Custom Designs for Mount St. Mary

 

 
  One of our more exciting projects of 2016 was working with the students and foundation at Mount St. Mary's Academy here in Little Rock. The school was in need of some fresh designs for their annual fundraiser. 
 Mrs. Nolley, the art teacher, was able to incorporate part of the project in to the schedule of her senior class. The students were taught and instructed on carving original designs that would be suitable to the "Mercy & Me" theme and also for a necklace pendant. Once the originals were done, Brandy visited the art class to instruct them on how to mold the originals and then cast their pendants in bronze clay which would then be fired and turned in to master bronze pendants. 
Once all the pendants were tumbled and polished they were present to the staff to vote on which pendant would be the one that we reproduced for the jewelry designs. The ones selected were the tea pot and the tea cup.
 We also took the Mount Crest and had it turned in to a steel stamp that we could make charms with. We used these charms on the ever so popular beaded bangles and simple charm necklaces. There are also some simple silver and gold plated bar necklaces with "Mercy" and/or "Blessed" on them. 
 All of these designs are available through Mount St. Mary's website for now.
This was such a fun opportunity for our studio. Big thanks to Mrs. Nolley, The Students, and Kirsten and Cathey at the foundation for working so hard on all of this with us! 
And if you are interested in doing a similar project for your school/team/organization, please contact us, info@bellavitajewlery.net
 We are taking clients for custom work. Projects like this take about 4 - 6 months to get finished products. 
 
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2017 at Bella Vita

Happy New Year to you all. 
We are full of new goals and intentions for 2017 Goals. At the top of the list is to blog more. We have some exciting blog topics and recurring monthly topics that we can't wait to share! Hope you will follow along and if you have any suggestions or requests for blog post, please let us know! 
We will start debuting our Spring 2017 Collections over the next few weeks. First up is AmericasMart in Atlanta. Then we head to Tucson, Arizona on our annual gemstone sourcing trip. Then from there to NYC for NY Now. Our Spring Collections will hit the website and our brick and mortar shop sometime in March. And as always, we will post teasers on our social media!
We can't wait to see what this New Year has in store for Bella Vita! 
A bit thanks to everyone that made 2016 a magical year for us. We are always grateful for each and everyone one of you! 
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All the Thanks...

A few weeks ago we shipped off our 400 lb crate full of displays and all the things we will need for our upcoming trade shows in Atlanta and New York. This is always a huge task and makes us feels like we are playing a game of "real life" Tetris! Every table, shelf, wooden crate, glass bottle, track lighting, order forms, business cards, etc. etc. etc. has to be packed in this big ol' box which then gets put on a truck and shipped to a warehouse. From the warehouse it will go to our booth at Americas Mart in Atlanta. We will un pack, set up our beautiful booth, have an amazing show then re pack it all when it is over. From Atlanta the crate gets shipped to the NY Now show in NYC and then we do it all over again. From NY the crate gets returned to us in Little Rock and we store it until the next round of shows in January.
So much work goes in to preparing for these shows. It is very costly, and very stressful, but we find joy in it by meeting new buyers and fans of our hand made creations when it is show time. We also enjoy the travel and making new friends!
Many thanks go out to everyone that has helped us over the past few months to pull this all together. Hopefully we get everyone, and if we missed someone please let us know!!
  • Jeane Bowers Garrett, thank you for sewing all of our wall panels over the past few years. And thank you for doing this out of the kindness of your heart because you want to see Bella Vita succeed. The favor is much appreciated!
  • Kevin Waltemire, thank you for making all of our bad ass graphics for postcards, jewelry tags, social media, website, etc. etc. etc. You rock and make Bella Vita look good!
  • Stephanie Parsley, thank you for taking amazing pictures of our jewelry! You're a gem to work with and we can't wait for future shoots!
  • Stephanie Hopkins w/ Magna IV printing, thank you for putting up with my ridiculous deadlines and making all the print jobs happen.
  • Macy Madison, for coming to the rescue and addressing postcards at the last minute.
  • Erin Lorenzen big round of applause for hemming our newly painted sign/banner and giving advice on painting a sign. And Olivia Trimble for more advice on painting a logo projected on canvas. And the ladies at Art Outfitters for guiding me to all the appropriate painting supples to paint said sign. 
  • Valerie at South Main Creative - thanks for lending books for our photoshoot. Brooks and Shannon at Electric Ghost - thanks for lending succulents for the photoshoot as well! And thanks for our bad ass new totes to give out to buyers! We <3 them!
  • Big smiles and hugs to my hubby and my family and friends who put up with all my neurotic behavior.
  • And to my Mom for stringing hundreds of feet of crystals for our new crystal bangles (which will debut at market and might just be giving them away to interested buyers!!!).
 
400 lbs of Bella Vita display and such. Fingers crossed it all makes it without being damaged, or lost. Things get lost, last January I showed up to NY Now to find that my favorite little box of nails, hooks, screws, etc was missing! I know its just a box of hardware, BUT, it was the most complete little resource ever! And, 6 months later, I've come to terms with the loss...
It really is like playing Tetris...
Photograph everything so you remember what you packed!
Last minute sign painting. No big deal. Except I should have put plastic between the canvas and my living room wall!!! Now I get to repaint the living room.
Extra large banners of our new photos by Stephanie Parsley Photography! Can't wait to hang these babies!
New tote bags that we will be handing out to interested buyers at market! Exciting stuff!
Tomorrow is the big day! Brandy flies out at 5:30 in the morning and will set up the booth all day. Then the show starts on Thursday. We will have a full recap when she returns!
Bon Voyage!
 
 
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Totes!

We've had tote bags on our minds for several years now. Not sure why it took us so long to bring them to life... Perhaps we were waiting for the perfect moment and design.

Lucky for us, the design finally came to life around the same time Electric Ghost moved in to their new space down the street from our shop in neighboring South Main neighborhood of Little Rock.

Electric Ghost is a screen print shop, home good store, and plant lab. We've worked with them on koozies and our new tote bags and hope to make some t-shirts soon (just trying to come up with another perfect design!).

If you are in the Little Rock area, put this lil shop on your list of places to visit. We have lots of local love for this new shop in SoMa. Big thanks to Brooks, Shannon, and the rest of their team for letting us come by to watch our bags being printed! 

Our new totes have our favorite mantra at the moment printed on them, "Do Good Things." This message is more important now than ever with all the crazy events happening in the world. The totes will be available for purchase on our website and in our brick and mortar store in downtown Little Rock. 

**Be sure to read through to the bottom for a spectacular giveaway**

  

 

 

We are excited to announce that we will be giving away one of our brand new totes. Rest assured that this little beauty will be full of goodies from our retail shop, Bella Vita swag, and discount codes for our website/shop!!!

There are several ways to enter:
- Like our social media posts related to the the giveaway. Comment, tag friends, and share the post for extra entries (up to 4 entries). We will be posting about the giveaway a couple of times over the next week.
- Comment on this blog post (one entry). Share this blog post for an extra entry.
**One very lucky winner will be drawn on July 1st.**

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Bella Vita + Restore Humanity

Imagine that you are suddenly without the most basic means for survival--food, water, shelter, and even sanitary products. Fortunately, most of us will never know those hardships, but there are people all over the world who do and struggle through life on a daily basis.
We have been following Restore Humanity and Sarah Fennel Buchanan’s mission for a while now. At Bella Vita we are passionate about giving back, whether in our local community or around the world. Sarah’s mission with Restore Humanity inspired us to see how we could help.
 
We crafted a unique necklace design that carries symbolic meaning. It is our hope the necklaces will help improve the quality of the school day for young girls in Sirembe, Kenya. Fifty percent of the cost of each necklace will be donated to Restore Humanity who will use that money to purchase feminine hygiene products for the girls.There is a statistic that "Kenyan girls miss an average of 4.9 days of school per month" simply because they do not have access to any feminine products.  This is huge because without feminine products, these girls are unable to attend school while on their period. The proceeds from each necklace is enough to keep 32 girls in school each month. Your purchase will make an incredible difference to girls who truly need help.
The custom design necklace for Restore Humanity comes in both silver and gold options. As you can see, the heart rests over Kenya, in hopes that the work of Restore Humanity, and your generosity, can serve those in need.
So now, imagine a world where people use their unique strengths to uplift each other. We can be a part of that world today.
To purchase the necklace visit our website and If you would like to learn more about Restore Humanity, check out: www.restorehumanity.org.

 

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Graduation and the Gifts That Come With It...

This month, custom requests have been very popular! Of all the celebratory gifts, from Mother’s Day to upcoming Father’s Day; birthdays to anniversaries, graduation gifts have been my favorite to design and create.


One of the reasons they are so meaningful to me is because they take me back to the time in my life when everything was so fresh and exhilarating. This was when I was graduating high school, surrounded by support and love from the friends and family in my life who wanted to see me succeed in whatever my heart led me to do. They showered me in gifts and money to use for the future, which meant the world to me, but it was the handful of really unique gift items that stay with me today.


So when someone walks through the shop door, or when I get an email, I push myself to think how what I design can help the recipient feel loved, special, and truly appreciated for who they are at this point in their life. When I set down my tools and hold up what I’ve finished, I sometimes smile and think about the smile across town or across the country, when that gift is unwrapped and shared.
I just wanted to stop and reflect on the past and share this incredibly sweet jewelry set that a Mom customized for her graduating senior today. The first picture is the front side of the necklace... one of our pendants made from a mold of an antique button from the late 1800's. The second picture is the sweet inscription by from the Mother.
-- Be Bold, Be You!
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All the Ways to Celebrate Your Mom!

Personalized Necklaces:  This custom piece is by far one of our favorites. It incorporates our Tree of Life charm, custom name pendants, and birthstones. It perfectly tells Kelsey's story of her family. 

 One of a Kind Designs: These designs are all one of a kind pieces for one of a kind Moms. The "Mother" necklace in the middle is made of a vintage brooch and semi precious stone chain. It is the only one we have like this and is still available for your special lady. The others are made of our brass stamped charms and stones. All of the pieces represent special people or moments to tell the story of the person wearing it. 

Girls Day Out:  Maybe you prefer to make a full day of Mothers Day and attend our event at the Loblolly Soda Fountain on Sunday, May 8th. Bella Vita will be on hand customizing charm bracelets and Loblolly will have a special Ice Cream Sundae Bar set up for you to customize your own sundae!  Tickets and more info for this event are available on our website

Whatever you chose to do, she will surely love it!

 To place an order for a custom stamped design, visit our shop in person in the Lafayette Building on downtown Little Rock, call 501.396.9146 or email info@bellavitajewelry.net 
Please place your orders by Wednesday at noon to ensure delivery by Mothers Day. We can also overnight packages if you don't get your order in until after Wednesday.

The Bella Vita Shop is open regular hours this week, Thursday and Friday 11 - 5:30 and Saturday 10 - 3. You can also call to see if we are around if you can't make it during regular hours. We are always in the shop working and would be happy to open the door for you. 

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De-Stash Sale

  I've been mentally planning this big sale for a while now. Actually, to be completely honest, its been a couple of years in the making. Bella Vita has changed a lot over the past two years since we started doing wholesale trade shows. I have shifted the focus more on designs that we can produce multiples of instead of all one of a kind designs. I do, however,  still design one of a kind pieces for the retail shop and shows and by custom order. 

  With these design changes there have also been changes in my buying patterns and systems. Instead of buying whatever I want when I am at market or digging through a warehouse full of vintage goods, I am very focused on what I purchase and only purchase items I can buy in bulk to add to future collections. 

  All that being said, I have several years of materials and findings and chains that I have picked up on my buying trips across the country and the time to clean out has finally come. I have spent several days over the past month or so digging, sorting, and cleaning out my stash of jewelry making supplies. I've done a good job documenting some of what will be available at the big sale (that starts this evening) over on our facebook event page. There is a lot of stuff. Not all of it is vintage, but, a lot of it is. There are also a lot of stones and new materials that I purchased thinking that I would use them in designs but they just never made it. 

  The last few days of sorting and sifting are the inspiration for this post. There were multiple trips down memory lane while sifting through the stock. Some things reminded me of when I first started Bella Vita back in 2008 and some things reminded me of my 3 years living in Oklahoma... But then I came to the old stuff. Some of my boxes of beads date back to when I was in Jr. High (circa 1994) when my jewelry obsession really kicked in. So you can imagine that there were a lot of emotions when looking through these particular boxes. My love, fondness, and excitement for these tiny little works of art is inexplicable. I LOVE JEWELRY and everything that it is made of. So, I wanted to share this picture of the lovely little "things" that i have collected over the past 24 or so years. Most of these little items are old and will remain in my permanent collection. But I did sort out some broken, junk, mis-matched vintage/costume jewelry that will be available at the sale. 

 Tiny bits and pieces that are in my collection. Most items are very old. Some day I'll make the most amazing charm bracelet. 

 This particular bead box has been with me for almost 20 years. It's seen plenty of changes and has housed many collections. The "Chocolate Hippies" sticker is from a concert that my mom and my aunt took me to when I was in Jr. High. So many 'memries!

  So, if you are in Central Arkansas or if you need a reason to take  trip to Little Rock, I hope you'll stop by the sale. It starts with a little early bird shopping event tonight (April 1st) 5- 7 with wine and cheese!!! Then tomorrow (April 2nd) we will be there 10 - 4-ish. The sale is at South main Creative at 1600 W. Main in the SoMa neighborhood of Little Rock. Everything will be sold at my cost and I'll be willing to make deals (cash is preferred but I'll also be able to take credit cards). I've posted pics in our facebook event page but here is a list of what I can remember packing up:

  • tons of vintage chains
  • vintage glass cabochons and rhinestones
  • large stone beads
  • findings - sterling silver and base metals
  • stringing materials
  • colored leather cord
  • a torch kit for torch fired enamel, powdered enamel in several colors
  • Ricks beading loom
  • stamping blanks, a few stamps, and an alphabet set
  • Czech glass strands
  • freshwater pearls
  • grab bags of costume jewelry
  • charms
  • leather tools and scrap leather
  • scrap fabric
  • feathers, tassels, trimmings
  • beaded Swarovski pearl chain
  • obsidian arrowheads
  • green girl fine pewter charms
  • lilly pilly etched shell pendants
  • magazines
  • antique buttons
  • and more!
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