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A Simple Start- The Beginning of Simply Wood Rings

In 2005, my wife helped me realize that all questions have an answer. 

She asked, “Can you make a wood wedding ring?”
My answer was “Yes.. but…”

In woodworking, you, as the woodworker, will be the only one that knows where your mistakes lie, in any given creation. The mentality that there is only one way of doing something is what kept me from seeing the wonderfully simple beauty in the question “Can you make a wood ring?”.

First, there is the question of durability that needs an answer. As a woodworker, you have a learned that “the world is flat” quite literally, thanks to the industrial revolution. You cut, drill, plane, sand or otherwise abuse this very natural material that we call wood. It is all done in the name of speed and efficiency all the while killing the spirit and soul of the woodworker in the process. 

gustav reyes of Simply Wood Rings

So when my wife asked me, can I make a wood wedding ring, I quickly dismissed the notion. I wasn’t listening to my wife; she didn’t ask if it would be strong, or if people would like it. She wasn’t asking if people would fall in love with these little wooden rings that manifest human emotion, or if we would post the first wooden ring on Etsy. She didn’t ask if it would end up cutting a groove so deep that hundreds of “would-be woodworkers” would be able to give the world and alternative to the traditional wedding ring. She wasn’t asking to create a wood wedding ring that would connect us with thousands of the best customers the world has to offer.

Provided wood from our customers
Gus & Juanita

She simply asked… “Can you make a wood ring?”

As simple as, I like to say, my wife’s question was, she understood that to answer life’s most straightforward questions was enough, beyond that, we are filling life with things we believe are essential and only work to obscure what is truly wonderful about life.

After all these years, I continue to find peace and purpose in life, telling customer’s stories with these little wood wedding rings. After I had dismissed the idea, my wife asked again, “Can you bend wood?”, I finally knew the answer to the question. She was a fan of Ames bentwood furniture, so I told her that wood would bend within limitations, but not thick enough to be durable to be worn every day. She let me sit a few days then showed me a piece of paper rolled itself, and that’s the moment it clicked. The world was round! 

We have not looked back since that moment, and after our woodworking journey spans more than 20 years and still going, Simply Wood Rings will continue giving the world an eco-friendly alternative to traditional wedding rings. “Can you make a wood ring?” is a simple question that gets me out of bed every morning excited to try and answer. 

Thank you to my wife, Juanita, for that simple question and all the fantastic customers that understand life exists in the wonderfully simple parts!

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Wood Ring Tales- Sebastien and Val

We love being able to share our customers stories!

We spend so much time talking with our customers to create their ideas, it’s wonderful to see the people behind the emails. We first started talking with our customer Seb in June 2017. He came to us with such a personal idea for a ring, we knew we had to get it right. We happy to share his story!

 

It begins...

 Seb and Val met 8 years ago at a party in New Zealand. Val caught his eye when she organized a running race in the street when the party started to slow down. Seb is from France and was a student in New Zealand and was working as an oceanographer (how cool!?). Val is from America and was on vacation volunteering at organic farms (again, how cool?!).  They dated for a few months before Val had to go back home to take care of her mom who was ill. Unfortunately, Val’s mother passed away. After, Val moved back to New Zealand to live with Seb and planted a rosebush in her mother’s memory. While together, they built a life surrounded by international friends, a surrogate family, of people who were environmentally conscious. After years of telling Val he didn’t want to get married and didn’t see the point in “boring superficial weddings” he attended a Wedding Festival, thrown by their close friends. Their friends all contributed to different parts of the wedding (i.e. food, music) and after he saw how amazing and stress-free the event was, he had changed his mind and started his search for an engagement ring. Fast forward several months- he found us! 

"I found Simply Wood Rings and they sustainability message resonated with me (we live under the permaculture principles, with no single-use plastics and Val is a sustainability educator). I collected some sand from our local beach, a branch of her mom's rosebush and some plastic nurdles (the elementary form of plastic before it gets molded, found extensively in the oceans and animals) that Val had collected on one of her numerous beach clean-ups."

One of the biggest problems when it comes to custom rings is getting sized. This was just the same issue Seb had, and to make it even worse, Val didn’t wear any rings so he couldn’t easily take one to a local jeweler to have it sized. He thought about using the string test- where you place a piece of string around the finger and later measure it (we don’t recommend this!)- he was too afraid of getting caught so he didn’t attempt the test. Instead, he’d place his hand over hers and would try to compare their finger size. Seb’s custom ring we created was made of Ancient Kauri wood that comes from the bogs of New Zealand and is approximately 50,000 years old. The inlays he sent were black magnetic sand, some of the rose bush Val planted in honor of her mother, and some recycled plastic nurdles.

Life is full of surprises...

After the ring was created, they had found out they were pregnant! A few months later they planned a “Baby Moon” to the Pacific Island of Rarotonga. Seb planned a photoshoot while they were there and was calling it a “Pregnancy Shoot”. However, he planned to propose while they were hanging out with all the palm trees.

Surprise number 2- There’s a tropical storm in the Cook Islands and Seb and Val are forced to stay indoors. Visiting all the museums they could possibly find over the next 4 days, they decide it’s time to head home. The photoshoot is canceled, Seb doesn’t have a plan B. He’s got to figure out a plan B!

Photo from http://www.teresatastes.com/rarotonga

(This is a gorgeous place and I had to find a photo to share with everyone!)

Back home after their babymoon, another stormy afternoon, Seb heads home from work after the power goes out in the whole town. “When I arrived home, Val had the same idea to go for a rainy walk with hot cocoa, our usual rainy day activity (I only go for walks if the weather is horrible and we have cocoa…).” They head over to a platform that overlooks their local beach, which is where they had their first date, many picnics, and their pregnancy celebration *IT’S PLAN B!!*

Seb has the ring in his pocket and tries to find the perfect moment. Val is sitting down (as she’s pregnant) and he waits for the perfect moment to propose. He sees a tropical bird in the distance, asks her “What kind of bird is that?” (he really doesn’t know). Val stands up to look and Seb scrambles to get the ring out of his pocket and gets down on one knee. 

Val didn't say YES at first, it was more " WHAAAAATTTTT???" (this was delivered with an interesting surprised face!) I guess she was surprised after years of agreeing on not getting married! Getting a clear positive answer took a couple of minutes...


The only problem is, the ring is wayyyyy too big (as you can see in this second photo).

So they sent it back to us and we crafted him a new one in the correct size. We got it back to Seb and Val as their due date was rapidly approaching!  On February 13th, 2018 the ring was in the mail on it’s way to New Zealand. On February 22nd, Val goes into labor. They took one last walk on the beach to clear their heads before heading to the birthing center. Seb stopped at his office quick to pick up a few things and sees the newly crafted, correct sized ring on his desk. While they’re on their way to the center, Val is laying on the back seat and Seb once again presents her with her wooden ring. Six hours after- they’re daughter Zoé was born.

We’re so happy we were able to be part of this wonderful story!
If you want to check out Val’s website you can head here: http://valeriebianchi.com/

Do you have a story you want to share about your rings?

We'd love to hear it!
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Can I provide my own wood for a custom wood ring?

We're always asked by customers if they can provided their own wood and the answer is....

YES!

We started Simply Wood Rings with the idea that our wood rings be simply beautiful and meaningful. To make our rings more meaningful, we love using customer provided wood. It is very important that your wood ring tell your story whether it is created from your own provided wood or our eco-friendly sourced wood. Additionally, we are not just limited to just wood as an inlay it can also be provided sand, stones, or even other types of plant life, like flowers. We love the unique quality of materials because we understand love can be uniquely beautiful. We believe love exists in the simple part of life when no one is looking. It’s a breath, it’s the color of the summer sky, it’s the rain that gives you the space to feel. Well, you can see that we take your story seriously because it gives our life meaning to be a small part of telling your story.

custom wood ring
Provided gold mined in Alaska by our customers grandchildren

We are constantly amazed by the wonderful stories that we have been a part of, some are grand gestures and some sweet and touching, but every single one of them is moving, in its own way. A couple’s important moment remembered by inlaying flower petals, stones from that summer walk with the one you love, dirt from the land of your family, and vintage mother of pearl buttons that carry the story of love and protection through ages, it is because of these unique materials drive us to create these wonderful simple wood rings. Two becoming one yet maintaining their uniqueness is what we strive for in our wood rings.

Provided wood & Provided Flower petals
Rosewood with provided rose stem (from our customers first date)

Over the years we have worked with many different materials, some work better than others, but in every case we have been able to create a wood ring that is beautiful and deeply meaningful. Additionally, through the years, we have been part of a wonderful community of the best customers any artist could ask for so for that I am grateful to have been apart of your life. Find out more about how much wood is needed for a wood ring by Simply Wood Rings requires.

Want to Provide your materials?

We would love to talk to you more about your custom project!

Don't have materials to use but love our rings?

We have you covered!
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Start Making Changes Now! | Earth Day 2018

Looking to make some eco-conscious changes this Earth day?

Well look no further! We came up with some great ideas and helpful tips to help you start with your eco-change.

Eco At Heart ™

Reusable Straws

Drinking straws have become a standard in restaurants and bars. By no you’ve heard how terrible plastic straws can be for the environment. In fact, there are plastic straw bans happening all over. If you can’t let go of the straw, purchase some reusable one! These stainless steel straws from Eco at Heart would be a great choice! They’ve been creating these straws since 2014 and are focused on reducing plastic waste.

Since we’er sure you’re now ready to make the change, head over to the Plastic Pollution Coalition and take the pledge to say “No Straw Please“.

Reusable Bags

Here in Chicago we have a plastic bag tax, which means if you go into any store and didn’t bring your own bags, they will charge you 7 cents per bag. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but who really wants to pay 7 cents every time you go to the store. It seems to be working so far as I am always sure to keep a reusable bag in my car and purse. 

This first company Eco Bags has a great selection of different reusable totes, string bags, produce bags and so many more. Their mission is to “offer thoughtful, ethically and sustainably sourced, durable-reusable bags that inspire people to reduce, reuse, recycle and re-imagine the world we live in.” They’ve been in business since 1989 and by the looks of it, inspired many to switch from plastic bags that just end up in landfills to these great reusable bags!

On the search for reusable totes, I found this company Oxgut. They create furniture, mats, and other great accessories out of used fire hoses! The fire hoses that are reclaimed come from US based firehouse. For me, many of my family members were and are firefighters, so it was exciting to find these cool products.  

Eco Bags
Oxgut
Klean Kanteen

Reusable Water Bottle

Plastic water bottles are out, stainless steel water bottles are in! Klean Kanteen is a family run business that started in 2004, when they wanted a non-toxic alternative to single use water bottles. They have a great selection of different kinds of bottles, food canisters and cups.

Personally, I carry my water bottle everywhere with me, it took a bit to get in the habit but it’s totally worth it.

Other helpful tips

Donate

Donate your gently used items. Clothes, shoes, furniture and kitchen items that are taking up space in your home could be great items for others to use! Also, purchasing used items instead of buying brand new every time.

Grow

Grow your own produce. If you have the space you can grow all kinds of vegetables. Even in a small apartment you can create a herb “garden”. There’s a possibility your neighborhood could have a community garden as well. You’ll feel accomplished when you see your hard work pay off.

Clean

Create your own cleaning products. We tend to use a lot of harsh chemicals to clean, but there are ways to make your own all purpose cleaners that are better for the environment. Mix white vinegar, water, lemon or orange rind for a great smelling cleaner.

Recycle

Recycle your old or broken wood furniture to us! We love when people send us wood to use instead of it ending up in a land fill. If you’re already thinking of a custom ring, we can use your wood and inlay material. 

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How much to spend on an Engagement ring?

The age old question: How much should you spend on an engagement ring? 

It’s been answered with “two months’ salary” for years and years. Do you really need to spend that? Is that what everyone really thinks? How many people believe that?

A study done by GoBankingRates suggests that just isn’t the case. They surveyed 5,000 adults and offered them 7 options. The results are shown below…

Image via GoBankingRates

As you can see, there are more people that thought money was no object or spending less than $1000 was appropriate. It seems that the classic advice of two months’ salary is out the door.

What does that mean for you? It means looking for an engagement ring your significant other will love!

  •  Know their style. Are they super simple? Do they love the outdoors or would they rather shop till they drop? 
  • Know your budget.There’s no need to get into debt before you’re married, this is a new step in your relationship and it should be enjoyed. Meaning isn’t determined by price.

Breaking Traditions Wood Wedding

Vintage provided ring capped with walnut and turquoise

Birdseye maple with silver and sapphire inlay

Rosewood with turquoise inlay and bezel set topaz

“Breaking Traditions”Mahogany, birch with inlayed crushed stones

​As for us, we love using materials that have meaning for our customers. Creating rings with materials that are provided give an extra feature for them. Hearing the stories behind why they’re important is what gives their ring value to them as well as to us. While you’re out shopping for a ring whether it be together or purchasing a ring for a surprise proposal, think about what makes you happy and what gives value to you and your significant other. 

If you’re loving our rings we’ll always be here to create something special for you!​