Wedding Season – Matching Jewelry for California Almond Orchard Engagement Photo Shoot

Happy March! Wedding season is upon us, and this year I get to make the jewelry Almond blossom - by Victoria Camp

for my own wedding! I’ve already designed the necklace I will wear, and next items on my list are the jewelry for my sister (maid of honor) and her daughters (flower girls.)

Last weekend we took a drive out into the California valley, and had a mini engagement shoot in an almond orchard. We were a little late in the blooming season – most of the blossoms are at their peak around mid February, but we were able to find one area that still had some pretty white petals.

Of course, I made myself a bracelet and earrings set to match my dress! The bracelet is multi-strand and features beautiful vintage glass, olive and plum freshwater pearls, and large link brass chain, all finishing with an ivory satin tie-up ribbon. I made some petite vintage glass drop earrings to go with it.

The bracelet and earring set..

Engagement Photo Shoot Jewelry - Victoria Camp Designs

A close-up with the bracelet, and a different image where you can see it in action!

Engagement Photo Shoot Jewelry - Victoria Camp Designs

 

I absolutely had to take a photograph of my beautiful engagement ring (an Edwardian antique) over one of the almond blossoms in the orchard!

Antique engagement ring over almond blossom - by Victoria Camp

Most of the blooms here had already fallen, giving way to the little green leaves, but you can see there were still a few hanging on. The ground was filled with flower petals.. they were dropping right before our eyes!

Image

There were LOTS of honeybees buzzing about. I’m daydreaming about almond blossom honey..Mmm.

Honey bee in almond blossom - by Victoria Camp

This is my favorite time of year – spring is well underway in California!

New Year – BuzzFeed Article Feature – and Custom Map Quote Compass Necklaces!

Happy New Year! I know, I know, it’s February and I’m a little late to the 2014 game. I think it’s socially acceptable to wish someone a Happy New Year up until January 31st, after that, well.. what can I say?

I spent the first couple of weeks of the new year catching up on orders from December, and then spent the last part of it working on a happy flurry of new orders, thanks to a Buzzfeed Travel list that included one of my designs!

Map Quote Compass Necklace featured in Buzzfeed Travel

The article was titled “21 Things Every Traveler Wishes They Owned” and can be found here. The quote on the back of the compass can be personalized with anything you wish – poetry, a special message, a birthday, etc.

This piece is a really fun design for me with an amusing story about its conception. It started over a year ago, and was inspired by a Christmas gift I gave to my parents: a GPS for their car (how ironic, no?) I didn’t have the GPS on hand yet to physically give to them – it was being shipped from the store to their home – but I still wanted to give them something tangible in the mean time as a place holder. I mailed them an envelope that I’d made out of a paper road map, and on the front of the envelope I displayed the following Robert Frost quote, printed onto paper that I had tea-stained:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by.”

12-20-12-envelope

My mom called me and said how much she loved the envelope, and was carrying it around in her purse to hold coupons. She was so sad when it started falling apart, that I decided I needed to make her something a little more permanent that she could carry with her.. subsequently, I made her a compass key chain with the same design – a map clipping background, and the same quote on the same tea-stained paper. And with that, a new design idea was born!

Lately, I’ve had a lot of requests to personalize the map behind the quote. I don’t typically do this, as I like to use maps cut from the same atlas used in the sample photos (it’s a vintage atlas with beautiful earth toned colors and really great fonts!) However, I do love to make my customers happy, so I worked on a design that does allow for a custom map in the background behind the quote/text area. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of small towns available, but do have the major cities and large suburbs of most areas in the U.S., and major cities worldwide. Both the map and the quote are protected under a hard glossy layer of jeweler’s resin, for a professional finish and durability.

Personalized map quote compass necklace

The sample shown is with a map of the San Francisco bay area. I’m using prints from my antique atlas collection for these – the atlases are nearly 100 years old!

Large Compass - Custom Map and Quote 3 - Sm

I made a samples showing 8 different cities, but you can of course request your own different city!

Antique Map Compass Options

You can order your own Custom Map Compass Necklace with Personalized Quote here: http://www.victoriaallison.com/Large-Personalized-Compass-Necklace-Custom-Map-p/compass-lgpersonalizedmapquote.htm

Speaking of quote compasses, I need to go make some more tea-stained paper. Happy February!

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars Recipe

This recipe can really be described in just a few words: fresh, sweet cherries, buttery crumb cake, and a hint of almond. It’s sort of a multi-occasion treat – served best warm, or cold, or for breakfast, or for a mid-day snack, or even for dessert… and probably amazing with fresh whipped cream, although I didn’t think to make any before we cleaned out the entire pan. (Twice… I’ve made this two times in the month of July already, it’s that good!)

 

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars

If I were to change anything else, I’d probably sprinkle sliced almonds onto the top layer of the batter before putting it in the oven. I did add a little splash of vanilla extract and almond extract to the cherry filling,, which wasn’t called for in the recipe but was something I felt it needed. I also omitted the orange zest, as we had fresh squeezed OJ but no zest.

 

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars plated

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars

Recipe found on Bakeaholic
Yield: 30 1 1/2 inch Bars

Crust and Topping
1/2 cup brown, packed
1/2 cup white
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange
Cherry Filling
4 cups cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Zest and juice of one orange

*splash of vanilla extract and almond extract (about 1/2 tsp. each) Optional, but I liked the addition

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

In a large bowl (or food processor), stir together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and orange zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter (or pulse mixture if using food processor) to blend in the butter and egg. [I used my hands to gently mix. It was more fun, and achieved the same consistency.] Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, juice and zest of one orange , *and extracts, if using. Gently mix in the cherries. Sprinkle the cherry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Amending the All Work and No Play mentality..

Dear Blog,

I know it has been a while since I’ve written, but I promise that I still care about you! I have been so busy these past few months, I never had the time to sit down and collect my thoughts. Contrary to my prior all-work-and-no-play lifestyle, I decided that massive amounts of hard work and designing schedules that consume all daylight hours do actually merit some time away, even if I don’t leave the comfort of the West Coast.

With that in mind, I have tried to schedule time to see family, get some fresh air, and try my hand at some new baking recipes (one of which I’ll share this weekend.)

Much love,

Victoria

PS- Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been up to in my blogging absence..

April..

After my Fab.com sale ended, we took a couple of days up north to relax along the Sonoma County Coast, and spent some time at the Timber Cove Inn (with a room overlooking the cove and shoreline.) Foggy mornings mixed with patchy afternoon sun, delicious food, no television, and little to no cellphone reception made for a peaceful and rejuvenating escape.

DSC_0143

grouping

May…

The month of May brought with it an engagement, followed by a graduation ceremony for my fiance, in which I watched him speak to his graduating class as Valedictorian!…

may24

Antique edwardian ringAnother shot to show off the beautiful detailing (it’s an antique!)

smDSC_0612

Towards the end of May, I also had the privilege of seeing some of my jewelry designs on TV! They were on the air in Salt Lake City for a Celebration Gifts segment on The Daily Dish.

Victoria-Camp-Designs-Jewelry-The-Daily-Dish_May29-2013_1
You can see my jewelry there in the center! (Heart lockets, constellation lockets, and constellation compasses, all available on my website http://www.victoriaallison.com.)

June…

Both May and June were so busy with gifts for graduates! Some of my most popular designs were the quote compasses:

Working Compass Necklace - Robert Frost Two Roads Diverge Poem - 4Working Compass Necklace with Vintage Map and Robert Frost Quote – The Road Not Taken (http://www.victoriaallison.com/Working-Compass-Necklace-Vintage-Map-Robert-Frost-p/lgcompass-map-rfrostquote.htm) Available with the quote shown, or a custom quote of your choice!

..as well as my constellation compasses, in the small size:

Custom Small Working Constellation Compass Small Working Compass Necklace with Personalized Zodiac Constellation (http://www.victoriaallison.com/Small-Brass-Zodiac-Constellation-Compass-Necklace-p/smallconstellationcompassbrass.htm)

But, keeping with the mindset of not living an all work and no play life, we decided to take a road trip down south for some family time. We visited my sister and her family in So. Cal, as well as my future brother-in-law and his wife in Las Vegas.

Cutie pie kids.. my oldest niece, and my nephew (youngest of 4!)

During our San Diego visit, we visited some friends, went to the San Diego Zoo, as well as the Old Town area for some fun. Our time in Vegas included a backstage tour of the Celine Dion production at The Colosseum (or maybe I should say “up stage”, as we saw where the crew production takes place!,) played a few slot machines (obligatory,) visited the Boot Barn (lots of cowboy hats and boots!,) and ended with the Bellagio fountains show via a fabulous view from the Louis Vuitton balcony.

LasVegas-June2013-1

As for July.. well, the month is only half over! I have a recipe to post for you this weekend – cherry crumb bars! They were so delicious, I’ve been daydreaming about them for days since we finished eating them.

Hope you’re having a great summer!

Behind the scenes at Victoria Camp Designs – Fab.com sale wrap up!

Oh my – I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my sale with Fab.com!

When my sale started, I’d created half of the available inventory up front so that it would be ready-to-ship upon purchase, and the other half was made-to-order.  I was able to send my first big shipment the day after my sale ended, and sent the second shipment less than a week later. As of early last week, all of the merchandise has been received at their warehouse, which means it should be in most customers’ hands by now! Hooray!

It’s sort of funny that no matter how much prep work you do,  once the sale starts, it’s still a (happy) whirlwind! I thought it might be nice to share a few ‘behind the scenes’ photos from my sale event with you..

LOTS of vintage lockets..

 

I took the above photo before I got started. I used almost all of these lockets for my sale. Doesn’t it look so daunting?! I spent a an entire month preparing the inventory for my sale, before it went live.

 

Prepping large heart lockets and tiny constellation lockets for the Fab.com sale!

 

Work in progress photo above, with a collection of large map heart lockets towards the front, and tiny constellation lockets amassing in the back…

 

Orion constellation lockets

 

An army of Orion’s.. I painted each constellation type in groups. There were 14 all together – the 12 zodiac constellations, plus Orion and Ursa Major (Big Dipper.)

 

Fab.com Shipment - Victoria Camp Designs

 

My sale event was 3 days long, and I could hardly sleep the night before it started; I was so excited! I joked with my mom (who lives 3,000 miles away) that I spent all 3 days just staring at my computer, watching the ‘sold items’ number increase. She would routinely check in with me by email, asking, “What’s the current number?” We both got a kick out of watching the little red “sold out” flag appear on the item styles.

The morning after the sale ended, I had the final item numbers and could begin gathering all of the ready-to-ship pieces for the first warehouse shipment! At this point, I was feeling pretty thankful that I had already packaged and labeled each item individually. It saved a LOT of time later on.. time which I now needed to finish up the made-to-order items! The box for the first shipment was so large, I just had to take a photo of it next to my “floor manager,” Butters, for comparison. I think he was disappointed that the box did not contain any treats for him. Sorry, Butters!

 

Tiny Initial Notebook Locket Necklaces in progress..

 

Once the first shipment was on it’s way to Fab, I resumed work on the items for the second shipment. The first designs I needed to get started on were the Tiny Initial Notebook Locket Necklaces, since the finish on them needed adequate drying time before heading off to the customers.  The above photo is one of my favorites, because you can see all the various letters in the font design – so much fun! (I offer these in two different fonts, and with one or two letters, on my website.)

 

2-smallheartmaplockets

 

The second item style I needed to complete were the small heart map locket necklaces. I offered 15 different cities for the sale event, and made sure to double and triple check the quantity of each city that sold. The most popular cities were Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Orleans. (The first two didn’t surprise me – although the third one did!) San Francisco has always been one of the popular locations. Can’t say I blame you guys, as I do live in the Bay Area myself!

 

Another view of the small heart map lockets..

 

An overhead view..I still can’t get over this! I’ve never seen so many map lockets on my table at one time! This photo didn’t even include the lockets that I’d completed earlier. Crazy.

 

Second Fab shipment..

 

Five days later, and the second (and final) shipment is ready to go! *whew!*

I spent the week after the sale trying to relax a little bit, and working on custom orders. This week I am back to what is a little more “normal,” and have finally had some time to work on new designs.

Hope everyone is having a great March!

Victoria Camp Designs on Fab.com! – Constellation Jewelry, Map Jewelry and more

I promised you last weekend that I would come back here and tell you the fun news this weekend..

Well, here it is – I’m having a sale event on Fab.com!

Image

It’s a 3-day sale, and I’m offering my Hand Painted Tiny Constellation Locket Necklaces, my Personalized Initial Notebook Locket Necklaces, and a variety of small and large Antique Map Heart Locket Necklaces. Go check out the sale here: http://fab.com/sale/18016

Image

The sale runs until 8amPST on Wednesday morning, but I expect some styles may sell out before then.

Image

One of my favorites, and a highly popular item – the California Map Heart Locket, is also included in the sale. You can find that one here: http://fab.com/sale/18016/product/339689/

Please keep in mind that I think the links will only be active until the sale ends. I’ll try to remember to update this page after it’s over so no one is confused.

Happy Weekend! 🙂

The Inner Workings of Wintertime..

My oh my.. I seem to have lost track of not only the entire month of January, but half of February as well!

February in the Bay Area is one of my absolute favorite seasons. I find this amusing, because February used to be the month I absolutely despised back in New England. (Gloomy, dark, dreary, muddy snow, snowstorms and just plain cold weather. Need I go on?!) Ah, but February here in California…quite the different story! We have nights that are cool but not freezing; days that are warm and sunny but not too hot; the occasional rain shower; springtime birds singing morning songs, and least I not forget – spring blooms! The trees in my neighborhood start blooming and it makes my heart happy.

This one is right outside my window..

spring tree flowers

I also like to pretend that my allergies do not exist during this favorite time of year. I’m living a lie, but what can I say? It’s worth it.

 

In these past 6 weeks of the new year, I haven’t been idle.. far from it, in fact. You see, the “slower” months of my business are used to prep inventory (for upcoming events, stock, and otherwise,) work on new designs, and work on business maintenance – you know, all the ‘boring’ stuff that needs to be done, such as taxes, website updates, and such.

For example, I’ve been working on a big (in terms of my usual scale) project, which I can tell you all about next weekend. It involves lots and lots of product-making. Here’s a glimpse of what my work table looked like at one point in time..

013013WorkTable

 

I’ve also been taking some..okay, a LOT..of time to completely re-vamp my domain website, http://www.victoriaallison.com. When I started my site a few years back, it was originally intended to be more of a ‘portfolio’ type of site. Since then, I expanded it to include some items for sale. Fast forward to today, and the future, and it really didn’t leave me a lot of room for growth. With that being said, I now have a fancy schmancy new “shopping cart” function on my site, as well as a mobile version. Hooray! I’m excited. It’s not entirely finished – I still have quite a few items to add – but the layout is done and there are some items up. Here’s a peek..

Victoria Camp Designs site preview

It’s absolutely up and running, so feel free to check it out as-is, and keep in mind I’ll be adding more inventory later on.

 

Speaking of adding inventory, I did add one new product last night! I have a fun new design; a working compass necklace, with the constellation of your choice! (All 12 zodiac constellations area available, plus Orion, Ursa Major, and Ursa Major/Ursa Minor.) The graphic on the back was designed by me. The compass is made of brass and really does work! They hang from a long brass chain, so you are free to play around with it while you’re wearing it.

Compass Necklace - Custom Constellation 2

The example above shows the constellation Orion. (One of my personal favorites.)

Compass Necklace - Custom Constellation 5

Here you can see it with the 32″ length. (Recommended.) You can also order it a little longer or shorter if you prefer. This necklace is available to order right here: http://www.victoriaallison.com/Personalized-Zodiac-Constellation-Compass-Necklace-p/lgconstellationcompass-brass.htm

 

Alright, time to get back to work. I’ll be back to update next weekend!