Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh Lordy...

Hello Folks!

This blog has been lying neglected in a far dusty corner of the internets (and my mind) for the last few months. Why? Because I've been running around like a crazy person since September. The last half of the year for me was crazy busy, at work and at home. I moved in with the Shop Monkey and got engaged! Then end of the year exploded at work for me, and I was forced to shut down my Etsy shop just so I could finish everything I had already taken on. This was great, but I was just about to have a nervous breakdown, and this half-down time has been just what I needed. Not having to answer a thousand emails every week has been so refreshing!

I'm just about ready to jump back into the fray though! Big plans! New designs! I'm about ready to get my own website going, so that will be the new and improved face of my business by the spring (I hope!). I'm also trying to decide what continuing education class I would like to take this year....maybe pavé stone setting, or maybe enameling? Maybe both? Chasing and repoussé? I just feel like I need to expand my skill set and become better at certain things. I've been looking at a lot of books of beautiful jewelry and it has been very humbling. (I actually sort of hate/love it when I see something and I know that I wouldn't even know where to start...) I will keep you posted on what I decide.

I'm contemplating hiring someone... But that is such a big step that I start to PANIC when I think about it too much. But it would be soooooo nice to to have a part time person come in once or twice a week and do the cleaning and polishing of the rough pieces. That is probably my least favorite thing to do, and it is so time consuming as well. If I had someone to do that, I could spend more time on other things. I still need to think about it....(panic....panic....)

I've been too busy to blog and that means I haven't shared any of the new things I've made. I just have a couple here:

I also finished the giant bling bling ring, but I haven't had a chance to photograph it. I can't wait to share it!

Hmmm...what else? I'm planning on going to the big gem show, but I'm not sure if it will all work out. But I would really, really like to go and get some unique stones to work with. I think it would be a fun trip as well.

Been doing a little bit of wedding planning. I think I have a dress chosen (J.Crew), and a veil style (mantilla). May be making my own invitations.....not sure about that just yet. Seems like it would be a lot of work (but it is also just the sort of thing I like...projects!). I'm also working on an illuminated ketubah...which is turning out quite nicely, I will share some photos when the rough draft is finished. We picked a date (one year from today actually!). We have a space....everything is going to come together just fine I think. :-)

Okay! Best wishes for a great New Year for everyone out there! Peace and joy and happiness and prosperity and everything good! 恭喜发财!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I am a GIANT Jane Austen fan, I'll admit it. Just so all of you know, I often listen to Jane Austen novels (and by often, I mean every week. I probably listen to two of them each week. Wait, you might say, aren't there only a few novels total? Why, yes, I would say. I listen to them over and over again. Especially Persuasion and Mansfield Park) as I work. I reveal this incriminating detail in order for the next silliness to make some sort of sense.

A couple of weeks ago I went camping on the coast with a few lady friends. It was awesome. I love my lady friends. And I also love the ocean. And Jane Austen. And so, when you combine two of these three loves you get:

"...and still descending, they soon found themselves on the sea-shore; and lingering only, as all must linger and gaze on a first return to the sea, who ever deserve to look on it at all...."

Whenever I see the ocean, I think of that quote. And I sort of love how it is protective of the sea, and basically says that if you are an ass-hat who can't appreciate the ocean, you shouldn't be looking at it at all. Period. I wonder what Jane Austen would think of ATVs. Effing ATVs.

I looooooove this old gnarled piece of wood, burnt in spots, worn in others. Textures! I want to make something with this same beautiful texture.

And just for fun:

I texted this drawing to the Shop Monkey, and he was like "hahaha, very funny". I was a little confused, since I had drawn it with the sweet intention of cartoonizing (I draw lots of these little cartoons to document our life together) our engagement, so I sent back: ? And he replied that he thought I meant: "Where's my rock?" Hehehehe! Where is my rock, btw?

And tiny Dieter. Sweetness pug. He seemed cold, so I put him up on the chair in front of the heater. He was just sitting there, dozing, but I didn't get a picture of it in time. Just as I was getting the camera ready he laid down.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

All right my sweets

Okay! I feel like I've totally been dragging ass on this blog, but I think I am ready to return to once a week posting or more. I am going to schedule it in and drink a cup of coffee and blog once a week at least (the coffee will be a real incentive since I've forbidden myself coffee during the weekdays!).

I've had this wax kicking around for quite a while and I think I am about ready to cast it in 18kt yellow and set some diamonds in the ends. Perhaps this will be my engagement ring?

Right now I have switched from the Today and Tomorrow ring stack to the Helios ring, since it was recently returned to me after being used as the stand-in proposal ring prop for my friend Suzanne (congrats!). I'm glad to have it back, and I think a solitaire might be more my speed. The problem with me is that I get bored very easily with rings and jewelry in general. I don't actually wear much jewelry anymore (I used to be a real earring girl, and I like a good bangle), so I think it will be an adjustment to start wearing something every day. My job really sort of makes it hard as well, not only am I working with my hands, but I'm also making new and sparkling things all the time.....and the grass is always greener.....

Anyhow, I think I might tweak it, make the upper curves just a little smaller. They don't feel bulky on or really look that way (the picture on the hand is not at all true to life), but I'm afraid they will be too heavy in gold.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Goodbye Summer

I've finally finished something that incorporates the rose cut diamonds I bought a thousand years ago. I love the color on this particular stone, in the sunshine it seems to glow. I think that is from the inclusions and how the light enters the stone. Anyhow, it is lemony and lovely and I'm glad I can finally stop feeling guilty about those stones (I can hear them calling "use us! use us!).

It is a size 7 and will be available in my shop soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shmancy Cocktail Ring

For the holidays.

I tend to gravitate towards wearable rings, and since I do a lot of engagement rings and wedding bands I seem to be making endless numbers of solitaires. Don't get me wrong, I love a nice solitaire as much as the next girl (the sparklier the better!), but the artist in me was aching to do something large and flashy. I have several cocktail rings in the works, and this is my latest. The center stone is a cushion cut chrysoprase cabochon, and the little settings circling it will probably be blue topaz? Or cubic zirconium. I haven't decided. The outer ring will textured in some way as well.

Sorry the picture is so bad, it's from my phone:

Monday, September 27, 2010

The choices the choices!

How can a person make up ones mind when the choices are pretty much limitless? (Excepting, of course, prongs and pavé...) What is my personal style? I'm not sure that I can identify my professional taste as different from my personal. Are they the same? I know that I very rarely make things that I wouldn't actually wear myself (but there have been a few....), but then again I don't make many things that I could make because they wouldn't be feasible to make all the time. There might be something that I could make once or twice, but that I wouldn't make on regular basis for one reason or another. When I start to think about something to make for my business, I generally have in mind a great many things that I wouldn't necessarily have to think about for my own ring (i.e. profit margin, time required, sale-ability etc.).

How do I free my creative mind of those requirements (except of course cost!) so that I can create something that will suit me? Something that I won't get tired of....(I do tend to get tired of jewelry quite quickly....but there are a few pieces that I've never stopped loving. Jade bangles and a pair of white and turquoise earrings I made a thousand years ago...that's about it.)

Until I can come up with something (or maybe several different somethings and take a survey?) I am wearing these (this style will be available in the shop this week under the name Today and Tomorrow rings, 950 palladium and diamonds):

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I love old cuts

There is just something so nice about a old European cut diamond. Too bad they are so hard to find!

Monday, September 6, 2010

I've been a bit preoccupied

(this exact post is also posted on my personal blog, sorry Bean and pug stalkers,
I'm still too busy to blog regularly. See below for details.)

I'm sorry folks. Most of August feels like Wedding D-day in the singleB studio. There are so many weddings happening over Labor Day that all I do is work (at least that is how it feels to me!) And there are always a few last minute rush projects for people going on vacation or visiting with family etc. and they NEED to have a ring by then. And as much as I love them, rush jobs make my life hell. I'll be honest. I'm not the most organized of people (truly). I just tend to rely on my giant brain (ha! Better keep popping those fish oil supplements!) to keep track of everything, instead of having a system in place to keep track of things for me (like what an organized person would do....I'm not even sure what that would look like. Sticky notes? File folders? Spread sheets?) It has worked so far.....I haven't missed any weddings.....yet. (Fingers crossed, knock on wood!)

But besides being the busiest business month out of the year for me, I also had my brother's wedding, a visit from my sister, and worst of all a move. The studio is still in the same spot, but the cute little apartment that the pugs and I inhabited was left behind for a cute little place that has room for me and the pugs and the Shop Monkey. I'm sure I speak for many when I say that I HATE moving with my whole soul. (Can I get a show of hands?) I swear, every time I move I think "I'm never buying a single trinket ever again. I'm done. I hate you Amazon!"

Now that the move is over (almost a week you say, from the 1st, which surely was the date your move finished?) you would think things are going to calm down. Sure. Except that a good friend of mine from my Navy days got married on the 4th, and that wedding was in Maryland. So the Shop Monkey and I packed our bags and traveled across the country for a lovely wedding (where I had waaaaay toooooooo muuuuuucccchhhhh to drink. A flash back to my Navy days as well?). And then when we arrived back in Portland (which, by the way is much better than any other place on the planet. Our tap water is the best in the country. This is true, google it), we had to repack the things we had just unpacked a few days before in order to move to the Shop Monkey's parent's house while our condo is torn apart in order to get rid of mold in the walls of the two bedrooms. Good Gravy! I actually RAN to work today in order to get away from the chaos that is my life at home. And now we* will be staying at the parentals for who knows how long. As much as I hope they like me now (hi Fanny!), I hope they will still like me after their house has been invaded by me and the pugs.

So, dear and gentle readers (including you, Nancy!), I will be back to regular (and by regular, I mean random) posting soon. Just as soon as I am not living out of a suitcase/plastic bag, perhaps.

*and by we, I mean me, the Shop Monkey, AND Gunter AND Dieter. Poor Shop Monkey parents.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Busy Bee

I'm sorry I haven't been posting more. It is wedding season around here and I am just trying my hardest not to ruin someone's special day by not getting their jewelry done on time (the horror! I have nightmares about it!). I absolutely love the people who get their jewelry a year or more out. It really takes the pressure off me. :-)

But here are some pretty pictures of what I have been doing until I can add more new stuff. I finished the wax for the giant cocktail ring I have been talking about. I'll take some photos and share it with you tomorrow.

What do you think of this new white and yellow photo setting? I really like it! Does it create a certain feeling? I don't know, it does for me. Cool and quiet and private.

I also like this yellow pine. There is this furniture shop by my studio that specializes in reclaimed wood and custom furniture. So I stopped in there a bit ago and bought two boards to take photos on. One is walnut (which I love, but I think it needs to be varnished, right now it is just oiled and I think the texture is too distracting. See first photo above. I am hoping I can convince the shop monkey to sand and varnish it soon.) The white board from the yellow and white photos is a reclaimed cabinet door that I got at this salvage place, the yellow is curtains from Ikea!

Monday, July 26, 2010


I am really loving stylized nature motifs. I have never been one for realism (probably because I'm not very good at it! And also because I think sometimes the feeling and spirit of a thing is lost in the effort to reproduce it in a realistic manner). Some artistic traditions excel at this sort of stripping down of the object to its most meaningful parts. I recently have become enamored with Persian, Turkish, Islamic designs/motifs. Thanks to the glory of the interwebs and used books and I am now well supplied with research material:

Now I just have to figure out how to incorporate new ideas into my jewelry.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My poor fingers

Wow. Not the best day in the studio.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Old Stuff

What do I love about this? Well, I'm not so hot on the floral applique pieces on the upper twisted part. It looks a little cartoony to me. But I loooove the egg noodle twist going on there. The main attraction here for me is the enameling right before the knot. That overlapping blue and green scale type pattern just hits a sweet spot for me. I love blue and green (those two shades particularly). This pattern haunts my thoughts. And then of course the reef knot. I'll try to show you another example of a fantastic reef knot later. I'm pretty sure that interlocking curved shape will show up in my work at some point.


Swoon. Everything about these rings is awesome. The construction (check out the crazy shanks!) to the gold (yellow!) to the interesting stone setting choices. I love the flat sort of tiled look to the big round one and the crazy intricate urn set with a flat (semi-rounded?) stone. So much presentation! Sometimes a ring just becomes a vehicle for a stone, but these all have stones, but that isn't their raison d'être. The ring part isn't just there for the stone. The are a cohesive unit. The stones might even be sort of an afterthought really. But I love it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Solitaires go marching one by one

Okay, I know that bright orange wax is probably not the best thing to give the idea of a white metal (or maybe 18kt yellow?), but I wanted to run this by someone (anyone?), it is just a simple solitaire, but the band is slightly thicker and carved with facets. Into the facets I see tiny stones. That is what the black dots are. Haven't quite decided to follow through, but that is what is hanging around on my wax table. I also have this giant blingy thing that I am wanting to get out soon. I bought these GIANT cubic zirconia, and they are so fun and sparkly that I am working on a big costume cocktail ring. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What I am loving at the moment

I love old jewelry. I love it with a passion. I love the way it isn't perfect, I love the way it is unabashedly about the materials and the beauty. It's not self-conscious, it doesn't need a reason for existing. It is its own reason. Art jewelry is fun and sometimes thought provoking, but to me, the point of jewelry is primarily about the beauty. I'm sorry. I love art. I'm an illustrator in my spare time, but seriously. Jewelry to me is precious metals and fantastic stones. It is about the aesthetic value of the object and about what effect it is trying to have on the wearer. Jewelry can be a form of body modification to me. Adornment. Beautifying. When something becomes more about the idea than the object, it ceases to be jewelry in my mind. It might have the physical form of jewelry, but it is now a piece of wearable sculpture or something like that. Some pieces can be both, and I have great admiration for the jewelers/artists who pull that off. Until I reach that level, I will continue to worship at the altar of yellow gold. ;-)

These pictures are all taken from this fabulous jewelry book called 7000 Years of Jewelry. Expect to see more of it in the next couple of weeks as I work my way through it (over breakfast every morning. Nothing like crazy gorgeous pictures to get a person off to the studio in a mood for creating!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fancy Shindig

So we got all dolled up ( and by we I mean the shop monkey and I. He looked so hot! I wish he would wear fitted pants more often! Maybe I should make that part of the Shop Monkey uniform?) and headed downtown. It was boiling hot and I was wearing a tight black dress, so not really dressed for the weather. But the place was nice and cool and they had fabulous eats and drinks and we met the Shop Monkey's brother there. My studio mate and former studio mate were also there, so that was fun, seeing everyone looking nice, instead of covered in shop dust!

Finally got a copy of the current issue of Oregon Bride (they were giving them away on the way out). It was very exciting to see my jewelry in print (is that what you say for photographs?). But they, of course, photographed the male ring with the solder seam facing towards the camera. The seam never shows in most lights, but whatever they were using to light the jewelry for the photographs made it glaringly obvious. To me anyway. I hope most people wouldn't notice...:-( But it was awesome anyway! Yay!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I have returned

Well, my last two weeks were sort of restful. Even though I was still working in the studio, the psychological relief of having my Etsy shop closed was nice. But I am ready to be back. I've reopened on Etsy, with a few changes. Also some new designs, with more to come. I have some blue diamonds on the way, and I really hope to have something new and different ready for the end of the week. So stay tuned. Until then, I have this new eternity ring finished just today to share. I'm not sure what to call these new eternity bands. It is easier for me to remember a design when talking to someone about them if they use the name. A description like "it was a white metal with small diamonds" all around doesn't really tell me exactly what they are talking about. But a name for each thing really helps me to identify just what piece they mean. What should I name this?

And what about the other two new ones? There is one with 5 diamonds all in a row, and then one (soon to be a set of three) with six diamonds spaced asymmetrically around the band. I think I will call that one the scattered band? No? Diamond scatters? Constellation bands? Coming up with names is the hardest thing to do, without sound pretentious and/or ridiculous. Help!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I don't know if any of you readers (if there are many?) have been by my shop, but it has been closed for the last two weeks. I was just a tad overwhelmed and I was starting to have work nightmares. Those of you who make jewelry can relate, maybe? The kind of dream where you are working on something and then you make a horrible mistake and the piece just crumbles to dust (or something equally horrible). Am I the only jeweler/metalsmith who has these dreams?

So, these last couple of weeks I've been steadily working away on previous orders. I think I took on too much and just couldn't handle it all. It is hard to gauge what exactly I can do in a day, and I'm always a little overly optimistic. Everything seems so easy, until I am actually doing it. This job requires so much concentrated attention. When you need to focus, only 100% focus will do. It can be draining, for sure. So, for mental health reasons I decided to take a personal day...or, um, week...two weeks. It hasn't been totally complete, since I have still been working and trying to answer emails. I even took a few orders each week, but I think I should have waited on those. Summer is just so hard, since so many people are getting married and they NEED jewelry by a certain date. I always feel so bad. When someone has their heart set on a certain piece for their engagement/wedding, I feel like I should do all I can to get it to them. So I end up saying yes, when I perhaps should say no, since it stresses me out. But I just can't!! People are so nice, and I always find it so flattering when someone wants to buy my stuff that I just can't tell them no.


Well, I am getting ready to reopen. There will be some changes, new designs etc. I will also be discontinuing some items. Mainly my silver wedding sets and other silver jewelry. I will still be offering silver items, but mostly pre-made bangles, simple rings and earrings etc. Those will be first come first serve and I won't be taking custom orders in silver at all. If I have made something is silver for a mold, I might offer it as a sample sale. New items in palladium will also be available as sample sales. I will also not be making the eternity rings anymore (I don't think). I will have eternity rings, just not the ones I have been making. I had come to dread it anytime someone ordered one of those, since the stone setting was quite laborious and time consuming. I have to do this because otherwise I will be too busy to do things that I really enjoy doing, like designing, drawing and carving new stuff in wax. I know that some people will be disappointed about this decision, but I have to do what I have to do to maintain my sanity. I can't keep working at the pace that I have been in the last year, it will burn me out. I would like to continue loving what I do.


The fall/winter issue of Oregon Bride magazine comes out this month. A wedding set of mine will be featured in it. It is very exciting for me, but I'm not sure what effect it will have on my business. But exposure can't be bad. :-) The Shop Monkey and I will be going to a fancy cocktail party thing next week that the magazine is sponsoring (?? I'm actually not exactly sure who is holding it, but we got the invites through the magazine). I'm not exactly well versed in fancy parties, but I think I will like dressing up. And seeing the Shop Monkey all spiffed up will be super awesome too. :-)


I'm still experimenting with taking photos of my rings on people. Mostly just myself at the moment, since my lady friends are scattered all over the place (Alaska, Thailand, Arizona). But I am sort of planning (she doesn't know yet) to use my one Portland girlfriend as my model. She has gorgeous hands (tiny!), and is gorgeous in general. I think using someone else will make it easier to have a model, since I feel too self-conscious about myself in pictures. I don't want people to think I'm self-absorbed (although, I probably am! Aren't we all to some extent?) And it is really hard to take pictures of yourself anyway. See below. I feel all myspacey.

Okay, well, I've got to get to work to prepare for my "grand" (re)opening. I've also got a stand alone website in the works, but I had underestimated how hard it is to build one of those things. Anyone know of a good webdesigner? Recommendations would be much appreciated!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I posted about this a little bit earlier this month, but I have finally finished the project, thank goodness. Sometimes a project can really take it out of you for various reasons. I was telling my sister the other day that running your own business is like being in school perpetually. You always have something unfinished hanging over your head....lingering in the back of your mind....spoiling your weekends. Just like the guilt I used to feel about papers I needed to finished (or start!) writing.

But now I can put this one to rest....finally.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Still loving the palladium

It is much harder to clean and polish, but I just love the feel and look.

Old style, new metal.