Archive for the ‘General’ Category.

Megan’s Wedding Ring

short form: My wife and I are very happy with the custom made ring made by Edward’s Jewelry and Imports in San Francisco. I spoke with Jean Paul Tchamourlian there. I showed them some photos and talked about what I wanted and they made it for me! We got exactly the ring we wanted for about the same price as a ring made on spec! I got the sapphire from Andrew at, a cutter in San Diego. The stone is magically beautiful. Seriously.

ring from wedding website


Long form (it’s pretty long, all my wedding ring research!)

Jean Paul Tchamourlian
Edward’s Jewelry and Imports
Gift Center and Jewelry Mart
888 Brannan St
Showroom 160
San Francisco, CA 94103

Jean Paul was really super great. If you go, definitely say “hello” from me, I’m sure he’ll remember me. He gave me exactly what I wanted at the best price I found. At other stores, I found many not-custom rings that were similarly priced to my custom ring.

The San Francisco Gift Center and Jewelry Mart is definitely worth browsing. There are about 5 big jewelers and 10 small jewelers in this underground mall. You need to be on the guest list to get into the place (security is tighter since it’s all jewelry stores). Just call Edwards Jewelry (or any of the others) and they’ll have a pass waiting for you at the security desk. The Gift Mart website doesn’t look like much but it’s definitely worth visiting.

I also got a Sara and Jane Wishbone Necklace in Sterling Silver for Megan so she could take her ring off and safely keep it on her neck. It totally works but it turns out that Megan doesn’t use it. There are similar ring holders online, this is is a very good one. You can search online for “wedding ring holder pendant” “charm holder pendant”


I got the sapphire wedding stone for her wedding ring from I ordered 3 stones and returned 2. As the website says, all of the gems look different from the photos. That’s the thing about gems, you can’t capture their glistening in a photo or in all the types of light. I thought I wanted one stone from the photos but when they arrived, I ended up completely falling in love with another stone. So when you look at your stones, try them in sunlight, incandescent, overcast daylight… etc… Again, see it with your own eyes before committing to it. I spent about $100 mailing gems around with insurance and it was worth it.

Inspiration for our Ring
* Show me some Van Craeynest
* Van Craeynest Facebook
* discussion of putting a sapphire in a VC 1020

Lots of articles,

The first CAD design for our ring:

There are no official names for sapphire colors. Here is one website’s attempt at naming the colors. When asking around with these names, I got a lot of blank stares. Gemfix tries to put Pantone color names on their stones and that works better than saying “it’s more of a Camelot Blue than a Prince of Wales Blue…” heh.  sapphire_color_chart

Here’s some good sapphire guides. But screw all the guides! Hold the stone in your hand and see if you love it.
* stones by location

Places to buy sapphires
* (many stones have videos which is nice)
* (only open to the trade)

Gem sizing comparing millimeters to carats in round stones. (Via. This site has comparisons of lots of different shaped stones)
5mm = .46 carat
6mm = .84 carat
7mm = 1.28 carat
8mm = 2.04 carat

Styles of rings often have names, and often they don’t. I found abunch of buzzwords that helped in my search somewhat.
Antique / Vintage, filigree, Edwardian which is a subset of Victorian. Maybe Art Nouveau, Art Deco
Not: Georgian (kinda bubbly), Victorian (crowns and royalty, Edwardian, Art Nouveau and the Art Deco

If you’re getting a diamond, I hear that you want to buy:
Color: I or better (D, E, F, G, H, I)
Clarity: SI2 or better

Dumb tip I learned:
White gold is usually electroplated with rhodium to make it more white. This coating wears off, which is stupid. Jewelers recommend replating it every 1-2 years. Some people get it replated on special anniversaries…

White gold can be made from nickel alloys. Caution, they might cause allergic reactions.

More Sites to shop for rings:


Suggestions for Bay Area local dealers and ring makers

  • “ If you are still wanting to have a custom piece made or if you guys want to make them I can help you out with either of those requests.” David Casella
  • Make your own ring in SF from aerin
  • low cost diamond wholesaler from Michael Kearney
  • You could make them in silver in a Crucible intro jewelry class at Crucible from Denise Taylor
  • Bay area jeweler from Hilary Engelman
  • Bay area jeweler from Mark A. Watson
  • “If you are looking for specific ring design or have your own design in mind I can definitely assist you with that project.” from Bonnie Heras
  • “The 14 Karats on College ave. John and Lilly have been a pillar of the community for a long time” from Grant
  • “If you are interested in creating your own wedding bands together, I have had a number of students do that in my Wax to Silver Casting class at The Crucible. People have had a lot of fun designing their rings together, regardless of whether one person takes the class and makes them both or the couple takes it together. If you’re curious about going the make the bands yourself route, just let me know and I would be more than happy to chat with you at The Cru and show you both examples and options!!” from Kim Mirus
  • If they want something real clean and modern with a big stone they should meet with David.” David Cole from Chrissy K
  • Carmen Q – from Yelp
  • from a couple emails
  • Lorah Gross’ friend Kate who teaches jewelry craftsmanship and design for a living. She might be interested or know someone who is.
  • use precious metal clay to make your jewelry from Carol Dacanay
  • I’ve spoken a bit with Wilfy McManus, Celtic Inheritance, 1778 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley 510-841-8702. He can make or pour or help with us making a ring. He gave me the ring tools.
  • Go to Otto Frei in Oakland for DIY ring making supplies.
  • for inexpensive options (and comparison shopping)


Phew. That’s enough talk about rings!

For the wedding plans, I’d be happy to talk to you about what we did. I’ve got spreadsheets and all kinds of things!

I made a couple posts on my blog about the wedding. Take a look. I’m happy to chat about any aspects.

Another great hint: It worked perfectly! See our honeyfund here: (

A Circus Act That Serves a Smile to Refugees

My classmate Sarah is seriously considering running off with the circus for her Occupational Therapy international fieldwork experience! She’ll be joining a group called CircusAID. The program is being developed as a branch of Holistic Circus Therapy that worked with Syrian, Afghani, and Iraqi refugees in Lesvos, Greece, where thousands of refugees were arriving by boat almost daily, experiencing occupational deprivation.

Read more about what CircusAID will be doing:


How I Spent My Summer or Life on a Northern Minnesota Island

(This was supposed to be posted in the summer of 2013 but it got stuck in my Drafts folder. Actually, I want to write many many more good things about Minnesota and tighten up the writing here but I figure it’s time to just let this post fly)

How I Spent My Summer or Life on a Northern Minnesota Island 

Megan and I spent the last 2 weeks on a privately owned island with friends that may have well been family.

Located roughly between the triangle between Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, and Duluth in more ways than one, we had a tremendous vacation.

The island was formed by glaciers some twenty thousand years ago, stretching long and lean eleven hundred feet north-south and mostly 100 feet wide, but bulging out to almost 500 feet east-west at the northern proboscis.


Megan and I got in a lot of living on our trip!

  • The surprisingly glorious Mall of America
  • Sailing near Canadian waters with Don & Craig
  • Swimming in Rainy Lake
  • Kettle Falls boat trip & lunch (fried walleye and a Reuben!) & touring with Robin, Becky and Lucas
  • Working on the Review Islands with Robin & Bob, getting a tour of historic Mallard Island and Ernest Oberholtzer’s legacy
  • Playing dominoes & Set & Settlers of Catan
  • Shooting Star gazing on the dock with family
  • Being the last car in the Ranier Days parade!!
  • Getting a tour of the house & garden of Sarah & Don’s place in International Falls
  • Seeing Don Johnson’s Memoir Books of life on Rainy Lake at Coffee Landing… and then seeing the originals in the house on the island
  • Megan saw Planes with Sarah, Don & Billy
  • Great food: spaghetti with homemade sauce, tamari chicken, cold quinoa salad, pancakes, frittata….
  • Sunsets seen from the Happy Shack
  • Getting a tour of the (1,000′ x 200′) island
  • Looking for blueberries on the island and only finding sour mini cherries
  • Billy saying “there’s water on the floor in the bathroom” (uh oh!), “I’m not talking at you!”, “That’s my moon… you can look at it…”
  • Living in the “1st cabin”
  • A giant spider with egg sack living in our outhouse
  • Dockboy Lee! – cuz he’s often the first one to the dock when a boat arrives, to help bring stuff up the hill
  • Stomping trees with Chris
  • Getting 10-12 hours sleep per night!
  • Chickens doing their job with their vuvuzelas for our breakfast

Last Academic Semester

Last Academic Semester. I’m writing this from the BART train. Today begins my last academic semester at San Jose State University, studying for my Master’s of Occupational Therapy degree. This summer and fall I’ll be doing fieldwork. Then in January I’ll take the NBCOT. Passing that, I’ll be an Occupational Therapist!

Last semester was rough. The stress of the program, lack of sleep, very long hours, and isolation took it’s toll on me and my family. I feel like I’m ducking into a long, dark tunnel for another four months. Please wish us well.

Cards Against Humanity: 8 Sensible Gifts for Hannukkah: AMAZING

I ordered eight sensible gifts from Cards Against Humanity for Abigail for Hannukkah. The gifts were AMAZING! Really. They were inspiring, thoughtful, absurd, touching… just amazing!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Abigail isn’t Jewish, she’s a toddler! She welcomes presents from all religious and secular sources.

The first 3 nights were, of course, socks! You can’t have Hannukkah without lots of socks. Each pair came with nice, hand-written letters from dads. I don’t know whose dads but they were obviously lovingly written. Sensible as they a gift, they were unfortunately too large for Abigail’s tiny feet.

The fourth night held a Cards Against Humanity US Treasury Inflation Protected Securities Fund and a letter about the value of being thrifty! They friggin’ sent Abigail a dollar in an interest bearing account to keep safe! It’s like they were helping her open her first bank account! Yes, it’s a real dollar in a real account. The redemption information is on the back.

And here’s a photo of the tuppence bank scene in Mary Poppins for reference :-)

Here’s a snapshot of her investment portfolio. As you can see, since investing in November, her $1 has already turned into at least $1.00024645!

Then things started getting cray-cray. For the fifth night of hannukkah, they made Abigail a supporting member of NPR through WBEZ Chicago! So many firsts! So she’s like really a member of NPR now!

Next up, they gave the Chinese workers that actually print Cards Against Humanity a week of paid vacation. This might sound a bit odd but those folks live in the kind of place where they literally didn’t have a procedure for filing for vacation. The note explained how the CAH folks had to “buy” a week of nothing and then tell the workers to go home. It was accompanied by photos and thank-you cards from the people that work there. That is such a beautiful thing. There was also an awesome letter from “Josh’s dad” about the nature of gratitude. You can read more about it here.

Day Seven: This is when shit went off the rails. Stolen from their website:

We used the money for the seventh night of Hanukkah to purchase Tête de Faune, an original 1962 Picasso. The 150,000 people who subscribed to our Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah now have a chance to vote: should we donate this work to the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, or should we laser-cut it into 150,000 tiny squares and send everyone their own scrap of a real Picasso?

Again, a link. As of this writing, they haven’t gotten back to us about the fate of the Picaso. It included a hand written letter from “David M.’s Dad” about the nature of culture.

Last and greatest, they made Abigail king for a day! Well, strictly speaking, she will be king for exactly 3 minutes. They bought a castle in Ireland and are letting each of the 150,000 people that bought in have their turn at ruling it! Yes, it’s a real castle. Though it’s rather modest. No hot water, no heat… not even a roof. But it is a certifiable, verifiable castle! You can read some of the proclamations of prior kings here!
Abigail’s turn at rulership be August 4th, 2016 10:06am-10:08 Central time. Look for some big changes!

Britax Advocate Car Seat Manual

Here’s a local copy of the manual for the Britax Advocate car seat. One of ours was manufactured 8-2015, the other 10-2015. We own one for each of our cars. There are good instructions and videos on how to install it on the Britax website.