Thursday, July 31, 2008

I've been featured!


This morning I received a wonderful surprise - Sydnei of Simply Sentimental sent me an Etsy convo saying she had featured the Camille earrings on her blog!

Check out her wonderful write up here. Also if you get a chance, check out the rest of the blog as it features wonderful items from other Etsy artists.

Thank you so much, Sydnei!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My first blog award

Tracy of Pink Purl, who is quite possibly the sweetest woman ever, gave me an award! My first ever blog award. Thanks, Tracy!

I'm also supposed to write six random facts about me to accompany the award. I will write about today:

1. I wore pretty blue earrings and someone complimented me on them, but I had to tell them they were not my own creation and I felt like I was not doing my part in promoting my own work. Oops!

2. I went back to the Korean food street vendor for lunch - the second day in a row. It's almost embarrassing how they know me there now.

3. I had a piece of apple strudel for breakfast. And a mug of tea. Not exactly the healthiest. Except for the tea.

4. More new tools arrived for me today. I didn't know I would ever get this excited about tools.

5. I burnt (slightly) the chicken cutlets I made for dinner tonight, but Mr Hazel was a darling and ate the whole thing. He cleaned his plate.

6. While giving the kitties their dinner, I noticed that Moxie wasn't in the kitchen, so we called to her. She came running up the stairs at full speed from the basement bathroom where we keep their litter box. When she got to the kitchen, however, I noticed she was all of a sudden limping and dragging her lower body on the floor. So I got hysterical, thinking she had broken her leg in her mad dash up the stairs, until Mr Hazel noticed that the reason she was dragging her lower body on the floor was because...she still had poop coming out of her butt. She made a long line of streak marks on the wood floor and dropped pellets on the kitchen sisal rug. I got hysterical all over again, but this time from violent laughter. Mr Hazel was not amused. But I was. Oh, was I ever.

And on that note, I now pass on the the Brillante Award to Karmela, Jordan of Copy and Cigarettes, Highmaintenancemom of From Purses to Diaper Bags, Angie of The Downtown Boutique, Greg of Leggo My Greggo, G-Mommy of Graham Crackers, and Mom2Amara of Being Mom2Amara.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Over my head

I am finding - as I slowly assemble the needed new equipment and tools - that working in metal has considerably increased my overhead. But since I am funneling all the gross revenue from my sales back into the biz in the form of capital investment, I'm thankful that I at least have a fairly healthy budget to work with.

Still, at the current market price of $17.23 an ounce, silver is not cheap and I have to be careful with conserving it (in contrast, gold is at $918.25 an ounce and platinum costs $1,762.50 an ounce so I should be thankful I didn't develop a taste for gold- or platinum-smithing).

Because I am known among my family and friends as a hopeless klutz, Mr Hazel has relegated all metalsmithing activities to the utility room in our basement, whose concrete floors will better protect the house from my accidentally setting it on fire. We went to IKEA over the weekend in search of a workbench for me, and ended up with this square table that's sturdy enough to withstand future poundings and hammerings. Thanks for assembling it, Mr Hazel!

I still plan to keep my beading things in a separate area, so here are the beginnings of the new metalsmithing set-up! Notice that I am now a proud owner of a giant, manly tool box. Sweet.

Here is my butane torch!

And brand-new, pristine, virgin tools.

My soldering tile and new anvil/bench pin, which the guy at the equipment store, Zach, was kind enough to notch for me for free. Thanks, Zach!

I have more stuff coming in the next few days and weeks before I can start in earnest, and in all this I haven't had a chance to touch a single bead or loop so much as an inch of wire, so it's going to be busy in the weeks ahead, as I alternately produce new things for the store and practice my newly-acquired skills.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another bezel ring

Hee hee. I couldn't resist taking more pictures of my wedding set, especially because I have been living and breathing bezel settings for five weeks.

I for sure did not make these. Someday, though, I hope my skills will be good enough to fabricate something similar. I think these are hand-cast, so my technical skills are not yet up to par.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bezel ring

Today was the last day of metalsmithing class, and I completed my bezel ring! I had serious doubts about whether I would be able to, but the old elbow grease came through.

I have to admit - this was hard work. At one point I got into a tight spot and my teacher had to help me get out of it. As you can see, it's not completely perfect (the bezel cup is soldered on a little crookedly), but I think it's pretty decent for a first try.

Talk about blood (literally), sweat (literally), and tears (figuratively).

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Our neighbors bought a Smart Car. It is adorable.

I'm afraid for it if ever it gets into a fight against an SUV.

Still, it makes me smile whenever I see it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I got a little sidetracked from my Dior mania, but I did promise to post the pictures of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (the new French first lady)'s inaugural state visit to London - or, more accurately, pictures of her wardrobe.

They were all designed by Galliano.

When she first appeared on the scene on Sarkozy's arm, I , like the rest of the world, laughed my head off. It seemed so undignified that the French president would end up with a former model/pop singer/serial dater of rock stars, and apparently the rest of France agreed with me, because Sarkozy's approval ratings plummeted after their marriage.

But then I saw pictures of the London visit and I was wowed. Totally won over. She looked so elegant here, her clothes speaking of a quiet refinement and style. Some in the British press accused her of trying to project a demure image to counter her salacious past, but whatever it was for, I think it totally worked.

This gray coatdress she had on was perhaps my favorite.

And this sweet little pillbox hat and fringe bangs, channeling either a 1960s flight attendant or Jackie O - but the look works on her.

And that demure little Dior bag!

I love the color of her coat.

And I love everything about this dress - the color, the lines, how it falls and drapes so gracefully. She was wearing sapphire Chaumet jewels with this dress, but I wish she wore heels.

During a state dinner.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I love (cool) hotels

While in New York, we stayed at one of the uber-chic W hotels - the W Court on Murray Hill, a neighborhood in the upper 30s between Park and Lexington.

Perhaps my favorite part of the hotel, besides the Bliss products, was that every afternoon they would have snacks and drinks waiting in the lobby. One day it was truffles and champagne punch, another day it would be a pitcher of iced water with mint and strawberries. Yum.

The lobby was perpetually dim, no matter what time of day.

They had an i-Pod dock and charger next to the alarm clock, which made things super convenient.

There was a stack of design and art magazines next to the chaise lounge. No mere "Good Housekeeping" for the W, no sir. Though I did wish they were willing to lower themselves to pedestrian level and stock some US Weeklies.

The "Bliss Sinkside Six-Pack." My favorite was the Body Butter. One afternoon we saw the housekeeper cart standing in the hallway unattended with the mother lode of this stuff, so I pilfered a whole bunch. Shhh. Next time I'm up in New York I'm hoping to pay a vist to the Bliss Spa.

I love hotels.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Class progress report

This is what I did in class today. I finished that blasted ring. Yay! Well, sort of. I still need to put the final touches on it (buffing, etc). But for the most part the structure, which was giving me so much trouble the last time, is pretty much done.

Then I started on stone setting. Here is the start of my bezel cup to put that pretty green chrysoprase cabochon in. Predictably, I had problems, not the least of which was shredding my fingers into a bloody mess three times with the jeweler's saw, giving myself a nasty scrape on my shoulder courtesy of the bench pin, and almost setting my hair on fire with the torch.

As my friend Marnie likes to say: good times.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Images from the All-Stars

Outside Yankee Stadium - it was one big party!

On the field.

The players walk off the field after batting practice before the Home Run Derby.

The different team mascots come out to party!

The Home Run Derby participants gather together.

During the pre-game ceremony at the All-Star game, the American League reserves line up. A very stirring sight.

The flag comes out.

The Hall of Famers come out onto the field to be honored. Another stirring sight.

And they stand on the spots of their former positions.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New York, redux

Where have I been, you ask? Why, back to New York again! We were there for the All-Star Game festivities (and boy, was that a lot of fun), but in between all the baseball hoopla I managed to carve out some time to make a pilgrimage to a few jewelry suppliers.

I paid a visit to a wholesaler that I met at a trade show a while back. They are one of my favorites because of their great quality merchandise at the best prices I've found so far. I discovered that they didn't have a showroom, per se - instead they were located in a tiny little office at the back of a rundown building, in a slightly seedy area on Broadway. An adventure to be sure, but totally worth it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another post about food

Yesterday my friend Michele and I had lunch at a newish Belgian brasserie downtown. It was one of those casual yet hyper chic places, very similar to the ambience at Pastis in New York.

I had a bowl of their pea soup with veal cheek meatballs (it was very good, but the meatballs were so small I couldn't distinguish the veal cheek part of it, so that was a bit of a letdown) and a huge thing of moules frites. The mussels came in this gigantic pot and the broth was white wine with garlic. I ate the whole thing. The fries were seasoned and cooked just like they do them in Brussels, except the cut here was a little thicker.

We staggered out of there afterwards, barely able to breathe.

Good lunch.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paris shows

Being involved in a creative endeavor, I now have an excuse to indulge my obsession with fashion - not that I needed much excuse to begin with, but at least now I can justify the countless hours I spend poring over the collections as "research" instead of feeling like I'm just wasting time dreaming over moonbeams. After all, jewelry design involves keeping up with the trends, be they in fashion, art, interiors, architecture, or other forms of design.

I've been mesmerized by the clothes from the recent Paris collections for fall 2008, especially John Galliano's designs for Dior. The four pictured below are my favorites.

Vintage with lots of drama, with interesting lines, and so very, very fresh - especially this white coat with the black belt.

I love the lines of this gown and the way the ruffles drape over the skirt.

And this one? Pure genius. Bordering on madness.

In the following posts I'm going to talk about the clothes Carla Bruni-Sarkozy wore during her inaugural state visit to London. Her wardrobe was simply scrumptious, and all designed by Galliano.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pearl cluster necklace

New in the shop! The "Ophelia" necklace, channeling the Hamlet performance I saw at Shakespeare in the Park a couple of weeks ago. A cluster of white rice pearls, a sterling silver decorative circle, and a long sterling chain make up this pretty and feminine piece.

Check out more pictures of Ophelia at the shop.

Today I was very excited to discover a Mexican/Spanish/Peruvian restaurant and carry-out place by my office. We tried it out for lunch and I got some chicken enchiladas and plantains. It was a good day.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Classroom studio

Took pictures around my metalsmithing classroom.

If only I had this kind of set-up at home - dream on!

This is the room where we do all the soldering and other dangerous type work. Pictured are the rows of annealing pans and pickle pots. The torches are underneath.

Class today went a little better than last week. I learned a whole bunch of cool new things, including a start to what I mainly came here to learn - stone setting. We learned how to do a bezel setting on a cabochon. It looks rather complicated. I didn't get a chance to try it out yet because I was still stuck sawing away at my ring from last week, so hopefully soon. I'm a little anxious about trying it out, though - I know I'm going to end up breaking something again.