Oct 16, 2014

Our TEAM at Ear in the Envelope Inc

Ear in the Envelope is the name of our business.

Gottagettadeal is the name of our ETSY shop.

www.foodsafemetal is our blog

Watch this great video about our business and our team.


It takes an amazing TEAM of people to cut, corner and polish blanks for our customers.  

Each employee is hard working, dedicated and has an eye for detail.

We currently have 9 employees:

Lizz Barnes – Owner and Artist
Clint Kehlert – Manager, Artist and Musician
Liz Guerrero – Studio Assistant, Custom Orders and Musician
Peter Kennel – Studio Assistant, Chef, Tool Maintenance, Artist and Musician
Zachary Leachman – Studio Assistant, Tumbling Manager, Artist and Musician
Jordan Delgadillo – Metal Cutting, Refunds, Artist
Chris Smith – Studio Assistant, Musician
Kavante Barnett – Studio Assistant and People Care
Jessica Peterson – Sublimation and Printing Services, Photography, Artist

******Order your metal stamping blanks and supplies****** 
from our ETSY shop gottagettadeal


Thanks for your business!  

Enjoy being CREATIVE!!!!
Lizz and the TEAM

Ear in the Envelope Inc

Metal Stamping Supplies Blanks and Tools

Check out our ETSY shop gottagettadeal

Food Safe Aluminum Stamping Blanks, Sterling Metal Stamping Blanks, Brass Metal Stamping Blanks, Copper Metal Stamping Blanks, Metal Stamping Tools, Polishing Cloths

**********Proud to Carry Food Safe Metal - Safe for Your Skin!!!!****************

Sep 12, 2014

Setting Rapid Rivets in Leather Cuffs

Setting Rivets in Leather can be a challenge.  
But with a few tips you can succeed!

You'll need a Leather Cuff and an ID Tag with 2 holes.
The leather cuff I am using is 1/8" thick and the ID Tag is .063" thick.

Step One:  Flip the cuff over so you can make marks on the back.
Find the center of the leather cuff.

Step 2:  Center the Blank on the back of the leather cuff.

Step 3: Use a pen to mark the location of the holes.

Step 4: Use the smallest hole on a leather punch.  
Punch holes in the marked locations.

Step 5: Flip the cuff over to the front.  
Place the blank in the correct position making sure to line up the holes.
Place the post half of the Rapid Rivets through the hole.

***I use Mini Rapid Rivets for this project because the holes 
on the oval tag are about 1.5mm.  Because this is just barely long enough 
for the thickness of the metal, you will not be able to use a setter 
or the regular recommended process.

Step 6: Flip the cuff over and attache the rivet caps.  
Hammer the cap until you are sure that the two pieces are attached.
Make sure to use a hard steel hammer.

Step 7: At this time you can flip your cuff and over so the ID tag shows.
Use the large curved end of a chasing hammer to smooth the shape
of your rivet.  

****You will notice that the rivet will be flat or
may dome inward.  The is because we are not able to use the domed setter.
Since the rivet we are using is so short, we're trying to
squeeze every but of length out of the post.

******You will notice that your blank is very flat.  
You can add a cure to the ID tag by using a curving block.

Step 8:  Flip the bracelet face down into the curve of the block.

Place the block on top of the cuff and hammer.
Double check to make sure that your rivets are still secure.

Voila!!!!  You have a beautiful ID Cuff!!!

All of these supplies are available in our ETSY Shop
click above to go to our shop

Enjoy creating!
Lizz Barnes 
Ear in the Envelope Inc

Aug 27, 2014

Ring Sizing Information

Ring Sizing can be a headache, but with some simple tools you can be successful.

You'll need a ring sizer.  There are a few different styles in paper, plastic or metal.

Blue Nile has a great link to a PDF and specific size measurements.

Remember that we at Ear in the Envelope use the US sizes.

Here is the sizing for the Ear in the Envelope ring blanks:


Small - Size 5-6...... 2"

Medium - Size 6-8...... 2-1/4"

Large - Size 8-10...... 2-1/2"

XL - Size 10-12...... 2-3/4"


Regular Wrap - Size 5-1/2 - 7... 3"

XL Wrap - Size 7-9... 3-1/4"

2XL Wrap - Size 10-12... 3-1/2"

Just a note, the gauge of the blank can add a bit of variation to the sizing.  The more you work with the blanks, the easier estimating sizing will become.

Hope this helps,


FALL 2014 CLASSES at Ear in the Envelope Inc

820 SW Adams, Peoria, IL 61602
John Selburg

Class Fee $120 
Mondays - 6-8pm

September 8 - October 20
***NO CLASS October 13

November 3 - December 15
***NO CLASS November 24

***Drop in for one class    
$20 per class
Students will be challenged and guided through a variety of styles and media, including graphite, pen, and charcoal.
All skill levels are welcome.
***Students will need an 8 x 10 or larger Sketchbook a white eraser and a #2 pencil.  All other supplies are included.
Classes Held in Upper Studio 

Kids Metal Stamping Classes
Age 7-13

***Parents welcome.
Class Fee $25
Saturdays, 11am - 12pm
September 13, October 11, November 15

Students will learn to hammer punches into metal to create original pieces of Food Safe Aluminum Jewelry.
All tools and supplies are included.
Classes Held in Lower Studio
Lizz Barnes

Simple Soldered Sterling Rings
Saturday, September 20
Class Fee $50

Glass Fusing
Saturday, October 25
Class Fee $50

Flip Rings
Hammer a Washer into an amazing ring. - 1 Copper and 1 Sterling Ring
Saturday, December 6
Class Fee $50
***All supplies are included.
Classes Held in Lower Studio

Registration Form
Address ________________________________
City _____________________ Zip ___________
Phone # (     ) ______________

Date / Class Choice _________________________

Class Fee/Fees ____________________________

I release Lizz Barnes, John Selburg, and Ear in the Envelope Inc
from any and all liability, loss, change, injury, or expense that I
or my child may suffer as a result of participation in Art Classes
at Ear in the Envelope Inc. In signing the foregoing release, I
hereby acknowledge and represent that I have read the foregoing
release, and understand it and agree to it voluntarily. In the event
of an accident or illness Lizz Barnes, John Selburg, is authorized
and empowered to obtain any medical care deemed necessary for
my child until I can be reached. I will assume financial responsibility
for all medical charges incurred in such an emergency.

Signature __________________________________
Print Name _________________________________
Date ____________________

Ear in the Envelope Inc
820 SW Adams Street
Peoria, IL 61602

Jul 31, 2014

Metal Stamping on two sides

Many of you have asked about how to metal stamp on two sides.

The key is to prevent marking on the opposite side and to use a light hand when you hammer the punch.

I've found that the best solution is to use a piece of packing tape to cover your metal block.

This will protect the metal from taking on any of the scratches or texture that may be on your block.

A simple but very effective method for metal stamping on two sides of a blank.

If you have any other suggestions, please comment and share your wisdom.

Thanks!  Enjoy Creating!
Lizz Barnes

Ear in the Envelope Inc

Gottagettadeal on ETSY


Like us on FACEBOOK

Apr 17, 2014

Ear in the Envelope: An Entrepreneurial Tale from IBI

Ear in the Envelope

An Entrepreneurial Tale
A head-turning name, eye-catching designs, and the birth of a business…
“Van Gogh cut his earlobe off, the story is, put it in an envelope and gave it to a prostitute,” explains Lizz Barnes, recalling the notorious tale associated with one of her favorite artists—and the inspiration behind the name of her business. “I just thought, ‘Ear in the Envelope… That just sounds like such a creative phrase.’ It’s one of those things that as soon as somebody hears it, they don’t forget it.”
Indeed, while it’s easy to overlook her studio space, tucked away in Peoria’s Warehouse District, it’s a name you surely cannot miss. Established in July of 2011, Ear in the Envelope Inc. is an umbrella company founded to manage the operations of Barnes’ numerous ventures, which include the Etsy shops Designs By Lizz Barnes and Gotta Getta Deal and the blogfoodsafemetal.com. A multi-talented metal artisan, Barnes has carved out a niche for herself in the arts business designing food-safe aluminum jewelry and selling her own DIY tools and hypoallergenic materials online. But before launching her own business and making a name for herself as an artist, Barnes had a completely different career path in mind.
The Big Lie
“I thought I was going to go into medicine,” the Peoria native declares. “I didn’t take any art classes in high school… I went away to school and hated college, and I didn’t know why. Then I came back, went to ICC and took an art class with Chuck Flagg… and it was just like, ‘That’s it!’ … I was meant to be an artist.”
In 1998, Barnes earned her bachelor’s degree in art education and glass from Illinois State University. Soon after, she moved to the Chicago area, where she taught art part-time and began experimenting in glass torchworking—a technique, she says, that piqued her interest in jewelry design and, ultimately, metalworking.
Eventually returning to Peoria and settling down in her hometown, Barnes began teaching classes at the Peoria Art Guild, where an experience with a special-needs student set her career destiny into motion. “I was trying to figure what he could do, and he could hammer really well,” she remembers. “I knew that metal stamping was getting really popular, so I decided maybe we’ll try that. Then, the metal that I could find was very bad-quality aluminum, so I just started looking around.
“Now here’s where the story starts,” she continues. “I started thinking, ‘Food-safe aluminum pans—they’re supposed to be good for cooking, so you’d think that would be the perfect thing to make jewelry out of.’” Determined to get an affordable supply of food-safe aluminum—pure aluminum that’s naturally hypoallergenic—Barnes began her quest, which quickly became trickier than she anticipated. “When I started calling around, I didn’t even get responses from people. They’re probably thinking, ‘Lizz wants a 1”x1” piece of aluminum… I am not calling this person back!’
“So finally—this is the big lie of the business—I said that I was [in her best gruff voice] ‘Joe, from Joe’s Sculptural Fountains, looking for some metal,’” she laughs. “Once I did that, I started getting phone calls! And so I’d say, ‘Yeah, this is Joe’s wife, but I know what he wants, so let me tell ya…’”
The Basement Years
Upon securing a metal source, Barnes started creating and selling her own food-safe aluminum jewelry, opening Designs By Lizz Barnes on Etsy. But about the same time her online business began taking off, the hands-on artist was dealt a devastating diagnosis: rheumatoid arthritis. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to make jewelry,” she recalls. Though she had been toying with the idea of selling supplies for some time—a much less physically demanding venture—the burdensome recovery from her first hip replacement convinced her to pull the trigger. “I was sitting at home thinking, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ [fake crying] I think I’ll start an Etsy shop,’” she laughs. “Kind of at the lowest point of [my] life, where I don’t think if I had been laid up, I ever would’ve taken enough time to get a shop set up.”
Running the entire operation out of her basement, Barnes began cutting her own metal and selling pre-sized aluminum and jewelry crafting tools online through a second Etsy store, Gotta Getta Deal. Soon, sales skyrocketed—so much so that she hired a team of metal artists to help—as did the demand for jewelry crafting tutorials, prompting Barnes to create the “how-to” blog, foodsafemetal.com, and ultimately, her umbrella company, Ear in the Envelope.
Today, Barnes considers her “basement years” a stressful, yet valuable lesson. “You’re inventing everything. You’re inventing your customer service and all the answers to every possible question,” she describes. “At the beginning, you’re trying make to everybody happy, and then you move into ‘I have to survive…’ I want them to be happy, but I have to sleep and I have to have a life at the same time. So you start putting up boundaries.We’ll do this, but we won’t do that.”
Blossoming in the Warehouse District
Two and half years later, having outgrown her basement, Barnes decided it was time to move. In June of 2012, she began leasing a space at 820 SW Adams, where today, business has never been better. “You don’t realize how if you’re in a small space, it’s almost like a plant,” Barnes remarks. “It can only do so much in that space.”
With a converted warehouse serving as her new studio, Barnes has seen Ear in the Envelope’s profits double each of the last two years, and is on track for record-breaking revenues yet again. Working almost exclusively in food-safe aluminum, Ear in the Envelope cuts, corners (a process to remove sharp edges), tumbles (a polishing technique), and packs all of its metal in-house, distributing anywhere from 20 to 75 orders a day all around the world. Barnes also sells her premade designs, which include intricately hammered and anodized (finished using an electrochemical process that allows the metal to be dyed) rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and more starting as low as $15. Customers can also purchase everything they need to start up their own jewelry crafting operation—from aluminum blanks and charms to metal punchers, pliers, bracelet benders and beyond—for about $120.
With the desire to help other artists kickstart their careers, Barnes has opened Ear in the Envelope up for the First Fridays studio tour, and earlier this year, began offering classes in metal stamping, glass fusing and precious metal clay. Having never anticipated her success or loyal clientele, Barnes feels fulfilled just knowing she has made a difference in the local arts community. “I love to make and I love to help people make,” she explains. “I don’t want to make a million dollars. I would rather pay our bills, be able to hire people, and have an impact on the community.”
And Barnes has found that running her own business and working with other creative types is a pretty awesome gig. “I think that is an amazing thing—when your vision starts running through the veins of your employees and they’re just as excited as you are. Now, instead of just me being this crazy person with an idea, it’s a bunch of crazy people with ideas!” she laughs. “A job really can be a fun place to work. It doesn’t have to be a drag at six o’clock to hit the alarm. I actually get pretty excited in the morning.”
Going For It Having seen the simple idea of helping a student grow into a lucrative business, Barnes encourages other “born” artists—from painters and sculptors to creative inventors and innovative office managers—to find their inspiration and just “go for it.” “You have to be a leader and you definitely have to be organized… but I think if you really want to do something, start it small on the side. Dabble in it and see what you want to do,” she says. “The Internet is a great place to do that now. There are great opportunities to do things you never would’ve been able to do before!”
“And you can be somebody else if you want to,” she jokes. “You can be Joe!” iBi
Ear in the Envelope is located at 820 SW Adams Street in Peoria. Find Barnes’ designs and supplies at etsy.com/shop/DesignsByLizzBarnes and etsy.com/shop/gottagettadeal, and her blog at foodsafemetal.com.

Mar 28, 2014

Mar 26, 2014

Wrap Rings - How to Make a Wrapping Ring Blank

Wrap Rings, also called twist rings, 
are fun to make 
and VERY popular.

We'll go through a small tutorial 
and in no time you'll be cranking - out piles 
of these fun jewelry pieces.

***Note: if you're going to add a metal stamped design, 
do this before wrapping the ring.

The Tools You Will Need
                                                  1)  A Ring Mandrel

                                                  2)  An Aluminum Wrapping Ring Blank
(You can get these at Gottagettadeal on Etsy Click Here)

                                                 3)  Wubbers Loop Bending Pliers

Start by placing the ring blank at an angle 
on the barrel of the pliers.

Pinch the very end of the ring blank.

Continue to hold the pliers closed and bend
the ring blank around the barrel.

Flip the ring blank and bend the other end.

Place the ring blank back on the mandrel
 with one end at an angle
and continue wrapping 
until the entire blank is in a 
spiral shape.  

You may need to pinch the ends 
and pull the wrap in a little tighter
at the ends to make sure 
the entire ring is in alignment.  

You don't want any ends sticking out. 
This could snag on clothing.

Place the wrapped ring blank on a mandrel.  

Check the size.

If the size is not large enough, 
then with some pressure, 
pull the blank down toward the larger sizes.  

The radius of the ring will begin to expand.  

You will need to go slightly past the size you want 
because the ring with spring back a bit 
when you take it off the mandrel.


You just did it!  

You made your very own wrap ring!


This technique will also work well 
with thick wire with multiple wraps.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.  
I'm always happy to help!!!

Remember to LIKE our page and you'll get 
updates of new techniques and upcoming classes!

Thanks again!  
Enjoy creating!

Mar 2, 2014

Soy Sauce for Jewelry????

I just learned that Soy Sauce is amazing for cleaning copper!!!! 

Try it and let me know what you think!!!!

Enjoy creating,

Textured Cuff Project online at Art Jewelry Magazine


Check out the March 2014 issue of Art Jewelry Magazine.  You'll find a project that I had the opportunity to write for the magazine.  Let me know what you think.  And PLEASE send pictures of your finished projects.  I'd love to see how you put your creative twist on this process!!!

Enjoy Creating!!!

Gottagettadeal on ETSY


Is our ETSY shop link.

We  cut, corner and polish stamping blanks and sell the tools for metal stamping.

is our blog with instructions on how to use our blanks and tools

Ear in the Envelope Inc 
is our official business name

We are proud to supply
food safe aluminum blanks 
which are polished and ready for your metal stamping projects

Check out our shop
You won't be disappointed in the variety and quality of our metal stamping blanks and tools

Get creative!
The Team at Ear in the Envelope Inc

Aug 23, 2013

Dog Tags Motivate Young Readers

Your Supply List at Gottagettadeal on ETSY

Quick links for the Dog Tags and Surgical Steel Chain

1 - Dog Tags

2 - Surgical Steel Chain

Check out this great article from:


home reading tracker

Last year I wasn't good at tracking my students' home reading minutes.

I mean, I still tracked them and all, I just didn't have a successful motivating system.

I used stickers and that's about it. Boring huh? Ya... it was.

I feel like I "dropped the ball" last year, so I am determined to succeed this year.

Since I have a carnival/circus theme in my classroom,

I decided to make a "Reading is Sweet" bulletin board with some cute lollipops I found at Target.

This board is used to track the home reading minutes.

For every 100 minutes read at home, my students earn a pony bead to put on their necklace.

All of my students have a dog tag necklace with their names and "grade 2" stamped on them. If you want to stamp your students' names into dog tag necklaces, then it is important to get a soft aluminum.

(I wouldn't recommend buying them from Oriental Trading.) I got mine on Etsy here.

Click here to see what kind of metal stamp set I used (you may want to shop around for this).

To start out the school year, each necklace had a piece of candy. My students got to trade in their candy when they read their first 100 minutes (at home) and earned their first bead. I will continue to put cheap/hard candy on their necklaces every so often to keep up the motivation.

Even though my students have only earned one or two beads so far, they are so excited!

They are talking about the patterns they want to make with their beads... and all I tell them is:

Keep reading at home and you will get that pattern!

I require my students to read at least 20 minutes each school night for homework. I send home a reading chart each Monday and it is due each Friday (click here to view my Home Reading Chart). In one week, they should be able to get 100 minutes read, which would earn them one bead a week.

So now tell me, how do you track home reading minutes?

What kind of rewards do you use?

Quick links for the Dog Tags and Surgical Steel Chain

1 - Dog Tags

2 - Surgical Steel Chain