Monday, October 29, 2007

Vintage charms

The result out of those vintage-looking keys I bought at the craft store a few weeks ago. I took two of them and fashioned a cluster charm consisting of the keys, a white nugget pearl, a clear swarovski crystal, and another swarovski crysal in "vintage rose", hanging from a silver chain of approximately 16" in length. There are two additional crystals worked onto the chain and above the charms.

It has a vintage-y feel to it that I really like. Below is a close-up.


For the most part, the first day at the new gig went okay today, except for the fact that I felt extremely discombobulated all day long. My routine was interrupted, I didn't have the usual familiar faces around me, I didn't know where anything was, and there were a lot of strange faces. I miss my old morning routine that consisted of 1) my morning commute 2) my morning hot chocolate 3) goofing off with my coworkers. I know that my discomfiture is a product of first days being just weird in general, and I expect that it will get better once I get used to new routines and new faces. As one of my good friends told me, I will look back at what I've written today and wonder why I was so upset. But for now, I dearly, dearly miss my old job and the people there!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Yellow aventurine

Just completed this one! I've been working on it for a while, rearranging the placement of the beads and playing around with using green and white polka dot ribbon instead of the silver chain. In the end, I think this is the final verdict: a half strand of yellow aventurine beads, with an asymmetrically-placed white swarovski crystal on the side and a cluster of charms hanging off of it, made up of a sterling silver filigree charm, a white nugget pearl, and a smaller white swarovski bead. They are all finished off with a silver chain, with a total length of 22".


On Saturday night I went with my sister, her husband, and Mr HD to hear the symphony pops orchestra play tunes from John Williams' movie scores, with the highlight being the Star Wars music. It was wonderful. Aside from Star Wars, my favorites were the themes from Super Man and Schindler's List, the latter's solo violin part performed by the concertmistress herself. It brought chills down my spine! They also played the main theme from Jurassic Park, which took me back to when I played the same music as a violinist with the youth orchestra I belonged to in high school.

At the end of the concert we took pictures with some of the costumed characters from Star Wars who were milling around the lobby, including a Stormtrooper.

A good time was had by all!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The magpie's reward

So after much careful thought and deliberation worthy of the most rigorous scientific research project, I finally decided that since I am such a damn magpie, I will not be getting a nice new purse for my reward (drooling over my sister-in-law and cousin's nice new purses notwithstanding!). Instead, I'm going to get me something sparkly.

To whit: rings!

I've been scouring one of my favorite antique jewelry sites, Fay Cullen, and after many, many hours of painstaking deliberation, I narrowed down my choice to two rings. What I'm going to end up with will actually be a combination reward present/wedding anniversary gift, so I have to make it good! However, I was prudent and set a budget (that Mr HD agreed to), and both rings are well within.

But now I'm in agony because I can't decide between these two, so you will have to help me.

This first one is an alternating sapphire and diamond eternity band in white gold. It is about 2mm thick, and I confess I am heavily leaning towards picking this. I love the sapphires, and the alternating shapes make this ring very Art Deco. Not to mention it is such a dainty ring.

The other one is another Art Deco band, but with just diamonds, also in white gold. It is slightly thicker at 3mm, and I can't decide whether I want a slightly thicker band like this or go with the more dainty band above. A difference of 1 mm probably doesn't seem much, but since my hands are so small it does make a noticeable difference on me.

Well now, I just gave myself a headache. I wish I had this problem every day.

And finally, I wanted to give a shout out to my cousin Mom2Amara, whose last day at work is also tomorrow, before she starts at a fab new job. I'm so delighted that she and I are going through the same event at exactly the same time. It also feels very comforting, because I don't feel quite so isolated and alone as I leave the familiar and venture into the unknown. Good luck, Mom2 Amara!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Studio city

Many of the artists of the handcrafted jewelry sites I frequent often speak about their "studios" where they create their pieces. I don't think mine quite qualifies as a studio, so I will call it my workspace instead (in truth, my quasi studio shares space with the guest bedroom).

I finally got around to organizing my beads and supplies and cleaning up this room where I spend a lot of time in - it has all I need to nurture my fledgling business within easy reach, especially my invaluable computer and printer to use for uploading pictures, blogging, shopping for supplies, checking out Etsy, as well as using my actual desk to create my necklaces. I do need a bigger work surface, but for now I just shove everything to one side to make room for my beads and tools.

I'm also just about ready for another set of plastic bins as this one is full to bursting with beads, stones, wire, jigs, tools, etc. I need to find more room, especially as I just bought the following:


Chrysoprase nuggets:

Dyed topaz:

Green aventurine:

And these cool oval gemstones in a variety of colors:

And lastly, I can't let this day go by without venting about the woman who sat next to me on the train on my way home today. What pisses me off is that since I am small, people almost always choose to sit on the empty seat next to me - they figure I don't take up that much space, even though there are other open seats on the train. My pet peeve is when a big guy sits next to me and proceeds to splay his knees open in what he probably thinks is a macho pose, except what he's actually doing is invading my space. Look, people, just because I'm small doesn't entitle you to take up the space allotted to me. Harrumph.

So this is essentially what happened today with this woman. I had the window seat, where she proceeded to squish me for almost the entire ride home. By the time I arrived at my destination I was one miserable, unhappy, angry, horribly bad-tempered small person.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Flower power

This is my last week at work before I start my new job next week. My coworkers gave me these lovely orchids at my goodbye lunch, along with a generous parting gift. I am really touched. These past few weeks have been very bittersweet for me as I clean out my desk and goof off with people I've known for years. I am feeling simultaneously excited about the new gig, and sad at leaving the old one.

I am also contemplating what to reward myself for landing this job that comes with a nice raise. I like the practice of celebrating milestones with a treasured keepsake, marking all your hard work with something nice to remember the achievement. When I finished graduate school Mr HD gave me a beautiful diamond eternity ring (technically a combination wedding anniversary/graduation present, but the sentiments were the same). This time around, I'm thinking...a nice new purse? A silver fountain pen? Hmm...being the magpie that I am, I am (of course) gravitating towards another sparkly, shiny piece of jewelry!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dumbledore is gay

Whoa. Mr HD just sent me this article. I mean, I did wonder (especially during those mysterious scenes with Grindelwald in Book 7), but to have it confirmed by JK herself? That's pretty gutsy.

This also brings to mind a popular theory, also confirmed by the author, about characters in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, but I won't say any more about those just yet because my sister-in-law hasn't finished reading the last book.

I'm kind of in shock. Dumbledore, I hardly knew ye.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Two things

Took this from my sister's blog.


Two Names You Go By:
1. Hazel
2. Haze

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. Hoodie
2. Pajamas

Two Things You Would Want in a Relationship:
1. Fulfillment
2. Fun

Your Favorite Things to do:
1. Read
2. Nap

Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment:
1. Breakfast
2. Coffee

Two things you did last night:
1. Eat steak at Morton's for Mr HD's birthday
2. Go to our friends' engagement party

Two things you ate today want to eat today:
1. pound cake
2. Chipotle

The last two people you talked to:
1. Mr HD
2. Camille

Two Things you’re doing tomorrow:
1. Ride the train
2. Buy craft glue

Two longest car rides:
1. Home to Boston
2. Home to Beaufort, NC

Two Favorite Holidays
1. Memorial Day
2. Christmas

Two Favorite Beverages
1. Snapple Peach Ice Tea
2. Mayan chile hot chocolate

Two things about me you may not have known:
1. I’m a hard-core Star Wars fan, but only for the original trilogy
2. I am addicted to purses from Target

Two jobs I have had in my life:
1. Usher at Jacobs Field
2. Salesperson at The Gap

Two Movies I would watch over and over:
1. Star Wars Trilogy
2. Pride and Prejudice (with Keira Knightley)

Two Places I have lived:
1. Manila, Philippines
2. Paris, France

Two of my Favorite Foods:
1. Sashimi
2. Medium rare steak

Two places I’d rather be right now:
1. A day spa
2. Denny's (for a greasy breakfast)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Biz'ness plans

Big step - I set up my storefront on Etsy, the mecca website for all things handmade. I am very excited! I can't give the link away yet because the store is still essentially empty, but I will most certainly do this once I have everything set up.

My inventory has slowly but surely grown - the goal is at least twenty pieces ready and finished before I open up on Etsy, and I'm almost there.

In addition, before I can open up my store to the public, I have a long list of things I need to first do, some of which include:

1. Applying for my business license.

2. Assembling a portfolio, including marketing and promotional materials (my sister, who is a marketing guru, will be a big help with this).

3. Pricing my jewelry for retail: this step is actually a ton of work because according to the business class I took, there is a formula for retail pricing that is highly dependent on many factors, most of which involve meticulous record-keeping.

Finally, I am also playing around with the idea of holding a trunk show, but I may have to shelve that until I have a lot more pieces to sell.

And today's dinner report:
My coworker taught me a wonderful recipe for slow-cooked pork chops, using the dregs at the end to make a luscious gravy sauce. The chops just fall off the bone by the time they're ready. I paired this with wild rice.

TV report:
The Office was pretty good tonight...Jim has that nerdy, bashful, adorable thing down pat and it just makes you want to both kiss him and ruffle his hair at the same time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wanted: Sugar Daddy

I've been kept endlessly entertained over the story of the spectacularly beautiful gold-digging woman who posted an ad on Craigslist New York searching for a rich husband. Preferably one who made more than half a million a year because any less wouldn't even get her to Central Park West.

The woman has since pulled off her ad because of the infamous attention it has garnered, but if you haven't seen it yet, then click here. The ad itself, classic as it was, was not even the best part. Oh, no. The best part was the response she received from a male investment banker, which appears below her actual ad.

Granted, I should be fair and at least give the gold-digger props for her brutal honesty. No beating around the bush, that one. But the smackdown she got from the banker made me laugh so hard tears started coming out of my eyes.

He sounds like he might be a huge jerk in his relationships and could probably win worst boyfriend awards, but, man, when I got to the part where he calls her a "depreciating asset," I thought I would surely pee my pants.

Dinner report:
Tonight I made broiled lamb chops with a butter and onions sauce, served with orzo. Mmm, mmm, good.

TV report:
I scared myself silly watching Ghost Hunters on the SciFi channel. They were investigating the Sprague Mansion in Rhode Island during this episode, and inside the mansion was a tiny room filled to the brim with creepy, ugly dolls. I am certain those dolls come alive at night when the house is silent. I was so terrified after the show that I couldn't move from the couch until Mr. HD came home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Something funky this way comes

Okay, so I got totally inspired to try something different...what do you think? A focal bead of crysophrase (approximately 1.5" x 1"), with two nugget pearls and a bone butterfly halfway up the 36" silver chain...enclosed by a silver toggle clasp. This is a very long necklace and can be placed over the head without the need to unclasp it (unless the wearer has a head circumference larger than 36", in which case you probably have bigger problems to worry about.)

I kid, I kid.

I'm still not sure how I feel about having the crysophrase there - if I leave just the butterfly and the pearls, this necklace would look rather 1920-ish, maybe worn with a flapper dress . A look that I dig.

But I also love that splash of green there, sort of an unexpected surprise of color. I think it makes a lively, bold statement.


Lawyers are scummy

This totally made my day - my two favorite TV beefcakes sitting together!

Saw the new George Clooney film Michael Clayton the other night. I found it to be a really enjoyable thriller, which grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go, especially during the beginning sequence. Thinking about it afterwards, I realized that the message I came away with seemed to be that lawyers are pretty scummy. I had this strange desire to take a shower afterwards and scrub myself clean. Now, I have several friends who are lawyers so I know that's not entirely true, but if you ever watch the movie you might see for yourself what I'm talking about.

Also, I was thoroughly enjoying myself until Mr. HD had to ruin it by poking holes in the plot and pointing out some of the events that happened that were rather illogical. Harrumph. I'm just going to ignore those and decide that I did, in the end, find it to be an enjoyable film and one that I would recommend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Go Tribe!

Although I've left home years ago, I still harbor a special place in my heart for the Cleveland Indians. I remember summers spent at The Jake earning cash by ushering (my cousin should also remember this - we did it together!) - wiping down the green seats, wearing those ugly maroon vests and blue pants, ripping out the tickets and saying "Enjoy the game!", and fervently hoping that I would not have to break up any fights between sweaty, smelly, drunken fans. Though I hated that job at the time, I now look back on it fondly as a reminder of home.

And the Indians remind me of my parents. They were avid fans.

Even though I have a new team I cheer for nowadays, I'm rooting for these guys in the ALCS. That game on Saturday was unbelievable! And Grady Sizemore? So cute. I want to be one of "Grady's Ladies"!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ribbons and pearls

This is what I came up with in the first of the ribbon designs - twin blue ribbons interlocked with silver link chains, with white nugget pearls hanging from the second chain. I feel like it sort of has a delicate, vintage feel to it. It's too bad this picture is a little on the dark side.

The ribbons were really slippery and were very tricky to work with - not at all like sturdy, dependable wire - and I had a hard time figuring out how to close out the necklace at the back. Finally, I was inspired to whip out my mom's old sewing kit and just so happened to dig out a blue thread that matched the shade of the ribbons perfectly, so I took that as a good sign. I ended up sewing the ends shut. My stitches are a little on the big side, but it doesn't look half bad and with more sewing practice I hope to make them neater. My mom taught me how to sew and she would have been proud to know that I'm putting the skill to use!

And finally, I was informed that my #2 most loathed person in the world actually does not shill for Vitamin Water as I mistakenly thought, but for Smart Water (ironic, since that is the last word I would use to describe her), so I feel better knowing I didn't act against my principles. However, I'd still like to remind you all to check out the link to her name on yesterday's post. I had the best time doing a Google search for the perfect picture of her.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ribbons and things

I popped over to the craft store in the afternoon, where I was only going to "quickly" pick up a "couple" of things. Yeah, right. Many, many hours and $40 later, I came away with some really awesome goodies. My favorites are these vintage-looking keys and buttons pictured at the top. I was thinking of incorporating them as pendants with maybe some Swarovski crystals.

I am also going to start experimenting with using ribbons in my designs, so I picked up a few spools in different colors. I'm a little anxious to see how this turns out. I couldn't resist getting the pink and green polka dot ribbons, though at this point I'm not sure how or what I'm going to use them for.

Additionally, I decided that I'm finally ready to use a jig to make more complicated wire designs, so I got me one of those, too, but I need to practice first before I turn out results that are good enough to be put in necklaces.

As a side note, I was so thirsty after all that craft shopping that I decided to go to the grocery store in search of a cold drink. Nothing really appealed to me except that Vitamin Water stuff that comes in different flavors (everything else in the cold cases were carbonated drinks, which I wasn't in the mood for). So I reluctantly bought a Vitamin Water. I say reluctantly because ever since Jennifer Aniston became their spokeswhore, I vowed to boycott this product. She is #2 on my list of people whom I completely loathe and anything she endorses is fair game for a boycott. (Mr. HD calls this my "irrational hatred" of her, but I swear I've never been more coldly rational about anything in my life.)

However, I'm sorry to say that the Vitamin Water actually wasn't half bad, and so if I ever get stuck in the desert by myself with no signs of civilization or even an oasis for miles around, maybe I'll consider getting this product again. But only then.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Turquoise and citrine

Do you remember those earrings I made a while back, made up of the turquoise stones that I've been saving for something special and fun? Well, the pendant I originally had in mind to pair them with didn't quite work out, so I had to go back to the drawing board.

I decided to try something a little different, and here is the result. The main bead is a lemon yellow citrine, coupled with a handmade sterling silver wire "sculpture". My jewelry teacher once taught me a technique where you hammer a wire sculpture much like this, flattening the wire. The results give a very polished, finished look to the sculpture. However, I don't have a chaser hammer or a bench block in my arsenal yet (those are totally next on my shopping list), so I used a regular old hammer and it didn't really work very well. Also, this is 22-gauge sterling silver wire, and the hammering technique works better if you use a different type of wire.

Still, I think it looks really fresh and different, and the wire sculpture turned out well even without the hammering technique.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Birthday wishes and dentist visits

Happy birthday to my big sister!

In other news, I paid a visit to my dentist today, where they thoroughly scolded me for not flossing enough. I hate it when they do that. Still, I got a free purple toothbrush out of it, so I suppose I can't complain too much.

The neighborhood where my dentist is located is very posh, as evidenced by the high-falutin' stores surrounding it (Dior, Gucci, Vera Wang, Barneys, Jimmy Choo). Because of this, I always make sure I dress decently to avoid looking like riffraff. As I was walking out of there today, I ran into what is probably typical neighborhood clientele - a woman wearing a sleeveless black dress, yellow shoes, and (I am not making this up) matching yellow gloves that came halfway up her forearms.

All she needed was a yellow pillbox hat and we would have been transported to tea at the Ritz in the 1960s.

I also stuck my nose at the many jewelry store windows to gape and dream about the shiny, pretty things displayed - there was a Van Cleef & Arpels, a Bulgari, and the ubiquitous Tiffany's, where I spent some time dreaming over their jewelry. I saw a necklace of diamonds, a sapphire and diamond eternity ring, and a beautiful pearl choker.

Lest I felt deprived being surrounded by all those goodies, I did treat myself to two things: a chicken empanada and a pair of fuzzy blue slippers. Coupled with my free toothbrush, I'd say it was a good shopping day indeed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Listening to:

Pictures of You - The Last Goodnight
The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
First Time - Lifehouse
Teenagers - My Chemical Romance
Penny On The Train Track - Ben Kweller
Slow Me Down - Emmy Rossum

Reading: Sin and Scandal In England by Melody Thomas

The Office

Skeptical about: Prison Break

Broke up with: Grey's Anatomy

Drooling over: the apartments here

Snacking on: bananas dipped in melted Lindt dark chocolate

Movie lineup:
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
The Kingdom
The Jane Austen Book Club

Obsessing over:
1) Whether Lindsay Lohan is truly rehabilitated
2) When will JLo and Christina Aguilera finally admit to their pregnancies
3) My new dress from Target that shrunk in the dryer
4) The fact that my two cats are too fat
5) Yulia Tymoshenko's braids
6) How I have no clue what I'm doing in my fantasy football league

Monday, October 8, 2007

More butterflies

I have to confess, I ended up loving this piece so much that I just might keep it for myself. I have this black v-neck minidress that would look adorable with this! But...I know, I can't get too greedy. I must stop absconding with the inventory or I won't have much of a business at the end of this endeavor!

The pendant is a carved butterfly made of bone, with a strand of coral beads on sterling silver wire. The necklace is approximately 16", and the butterly pendant is 2" in length and 1.5" high.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

New toys

Our credit card company has this awesome program where for every time you charge something on it, you earn points, which can eventually be redeemed for all kinds of stuff. After years of saving the points, we finally earned enough to redeem a gift card from Best Buy, part of which was used for my new 3rd generation iPod Nano! I've been busy playing with it and putting it through its paces - the colored screen for watching videos is awesome. It is also INCREDIBLY tiny - a mere 2.5" x 2", and the thickness is an almost insubstantial 6 MILLIMETERS! I can't get over it - I can probably fit this baby in my pocket. I hesitate in taking it anywhere with me for fear of breaking it.

I got the Nano to replace my now defunct Mini, which would betray me by running out of power after the first five minutes of my commute. I hope this one performs better!

The other thing we used the gift card was for a new 37" flat screen TV. We had a bit of an adventure with it at Best Buy. Mr. Hazel Designs and I didn't think the TV would be *that* big, so we stupidly brought his tiny, two-seater sports car, thinking we could probably fit the TV in the trunk. Turned out the box it came in was way bigger than we expected, so Mr. HD had to drive home in his car so he could pick mine up instead (a much bigger 4-door Toyota), and then drive back to the store. Alas...the box still would not fit. So our Best Buy salesman, rather than have us pay for delivery, instead offered to drive home our TV in his pickup truck. I drove my car while Mr. HD rode with the about going beyond the call of duty. We made sure to get the name of the salesman's manager so he can be amply rewarded for his good deed towards obviously amateur flat screen TV purchasers.

If the whole adventure wasn't enough to make me a loyal Best Buy customer, this weekend was also tax-free weekend at the store, and they matched the price of the TV to Circuit City's lower price. I'm not used to such competent and generous customer service (I'm talking to both of you, Sprint PCS and Zara!), so it was a wonderful surprise to find it in my neighborhood electronics store.

Friday, October 5, 2007

My wine personality

Took this from my cousin's blog, who always has interesting things to say.

You Are Chardonnay

Fresh, spirited, and classic - you have many facets to your personality.
You can be sweet and light. Or deep and complex.
You have a little bit of something to offer everyone... no wonder you're so popular.
Approachable and never smug, you are easy to get to know (and love!).

Deep down you are: Dependable and modest

Your partying style: Understated and polite

Your company is enjoyed best with: Cold or wild meat

I find it hilarious that I apparently party "politely". That makes me sound like I have a stick up my ass! Mmm, wild meat...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Turquoise earrings

I'm multitasking by 1) working on a new piece consisting of corals and a bone pendant, and 2) mulling over a design idea involving citrines and a blue cameo pendant (just thinking about it makes me salivate!).

In the meantime, I whipped up this pair of turquoise earrings for myself, to wear to work tomorrow. I've been saving these stones for something special (I particularly love the robin's egg blue color), but I couldn't resist taking two for myself. Hee.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Part of the reason why I started creating - which involves playing with interesting gemstones to my heart's content - is to feed my insatiable obsession with jewelry - earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets. Collecting and playing with gemstones and hoarding jewelry components partly satisfies my urge for shiny, pretty things.

One aspect of this obsession is my love of vintage and/or antique diamond rings. When my big sister received her engagement ring years ago, I instantly fell in love with her lavish vintage filigree ring and the meticulous and ornate detailing. It was graceful, unique. For years, I fervently wanted one just like it - easily the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. When my own engagement came, Mr. Hazel Designs granted my wish and gave me a ring similar to my sister's - an Art Deco platinum ring with a bezel setting and delicate filigree all around.

Thus began my obsession with antique rings. I can't get enough of it. Even though it's been some time since I received my ring, I still stare at it practically every hour and fall in love with it all over again. But, having my dream ring hasn't stopped my habit of scouring antique shops for more, so indulge me for a moment while I post some of my favorites below.

This is from one of my favorite online stores, Topazery. It is a late Edwardian style white gold ring from the 1920s with an Old Mine cut diamond weighting .93 carats. Notice all that yummy, lacy filigree.

And this is a gorgeous platinum deco ring from Antique Jewelry, with a 1.25 carat Old European cut diamond.

And lately, I've also fallen in love with halo settings like the the Tiffany Legacy ring, inspired by this antique original from Fay Cullen, containing a champagne colored cushion cut diamond.

And finally, this one is a lavish Edwardian white gold ring from NYC Diamond District merchant Israel Rose.