Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm baaack . . .

I got back from my amazing trip to Asia a couple weeks ago. I would have posted sooner, but it's amazing how much piles up when you're gone for a month! Somehow, even my clean house got dirty (a pesky layer of dust covered just about everything - eeew!). Anyway, take a peek! I have some of my favorite memories posted below.

Snorkeling off a gorgeous little island off the east coast of Malaysia.
This is a journey that has been in the making for nearly ten years. When I was eleven, I got the opportunity to visit my mom's home country of Malaysia. While I admit I was a totally snotty kid at the time and had a rough time getting over the culture shock, I came to appreciate the experience as an adult. It really set me up to be open to new and different things, as my mom would say. This trip was pretty amazing. My husband and I got to take a short four day trip to Rendang island, which was amazing. Taking a bus trip across the country was an unforgettable experience, as was this beautiful island in the picture above.

This market was busier than Costco on Sunday.
I have been meaning to make the trip back as an adult, but never could due to time or money. This year though, I just decided that we were going no matter what. My mom's side of the family has never met my husband, and we've been together for ten years at this point (married for five). I figured it was time!

A view of the lush countryside from the front seat of a double decker bus.
Travelling from location to location was a really cool experience, and something that most Americans can't imagine doing here for long distance travel anymore: taking the bus! When I was a kid, I took a round trip Greyhound bus from Washington to Colorado, and I can't even begin to tell you how unpleasant it was. Bathrooms didn't work on the buses, and lots of the bus stations felt like very sketchy places if you weren't careful. But it's a much different deal in Malaysia. The buses don't actually have bathrooms on them, which at first seems like a problem, but when you take into account that the bus drivers have planned stops, and you can always request a bathroom break, it's not an issue at all. One thing you definitely miss out on when you take a plane is the countryside - and in Malaysia it's breathtaking. We got to see much more than I did when I went as a kid, and as you can see, this method of travel was so worth it!

A sweet and frothy drink called teh tarik. It literally means "pull tea". 
Next to the stellar hospitality offered from my wonderful family (many of whom I had never met, and most of whom I haven't seen in over 20 years!), my fondest memories will always come from the food. I wish I had taken more pictures! The curries, veggies, fruits, and desserts are totally unbelievable. I actually came home with a million bags of spices to try and recreate some of the flavors. One of my personal favorites are the drinks. The picture shown above is a sweet concoction of aromatic black tea and sweetened condensed milk, and it is absolutely divine. Although it was always around 80+ degrees, there is something kind of comforting about having a cup of teh tarik at a food stall early in the morning. I'm so glad I finally got to go. In fact I'm already looking into planning my next trip ;)

Stay tuned for a post on our little adventure in Hong Kong!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Out of town

I'll be out of town for about a month, from June 24 - July 26th. The site will be open and orders can be placed during that time, but please note that I will not be able to fill or ship any orders until I return.

I am very excited about my upcoming trips. I think the last time I successfully got my husband to take a month off was when we were in our early 20's and we had the opportunity to backpack across Europe for a few weeks. This vacation is going to be just as awesome, and I am so excited. First we're going to be in LA for a friend's wedding, and from there we are going to Malaysia to see my mom's half of the  family (I haven't been back for almost 20 years!), and to finish it off we are spending a week in Hong Kong. I haven't really done much international travel in the last ten years, so this trip is going to be amazing!

Thanks for your understanding, and have a wonderful month!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Like it Rough

Amethyst has had an almost hypnotic effect on me lately. I can't seem to get enough purple! When I saw these rough and tumble stones, I just had to get a strand. Edgy and vibrant, these stones seemed perfect for rings.

This raw amethyst ring is part of my Spring / Summer 2010 collection. The stones are pretty substantial, so this ring is not for the faint of heart. I love it though, and tend to match it up with cool and flowy bohemian summer dresses. Also available in sterling silver (shown in gold-filled) for those of you that don't go for the gilded.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Find us on Facebook :)

Ok, so I know it's a little late. But better late than never, right? Now you can become a fan of Zurina Ketola Designs handmade jewelry on Facebook! Invite your friends, family, and anyone else who appreciates handcrafted jewelry to check out our Facebook page. As always with social networking, the more the merrier!

I think the social networking site will be a great way to connect to lovers of handmade jewelry. I like the idea of having another avenue for giveaways and specialty discounts for my customers.

And as a little incentive for anyone who loves a little free jewelry, I'll do my first jewelry giveaway when the Zurina Ketola Designs FB page reaches 100 "people who like this"!

I haven't decided on what to feature as the prize yet, so any suggestions would be fantastic. Cheers!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spring / Summer 2010 Jewelry

It's finally done - the entire Spring / Summer 2010 line is now available on my site!

I've been playing a lot with asymmetry lately, and the asymmetric amethyst necklace above is one of my favorite pieces. I managed to find an amazing new supplier in Chicago for some gorgeous gemstones, which is where I found the amethyst that is featured here. Each bead on the strand I procured was shaped differently, so every one of these necklaces is going to be unique.

I think my favorite thing about these beads is that the front and the back have a unique shape from each another. Shown here is what I call the back - the gem is cut in a slightly stepped pyramid style. The other side is equally cool - it's flatter, and looks more like your standard cut gem.

I love that it can be worn either way. I made the piece a little more eclectic by flanking the focal gem with beautiful champagne pearls, twist cut labradorite beads, and finished it off with a roped peach moonstone drop and sleeping beauty turquoise drop. It's become a staple in my jewelry box :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A lovely lariat + more new jewelry

Here is a little peek at one of the newest additions on the site, a cool iridescent champagne and navy crystal lariat. This is an interesting piece because it combines the luxury of the crystal with the more organic element of ecru waxed cotton cord. The lariat is about 40" long, and can be worn long, doubled up like a scarf in a couple different ways, or even as a belt. I always love a little versatility :)

One of the things I love most about this piece is the detailing. I've used a couple different varieties of twisted wire to give the impression of metal roping. I was inspired by a cute little sailboat I saw in the northwest while visiting my parents last fall.

I've always wanted to sail, but have never gotten the chance, so this lariat is my homage to all those lovely sea-faring adventures I've always heard about. Hopefully one day I get to experience it for myself!

To check out more new handmade jewelry straight from my studio, check out www.zurinaketola.com.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Jewelry!

I'm finally getting around to posting things on the site - yay! At the moment there are just a few new items, but there is much more to come! Above is a pair of roped plump pink quartz drops, one of the new additions this weekend. As much as I love to dramatic look of big, bold earrings, I've been focusing on more casual daytime looks lately. There is just something to be said for sweet and simple.