Friday, October 31, 2008

An award

I received this pretty award from the very insightful Protege over at Life, Work and Pleasure. Thank you! For this one, I am supposed to list six things that I love:

  1. Books
  2. Sleeping in on weekend mornings
  3. Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate
  4. Angels & Airwaves
  5. Rubbing my cats' bellies
  6. My iPod
I pass on this award to my brother-in-law Jordan, in order to force him to update his blog.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One year later

Today is my first anniversary at the day job, and some of you may remember how miserable I was that first day a year ago. Looking back, it seems remarkable to me how much things have changed since that day. I've made a lot of good friends. I feel comfortable in my routine and in my environment. The strange has now become the very familiar.

Funny how things work sometimes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I wanted to announce that I've been working on a joint project with my sister Karmela and sister-in-law Alissa.

We have a new blog! A blog where the three of us will take turns posting our reviews of books.

It's called Paperback Musings.

Please check it out!

Twilight Tuesday

Today's eye candy brought to you by Edward Cullen.

Also, I wanted to get this poster that I saw at Hot Topic, but I didn't want to pay for the shipping costs. But lo and behold, I found the same exact one at Borders when I went there tonight. The only place I can hang it in the house - without Mr Hazel gritting his teeth - is in my home office, so that's where it will go.

But I'm not finished! At Borders, they also had keychains, with Edward on one side and Bella on the other. So I got one of those, too. Note that they are completely sold out of these at Hot Topic.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hand-stamped silver disc pendant

I finished this new stamped sterling silver pendant but I haven't listed it on my Etsy shop yet because I am unsure about the quality of the photos. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to photograph something this shiny: one, it reflects the sunlight back something fierce, creating a bright light that obscures the details of the pendant, and two, if you look closely enough, you can see me and my camera reflected on the super shiny surface.

But actuallly, now that I look at it again, this photo actually ain't too bad.

So while I go experiment some more with the lighting, I'm also going to mention that I need to really gear up for the coming holiday shopping season. This coming one will be the first for my shop so it's hard to predict how much I will sell, but in any case, I need to start preparing my inventory.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dress dilemma

We are going to a family wedding next month, so I got a new dress. At first I really wanted this adorable one in deep purple with a black ribbon belt - called "Tickled-Plum," from Anthropologie - but they were out of my size.

So I bought this one instead - the "Country Mile" in taupe. But when it arrived, it didn't look as good on me as it did on the mannequin. It ended up going back.

Lo and behold, I found out that they had dress #1 in my size back in stock, so I bought it before it can go out of stock again.

And everyone was happy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Book list

It's a rainy, gloomy day today, the kind that practically forces me to curl up with a blanket and a book to while away the entire day, even though I have a million other things to do. Lately I've really had no interest in reading any other books but Twilight, but considering that I'm now in my fifth or sixth iteration of re-reading the entire series (all four books in it) in an effort to prolong my stay in that world, I figured I should force myself to surface and cast my eyes on other stories, at least for a little bit, in order to take a bit of a breather.

It feels to me like other books have paled in comparison to my current obsession, so it's been hard to find ones that will seem like they will truly hold my interest. I'm shying away from other vampire stories for now because it feels sacrilegious, so these are the ones that I am considering, based on reviews and recommendations:

French Milk is about a young woman and her mother's six week sojourn in Paris. It reminds me of the time my mom and I spent two weeks in Paris together as she accompanied me to the start of my five-month study abroad adventure. It seemed fitting that I would see the Eiffel Tower for the first time with my mom by my side, and this book sounds like it would be a bittersweet one for me, so it's definitely at the top of my list.

I love the title of this book, inspired by the students of the University of Chicago Lab School. This is an art mystery replete with math puzzles and codes, billed as a children's version of DaVinci Code. This book won a bunch of awards and has received great reviews.

The Ghost's Child sounds fascinating - the reviews actually remind me a little bit of Twilight, with its dreamy, poetic, supernatural love story elements.

Lady and the Unicorn was recommended by Protege. I'd heard of this book a while ago but didn't really pay attention to it back then, but after I read Protege's review it's back on my radar. The story is about the series of Flemish tapestries of the same name, and I am intrigued because I saw the actual tapestries when I visited the Cluny Museum in Paris some years ago.

This YA book, the first of a trilogy, reminds me of a mix of Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess, Harry Potter, and Gossip Girl. At first I thought it's a straight boarding school story, but there are actually elements of mystery, secret societies, and the supernatural. It sounds pretty cool.

So there you have it.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Protege over at Life, Work and Pleasure tagged me with the fourth of fourth, which means I have to choose the fourth picture in my fourth photo folder and describe it.

My fourth folder is called "Apr26" and the fourth one is, coincidentally enough, a picture of Moxie and Nomad at one of their favorite spots in the house, the front door. They like to spend hours here watching birds and squirrels go by, as well as the occasional dog being walked. I've been meaning to post more kitty pictures but keep forgetting, so my fourth of fourth worked out very well!

The four people I am tagging are my sister, Highmaintenancemom, G-mommy, and Tracy at Pink Purl.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


As I mentioned a few posts back, I broke out my new tumbler to use on a few pieces. I've been putting off unpacking it for the longest time because I was too afraid I might do something to break it (and I actually almost did, until Mr Hazel rescued me, mostly because I'm no good at following written instructions - I am too impatient).

I love this thing - it's magic machinery! My silver pieces come out looking super shiny.

And here is the tumbler alongside the slow cooker that I am using as my pickle pot.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Twilight Tuesday

Exactly one month from today until the movie opens!

Here is a wonderful still shot of the Cullen family from the movie. I have to say, the actors look a lot like how I pictured the characters in my head, except for Emmett, who I thought would be bigger and more muscular than Kellan Lutz. And I had a harder time picturing Carlisle because Meyer didn't really provide a detailed description other than he looks like a blonde male model. Otherwise, the rest are pretty close.

From left to right: Emmett, Rosalie, Esme, Edward, Carlisle, Alice, Jasper.

And for pure eye candy, Here is Rob Pattinson looking all kinds of hot attending a movie premiere.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wedding bells

Mr Hazel and I attended our friends Camille and Jeremy's wedding last night. It was a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception.

I brought my camera especially to take pictures of the bridesmaids wearing their Hazel Designs finery, but found to my dismay that I left the battery at home, sitting useless in its charger. Grr. I had originally planned on posting the pictures on the blog to show off the bracelets and earrings on real, live "models."

Oh well.

However, I'm happy to say that the jewelry looked great on the bridesmaids!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Battle wounds

I emerged from my last metalsmithing session with all kinds of scrapes and bruises on my hands. Including, but not limited to, bringing down the hammer hard on the bones of my index finger.


At first I thought I broke it because my finger turned purple and swelled up, but to my relief, I found that I could still move it so I figured it was just badly bruised.

My nails also got banged up. No pretty manicures for me for a while, it seems. I also have a red mark on my finger where I had brought the hammer down (a second time) and messed up the blood vessels under the skin.

I told you I was clumsy. And, apparently, dangerous to my own health.

Speaking of wounds and battle, I thought I saw Saddam Hussein on the train today. He was dressed in army fatigues and had a mustache - a dead ringer. I bet he isn't really dead, but hanging out with Elvis on a beach in some tropical island.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shiny finish ring

Here is another ring that I finished, named Rosalie. She's made of a slightly smaller sterling silver disc, hand cut from sheet metal and and then domed. The band is hand-forged from 16g sterling silver wire, and the exciting part about this ring is that it has a different finish from my previous metal pieces.

I used my new tumbler for the first time with this (plus a few others), so instead of a satin finish like previous pieces, this ring has a super glossy high shine.

"Rosalie" is available in size 5 1/2 in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Twilight Tuesday!

So many things going on for today's Twilight Tuesday, mostly about the movie coming out next month.

First, I was telling my coworker Tameka, who is also a fan, that I really want to buy an Edward t-shirt that I saw at Borders, but felt a little too embarrassed to actually do so. Today, however, she sent me this picture that she took with her camera phone of the Twilight display table at Borders. The fact that she actually took this picture made me laugh so hard.

My cousin Leslie, who is an equally obsessed fan, told me that she did buy a t-shirt online. I may have to do the same to protect my anonymity and to keep secret the fact that I am not a 12 year old girl.

Also, the final trailer for the movie just came out! It looks wonderful. My SIL Alissa and I were squealing over the fact that they showed Edward and Bella kissing. Squee! Apparently this has been already watched an insane number of times.

And finally, the soundtrack list for the movie has been revealed, and there is a song there called "Bella's Lullaby". I'm a little apprehensive because it might not live up to what I think of as her lullaby (Schumann's Widmung), but I will try to keep an open mind. Also Robert Pattinson (the actor who plays Edward, who was also Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter) sings a song on the track, so I am excited for the CD to come out on November 4.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On repeat

These are the songs in my iPod that I've been listening to over and over. Some are newly downloaded, and all are my favorites these days.

  • Please Forgive Me - David Gray
  • Monsters - Matchbook Romance
  • My Immortal - Evanescence
  • Mexican Standoff - Elbow
  • Widmung - Schumann/Liszt
  • Dark Blue - Jack's Mannequin (so in love with this song!)
  • Nobody's Listening - Linkin Park
  • No Cars Go - Arcade Fire
  • Secret Crowds - Angels & Airwaves (so in love with Tom DeLonge!)
  • Penny on the Train Track - Ben Kweller
  • Lazy Eye - Silversun Pickups
And on that note, happy Columbus day! Thanks to Columbus, I have the day off today.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pearl and quartz necklace

New in the shop, the Renee necklace (haven't used up all the female names from Twilight yet). This is a cluster necklace made of a clear quartz faceted briolette and rice pearls, dropping fairly long at 26".

When I first posted this necklace on Etsy I wasn't liking how it looked, so I made slight adjustments to the cluster. I hate it when that happens, but hopefully this is an improvement.

I am also procrastinating on doing my business taxes (what's new?). I keep bribing myself that if I finish my taxes early then I can go on to more fun stuff, such as getting back to my book, listening to some new downloaded music, and making new rings for the shop out of these awesome stones that I bought.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Glissades and other stuff

I really had fun at ballet class last night. The barre work is getting to be such that it's fairly routine by now and I can start concentrating on my form without worrying so much about the steps. Doing combinations on the center floor, however, offers up something new and interesting every week.

First, I finally succeeded in doing pirouettes, after three weeks of frustration, which I felt hugely proud of. Then we proceeded to do the longest combination yet so far, consisting of three elements:

1. Glissade
2. Jete in one direction
3. Jete in the opposite direction
4. Pas de bourree

The feeling of gliding across the floor is indescribable - so weightless and freeing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Shopping trip

I took my sister out to lunch for her birthday today at a French bistro (she is officially in her "late 30s", aka "old fart") and afterward we stopped in at Anthropologie. We were there "just to look." Ha! I should have known better. This beautiful blue fall coat caught my eye and then I saw that it was on sale for 50% off (!), so I tried it on. And that was my downfall.

The cut is 1960s boxy, similar to my favorite suit that I wear to all my job interviews. The coat is now in its new home in my closet.

I've also been contemplating re-starting journal writing, but I haven't been able to find the right journal until today. Anthropologie had a really pretty one with a whimsical cover of a nightingale perched on a tree, and the pages are unlined, a major requirement. And it was also on sale! I haven't kept a journal since high school, so it will be interesting to see what things I come up with now that I'm an (alleged) adult.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

LOVE ring

I've had the design for this ring in my head ever since I finished the matching earrings over the summer, but I wasn't sure it would work out. Finally I got the idea of inverting the dome and stamping the letters on the "dip" part of the dome, if you will, so it wears better. And I think it worked.

I almost had fifty heart attacks while making this ring because it was very stubborn and kept fighting me, but I finally wrestled it into submission and showed it who is boss. This required a very delicate, careful hand. My torch definitely got a workout with this piece.

I'm thinking I want to make one for me as well - it looks really cool on the finger!

The LOVE ring is now available in size 6 in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Twilight Tuesday

Mr Hazel and I were watching tonight's presidential debate, but he kicked me out because I kept yelling at the TV and he couldn't hear what the candidates were saying. Since I decided a while back that this will be a strictly non-partisan blog (I don't want to alienate past, present, or future customers) - though I have to admit that remaining non-partisan has its challenges because I am a very loud, very fierce member of one of the political parties - and this election has threatened to give me an aneurysm every five minutes - I'm now going to move to a much more fun topic.

To wit, the newly-released movie poster for the Twilight movie. I think Edward looks smokin' hot here, though my sister-in-law Alissa wasn't so sure about what she called his "cat's eyes." Still. He's smokin'. Alissa also sent me a whole barrage of Edward pictures from various scenes from the movie, where I proceeded to salivate my heart out.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

New ring

Well, this is a pretty momentous day because not only am I finally selling a ring for the first time, but I actually managed to tear myself away from reading the manuscript of Midnight Sun for a bit to head down to my workbench, fire up the torch, and make not one, but two rings ready for sale. I figured I've neglected the shop long enough while worshiping at the altar of Edward Cullen.

Here is the first one, named Alice (heh heh - you probably won't be terribly surprised to find out that she is named after one of the characters from Twilight). Featuring a nicely sized lemon chrysoprase cabochon - 10mm, to be exact - in a bezel setting, sitting atop the hand-forged band made of 12g sterling silver wire.

The chrysoprase is a really pretty color, a pale yellow-green. She is available in size 6, but if you'd like this in a different size, I can custom make it for you for an additional 2 weeks.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How could I have forgotten?

...about these heroes...

13. Jake Ryan (hello, did I really forget Jake Ryan? He made girls swoon in the 80's, including yours truly, with his iconic role in Sixteen Candles)

14. Ben Covington (Scott Speedman in Felicity - thanks to my sis for reminding me - I was in love with him all throughout my college years)

15. Sir Percy Blakeney (The Scarlet Pimpernel - the epitome of the dashing French Revolutionary secret agent)

16. Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz in Some Kind of Wonderful)

17. Marius Pontmercy (Les Miz)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Top 12

My top twelve all-time favorite heroes, Byronic or otherwise. I started out with a top 10 list, but I had to go a bit over because I couldn't decide who to eliminate.

And in no particular order, though the #1 spot is pretty understandable given what I've been obsessing over in the last weeks.

  1. Edward Cullen (definitely has elements of the Byronic hero and the Alpha hero)
  2. Luke Skywalker (Return of the Jedi especially)
  3. Mr Darcy (Pride & Prejudice)
  4. Edward Rochester (oooh, another Edward! From Jane Eyre. Now here's a true Byronic hero.)
  5. Legolas (Orlando Bloom version)
  6. Lawrence Decker (Suzanne Brockmann's SEAL Team 16 series)
  7. Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables)
  8. Laurie (Little Women)
  9. Hawkeye (Last of the Mohicans, Daniel Day Lewis version)
  10. Paul Atreides (Dune)
  11. Oberon (King of the Fairies, Midsummer Night's Dream)
  12. Jon Snow (George R R Martin's Song of Ice and Fire)

Notice that Heathcliff is nowhere to be found. I hate Heathcliff.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Looky what I found

Ooooh! Available December 30th, in time for Christmas! (Sort of).

And that's not all! There is also an illustrated movie companion!