Monday, November 30, 2009

more family birthstone necklaces...

mother's grandmother's family birthstone necklaces

I have been working overtime to make sure orders are shipped out on time.Today I shipped out 9 family birthstone necklaces plus a few other orders.It suddenly occured to me that I've never made so many birthstone necklaces within such short time, so I took a snapshot before packing them.

This one is my favorite --

mother's grandmother's family birthstone necklace

As of now, I still have 11 more birthstone necklaces on my work list, waiting to be made and shipped. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

my first yard work

Alright, you are going to think I am totally silly here, but I grew up in a city on a small island (Taiwan), where very few people have yards, and where nobody rakes the yard(If my understanding is correct, we believe decomposed leaves are good fertilizer so people leave them in the yard).So, when I moved into this house a month ago,I was excited to receive my first rake as a "moving present" from Mike's dad.

I raked on the day we moved in and had great fun (I really like the crunchy sound of leaves for some reason).But since we didn't have any clear plastic bags, I left piles of leaves in the yard for weeks.And this is what happened after four weeks, when you have two big trees in front of the house.

Well, today we FINALLY got some clear yard bags, so I decided to finish my incomplete job last time by raking AND bagging the leaves. Before we start, we need to do something to celebrate my beautiful brown yard...

can you tell what that is? Yup. A leaf angel :D Sad it doesn't snow in South Carolina so this is the only thing we could make.

It took me( -- plus a little help from Mike, but mainly I did the job :D) an hour to rake the yard.There were simply toooooooo many leaves.....

Check out the "After" photo of the yard -- so naked.and there's hardly any grass on it.Sad.

Let's count....there are 9 bags of leaves. NINE!!! (oh, and you didn't see the leaves under the bags.No, you didn't see them.That's not th main part of our yard so you didn't see them)

Good job, Mollie :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope all of you had a great time with your loved ones.I took the day off from work, so I'm now all recharged ready to start working again!
I am very thankful that so far my business has been thrived despite the economy.I could not have done this without my customers' support. (I know I have said this many times before, but I just can't help saying it again.) It's such an amazing feeling that people actually like my jewelry enough to pay for it.And the more amazing thing is there are enough people paying for my jewelry that I am actually able to support myself with this little skill of mine.
I never knew that I could actually contribute to the society being a jewelry artist, so I gladly said yes when I was asked to donated my time to teach jewelry making to some teenagers at Carolina Teenager Development Center how to make jewelry (Thanks to Maureen Cody who sent me the photo from the first session a few months back). I have also donated my jewelry to some other charity this year.These little things makes me feel more like a "useful" person.

I also want to thank my parents for supporting my music education. Music is the best thing that has ever happened in my life.I would like to thank my piano teachers Pandora Yeh (葉曼青), John Humphreys, and Edward Auer, whom showed me the road to improving my skills and musicianship. I mention this because since I graduated from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music three years ago I had stopped playing the piano and begun a long "soul searching" process. Long story short, I have a strange relationship with the piano. Throughout my life all I want is to produce the "perfect music", and throughout my life I have hated myself for not being able to produce the sound I want. After I finally overcome every difficulty to pursue my music studies in England and the US, I spent every minute hating the sound I produced. It was simply bizarre -- the better my playing became, the less confident I was. After 6 years at the music school, I had forgotten what it was like to enjoy playing the piano.

In the past three years, a lot of things have happened in my life, and I am (thankfully) gradually able to look at life and music from a different angle. If I look back the path I have walked, I must say I am quite proud of myself.After moving to my current place a few weeks ago, my piano is now sitting in a separate "piano room"(which is supposed to be the guest bedroom, but since we never have any guest, I think it makes more sense to call it the piano room), and I have started practicing again.

So, on this beautiful day, I would like to share with you a little "home recording" I made this morning. This is a totally imperfect recording of my practice on an imperfect piano with imperfect acoustics. I will admit that it took a lot of courage to post something like this on my blog, since I know there are some professional musician friends of mine out there who may listen to it and say my playing is crap.But hey -- I've warned you.I haven't practiced for a while, and this is just a "test recording".

But I hope most of you will enjoy it, and I promise the next recording will be better.Here is the theme from the 3rd movement of Beethoven Sonata, Op 109. (click the link to go to the recording)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Arrival -- "From the Bottom of My Heart" Family Birthstone Necklace

This post is actually for a few new arrivals.I think it would be fun to do a quick post on how my designs evolve.

I have been working on a new heart framed family birthstone necklace for a long long time.Sinec I specialize in wire wrapped jewelry and no solder is used, I have to hand sculpt the "frames" using heavy gauged wires, and sometimes use fine wire to connect any "loose" part.

In 2008, I created a heart necklace for Valentine's Day, which you can see from the picture above. The opening of the heart shape was secured with fine wire, and at the bottom of the heart are three tiny ruby stones.It's actually a very pretty design, but somehow it did not match my ideal of "the perfect heart necklace".

But it finally happened this week, after I made this You Are Lovely necklace --

handmade heart frame necklace

I have no idea why it took me so long to come up with this simple design.I also made some matching stud earrings --

heart stud earrings

Well, the beautiful part about this design is how I can attach birthstones to the pendant. This will be an early Valentine's design.This time I have used garnet instead of ruby, and called named this lover's necklace "Cupid's Arrow".My favorite part is that the stones actually roll on the wire, and the transluscent color of garnet looks like two tiny blood drops.At 5/7", it's also a little smaller than the original From the Bottom of My Heart design(about 1").

mothers grandmothers valentines family birthstone necklace

Most of my other family birthstone jewelry started as single gemstone jewelry; and then became a custom design as soon as a customer requested to have it made with their birthstones.When I get some custom requests for this design, it will be listed as a new piece under "From the Bottom of My Heart" again.

This design will fit up to 4 birthstones.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Arrival -- Family Nest Necklace

custom wire wrapped nest family birthstone necklace

Introducing another family birthstone necklace design. This "family nest" necklace has actually been in my store for a few weeks,but I suppose it can still be considered a new arrival.I have sold enough to post a small gallery here.

custom family birthstone necklace

It looks the best with either 3 or 4 stones.I actually really like the four stone design.The birthstones used are the same size as my Circle of Love necklace, so you know this necklace is smaller.

custom mother's grandmother's birthstone necklace

custom mother's grandmother's birthstone necklacecustom family birthstone necklace

I have been working overtime this week to prepare for the holiday.Today's work included updating the photos for this Family Nest birthstone necklace as well as fixing my birthstone chart

birthstone gemstone chart

Be sure to place your order as soon as possible to avoid delay.The holidays are just around the corner!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

bye bye to S.A.D.

hello again everyone! I want to thank you all for the nice comments all over my blog :) I haven't responded because I have been busy working and unpacking, but I have read everyone of them (you'll know that because I have to approve the comments) and really appreciate you for stopping by!

Remember when I was having trouble with the lighting in my new studio? That was posted just two days after I moved in.The day after that post, I found myself in a terrible mood everytime I had to walk into my studio.It simply didn't have enough lighting for me to inspect my pearls and gemstones.I had a ottlite that gave me "OK" lighting at the work bench, but the rest of the room was still dark.Everytime I walked into my studio, I felt like I was going into a small work bench sized cell, and that really depressed me. I actually thought about giving up making jewelry altogether just because there wasn't enough lighting, and when I noticed that I actually refused to walk into my studio, I realized this must be the so called SAD(Seasonal Affective Disorder).So I turned to my buddies at Full Time Etsy Crafters Team for recommended lighting solution, and picked up a few bulbs from Home Depot.The picture above gives you an idea of the new lighting of my studio(on the left) compared to the original lighting in another room(on the right).

This is probably not the best setup yet, but since we're renting, and I do have a budget, I have decided to go with a cheaper way -- clamp lights and daylight bulbs.

The picture shows two clamp lights, but I actually have more daylight bulbs on my ceiling light.In total I have two 100w bulbs and two 60 w bulbs...yeah, I know, that's very, very bright.but it makes me feel so good :) It's so bright that if I work in there for too long my eyes would actually hurt, but the important thing is my heart doesn't hurt anymore :) Also, with the studio being so bright day and night, I can now work and even take photos in the evening, so I am all ready to work for the holiday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Arrival-- Custom Family Birthstone Safety Pin Brooch

A few new design have been been delayed because of moving,but I was able to list this cutie a few days ago.This particular custom birthstone safety pin brooch is only 3/4" long.The birthstones are securely wire wrapped onto the pin.It's a great gift for moms who don't wear "regular" jewelry but would like to keep birthstones of their children close to their heart.

The whole safety pin brooch is made from scratch and I have sharpened the pin end. It's much sharper than the commercial safety pin and will not leave holes on your clothes.

Depending on the number of stones required, I can make this safety pin as large as needed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mu-Yin Jewelry and Modern Mouse!

modern mouse grand opening

Mu-Yin Jewelry is now available in California! If you are near Alamada, CA, be sure to stop by Modern Mouse to see a selection of my works.The pictures shown here are from their grand opening yesterday--thanks to Marianne of Mae Bee Jewelry who took the photos at the event!

Looks like they had a nice crowd at the grand opening.

This jewelry display includes a few designers works, including mine.

The store opened on 11/9 and I have already made a few sales, so I will be sending Eleen(owner of Modern Mouse) more next week!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

settling in

After a crazy weekend, we finally finished moving. I was too weak to pick up most furniture, so Mike had to get a friend here to help us with the move.Most of the big boxes and furniture went with the U-Haul truck, while I moved my studio supplies in my car. We finished moving and cleaning the old apartment on Saturday night, unpacked some so we could cook and take a shower, and I started working on Monday, surrounded by the mess you see in the picture above.

I ordered two big shelves online, but they are not here yet so I can't put my supplies up yet. Right now everything is sitting on the long folding table which is supposed to be my work surface.

So far I quite like this new place.I just wish the lighting could be better.My studio is really dark(and it's already the brightest room of the house) and I have to work under an artificial light throughout the day. The following picture gives you an idea how dark it is during the day.

The house is also very cold. It's completely under the shadow of the trees in our yard, which makes it cooler in the summer(which just passed) , and also colder in winter(which is around the corner!).There are two heating/cooling units in the house, which doesn't heat up every corner in the house, so we may have to get a small space heater soon.

I will post again when the shelves come in and the studio is organized!(or--uh.."semi-organized")

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