Friday, March 29, 2013

Have I Ever Mentioned

That I'm obsessed with Iceland?  I've wanted to go for at least 10 years.  It was a possibility for our honeymoon, but since we got married in the dead of winter, it just wasn't going to happen.  :-(  Maybe sometime soon the Shop Monkey and I can pack up the Squids and head on over for a soak in the blue pool and some gandering at the beautiful foss(es?) of the place.

But until I can find the time (who knows), I guess I will have to be satisfied that one of my rings has already made the trip.  (Thanks for the photos Krystal!)

And in case you were wondering why I would want to to travel to a place with a name as forbidding as Ice-Land!


 (Of course, not sure if I would be able to get up this early.)

(How can you not want to live here?  Maybe I'm a weirdo, but this looks just about 
perfect to me.  And not even much gloomier than Oregon!)

(Have your rings traveled to places exotic?  Do you have photos!?  I would love it if you would share them with me!  If no photos, maybe leave a comment about your travels!  My rings spent a week in Paris and two weeks in Israel.  They've floated in the Dead Sea and traversed the Catacombs!  They climbed Masada and the Arc de Triomphe!  They even spent a day in Jordan!)  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Gearing up

Time passes so quickly and so slowly at the same time. Back in November, April seemed a world away, but here it is.  Spring is sprung, and I am getting ready to go back to work.  I've finally found a nanny who will work part time.  I only intend on working 20 hours a week, which seems like plenty.  My little squids will be 4 months old at the middle of the month and it seems like I was pregnant last week.  They are getting nice and rolly polly, so I know that the time is passing quickly, but each day seems like a small forever.  I'm not sure how long this strange time distortion will last (until they have kids of their own?  And then I will sound like every parent everywhere when I say it feels like they were babies just yesterday?).

I will be opening to orders the first week of April, but I probably won't have all of my listings up in the shop for another week or two.  I need to go through and makes some changes and also add new things that I made last year and would like to have in the shop.  Sorting through my iphoto seems like a monumental task right now, so that will probably have to come last.

I'm right in the middle of carving a new eternity style ring,  maybe seven diamonds across the top half of the band.  I have a smaller diamond solitaire carved already, I'm going to call it the Itty Bitty.  The diamond will be around 3.5mm.  I think it will be sparkly and sweet and suited for people who don't want a giant rock.  I have a new matching set in mind, but I haven't started it yet.  It will be smoother and more rounded than my other things.  Maybe with a few flush set stones in the wedding band.  I am also planning on a pair of diamond/moissanite studs, and I want to bring back the Raw Circle studs as well, in palladium with moissanite.

Pricing earring is always hard though, since they take a lot more work than a ring, but people can't/don't want to pay as much for earrings.  Does that make sense?  You have to make two of something, for the price of one.  So I haven't offered many earring styles since I find it a bit boring to make two of the same thing, but I'm going to try to streamline their production and see if I can make it work.  I might have the people who do my casting also do the rough finishing, so I'm not stuck at the bench for hours at a time getting all grubby doing the grunt work of heaving polishing (which I despise!).  I have carved designs for at least four pairs of earrings, with molds made and everything, but for some reason I have avoided finishing them.  I would also like to make a couple of necklaces again, maybe this and a raw circle pendant?:

Anyhow, a lot of things on my mind.  Still not sure how this work thing will work out with two tiny sweet babies.  Having a nanny come 20 hours a week is great, but even now I can see how much I will miss them.  They're so sweet and just starting to become little tiny baby people rather than larval humans.  :-)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Before and after

Last week I was out in the studio (for some precious alone time) to set a stone, and as I was getting ready to get to work I realized that this:

was exactly the same as how I had left it last year when I went on maternity leave (a month early!).  It was a bit surreal, to think of how much my life has changed, two new little people popped into existence (!!!), but the smallest bit of metal dust hadn't moved position out in the studio.

Of course, what does that say about my studio tidying habits?  Nothing good.  But I'm getting better.  This studio is much much cleaner than my last studio.  I think it's because I paid for it to be built!  I really believe that people value more something they personally invested in.  (Sorry squids, you're on your own for college.  Haha!  Just kidding.  Or am I?)

So this is the project I took on while on maternity leave (why can't I really take time off?  I think it is because I get bored and boredom leads to a gray blue funk.  I need to be a precise amount of busy and not a dollop more.  Still trying to figure out what that perfect amount is).

Just the solitaire, not the band.  The band is new from last year.  Doesn't seem to be very popular and I don't know why.  I haven't sold a single one.  I thought it would go well with my other designs, but thus far people seem to prefer hammered texture over the heavy carved shapes.

I have to say I broke out into a cold sweat while I was setting this diamond.  It had just been so long and I felt a little out of practice.  Plus I have baby-brain (x2) and I'm not getting a lot of sleep.  I was trying to focus, but I felt that there was a clock running.  How long can I be away from the babies?  Is the Shop Monkey okay inside alone, etc etc.

(Giant rosemary bush in the garden.)

But everything went well, and it reminded me why I love my job.  There is just something about focused attention that my brain craves.  I think that is why some of my hobbies are/have been running (no music), lap swimming, and quilting.  Anything that requires a lot of attention, but at the same time lets you zone out a bit.  I know that seems a bit contradictory, but it's what works for me.  It  just lets my mind decompress.

And for the Squid watchers out there:

It's pretty crazy, they don't even look related.  And right now I feel that Addy doesn't even look like he belongs to us.  Blue eyes and blond hair??  But I think his coloring is from my mom's side of the family.  They're are doing good.  Starting to settle into a routine a bit.  But I see on the monitor that Addy is starting to wake up from his nap (second of the morning, hallelujah!).

More later.