Wednesday, May 28, 2008

minimalist god

I finished the Ganesha pendant. Because of the insanely high polish on the large amount of slightly domed surface, it didn't photograph well. But I think you can still get the general idea! It is really really clean, simple and beautiful!

It is 18K Palladium White Gold with one 2mm diamond bezel set at the end of the trunk.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Long Weekend...

I am currently in the lush green country side outside of DC for the long weekend with Sal. Unfortunately, you shouldn't count on posts till I return to reality on Tuesday. My internet connection is very sporadic (depends on which neighbor doesn't lock their wireless router) and there's a forecast of beautiful weather all weekend... so why would I want to be inside on the computer?

Enjoy the long weekend and we'll catch up soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

completed swirly set

All of the swirly bands are finished! What a delightful set! The engagement ring and matching wedding band are Platinum and diamonds. The men's band is Palladium.

I have lots more photos with all of the details of them, but I haven't had a chance to clean them up yet. I'll add a link to the website when I upload the images.

Monday, May 19, 2008


My poor Scooter has been diagnosed with a heart murmur :( But, thankfully, Boston has one of the best animal hospitals, Angell Memorial. So tomorrow morning Scooter will be seeing the Chief of Cardiology and having an echocardiogram.

I will keep you all posted on the outcome!

Friday, May 16, 2008

If you don't know jewelry...

Warren Buffet has a great quote...

'If you don't know jewelry, know the jeweler.'

I think this is the most simple and brilliant suggestion for when it comes to purchasing jewelry. If you walk into a mall store, you don't know who of even where your jewelry was made. That sales person can't give you any more information than what is on the sales tag.

So, I live by this idea. And I will always be honest and answer any questions for my clients. And I think, especially through my blog, that you're all getting to know me. Well... I'm really going to share a special side of me...

...I dance like Elaine from Seinfeld. Oh yes, this is me (the blur of hair) doing (attempting) the running man at a wedding. This photo was captured by the professional photographer... and sent to me by the bride. Note the look on Sal's face, as he's standing holding my shoes. I bet you can guess what he was thinking! Also, note the look of complete horror of the other guests... obviously they don't know me ;) Oh... and I only had 1 glass of wine... that's all!

Just so you know... I'm a goofy person. But I work hard... and come on... I make you smile!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

mmm... sweet!

I've been back in my baking phase, and this time it was fresh strawberry cupcakes. Mmmmm. This batch went to a yoga social... they claimed that it was a night of eating 'bad for you food' but I seemed to make the worst for you out of the whole bunch. Seriously, people brought cheeseless pizza! Ha!

I was fairly sad at first because everybody was avoiding them. But all of a sudden I was approached by this woman who said 'I'm allergic to soy and nut products... please tell me these don't have any in there.' I simply answered with 'No soy or nuts... just lots of butter, sugar and creme... oh yeah... and strawberries.'

She loved them (and said they would be perfect with a cup of tea)... so I thought I would share the recipe with you all!

Now... this photo shows the cupcakes with white (vanilla) frosting and a strawberry on top, which is a variation from the recipe. I've tried making them both ways, and both are excellent. So, your choice!

Fresh Strawberry Cup Cakes

Makes 1 dozen
2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk and strawberry puree; set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.


Makes enough for 1 dozen cupcakes
1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Final Noguchi Rings

Remember the Noguchi inspired engagement ring...

I finished the wedding band to match the Noguchi inspired engagement ring. It's so bubbly and fun...

Don't they make a sweet pair!

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Sketch...

Just a possible new take on a classic solitaire engagement ring...

Instead of a normal taper to a traditional 'Tiffany' head, this has more of the look of a bloom holding the diamond. Also, the head is rotated from the traditional setting (the prongs sit NSEW instead of NE SE NW SW.) The prongs would be square and flow into the triangular profile of the band.

Then we could do an optional 'jacket' for the ring to add a little more bling to the band ;)

This ring was already nixed by the client (as most starting designs, so elements will carry on to the final design) but I'm thinking I may still make this ring. I may start making all the designs that I really like... and have a series of models that clients (who aren't fully sold on the idea of custom work) can choose from. But still in the thinking phase!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Wedding Jewelry

Okay... Here it is... All finished...

This set is fabricated out of ALL family stones (gotta love it!) And these are the matching pieces to this engagement ring...

I'll get better photos of the engagement ring soon (these were taken with my old camera) because I'm starting the matching wedding bands next week!

okay... here we go...

Now, you all know that I love my job... but like any job, there are always issues. And I have been spending lots of hours trying to put out fires, and some days it easier than others.

You see, even though I spend hours designing and fabricating my pieces, and try to have complete control over every step, sometimes I need to send pieces out to be worked on by another jeweler. Sometimes it's for casting, other times for 'fancy' stone setting... but it's always to very very responsible and respectable companies. But no matter how amazing these companies may be, issues can arise.

So, back on March 3, 2008 I sent a set of wedding jewelry (necklace and earrings) to a master stone setter down south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The setter has set for some of the most amazing jewelry companies, including Van Cleef and Tiffany. Before I shipped it I got the 'no problem kid, it will be in a week or two.' Great! But, unfortunately, that was just the beginning.

A fairly standard turnaround time with a stone setter (for a normal job) is approximately 2 weeks, so I didn't follow up till about 2 weeks passed. At that point, I was informed that he was in the middle of moving his shop, didn't get a chance to start it, and just needed a little more time... till next Monday. Okay, everybody needs a little leeway sometimes, fine. So, I made an appointment with my client... Monday came and went... no jewelry. Another phone conversation too place, just one more week... okay... made another appointment with the client another Monday passed. Crikies. This was when I told my client that I would contact her when I had the jewelry in my hand... because a when I receive a series of excuses, it drives me nuts!

That was now a month ago.

So, as the time kept passing I started leaving annoyed voice mails, emails, etc., asking if I was going to have to head out there to pick it up... and I just kept getting back a string of excuses. Everything from my phone isn't working, my shop isn't up and running to I was waiting for the cable guy and my dog got loose. Ugh. I asked if he enjoyed getting pissy voice mails from me.

Anyway, the day came when the jewelry was finished and it was going to be shipped to me. Thank the Gods! I have a special account with FedEx for handling jewelry... all I had to do was find out when he was going to ship it and I would email him a label to print and put on the package... easy enough, right? But did he ship it that way... of course not, because that would be way too easy for everybody. He sent it along with his wife to work and had her ship it out from there... through the post office. Well, I wouldn't ship jewelry through the post office... BUT as long as it was insured and had delivery confirmation, fine!

Well, a week passed... no package. He finally called and informed me that he knew where my jewelry was... AT A HOMELESS SHELTER IN N.C.! Apparently his wife mixed up the shipping address. And all he said was 'Well, these things happen.' NO! NO THEY DON'T!

So, for over a week I got message about how they were going to pick it up, bring it back, ship it to me... blah blah blah. Seriously... I was about to jump in my crappy car and drive down there to go kick somebody in the shins and get my jewelry back! It's not that it was effecting just me (and wasting way too many hours of my precious time)... it's my client. And I make promises to my clients and this was killing me to know that I let my client down.

Well, after another 2 weeks, it was finally shipping to me. Again, he didn't tell me he was going to ship it and I didn't get a chance to send him a FedEx label. But he promised me on a Friday that I would have it Tuesday morning at the latest... or he would jump in his car, drive up here and hand it to me. Okay... I was going to spend another morning waiting around for the package (I have spent MANY MANY mornings waiting for this package!)

As Tuesday morning came and passed, no package. When he called I answered with 'So what time should I expect you, I'll put on the coffee.' He didn't find it funny, but neither did I. He missed the FedEx deadline, but I would get it on Wednesday morning. Fine... so, I sat around for another morning waiting for the package.

As I was waiting, I thought I would look it up on my FedEx account... and guess what... HE SENT IT TO THE WRONG ADDRESS! You have got to be kidding! This wasn't even close to funny anymore... I was honestly angry at this point! So I called FedEx, I made him call FedEx (which he did manage to send it to the correct town and zip code and along with my name, it was the street address that was incorrect), and it came down to the fact that it was probably going to have to be sent back to him and shipped out for a 3rd time!!! Dear God... I was going to snap!

But my salvation came in the form of a FedEx delivery man. A couple months ago I was baking Whoopi Pie Cup Cakes, and gave one to my FedEx man... and that made him remember my name. And when he saw the package with the name and the wrong address, he thought he would try me! Thank all the Gods! My package was finally delivered!

So... now it's here, it's safe... and I have to come up with some way to apologize to my client! But whatever I come up with, I'm bringing her cup cakes!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

do i have a story for you...

oh crikies! a few posts ago i said i have a story for you about some jewelry i was working on, but i didn't want to tell it early because i didn't want to jinx it??? well, i have this jewelry in my hand... it's finished and safe and everything is good, so i can now share the story!!!

but not till later! i have a full day... so i though i would just tempt you all, build up the anticipation! hehehe

i'll be back soon... hopefully tonight!

Monday, May 05, 2008

men's bands

Okay... fine... I'll actually show some work, not just random photos!

Currently, I am working on a few sets of wedding bands. The women's bands are still in progress... but I completed 2 of the men's bands.

First is the men's swirly band...

Then there is the men's Noguchi inspired band...

The men's bands usually go much faster, because I usually don't set stones in them. I'll post the matching women's bands when they are done.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

happiness found in the simple things...

Okay... I've been a bit more stressed lately. Between lack of sleep and a few business nightmares (owning a business can be tough some days) I've been a bit more cynical that usual. So, I'm going to try my best be more positive and find happiness in the small things.

As I was fighting my way through the grocery store on Thursday afternoon, I saw something that always seems to make me smile... NUTELLA! I forgot how happy a Nutella and banana sandwich makes me... or even just a big ol' spoon full, sans banana and bread.

But as I opened the new jar and peeled back the gold foil, I saw something delightful... a smooth raised chocolate flower. I can only guess that in the packaging process they poured the molten creamy hazelnut and coco spread into the jar, it hardened into a soft and flowing flower.

MMMMM... creamy! It was almost a shame to disturb the fluent shiny surface... but please, it's Nutella! And it filled me with more joy than you could imagine.

When I manage to let go of the stress... it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Now... back to plotting the demise of my neighbor...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

the gloves are off!

I'm exhausted... and I'm at the end of my rope. Let me explain...

For those of you who read this often, you know I suffer from insomnia (which has gotten a great deal better doing Bikram yoga 3 times a week.) And you may also caught my snide comments about how I can hear my neighbor snoring in my apartment and how I want to practice tap dancing right over his head.

Well, my neighbor has recently purchased the video game Rock Band... and plays it all the time. Sal has been planning on having a conversation with him (he's much more diplomatic than I am... I'll just snap. Sal thought he would go down there with a couple of beers and have a nice conversation with him, maybe offer to buy him a pair of headphones or something... I would probably just kick him in the shins.)

When he plays the game full blast, I cannot be in the living room because the couch vibrates and I have to listen to him singing at the top of his lungs. But at night, he just plays the drums. Seriously... all night... and it sucks. And the sound of the drums bounces through empty chimney and right into my pillow! I haven't slept well since he got it.

Last night pushed me over the edge. I was exhausted and wanted to head to bed early, he was playing his game. So, I put on my wave machine and tv to see if I could fall asleep with that drowning out the sound of my neighbor singing along to Metallica. I finally feel asleep much later than I planned, around 12:30 or so. Even worse, I woke up after 3AM with him still playing. I was annoyed, but attempted to stay calm, so I could fall back asleep. He stopped playing a little after 3:15 and quiet fell over the apartment... I was thrilled.

But apparently that was the calm before the storm. Because I flipped out. My neighbor turned on his television full blast (it was an infomercial on exercise equipment with loud pumping thumping music... you know, to get you all worked up) and started snoring. That was it... I was going to stop this!

So, there I was, 4 AM, in my pajamas, barefoot, knocking on my neighbor's door... yelling. Nothing, didn't answer... tv still on. So I got even more angry... and I started pounding on the door, still yelling... nope, he was sleeping thru it (or too afraid of me to make a move.) So, after about 5 minutes of it, I gave up. But I decided to slam my apartment door (which is on the wall adjacent to where he sleeps) as hard as possible. Then I slammed my bedroom door a few more times... and finally the television was turned off. But, unfortunately by that point, I was so awake and angry I couldn't go back to sleep for hours. So I just sat in bed, watching the clock, mentally plotting the demise of the neighbor... he better hope that Sal get to talk to him before I do... because I will kick him in the shins. But now I'm so exhausted, I'm wrecked for the day!

I'm sure there will be a part 2 to this story... I'll keep you posted!
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