Saturday, January 31, 2009

Something New this week..

Last Tuesday, I was invited by a local Etsy seller pamelacisnero to a "social networking happy hour". Pamela came across my Etsy shop two weeks ago and noticed I, like her, also live in Charleston.We started some conversations, and she asked if I was interested in meeting other local business people. Even though I was always afraid of social occasions (that's why I only sell my jewelry online -- I try to meet as few people as possible), I thought perhaps there was a chance to make some connections or obtain resources for my business."Besides, Pamela will be there and I want to at least meet her, " I told myself, "be brave and go out make some friends."
So I did.

I wasn't sure what "business casual, no jeans" meant, but I did know I should wear lots of jewelry. I put on two necklaces(lariats),four rings, a bracelet and a pair of earrings (And they all matched.No kidding.), and I thought maybe a low cut purple dress with flower pattens would be "business casual"-- well, at least it was low cut so I could show off the lariats.

Not only did I spend too much time doing my makeup, and I also got lost (as usual) on my way there.Then I fell when I got out of the parking lot and scratched my hand and knee..But eventually I put myself together and showed up.Pamela recognized me right away and showed me around.It was nothing like I expected.The pub where the meeting was held
was a basically high end social club and they closed on Tuesday night just for the group meeting. Everyone was wearing suits and looked like successful business people(and you remember my flowery dress..sigh..). There was not as much food as I expected(when Pamela told me it was "happy hour", I thought they would be serving chicken wings lol) but they did have plenty to drink! I met 5 ladies or so, all of whom noticed my jewelry right away and asked for my business card, so I swapped cards with them. Before the meeting finished, I smiled to two people who were talking to each other and we three started talking about the Lasik eye surgery...We talked about Lasik for about 10 min or so before they asked me about my business.

Then, guess what? Both of them bought jewelry from me. I was thrilled! This was the first time I sold something to a random stranger, and it felt amazing.Now, call me silly, but it gave me courage to start a project that I had been putting off -- creating some high end gemstone jewelry and expand local market.

I am still experimenting the technique I used in the earrings you see in the following pictures. It took me a while to figure out what types of wire wrapping technique suit me better, and here's what I came up with.My favorite is the last pair I made last night called "Spring Garden". I just love green too much, I guess.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year !!!

Today is the New Year's Day in China and Taiwan (1/26 in Asia). It's the biggest day of the year in our culture.In a few hours my parents probably will be getting up and have a big meal with my relatives.I wish I was there with them.

I have been away from home since 10 years ago, when I was young, rebelious, depressed and full of dreams at the same time. I left my country to pursue a music degree in England, and haven't been able to attend the family dinner at Chinese New Year since then. For many years it didn't concern me at all. But this year is a little different.I must say it's the first time I wish I was home to see my family.I actually didn't realize the New Year was already here until my parents and friends in Taiwan reminded me. The tradition is to stay up for the New Year's Day, which I accidentally did--I couldn't sleep at all last night for some reason, and didn't go to bed unil almost 6 this morning.

We have a big family--my dad has 8 siblings and my mom has 6.You're correct, this means I have 14 aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins, and also some nieces and nephews whose names I don't even remember. Up until I was in high school, my parents used to take my brothers and me to the south of Taiwan for the big Chinese New Year family gathering. It is very similar to
the way Americans celebrate X'mas, except that we get the "red envelopes"(i.e. cash $$$$) instead of gifts from the adults. Children who are too young usually give money back to their parents(whether they want to or not) who would save the money for them. Older children get to spend the money the way they want.
I have always been a "money saver". Every year I would save all the money I received and put it away for "something big in the future". I didn't want to spend money because I always had this sense of insecurity that one day I would become a starving artist. I am still saving now, even though I'm not starving(you never know if that money will come in handy one day). I want to save enough money as soon as possible so I can buy a house and then put a Steinway concert grand piano in my house (If you are not a musician, you may want to know a Steinway concert grand costs about $100 thousand dollars).
Anyway, back to Chinese New Year.I'm feeling it more this year after receiving two packages from my best friends in Taiwan. Another package sent by my parents is on its way here.It has not been a easy year for me, but I still feel truly blessed and am very glad to have reconnected with some old friends. And I'm hopeful this year will be better :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm famous!

Today, I realized I have not created any new design for Valentine's Day this year, so I quickly made these open heart hoop earrings and listed them.I should have listed them a few weeks ago already, and since I'm technically less busy than December, I'm not sure why I have been so slow listing new designs.However,since I'm now caught up with my orders and have just made some big supply purchases, I will be spending the whole weekend creating new designs and listing them.
Back to the topic.I was pretty excited earlier today after getting an email from my cousin Yu-Li.She is a graphic designer living in Oregon.We haven't seen each other for over 10 years and I sent her some of my jewelry for X'mas last year.She said in the email--

"Today I wore your necklace to work, and my co-workers noticed it immediately. I showed them your website and they told me they knew you already. They said you got featured a lot on the etsy homepage, that's how they found you and your products."

Wow! I can't tell you how excited I was after reading the email--I totally felt like a rock star. I'm here on the East coast and someone across the country knew "muyinmolly"(or Mu-Yin Jewelry) even before Yu-Li told them who I was!

Now I only hope they will buy some jewelry from me. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Woke up to this Etsy front page.It was so cool!I watched the inauguration on TV until 1pm while filling orders at the same time.I am not an American, but I love this country and look forward to seeing the most amazing changes that will happen in the next four years.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Featured Artist -- TheJuneBride

I stumpled upon this Etsy shop thejunebride when the her gorgeous brooch was on the front page. I was amazed to see the beauty and quality of her products, which are very inexpensively priced. When I saw her shop announcement, I was so moved that I felt I had to do a quick post about her shop.This is what the shop announcement reads--

As you know, the economy has fairly decimated the work force here in southeastern Michigan. I feel very fortunate that my life has largely been unaffected, but many friends and family are suffering unemployment and under-employment as a direct result. Charities are in desperate need and donations are down dramatically. I want to help and Etsy has provided the means. To that end, as long as this note is here, 100% of my profits from sales on Etsy will be used as best I can to help alleviate the situation of local families in need. Thanks for your help!Amount raised as of 9 PM 1/17/09: $171.00

What else can I say? Her beautiful works came from her beautiful soul.

You can check out her shop here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ring Size FAQ -- Why Doesn't My Ring Fit?

sterling silver handmade wire wrapped pearl ring In the past two years I have sold over 1500 wire wrapped rings online (wow!That's a lot of rings!), and every once a while I would have a customer asking me why the ring I made for them doesn't fit. I must tell you: not only does this bother my customers, and it bothers me too! I make all of my rings on a professional stainless steel jewelry mandrel that is calibrated by a professional technician, and I always make sure the ring is made in the size requested by the customer, but the customer can't wear it!
So why doesn't your ring fit? Let me explain on my blog once and for all --

1. Our fingers change in size
("oh man, please don't tell me this!") I am sorry, but yes, our fingers change in size when there is change in temperature and humidity. Just by holding a hot drink for a while, a ring that is originally too loose can become so tight that I cannot even take it off my finger. If you live in a place with a cold winter and hot summer, you can expect your finger to be at least 1/2 size larger than winter.This also means that a ring that's slightly loose in winter will probably fit perfectly in summer, and vice versa.

2. The width of the band and the weight of the stone matters
If you don't already know, you need a larger size for a wide band and a smaller size for a thin band on the same finger. Most of my pearl wire wrapped rings have a very thin band so I recommend ordering about 1/4 size smaller than what you usually wear for a snug fit. If you like rings with big stones, you may also want a tighter fit so the ring doesn't roll on your finger because of the weight of the stone.

3. Bony fingers are harder to size
If you have large knuckles but the base of your fingers is skinny, then your fingers are the hard to size type (sorry!) like mine. In this case you should have your fingers sized by a professional jeweller to ensure the correct ring size. Do understand in this case you may be happier with plain bands or adjustable rings because chunky rings are more likely to roll on your fingers.

4. Measuring your own finger often gives you a wrong size
I did a google search on free ring sizer , printed and cut out the first 4 ring sizers including Blue Nile's, then pasted all of them on a piece of paper.I marked where size 7 is supposed to be based on the ring sizer I sell in my store, and took the following picture --

As you can see, EVERY printable ring sizer gives a different measurement. I cannot emphasize enough you are more likely to get a wrong size than a correct one using a random printable ring sizer.
Some of my customers try to measure their finger using a sewing tape. I am sorry, but that doesn't work either. You are most definitely going to get a size that is too large with sewing tapes.

Question: "So how do I get my finger sized correctly?"

Ok, so I just spent a long time explaining to you why the ring size is not correct, then how do you know what size you are? I recommend going to a professional jeweler to have your finger sized.This is a free and quick service and is also the most accurate.

If you want to order rings from me but cannot go to a jeweller for any reason, I also sell an in-expensive re-useable ring sizer in my shop.This ring sizer is tested to be accurate for most people (please read instruction and disclaimer in the listing). I will send you this ring sizer for free if you purchase 2 or more rings from my shop (and I ship world wide!). Simply request it at checkout, and I will send it out within 2 business days after the payment of your rings is cleared.

Have fun shopping for rings online!

xo mollie

Mu-Yin Jewelry

Friday, January 16, 2009

NEW ARRIVAL-- Super Chunky(!) Cocktail Ring

This one is huge.Not kidding..

big custom sized handmade clear quartz 14K gold filled cocktail ring
big custom sized handmade clear quartz 14K gold filled cocktail ring
you can purchase it in my shop.


Today is the coldest day Charleston has ever been since I moved here (from Indianapolis) in June.It has been crazy warm the whole December(in the 70s most of the time) and I hardly had any chance to wear a coat, so I'm really enjoying the cold(of course I'm staying inside right now so it doesn't affect me).It will not snow though, which disappoints me.
I really,really miss the snow.It reminds me of Indiana and England.I lived in Birmingham,England for three years and the winter was really pretty mild--in the 20s-30s most of the time with a little snow, which was my favorite.Indiana was much colder, and we had severe snow storms every once a while.When the storm was too bad everyone gets trapped inside the house and everything was cancelled.How cool was that!(call me childish, but I probably will never lose that "snow day" excitement) Growing up in a sub-tropical country, the snow was something we only read about in the books or saw on TV, so when I started living in a colder country I just really enjoyed the snow!Yes, even when it came with a huge storm! I love putting on a super thick coat and go out to see the whole world turning white.The cold makes me feel more alert, more creative.My mind just seems to get clearer when it's gold. Hot chocolate always tastes good when it's colder, and you appreciate your friends and family even more when it's cold because you've gotta stick together :) Not to mention, everytime when the sun finally comes back and the snow starts to melt, it always feels like a miracle that you cannot ignore.
I was told it gets colder in January and February in Charleston.I think today is the first time it drops below 30 degrees.I know everyone living in Charleston is going to hate me when I say this, but I really want it to stay cold for a little while so I can see snow again.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Custom Bridal Jewelry

When I first started selling jewelry, I never knew one day I would be doing wedding jewelry for brides. In my country(Taiwan),we rent almost everything for our weddings from wedding gown to jewelry, so I actually had no idea how weddings work in the US.
It didn't seem to be a problem for brides who like handmade jewelry, however.All they need to do is to ask me to do multiple sets of a single design I have, so I started making jewelry for brides.
I used to think brides only buy white jewelry,so I was very surprised to find out I rarely do large bridal jewelry orders.Every once a while a customer would by some white pearl ring or earrings to wear on her wedding, but when a bride needs a larger jewelry order, it's usually for bridesmaids and in different color themes.
I've done a few weddings in red and green, and have just finished a wedding jewelry order that features royal blue pearls--
handmade wedding bridal bridesmaid jewelry set sterling silver ring earrings necklace
By the way, didn't I mention a large order?The customer actually ordered 7 sets.That's a lot of pearls there(the first set was sent separately as a sample set and therefore was not pictured)...

and also lots of boxes(the sticky notes on the boxes remind the bride the sizes of the rings and necklaces inside)..

Always remember to pack business cards and free notecards for the brides :) Bridesmaids will receive discount when they order from me, and the bride earns store credit(free jewelry,yay!) for referral.

I love doing bridal orders.It makes me feel so honored to be included in this joyful,beautiful and once-in-a-lifetime occasion for someone I never met, and I always try to be extra careful and spend as much time as needed to communicate with the brides to make sure the jewelry meets their expectation.I also enjoyed making custom jewelry for the bride. Here's one example, a sweet and simple dangle bracelet I made for a lovely customer Brenda--

wedding bridal freshwater pearl bracelet

It is a little time consuming to do bridsmaid jewelry, but I love them because they are always fun and exciting. Just imagine at least six people wearing my jewelry at the same time--how cool is that!(alright, I know you think I'm wierd..)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Arrival--Chunky Cocktail Rings

There is so much to do and so little time.But I finally managed to list a few of these gorgeous chunky cocktail rings in my shop.Check them out!

Friday, January 9, 2009

front page treasury

it seems that I never, ever get a chance to see myself on the Etsy front page when it happens..
Yesterday, I was told by Luv2Have(check out her gorgeous shop!) that I was in a treasury she created.I checked it out, and it was sooo cute that I had to take a screen shot.Can you see my sweet Cherry Red Pearl ring at the bottom left corner in the picture?

I was included in this treasury along with many other sellers I loved .Today, I sold the cherry red pearl ring, and then happened to see the front page of Etsy, and thought it looked very familar(my memery is very bad so I honestly didn't remember why it looked familar)...

Then it suddenly occured to me -- gosh!That's why the ring was sold! I finally, finally got a chance to see the treasury I was featured in on the front page, BUT my ring was quickly sold and the spot quickly replaced so I still didn't get to see myself on the front page!! Arrrrrgh!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fun Fact -- Month the Most Babies are Born

custom handmade family birthstone necklace sterling silver or gold

Many of my close friends tell me I ask too many questions, and my questions often come out of no where.Here is an example.Today, while I was making some birthstone jewelry,it suddenly occured to me that I was short of certain birthstones and needed to reorder them.It got me thinking why certain birthstones were more popular the others."Can it be that more babies are born in certain months?" I asked myself.

I have a weird habit of documenting/photographing all of the birthstone jewelry I made since I started selling it (guess it must be some kind of trophy for me), plus I had ordered most of the gemstones used fot this design around the same time, I already had a rough idea about the answer to my question. But that was not enough for me.I wanted "scientific evidence" on top of my random sample to support my belief (now you know how difficult it is to deal with me).

Before I give you the answer to my quick research, I'd like you to take a guess first. Does it have anything to do with Valentines Day or X'mas?
Now, take a look at this following picture of a custom birthstone necklace I made today(which is consist of 11 birthstones) for the answer --

custom handmade family birthstone necklace sterling silver or gold [custom birthstone necklace]

Ha! You didn't think it would be Auguest(birthstone:peridot), did you? You can see the result on US Census Press Releases (with the source: National Center for Health Statistics) and also a post with similar results on ABC News. The US Census report gives you the statistics from 2005, while ABC News gives a wider range. You may also be interested in the article on Baby Center's website about surprising baby facts.
My own sample contains about 100-200 different birthstones requested by customers of random ages so the birthstones represent birth months of a very wide range of years.I have not actually calculated the total number of the birthstones of each month requested by customers, but August is definitely the most popular birth month based on my sample,while Nevember being the least popular.

Which month were you and your family born?

Be my next happy customer--order your custom birthstone ring or necklace at Mu-Yin Jewelry.

Monday, January 5, 2009

oops...I did it again

Today, when I was about to make a Vintage Flower ring sold a few days ago, I realized I had forgotten how to make it again--well, sort of.
I came up with this design a few months ago using different colored pearls I acquired in Hong Kong.There were some trials and errors before I came to a satisfactory prototype.I proudly listed it right away and sold my first one two days later.When I tried to duplicate the prototype(the customer requested a different size, of course), it all felt like new to me again already.I actually failed making it on my first try, leaving a big mess on my my little work bench.Good for me, after wasting some wire, I figured out how to make it, and was smart enough to write down some quick instructions for myself.
When the same ring was sold again this time, I was pretty confident about reproducing it. I opened my little instructions, only to find they were not clear enough--the notes told me how long the wire should be and how to start making the ring, but they didn't tell me how to finish the ring...
You bet I won't be a very good jewelry instructor.That's probably why I'm not selling tutorials..

p.s.I did finish the ring eventually.

Friday, January 2, 2009

this and that and my New Year Resolution

My friend June left this morning after a 9 day visit, so I'm finally back to my work schedule and blogging routine.I was very tired today and probably didn't work as much as I should have, but I want to seize the chance to write something at the very beginning of 2009.

First of all, I would like to say thank you to
-my parents
-my dear friends
-my sweet customers
-Abby of
The (gradually) Shrinking Violet and Duni of lovelypurses ,who gave my blog the Lemonade Award
-my Top 10 Entrecard Droppers of the month(people who visited my blog regularly in the past month)--
Unique You
Ruth's Creations
Three Fates Design - Beaded Jewelry
Wonderful Things in LIfe
Warcraft Blog
nuke it dot org
Fire and Glass-Sweetwater Designs T-Shirts

Then, a little on June's visit.
June and I have been friends since high school.After I went to England for my Bachelors 10 years ago(I can't believe it's been that long, but yes, that's how long I've been away from home) we rarely saw each other. Last year, she came to the States after getting a job in Pennsylvania to teach Chinease, and we've been talking about visiting each other.Since the school was off during X'mas,she decided to visit me in Charleston.
We visited the historic downtown Charleston, and also paid Myrtle Beach a visit.I had never been to Myrtle Beach and thought it would be nice to avoid the tourist traffic since it's winter.Well, it was certainly nice and quiet, but half of the shops were closed too and the town was almost dead.
Here's a picture of June and me at the beach--

We didn't go anywhere on New Years Eve. Instead, we stayed at home and made creme brulee and some soy candles.I torched the top of creme brulee using my micro jewelry torch, hehe--

Last night, we made jewelry together.She brought her little tools and glass beads with her, and I gave her a short jewelry lesson.Notice my signature peachy nest pearl ring on her finger(which is a small size 4!)--

and here are two finished necklaces--

June loves travel and food and constantly wanted to go to different places, but I was very tired half of the time and must have disappointed her.I was just glad to see her again after four years of being apart. She has a very cute blog.It's all in Chinese, but has tons of pictures of this little traveller.
Finally, my New Year resolution...
-make more money: my website has been doing alright in the past year, but I would like to expand my market in 2009 and hopefully get a house this year or next year.
-polish my English: even though English is not my first language, I have hope that one day I will be able to express myself fully in English, and I know this requires a lot of work.
-picking up piano playing again: I stopped playing the piano after I started working a few years ago.During this time, a lot of things happened and a lot of thoughts went through my mind and I purposely avoided touching the piano. However, that does not mean I have forgot who I am --once a musician, always a musician.
What's your New Year resolution?

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