Monday, December 26, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Be-Moustached Bachelorette

I had the loveliest of times at my speakeasy themed bachelorette party on Friday, hosted by two of my future bridesmaids (see the two with the handle bar moustaches).  I don't think I've ever had such a lovely and thoughtful party thrown for me.  It was fabulous!  This has nothing to do with jewelry, but I couldn't resist the chance to post a photo of me with a moustache.  I've always wanted one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In case you were wondering

Whatever happened to those projects with the cool sapphires?

Well, here they are.  Turned out pretty spiffy (if I do say so myself...yuk yuk yuk...).  

And now I'm going to do this:

With this!:

Not the best of blog posts, but I'm pulling my hair out here trying to get everything done so I can have a breather before the wedding.  Starting to get excited about it, it now seems like it will actually happen and be a pretty fantastic party.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


To cast or not to cast:

I was thinking yellow gold with little green diamonds in the settings?


"Oh, did you want to sleep here too, Dieter?  Too bad. Only room enough for one pug."

"Oh, did you want to enjoy the space heater in peace?  Too bad."

Pug Tetris, beginner skill level.

New stuff:

My second foray into platinum.  I'm really loving it.  I can see why some jewelers work with it exclusively.  I really love the tapered band on this one and the stone was very unique.  GSI1, with a crazy black inclusion right almost centered, but somehow it just got lost in the sparkle.

Finally!  I've blogged about how I wanted to use one of these silvery gray natural diamonds and I got my chance shortly thereafter (thanks Joey!).  I love the way it turned out.  It is hard to photograph, but I love the way it sort of glows from within because of all the inclusions.  If I can get more of these stones I will be offering it in my shop.

All right, I have to get ready for craft night!  My lady friends are coming to the studio to work on crafts!  So excited, but I need to sweep up all of the pug hair that has accumulated over the last few days.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Well, it's official,

I'm getting married in a couple of months.  Now that I've had a bridal shower there is no backing out.  Just kidding!  I can still back out if I want.  Kidding!  Kidding!

Anyhoo.  So it was a pretty stressful weekend for me.  You would think that having a bunch of lovely ladies throw me a big (to me, anyway) bridal shower with fabulous gifts and a delicious Israeli/French themed lunch (which, btw, are the two places we are going on our cute was that!?!) would make me feel all warm and fuzzy.  And it did, theoretically.  It also made me sweaty, dry mouthed and extremely uncomfortable.  I HATE (!!!!!!!!) being the center of attention, it makes me want to cringe.  I'm not a shy person, just a bit more reserved than some, so this was (WAY) outside of my comfort zone.  (Picture a reserved British lady at a big Mediterranean (read: effusive and loud) social function and I think that will give you a bit of an idea about the cultural distance that I was/am trying to bridge).  But that is my own issue, and doesn't detract from the lovely sweetness of these ladies and the effort that went into my shower.  Which was lovely, and I'm super lucky that I have these wonderful people in my life now. This is probably a deeper glimpse into my not-well-socialized psyche than you were looking for, so let's proceed to the jewelry themed portion of this blog post.

I blogged earlier that I was making some earrings as little thank you gifts for the 4 ladies who organized the shower.  I just wanted to give you guys a quick peek at how they turned out.  I had a bit of trouble coming up with things that wouldn't be too big or flashy for the recipients (since I like diamonds and large dangly earrings, making these didn't come as naturally to me as some other things I make.  Which was nice, I like a challenge).

I like the way they turned out.  It was great to be making something a bit different from my daily sort of work.  I tried to make each pair a bit unique, I wanted them all to be really different.  I think it worked out.

I put them in little thank you cards inside envelopes and then just handed them out without choosing which ones went to which lady.  But I think they ended up going to the right person anyhow, so that worked out really well.

So that is that.  And now I have to get back to my day job.  I've been completely overwhelmed since the middle of September.  It's been CRAZY.  I can't wait to close for the winter in December.  I guess I should make an announcement about that.  I'll start that here:


I will be closing around the middle of December to get ready for my wedding.  If you would like to receive your jewelry this calendar year, you will need to order by the 15th of NOVEMBER, at the absolute latest. I CANNOT TAKE ON ANYMORE RUSH JOBS.  RUSH JOBS MAKE MY LIFE HELL.  I will not be working on a last minute project right before my wedding.  So if you would like your jewelry before I go on vacation, get it ordered now.  I will not be answering emails about new orders after the 15th of November and I will not be answering emails AT ALL, from the 20th of December until the 22nd of January 2012.  If you have your order in by the 15th of November it will go out before I go on vacation towards the middle of December.  But if you get an order started after November 15th, it will not go out until 3-4 weeks after I return from my honeymoon at the end of January.  All right!  I hope that makes things clear.  Let's review:

1)  I am closing for the year in the middle of December.

2) If you would like your order delivered before the end of February of 2012, order it by November 15th.

3) I will not be taking on last minute rush orders.  AT ALL.  I know you want to propose on a certain special date, or that you want to have the engagement ring to show the family during the holidays, or that a vacation/birthday/anniversary/elopement is coming up next week/2 weeks from now/tomorrow, but my work time is 3-6 weeks, with most orders shipping in the 4th week.  Anything sooner than that is virtually impossible for me to do.  I can't just drop everything else that I have going to make your order.  I really can't.  I would love it if I could, but I can't.

All right.  I think that is all I have to say for now.  It is a bit hard to focus when I feel like a chicken without it's head.

Signing off.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pret-TY stoked!

I love doing things that are bit different, so I'm am excited to be working with different stones from my usual (diamonds).  I have a three orders right now that I will be making using unique stones.  One is with a natural silver-gray diamond.  It's gorgeous!  Even better than I expected, I almost squeaked a bit when I opened the package.  Gorgeous!  Almost opalescent, a light glittery fog.  I LOVE IT.  If I can get a good picture of it I will share it here.

The next project is with a lovely, blue-green Montana sapphire:

Lovely!  And I will use a blue diamond with this project as well, so I'm excited about that.  I really love colored stones.  You can't really tell from my Etsy shop, but I do really love the colored stones.  It is just a bit harder to work with them since they really vary from stone to stone, so it's hard to guarantee someone that you can get something exactly like they see in the photos.  Does that make sense?  But I would really like to see some more color in my shop, so I'm going to gradually add some in.  I am really digging on Montana sapphires at the moment, especially oval cut ones, so I think I might have to also make an oval ring to add to my shop.  I've been wanting to branch out in terms of stone shapes for a while now.  I think I'll start with oval and then add cushion.

And the last special project with a colored stone will be using a purple-blue sapphire that I have yet to pick out from my dealer, but I plan on doing that next week.  It is going to be lovely.  This is the same guy I blogged about earlier and he is fabulous, so helpful.  While I'm there I might pick up those smaller padparadscha I'm in love with.  I still need to make my wedding band, so maybe they will show up in that!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sapphires Sapphires!

I've had a few requests lately  for unusually colored sapphires, so I made a treck downtown to see this stone guy who buys everything himself in Asia and brings them back to Portland.  I was looking for a greenish blue sapphire and a purple sapphire.  It was a big NOPE on the greenish blue, apparently he tries to avoid them since no one requests them.  Which makes me think he is selling to an entirely different group of people than I am.  Probably older, more traditional people.  He told me no one is interested because you can't get a true emerald like green from a sapphire.  I was thinking, that's exactly why I like them.  They are unique and more earthy.  Oh well.  There were some really pretty forest green oval stones that I might go back for, and some LOVELY light yellow round sapphires.  And some orange-pink ones that I think I want for a new eternity ring.  No pictures on any of those.  But I do have some of the lovely purples I am thinking of for a special project.

I'm also loving these lighter ceylon sapphires.

And he also had these gorgeous zircons, but they are too soft for wedding jewelry, unfortunately.

Absolutely LOVE the color though.  

And finally, these two tiny pugs that work at the studio with me want to say hello:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Have I mentioned

how much I love it when people send me photos of their rings/weddings/engagement?  I particularly loved this one:

How fun is that?  I would never have thought to stage rings this way, but I think it is lovely.  Maybe I should go out looking for a pine tree (although they are sort of scarce around the studio.  Industrial areas tend to be low on lovely trees).

I also love this one.  Nature and the woods seem to be a theme here.  Just lovely!

(p.s. I've been a little preoccupied with my new hobby.  Let's just say it involves a new machine and lots of gorgeous cotton fabric!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sea Creatures! Ahhh!

So, my future mother-in-law and her lady friends are throwing me a bridal shower (!!!) in October.  I wanted to do something nice for them in return, so I think I'm going to make them each a pair of earrings.  It's fun to experiment and do some stuff that is outside of my normal day to day job.  Of these two, only the first pair is for one of these lovely ladies, the second pair is a bit large and strange and I don't think they would really suit any of them.  But I have a few more things knocking around inside my head, so we will just have to see what comes out.


It is fun to be designing for a different audience.  I'm not sure if many women in their 60's are really shopping on Etsy (of course, I could be totally wrong).  They are probably not snapping up moustache decals, graphic tees, or mason jar up-cycled lamps.  So I don't really make many earrings with that age group in mind (ha!  I don't really make many earrings for the shop at all!).  Not that they all have the same tastes, but I don't think they would be too excited about giant silver hoops or super dangly earrings, so I have to keep things at a certain size.  That is really the only real restraint, I think.  Am I wrong?  Maybe some older ladies would like crazy earrings?  Maybe it's just that the women I have in mind share a more restrained style, maybe that is why I'm feeling like I need to keep things moderately small?

All right, I've started to ramble.  It's like my internal voice is eager to spill out all over the internet.  I went for a run this morning, and since then I've just been in the best mood.  Almost bubbly (which is unusal for me).  I had to keep myself from talking the head off of my chiropractor this morning and then I totally chatted up this kid outside a resale shop and bought the table that he was trying to put on consignment.  I always thought I was an introvert, but I think I'm becoming more extroverted as I age.  Anyhow, before I force any more boring details from my day onto you I'm going to sign off.

Have a nice Friday everyone! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I guess it is decided

I won't be changing my business name.  Yet.  Thanks for the feedback everyone!

So, there have been a few additions to the studio that were a long (too long) time in coming.  Seriously.  You would think I would be more concerned with my own health and safety.  And I am.  But for some reason these changes were always pushed to the end of the list of "Things To Do".

So, there they are:

I'll tell you what, if you are in the market for a new office/studio chair, I would recommend this very highly.  I got this a back pain speciality store.  I'm sure you've seen your doctor or dentist on one of these.  It is fabulous.

I am embarrassed to admit how long it took me to get a pair of these.  Especially considering how much hammering I do.  I will probably have hearing problems later in life.  Maybe.  But now I'm protected.  Thanks Amazon American Express points!

Perhaps you are under the impression that jewelry making is a glamorous job.  Well, maybe some jewelers are glam and style-ly, but I am generally wearing clothes that should be going to the Goodwill, and covered in the disgusting grit created by silicon polishing wheels.  It is the worst feeling ever to have this grit all over your face and neck.  So I finally snapped and bought this shield.  If I wear it with my apron (not pictured here) it blocks all the grit spray from adhering to my face and I can go home without grime all over.  It's a bit heavy, but if you are sitting you can sort of prop it on your chest.  I would recommend something like it if you HATE polishing dirt getting on your face. (Also an Amazon purchase.  It was pretty cheap.)

Hehehehehehehe.  This is for stone setting and carving wax (for me anyway).  It's a magnavisor.  I like it pretty well.  I think I might upgrade to those little glasses dentists have sometime in the future.  You have to get measured for those, so that has sort of deterred me.

And this is an air purifier with a HEPA filter.  It just makes the studio air seem fresher somehow.

And this is a picture of two exhausted pugs.  Sleeping on the couch and eating treats all day sure is rough.  They shed like you wouldn't believe.  Many a perfectly staged photograph has been ruined by a stray pug hair.  But I wouldn't give them up, being alone all day would drive me batty.

And the requisite picture of jewelry:


I like the tapering band.  I am going to add it to my shop, I just need to find more photos.  I recently purchased an external harddrive (another shop improvement!  I feel more and more like a real adult!) and moved most of my photographs onto it.  But the thought of sifting through all of those photos searching for this particular ring makes me tired.

So!  I have new earrings to share!  But I am not going to put them in this post.  It's already too long and I'm sure you have better things to do than waste any more time listening to my ramblings.  I will probably post on Friday, I hope to have a few more to add to the two designs I have now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Possible name change?

When I first started my business in Feb. 2009,  I didn't really have a plan.  I was just flying by the seat of my pants really.  I began by hanging out my shingle (so to speak) and making a few things to sell.  It's hard to really describe how it went after that, it all went so fast.  But I hadn't really given my business name that much thought.  I actually had a website for my drawings and that is where the singleB came from (indirectly, it was singleB in the first place because of my nickname, Bean).  Now I am regretting it, a bit.  I want to change it something a little more, I don't know, evocative?  Grown up?  A name that makes more sense?

But I'm afraid that I can't!  I'm so heavily invested in my Etsy shop, with the name singleB (or singleBbeautiful....another accidental name.  I had previous etsy shop with the name singleB, and when I opened the jewelry shop, I couldn't use just singleB so I tacked on the beautiful.  It has caused some minor confusion.)  Argh.

Some people have lovely, dignified, romantic, memorable names.  And they just use their own name, or a version of their name.  But don't feel that I can do that.  Justine?  Ugh.  It sounds like it came out of a Harlequin romance novel (which, according to my mother, it did).  I can just see "Justine" as some aristocratic young woman (with self-esteem issues and/or who is strong willed and never thought she would find a man who thinks she's beautiful and/or who was confident enough to put up with her having her own opinions) who gets abducted and then falls in love with her pirate/barbarian/bandit/rake kidnapper, because he is so noble and gentlemanly underneath the gruff exterior.  (LOL!  LOL!)

Anyhoo, so Justine Collins Designs, or Justine Collins Jewelry is out.  I just don't like the way it sounds. It sounds hokey.  No?  Am I crazy?  It just seems sort of generic?

This is what is in my mind at the moment:

I don't really know why, the name just calls to me.  It means "bright" in Hebrew.  I love the way it sounds (at least the way I imagine it is pronounced: baa-here-ah?) and the way it looks printed out.  And I could keep my little lady head logo too.  But I have a built a little bit of name recognition with singleB, so I'm afraid to give that up.  I don't know.  This has been tormenting me for some time now.  I need outside opinions.  Have you ever changed your business name?  What do you think would be a good name for my business?  Do you like BEHIRA?  Or is it silly?  Hard to pronounce?  Hard to remember?  Weird?  Pretentious?

Well, I'm glad it is Friday.  I'm going to go home and have a glass of wine and not worry about this for a while.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Grass is Always Greener

Readers.  While I looooove my sunken treasure engagement ring,

sometimes, when I finish making a set of rings, I feel like this:

and I wish that reality was more like this:

rather than this:

Oh well.  I knew that I would have a hard time pleasing myself, no matter what I made.  If I had made that other one rather than the one that I did, I would be "waaah, I wish I had made this other one instead.  Or maybe that other one....or that one.  Maybe that one."  Darnit.

Happy Friday!