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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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Valentine’s Day is on the way!

VDAY BANNER XOXO

 

Flowers and chocolate are so 2017.

This year let SimplyWood Rings make that special someone a one-of-a-kind ring that says “I love you!” in more than one way.

 

Rosewood base

Simply Wood Rings offers a variety of beautiful reclaimed woods that can be used as the base of your ring. Rosewood, is a popular wood because of its strength, hardness, stability, and beauty. It is predominantly reddish-brown color and has a sweet smell. It is said to have compassionate and nourishing qualities. Cherry wood is a great base because of its rich natural luster and medium weight. It has been called the “tree of heart” and symbolizes compassion. Apple wood is another great base to use. It has an appearance and texture similar to Cherry, yet is heavier and harder. Apple is said to symbolize adoration and longevity in love. Another popular wood to use as the base for this special gift is Maple. Maple wood has a natural light color with a fine, uniform texture. Maple is also a very strong wood and has a high resistance to abrasion and wear. The Maple symbolizes the tree of offering, also balance and strength.Teak Wood Ring with Maple Liner

 

These four woods are just the start to what Simply Wood Rings can use to create your ring. Every material we use offers it’s own unique meaning and properties thus giving you a limitless amount of combinations to create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind ring that has it’s own special meaning for that special someone. Just check out our gallery to look at some of the pieces Simply Wood Rings has created over the years. Contact us today and we can start creating something beautiful for you!

 

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The Story of Julie’s Wood Rings

This is Julie here, you may know me as one of the friendly email respondents (unless you’ve talked to Sara or Matthew, they’re also pretty friendly- especially when you give them snacks).

I’m here to tell you the story behind my husband and I’s wedding rings and what they mean to us, but first I will tell the story of how we met.  3

John and I met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (via one of the online dating sites, we were both skeptical about the whole process at the time, but no longer!), while I was still in grad school earning my MFA and he had just graduated law school.  We met at a local coffee shop down by the lake and proceeded to have the best date of our lives, unable to stop talking we walked around the lake for hours and then decided to continue our date with dinner and then a movie.

Almost a year later, one MFA later, and one almost healed broken ankle later (his), we decided to move to back to Chicago where he was from.  On our one year anniversary we went out to celebrate and he surprised me by proposing down by Lake Michigan (in Chicago this time)!

When it came time to decide on what type of wedding rings we wanted I had been working at Simply Wood Rings for a while where I would ogle the wooden rings on the daily.  It seemed the obvious choice to have our rings made by Simply Wood Rings.

materials

We wanted to use wood that was special to us from the places we came from and wood from where we met.  For the outside of the rings we choose the rosewood that we have in the shop at SWR.  The rosewood is not only amazing for how beautiful the wood is but also because it is a piece of Chicago history having been salvaged from an old Xylophone factory that shut down here in Chicago.  For the lining of our rings we used a 100 year old maple floor board that our friend salvaged from the Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee after it’s renovation.

Ring boxes

Since we didn’t want to use a third wood in our rings we decided to use a piece of wood from my home state of South Carolina for our ring boxes instead.  For the boxes my parents lovingly trimmed (I’m sure with very little grumbling), a broken branch from the dogwood tree in their backyard and sent it to me.

 

We decided to also get my vintage engagement ring capped with the rosewood and lined with the maple to match my wedding band.

SWR Julie Doherty capped engagement ring

For my wedding band I chose a woven design with two lines that interweave around the ring.

Rosewood woven design ringFor one line I used some pearls that I inherited from my late grandmother, and for the other line I wanted a mixture of malachite, chrysocolla, and turquoise to match the emerald in my engagement ring.

 

 

Rosewood Meteorite Dinosaur Bone

 

For my husband’s ring he chose to have a line of meteorite and a line of dinosaur bone, if for no other reason than because those materials are just awesome.

We love our rings and I’m grateful to the talented crafts-people at Simply Wood Rings for creating something so beautiful for us!

Thank you for reading my story, I hope it inspires you to think about what meaningful materials you can use in your own ring.  What WOOD your story be?

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Guitar + Xylophone = Ring

At a show a few years ago, a gentleman approached Gustav: he had worked for a now-defunct Chicago xylophone factory for years, and had collected out-of-tune rosewood keys throughout his career. He’d never found a real use for them. Now he was clearing out his house and wanted to know, did Gustav want them? Of course the answer was a resounding (ha!) YES.

We’re so proud of this beautiful custom ring, made with that rosewood and a client-supplied guitar string. Check out how well the metallic spring of the string combines with the super-rich and multi-tonal wood. What could be more visually musical?

Guitar Xylophone Ring

Want to own your own guitar string ring? Head over to our Custom Orders page to start the show!

Want to reuse the rest of the guitar, too?

Check out this ingenious/melodic home from Fairy Meadows Miniatures!

Fairy Meadow Guitar Minatures

Perhaps something a bit more pragmatic and everyday?

Everyone needs more shelving! (via Apartment Therapy/Recyclart)

Guitar Shelf Recycle art

Reusing is all about innovation, and we love that!

For a peek at our in-stock rosewood rings, check out the shop! 

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Norm Sartorius and Recycled Wood

Last week we had a really fun customer come by our studio in Chicago. We were walking around the shop, and looking at all the different woods we have, and we started looking at this box of just little scrap pieces of wood. Each piece we pulled out of the box was more exciting than the last. We eventually found the right piece of wood for him, you’ll see his ring below. But we wanted to share these cool pieces of wood with you!

crazy wood

We are so thrilled anytime anyone donates wood to our shop. It means so much to us to have so many unique and beautiful types of wood. One of the many people who has given us scrap pieces of wood is the great artist, Norm Sartories! He creates, “non-functional wooden spoons” and instead of wasting the pieces he has left over, he like to send them to us and others like us.

spoon wood

spoon wood

Gustav met with Sartorius at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Craft show a few years back and they hit it off. He sends us a few pieces every so often, and we are honored to use the pieces that Sartorius has provided us with. We hope that you see a few pieces you might like to use in your recycled Norm Sartorius wood ring. We are happy to share them with all of you out there!

spoon wood

If you want to read more about Sartorius, we would love for you to visit his website with the following link: http://www.normsartorius.com/index.html

spoon wood

spoon wood

spoon wood

spoon wood

spoon wood

spoon wood

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An Ocean of Love!

We heard that Method Soaps began an initiative to recycle discarded plastics. 

Cool!

But guess what? We’ve already done it!

an ocean of love new ring

This ring, fondly named “An Ocean of Love” was created for a Marine Biologist from San Diego. She was studying the effects of plastic on marine life.

She and her husband were so passionate about the research they were doing that she decided to incorporate plastic samples, collected from the Pacific Ocean, into her crushed inlay. The result was this beautiful ring that is a constant reminder of the passion that drives her. 

>Great minds think alike! If more companies collected plastic to house their products maybe we could reduce the giant Texas-sized Great Pacific Garbage Patch that consists of plastic caught in a convergence of currents. We have so much work to do for our planet! We’re doing our best! One ring at a time! 

We really love what Method is doing! Check out their website for more information! 

method

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Did someone say whiskey?

Because we like to use salvaged woods for our wood rings, we are always on the lookout for new and unique wood sources. When we stumbled upon wood from white oak barrels that aged Jack Daniel’s whiskey, our interest was piqued. Jack Daniel’s crafts their own wood barrels. They char and toast the inside of the barrel to carmelize the wood’s natural sugars. The whiskey draws its rich amber color and distinctive flavor from the toasted oak.  Simply Wood Rings appreciates good craftmanship. We also appreciate good flavor. That’s why we thought this would be an excellent salvaged wood choice to inlay into our stainless steel ring.

stainless jack

simplywoodrings.com

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Recycling wood from the Major Leagues

Recycling wood from the Major Leagues

We’ve been busy this summer creating rings that are unique to the people that wear them. People have sent us all sorts of materials – woods, sands, shells, and stones. We always encourage our customers to incorporate materials that are meaningful to them in their design. Well one customer sent us a broken major league baseball bat. The bat previously belonged to Michael Bourn of the Atlanta Braves. We were able to inlay the broken pieces of Pro Maple into a silver ring for our baseball-loving customer. Batters up!

Recycling wood from the Major Leagues

Recycling wood from the Major Leagues

Recycling wood from the Major Leagues

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Craft Fair Wedding Photos

Craft Fair Wedding Photos

This last weekend, Simply Wood Rings participated in a local Chicago craft fair called Ravenswood Remix. It featured artists that use recycled, re-purposed and found materials in their work. So we fit right in! We had  fun telling fair-goers about how we use materials salvaged from xylophone keys, broken baseball bats, pieces off the family barn, locally fallen trees… and also materials that the customers send in that are meaningful to them. Materials that have a real sense of time and place. People really connected with it.

They also really enjoyed our Pop-up Fauxtobooth, where they (very unofficially) were able to tie the knot! Couples, families, and friends got hitched in veils, mustaches, and top hats. It was a blast! Thanks to Oriana of Okrfoto for being our wedding photographer!

See all the photos on our facebook page.

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

Craft Fair Wedding Photo

simplywoodrings.com