Wednesday, December 2, 2009

silly knits

One of my favorite pastimes is making things and then taking silly pictures of them. Photographing items with absurd props seems to magnify their cuteness, as demonstrated below.

Figure 1: Simple rolled brim hat with leaf accent.

Figure 2: Baby booties with contrast color upper and cuff and picot ribbon ties.

Alone, these items might be considered somewhat cute because of small details such as a knit leaf or ribbon ties. However, much of the items' cuteness is due to their small size, which is not visible in photographs with them unmodeled or on a plain background with nothing around for scale. Note in our next photo, Figure 3, how their cuteness is magnified by the use of props, such as being modeled by a stuffed whale.

Figure 3: Stuffed whale toy with crooked mouth and asymmetrical eyes, wearing hat and booties.

In our final example, Figure 4, you will note that the photo becomes even cuter through creative posing of the whale. Even though in Figure 3, there is already an incongruous combination of elements, such as a sea-faring mammal wearing shoes and a hat, Figure 4 increases the readings on the cute-o-meter with the whale imitating a tri-ped by standing on its tail and two bootie-clad flippers, and hat worn slightly askew for a touch of insouciance.

Figure 4: Standing whale in hat and booties.

That's right. A very productive use of time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

advent calendar from matchbooks

A few weeks ago, I went to a clothing swap. People bring the clothes that they don't wear anymore, sort them by size, and then get to take home items that other people brought. It's actually more of a general stuff swap, though, since some other items available to take home included food, an air mattress (with fixable hole), shoes, and fabric. Clothing swaps are pretty exciting since you get to try out clothes that you might never have bought for yourself, but are kind of cute anyway... plus, everything is free! (freeeeee!)

At the end of the night, as we cleaned up to donate the extra things that no one wanted, among the remnants was a bunch of old matchbooks. I wondered why anyone would save and then go to the trouble of bringing empty matchbooks, but guessed that maybe there could be some craft project involving old matchbooks.

Lo and behold, Sweet Paul has made a simple and very cute advent calendar out of 25 of them. I sort of (but not really) feel sad that I didn't take home the empty matchbooks from the swap.

Monday, November 30, 2009

USB flowers

Your humble blogger is currently learning how to solder and make bezels. This doesn't make for great photography-filled blog posts for several reasons. First, the torch I was using was running out of gas and wasn't very hot. Somehow, this led to me eventually melting through one of my bezels because I got bored of swirling the flame around the ring and must have kept it in place for too long. It was not pretty.

At that point, I wanted to ask my teacher for help, but she was assisting her assistant, who had accidentally spilled fifties or hundreds of dollars worth of silver grain onto the floor. Eventually, I started asking people who looked bored for assistance. One very helpful person became a little too helpful and then finished my bezel for me. That could have been worthy of photographing, but even though I did part of the soldering, I didn't feel like I had actually made the bezel. I put it in the pickle to clean it up, and then forgot it there. Oops. Thus, no photos.

On the other hand, holiday shopping and fear of absurdly luxurious and/or crowded shopping areas has led me to a lot of online window shopping. I like gardening a lot, so I think this tulip USB hub is quite cute. I'm not sure it would be as cute with things actually plugged into the ports, but I guess that's another issue altogether.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

lace leaf droplet necklace

I'm trying to make new items for the shop, so I can update it daily. This has proven to be pretty challenging, but still kind of gratifying. I seem to find that every new piece becomes my new favorite! Fickle, I know.

I had this silver crochet leaf lounging about for awhile. I had thought that I would somehow combine it with the sapphire beads from the mobile earrings below, but it didn't seem quite right. After a month or so of hanging out, the leaf started to lightly oxidize and became copper-colored on the edges. I thought it matched nicely with these chalcedony briolettes, so I put this necklace together.

Monday, November 2, 2009


A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to make earrings that were like tiny mobiles. I set about making a prototype and ended up with the mobile above. It was a little too long and with a little bit too many elements, but was still cute. I hung it from a potted plant on top of my dresser and let it marinate for awhile.

Recently, I decided to work on them again. I used sterling silver wire, substituted out the glass beads for tiny cut sapphires, and worked on the balance. I came up with the tiny mobile earrings at left, and am thinking about other styles. I think it would be cute to use different beads to hang from the mobile arms, like heart shaped briolettes or ovals, or weld on shapes cut from sheet metal.

I have pretty short hair, but I'm guessing if you have long hair, you might want to wear it up with these earrings unless you want to end up with a mobile tangle.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

coordinating leaves

I always kind of like the idea of matching jewelry sets, even though I don't really own any. It's like, if you wanted to, you could be all coordinated! Haha. With this in mind, I created these new crochet sparkling leaf earrings to match the necklaces that I have had up in the shop for a little while.

These days, I have to clear away the fallen leaves from the plants on my tiny patio garden, or one huge leaf could cover an entire plant, so this set is seasonally appropriate. I may live in California, where the leaves don't change color as dramatically, but they still fall.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

tiny mobiles

I just updated the shop with a couple more items. I'm particularly fond of these tiny mobile earrings:

Thursday, October 15, 2009


And now for something completely different... (or not)

I've been intrigued by ribbon leis for awhile. My friend in high school used to dance hula and would make leis and dresses for dance performances. Years later, when I was working in a theatrical costume shop, I was going through the bin of trims and found these coils of rickrack that I eventually figured out were hand-sewn ribbon leis.

What can I say? I like crafts where ordinary materials are transformed into something different and take on new shapes and textures. I just attended a wedding in Maui and made these leis for the soon-to-be married couple. I was kind of worried that they wouldn't get done in time, but I was still on some alternate time zone and popped out of bed at 7 a.m. (rare for me) to finish these on the patio of the hotel room. I had a view of the ocean! The sun rose above the mountains and I had to move my chair to hide from the sun. We all suffer for our craft... hahaha.

I hope they are enjoyed.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lace in Translation

Lace in Translation is an exhibit currently going on at the Design Center at Philadelphia University inspired by lace, which features work by Demakersvan, Cal Lane and Tord Boontje. My favorite is probably this chain mesh lace fence. It's industrial and beautiful in a way that the two are not usually combined.

The website for the exhibition also has a part where viewers can submit their own work related to or inspired by Lace in Translation. I posted a piece that I made there. Please go check it out and vote for it. = )

Monday, September 28, 2009

insect or fruit?

I'm trying to build up a shop inventory and have been working on new designs. These little guys remind me of something, but I can't tell if they remind me of ladybugs or eggplants...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

waiting in line

Over the last few weeks, I've been spending a lot of time in government offices. Around here, that means a lot of 1970s architecture, long, white, musty hallways, taking a number and waiting in endless lines. I went to file for my seller's permit at the State Board of Equalization.

I half-listened to a man at one of the help windows agitatedly explaining that they had shut down the work site in question and approximately 2.5 cell phone conversations of the woman next to me that went something like this:

Woman: Hello? No, he's in a meeting right now. Can you call back in 20 minutes? He's in a meeting. That's right. Please call back later.

While wondering why she bothered to even answer the phone, I was saved from listening to more similar conversations when my name was called. I walked up to the window and slid the seller's permit form under the glass to the woman who was helping me. For several minutes, she read my form and I sat there. I started to get bored and then my eyes caught on the label proclaiming that the glass to be bulletproof.

I don't know about anyone else, but this made me feel vaguely uneasy. I know people get upset at government offices and such, especially when taxes, rules, and other issues are involved, but I hadn't exactly thought about someone deciding to shoot up the office. As I was considering this, the clerk began asking me a bunch of questions.

"Have you filed a DBA (doing business as)? Are you going to? How about a business license? Hey, don't be so serious! You're about to make money!"

That cracked me up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

etsy shop open!

Hooray! My store is now open!

Monday, September 14, 2009

store opening!

In preparation for my official opening tomorrow, I'm hard at work crafting jewelry, taking pictures with my handy tripod and full-spectrum light (thanks Bub and lf!), writing listings, and entering in sales tax info (not fun).

Here are some preview pictures of things to come in the store:

Monday, September 7, 2009

etsy store coming soon!

It's been quiet around here on the blog because I've been working on finalizing my opening line and doing other unexciting business tasks. Boxes ordered, check. Business license, still pending.

I'm aiming to launch the web store on September 15, which is in 8 short days...

Friday, August 14, 2009

treasure hunting

I just had an exciting bead store experience that I thought I'd share. I was dropping off my dad at work, since my car is in the shop, and I was just leaving the strip mall where his office was when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a display of beads! Having just finished a self-curated bead store tour of Fremont (very exciting new finds), I didn't think there would be much of interest. The bead store sign had arrows directing passersby to enter through the massive junk store, so that further lowered expectations. Nevertheless, bead stores are now like yarn stores, one of those things that I can't pass without checking out, unless under extreme time constraints.

The junk store had some interesting things, like a large selection of women's shoes, Korean blankets, Middle Eastern shawls, champagne grapes, avocados, halal jelly dessert mix... you get the idea. In the corner, there was a jewelry and bead area that was enclosed by display cases and didn't appear to be open. I asked at the main register area and the cashier told me that the guy wasn't in yet today and I was about to walk away when he showed up.

After a quick once over, I was not that excited by the array of Czech glass and fake pearls. I kneeled to check out the selection of findings and there was actually a cobweb connecting some of the findings and the lower display tray of beads. That was pretty gross, but then again, I was in a junk store. A large pack of earring wires caught my eye and appeared to be silver plated and reasonably priced. Then I saw a bag of filigree multiple strand clasps at a very reasonable price and started to get excited. The entire section was full of rhinestone, pearl and filigree single and multiple strand clasps. The shopkeeper confirmed that the beads were 50% off and the findings were 30% off. I got even more excited! Haha.

I usually am not that into rhinestones, but I thought these clasps were both difficult to find and nice, so I scooped a bunch of them up. Pictures and new designs to come!

Friday, July 31, 2009

crochet doodles

I've been working on some crochet designs using fine silver (.999) wire. It's interesting to see how differently the same pattern will work up with different gauges of wire and crochet thread. Even though the wire is much finer, its rigidity means that the same design with the same hook will end up a lot larger with more body and negative space (fancy word for "holes").

Thursday, July 23, 2009

design tasks

In preparation for my store opening, I thought I would work on some administrative tasks. I finally filed for a seller's license and got down to designing some business cards. I think MOO cards are cute, probably because they are mini and have nice print quality, so I downloaded the templates and got to work choosing images to put on them. I wanted to choose images that would be reflective of my design aesthetic and would showcase my more unique products. Since many of my photos are blurry or grainy and my photoshop skills could use some help, this proved to be kind of challenging. The myriad of design options also became daunting, but fortunately, good friends were around to talk me down and review some of the designs. When it came time to upload, the website made me crazy by saying that my images were smaller than the specifications. I'm not sure how that could be the case since I used their exact template, but whatever. I ended up resizing the images so they were a few pixels above the specs, just so the annoying error message would go away.

Here is what I ended up with: