Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Vintaj Road Trip Design Challenge!

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

vintaj rings & things road trip design challengeHi bloglandia! We are really excited to be partnering with Vintaj for their Summer Road Trip design challenge this month. Visit their blog to see the great jewelry their designers created by pairing beads & components from Rings & Things with Vintaj products. The Vintaj blog also has all the details about how to enter the contest! Submissions are due by NOON (CST) Friday, June 29. But wait – don’t go yet!

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll share some of our own Summer Road Trip jewelry pieces, starting with Sondra’s “The Trail Less Traveled” bracelet:


This mixed metal bracelet contains all kinds of mementos!

She used so many fun techniques that I’m sure I’ll miss a few, but here are the highlights:


The Vintaj luggage tags were DecoEmbossed with the Sizzix BigKICK. Sondra punched holes to in the tags to link them with textured locking jump rings.


She curved the postcard charm and souvenir penny using bracelet bending pliers.


The Vintaj bee and several other charms have the tips of rhinestone crystal head pins soldered onto them for extra bling.


The memoir stamp bezel from Vintaj is filled with a scrap of map coated with SuperClear resin.


The rest of the sparklies are from our Karma Chameleon Crystal Jam. Check out our Crystal Jam color themed design boards on Pinterest!

Ok. Now you can go get started on your own Summer Road Trip design challenge piece! We can’t wait to see what you create! ~ Cindy

Bike to Work Week 2012

Friday, May 25th, 2012

bike-to-workRain. Sun. Wind. More rain. Gusts of sun. We’ve had it all this week! And yet, we (some of) the ladies of Rings & Things have ridden our bikes to work!


Polly, Cindy, Amy, Melissa and Gretchen!

Amy, in the middle,  is our ETC. An ETC is an Employee Transportation Coordinator for Washington’s Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program/law. Yes, law. For employers with more than 100 employees in one location, the state mandates compliance with the CTR, since people driving alone to work creates so much air pollution. Rings & Things doesn’t have to comply with CTR, but we like to be green! Plus the CTR offers fun prizes and incentives to reward people who use public transportation, carpools, bikes or their own two feet to travel to work.

A lot of people use clothing issues as an excuse to not ride, so I feel like I must point out how nice we all look! Dresses, slacks – jewelry of course – Polly is even wearing a WHITE SKIRT. She is obviously much braver than I. BikeStyle, you should be proud of your fellow Spokanites! While none of us are sporting heels, I do admire Barb Chamberlain’s ability to bike in pumps. Again, she is obviously much braver than I.


Roast House poster.

Finally, thank you to Roast House Coffee here in Spokane for contributing their most excellent coffee to the energizer station Rings & Things hosted on Wednesday morning for bike commuters heading to work. We all need to be alert on the road!



Great Spokane Art Party 2012

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Oh so many interesting beads to choose from!

Truly a FUNdraiser, the Great Spokane Art Party is an annual event that gives adults the chance to socialize and be creative while supporting the Community Building Children’s Center and Blueprints for Learning program. Rings & Things donated supplies, training for volunteers plus a few staff volunteers to help make the night a success.


Claudia getting ready for the chaos!

We had five tables where attendees dug through big dishes of beads to make their own unique earrings. We’ve been doing this for a few years and have learned some important lessons along the way. For example, bringing natural light task lamps for each table helped a ton – otherwise, come morning there would have been some unpleasant color combos! Also, after one event where attendees seemed to glue more beads to themselves than to their bracelets, we stuck (haha) to a glue-free project!


Fun-for-all jewelry fest!

I wish I would have gotten some pictures of the actual earrings people made – I was so impressed with their creativity! But at that point I had three pairs of pliers in my hands and not a second to spare.

Thanks to everyone who supported the party, either as an attendee or a volunteer! While we were busy making jewelry, other organizations and artists were helping people create everything from printed silk scarves to clay mosaic tiles to handmade paper. What a blast! Check out our Spokane Showroom Facebook page for more photos. We’ll post details about other community events there too.

~ Cindy

Season of Giving

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

The holiday season is all about giving, yet it has been a tough year economically and budgets are tight. Fortunately, Rings & Things offers a voluntary donation program for employees where a set dollar amount is deducted from each paycheck. At the end of the year, owners Russ & Dee match the deducted funds and give the money to charity. Each employee chooses which charity to support. So, for example, just $2 per bi-weekly paycheck translates into a $100 donation!

Yesterday our HR manager sent out the grand total: through this humble program, Rings & Things employees donated more than $10,000 to charity in 2011! It is really exciting to see a those few dollars we end up not even missing each month add up to something so substantial.  The nonprofits selected this year include:

Spokesman Review Christmas Fund ~ 2nd Harvest Food Bank ~ ACLU Foundation ~ Alzheimers Association ~ Anna Ogden Hall ~ Cancer Patient Care ~ American Childhood Cancer Organization ~ Doctors without Borders ~ KSFC ~ KYRS ~ Living Tongues Institute ~ Las Hermanas ~ Meals on Wheels ~ Planned Parenthood ~ SCRAPS ~ SNAP ~ Spokanimal ~ Union Gospel Mission ~ Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery ~ YFA Connections

Christmas is just days away, but to make them easier to find I also wanted to post a recap of the 12 Days of Christmas Jewelry Designs. There’s always next year to plan for, plus many of the techniques are adaptable to any occasion!

Day 1 – Swarovski Crystal Christmas Tree Earrings

Day 2 – Bottle Cap Baubles

Day 3 – Lampwork Glass Bead Zipper Pulls

Day 4 – Beaded Snowflakes

Day 5 – Swarovski Crystal Holiday Light Charms

Day 6 – Family Keepsakes

Day 7 – Faux Stained Glass Soldered Ornaments

Day 8 – Mini Ceramic Cookies Charm Bracelet

Day 9 – Hinged Picture Frames

Day 10 – Velvet Ribbon and Bead Bookmarks

Day 11 – Stamped Metal Gift Tags

Day 12 – Brass Fairy Door Sandwich Pendants

Happy holidays everyone! ~ Cindy


Boo-tiful Halloween Costumes

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I must admit, I’m a tiny bit disappointed – while many of our employees dressed up in great costumes for Halloween, none of them used beads! But still, the winning costumes are worth sharing. There was a three-way tie for 2nd place:

Polly took her inspiration from Dia de los Muertos

Terri is the grandma no one wants to mess with: Grambo!

Melissa just had a rough time getting to work today ... wait, that's her costume! Fortunately she wasn't actually hit by a car!

Gretchen was the craziest cat woman ever! Bags full of kitties and leopard spot eye makeup really put her costume over the top.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Making jewelry heals in more ways than one!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

While not everyone believes in the metaphysical healing powers of gemstones, it is hard to argue with the emotional benefits of creating something pretty to wear with friends while dealing with the decidedly un-pretty reality of cancer.

A few of the designs created at the cancer patient retreat.

We just received a lovely thank-you note from Margaret Nowak, an Art Therapist with the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Margaret recently hosted a retreat for women with gynecological or breast cancers. One of the activities was making jewelry, and Rings & Things was happy to donate some of the supplies. Due to the Susan G. Komen Fund and other fantastic organizations, everyone knows pink is the official color of breast cancer awareness, but I hadn’t realized that turquoise is the official color for gynecological cancers.

Margaret wrote: “The women loved making bracelets and necklaces. They all chose a theme for their jewelry that often centered on healing. I do have some beads left which I will use with patients who are here receiving chemotherapy treatments or are in the hospital. A small bracelet made during a treatment or hospital stay can leave a huge impression on someone dealing with cancer. Know that Rings & Things is appreciated for bringing a little bit of pleasure to what might be an unpleasant day for someone dealing with cancer!”

Creative Community: Rings & Things at the Great Spokane Art Party 2011

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

The slogan for the 2011 Great Spokane Art Party “Eat, Drink and Be Artsy” was very fitting!  Saturday, May 7 was a fun-filled evening of delicious food, tasty wine and hands-on art.  This inspiring fundraiser benefits Blueprints for Learning, a non-profit organization working to increase the quality of early child care and education in our community and the Community Building Children’s Center.

At the event, several talented local artists mentor participants in creating collage magnets, handmade clay tiles, watercolor paintings, printed silk scarves, mono-prints, handmade paper, stick puppets, felt beads, jewelry and more.  Rings & Things has participated in the event since its inception.

At the sold-out event this year, we created nearly 180 individual pieces of jewelry!  The project was interchangeable magnetic jewelry using buttons made by Justin East. 

Russ and Dee donated the findings for the project, and various Rings & Things staffers and their friends worked the event. If you are interested in participating in this event next year, or in other community projects in the Spokane area, let us know!

Next on the calendar is the ‘Make It Art’ booth for kids at ArtFest. Also, please contact Russ if you’d like to help with recycling at ArtFest (June 3-5, 2011).  Every year he coordinates the recycling efforts at this and many other community events!

Local art perched on mountains of recycling!

Design challenge: who won?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Thanks to a couple hundred :) of you guys for jumping in on our latest Design Challenge: brushed copper beads! *And welcome to you visitors from the Rings & Things News Flash email!*

From the dozen or so
brushed copper bead recipients, Rings & Things received dozens of awesome photos showing what they designed.

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Back view (showing the round disk bead)

The grand prize winner is Kym Hunter! Kym built this simple but wonderful ring.

Front view (showing the flower bead)

We loved the simplicity, cleverness and cuteness of Kym’s ring! Besides two brushed copper beads (puffed flower and striped disk), Kym used just a couple of pieces of felt and some copper wire–to great effect.

…to be announced very very soon…

See Kym’s other brushed-copper bead creations at the original Design Challenge blog post. They’re in a photo gallery there with everyone else’s entries.

Don’t miss out! You’ll find jewelry there like Melissa Meman’s drape earrings, inventively using the small brushed disk beads (which she oxidized) as vertical design elements .

I promise you’ll have a great time browsing the photos :) Thanks for sending a friend the link, to share & enjoy!