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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
(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're always asked by customers if they can provided their own wood and the answer is....
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.
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.
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!
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.
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“.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
A short time before I gave birth to our first daughter, I found out my Mother had cancer. In June of 2014 I learned that she had been diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer. She spent the next eight months going through intense radiation and chemotherapy treatments, while taking a slew of medications. Of course that means she wasn’t able to travel to actually be there for the birth of her first granddaughter, but we took a trip out to Florida as soon as the baby was able to travel.
My Mom fought her cancer with every ounce of strength she had, and while she went into remission from the cancer a multitude of other health problems took over. She developed lymphedema, along with kidney failure. My mom was in constant pain but through it all she always smiled when we were around. She never let anyone see how bad she truly felt and was still trying to take care of everyone around her.
In the middle of her battle with these illnesses and her remission she got to see me walk down the aisle, and she was able to meet and spend some time with her two granddaughters.
Ever since that first time I was told she had cancer it was like a stopwatch had started in the back of all of our minds. How much time did we actually have left with her? The doctors first told us she wouldn’t make it past six months. My mom was the strongest woman I’ve ever known and she beat the all the odds and lived almost a full two years after her diagnosis. She passed away in August of 2016 with friends and family by her side.
A moms love
My mom wasn’t just strong in her fight with cancer. My whole life she showed me how a person can be strong in so many different ways. She showed me how fierce and bright and wonderful a mother’s love truly is, no matter how far apart you are. She drilled in me that girls can whatever we put our mind too and we could be just as tough, if not tougher, than the boys.
My mom was my biggest fan, my shoulder to cry on, and a swift kick in the rear when I needed it. I’m so thankful for the relationship I had and how it’s help mold the one I’m building with my daughters now. I’m thankful for the time she got to spend with them and the incredible amount of love she had/showed them in that short period. A part of me hopes that their coming into this world is what helped her hold on a little bit longer, and its something I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Sitting in a tree ring holds meaning
One more thing I can now cherish and have to remind me of that is my own beautiful, one-of-a-kind Simply Wood Rings ring. Thanks to my wonderful best friend, Shelby and the rest of the amazing Simply Wood Rings team for helping commemorate it for me.
The ring that Shelby chose to use as the inspiration for my ring is the ‘Sitting in a Tree’ ring. The Simply Wood Rings ‘Sitting in a Tree’ ring brings the whole family together by using a base wood of an anniversary month and inlays of birth-woods or birth-stones to represent those closest to you.
My own ‘Sitting in a Tree’ ring features a beautiful base wood of Elm. Elm is the anniversary wood for the month of May. Our wedding date was 5-10-15 🙂 It was actually the first time I met most of Korey’s family and it was right before then my mom announced her remission for a brief period of time. That day was the best day ever. Elm has a light to medium reddish brown color and a somewhat coarse, uneven texture. The wood sands easily though for a gorgeous, natural low luster.
For the birthstone inlays, the outer two rings represent my two daughters, so Ruby and Turquoise were used. The middle inlay, representing my mother, is made from Amethyst. I never even thought about it until I put the ring on, but my girls’ birthstone colors mixed together make my Mom’s birthstone color. And purple just happens to by my favorite color too, ha-ha! It’s also kind of like my girls are hugging my mom and that is something really special to me. Not only do the colors of the birthstones mean something to me, but what they each symbolize add another layer for me to cherish in this already incredible memento.
Ruby is the gemstone used for the birth month of July – when my oldest was born. It is said to represent nobility and beauty, and is considered one of the four most precious gems. Turquoise, the gemstone picked for the birth month of December – my youngest was born on New Year’s Eve. It is one of the oldest stones, used in many ancient cultures. It is believed to bring good fortune and symbolizes friendship and prosperity.
For those born in February, like my mom was, they are said to be blessed with Amethyst as their birthstone. This popular gemstone is prized for symbolizing peace, courage, and love. And I don’t think there’s anything more befitting for my mom. She was the definition of courage. She spent nearly three years fighting a despicable disease and other illnesses. In that time she found peace within herself, she loved and lived as hard as she could. The love between her and my daughters fills my heart. Every time I look at this beautiful piece of jewelry that was made with so much thought and care, my heart overflows with all the emotions I feel.
Simply Wood Rings took these wonderfully simple materials and created something so precious to me that I will cherish for the rest of my life. They will do that for you, too. Every ring made by Simply Wood Rings is handled with the same care and attention that my ring received. You can trust them to make something that will have you and your loved one’s heart skip a beat every time they put it on.
If you’ve purchased a wood ring from us recently, or are thinking of doing so, please remember: Our wood rings are meant to last through the good and hard times as well as any changes that you might encounter in life, however with that being said we do suggest good wood ring care, including annual wood ring refinishing, as you learn to live with and care for your wood ring. Personally, I have two bogwood rings that I wear constantly on my pointer fingers and they get to experience life just as much as I do! I see the marks that I make when I knock it against my desk, or somehow my hand hits a wall as if it’s a reflex of some sort I have yet to completely figure out. I am that customer that doesn’t take it off as often as I should, I shower, wash my hands and dishes as well as the occasional gardening all with my ring on. My rings are essentially apart of me at this point, my metal and wooden ones. As I’m sure it happens to the majority of married people I feel lost without my rings even if it’s in the rare occasion I do take them off- it’s like something is missing. All this extra love does mean a little extra maintenance here and there.
Once the wood ring is back in our hands we work diligently to ensure special care is taken of it while refinishing your wood ring to its original shine or matte finish. Let’s say you’ve had your ring for a couple months and notice a slight crack in the outer layer- DO NOT PANIC, this is the outer layer which is for protective purposes and can be easily refinished to fix the issue, while this is rare it’s important to pay attention at least in the first couple months of wearing your ring. I hate to say it but some customers love their wood rings so much that they will wait years before sending in their rings, sometimes this results in us having to completely remake the ring which could result in an additional cost to, essentially, make you a new ring. So, while we do suggest to annually refinish your ring, it’s always better to do it sooner than later. Think back to why you got the ring or how you customized it to fit the needs in your life or the memory you’ve created while incorporating something from home- treat the wood ring as you would the actual memory, with care.
If any questions ever arise regarding refinishing your wood ring and you’re unsure of which Tier to pick; feel free to reach out to me (Shelby) and I can certainly talk you through it. Contact Us.
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.
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.
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!
We arrived in early May, welcomed with perfect weather and open arms; Korey’s Mom was probably more excited about us moving than anyone else. She couldn’t wait to have her grandkids around all the time.
Moving two kids, under 3 years old, and 3 dogs 1,081.5 miles is no cake walk. I am VERY happy that isn’t ever happening again!
When we were in LA Korey spent a lot of time working as a sous chef (like 55+ hours a week.) We were blessed enough for him to be offered a job as executive chef here in a popular fine dining restaurant. And he wouldn’t have to work as much as before! Already we were feeling like all this weight was lifting off our shoulders.
Our new life in Colorado was off to a great start! Over the next few months we saved everything we could and started our house search one more time. We looked once again for a traditional home, thinking we would have better luck finding something we would be able to make our own.
But, of course, that wasn’t in the cards for us. Towards the middle of September, with us at the end of our wits with house hunting, our tiny house appeared like a rainbow after a storm. I remember Korey telling me he found the perfect house for us, showing me the listing on his phone. I scrolled through the pictures and as I looked at each one I fell more and more in love it. That was it. We decided to see it right away. As a matter of fact, it was only two or three days after we saw that listing. Pulling up to the tiny house I think we both knew right away we were in love. It was exactly the look we wanted. The perfect mix of midcentury modern design using rustic, reclaimed materials. The same could be said for the inside. Beautiful marbled, fossilized bamboo used for the floors. All the cabinets and millwork are birch and doug fir wood. And every material on the inside and outside is 100% nontoxic. Every detail from the OSB in the SIP’s to the paint on the walls and the finish on the wood.
It had the look we wanted. But would it, in reality, be functional for a family of four?
As soon as we stepped inside our girls shot up the stairs into their loft (there was still furniture and toys from the previous owners in the house) and made themselves at home right away. Each loft is 10 ft by 10 ft giving them lots of room to sleep and play. The master loft even has floor storage and a built in dresser. And we have a king, KING, sized bed for us to sleep on! Ill admit that one compromise we made was on the head room in the lofts (for adults at least) but what we gave up in head room we gained downstairs in the living space.
There is storage everywhere you turn in the tiny house. The kitchen cabinets have drawers that pull out from the bottom. The two staircases have 3 shelves/cubbies each and there’s even a hidden drawer in the middle. One problem we had before, and one that many people face, is on top of maybe having a little too much stuff is we also just didn’t have simple storage solutions/a place to put it all. Seeing the previous owners in the house with their belongings helped give us a clearer picture of just how functional it all really is.
— And thankfully going tiny has helped us pair down to only what we really need and with all of the storage options in the tiny house, everything finally has a place.
Korey and I were on cloud nine after seeing the tiny house for the first time but we wanted to make sure we could make it work for us before we would make our final decision. Buying a house (your first home at that) is a very important decision and you and your partner should both feel 100% about your decision. So back and forth we went; pros and cons, how much we could and couldn’t afford, etc. It wasn’t until the beginning of November we decided to make our offer; and it wasn’t until after Thanksgiving when we closed but we finally got our tiny dream home!
We’ve spent the last month pairing down and moving in our things in a little at a time so as not to overwhelm ourselves. We’re also spending some time tweaking a few things to make the house even more functional for us. There will be 6 custom wood bins for some of the cubbies under the stairs and we’re going to put up some more open shelving! I’m so excited to have everything almost in place and can’t wait until we’re finally moved all in!
Along with buying our first home and the excitement of moving in, I was given this incredible opportunity to become a part of the Simply Wood Rings family. The way I fell in love with our tiny house and all of the amazing details it has is the same way every person at Simply Wood Rings feels about each beautiful ring that’s created here. Every material they use is eco-friendly sourced. They can tell you right where it came from. You can even provide your own! There’s meaning in every layer of your ring and the Simply Wood Rings team holds that close. We are grateful and understand that we have been entrusted to not only be a part of something special, but that you hold the preservation of our natural resources as dear as we do. It is fulfilling to know that we can be a part of giving the world an alternative to the traditional ring. We believe that our wood rings allow those that would have them to engage more naturally and become more connected and grounded in the things you hold dear.
In the next few blog posts we’ll go into detail about the materials we do and can use to make your Simply Wood Rings ring, and the meanings those materials hold to make each layer as unique and as special as your story.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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 Reyes Founder & Owner Simply Wood Rings
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 Rings 953 W. 18th Street Chicago, Illinois 60608
In early February, we received a commission from a client, Diana, who wanted to design a pair of unique and meaningful rings for herself and her boyfriend. We worked together over the next few weeks to draft the perfect ring for Diana that incorporated Alder wood (abundant in the Pacific Northwest), Purple Agate–her favorite color, a guitar string, and gold flakes that her grandchildren panned from their family gold mine in Alaska.
We thought the history and meaning of the gold was beautiful and asked Diana if she would provide us with some more information about this special material. Here’s what Diana’s daughter wrote to us:
My husband comes from a family of gold miners. They have a family-owned and operated mine in the middle of [an] Alaskan peninsula. It’s out in the middle of nowhere–very remote. They fly small airplanes to get there. The family all goes during the workable months of Alaska, those being May-October. They work hard all summer mining, with up to ten family members operating the mining operations and preparations. Other family members (like my kids) hang around, and learn, and play, in the dirt all summer long.
The gold is mined with a floating dredge. There are not really too many of these in operation these days. In fact, this may be the only floating dredge in operation in North America. We always say “maybe” on that because I guess there could be one somewhere out there. You never know.
Their dredge is a giant boat kind of thing with huge metal buckets. It floats along the river (a small section each season) and scoops up the gravel bringing it into the dredge where it’s tossed and turned separating out rocks and dirt…..and the final product is the gold. It’s pretty spectacular.
The gold I sent you was some that my kids helped to sort one summer while they were out on the mine. I can’t wait to see my mom’s final product. She is very excited about it.
The family’s floating Dredge
Alder Wood Ring with Purple Agate, Guitar String, and Heritage Alaskan Gold
We began by using Alder Wood for the ring base and inlaid Purple Agate that was sourced and donated by an employee. We then inlaid a salvaged guitar string and finished the ring design with Diana’s heritage Alaskan gold flakes. We think the result is stunning.
If you would like to work with us to create a truly one-of-a-kind ring, don’t hesitate to contact us via our commission form or reach out via email or telephone. We love crafting rings by working with you to create something we could never have come up with on our own.
Alder Wood Ring with Purple Agate, Guitar String, and Heritage Alaskan Gold
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!).
+ For the Outdoorsy Dad
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
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
“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:
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 Ferns 2806 W Augusta Blvd, Chicago, IL 60622
+ For the Botanical Baba
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
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, 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
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
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.
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!
+ For the Crafty Dad
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)
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
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
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
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
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!
Our second series of Limited Edition pendants is here! We were so inspired by the beautiful flowers we collected and dried for the Birth Flower Mother’s Ring that we decided to create a limited run of laser-cut pendants with a hand drawn design of each birth flower (that part is customizable 😊). We’re creating twenty pendants that are each signed and numbered on the back and packaged with recycled material.
The thing that makes these pendants so special is the salvaged rosewood we use to create them. Our rosewood items are some of our best sellers because the rich, warm color and unique, creamy/ombre grain pattern looks great with nearly (if not) all inlay options available. The rosewood we use comes from the now closed Deagan Xylophone and Marimba factory in Chicago. Your custom made piece of jewelry was most likely once a xylophone or marimba key. Salvaging material is the most rewarding part of Simply Wood Rings because we can create something truly special that carries layers of history and meaning.
J. C. Deagan developed an interest in the science of sound after attending lectures in London given by a well-known German physicist. Deagan experimented with sound extensively following this and while working in the United States servicing musical instruments. He later founded a company, starting out as a one-man operation in St. Louis, MO that grew to a full-scale facility in Chicago, IL. The Deagan company was actually the entity that pressured the American Federation of Musicians to adopt a standardized pitch for orchestras and bands and thus setting in motion the development of worldwide standardization of pitch and tuning instruments (which Deagan invented and supplied for research and regulation purposes). For years, J. C. Deagan was a member on the board of curators for the Field Museum and a charter member of the American Federation of Musicians and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, American Acoustical Society, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the J. C. Deagan Astronomical Society (named in his honor), of Riverside, Calif.
Model 52B Masterpiece Marimba from the Deagan Resource online.
Deagan Badge c/o the Deagan Resource Pinterest
Limited Edition pendants offer us a space to play with ideas and designs and offer you a token-size version of SWR. We think they work well as last minute gifts, emblems of friendship/love, or simply as a treat for your self (i.e. what to do with your tax returns).
Our Engage Naturally campaign has come to a close and we are very pleased to announce that we have raised over $4,000 to go to the four charities we’ve chosen : Earthjustice, The Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Here’s an infographic with the amount of money that went to each charity:
We would love to hear from you about what you did this Earth Day. Simply Wood Rings started from a basement studio dream and has grown into a company that ships meaningful pieces all over the world. We try to maximize our impact by doing what we can, when we can. The amount of money we raised during this period is significant for us. We are still only a small team of individuals (with only one craftsman and one ring refinisher) but we feel it is important to concern ourselves with taking an active role in our stewardship of this beautiful earth. Also, if you work for a environmentally friendly or green-certified company, send us some tips and suggestions! We’re always available to chat via Facebook, Instagram, or email.
These are all great words to describe a good father. We think they’re great words to describe our Father’s Rings too.
If you’re looking for something understated and meaningful for that dad in your life, we got you. Our Father’s Ring is handcrafted using our bentwood process. The base is comprised of the Birthwood of the bearer and the ring contains inlays of Birthwood representing his children. Every element of our rings is customizable to a high degree. Our standard men’s ring width is 8mm and we create the inlay from 1mm strips in order to keep the aesthetic clean but you can request any number of alterations. For example, you could choose wider or off-center inlays with spaces in between. The standard Father’s Ring offers up to four inlays at 1mm (to keep the width of the ring on the narrower scale) but you are always welcome to adjust this as needed.
Father’s Ring with Mother’s “Sitting in a Tree” Ring
We’ve add these handsome rings to our Birthwood product line, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns. You can find information about wooden ring care and durability on our website. Also, don’t forget that, in honor of Earth Day, a portion of all of our proceeds until April 22nd, 2017 will be donated to environmental charities that support our Earth. We’re donating to four charities and you have the option, at checkout, of choosing which charity you would like to donate to.
Navigate here to view Birthwood inlay options and place a custom order.
Let us know on Facebook or Instagram what you’re planning to do on Father’s Day this year!
Mother’s Day 2017 (in the United States) is May 14th, which might seem far away but if you’re looking to gift something truly special, now is the perfect time to do some planning. As you might know already, our standard order turnaround time for rings is around 4-6 weeks. That makes today the last day you can order rings without expediting! We’ve put together a mini gift-guide to help you honor the mother you love.
These rings are perfect gifts because each element represents a special month and the unique symbology associated with those components. Also, we’ve designed rings within the Birthwood line specifically with moms in mind. Pictured above is the simplest version we have to offer. A minimal band of birthstone encircles a base birthwood. You can customize the birthstone or birthwood to represent special dates or people.
For example, the Sitting in a Tree ring combines the whole family in a delicate, wearable package. The base wood of these rings is typically that of an anniversary month, two bands of birthwood inlays indicate the parents’ birth months, and finally birthstone lines are inlaid to represent the children.
A simpler version of this ring is the Mother’s Wood Ring: with a base wood representing the mother’s birth month and birthstones representing her children.
Also, we’ve recently released the option of adding birth-flowers in addition to birthstones. Each birth-flower meaning is sourced from the farmer’s almanac. You can read about each one in an earlier blog post, here.
In a similar vein, Birthwood pendants are a comparable alternative to rings. The pendants come with a quality leather necklace in either a dark chocolatey brown or a lighter sable color. Birthwood pendants, like our rings, are crafted by us here in our Chicago studio. The two abstract and customizable components, cut into mahogany, work together to create layers of meaning. You could design the pendant with a birthstone representing her and a birthwood representing her child or the reverse. Or, for a simpler approach simply gift her the pendant with her own birthwood and birthstone inlaid.
Simply Wood Rings Gift Certificates and In-Stock Rings
If time does start slipping away from you or the mama in your life is really particular, we do have gift certificates available that are valid online or in our shop.
Or, if you know your mom’s ring size (can be tricky to get a hold of!), you could check out our selection of in-stock rings that are ready to ship out upon purchase.
We ship worldwide and are always happy to answer questions or concerns. Call, email, or message us on Facebook.
In honor of Earth Day, from April 1st to the 22nd (that’s Earth Day, folks), we are donating 10% of the price of your order to an environmental charity of your choice.* If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions let us know on our Facebook, Instagram, or via email.
*For now, we’re focusing on the following four organizations:
Environmental Defense Fund
The Environmental Defense Fund, or EDF, works on policy reform and corporate responsibility to do the following : provide clean air by driving down our collective exposure to pollutants and toxic chemicals; increase agricultural resiliency by creating economic demand for sustainable and climate-adaptive farming, ranching, and water efficiency programs; expanding sustainable fishing worldwide; and, finding solutions that will have the biggest impact on the clean energy market in the United States.
The Sierra Club Foundation attempts to find climate solutions and continues the legacy of conservation in the United States. The Sierra Club defends against coal and clears the way for clean, renewable energy solutions (solar and wind). They also protect America’s wild places and the beauty, escape, clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities they provide by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and attempting to secure permanent protection for national treasures. The Sierra Club also offers a Military Outdoors program that successfully works to bring over 50,000 service members, veterans, and their families outside. This program increases physical activity, outdoor recreation, and education that improves academic performance, reduces stress and anxiety, and mitigates the effects of PTSD and traumatic brain injury in the military veterans returning from active service. The Sierra Club currently funds The Great Outdoors Lab — a groundbreaking research study documenting the biological and emotional effects of spending time outdoors.
You may have heard this Charity Navigator 4-star-rated Earthjustice PSAs on the radio or while listening to a podcast. Their slogan is “Because the Earth needs a good lawyer.” Earthjustice works on a variety of projects, some of these include: protecting endangered species such as wolves; preserving rich, sustainable and diverse heritage of the arctic regions, the ocean ecosystem, America’s wild lands, and wildlife; promoting healthy communities by fighting for clean air, water, and agricultural practices; championing clean energy systems, mitigating the effects of climate change, and reducing reliance on coal and oil and gas drilling.
The NRDC was founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement. Their dedicated staff works in more than a dozen program areas such as: the Center for Market Innovation; climate and clean air; land and wildlife; oceans; environmental justice; food and agriculture; health and environment; water; urban solutions; and energy and transportation. Like Earthjustice, the NDRC is fully transparent with their finances and gets the highest accolades from charity rating organizations such as Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau. The NDRC experts utilize data and science to unearth the root causes of problems that confront us all. They then use this information to create transformative solutions and policies.
Our newest Mother’s Ring with birth flower inlay. You can order a birth flower ring using this form. Note that all of our custom ring orders take approximately 5-6 weeks to handcraft. The last day to order this ring in time for Mother’s Day is April 4th. With expediting, you can order by April 25th.
Even though it just snowed here in Chicago (insert ugly-cry here), we’ve got all the spring feels because the studio is blanketed with drying flowers. We just designed a new Mother’s Ring, in time for Mother’s Day, that incorporates birth flowers as inlays. What’s a birth flower, you ask? Well, we’ve compiled a list of flowers from the Old Farmer’s Almanac and provided you with some insight into flower meanings and the history of birth flower attributes.
A Short History of Flower Meanings
According to Gertrude Jones, who wrote a book entitled Dictionary ofMythology, Folklore, and Symbols in 1962, the ancient Romans were one of the first to celebrate birthdays and they did so by gifting dedicated flowers.
In the 18th century, Lady Mary Wortely Montagu (pictured below), introduced the “language of flowers” to British high-society and, thus, flower meanings took on permanent significance in the west (Loy, 2015).
Carnations symbolize women and love. Different colored carnations indicate different feelings. For example: red means “My heart aches” or intense admiration; white references innocence, pure love, and good luck; pink means “I’ll never forget you”; yellow apparently indicates rejection or disappointment.
In Victorian times, carnations were used to send secret messages. A solid color carnation meant “Yes,” a striped carnation means “I’m sorry but I can’t be with you”, and yellow means “No”.
The ancient Aztec Indians used carnations in a tea as a diuretic and to treat chest congestion.
It’s no surprise that violets are a symbol of delicate love. These velvety flowers are whisper-thin and very fragile. Violets also indicate affection, modesty, faithfulness, dignity, and nobility (purple is a color often associated with royalty).
Violets, in the Christian tradition, represent the Virgin Mary. They are also indicative of symbolic death and resurrection because these flowers were used by the Romans in funeral rites.
Daffodil ~ Narcissus
The etymology of the taxonomic name, narcissus, derives from the greek mythological character who was so in love with his own reflection he drowned in it. It is believed that these beautiful flowers were given this name because they grow naturally on river and stream banks, with their heads bowing to their own reflection. However, in modern times, daffodils are commonly associated with spring and renewal.
The cheery daffodil appears when spring is fast approaching. Daffodils brighten everything around them with their golden, yellow hue. These flowers represent prosperity, bounty, rebirth, renewal, good luck, happiness, clarity, and inspiration.
Following soon after the daffodil, daisies flower when spring has fully arrived. Daisies symbolize innocence and hope, but it is also a flower that indicates discretion between lovers–as in “Can you keep a secret?” In the Victorian era, daisies represented loyalty.
Daisies appear like miniature suns in the grass and, in the evening, tiny stars. These flowers grow all year round and are naturally resistant to pests. The name daisy comes from an Old English word meaning “day’s eye” because the flowers open in the day after closing at night. Daisies are apparently around 4,000 years old! These flowers have been painted and used as decoration in Medieval paintings, Egyptian vessels, and Minoan hair accessories.
Lily of the Valley
This fragrant flower symbolizes sweetness, humility, and a return to happiness. It is also said to bring luck in love. Part of the taxonomic name of this flower, majalis, means “of or belonging to mary.” In the Christian tradition, this flower is said to have originated from the Virgin Mary’s tears. Also, according to old astrological records, this plant has been placed under the ascendancy of Mercury–which passes across the sun in either May or November.
Roses have perhaps the most infamous cultural significance. Like carnations, different colored roses have a different meaning: pink means love, gratitude, appreciation, grace, gentleness, and sympathy; yellow indicates “Get Well”, friendship, and joy; lavender symbolizes enchantment, mystery, and love at first sight; white means purity and spirituality–interestingly white roses used to be an indication of true love which is now symbolized by the color red, which has been used throughout history to indicate passion (in politics and religion).
This sweet, edible flower has been used in folk medicine for centuries. Rosehips are often crushed with sugar to create a preserve, rich in vitamin C. The fragrance of this flower is justifiably popular and the flower has a long history of cultivation in gardens.
Larkspur is associated with openheartedness and romance. Like carnations and roses, the colors of larkspur flowers hold different meanings: pink represents fickleness, white signifies a happy-go-lucky nature, and purple represents a sweet disposition.
According to Native American lore, larkspur got its name from a celestial being who sent down a spike of the sky with which to climb down to the earth. The rays of the sun dried the spike and scattered it in the wind–wherever these pieces touched the ground the larkspur flower grows.
The poisonous larkspur flower is used in botanical applications for fragrance in candles and aromatherapy. It is also used by some to dispel ghosts and spirits.
Gladiolus flowers indicate strength of character, infatuation, and “never give up.” These flowers are sometimes referred to as sword flowers because of their impressive height and shape. Gladioli, in Roman times, were commonly associated with gladiators. In this way, gladioli signify moral integrity. These flowers can grow up to six feet tall in optimal conditions.
According to FTD.com, it’s said that the aster was created by the tears of the Greek goddess, Astraea. One day, she was so upset by how few stars there were in the dark sky, that she began to cry. As she wept, her tears fell to the ground and turned into star-shaped aster flowers. Thus, the flower was named after her, with aster meaning star.
Another interpretation is that asters were created when Virgo scattered stardust over the Earth. Where the stardust settled, aster flowers bloomed. The aster is also an emblem of Venus, the goddess of love.
Aster flowers are known to be drought resistant, so they are excellent for desert landscaping. The aster is actually made up of many smaller flowers surrounded by another set of larger petals.
In Chinese culture, asters are thought to cure many different ailments and can aid respiratory diseases and problems with circulation.
Again, FTD.com states that the first recorded cultivation of marigolds began with the Aztecs, who believed that the sunny flower possessed magical properties. Spanish conquistadors took these marigolds back with them to Spain where they were grown in monasteries.
From here, marigolds spread throughout Europe, and ultimately the rest of the world. Throughout history, marigolds have been used as dyes and as culinary ingredients, as well as a cure for many health ailments. In Mexico and Latin America, marigolds are used as a primary decoration for All Saints Day, where altars are embellished with these bright orange flowers. Today, the marigold is one of the most popular flowers in the United States.
With a bloom time that spans nearly the entire year, this October flower blooms from spring to fall and are one of the hardiest fall flowers. Avid gardeners plant marigolds due to their ability to repel insects and pests. Additionally, their odor can repel bacterial growth within the soil, keeping it healthy and nutritious for other plants.
Marigolds, or gendu, are widely used in Indian wedding celebrations. Lord Vishnu and his wife Goddess Lakshmi, the ideal couple, are worshipped with marigolds. Hence, using the same at weddings is symbolic of the divine blessings to the newlywed couple for a prosperous life ahead. Marigolds are also considered to be representative of the sun. Thus, they symbolize brightness and positive energy to be bestowed on the couple.
According to Teleflora, chysanthemums are symbol of the sun. The Japanese consider the orderly unfolding of the chrysanthemum’s petals to represent perfection, and Confucius once suggested they be used as an object of meditation. It’s said that a single petal of this celebrated flower placed at the bottom of a wine glass will encourage a long and healthy life.
Flowermeaning.com suggests that the Chrysanthemum is far more versatile than many other decorative flowers. While they don’t provide a very strong smell when growing, there’s a delicate and sweet aroma released when certain types are used for food. Chinese cooks add the blooms to soups and stir fries that need a hint of floral to balance out more strongly flavored or musky ingredients. The greens are also used for brightening up salads and fried dishes. You can try your hand at making your own sweetly scented Chrysanthemum tea if you have access to flowers that were never treated with pesticides. Speaking of pesticides, organic pyrethins are extracted from this plant to keep bugs away from people, pets, and plants. NASA studies even found potted Chrysanthemums improve air quality.
December’s birth flower is a variation of March’s daffodil. Paperwhites are part of the family of narcissus flowers and thus have the same etymology as daffodils. However, given that paperwhites are often grown indoors from bulbs, these flowers represent resilience, confidence, and sweetness in the darkest points of the year. Paperwhites grow and bloom easily in nothing more than water and proper drainage. White Flower Farm offers tips on how to grow these flowers indoors: place a layer of stones or beach glass at the bottom of a vase, next arrange the paperwhite bulbs in a layer with their roots facing down, leave the tops of the bulbs exposed and fill the vessel with water right up to the base of the bulb (be sure not to let the actual bulb sit in water or they will rot).
One of the benefits of wood rings, especially for commitment jewelry, is near endless possibility for personalized inlay options. We have written posts in the past about custom inlays, commissioned by clients, and about our favorite inlays but we’ve been hanging out on Pinterest recently and found some inspiration.
Johnny Cash / House of Cash / Via beaglestreet.com
Custom rings with client-provided love notes.
The poet John Keats to his lover Fanny Brawne / Haverford College / Via beaglestreet.com
We have actually inlaid love notes once before–written on colored sticky notes. It’s a romantic idea to keep the confidence, secrets, and endearment of your lover close to your body at all times. Plus, if the notes are on colored paper, the visual outcome produces a trippy, marbled effect.
Naturally, our wooden rings are biodegradable. To capitalize on this, you could encapsulate seeds that might grow from the ring if it happened to find its way back to the earth.
Pocket Square / Photo via Anna Price Olson / Pinterest
Vintage Lace / Photo source : auctiva.com
Vintage fabric created by designer Barbara Brown / Via blog.ounodesign.com
This could be anything : fabric you own from a beloved family member, leftovers from designing your wedding dress, your partner’s pocket square, ribbons that hold special meaning for you, fabric from the blanket you had a picnic on together, the list is inexhaustible.
Asrai Garden Bouquet / Instagram
Flowering Cactus / Saguaro National Park / Photo from Roadtrippers.com
Ferns and other Verdant Matter / unknown source / Pinterest.com
You might consider having stand-in rings for your ceremony so that you can use the flowers from your bouquet in your wedding band. Or, if there are any other verdant things that have special meaning to you, consider having them preserved in your ring–to keep close at all times.
Simply Wood Rings are an Ethical Wedding Ring Alternative
Grasberg Mine in Papua, Indonesia
There is no avoiding the fact that wooden rings are more fragile than their metal counterparts…we think that’s just fine. Simply Wood Rings don’t represent forever: they symbolize reality. Our lives are inherently impermanent and it seems a little bit deceptive to buy into the idea that love is static. Love seems more about being mindful of the present moment. We hope to offer an ethical wedding ring alternative to gold and silver rings that doesn’t sacrifice the romantic and intimate nature of these commitments.
Love is Now
Contemporary philosopher Alain de Botton wrote last year’s infamous New York Times article “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person” about this concept. It isn’t surprising that his 2016 essay was the most read New York Times article of the year. Botton writes that loving imperfectly is perfectly human. In fact, many of us grow up with the idea that perfect love exists and requires no work and no care. The phrase “a diamond is forever” capitalizes on this idea; however, we at Simply Wood Rings believe that love radiates from each present moment. Maybe, wooden rings are a more appropriate symbol in that they require care and attention in the same way “true love” asks this of us.
In addition, we offer wooden rings as a unique alternative to the harmful impact of mined metal jewelry because the result of mining is hard to ignore. Unfortunately, gold, silver, and copper mining contributes to deforestation, acid/chemical run-off, the eradication of river ecosystems supporting a wide variety of beneficial organisms, and takes advantage of those native to the land that mining companies are exploiting. We’re not a large company by any means but change begins small.
Prong-set Ruby with Mother of Pearl Inlay
Using Vintage and Recycled Metal Rings Helps the Environment
Often, the environmental and ethical impact of precious metal mining is not considered when choosing what might become a family heirloom. Simply Wood Rings encourages purchasing vintage rings. Alternatively, we suggest recycling the beautiful heirlooms that already exist within your family. In fact, we often have customers bring us vintage rings that we cap with sustainably sourced or salvaged wood*, using a special technique, to fit you perfectly. Seems like there isn’t much reason to contribute to large-scale mining culture, when there are so many meaningful pieces out in the world already.
If you are interested to learn more, the following articles and photo essay are a few perspectives (from just two mines). These resources focus on on the negative impact mining practices have on all of our lives.
Thoughts, comments, concerns? Share them with us on our Facebook page, Instagram, or send us an email at email@example.com
*Simply Wood Ringsexclusively uses salvaged or sustainably sourced woodto craft our rings. In fact, we are one of the first to make salvaged wooden rings using a bent wood process. We have been proudly handcrafting wood rings in Chicago, Illinois since 2005.
Here, at Simply Wood Rings, we strive for eco-consciousness and sustainability; so, naturally we are interested in local initiatives that encourage such practices. The NWI Times.com reported that Mayor Daley began a green roof initiative on Chicago’s City Hall in 2000 and three years later added two beehives housing about 10, 000 bees. Today, the number has grown to an estimated 160,000 bees. But that’s just the tip of the proverbial beehive. Last Sunday, I attended a Beekeeping 101 course taught by Naaman Gambill at the ReBuilding exchange (Bucktown). Naaman runs The Hive Supply Chicago (Homan Square) with his partner John Hansen who, Naaman told us, has 40 years of beekeeping experience in Chicago.
The course was a three-hour introduction to the topic of urban beekeeping. It was amazing to learn about bees in a context I had never had the opportunity to do before. Naaman began the lesson with an overview of hives and provided information about basic necessities for urban beekeeping.
Here are a few things I learned :
1. If you’re interested in keeping bees in Chicago, you’re easily allowed up to five hives on your property.
The only requirement is that you register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture which consists of filling out a “brief one-page form and mailing it to the IDOA.” This process is free of charge and you will receive access to necessary, yearly inspections from a IDOA Apiary Inspector. Naaman explained that the inspectors are actually there to help you in any way possible — they are there to serve the beekeeping industry.
2. There is such a thing called “bee space.”
Bee-space is the amount of space bees need to move around in the hive—this is typically 3/8” to 1/4”. The amount of bee-space you allow for in your hives determines the amount of propolis — a type of bee glue — and comb that the bees will produce.
3. There is one queen per hive — around 20,000 bees in total.
When a colony starts or an old queen retires, queen bees hatch and then duel it out GoT-style.
4. ….And she only mates with drones from other colonies.
Drone bees are male (non-worker) bees and take up about 3% of a beehive population. Within a hive, they are virtually useless. These bees are the first to sacrifice themselves in times of bee-hardship (i.e. disease or cold spells) as they live on the flanks of the colony.
5. One hive can produce up to 62 lbs of honey. On average, hives produce around 29 lbs a year.
They remove pests and dead/dying pees as soon as possible. However, when a pest finds its way into the hive — the colony will sting the pest (for example a mouse) to death and then, if they’re unable to carry it out, they completely seal off the pest in propolis, i.e. that bee glue I mentioned in no. 2.
Screenshot from The Waggle Dance of the Honey Bee video published by Georgia Tech College of Computing
7. Bees are highly skilled communicators. Especially through dances.
Bees are hyper aware of time and space. Bees know where the sun is at all times because they have a polarized lenses and an internal clock. They utilize encoded dance moves (wiggling, figure-eight patterns, orientation, length of dance time, and pheromone expression) to indicate to each other where food and water supplies exist outside of the hive.
8. Also, when bees rub against each other they are communicating through pheromones.
The pheromones act as a sort of telephone-game relaying back to the queen, who makes decisions about how safe and healthy the colony is. If her own pheromones take too long to travel back to her, she knows the hive is getting too large and she must leave with part of the colony and allow the remainder to choose a new queen.
9. Different breeds of bees have different temperaments.
For example, Italian bees are comparatively gentle while Russian bees are more defensive in nature. Naaman suggested that, of the existing breeds, Carniolan bees have the best combination of traits while still maintaining a hardiness that is suited to Chicago’s climate.
Bees are amazing creatures and they’re integral to the health of our ecosystem. There are tons of beekeeping communities in Chicago and resources available on urban beekeeping and I’d encourage you to check them out. Below are a few links to get you started. Have a great week!
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.
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!
When I graduated college in 2012, I started looking for a job in the jewelry industry since I was doing my own metal-smithing on the side. I saw a post on Craigslist for a bench jeweler position with Gustav Reyes with his company Simply Wood Rings, and I knew I wanted it more than anyone else. I ended up getting that job and then over the years moving onto other jobs and things, but ultimately staying in touch with Gus for the past five years. I ended up ordering rings from Gus when I was looking for a ring set and I inquired about working with him again, but this time in an administrative position. I lucked out and got to spend the past year working as an Administrative Assistant for Simply Wood Rings. I have learned a ton during this past year, and also have made some great friendships while here. I cant explain how thankful I am for everything I have learned and all the appreciation I have been shown. Gus has helped me with my own jewelry business in any way possible and I have been given numerous opportunities while here. It is also so great to be part of a community of artists and eco-conscious people. It is bittersweet to have to move onto another position next week, but I can’t explain enough how great my time with Simply Wood Rings has been and I know I will always have my Simply Wood Rings family!
Our newest edition to the Birthwood family is here: Birthwood Pendants! These necklaces represent each month of the year with their specific birthwood and birthstone inlay.
December Birthwood Pendant
Each pendant has a base of Mahogany wood with an inlay of each month’s Birthwood and Birthstone. We chose mahogany because it of it’s strength & beauty. Our Mahogany is salvaged from local artisans & craftsman who no longer can use the small pieces. We wanted to continue to honor the material instead of it going to waste.
The image above is the December Birthwood Pendant which is made of Pine and Turquoise.
Pine wood is widely used in high-value carpentry items such as furniture, window frames, panelling, floors and roofing. The world’s oldest known living organism is a 16-foot spruce in Sweden sprouted roughly 9,550 years ago. Seems short for the oldest tree right? Well this little guy’s root system got started back when the British Isles were still connected to Europe by an ice bridge. The pine tree symbolizes creativity, peace and harmony.
We’ve paired our ring with crushed turquoise which is December’s birthstone.
All Birthwood pendants take 2 weeks to create. Please contact us if you need earlier and we will try and accommodate your needs. Order yours now and get it in time for the holidays! These pendants are the perfect gift for someone special in your life. Click on the link below to see all twelve Birthwood Pendants!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we know that it can be hard to try to stay eco friendly during the holidays when so much is happening at once! We have researched some tips for how to try to stay eco-friendly during Thanksgiving to help you in your efforts!
One way is to get food from a farmers market and support local farmers.
Commercial canning of vegetables uses 3 billion kWh of energy per annum. That’s enough to run more than 8.5 million refrigerators for an entire year! Also the transportation of food across the world uses so much gas that buying local makes a huge difference.
By avoiding canned goods, you’ll also be cutting down on your exposure to BPA – a hormone disrupting chemical that lines tin cans…which even the FDA has ‘some concerns’ about.
When celebrating with family, try to go with some cloth napkins instead of paper ones. Again, while the paper ones are convenient, they’re incredibly wasteful and most definitely not eco-friendly. Did you know that the average American uses 2,200 two-ply paper napkins per year? That’s 662 billion napkins ending up in American trash cans every twelve months!
Another way to try to be conscious of your eco-footprint this year is to make sure to avoid wasting food. Try to only make enough for everyone and don’t have leftovers that you will just end up throwing away.
Also why not try a candle-lit dinner this year? Using candles instead of electricity the whole night will create ambiance and be romantic while saving the environment.
Your green efforts don’t have to end just because the meal has! When it’s time for the clean-up, you can make further green choices.
Conventional cleaners are chock-full of chemicals which are hazardous to both the environment and our health. Overhaul your arsenal of cleaning products with some homemade versions – most of which can be made from items you already have in your kitchen.
We hope this helped you think of some ways to be as eco-friendly as possible this holiday season and that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families!
Are you in a crisis because you want to give awesome gifts this holiday season but don’t want to contribute to the mass production and consumption that comes along with it? Want to try to stay eco-conscious this season? We have some ideas for how you can give without feeling guilty!
1) Donate to an Animal Sanctuary or Environmental Charity
Animal sanctuaries are amazing places and exist all across the world and giving a donation to an animal sanctuary is a way to avoid contributing to the big companies selling presents this holiday season. If you know your bestie’s favorite animal, you could make a donation in their name and even get them a little photograph or plush toy of the animal. Some sanctuaries that are great are Farm Sanctuary and Bat World. Farm Sanctuary gives a photo and birth certificate with your “adoption” of an animal and Bat World provides a picture, birth certificate, and some other cool perks as well.
Consider donating in your friend’s name to the Environmental Defense Fund, National Resources Defense Council, The Sierra Club, or any other foundation they are a fan of.
2) Gift an Experience
Giving an experience as a present, like a class or a trip to a winery is a great gift idea. It gets people out of their comfort zone to do things they have never done before and could even spawn a new hobby. You may even get asked to join!
Gift a class at Penguin Foot pottery in Chicago
3) Make a gift from scratch
Giving a gift that you took time out of your life to make is a really great thing to give! It shows how much you care about someone and makes them feel extremely cared for. It is also a great way to cut down on excessive production this holiday season. You could try your hand at candle making or even knitting. It may even spawn a new hobby….
The best resource for DIY crafts is of course Pinterest. I’ve been obsessing over polymer clay recently and Pinterest has some really beautiful instructables and inspiration.
4) Growable Gifts
Giving someone a little life to grow is an amazing present. Having plants around increases positivity and growing one can make you feel accomplished as well.
Making a little seed starter kit or a terrarium is a great way to create something small and growable for a loved one. Also, how many other gifts can release oxygen into the atmosphere?
If you’re in Chicago, check out the local business Alapash in Ravenswood that offers ready-made terrariums and kits.
Don’t forget to look through our ring selection for some eco-conscious gifts as well!
Hello! Since my Birthday was Monday and my birthwood ring is the October ring, I wanted to share my personal birthwood story with all of you! Also check out our new October Birthwood Video at the end!
For the first 19 years of my life, I celebrated my birthday with my grandmother. This is because we happened to have the same birthday. October 17th was always the one day out of the year that I looked forward to the most. My grandma and I would hang out together and she would usually make us a birthday dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cherry pie. I hung out with my grandmother most days because she was my primary caretaker as a child, so our birthday really wasn’t that much different than any other day, but it always felt different to me. I never had a birthday that was my “own”, but in all honesty the thought always scared me. I knew that when I lost my grandmother and my best friend, I would have my first birthday that was my “own”.
My grandmother passed a few days before our shared birthday six years ago. I was turning 20 and she would have been 84.
My birthday is now bittersweet most years because it is a time of remembrance as well as celebration. I try to think of it as a celebration of her life and how it affected mine and celebrate how she still lives through me. Dates and months can hold a lot of memories for people throughout time, and October will always be a special month for me. This is why the October birthwood ring is so important to me. The wood for the October birthwood ring is maple, which stands for offering, generosity, balance, promise and practicality. The marigold inlay symbolizes grace, protection, comfort, and healing.
If my grandmother was anything in life, she was generous. She babysat me for my entire childhood while expecting nothing in return. She would bake breads, muffins, brownies, and any other baked good you could think of and then give it all to her neighbors. She also offered me much protection and comfort while helping me through all troubling situations that life threw at me as a child and teenager. The marigold in this ring also offers me a sort of comfort when I look at it and remember my grandmother through the ring. I will always hold her close to my heart in everything I do, which is why having a ring that symbolizes our life together is so important to me.
We are pleased to introduce a new set of rings to all of you: our Strength of Souls set! This ring set pairs oak bands with an inlay of malachite and turquoise to create a very significant ring for the wearer. We really love making these rings, and I will explain why below!!
The Strength of Souls set represents strength.. For a couple it shows how two people who support and love one another can weather any storm, and these rings represent that journey. If you only wear one for yourself, it shows that you are a strong grounded person who knows what they stand for. The Oak tree has a long history of representing strength, as well as malachite and turquoise.
Oak is a wood native to the northern hemisphere and it represents strength and a noble spirit. The Ancient Celts observed the oak tree’s massive growth and impressive expanse and they realized that this tree can endure most things. They also observed that oak trees attract lightening and they thought this made them even more powerful. Oak trees are known to live for over 200 years which shows how strong and stable they are during all the things they endure. Ancient people also made doors from oak because of the tree’s strength. They believed these doors would keep out evil spirits. This tree is known to represent truth and knowledge.
Turquoise was found in many burial sites of warriors throughout both north and south america because of the strength of the stone. in the Orient, rings and amulets were used to protect against evil spirits. Turkish soldiers would wear turquoise to prevent falls while riding their horses in battle. The apaches believed there would be turquoise at the end of a rainbow for good luck.
Inherent in Malachite is lighter green eye-shaped forms or bands on its surface. These “eye stones,” believed to enhance great visionary powers, were used to ward off negative happenings. They were stones of security and protection for children, and their most remarkable association today is the ability to warn of impending danger by breaking into pieces. It is a Stone of Transformation, assisting one in changing situations and providing for spiritual growth. Malachite is a protection stone, absorbing negative energies and pollutants from the atmosphere and from the body. As a stone of transformation, Malachite encourages change and emotional risk-taking.
Willow is the Birthwood that represents the month os September and is one of our favorite woods! The willow tree has always been one of my favorite trees, but it can be used for many different things and has many different meanings!
Willow is a decidedly aromatic tree found most often near waterways throughout temperate regions. It has a history of a long- standing relationship of usefulness- medicinal, magical, and otherwise. The willow tree is most associated with the moon, water, Goddesses, and all that is feminine. It is the tree of dreaming and deep emotions. It is a tree of enchantment and was associated in Celtic folklore with poets and spells of fascination. The energy of the willow wood puts us in touch with our deepest emotions and inspires us to come to an understanding of ourselves. It stimulates our intuituve side and helps us find the right path in life.
The North American indigenous tribe called the Seneca, has a long bond with the willow tree. They consider it to be a source of gentile humility, charm, and grace.
On an herbal level, willow bark has been used for it’s pain-relieving qualities for at least 2,000 years. All varieties of the tree can be used as an eyewash, to clear skin, and get rid of dandruff. Willow has also been known to be useful in cases of nervousness and hysteria. It can be used to loosen the chest when someone is sick with a cough or pneumonia as well.
Now that you know some more about the willow tree, check out our Birthwood ring section to see our Willow Wood ring and the rest of our Birthwood line!
Have you ever thought to yourself, “why is my birthstone important and where does it even come from?” I have in the past, because without research, I had no idea why my birthstone was deemed what it is. We use birthstones in our Birthwood rings along with the wood for each birth month. We crush up the stones and use them as an inlay in each month’s ring. Each birthstone has meaning associated with it and a deep geological history. In this segment of our new blog series “The Wonderful World of Birthstones” we will delve into the stone of September, saphhire ! This one is for all you Virgo’s and Libra’s out there.
Sapphire is a form of the mineral corundum, and it exists in a range of colors from light to dark blue. Corundum is the second-hardest mineral after diamond and occurs in a wide variety of colors. Sapphire is any form of corundum that is not red, as red varieties are called rubies. Sapphires can be formed in crystalline limestone, gneiss, schist, and other crystalline rocks. Gem varieties occur chiefly in placer (river gravel) deposits.
Sapphires were believed to have special protective powers, such as preventing envy and protecting the wearer from poisoning. Some ancient cultures even thought that if a sapphire container held a venomous snake, it would die. To the ancient and medieval world, Sapphire of heavenly blue signified the height of celestial hope and faith, and was believed to bring protection, good fortune and spiritual insight. It was a symbol of power and strength, but also of kindness and wise judgment. In addition, people believed that sapphire had medical healing properties, such as the ability to cure colic, rheumatism, blindness, and mental illnesses. Today Sapphire is still a Stone of Wisdom, a royal stone of learning, mental acuity and psychic activation, a seeker after spiritual truth.
Sapphire is traditonally the stone known to be used as a 45th anniversary gift. It was also one of the 12 precious stones to be set in the breastplate of the High Priest of Israel.
Now that you know a little bit more about the wonderful world of sapphires, go check out our sapphire and willow wood Birthwood ring for the month of September!
Three day weekends are the best! If you are like me, you like to get out and about on a long three day weekend, but sometimes can’t think of anything to do. Here is a list of some cool things going on around Chicago this weekend if you need some help figuring out where to go!
Photo courtesy of navypier.com
Fireworks at Navy Pier
Every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the summer, Navy Pier has a fireworks show that starts around 9 – 10 pm. This Saturday is the last fireworks show of the summer at 10:15 pm! You can also schedule a fireworks cruise if you prefer to see them from a boat in the middle of the lake. Check out times and pictures here: https://navypier.com/fireworks/
Photo Courtesy of seatageek.com
Taste of Polonia
Starting September 2nd and going until the 5th, you can check out Taste of Polonia at The Copernicus Center in Chicago. The festival celebrates Polish culture and has tons of food and drinks to choose from. There will be performances, carnival games, and things for people of all ages! You can have access to all the fun for just 10 dollars as well! Get more info from their site: http://topchicago.org/
Photo courtesy of americanlobserfest.com
Great American Lobster Fest
The Great American Lobster Fest is the Midwest’s biggest seafood festival! It takes place at Navy Pier on September 2nd and September 3rd. They have all the lobster you can ever imagine in one place, plus live music and shopping. There Is also a lobster brunch cruise on the 4th taking off from Navy Pier! Check it out here: http://www.americanlobsterfest.com/
Photo courtesy of Everfest.com
African Festival of the Arts
The African Festival of the Arts always takes place on Labor Day weekend in Washington Park. The park turns into a simulated African village and is filled with performances and art. They even have an African marketplace so you can shop til your heart desires. Read more here! https://www.everfest.com/e/african-festival-of-the-arts-chicago-il
Getting married but also want to have an eco-friendly wedding? It may seem hard to do, but it’s actually pretty easy! We have some great tips for all you eco-conscious grooms and brides.
Consider having an outdoor wedding
Your venue is probably the biggest decision of the wedding. Opting for an outdoor wedding means you have to use way less electricity and overall power for the reception. If you decide to get married outdoors during the day, the sunlight is a much more eco-friendly way to provide light! If your wedding is going to be indoors, consider renting an AirBnb as a venue or an old barn or warehouse. The overall cost will be much less as well as having a more environmentally friendly space.
Use recycled paper for name cards
Using recycled paper for your name cards and other paper products you need at your wedding will cut down a ton on the production of paper used for just one night! The recycled paper look is much more cute anyway.
Photo courtesy of onewed.com
Donate leftover food
Most of the food from the night will end up not being eaten, and throwing it away is really wasteful when someone else can enjoy it. You can plan to donate your leftovers to a homeless shelter in your city by searching homeless shelters on http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/
Go thrifting for vases and glassware
Thrift stores have a lot of great stuff, including old vases and glasses. You can get glassware that has already been used for a very cheap price and then give it back to a thrift store when your wedding is over so other people can use it!
Photo courtesy of cedarwoodweddings.com
Repurpose your dress
Your wedding dress only gets worn once, so why not give it a life after you wear it? There are many organizations that will take your dress and reuse it for good. Wish Upon A Wedding is an organization that helps people with life-threatening illnesses plan a wedding. They are a non-profit and rely on donations, you can find them here: http://wishuponawedding.org/
Photo Courtesy of greenweddingshoes.com
Ask for donations to a charity instead of presents
A lot of people are opting out of presents these days and asking for donations to a charity instead. This is a great way to support your favorite charity with your friends and family!
Of course, purchase eco-friendly wedding rings!
Photo Courtesy of our lovely customers (rings are made from Koa wood with a vintage metal ring)
While browsing our site, you may have noticed that we use what is called a moissanite in almost all of our rings with stones in them. I have realized that most people don’t know what exactly a moissanite is, and have never even heard of it before viewing our rings! Well, I am here to let you know just exactly what a moissanite is!
Moissanites are stones that are an eco-friendly alternative to diamonds. Most people want diamonds in their rings because of the sparkle and hardness of them, which is totally understandable! The only thing is that diamonds are not always eco-friendly and most of the time their origins are unknown. This is why a scientist named Henri Moissan created an alternative to diamonds. He discovered moissanite crystals in a crater that was created by a meteorite in 1893. He realized these crystals had more brilliance than a diamond and he found out they were composed of silicon carbonate. Since the crystals are extremely hard to find in nature being that they come from a meteorite, he decided to start growing them in science labs. Henri Moissan later won the nobel prize for his discoveries.
The moissanites that we get to use in our wooden rings come from a company called Charles and Colvard. They are one of the top leading moissanite distributors in the world. Moissanites have been proven to have a hardness of 9.25 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which makes it one of the hardest substances on earth! This means that it can resist all surface scratching as well as having an incredible brilliance to it.
Since we are an eco-friendly business and are incredibly conscious of where all our materials come from, we really couldn’t find anything better than moissanites to use in our rings. We hope you love them just as much as we do!!
We haven’t posted a Wood Ring Tales in a while for you, so here is our newest story! Adam and Vicki are two of our customers who made some very personalized rings for themselves. We are always happy to create custom orders, especially creating rings that can be paired with engagement rings like Vicki’s. Here is an excerpt from the ceremony that the couple shared with us:
The ring is a symbol of the unbroken circle of love, of family and commitment. These rings are made of Black Walnut, taken from a tree planted by Vicki’s grandparents, Tom and Ann Niblock. Black Walnut has also played a significant role in Adams life; it was our grandfather’s favorite nut, and several black walnut trees dotted the family homestead. Inlaid in Vicki’s ring are stones that they collected from the beach in Delaware, where they first pledged their commitment to each other through engagement.
Adam and Vicki, your choice of this wood for your rings is fitting. Your marriage, like a tree, is a living, breathing thing. It must be carefully nurtured, to allow its roots to spread and deepen. Over time, it will change, never the same from year to year, but ever growing and increasing in strength. It will witnesses the passing of the seasons, and through every winter, it will keep faith in the hope of spring. It will weather storms and rejoice in the warmth of the sun. May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken.
We love their story and we are so happy that we were able to create something so special for them! Congrats Adam and Vicki! Below are some pictures from the ceremony.
Jewelry has been around from the beginning of time. Some of the first recorded jewelry was made by neanderthals using bones they found. The earliest finding of jewelry was dated around 25,000 years ago. This simple necklace made of fish bones was found in a cave in Monaco.
Of course, jewelry made thousands of years ago isn’t like the jewelry we wear today. When researching ancient jewelry and techniques that civilizations used, one thing I found to be interesting was the ephemeral nature of most of the jewelry. A lot of the time at the office we speak about our jewelry as being ephemeral because of the nature of the material we use. This transient nature is one of the main reasons we use wood. Wood is fragile, it connects us to the earth, it doesn’t last forever, and keeps us in the present moment. I saw that in some of the materials that were used in ancient jewelry, like shells, feathers, hair, rope, wood, and bone. All of these materials are episodic, impermanent, and temporary, and in this we find beauty.
Feather and Shell Necklace from New Guinea photo courtesy of pinterest
In New Guinea, people started making jewelry with the objects they found around them, like bones, tusks, teeth, and gemstones. Some of the jewelry that they created was highly valued because of how impermanent it was. They would create pieces from flowers, rare shells, and precious stones. These pieces connected them to the land they were from, and gave them a sense of identity and place in the world. The pieces were not about durability, but about importance in the moment. In Africa, a lot of tribes used wood to carve into beads and paint and then string together for necklaces. The wood was a material they had readily available, but at the same time served as a connection for them to the land they appreciated and represented.
Jewelry later came to denote human connection and commitment to one another. Slaves were made to wear bracelets to show who they belonged to. Wedding rings symbolized the commitment two people had for each other. Some jewelry of the ephemeral nature that represents this concept is Victorian hair jewelry. People would take the hair from deceased loved ones and weave it into necklaces and other pieces of jewelry.
Victorian Hair Jewelry Photo Courtesy of Gordon McDowell
These are all examples of jewelry that weren’t intended to last forever, like a diamond or precious metal, but were made to have a specific significance in place and time that was important to the person wearing the piece. Jewelry is special in that it connects us to the people around us and the place where the materials are from. We take pride in these values since we use all locally salvaged wood and the stories of our customers.
In part one of this blog post, we told you about a program at Dorset Collegiate High School in Canada. The program promotes safe fun for graduate students by providing a space to celebrate and party all night while agreeing to not partake in consuming drugs or alcohol. We were contacted by the a parent whose daughter is graduated from the school this year. She asked if we would donate a gift certificate for the raffle they have as a way to entice kids to come and participate. We were more than happy to help, and we are happy to see that Brandon was the proud winner of a Birthwood Gift Certificate! He decided upon the November Birthwood ring, and we can’t wait to make it for him. Thank you again to Loriann and Dorset Collegiate!!
If you are interested in our Birthwood line, check it out here!
We recently interviewed our owner here at Simply Wood Rings, and we decided to share it with you! Gustav started Simply Wood Rings ten years ago, so we thought it was time to ask him some questions about why and how he began Simply Wood Rings!
Tell us a little about yourself and your business:
I was born in Mexico and raised in the United States. My father was a carpenter, so there was wood around me all the time growing up. He also studied jewelry in his free time and would bring me to the studio in Pilsen where he would learn techniques from other jewelry designers. A lot of his work inspired me at a young age, along with the Pilsen neighborhood where my business is located today. I attended the Art Institute where I studied painting and drawing, but afterwards I worked in construction for many years. While working in construction, I decided to start learning how to do woodworking so I could start making furniture. During that time, my partner, who is now my wife, asked me to create a wooden ring for her. I told her I didn’t think I could make one without compromising the integrity of the wood, but she insisted. She came to me with ideas on how to make one, but I kept pushing the idea away. After she insisted more and more, she came up with a technique of wrapping the wood where the wood had enough integrity to be wearable. It was from her that the whole process came to be. We have now been in business for the past ten years with no looking back.
Why wooden rings?
I wanted to create an alternative to traditional rings for people. Wood is an alternative to traditional structure, large corporations, and traditional ideas of “forever.” When you wear a wooden ring, it demands your attention. You have to be mindful of the material you are wearing and it brings you into the present moment. As humans, we aren’t put on this Earth forever, and the wooden ring reminds us of our fragility and how it is important to be mindful in the present. We don’t exist in the future, we exist now, just like wood. Our business is also eco-friendly and the wood we use is all salvaged from around Chicago.
What inspires you?
I am inspired mostly by the material itself and the stories of people we work with. Wood translates well to the sentimental connections we make with our customers because wood already holds an authentic position in the world of materials. Our customers have amazing stories that we use in our rings, and each ring is completely different than any others because of that. When I started making wooden items, I made keepsake boxes for women to place sentimental items in. The connection between wood and these objects creates a story unique to each individual, and that translated into our mission with Simply Wood Rings. I am also inspired by providing the alternative to metal rings that people may have not known existed prior to me starting my business.
Here at the shop, we are all big film lovers. Our shop is located inside a building in Chicago called the Midland Building, and we found out that part of the movie Divergent was filmed on our roof! We thought it was so cool that we should share it with you. The Midland Building is an old industrial building, which is a perfect setting for the futuristic, sci-fi, urban dystopia in Divergent. You can see other distinguishable landmarks in the movie, like the Willis Tower, the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, and the Chicago River.
Divergent was filmed with the company Cinespace, which is a block away from our building. Cinespace is responsible for shows like Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Empire. We even saw Sophia Bush on the street one day while walking to lunch! If you ever want to try to catch a glimpse of a movie or T.V. show being filmed, head on over to Pilsen to check it out!
Below is a video that shows the characters jumping onto the Midland Building!
Check out Cinespace by going to their website: http://www.chicagofilmstudios.com
Mother’s Day is right around the corner, just five days away!! We are so excited and have thought of different events you can go to in Chicago with your mother or gifts you can send to her! Whether you are able to spend Mother’s Day with your mom or not, show her some love this year with an extra special something.
Is your mom an avid baker or lover of sweets? Magnolia Bakery is offering a special Mother’s Day class where you and your mom can learn how to make and decorate their world famous cupcakes. Your mom will always have a fun dessert to bring to parties after learning these techniques!
If your mom is the craft type, you could take her to a woodworking workshop at the rebuilding exchange. The Rebuilding Exchange uses all salvaged materials, which is why we love them! They have workshops from wooden planters to frame building just for you and your mom on Mother’s Day. She will always have a reminder of what a special day you planned for her with her handmade craft.
The Saturday before Mother’s Day the Green City Market has it’s first farmer’s market of the season! Grab some fresh, local fruits and veggies with your mom so the two of you can cook an amazing brunch together on Sunday! You could even have a picnic in the park after exploring the market.
If you want to relive some memories with your mom over a glass of wine, head over to City Winery for their story sessions brunch. They will be featuring stories about moms all day in honor of Mother’s Day.
Another restaurant with an amazing outdoor area is Cindy’s. They are located on the 13th floor of the Athletic Association building and provide views of Millennium Park from their balcony. You could even walk over to the Art Institute afterwards and see the Van Gogh exhibit before it leaves.
If you are looking for an escape from the city look no further than Bohemian House. Being there will make you feel like you have traveled from Chicago to Eastern Europe. They have a special brunch menu for Mother’s Day and a build your own mimosa bar. What more could you ask for?
Not able to spend time with your mom on Mother’s Day? We also have some great gift ideas for her!
This soap is made from goat’s milk from a farm in Tennessee, what could be cuter? You can even “meet” the goats on their website. They also have awesome wooden soap dishes. A perfect gift for the mother who loves to pamper herself
CAsouls creates morse code bracelets and necklaces, which we think is pretty awesome. Why not get a necklace that says “mom” in morse code so you and your mom can have a special secret together? They are also beautiful pieces of jewelry.
We hope that you all have an amazing Mother’s Day this year and we hope our list helped you with some ideas!
Earth day is this Friday, and we are so excited! Did you know Earth Day has only been around since 1970? Now there are more than 193 countries who observe Earth day around the world. We are an eco-conscious business, and we try to do our part to make sure to conserve the Earth’s natural resources. All of the wood we use for our rings is salvaged and reused, we never cut down any trees for our rings! Are you wondering how you can take part in Earth Day in a few simple ways? We have made a list for you! Incorporate these things into your everyday life as well to be extra eco-conscious!
Join a community garden
Photo Courtesy of www.communitygardens.com
Chicago has a ton of community gardens around the city. You can join and start growing your own vegetables and herbs today! Another idea is to start a window sill garden if you only want to plant small things. Locally sourced food cuts down on gas costs from airplanes shipping food and pesticides that get put into the soil from farming.
2. Unplug all electronics when they aren’t in use or when you leave the house
Leaving electronics plugged in uses energy even when those appliances may not be in use. Unplugging them is easy and only takes a few seconds and could prevent a potential fire in your house as well!
3. Buy green cleaning products
Organic cleaning products clean without the use of chlorine or petroleum, both of which end up in the eco-system when you use them!
4. Use a bike or walk when going on short errands
Photo Courtesy of www.lifehacker.com
5. Change lightbulbs in your house to CFL bulbs
CFL bulbs last ten times longer than regular bulbs and use only 1/4 of the energy and produce 90% less heat.
6. Donate old clothes from your closet
Photo Courtesy of www.realsimple.com
7. Avoid exfoliating scrubs with microbeads in them
Exfoliating micro beads are plastic pellets that end up in the water in our ecosystem and can harm animals
Those are just some of the many things you can do this Friday April 22 for Earth Day! Happy Conserving!
Here at the studio, we recently received an email from a woman in Canada that we couldn’t keep from sharing. She reached out to us because of an event at the high school her daughter goes to, and here is part of the email she sent us:
“Well where do I start. Dorset Collegiate is located just outside of a little community in Pilleys Island, Newfoundland, Canada. There is approximately 160 students in total ( grade 7-12). 6 different community kids goes to this school. So everyone knows everyone.
Our safe grad program started up a few years ago with just a handful of teachers/parents and minimal decorations and prizes. Now it’s grown into something a bit bigger and better thanks to generous donations/prizes from some amazing companies. We separate into groups,,decide on themed rooms. For example this year we have a camo room, Hawaiian room, wildly winks and the chocolate factory room and cafe room. Not to mention the gym has a bouncy pirate ship for the graduates to play. There’s a dance and also a breakfast at daylight. All during the night kids go from room to room, have snacks, play games, win prizes. They LOVE this. We do this for them to keep them safe. A few years back a local graduated died because of a graduation party that wasn’t sponsored by the school. She drowned, in a car accident on graduation night.
So now we do this to keep our kids safe. It is a drug and alcohol FREE night. They sign “contracts” pledging to stay FREE from its and it works. As parents we worry because grad night is huge scary night and now because of the safe grad we know our kids are INSIDE and SAFE. The kids also receive goodie bags when the come and sign in to the party. Once inside there is no going outside till its time to go home the next day.”
She told us all of that information and asked if we would be interested in donating to the event so that the kids would have something special in their raffle as one of the prizes. We decided to give them a gift card that is good for one Birthwood ring from our Birthwood line. We love to be a part of the community, whether it is the Chicago community or a bigger one. Part of why we do what we do at Simply Wood Rings is to give back to the Earth and the community, so we are extremely excited by this opportunity. We are very honored to be asked to do such a thing, and we hope that the winner loves the ring!
Did you know that you can visit our shop at any time and see all our rings in person? You can! We love to have visitors see where all the magic happens. There are so many things to do in our neighborhood that we made a list of all of them. We have a brand new page that shows all of our favorite places in the Pilsen neighborhood that you can check out while you are here. We have a comprehensive list of places to shop, drink, eat, hang out, or see art.
Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and we have the perfect ring for a Mother or Mother-to-be. We have taken the concept from Birthwood and came up with the design for a ring that is centered around a mother and her child or multiple children.
The Mother’s Ring is the idea that you would take a mother’s birthwood and use it as the base wood for a ring, then inlay the birthstones of however many children she has in the center. You can use this idea for a grandmother, mother, sister, wife, or any woman in your life who has children. This is also a perfect ring for men as Father’s Day approaches!
Mother’s Ring using Birthwood Willow and inlays of Opal and Black Pearl
Another way you can make a ring for your mother, grandmother, or wife is by using the concept from our Sitting in a Tree Ring. This ring uses the birthwood that represents the anniversary of the couple as the base wood, then has inlays of the birthwoods that represent the parents sandwiching inlays of the children’s birthstones in the center.
Sitting in a Tree Ring with Cherry as the base wood, with inlays of Walnut, Imperial Topaz, Amethyst, and Pine.
Both ideas make for a very unique present to give the woman in your life! If you order your Mother’s Ring between now and May 8th, you will receive a free container of ring balm and an extra special surprise. If you do want to receive the ring by Mother’s Day, make sure to get your order in by March 31st!
In today’s edition of Wood Ring Tales, we have featured Stephanie and Don! This couple had a really incredible wedding in the San Juan Islands. They ordered a pair of our Seashore’s Muse wedding rings, which you can see in the pictures below. Stephanie is a fellow blogger and she wrote a little piece about their rings and wedding at www.Earthboxinn.com. Here is a snippet of her post below!
“I’m Steffi. I have been with the Earthbox Inn & Spa for 10 years. I write this blog, respond to you on Trip Advisor, manage group bookings, among other things. A couple of years ago I fell in love. Hard. With a single Dad from Kirkland. For the first year of us dating, we saw each other only every other weekend. Until I moved to Kirkland last year, we had never seen each other on a Wednesday.
Late last year, when visiting our friend Laura, the owner of the Earthbox Inn & Spa, sipping coffee on her patio, watching whales swim by, we decided to get married. On South Beach, on the first full moon of the New Year.
We wanted unique rings with meaning to us and decided on Rosewood rings with a Mother of Pearl inlay. The wild rose is our flower and everything we do is by the sea. Simply Wood Rings, a small company in Chicago, made them and kindly held our hands through the process as we worried that they wouldn’t be ready in time.
Don and the kids went to Southbeach several hours before the wedding to build a bonfire. It was raining hard. When I arrived the rain stopped and our small group of guests was gathered around a raging fire, sipping hot coco and coffee. My stepdaughter led us down a path to the beach, to a driftwood arch, decorated with balloons, seashells and bones, courtesy of Don & the kids. A couple of sea lions swam by, checking us out. It was absolutely still but the sound of little low tide waves lapping onshore. Therese did her magic and lot’s of laughter and some tears later we were husband and wife. We returned to the fire for champagne and toasts and stayed until the sun set dramatically and gorgeously after the rain.”
Stephanie and Don also provided us with some awesome photos from the ceremony, which was photographed by Jon Sinclair.
Here at Simply Wood Rings, we are always looking for ways to be more environmentally conscious. Composting is a wonderful way to help the environment and really doesn’t take much effort! In Chicago, most people live in small apartments or condos, and therefore composting outdoors isn’t an option. There is another way to compost, which is by using a bucket and some friendly red worms! We started our own compost bin here at the Simply Wood Rings shop, and it’s been a wonderful addition to the shop!
Food Scraps and yard waste make up 30 percent of what we throw away, and are the largest category of municipal waste going into landfills and incinerators. Food scraps in landfills not only take up space but release methane which is a potent greenhouse gas. Composting helps keep these items out of landfills and provides you with rich soil that can help your houseplants grow or you can donate it to a local urban farm.
Here is a chart from Sustainable America that can help you start your own compost bin!
The thought of buying a wooden ring or a custom wood ring for that matter can be overwhelming to some. The buying process of any ring can be overwhelming if you don’t know the specifics or your size or what you are looking for. We want your buying experience with Simply Wood Rings to be super easy! We try to make it as easy as possible no matter what type of ring you want. but if you are hesitant at all to order because you don’t know where to begin, we can help! Here are the steps and information you would need to order a ring from us!
The first step when buying a ring is to figure out your size. Most people don’t know how to figure out their ring size, and that’s totally fine! We have another blog post that can help you figure out your size, which you can read here or you can order a plastic ring sizer from us by clicking here!
The next step would be to think about what you want your ring to look like. If you look on our site you can see all the options that we have In-Stock and those are good to order if you need a ring ASAP. Click here to view all our In-Stock rings! It’s also a good way to gain some inspiration for a custom order if you decide to go that route. If you do decide on a custom ring order, the next step would be to either use our Custom Ring Builder tool on the site or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Custom Ring Builder tool can be found here, and it is a fast and easy tool to plan and design your ring. Some people have more complicated custom orders or provide materials for us to use, and in that case you would email us and our master order-taker Sara would help you. She would put together a list of the materials you want to use and the pricing for them and then all you have to do is pay online!
If you do go the route of sending in materials for us to work with, the next step in the buying process would be to send us those materials! Once we get them, we can start your ring. Otherwise, once you place your order online, the turnaround time for us to ship out your ring is 5-6 weeks. You do have the option to expedite your order for $65 and that would get it to you in 2-3 weeks time. Also if you spend over $125 on an order you receive free shipping!
One of the best ways to get an idea of what you want and what types of wood we work with etc is by coming in to visit us in the shop. When you schedule a visit, we will size you, show you around the shop, show you all the different inlays and types of wood we have, and can make a custom order in person with us. Our shop is at 1500 S. Western Ave in Chicago. We love meeting people in person and showing them the process of how we make our rings. Even if you don’t want to purchase a ring and just see where we call home, that is fine too. Call us today to schedule your appointment!
We hope this helps with your purchase and makes the whole process easier!
We are an eco-friendly business and are always thinking of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle everything around us. With Valentine’s Day coming up, we wanted to offer directions for how to make your own homemade paper from paper scraps lying around! This is a good way to recycle and reuse, and is also going to make your cards unique from all other cards!
How To Make Paper
Tear scrap paper into small pieces.
Each piece should measure no larger than roughly 1 inch (2.54 cm).
Make a frame.
This step can be done while your paper scraps are soaking.
Cut a hole in the bottom of a disposable brownie pan. An aluminum pan is best, as it can be cut using sharp scissors. The hole should be rectangular and 1 inch (2.54 cm) smaller on all sides than the bottom of the pan.
Place a piece of screen or wire mesh in the pan. To keep it from falling through the hole, simply cut it the size of the pan bottom.
Make a slurry of paper pulp.
Fill a blender with warm water, halfway. Add some of the shredded and soaked paper–about a handful. At medium speed, blend the water and paper until it takes on a soupy consistency.
Pour the slurry into a large tub. Fill the tub with warm water. Mix the tub contents until they are evenly incorporated. At this point you can add food coloring if you want to make colored paper!
Holding the pan level, shake all the extra water out. Use your hands to press the pulp against the screen to get more water out.
Place the frame on a clean, dry towel and press paper out onto towel.
Place another towel on top of paper, and roll over with a rolling pin to get extra water out.
Peel paper off towel and set somewhere to dry overnight.
Voila! You have your own homemade paper for Valentine’s Day cards! Cut into whatever shape you want and send to your friends and family!
Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and it’s never too early to start planning a date or gift for that special someone in your life! There are so many places to go and gifts to choose from in a city as big as Chicago, but we are here to help you be as socially and environmentally conscious as possible as you plan for Valentine’s day. As an Eco-Friendly business we know of some great Eco-Friendly date spots in the city for all of our customers! We also have some great ideas for custom Valentine’s day rings if you need an Eco-Friendly gift to give. Keep reading to see our list of date spots and ideas for custom rings!
Located in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, Hamburger Mary’s uses all certified humane meat, recycled materials for packaging, and CFL and LED lights.
Lincoln Park Conservatory – 2391 N. Stockton Dr. Chicago, Illinois 60614
Placed in Lincoln Park, this conservatory has some of the best plants and flowers around. It is also right next to the zoo if you feel like heading over afterwards!
Xoco – 449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Rick Bayless’ Restaurant XOCO features some of the best gourmet Mexican food around. XOCO has a massive rooftop garden and uses 40% less water than a standard restaurant of comparable size, making it a great green establishment.
This restaurant’s water is heated by solar panels on the roof, all of the wood products are from fallen trees in Jackson Park, and both its locations feature rooftop gardens.
Trattoria 10 – 10 N Dearborn St #1, Chicago, IL 60602
Named one of the first “Guaranteed Green” restaurants in Chicago in 2010, this upscale dining experience features all locally sourced food.
February is the month of the Birthwood Hackberry! Our Hackberry Birthwood ring with its amethyst birthstone inlay is a perfect Valentine’s day gift. Maybe there is a different month that is special to you or your partner? You can always go to our birthwood page and customize a ring by combining any Birth Wood with any birthstone inlay.
Another ring combination we offer that may be a good Valentine’s day gift is our Saltstone Inlay Ring. You can combine this inlay with any type of wood you want! Head over to our custom orders page to get started making this ring.
Our “Sitting in a Tree” ring is another great idea for a gift. This style is completely customizable and it brings the whole family together with inlays of birthwoods for the parents and the stones inlays that represent the months of the children’s birthdays. You can get this for a Mother or Father, or even a Grandmother or Grandfather. If you and your significant other are expecting your first baby this year, it would be the perfect symbolization of your family together! Here is a video below showing the “Sitting in a Tree” style of ring.
Custom orders are our favorite thing to make here at the shop. We love having a personal story to work with and innovative materials to use. This way, we are able to use your stories, traditions, and memories in a ring that you can wear and show off. Expanding our craft by using new, creative materials is exciting for us and for the customer! It isn’t every day you get to have the chance to make a completely customized ring with materials that are special to you.
Sometimes it is difficult to figure out where exactly to start when making a custom wood ring. We allow customers to provide us with wood, materials for inlays, and stones. We also appreciate when customers send us sketches like the one pictured above! We have a custom ring builder tool on our website which you can find by clicking here.
Here is a list of materials we have used in the past:
Chili pepper seeds – A couple planted a chili pepper plant when they first started dating, and we used the chili pepper skin and seeds as an inlay in their rings.
Flower from first date – one customer dried and saved a flower from her first date and used the petals as an inlay in her ring and the stem as an inlay for her significant other.
Wood from a swing where a couple had their first kiss – we used this wood as a base for the couples’ rings.
Snakeskin – A customer who has a pet snake sent us some of the skin that it shed to use as an inlay in a ring!
Part of a barrel and vine from a vineyard – A customer who owns a vineyard provided us with the wood for the base and a vine to use as an inlay.
Vintage rings from a family member capped in wood – Many customers have provided family heirloom rings to be capped with wood.
Rocks and sand from where couples met
Wood from the 1700s passed down from a great uncle
A baseball bat from a grandfather
Wood from an apple orchard in Wisconsin!
If you are thinking of making a custom ring, think about the things you have that are special to you and contact us to see if we can use them! We love a challenge!
Ever wonder if size actually matters? When you are buying a ring for someone, it does!!
Wedding season is right around the corner, and if you are planning on getting wedding bands made or surprising someone with a proposal, you want to make sure the ring can actually be worn by that person, right? We have some tips for you so that your loved one can say “I do” and comfortably wear their ring at the same time.
Here is some of our favorite customers ring sizing stories.
Make up a story about a friend needing to figure out a ring size for their significant other and say you think yours has the same hand size.
One customer tried to use the “string test” while their partner was sleeping (the string test is not a preferred method).
There are many customers who size a ring that their significant other already owns. If you’re going to do this, be careful! Make sure the ring is a for their ring finger!
You can always ask a family member or friend to have them “try on” a ring. (“Hey, do you like this ring? Do you know your ring size? Oh mine is a 7, what’s yours?”)
Ring size is measured in millimeters based on the inner circumference of the band. The easiest way to get sized and make sure the size is accurate is to go to a professional jeweler. The jeweler will have a ring mandrel, which is a graduated metal wand with marks on it stating ring sizes. If you bring a jeweler a ring that your significant other wears on their ring finger, the jeweler can place it on the mandrel and get an accurate sizing. You can always purchase your own ring mandrel, but this is a more expensive option.
There are also plastic ring sizers, which we sell here ! This is also one of the most accurate ways to size someone.
Another way is to use the string test. You just need a string (or even a strip of paper) and use it to wrap around the ring finger. Then you can measure that length in millimeters and use the chart we have provided below to match the length up to the ring size. Don’t pull the string or paper too tight! You should be able to slide the string/paper off your finger without a struggle.
If you can’t get your significant other to a jeweler or need to be more secretive in general, we have ideas for that as well. If your significant other takes his or her ring off while they shower, you can grab the ring and place it on your finger and then make a mark on your finger where it falls. You can show a jeweler and have them size that part of your finger. You could also press the ring into a bar of soap and then measure the impression of the ring! Also don’t forget, most mothers, sisters, or bestfriends can help by taking the person out and trying on rings together.
In order to get the most accurate size, you should try to make sure your hands are room temperature! Hands shrink when cold and can swell in heat, which could result in an inaccurate sizing. Also, the wider the ring band, the tighter the ring will be. If you know you’re going to purchase a 6mm or 8mm band, be sure to get sized with that width of a ring.Your ring should go on easy and come off hard. The worst thing imaginable is losing a ring because it is a little too big!!
We’re able to resize our wood rings 1/4 to 1/2 of a size. If the ring you order is off by more, we will need to remake the ring. We hope this helps you in your ring sizing ventures! Remember you can always come into our shop to get sized. We are located at 1500 South Western in Pilsen! Happy ring sizing!!
In this edition of Wooden Tales, we are featuring Amy and Will Cadena. These custom rings we made for Amy and Will are some of our favorite because we love the colors of the glass and the fact that they incorporated glass from their wedding ceremony. They also provided us with some amazing videos from their engagement and wedding ceremony! Here is their story and videos!
“We knew each other for about 8 years before we started dating. We worked for the same company, and did NOT get along. He traveled a lot, and after one of his trips, we ran into one another on a job and started talking. We became friends and the friendship quickly developed into more. Our first date was 2 days before Valentines day, where I happened to mention I wanted a tattoo of my favorite flower, a purple daisy. That Monday (Valentines Day), I was surprised at work with a beautiful bouquet of purple daisies. Yup, you guessed it, I was HOOKED! After dating for about 3 1/2 years, we got engaged. He proposed in front of our closest friends and family at a vineyard. He sat us all down to take group picture (he’s a photographer), then had our dog run to me, wearing the ring on his collar. When I looked up, he was in front of me, on one knee. I was completely surprised! We couldn’t wait to start our lives together, and 6 months later we were married!
About the glass…I am Jewish, and Will is Catholic. Neither one of us come from a religious family, but we both are “spiritual” and while we didn’t want a religious ceremony, we did want to include some traditions from both religions. At the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom breaks a glass. This has a few meanings and the reason we included the tradition in our ceremony was it is meant to remind us that marriage is as fragile as glass, and to demonstrate how life is so fragile that the couple should enjoy every day as if it were their last together. While some just use a lightbulb or wine glass, Will and I chose to buy a special piece of glass that we could then use after the wedding. We chose that specific glass because the colors were a combination of our favorite colors, and even though it was in a cloth during the ceremony so nobody saw it, it also happened to match our wedding colors.
Again, Thank you for your beautiful work, we are SO HAPPY with the rings, we love wearing them, and telling people all about what they mean and where we got them! “
We love all types of rings, but one of the reasons we create and love wood rings is the fact that they don’t last forever. Part of our philosophy is to be in the present moment and live for the now. When you take off your wood ring and take a moment to reflect on the fact that it doesn’t last forever, it creates a moment of zen. We only have what is in front of us, and we can’t promise forever about anything. Even metal rings and diamonds don’t necessarily promise forever. A wooden ring has an ephemeral nature to it, which we really appreciate because it reflects back on human existence. Taking care of what is in front of us at the moment and having a mindful existence is one of the most powerful things we can give ourselves in life, and wooden rings reminds us of that. Fortunately there are ways to make your wood ring last longer! We created a list of activities that aren’t the best for any type of ring to help inform you of when you should take off your rings!
Activites that could harm your wedding or engagement ring
Washing your hands, dishes, or showering
There are many reasons you should take your wedding or engagement ring off when submerging your hands in water. First of all, soap that is used in such activities leaves a residue on most things. With metal rings, the residue can change the color of the metal and create a tarnish, or just dull the ring in general. Soap residue also affects any stones that are set in rings. The stone will not look as bright over time and will also have a film of residue coating it. The way water and soap affect a metal ring is the same way it would affect a wooden ring. With a wooden ring, the finish would start to wear off over time and the soap would leave a residue as well. Of course the occasional hand washing or shower is fine for both materials, but you want to be diligent about taking off your rings.
Getting in a swimming pool or any body of water
In a swimming pool, all of the chlorine will affect a ring no matter what material it is made from. Chemicals like chlorine can severely damage a metal or wooden ring. Also when you submerge yourself in any body of water, if the water is colder than your body temperature your fingers can shrink in size, potentially causing your ring to fall off.
Working out or playing sports
Anytime your body heats up and you are using your hands to grip something, you run the risk of bending your metal ring. Most fine metals are pretty soft and malleable, so it is possible to change the shape of the ring during these activities which could also change the setting in which your stone is set. When a stone setting gets moved out of place, it makes the stone more liable to fall out over time. A wooden ring shape wouldn’t be affected by working out but sweating while wearing it could affect the finish and dull it over time.
Using household cleaners
It goes without saying that when you put metal or wood in chemicals or any sort, it will inevitably mess up the ring in some way. For metal it can drastically change the color and could create a totally different looking ring. Most cleaners have ammonia and bleach in them, which is bad for any type of metal. For wood rings, same thing applies. It can change the color or wear off the finish that is put on a wood ring. If you have a stone in the ring, it can really dull the appearance of that stone as well.
Our Birthwood line of wooden rings is expanding! We now offer Mother’s Rings within our Birthwood line of rings! We have titled these the “Sitting in a Tree” rings in reference to the old “kissing” playground song. With these rings, you can really mix and match the Birth Woods and inlays in any way you please. In the video below, we have a ring that uses a couples’ wedding month as the main wood for the ring, then has inlays of wood to represent both partners’ birth months sandwiching two more inlays of birthstones which represent their two children. You can take this concept and make it into any combination you would like to represent your own children, grandchildren, partners, or even pets! The options are endless. Watch the video below to see the Sitting in a Tree Ring we just finished!
Happy Holidays from Simply Wood Rings! Our team recently celebrated the holidays at Lagunitas Brewery, which is right down the block from our shop in the Pilsen neighborhood. They have free beer tastings daily and have some of the best beer in Chicago. You can visit their website here for more information on their brewery! Here are some pictures from our trip!
A Lily Love Affair recently featured our Birthwood rings on their blog!
We are so honored to have Anna Baun from the blog A Lily Love Affair review our Birthwood Rings! Anna’s blog is a wonderful mix of everything fashion and Chicago related. She took the image above of her ring which is her birth month, March, and features Ash wood and an aquamarine birthstone inlay. Our Birthwood rings have a specific type of wood associated with each month, which can be your birth month or a month to signify something else that is important to you. You then have the option to put in an inlay of a birthstone, or many birthstones if you would like. Anna said in her blog post she is going to get one for her mom for Mother’s Day, which is an awesome idea! We also offer the option of making a Birthwood ring into a Mother’s ring, using the birthstones of each child as an inlay. You can really customize these rings to make something completely unique for someone you love.
As the holidays approach, it’s important to make sure you get something thoughtful and unique for the special people in your life. We decided to put together a gift guide of wooden gift and eco-friendly products that we love for the holidays!
Beer Bottle Candle– www.reusefirst.com– This company is based in Chicago and recycles alcohol bottles by turning them into beautiful candles. Get the kind of beer your best friend likes and you have the perfect present to give.
Nick Offerman Ornaments– www.offermanwoodshop.com –Everyone’s favorite woodworker from Parks and Rec created some awesome Christmas ornaments for the season.
Wooden Sunglasses – www.woodzee.com – Get your loved one some awesome wooden sunglasses for the summer months!
Eco-Friendly Bamboo Toothbrush– www.pearlbar.com – Who wouldn’t want to save the environment while brushing their teeth? Perfect for the eco-conscious aunt everyone has.
Mid-Century Stacking Trays – www.brassandbark.com – Another Chicago based company, specializing in Mid-Century wooden products!
Wooden Iphone Speakers– www.koostik.com – The gift for the technology loving friend in your life. All items made by Koostik are Eco-Friendly as well.
Simply Wood Rings is an eco-conscious company. You may be asking yourself “what does that even mean?” since we use wood for our rings. First of all, we do not cut down trees just for rings! This is a misconception that is frequently believed. We get our wood from a number of places, which I will explain below!
One place we get wood from is a company called Horigan Urban Forest Products. They recycle the urban forest here in Chicago to it’s highest possible uses. They use the same trees that go to firewood or mulch and turn them into usable hardwood lumber. They are committed to the environment by reducing the number of trees removed from the forest, the amount of fuel consumed for transportation, and the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere by sequestering it as hardwood lumber. Their beautiful wood is produced without a single tree being removed for lumber. All wood is originated from Chicago, Il.
We also get wood from artists and cabinet makers that have businesses in our building, the Midland building. The Midland Art and Design building is a collective of local artisans, craftsmen, and their respective companies. All M.A.D. members work under one roof and they design, create, showcase, and sell all forms of work + products within the Midland Building. Midland Art and Design is made up of furniture designers, print makers, installation artists, fashion designers, woodworkers, sculptors, and much more. So much lumber is left over from their projects, so we reuse that wood for our rings. It’s basically like dumpster diving and repurposing right in our own building.
One of the coolest ways we get our wood is from an old xylophone factory in Chicago. All of our rosewood comes from xylophone keys that were bought from that factory. The building is in Ravenswood and is called the Deagan building after the family that owned the xylophone factory. Now the building houses small companies, one of which is a glass factory.
Another cool way we get wood is that sometimes customers provide the wood they want us to use and then if they are really nice they will let us keep the leftover wood! We have been given baseball bats, part of a swing, a grandfather’s cane, and part of a barn door. These are all such awesome pieces and we get really excited when we are offered the chance to work with new wooden items.
In our culture, Instagram is one of the top ways to connect with others and see what is out there in the world. Instagram currently has over 300 million users, crazy right? I’m sure you have an Instagram account, but if not, go get yourself one because we have a list of Instagram accounts you should definitely be following (not to mention our account, @simplywoodrings) ! We adore Eco-friendly businesses and products, since we are an Eco-friendly business ourselves. Every product out there has an impact on the world, and we love products that care about our planet as much as we do. Here is our list of the 5 Eco-friendly, sustainable Instagram accounts you need to follow now.
1. Canned Goods Co. @cannedgoodsco
This business is based in Denver, and they turn tin cans into jewelry. Furthermore, they provide one can of food to a reputable charity through a program called Can Do Good. How much cooler could they be? Their designs are amazing and range from earrings to bracelets. Their company motto is “I Can Do Good, You Can Do Good, We Can Do Good Together”.
2. Coffee Sock @coffeesock
We are all avid coffee drinkers at the shop, so this one was an obvious choice. Coffee Sock provides reusable coffee filters, that are made of organic cotton and by people making a fair wage. It is a family based company from Austin, Texas, which is totally awesome in our opinion. Their Instagram account is comprised of artfully curated photos that really make us want a cup of coffee when we look at them.
3. Razimus Jewelry @razimusjewelry
This Instagram is extremely colorful and full of life because all the products are made of the most beautiful, colorful fabrics. The company makes jewelry wrapped in Eco-friendly fabrics, while all the fabrics are either vintage or organic and plant dyed. The mission of the company gives new life to old fabrics and supports the production of organic fabric in the world. Also the jewelry is amazing.
4. Purusha People @purushapeople
Purusha People is for all you yogis out there. This line of yoga clothing is so fun and looks like it would be extremely comfortable to work out in, or just sit on the couch in. They take pride in sourcing the most organic and softest fibers possible, using non-toxic water based inks and low impact dyes, and paying workers a livable wage locally in Los Angeles. The photography on their page is gorgeous and very aesthetically pleasing. Definitely make sure to check out their sparkly purple amethyst goddess leggings. They also sell baby leggings!
5. Sons of Sawdust @sonsofsawdust
This team of brothers has a super inspiring story of resilience and strength when times were hard for them. They created their business at a time when nothing seemed possible for either of them, but they made something out of nothing. They use reclaimed wood and make beautiful furniture and items out of it. You should definitely follow their Instagram and visit their website to read the entire story of how they came to be, I don’t want to ruin it for you.