Winter Roundup: Part 1

Many belated posts are headed to the blog this week highlighting the secret (and not-so-secret) projects from the final months of 2014. I had so many custom designs across my workbench during the holidays and creating them was incredible way to wrap the year. Now that the proposals and gift-givings have passed, it’s safe for me to sit down and recount all of the personalized designs that went to loving homes during the winter months.

First up… a special wedding band set!


You may recall this deep blue beauty from the engagement of Matt and Lyndsay earlier in 2014. The couple wed in November at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. To compliment her rose gold ring, we crafted a blue sapphire crescent band which contoured to her center sapphire. Matt opted for a comfortable, flat Tam Wedding Band with gently rounded edges and textured finish.

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DIY Wedding Bands

Nearly one year ago I sat down with my future husband Ryan for an afternoon at the bench. Together we spent a few hours carving what would become our wedding bands. Each was a token from one to the other, created with love, care, and a promise to stand the test of time.

Ryan was admittedly apprehensive about creating a ring from scratch. While he’s seen my projects evolve over the years, this was his first hands-on experience creating a piece of jewelry. I walked him through each step: he sawed off the slices of wax, filed them down, and carefully carved it into its final shape. After a few trials, a few discarded bands, and far less time than we expected—Ryan turned out a darling half round band.

He described the process of creating the ring as “honest” and “simple” as compared to the digital media he’s fluent in. Each stroke with the blade was impacting something I would wear the rest of my life. That carried a special emotional weight. By gaining a feel for my craft, he felt a closer understanding of my interest and passion.

For Ryan I carved a 5mm wide faceted band with a comfort fit interior. While I’ve created many wedding bands over the years, nothing was quite like watching him slip it on for the first time.

The finished rings were cast in platinum, adorned with diamonds, and exchanged on May 25th, 2013.

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DIY Wedding: Bridal Party Jewelry

My favorite thing about wedding planning was the DIY elements, and hands down the most important of those was creating jewelry for the people I love.  I aimed to make beautiful, unconventional items that they would feel comfortable wearing on any occasion. I designed them to be precious without being too flashy. The palette of grey, black & gold harkened to my love of mixed metals and my own grey diamond engagement ring. Each piece was a nod to our vision and our style.

So without further delay, here’s the items I created for friends and family to wear on my wedding day.

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Groomsmen, Fathers, and Groom
Tie bars crafted from hammered sterling silver with burnished or oxidized finish. Each has a 3mm grey rose cut diamond set in a 14k yellow gold bezel. Corey-Egan-Wedding-Jewelry 1

For regular width ties there is a 2.5″ standard size. For narrow ties, a 2.25″ length.

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Shield chandelier earrings made from oxidized silver with millgrain edges, 14k yellow gold accents and earwires, faceted grey quartz briolettes

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Grey quartz and black spinel faceted rondelle necklace with handcrafted 14k beads, 14k yellow gold pendant with twinkling white diamond, and 2″ extender chain with final gold ring. Paired with grey quartz and 14k yellow gold teardrop earrings (not pictured)

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Maid of Honor
Convertible necklace/bracelet. 70 inch long necklace can be worn as a triple layered necklace or a multi layered wrap bracelet. Includes twelve hand formed 14k yellow gold beads, black spinel, grey quartz, and a 2″ extender chain with gold end ring.

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14k yellow gold dangle earrings with 3mm grey rose cut diamonds.

Our wedding bands, as many of you know, were created by Ryan and I together. We’ll highlight the creation of these significant pieces in their very own post. Stay tuned!

DIY Wedding: Graphics & Design

Not many men get pumped over wedding planning, so you can imagine how relieved I was that my husband couldn’t wait to dive in. Ryan Leggett is another creative soul. He is a filmmaker by trade, with a passion for photography and a real knack for aesthetics and design. While I worked away on the physical crafts, He created a cohesive set of personalized design elements that gave our ceremony character.

In his own words:

“Going into this project, I knew that I wanted to keep it simple. Initially, I thought that this would save me some time in the design process – which it probably didn’t – but it did help to maintain consistency across the suite of projects. I never thought that I would end up designing so many components, but after putting so much thought into the first one, which was the video, it became easier to make more. I made sure to approach each component separately and think about how people would experience it both individually and in relation to the larger suite, so that it didn’t just feel like we slapped our logo across everything and called it a day.”

The video which he references was for our engagement announcement and save-the-date. It shares the story of our relationship from meeting to engagement.

Save the Date from Ryan Leggett on Vimeo.

The next component which Ryan designed was the packaging for our Welcome Bags. Nearly every element featured a custom graphic. (For more info on how we assembled our welcome bags check out my previous post here.)


Next, he carried over imagery from the save the date video and welcome bags into programs and escort cards for the wedding. He used a sampling of icons that represented our personalities, interests, and heritage which clustered together to form a heart. This design was used on the backside of our wedding programs as well as our escort cards.



photos by Chaz Curry

Ryan happily answered a few more questions as he reflected on his creative process.

How do you feel about the finished product?

I love the way that everything turned out. When I set out on the project I didn’t envision such a cohesive experience, but the more things I designed the more refined and clear the design aesthetic became, which only made it easier to keep making things with the same voice. On one hand, it was less intimidating to dive in to the project when I approached one thing at a time, rather than worrying about how the design would translate across so many deliverables. On the other hand, I think if I had to do it again I would step back and consider the whole suite right up front.

What did you find was most important to achieve the look?

It was definitely important to decide on a few fonts and colors right up front. It’s also important to determine your visual style for the pieces. We chose a very simple line art aesthetic, but you could go with a fancier flourished script, more full color graphics, or even photographs. Whatever you choose just make sure that you keep the look consistent throughout.

Can you recommend any vendors or services you used?

Definitely. We couldn’t have done it without a few really wonderful vendors. The printing of our escort cards was done with Moo. In addition to fast printing, they offer the option to print a unique image on each business card. This worked perfect for our guest’s names. We chose a simple business card layout and flipped it vertical. Our wedding icon sits in the bottom corner, while the polaroid (a nod to my love of film cameras as well as the photo-booth fun ahead) holds the guest name. For the final touch Corey added the table numbers in gold paint marker just before the event. This allowed us to make last minute seating adjustments if they were needed. For more standard printing work, like the programs, we used Photoworks here in San Francisco. I also use them for all my film developing and scanning, and it was great to be able to swing by the shop in person to check out a proof.

What advice would you give to couples hoping to design their own wedding items?

Keep it within your skills as a designer. I’m comfortable in illustrator for this kind of line art work, so I was able to spend more time designing and less time futzing with software. Had I chosen a more ambitious aesthetic, I think I would’ve wasted a lot of time. Also, know where your resources are and seek out inspiration early on. I leveraged a lot of design components from The Noun Project, which helped to speed up my workflow dramatically. At the end of the day, it’s incredibly heartwarming to see so much of your own fingerprints all over such a special day. To anyone considering designing their own wedding items, I’d say go for it. I’m grateful that we were challenged to find a common design aesthetic and happy to know that our designs will live on in these memories for a lifetime.

You can find out more about Ryan Leggett by visiting his website, following him on instagram or twitter.

DIY Wedding: Decor & More

In the age of Pinterest there is a fine line between getting ideas and getting overwhelmed when planning your wedding decor. I’m an admitted DIY overachiever and can be overly ambitious when it comes time management. That being said, the bits of advice I have to share can apply to DIY’ers of all skill levels.

1. Pick and Choose: Some projects look great on your pinboard but will have little effect on the overall look and feel of your ceremony. Consider the impact each item will have before dedicating your precious time to it. Ask yourself if the item fits your theme or vision.

2. Prioritize your Projects: You may have to scrap a project or two in the interest of time, so consider your backup options. Does an Etsy seller create this item? What is their lead time? Which items add the most value to your ceremony? Can you delegate these projects?

3. Craft Early, Craft Often: The sooner you begin your project the more you’ll thank yourself when it ends up taking longer than expected. Finished ahead of schedule? Consider making a few more paper fans, tackling that next DIY item, or for goodness sake reward yourself and just rest!

With these pearls of wisdom in mind, here’s a few of my favorite projects from our San Francisco Wedding. All photos courtesy of our photographer Chaz Curry.


Super Ring Bearers & Personalized Confetti 

We transformed these shy members of our bridal party into heroes for the day, ensuring lots of smiles and even more priceless photographs. I enlisted my mother to sew these golden capes which they happily wore to the wedding and beyond.

We spread the good news with confetti crafted from Martha Stewart scrapbook punches in various shapes and newspapers from our hometowns (Detroit & DC) and our current home (San Francisco). Huge props go to our bridesmaid Lyndze for this deeply personal touch.



I spotted these lovelies on Pinterest and could not wait to give them a try. They became a simple but intricate aisle decoration for the ceremony. The Ruffled Blog gives great step by step instructions on how to create them along with the PDF templates. The resulting flower was around the size of a golf ball, so I scaled the templates up to create a softball sized version. Luckily this article led me to the Etsy shop of sunny and stumpy where the artist sells pre-cut templates for this project along with other great paper flower crafts and templates. I’m dying to try the Ranunculus Ornaments from her in the future!



Cake Topper

Another Pinterest find led me to create a custom cake topper from a few wooden pieces and acrylic paints. I searched for wooden peg people at my local Michael’s, Joann Fabrics, and Home Depot but came up empty handed. Luckily I found a set on Etsy via SnugglyMonkey which I received within a few days and painted to a pretty darn good likeness of us (if I do say so myself). Wary of your skills with a paintbrush? Shops such as Goose Grease can paint a finished topper in your likeness for you!



In my late teens and early twenties I took a number of ceramics courses and honed my skills as a novice potter. I had purchased a wheel a few years in and hit the jackpot one afternoon when my parents spotted a kiln in the newspaper at an estate sale. While my SF apartment does not allow for the space and electricity to use this equipment, my parents were kind enough to hang onto them for me in their North Carolina home, where a few times a year I get to leave metalwork behind and indulge myself in clay.

Usually during my trips to their home I spend the week creating half a dozen bowls and platters I will pick up after firing on the next trip. This is where I got the brilliant idea to throw our wedding centerpieces. It seemed simple at first, but that idea grew to having them become our wedding favors. I had two 7-day trips planned,during which I needed to make over 100 vases and somehow ship them across the country. Yeah, having seen that logic typed out now, I understand why you’re thinking I’m crazy. Luckily I enlisted my now-husband and both parents to decorate, glaze, and package with me.


I had our florist fill them with an assortment of protea, succulents, and other textural flowers. A few of them were perforated and held electric tea light candles. I’m thrilled with how much our guests loved them. Family and friends snatched them up one by one and twos and threes until not a single one remained! It warms my heart knowing our guests took a little bit of us home with them.

Whether your wedding crafts are big or small, complex or understated, the most important part is that they’re a reflection of yourself and your personal style. The planning process can be stressful and taxing, so pick projects that make you feel happy as well as productive!

DIY Wedding: Welcome Bags


Welcome Bags are a great way to let your out-of-town guests know you’re thankful they made the trip. For our San Francisco wedding, we loaded up custom tote bags with city info and snacks with a bit of personal flare. All custom graphic design created by Ryan Leggett.


Tote Bags:

These welcome bags began with totes purchased from Jakprints. They have lots of custom options and can print multiple colors if your design calls for it. We ordered their most economic option (Augusta #825) in natural fabric and found them to be great quality for the price. The material was a good weight sewn together with sturdy stitching.



A thoughtful itinerary gave our guests the weekend scoop. We included times and addresses of activities where they could hang with the bride and groom, our instagram hashtag and transit reminders. Consider waiting to print until just before your wedding to include an accurate weather forecast.

Water Bottles: 

Personalized Water Bottles are a snap with inkjet labels and a printer. The key is to use Vinyl Labels such as these to avoid ink bleeds if the bottles become wet. Then simply remove the existing label from a generic water bottle, stick on your new label, and voila!

Since water bottles vary in diameter you’ll want to ensure that you’re not covering your letters or graphics where the two ends of the label overlap. I recommend printing a sample first before committing to your whole batch.


City Maps:

While many rely on their smart phones to navigate around town, nothing’s quite like a physical map in your pocket. We included these SF City Maps in each bag to help our guests find their way. Many larger cities will have a tourism department or travel agency that make acquiring these maps a breeze. In San Francisco, I contacted the Bay City Guide and received free maps in the mail by sending a large envelope with the correct return postage.

As an added bonus these city maps also included the local bus routes for public transportation as well as coupons for excursions and activities on the back.


Personalized Snacks:

Consider adding a sweet or savory treat to your welcome bags as a reward for their travels. We included two snacks in each that represented our hometowns. For my husband we gave Whitley’s Honey Roasted Virginia Peanuts. In honor of my family, we included a transitional candy that’s made during family gatherings each holiday. We packaged each in cellophane bags with twist ties (found at the dollar store) and labeled them with more custom inkjet labels. You can purchase snacks that are pre-packaged such as granola bars or trail mix to save yourself the packaging step.


Recovery Kits:

Let your guests know it’s alright to cut loose. A recovery kit including individual packets of advil, a sleep mask, and earplugs from MaskCraft will leave your guests grateful that you thought of everything.

All’s Well on the Home Front

The last month and a half has been jam-packed with business and plans, family, friends, travel and love. It’s not often I let myself fall off the grid, but these weeks have been so worth it.

Over the last few months a number of major milestones have come to fruition. I left my day job, wrote a business plan, and also planned and executed one incredible wedding. The month of May was a complete whirlwind. I found myself writing and working round-the-clock, crafting DIY projects as well as my usual metal fare, and coordinating a memorable San Francisco experience for friends and family. I loved every minute of it.

Along the way I’ve accumulated some great stories, perspective and photos to share in upcoming posts. I’ll introduce the personal touches we planned and crafted for the wedding, share info on our rockstar vendors, and reveal the original jewelry made to mark the event. The inspiration and reflection gained during our Hawaiian honeymoon are sure to make an appearance in upcoming collections.

Again I must thank the friends, family, and supporters who make these great achievements possible. My heart is filled with optimism and gratitude thanks to you.

And now, I’m back to work.

[All photos courtesy of Chaz Curry]










My Engagement Story

The months of October and November were a jewelry-making blur. In preparation for the holidays I stocked my galleries to the brim with their favorite new items. There were custom engagement rings underway. Custom holiday gifts were springing up left and right. Its a tiring but rewarding time of year for any jeweler.

When I was able to emerge from the studio around the end of November, things at the gallery were in full holiday swing. My retail duties kicked into overdrive, and I was so thankful when Ryan announced that he would be whisking me away on Christmas Eve. It was the perfect escape from retail madness: We’d slip away and savor the only two consecutive days off in December. If there was an opportunity to even think about working, it had become Ryan’s mission to thwart it. It was Christmas, and I was finally on holiday.

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I was able to leave the gallery at 4pm on Christmas Eve, and Ryan scooped me up in a mini cooper zip-car named Moonwalker. We raced down into the peninsula in time to catch the sunset in Pacifica, where I shook off the last of the city stress and continuing on our voyage south. Ryan had arranged for us to stay at the Hyatt Highlands Inn in Carmel, an exquisite resort with an amazing ocean view that we wouldn’t discover until daylight the following morning. We made quick use of the wood burning fireplace, unloaded the gifts our families sent from back east, and toasted with a glass of champagne before calling it a night.

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The aforementioned ocean view took our breath away as the sun came up Christmas morning. We awoke early, excited to video chat with our families and head out to explore Big Sur. There was just so much love in the air that day. We drank coffee and visited with our loved ones for hours over a room service breakfast. It was overwhelming just how many things we had to be thankful for. We waved goodbye to our families around noon and emerged from the hotel room ready to explore.

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Christmas afternoon was spent driving down into Big Sur, our breath was taken away each time we rounded the high cliffs that looked out over a churning teal ocean. The cliffs were ablaze with succulents turning red on the tips, the beaches consisted of rocky outcrops juxtaposed with superfine white sand. Green hills and mountains rolled inland. Even in December, everything seemed lush and alive. We found ourselves stopping off at every opportunity to take photos, to eat a late lunch on the beach, and savor the scent of salty air.

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As the sun was about to set, we decided it was time to turn back. We began to weave our way back up Route 1 when Ryan spotted a whale out off the coast. He flipped the car around at a turnoff a few feet away and I scanned the ocean surface with scrutiny. Just then, a tail emerged from the water and splashed down. I was out of the car and running with camera in hand, so excited that I left my jacket behind. Ryan grabbed it, along with his camera bag and followed close behind.

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We had happened upon a pod of whales swimming south. We eagerly attempted to snap more photos while working our way down the path towards the rocky waters edge. They were elusive, but I was persistent. Ryan directed me to the perfect vantage point upon which we could watch and wait for them to show themselves again. I knelt down to  wait, and Ryan stepped back to take my picture.

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Then he asked me to turn around.

He was kneeling, holding the only ring that ever made my heart skip a beat, and asked if we could share our adventures together for the rest of our lives.

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He’d done the unthinkable. He’d surprised the girl who’s livelihood revolves around engagement. I didn’t sense what was brewing around me. We sat together with his arms wrapped around me on the edge of that cliff, overlooking the ocean as our whale family swam away. He’d managed to capture the exact moment he’d been waiting for: special, spontaneous, and serendipitous. And the ring? Well, that alone is an article for another day. But it’s the only ring known to make my stomach flip, and this gal has seen a lot of jewels.

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