My Baby Shower

I know it's been forever since my last post. This pregnancy has really thrown me, it's ended up being a lot harder than I ever expected, so the blog ended up being a last priority. I'm almost done now, only a few more weeks to go which is both super exciting and terrifying, but I'll be happy to not be pregnant anymore and finally be able to meet this little girl.

Until then I thought I would share a few photos from my baby shower. Crystal, my dear friend and boss at Rue Magazine threw it for me and it was the most beautiful baby shower I've ever been to, I couldn't believe it was mine. To see more images and get Crystal's tips for hosting such an amazing event check out the full post at Rue Daily. (photos by Edyta Szyszlo)

Baby on Board

After a long absence here on the blog, today I can finally share some HUGE news that I've been keeping secret - I’m pregnant!! 

We are ecstatic!! And looking forward to adding a little munchkin to our family, but to be honest, the pregnancy has been a bit of a nightmare so far. I’ve never been so ill in my life and was really unprepared for how difficult this has been. We found out we were pregnant about 7 weeks ago and around 6 weeks ago I started getting really ill. Within 2 weeks I had lost almost 10 pounds and ended up in the emergency room for an IV for severe dehydration. I’ll spare you all the gory details but what this has meant is I’ve spent about 6 weeks in bed barely able to eat anything and just trying to feel well enough to sit up and answer a few emails. I’ve had to take a huge step back from a lot of my responsibilities, including blogging, which is why you haven’t seen much of me here. Also with my design and art direction work, where I ended up turning away jobs, which has been really hard for me. I want to particularly thank everyone on the Rue team and all the extra hands that helped me with the last issue. The amount of extra help and support they have given me in the last several weeks has been amazing and very much appreciated.

I’m about to enter my 2nd trimester and from everything I’ve heard I will hopefully start feeling better soon. Until that happens I just hope you can all be patient with me. These first 12 weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions and hormonal changes :) It’s hard to explain how I can feel so terrible but also so happy at the same time. I’m sure those of you who have been pregnant can relate. Which is one of the reasons I’m so excited to be able to announce my news - I can finally get advice from other moms! One thing that has been so hard for me emotionally is feeling like I’m dealing with it alone and not being able to reach out to other mothers and ask them, did you go through this? what did you do? will I ever feel better?

I know I will eventually feel better and I know the light at the end of this tunnel will be one of the most amazing new chapters in my life, but for now I would appreciate your support and encouragement. My presence here will probably still be somewhat sporadic but I plan on being back soon.

Sincerely Maia

Lola Donoghue

I've been going through a bit of an abstract phase lately, in artwork. When done beautifully with an eye for space and color It's just mesmerizing. Which is just how I felt when I came across the work of Irish painter Lola Donoghue. I want one of her paintings right above my bed please! Also get a peak inside Lola's work space in this recent write-up on Decor8.

Sarah Swell Jewelry Giveaway

I could not be more excited to announce today's giveaway of this Serpent Convertible Necklace / Ring piece by talented Oakland jewelry artist Sarah Swell. A limited edition piece designed exclusively for Crown Nine, I am lucky enough to have one to give away to my readers! There were only 10 created of this Sterling Silver, Green diamond and Pyrite ring/necklace. Sarah says of her inspiration behind the piece "I love the mystery of the snake, it is a symbol that is very ancient but also feels fresh and modern." See details on entering below.

UPDATE: Congrats to Tina, you are the winner of the giveaway! And thank you to everyone else for participating.

Here's how to Enter:
- comment on this post
- for a second or third entry, just blog/tweet about the giveaway linking back to it, then leave a comment here with a link to where it's posted
- the giveaway ends next Friday (7/19) at midnight and the winner will be announced on Monday (7/22)

Photos by Eva Kolenko

Bricolage no. 5

It’s July and you probably wish you were wandering down the streets of new places you've never visited, and open your eyes to new colors. A peachy stretch of beach, a little paradise of a house on the water, a piece of colorful mosaic… let’s travel for a few minutes.
- Contributed by Stephanie

Creative Spaces: Kate Ellen

I first became aware of jewelry designer, Kate Ellen because I would often drop by her shop, Crown Nine in my neighborhood. I first started going in just to fawn over the beautiful jewelry but over time I found myself stopping by to chat and catch up with Kate. Kate is a perfect example of why I love Oakland so much, she embodies the creative, entrepreneurial spirit that is so tangible here. Not only does she create her own amazing work but she curates one of the best collections of other artisans work at her beautiful shop. Which is why I wanted share a peak inside her creative process and ask her a little more about jewelry and what inspires her. More after the jump...

Name: Kate Ellen
Occupation: Jewelry Designer + Boutique Owner

What made you want to be a jewelry designer?
Oh my. I love working with my hands, and it's such a powerful experience to have an idea in your head and then make an object. I can't really explain what it feels like when you just know a piece is done, but the best way I can describe it is affirming and joyful. So I love that part of it, the actual thinking, problem solving, and transforming that takes place in my studio in total solitude.

And then I just love-love-love jewelry, always have, always will. I especially love rings and bracelets because they are the two things that as a wearer you really get to look at and enjoy, you can have little private moments throughout your day in which you can look at your hand or wrist and feel happier by what you see there. For example, my Grandma Ellen gave me a necklace when when I was a girl that I outgrew, so instead of keeping it in a jewelry box, I melted it and added it to my Little Rock ring, so now I am always reminded of her when I look down at my hand.

Who are your biggest influences/inspirations for your work?
I admire a lot of different artists and craftsmen, but usually the stuff that really inspires me is not visually drawn from other artists or designers--I get that crazy buzz of energy and inspiration from listening to music (especially live music), reading, or listening to radio programs like Radiolab. I get really energized by ideas. I gain visual inspiration from nature and industrial objects and infrastructure. The best way for me to refuel creatively is to take time away from the studio and just be outdoors for long periods of time. My mind will just go nuts with ideas, and then I like to block off a couple weeks to experiment in my studio. I don't do a ton of sketching, I prefer to actually fabricate samples and then edit.

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go?
I want to take a month and a half to road trip from here to Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Albuquerque, and then up through Utah to all the parks, Zion, Bryce, and Arches. I love road trips, and I think America is just absolutely stunning and inspiring. I really have few aspirations right now to leave the country, I want to explore all over the states. 

What do you love most about being an artist and Business owner in Oakland?
What I love about being an artist is the freedom I feel when I make things, and the joy I feel when I share that with others and they understand and are moved by what I do. And being a business owner is Oakland is amazing-- the small business people here are totally creative and extremely hard working. I feel like there is also a culture of openness, sharing, and a feeling of mutual love and respect for our city. It is hard to do business here, but somehow that brings out the best in us, it forces everyone to find creative ways of solving problems, to work together, and think outside of the box. Plus, I think Oakland residents just really naturally 'get' my values, and are already looking for ways to buy beautiful things that are in alignment with those values. Simply put: own less, enjoy more. 

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