A Rarity: Crown Nine Exclusive Aspen Bounty Earrings

Below you can see the Aspen Bounty Earrings for Crown Nine’s limited edition project, A Rarity, come to life.  The initial wax carving was captured in this quick video (previously posted) followed by images of the fabrication and finishing once the piece was molded and cast in sterling silver. I’ve created only ten pairs of these earrings, so grab them before they’re gone!

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Rarity

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.

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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.

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Protea

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!

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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!

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Vases

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.

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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!

Crown Nine, Oakland CA

This spring we are happy to announce our latest retailer, Crown Nine of Oakland, California!

Crown Nine is the flagship boutique of Oakland based metalsmith Kate Ellen Metals. Her shop showcases the work of 20 independent designers who are committed to crafting jewelry in small batches by hand. Among those featured are Stendhal JewelryDMD Metals, and Collette Ishiyama. As you look around the shop it’s easy to be swept up in the beauty of the bespoke items all around. The floors are hand painted, cases crafted individually from salvaged materials and their contents lovingly displayed. Meanwhile on the walls a curated collection of artwork is showcased. Each month a new selection is ushered in during the Oakland Art Murmur’s First Fridays. 

Taking the idea of limited production designs a step further, Kate Ellen and Crown Nine launched A Rarity in March. This of-the-month club calls upon it’s roster of talented designers to each craft a super-limited edition design for sale only at Crown Nine. The project highlights a different jeweler each month, with the sale of that style ending when the last of the batch is gone. What sets the collection apart is it’s insight into the designer’s creative process. Each launch is paired with behind-the-scenes photos from the artist’s studio, interviews and inspirations from which the jewelry emerged. Stay tuned for our Rarity with Crown Nine this fall!

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Unique SF

You can catch me this month at the first ever Unique SF, vending alongside my comrade Jenny Windler. Entry is $10 and good for unlimited re-entry the full weekend. Don’t miss the list of to die-for-perks (including free libations, DIY workshops & limited edition tote bags) here. Bring some friends! It’s gonna be a blast!

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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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Do what you want. And do it today.

 

 

 

 

The month of October came and went. Faster than I could blink, and even faster than my brain could really register. I traveled thousands of miles in the first few weeks. I returned to Northern Michigan to join my herd as we laid a family member to rest. The countryside seemed to explode around me with the most vibrant of autumn hues. It was a fitting reminder of the seasonal punctuation my life misses in San Francisco, where the mild climate never reminds me that today is different from yesterday, and months are slipping undetected between my fingers.

 

I returned to San Francisco and left the same day, heading northward to the Redwood National Forest with Ryan and friends. It was peaceful and the landscape was breathtaking. We camped, hiked, wandered and explored. But mostly, I took time out to observe and absorb.

 

The undercurrent these few weeks was a blatant reminder of time’s painful persistence. Whether marveling at ancient redwoods or catching glimpses of fleeting foliage, the adage of ‘not getting any younger’ was annoyingly on point. As of late it seems every job I undertake is time sensitive. The more I free myself to find breathing room, the more my calendar fills up. It is something I am learning to cherish instead of stress. My work is rewarding, and I feel this path aligning beneath me. I’m lucky to be where I am and should find beauty in every second of it.

 

Bring on November.

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