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Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Jewelry for Charity Recap & May Kick-Off

Wow, guys. I continue to be grateful and amazed for the love you have shown for each of my two Etsy shops. April set a new sales record for me, and you know what that means - big bucks for one of my favorite nonprofits - Vegan Outreach! To everyone who helped make this month a success, both for me as an artist, and for the awesome folks pounding the pavement over at Vegan Outreach in support of animals, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This month we raised (drum roll, please)... a whopping $646 for charity!!! Not only is this my biggest monthly donation yet, it also marks what feels like a significant milestone for me in my fund raising work - this month, I surpassed $10,000 in donations since the beginning of my Jewelry for Charity project in May of 2007. Not bad for two years' work! I couldn't do it without all of you, so thanks again; it really means a lot to me.

For those who may not be familiar with the work Vegan Outreach does, they are basically a group that advocates for animals by spreading the word about the benefits of a vegan diet and exposing the cruelty that takes place on modern factory farms. They have done a lot of research to find out what ways of reaching out to people are most effective, and have determined that leafleting, especially at colleges, is the best way to encourage positive changes for farmed animals, so this is one of their main focus areas.

Since we're on the topic of Vegan Outreach, I have a little something else to share with you all - something I hope you'll consider supporting alongside me. I have decided to participate in the Team Vegan program organized by Vegan Outreach. It's a training team based in the San Francisco bay area with free professional running coaching leading up to participants competing in either a 5k, half marathon, or full marathon in July.

People like me who live too far away to participate in the actual race are encouraged to participate remotely, keeping in touch with team members online, following the same training schedule, and with virtual access to the professional coaches working with the team. The point of all of this, aside from better health, is to raise funds for Vegan Outreach through sponsorships (that's where you come in; more on that in a moment).

Now, for those of you who know me in real life, I know it's hard to believe that I have become a runner*, but it's really true! I've never been the athletic type; from my earliest school days, I have avoided competitive sports like the plague. And even now, I really have no desire to 'compete' per se; it's just fun to challenge myself to do more and go farther than I ever have before. Up until now, my usual running routine has been three miles, three times a week. This is my first week training with Team Vegan (I'm shooting for either a 10k (6.2 miles) or a half marathon; I haven't decided yet), and so far I've done two four-mile runs and am planning on completing my first ever five mile run this Sunday.

* In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that while I use the term 'running,' in reality, what I actually do is much more like a slow jog. :-)

These feet were made for... running???

Anyways, I hope that you might be moved by the efforts of this extremely-unathletic vegan attempting to become healthier and more active, and consider supporting the awesome work that Vegan Outreach does by sponsoring me through the Team Vegan website. Any little bit helps; I know times are tough, but remember that the animals need our help now more than ever - they pay every day with their lives, so please do what you can to help them out!

Whew! Okay, enough about Vegan Outreach. I mean, they are amazing and all, but onwards and upwards... May has arrived, and my featured charity this month is the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group working for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equal rights. I am trying to channel my frustration over the passage of Prop 8 last November, as well as my outrage over the brutal attack earlier this year on Nathan Runkle, founder and director of animal rights group Mercy for Animals, who also happens to be gay, towards something more positive by beginning to feature equal rights charities from time to time along with my other favorite causes (animal rights, vegan education/outreach, and womens/childrens issues).

The Human Rights Campaign has an awesome website with tons of informative features, including a short daily video broadcast called 'Equally Speaking - your daily dose of LGBT news from the Human Rights Campaign', as well as an interactive state-by-state listing of local news and events. So check it out, get involved, and remember that 5% any money you spend in either my bead shop or my jewelry shop this month will go straight to supporting equal rights.

Sweet Boy

Forgotten Language

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers...
How did it go?
How did it go?

- Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Work

chrysoprase silver ringChrysoprase and recycled sterling silver ring
{ custom order; sold; stone supplied by customer }

lavender chalcedony ringFair trade Holley chalcedony and recycled sterling silver ring
{ custom order; sold }

This next one is very exciting (to me at least!) - I've been wanting to attempt a hand-fabricated three-stone ring for ages but I kept thinking it would be too hard. Well, I finally got over it and tried, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared... it did present some new technical challenges, but overall I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and I can't wait to try another (next up is three moissanites set in white gold).

peridot engagement ringFair trade peridot, moissanite, and recycled 14k gold ring, size 6.5

peridot wedding ring
fair trade peridot

New Beads

Some new cabs just arrived for the bead shop!

kyanite cabochonsKyanite ovals, 6mm x 8mm

faceted crystal cabochonFaceted crystal cabs, 8mm

rubellite tourmalineAmazing pink rubellite tourmaline cabs, 8mm

pinkI also have these in 7mm, 6mm, and 5mm sizes.

faceted labradorite cabochon10mm x 12mm faceted labradorite ovals

faceted rose quartz cabochon6mm faceted rose quartz

Some New Stones

Here are a few new stones that are available for custom orders...

spessartine garnet gemstones Tiny little spessartine garnets

zultaniteZultanite, 8mm

zultaniteZultanite, 6.5mm

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Work

Just one today... this is the first time I've worked with alexandrite, and I have to tell you, it's so much more amazing in person than my photographs are able to show. Depending on the light, it can appear nearly sapphire-blue, almost as purple as an amethyst, a similar shade of green to an emerald, or any combination of these hues. It has an amazing amount of color play - probably more so than any other stone I've seen. For more photographs (not mine) of this awesome stone, check out this site -

Oh yes, and alexandrite is also a June birthstone!

Lab-created alexandrite and recycled 14k gold ring, size 7

Have I given you guys my 'why I like lab-created stones' spiel yet? I'm thinking maybe I haven't...

Lab created stones (also referred to as man-made, synthetic, or cultured stones) are NOT fakes. They are chemically and optically identical to their mined counterparts, but by growing them in the lab, many of the environmental and humanitarian problems inherent with gemstone mining can be avoided. This particular stone was created by Chatham Gems, a leader in created gemstones. According to the company, "Chatham does not make gemstones, we make environments in which crystals grow naturally." In other words, these are real gemstones that are cultured in a laboratory - natural components are placed in an environment created to duplicate nature's. Once the required combination of chemical and environmental factors is created, the crystals grow over the course of a year, the length of time depending on the gemstone. As a result, quality diamonds and gemstones are developed with identical physical, chemical, and optical properties to those found in nature.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chicken Pics of the Day

The lovely ladies, Abby, Cally, and Marji, strut their stuff today for your viewing pleasure...


Friday, April 17, 2009

New Work

nevada turquoise ringFair trade Nevada turquoise & recycled sterling silver ring, size 6
{ to be listed soon in my Etsy shop }

fair trade tourmalineFair trade California pink tourmaline, California green tourmaline, amethyst, & recycled sterling silver ring trio
{ custom order; sold }

pink tourmaline ringFair trade California pink tourmaline, recycled 22k gold, and recycled sterling silver ring
{ to be listed soon in my Etsy shop }

pink tourmaline gold(and another view of the same)

vintage silverware jewelryLabradorite & sterling silver necklace made using vintage flatware
{ to be listed soon in my Etsy shop }

And last but not least, some rodent snuggles...

(all three of them are piled on top of each other)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I have had terrible luck with my technological devices recently. While I was out of town last week, I spilled water on my cell phone and killed it. Then yesterday my digital camera mysteriously stopped functioning, simply delivering the cryptic message, 'lens error'. I called technical support and ended up having to send it in for service. Who knows when I'll see it again. (And this was the camera that I've only had for six months; I got it after losing my old one on my last trip to San Francisco, and I got that one after dropping the one before on the cement floor. Geez!)

In my line of work (and with such an irresistibly cute kid and flock of animals), there's just no way I can be without a camera for months at a time, so I'm going to buy a new one and sell the old one on eBay after it comes back to me. I'm thinking about buying my next camera used (also from eBay), seeing as how I haven't had the greatest luck with new ones anyways.

Right now I'm considering buying a Nikon Coolpix S4 Digital Camera (the used ones are, of course, a lot more affordable) - that's what Judy has and I tried hers yesterday and liked it. Although to be honest, I'm not thrilled about buying another Nikon - I just don't have any experience with other brands (except for an Olympus that I purchased and immediately returned six months ago - it sucked).

Anyone else care to weigh in? If you have a digital camera that you really love, especially if it has a very easy-to-use macro function, let me know!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Turkey Pic of the Day

I realize I've been slacking on the bird photos. Sorry! I took this one before we left for our trip but am just now getting around to posting it.

That's breakfast crumbs on her beak.

Pics from the road

Carlos and I are out on the road, adventuring in the bay area. Thought I'd share a few photos of our trip so far - not surprisingly, they are mostly food-related. This is like vegan food paradise compared to where I live...

View across the bay from the hills above Berkeley
(a token non-food photo)

On to lunch at Cha-Ya (an all-vegan Japanese restaurant) -

Hallelujah! - vegan miso soup.
(Can't find it anywhere in Humboldt - everyone puts fish stock in it - yuck!)

Agedashi tofu

I spotted these little cuties in a (non-vegan) bakery window just down from Cha-Ya - don't they look super easy to make and really cute?

Dinner at Pizza Plaza in Oakland, CA -

I loved this funky little place. And check out that sweet delivery van! Classic.

Vegan menu options were staggering...

...they just went on and on.

Carlos and I scarfed our pizza down too quickly to get a photo, but here's dessert -

- we shared a piece of vegan German chocolate cake. Not the best I've ever had, but it's always nice to at least have vegan options. And I'm not one to turn down chocolate.

That's all for today. Hope you're all doing well.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Work

fair trade jewelryFair trade fire citrine (6mm) with spessartite garnets (2.5mm),
4mm wide, hand-textured 14k gold (recycled) band, size 6.25
{ more pics }

ethical wedding ringsCustom wedding rings - moissanite, recycled sterling silver, and recycled 14k gold

recycled wedding ringsCustom wedding set - moissanite, lab created sapphire, and recycled sterling silver

New Beads

I got some really beautiful stones at a local gem show on Friday. All are available for custom orders. :-)

5mm faceted peridot

8mm faceted Oregon sunstone

This one is a show stopper - I'm so in love.
9mm faceted Oregon sunstone

(another shot of that same gorgeous stone)

An interesting 7mm faceted color-change-ish Oregon sunstone... it looked blue in the display lights at the show; now in person it looks mostly green in real life, and in these photos it looks more neutral.

Some vintage sterling silver picks I found at an estate sale that same day. Not sure what I'll do with these, but I like 'em!

Variscite cabochon (love it!!!)

A pretty pale California tourmaline pendant bead

Another nice focal bead - holley chalcedony from Oregon