Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My bezeled pink druzy ring

I've gotten lots of compliments on the ring I made in class.

But I have to give credit where it's due: John helped me with just about every aspect of it. So kudos to him for the balanced bezel, the round band, and the clean soldering, among other things. (In case you were wondering, I did handle most of the filing and polishing myself.)

And thanks to Bill Zuback for the shot. He always brings out the best in jewelry.

I'm lucky to be able to work with so many experts!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New York: Habits and some new places

I've been in New York only since Friday night, but I've been noshing my way through the city.

My first stop was Kobeyaki, just around the corner from my hotel. After a superlong day, it was nice to have a salty bowl of ramen with pork. The founders hope to turn it into a national chain like Chipotle — how great would that be?

Incidentally, I might still try Ajisen, a noodle chain that started in Japan. It's right across the street. I'm staying in Chelsea this trip, again at a Hilton Garden Inn. I love the 5 p.m. cookies and the friendly service. Where else will someone rush to your room to help you work the remote?

As always, I'm having toasted bagels for breakfast. That's one of the things I love about New York: The around-the-block deli, no matter where you are, is always good.

Another thing I always try to do when I'm here: catch up with Leigh. After my class yesterday, I popped into McKenna's, an Irish pub near our dinner place. A glass of red wine and the smell of onion rings really take the chill out of a rainy day. Apparently their two-for-one happy hour runs for at least seven hours a day, so I'm saving my token for next year's trip.

Down the street at Crispo, Leigh and I caught up about the last two years of our lives and I ate too much bread and a shrimp and spinach dish. Then we were off to Bar Veloce for an Orangina.

So many places, so little time. But I always find something new. Yay!

Jewelry class in New York: What a druzy!

Lately I've been obsessed with druzies. I don't have lots of design ideas just yet, but I love the crazy colors and organic shapes.

Instead of starting with a strung necklace (or something even remotely in my wheelhouse), I decided to make a bezel-set ring. A couple of years ago, I'd met Kristin Hanson at the JA New York Show, and this year I finally got a chance to take a class at her jewelry design school.

They were a little concerned that I jumped into the fourth class of the series — I wouldn't get a chance to practice the basics that got covered in the first three.

Still, John walked me through sawing, soldering, filing, hammering, sanding, annealing, sizing, beveling, sanding, polishing, and cleaning. Even though I've designed strung pieces for years, this class made me realize how much skill goes into making a single piece of fine jewelry.

Of all the things I learned, the most surprising was the sawing: Who knew that it was easier with a light, relaxed grip?

There was even some two-part epoxying. Because I picked such a fragile cabochon, we couldn't hammer the metal around the stone and needed to glue it in. (By the way, if you're looking for druzy cabochons, check out de Druzy. She is happy to do custom orders and has super fast shipping.)

At the end of the day, I came away with a pretty awesome ring. It was a great experience, getting the chance to learn something new from an expert. Thanks to John and G and Kristin!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A snowball in Orange County

We really miss Papaya.

So my parents and I decided to visit the Orange County Humane Society. There were pit bulls, chihuahuas in sweaters, an energetic dachshund, and lots of barking.

There was also an American Eskimo, a plump seven-year-old named Cubby. Though he came in as a stray, he didn't seem terrified — just mellow. He didn't bark the entire time we were there. Dad thought he'd get along great with Papaya. Or maybe Yukie could keep him.

Alas, when I checked this morning, Cubby was gone.

But I'm glad. Even though I couldn't adopt him, it's reassuring that someone else could easily imagine him as their new friend.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Newport Beach 2013: Tuesdays with Julie

Julie and I were planning on Mexican food, but after all the Baja Fresh and tamales and leftover tamales, I was craving something not Mexican. We agreed on Mama D's, an Italian place that's a block away from the place we went two years ago.

Over wine and too much bread and pasta, we talked about the past (Father's Office as our favorite bar) and the present (Uni crostini: Really, Father's Office?).

All the biggies were covered. Love, work, health, death, travel, gentrification, why academics have been slow to get smartphones. After a cannoli and closing the place down, we promised to keep in touch, more than once a year. Maybe over a Skype happy hour.

Or maybe we'll just stick to our low-tech ways: I'll keep my ancient cell phone, and Julie will avoid answering her phone while driving (which is especially impressive given how much driving she does). But I'm good with that, even it makes me sound like a crusty, out-of-touch academic. There could be worse things.