Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Toilets in space

This morning as I was reading the paper on the train I saw the best headline I've ever come across:

Space Station Astronauts Face Toilet Troubles

I have so many questions.

But I'm not going there. This is, after all, supposed to be a mature blog.

However, I have to point out that they were able to send a lander on Mars but apparently toilet technology is a different story. Supposedly the missing toilet part is going to be sent on board Discovery. I hope they send it soon. Those poor astronauts...they really...need to go. NASA should seriously think about building a second toilet in the space station.

Anyone else heard the new single from Coldplay called "Viva La Vida"? I love it. Or at least I used to - I've played it so much that I'm sick of it. But it was good while it lasted.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Serpentine earrings

Continuing the theme that is SATC, these are the "Miranda" earrings! Featuring pretty, pale green serpentine faceted rounds, sterling silver decorative links, and handmade sterling silver earwires.

Miranda is now hanging out at the shop.

One of my pair of sneakers broke the other day. At first I was excited because it meant I can't get on the treadmill anymore, but then I relented and figured I could probably krazy glue it. So I did. And it worked. And now I have no excuse. I was back on the treadmill today.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Aqua earrings

Faceted aqua quartz rondelles with hammered vermeil squares and earwires. This one is "Carrie," named after Carrie Bradshaw and in honor of the new SATC movie!

Carrie is now up at the shop!

Important public service announcement: whatever you do, refrain from seeing the new Indiana Jones. Unfortunately, that was two and a half hours of my life that I'll never get back.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Best chocolate ever

I just discovered these.

I am in love.

And not just because the name of it closely resembles Yoda's home planet.

The flavor I got - xocolatl - reminds me of the Mayan Chile hot chocolate I had in Santa Fe. It's 74% cacao (dark chocolate), with chilies and nibs. It has a hint of a spicy aftertaste. Heavenly.

Dagobas also come in different flavors, including my favorite, lavender.

Now excuse me while I continue scarfing down...happy Memorial Day weekend to all you Americans out there!

Friday, May 23, 2008

More wire rings

Getting better at this.

Rings made of aquamarine, serpentine, aventurine, turquoise again, and moukite.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


My cousin, Highmaintenancemom, tagged me.

Alias Names:

YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Wagner Toyota

YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Coffee Oatmeal (oy, what a wimpy name!)

YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Blue Panda

SUPERHERO NAME: (“The” plus 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
The Green Bailey

NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Tiburcio Dionisio (YIKES)

STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne, favorite candy)

Pleasures Sweet Tart

WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's & father's middle names )
Mildred Jose

TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Firestone Frankfurt

SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Spring Gerbera

CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Peaches Hoodie

HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Waffle Cherry Blossom

YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your favorite hobby/craft, favorite weather element + “Tour")
The Sleeping Thunderstorm Tour

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wire rings

It's been a long while since I learned how to make wire rings. I haven't attempted to make any since learning how because I couldn't get a hold of the proper equipment. But, they had mandrels for sale at the gem show this past weekend so I finally tried my hand at the rings again.

As you can see, I still need lots and lots and lots of practice. This one is rather messy. I used practice wire for this; however, recently experimenting with different gauges of sterling and gold-filled has gone a whole lot better for me. I'll post pictures of those efforts next time.

The turquoise ring isn't too too bad, I like how it has a sort of bezel look. I think this shape of stone is good for wire rings.

It may be a little while before you see wire rings offered at my shop, but I have a lot of beautiful gemstones and beads ready and waiting to be used!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More "Bella"

I recreated another "Bella" but revamped her earwires into the handmade ones, which I think gives her a better flow. I also deliberately used indoor lighting for some of these photographs to emphasize the soft glow of the stones. It kind of reminds me of dinner by candlelight.

Check out Bella at the shop!

Etsy has now added a dedicated shop policy page to all the shops, where you can find all the information on shipping, payment, taxes, etc. You can get there by clicking on "Shop Policies" on the right hand side of a shop. I finally got around to doing mine - here it is!

And finally, just a quick update - AmeriCares now has a dedicated page for donations to China. If you haven't already, please consider helping out in China and Myanmar.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bi-color quartz drops

These bi-color quartz step cut drops are gorgeous - the step cuts reflect the light beautifully and make the stones very sparkly. It's hard to capture in photographs - this was my best attempt, but even this doesn't do the stones justice. I just hope it sort of comes through when looking at the rest of the pictures in the shop.

These stones are so regal and gorgeous that I couldn't help but name them after royalty - specifically, Empress Eugenie of France, Napoleon III's wife. "Eugenie" is paired with white rice pearls and decorative vermeil circles, hanging from handmade and hammered gold-filled earwires.

Eugenie is now available - check out her other pictures!

Also, I am offering another Astrid necklace!

And check out the matching Leslie necklace that I finished. This was a custom order. The circle link really dressed up the piece and gave it a jazzier look.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fresh stock

Yesterday I was at the gem and jewelry show and came home with a slew of new beads and supplies. I have aquamarine, aventurine, amazonite, quartz, chalcedony, serpentine, green amethyst, smoky quartz, pearls, tourmaline, and a lot more. There were some really gorgeous AAA quality green amethyst gemstones imported from India that I was salivating over. I kept going back again and again to the vendor to look at them and agonize over whether I should get them (they were very expensive). In the end, I couldn't justify the expense since using them in my designs would mean going to a way higher price point than what I'm currently selling my jewelry for. Maybe someday...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Quartz and pearls

Blue faceted quartz briolettes wire-wrapped with clusters of white rice pearls, dangling from handmade sterling silver earwires. I named her "Charlotte" after Charlotte Bronte. It matches her romantic look.

You can check out more pictures of Charlotte at the shop!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Coral and turquoise earrings

Red coral branches topped off with blue turquoise nuggets, named "Nora" after my very funny and cool Aunt Nora. These earrings are very bold and colorful, dangling approximately 1 1/2 inches from handmade earwires.

Nora is now available at the shop!


This summer I'm taking a silver jewelry metalsmithing class for five weeks. Each class is five hours long and it's apparently a pretty intense experience. I'm so ready to get started - I haven't been able to contain my excitement! I'm looking forward to learning a whole new set of technical skills. As a bonus, the art school is right by the river in a very charming part of town so getting to hang out for part of the summer there will be a real treat.


So putting my money where my mouth is, I've just posted a new announcement at my shop. From now until the end of June, $3 of every sale will be donated to AmeriCares' disaster assistance funds for Myanmar and China, the total amount split between the two funds. My shop will also match 100% of the total amount raised.

Thanks in advance for your generosity!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

From AmeriCares

Today I received a wonderful surprise - Lisa from AmeriCares sent me a very kind email in response to yesterday's post.

She writes:

Dear Hazel,

This morning I noticed a mention of AmeriCares on your website, so I checked it out. I usually don’t email folks that mention us in blogs, etc., but I was so impressed with your beautiful jewelry that I’m going to keep your site on my favorites list for when I need to purchase a gift for someone!

We so appreciate that you are encouraging people to give to our fund for Myanmar – the situation is unspeakably awful there and much needs to be done. We will likely soon have a dedicated fund for China too so please keep checking our website for updates.

Best regards

Thank you for your very kind words, and for all the work that you guys do!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Amethyst earrings

Amethyst nugget earrings with handmade gold-filled earwires, named "Emilia" after both my cousin and characters from Winter's Tale and Othello. I didn't realize it was such a popular name!

Emilia is now available at the shop.

I apologize for ending this post on a down note, but I have not been able to forget the searing images of the victims of both the Myanmar cyclone and the China earthquake. As if that wasn't enough, today I read a news article about the pandas in the Wolong research facility in Chengdu province, the same place where my zoo's giant pandas both came from. Apparently the pandas living in the research facility survived, but officials are unsure where they would be able to get their food and water. It is very sad.

I was researching options for donations and the best one seems to be this organization called AmeriCares. Their VP was featured today on the Washington Post, so this organization has been vetted by a respected news organization.

If you would like to help, their donation page for Myanmar is here, but as they don't have a dedicated page for China yet, they are directing people to their international disaster relief fund. This organization seems to be a good one because 98% of donations go toward their relief programs. Also there is the International Committe of the Red Cross, which is a remarkable organization in that they always seem to be the first ones on the ground once a disaster strikes.

I can't help but think, when I look at the pictures of the victims, that there but for the grace of's very scary and very humbling.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I scored these pretty, pretty clear glass briolettes in the same style as the Elizabeth and Bella. The brios are really clear and pure. This pair is "Portia" after a character from Merchant of Venice, and she also dangles from gold-filled earwires that I made by hand.

Portia is now up at the shop!

At last count, it has now been raining for more than 24 hours. And every Sunday and Monday for the last five weeks (except, ironically enough, the week we were away on the cruise), it has poured. And it has been chilly.

Granted, my front yard looks very lush and the azalea bushes I nearly killed from neglect are now thriving again, but I am heartily sick of this rain. I've barely even had a chance to break out my new linen dresses because it's been too cold.

I had a major craving for a red velvet cupcake today. As all the bakeries that had them would have been closed by the time I got there, we settled for Cinnabons instead. But I'm still dreaming of that red velvet cake I had at Doughboys in L.A. a couple of years ago.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Here are flowers for the mothers out there.

These are "Olivia," named after a character from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. She is made of vintage white glass flowers, glass leaves, and Swarovski crystals. I am also debuting my new signature earwires, handmade by me! They are hand formed from 22 gauge sterling silver wire.

Olivia is now available at the shop!

I hope everyone has a wonderful mother's day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Goodies in the mail

I received the poppy bobby pins from Foundling, and her packaging was so adorable that I had to take a picture.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Soldering and metalsmithing

I had an exciting day - I took a five hour soldering class today, and it was amazing.

I finally know how to solder!

I also learned how to make my own jump rings as well as a nifty new clasp design. I learned what kind of torch, flux, and other equipment to use. Apparently I was using the wrong type of soldering tool before, which was why I couldn't get it working.

Below is the bracelet I made in class. It's made of sterling silver and I formed all the links by hand. After it was put through the tumbler it came out in a highly shiny, beautiful silver finish, but I ended up giving it an antiqued finish because I wanted to learn how to oxidize sterling.

A close up of the clasp I made.

It looks very vintage.

My teacher was extremely talented and the next class I want to take with him is ring making (not the wire rings, but the actual handforged rings). I have so many new ideas bouncing around in my head now! First I need to collect my tools and supplies, then set up a space where I can safely use a butane torch, and then start creating new designs for the shop!

I am excited.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

At the top of the world

Though I've been cheering on the human rights protesters who tried to disrupt China's Olympic torch relay (and successfully snuffed out the flame in Paris!), I must admit I got teary-eyed with awe when I saw the pictures of the torch being brought to the summit of Mt Everest by a 19-member assault team.

Symbolically, the team was made up mostly of Tibetans.

On summit day, they broke camp at dawn and reached the summit six hours later, where they waved the Olympic flag to mark the moment.

It was a pretty awe-inspiring image.

(Photo courtesy of Washington Post/Getty Images)

I also love how one of the team members has a crazy-looking oxygen mask on while the others do not. Are their lungs that much better?

(Photo courtesy of Washington Post/Getty Images)

Apparently the torch was designed by rocket scientists, and is able to withstand the lack of oxygen at that elevation.

And yes, I realize that I completely fell for all the feel-good propaganda as intended, but it's very hard not to. Reaching the summit of Mt Everest is a truly amazing feat, especially because it is by no means guaranteed and a lot of people have died trying. You have to be in peak physical and mental shape to even make it past base camp. And consider that the area of the final assault to the summit on that last day is called the "death zone."

I have been fascinated with Everest stories for so long. It's my dream to someday visit the base camp in Nepal (if I don't faint first) - a friend of mine made this trip and his stories about it are wonderful.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Quartz earrings

Pink quartz faceted briolettes and white potato pearls on sterling silver earwires, named "Tess" after my old nanny, who I miss terribly! Tess is now available at the shop.

I made two more sales - Colleen and Polly, my newest offerings, have both sold! Thanks Lisa!

I saw this guy on Colbert Report last night - Nathan Gunn, a really hot opera singer. Usually you don't associate opera singers with hotness, but not only was this guy hot, he was really charming, articulate, and really built as well. Apparently the opera world is trying to shed its snobby reputation by bringing its art to the masses, most notably into movie theaters, and I am guessing that Nathan Gunn is part of their PR blitz.

Trot out the hottie, bring in the ladies.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How many of me?

According to this site,

  • There are 244,728 people in the U.S. with the first name Hazel.
  • Statistically the 271st most popular first name.
  • More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Hazel are female.

I would love to meet the less than .1 percent Hazels who are male.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Water jasper earrings

I love the name of these stones - blue water jasper. Very poetic. This pair is called "Polly" after my grandmother's sister, who was a very special, gentle lady. I have very fond memories of her during childhood summers.

As mentioned, she features a pair of blue water jasper squares accompanied by hammered oval links made of sterling silver. Great summer earrings, especially worn with jeans!

Polly is now available at the shop.

Also check out the custom order I finished yesterday - a modified Astrid necklace and matching bracelet. As soon as I listed them at the shop I received a convo from a buyer who was interested in the necklace, and wanted to know if I can make another one. Yay!

And lastly, the second pair of Lily earrings has sold! Thanks to my awesome sister-in-law Alissa.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Green fluorite earrings

I am elbow deep in custom orders, but I did manage to take a break to create new items for the shop. These are "Colleen," named after my cousin's daughter. Featuring green fluorite squares hand wrapped in gold-filled wire, as well as white freshwater potato pearls on vermeil.

Colleen is now available at the shop!

I am also offering more of the Lisa, Lily, and Leslie earrings.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Etsy find

Red poppy bobby pins from Foundling.

I can't wait to wear these in my hair for summer with a black linen dress. Very Spanish.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Craft room lust

If I could design my own craft space, the features I would like to have are:

1) dark, wide plank hardwood floors
2) lots of windows and a skylight
3) a big, big work table in the center with a lot of drawers
4) an abundance of shelves, nooks, and storage spaces along the walls
5) the walls painted in a color that can serve as a pretty background for photographs - I'm dreaming of a warm burnt sienna or something cheerful like pale yellow or aqua

Here are ones I'm lusting after:

And finally, the queen of all craft rooms - Martha Stewart's in her house at Turkey Hill.

And on that note, Happy May!