Sunday, May 23, 2010

Unfinished Orphan

UPDATE: we found Mama - thank you for the quick and copious response :)
I am so glad I asked: I just knew it belonged somewhere specific.


Finally finished the baseplate (obviously haven't oxidized and brushed, etc) for the ring I began weeks ago: I had a hunch that this belonged to some very specific and so, before I size the band, I wanted to put the call out there
as this gorgeous
Laguna Agate and Peruvian Pink Opal ring asks,
"Are you my mother?"

Convo me if you are!


Mouth Math



Lavender (and lemons and sugar)


Strawberry Lavender Jam!!

This delicacy is going to factor into a giveaway I'll be doing before I leave on my vacation: I'll leave the entry open and check and approve comments from afar: stay tuned!

In other news, I went to Petaluma on Friday where I did yoga, drank lavender lemonade and said a farewell to my sisterly visitor.

I am kind of wavering between being very watery-eyed and calm this past day or so: I forgot how much I loved being around people
and I forgot how much I adored Petaluma.

During Shivasana, my favorite teacher of all time played my song "For the Weary" and I melted.
What a homecoming.

The chef at Central Market implored me not to be a stranger, and my favorite male waiter greeted me with a hug: I did have a life there, fragile and tenuous as it was, it was something.

I picked up a little something to bezel set for myself, and it got my heart and mind going: I am going to seek out some more of the piece that I found to make a series for the shop:
they are vintage
hand painted

I have set the date of June 17th for when I will begin taking Metal Shop Only custom orders again. I will close the list at 6 orders.

I am thinking of making them as listings in the shop, because I have to figure out a finite system - requests are always coming in, regardless of what my shop announcement says and even though I adore the fact that people wish for me to make things, I cannot keep up enough to respond to everything most weeks.

I'll definitely figure out what system I'll use before the 17th and let you know here and in the shop announcement section!

How is your weekend? What have you done to relax?

Contest info to follow in a few days :)


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shop Notes

5/20/10 - I will be traveling from 5/25 to June 3rd : if you would like to purchase something, the last day for shipping is Tuesday morning, May 25th. Please make a note of that!


Live By the Light of the Moon

The theme in today's offerings is indeed the power and beauty of night.

Twin Labradorite studs for the ears

Rich and familiar Lazulite necklace


a reticulated sterling silver ring that tells the story of fiddlehead ferns unfurling by the light of the moon and stars...

Size 6.5

In the Metal Shop soon!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wonders of the Day

Fresh Baked Bread Begets

Plume-made green mango bruschetta and Sunny-made braised brussels...

Which fuels the hands, heart and mind to line and rivet a design so sweet...

So lovely....

so kelp-y (stitch-inlaid kelp bed tooled in rich brown monochrome rainbow)....

That you may never want to let go!

This amazing little koi and kelp bed clutch is going to be in the leather shop in a jiff!
Coming in at 9 inches by six inches by three inches deep, this is a dream of a luxe handbag!

A wonderful thing for you: there is a bit of glue that bled through the lining on the inside of the bag, which impedes nothing other than the utter perfection I strive for - see here?

Those darker marks mean 15% off of the bag, originally to be listed at 280.

I will be putting this beauty in the Leather Shop in a minute!


Monday, May 17, 2010

A New Family Tradition is Born

The little woman you see in this picture is not alone.... not alone at all.
Hovering over the kneading of the bread right over her left shoulder is the most wonderful mother.

She just happens to be across the country, experiencing the same grey, drizzly day we've had here in San Jose.

Mommy, I could feel you near with every move as I made the bread you've been making since we were too little to appreciate it...
the bread I salivate about when I tell friends how sweet and cake-like it is (my mouth is watering just writing about it!!)

The very loaves that mean Christmas, birthdays, Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving all rolled into one:
holy bread.

I remember you speaking to me in December as I mixed in your kitchen,
telling me not to be afraid of the dough, feeling the slight breeze you left as you bustled right and left behind me, preparing ten things at once, all destined for incredibly happy palates.

You are such a wizard in the kitchen: I cannot believe it took ten years out of college, but over the past year I've been well-bitten by the nesting bug, and I find great peace and solace in a good kitchen:

I can't wait to share this space with you at the City Manse: it's incredible!

Your words whispered to me as I kneaded, finding a rhythm that felt right. It felt like meditation... like I could maybe solve world peace over a sturdy kitchen island.

Or at least inner peace :)

I love you more, Mommy.

No, more than that: I knew you longer.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shipping, Ahoy!!!

Lords and Ladies,

(well, mostly ladies....Lordly Ladies?)

I am changing my shipping profiles on my Etsy sites: I have been mailing some personal pieces around town (read: around USA) and my friends and family have been getting things quickly regardless of whether it was sent first class or priority.

Soooooo, here is the change: I will be sending pieces out first class with delivery confirmation from now on: obviously, if you've already ordered and paid Priority shipping that's how it will ship, but as of this very moment in time, it will go first class for four dollars.

Shipping to Canada will go back to being affordable as they now have tracking numbers for first class customs forms, so I am giving it a trial run to see if it feels good now - first class it shall ship!

Please see my shops' shipping profiles if you need more clarity.

A very exciting side note: I am changing all my external shipping to recycled materials: padded mailers with the filled pulp lining and corrugated boxes. I will be trying out the Kraft gummed paper tape, too, but unless I love it, chances are the tape itself will be the only thing you cannot recycle.

I feel a strong weight every time I send out a plastic bubble mailer, right on my heart. If I carry around a reusable coffee mug to the neighborhood places and a set of cloth bags to the grocery store and recycle here at home, shouldn't my business reflect my lifestyle?

The inside packaging is promising to be just beautiful, and also made from mostly recycled material... I cannot wait to show you!

Greening up a bit, 'tis all :)


Friday, May 14, 2010

A Soulful Time

I was halfway through a custom order (the eclipse stone in yellow up there in yonder picture)
and the design I had chosen to represent something in the lady's life just announced that it was not finished:

So I moved on to a sweet high-domed Botswana Agate I'd been waiting to set for some time:

It's the idea of the infinite in things: in life, in love and in surrender.

To me, God and Mother Nature are such powerful creators that I feel nothing is out of reach: truly, if you want something it does exist somewhere.

Should we cling to one form, to one thing it means that ten thousand wonderful options elsewhere languish.

These designs carry the four winds and a sense of completion, what with all the circular elements, but each ring is reaching, reaching toward something just to the east
just over that next hill
across town
through the woods.

In the midst of such delightfully heavy thoughts I added a side of candy:

Flourite in yellow, green and purple,
happily and solidly encased in a wonderful sterling shell.

Surprisingly large and yet light and airy in both weight and energy.

Oh, yes!

Listing these lovelies in a few and then off to a weekend that looks
like it's going to be pure joy.

Thanks so much for your respectful, thought-provoking and wonderful comments on my post yesterday: I cannot express my gratitude enough for your friendship and input.

Love you,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On the Issue of Price

I got a convo today that got my grey matter whirling with questions, clarity and ideas, and since this is my personal blog, every once in a while I am going to get all diary on it.

This is one of those moments.

The general gist of the missive asked about the price of an already marked down item: could be marked down even further due to the fact that "mookaite isn't expensive" and the metal wasn't listed as sterling (it was in the tags, which aren't always what the eye is drawn to).?

This honest question got me thinking on the subject of price and the oversaturation of this particular style of jewelry on Etsy: it has some customers obviously thinking that perhaps those of us who are making a living from our stores are marking our pieces in a dishonest way to drive up our profits.

I don't buy my stones on the cheap: I want to offer something exceptional and rare as often as possible and I want to put it into a sterling setting that will last lifetimes.

I work very hard.
The price of a piece doesn't cover all the administrative work that goes into my business: the convos, the mailing, the promotion...

I am going for the long haul kind of bag/ring/belt/necklace/cuff.
I want archaeologists to find it in 500 years. Ok, perhaps that's a pipe dream, but still...

I have a formula I use with utter devotion: it means a fair price for the consumer and a fair hourly wage for me so that I can continue working in this medium in this way.

This is my joy, my life and my spiritual bread. When I am in the studio creating a piece, no matter if it is leather or silver, a little piece of my heart and soul are also mixed in with the fire, metal,stone, water, hide and hammering.

You the customer are receiving not only a well-crafted piece, but also my prayers, my Celine Dion vocal impressions (priceless, ya'll) and greatest wishes for the work: I pray for it to go to someone who will cherish it as much as I have in making it.

When selling jewelry or accessories it is so important to fairly assess the cost of your materials and the cost of your hourly labor. Even if this is a hobby, please honor yourself enough to compensate yourself for your time:
you are worth it.
Your creations are worth it.
The macrocosm of craft is worth it.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Utter Hair Bliss

In the Leather Shop tomorrow morning -

nostalgic, lovely and affordable luxury!

Good Things...

...Come in threes!
Oh, of course if you're persnickety you could say good things come in fives with this set, as there are technically five pieces...

But let's say threes for fun :)

The middle earrings are little droplets of gorgeous turquoise with colors ranging from the classic eggshell blue to a rich amber brown....

OOoh!! These do something lovely to the heart, don't they?

The second pair are a special stone I've held close for several years now: they are surrounded by a humorous and asymmetrical scalloping otherwise they may look a bit too serious...

They make a Mona Lisa smile start to form with their sweetheart red and reflective grey hematite...

Last but most certainly not least, a perfect little world of turquoise surrounded by benevolent beams of protective thought: Earth Day Everyday.

These three pieces will be in the Metal Shop in a little while: the big square of Sonora Sunrise chipped an edge and hence, cannot be set.

A small harumph to pay: every metalsmith I know has sad days where lovely stones show their fragility.
Fear not - I have a lapidary setup I'll be putting together in a few days: that stone will find its setting some day :)

Sending you all huge hugs and peaceful teaside chats,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Beautiful Day

Greening up the studio a bit, think it's time to hang the other sister plant up opposite its sibling...

Beautiful pieces for the pinning up of the hairs - should be done tomorrow evening!! SO excited to see how they come out :)

Concentrating on setting mineral pieces this week, a gorgeous batch. Methinks they will will all be housed in simplicity as the colors in the stones SING and I don't want to miss their melody.

A tremendous amount of flopping occurred today in beds and blankets about the house...
Don't you just want to join him for a nap?

A strange side note: I often check various pop-culture and news-themed websites through the day as a way to stay current on the world at large, but today there was no urge at all:
it seems they are ever more snarky
and sigh-inducing....

Have you ever felt this way?

I guess I am dropping out of my regular haunts for a cultural breather.

Something I'll never tire of is visiting the blogs of my dear online pals: there are always insights and
leaps of faith to be found, and I eat them up gratefully.

Love to you all this fine May day,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bird Skull Rebirth Bag

Let me introduce this bag by saying something pretty specific:

This precious piece is for a wild woman at heart.

The soft portion of the bag is elk hide, dyed a rather warm and incredible shade of light mustard. It has the normal things elk hides have: gorgeous scars and marks (all photographed here)

and a supple softness that no cow leather can touch. It is thicker, too, and born of the wild.

I've lined the piece in a wonderful forest green suede to drive home the point that the outside makes quite explicitly: wild death is the beginning of something beautiful.

A bird perishes in the forest and from the matter left over the soil is fertilized for plants to grow. Up sprouts something for other living creatures to eat in the summer and perhaps something that eventually will have a large trunk in which other forest dwellers will dwell through the winter, storehouses of nourishment in reach.

In the human world we see death as something to be feared: a great unknown whose borders we know little of.

I truly believe with all my heart that death is actually a great doorway back to a place we once called home.
Some may call it heaven....
others nirvana
and on and on
in every religion
and faith.

In the day to day world the little deaths we experience make us bigger, better people if we let them:
closed doors
receiving hatred...

Everything is an opportunity to bloom if we are able to see it as such through the eyes of some kind of surrender.

This bag is a symbol of rebirth and the great mystery of death in all its many guises.

There are nearly 250 rivets
in this lovely piece, each one hand set with a simple press.

It measures 13 inches wide by ten inches all by 4 inches deep, but it can be stuffed to be deeper.
The strap measures 33 inches brass ring to brass ring.

Every inch of its creation was done by hand, from the carving to the tooling to the dyeing to the stitching....

this is a true labor of love.

I cannot wait to see who she belongs to - she'll be in the Leather Shop in just a jiff!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

To my Summer Visitors in Advance (an apology of sorts)....

Julie, Jillian, Jeremy, Terra, Sharyn, Liane and anyone else who comes to San Jose for a little R&R at chez Schmilly:





and maybe an extra birdee?