The horrible, no good, very bad week.

Dearest readers,

I had a pretty terrible week last week.  Nothing bad happened, no one died.  It was more of a "I didn't win the lottery" sort of bad, rather than "all of my money has been stolen" sort of bad.  But still pretty bad, for me at least.

Friday morning I got an unexpected email from my wonderful, sparkling, cupcakes and cotton candy, unicorns and pink kittens nanny.  It was terrible.  She quit!  She quit!  Effective that next Monday.  What did these little stinkers do to make her quit?!?!  Why!? WHY?

She had had a friend who recommended her for a job at a school, and the lady who was doing the hiring happened to know her and offered her the job right away.  And mandatory training started that next Monday.  So, it sucked for me and my whole life was turned upside down.  It's sort of hard to get any work done when you have two 8 month babies who have decided that now is a great time to start crawling.  Things are still crazy.  I'm happy for her, but disappointed that we no longer have her as our fabulous nanny.

And then, I was trying to get this rush order out last Thursday, and I was checking the diamond in the setting before I got ready to starting cutting the seat and it fell onto the ground and bounced by my toe and vanished.  Just disappeared.  Seriously.  I was all, no problem, it's some where.  It can't just disappear.  30 minutes of searching later I call in the Shop Monkey to help me....nothing.  I am just envisioning having to buy a new stone.  Tears, people.  Tears.

And then, for the 5th time, I check this one spot with a metal pokey tool and there it is.  Let me show you:

It was wedged into that little space in the last photo.  I was about to pull my hair out when I finally found it. 

And then:


Don't worry, I practice catch and release.  OMG, still creeped out.  And there was another one, later, on the floor.  I hope I'm not going to get eaten.

This week is starting out better than last week, I hope everything works out with the new nanny.  It's fewer hours than I had before, which isn't fantastic.  The babies like her though, and that's important.  They are so awesome right now.  They're both so fast and funny, I love it. 

Cheese and Rice, it took me long enough.

Man, I have been plagued (PLAGUED!) by bad photographs since I moved out of my sweet industrial studio with the south facing windows last summer.  I swear I haven't taken a good photograph since June of 2012.  But I think I have finally figured it out (HALLELUJAH!).  Except, of course, for the random kitty hairs all over the stump that I like to use.  (Have I mentioned that I hate cats?  Ours especially?  I'm kidding.  No, I'm not.  I despise them.  Kidding.  No, really, I can't wait until they run away.  I joke!  No.  Really.)

So, that ring on the far left isn't white gold with a weird tint.  It's 14kt green gold, which is super nice in person, but I'm having some trouble capturing the color.  It is sort of a spring yellow, lighter and whiter than regular 14kt yellow gold, but not really green.  I like it.  It's fresh looking.  That's my new ring too!  I think I'm going to call it my French Wedding ring.  It seems sort of antique to me.  All right, I have to go squeeze my babies, so this is it for my blog post.  I am so relieved to finally be able to take good photos again, I can't even tell you.

Our first road trip!

GBP (gratuitous baby post) warning!

Last Friday, the Shop Monkey informed me that we were going to Cannon Beach the next day.  I was fairly nervous about the 1.5hr drive, but the Squids were amazing.  They napped their morning nap on the way there, and their afternoon nap on the way back.  Perfect!

(Obviously, I just pinched him. j/k!)

It's the little things

I have been wanting shelves in my studio for almost a year now.  It's crazy how fast last year went by.  Buying a house, moving, building a studio, and having two babies makes time fly.  But I now have a couple of shelves and my books aren't taking up counter space anymore, which is fabulous.  It's so funny how little things can make such a big difference.  I recently rearranged my living room and bedroom and the difference is so huge!  It's like a new space entirely (I feel that way at least).  

So I finally made a copy of my wedding ring.  I was really ambivalent about adding the design to my shop for a long time (years....), but I finally took the plunge and I'm happy about.  It's so gorgeous (IMHO) and decadent (so much gold!) that I think it deserves to be shared, rather than hoarded for myself.  And besides that, most of my sentimentalness (new word) has had time to wear off a bit.  I still love my ring, but it doesn't bother me to know that there will be other women wearing the same thing.  I just hope they love it as much as I do. :-)

(I'm hard to photograph!)

And did you happen to be cruising for adorable baby pictures?  Let me help you out:

This, that, and the other

Finally!  Summer is here.  Thank goodness.  It was a pretty mild winter, though.  Not that I was aware of much of it.  Having two babies will do that to a person.  I'm back in the studio 20 hours a week now and I'm so glad to have some time to work on new things.  This new design (shown here in extremely flattering aqua blue injection wax) is something I'm super excited about.  It will have a single stone gypsy set, flush with the curve of the top of the ring.  I think it will be a great choice for people who are worried about "wearability".  I like it especially since it is a bit different from your regular solitaire.  A little more old fashioned?

And now to non-jewelry related content!  Feel free to tune out now.

Mandrake roots!  Quick, cover your ears.  No, kidding. It's just our demented carrots.  The garden is really coming along. Now that the summer weather is here in earnest (knock on wood), our tomatoes and other things should be taking off soon.  We've planted pickling cucumbers, radishes, strawberries, kale, lettuces, peas, zucchinis, carrots, onions, lemon cucumbers, pumpkins, and peppers.  I think that's it.  This year is our experimental year, we hope that next year we will have a better idea of how to manage our massive veggie garden.  Honestly, it might be a bit much for us.

I have a sitter!  Where did my tiny baby go!??!  Sad sad sad face!  This is Addy, and he is an award winning sitter.  He went from a couple of wobbly seconds upright to BAM! Champion sitting, in just a couple of days.

And this baby wants to steal my coffee, water, beer....pretty much any liquid that is going into my mouth.  This morning as I was eating my cheerios, she was watching every bite like a hawk, and when I would catch her staring she would give me a grin.  She is SO ADORABLE!

All right, I'm going to sit in the sun for a few minutes before I head back to the studio!  I'm working on one of these:


So, I've had the chance these last couple of weeks to carve a few new things and this is what I've come up with:

I wanted to add a new five stone ring to my collection, and this one has a carved band (you can't see it, it's sort of driftwoody).  The stones will be bigger than any of the other eternity rings, 2.5mm rather than 2mm, so I'm expecting it to be extremely sparkly!

The solitaire has a wide rounded band that tapers toward the palm side.  It's sort of curved around the top of the band.  I didn't plan on pairing these two when I carved them, but I think they would look great together.  Zing zing va-zing!

This is the one I'm a bit hesitant about, it's different from most of the stuff that I make.  But I wanted to branch out a bit.  I would also like to make something with a halo setting (diamonds all around the central stone), so I'm going to try to carve something along those lines.  I don't want it to be like the typical halo setting so I'll have to think on it a bit before I start anything.

And my little tinies!  I love them!  I reeeeaaaaallllly love them!

Thinking inside the box...

....or the cushion cut as the case may be.

Last Wednesday night, the tenth of April, two thousand and thirteen, I slept 8 hours of glorious, sweet, and uninterrupted sleep.  This momentous event has yet to be repeated (although Addy did sleep a solid ten hours straight last night!  Alas, his sister did not. Woe is me.), but I continue to hold out hope that it will become a regular occurrence in the near future.

Not only did the sleep restore me to partial sanity, it also gave me the juice I needed to get this project done.  I have been wanting to expand the shape of stones I work with (I get A LOT of requests for cushion cut stones), but something held me back.  I think I was intimidated a bit by the corners.  Round stones are old hat to me by now, but I haven't set a square(ish) stone since I was in school.  I've had this model, unset, kicking around for at least a year.  It's just sterling and cubic zirconium, but I'm pretty excited to make it again in precious materials.  I think the first version will be moissanite in palladium, but I would love to do a more delicate iteration in platinum and diamond.

It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, so I feel pretty confident now.  I think I will take another stone setting class this summer though. I would love to do a princess cut bezel set ring in the near future, but I need to brush up on setting truly square stones.  On an unrelated topic, I have a couple of new designs carved already for this year, with the molds made and everything!  I'm super excited about them, but I will save them for another post.  One is a real departure from my regular style, and I feel a little nervous about it.  I'm debating on whether or not I should wait until I have them done done, or if I should share photos of the waxes first.

And on the home front, I have adorable babies.

They are getting SO BIG.  It's crazy.  They will be 4 months in a couple of days.  They both like to practice sitting, so I'm hoping I will have some upright babies soon!  We bought a couple of old fashioned wooden highchairs and I plan on painting them bright colors.  We won't start solids for a while, but I am so excited to give them their first solid food!  I've heard sweet potato is the way to go?

Man, I sound tired

So here is short video of my new studio space.  I sound extremely tired and bit incoherent.  Sorry about that.  I am not one of those people who can function at 100% after a bad night of sleep (or 3+ months of bad sleep, as the case may be).  I think the thing I notice the most is that I seem to struggle for words.  Sometimes I will just stop talking about 2/3 of the way through a sentence and my husband will be like "what"?  And I then I won't remember what I was saying.  This doesn't happen in the video, but I do call the ultrasonic cleaner an ultrasound, and the sleeves on my apron, arms.  Haha. Maybe I need to increase my coffee intake.

The lack of sleep is KILLING me, but they sure are cute.

I've been working like a little gnome out in the studio on those new waxes.  I'm just not sure what metal to make the first versions in.  People seem to prefer white metals, but yellow gold is always calling my name.  We'll just have to see.

Have I Ever Mentioned

That I'm obsessed with Iceland?  I've wanted to go for at least 10 years.  It was a possibility for our honeymoon, but since we got married in the dead of winter, it just wasn't going to happen.  :-(  Maybe sometime soon the Shop Monkey and I can pack up the Squids and head on over for a soak in the blue pool and some gandering at the beautiful foss(es?) of the place.

But until I can find the time (who knows), I guess I will have to be satisfied that one of my rings has already made the trip.  (Thanks for the photos Krystal!)

And in case you were wondering why I would want to to travel to a place with a name as forbidding as Ice-Land!


 (Of course, not sure if I would be able to get up this early.)

(How can you not want to live here?  Maybe I'm a weirdo, but this looks just about 
perfect to me.  And not even much gloomier than Oregon!)

(Have your rings traveled to places exotic?  Do you have photos!?  I would love it if you would share them with me!  If no photos, maybe leave a comment about your travels!  My rings spent a week in Paris and two weeks in Israel.  They've floated in the Dead Sea and traversed the Catacombs!  They climbed Masada and the Arc de Triomphe!  They even spent a day in Jordan!)  

Gearing up

Time passes so quickly and so slowly at the same time. Back in November, April seemed a world away, but here it is.  Spring is sprung, and I am getting ready to go back to work.  I've finally found a nanny who will work part time.  I only intend on working 20 hours a week, which seems like plenty.  My little squids will be 4 months old at the middle of the month and it seems like I was pregnant last week.  They are getting nice and rolly polly, so I know that the time is passing quickly, but each day seems like a small forever.  I'm not sure how long this strange time distortion will last (until they have kids of their own?  And then I will sound like every parent everywhere when I say it feels like they were babies just yesterday?).

I will be opening to orders the first week of April, but I probably won't have all of my listings up in the shop for another week or two.  I need to go through and makes some changes and also add new things that I made last year and would like to have in the shop.  Sorting through my iphoto seems like a monumental task right now, so that will probably have to come last.

I'm right in the middle of carving a new eternity style ring,  maybe seven diamonds across the top half of the band.  I have a smaller diamond solitaire carved already, I'm going to call it the Itty Bitty.  The diamond will be around 3.5mm.  I think it will be sparkly and sweet and suited for people who don't want a giant rock.  I have a new matching set in mind, but I haven't started it yet.  It will be smoother and more rounded than my other things.  Maybe with a few flush set stones in the wedding band.  I am also planning on a pair of diamond/moissanite studs, and I want to bring back the Raw Circle studs as well, in palladium with moissanite.

Pricing earring is always hard though, since they take a lot more work than a ring, but people can't/don't want to pay as much for earrings.  Does that make sense?  You have to make two of something, for the price of one.  So I haven't offered many earring styles since I find it a bit boring to make two of the same thing, but I'm going to try to streamline their production and see if I can make it work.  I might have the people who do my casting also do the rough finishing, so I'm not stuck at the bench for hours at a time getting all grubby doing the grunt work of heaving polishing (which I despise!).  I have carved designs for at least four pairs of earrings, with molds made and everything, but for some reason I have avoided finishing them.  I would also like to make a couple of necklaces again, maybe this and a raw circle pendant?:

Anyhow, a lot of things on my mind.  Still not sure how this work thing will work out with two tiny sweet babies.  Having a nanny come 20 hours a week is great, but even now I can see how much I will miss them.  They're so sweet and just starting to become little tiny baby people rather than larval humans.  :-)

Before and after

Last week I was out in the studio (for some precious alone time) to set a stone, and as I was getting ready to get to work I realized that this:

was exactly the same as how I had left it last year when I went on maternity leave (a month early!).  It was a bit surreal, to think of how much my life has changed, two new little people popped into existence (!!!), but the smallest bit of metal dust hadn't moved position out in the studio.

Of course, what does that say about my studio tidying habits?  Nothing good.  But I'm getting better.  This studio is much much cleaner than my last studio.  I think it's because I paid for it to be built!  I really believe that people value more something they personally invested in.  (Sorry squids, you're on your own for college.  Haha!  Just kidding.  Or am I?)

So this is the project I took on while on maternity leave (why can't I really take time off?  I think it is because I get bored and boredom leads to a gray blue funk.  I need to be a precise amount of busy and not a dollop more.  Still trying to figure out what that perfect amount is).

Just the solitaire, not the band.  The band is new from last year.  Doesn't seem to be very popular and I don't know why.  I haven't sold a single one.  I thought it would go well with my other designs, but thus far people seem to prefer hammered texture over the heavy carved shapes.

I have to say I broke out into a cold sweat while I was setting this diamond.  It had just been so long and I felt a little out of practice.  Plus I have baby-brain (x2) and I'm not getting a lot of sleep.  I was trying to focus, but I felt that there was a clock running.  How long can I be away from the babies?  Is the Shop Monkey okay inside alone, etc etc.

(Giant rosemary bush in the garden.)

But everything went well, and it reminded me why I love my job.  There is just something about focused attention that my brain craves.  I think that is why some of my hobbies are/have been running (no music), lap swimming, and quilting.  Anything that requires a lot of attention, but at the same time lets you zone out a bit.  I know that seems a bit contradictory, but it's what works for me.  It  just lets my mind decompress.

And for the Squid watchers out there:

It's pretty crazy, they don't even look related.  And right now I feel that Addy doesn't even look like he belongs to us.  Blue eyes and blond hair??  But I think his coloring is from my mom's side of the family.  They're are doing good.  Starting to settle into a routine a bit.  But I see on the monitor that Addy is starting to wake up from his nap (second of the morning, hallelujah!).

More later.

Chug chug chugging along

Dearest readers, I am snatching a moment from the drudgery that is caring for two tiny tyrants to write a quick blog post.  Life is pretty okay.  Caring for two babies at one time is difficult, as I'm sure you can probably imagine.  Sometimes it looks like this:

Only to look like this a moment later:

I think the hardest part is not being able to really hold and comfort both at once (or at least not very well...I only have two arms.  It drives me to tears once in a while, it's that or laughing hysterically).  Sometimes the bouncy chair just doesn't cut it.  Poor little screamers.

I also have to admit that the only thing that makes parenting possible for me right now is this:

Unfortunately, my french press doesn't come with a smiling male nanny with a great tie.  Oh! To be independently wealthy!  

So I've had very little sleep the last two months.  I wish I were one of those people who can function on just a few broken up hours, but I have to be honest and say that the lack of sleep is the absolute hardest part for me.  I need sleep like I need water.  The Shop Monkey came up with an anagram for twins:  Two Wailing Infants, No Sleep.  And it's totally accurate.  Sometimes they sleep at night, sometimes they wail.  If only they would coordinate and do either at the same time.  It would make our life a lot easier.

I took on a single project for the month of February.  But I'm actually really eager to get back to work for real.  I love my little squirming squids, but escaping out to the studio is so fabulous, I'll be honest.  It really does feel like an escape.  It's quiet and all my own.  There are no bouncy chairs or burp cloths anywhere to be seen.  Does that make me a bad mama?  I'm torn though, about hiring a nanny.  As much as I need some help (and obviously, I will need someone here while I'm working), I don't want to  give my babies over to someone else!  I need to get over that, because I have to work.  Not only for the income, but for my own sanity.  I only plan on working 20-25 hours a week, but I know I need something beyond caring for my children to maintain my mental health.  My hat is off to all of those SAHMs out there.

Well, my sleep deprived delirium is probably causing me to overshare, so I will wrap things up.  I have a few new things spinning around in my mind, I'm super excited to get a chance to carve them.  I want to do a chunky semi-eternity ring, maybe with some texture on the settings and something with squared or arrow shapes.  So much time, so little to do! Strike that, reverse it.

Gratuitous baby post! (check back later for jewelry related content)

So we had a bit of trouble coming up with names. Who doesn't?  But I'm pretty pleased with what we eventually settled on.  They are pronounced Add-lye and Aven as in raven.  Those awesome letters are actually little stuffed fabric letters that my BFF made for me/them.  Aren't they awesome?  I especially like the colors.

Tiny Addy with his infant acne.  It's clearing up now.

Do we look tired?

Aven's quilt (just the top, I haven't made the back or quilted it yet...I'm just glad I got both done before they arrived.  It was a bit of stretch.  Being gimungous and sitting at a sewing machine sucks.).


Addy's quilt top.

Miso Cute!

Love these tiny ones!

December 17th...

my babies made their reluctant entrance into the world.  We ended up having to evict them, after waiting until 39 weeks (their actual due date was the 22nd...I was so worried about them coming early.  HA!).  Which, with twins, is a ridiculously long time to be pregnant.  I'm glad we ended up inducing though, since another week in utero probably wouldn't have been the best for my little girl. Her placenta was a lot smaller than his and her cord was narrower.  I don't think I've ever been so upset by anything as I was by her birth, which (to me) was traumatic.  She ended up needing almost a week in the NICU, which was incredibly upsetting.  But she came home just 3 days after the rest of us, and everything is better now.  It's been a bit crazy with the two of them, but mostly good.  They are adorable!  And so tiny (7lb 1oz, 6lb 5oz)!  I'm really excited for them to get nice and fat!

Still no babies

Just a small sample of what I have been up to in the last few months.  It was ridiculous, seriously.  Literally twice as much work as I'm accustomed to in the the months of September and October.

Hello, dearest readers.  I apologize for my long absence.  First I was slammed and working frantically to get everything finished before my twins arrived.  (Which is slightly irritating, since as I write these words I am still (extremely reluctantly) pregnant.  I probably could have worked straight through November without any issues at all!  Argh.  But who could know?  I was really in dread of having work unfinished and going into labor.)  And then for the last few weeks I've been trying to get the house (and my mind) prepared for two new people.  The babies' room is starting to look really cute!

I've been meaning to do a post about my fabulous little studio, but I think it will have to wait until I have it in me to do another video tour.  I'm really happy working from home, but it is super important that the space isn't inside my house.  I worked out of my house once before and it was really easy to get consumed by the job.  Being able to lock the door and walk away has been fantastic.

One thing I haven't figured out yet is a new space for photographing.  It's been a bit of a struggle since I don't have a really great sunny window to work in.  I only like to photograph in natural light, but it has to be diffused as well.  The photo below is one of the few examples that actually work in the direct light.  But in general it's really hard to get a good photo in direct light (for me, anyway).

Well, I think this will be my last post for a month or two.  Depending on how things are after the babies arrive, I would like to work a bit on some new designs before I reopen.  But I will just have to see what life is like in the next couple of months.

All right!  Wish me luck!  I think I will probably need it. :-)

Getting there, getting there

Progress is slow here at the B studio.  Unfortunately, there is so much going on in our lives and in the house, that despite the unceasing efforts of the (world's best) Shop Monkey, I am still not completely settled into the new studio.  This last Saturday we moved (and when I say we, I mean he) the last of the stuff from the old studio and cleaned the place out.  It was a bit of a process.  I don't know how I accumulated SO MUCH CRAP.  Actually, I think I do know.   When I was first starting out with my business, I didn't really know what I would need.  So, I just tended to get anything that I might remotely have possibly ever used, even once.  That is how you end up with a whole lot of things that really don't serve any purpose (anymore).  But I don't see how I could have worked any other way.  I certainly couldn't have scaled up as quickly.  I'm a firm believer that you have to spend money to make money, and that you need to have the right tool for the job (even if you might not know what that job might be).  And if you are pressed for time, the shotgun approach is the best method (at least for me).  So, here I am, with a lot of stuff that I need to get rid of.  Which is also hard.  But not as hard as seeing a bright new studio space slowly getting overcrowded with junk (not junk really, just things I don't use).  DE-pressing.

To be perfectly honest, as much as I love what I do, I think I would prefer being an illustrator or something like that.  Something that doesn't require as many tools (it stresses me out to have to keep track of everything) or dust or dirt or grime.  Perhaps I love the end result of my work, just not the process.



I don't always feel this way, I think I'm just a little down today.  The Shop Monkey is out of town for the week (super sad face) and I'm suffering a little bit from a light blueish funk.  My sleep hasn't been the best, and it is getting hard to eat without being uncomfortable (double squids!).  And work has been a bit overwhelming, which creates conflicting feelings for me since I am glad I have enough work, but at the same time feel a bit stressed.  But I would much rather be stressed that way, than be stressed about not making enough money.

Ah, Monday.