Aug 1, 2014

Now THAT'S Customer Service!

After my last post, here, I had people telling me how they couldn't wait for me to reveal my 20th Anniversary Ring custom made by the wonderful folks over at Todd Reed.

Oh the excitement of waiting for this to arrive!!

I had a nice blog post all worked out where I would tell you how the whole thing got started - here - and how the conversations back and forth with Miranda W. over at the Todd Reed Studio in Boulder, Colorado have been fantastic and I would show you the photos of the 'work in progress' they sent me and then I would reveal 'said beauty'.

Well, it all happened just as mentioned,...with one tiny little blip. 

I say tiny because my ring isn't the most extravagant, nor the most expensive.  It's rather small in comparison to the amazing and super luxurious pieces put out by the team over at Todd Reed.

But the coolest thing is, that doesn't seem to matter.  At least that's how they are making me feel, because the level of customer service I've received from them has been absolutely wonderful!

Definitely Top Notch!

So, here's the scoop!

I had selected what looked like a black diamond for the main stone of my ring (even Miranda and Jennifer over at the TR studio thought it looked black in the photos).

See, that middle one does look black, doesn't it?

But, when I opened the fed ex package and saw the certificate with the description of my ring, it said, 'brown diamond'.  And I immediately thought, "Oh, I hope it's so dark that it looks black" (I'm not really a 'chocolate-colored diamond' kind of girl).

I opened the lovely box (Their packaging is really amazing!!) and, was a brown diamond. A very beautiful, brown diamond too, I might add. Simply beautiful. But brown.

Okay - So here's a little sneak peak!

My heart sank just a smidge because I had wanted black. 

Like a dark, super shiny, black.

So, I picked up the phone, called the team over at TR, and a very nice person by the name of Jennifer answered. 

Her response when I told her what had happened put my heart right back where it belonged!  She said, "Not a problem at all Michelle. I will email you a fed ex label for you to send it back to us and we'll replace the brown diamond with a black one. We want you to be completely happy with your ring."

With the exception; once I tried the ring on I did not want to take it off!  It was like sliding butter on my finger - so smooth and perfect in every way.  It felt amazing!

But, the diamond wasn't going to just insert itself into my ring, so back in the lovely box it went.

The other day my ring arrived via Fed Ex in Boulder and the wonderful folks over at Todd Reed will be adding a black diamond for me very soon.  

See what I mean?

 Excellent customer service!

(I know a few companies who could take cue from these folks!!) 

In the meantime, here's a little sneak peak of the pics they sent me of my ring being created.

It does kinda look brown in the top right corner; but black in the bottom right one.

I understand that a young man by the name of Chapin is the one in the photo working on my ring.  (Thank you!)

They sent the photos to me in a printed out sheet instead of in digital format, which is very nice because I can keep it with my certificate of authenticity - pretty cool, eh?! 
And yes, I will reveal the actual ring, complete with some close up pics that I will take, once it arrives back here to me. 

Plus, I'll share the sketch I sent them of how I wanted my stones placed/arranged and the super cool little 'gift' they enclose with their packages, too. 

It's funny, because I'm sure most people don't get this excited over their wedding anniversary bands or for that matter even their actual engagement or wedding rings, but I'm a bit of a drama queen when it comes to jewelry that I love, you'll just have to bear with me! 

Thanks in advance! :-) 

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Waiting to Really Gush!!

Jul 26, 2014

Focus on Life 2014 - Weeks 29 and 30

I missed last week, which was week 29 of the Focus on Life:2014 Weekly Photography Challenge and this is now week 30, so I'm going to play a little catch up here today.

Our Focus for July is "Celebrate" and for week 29 our prompt was to 'Celebrate Sweetness'. 

I had a photo of my son who, after falling asleep on the floor one afternoon (gotta love summer afternoons!), looked so sweet. I'm sure you've all heard me mention at least a million times how much he dislikes having his photo taken (or posted); even while he sleeps, apparently. 

So, I decided to play nicely with him and instead post this pic of Kiki totally photo bombing Coco in his moment of 'showing off' for the camera!  These two can really be the epitome of 'sweetness' when they want to be!

For week 30, our last week of July, Sally over at The Studio Sublime, prompted us with "Celebrate YOU!" And we are to celebrate ourselves by capturing a moment in our lives. 

We've all said many times over how these prompts Sally gives us ever so strangely, yet sweetly, coincide with what's going on in our lives at the moment. 

This week's prompt was no exception.

Thursday I received this:

It's from the wonderful folks over at the Todd Reed Jewelry Studio in Boulder, Colorado. 

Yep, this box holds the fabulous custom ring my hubby is gifting me for our 20th Wedding Anniversary coming up here in September. (He and our good friend, Steve, are designing his anniversary band.)

The anticipation of waiting for this to arrive on Thursday afternoon, was just 'over-the-top'! 

Having a Todd Reed piece is something I've dreamed about since I saw my first photo of one of his rings in a Modern Jeweler Magazine back in 2006. 

Todd Reed Ring -

No, that one isn't mine! ;-)

I never dreamed that I would actually get to help design the piece of Todd Reed jewelry that I would one day own.  But I did - and what an experience it has been. 

And now, here it is, my hands!

I am so very ready to Celebrate this amazing, much anticipated and dreamed of moment, in my life!

Join me back here in a few days as I take you on a little journey of this ring in the making (complete with photos from inside the TR studio in Boulder!) and show you what's inside the box!

Until then, please hop on over to all the participant's blogs below and see how they captured a moment in time, celebrating their lives! 

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Life's Celebrations!

Jul 12, 2014

Celebrate the Season - FOL28

Our July theme for the Focus on Life:2014 Weekly Photography Challenge is "Celebrate" and for week 28 Sally, over at The Studio Sublime, prompted us to

"Celebrate the Season"

Each summer we spend time at my sis's cabin in the mountains and I love to 'Celebrate the Season' by capturing photos of all the lovely wild flowers growing all around!!  

Please stop by and see how every one else is Celebrating this Summer Season,....

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Celebrating Summer!

Jul 5, 2014

FOL14 - Week 27

The theme for the month of July for the Focus on Life 2014 Weekly Photography Challenge is 
"Let's Celebrate"

Week 27: Celebration!  "There are so many little celebrations that occur everyday and you may not realize that they happen.  A quiet toast between friends, a smile for a job well done, a candle on a cake, a sparkler all aglow.   Let's Celebrate the season, family, love hope and life!"

Monday was our son's 17th Birthday. 

He absolutely hates having his photo taken - even on his birthday!

Logan, Day 1 - in the hospital.  Then this summer at the cabin actually smiled and let me take a photo before he went on a motorbike ride!! (yippee!)

I snagged a pic of him blowing out the candle on his cheesecake (he's not a fan of regular cake) and then he turned around to see I was trying to snap another photo.

You can tell by the photo that he's not standing still and the look he's giving me is one that says, "I can't believe you're even trying to take a photo of me, mom!" 

Oh well, I still love it. And him!  

We also celebrated our country's birthday yesterday.

The good ol' USA turned 238 years old. 

So, Cheers to Birthdays and wonderful celebrations!!

Click on the links below to see what everyone else is celebrating this week!

Until Next Time, 

Peace, Love and Celebrating Life's Special Moments!


Jul 4, 2014

Happy Birthday USA

Happy Independence Day! 

Each day I am thankful for the ability to live in this country and the freedoms I have because of the sacrifice of all those before me.

Until Next Time,



Jun 28, 2014

Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! 2014 Blog Hop Reveal!

Welcome to the 2014 
Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! 
Blog Hop Reveal!

Are you ready to see some gorgeous pearls today?  I know I am!

The guidelines for the Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Hop were quite simple.

"Show Us Your Pearls!" 

Yes, that's about it. It didn't have to be jewelry or bead related. Anything you wanted to design and create with pearls was fine - and welcomed!

Feel free to show off your pearls along with us. Just use the InLinkz Link Up tool at the bottom.

If you'd like to have the InLinkz code so you can have the link up tool on your blog today too, just clink here and you'll go to the page that has the link to the code.

With everything going on this month, it was challenging, but I did managed to create a couple of designs. 

First up, I got to play with some solid gold!

Oh YES! It was heaven!

And it isn't just any piece of gold either.

It's an 18k yellow gold original cross that my hubby, Mike, and our friend, Steve, created and cast earlier this month.

It measures a whopping 1.75 (almost) inches long and has some heft to it - but not too much!

I had no idea what or how I wanted to use this cross - especially since I don't wear gold - so this was a challenge.

I knew it deserved the 'good pearls' in my inventory.
And something that would make it 'pop'. 

The really nice freshwater cultured drop pearl that dangles on it is approximately 13mm in size - rather large.

The pearls in this necklace are freshwater cultured pearls from Majestic Pearl.

I wanted to make the cross charm something that could be taken on/off easily so the pearls could be worn on their own and so the cross could be worn on other necklaces, too.

I'd seen several versions of this sort of 'bail' over on Pinterest lately, so I thought I'd try creating my own version and it worked out quite well.

Did you know there is a difference between a 'bail' and a 'pearl enhancer'?  

You can read a nice article from my online friend Calla Gold about the difference here.

This necklace reminds me of Old World Kings and Queens and a time when, despite the rugged materials the craftsmen had to work with, pieces were elegant, opulent and exquisite.

It was extremely fun playing with 'the good china', as I call it!

From the pearls, the handcrafted clasp, to the cross - this one's a keeper! 

Except Mike keeps telling me he's taking the cross and melting it down and making something else with his gold.

Umm, I think it's perfect the way it is. 

And then there's this fun little guy. 

Better known as 'Donald Trunk'.

My hubby found some old molds at a jewelry supply store in town here and he poured me this pewter elephant using one of them. 

Mike calls him "Donald Trunk" because he's got this 'blob' of pewter on the top of his head,...see that??  

It's like a wild pewter 'comb-over' or toupee.  Yep. LOL!!

 The pearls in this necklace are also freshwater cultured pearls.
The dark ones have been dyed to get this awesome deep color and they come from Majestic Pearl as well.

They represent the deep colors of the elephant, both his skin and his eyes.

The really fun 'waffle' pearls (that's what I call them - it's neither a correct nor industry used term!) are keshi pearls that I picked up several years ago from Ayala's Originals at the gem show down in Tucson. 

They represent the rough skin of the elephant and his wonderful 'wavy' ears and the color of his tusks.

Both necklaces were hand knotted on C-Lon cord that I purchased from the

I like using C-Lon (and Superlon, too) on many of my designs because it doesn't stretch as much or absorb body oils, lotions and perfumes as quickly as 100% silk does. Which makes caring for it a bit easier than designs created with silk. And to me, it drapes/hangs much like silk, which I like.

 When we did the Pearls Blog Hop last fall, many of you said you liked all the links I provided to various educational sites about pearls and many of the video tutorials and things of this nature, so here's the link to
with all the links for anyone who wants to see them and revisit any of the goodies that were included in last fall's reveal post.

Also, here's the link to my Pearls page here on the blog where you'll find lots of pearl information, video tutorials on pearl knotting (not mine, but a lot of other people's tutorials) and other links such as jewelry, tool and pearl suppliers as well, so be sure to check it out.

I do want to share with you a really good video of how to knot pearls with out the use of tools, such as awls, tweezers or knotting tools or boards.  

This is a great method when you're stringing a simple strand of pearls - they come out beautifully!

This video is compliments of the wonderful folks over at Pearl Paradise.  Pearl Paradise owner Jeremy Shepherd and his wife, Hisano are a wealth of wonderful information and the designs that Hisano and the crew over at Pearl Paradise put together are just AMAZING!!  

Make sure to check out the latest post over on their blog, here.  And, of course, have fun drooling over all the beautiful pearls they offer for sale - wow!

And yes, the pearls in the below video are real, Saltwater Cultured South Sea Pearls,...Honkin' Huge!!

Now it's time to check out what all the other participants below have created with their pearls! 

Thanks to everyone who is jumping in today and sharing your pearls - I can't wait to see what everyone has created! 

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and All Things Made With PEARLS!!

FOL14 - Week 26

Wow - half way through the year.  The first part has flown by, if you ask me.  Hopefully the second half of the year will slow down just a tad bit so we can all catch our breath, right?!

For week 26 of the Focus on Life 2014 weekly photography challenge, Sally has given us this prompt:

June 2014: Putting the Fun In Photography
Week 26: Free Space!

"Like the good old bingo cards state, "FREE SPACE" right smack dab in the middle of the card!  We have reached the half way point of the year, REALLY!  
We are half way through 2014!  
For this week you have a "free space" to photography what ever you would like in what ever way you would like."

Oh, so many possibilities.

I took some pics over Memorial Day Weekend while we were up in the mountains at my sis and brother-in-law's cabin.   

I rather like the look of this one, so I played around with editing it a bit. 

And, being our country's symbol of Freedom, I thought it would fit nicely for our 'Free Space' prompt.

I haven't watched the video that Sally no nicely put up on 'softening' your photos - so I'll have to do that because this one might look cool that way. 

Please check out the below links and see what every one else chose as their 'Free Space' this week, won't you?! 

Oh, and be sure to come back 
here tomorrow for the 
Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! 
Blog Hop - Link Up.

I'd love for you to link up with us and show us what you've created with your pearls!

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and "FREE" Space

Free Space to Grow! ;-)

Jun 27, 2014

Getting Ready to Show Some Pearls!

Hello Pearl Lovers!

The Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Hop Reveal Date is Sunday, June 29th - 2014.

To make things super easy for you to join in the fun, 
we're doing a Link-Up type of Blog Hop via InLinkz.

You can simply add your link to the Pearls Hop by coming back here to the MiShel Designs blog on Sunday, June 29th and following the prompts for the Inlinkz linkup tool at the bottom of the reveal post. 

If you'd like to add the Inlinkz tool to your own
Pearls Blog Hop Post on the reveal date, 
Click here to go to the page on the blog where I will have the code.

Go to this Inlinkz page to find out how to add the code to your blog if you are unsure how to do this.
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Pearls, Baby!

Jun 25, 2014

Wearing Your Pearls!

Although the 2014 Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Hop that's happening this Sunday, June 29th here on the MiShel Designs blog had simple instructions that you could create ANYTHING with your pearls - it's a pretty obvious that my contribution will more than likely be PEARL JEWELRY. 

NO!?!  (You would have never guessed that, right?!)

So, let's get a little pearl fashion going on here, shall we?


It's fun and exciting (to me, anyway!) to see how pearls have been pushed front and center these last couple of years (FINALLY)!!

I'm thoroughly enjoying their nice little run in the fashion spotlight.

Here's a few things I found on the Internet
to get your pearl fashion cravings satisfied.

First up, this article by Brittany Siminitz a couple of weeks ago over on JCK online, (which is super!) highlights some great luxury pearl jewelry, like this awesome cuff by 
Vincent Peach.

Vincent Peach Cuff - LOVE this!!!
Fashion forward and fun!

Then there's the pearl body chains that every one's wearing - sexy, aren't they? 

What a great way to wear your pearls!

Then of course, one of my favorites,
Layering your pearls! 

The hottest earring designs around this year 
are those with pearls, too. 

Like these by Dior,...

Dior Earrings, worn by actress Emma Watson - Via Pinterest,

Worn by actress, Emma Watson.


And then of course, there's always my favorite designer,
Todd Reed.

His new line of jewelry has bunches of gorgeous pearls included! (Yeah, baby!!!)

Just look at this gorgeous ring of his!

Todd Reed Ring - with PEARLS!!!

So, now that your creative juices are flowing,
get out your pearls and start creating!

Then come back here on 
Sunday, June 29th,  and join in the  
2014 Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!! Blog Hop 
and show us your PEARLS!! 

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and All Things Pearls!!