were just ringing in the new year one week ago!  It flew by with a nice visit with my brother and his family.  I can’t say that I’m feeling many after-holiday blues because there is just so much going on to look forward to!

For those of you in the blogging community, some fun stuff has already begun.   Have you heard about Sally Russick’s new project, Focusing on Life – 52 Photos?  The idea is to capture a moment in life through a single picture.   As an exercise in looking at your life, Sally will send out a photo prompt each week.  Many people have already joined in – who can resist the excuse to whip out the camera? – you can join in too at any time.

The photo prompt for the first week was Self Portrait.  Normally one might tend to over-think this one or feel self-conscious about what picture to take of themselves.  I was lucky because I just happened to take a picture using my cell phone over the weekend. I saw a beautiful silk gown and planned to take a quick picture….when I noticed the full-length mirror, I took an unintentional self portrait.  Here I am doing something I love – combing through an antique show with one of my sons.  More pictures from the show to come in a future post.

If you want to express yourself through jewelry, Tracy Statler over at MakeBracelets! has issued a new challenge to kick off the year.  For the Inspire Change:  Wellness Words Jewelry Challenge, you chose a word that represents a positive change that you would like to make this year.  Incorporate the word into a piece of jewelry, and a blog hop will follow in February.   Sounds like fun!  I have chosen a word and will share that it most likely in my next blog post.

As for me, you may know that along with making jewelry, I love to share my other favorite interests – traveling, baking, and antiquing. 🙂 I’d like to start off the new year with a photo essay…..we took a little trip down south to Richmond, our state’s capitol.   My husband’s company party was held at the end of the holidays and we enjoyed the chance to dress up….and get a babysitter which is more rare than you’d ever guess.

We enjoyed our stay (the whole family in tow!) at the grand Jefferson Hotel, which was a destination in itself.  Built in 1895, the hotel is listed on the American Register of historic places.  I enjoyed learning about the hotel through the years in the little museum housed at the bottom of the Grand Staircase.  Legend has it that the staircase is the one featured in Gone with the Wind.  I remember back in graduate school, I came with a friend just to see this famous stair case.

Later, before we set out to visit the landmark Hollywood Cemetery and the Richmond Science Museum, we drove through Carytown and stopped at what looked like a nice, local bakery.  Their made-from-scratch cookies were scrumptious.

I attended graduate school in Richmond in the early 90s (VCU School of Social Work) and I sure didn’t look at the city from the eyes of a tourist.  I visited many communities then, like Oregon Hill (which was our destination on this trip) but didn’t dig too deep into the history.  After picking up a things-to-do type of magazine at the hotel, I read that a common place for locals to take visitors was Hollywood Cemetery citing its beautiful architecture.  I saw signs for Hollywood Cemetery time and again en route to the place of my first-year internship, the William Byrd Community House, but never visited.    We drove by the community house for old time’s sake, and many memories came back – those of my mentor (Lisa Wever) and of the sweet “seniors” that were part of the community outreach program.  Hard to believe I was in my early 20s, the last time I came down those steps.   Hard to believe I never visited the cemetery, a major Richmond landmark.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about taking pictures in cemeteries.  On one hand, I want to be respectful, first and foremost.  On the other hand, I want to share the  beauty  of this place with many who may never have the chance to see it.  Hollywood Cemetery is an enormous, “garden-style” cemetery that was built in the mid 1800’s along the James River.   I came to learn that the name Hollywood came from the many holly trees found on the grounds.  We were fascinated to learn that two U.S. Presidents are buried here (James Monroe and John Tyler),  as well as the Confederate States President (Jefferson Davis), 25 Confederate generals, 18,000 enlisted soldiers from the Civil War, and many prominent Virginian leaders.  You can’t help but feel a real connection, and a respect for those that helped shape our country as you travel along the many winding paths.  Here are a few images from our day.

A Gothic Revival cast iron canopy surrounds President James Monroe’s tomb.

The grave of President John Tyler

Thank you for traveling with me through the first week of 2013. May there be many more adventures ahead this year!

– Cindy