Monday, June 30, 2008

Metal madness

My quest to take my craft to the next level has hit a bit of a road bump. This past Sunday I went to my first of five metalsmithing classes. I've been looking forward to them since early spring and when I finally got there, I'm sorry to say it was a bit disappointing.

There are a few things about the class that I wasn't happy with, compounded by my difficulties with the technical stuff, including the stupid jeweler's saw. The jeweler's saw and I are not friends. I'm afraid we may never be friends. What's more, I believe the jeweler's saw hated me as much as I hated it. It was a mutual fountain of hate between the jeweler's saw and me. Not only did I keep breaking the blade while attempting to cut a piece of silver sheet metal, I also hurt my hand badly from trying to hold the sheet metal at an awkward position. And it's all the fault of the jeweler's saw.

To add insult to injury, the studio uses these hard core acetylene torches in giant industrial-sized tanks with a monstrous nozzle for soldering work. Now, I first learned how to solder on the smaller butane torches. And it worked beautifully. The acetylene torch, on the other hand, was so huge and so unwieldy that I ended up melting the ring I was making. Because of its weakened state, the ring broke apart while I attempted to hammer it in shape.

What makes things doubly frustrating is that I thoroughly enjoyed the soldering class I took a few months ago. I was on such an artistic and technical high when I got home from it. I loved the whole experience; I picked up on the technique immediately.

This, however, is a slightly different story. I attribute some of my difficulties to my unfamiliarity with working with sheet metal. I think I much prefer wire.

So it has not been a very auspicious beginning, but I'm hoping these are just growing pains and that things will improve as the weeks go by.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


These are the latest pieces that have sold. My sales are still pretty far between that I get really excited when I make a sale - and I mean really excited.

So thank you, ladies!

This also means that to-date, $15 will be going toward AmeriCares, plus another $15 in matching funds from Hazel Designs.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Robot love

We just saw "WALL-E", and it was wonderful. The sweetness of it made me cry. I loved how the girl robot, WALL-E's love interest, was totally kickass. Capable and competent. And she had an equally kickass weapons system that the audience kept cheering over.

I must say WALL-E is quite possibly the sweetest robot ever, sweeter even than R2D2.

In addition, the special effects were amazing, the plot highly clever, and the animation sheer genius.

It was a breathtakingly lovely film.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Third and final installment

Here are the last of my pictures that I wanted to share!

This display was right outside a restaurant in Chelsea. It was so pretty that I couldn't resist.

The exterior of 202, the Nicole Farhi boutique/cafe in the Meatpacking District.

'Nuff said.

We ran into a street fair in midtown next to our second hotel of the weekend (the Park Central - highly, highly not recommended. Please do yourselves a huge favor and avoid this hotel like the plague).

However, the street fair was great. We found a crepe stand. I also found the keffiyehs that my sister asked me to find for her. Apparently they are the latest hip hop accessory and she can't find them anywhere, but we saw them at the fair and I bought her a whole bunch in different colors.

I bought a crepe with strawberries, bananas, and nutella. I was in heaven.

We had dinner at Docks in the Upper West Side one night and got this great banana bread pudding for dessert.

Carnegie Deli, Mr Hazel's favorite place in New York after Yankee Stadium. If he could, he would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner here.

I've had a busy week. It's especially crazy whenever I go away for the weekend, but the rest of the week was jam packed with things so it added to the craziness. On Monday we went to the baseball game and had the privilege of hearing the Gay Men's Chorus sing the national anthem. They were incredible, and I was so proud of my baseball team for inviting them. We also saw Rob Reiner there!

I am obsessed with the new Angels & Airwaves album, "I-Empire". And by obsessed, I mean obsessed. It is incredibly good and I can't stop listening to it. Some of the songs give me goosebumps. They are currently my #2 favorite band after U2, and that's saying a lot, considering how much I love my Bono.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The city that never sleeps, part 2

Strolling around Union Square, we ran into the weekend neighborhood farmer's market. They had some beautiful fresh flowers and herbs on hand.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The city that never sleeps, part 1

I'm back from my whirlwind girls' weekend in New York. Every time I go there I get sad because I have to leave it again. It was wonderful to see my friends and reminisce about college days over good food (but no drinks, as two of us were sickish.)

It was a jam-packed visit, and I went a little nuts with my camera for the blog, so I'm now going to attempt to narrate through the photographs I took.

Because of logistics, we ended up staying in two hotels. Friday night we were at this absolute gem of a find, the Desmond Tutu Center, an inspired new hotel in Chelsea. The architecture was wonderfully gothic, straight out of Harry Potter.

This is the interior staircase leading to the refectory.

The refectory, where they served breakfast.

Beautiful stained-glass windows - doesn't this look like the dining hall in Harry Potter?

The gorgeous, very detailed ceiling.

In contrast to all the gothic glory of the common spaces, the actual rooms were straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog - modern, with clean lines and neutral colors.

I loved this bathroom!

On Friday evening we went to Shakespeare in the Park. They performed "Hamlet" and I was very excited to see famous actors in the cast - most notably, my hero Sam Waterson of "Law & Order" fame, playing a very sycophantic Polonius.

Belvedere Castle and the turtle pond inside Central Park, right next to the theater. It's hard to believe we are in the middle of Manhattan!

That evening we had a late dinner at Pastis in the Meatpacking District, where I had been wanting to go to for a very long time. It has the same owner as Balthazar. Unfortunately it was too dark for good pictures of the interior, but it looked just like a Parisian brasserie, and the tile on the walls looked like the ones lining the Paris metro tunnels. The Meatpacking District was also good for Friday night people watching fun.

On Saturday we spent a touristy day aboard a Circle Line boat for a three-hour cruise around the entire island. Here's our boat!

Manhattan and the Hudson River from the boat.

We went around Ellis Island.

The Brooklyn Bridge, where Steve and Miranda reconciled in the SATC movie!

The boat took us around the Bronx and I snapped a picture of Yankee Stadium for Mr Hazel, who is the Yankees' #1 fan.

And finally, my most favorite place that weekend - brunch at 202 in the Meatpacking District, which also happens to be a combined boutique for Nicole Farhi. Yes, the Nicole Farhi. When I found out it was Nicole Farhi's store I went a little nuts. Her stuff was understandably expensive, but it was so cool to finally see them for myself. The cafe itself was a great space - it looked and felt like a warehouse, with exposed brick walls and ducts, unfinished wood floors, and a generally bohemian feel.

This is a view from our table, looking out onto the clothes boutique part of the cafe.

And I couldn't resist taking a picture of my meal. It was so good: a lemon-cumin chicken paillard with bulgur salad and an eggplant relish. So, so good.

After brunch we walked around Chelsea Market for a little bit.

The Food Network headquarters inside Chelsea Market.

Finally, we took a stroll around the Meatpacking District on our way to our bus stop, and passed by the Stella McCartney store.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 2,347 of being sick

Well, it feels that way anyway.

Mr Hazel has been taking good care of me and has been incredibly patient and sweet with my whiny sick self, while Moxie and Nomad have been keeping me company. And they make for excellent company, for sure.

I need to hurry up and get well because I have things to do and places to be this week. Lunches and happy hours with friends, and a trip to New York City this coming weekend with my girlfriends. We have lots of things planned and I can't miss out!

My sister bought this necklace. I am so excited for her. Hot! Tumescent! Playgirl magazine!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Trashy jewelry

I've gone and done it. I am sick.

This crazy late spring/early summer weather we've been having has wreaked havoc on my system. But the doctor gave me some wonder drugs, so hopefully I'm on the mend.

Meanwhile, in between repeats of "Law & Order", "Law & Order: SVU", and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent", I came across an absolutely awesome thing from one of my all-time favorite blogs, Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books. They're a combination of two things that I love: trashy novels and Etsy.

I can totally see myself wearing this.

Monday, June 9, 2008

New space!

Mr Hazel and I switched home office spaces, which means I now get a whole room to myself without the guest bed. There's now enough space for my desk and computer, plus a separate work table dedicated entirely to my jewelry, which I've been dreaming about for so long.

Here is everything finally set up.

And on the opposite wall:

I love how I now don't have to put everything away, only to take my beads and tools out the next time I need them. I can just leave stuff on the work table and come back exactly as I left everything.

It feels so decadent!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Matching bi-color quartz necklace

Here is the matching "Eugenie" necklace.

I had the hardest time with these photographs. I couldn't capture the sparkle of the quartz adequately - it kept coming in very dark.

Hopefully these are better.

Check out the Eugenie necklace at the shop!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Green amethysts

These green amethysts are perhaps my most favorite find at the gem show. I was trying to decide between these and the more traditional pale lavender amethysts. The beautiful sparkle of the facets and the gorgeous pale green color convinced me. I love, love, love this stone.

And because they are so snazzy, I named them "Samantha" after the last SATC gal! They are made with my signature handmade earwires.

Samantha is now up at the shop!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mini garden

This summer, I am toning down my gardening ambitions after a couple of gardening seasons ended with wilted flowers, as well as nearly killing my two azalea bushes.

I think I can handle this mini deck garden. Not too many things to remember to water.

My lavender pots! I can't wait until they flower and I can harvest and dry the blooms.

This one is Provencal lavender.

The azaleas have bloomed. This, however, is not the bush I planted - unfotunately those bushes did not flower due to my forgetting to fertilize them in the fall.

My sister and I went to see SATC again last night. It was even better the second time around! Although I do have to now quibble about the huge plot hole - the deux ex machina, if you will - in the form of the blue Manolos. That's all I'm going to say about that because I don't want to give away spoilers here...