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Simply Wood Rings: What We Do

Simply Wood Rings

The Ever-Present Moment

Have you ever had a trusty keepsake to remind you of a fleeting moment from the distant past? Something that had the power to return you instantly to the present moment you are in right here, right now?

Perhaps it is a lucky coin or a pressed flower, or a river-smoothed rock you keep in your pocket. Maybe it’s something that has stayed with you for a very long time, marked and changed right along with the flow of life’s events. Perhaps this object brings you back to yourself, as you take note of the tiny changes it has endured over a certain span of time.

Simply Wood Rings is a leader in artisan crafted wooden rings, proudly made in Chicago, Illinois. We create custom artisan-made, deeply meaningful, and uniquely personalized rings for both special and everyday occasions. Our treasured wooden jewelry offers not only symbolic beauty and style but also makes a direct positive contribution to our world and its inhabitants.

Many of our materials are sourced from personally significant items provided by our customers themselves, as well as salvaged and repurposed objects. This allows us to practice sustainability and tell your unique story at the same time.

Ethical Materials Are More Than the Sum of Their Parts

We invite our customers to contribute an object that is sentimental to them, coupled with the wood of their choice. Personal items incorporated into our jewelry may include part of a family heirloom, a meaningful rock, or petals from a person’s wedding bouquet. There was once a couple that walked into our store with a chili pepper and we turned a simple vegetable into a stunning piece of jewelry. This physical representation of an aspect of the personal experience is then inlaid into a new piece of wearable, sustainable, one-of-a-kind handmade wooden art, manifesting as a gorgeous wooden ring.

Our handcrafted custom rings are a way for you to keep a part of your special wedding day close to you at all times. These rings offer our customers a way to make that one memorial day never die, where a woman can basically be a bride forever.

The central components of our craft are the unique and mindfully chosen objects themselves, which carry an expressiveness and symbology directly personal to the person wearing the handmade design. The personal nature of each piece allows it to share its own narrative, and it’s likely that your beautiful eco-friendly wooden ring will invite the opportunity for questions from curious friends, nosy coworkers, and acquaintances. However, it’s up to you how much of your tale you choose to tell.

Telling an Individual Story

We would feel honored to collaborate with you on your unique Simply Wood ring, whether it is celebrating a union between people, a birthday, a milestone, or another special occasion. We work closely with you to understand your particular sensibilities and aesthetic. Essentially, we aim to foster a sense of reverence and honor for the ephemeral nature of these particular objects and woods. On a fundamental level, these types of materials remind us of the present moment and the idea of impermanence. We like to make sure that our philosophy is in friendly contrast with traditional jewelers, whose works specifically indicate the past and the future, denying the only moment we actually ever have, which is right now.

The Importance of Sustainability

Along with our customers, we place great value on our ongoing commitment to sustainable practices in our woodcraft. When in search of a ring to celebrate and represent something special, many people are led to believe that metal is the only choice. This, of course, is not the case. Some people are actually allergic to metal, and sourcing it is extremely hard on our environment. Working responsibly with wood and other environmentally friendly materials gives us a wonderful opportunity to practice our philosophy.

At Simply Wood Rings, we love the process of helping tell a story with each exclusive piece. We are serious about our role in honoring life’s most cherished moments. This professional attitude, coupled with our clients’ passion and the special nature of the objects, creates a finished product that is nothing short of magical. Your Simply Wood Ring will move with you through life in a beautifully ephemeral way, as life moves through you.

For more about Simply Wood Rings and our ring design process, please contact us today!

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Start Making Changes Now! | Earth Day 2018

Looking to make some eco-conscious changes this Earth day?

Well look no further! We came up with some great ideas and helpful tips to help you start with your eco-change.

Eco At Heart ™

Reusable Straws

Drinking straws have become a standard in restaurants and bars. By no you’ve heard how terrible plastic straws can be for the environment. In fact, there are plastic straw bans happening all over. If you can’t let go of the straw, purchase some reusable one! These stainless steel straws from Eco at Heart would be a great choice! They’ve been creating these straws since 2014 and are focused on reducing plastic waste.

Since we’er sure you’re now ready to make the change, head over to the Plastic Pollution Coalition and take the pledge to say “No Straw Please“.

Reusable Bags

Here in Chicago we have a plastic bag tax, which means if you go into any store and didn’t bring your own bags, they will charge you 7 cents per bag. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but who really wants to pay 7 cents every time you go to the store. It seems to be working so far as I am always sure to keep a reusable bag in my car and purse. 

This first company Eco Bags has a great selection of different reusable totes, string bags, produce bags and so many more. Their mission is to “offer thoughtful, ethically and sustainably sourced, durable-reusable bags that inspire people to reduce, reuse, recycle and re-imagine the world we live in.” They’ve been in business since 1989 and by the looks of it, inspired many to switch from plastic bags that just end up in landfills to these great reusable bags!

On the search for reusable totes, I found this company Oxgut. They create furniture, mats, and other great accessories out of used fire hoses! The fire hoses that are reclaimed come from US based firehouse. For me, many of my family members were and are firefighters, so it was exciting to find these cool products.  

Eco Bags
Oxgut
Klean Kanteen

Reusable Water Bottle

Plastic water bottles are out, stainless steel water bottles are in! Klean Kanteen is a family run business that started in 2004, when they wanted a non-toxic alternative to single use water bottles. They have a great selection of different kinds of bottles, food canisters and cups.

Personally, I carry my water bottle everywhere with me, it took a bit to get in the habit but it’s totally worth it.

Other helpful tips

Donate

Donate your gently used items. Clothes, shoes, furniture and kitchen items that are taking up space in your home could be great items for others to use! Also, purchasing used items instead of buying brand new every time.

Grow

Grow your own produce. If you have the space you can grow all kinds of vegetables. Even in a small apartment you can create a herb “garden”. There’s a possibility your neighborhood could have a community garden as well. You’ll feel accomplished when you see your hard work pay off.

Clean

Create your own cleaning products. We tend to use a lot of harsh chemicals to clean, but there are ways to make your own all purpose cleaners that are better for the environment. Mix white vinegar, water, lemon or orange rind for a great smelling cleaner.

Recycle

Recycle your old or broken wood furniture to us! We love when people send us wood to use instead of it ending up in a land fill. If you’re already thinking of a custom ring, we can use your wood and inlay material. 

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Sitting in a Tree Ring | Remembing Moms Courage

Moms courage

A short time before I gave birth to our first daughter, I found out my Mother had cancer. In June of 2014 I learned that she had been diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer. She spent the next eight months going through intense radiation and chemotherapy treatments, while taking a slew of medications. Of course that means she wasn’t able to travel to actually be there for the birth of her first granddaughter, but we took a trip out to Florida as soon as the baby was able to travel.

My Mom fought her cancer with every ounce of strength she had, and while she went into remission from the cancer a multitude of other health problems took over. She developed lymphedema, along with kidney failure. My mom was in constant pain but through it all she always smiled when we were around. She never let anyone see how bad she truly felt and was still trying to take care of everyone around her.

5-10-15 Best Day Ever

In the middle of her battle with these illnesses and her remission she got to see me walk down the aisle, and she was able to meet and spend some time with her two granddaughters.

Ever since that first time I was  told she had cancer it was like a stopwatch had started in the back of all of our minds. How much time did we actually have left with her? The doctors first told us she wouldn’t make it past six months. My mom was the strongest woman I’ve ever known and she beat the all the odds and lived almost a full two years after her diagnosis. She passed away in August of 2016 with friends and family by her side.

A moms love

My mom wasn’t just strong in her fight with cancer. My whole life she showed me how a person can be strong in so many different ways. She showed me how fierce and bright and wonderful a mother’s love truly is, no matter how far apart you are. She drilled in me that girls can whatever we put our mind too and we could be just as tough, if not tougher, than the boys.

My mom was my biggest fan, my shoulder to cry on, and a swift kick in the rear when I needed it. I’m so thankful for the relationship I had and how it’s help mold the one I’m building with my daughters now. I’m thankful for the time she got to spend with them and the incredible amount of love she had/showed them in that short period. A part of me hopes that their coming into this world is what helped her hold on a little bit longer, and its something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Sitting in a tree ring holds meaning

One more thing I can now cherish and have to remind me of that is my own beautiful, one-of-a-kind Simply Wood Rings ring. Thanks to my wonderful best friend, Shelby and the rest of the amazing Simply Wood Rings team for helping commemorate it for me.

The ring that Shelby chose to use as the inspiration for my ring is the ‘Sitting in a Tree’ ring. The Simply Wood Rings ‘Sitting in a Tree’ ring brings the whole family together by using a base wood of an anniversary month and inlays of birth-woods or birth-stones to represent those closest to you.

My own ‘Sitting in a Tree’ ring features a beautiful base wood of Elm. Elm is the anniversary wood for the month of May. Our wedding date was 5-10-15 🙂 It was actually the first time I met most of Korey’s family and it was right before then my mom announced her remission for a brief period of time. That day was the best day ever. Elm has a light to medium reddish brown color and a somewhat coarse, uneven texture. The wood sands easily though for a gorgeous, natural low luster.

For the birthstone inlays, the outer two rings represent my two daughters, so Ruby and Turquoise were used. The middle inlay, representing my mother, is made from Amethyst. I never even thought about it until I put the ring on, but my girls’ birthstone colors mixed together make my Mom’s birthstone color. And purple just happens to by my favorite color too, ha-ha! It’s also kind of like my girls are hugging my mom and that is something really special to me. Not only do the colors of the birthstones mean something to me, but what they each symbolize add another layer for me to cherish in this already incredible memento.

Ruby is the gemstone used for the birth month of July – when my oldest was born. It is said to represent nobility and beauty, and is considered one of the four most precious gems. Turquoise, the gemstone picked for the birth month of December – my youngest was born on New Year’s Eve. It is one of the oldest stones, used in many ancient cultures. It is believed to bring good fortune and symbolizes friendship and prosperity.

For those born in February, like my mom was, they are said to be blessed with Amethyst as their birthstone. This popular gemstone is prized for symbolizing peace, courage, and love. And I don’t think there’s anything more befitting for my mom. She was the definition of courage. She spent nearly three years fighting a despicable disease and other illnesses. In that time she found peace within herself, she loved and lived as hard as she could. The love between her and my daughters fills my heart. Every time I look at this beautiful piece of jewelry that was made with so much thought and care, my heart overflows with all the emotions I feel.

My every day rings (the ring on the right is made from some of my Mom’s ashes)

 

Simply Wood Rings took these wonderfully simple materials and created something so precious to me that I will cherish for the rest of my life. They will do that for you, too. Every ring made by Simply Wood Rings is handled with the same care and attention that my ring received. You can trust them to make something that will have you and your loved one’s heart skip a beat every time they put it on.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

 

 

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Customer Ring Highlight | Alaskan Heritage Gold

Alaskan Heritage: Materials with Grit and Heart

Family Mine in Alaska

The family mine in Alaska

The Story


In early February, we received a commission from a client, Diana, who wanted to design a pair of unique and meaningful rings for herself and her boyfriend. We worked together over the next few weeks to draft the perfect ring for Diana that incorporated Alder wood (abundant in the Pacific Northwest), Purple Agate–her favorite color, a guitar string, and gold flakes that her grandchildren panned from their family gold mine in Alaska. 

We thought the history and meaning of the gold was beautiful and asked Diana if she would provide us with some more information about this special material. Here’s what Diana’s daughter wrote to us: 

My husband comes from a family of gold miners. They have a family-owned and operated mine in the middle of [an] Alaskan peninsula. It’s out in the middle of nowhere–very remote. They fly small airplanes to get there. The family all goes during the workable months of Alaska, those being May-October. They work hard all summer mining, with up to ten family members operating the mining operations and preparations. Other family members (like my kids) hang around, and learn, and play, in the dirt all summer long.

The gold is mined with a floating dredge. There are not really too many of these in operation these days. In fact, this may be the only floating dredge in operation in North America. We always say “maybe” on that because I guess there could be one somewhere out there. You never know.

Their dredge is a giant boat kind of thing with huge metal buckets. It floats along the river (a small section each season) and scoops up the gravel bringing it into the dredge where it’s tossed and turned separating out rocks and dirt…..and the final product is the gold. It’s pretty spectacular.  

The gold I sent you was some that my kids helped to sort one summer while they were out on the mine. I can’t wait to see my mom’s final product. She is very excited about it.

heritage gold mine alaska

The family’s floating Dredge

The Ring


custom wood ring

Alder Wood Ring with Purple Agate, Guitar String, and Heritage Alaskan Gold

We began by using Alder Wood for the ring base and inlaid Purple Agate that was sourced and donated by an employee. We then inlaid a salvaged guitar string and finished the ring design with Diana’s heritage Alaskan gold flakes. We think the result is stunning. 

If you would like to work with us to create a truly one-of-a-kind ring, don’t hesitate to contact us via our commission form or reach out via email or telephone. We love crafting rings by working with you to create something we could never have come up with on our own. 

custom wood ring

Alder Wood Ring with Purple Agate, Guitar String, and Heritage Alaskan Gold

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Chicago Father’s Day Part I : Local Gift Roundup

It’s that time of year. Chicagoans crawl out of hibernation and fathers are celebrated, near and far. Here’s our Chicago-centric gift guide (including a shameless plug of our insanely handsome Father’s Ring). Shop local! 

Gifts​

+ For the Crafty Dad

Scrimshaw Set

This Mollyjogger scrimshaw knife kit has the potential to capitalize on any of dad’s downtime–give him something to apply his long, contemplative silences to. 

Here’s what Mollyjogger has to say about the art of scrimshaw: 

“Scrimshaw is an early American art form originating from the whaling industry in the late 1700’s. During the many idle hours at sea, a whaler etched drawings of nautical themes on items that were readily available to him such as sperm whale teeth and bones. His primary etching instrument was a sail needle, nail or pocket knife. After he scratched his art work into the surface of the bone, he would rub lamp black or tobacco juice into the scratch to reveal the drawing. As America traveled west, the frontiersmen carried the art form with them, applying it to their powderhorns, knives and other accoutrements.”

+ For the Crafty Dad (with More Time on His Hands)

Woodworking Chisels
Fibonacci Curl

One of our employees gave her husband this set and he almost cried. For the aspiring heritage woodworker, these chisels are literally perfection. If you can’t tell, we’re a fan of using reclaimed materials. You could double the impact of this gift with some credit to the Rebuilding Exchange

The great benefit our employee got out of this gift is that her husband now builds unique, handmade shelves, tables, containers, and plant stands for their apartment at a fraction of the cost. 

<– Watch this satisfying GIF of wood curling into perfect fibonacci spirals. 

+ For the Stylish, Nearsighted Papa 

Drift Eyewear Chicago

Atticus / Tortoise Matte / Wenge on Walnut

We’ve got a theme rolling here, so let’s keep on with it for a second. What’s cooler than reclaimed/sustainable wooden eyewear? Not much. The dad in your life deserves these Chicago-made eyeglasses. Check out Drift Eyewear for some seriously handsome spectacles. 

+ For the Eco-Friendly Papi

Fathers Ring on Cholla

Father’s Ring : Rosewood | Pine | Cedar

This design is one of our favorites yet. It’s so simple and warm. The Father’s Ring represents rustic, nature-lovers well; and, each ring is personalized and custom-made by hand, here in our Chicago studio. For a complete list of birthwoods and their meaning/mythology check out the main Birthwood page.

N. B. Our workload is heavy, especially around this year so, if you’d like your ring in time for Father’s Day (June 18th) you’ll need to order your ring today! Also, be sure to check “Expedite” so that your order gets created and shipped out in three weeks. 


+ For the Bearded Baba

Damascus Steel Comb by Chicago Comb


C
onsider this glorious Damascus Steel comb available on the Horween Leather Company’s web-store. It’s a pricey item at $350.00 but the combs are made in Chicago and come with a high quality non-toxic Horween leather sheath. So, yeah. 

+ For the Distinguished Pater

Few Spirits Gin

Last, but not least, help him unwind with a glass of distinguished whiskey and spirits made here in Chicago. Here’s some copy from Few’s “Genesis” section on their website: 

Founded as a dry community, Evanston was home to many influential advocates for Prohibition who effectively kept the city free of alcohol for more than one hundred years.

Though the city legalized drinking in the late Nineties, it took the perseverance of our Master Distiller, Paul Hletko, to reverse the antiquated liquor laws. With roots going back to some of Europe’s fabled brewing families, Paul and FEW Spirits have marked the end of Evanston’s Prohibition and given the city its very own craft distillery.

Or, if single barrel whiskey is more his thing Koval is the best we know, in town. Plus we’re teaming up with them for something special later in the year. So, stay tuned! 

Koval Whiskey
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Engage Naturally — Our Earth Day Initiative

Engage Naturally Simply Wood Rings

In honor of Earth Day, from April 1st to the 22nd (that’s Earth Day, folks), we are donating 10% of the price of your order to an environmental charity of your choice.* If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions let us know on our Facebook, Instagram, or via email

*For now, we’re focusing on the following four organizations: 

Environmental Defense Fund

EDF Logo Background

The Environmental Defense Fund, or EDF, works on policy reform and corporate responsibility to do the following : provide clean air by driving down our collective exposure to pollutants and toxic chemicals; increase agricultural resiliency by creating economic demand for sustainable and climate-adaptive farming, ranching, and water efficiency programs; expanding sustainable fishing worldwide; and, finding solutions that will have the biggest impact on the clean energy market in the United States.

You can read more about the EDF on their website at : https://www.edf.org/what-we-do?_ga=1.49692068.362234321.1490024081

The Sierra Club Foundation

Sierra Club Rocky

The Sierra Club Foundation attempts to find climate solutions and continues the legacy of conservation in the United States. The Sierra Club defends against coal and clears the way for clean, renewable energy solutions (solar and wind). They also protect America’s wild places and the beauty, escape, clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities they provide by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and attempting to secure permanent protection for national treasures. The Sierra Club also offers a Military Outdoors program that successfully works to bring over 50,000 service members, veterans, and their families outside. This program increases physical activity, outdoor recreation, and education that improves academic performance, reduces stress and anxiety, and mitigates the effects of PTSD and traumatic brain injury in the military veterans returning from active service. The Sierra Club currently funds The Great Outdoors Lab — a groundbreaking research study documenting the biological and emotional effects of spending time outdoors.

Read about the Sierra Club’s initiatives here : http://www.sierraclubfoundation.org/what-we-fund/mission-outdoors

Earthjustice

Earthjustice logo

You may have heard this Charity Navigator 4-star-rated Earthjustice PSAs on the radio or while listening to a podcast. Their slogan is “Because the Earth needs a good lawyer.” Earthjustice works on a variety of projects, some of these include: protecting endangered species such as wolves; preserving rich, sustainable and diverse heritage of the arctic regions, the ocean ecosystem, America’s wild lands, and wildlife; promoting healthy communities by fighting for clean air, water, and agricultural practices; championing clean energy systems, mitigating the effects of climate change, and reducing reliance on coal and oil and gas drilling.

Read about where your money goes here : http://earthjustice.org/your-donation-at-work

National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

The Earth's Best Defense : NRDC

The NRDC was founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement. Their dedicated staff works in more than a dozen program areas such as: the Center for Market Innovation; climate and clean air; land and wildlife; oceans; environmental justice; food and agriculture; health and environment; water; urban solutions; and energy and transportation. Like Earthjustice, the NDRC is fully transparent with their finances and gets the highest accolades from charity rating organizations such as Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau. The NDRC experts utilize data and science to unearth the root causes of problems that confront us all. They then use this information to create transformative solutions and policies.

Read about this organization, in-depth here : https://www.nrdc.org/work

Earth day initiative. Earth Day donation by Simply Wood Rings. Jewelry business donation, Chicago.

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Wooden Rings as an Ethical Wedding Ring Alternative to Mined Metal

Simply Wood Rings are an Ethical Wedding Ring Alternative

Grasberg Mine in Papua, Indonesia

Grasberg Mine in Papua, Indonesia

There is no avoiding the fact that wooden rings are more fragile than their metal counterparts…we think that’s just fine. Simply Wood Rings don’t represent forever: they symbolize reality. Our lives are inherently impermanent and it seems a little bit deceptive to buy into the idea that love is static. Love seems more about being mindful of the present moment. We hope to offer an ethical wedding ring alternative to gold and silver rings that doesn’t sacrifice the romantic and intimate nature of these commitments.

Love is Now

Contemporary philosopher Alain de Botton wrote last year’s infamous New York Times article “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person” about this concept. It isn’t surprising that his 2016 essay was the most read New York Times article of the year. Botton writes that loving imperfectly is perfectly human. In fact, many of us grow up with the idea that perfect love exists and requires no work and no care. The phrase “a diamond is forever” capitalizes on this idea; however, we at Simply Wood Rings believe that love radiates from each present moment. Maybe, wooden rings are a more appropriate symbol in that they require care and attention in the same way “true love” asks this of us.

In addition, we offer wooden rings as a unique alternative to the harmful impact of mined metal jewelry because the result of mining is hard to ignore. Unfortunately, gold, silver, and copper mining contributes to deforestation, acid/chemical run-off, the eradication of river ecosystems supporting a wide variety of beneficial organisms, and takes advantage of those native to the land that mining companies are exploiting. We’re not a large company by any means but change begins small. 

Ethical Wedding Ring Alternative

Prong-set Ruby with Mother of Pearl Inlay

Using Vintage and Recycled Metal Rings Helps the Environment

Often, the environmental and ethical impact of precious metal mining is not considered when choosing what might become a family heirloom. Simply Wood Rings encourages purchasing vintage rings. Alternatively, we suggest recycling the beautiful heirlooms that already exist within your family. In fact, we often have customers bring us vintage rings that we cap with sustainably sourced or salvaged wood*, using a special technique, to fit you perfectly. Seems like there isn’t much reason to contribute to large-scale mining culture, when there are so many meaningful pieces out in the world already. 

If you are interested to learn more, the following articles and photo essay are a few perspectives (from just two mines). These resources focus on on the negative impact mining practices have on all of our lives. 

Grasberg Miner, Ifansatsi / Getty Images

Grasberg Miner | Getty Images

Gold Mining in Indonesia and the Amazon Forest

“Indonesian Illegal Gold-mining in Pictures”
Ulet Ifansatsi / Getty Images for The Guardian, Feb. 2017

“We Will Lose Everything”
CJPC Brisbane, May 2016

“Environmental impact of mining in the rainforest”
Rhett Butler for Mongabay.com, July 2012

“What’s Behind the Violence at the World’s Largest Gold Mine”
 World Time, Oct. 2011

“Production of gold has many negative environmental effects”
Nina Shen Rastogi for The Washington Post, Sept. 2010

“Below a Mountain of Wealth, a River of Waste”
 Jane Perlez & Raymond Bonner for the New York Times, Dec. 2005

Thoughts, comments, concerns? Share them with us on our Facebook page, Instagram, or send us an email at craftsman@simplywoodrings.com

*Simply Wood Rings exclusively uses salvaged or sustainably sourced wood to craft our rings. In fact, we are one of the first to make salvaged wooden rings using a bent wood process. We have been proudly handcrafting wood rings in Chicago, Illinois since 2005.

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Introduction to Beekeeping with The Hive Supply Chicago — 9 Mind-Blowing Facts

Here, at Simply Wood Rings, we strive for eco-consciousness and sustainability; so, naturally we are interested in local initiatives that encourage such practices. The NWI Times.com reported that Mayor Daley began a green roof initiative on Chicago’s City Hall in 2000 and three years later added two beehives housing about 10, 000 bees. Today, the number has grown to an estimated 160,000 bees. But that’s just the tip of the proverbial beehive. Last Sunday, I attended a Beekeeping 101 course taught by Naaman Gambill at the ReBuilding exchange (Bucktown). Naaman runs The Hive Supply Chicago (Homan Square) with his partner John Hansen who, Naaman told us, has 40 years of beekeeping experience in Chicago.


The Hive Supply Chicago

Photo: TheHiveSupply.com

The course was a three-hour introduction to the topic of urban beekeeping. It was amazing to learn about bees in a context I had never had the opportunity to do before. Naaman began the lesson with an overview of hives and provided information about basic necessities for urban beekeeping.

Here are a few things I learned :

1. If you’re interested in keeping bees in Chicago, you’re easily allowed up to five hives on your property.

The only requirement is that you register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture which consists of filling out a “brief one-page form and mailing it to the IDOA.” This process is free of charge and you will receive access to necessary, yearly inspections from a IDOA Apiary Inspector. Naaman explained that the inspectors are actually there to help you in any way possible — they are there to serve the beekeeping industry.

2. There is such a thing called “bee space.”

Bee-space is the amount of space bees need to move around in the hive—this is typically 3/8” to 1/4”.  The amount of bee-space you allow for in your hives determines the amount of propolis — a type of bee glue — and comb that the bees will produce.


SWR Bee Space

Bee-Space

3. There is one queen per hive — around 20,000 bees in total. 

When a colony starts or an old queen retires, queen bees hatch and then duel it out GoT-style. 

4. ….And she only mates with drones from other colonies.

Drone bees are male (non-worker) bees and take up about 3% of a beehive population. Within a hive, they are virtually useless. These bees are the first to sacrifice themselves in times of bee-hardship (i.e. disease or cold spells) as they live on the flanks of the colony.

5. One hive can produce up to 62 lbs of honey. On average, hives produce around 29 lbs a year.

And they fly pretty far to make it. According to the British Beekeepers Association website “Bees fly about 55,000 miles to make just one pound.” 

6. Bees are very type-A.

They remove pests and dead/dying pees as soon as possible. However, when a pest finds its way into the hive — the colony will sting the pest (for example a mouse) to death and then, if they’re unable to carry it out, they completely seal off the pest in propolis, i.e. that bee glue I mentioned in no. 2.


Bee Dance Video by Georgia Tech College of Computing

Screenshot from The Waggle Dance of the Honey Bee video published by Georgia Tech College of Computing

7. Bees are highly skilled communicators. Especially through dances.

Bees are hyper aware of time and space. Bees know where the sun is at all times because they have a polarized lenses and an internal clock. They utilize encoded dance moves (wiggling, figure-eight patterns, orientation, length of dance time, and pheromone expression) to indicate to each other where food and water supplies exist outside of the hive.

8. Also, when bees rub against each other they are communicating through pheromones.

The pheromones act as a sort of telephone-game relaying back to the queen, who makes decisions about how safe and healthy the colony is. If her own pheromones take too long to travel back to her, she knows the hive is getting too large and she must leave with part of the colony and allow the remainder to choose a new queen.

9. Different breeds of bees have different temperaments.

For example, Italian bees are comparatively gentle while Russian bees are more defensive in nature. Naaman suggested that, of the existing breeds, Carniolan bees have the best combination of traits while still maintaining a hardiness that is suited to Chicago’s climate.

Bees are amazing creatures and they’re integral to the health of our ecosystem. There are tons of beekeeping communities in Chicago and resources available on urban beekeeping and I’d encourage you to check them out. Below are a few links to get you started. Have a great week!

The Hive Supply Chicago

Cook Dupage Beekeeping Association

Chicago Honey Co-Op

Garfield Park Conservatory

Windy City Beekeepers Association

Westside Bee Boyz

Belmont Feed and Seed 


Class Materials at The Hive Supply Chicago, photo taken by Madeeha

Class Materials at The Hive Supply Chicago, photo taken by Madeeha Lamoreaux

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How much to spend on an Engagement ring?

The age old question: How much should you spend on an engagement ring? 

It’s been answered with “two months’ salary” for years and years.
Do you really need to spend that? Is that what everyone really thinks? How many people believe that?

A study done by GoBankingRates suggests that just isn’t the case. They surveyed 5,000 adults and offered them 7 options. The results are shown below…

Image via GoBankingRates

As you can see, there are more people that thought money was no object or spending less than $1000 was appropriate. It seems that the classic advice of two months’ salary is out the door.

What does that mean for you? It means looking for an engagement ring your significant other will love!

  •  Know their style.
    Are they super simple? Do they love the outdoors or would they rather shop till they drop? 
  • Know your budget.
    There’s no need to get into debt before you’re married, this is a new step in your relationship and it should be enjoyed. Meaning isn’t determined by price.

Breaking Traditions Wood Wedding

Vintage provided ring capped with walnut and turquoise

Birdseye maple with silver and sapphire inlay

Rosewood with turquoise inlay and bezel set topaz

“Breaking Traditions”
Mahogany, birch with inlayed crushed stones

​As for us, we love using materials that have meaning for our customers. Creating rings with materials that are provided give an extra feature for them. Hearing the stories behind why they’re important is what gives their ring value to them as well as to us. While you’re out shopping for a ring whether it be together or purchasing a ring for a surprise proposal, think about what makes you happy and what gives value to you and your significant other. 

If you’re loving our rings we’ll always be here to create something special for you!​

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Ways to have an eco-friendly wedding


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Photo courtesy of bridalguide.com

Getting married but also want to have an eco-friendly wedding? It may seem hard to do, but it’s actually pretty easy! We have some great tips for all you eco-conscious grooms and brides. 

Consider having an outdoor wedding  

Your venue is probably the biggest decision of the wedding. Opting for an outdoor wedding means you have to use way less electricity and overall power for the reception. If you decide to get married outdoors during the day, the sunlight is a much more eco-friendly way to provide light! If your wedding is going to be indoors, consider renting an AirBnb as a venue or an old barn or warehouse. The overall cost will be much less as well as having a more environmentally friendly space. 

Use recycled paper for name cards 

Using recycled paper for your name cards and other paper products you need at your wedding will cut down a ton on the production of paper used for just one night! The recycled paper look is much more cute anyway. 


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Photo courtesy of onewed.com

Donate leftover food

Most of the food from the night will end up not being eaten, and throwing it away is really wasteful when someone else can enjoy it. You can plan to donate your leftovers to a homeless shelter in your city by searching homeless shelters on http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/

Go thrifting for vases and glassware

Thrift stores have a lot of great stuff, including old vases and glasses. You can get glassware that has already been used for a very cheap price and then give it back to a thrift store when your wedding is over so other people can use it! 


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Photo courtesy of cedarwoodweddings.com

Repurpose your dress 

Your wedding dress only gets worn once, so why not give it a life after you wear it? There are many organizations that will take your dress and reuse it for good. Wish Upon A Wedding is an organization that helps people with life-threatening illnesses plan a wedding. They are a non-profit and rely on donations, you can find them here: http://wishuponawedding.org/


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Photo Courtesy of greenweddingshoes.com

Ask for donations to a charity instead of presents

A lot of people are opting out of presents these days and asking for donations to a charity instead. This is a great way to support your favorite charity with your friends and family! 

Of course, purchase eco-friendly wedding rings!



Photo Courtesy of our lovely customers (rings are made from Koa wood with a vintage metal ring)