Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ME: Lino's Chair, Day 2 & 3

Just a quick post to show you what I've been up to. And, honestly, the pictures do not explain the amount of time and work that is going into this chair!

First I started building back up the head rest...

And then I covered the arms...

Then I had to work some magic to create the separation between the headrest and the back...

And this is where I left it...

And there is your sneak peek at the fabric for the chair.

Now, I'm sure you are thinking that doesn't seem like I've gotten that far... but trust me, this chair has been so much work. We actually had to do some re-designing today because the original spring cushion died on me. I didn't notice when I took it apart, but once we started to look at it we noticed that the structure had snapped in about 15 different places and there were sharp shards of metal over the entire thing. So, I need to build a deck to accept the new foam cushion. Oh well!

The funniest part is now that I'm finally onto my fabric and it's looking like I MAY finish by the end of the day on Friday, my instructor Seymour informed me that he didn't want to tell me on the first day, but I brought the most difficult chair... ever. And it would normally take him 4 days to do it, so I should be proud if I manage to do it in 5.

Keep you posted!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ME: Lino's Chair, Day 1

Just a quick post of what I accomplished on day 1 of upholstery boot camp!

I know it doesn't look like much, but it was time consuming. It should start looking more like a chair by the end of today! Off to class!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

ME: My Idea of a Vacation

My goal was to be done with everything in the jewelry shop by today. Well, that didn't happen. I got nailed with 3+ days of migraines last week which just pushed everything back... but honestly, even without the sick days, I'm pretty sure there was no way in hell that I would have been done.

Oh well, everything will hate to take a little longer since this is a vacation week for me. I signed up for a one week intensive upholstery class at the Eliot School. Yup, only I would do manual labor for a vacation.

My project for the week, Grandpa Lino's chair.

It's looks like a recliner, but it's actually a rocker. And in mint green vinyl...

A god-awful ugly chair that is so damn comfortable, I just can't bear to part with it.

I decided to get a jump start on the chair and strip it before the class started. The inside of the fabric was stamped with the date of 1963, which answers a lot of questions as to why Lino would go with mint green vinyl.

As I stripped it, I had all kinds of goodies falling out of the chair...

It was full of pocket change, nails & screws (being a carpenter, I'm sure Lino's pockets were filled with things like that too), pieces to what I can only imagine was from the game Battleship, and a few other random things...

And after a couple hours, we have a naked chair...

I had to do a little gluing & tightening, but I think it's stable enough to start putting it back together again. More posts to come...

Sunday, August 07, 2011

GS: Reinterpertation

Over the past few years, the most common inquiry for a wedding ring has been the Nouguchi Inspired Men's Band. But this time a client asked for a version for a woman... more delicate and blingier. This is my reinterpretation...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

GS: It's Worth Whhhaaatttt?

This morning I was up at 4AM with an itchy pup (poor Jupiter got attacked by mosquitoes on a hike the other day) and I thought I would just flip through a few of my favorite sites and see if there was anything new. As I clicked on Etsy, I spotted a giant green stone ring for $50 in the 'Handpicked Items" on the front page...

So, I clicked on the listing to see the materials/information:

The size of the cabochon is 0.7 inches (18 mm).
This ring is adjustable.

► It´s made with great quality materials, I only buy from official suppliers of Swarovski components for my work."

I have a few questions/concerns.

First off, that's not a cabochon... it's an emerald/octagon cut faceted crystal.
Second, if this is made out of sterling silver & Swarovski crystal, how is it only $50?

Since I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't really get work done at 4AM because I would have woken up Sal, why not research the materials and pricing.

So, I started with the setting, and I found a similar sterling silver setting on one of my vendor's sites for $22.00, with a bulk price of $18 for a dozen or more. The one I found is probably a bit heavier, so I will guess this Etsyer got theirs for around $15 each.

Next I moved onto the HUGE Swarovski crystal. I checked out the site of one of the largest jewelry supplier in the country. The largest emerald/octagon cut Swarovski was an 8x10 mm and was $32! Wait! What? Now even if they bought 144+, the bulk price is still $25.25 each, and this is still way too small! I can't even find 18mm Swarovski emerald crystals, so let's just toss out a ballpark price of $30 each for bulk pricing of these.

So, that's $15 for the silver setting and $30 for the stone. And don't forget, there's packaging, so add another $1.00. So we're totaling $46. And they are charging $50. A $4 profit? Really? Oh, and don't forget that while these are made from 2 pieces to assemble, so there is some minor labor, I'm still shocked that there is only a $4 profit to be made.

If we want to take this one step further, the average salary for a bench jeweler is about $20-40k/year (depending on if it's a mom & pop shop or a larger named jeweler), so it would take selling 5,000 of these to these to just barely make a living. Which leads me to believe this is a side business and makes them on the couch while watching tv after work.

But this is the kind of jewelry that is forcing me close my shop. How can I compete with that pricing? This is a full time career for me, and I cannot make $4 profit on pieces (even thought there have been plenty of times I have lost money on jobs.) But this is what people are looking for... bargains.

So, for my final thought, if she's being honest about all of her materials, it's an incredible deal, go grab one. It's just too bad that she has to under price by so much that it reflects poorly on jewelers that are fighting to make a living. And... if this person is anything like me... they will probably burn out really quickly by saying their time is only worth $4.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

GS: Please Don't Lose Your Ring

After all these years I had my first client lose their ring. I've gotten the few panicked calls over the years, but they always ended with finding their jewelry in places like the vac, the carpet, in the couch, in a pocket, the backseat of the car, and other random places. But Memorial Day this year I got my first lost LOST piece.

Now, you all know that I'm closing up shop, but they managed to sneak in a remake (and matching wedding bands) before I pack it up. But anybody past this point won't be quite so lucky.

So, do me a favor and have a place that you always put your jewelry. For example, I have a few different holders for my wedding ring...

While I am not one to have lots of tchotchkes (well, yes, clutter, just not tchotchkes) but I have an Eiffel tower that sits in my kitchen that became my ring holder while I cook or do dishes. Actually, I have two, a large and a small one... Sal uses the large one for his ring.

On my nightstand I have the classic ring holder... the elephant. I found him on Ebay for $2.00 and I love him. He holds a couple rings on his trunk and some other stuff in the dish around him... all while being adorable.

In the shop I have the "green guy" that Sal bought me to hold my glasses. While I pretty much never put my glasses on him, he holds my ring perfectly on his nose.

If I ever misplace my ring, 99% of the time find it in one of those 3 places. Another thing that I recommend to all my clients, GET A SAFE! Yup, just go buy a cheap safe over at the hardware store and screw it to the floor of your closet... similar to a hotel safe. And it's not just good for jewelry, it's also great for passports, personal & financial info, etc... here's one that's probably bigger than most of us would need and under $100 bucks! And, if you are a client of mine, I'm sure I gave you the "insurance" talk.

So, the moral of the story is have a safe place to put it when you take it off and DON'T LOSE YOUR JEWELRY BECAUSE I WON'T BE ABLE TO RE-MAKE IT.
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