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
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
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!
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:
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.
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!
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:
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....
and on and on
in every religion
In the day to day world the little deaths we experience make us bigger, better people if we let them:
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!
I am a wife and proud mama, a leathercrafter, silversmith and singer/songwriter living in the Bay Area with my wonderful little family in a century-old cottage.
Here you'll find my honest and sometimes profane thoughts on motherhood, love and work.