Away from the things of man...

Natalia WilsonComment

Can you ever really get away from the things of man? (Anyone recognize that quote? It's from my all time favorite movie, Joe Vs. the Volcano.) Anyway, I am packing up a whole bunch of man and woman made comforts, and hauling them into the woods for a few days for a much needed break with my family. Of course I am taking my knit and crochet projects! No trip is complete without them. So, yeah, I am taking a break from making things by going to the woods and making things. It's what I do. 

If you've placed any orders, even today, they are already on my bench and I've gotten started on them, so they should not be delayed. Any orders placed after noon today (5-23-16) will be put on hold until I get back, but feel free to keep shopping! I will be ready to get right back to work when I get back, so the delay will be less than a week unless you guys go on a shopping spree (please feel free to do so), in which case it might be a few days more. I promise to keep you posted when I get back.

Our 1st Birthday!

Natalia WilsonComment is one year old! It's been a busy year of making, learning, and upgrading, and still always learning, but here we are! Thanks to your wonderful support I've been able to buy better, more ergonomic equipment, and because of your feedback I have been able to continuously improve the gauge rings with little tweeks along the way. 

That ring in the picture is also celebrating its first birthday. When I launched the site, and started getting orders, I was working on this ring, but it was not perfect enough to ship out in my opinion, but still very nice, so I adopted it. I also decided to wear it every day to see how well it holds up to someone who is pretty rough on her hands. I have taken down a tree with a chain saw while wearing this ring. I've moved heavy furniture and tools, and hammered away at rings on a mandrel, all while wearing it. After a year of use and abuse, I am pleased to say it is still solid and round. The gauge is still true, and I do use it to measure some of my vintage crochet hooks. So far, so good!

Finally, a birthday is not complete without a present! Between March 5- March 12, 2016 you can take 10% of any order on the website! Just use the discount code BDAY2016 at checkout! 

Happy New Year!

Natalia WilsonComment

And now, back to work!

I hope everyone had a nice holiday season. I took a nice break to hang out with my family and enjoy the festivities. As nice as that was, I am ready to get back to work. I am already working on the orders I received over the break (thank you!) and am planning on some improvements to my work space, for which I also thank you, since I could not have bought the new equipment without your support (and my back thanks you, too!) I will take pictures once everything is in place.

Well, no time to rest, back to work! Happy New Year! I hope it brings good tidings to all of us.

Yule Time Greetings!

Natalia WilsonComment

Thank you so much to each of you who ordered jewelry and contacted me with questions and ideas over the last month; it has been quite a busy ride, my favorite kind! Today I am shipping out the very last orders placed before today. Whew! 

Below you can see the last orders being prepped for shipping. Once these lovelies go out today, I am taking a break until January 4th. I will keep accepting orders via the website, and start getting them made and out to you as of the 4th. 

Thank you for buying hand-made, and supporting a woman artist. Now this woman is going to hand-make some goodies for her family! Happy Holidays to you all!

A peek at the last rings shipping out, and my notes. There is a method to my madness!

A peek at the last rings shipping out, and my notes. There is a method to my madness!

More ways to give-just in time!

Natalia WilsonComment

Perhaps you were thinking of buying jewelry for someone special, but are afraid you waited too long? Fear not! We have a couple of options just for you.

Option 1: If you are shopping online, the date for guaranteed deliver has passed, but I am still working on orders coming in through 12/22/2015. I am then taking a break to be with my family (and make their gifts!) until 01/04/2016. The store will remain open, and all orders placed during that time will be fulfilled starting 01/04/2016. Thanks! (And if you thought I had mentioned something about gift certificates, you are correct, but they were not working with Squarespace. I will see what I can do about making that happen in the new year. Sorry!)

Option 2: If you happen to be in Chicago on Friday, December 11, 2015, Malojos will be teaming up with Balwen Woodworks at the MAKE SALE at the Chicago Art Department. You can find us at 1932 S. Halsted, #101, Chicago IL 60608 from 6-10 pm. Come and meet me in person, buy something lovely straight from the hands that made it, and maybe even talk to me about a custom design. If you are looking for gifts for the knitter or crocheter on your list, we have you covered. You can buy a gauge ring from me, and a unique shawl pin or other closures made from recycled and re-purposed wood from Balwen. You can't go wrong, and you will be supporting independent artists at the same time. 

A holiday shopping treat!

Natalia WilsonComment

As a small business owner, this time of year can be pretty stressful, but also rather exciting. I like it best when it is exciting, so please help me make it exciting by taking advantage of my Small Business Saturday through Cyber Monday sale! All orders get free shipping with the code: SBS-CM15. Sale ends Monday at 11:59pm!

Don't forget, for guaranteed Christmas delivery, please get your orders in by December 3, 2015. Why not do it now, and get free shipping?

Trick or Treat!

Natalia WilsonComment

In the spirit of my favorite holiday, Halloween, I have a little treat for you! Head on over to the shop, and check out all the new goodies. Here is a peek:

There is plenty more! For your treat, use the coupon code Boo10 for 10% of your entire order (that even includes the Gauge rings!) Happy Halloween!

Getting ready for the holidays...

Natalia WilsonComment

...and by that I mean Halloween! And hey, if you know people who love all things Halloween, you can consider this getting ready for Winter holidays as well. Today I listed a slew of skully and snaky jewelry, all hand-carved, cast, and polished by me. Head on over to the Shop and check out all the new original designs. The rings are currently limited in size to what I have in stock, but if there is enough interest, I would love to make more.

Wearing my Skull and Crossbones Earrings

Wearing my Skull and Crossbones Earrings

Last chance to save!

Natalia WilsonComment

Ah, the cost of, well, everything! It keeps going up, and we have no choice but to keep up or fall behind. Today I sat down to work out what it 14K gold versions of the gauge rings will cost so I can add them to the website before the holiday shopping season rolls around, and decided I had better review my silver prices while I am at it. Good thinking! Precious metal prices are pretty precious all right, which means I will need to increase the price of the silver rings since my costs have been going up as well. 

I thought I would take this opportunity to do a couple of things. One, to talk about pricing. Oh, I know I am not the first or the last, but please bear with me. And second will be about when the prices will go into affect, more on that in a moment.

Pricing. Nasty business. I think most artists would love to sell their work for far less than they need to. We just want (need) to make things and share them. But, there is this pesky business of making a living. Housing, food, clothes, school supplies, medical bills, art supplies, etc., it all costs money. So, we need to make living wages. I know a few people have recoiled at the current price of my rings, and I want to explain why my rings cost so much more than a silver ring mass produced in China or India. There is the cost of the metal, and since I am not making thousands at a time, I don't get a price break on silver. Then there is the matter of overhead and living wages. Overhead is the cost of having a place to make the rings, and the costs of the tools and consumable materials involved in making them. And living wages. I have worked hard to make really nice quality rings. I test each one. I hand finish and polish each one. And I have put in a lot of time to learn the skills involved in making these rings. So, I think I deserve better than minimum wage. Hence the price tag. Hey, you get what you pay for, right?

So, you read this far, and for that you get some special information: I will not raise the prices until next week after Labor Day. On Tuesday or Wednesday the prices for the sterling silver gauge rings will be going up to $149. I think it is still a good price for hand made functional jewelry, and I hope you will agree. But, I also know some of you have been waiting to get yourself a ring, or to buy one as a gift, so I encourage you to jump on the old price of $120 while you still can. Feel free to spread the word, and thank you so much for your continued support.

Leaving in a minivan...

Natalia WilsonComment

... do know when I will be back again.

That's right, we are packing up the kid-mobile and going on a family vacation from August 2-9. So, if you already have an order with me, I have already given you an estimated ship date, and we are good. Any orders that come in before I leave will get an estimated date as well. Any orders that come in while I am gone will be responded to slowly, and possibly not until I get back. (Not so sure of how connected to the internet I will be.) 

Tinkering around

Natalia WilsonComment

If you have been to this shop before, you might have noticed some changes to the front page. I am slowly making some updates, and prettying it up to include a new category: custom design. I am excited to offer custom jewelry design to a wider audience than I have in a long time. I have been making wedding jewelry for people, but the contacts have been made by word of mouth until now. For a long time this was great, my kids were small and I was not ready to take on the steady work yet. Time passes, and little boys are not as little as they were. This fall they will both be in school full-time (wonderful and emotional), and I can get back to full-time work as well. I love the challenge of making custom jewelry, it forces me to work outside of my own head, to think of new designs that I might not have come up with on my own. It exercises my creative muscles.

So, if you have an idea in mind, let me know. Let's see if we can make it happen.  

Memorial Day outing

Natalia WilsonComment

Hello! What a lovely first two months in business this has been. I am excited that I have been kept so busy making gauge rings to order. I enjoy the conversations I have had with many of you, the wonderful feedback, and the opportunity to do work I really enjoy. Thank you!

But, no matter how much I love my work, and I do, we all need to take a few days off here and there. So, the bench will be closed from 5-20 through 5-25. You can place orders in the meantime, but those 5 days will affect the delivery dates, that's all. Thank you for your understanding, and I hope you get your needed breaks now and then as well.

Hard at work!

Natalia WilsonComment

Seriously, you guys are amazing! A couple of you have found little bugs in the webpage I had not yet caught, and you have emailed me and let me know kindly, and that means a lot to me, so thank you!! You've also asked me to add ring sizes, and I am doing that, and should have a bunch of new sizes up this evening. The reason I did not list all of the sizes I planned to have available at once is that I want to be sure I am ready to fulfill any order that comes through in a timely manner, and for me that means having the model ready to put into production. I love the requests, it lets me know what your priorities are, and I can work in that direction.

I am thrilled by the response to the gauge rings! I never expected so many orders in the first few days! I am working as fast as I can, and I do not want to let a single one of you down. That means right now the wait for ring orders is now 2-3 weeks. This will go back down to 2 weeks once I have all of my initial castings on my bench. I work with a caster who has to cast and mold each of the original rings, and then make more castings from each of the molds. (This is why I did not list all the sizes at once, each has to be made and molded first.) This is the part that slows me down; I am not their only customer, so if they have a lot of pieces to make, it might take me an extra day or two to get my castings so I can finish them for you. On the bright side, by supporting me with your sales, we are supporting a small independent jewelry caster right here in Chicago as well.  I don't like keeping secrets, and I want to share how this works, so there are no unhappy surprises. The good thing is you get a carefully hand-made ring when I am done.

I am always open to your concerns, questions, suggestions, and so many kind words. Thanks to each and everyone of you who have ordered, or have come by my website to see what this is all about. 

Feeling the love

Natalia Wilson2 Comments

Wow, what a first day in business! You guys have been showing me a lot of love and patience as I get the bugs worked out, and your orders placed! I want to give a shout out to Cinnamon Cooper who first shared the idea of making gauge rings with me, and let me run with it; to Karen Boykin for testing the site, and always having good advice and so much patience; and to Susan Gibbs for really spreading the word about Malojos through Juniper Moon Farms on Facebook. What a great response! And of course to my family for supporting me, and putting up with me running amok while I get into this new groove.

OK, back to work! Those rings aren't going to make themselves.

New and Improved

Natalia WilsonComment

As many of you know, I have been making jewelry for some time now under the name Evil Eye Emporium. Back when I was starting out in the early 2000s, I had a variety of evil eye inspired jewelry, along with other lucky charms, and a healthy smattering of skulls. Although I still have a great interest in charms and the cultural use of charms for luck and protection, my jewelry selection hardly reflects an "evil eye emporium." As I thought about updating my shop's name I wanted something that was not a clean break from the old, but that does not give the idea that I am an evil eye market-place. Malojos means bad or evil eye in Spanish (it is the two words, mal ojos, smooshed together). I am still making shiny things that hopefully catch the eye, and hey, if it wards off a curse, all the better.