Too Obscene

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The other day Nad of HugsXHearts asked me exactly how many bracelets I have. I jokingly answered “ONE MILLION!” But then I started thinking about it. I might actually have one million bracelets. It’s more than a bit obscene. See the pic above? That’s them. About a million seems right, right? Anyway the thing with my collection is most all are gifts (one exception being the albatross ivory bangle). Each has a story and special significance. Most are from my dad and with his death I find even cooking the pasta from his pantry breaks my heart. I am foolishly sentimental with everything so I could never give away or sell any of my collection.

“But Margaret,” you might be saying, “I have definitely seen bracelets on your wrist that are not in that lot of one million bracelets.”

Well, you would be right. When I buy myself a bracelet (most always second hand) it is with the knowledge that I am the temporary guardian of it. It’s the capitalist in me, I suppose. I buy books with the intent to sell them back to the second hand store. Ditto clothing. Ditto jewelry. The great thing with owning a store, I can sell these items more easily than most people.

Also with a collection it somehow feels like cheating to just go out and buy an item. That makes it too easy. I have maybe 3 Hermes bangles that I bought for myself. Those 3 leave me with an empty feeling because there is no story to them.

Do you have a collection? What does it mean to you? How do you go about adding to it? I know Nad’s got some rings galore.

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12.27.14 back from the dead

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Oh! Hey there! It’s been a while, right? December kills me every year. Those last 14 days leading up to Christmas is solely work and sleep, that’s it. I still have this weird hangover. But now it’s over and I’m wearing cozy pants! And a big sweater and my honey is making some coffee. But I have some crazy shit to tell you all.

First, some background. I started buying bracelets by the pound from Goodwill for the purpose of selling some jewelry at my shop (ok, really because I love bangles, duh, but selling is an added perk.) These Goodwill bracelet grab bags are a crap shoot. In one lot there were two pieces of Sterling Taxco stamped jewelry. But that kind of thing is balanced by a bunch of junk stuff I throw out, then there’s the in between fun and inexpensive costume jewelry. Each time I open my grabbag I’m hoping for Bakelite. Bakelite, for those who don’t know is a vintage type of resin/plastic jewelry that was very mod and popular in the 60s. The black rhinestone one on my wrist in the pic above is probably Bakelite.

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So when this 👆showed up I was stoked. I thought it might be Bakelite. But you know what? This is not Bakelite. Guess WTF this treasure is?!?

Fucking ivory.

Giant ass ivory bangle.

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My picture makes my arm look deformed long, but you get the idea. This is a huge bangle that was part of my $20 for 10 lbs of bangles. Now the question is, what do I do with my new albatross? It’s gorgeous, it’s valuable, it’s impossible to sell and maybe even illegal for me to try. It represents the needless slaughter of one of my favorite animals (elephant). I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Today’s bangles include two XMas presents- the yellow enamel bangle was from one of my brothers, and the Hermès Colliers de Chien is from my honey. I cried when I opened it, I assumed with my dad’s death that was the end of the line for my Hermès bangle collection. But my honey! I love him. The rest of the bangles are Goodwill, black rhinestone square Bakelite, a red jeweled Indian bangle, black needlepoint bangle, Swarovski crystal bangle.

Guest Blog by Natalina 11.9.14

Today we have a very special guest, my niece Natalina (8 years old) who is the master of Rainbow/Crazy Loom bracelet making.

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How do you make these crazy loom bracelets?

Natalina: First you get your rack then you get your hook. And you get two or more color rubber bands. Then you read the instructions on which bracelet you would like to make. Once you choose one, you follow the pattern on how to put your rubber bands on your rack. Then loom the rubberbands like it says on the instructions. Then you’ll find that there’s one rubberband that you can put the C clip that’s clear that you put on one rubberband. Then you lift it up slowly, if it falls apart, retry. If it doesn’t, keep lifting and once you have one rubberband left on there, put the other end of your C clip on there and lift up.

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Above are a few of Natalina’s creations and below is the special fish tail one she made for me.

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I’m a lucky Auntie.

Anniversary tradition

My honey is so wonderful. Not to brag, or anything. Or actually yes, to brag and very much. I don’t know how I found him but we’ve been together for 8 years now and married 3. It feels like no time at all. For a bangle crazy girl like myself (ahem see below)

IMG_2549.JPG (that’s approximately half of my collection 🙀)

…so despite the size of my bangle collection I wear just three rings. My engagement ring, my wedding band, and this special beautiful ring my honey designed.

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Here is the original concept painting by Isabella at Hutten Jewelers

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Flattened out it would look like the infinity symbol, or two rings intersecting. Our tradition is that each year he adds a stone, the little diamonds are for our years before marriage, the colored stones after marriage. With each year, and each gem add on, the two rings meld together more and more to become one. This year’s add is the oval shaped sapphire. It’s very special, and it tickles me to think of my football-loving gear-head husband caring about the design of a piece of jewelry. 💗💘💗

I mean, look at these kids!

IMG_2626.JPG I’m pretty lucky. Happy anniversary, honey, I love you.

Good willing

For the most part, thrift shopping in SF is pointless. It’s all picked over, marked up, “vintage” Forever 21 pieces, or odd sizes. But there are two huge exceptions.

1. Men’s wear- I can wax poetic for hours over the incredible finds we’ve brought home for my husband. Calvin Klein button up shirts for $14, Dolce & Gabanna sweaters, great shoes. Good deals are super findable because frankly? Many guys don’t shop second hand, and those who do don’t know labels and pass over excellent items.

2. Jewelry, books, and home items at The Goodwill on Clement. My theory is this Goodwill is on the fringe of the fancy neighborhood so it receives donations of under the radar items that don’t have much of a resale market. But Clement street is very immigrant heavy, and I think the people who shop here are looking for practical items. What falls in the cross over of this Venn diagram? The less practical nicer quality stuff. Decorative vases, interesting jewelry pieces, and, well I don’t know how James Patterson books fit into my theory but I find lots of them too.

Check out today’s purchase:

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A brass wire wrapped cuff, with an asymmetrical shape to it and a brass and blue lapis bangle with a tiny little heart clasp. Pretty cute, right?? Big pat on the back for me.

What do you guys think? You find any great second hand items lately?

The final birthday gift

Well, yesterday was a rather sad day. I received the first group of my father’s possessions. Including his pantry items (so much spaghetti! He loved grocery shopping and apparently always wrote pasta on the shopping list), his Rolex, and my last birthday gift from him. This is it. I think it’s one of the carousel horse collections.

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IMG_2453.JPG ridiculous amount of pasta, right?

8.28.14 So late to work

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Pearls and silver!! There’s a fascinating book that I read awhile ago. In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki where he talks about the look and feel of silver. Japanese society prizes the tarnish of silver, apparently. I think of this everytime that I wear silver, especially when the jewelry is not recently polished. Tanizaki talks of the patina, the shadows of the metal, which reflects the age and wear of an item. Maybe even reflects the owner’s love for it. But I don’t know, there’s something so satisfying about polishing silver. Taking a bracelet from gray to sparkling silver. I did not do that today, however. These bracelets are definitely sporting some patina.

Bottom to top: silver cuff from Mexico that my father gave me years ago, the Elsa Peretti pearl bracelet my honey gave me for my 30th and swears that I never wear (It’s so fragile! It’d break my heart to damage it), another Elsa Peretti but a cuff of XOs my dad gave me in the late 90’s, and two delicate cuffs I think Native American in origin but again a gift from my dad.

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Second picture! Stupid selfie, I look so tense probably because I hate taking them but I wanted to show off the pearls. Miles and miles of Gump’s pearls from my dad. I miss him, can you tell? It’s nice to wear the things he gave me, I just wish they were he.