We’re on the Hunt For The Truly Exquisite

Sorella Custom Roman Numeral Diamond Ring

We’re lovers of beautiful fine jewelry. Jewelry that is original and not found in every mall jewelry store. Jewelry that has a unique style and a real sense of design. Jewelry that is truly FINE jewelry made from high quality materials with exquisite craftsmanship.

Two design studios that meet these very particular standards are Sorella Jewelry Studio and Chris Ploof Designs.

Each of these design studios are small shops run by artisans who are committed to their art and their craft and to creating one-of-a-kind pieces that don’t follow the crowd.

Chris Ploof Mokume Gane Ring

Sorella creates stunning personalized and custom jewelry in a wide range of precious metals – platinum, palladium, 10k, 14k, and 18k gold, and sterling silver. Their designs are fresh and current and very personal. Sorella makes all of their jewelry in their Birmingham, Michigan studio and sells throughout the US and the world via their website at www.SorellaJewelry.com and you’ll also find them on Etsy and on Pinterest.

UPDATE: Sorella has just announced the launch of a brand new online shop devoted entirely to jewelry created in Palladium. Palladium is a naturally white precious metal that is a member of the Platinum Group Metals. Visit PalladiumJewelry.org.

Chris Ploof is a master of the unusual – metalsmithing techniques that create simply stunning works. His designs included mokume gane, damascus steel and meteorite. Chris creates all of his original works in his Pawtucket, Rhode Island studio and sells both through fine jewelry galleries across the United States and on his website at www.ChrisPloof.com.

Both of these jewelry studios are worthy of your attention.

Making lists

Ever feel overwhelmed by all of your to dos? What to do with so many to dos??

I’m the type of person that likes to get moving with things…if it needs to be done, and I know how to do it…game on! If I don’t know how to do it, but I can use handy resources (internet!, friends with knowledge) to figure it out…let’s go. If I haven’t the slightest idea where to start or it just seems so overwhelming, well those projects sit undone for days, weeks, years (this is where my photo cataloging projects reside at the moment)…

I’ve found lists to be the most helpful way to stay organized. It’s a way to clear my head so that I don’t have so much to remember. Mommy brain is NOT for the faint of heart, I tell you! I know others (mostly men) who are so averse to lists, that they turn their noses up at MY lists! Puh-lease. You try 18  months of (non-consecutive) pregnancy when there are no nutrients left for YOUR brain, followed by 5 years of prioritizing little people’s days (eating, diapering, clothing, and you know….everything!).

And really, those people don’t know the sheer satisfaction of checking things OFF the list. This is THE BEST!

So here’s to starting off the New Year with more lists, thus less remembering, and more doing!

I can’t live without my….

Smart phone – yay or nay?

I resisted getting a smart phone for so long. My husband immediately loved his first iPhone about 4 years ago. I played with it now and again, found comfort in having the Yellow Pages app at my fingertips as we traveled together as a family, and generally saw it as an (overglorified) luxury. Then came the day that my husband was able to get a new iPhone for the (bargain basement deal!) of $200. His old phone was naturally looking for a new home,  and out of convenience sake, and of course, not wanting to be wasteful, I offered to take it off his hands. I put away my cute red Samsung slider phone, and quietly transitioned over to the handheld computer, er, I mean, iPhone.

And, with that, I became obsessed. The other day I forgot my iPhone at home, and I was lost as I waited for a colleague to arrive to our off-site work meeting. I had only brought a notepad and to record thoughts during our meeting – no laptop, iPad, iPhone, book, magazine, or other tools of distraction. I usually check the latest Hollywood jewelry trends, baby watch, or other trashy tabloid news…instead, I reverted to my once-loved pastime of people-watching, and of course, this was a great way to while away my free 6 minutes.

How dependent I’ve become! I know I’m not alone…tell me you find yourself in the same predicament! iPhone? iPad? Black(Crack)berry? Facetime? What’s your tech fancy?

Slowing down

I’m a doer, a mover, a shaker. I like to be on the move, and I like to be busy. Lists are comforting for me, and completing the tasks on my list (and consequently slashing lines through the corresponding items on my list) gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  Organizing and managing my time are strengths, and I like to pack it all in when it comes to errands, chores, and making things “just so”.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy quiet time at home and home is certainly my respite from the busy world (I am an only child who likes my space, after all!). But I’m happy to be out and about as well.

Over the last few years since having my first child, I’ve realized that my on-the-move mentality doesn’t always match what is best for our family. My oldest child is totally content to stay home – playing outside or inside – all day. When it comes to running errands, he’s more and more difficult to cajole into coming with me. My younger child is generally along for the ride, and happy to join any excursion so long as “snacks” are involved.  However, as he approaches his second birthday, “No!” is more often his response to ANY question, including conversations about running errands.

Today, with no school for my older child due to parent-teacher conferences, we stayed home most of the day. There were plenty of errands that needed to be done, but we decided that voting and a quick trip to the playground were all the outings we wanted to tackle today. We played and played – car dealership, pirate ship, “football guys”, hockey, Perler Beads, police officer…. I could go on!). The kids went to bed happy and snug in their beds, and I reminded myself that there are plenty more days to get the items on my list crossed off.

Check out these Etsy jewelry shops

If you’re anything like me, you could easily while away hours on Etsy. What a wonderful innovation this website was, and each day new artists and crafters appear selling their wares. The more time I spend on this site, the more I continue to be amazed by the creativity of the human race.

Here are just a few of my favorite Etsy jewelry shops…enjoy!

Silent Roses  –  Beautiful gold and silver plated acorns, leaves, pinecones, and all else nature-inspired. There is some beautiful fall and winter themed jewelry for you to peruse!

It’s All About the Print  –  Ecofriendly jewelry using the blank side of old Scrabble tiles to create new and funky necklaces and rings. You can pick just about any print design you like, and they’ll make it happen!

Sorella Jewelry Studio  –  Fine jewelry customized to your specifications. These ladies only use the finest metals, and you can feel free to add gemstones, special messages (in English or another language!), meaningful dates, or pretty much anything else your heart desires.

Mandala Rain  –  Jewelry and other neat accessories that are inspired by the Tree of Life and the scenic landscape of Colorado. Colorful beads and gemstones abound!