Meet Our Creative Families

Our last two blog posts have featured an inside look at how we make jewelry and where we create.  We thought we’d finish off this “getting to know us” series by introducing you to our creative families.  Creativity comes in many different forms and as parents we encourage any form that makes our kids happy.  We try to lead by example, taking on new creative projects that stretch and inspire us.

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Kristi’s husband Matt is very musically talented. He plays everything from stand-up bass, violin, mandolin, keyboards, guitar, and more. In school he was part of a Barbershop Quartet and played in the Jazz band. His current favorite instrument is the violin but since he loves bluegrass music so much we’ll call it a fiddle.

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Kristi’s eldest daughter, Amy, is a talented pianist and violinist. She plays violin in her school’s Chamber Orchestra and takes private violin and piano lessons. She will be heading to All-State Solo and Ensemble Festival at the end of April, where she will perform on both violin and piano.

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Kristi’s youngest daughter, Mary Alice, has participated in Musical Theater for years. She is taking a break to focus on volleyball this year but she is looking forward to being on the debate team when she enters high school next year.

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Carolyn’s husband, Dwayne, is camera shy but check out the mural that he hand-painted for their sons bedroom. The volcano is textured and that Brachiosaurus is running so hard from the erupting volcano that he’s bursting through the wall.

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Carolyn’s eldest son, Charlie, plays viola with the 7th grade and 8th grade orchestras at his middle school. Charlie has also been taking private guitar lessons for 4 years. He’s working really hard at mastering Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now for his upcoming recital. Charlie loves to write fiction as well as producing movies with his brother Ben.

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Carolyn’s youngest son, Ben, is an author. At the age of 10 he is already submitting his short stories to magazines for publication. Ben loves writing and producing short movies with his brother. Ben is also working on his musical side by taking piano lessons from Amy.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know us a little better over the past month and a half.  We’ve had fun sharing our process, workspace and finally our families with you.  We hope that, like us, you are doing something that makes your heart sing.

A Behind the Scenes Peek at Kristi’s Creative Space

Two weeks ago we gave you a behind the scenes peek of our process of making.  We showed you the kinds of tools we use when we cut and shape a retired drum cymbal into a pair of earrings.  If you missed it you can find it here.

This week we want to share a behind the scenes peek at Kristi’s workspace.  We have separate workshops/ studios in our respective homes.  Both of our workshops have cool tools and generally a big mess of metal & wood shavings but Kristi’s workspace is definitely the prettiest of the two.

Welcome to Kristi's studio!

Welcome to Kristi’s studio!

There are a LOT of supplies involved in making jewelry from beads to metal findings and last but not least the focal pieces which for us are musical instruments or antiques.  If you look at the bottom left hand corner of this photo you will see Kristi’s custom stamping bench that she uses when adding quotes or words to antique silverware.  On the middle left side, several boxes of beads.  Center, hanging beads. Want to know a secret about Kristi?  She’s a button and bead hoarder.  Those beads you see in this photo?  They are just the tip of the iceberg.

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Kristi likes sparkly beads and has a talent for mixing colors.

 

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Can you see the sign that says “Of course I talk to myself! Sometimes I need expert advice.”?

Another secret about Kristi?  She talks to herself.  A lot.  One of side effects of working alone most of the time.  We all do it.  Right?  If you look in the top right hand corner of the photo above you’ll see a framed book page featuring an image from one of Kristi’s hand-carved stamps.  You can see more evidence of Kristi’s talent at hand-carving rubber stamps on the note cards displayed down the right hand side of the photo.  Kristi’s work space is full of fun and beautiful items, collected over the years, that inspire her.  We both love to fill our work areas with handmade items that we love.  Hey look, there are more beads on the top right-hand corner of her work bench!

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Can you guess what each of these tools is used for?

One of my favorite things about Kristi’s workspace is that it’s filled with customized organization solutions like the magnetic strip she uses to keep her pliers, screw drivers and other tools organized.

If you’d like to see our creations please visit us at hangupsinkc.com.

Thanks for joining us for this behind the scenes peek at Kristi’s studio.  We would love to see your work area, pretty or not.  Post a picture in the comments section and we can share tips on functionality and organization.

Have a great week!

 

 

A Behind the Scenes Peek at the Making of Drum Cymbal Earrings

Kristi & I rarely make jewelry for ourselves.  I guess it’s a hazard of any “maker” occupation.  We are so busy creating for others that we forget to make ourselves new jewelry.   I made Kristi drum cymbal earrings a few weeks ago and admire how pretty they look every time she wears them.  Today I decided that I need a pair of earrings for myself.

Welcome to my workshop.  It’s not fancy but it’s bright and functional.  It’s my favorite place to spend my days.

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After some experimentation I’ve found that my Dremel is the best tool to use when cutting the cymbal.

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Sanding pieces of metal this small is tricky. I can’t wear gloves because the piece of cymbal is too small to grip. It gets VERY hot so patience is required.

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I love my drill press so much. For projects like this it is so fast & easy!

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I decided against beads so I just needed to add the ear wires.

Ta-da!

What do you think?

What do you think?

Stay tuned – next week we’ll give you a behind the scenes look at Kristi’s workspace.

Have a great week friends!

 

 

Please Vote For Us in KC Source Links Battle of the Brands!

We are competing in KC Source Links Battle of the Brands.  The competition is fierce so we would really appreciate your vote in the Microenterprise Brand Category.  It only takes a second and doesn’t require account set-up. Votes must be entered by Thursday February 25th at 4pm. You can vote for us by clicking here.  Thank you to those of you who take the time to vote.  We appreciate your support!

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This competition is the icing on the cake of a fabulous February for us here at Hang Ups in KC.  We have so much to celebrate and wanted to share all the good stuff that’s been coming our way with you.

  • At the beginning of the month we were featured on Better Kansas City, a morning show on KCTV3.   They focused on how Hang Ups in KC came to be as well as our non-profit partnerships.  If you’d like to watch the segment click here.

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Hang Ups at Nelson Atkins

  • A pair of our saxophone cuff links made it to the 2016 Grammy Awards thanks to saxophonist George Shelby who performed during the Lionel Richie tribute.  George was kind enough to take photos and share them with us.

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Thank you for taking the time to vote for us in Battle of the Brands.  We are so grateful for each and every one of you.  Have a wonderful final week of February!

 

What Pulls at our Heartstrings here at Hang Ups in KC

Instead of showing you our love-themed jewelry for Valentines Day we decided to tell you about a cause that we love instead.

If you follow us on social media you hear us talk a lot about Band of Angels a lot.  Who are Band of Angels?  Band of Angels is an amazing Kansas City based non-profit organization who collects used music instruments from those who no longer want them and helps make them available to kids in need who couldn’t otherwise afford them. Donated instruments are refurbished and restored to playing condition before given to a student. Cash donations are accepted also, which are used to purchase instruments. With these instruments, students can join their school’s band and orchestra programs. Also, funds raised help send students to summer music camp with full scholarships.  To learn more or donate please visit them at www.bandofangelskc.org.   Hang Ups in KC partnered with Band of Angels about two years ago.  We take instruments that cannot be repaired and make jewelry from them.  A generous portion of the sale of every piece of our musical instrument jewelry goes directly back to Band of Angels.  If you would like to check out our Band of Angels Collection on our website click here.  Here’s a small sampling of what we can do with retired instruments:

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Clarinet Key Necklace                                             Drum Cymbal Earrings

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Saxophone Key Cuff Links                                     Trumpet Valve Cap Necklace

Band of Angels has two major fundraisers a year:  Heartstrings in February and Art that Blows in June.  Last Saturday was the most successful Heartstrings Gala yet.  There were approximately 400 attendees who showed up to support this amazing cause.  George Shelby was the special guest performer.  During his 35 year career he has played saxophone with Beyoncé, Michael McDonald, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Toto, Bruce Springsteen, Hilary Duff, Bono, Sting, Elton John, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Johnny Mathis, and many others.  Joining him on stage were Band of Angels beneficiaries and wonderful spokespeople Morgan & Connor Cravens.

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Carolyn & Kristi hanging out with George Shelby

Just click on this link for a peek at Band of Angels Gala 2016 featuring George Shelby and Morgan and Connor Cravens performing.

Here’s a few more photos of this fun event.  If you live in the Kansas City area please join us next year.  Keep an eye on the Band of Angels website for details.  Tickets sell out fast!

12715964_1086071488119342_9114371353106603901_o[1] 12710748_1086067334786424_5069310862741253996_o[1] 12646797_1086069868119504_5147038494270701928_o[1]  We are very passionate about our partnership with Band of Angels and are grateful that our path crossed with Mike Meyer from Meyer Music two years ago.  We would like to say thank you to the entire Meyer family for involving us with this amazing organization!

Happy Valentines Day!

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Kristi & Carolyn with Valentines Matt & Dwayne

 

 

The Christmas Rush Is Over – Now What?

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Have you ever wondered what handmade entrepreneurs do once the Christmas rush is over? The first thing we do is take some time to relax and recover from an incredibly busy season of making, completing special orders, working shows and fulfilling, packing and mailing online and phone orders.  Then we clean our studios, which look like a tornado has been through them.  Kristi & I use this down time to take creative classes, business courses and attend a conference.  This is a fun time of year because we get to dream big.  Imagine what we could do with this fresh new year?  We thought we’d share with you some of the things we do to strenghen our creative muscles and grow our business acumen.

At the Craftcation Conference last March, Kristi took a class on working with Precious Metal Clay.  This is a process of creating precious metal pendants and charms from a special clay.  What Kristi created in the class was beautiful.  So last fall we purchased a kiln so that we can start making our own charms and pendants.  Kristi recently took a class with artist Gale Schlagel via the PMC Connection to learn more about this tricky process.  Now we are ready to fire our new kiln up!

We just signed up for a FREE e-course with Tara Swiger called The Power of Confidence designed to defeat self-doubt and build business confidence.  Tara Swiger is an author, maker & business consultant who we met last year in California at Craftcation.  We were very impressed with her very sharp, analytical mind and energy level.

While we’re talking about the amazing Tara Swiger, we have also signed on for her Flight Plan SessionWe have some pretty awesome goals for 2016.  She will work with us to build a marketing plan and system to accomplish our goals.  We are very excited to be working with her to grow our business!

MidWest CraftCon is a newly established conference for Makers.  Similar to Craftcation, they offer a wide range of classes from “maker” business skills to creative fun.  This March, Kristi & I will be attending this conference, located in Columbus, Ohio.  We are looking forward to making new creative like-minded friends from the Mid-West.  We are especially excited about keynote speakers Lisa Congden from Lisa Congden Art + Illistration and author & creative business guru Abby Glassenberg from While She Naps.  We’re also excited to be able to meet with Tara Swiger in person to work on our marketing plan since she is speaking at the conference.  Both Craftcation and MidWest CraftCon are perfect for creative people who are considering selling their arts & crafts to people with established businesses.

This only takes us until the end of February – imagine what could happen with the rest of the year!

We believe that expressing ourselves creatively is good for the soul.  We challenge you to make room in your busy schedule to try something new creatively this year. Get ideas and document your journey on Instagram using the hashtag #yearofmaking.  See the awesome Create doodle below?  Kristi drew that as part of our #yearofmaking challenge.

Have fun!

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What’s Happening with Hang Ups in KC in the New Year

Happy New Year!  We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with great food, family and fun.

On January 11th, we started the New Year out on the right foot by participating in Books, Brains & Boulevard – a very fun trivia night fundraiser for our friends at Literacy Kansas City.  This event takes place annually at beautiful Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City.   Fun was had and money was raised for a very worthy local non-profit who have such a positive impact on our city. Books, Brains & Blvd

Kristi striking a pose at Books, Brains & Boulevard

As the busy Christmas season slides into January we have a lot of fun discussing where we want to take our business in the new year.  It’s a time for fresh ideas and dreaming big.  Every spring we attend a conference for makers who are small business owners.  For the past three years, in March, we’ve had a blast at Craftcation in Ventura, California.  Next month we are doing something a little different and attending Midwest CraftCon in Columbus, Ohio.  We look forward to seeing two of our very favorite speakers:  author and creative business guru Abby Glassenberg and artist extraoridinaire Lisa Congdon from Lisa Congdon Art + Illustration.

Thanks for following us on this crazy fun ride.  We are so grateful for each and every one of you and for your support.  Stay tuned for exciting developments for 2016!

Happy Thanksgiving from Hang Ups in KC

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.

We both feel so blessed with the support of our families, friends and our customers on this crazy fun journey we’re on.
If you’d like to come out and see us in person in December we’ll have a pop-up shop open at Meyer Music in Overland Park (corner of 133rd and Quivera) on Saturday December 5th and at Meyer Music North (at the Boardwalk Square Shopping Center) on Saturday December 12th.
We wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!

Hang Ups in KC at the Kansas City Symphony

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One of our goals for this fall was to introduce our Band of Angels Collection to symphony gift shops across the country.  Our Band of Angels Collection features handmade jewelry created from retired musical instruments.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this jewelry collection goes to Band of Angels KC, a non-profit dedicated to collecting and distributing instruments to kids in need.

We are very proud to announce that select pieces from our Band of Angels Collection can now be purchased at the Kansas City Symphony Alliance Shop!  This shop is located in the Brandmeyer Grand Hall of the award winning Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

These are a few of the designs that can be found at the Kansas City Symphony Alliance Shop:

150111-BA Flute Key Charm Necklace CRsm

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We are passionate about our work with Band of Angels KC and have great plans for the future of this collection.   We have a favor to ask of you.  If you have any contacts at Symphonies, Operas and Performing Arts Centers across the United States, Canada or anywhere else in the world please share our work with them.  Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool.

Thank you for accompanying us on this wonderful journey!

Where You Can Find Hang Ups in KC This Fall

Fall is fast approaching.  The kids are back to school, vacations have been taken and Hang Ups is in full swing again.  This fall will be a little different from past years’ for us.  This year we are only doing one show where, in the past, we’ve done several.  We have stepped back from the fall show circuit to celebrate some big birthdays (that happened to fall on show weekends) with our families.

If you’d like to come out and see our Hang Ups in person we’d love to see you at the Chick Events Handmade & Vintage Show in Leawood, Kansas.  Click here for directions.

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This show takes place Saturday September 12 (10am-8pm) & Sunday September 13th (11am-4pm).  Tickets are $5 per day or $8 for a weekend pass.  Children 12 and under are free.

Some of our favorite makers will be there:

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Dog collars by Ni-Chern Designs

The Little Wing & Stik A Pin In It

“Hi” Hoop Art and Nellie The Friend Doll by The Little Wing and “Thread Licker” Hoop Art and Cat Stitch Art By Stik A Pin In It

We are also looking forward to seeing our friends from A Perfect Treasure, FLiP KC and The Tulle Box.   For a complete list of vendors click here.

If you can’t make it out to the Chick Events Handmade & Vintage Show you can always find us online.  We currently have almost 200 of our creations available on our website.  We have many new items that have not made it to our website yet.  We will be working hard to add these new designs in the weeks following the Chick Events Handmade & Vintage Show.

Happy almost-fall friends!

Carolyn & Kristi