Update: Congratulations to Liz, you are the winner!
Sometimes you really don’t need a reason other than “just because.”
As I was sitting at my desk on Friday afternoon, wondering if I would ever make it to the end of the day, my wonderful husband walked into the office and placed a perfectly wrapped box in front of me.
“What is this?!” I asked.
He replied, “Just open it.”
I carefully opened the package, trying extra hard not to destroy the pretty wrapping paper.
The box contained a brand new Vera Bradley wallet. A cute design composed of various greens and blues. It instantly brought a smile to my face.
If you know me, you know that I don’t like to spend money on things like clothing, wallets or purses. As a result, my old wallet was on its last legs. Ben, knowing this, decided to get me a “just because” gift…that I could actually use.
So, keeping with the spirit of “just because,” I am giving away a $10 gift card to a local business.
Cheechako Taco is a bangin’ taco joint located in downtown Plattsburgh. They focus on two things: Tacos and burritos. They also get major bonus points for using local produce, tricky trivia questions and crazy decor.
They have a little something for everyone’s taste, all with a unique twist and lots of melted cheese. You can view their menu here.
I highly recommend this place. Check it out if you live in the area or even if you are just visiting!
- Tell me about a time when you have gotten a “just because” gift and how it made you feel by commenting on this post.
- One entry per person.
- All comments must be in by Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm.
Disclaimer: Cheechako Taco has no idea who I am (other than a customer who frequents their shop). They are not sponsoring this giveaway in any way–I am doing it because I love tacos. And burritos. And you. The end.
So, I am writing this post for two reasons. One is to give you all an awesome gift idea, not only for Christmas, but for anytime. And two, I’ve had a ton of people ask me who made the jewelry for my bridesmaids. I figured this would kill two birds with one stone.
Ben and I were very adamant about having a custom wedding. We did our own food, cake, and even had custom wine bottles made (I promise, I will do a post about this soon). I also wanted a fun gift for my bridesmaids. I know jewelry isn’t the most unique gift in the world, but I knew that they would love wearing something that wasn’t mass-produced and having something they could wear more than once.
After many emails, we came up with this necklace. It was exactly what I wanted and it turned out to be a huge hit.
That being said, allow me to introduce my friend Kate:
Kate and I ran track together in high school. After graduation, Kate moved to New Mexico to chase her dreams. She now lives in Oklahoma with her husband. As the ranch keeps her pretty busy, making jewelry is a hobby…a hobby that she is really good at. I asked Kate to answer a few questions about her creative process, take a look!
Noelle’s Notebook: How did you start making jewelry?
Kate:The way that I actually got into making jewelry was kind of funny- and I should say that I mostly owe it to my husband, Ben. He and I, along with my mom, were on a trip back to NY to see family and one of my mom’s necklaces broke (not one from us, but another that she had bought elsewhere). I have to give Ben credit and say that he is a jack of all trades, and she knew that at the time too; so she asked him if he could figure something out to fix it while she was there, seeing that it was the first day- it had broken in her luggage, and she really wanted to wear it while there.
Ben and I studied the piece and said if we went to an arts & crafts store we thought we could figure it out. Sure enough, we gathered up what we thought were the correct pieces, re-strung her necklace and it’s been fixed ever since. While we were there though, we saw all of the loose beads and we go the idea to grab a few strands and see what we could do with them. We started out really simple and with cheaper beads and materials, but now have advanced to more technical and higher quality work.
NN: Where do you draw your inspiration/where do you get your ideas?
Kate: You know, it’s kind of funny because I’m not sure. I love getting a huge order of beads and just playing. I might envision something when I place an order, but then when I get it, it doesn’t look good, but something else does. I pay attention to trends and do a lot of turquoise and western jewelry because we live in OK. My main focus for this has been jewelry that is made for today’s western women and little cowgirls. But since this is a glorified hobby for me, I changed that some because my biggest customers are my family and friends- and seeing how they span the U.S., I have changed my style from all western to a little bit of everything, but still with a cowgirl twist.
NN: What kinds of materials do you use?
Kate: As far as beads we use everything you could imagine from glass and plastic to genuine natural gemstones etc. We use stones like lapis, quartz, and tiger’s eye, and then at other times, howlite and magnesite, turquoise, amethyst and everything in between. Most of our hardware is silver but we have used some gold and tarnished gold for special orders.
NN: Will this ever turn into a full-time venture? Or is it just for fun?
Kate: Right now I call it a “glorified” hobby. It has gotten much bigger than I ever imagined. It started like I said, with just family and now some friends buy it too. It will always be fun, but I would like for it to get bigger in the future. As far as full-time, probably not. Ben and I manage a 1,900 acre ranch, so that has most of my attention. However, as a side business, I definitely would love to see a future in the jewelry making
NN: Any advice for fellow jewelry-makers?
Kate: My biggest piece of advice would be to have fun with it. It is such a great thing to see people wearing your jewelry or have them tell you how much they love their pieces. In having fun with doing it, don’t forget your roots. Be playful with your creations but if have a common theme in what you make, that will help customers to develop a real grasp on what your style, attitude, and personality is all about.
NN: Where is the strangest place you’ve had to send jewelry?
Kate: I have shipped to a lady who lives in Australia, twice. She is a repeat customer and has become a good friend. Besides that, nowhere too weird. Coast to coast though- NY to CA and lots in between.
NN: What is your favorite piece?
Kate: That’s definitely the toughest question you’ve asked. I always make pieces and say “I think this is my most favorite, EVER!” And then Ben reminds me how many times I have said that before. I don’t have just one. I love a lot of the pieces I make with pendants.
The funny thing is, I only own two pieces of my own jewelry. We don’t go out and get dressed up enough for me to keep a lot of it, so I would rather see other people have some enjoyment with it. I always joke and say “The cows and horses don’t care if I have jewelry on or how I look”, because they are majority of what we work with everyday. If I had a job in town or an office job, that would definitely change though, two would not cut it!
If you’re interested in any of Kate’s pieces, email her at email@example.com I can tell you that she is great to work with, has VERY reasonable prices and is very quick to ship. Do it. Now!