Thursday, February 28, 2013

Four Fingered Fundraiser

  Last week I heard my friend Jonathan had an accident that resulted in him losing his index finger. This is tragic to say the least as he and his wife are both artists, crafters, makers, what ever you want to call it their hands/fingers are very important to their livelihood. 
  I have thought about them off and on for the past week and just try to imagine what it would be like. I don't think there is any way to REALLY imagine not having an index finger until you don't have one.
  I know that if this were me, I'd be completely screwed because I use all of my fingers all of the time in my jewelry making. I know that one of my biggest worries and fears is losing a digit or having arthritis so bad that I can't move my hands, or hurting anything related to my arms/hands/fingers.

  So, some of our artsy/craftsy friends have organized an online "Pop Up Shop" and all sales will go to Amber and Jonathan of Perrodin Supply Co. Not only did this terrible accident happen but the medical bills and time off from work are starting to rack up for them. 
  You can find all the information you need at the blog that has been set up for this event. You can also access the online "Pop Up Shop" here. I am pretty sure you can directly donate from the link for the online shop. (There is more info below, but I copied it from the blog...) And, if you are a maker and want to donate to the shop email: for more info.
Lets help these guys out!!!
 "Hello, and welcome to the Four Finger Fundraiser Blog. We are raising money to support Jonathan and Amber Perrodin who own and operate Perrodin Supply Company, a small supply store in the heart of Northwest Arkansas. It is a mom & pop style business that prides itself on old-fashioned friendships and exceptional products.

Jonathan is the sole carpenter behind PSCo, and last Friday, February 22nd, Jonathan amputated his right index finger while working in their studio. In a moment, their lives changed. Now they are trying to figure out how to move forward with their business, but the damage to Jonathan's finger has resulted in loss of time, as well as huge medical bills.

That's where we come in! In an amazing show of support, handmade artists and makers across the states have decided to organize a fundraiser. Beginning on Monday, March 11th, donated goods are being sold in an online pop up shop, and all of the proceeds will be donated directly to the Perrodin family to help them with their medical bills.

So mark your calendars for March 11th and bookmark the FFF online shop. Or donate directly to the Perrodin's using the "donate" button located on our sidebar. If you are interested in donating products for this fundraiser, contact us here.

Thank you so much,

The Four Finger Fundraiser Team"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bella Vita - Branding

New logo design in full color.
   After weeks of working closely with the lovely ladies over at Braid Creative in Oklahoma City, I am happy to show off what these creative geniuses came up with for Bella Vita!
   I decided that I wanted to update my brand and the overall look and feel of Bella Vita. I loved the "shop girl" logo but I also feel like I have "outgrown" her. I think she served her purpose for the past 4 years but I wanted to update the Bella Vita look to something more timeless and sophisticated. I also wanted to  bring everything back to a more cohesive look and feel and to also tell my story and the story behind my designs. I felt like things had gotten scattered over the past year or so and since my designs have evolved and taken new directions I thought this would be a good time to re-brand.

New logo design in black/white. I have it in white as well to use as an overlay on images.


Bella Vita Approach:
I’m Brandy Thomason McNair, and I create artisan jewelry with an eye for design and a love for all things vintage. 

For me, Bella Vita is about an appreciation for style and craft.
It lets me work with my hands, curate and blend objects and elements, and create a way for people to express their natural style.

For my customers, it’s about making that thoughtful statement – sharing their story with the pieces they wear.
It could be the story of their people or places, as they take a bit of their loved ones, or their home state – with them wherever they go.
Or maybe they just love that the piece already has a story.

I often go “treasure hunting” around the country, searching for natural and vintage elements
to use in my work. Old lockets, gemstones, chains - materials with meaning continually inspire my designs and give Bella Vita creations that authentic feel, like a patina.

How I curate these elements and design and craft what they become is a story I like to share, as well.
Raw materials, unfinished pieces, snapshots into my studio and bits of inspiration along the way – are just glimpses into my artisan approach. It's a bit like seeing the kind of details you're most drawn to, being "written" along the way.

So whether small and simple,or a statement piece, a little bit of Bella Vita – helps you tell your story, too. 

New postcard design - front.
 Postcard back...

Renamed the lines of Bella Vita. Vintage Treasures, Simple Stories, Natural Elements, and __________. Still trying to come up with a name for "Trendy Chic," the line that features high quality Czech glass beads. Suggestions?

  So, I am still the same Bella Vita that I have always been. My website, facebook, etsy, and blog are just going to look a little different as I update all of them. The goal is for everything to flow together perfectly and tell my story and the Bella Vita process the way it should be told. If you want to see the process slides and images of my studio, where the magic happens, check out my album on facebook.
And, if you feel like it, leave me a comment. I'd love to hear your feedback!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sneak Peak - Bella Vita Re-Brand

  So, I have been working closely with Braid Creative out of OKC on a re-brand of Bella Vita. I am planning a full reveal blog post in the next week or so but, since I can't keep ANYTHING secret, I wanted to give you all a sneak peak at what is to come.
Please stay tuned for the full story and reveal - sometime next week!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Tree of Life

  Meet Linda. Linda is a mother, grandmother, and wife. From what I know of her she is very interesting, retired, and Grandmother extraordinaire to her grand kids!  I met Linda at the Myriad Pop Up Shops back in December. She had seen  my work a week before at Deluxe (another show I do in OKC) and had been thiking about her order. She started by commissioning a piece for her daughter, then came to me the next day for a couple of necklaces for her son in law to gift to his Mom's... then we started talking about a large piece for her husbands Mom. This piece had 14 names on it and was by far the largest design I had to tackle to date. After going back and forth a few times we both decided that incorporating the tree of life was necessary and all 14 names and birthstones were necessary. Above is the final design, all 14 kids and grand kids with their birthstones and the Mom's birsthone is the ruby at the top!

  After Christmas I started working on Linda's piece. She gave me a locket wither her daughters pictures in it and told me to do what I wanted... I added her children and her grand children's names and birth date's as well as their birthstones. After one of our design meetings Linda decided that her mother, Ruth, needed to be added too. I thought this was a fabulous idea! Ruth's birthday was in 1923 and that is by far the earliest date I ave stamped, which I thought was really cool!
  She also gave me a small brooch, that belonged to her mother, that she wanted to incorporate some how. This part was a bit tricky, but I finally came up with a way to attach it to the top of the necklace.
  I thoroughly enjoyed working on all of these projects and am so glad to have met Linda. She is one of those people that I instantly clicked with. She is very encouraging of my work which meant a lot to me.

  Have family pieces you would like to turn into a custom more personal design? Feel free to contact me for an estimate/design idea, I'd love to help!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

To Market, To Market - Tucson Adventures

My first time flying into Colorado. Beautiful!!
  I returned from my big buying trip in Tucson, Arizona on Sunday. Normally I would have blogged about all my goodies every morning as I drank my coffee... but, I just didn't have time this year. I also came down with a ~36 hour stomach bug on day 3 that knocked me out of my shopping groove. I was glad that I hit it hard on Tuesday and Wednesday because Thursday and Friday were pretty tough for shopping. I went out into the crowds even though I felt like hell.

  This year my friend Stefanie and I stayed with a Tucson resident at her home. I had these lodging arrangements last year with another woman and I honestly prefer to stay at a house vs. a hotel. You don't have to be around hundreds of other people and it is so nice and quiet. Although the day I was sick I was wishing there was a second restroom! But, all in all, our hosts house was nice and cozy.

  Stefanie and I met last year via Twitter. Some how I started following her biz on Twitter and replied to one of her tweets and we met up at a restaurant. We kept joking that we were celebrating our first anniversary this year! :)

Stef and I at dinner at Cafe Poca Cosa!
Any who, on to the beads!
  I stocked up on all sorts of new colors of gemstones! I tried to get some new stones and new shapes. I also got some really groovy new Czech glass that I am dying to make something with! And there is much much more... you'll have to follow along on facebook and instagram to see the rest as I unpack :)

  So, just one more thing...  During one of my shopping days I was at one of my favorite vendors browsing vermeil and sterling silver charms. I looked up at the lady next to me and read her badge and realized it was the head buyer for Chan Luu! I totally spied her pile of goodies!! I can't wait t see them pop up in their designs soon. That was my only "celebrity" sighting. It's funny because these shows are so huge you never know who you will be shopping next to!
African textiles. I totally bought the blue/purple/pink one in the top right hand corner!!! 6 yards and I have no idea what to do with it. All I know is it is pretty.
African trade beads for miles.
My biggest splurge! Tourmaline and lepidocrocite and I can't remember the name of the blue :)
New gemstones... ooohhhh!

Shell pendants....
Zodiac stamps.
Chain! Opalite.
New adjustable two stone rings. These feel so good on your finger! I think they will retail for around $50. I'll be posting them on facebook soon if you are interested.
Beautiful baskets from Africa! At this point I am wishing I had endless amounts of space so I could stock up on inventory.
Vintage ribbons and trims. I just looked :)
Black obsidian arrowheads (and the geode I got cracked open).
Barrels full of geodes and rocks.
The cracking process! My Grandpa used to do this for tourists that came through Bear Creek Springs. It was always fun to watch so I have decided to get one cracked open every year from now on.
It was beautiful. I told the lady helping me that I was picking a special one.
Goodbye Tucson! You are beautiful and I hope to see you next year. I have LOTS of work to do now!

Monday, February 4, 2013


  I'd like to introduce you to my good friend Sunshine's new business venture. Perch'd, a modern home accessories store located in Automobile Alley in OKC. Sunshine has a great eye for design and you will recognize that as soon as you pull up to her new shop. I think the "coolest" part of her concept is the shipping container that she up-cycled for her storefront. It is, for a lack of better words, "bad ass!" It doesn't stop there, she carries a plethora of interesting modern pieces you will fall in love with. Check out my favorites below and be sure to follow Perch'd on facebook and instagram @perchdmodern. Oh, and she carries Bella Vita Oklahoma necklaces and Thunder Up necklaces!