We finally really really officially began work on a complete overhaul of our website. I have been looking in earnest for just the right web solution for 2 years now. I knew what we had would not do for long. Though pretty on the front the “backend” custom programming is a tangle of I don’t know what that only a seasoned programmer with intimate knowledge of it’s innermost secret flaws can work on. If you change one tiny wrong thing you can take the whole site down. Believe me, I’ve done it.
Never in a million years could I imagine that the perfect solution was next door to us. Actually, when I was told by my friend Jen, that her friend Dave had a web development company across the parking lot I thought nothing of it. I knew what I wanted was really complicated and required just the right team with just the set of skills.
From my 1st meeting with them – them being ten24 – I knew it was right the fit. Their enthusiasm for what they do shines through. They get it and they get me and what I am trying to accomplish. The best part is we can talk face to face! Almost unheard of these days, I know.
Web meetings are my favorite. It is so awesome to see the “dream website” starting to come together. Here are some photos of part of the team from a recent meeting. They were all super camera shy… Except for Finn.
Dave – President of ten24 and The Man with Plan!
Miss Emily, project coordinator extraordinaire and baker of yummy treats.
Brad. The man can do amazing things with wireframes:)
So much has happened since my last post. To blog you really have to love writing. Which up until recently has not been my favorite pastime. Truthfully, it was like pulling teeth. Okay, that’s a lie. But you get the picture. The thing is, with blogging there are no rules. No rules makes writing so much more fun!
I just had an opportunity to write a 1st person article for Bay State Parent. Having never been asked to do such a thing I happily handed over my lengthy, wordy (see what I mean) blog post full of my own unique forms of vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. That is where as a writer I finally found my voice. Of course (and I should have known this) blogging and newspaper stories are vastly different creatures. After many revisions and edits and eyes the words became something the editor could publish and I could happily sign my name to. My first by line:) It was a great experience and many lessons learned. I get now, more than ever, that writing is the freedom to express your voice. Blogging is a great way to do it.
I am gonna do my very best to write more often:) peace – Julie
One minute you are living one life and the next, a new chapter of life has begun.
I found Heart and Stone at a time when I was looking to grow my heart, throw out some stones and make some changes my life. While searching for unique forms of employment, I came across the beautiful jewelry and sent an email to Julie… I think it went a little like this… “I am writing to you in hopes that at this very moment you are looking for an apprentice…?” Turns out she was….literally, at that moment, writing a job posting. I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to work within my craft of metalsmithing and use the degree from UMASS Dartmouth I had worked so hard for.
Since my cosmic start at Heart and Stone Jewelry in June I have been part of unbelievable opportunities and experiences. For starters some of the Heart and Stone family took a cross country trip to the west coast! While I am do not consider myself the screaming celeb fan, I have to admit that being amongst the stars was quite a bit dreamy. The photo above, with teen star Ashley Argota, is from an Emmy gifting event that was held at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City, California. It was almost as if we were in a time warp. The autographed portraits of performers like Clark Gabel, Humphery Bogart, Betty Davis and John Wayne, in black and white, hung in the hotel lobby. Almost surreal that they walked down the same halls as me. I had an amazing time! I even saw a dinosaur sized leaf! I was very happy about this… :)
After the gift event I was able to spend a few hours mingling around the area…. and look who I bumped into! Mr. Mark Margolis, of the popular show Breaking Bad. He and I had bumped into one another a few times and got talking so I was more than excited to pose for a photo. Guess I am not as above the whole celebrity thing as I thought! I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. As his autograph card states he is …not just another pretty face. So true.
After returning from the trip Heart and Stone began to work like little elves on the many lovely charms, stones and necklaces we assembled for their recipients. December in the studio is like hurricane season! It being my first holiday season, I was impressed by the thoughtful, secret, and special things people do for their loved ones. The personalization makes for such a meaningful piece of jewelry, one with options too! Look at all of these charms just waiting to be packaged up and sent off….
Even while we were working away new ideas were born.
The Ballet slipper was the first thing I was asked to design at Heart and Stone. The little dancer in your life my now be represented with this sweet little shoe, which goes great with our single initial charm, or as an addition to any necklace! Keep checking back to see what we are up too next. Valentines Day is just around the corner…. - Nicole
Now to the highlights…
We met about 30 celebrities through out the day. It was kind of like a garden party. just with security. And many of the celebs where friends which made it more fun.
Me touching Joe Mantegna! I have been a fan of his ever since I saw him in the cult classic “House of Games.” He chose a Yin Yang charm from our Men’s Collection.
One of the highlights for me was meeting Jeff Nordling of Desperate Housewives. Ladies, all I can say is TV does not do this man justice. He is handsome with a capitol ‘H”. He was so nice and his daughter was so sweet. He chose the Om Charm from our men’s collection. As they were leaving we couldn’t help but give his daughter the white topaz flower birthstone charm she was eying but was way too polite to ask for. She was elated and it looked so precious on her. I wish I had a photo. Darn.
With Eriq La Salle. We was cool and intense in person, kind of like he seems on TV. He is wearing our Feel The Love Necklace and he wears it well.
It was great to meet Kym Whitley. She was excited about the jewelry. She quickly honed in on the Love, Hope, Faith Necklace from our “Giving is Good” Collection. She also told us about her new show Animal Practice which would be premiering the following week. It made it so much fun to sit down and watch the premiere with my kids. My daughter Ada, 7, was most impressed that I had actually met people on TV!
Breaking Bad’s, Christopher Cousins and his lovely wife Lori, they were so cool and hung out for a while.
Lori really loved our new affirmation necklaces! It looks great on her. I am loving the look of a couple of charms on a long chain.
This is the necklace Lori choose. It’s inspirational message to the wearer – “I Dwell in Possibilities” – a line from an Emily Dickinson Poem. It it hangs with emeralds. It is definitely one of my favorites.
If these were superlatives, Big Time Rush’s Stephen Kramer Glickman would get Most Fun. Another taker for the Feel the Love necklace!
Stephen and his girl seemed to be having a great time. How cute are they?
I had such a great time with Yvette Nicole Brown. I don’t watch a ton of TV these days but I do like Community!
I loved chatting with Yvette. She asked a ton of questions and really had a hard time choosing! She loved the Love, Hope, Faith Necklace but once I showed her the new affirmation necklaces that was it:)
She choose a two charm necklace. An angel wing and little tag that reads “A life lived in fear, is a life half lived.” I’m not sure where it came from originally but I first heard in one of my all time favorite movies, ever, “Strictly Ballroom”. If you have not seen in it, I highly recommend it! It’s kind of quirky and campy but also very inspirational. When you need of a little lift to your spirits it’s a good one to watch.
One of the great thing about personalization is it was something we could offer everyone. And that we did. And we had quite a few takers which was so fun because we got to design something just for them. One of my favorites of the day was Gage Golightly. She was just as nice as could be and both Nicole and I had a great time chatting with her.
We tried on a several different things to see what she liked. With a name like Gage Golightly a G charm was definitely in order!
So we went back to the shop and kind of had free reign to make what we wanted. And here it is! I love the G of our handwriting font on a mini tag. We added a little diamond. So pretty! I’d like to put a diamond in everything! We added her sapphire birthstone drop. Then an affirmation tag that says “I dwell in possibility” and an angel wing.
I love it and Gage did too. She sent us the nicest email:) More to come!
Truthfully, the day was a bit of a blur. It was non stop meeting and chatting with the celebs. Some of whom we recognized right off the bat and others not so much. But, everyone was incredibly nice and super easy to talk to and they did not seem at all offended if you asked them what shows they’re on. After all, it’s not like I would know that Gage Go Lightly is really the notorious Teen Wolf, Erica Reyes. But now I do.
Oh, and it was HOT! Really hot. And my boots were high. Really high. Well, for me anyway. That’s all I’m sayin’.
Here is a cute shot of Nicole setting up that morning. She is was a trooper through out the whole very long weekend.
The amazing Nicole Malinosky!
What you don’t know is everyone else is already completely set up and we only have about 30 minutes to go. I had to go back to the room and change and when I got back….
Next up, what you’ve been waiting for…..
So, it was few days before the Emmy’s and I still wasn’t 100% sure what I was bringing for “ready to wear” charm necklaces. My work tends to mostly be personalized and we wanted something the celebs would fall in love with on the spot. Plus, I was itching to do something new.
I decided to resurrect an old project. Something I’ve wanted to do since pretty much the inception of Heart and Stone – I wanted to be able to inscribe in really tiny handwriting. So you can put a short message on a little tiny tag. More than just a word or two. I’ve tried may different techniques and I’ve been working towards it over time but getting it really small and have it still be legible was a huge challenge. I was close but no cigar. I hadn’t focused on it in a while. It was time to try again.
Well, I am pleased to say “Mission Accomplished”.
“I dwell in Possibility” from an Emily Dickinson poem. Hanging with Emeralds.
So now we are doing it! For real. We’re gonna go to the Emmys and I have no idea what I am getting us into.
I knew we needed new sets. What we have would just not do! (in my mind that has a british accent) So far we have done shows very rarely. Maybe one or two annually, so our display has been less than a priority.
Since I knew I wanted to showcase each of the Giving is Good pieces and that we wanted white I envisioned each piece having it’s own white column. And since we happened to have amazing resident handy girl, Jody Miller on our team – she set about creating these sets for us. We decided to use shipping boxes to create the columns and Jody prototyped the column covers. We redesigned slightly, selected the final fabric and off she went.
Nicole helping Jody make the sets. Jody pulled this off with a sprained hand no less!
Fast Forward to the day of……
We shipped them flat as empty boxes. When we got to LA we popped them open and taped them up. We bought 1 gallon water bottles to weight them and put the columns slipcovers on. It worked out great! My team is clever:) Plus now we have them and we are ready for the Golden Globes! (someday)
There was a lot of scrambling once we got to LA to get everything else we didn’t bring or ship ahead. The find of the day what that wooden thingy for lack of a better word. It’s from wood reclaimed from old barns and bridges in United States. Could not leave that behind!
A few months back I got a call. It was Nancee Borgnine, she explained that she and her father, “the” Ernest Borgnine host celebrity gifting events prior to all the big awards, Emmy’s, Oscars, Golden Globes etc. She told me she found my Men’s Collection is LA magazine and she wanted us to come to her Emmy gifting event.
No. That was my first thought. All the reasons running through my head of why I should not do it. And without going into all the tedious details let’s just say…
1) my family – it was gonna be a minimum 4 day trip – Leaving hubby, 2 kids and 3 dogs that kind of count on me for a whole bunch of things. not gonna be easy.
2) The logistics of getting out there and bringing a person or two with me. I didn’t think I could pull it off alone. (boy was I right. the number of people that helped make this trip happen is pretty long – more on that in another post.)
3) Cha-ching! This was gonna cost me. You have to be prepared to gift a lot of people plus all the travel and display costs.
4) fear – not exactly sure of what but it was definitely fear.
I have to thank Nancee for convincing me otherwise. After I said a polite “it’s not for me” we got to talking further. I felt like I was talking to someone I’d known forever. She has a really fun way about her. We discussed my collection of pieces that raise funds for various causes. Each one has it’s own unique story and the collection developed naturally.
Here it is…
This is a postcard we created for the Event to show the collection as a whole.
So, after a few calls back and forth, and lots of mulling it over on my part. I decided if nothing else it would be great or at least an interesting experience. You only live once, what the heck! I’m in:)
Sitting down “to write” – That is such an odd concept to me. To allow the space to sit back and put all those crazy thoughts to paper or rather digital paper. How much time can you allow? What is the value of the words you write? It is crazy to think about this to me. It is weirder to think that what comes out I will post. Maybe.
Anyway, I am supposed to be blogging about going to the Emmy’s Event but I want to go back further and blog about so many things and I am not sure what the order or organization will be. Oh my! How will I proceed? Screw it, it’s a blog you can do whatever you want, right? Right!
So, inside the shop. The Shop is an amazing place. It’s not really a shop, like a store. It’s a working studio. We share the beautiful space with J Briggs & Co.
Jen, the J in J Briggs & Co, is my good friend. From the day we met through a mutual friend (shout out to you, Amy Iris, miss you!) it was kindred spirits, so to speak. She is a fine jewelry designer and gemologist. At the time we were both working out of our homes, dark kind of lonely basements I should add, and dreamed of a big open space where we could share resources, ideas and expenses.
In 2010 Jen found a really cool old warehouse, in a great location, 10 minutes from home. She turned it into this beautiful space. It’s nestled way back off the main street and surrounded by conservation land. It has a big garage door that we can open and on a beautiful day it is just awesome. Kids are welcome which comes in especially handy. Between us we have 5 dogs and sometimes they hang out at the shop too. Pandora is almost always playing. What more could we ask for?
This photo shows the space that Jen created. Pretty sweet digs, huh? Heart & Stone moved into the space in February of 2012. Our side of the shop is not quite this pretty but it’s really cool. More on that in a later post. -Julie
J Briggs and Co
I never thought I’d have a blog. Ever. Let’s just say growing up writing was not my strong suit. Somewhere along the way I developed the idea that I was not, nor would I ever be a good writer. I probably decided this somewhere around 3rd grade and proceeded to believe that on an on going basis well into my 20′s and 30′s. Well, here I am, forever 39 and writing my first ever blog post. (For the anyone to read!) High school Julie would not believe me. And she knew everything:)
I wanted a place to blog about the things that have happened over the last few months at Heart and Stone. Since this past February we have moved into a new studio space, gone to LA to an Emmy Gifting Suite to hob knob with celebs and been interviewed for ABC’s Chronicle which will be airing soon all over New England. (We don’t know the date yet but will keep you posted) Plus we are now four strong! Not the same tiny little operation that started in my basement back in 2007.
I am terrible about remembering to take photos and when I do my camera is nowhere to be found. I am trying to turn over a new leaf.
I love the way the light looks in this photo. The space has lots of windows so we get great light.
I busted out the camera while we where getting ready for the big Emmy event plus, I having been wanting to take pictures of the new space. So here it is mess and all:)
The space used to be an old warehouse and it has these great garage doors that we can open when the weather is nice. In the pic below is a relatively new addition to Heart and Stone, Nicole Malinosky. She recently graduated with a degree in Metals from UMass. She is a very talented designer and we are thrilled to have her!
Have to go get the kids so that will be it for the very 1st official post of the blog I never thought I would have. I am gonna hit publish and there is no turning back!