I am a jewelry designer with a love of all things beautiful. I am drawn to modern handcrafted lovelies. You will see them all as I discover them here on my blog. Enjoy!

psst.. and visit my shop to see these inspirations turned into jewelry.

Friday, February 29, 2008

DIY Contest

Design Sponge is having a DIY contest and I sent my entry in today. It's this box here that I made but the sides are all on hinges so it opens up completely. I think it is great because I can store all of my jewelry in it, but it looks like a piece of art, not a jewelry box. The inside has anti tarnish strips to protect my jewelry. It was so fun to make. I love working with a drill, I feel so powerful!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

4 Treasuries

Wow! I'm featured in 4 different treasury lists on Etsy. That's the most ever for me! Here is one that I think is especially cute. My little man Wilford already made it into a treasury:) Thanks JulyBooks!yippee, one of them made it to the front page. My evil eyed bird was in it!

Meet Wilford

This is Wilford the kindly Ol' grandpa bird. He sits on his porch drinking coca cola from the bottle and smokes a pipe. All the townspeople know him. If you listen long enough you will realize that he has great insight into this world. He may seem heartless at times, but he always tells you the truth. He would never let you down.

I think he looks like Wilford Brimley so that's how he got the name. I've been having so much fun lately drawing up nutty characters that I decided to make one of them into a necklace. I'll have to post some pictures of my other characters. I do have the angst ridden teenage chickadee with a mohawk and wallet chain:)

I am available to do custom orders if you have an idea for me. I think this would be so fun for an illustrator to have your work on a necklace. I can take almost anything and translate it for a pendant.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shameless Plug

Ok, I promise this will be the last of my shameless plugs for a while (unless something really huge happens) but I wanted to post the article from the Storque (Etsy newsletter) about my meeting with Beth and Christina. I had a chance to sit down to coffee with Beth (VP of Operations) and Christina (Marketing) of Etsy earlier this month. Nina from NinaGibsonDesigns was there also. We were able to share what we love about Etsy and what we would love to see on Etsy. Everyone was so nice and it was great to meet the actual people behind the screen. Visit Nina's shop also. Her jewelry is great!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Process

I just finished this custom order that I received. It was so fun to work on. My customer's husband is a helicopter pilot and she emailed me photos of his helicopter. From the photos I came up with this drawing. I then created a stamp from the drawing (sorry, no pic). And then, presto.....the necklace.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wow! What a day!

Yesterday was a fantastic day! I was featured on two really great blogs.

The first one is my most favorite blog in the whole world! Design Sponge. Grace featured the pictures of my studio update (corner of my living room). Here it is. What an honor to be featured on a blog that is so inspiring to me. I've got some chairs to reupholster, so maybe I'll be submitting those some day.

The second one is a great blog about independant artists calledThe Indie Path. They feature a couple independant artists a week and do interviews with them. Here's mine.

Welcome to anyone who has found me through these two wonderful blogs. I hope to get to know you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Past Life/ Current Life

We went to the zoo this weekend. I'm pretty sure I knew her in a past life. Maybe we were part of the same knitting circle. Aren't gorillas amazing creatures. I know that our DNA is more similar to chimpanzees, but gorillas just seem so human.

The Lovebirds

So maybe in a past life I was knitting with Evelyn the gorilla, but in this life I'm learning to bake. And today I learned that in the step "pour batter into a well greased pan" the "well greased pan" was fairly important. I was rushing and forgot to grease the pan because James was eating all of the batter. Oh well, it still tastes good.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Delicious Apple

I made this necklace for a woman who is expecting twins! The rubies are the babies birthstones. I am working on expanding my collection of necklaces featuring my own artwork. This is one of them, even though it's a super simple design.

I never really intended on creating so many pieces using birthstones, but I guess it was a natural progression for me since I have a little one too. I get a little nauseous looking at typical birthstone jewelry. It's so......boring.....old fashion.....and just plain old looking. Now that I'm a mom and I don't consider myself old exactly, I am much more interested in finding some great everyday looks that incorporate birthstones in them. It's nice to be reminded of the ones we love and stay true to ourselves at the same time.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Felted Goodness

I found this seller on Etsy, Papaververt, that creates the most beautiful felted bowls, vases, pots, and pillows. The process seems so time consuming. The goods first have to be crocheted and then the felting process begins which makes it shrink considerably. I can't wait to get some pots of my own. I want to put some herbs in there and sit them on my fireplace mantel. Spring is pretty much here in Los Angeles, so some new green growth is in order!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My heart is wrapped around your finger


My friend's birthday is on Valentine's day and I wanted to make something really special for her. She has been such a great friend to me over the last 12 years. Gosh, I can't believe it's been that long. Anyways, back to the gift. So I created this little ring with a heart on it. It's so easy to make things for her because she is very inspirational. Hope you enjoy. (and I hope she's not reading this because I haven't given it to her yet:)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Oh, for the love of art. This is how we spent our Valentine's day. The new BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Musuem) at the LACMA had a special preview for members today. We got a sneak peek at it. The building is so beautiful. The light and openness was wonderful. Some of the art was really cool. And as with contemporary art, some of it was total crap - sorry Jeff Koons, I'm talkin about you (although I did like his balloon sculptures that someone on his staff made).
I really liked this fire truck by Charles Ray. He put it so eloquently, "It was like a toy becoming a real truck, and when you looked at it, like a real truck becoming a toy".
Another favorite was Urban Light by Chris Burden. There are 202 cast iron street lights set up on a grid. I felt like I was in a forest of street lights. My son had so much fun playing hide-n-go seek in there.

There was also a super cool "laboritory" by Damien Hirst of butterflies. I couldn't take pictures inside so you will just have to trust me. He also had these stain glass windows that were made entirely of butterfly wings. The composition was so complex and the symmetry was impeccable! In my opinion, those butterfly windows are reason enough to go check it out.

After the museum we went and shared a banana split. I would post a picture of it, but we ate it all to quick!

Hope your day and week is wonderful!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Smaller than an iPod

So, I will just say it now, yes, my iPod is ancient. I've had it for 5 years and it still works great so why upgrade? But the point of this post is not that my iPod is an original. I used the iPod to illustrate how tiny this little charm is.

A dad commissioned this piece for his 1 year old daughter for Valentine's day. How adorable is that! I have extending lengths on the chain so the necklace can grow as she does.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Handcrafted Cuff Bracelet

This bracelet was a very special commission that I received for Christmas. One of my most wonderful friends asked me to make her and her girlfriend matching bracelets.

I think they turned out so sweet. They are engraved with a secret message on the inside that I will not repeat in good company:)

While this is not available in my shop, please feel free to contact me if you are interested in something like this.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Handmade Dining Table

I was just visiting DesignSponge and was inspired to show you my dining room table.

I made it 2 years ago. I took a woodworking class at Otis in the evening because we were in need of a new table and I couldn't find what I liked. I honestly had no prior woodworking skills which was very intimidating in the classroom. Everyone else's projects were small boxes. Seriously! Only one other guy was making a piece of furniture and he was an architect.

Anyways, I went down to Bonhoff lumber in Downtown LA and chose this wood because I liked the color, the thickness and the grain. Little did I know that Ash is one of the heaviest woods - it's what baseball bats are made out of. As separate planks they did not seem so heavy. Put all together as a table and wahlah! 300lbs. Yikes! Anyways, I still love the table and am proud that I made it. I was also pregnant when I made it which made it a tad difficult to lift:)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Art Wall

My career prior to Chocolate and Steel was as a Store Manager for Anthropologie. I LOVE their clothes and became fond of their home decor over time. Side note - I much prefer their home decor now than in the past. It was too shabby chic for me. But we're going back quite a few years ago. Anyways, I digress. I think about 40% of my paycheck was sent straight back to them because of my obsession with their clothes. Well, now I am not there as often so I have curbed that obsession. But, I spend so much time at home now with my business and taking care of James that home decorating has become my new obsession. I wanted to show you a couple of my favorite things that I have collected over the years.

Dave hung all of our artwork up this weekend. It's amazing how little changes can make you feel like you are living in a whole new place.

Art Wall, originally uploaded by Chocolate And Steel (Christine).

*You can click on the picture and it will show you who each piece is by*

This is our "Art Wall". I have mentioned some of my favorite artists in the past on my blog, but I'll tell you about them again. The main painting in the middle is entitled "Val and Viv" by Heather Scholl. The little blue one to the left of "Val and Viv" is called "Pez Girl" also by Heather Scholl. Above that is "How I got my stutter" by Madelaine. I discovered Madelaine on Etsy while just perusing the art section. I love it! The one above that is called "IBC" also by Heather. This is a long story but basically it's my husband's alter ego:) The two 3D flower paintings are by my friend Mara Reinin. She is an amazing artist. She only sells her art at a gallery in Northern California. If anyone is interested please leave a comment and I will pass it on to her. Her flower paintings are made from old magazine pages and painted over. Each one has a special meaning. The dancing girl with the "G" is by another friend of mine named Amy Samson. She used to also work for Anthropologie and she created this painting for the bathroom of the store we worked at. I loved it so much that she duplicated it for me as a wedding gift.

Featured on Melissa Vest Designs

So Cool! I was the Featured Etsy Artist on Melissa Vest Designs blog. Thanks so much Melissa for your kind words.

Melissa makes the most awesome canvas bags. Big ones! with really cool graphics. I know that San Francisco has banned plastic bags and I suspect that Los Angeles will not be too far behind them. Whole Foods will soon rid themselves of plastic bags also. It's so exciting to me when change happens. So check out Melissa's bags because you're gonna need them soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Shop Update

It is such a wonderful feeling to finally breakthrough a creative block. Wow, I've had a quite a block ever since the mad rush of the holidays ended. So, I am happier than ever to bring these new pieces to you. They have been inspired by Valentine's day and the different ideas of love. They are all in my shop now.

"The Tale of the Swan and Pigeon"
This was inspired by the EtsyLoveChallenge. Here is the story behind the image.
"Accept Love"
Click here for the story.

"Love is a beautiful Thing"
Click here for the story and specifics.

Coming out of a creative block is one of the best feelings ever. I was so frustrated that I would sit at my desk and sit, and sit, and sit and stare. Nothing was exposing itself to me. I spent a lot of time last month just trying to seek out inspirations. Anything and everything that inspired me in any way. As you can see I've been blogging more than ever and focusing on these inspirations...photography, art, food, nature.... And finally it has worked. I have a ton of ideas that I have been sketching out. Now, I just need time to complete them all. Please come back and visit again soon to see more new designs. Thanks to everyone for all of their words of encouragement and support.