Friday, February 29, 2008

It's love, in the form of a whoopi pie!

Every year growing up, my mother would make us a special birthday cake... the whoopi pie cake. MMMMM. Seriously, it's just a big sugary ball of coco and marshmallow w/ a little butter... but it's so freeking good!

Well, I made one for a friends birthday last week... and I will be making one for another friend when he and his wife are in town visiting in the next few weeks. They aren't super complicated... but they are so damn good!

So, because I adore you, my blog followers, oh so much... I'll share the recipe with you!!! Just make sure you use good ingredients! I use a really really good Bourbon Vanilla... it adds such a nice flavor to it all.

Whoopi Pie Cake

Crazy Cakemakes one 8” round cake. You can either split the cake in half and fill it OR double the recipe.

1 1/2 cup Flour
1 cup Sugar
3 tbs Coco
1 tsp Baking Soda

Wisk together. Make 3 holes in dry ingredients.

1/2 cup Melted Shortening or Canola Oil
1 tsp Vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Wisk together. Pour into 3 holes.

1 cup Cold Water – Pour over everything and mix well.

Butter and line the cake pan with wax paper (they always stick.)
Cook for 30-40 minutes at 350… test with a tooth pick.

Whoopi Pie Filling

3/4 cup Shortening (Use 1/2 butter flavored Crisco and 1/2 butter)
3/4 cup Confectionary Sugar (packed tightly)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Container of Marshmallow Fluff (approx 8 oz)

Mix well with electric mixer. Do not fill cake till completely cooled!

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 Stick of Butter (melted)
3 tbsp Coco
2-3 cups Confectionary Sugar (to taste/consistency)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Little Hot Water (for consistency… to make it spread easily)

Mix well with electric mixer.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

why did my diamond fall out?

I don't hear that question that often... but I used to a great deal more when I worked for jewelers doing repairs. But I did a repair / stone replacement for a co-worker of my sister... a favor to my sister.

So... why did the stone fall out? Here are a few photos... let's see if we can figure it out.

Issue 1... well, maybe the client should had gotten the prongs checked every few years or so... not wait 40 years. There is no metal left to the prongs. This original head was a heavy tapered leg Tiffany head... very very heavy, very thick metal prongs.

Issue 2... well, because the prongs are so thing, notice how they are kicked out on one side... the prongs probably caught onto something and easily pulled open to release the stone.

Issue 3... this is my favorite. Do you see that grayish white area at the base of the prongs? I thought it was gross built up dirt and hand cream and stuff... but no, it wouldn't clean out. So what could it be??? SUPER GLUE??? Oh yes... the client probably saw that the stone was wiggly (loose) and thought that a little dab 'ill do ya... e voile... no more loose stone. Unfortunately, it would only hold for so long.

So... these 3 issues... along with whatever else happened to it in the past 40 years... caused the stone to fall out.

It's kinda fun playing jewelry CSI!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

stained glass window inspired pendant

A client came to me with her grandmother's mine cut diamond nose ring (yes... I said grandmother and nose ring in the same sentence.) And it is BEAUTIFUL! There is one large mine cut diamond with 3 smaller matching set in 22K gold. But the oddest thing about these diamonds are the fact that the tables (the top flat area on the diamond) are orange. None of my diamond dealers have ever seen anything like it. They all agree that they are diamonds... but can't figure out where the color is coming from.

So, along with these 4 diamonds, the client has 8 small diamonds (from a pair of earrings.) I thought by adding orange sapphires (different tones of orange... red-orange, yellow-orange, pink-orange, etc) that are different sizes to fill in.

Also... the setting would be mainly platinum... but her grandmother's diamonds would be set in 22k yellow (I could melt down the gold it's currently set it to create a more modern setting.)

Basically... I came up with an idea of a stained glass window like pendant.

I'll keep you posted on what she thinks!

Monday, February 25, 2008


The decision has been made on the tiara! And thank the gods... because I came up with a bunch of ugly a$$ designs! I was stuck on this one... it was hard! I had such tight parameters to work within (ie, keep the whole tiara low, nothing really sticking up, carry in elements of the dress, has to work as a necklace, find a way to keep the diamond setting to a minimum to keep the cost down, etc.) And I did it! Sal and I sat on the couch arguing over the design so much that he had a dream (or maybe more of a nightmare) that he was designing it... hehehe.

So... this is the initial part of the dress that the client wanted to focus on...

But this is another part of her dress that I wanted to incorporate into the design...

This is what I came up with... and the client loves the design.

So now, I just have to try to figure out how much this one will cost and how long it will take... because I have no clue!!!

Anyway... don't forget about the blog sale! Seriously... this is the cheapest you'll see these gold and platinum pieces and I really don't want to melt them down. Think about it! I'll only keep 'em around till the end of the week!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008


If you are one of my readers... you know that precious metals are at an all time high (because I complain about it all the time.) And I've had some pieces kicking around stores and my shop and they are now worth more dead than alive. But before I melt then down, I thought I'd offer them to my loyal readers at rock bottom prices. Honestly, I don't think you'll be able to get your hands on gold and platinum for so little again!!!

For your consideration...

A beautiful finger shaped 14K White and Yellow Gold wedding band. It is a size 5.25 (and cannot be sized up, sizing beads can be added to make it slightly smaller.) The pattern is a traditional wheat pattern in yellow gold flanked with flat washer-like white gold bands. It is completely fabricated in the metal (no casting) by little ol' me. A mate could always be custom fabricated if you like it!

Blog Sale Price... $250.00 SALE PENDING


The last of the domes! A 14K White Gold Dome Pendant sprinkled with all natural blue and purple sapphires and VS diamonds. It's on a 14K 18" bead chain.

Blog Sale price... $450.00 SALE PENDING


An 18K White Gold Starfish Ring, size 5.5 (again, cannot be sized up but can have sizing beads added in.) The starfish and 2 outer bands are very organic looking. It can be customized with micro-pave diamonds gracing one or alternating starfish for that little extra bling. Also, it looks slightly yellow in the photo, but it is white gold. Can be rhodium plated if need be.

Blog Sale price... $600.00


14K Green Gold Ring w/ Rutilated Pink Tourmaline, size 7 (again, cannot be sized up, but can have sizing beads added in.) I need to give you a little background information on this ring. I made this in school... and it was a pain in my a$$. This ring was not cast... it was raised from a sheet of gold. Lots of hammering and forming. Then, once the exterior of the ring was made, I had to add in a liner (so it would be smooth and hot hollow to scratch the finger... it is sooo comfy!) I showed this ring at a Craft Boston Show... and a prestigious gold smith from NYC wanted to meet me to talk about hiring me, but the person manning the booth forgot to tell me for over a week. It was too late by then... when I contacted him, he had already hired somebody. But, everything happens for a reason!

And I hope somebody out there wants this, because I do not want to melt this one down. Seriously, it was a lot of work. And it's craftsmanship that you will not come across often!!! It will make a great ring for a woman or a pinky ring for the right man!!!

Blog Sale Price... $800.00

Now the really good stuff... PLATINUM!

A simple, yet classic, platinum ring with a tapered bezel set 1/4 ct Red Spinel, size 5.25 (and cannot be sized up, sizing beads can be added to make it slightly smaller.) A Spinel is commonly mistaken for Rubies (or in blue, sapphires.) It's a beautiful ring!

Blog Sale Price... $1000

And the final piece...

MY OLD ENGAGEMENT RING! Yup... it's just too much platinum sitting in my safe... and it is a really really cool ring. Not your traditional ring... more like a wedding band. It is 2mm thick and 5mm wide platinum (it's a HUGE hunk of platinum) size 5.25 (and cannot be sized up, but can be sized down with sizing beads) and 13 stones, 8 rubies and 5 diamonds. There's a story behind the number of stones, so if you're interested in the ring, I can give you more information. But my ex gave me his blessing to melt down the ring. But it's just too beautiful to melt down if I don't have to.

Blog Sale Price... $1300.00

AND if somebody out there is looking for a cool platinum wedding set, buy the spinel platinum ring and the wide platinum band with rubies and diamonds. It's modern, it's cool and it's the cheapest platinum you will find out there!!!

If you are interested in any of these items, or have questions... drop me a note here. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

just keep your pants on!

okay... so i know i haven't posted much the past 2 weeks... but i have lots of juicy stuff to share! everything from gluing in stones to finished projects to a new segment of 'worth more dead than alive' which leads me to a new BLOG SALE!

and i have to say... it's not the beady beady like blog sale stuff... it's nice stuff! and it will be a rock bottom prices. because i'd rather sell it at low prices instead of melting it down!

so, keep watching! piles and bunches of stuff on the way!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

casting woes!

Almost 2 weeks ago I sent a bunch of jobs to be cast (3 wedding bands in Palladium, 1 Platinum fish, 1 pair of earrings in 14K Palladium, 1 pendant in 14K Palladium, and 5 sterling silver pendants) and I had an issue with most of it!

Basically, I'm trying a new caster... who is actually my refiner. They are the ones who guarantee the metal is close to 100% recycled.

When I shipped the pieces in I expected a turn around of a few days (which is what I'm used to from my other casters and from working in a casting house)... but as over a week passed, I decided to check on the order. They said the platinum fish was holding everything up. Apparently the size, shape and thickness is making the casting difficult (even tho the thinnest area is 1mm, which is the minimum.) They tried casting it, and it came out badly and so they thought they would make a mold of it, fix the wax and try it again. What annoys me is that they never contacted me with any of these issues.

(HA! I actually got a call from them just now! They can't cast the fish. But I get to pay for this rubber mold that I never asked for AND for a couple of extra waxes! Hahaha!)

Well, I got in the other castings... and the 14K Palladium earrings have pits that i could stick my fingernail in! So, those just went back to be re-cast. Crikies! The casting gods are not on my side at the moment!!!

Also, I had a piece cast at the building... and I just dropped that off to be recast. Ugh!

But I was reading the Metro on the T on my way into the city. And I saw this and it made me laugh...

News in brief... Washington:
A 10-pound frog the size of a bowling ball,
with heavy armor and teeth, lived among
dinosaurs millions of years ago. It was intimidating
enough that scientists who unearthed its fossils
dubbed the beast Beelzebufo, or Devil Toad.

hehehe... I love random news like this! To read a little more about it, click here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

big a$$ ring..

Here's a fun project!

A client was watching 'Elizabeth' and saw this big a$$ men's ring. And he loved it. So we sat down at Burdick's, had a big a$$ cup of hot coco and discussed making a version of this ring (actually, we talked business for about 20 minutes and then just talked for about 2 hours.)

Now... if you have never been a client of mine (which you should... trust me, it's a fun experience! Maybe I'll even take you out for hot coco!!!) I give you homework. Whether we are designing an engagement ring or something completely random, I like to know about you (hence, custom jewelry!) So, I ask for images that range from jewelry you like to your favorite stuffed animal and everything in between. And sometimes, those images will trigger some great ideas.

So, this is my first idea for the big a$$ ring... a very clean and contemporary version. There will be a sapphire set on either side of the flat oblong head (the client is providing the sapphires) in a very flat collet (they are slightly too large for flush setting, but I want them as flush to the metal surface as possible.)

The client had sent me a photo of his bike... which is BEAUTIFUL... and for some reason the spokes stuck in my mind. So, I could create a pattern radiating from each sapphire.

BUT I would have the pattern wrap down the sides of the ring... each stone will be further apart than the last till they taper off. Also, I am thinking that white diamonds could radiate out of one side while black diamonds (or another colored stone) could radiate out of the other, and intersect and blend as they taper off. Just an idea!

BUT I do know one thing that is a great idea!!! Whenever a ring is this large, you want to hollow out the head to lighten it up. And when I hollow out the head, I like to put a liner in it... which is a piece of metal to make the interior smooth (so not pinch or cut into the finger.) Well, the client shared this dragonfly pattern with me, which used to be hammered into the leather lining samurai armor. Well... if it was good enough for samurai, it is good enough for my client (hehehe.) But I can cut the pattern into the lining of the ring. It won't be visible when the ring is worn, but a cool hidden detail.

Okay... this week I'm going to be cleaning a bunch of castings (hopefully... still waiting for FedEx!) so I may have some finished products to show you. Keep you posted!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

another tiara...

Still working on tiara designs... and we'll see if I'm getting closer.

It's an open circular branch/vine pattern. The larger circles (slightly colored in gray) would be pearls and then the diamonds would be scattered among the pattern.

Whatever we come up for a design, has to work upside down too as a necklace. It's difficult!

More to come.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Okay... off to Mystic, CT for the weekend. I'll fill you in on anything exciting when I get back... LIKE THE SUBMARINE MUSEUM!!! WOO-HOO!

But on the drive, I'll work on sketches. I have to change up that tiara, because it's feeling a little Wonder Woman, hehehe. Check back on Monday!


Tuesday, February 05, 2008


i'm working on some ideas for a tiara for a client. the wedding isn't for quite some time... but i have never made one before and i want to take my sweet time to make it perfect. and i have no clue how long that will take. i want it to get to her in plenty of time for things like choosing a hair style and a veil. PLUS i want to have this piece do double duty... lots of the tiara's of yesteryear (you know, the real ones, not the tinfoil ones of today) would have supports that were removable to turn the piece into a movable necklace. cool, huh?

well, the bride-to-be has shared the beading design on her wedding dress with me and we decided to focus in on this simple part of the pattern...

... then i have been going through tiara books and websites and photos and such, and i came across this...

... i know, i know... crappy photo. just go to this link and you can see a better photo of it if you like. but this is similar to an idea that i had... a very simple bar across the top and the bottom with a oval like pattern in the middle.

so, i decided to play around with a combination of the two...

... this really is just the beginning, but i thought i would share!!! the centers of the ovals are a little too girly for this client, even thought tiara's are fairly girly to begin with. but i do like the idea of the diamond ovals... i just need to come up with a stronger design for the centers.

the bars behind it will be removable (those will be the supports) and then it can serve as a necklace. so many possibilities!

but like i said, this is my first concrete idea... i'm sure it will keep transforming! i'll keep plugging away and keep posting as we go along.

mad science experiment...

I love avocados. I don't care how much fat are in them... they're good fat. And they make me damn happy!

So, this past fall I decided to do a little research on what to do with the pit/seed from the avocado. I found these instructions, and they seemed easy enough. I read the instructions to Sal (which are very very simple) e voila, we have our science experiment!

We watered it for a few months, and saw nothing happen... till one day it cracked in half and a little white root started to peek out of the bottom of it. Then BAM, things started growing out of both ends!!!

When I realized that this could possibly work... that it may actually survive... I decided to start a couple more. Because if they all survive, you need multiple trees for these to cross pollinate to produce fruit (YAY! AVOCADOS!)

Our biggest seedling is about to outgrow the jar of water and soon it will be transferred to a nice roomy pot of soil... just in time to move onto the deck for the spring. (I am worried that my angry squirrel may try to eat it!!!) The others are only about 2 weeks along.

I'll keep you posted on the progress!!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

back from nyc

Back from NYC and back to work.

When I was there I squeezed in seeing the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (after standing in the freezing cold for over 3 hours... I was not pleased.) But after being at the end of the line, somehow I managed to be seated in the front row! Hehehe! I would have shared photos, but you were not allowed to take photos.

After a comedian, Paul Mecurio, warmed up the crowed (and for some odd reason, focused in on me... I'm such an easy target!!!) we had a little Q&A time with Jon Stewart. During this time, we were not allowed to (1) ask to see him naked (2) ask to touch him (3) ask for autographs. So, I have no exciting stories of pinching his tooshie or anything.

Then the rest of the weekend was spent running from store to store to avoid being poured on... which the rain did soak through my wool coat, leather boots and jeans. ugh.

But I'm back to work... and finishing a bunch of wedding band waxes (I like to cast them as a solid, just in case they ever need to be sized years down the road), some wedding jewelry waxes and a wax for a fishie pendant. It's funny, this wax has taken so much time... to get the curves and the placement of the diamonds just right. And it balances cool... it doesn't point straight down, it has a little bend to it. It's very sweet!

I'll keep you posted on more projects in the works!
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