Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Holidays!

I've been extremely busy.  Which is good.  But I think it is causing me to go bald.  So I suppose me and the Shop Monkey will be a matched pair.  I recently made this platinum version of the sunken treasure ring (haha, I always think of this as my wedding ring), using an old cut stone that a customer provided.  I really like the way it turned out.  And you have no idea how heavy this thing is.  WANT!

I thought I might share some scenes from this holiday season!  When I was growing up my family didn't celebrate holidays, so this was really my first time decorating etc.  I really enjoyed it, and I think it will just become more fun as things become traditions.  (I actually have a little notebook that I'm writing it all down in,  that way I can remember what to do next year.  Starting from scratch is a bit hard!)

Not specifically a holiday photo, but her face is so awesome that I had to share it.  Even if it is a bit blurry.  Hehe!

I had these little tiles made by a really cool ceramics artist on Etsy.  Her shop is called Art-Craft-Home, and Stephanie, the owner/artist, was so helpful and awesome.  The tiles are so nice and unique.  You can't see it from here, but the chanukiah and dreidel are raised up from the back ground.  I can't wait to display them next year!

Every year (two years running!) I make a big batch of Gl√łg.  Which is basically just a very strong mulled wine.  Here is my recipe.  But don't use all of the port or brandy, and if you use all of the sugar, use two bottles of wine.  If you make it the way it is written (use as much port and brandy as you like, I don't really think you can overdo it, haha), keep it in a jug and cut it with regular red wine.  It's like a mulled wine concentrate this way!   (And I know, I spelled Hanukkah wrong!  In my traditions book.  Haha.  Maybe I had had too much gloooooog?)  

Aquavit night!  Every Thursday night during the winter, we have a fire and Popcorn Dinner®.  Dark beer and a little bit of Aquavit!  And then we watch shows on the computer.  It's funny how having children makes the most prosaic things fun.  I really look forward to aquavit night.  (Poor Dieter.  The pugs are still sort of exiled into the outer darkness....except for all of the dropped baby food they scavenge, beggars.)

LOOT! And my sweet, sweet husband bought be this antique drexel sideboard for our anniversary.

And I made this triangle bunting out of scrap fabric I had.  I really like the way it turned out.  It also doubles as birthday bunting!  The little felt ball bunting was another Etsy purchase.  I wish I had just bought a big bag of the felt balls and made my own instead.  You win some, you lose some.

And fun LED lights!  I love twinkle lights.  I know it is usually associated with Christmas, but how would I know that?  Not ever really having celebrated either Hanukkah or Christmas?  That's what I tell myself anyway.  (Ha!  I also have twinkle lights around my front door. )

And sweet, adorable sweetie babies.  They've started giving kisses.  It's probably the best thing I've ever experienced.

Happy Holidays!  And a Merry New Year!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Congrats S and J!

How much do we all love that nail polish?  I know I do.  And that's a girl after my own heart.  I could totally drink a beer right now, I just spent 30 minutes waiting in line at the post office.  Nothing makes me want to step in front of a train more than people who package their things up at the counter.  OMG. Do that at home!  So inconsiderate.

And, my sweet little devil squids turned one yesterday!

Happy birthday, my little sweeties!

Friday, December 13, 2013

My sister is closer to 40 than to 30. HAHAHA. (wait, I'm only two years behind!)

Sometimes the things I like the most are the pieces that I throw together from scrap metal that I have lying around.  No planning, just working with existing pieces and some strict limitations.  I sometimes feel that constraints and limitations help me get to where I would like to be, rather than leaving me frustrated by too much freedom.

I haven't done a whole lot of fabrication in a while, most of my stuff now is lost wax casting.  But I used to do all fabrication, and I had some 12 gauge 18kt yellow wire gathering dust.  It was in the form of two fat jump rings and a bit that was left straight.  I really like what I came up with, it was super hard to let them go.  I might have to make myself a pair.  They just seemed so wearable.  I would wear them every day!  (I hope they get as much love as I would have given them in their new home.  If you have doubts about that, send them back to me posthaste.  You know who you are.)

I sort of felt my way along as I was making them.  Went oval with the rings, instead of round.  I hammered and flattened the straight pieces.  Then I added a file finish, then florentine, and then a super heavy matte.  I soldered the ear wires directly to the earring, I wanted them to just slip on and stay on without a lot of movement (plus, I didn't have tiny jump rings or the wire to make them!  I love it when design decisions are made easy for me, haha).

And of course, I didn't take a photo before I shipped them out.  I was a little rushed for time.  Which seems to be my new state of being.  But my sister took some lovely photos of them and sent them along.

Isn't she lovely?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Something new

So I have been struggling to find the time to add new things to my shop.  I have a piece that I am working on, it isn't assembled yet and I'm still trying to decide on the stone, but here is a quick shot of it with the setting just sitting on top with a 4mm cz:

The setting is palladium and the bands are 18kt yellow.  I'm thinking of making a matching wedding band in a wide width with the same rumpled wrinkle texture.  Yes, no, maybe so?

And unrelated to jewelry....

This morning while I was sewing napkins and listening to NPR (the double babies were double napping, hallelujah) I heard an interview with the founder of The Life You Can Save.  I give to various charities each month and it is always a struggle for me to find a suitable organization to give to.  Sometimes I'm just so disgusted with humanity in general that I want to give up.  When I feel this way I give to environmental charities.  But most of the time I don't hate everyone, and especially after having my own children it has really made me more empathetic to the suffering of children (and their mothers).  I can't imagine anything more horrible than having children and not being able to care for them because of poverty or some other reason.  I can't imagine not being able to feel joy about one's children because you can't feed them or keep them safe.  Horrible.  Horrible horrible horrible.  The website that I heard about this morning helped me find a charity to give to for October, November, and December.  I chose to combine those funds and give to one charity, the Fistula Foundation.  It is an organization that helps women to get surgeries to repair damage resulting from pregnancy and labor.  It would be such a terrible thing to have a baby (if you're lucky and the baby lives) and then deal with incontinence for the rest of your life.  To me it seems like the most basic of requirements for happiness: the ability to use the toilet when you choose to.  It's not a glamorous cause, there are no fluffy pandas.  But when I think about a new mother trying to take care of her baby and also dealing with her own trouble, perhaps being shunned by other people because of her medical problem, it breaks my heart.  Breaks it right in half.  So I think that next year I will devote half of my charity dollars to this same charity and the other half to Population Services International.  I encourage you all to check out The Life You Can Save website, it's pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jewelry artist falls off the face of the earth

No, not really. (Although she might want to at times). 

I've just been a bit overwhelmed.  Turns out trying to do full time work in 20 hours a week is a bit hard.  Plus, I've been busy chasing these:

Work life balance is a little hard to achieve.  At least for me.  I don't want to work full time, since my little sweeties are still so small.  Not that small, I guess.  Eleven months old now!  Where did the time go.  Where are my tiny tinies?!  They're walking!  Of course they are.  Walking at 10.5 months!  It seems really early and I can't help wishing that they had stayed babies a bit longer. I probably won't have anymore, so I feel a bit cheated that I won't get a second go around at the sweet tiny baby part pf parenthood.

Well, on the studio front I've just been working away:

And as I am taking the above picture, out in the front yard:

 LOL LOL LOL.  I have two very dramatic babies.  They're hilarious.

And this was a really fun project for a lovely lady in Rhode Island (a place I've never been, but have always wanted to visit):

I really just love the way I attached the palladium bezel.  It makes me want to remake my own ring!

I have a couple of new things that I'm trying to finish and add to the shop, but extra time is a bit thin on the ground here. :-(  I also have a bit of $$ from recycling all of my polishing sweeps for the last 4 years and I'm trying to decided what new equipment to buy.  Maybe a ring stretcher/compressor?  I really want to get a bead blaster, I love that texture.  AND, I got some stuff that will blacken gold, so I am SO EXCITED to try that out.  But I need the time.  TIME TIME, whose got the time!?

Not me, obviously.  I haven't even posted to my blog in a thousand years....  I think I am going to try to post every week.  We'll see how it goes.  haha.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sometimes you have a project where everything seems to go wrong wrong wrong

Are there any of you out there that experience this?  It seems like certain projects are just cursed, and bad things just keep happening, one thing after another until the project is ruined.  Or finished, after much cursing.  I swear, at least once a year I will have a project that makes me want to throw myself off of a bridge.  I've either miscalculated how much it will cost to make, or underestimated by like a million hours how long it will take to make (or both! which is always fabulous).  Or while I'm in the middle of the project, things will just keep going wrong.  Well, I had the perfect storm of a project and it combined the best elements of all three of these things.  Seriously made me want to just give up and get a desk job.  What a nightmare.  If they hadn't been for a lovely repeat customer who I really like I would have given up and sent a refund (which I have never before done). 

And then I had a couple of pieces of casting not turn out, so I had to remake them.

Giant pit, right in the bezel.  The other one was the same metal and had a giant pit, right in the same spot.  That is where the sprue was.

Things just seem to be going wrong all over the place.  And I'm being attacked by spiders.

This is the THIRD giant terrifying spider that I've found in the studio.  Maybe it was the same one, I did catch the first one and let it go down at the bottom of the yard (and by letting go I mean flinging into the bushes from the jar he was trapped in), perhaps he came back for revenge? (From being rescued from my sink?)  I let this one go too, although I got super shivers from catching it.  I took a video of it moving around, but I don't want to horrify people.  Ugh. I don't mind spiders generally, but when they're this big....

And I finally got a hair cut after a year and it's terrible.  I have triangle hair now, it's horrible.  I feel like I need to go out and buy some acid washed mom jeans with pleats.  The worst part is, it was finally starting to look good and now I have to start over.  And my hair grows SO SLOWLY.  And my stylist is usually awesome, so I don't even know what happened.

I'm really hoping that things will start improving soon.  I'm not sure if I can take being in a deep gray funk already, and it's only September.  How will I make it through the winter?


Monday, August 19, 2013

The horrible, no good, very bad week.

Dearest readers,

I had a pretty terrible week last week.  Nothing bad happened, no one died.  It was more of a "I didn't win the lottery" sort of bad, rather than "all of my money has been stolen" sort of bad.  But still pretty bad, for me at least.

Friday morning I got an unexpected email from my wonderful, sparkling, cupcakes and cotton candy, unicorns and pink kittens nanny.  It was terrible.  She quit!  She quit!  Effective that next Monday.  What did these little stinkers do to make her quit?!?!  Why!? WHY?

She had had a friend who recommended her for a job at a school, and the lady who was doing the hiring happened to know her and offered her the job right away.  And mandatory training started that next Monday.  So, it sucked for me and my whole life was turned upside down.  It's sort of hard to get any work done when you have two 8 month babies who have decided that now is a great time to start crawling.  Things are still crazy.  I'm happy for her, but disappointed that we no longer have her as our fabulous nanny.

And then, I was trying to get this rush order out last Thursday, and I was checking the diamond in the setting before I got ready to starting cutting the seat and it fell onto the ground and bounced by my toe and vanished.  Just disappeared.  Seriously.  I was all, no problem, it's some where.  It can't just disappear.  30 minutes of searching later I call in the Shop Monkey to help me....nothing.  I am just envisioning having to buy a new stone.  Tears, people.  Tears.

And then, for the 5th time, I check this one spot with a metal pokey tool and there it is.  Let me show you:

It was wedged into that little space in the last photo.  I was about to pull my hair out when I finally found it. 

And then:


Don't worry, I practice catch and release.  OMG, still creeped out.  And there was another one, later, on the floor.  I hope I'm not going to get eaten.

This week is starting out better than last week, I hope everything works out with the new nanny.  It's fewer hours than I had before, which isn't fantastic.  The babies like her though, and that's important.  They are so awesome right now.  They're both so fast and funny, I love it. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cheese and Rice, it took me long enough.

Man, I have been plagued (PLAGUED!) by bad photographs since I moved out of my sweet industrial studio with the south facing windows last summer.  I swear I haven't taken a good photograph since June of 2012.  But I think I have finally figured it out (HALLELUJAH!).  Except, of course, for the random kitty hairs all over the stump that I like to use.  (Have I mentioned that I hate cats?  Ours especially?  I'm kidding.  No, I'm not.  I despise them.  Kidding.  No, really, I can't wait until they run away.  I joke!  No.  Really.)

So, that ring on the far left isn't white gold with a weird tint.  It's 14kt green gold, which is super nice in person, but I'm having some trouble capturing the color.  It is sort of a spring yellow, lighter and whiter than regular 14kt yellow gold, but not really green.  I like it.  It's fresh looking.  That's my new ring too!  I think I'm going to call it my French Wedding ring.  It seems sort of antique to me.  All right, I have to go squeeze my babies, so this is it for my blog post.  I am so relieved to finally be able to take good photos again, I can't even tell you.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Our first road trip!

GBP (gratuitous baby post) warning!

Last Friday, the Shop Monkey informed me that we were going to Cannon Beach the next day.  I was fairly nervous about the 1.5hr drive, but the Squids were amazing.  They napped their morning nap on the way there, and their afternoon nap on the way back.  Perfect!

(Obviously, I just pinched him. j/k!)

Monday, July 22, 2013

I do!

I absolutely love it when people share their wedding photos with me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jewelry takes to the sea

Man, I want to be there too!  I love sailing. (Though, that might be a bit creepy, crashing someone's marriage proposal, haha.)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It's the little things

I have been wanting shelves in my studio for almost a year now.  It's crazy how fast last year went by.  Buying a house, moving, building a studio, and having two babies makes time fly.  But I now have a couple of shelves and my books aren't taking up counter space anymore, which is fabulous.  It's so funny how little things can make such a big difference.  I recently rearranged my living room and bedroom and the difference is so huge!  It's like a new space entirely (I feel that way at least).  

So I finally made a copy of my wedding ring.  I was really ambivalent about adding the design to my shop for a long time (years....), but I finally took the plunge and I'm happy about.  It's so gorgeous (IMHO) and decadent (so much gold!) that I think it deserves to be shared, rather than hoarded for myself.  And besides that, most of my sentimentalness (new word) has had time to wear off a bit.  I still love my ring, but it doesn't bother me to know that there will be other women wearing the same thing.  I just hope they love it as much as I do. :-)

(I'm hard to photograph!)

And did you happen to be cruising for adorable baby pictures?  Let me help you out:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I just thought I would share this.  I think it is really spot on for those jewelry/diamond commercials with the over the top descriptions.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This, that, and the other

Finally!  Summer is here.  Thank goodness.  It was a pretty mild winter, though.  Not that I was aware of much of it.  Having two babies will do that to a person.  I'm back in the studio 20 hours a week now and I'm so glad to have some time to work on new things.  This new design (shown here in extremely flattering aqua blue injection wax) is something I'm super excited about.  It will have a single stone gypsy set, flush with the curve of the top of the ring.  I think it will be a great choice for people who are worried about "wearability".  I like it especially since it is a bit different from your regular solitaire.  A little more old fashioned?

And now to non-jewelry related content!  Feel free to tune out now.

Mandrake roots!  Quick, cover your ears.  No, kidding. It's just our demented carrots.  The garden is really coming along. Now that the summer weather is here in earnest (knock on wood), our tomatoes and other things should be taking off soon.  We've planted pickling cucumbers, radishes, strawberries, kale, lettuces, peas, zucchinis, carrots, onions, lemon cucumbers, pumpkins, and peppers.  I think that's it.  This year is our experimental year, we hope that next year we will have a better idea of how to manage our massive veggie garden.  Honestly, it might be a bit much for us.

I have a sitter!  Where did my tiny baby go!??!  Sad sad sad face!  This is Addy, and he is an award winning sitter.  He went from a couple of wobbly seconds upright to BAM! Champion sitting, in just a couple of days.

And this baby wants to steal my coffee, water, beer....pretty much any liquid that is going into my mouth.  This morning as I was eating my cheerios, she was watching every bite like a hawk, and when I would catch her staring she would give me a grin.  She is SO ADORABLE!

All right, I'm going to sit in the sun for a few minutes before I head back to the studio!  I'm working on one of these: