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Category Archives: Jewelry

Taking a look back at 2013

A few weeks into the new year and it is time to take a look back and see what happened in 2013. Mind you, I quit coffee cold turkey yesterday (for the 432nd time), and am writing this with taped up eyelids dosed on pain meds. Let’s see if I can get through it. Here we go:

2013, just like 2012 was a year of massive change for me, Mr. Lentz. In the beginning of the year I had just returned from an 8 month journey through Central and South America. I was in culture shock. There are a lot of things you don’t get while traveling and one of the biggest ones that bothered me was the lack of some solid mental stimulation. Traveling is great, it is fun to see new things, new places, new people…but I ultimately missed what I had begun in my workshop in Boulder, CO. That is – designing, building,writing…all around creating. This keeps me busy and gives me a feeling of fulfillment like no other South American ancient ruin can compete with.

So…once I returned to the States, I packed up my stuff in Boulder, CO and headed out West to begin my work anew.

I started from the very beginning, taking a close look at my previous designs and reworking them. Ultimately creating entirely new ideas that were much more refined.

I did the same for my rings, creating new designs, using better materials and in more efficient ways.

I took a break and philosophized a bit about creativity and why you shouldn’t care.

 

Then I made a few more rings…

 

I expanded on my ideas a bit, trying to push them to the limit of what was possible. Out came this Grass Knuckle.

I took the time to write several tutorials, which I am proud to say have helped numerous makers like myself begin in the world of makin’. The one below is about how to build a quick, cheap and sturdy workbench.

Then I threw together an idea about a wood and leather lunch box. It came together nicely, but I am still looking to improve the design.

Several fans requested a simple leather wallet tutorial…so I made one. I realized that a lot goes into a simple leather piece like this just to get it looking right.

Partly due to my own forgetting of the steps to make a leather belt (there are many) – I made a tutorial of one. This guy now sells in my shop, it’s a fine piece of work.

There were a few ideas I had to scrap. The one below is a leather and dye combo I do not use anymore – in favor of natural dyes I make by hand.

This phone wallet below was scrapped. It included a secret interior pouch…that was extremely time consuming to make.

Many new wallets were born this year. The time taken to conceptualize, design, template, create, refine and finish for sale in the shop is immense! – But worth every second. I love designing new work, the best part is when I condition up the leather with my own hand made leather balm (extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, carnauba wax), the leather glows with deep and rich colors.

Constantly experimenting with new ways to create natural colors from vegetable matter…I added two more color options Dust Storm and Stallion – though soon to be combined into just the Stallion.

For a brief period I created a desertscape for photographing my leather goods. This proved hard to maintain in the longrun and I quickly switched back to wood backdrops.

Realizing the importance of getting away is crucial to the creative mind. I took a break in Colorado, hiked a fourteener and let my mind be free and wander without anything or anyone to tell me what needed to be done next. I recommend this for everyone – take a nice solo week and drive off somewhere towards nature. You will be glad you did.

Some designs from the past were revived for a custom order. Only to quickly disappear again back into the past.

Mistakes were made, plenty of them. In fact it is quite common as a craftsman to fudge things up every now and then.

I burnt some leather too.

Then I created even more leather designs, a purse, cuff and the belt from my tutorial.

 

Towards the end of the year I disappeared into my workshop, not seeing the light of day for weeks on end. It got busy. Very busy, very quickly. It was a blast and I worked my tail off.Looking back is kind of crazy, just reading through this and realizing how far I have come since my travels ended. There are a lot of new ideas and projects coming along that I will be sharing on here shortly. I have a few fun powertools…still waiting to be unpacked due to the craziness of the Holiday Rush). With them I plan to make bigger things – things for the home and maybe some art. This next year looks like it will be a busy one as well, but I am preparing for it in advance. That’s the great thing about making mistakes – hopefully you remember them and learn a bit from them. I think it’s important that when we are all sittin’ back and thinking about the new year ahead of us, that we also look at the year behind us and continue on that path of improvement. Cheers the 2014!

The Light of Day

A slow, eternal, monotonous creak. The turn of a doorknob. A hint of movement in the air, a breach to the outside world. A sliver of light falling upon the floor…there is life. There is…daylight. The date is December 25th 2013 and out from behind the shadowy depths, beyond view of the doorway, emerges Mr. Lentz.

He is…alive, slightly unrecognizable, and with the apparent glare of 1,00 cups too many of a highly caffeinated blend of coffee. He has survived the mayhem, the madness…the holiday rush of orders.

While the rush was entirely expected…the size of the rush was not. Mr. Lentz thus disappeared from all facets of public life and endured harrowingly long hours in the workshop. Starting in early November and lasting until Christmas day, the mere existence of daylight itself was questioned. From dawn till long after dusk the workshop was a constant arena of precise pandemonium. All orders ordered in time were delivered on time. All customers now rejoicing in their new wallets, belts, necklaces and rings. All coffee shops supplying Mr. Lentz with his daily dose of gallon upon gallon of coffee were sent into the fine frenzy of victory. Mr. Lentz, now awash in the warm rays of sunlight, declares himself victorious and thanks all of you – his fine fans, for your generous support this year. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all!

 

 

Customer Love – Deer Antler Brass Knuckles

A few weeks ago I brought this item back from the dead:

The Deer Antler Brass Knuckles. Made out of fine Walnut wood, carved to perfection. They had been sitting in a box of past shop items waiting to be revived.

…and after a few exchanged messages from a Mr. Lentz Shop fan, Steph G.,  I decided to bring these Knuckles back to life as a custom order.

Steph loved them so much, that she agreed to do a quick improv photo shoot on her own, showing the Deer Antler Brass Knuckles in action. Here’s to customer love…

Thanks again Steph!

If you have a Mr. Lentz handcrafted item you would like to share photos of, please feel free to email me using the contact form above.

Walnut, Grass and Moss Rings

The Black Walnut Tree is a killer. You would never suspect that as it grows in your yard, it is also slowly releasing a toxin out of its roots called Juglone, that works to inhibit the metabolic functions of larger plants. Thus keeping competitors away by suffocating their nutrient intake.

Luckily, once this mighty tree is cut and harvested of all its goodness – it becomes mostly harmless to the human finger.

Except for those rare instances when a small ring is placed on a large finger therefore stifling blood-flow and increasing expletives.

The intent of the new and improved ‘Redwood Ring Series‘ is to build upon the past. Every time I look at my work I notice imperfections, things that could use a bit more finesse. This is the life of a creator – you will never be done.

In the past I had used plain and simple Pine wood with a walnut husk and vinegar stain. This worked for me back then…but when I ventured back into my shop this past week – I decided I could improve things quite a bit. After experimenting with several different varieties of wood, including cherry, oak, and maple, I realized that Black Walnut was the best of all. Not only is it native to the U.S., it also grows plentifully from the eastern plains west, and from Georgia north.

Black walnut is a fairly dense wood that comes with a grayish brown tone. All it takes is one light coat of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to darken and make the grain glow even further.

Each ring created so far is made with real grass or moss that has been dried and preserved to maintain its color and texture. The grass and moss is embedded into the wood and requires no maintenance whatsoever. Though you may want to rub on a little extra virgin olive oil onto the wood every few months if necessary.

All 5 new designs are currently available in the Mr. Lentz Shop. It takes about a day to carve out your ring, then another two for it to be at your doorstep.

Jewelry Giveaway

1st Place: Jennifer Smith of ‘Keep Me Sane’  – Choose any item from the Mr. Lentz Shop. Contact me with your details.

Runner Up: Ann  of  All Things Paper – Contact me to get your 50% off coupon code to the Mr. Lentz Shop

Everyone Else: Thanks for entering, you get 15% off your order plus Free Shipping until 3/08/13. Use this code: MRLENTZ15  when checking out at the shop.

Everyone had great responses to the Cowboys or Indians question. Personally I feel that they both have their place on the land. Both Cowboys and Indians tend to be productive, hardworking people. They thrive off of the outdoors and being one with their territory. Nature plays a huge role for both of them, and that’s good enough for me.

To celebrate the grand re-opening of the Mr. Lentz Shop, here’s a giveaway that’s easy and quick to enter. The winner gets a free necklace from my shop and the runner up gets half off a purchase of any item.

All items in the shop are eco-friendly and made with natural, sustainable materials. All of the moss, grass and wood pieces use real moss that has been dried and preserved, so there is no upkeep necessary. The wood has been stained with a non-toxic water based dye and finished with organic extra virgin coconut oil. If you would like to read more about the pieces check out my latest blog post on them.


Entries were closed at 11pm PST 3/3/13 

How to enter:

Each item completed below counts as an entry, yeehaw!

Enter as many ways as you can, then comment only once on this page, describing the entries you have made.

1. (Only Required item for entry! The others are optional but will enter you even more times.) Subscribe to my monthly emailed newsletter by entering your email in the sidebar ——>

I hate spam too, so my emails will only be sent about once a month to announce new jewelry, giveaways, and other exciting news you may love.

2. Go to the Mr. Lentz Facebook page and ‘Like’ it (you can use the button in the sidebar on this site too). If you already have liked it in the past, you will be automatically entered.

3. Submit any jewelry item from my online shop… found here …..to Pinterest

4. Share this post on facebook on your wall using the ‘like’ button below.

5. (Worth two entries) Blog about this giveaway then put a link to your post in the comments below.

6. Tweet about this giveaway.

7. Submit this page to StumbleUpon.

8. Share this page on your friends’ wall.

9. Answer the following question in two sentences in the comment section below: Cowboys or Indians, and why?



First Place: Any one item in my online shop, you get free, shipped to your front door!

Runner Up: A coupon for half off any item in the online shop.

Everyone Else: Just for entering you get a coupon to my Online Shop, just use by 3/08/13 and get 15% off your order plus free priority shipping in the U.S.!

Use this code: MRLENTZ15

 


Winners will be picked at random based on the entry rules above.

Yeehawwww – 9 ways to get yourself a custom made work of nature. The contest winners will be announced on March 4th, so get up and get goin’.

Moss and Plant Necklaces

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The Redwood Series is back.

A few years ago, in the midst of a foggy overgrown forest, I unsaddled my horse and decided to take a walk. This walk lasted days, meandering through river valleys and steep, dense hillside. The redwood forest did not once fail to impress and inspire me, and so what started out as a trail of footsteps is now a journey into the handmade world of eco-friendly and sustainable jewelry. That journey continues today with a re-designed line of necklaces named The Redwood Series. Here are the first four of the series, a few more are on the way.

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This design was the original idea for the Redwood Series two years back. The dimensions and materials have changed. It is now one quarter the original size and was designed with sustainably harvested wood, real dried and preserved grass, non-toxic water based glue, a water based wood stain, and organic extra virgin coconut oil as a final finish.

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The pieces are lightweight and the chain can be adjusted to fit any size.

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Another popular design from two years ago. This piece features real moss that has been dried and preserved to maintain its original texture. The moss is generally very soft and will change depending on the ambient humidity level. There is no need to water or care for the moss.

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This piece allows you to pick your own flower or small succulent plant and display it in the miniature holder. Change it out every day to match your current outfit.

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The pieces are all packaged in an extremely eco-friendly and sustainable manner. I did this simply because packaging is a wasteful thing. The idea to have my line of jewelry ship in an unwasteful way came from past experiences where I have ordered items online, only to receive them wrapped in plastic, with plastic blow up cushioning, multiple plastic coated flyers, promotional material, business cards, packing slips and whatever else that I could care less about and had to throw in the trash. Everything in my packaging is extremely efficient and made from recycled materials including the priority shipping box, the 100% recycled paper stuffing and the 100% recycled envelope. Simply pull out the necklace and recycle everything else.

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In hindsight, I am glad I took the time to improve my handmade goods. I have created them without destroying everything else…this is important.

Are you currently creating anything by hand? If so – have you looked into the process of where your materials come from and how they might be affecting the environment? Take a second to comment below. I will be happy to answer any questions.

Deconstruct … Redesign

10 months, 5 days, 3 hours and 46 minutes ago I packed up my workshop in Boulder, CO and headed west to catch a plane into the unknown. I have counted every second since then, for in the back of my heart there lived a constant aching to return to the craft that I had left behind. If there was one thing that I had missed more – this was it, the freedom to create from the mind and construct with the hands. With Boulder long in the dust, my shop is now finally starting to take shape in the deserts of the Southwest.

After unpacking my saddlebag and examining the jewelry pieces designed from over a year ago, I quickly began to realize that I needed to rethink the look of  The Redwood Series. The sizes of the pieces were originally constructed on the basis that they would hold live plants and water in them. After building several prototypes the idea proved impractical but the concept stuck and so a line of large moss jewelry began. Now it’s time to change and simplify, and here is what the process looks like…

Jewelry design begins with a concept. You need an idea to work with, whether that is a mood, a color, texture, sound or memory. In my case I was inspired by the Redwood forests of Northern California. I loved the straight lines of the giant tree trunks, the dark brown textures and the incredible greens in the moss and lichen growing on their sides. I wanted to create pieces that had this same memory in them. Working from last year’s concept I am taking a few pieces and modifying their size, the elements used in their construction, and the packaging they will be placed in for shipment.

In an effort to increase the jewelry’s environmental sustainability I have found suitable non-toxic glues, water based natural wood dyes, a fast growing wood type that is sustainably harvested, and an organic extra virgin coconut oil that will serve as the final finish. The packaging will be as minimal as possible using 100% recycled materials and the absolute minimum of marketing info: a water-based stamp instead of printed business cards . Redesigning with the right materials will allow me to produce these pieces with less of an impact on the earth and at a lower cost to my customers.

It is extremely important as designers that we consciously create in an eco-friendly manner. Good design should always consider sustainable materials with minimal impact on ourselves and the environment. The next time you consider buying a piece of jewelry or perhaps designing one of your own – ask how the piece will be made, with what materials, and if it is possible to create a similar item without toxic elements.

2011, ’twas Interesting

The Year of 2011 was a significant one for me. It was the year I decided to take one step back from the computer and two steps into my newfound passion of woodworking. It’s the year I decided to put doubts and second guessing aside – and just go for it. In 2011 I began to know myself as a photographer, artist, woodworker, writer, dreamer, thinker, pilot, rabbit breeder, illusionist, spanish speaking surfer, and lover of all things made by people who make things the way they want to make them. 2011 was the year of taking yourself back to the traditional arts, the hand made, the imperfect creations. In that year I inspired myself to work with wood, electricity, leather, jewelry, and more. I can only hope that my dabblings have helped to inspire you as well and spread your creations to your neighbors too. Below are some highlights of the past year…

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Perhaps the most significant part of the entire year…my inspiration that would drive the majority of my work… The Redwood forests.

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And of course, I emerged out of the Redwood forests into my very favorite and inspiring city of all – San Francisco. San Francisco played a big part in driving my Beast Series of Jewelry…due to numerous visits to local trendy taxidermy/art shops.

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I started up my jewelry shop, that has quickly become quite a success – thanks to all of you!

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A jewelry giveaway to celebrate my fans… with a second place prize of, yes, a fish for my tank!

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The Friends Making Art Series was established, with my Sis The Welder Girl being the first, as a way to highlight artists far and wide creating quality work.

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A follow up Friends Making Art Series with Ritual Chocolate…the finest handmade chocolate you will ever lay taste-buds on.

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Tinkered with the creation of a cigar box guitar, a fun project indeed.

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Electricity from the wind!

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A few new creations make their way out a bit late in the year.

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Possibly the best photo I have ever taken.

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A rejuvenating road trip/photoshoot with my Best Friend Dara Lynn West. As well as her first of many modeling experiences.

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A good start for the Beast Jewelry Series photo shoot.

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A Russian themed photoshoot to celebrate that absolutely butt-cold freezingness we are currently experiencing out in Ranch Country.

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And… a sneak peak at an upcoming post. Shot in my other other favorite place in the world, just outside of Moab, UT.

Cheers to a new year of exploration to you all!! May 2012 be full of surprises.

Buckle Up

My sister, the badass Weldergirl, makes belt buckles. So it naturally occurred to me, in sporting brotherly competition, that I should make some as well. Luckily we work in different mediums, she wins in metal, and I win with wood… so I guess it’s cats game. Just kidding… I have been wanting to create these buckles since I started to gain an interest in leatherworking. One of the easiest things to make with leather is a belt – minimal cutting and sewing. It’s a good way to learn some basics if you are just getting into things. Naturally belt buckles should follow, and yes I was inspired by my sis who made the belt buckle that I wear pretty much every day. Below I have fashioned 9 new designs as part of the Belt Buckle series for this season. Seven with the Redwood theme and two of Beast. Each buckle has been carefully handcrafted with attention to fine detail. The wood is strong and stained from an all natural and non-toxic concoction of vinegar and walnut husk. Of course the moss is all natural and has been dried and preserved to maintain its color. These creations are now available in my shop where you can buy from me directly. Each one is made to order, so yours will be created specifically for you. Check them out.

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Experimenting with the New

I have been meeting a lot of new people lately, mostly because my ranch house flooded over the last week due to an overgrown irrigation canal (but more on that later – I have pics). Most notably there was an incredibly smart and awesome guy from Poland who shared his views on the economy, Polish communism, and Volkswagens… and then there were the fun group of dudes from Louisiana and Honduras that shared their insights into their homelands and local customs. Who knew that having my place flooded would connect me with so many stories and interesting insights into the world around us. I have not experienced that level of conversation with anyone since my travels through South America. It kind of makes you realize that if you stick to one place, if you think the same thoughts, do the same things day in and day out… that’s all you are and all that you will become. One dimensional. Life is about experiencing people, telling stories, taking risks, being proud of what you believe in, and most importantly being open to new ideas and ways of thinking about things.

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I met a woman who has been opening me up to new perspectives. Showing me how she views the world, notices the details in the grasses and the way the moon glistens over a frozen puddle in the yard. It has been quite intriguing paying attention to a completely new way of seeing things, something that I have not experienced in quite a while. She has already been inspiring me to create new art and take a closer look at what I am capable of. Above and below is a one of a kind belt buckle I created based on new visions. I wont be making this piece for sale, but it was quite fun to branch out from my norm and do something very different. The buckle is made from a mix of wood that has an all natural and non-toxic stain made from walnut husks. The Scary Tree has been carved out of the wood and filled with acrylic, sanded smooth. The hardware on the belt buckle allows you to attach it to any belt with a snap-in connection. I am planning on coming out with a whole series of new buckle designs over the next two weeks. Almost forgot – the belt pictured below is my first shot at handcrafting one. It’s a simple design and one that I plan to expand upon and sell along with my buckles.

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Below is another item that is way out of the norm for my pieces. Also inspired by this mystery woman, it may be hard to see in the photo – but it’s a handcrafted fossil made from everyday kitchen supplies and a deer antler tip. A lot of joy when into making this piece over two days. I love doing random things like this … something out of the box, unusual. Something that forces me to think differently and keep the creative process going.

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Don’t forget to surround yourself with interesting people. And never ever stop questioning your art and your abilities…this is what will challenge you to keep creating.

Fall’s Broad Wings of Fury

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I finally had a chance to make it up into the mountains with the wonderful model Adoree the other day. Unfortunately the sub-zero temperatures and gale force winds brought this shoot to a quick close after only a few poses. Even in the bloody cold chill of fall’s broadening wings, Adoree was able to focus on the pose and get the job done. Ultimately it was me that threw in the towel, as I could not even think a simple thought with the wind blasting my face and sucking the breath from my lungs.
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Ring with Bone

A month ago a girl went on a walk with her dear father from the Eastern Coast. They slipped through narrow gorges, brushed by low lying pine trees, and trampled up steep traverses of mountain. Out of site from the civilized notion, a world of mystery confronted them…

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Within hours, they confronted a large waterfall that fell from the precipice of heights not known. Under this cascade of trickling fury glimmered a single porcelain-white bone from a beast. An animal large enough to pass terror throughout the Northern Woods, no less. The girl and father decided to pluck this form of ossein and mineral matter from the rage of current and return with it to the small village of Boulder whereupon it was gifted to none other than Mr. Lentz…

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And to what was he to do with such an extraordinary find? Why, no reason to dabble in a contemplative manner… it was obvious a Ring with Bone was in order. And so you see above the final minutes of creation where bone met wood met camera trigger. Below, a pre-bone meeting, whence wood had not been cut.

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Giveaway: September

Entries are now closed!

Thank you to all who entered, everyone wins 15% off my online shop. Use this code: MRLENTZ15 when you order through the shop (use button in menu above) Expires October 7th 2011

Congratulations Mandy Spivey of ‘This is a Mind Gap‘….you win! I will contact you shortly with the fascinating details.
Second Place goes to Jessica Ch. – I will be contacting you shortly as well, start trying to decide on your favorite fish.

In celebration of a lot of incredible things happening this month…here is a giveaway! I am very close to completing a secret project that will attach to cruiser bikes, within a week or so of erecting and completing the windmill, about to start learning how to work leather, and on the verge of building new furniture for my house. In a few days I will also be posting the interview and photo shoot with Ritual Chocolate – a local couple who started an incredible and successful biz over the last year. So… let’s get on with it:
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This month I decided to change things up a bit, and I think you will like it.

Up for the giveaway this time is anything $32 or under in my online shop! That’s about 14 jewelry pieces to choose from – so go check it out!

Al of the moss and wood pieces use real moss that has been dried and preserved, so there is no upkeep necessary. The wood has been stained with an all natural and non-toxic mix I made using walnut husks and vinegar. I really wanted to create something safe for people to be wearing close to their skin, and there you have it. There are two pieces that include feathers or fur, with these I sourced the materials from taxidermists that sell their excess scraps that would have otherwise been thrown away.


Winners will be picked at random based on the entry rules below.

EVERYONE: Just for entering you may purchase anything in my Online Shop by 10/7/11 and get 15% off your order!

Use this code: MRLENTZ15

First Place: Any item in my online shop that is $32 or under, you get free, shipped to your front door!

Runner Up: (This was so successful I had to bring it back again on popular request) You get to pick out a fish (from the photo below) that I am going to put in my fish tank. (Seriously I need more fish, the others are lonely)

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How to enter: Each item completed below counts as an entry, yeehaw!

1. (Required for entry!) Subscribe to my monthly emailed newsletter by entering your email in the sidebar above ——>

I hate spam, so emails may only come once a month to announce new jewelry, giveaways, and other exciting news you may love.

2. Go to the Mr. Lentz Facebook page and ‘Like’ it (you can use the button in the sidebar on this site too). Then report back in the comment section below…might as well do step 3 in the same comment. (Don’t worry, if you have already done this in the past you will be automatically entered)

3. Answer the following question in one sentence in the comment section below: What is your favorite type of tree and why?

4. Share this post on facebook on your wall using the button below (then comment below)

5. Share this page on your friends’ wall (then comment below)

6. Tweet about this giveaway, then comment below on your tweet.

7. Submit this page to StumbleUpon, then report back in a comment below.

8. Blog about this giveaway (Worth two entries) then put a link to your post in the comments below.


Yeehawwww – 8 ways to get yourself a custom made work of nature. The contest winners will be announced on September 30th by noon, so get up and get goin’. Remember – just by entering this contest you will receive 15% off anything in my Online Shop until 10/7/11, use code: MRLENTZ15