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Our Tiny Journey – Where it all started

After our first daughter, Kennedy, was born, my husband and I started talking about buying our first home. We dreamed of buying a house we could make our own so we would watch hours of HGTV shows and tag each other on design posts for inspiration- still a regular thing I will admit. The more HGTV we watched the more we saw of this booming tiny house lifestyle.

As a new household of 3 with only one income living in Los Angeles, well I’ll just keep it short and say; we quickly realized we could not afford a traditional house we could comfortably live in, in the area we wanted with our budget. So, we started talking tiny.

Watching everything on HGTV and doing our own research the idea that we could own our home while saving money AND getting rid of debt at the same time was just what we needed and wanted. We were already used to living in close quarters in our small WEHO apartment so we figured the transition would be perfect. But once we actually started looking into tiny homes, we found that the permitting and finding somewhere to put the house would pretty much be an uphill battle where we lived.

— It’s not like that everywhere though! There are more and more places accommodating this growing lifestyle. El Paso County in Colorado (where we are now actually) just voted to amend a land use code to allow tiny homes wherever mobile homes are allowed. The code has also been changed to allow residents to stay permanently. And with no better timing too I might add! —

So for the next year and some change, our time in West Hollywood was spent dreaming of ways to obtain our dream tiny home and a tug-o-war of “should we stay or should we go?”

The deciding factor, really, was my Mom’s passing after an almost 3 year battle with cancer. We decided that we wanted our girls to grow up closer to family. Family is the most important thing in our life. We knew our dream house would always be out there for us, but our time with loved ones is short and should be cherished.

So we stuffed our two small cars and a trailer full of our belongings. Loaded up our 2 girls and 3 pups, said “see you later” to where it all started, then we were off to beautiful Colorado and the next step in our journey.

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Make an impact with less impact | Tiny House

Not too long ago a movement started sweeping our country; a tiny house movement. People started opting for less actual living space and more room to live.

My family just became some of those people! Hi there! I’m Jessica, a stay-at-home Mom who’s recently relocated from Los Angeles to beautiful Colorado Springs. And the newest addition to the Simply Wood Rings team!

The typical American home averages around

Tiny House

2,500 square feet. Your typical tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet.

They range in shapes, sizes, and forms but they all enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.

Now, less space isn’t necessarily the biggest draw for most people joining this movement. The most popular reasons include environmental concerns, financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom.

More time with our loved ones and less debt / financial baggage were the two fire-starters that really got me and my husband wanting to go tiny with our family of four (and that’s a story for another blog post.)

But more financial freedom and better every day storage solutions weren’t the only things we gained from purchasing a tiny house. When you buy a tiny home, you’re also getting a brand new lifestyle and way of thinking. Our tiny house was built to leave the smallest footprint possible. Every material used to build it was all eco-friendly sourced. We know where the materials came from and what was/wasn’t used on them in the process of building the house. Not only is that better for us and the environment, it gives the house even more meaning and value to us.

And, you know, there isn’t any other better example of giving you more meaning and value than Simply Wood Rings. I am extremely excited and lucky to be able to share our tiny home journey hand-in-hand with Simply Wood Rings, and you all!

Tiny House Kids with Mom and Dad

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She’s special | Show her with a wood engagement ring.

wood engagement ring  The Road Not Taken

 

You want to propose because she make you feel like the world now has meaning and you know she’s the perfect one to go on this journey we call life. You need an engagement ring, you say, but she is not a jewelry person. She would rather walk in the forest than go to the mall to pick out a ring.  I have an idea. The next time you’re on a trail walk, when you get there pick up a small rock and put in your pocket. As you continue your walk pick up a stick or a small branch.  Be prepared for she’s asks “what are you doing?” Don’t be discouraged, she will be asking you that for the rest of your life. You will continue your journey through the forest and you will find a leaf or flower towards the end of your walk take that with you also. You will make a mental note of how special she is and how indescribably loved she makes you feel. When you have your materials in hand the Simply Wood Rings Team will be here ready and honored to help you engage her naturally with a wood engagement ring that is as special as she is. We can take your materials you have collect and create a wood engagement ring that is connected, meaningful and grounded in the things you both hold dear. You can read some stories of other customers on our wood ring Stories Page for inspiration.

To start the process or just ask a question fill out our custom inquiry form.

If you would like to see images of past custom wood rings see our gallery.

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What wood engagement ring mean to us.

Wood Engagement Ring by Simply Wood Rings

Engage naturally with a wood engagement ring.

Well, first off since the word “wood rings” is in our name you would think they mean everything and they do but it is much more than that. We hold in high regard the object we like to call our simple “wood engagement ring” because it is so simple and yet can hold so much spiritual and symbolic meaning. They can tell stories. They can hold hope. They can hold bits of the past and hope for the future. We can carry this with us in the present moment. We can not be anything but humbled when a young couple comes to us with raw materials for their wood wedding set or wood engagement rings. We look into the eyes of these young couples and we can see the hope and goodness they carry for the world. We are grateful and understand that we have been entrusted to not only be a part their union but that they hold the preservation of our natural resources as dear as we do. A wood engagement ring celebrates the shared values of two people striving to make this world a better place.

We use salvaged wood for our wood engagement ring. We have the pleasure of working with woods and natural materials that have wonderful stories of how people have met. It is fulfilling to know that we can be apart of giving the world an alternative to traditional wedding ring. We believe that our wood rings allow those that would have them to engage more naturally, love more naturally. Wood engagement ring proposes hope that two can become one in a very simple and naturally connect way.

Birthwood rings hold high the beautifully simple nature of the one you love whether it be a wife, mother, daughter, sister… not to leave the boys out we’ll include them too.

 

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Simply Wood Rings has Exciting News!

We Are Opening a Brick-and-Mortar in Chicago!

Our business is growing and we couldn’t be happier. We recently added a new member to our team and have been working hard to realize our dream of opening the first storefront dedicated to eco-friendly wooden jewelry. After years of perseverance, this dream is finally becoming a reality.In 2005, I started crafting wooden rings the basement of my Chicago townhouse. I invited couples and, sometimes, their extended families to my home to pick up their handcrafted wedding rings. When Etsy went live around that time, I posted and sold the first wooden ring to that platform which allowed me to grow my business and reach out to everyone looking for a simple, eco-friendly, wedding ring.Simply Wood Rings has grown to incorporate a full workshop and office where we work with customers to create their perfect ring. We are so thrilled to be able to create a space that will hopefully be our home (and yours) for many years to come.

Gustav ReyesFounder & Owner Simply Wood Rings

simply wood rings store chicago

Be on the Lookout for Updates on Our Move

After August 7th, 2017 we are requesting that all materials and refinishes be sent to our new address:Simply Wood Rings953 W. 18th StreetChicago, Illinois60608Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.As always, if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to call or email us!

Simply Wood Rings Store Chicago

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Chicago Father’s Day Part II : Local Activity Guide

It’s finally hot in Chicago. Really, really hot but don’t let that stop you from taking dad out on the town (make sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen!). 

Activities

+ For the Outdoorsy Dad

Governors Dodge State Park

Go camping at Governor’s Dodge State Park. So, full disclosure, this suggestion is actually not located in Chicago, but it’s not a far drive (about four hours northwest) but we at Simply Wood Rings know that it’s really important to get some perspective sometimes, out in nature. There are of course a few other state parks in Illinois (Apple River Canyon is a great option too, and closer–only three hours, from the loop) but the great thing about Governor Dodge State Park is that it’s a ten minute drive to the infamous House on the Rock. I’m not going to go into too much detail about that here but if you’re in the area, take a few days out of your schedule to visit, you won’t be disappointed. 

​+ For the Classic Papa

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is Part of CAF’s “Hotel Boom” tour

Chicago is a great place for many reasons but Chicago’s architecture and associated resources is second to none. If able bodied and willing, take your dad on a walking tour around the city to visit some of the most famous buildings in the world: The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Farnsworth House, Robie House, and countless others. The Chicago Architecture Foundation is an excellent place to begin. You could purchase a themed tour–“Hotel Boom” looks particularly appealing–or use the website to build your own tour to go at your own pace. 

+ For the Decadent (Or Overworked) Pa

Longman and Eagle

“Eat, Sleep, Whiskey” Repeat at Longman & Eagle

Why not wine and dine your old man and then set him up with a cozy room tucked away in an inn. Here’s a list of some “Eat, Sleep, Drink” places to check out:

Longman & Eagle (duh)

The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (because we just went over how cool Chicago architecture is)​

Soho House Chicago (classic)​

ACME (Because apparently they rent out a Google Glass to their guests? Not sure why, but dads love tech, right?)​

Harvey House B&B (bed + breakfast, nuff said)

The Guesthouse Hotel in Uptown (super cute area, super cute hotel)

The Publishing House Bed & Breakfast (another B&B, this time closer to us 😉 )

​+ For the Distinguished Dada

CC Ferns

CC Ferns : Coffee & Cigars in Humboldt Park

Not sure if we can sum it up better than CC Ferns writes on their website so we’ll paste that for you here: 

A charming and cozy neighborhood coffee house in Humboldt Park, C.C. Ferns serves expertly prepared classic coffee and tea drinks, including cappuccinos, cortados, chai lattes, and boozy steamers. Guests can enjoy a rotating daily selection of Doughnut Vault doughnuts, house-made croissants, and local oatmeal. A finely curated cigar selection features Old World classics, including Davidhoff, Montecristo, Ashton, Padron, and Arturo Fuente, paired with complimentary, custom-made cedar spills. The cafe’s design and style inspiration creates an eclectic mix, ranging from 1970s era influences to a spin on Tiki and Polynesian decor as an homage to the Pan Am Clipper Planes of the 1930s.

CC Ferns2806 W Augusta Blvd, Chicago, IL 60622

​+ For the Botanical Baba 

Garfield Park Conservatory

Fern Room at the Garfield Park Conservatory

​This place is only a fifteen minutes drive from our studio so you better bet that we’ve spent some glorious lunches here. Take your father to revel in some true #greenery and delight in the desert room with extensive varieties of strange and delightful flora.  The best part about this conservatory? It’s free, and usually not too crowded (unlike it’s Northside counterpart). 

​+ For the Literary Pater 

Newberry Library

The Newberry Library

This is a library among libraries. The coolest thing is that you can go and do some ancestry digging there — on July 1st, there’s a Geneology and Local History Orientation that is free and open to the public. Pretty damn, cool. 

+ For the Parks and Rec Enthusiast  

Caddyshack at Millennium Park Chicago

Caddyshack at Millennium Park Chicago, Tuesday June 20, 2017

If you live in Chicago, then you probably already know about Movies in the Park. So, here’s a short list to facilitate taking your father figure for a picnic–bonus tip: The Cherry Circle Room from the Chicago Athletic Hotel has recently launched gourmet picnic baskets replete with burrata and Unirboue Ephemere, a Belgian-style ale brewed with apples.

The Blues Brothers | Tuesday, June 13 (that’s today, folks!) @ 6:30pm | Millennium Park 

Jumanji | Tuesday, June 13th @ 8:30pm | Grant Park 

Caddyshack | Tuesday June, 20th @ 6:30pm | Millennium Park

National Treasure | Tuesday, June 20 @ 8:29pm | Haas Park 

An American in Paris | Monday, June 26th @ 8:15pm | Burnham Park ​

+ For the Artsy Old Man ​

Renee Magritte, Time Transferred, 1938 on view at the Art Institute of Chicago

Renee Magritte, Time Transferred, 1938 on view at the Art Institute of Chicago

Tania Perez Cordova

Tania Perez Cordova on view at the MCA Chicago

Your artsy dad is probably already hyper-aware that Chicago is probably one of few places in the Midwest to see some amazing art but we’re here to remind you that Tuesdays the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) is free for Illinois residents and Thursdays are reserved for Art Institute of Chicago lovers (it’s free too). Besides that, there are numerous amazing galleries in the city that are well worth taking a tour of. Check out this great list here: Chicago Gallery News.

+ For the Smooth Papi​

Kingston Mines Chicago Jazz and BBQ

Kingston Mines : Chicago Jazz and BBQ

You may have noticed some of these suggestions aren’t really that kid-friendly. This list is a great to treat the dad you are supportive of, co-parent, or pal around with. It’s also a good list of things to keep handy if you’re an adult and want to treat your hip-dad to a day/night on the town. Here’s our last suggestion–Kingston Mines is a legendary place. Go and get some amazing BBQ and listen to jazz with your dad late into the night. 

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Chicago Father’s Day Part I : Local Gift Roundup

It’s that time of year. Chicagoans crawl out of hibernation and fathers are celebrated, near and far. Here’s our Chicago-centric gift guide (including a shameless plug of our insanely handsome Father’s Ring). Shop local! 

Gifts​

+ For the Crafty Dad

Scrimshaw Set

This Mollyjogger scrimshaw knife kit has the potential to capitalize on any of dad’s downtime–give him something to apply his long, contemplative silences to. Here’s what Mollyjogger has to say about the art of scrimshaw: 

“Scrimshaw is an early American art form originating from the whaling industry in the late 1700’s. During the many idle hours at sea, a whaler etched drawings of nautical themes on items that were readily available to him such as sperm whale teeth and bones. His primary etching instrument was a sail needle, nail or pocket knife. After he scratched his art work into the surface of the bone, he would rub lamp black or tobacco juice into the scratch to reveal the drawing. As America traveled west, the frontiersmen carried the art form with them, applying it to their powderhorns, knives and other accoutrements.”

+ For the Crafty Dad (with More Time on His Hands)

Woodworking Chisels Fibonacci Curl

One of our employees gave her husband this set and he almost cried. For the aspiring heritage woodworker, these chisels are literally perfection. If you can’t tell, we’re a fan of using reclaimed materials. You could double the impact of this gift with some credit to the Rebuilding Exchange. The great benefit our employee got out of this gift is that her husband now builds unique, handmade shelves, tables, containers, and plant stands for their apartment at a fraction of the cost. <– Watch this satisfying GIF of wood curling into perfect fibonacci spirals. 

+ For the Stylish, Nearsighted Papa 

Drift Eyewear Chicago

Atticus / Tortoise Matte / Wenge on Walnut

We’ve got a theme rolling here, so let’s keep on with it for a second. What’s cooler than reclaimed/sustainable wooden eyewear? Not much. The dad in your life deserves these Chicago-made eyeglasses. Check out Drift Eyewear for some seriously handsome spectacles. 

+ For the Eco-Friendly Papi

Fathers Ring on Cholla

Father’s Ring : Rosewood | Pine | Cedar

This design is one of our favorites yet. It’s so simple and warm. The Father’s Ring represents rustic, nature-lovers well; and, each ring is personalized and custom-made by hand, here in our Chicago studio. For a complete list of birthwoods and their meaning/mythology check out the main Birthwood page.

N. B. Our workload is heavy, especially around this year so, if you’d like your ring in time for Father’s Day (June 18th) you’ll need to order your ring today! Also, be sure to check “Expedite” so that your order gets created and shipped out in three weeks. 

+ For the Bearded Baba

Damascus Steel Comb by Chicago Comb

Consider this glorious Damascus Steel comb available on the Horween Leather Company’s web-store. It’s a pricey item at $350.00 but the combs are made in Chicago and come with a high quality non-toxic Horween leather sheath. So, yeah. 

+ For the Distinguished Pater

Few Spirits Gin

Last, but not least, help him unwind with a glass of distinguished whiskey and spirits made here in Chicago. Here’s some copy from Few’s “Genesis” section on their website: 

Founded as a dry community, Evanston was home to many influential advocates for Prohibition who effectively kept the city free of alcohol for more than one hundred years.Though the city legalized drinking in the late Nineties, it took the perseverance of our Master Distiller, Paul Hletko, to reverse the antiquated liquor laws. With roots going back to some of Europe’s fabled brewing families, Paul and FEW Spirits have marked the end of Evanston’s Prohibition and given the city its very own craft distillery.

Or, if single barrel whiskey is more his thing Koval is the best we know, in town. Plus we’re teaming up with them for something special later in the year. So, stay tuned! 

Koval Whiskey