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Writing Prompt: Road Tripping

11 Aug

“‘Tis the season for road trips — if time and money were out of the equation, what car-based adventure would you go on? (If you don’t or can’t drive, any land-based journey counts.)

Bonus (optional): show us your itinerary by embedding a Google Map into your post!”

Tammy and I both have crazy busy lives yet yearn to travel. One of the first trips we have talked about is a car trip from Oregon/Washington all the way to Arizona so that we could go to one of the largest gem and bead shows in the country. This trip is over 1400 miles one way without taking any side trips or any real stops, so we might as well do a full crazy excursion! 

As you can see the fastest most direct route would be doing most of our driving through California. Instead the adventures can include several other states and since this is a dream road trip without money or time limitations, why not dream a bit bigger than the fastest most direct route? There are tons of things that we both want to do as we pass through! From hikes, to places that hit our must try eateries, and a few off the “norm” touristy things like hitting a seldom heard of or known mining town.

Over the next several weeks (each Monday) I will walk you through the potentials of this dream road trip. Check back often as we touch on Crater Lake Oregon after 112 miles.


Writing Prompt: Back to Life

4 Aug

After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing

exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?”

Tammy and I of Entwined Vines Jewelry both have very busy lives. Tammy works at a corporate styled job that frequently requires overtime. This entire year has entailed mandatory 7 days a week with an average of 10 hours each day. This is on top of everyone normal; laundry, house work, yard work, maintaining of this house that she is the sole owner and resident. As you can imagine this is grueling week after week. I also have a pretty crazy life of a household of 6, running and operating of an in-home child care that is open a minimum of 60 hours a week, extended care with a special needs child for an additional 59 hours a week, as well as another business where I create cards, scrapbook pages, and sell products like paper and embellishments. We both continue to work Entwined Vines Jewelry AND work our share of duties with Artistic Portland a local artisans co-operative storefront (If you find yourself in the Portland, Oregon area be sure to stop by the shop and check it out as it is way cool and always changing depending on the members and what we are all creating at the time!) We both have one primary thing that always makes us feel human again and that is weaving wire. I know that I have mentioned many times that our passion is creating Viking knit pieces of jewelry and I am going to keep repeating this as it holds true many years later.  Interested in seeing more? Checkout our studio on Artfire or swing by Artistic Portland for the in-person experience. Until then please take a moment to look through the following and then make a comment. If the comment is approved your name will be entered into a drawing for a free product later this year!

Dichroic Lampwork Glass Viking Knit Bracelet


Red Tigers Eye Viking Knit Bracelet


Fused Glass Fish Viking Knit Necklace

Amethyst Viking Knit Necklace

Bring it on!

10 Mar

“Do you thrive under pressure or crumble at the thought of it? Does your best stuff surface as the deadline approaches or do you need to iterate, day after day to achieve something you’re proud of? Tell us how you work best.”

Tammy and I (here are Entwined Vines Jewelry) both seem to like planning and plotting to achieve a goal but when push comes to shove and the heat is turned up, that deadline is actively upon us we holler “bring it on” and chuckle as we know we can take it with fierce and powerful success. We seem to always be working on projects and in our minds working through the steps needed to reach a deadline with great results so when it comes to that “moment” of make it or break it we are very accomplished and thriving. Not long ago we had learned of a grant project that we had not heard about before and although we had never applied for anything like this before we looked into it. We thought is would be a great fit for the co-op we are a part of (Artistic Portland) but it was getting to the wire when it was presented. When it was decided that the co-operative would not be able to do justice to the activity we dove right in. We had no clue and no time left as the deadline was less than 5 hours away (talk about cutting it close lol). This  grant required a nice batch of writing and question and answer time where both of us had to like and agree to our answers one a day we both worked our “normal” jobs till after the deadline time set so we had to scramble through text messages and fast as you can think emails to accomplish this. We did it! We made the deadline by minutes complete with spectacular photos and a write-up we were more than pleased with. We then had two weeks to try to get caught-up with thousands of other people to recruit votes to make it into the next level for the grant. We gave it a huge effort and although we did not make the next level we are beyond happy with how for we made it and with the shear amount of knowledge gained through this experience. We had another un-expected bonus as well, follower in all our social media venues and dramatic increase of interest in our one of a kind pieces or wearable art! Will we apply again? You bet we will and although we will have more time to iterate that last minute deadline kicked us into over drive and we rocked it just like always. Take a moment and share where you stand on pressure and how you manage, we love to hear from all of you!


“Every Artist Deserves a Home”

3 Mar

“Tell us about a situation where you’d hoped against all hope, where the odds were completely stacked against you, yet you triumphed. Be sure to describe your situation in full detail. Tell us all about your triumph in all its glory.”


Tammy and I have hopes to make Entwined Vines into our primary source of income like many artists and we have seen how hard that can be. With this in mind we work hard to keep momentum and set goals along the way. We started off with a very tiny part of a booth at bazars as well as online at Artfire. We knew that with our primary creative endeavor as Jewelry Artists required us to get “known” as many people have no clue what Viking Knit is let alone how amazing it is and how comfortable it is to wear while getting huge amounts of positive attention. We knew that is people did not actually see our pieces or see how it is made and how much time and materials go into each piece that we would not be able to make sales let along grow. With this knowledge, we set out to be in positions to be seen more and more so we went through the extensive application process and involvement of becoming members of the Portland Saturday Market (not to be confused with a farmers market). We worked hard at this for three years which was our goal but had concerns that our online sales had been going up but were not stable enough to remove ourselves out of the public eye but knew that our personal lives had been taxed with needing to work 5 days a week at our “normal” jobs and then working so many hours every weekend. Something HAD to give and we were talking about what our options were and voiced that is would be really nice to be a part of an indoor artisans market but that it just was not reasonable as there were no options like that in the area that were not styled as a consignment kind of thing and we both need to be in charge of our work and not just hand it over blindly to a “boss”.

Once we both found our inclination to be a part of a store-front business we looked at cost and energy that would take and yet again we were blown away with the shear level of crazy that would take from both of us to make that happen. We had sadly put that on a back burner as not do-able yet dream worthy when a business acquaintance approached us with a “golden” opportunity; to be a part of a co-operatively owned and operated artisan store-front! Our dream!!! The group was small and had only started brain storming and plotting a month prior so we knew that the work would be intense with huge possibility of not being able to get off the ground let along real success. The formation of by-laws, getting a business license, learning the local laws, figuring out a base start-up budget, finding a location that would work for all, all the little things that a business has to work through before even opening had to be learned and implemented for not just one business but a group of 40+. We found a location and things were looking up to learn that it had fallen through the month before projected opening and the group was stress and crest-fallen. We had high hopes that had tons of momentum and had gone from zero to 100 in a few short months. The scramble was on and the newly appointed board of directors franticly searched for a new location that was in the original area yet still fit all our needs. In less than a week they succeeded although there was added stress as the rent was significantly higher than planned and several people were starting to re-consider paying to be fully a part of this venture as we had passed projected open dates a few times (we had dreamed big and had hoped to open in March – remember planning started only in December) as well as the daunting issue of funding since our very first ever kickstarter project had been basically a bust. Was our hope going to get shattered? Would we as a collective manage to succeed?

The results are still out but it feels like we as a collective have succeeded and Entwined Vines is still an active part of this. Artistic Portland was officially open for business June first after just 6 months of crazy hard work, several downs, and mega up’s. In the last several months the group had shrunk and then grown, we have transitioned, had trials, growing pains as a group as we learned to work together while still working as individual leaders, teams have formed and take off with mostly incredible results, and our hope continues to grow and evolve to greater heights. Entwined Vines is still working on sales through Artfire while growing and working in our community and loving almost every moment of it. Hopes and dreams are completely worth chasing and making true so follow yours then share in our comments.


Different types

18 Feb

Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different? ” this prompt brought to you by:


Entwined Vines Jewelry is based out of Milwaukie, Oregon; we are online and now have a nice selection in a storefront in the Hollywood District of Portland, when we talk a walk through the area we find a very diverse populous. We have a few very poor homeless folk that walk the street collecting cans to return for cash, a soul standing at the off-ramp of the interstate panhandling on one end of our spectrum. On the other end of that spectrum just as easily seen on our neighborhood walk those fortunate individuals and families that are well off; huge home with services provided such as lawn and house cleaning, live in nanny, and pre-made meals courtesy of their chef that magically delivers straight into their kitchens complete with heating instructions for that “home cooked meal” feel without a lick of effort or clean-up.

On average though most of the people in this area are the working class. People get up very early to have a hearty breakfast and then off to a traditional Monday through Friday job that if they are fortunate has decent benefits where they have built relationships with several co-workers enough to feel comfortable enjoying the opportunity to visit during breaks and lunch. When the work day is done cars pass by the droves as everyone travels home to make basic “all American” dinners (what ever that may be) to talk with their children and spouses before doing daily chores and trundling off to an early to bed start and repeat for the next day. These people enjoy yard work, bbq’s in the summer and gabbing with their neighbors when they pass each other when they are out gathering mail or getting in a short walk at the end of their day. We mostly seem to live in late 1960’s early 1970’s era ranch style homes with tidy yards and children that are bless to be able to play out front with one another while knowing a safe adult is helping keep an eye out for if there is need.

With the majority of people in this area being so “June Cleaver” normal one would think “old fashioned” or maybe even “boring” would be how we look. Thankfully the “average” and “normal” person here has a flair for unique and creative. Art is common and desired here where there are “strange” art cars, fashion is eclectic on its most drab day and outlandish on others, hair color can change by the day and body art is the norm.  I have seen a minister perform a wedding ceremony with tattoos along his neck and up onto his face, an attorney with ear plugs that reminded me of the tribes men of Africa and as long as each expression is done with taste each individual can be treated with the respect of their position. This diversity spans the ages, genders, beliefs, and social classes.